Thursday, December 29, 2011

Mema & Deda Highlights

Besides all of the Christmas festivities, here are a few other things we did while Mema & Deda visited:

After Christmas, they spent a lot of time in the backyard swinging on the swing set.

  I think she was having fun...

Then, we took in the new LED Christmas lights on the Riverwalk.  It was cool to see them wrapped around the trees.

While there, Greg experimented with the new camera.

AND--- We had dinner at Rainforest Cafe.

Mema & Deda also took the kiddos on lots of walks.  They went to the park & the construction site to see the sleeping machines (sleeping since they weren't moving).

And--- of course--- it wouldn't be a Mema/Deda visit without a little reading...

So glad they could come and have a fun Christmas with us!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas 2011

Oh Christmas!  The best thing I will remember about this Christmas is how it was the first Christmas Jared seemed beyond excited for the day to come.  We had been talking about it for a month and then it finally came!  I got a few videos before the present opening...

The first video is of us waking the kiddos up:

Then, we came downstairs:

While waiting for Mema & Deda to come downstairs, we opened stockings:

Then I took a video break during the present opening.  As you can see, we had a wonderful morning.

After the videos, it was classic present opening.  We all took turns watching each other open our gifts.  The kids got new toys, games and clothes.  (He did get the game he asked about in the stocking video).

We saved our Santa gifts until we had my side of the family on Skype, so it was one big Christmas minus the missionary.  Jared asked Santa for Star Wars toys, Annabelle asked for princesses, Gweg asked for a miter saw, and I asked for a new sewing machine.  I guess we were all good enough this year because they were under the tree.  Greg then surprised me with new kitchen pots, I had absolutely no idea.  While cleaning up, we thought the surprises were done, but Mema & Deda surprised Gweg & I each with a new Kindle Fire.  Crazy!

Another great part of the day was hearing my brother who's on a mission.  My parents were able to add me in on a conference call and it was so fantastic.  He called when we were in the middle of sacrament meeting, so I snuck away in a quiet classroom to chat with the family.  It was really neat to hear how much he's grown.  I'm really lucky to have three incredible siblings.

Soon-to-be four because Zak and his girlfriend have decided to get married right after Parker comes home from his mission in July.  So exciting!  They are really nauseatingly cute together and it's so great to see Z so happy.

After church, we spent the rest of the day relaxing and playing with new toys, including the new swing set Oba & Jiji got the kiddos.  They love it; I'm sure they'll ask to go outside every day now!

Christmas 2011 is in the books!  So glad I have a whole year to recover until 2012.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Eve Festivities

Even though we had family in town, we still wanted to do our annual Christmas Eve get-together.  It has become this WONDERFUL tradition and I hope we continue to do so, with whomever is in town each year.

This year, we decided since Christmas is already stressful enough, to not make the dinner stressful as well.  I really didn't want our evening to get all {Christmas Vacation} on us.  So, we donned our Texas hats and had a Taco Bar.  It was perfect and might even be included in on the tradition.  We also had a few fun activities...

Sharing Popcorn
While we got our house ready for the madness to come, Mema & Deda took Jared to see the new Muppet movie.  He came home talking about all the funny things the Muppets did.

As soon as he got home, though, he wanted to help with the preparation.

Christmas Helper Elves
Dinner ended up being fabulous and then it was on to our activities!  We had Minute-to-Win-It: Christmas Edition & White Elephant.  The white elephant was fun, and all, but the biggest blast was the MtWI.  Each family was in charge of bringing supplies for one game and we kept time on who was the fastest overall and that person won a prize (bag of Costco truffles--- so good, yet so bad for you).

We played a few games before the kids (and everyone else) needed to get to bed in time for Santa.

Gingerbread Man:  The object was to get the cookie in your mouth using only your face muscles.  I got the second best time, Greg got the third, and Edward beat me by a second!

Couple Bonding Time

Jared wanted to try it too.

Christmas Card Table:  The object was to get one of ten cards to stop at the edge of the table by just blowing it.  I was horrible at this game; almost everyone else got it and Edward beat us all again.

See... down to my last card...

more shanagians....

Nutstacker: This was the game we provided.  10 nuts started on the candy cane and using the candy cane, you had to stack them on top of a plate you were holding in your other hand.  Greg & Josh got it to stay for a second or two, I needed just a little bit more time.

After those games, the kids got antsy, so we called it a night... but not before we attempted a family Christmas picture with the tree... apparently I'm possessed with the Christmas spirit. :)

A much better one...

