Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Welcome Back Elf

Our Elf, Hermie, came back Sunday night. We've been looking forward to his return for months. Madeleine & Harrison enjoyed looking for Hermie each morning last Christmas & are, once again, excited to wake up and find him! It's a race around the house each morning to discover where he's "landed" for the day.

I overheard Harrison last night telling Hermie, "Hermie, Madeleine was not helping pick up!!!" And then he headed right back to Madeleine to inform her that he'd told Hermie & Hermie was going to tell Santa. Cuteness!

Monday, November 29, 2010

So Much Thanksgiving!

We had quite an adventure last week for our Thanksgiving break! Matt had a big test on Monday night, so the kids and I headed down to Little Rock on Saturday afternoon to give him some peace & quiet so he could study. Sunday, we had a wonderful time seeing old friends and worshipping at PV. Then Monday, we were ready to get this vacation week started!

First on our list we meeting up with our friends, Andrea, Ella & Baby Livia. Andrea & I grew up together & our families are still great friends. We met up with them at The Tubes at Rock Creek for some super fun playtime! It was just what Madeleine & Harrison needed after a cartrip on Saturday & sitting much of the day Sunday for church. :) The tubes are amazing....imagine McDonalds only cleaner, 10 times as big (2 stories high) and without the greasy burger.

Even Charlotte got to play in the toddler area. And, Madeleine & Ella hit it off right away! They were so cute playing together & it brought back many memories of the times Andrea, Sharon & I played.

After a quick lunch, we headed to the grocery store. We told the kids it was a "field trip." Ha! We went to explore the newest Kroger in LR & I was in heaven. It made me sad just thinking of the few option I have here in NWA (walmart, walmart, & more walmart). The kids had quite a fun time here -- Harrison got to ride in the car/cart & Madeleine loved every minute of pushing her own little cart. If they had these here, I'd never ever go to the store alone again. And, they had samples all over the store. We could have just eaten lunch here! It totally made me laugh watching M push the cart; she leans on it just like I do!!

By the end of the trip, we had BOTH carts full of food for our Thanksgiving meal!
After all that excitement, we headed back to Mimi & Grandad's house for some down time. I build Harrison the first of many traintracks that week and Madeleine played on the computer.

We ended that day by having dinner at Moe's (my favorite) and putting the kids in bed. They were both so exhusted that they were asleep by 7:30. It was much needed sleep for the big days they had coming!
Matt came into town late Monday night after his test was over. Tuesday morning we took the kids to Jump Zone (while Mimi watched Charlotte) for some fun! And, such fun they had! We pretty much had the place to ourselves at first since LR schools were not out that day. They played so hard & by the time we left Harrison's hair was soaking wet & so was his shirt!

Tuesday afternoon, Matt took the big kids to Sugar's school to visit her class & I stayed and helped my mom with dinner/preThanksgiving baking/making pies to take to Searcy. We made some yummy meatballs for dinner that night -- a favorite of all of ours! And, it was chocolate cake for dessert. I gave Charlotte some of the crumbs & she looooved them! She licked her tray clean. I love the expression on her face here. :)

Wednesday we headed up to Searcy to spend the day with Matt's family. The kids were excited to see their cousin Emery and have fun playing with her. And, Emery loved Charlotte! She kept her entertained most of the day (good practice for her since she'll be a big sis this spring!).

After a yummy lunch, we headed outside to play with Pops new 'cycle. It was a little big for the kids to do alone, so Matt & Ryan took turns giving them rides. They kids thought it was pretty cool....and Matt was pretty sore after many rounds!

Even Charlotte got a ride!

Before we left, Grammy got out her jewelry and let the kids play dress up! I think Madeleine & Emery could have stayed there all night. :) I even caught Harrison with a strand of pearls around his neck.

Just as we were leaving we got a call from my mom telling us that our cousins Rian & Rhea had surprised us and come for Thanksgiving too! Madeleine & Harrison were beyond excited at that news....they had such fun with them this summer (and we're soooo thankful that they decided to come, too!).
Thursday was the big day! It was a lovely rainy morning with the temp getting colder by the minute. The kids played together & we did lots of cooking! I got Charlotte her babyfood version of Thanksgiving.
And she was pretty happy with it. She also go have some "real" food too -- greenbeans, rolls & mashed potatos. Yum!
This is the "kids table." I realized this year that my kids are making similar memories to the ones I have from my childhood Thanksgivings. The only thing is: this time I'm the adult and I still can't figure out where that time went.
Here's some of our Thanksgiving meal. We had: turkey, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatos, corn casserole, green beans, rolls, strawberry pretzel salad, and dressing. Enough carbs to last me until Christmas (and beyond). And, that doesn't even include the desserts (or several of Whitney's mounds bars that I ate!).
2 days of cooking consumed in 20 minutes....
If you know our family, you'll know that every great meal includes after-dinner entertainment. And so it was off to the show! The kids did "church" for us after a prelude musical.

One of my favorite parts of the day was the slideshow that followed. My Aunt Kathy had brought slides she'd found when cleaning my Granny's house. We got to see color slides of my Dad & Kathy as children and where they lived. I think I've realized now where Harrison gets his mischevious side from. :)
It was the most perfect week! Most of our family went home friday morning after a big, yummy breakfast (can you believe we were hungry???). Mom and I spent the day doing a bit of Christmas shopping. That evening Madeleine headed to spend the night with Sugar & Stewart at their new house and Matt & I even got to have us a date night!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Family Movie Night

We had our first family movie night last weekend. We rented Toy Story 3 and snuggled up on the couch for some fun! Charlotte got to join in the fun for a few minutes before she headed off to bed. All in all it was quite a success & something we'll be doing again soon.
Enjoying some good ol' homemade hot fudge sundaes!

