Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Daily December: Day Twenty Five

Christmas Day and I didn't take one picture!! I've read so many people say, "I actually liked that I didn't take any photos and just lived in the moment." Not me. I really don't like the fact that I don't have any photos from the day. I feel something is missing. I think the reason I didn't take any is because I was just so out of it. The kids woke up at 5:30. A.M. After Jim and I had just gone to bed a mear 4 hours earlier. When Jackson came into our room and woke us up I was in a very deep sleep...the kind where you don't just jump out of bed. I was in a fog the whole morning.

From what I can remember (without photographic evidence) the kids seemed to enjoy all their gifts from Santa--especially their Nintendo DSs and the basketball goal out in the driveway. Jensen's favorite was her new American Girl doll and the enormous doll house she got.

I got some great things as well. Jim took the kids out one day to pick out charms for my pandora charm bracelet. Jordan picked out a present, Jackson picked out a Christmas tree, and Jensen picked out a bible! They also all picked out some new things for my Christmas village. Jackson picked out the biggest, tallest building there is...the Flatiron building.

And the girls picked out some items that belong to the dockside scene...a lobster stand and a dock worker. They reminded me of Boston which is where we lived when I started my village collection.

Thanks to the early start, we were finished opening gifts, finished with breakfast and on our way to church by about 11:00. After church, we spent the rest of the day laying around and getting ready for dinner. We had cornish hens for our holiday meal along with the requisite mashed potatoes and green beans.

The next couple of days will be spent cleaning up the chaos and getting ready for our trip to Michigan.

I have really enjoyed documenting each day on the road to Christmas. I didn't get every post published on the correct day, however it made me take note of things and to get out my camera more than I would have. Next year, I just have to remember to get that camera ready for Christmas morning!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Daily December: Day Twenty Four

Christmas Eve!! We spent part of the day finishing up our cookies for Santa. We had baked them a day or so ago but still had the decorating to do.

The kids' advent treat for the day was to open one special gift. I had always given them pjs on Christmas eve and they usually got an ornament in their stocking. This year, I put the pjs and the ornament together and gave each child a Christmas book. I realized that after the fire we no longer had very many Christmas-themed books so I think I'll do this for the next few years. Before you know it we'll have a nice library of Christmas books that the kids can take with them along with their ornaments.

After opening the gifts and putting on the pjs we had make-your-own pizzas for dinner. It was a fun, easy dinner and the pizzas turned out pretty good.

After dinner we watched the movie A Christmas Story and about 9:30 it was off to bed for the kids to wait for Santa.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Daily December: Day Twenty Three

Last night amidst all the girly gift exchanging, Jackson lost a tooth. I wasn't sure if the tooth fairy was working this close to Christmas, but apparently she was. She left Jackson $3.00 and he has this beautiful new smile.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Daily December: Day Twenty Two

Yesterday, the kids' advent calendar treat was to drive around and look at Christmas lights. We picked Jordan up from her gymnastics team party at 7:00 and headed to a neighborhood in Atascocita that Heather had told us had good light displays. She did not steer us wrong. We saw some awesome displays and had a great time.

We then headed over to Heather and Brent's to see them and the kids one last time before the holidays and exchange gifts. They gave us this beautiful James Avery Christmas Dove ornament.

Heather told me that the dove represents peace and that that is what she wishes for our family. I'm so blessed to have her for a friend.

Tonight, I got together with two other good friends, Jennifer and Nancy, to exchange gifts. We had cocktails, laughs, and presents. It doesn't get much better than that. I can't tell you how lucky I feel to have so many people in my life that mean so much to me.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Daily December: Day Twenty One

Friday. The last day of school for Jackson and Jordan before a two week + break. The day Jackson has been waiting for for weeks. Here at last. :-)

Jensen and I went to the kids' class parties at Shadow Forest. So much fun.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Daily December: Day Twenty

Today is Jensen's last day of school before the winter break (and hence, my last shopping day).

I put together an album for each of her two teachers using this great template I downloaded from Jessica Sprague.

