Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sharing Christmas 2010

It's here! Sharing Christmas 2010, which is, as Nancy reminded me, the fourth Sharing Christmas!

Please post the specific link to your Sharing Christmas post, that way people can click right to it. Take the time over the next couple of days to check out everyone's post and leave a comment saying hello! That goes for all of you who might not have blogs or aren't to getting a post together - please still come out and enjoy Sharing Christmas!

Welcome to our home! 2010 has been a very busy year so it's important for me to take time and share a little about this most special time of year.

I won't share pictures of every little thing since much of it is the same as years before. This year I actually remembered my antique sled and dug it out of the shed in time to add a little pizazz to our front porch. I know, the bow is pathetic. It was meant to be temporary...you know how that usually ends up!
The tree is in a different place this year. Due to a new addition of an iMac we have a small desk in the corner where we usually put our tree. So now it's just on the other side of our archway in the dining room. The presents under the tree are mystery gifts that the kids wrapped the other night. They grabbed books and who knows what else they found lying around and wrapped them up for us. I'm hoping it's nothing I need before Christmas day!
A few shots of some of my favorite "areas".

I love this old fashioned sign. It reads "There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays"
I love my hurricane candle holders. I decorate them different for each season and it's so fun to be able to change things up every year. This year I added the gold ribbon as well as pinecones, cranberries and an old cut up garland. It's so pretty when I light all my Christmas candles at night, and I would have taken a picture like that but my lighter was in the car from Sunday when we had a birthday party for Jesus at church. I was the crazy Sunday school teacher who light a candle on each kid's cupcake for singing Happy Birthday to Jesus! (and the candle is leaning, oh my, driving me nuts, but no time to change it now)

I've been adding more lime green to our colors every year. The Dollar Tree always those colored ornaments so I pick up a pack or two each year. This picture kind of drives me nuts because the berry ring is off centered, but oh well!

Can you tell that I love berries? :)
What does my dining room table look like? Well it's the same as every year except last night it looked like this...
It was a fun night of cookie decorating and Santa Buddy watching. We were so busy we forgot to have Ella study for her big unit spelling test which she has on the 23rd. Can you say Ba-Hum Bug?!

As in years past we do an Advent Calendar all month. We have two so the kids switch back and forth between which one they get to "do". Every day I try and put a piece of paper in our wooden one with various Christmas activites for that day. This year I've struggled to actually do it the night before and having been scrambling to come up with something on the spot. In fact today I told them in the car that today's Advent activity was making a Gingerbread House.

One thing that is different about this year is that the kids no longer believe in Santa Clause. It's kind of weird and a little sad, while that was not a big focus of our Christmas, it was fun to watch their child like belief and excitement. Catherine is actually more adamant about it than Ella (I told them we could play along and still have Santa be a part of our Christmas celebration) and said that it's not as fun knowing that Santa doesn't bring the presents. But we press on knowing that while Santa is a fun magical part of Christmas he in no way even comes close to what this season is all about! (I know, I know, Saint Nicholas and giving and all that - I do tell them about St. Nick and the history behind the legend of Santa)

This year our church had a big Christmas community celebration on December 4th, it was a great great night (although planning it consumed by husband for weeks prior) that had me so in awe of our church community and their willingness to come together to make the night so special and successful. It was a great way to kick off the Christmas season!

Another big event this season was this past Sunday when the girls danced to Bebo Norman's "Come and Worship" during our Christmas service at church. Renee once again did a wonderful job teaching them and getting them ready and watching my girls up on stage is something I truly treasure.

As far as baking, I've scaled back this year. I made sugar cookies (as seen above), soft oatmeal cookies with craisins and white chocolate, Cinnabon caramel corn and a new addition, Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread cookies (sorry no link)

As always our Christmas morning is highlighted by Monkey bread, fresh from the oven - can't wait!!!

The girls are in love with Barbies these days and their big gift is the Barbie Dream House. I got a great deal on it and am soooo excited for them to see it Christmas morning! It got delivered to our house in it's original packaging in the middle of the day and I was so thankful Matt was home to quickly run it upstairs before Catherine could see it. We were so close to having that fun surprise ruined!

Thank you so much for sticking with me while I shared! It's getting late, you better get home ;) Hope you enjoy the view of our front porch...

(that was my not so subtle way of acknowledging that the first picture was taken midday and now it's nighttime)

Wishing all of you a most special Christmas this year. I pray that you have time to enjoy special moments with those close to you.

Merry Christmas, with love,

Ella, Matt, Megan and Catherine

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Who's Sharing Christmas?!

It's that time of year again...time for the third annual Sharing Christmas!!! Thank you to those of you who kept reminding me over the past few weeks. With the way this fall has been, I really do think I may have forgotten!!