I've been wanting to do this for awhile, but I'm glad we waited until the kids were old enough to enjoy it & be able to sit through an entire movie. :)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Snug As A Bug In A....Box??

This is how I discovered Harrison in the living room one morning last week. He'd been helping me change out the kids summer/winter clothes & box up the ones they'd outgrown. He took off with an empty box declaring that it was his "pirate ship" and the next thing I knew he was snuggled up in there watching TV. That silly boy!

Eventually he decided he needed a blanket, too. :)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Charlotte's New Friend

That would be mobility that I'm talking about. And it's changed my life in a BIG way. No more sitting her in the living room with some toys & getting things done. No way. As soon as I sit her down, she's off. And she's FAST.

I've forgotten what it's like to have a crawler in the house. It takes so much longer to accomplish anything -- not only because I have to stop every 2 minutes to move her back to a "safe zone" but also because I just love watching her crawl. :) I also spend a huge amount of time picking up & making sure that M & H haven't left any small toys laying around. She's already discovered a few favorite places: the laundry room, the dining room, and right by the backdoor. I'm not sure why she loves these spots (although I have a few theories...) but I'm constantly finding her in them.

But, the best part is that she laughs when she crawls. She has this hearty chuckle like she knows she's such big stuff!

One thing that's for sure about her crawling -- it totally wears her out! She's exhausted at naptime & bedtime and she's been sleeping a good bit more too.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Our Happy Halloween

We had quite the fun-filled Halloween weekend! Madeleine had Friday off from school for parent conferences & Mimi & Grandad were here too! The kids have been looking forward to Halloween this year and counting the days until they could go trick or treating. I added a few more fun activities too & we ended up with a full weekend.

First off was making some Halloween cookies! This year I bought cookies (hey, 3 kids & a super-busy Matt -- you do whatever is easiest!) and they were perfectly happy with them. And, they were pretty yummy, too.

Saturday morning we went to our local donut shop for their special halloween donuts! They make these every year on Halloween I discovered & we'll definitely be adding them to our annual Halloween fun!
Saturday morning I spent 3 hours volunteering at Madeleine's school, helping park cars for the Razorback game while the kids had some fun with Mimi & Grandad.
Late that afternoon, we loaded up the car & headed for Trunk or Treat at our church. This year our church opened the event up to the community & we hoped for a turnout of around 400. Well, we underestimated the event just a wee bit & had over a THOUSAND people come to the event! It was amazing to see that many people in our parking lot & what a powerful ministry to our community!
My friend AJ & I have become part of our Land Of Promise ministry team & we set up a car & handed out information about our nursery classes/ministry. I wish I had scanned in what we handed out -- it was so awesome! (And, I can say that since I had nothing to do with the design --our very talented friend Whitney did it all!) But, the information I had was gone in just a matter of minutes since we thought printing 100 was going to be enough. Ha!
Our theme was a pumpkin patch & we created one with the pictures of all the kids in Land of Promise. Here's a picture of our car towards the end of the night when the kids had commandeered the trunk for themselves. :)
After making the rounds, both Madeleine and Harrison we excited to help me hand out candy. The only problem was that they like to give out handfuls and we were running a bit short due to the underestimation of people that would attend.
I would never, never have survived the night without my mom & dad being there to help out. Matt was given tickets to watch the Hogs play & he was well deserving of a night out. It would have been impossible to watch the kids & hand out candy.
Sunday morning we did church & headed home to carve our pumpkin & roast the seeds. The roasted seeds are always Matt's favorite part of the day. :) But, before that could begin, I had to get a picture of Charlotte in her super-cute Halloween dress.

Off to pumpkin carving! Matt did the carving and offered to let the kids clean out the inside. I love the look on Harrison's face in this picture. I think we can rule out surgeon as his future career. ;) However, this is always on of Madeleine's favorite parts. She's not grossed out by the "pumpkin guts."

While Matt finished carving the face, the kids played with some pumpkin pie playdoh I'd made. It made our house smell sooo yummy while it was baking & it smelled good even after it was finished. I warned them that although it smelled good, it wouldn't taste good, but that didn't stop both of them from trying it!!! And, yep, it tasted baaaaad.

This was such a hit, I'm definitely going to be making gingerbread playdoh for christmas!

Here's the finished product. While it may not win any awards, I think it looked good and the kids were pretty proud of it.
Finally it was time to trick or treat. Madeleine decided weeks ago that she wanted to be a black cat. She was the cutest thing! Harrison was supposed to be a pirate, but had a last minute change of heart & firmly decided he was going to be a Thomas the Train. It was mimi to the rescue to find & bring us a Thomas outfit. :)

Since it was such a nice night, we put Charlotte in the stroller and walked around the neighborhood together. She loves her stroller & was quite content to just sit back and relax as we walked.

By the time we were almost finished I looked down and saw Charlotte sound asleep in her stroller. Such a sweet baby.
It was a great Halloween for all of us! And, now, on to Christmas!