Saturday, December 31, 2011


This past week we've taken a vacation from the computer, email, etc. to spend some quality family time. :) We've slept in, had (several) jammie days, played Wii for hours, read books, laughed, tickled, watched movies, tried out all the new toys Santa left, snuggled and been silly. It's been an absolutely perfect week.

I have hundreds of pictures from Christmas and all our holiday fun that I'm hoping to get up this week -- maybe if I write that, then I'll actually do it! It's going to be tough to get back into the swing of things after a week like this!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

More of Hermie's Antics

Hermie has been busy the past few days, and I'm pretty sure he has some fun things planned for these last days before Christmas! But, here's what he's been up to lately...

We found him hanging out with the christmas cards one morning.

Playing Jenga with the gang.
He got into the scrabble game and spelled out the kids names.

Took Barbie for a midnight spin.
Fishing with the goldfish.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Gingerbread House 2011

One afternoon while Charlotte took a late nap, the kids made our annual gingerbread house. I always let them make it themselves, and while it may not turn out looking like a traditional gingerbread house, they are very proud of their work. It's fun to see how their minds work as they decorate. :)

Notice their "attire" in these pictures. This is our typical day....Madeleine in her gown and Harrison in just his undies. Just how we role at our house!

The finished product.

Madeleine's half.

Harrison's half.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sweet Miss

I snapped this picture of Charlotte on Sunday morning before church. She's wearing Madeleine's Christmas dress (from 6 years ago!). She looked so sweet in it, and it just took me back to how Madeleine looked in it and reminded me how quickly the time goes by. It seems like no time at all since I was dressing Madeleine for church in this dress. Makes me slow down and cherish this time.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Madeleine's School Party

Today was Madeleine's winter party at her school. Matt and I had planned awhile back that he would take off 1/2 a day so I could be up there without my two little "helpers." I really wanted to be able to focus on my big girl and making this day special for her. And, since I'm the co-homeroom mom in Madeleine's class (and the homeroom mom for another 2nd grade class where no moms volunteered to do it and I took it on), I needed to be able to move around and help out. It ended up working out better than we'd expected because all the IF's had their Christmas exchange/lunch and then their boss let them quit early for the day! So, Matt met me up there and picked up the little ones and Madeleine and I had some fun party time!

Our plan for both classes was to watch "The Polar Express," have a PJ day and nibble on party foods. We also did a hot chocolate bar, complete with mini & chocolate marshmellows, whip cream, and red/green sprinkles or mini chocolate chips for toppings. :) That was quite a hit!

It's amazing the difference in the kids from last year to this year. They are much more quite and focused. They sat and watched the entire movie and had a blast!

Mrs. L had tickets for them to color and fill out for the "Polar Express."
Then, at the same time as the movie -- she went around and punched their cards in the shape of their initial. Such a fun idea!

It was a fun day for both of us! I didn't take too many pictures because I was trying to help out in both classes, but there was some down time where I was able to sit and watch with her too. I'm so thankful for these one-on-one times with her!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Countdown Begins

Harrison asked me the other night to create a countdown for his birthday, which is next week. Poor guy waits a whole 362 days for gifts and then gets all of them in a 3 day period. I really try and make his birthday separate from Christmas, so in the midst of all the Christmas hub-bub we get a day to stop and celebrate our little guy!

Since it was later at night, I didn't have much on hand, but we made a countdown from what we had and it made him very happy! He takes off a sheet each day until the big day arrives. It's one of the highlights of his morning. Between finding Hermie, doing our countdown to Christmas calendar and this, he's happy to pop up out of bed each morning!

Not the best picture, but he wanted to be in it. While he's anticipating his birthday and it can't get here quickly enough, I'm the opposite. I can't believe my little guy will be 5....which mean that this year he'll be starting kindergarten. This is one of those birthdays that will make my heart soar and hurt all at the same time.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Seeing Santa

This past weekend was our church's annual storytime and pictures with Santa. In the past, I think it's been at night or during the afternoon, but this year the gals in charge decided to do a breakfast with Santa. What a wonderful morning!

We started by feasting on a yummy breakfast that all the moms pitched in to help provide. Harrison was excited to see one of his best buds, Cooper, there and they started playing right away!

After filling our bellies, it storytime with Santa! I snapped this picture of Madeleine and Harrison from behind and it just melts my heart!

They had set up different stations for the kids to do activities and crafts. They grouped them by ages, so they got to spent this time with their friends. The first station was to get to make a Rudolph Craft.

The second station was Pin the Button on the Snowman. :) The little kids (Harrison's age) were laughing so hard while they watched each other try and get the buttons right! It made me laugh just to hear them!

The final station was getting to sit on Santa's lap and then get a small treat from him. Our Church actually has our own Santa -- with his very own Santa suit! He plays the part perfectly.