Funny thing. For those of you who have done this before, go back and look at your old Sharing Christmas posts. I did it just now in order to grab the picture and it was neat to see how so much stays the same and the little things that are different. A couple of times I said "oh, that's where I put that!"

This year I am going to hold Sharing Christmas on Wednesday December 22nd. That gives you a week to take some pictures and get your post together! Click on the link in the previous sentence for a full explanation of how it all works.

Sharing Christmas is a neat way for us to take a tiny peak into what Christmas looks like at your house this year. If you're like me, the decorations stay pretty much the same, (Haha, tempted to reuse pictures! Don't worry I won't!) but each year brings change and newness that is important to document. Not just to share with us of course, but to look back on for your self (if you haven't gone back and read your archives, do it. My kids LOVE hearing stories from when they were littler!)

So on Wednesday when you put your post up, along with pictures, I hope you'll include some of the following things:

What is different between this Christmas and last? Or what has stayed the same?!
Any new traditions or events going on this year?
Any new recipes you're trying out? (Renee and I were talking today about our habit of trying new recipes when we have to take something somewhere instead of maybe the wiser route being going with something tried and true. But that's a bit boring, right?)
What is the gift you're most excited for your kids to see Christmas morning?
What are ways you try and share the true meaning of Christmas? (not that we don't try and do this throughout the year, but I know many of you have fun advent traditions that I want to steal!)

You don't have to share all of those, but I definitely hope you'll share a bit about how Christmas is lived out in your family this year!

Let me know - will you be sharing?

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Super Seven Years

On December 4th my firstborn turned seven. SEVEN!!! I can't believe how fast seven years have flown by. I remember how far away that all seemed when she was a helpless, completely dependent upon me, baby. I am pretty sure I say the same thing every year!

I do feel a little bad that I just skipped right over her turning six. I also feel bad that Catherine turned five in August and I still haven't posted about that. But since Ella already missed one birthday I had to start with her!

First - I can't just ignore her big 6 birthday. So a few major milestones that she reached between the age of five and six:

Learning to swim
Learning to ride a bike
Starting Kindergarten
Losing her first tooth

Big year, right? I definitely picked a bad year to miss :(

But rather than let it get me down I'm getting number seven up there in less than week! Yay me!

A few highlights from this past year

*Finished a great year of Kindergarten
*Played her first real season of soccer, did not enjoy
*Lost another tooth
*Passed the swim test at the Y, which involved swimming a full lap of the pool without stopping and then treading water for a minute without stopping. I am beyond impressed with her swimming skills and how well she did, especially considering that she didn't really know what it meant to tread water until she actually did it (Note to remember, I was the crazy coach/mom on the side of the pool cheering her on and making her stay in the middle of the pool. I knew she could do it, but I knew if she got to close the side her instinct would be to grab on to the wall. I was soooo darn proud of her afterwards!!!)

*Survived and even thrived during a week away from mom and dad this summer
*Started 1st grade
*Played another season of soccer, this time with mom as a coach. Much improvement!!!
*The lightbulb turned on and she started reading like a champ. Every sign we pass, the title of every book I'm reading, everything she sees on tv...she's reading!

A few days before her birthday she experienced another big milestone.

Ear Piercing!!!

Let me add that I suggested that she get her ears pierced since the only other thing she ever said she wanted was a hamster (a year running now) and the closer it got to her birthday the more I realized I wasn't ready to bring a pet into the house. Hamsters are nocturnal so I figured he/she couldn't live in Ella's room and the only other options were the playroom, which is basically just an extension of the kitchen, so no, or the basement. What's the point of having a pet that you never see?!

So Thursday afternoon I got her off the bus and we headed to the mall for the big event. She was so excited and nervous at the same time. She kept asking me if that was ok, which I told her yes of course!!! (because I was nervous too - I wanted it to be a positive experience)

I had called ahead to make sure there would be two people there so her ears could get done at the same time (crucial crucial - don't do it any other way!). I let her pick out her earrings, of course she picked an expensive pair (I was taping her and she told the camera how much the earrings cost and you can kind of hear me say "wow it's expensive getting your ears pierced") but I figured it was still less than the hamster so I rolled with it.

A few pictures....here she is sitting in the chair, about to get started....love the look on her face!

And then because I knew her dad and sister would want to see it happen, I took a video during the actual piercing (while holding her hand at the same time). I guess I was pretty confident that she'd do well because if she freaked out I'm not sure I would be allowed to share this video...

That's my little tough cookie- no big deal to her!!

Here we are afterwards, and a close up of the sparkly pink flowers she picked out!

I have more to say and pictures picked out to document Ella turning seven, but I have to go and make a list to get ready for our next milestone....her first slumber party!!!!

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