Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Advent ~ Finding Meaning in Christmas

Advent officially started on Sunday.  This year I decided to set up a little advent area in our kitchen.  The girls made this advent wreath at church on Sunday.  We'll light a candle each Sunday until Christmas. 

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I change the frames each month. This month they are of course portraits of Christmas pasts.

I also adore this book called the Adventure of Advent.  It is filled with wonderful ways to teach your child about Christmas.  I love having it out so that we can grab it after dinner each night to learn something new.  It teaches the Christian meaning behind all of the Christmas traditions; things we all already do this season.  For sure, I recommend this one!

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And what would my little table be without Christmas tea? 

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I hope you're all enjoying your Christmas season!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Traditions

I think the best part of the Christmas season are all of our family traditions.  Some we've been doing for 15 years and others are new.  This one the girls adore.

On Thanksgiving weekend we decorate the whole house except for our live tree in the living room.  In our family room we have three little trees standing on the floor near a window, and they are filled with the girls ornaments; gifts they were given, ones they made in preschool (my favorite) and our new tradition only a couple of years old, an new ornament each year.  (The picture sure would have been better if I took it at night)

I write on each box why I chose that ornament that year so they'll always know when they unwrap it each year. 


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This year Anna opened a sweet little angle playing the viola.  I was thrilled when I found it since it's impossible to find a viola.  Usually everything is a violin.  Sweet.  And she also opened Rapunzel.  I smile knowing that it will tell the tale of year 8 year old Christmas and what movie she liked for years and years. 

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Abigail opened "Guess How Much I Love You"  since she loves that book and has a bunny theme in her bedroom.  She also opened a singing Frosty the Snowman.  She's been singing that song so much. 

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The new ones each year are oh so special to the girls, but as a Mom, it's the old ones that I adore. 

'Waiting for Anna' when she was still in an orphanage in China and missed her first Christmas with a family.

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The Fisherprice farm that really moos when Abigail opens the door.

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This one I bought for Anna when she was just two to remind her of the stuffed animal reindeer that she used to play with for hours and hours.

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This Merry Go Round Abigail got last year because there is no one on earth that loves a merry go round ride more!

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Anna's from when she was just four years old to remind me of all of the coloring she loved to do. I could have picked this same one out for Abigail this year since she loved to color pictures forever!

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For Abigail's first Christmas. A newborn baby that I thought I could never have. That was a sure a dear Christmas.

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This one has been broken and glued back together a few times. Chester, our dog from our first 9 years of marriage. It my way of having him still around at Christmas.

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Do you just love Christmas traditions?  I'd love to hear some of yours. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Weekend

It was a wonderful weekend starting with Thanksgiving...

anna up close

girls with coats

girls dresses and wands

Abigail feel asleep in the car on the way...

arriving holding abi

I love this one of her bear peeking over her sleepy shoulder.

arriving holding abi 2

Grandma and the turkey. This is the way Abigail always looks at food, scared.

mom and turkey

"Every house needs a Grandma in it."  Lousia May Alcott

Handmade turkey for Grandma and Grandpa

hug

And a fun evening with cousins

cousins


The rest of the weekend I didn't really have my camera out, but we packed a lot in.  On Friday Scott and I attended out 20th High School reunion.  (sorry, no pictures)  It brought back a lot of memories; we were just kids then....  On Saturday we celebrated Thanksgiving with Scott's family, and on Sunday we decorated head to toe Christmas (except for our real living room tree).  We stayed up too late all weekend and loved every minute.  I love the house all Christmas'ed' up... now to get organized and get the week going.  i know that these next four weeks of holiday magic will fly by as they always to.  I'm going to soak it in, every little bit!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Favorite Photo Friday ~ Thanksgiving

It was such a lovely Thanksgiving.  Filled with family, fun, and of course the best food!  I have a few other pictures to post but for my favorite photo friday... our little family. 

