Thursday, December 23, 2010

It's Christmas Eve...

... at our house anyways! Santa Claus comes tonight! It's been such a fun-filled day around here. Ella woke up and saw that our Christmas counter says only "01" day until the big day and she could hardly believe it. She is beyond excited and Cade is excited just because the rest of us are. They both received letters from Santa last night and are trying very hard to be on their best behavior today. =) We spent most of the morning in the kitchen. After all, what is Christmas Eve without Momma doing some baking? That is one thing I remember most of Christmas Eves growing up. Chris and I both are a little nostalgic this year and missing the Christmas Eve traditions of our families, so we'll do what we can to incorporate some of those into our day. Anyways, the kiddos have been more than happy to help me. They are a hoot and their silliness brings so many laughs and much joy to my heart. Chris is working today and then has several days off. I work tomorrow and then am off until next weekend. We are looking forward to time with our little ones tomorrow and with family over the weekend. What a wonderful time of year! I am so thankful for all the special gifts and goodness in my life. I hope your heart, too, is warm and the next few days are filled with many blessings! Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

E's letter to Santa

I just love this. I especially love seeing her handwriting- she is growing up so fast! Not sure when skates got added to the list (?). Hmm... with it being so close to Christmas, I'm not sure Santa's going to come through on that one!

Starting early, isn't he?

Look closely- Ella's little pup, Sing-along, is under the tv cabinet... I came up behind Cade as he was stuffing it under there. I said, "What are you doing, Buddy? Is that Sing-along?" He turned around, put his little finger over his mouth, said, "Ssshhhh!" and took off running, laughing the whole way. Little stinker! Isn't he kind of young to already be tormenting his sister?! haha!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Wonder what it could be??

I am cracking up! This is my conversation with Ella when I got home from work this morning.

Ella: Mom, you're going to be so excited when you see what we got you for Christmas last night!
Me: I am? I can't wait! I wonder what it could be...
Ella: Well, I can't tell you what it is... but I will tell you it's not socks. And it's not make-up. And it's not a purse.
Me: Did you pick it out?
Ella: Yeah, Daddy took us to Target and we got you a- well, it's a surprise, but it's not a movie. You're gonna' love it! I know you want to know what it is, but you have to wait.
Me: Okay. Are you going to help Daddy wrap it?
Ella: Yeah, we're gonna' wrap it today when you're asleep. Daddy doesn't want you to see it. He even hid it. It's in his closet in a special bag so you won't know where it is.
Me: It is? He put it in his closet?
Ella: Yeah, he put it in a special bag on a shelf waaay back in his closet so you won't know where it is. Because it's a secret. What's so funny, Mommy? What are you laughing at?

hahaha! I was glad I hadn't told her where Daddy's presents are hidden! When Chris came down the stairs, I asked him about the gifts hidden waaaay back in his closet. He laughed and then proceeded to tell me, "Don't worry. We're going to wrap your gift in one of the extra boxes you got at Dick's the other day. I told Ella we needed to get a box and she said you had some extra from when you bought my clothes." haha! There are no secrets in this house! She is too much!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Snow cream, anyone?

One happy girl here! Yum!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Santa's little helpers

Even though my little elves somehow managed to unwrap more presents than we managed to wrap, we sure had a ton of fun doing it! Cade had so much fun putting loooong strips of (wadded -up) tape on all the gifts. And Ella is crazy about those gift tags. If she can't fit everyone's name on one, she just keeps going to the next one. Most of her gifts have two, three, or four gift tags. They're sweet and want more than anything to be helpful. I appreciate all their efforts. To all our family- Please don't get these kiddos a darn thing this year. Some ribbon and a cardboard tube is all they need for loads of entertainment!

