Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas Day

Christmas Day at our house is a day I just love. 
It is a day to spend together, to celebrate , play and enjoy.
Our favorite tradition is our Jesus birthday party which we do in the afternoon.
This year, we decorated ahead of time.

We have a JESUS (bingo) game that we use each year.  We sing, enjoy a treat and make a craft.  They also go back through the coloring book they have made throughout the month of Advent, when they color one aspect/page of the Christmas story per night.  It always amazes me how much they know.
We have been able to do this for several years now, and they get really excited talking about what we will do at the party for Jesus.

This is a tradition I hope we can always have with them, and maybe their children someday.
Christmas night it was time to watch a movie and try out one of JJ's presents.
We made some yummy popcorn and Sydney had the menu all written out on her chalkboard easel.
It was a Merry Christmas indeed.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas with Family

In the few days leading up to Christmas, we had lots of family time in Georgetown.
We had Christmas celebrations with close and extended family, went to the movies, Southern Lights, a ballgame, and church. There were even two days nice enough for rides on the golf cart and to feed the horses.  It was a blessing!

These are six cousins who really enjoy being together and it is sweet.
Having Nanny in Georgetown full time is a real treat for the kids and all of us.

Anytime the kids can be around their great grandparents, it is special.
On Christmas Eve, we wrapped up our visit by visiting at Nanny's house and Ken and Brenda's with Papaw's family and headed home for Christmas!
Christmas was not quite the same as we didn't get to see the Linn's due
to sickness...we will have to fix that soon.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Christmas Traditions

The month of December is so exciting!  There are several traditions I have come to treasure through the past few years.

Advent!  We walk through the from Expectation in late November to the big Celebration on Christmas Day when we remember the birth that changed the world forever.  This is a sweet time each night when we can sing, read, color, and talk through the Christ promised in the OT through the birth and early life in the NT.  It's a precious , irreplaceable time for the five of us.

The kids love to help in the kitchen and so the past few years, we have found a time to have a  treat making day in December.  I have learned that at their age, simple = better.  It's not about the quantity of treats we make, but the experience we can share.  So this year, we kept it simpler with chocolate covered sprinkle pretzels and Christmas tree brownies.  They were both a hit and I found I could enjoy the time with them more since we were only working on two.
Since Sydney was 2 and JJ an infant, we have been going to "ride" on the Polar Express at the old train depot.  The conclusion of the event is an opportunity to meet Santa.  Luke wants nothing to do with Santa.  His big brother and sister are not much into him themselves, but they were fine to stop for a quick photo and get a bell. 

An important part of our family Christmas tradition is serving together.  Through teaching, and then donating and volunteering, this is a must.  Our memory verses for this December have been Matthew 25:35-40.  One annual tradition for us is serving at Hope House's Affordable Christmas.  Sydney and I wrapped gifts this year.  Over 700 kids were touched by Affordable Christmas in 2014 and we were so blessed to be a small part of this.

In 2012, we learned about A Walk Through Bethlehem from a friend who attends a different church.  We enjoy walking through the town-they have it set up with the stores, the Inn, etc.  People are in character and great at interacting with the kids.  They even have shepherds and sheep, a choir of angels, and of course the stable with Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus.
Another Christmas tradition we enjoy is getting together to celebrate with friends, young and older too.
We added in a new tradition(?) this year as Lost River Cave brought Vixen the reindeer for a visit. The kids had the opportunity to pet and see Vixen.  This was the first time Jeff or I have ever seen/touched a reindeer too.  He was beautiful!
All of the other families saw Vixen with Santa by his side.  That was not going to work with us so we asked Santa if he minded to move aside.  He obliged.  Luke was happy.

Before we left, they got to roast marshmallows and enjoy hot chocolate. 
I hope this is an event they continue.
We've made our gingerbread house. 
Nana got us this Hello Kitty one after last Christmas and I had been saving it.  They all three really enjoyed doing this , and sampling their work later on !
They were hoping to see Big Red with his Santa hat-
they got their wish the other night.
Only two were brave enough to go and see him while one little boy hid behind Mommy.
An important tradition to the three of them...school parties!

Luke had his on Thursday and today it was their turn.
It's been a great December so far.  We look forward to the special traditions of spending time with family and celebrating Christmas at home.

Monday, December 15, 2014

A Cat, A Dog and Precious Little Boy

Luke, Sydney and JJ performed in their Christmas Programs on the same day, last Thursday.

Luke's 3 year old program at ELC was in the morning.  He had been under the weather, but wanted so badly to be able to sing.  He was not 100%, but did get to!  He was so cute and did a great job with all of the motions and some of the singing :)

He really turned on the smile.  They had 5 or 6 songs.
It is always such a treat to attend a program at ELC. 
Here is a short segment of his program:
Later that evening, Sydney and JJ were in the 1st/2nd grade program at Plano.  Sydney was a cat, and JJ was a dog.  They both did a great job!
Here they were before the show, minus the cat ears.
Sydney was in the middle of the group with the 2nd graders who had speaking parts.  It was easy to see her.  She said she was nervous but did well.
It was a challenge to see JJ, because he was positioned behind a bunch of "reindeer" with big antlers.  He has always enjoyed singing and this was no exception.
Here is a quick video of part of one of their songs:

The day was even more special since Buddy and Granny were both able to make the trip to watch the kids.  We surprised Sydney and JJ at lunchtime and ate with them.

Those were two happy Panthers!
This whole day was a special gift.

Saturday, December 13, 2014


Black Friday, we had a special surprise that did not involve shopping!
We took the kids to a place they have been asking to go for the past year or so...LEGOLAND!
They were super excited, especially Luke.
It started off as a very cool Florida morning, but turned into a beautiful day.
 Meeting Emmett at Legoland was a priority!

 They had some very neat rides, and three kid friendly rollercoasters with no flips.
Papaw was brave to let Luke drive him in this boat. 

 Of course, everywhere you turned...Legos, lego figures, superheroes, decorations.
Even towns built of Legos.  It is impossible to show the amazing
detail but here is one angle from one of my favorite cities:
One of the best parts of the day was watching Luke in their main show.  One of the workers asked JJ if he wanted to be in the show before it started and he did not.  Sydney didn't either.  Luke said he did!  I wasn't sure what he would do, but he did a great job.  He was able to set off a blast and "save the day" from the pirates.  He was very proud of himself and later in the day told me "Mommy, I saved the day today!" He sure did.

 It was a great park for the age of our kiddos and I'm so glad we took them while they could enjoy so much.  Seven cheers for Legoland!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Sea World Thanksgiving

We took off for Orlando over Thanksgiving to put to use our Sea World passes one more time before 2014 ticks away.  After first visiting in July, the kids have been all about it ever since.  They play Sea World and put on shows almost every day. Needless to say, they were so happy when we told them about our plan. 
We had a wonderful time and got to spend three different days at the park and it was even more exciting since Granny and Papaw got to come with us.  The kids had such a big time hanging out with them.
One morning, they were thrilled we could be the first family to see Shamu.

Sea World had their own special Christmas stuff going on which meant extra shows, and extra characters out and about.  You never knew who you might run into!


Besides the time in the park, we were blessed with great weather and no rain!--and it was even warm enough a couple of the days to enjoy an afternoon at the pool.   Some of their favorites were the dolphin show, the Christmas whale show and the Shamu Express roller coaster.  They really wanted a photo with the Christmas Shamu and Dolly and we accomplished that x2. 
It was a great Thanksgiving break at Sea World :)