With help from our friends, we were able to clean the house and get ready for the Christmas Eve present tradition.... Jared & Bellie were excited....

to open new jammies--- surprise!
 Then, we all selected down to read the Christmas Story in Luke & tried to prepare for the next morning...  Yay Christmas!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Santa's Ranch

Yesterday, our Christmas goal of the day was to hunt down some Christmas lights.  I heard from a couple Friends on Facebook that this place called {Santa's Ranch} in New Braunfels was a lot of fun to take the family too.  So, we packed up the gang, headed to a quick dinner at Chuy's and went off to find the mythical summer home of Santa & his gang.

Since it was on the left side of the highway, we had to pass it to get to it, and, it was not hard to find.  Just follow the Christmas lights glow & long line of cars (since it was the day before Christmas Eve, after all).  To help the kids get through the long line, we packed the DVD player and Christmas movies, so by the time we got to the gate, they were really excited to see the lights.

Here's the rundown (keep in mind this is all phone photography since we currently without a 'camera):

It's one huge loop.  The first part is the random hodge-podge of things to put lights on and then you see the planets.  It was super cool for Jared because I've been trying to get him excited about the Space Unit we'll be doing when I have my turn to teach preschool at the beginning of the year.

Then, after you see the planets, comes the Garden of Eden.  Seriously.  It goes through every major biblical story up until the resurrection (the empty tomb picture is in the collage).  After the biblical stories, you go through the big blue tunnel (seriously stunning) and enter the 'North Pole.'  There were lots of fun scenes there as well; the one above is a ski-hill scene.  Jared and Annabelle kept gasping every time they saw something new.  Then it looped back around to the hodge-podge.

It seemed like everyone had a great time; I kind of want to go back next year and see if they change anything or if it stays the same.  If we do, it definitely won't be two days before Christmas!

Merry Christmas Eve, everyone!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Holiday Visitors

Since it's the holidays, we've had some extra people around the house.

Last weekend, before she left for her trip, Gramma came down to have an early Christmas outing.  We decided to take the kids to see the Christmas Extravaganza at Bass Pro Shop.  The only bummer about the whole thing was that we had to get tickets to see Santa, which by the time we found out, they were already all gone for the evening.  I guess Santa is a popular guy this time of year.

Instead, the kids rode the Merry-go-round...

and did a little bit of Duck-hunting (with a little help from Daddy).

After, we enjoyed some games on Gramma's phone....

until our dinner arrived.  Annabelle's favorite... Mac 'n Cheese!

Then we had a few days break until Mema & Deda arrived for Christmas.

 Over the week, we'll have some fun doing all kinds of Christmas-y activities... maybe even find some Christmas lights to look at.  Yay for the holidays!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Annabelle's Prison Break

Annabelle is now officially in a 'big girl bed.'  And by that I mean Jared's converted crib.  Lest you think it was too early, it was out of necessity.  Our basic parental necessity to keep our children 'safe.'

Last week, she figured out how to climb out of her crib, and, therefore, was able to spring herself from her room during nap time.  I put her back in her room, told her to stay and be safe.  I'm not even downstairs for 5 minutes and hear little feet upstairs.  She did it again.  I knew I wouldn't be able to keep her in there, however she was getting out, so I put a child-lock on the inside of her door and she fell asleep... eventually.

When Gweg got home, we told him all about it and the first thing he said was, "I want to see how she does it."  So, we took her upstairs and, what every parent would naturally do, we took a video:

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Card Photo?

Yesterday, at our ward Christmas breakfast, there was a room set up for fun Christmas photos.  I'm thinking of using one of them as our Christmas card.  In no particular order:

Exhibit A.

Exhibit B.

We certainly have a pair of goofy elves. :)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Advent Fun

The kids are having a great time doing our Advent Calendar activities.  I've been looking forward to this since I made the Advent because it's the traditions that they'll remember when they think of the holidays.

Here they are drawing pictures and writing letters to Santa.  Jared mentioned Star Wars toys & Annabelle mentioned Princesses.  Sounds about right.

This technically wasn't our advent activity for the day, but the kids were able to build 'Gingerbread houses' with Jared's preschool class.  Jared was really particular in putting every type of candy on the house.  Annabelle ate the decorations as soon as they got to her plate.

Jared & his creation.

Annabelle & hers.  Notice the lack of outer additions.

Another day was 'Christmas Art Project.'  So, we took our Christmas cookie cutters and they used some washable fingerpaint to create pictures.

Lest, we forget who Christmas is about, we're also reading from this book I created.  It's our scripture book for the month.  {HERE} is the link on my craft blog, if you want one too.

Other than that, I'm trying to take videos and pictures, when I can remember, but it's hard since I'm relying only on my phone.  A new camera is definitely on my list to Santa. :)


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