Fun night at home

Ella could hardly wait for Daddy to get home from work last night. She had made us a special Christmas present at preschool and she was anxious for us to open it up! First, there was a very sweet handmade card...
And the gift was a very pretty Christmas charger decorated by Ella. It even has her Santa handprint in the middle! We love it!
I let Ella pick what we had for dinner, and, no surprises here, she picked her favorite spaghetti dinner, complete with sparkling cider...
Cade loves his spaghetti, too!
And after dinner was cleaned up, we brought out our gingerbread house. Yay!
Ella took her sweet, little time...
while Cade globbed it on...
Having fun, E?
Cade worked hard to get the candy to actually stick...
And every time it did, he threw his hands up over his head and said, "I did it!"
Adding the finishing touches...
Ta-da! Our beautiful gingerbread house...
Nice work, you two!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas party and shopping

Saturday night was the annual Sonoco Christmas party. It was nice to have some time with my hubby and it's usually pretty fun to hear stories of "work Chris". And I'm always surprised by how many of them try to get me to tell them stories of Chris at home or in the past. They're all thinking they are going to get a little dirt on the boss. It's always funny to me. Anyways, we had a good time. We didn't come away with the 42 inch TV, but we did win a fishing rod! Chris says it's going to look pretty good hanging in our garage. haha! We'd like to re-gift it, but don't even know who we'd give it to. If you happen to know someone who would get good use out of it, let us know!
A pic of me and my hot date...
And that's two dates in two weeks, if you're counting. Maybe we're on to something here! I kind of like it.
Yesterday we headed out and almost finished our Christmas shopping! Yay! As the day progressed and the snow came down, the stores cleared out. Luckily though, I'm married to a man who enjoys driving in the snow more than he enjoys driving without it, so we shopped in empty stores and had a ball together. Then, after a few donuts in the parking lot, we headed home with lots of fun, little goodies in our sleigh- playdoh, finger paints, little cars, puzzles. Santa ended up having to order both Ella and Cade's big presents online, because they were sold out in stores. They are going to be thrilled! I absolutely can't wait to see their faces on Christmas morning!!

Belly laughs

The other night over dinner, Daddy was making Cade laugh so hard he could hardly catch his breath. It was some little gesture that the rest of us wouldn't usually find the least bit amusing, but Cade thought it was hysterical. I love this! How can you not smile when you see this picture?! He is so fun!!

Practice cookies

We are in charge of bringing some cookies to Ella's preschool Christmas program this week, so we decided to try out a new, simple recipe and make some practice cookies a few days ago. Ella did most of the prep work all by herself. Big task, especially when your little brother is crying and literally hanging on your arm!! haha!
Giving them a taste test...
Yep, pretty sure they are going to work out! They were so good!

Fuzzy socks

Just because I think it's sweet... Ella has taken to wearing my warm, fuzzy socks around the house. I have a few different colors and she will try them all on before deciding on which pair she will wear that day. She thinks she's being so funny and so grown-up at the same time. There is something about it that just kind of melts my heart at the same time, too. I guess it's because I can remember wearing things of my mom's when I was little and I know Ella is making those same memories now. Funny how something as simple as fuzzy socks can make me fall in love with being a mommy all over again.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas in the eyes of a 4 year old

I have to share a little bit about how much fun I'm having with Ella this Christmas season. Of course, Cade is such good entertainment all the time, too, but Ella is at such a great age and is sooo excited about everything Christmas. The very first thing she does every morning is plug in the tree and all the decorations. Then she changes the number on our Christmas counter, and everyday she says, "Wow, I can't believe it's only __ days till Christmas!" 18 this morning!!
She is very interested in talking about Baby Jesus and how he was born. We have some window clings of the nativity scene and we talk about Jesus' birth almost every morning at breakfast. She used to always ask why he had to be born in the stable, but preparing for her Christmas program at school has taught her the reason- "Because there wasn't room." That's her line in the program and she says it so proudly. Now, everytime I ask her why Jesus wasn't born inside somewhere warm, she says, "Because there wasn't room!" =)

We sing Christmas carols all the time. She really likes Deck the Halls and Jingle Bells, but her favorite is We Wish You a Merry Christmas. Chris and I get so tickled every single time she sings it, because according to her, the lyrics are, "Oh, bring me some stinky pudding. Oh, bring me some stinky pudding. Oh, bring me some stinky pudding, and you better bring it here." haha! We have a snowman that sings it, and I guess when he says "figgy", it sounds like "stinky" to her. I have laughed and laughed. I love it so much!