family outside mini fus action

Just before I hit the timer button to run back with my family I noticed that the girls had grabbed their wands on the way out the door.  They must have planned on bringing them to Grandma and Grandpa's house.  I thought for a second to take them for a quick sec out of the picture and then I remember something my Dad taught me about photography.  "It shows their age."  he said once when Anna was holding a favorite toy she had to sleep with at the time (age 3)... wait she still does!  Anyway, I'm glad they're holding them.  They have nothing to do with Thanksgiving, but everything to do with Anna and Abigail.  Man, I love those girly girls! 

the long road

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

annas turkey art

It's hard to imagine that today is Thanksgiving. I know everyone says that every year but I usually don't. It doesn't seem possible, and it sure seems like I missed a month of fall somewhere. Maybe it was the strange power outage Halloween. Without my traditions (as little as they were for Halloween) it didn't seem like it happened.)

Well, Thanksgiving is here and I want to remember what I feel so very thankful for this year.

My awesome groom of 15 years, Scott. He is my best friend and I am so blessed to share life with him.

Anna , I love how we get to see what she'll be like a little bit more each day. Her humor mixed with her real fears make up who she is.

I am so thankful that Anna loves, loves, loves, loves to read. I told her last night that I dreamed of having a daughter that had a huge stack of chapter books from the library waiting to be read.

Abigail, my little strawberry princess.

I am so thankful that she is my little cuddle bug. I love the way she has to have me touching her in the morning. She can't start the day until she's touching me. Oh, how I love that she needs her cuddles in the morning and when she's over tired in the late afternoons.

Sisters. I and so thankful that these girls are so very close. They do everything together. They are inseparable. I am thankful that Anna still is "little" in her play and they (for lack of a better word) match up as playmates. They are usually not even apart when one has to use the bathroom.

My home

My minivan. I know that's weird but I love that car!  It just 'works' with kids. 

The way Scott and I shut down the house together each night and head up to sleep together. It's been like that for 15 years.

Date nights at home... just the way we like them. Going out is just not for us. There's nothing like knowing your girls are tucked in safe and sound dreaming happy dreams and having a special dinner just the two of you. Maybe it's that I like my cozy clothes much better then getting all jazzed up to go out. But really it's that I think our conversations are longer and our talks are deeper than what would happen out for dinner.

Memories. Sweet memories of Holidays past from when I was little. This time of year I can't help but think of and miss my Grandparents. The squeeze of my Grandpa's hand, the taste of my Grandma's cooking. I'm grateful that Anna and Abigail are making those memories right now.

Christmas is here but it's not here... you know what I mean. The excitement has started. They girls are officially allowed to take out the Christmas music and kids movies on Thanksgiving and yet I still don't have that Christmas panic yet.

Being a stay at home mom. I can't believe that I'm still home. Not one day goes by that I'm not grateful for having the wonderful oportunity to raise my daughters, to be there for my husband, and to not have to be torn in two different directions trying to juggle teaching and this precious life we have in our family at home. I know that many have to, I know that many want to, but I know that I couldn't. I'm so grateful that Scott has shared this dream for our little family, and that God has provided a way.


I suppose if I stayed here late enough I could keep going and going and going. But for now I'll stop.

Happy Thanksgiving 2011. We are off to my parents house for Thanksgiving day where my brother and his family will also be. On Friday Scott and I will head out (yikes, not my thing) to our 20 year High School reunion. And on Saturday we'll go to Scott's family to celebrate Thanksgiving with them. It will sure be a packed weekend, but a good one too. I can't wait to get started.

Welcome Holiday 2011, welcome!!!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Look Back ~Day 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

So Halloween came and went and we knew we were in for another whole week of no power.  Each night the mayor would call our cell phones with a recorded message.  Aft first they started closing schools one day at a time and then they just called it off for the whole week and half of the next. 