Checking out all those teeth she's lost this year -- 5 of them, soon to be 6. :)

We attempted to get a family picture, but this was all we got. My friend Ashley tried, but poor Charlotte was NOT having it! She was scared to death of Santa this time and avoided him all morning. :) You win some, you lose some.

And, this was a losing battle!
It was a great way to spend a Saturday morning! Our class had their annual Christmas party that night, but Matt and I had decided to have a family night at home. It seems like this time of year is so busy, and we know that next semester will be nuts, so we're trying to make the most of our family time right now. I'm the one that always feels like we need to do everything and be a part of everything and Matt is my (good) constant reminder that we can't do it all.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas with Grammy and Pops

Grammy and Pops came up to visit and have Christmas with us last weekend. We'd been looking forward to them coming and the kids were especially excited! They arrived Saturday morning just in time to have brunch with us. Since they were bringing presents the kids were so excited they could hardly eat! :)

After brunch, it was time to open presents! As usual, Grammy and Pops spoiled all of us! The kids loved everything they opened -- and me and matt too!

Here's Harrison with his new Thomas Lego set. We've already built it all the ways possible.

Charlotte opened one gift and was happy to play with that the entire time. :) She didn't care a thing about opening anything else! She insisted we put on her squeaker shoes RIGHT THEN and wore them the rest of the day!
Madeleine with her jewelry set. She also got some clothes for her American Girl doll which she's had a blast with -- changing her clothes each day and night.

The kids have had such fun this week playing with their new toys! They are also looking forward to this spring when we can break out the new fishing poles and do some fishing!

After naps and some snacks, it was time to load up and head over to the Christmas train. This was our first year to do the train and it did not disappoint! We were excited that Grammy and Pops could be there to share it with us -- and our good friends, the other "W" family too!

I think this is something that will get better and better as the kids get older. Madeleine LOVED it and Harrison enjoyed it too. Charlotte surprised us all by doing great on the entire ride!

Santa and Mrs. Clause were on the train too! They took quite a while stopping to visit with each family and getting the kids Christmas wishes.

Then it was time to sing some Christmas carols! There was an "elf" that lead the singing and took requests and let the kids lead the songs. Well, Madeleine lead 2 songs on the train! I still can't believe that my shy girl took the mic and belted out 2 Christmas carols! :) She had the best time of anyone, I think!

Harrison was happy to snuggle with me and look out the window.

Charlotte got some extra loving from Pops and Grammy on the train!

Of course, you can't have a train ride in Arkansas without calling the HOGS!

After the train, the kids were beat from all the excitement of the day! We headed home to bed, so we'd be fresh and ready to go on Sunday morning. Grammy and Pops went to church with us and then we came home for Sunday lunch. It was nice to have time to sit around our dining room table and just visit with them for awhile. We don't get to do that enough (hint, hint). :)

I snapped some pics while we were getting dinner ready and this was one of my favorites.

We had a great weekend spending time with Grammy and Pops. I count myself truly blessed to have such a good relationship with my in-laws and that's because they are such wonderful people. I married well. :)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Lights and Letters

This week we did our annual Christmas Lights and Ice Cream night. Matt and I started doing this before we ever had any kids and it's a tradition we've kept through the years. We started out listening to our favorite Christmas songs with all of us singing along while we headed to pick up our ice cream.

Then we stopped at Braums to fuel up for the drive. :) With everyone happy, we headed to east Fayetteville (where the big houses are!) to check out the Christmas lights. There are a few neighborhoods we've discovered there that go all out for Christmas!
We all like looking at the lights and picking out our favorite houses -- even Charlotte was enthralled with the lights and especially the big blow up Santas we saw!

When we got home that night, the kids wrote their letters to Santa. They both knew exactly what they wanted, but the sweetest part was that each of them included the other in their letter by asking Santa to bring their brother/sister something they knew the other wanted. Things like that just melt my heart. I'm pretty sure Santa will be keeping those letters forever. :)

They ran them out to the mailbox to be sure the mailcarrier would get them this morning!

A great way to spend a fun family evening!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Hermie's Antics

When we first got our elf, 3 Christmas seasons ago, I thought it would be such fun for the kids. Well, I was right -- they anticipate Hermie's arrival each year with much excitement. But, it's also become one of my favorite Christmas traditions.

It seems that this year, Hermie has been up to his old tricks -- and some new ones!

He left a "merry, merry" message after his shower one night.

He got into the chocolate chips that we'd used for baking...

and apparently sampled some. :)

This landed him in "elf jail" the next night. Hehehe!

He made silly faces on the kids pictures.

And decorated the Christmas tree with candy canes,

before hiding himself inside the tree.

Apparently all his antics have gotten him in trouble with the toys. This morning, Sherrif Woody had him surrounded!

I love this tradition! The kids pop up out of bed each morning and run around the house trying to find Hermie. They've both told him places they want him to land after his trek to the North Pole each night and he's been listening to them! Can't wait to see what he's up to next!