Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Merry Christmas

Well, Christmas has come and gone.  I always feel a little sad when Christmas is done.  I love all the anticipation and build up to Christmas day.  I love watching the streets light up as people add their Christmas lights and listening to the Christmas music playing everywhere.  I love the time with family and getting excited about the kids opening presents on Christmas morning.  And then, all of a sudden it is all done and we have to wait another year for it to come again.  So, of course I wanted to drag my kids into this emotional roller coaster of withdrawal by creating some fun Christmas traditions.  So, I bought a new advent calendar.  The kids took turns opening it each morning and finding an ornament to put on the tree.  Then there was also a piece of paper with an activity on it for the day.  Madeline woke up each morning asking what our "job" was for the day.  The day after Christmas, she asked to fill it up again.  I told her she had wait until next year.  See, the withdrawal is already happening.  Here are some of the things we enjoyed this past month.   

We got our Christmas tree on the first day.  We always get it from our local fire department, load it up on top of the car and then get milk shakes from Chicks A Fla (as Madeline calls it).  And then, every year we say, "let's not forget to water the tree as soon as we get home", and every year, we forget until the next day.    

The next day, we decorated the tree.  And the kids got to decorate little trees for their own rooms.

We made cookies...

 and decorated them.

 We made gifts for Madeline's Mom's Day Out and Cubbies teachers.  We filled jars with a gift card, smarties and a sharpie and wrote something about being thankful for making Madeline smart and sharp.  

We went to a Christmas party at our neighbor's house and Mr. Mark dressed up like Santa.  Oliver wanted nothing to do with Santa.

We played games by the fire, our first fire in our new house.  Andrew got a new ax to chop us some wood.  

We acted out the nativity story.  All the Magna Tiles are gifts for baby Jesus.  Oliver only wanted to watch Bob Mano (Veggie Tales) and Madeline only wanted to be the angel.  That left Lucy to be baby Jesus and Andrew and I to be everything else.  

We made salt dough ornaments with the kids handprints and Madeline made one with her footprint.  We used cookie cutters and made ornaments with the rest of the dough.  

We made wrapping paper.  Who knew white rolls of paper were so hard to find as well as stamp pads.  So, we just used a roll of white wrapping paper and markers.  

We made a birthday cake for baby Jesus and sang happy birthday to him.

We made a gingerbread nativity (thanks pinterest).  Madeline did not like the smell of the coconut.  I loved it.  
 We never got around to making Mary, Joseph or the horse. It took us a while to get this far.  But, at least we did the most important part, Jesus.  
Some of our other activities included decorating the house, driving to see Christmas lights, singing Christmas carols, reading the Christmas story in Luke 2, watching a Christmas movie (Boz Christmas) and drink hot chocolate with marshmallows.  Maybe that is why I am so sad that Christmas is done.  We had such a fabulous time counting down to the birth of our savior.  

Sunday, December 11, 2011


At the end of June we decided to go camping and our friends, The Holmes, joined us.  We headed down after Andrew got home from work on a Friday night.  When we arrived, it was dark and beginning to rain and the temperature at Deep Creek State Park was about 20 degrees cooler than at our house.  But, we (and by we, I mean Andrew) got our tent set up and we got the kids to bed.  Lucky for us, the night before Oliver had figured out how to climb out of his bed.  So we were anticipating a rough night with Oliver climbing out of his bed.  But, I think it was so late by the time he went to bed, he didn't climb back out.  

The people at the campsite right above/behind us got in trouble for being too loud and underage drinking.  They got about 3 different tickets from the park police.  Then the police officer walked down to us to tell us to be quiet.  We just said, "ok", even though we weren't being loud at all since we all had  children sleeping in the tent right next to us.     

So, our first night was a success.  And we spent the next day just exploring the campsite, hanging out, building a fire and eating.  

I love the grown up conversation the girls are having here.

Everyone got pretty tired by the afternoon and needed a little down time.  

Andrew was quite obsessed with the fire.   But, he did a good job of keeping us warm and cooking our food.  We had hotdogs, corn on the cob and beans for dinner.

We went to Deep Creek State Park because it had a lake and beach to play on.  But, it was way to cold to play in the water.  I think it was about 60 degrees outside.  And actually, the water was warmer than that.  So, we just played in the sand for a little while.  

Oliver picked some flowers for Anna.

Jillian did a junior lifeguard class while we were playing at the beach and got this really cool whistle at the end of it.  

We also went to a critters class at the visitors center.  It was a little crowded.  But, it was good to warm up a little. 

We had lots of yummy food, fellowship and memories.  Thanks for camping with us Holmes.