We had our system down by then.  The days were fine, really.  I have to admit that I loved no school, no viola lesson, no group lessons, no tennis, no computer, no nothing.  We spent our days in the sunniest room, our living room in front of the fireplace.  I'm thankful that I'm a girl who loves to be home and WITH her girls.  I soaked it in.  I also knew that Anna would remember this week and I didn't want her to remember mommy all stressed out.  So we had fun!  We spent a lot of time on the floor just playing...

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I had to move the furniture around quite a bit to make it work for the week and a half, but that was so much fun for the girls.

We got this carpet down from the attic. It used to be in our living room and is like new since we're hardly ever in there.  We just got tired of it.  We moved the couches over, away from the fireplace and this made the perfect spot for the girls to play. 

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They love their Disney princess finurine sets. 
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And of course fairies...

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And from their newest favorite movie (and I couldn't be happier about this one) Winnie the Pooh.  There really is no sweeter movie. 

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Our nights were always the same.  Dark and cold but cuddly and sweet.  Anna read to Abigail with a flashlight each night. 

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final 10

Bath time was moved to the morning since I didn't want wet hair at bedtime.  It was one of the "big activities" of the day! 
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And after bath the girls were bundled in their robes and slippers.  I had to have everything laid out and ready during the day before it got dark at night and was hard to find. 
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The girls connected our family room and living room (now called "our two playrooms") with a tunnel and a tent. 


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Coffee table moved away and bins of toys gathered.

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Our flashlight and candle box.  Organized and ready to go each day so that we weren't looking around once it started getting dark.

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I stopped by the store and picked up an old fashioned carpet sweeper.  I love clean floors, and not being able to use the vacuum for all of those days was sure a challenge for me.  This did the trick. 

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Our frig on day 4... empty

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Our outside frig on the final day.  Scott added snow to these boxes and coolers every day.  It kept some of our Abigail food cold. 
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I would actually go out there in the morning, get some eggs and make french toast. By the final day I was so sick of it! We ended up throwing it all out and starting over when the power came back on. It took me two weekends to cook and freeze my "Abigail food". It sure makes me appreciate my precooked, proportioned, food that was always ready to go for her.

And I was never so happy to have power on. Still, two weeks later I think about it at night when I turn on the lights. Phew... I'm sure glad that post is over... that was a long one!

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Look Back ~ part 3

Day 3:
Monday was Halloween.  No costumes to school.  No Halloween school parties.  No nursery school mini parade in costume.  Even our mayor left an emergency message cancelling Halloween for our town.  It was just too dangerous to be walking around outside. 

We headed to my parents who had power a few towns away.  My brother, sister in law and their kids were staying there.  Did some laundry, we all ate together, and the kids trick or treated.  It was small but sweet.  Anna didn't say anything but I know that she's disappointed she didn't get to trick or treat in her own neighborhood and Abigail wanted her little nursery school costume party.  It was a different Halloween.  Scott and I were getting concerned about our frig system (out in the snow) mostly because of Abigail's allergies.  We really are not supposed to eat out with her.  And I was concerned about my frozen "Abigail food" that was packed in the snow.  I didn't know how long the power would be off and how long it would last. 

My Halloween portraits reflect my not in the mood, mood... but the girls were the cutest owls ever!  I was just so disappointed that they missed Halloween at school.

Halloween 5

They choose to be owls because Scott's school mascot is an owl named KIP (knowledge is power). The girls were each given a "KIP" from the retiring principal. They've been favorites ever since!

Halloween 4

Connecticut is quite cold by the end of October so they were wearing long sleeved pink leotards, pink ruffled turtlenecks, tights and the fluffy costume. We were planning on a lot more outside time at Halloween but were grateful to go Trick or Treating at Grandma and Grandpa's house!

Halloween 7

Halloween 6

Halloween 3

Halloween 2

halloween 1

They had a fun night with their cousins (also getting away from their power outage). It was certainly a Halloween we will never forget!
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