We have spent lots of time making ornaments and reading Christmas stories. We talk an awful lot about Santa, his reindeer, and the long trip he has to make on Christmas Eve. And Ella, always worried about details, has so many questions. What if he gets stuck in the chimney? Won't he get burned in the fire? His outfit is going to be so dirty! If he can't get down the chimney, will he just come in the front door? Should we leave it unlocked or does he have a key? Is our yard big enough for the reindeer to land? Will he go to Julia's house first (right across the street) or come to ours? I hope he doesn't mix up our presents! Will he come to my room to see if I'm asleep? And MANY, MANY more. It is so fun watching her try to figure it all out, but I feel like I have to be so careful about what I say! I've told her several times that it's just Christmas magic, and I've heard her repeating that to Cade. It is not in her nature to accept it at face value though; she wants to know how it works. I really love that about her, but I have a feeling she will be one who, in the next year or two, will simply decide to stop believing in Santa because it's just not logical to her.

We have also made an effort to watch all the traditional Christmas cartoons when they air on TV. Ella loves the old Grinch cartoon and she and Cade both sat so still through all of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer the other night. I was kind of surprised they enjoyed it so much, especially since it's so different from the cartoons on TV now, but they both oohed and gasped every time they saw the abominable snowman. haha! They are so fun! And tonight is Charlie Brown's Christmas and I can't wait! We plan to be on the couch with our popcorn at 8 pm sharp! =)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Holiday in Lights

Snowflakes, hot apple cider, Christmas lights, time with my family- it doesn't get much better than this in my book! We headed over to Sharon Woods last night to see the Holiday in Lights. The kiddos had a ball, whether it was because of the lights or the fact that they got to ride up front with Chris and me. Ella got to sit on Daddy's lap and even help drive! Cade kept oohing and aahing. I asked if he was having fun and he couldn't nod that little head hard enough. haha! Look at that scary blue mouth!
The tunnel of lights was our favorite. We put our hands up and Daddy drove really fast! Then he even backed the truck up the hill so we could go down a second time!
Ella loved this little tree. One elf was throwing the ornaments on and the other was throwing the star to the top.
That's pretty much all the pictures we took. I mostly just sat back, sipped my cider, and enjoyed this fun time with my family!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

And speaking of trees...

I think these Christmas trees are going to be a backdrop for pretty much everything we do these next few weeks. Ella and Cade are crazy about 'em! They wanted to read some books the other night and who could think of a better place to settle in than beside the tree? I think this is such a sweet picture. Ella has decorated and redecorated her pink tree probably 50 times. The first time was very dramatic and tear-filled after a one and a half year old tornado came through and knocked it over. Since then she has realized how fun it is to take all the ornaments off and put them back on. She says she likes to see how they look in different places. =)

This morning I took the kiddos to have Christmas pictures made and, of course, we had to pose in front of the tree before we left. Ella was so pretty and grown-up and Cade was very handsome. He held up his foot and told everyone who would listen, "Doo shoes" (new shoes). He was so proud.

A little decorating

Decorating the Christmas tree was a whole family affair. Ella snapped a picture as we were getting started.
Then she wanted to see how she looked wrapped in silver garland. Very fancy, E!
Cade sat on Daddy's shoulders and helped wrap the garland around...
Ella, true to form, was very careful and meticulous as she placed each special ornament...
Cade, also true to form, opted to throw the ornaments into the tree rather than take the time to hang them! Their little personalities are both so funny and different. I think it's neat that you can see those differences in something as little as the way each approaches decorating the Christmas tree.
A few of the favorite ornaments. Cade loved this one so much that he managed to pull the top off and pour the little snowballs all over the floor. =)
Ella was very proud of this one, "Look, Mom, our whole family's on it."
Cade also got to hang his Baby's First Christmas ornament from last year. You can't really see the ornament, but I love his cheese here.
And our big helper in front of the finished tree. Ta-da!