It really was pretty easy to do and turned out to be a gift that the teachers really enjoyed. I gave each kid in the class one page for each teacher. All they had to do was stick a picture of themselves on and handwrite their names directly on the page. There were two questions on the page that I asked the parents to ask the kids then write their answers word-for-word on the page. The questions were "I hope Mrs. Snyder gets _________________ for Christmas" and "Mrs. Snyder is a good teacher because _____________________." There were a lot of cute answers. Lots of wishes for the teachers to get bikes, puppies, etc. One girl hopes the teacher gets a new car! Jensen thinks Mrs. Snyder is a good teacher because "she lets us do crafts." That's my girl!

Once I got all the pages back from the kids I put a few simple embellishments on each page, created a title page, then stuck them in an album. Simple.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Daily December: Day Nineteen

I picked up the cookie plates the kids made at the Mudpie last week. They turned out cute!

On a sad note, Jim is in Michigan today attending the funeral of his best childhood friend, Ron Defever's, mother. Louise and her husband Roger were like second parents to Jim growing up. She passed away over the weekend from a heart attack after battling cancer. She died at home in Roger's arms. Louise and Roger emigrated here from Belgium and built a beautiful farm in Durand. I have taken many pictures of their barn over the years. It's just such a picturesque building. Our kids always say that one of the highlights of any trip to Michigan is a visit to the Defever farm. They love seeing all the animals and playing in the hay loft of the barn. And Louise always had a sweet treat for them afterwards. She had a great smile and laugh. She was a very fun, happy, unique person and our visits to the farm won't be the same without her.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Daily December: Day Eighteen

One week to go....can you say "panic?"

Monday, December 17, 2007

Daily December: Day Seventeen

These are my favorite new decorations that I added this year. I've been looking at these stockings for two Christmases now and finally decided this year to go ahead and buy them. I love them!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Daily December: Day Sixteen

The kids' advent calendar treat for today was a Gingerbread House kit. We had never built a gingerbread house before, mainly because I always thought it would be too hard, too messy, etc. I have really been depriving my kids all these years because it really wasn't that bad and they had a great time doing it. I built the house for them earlier in the day and then set them loose, along with some of the neighbor kids, for the decorating.

Jensen had actually fallen asleep on the couch that day and missed the main part of the decorating (she was soooo tired after her sleepover at Cameron's during our party). But the other kids made sure to save some of the frosting and candies for her to use after she woke up.

It turned out really cute. But they keep asking me when they can eat it.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Daily December: Days Fourteen and Fifteen

Friday was spent mostly cleaning and getting ready for our Holiday Wine Tasting party that we held on Saturday.

Once we decided to go to Michigan over New Year's and realized we weren't going to be here for parties with neighbors and friends, we decided to host one so we could get together with everyone at least once during the holidays.

My friend Nancy had hosted a party like this a few years ago and everyone had a great time so we decided to do it again. Ten couples attended and each couple had to bring one bottle of wine under $12 and one bottle over $15 in their assigned category (i.e. Merlot, Zinfandel, etc.). I made score cards for each person and throughout the evening we tasted wines and scored them 1-10.

At the end of the night Jim tallied the scores to determine the best bottle under $12, best bottle overall, and worst bottle. We even had prizes for the winners.

In case you're looking for a bottle of wine to serve with your holiday meals the winners are pictured above. The best bottle under $12 was the Castle Rock Pinot Noir. At our local store it was $11.82 but I just found it at World Market for $12.99 (still not a bad price). The best bottle overall was the Cline Ancient Vines Zinfandel. It was around $16 at our local store but was on sale at World Market for $14.99. The bottle voted the worst was the Buena Vista Chardonnay and it was just so bad that I actually think maybe the wine had turned somehow. I actually think I might try this one again just to see if it's really that bad.

Each couple also brought an appetizer so we had tons of great food! We were all trading recipes the next week.

My friend Heather took all the fantastic pictures. I'm always so grateful that she totes her camera everywhere!

Can't wait to do this again!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Daily December: Day Thirteen

Today was Jackson's 3rd grade musical performance at school--A Penguin Christmas.

That's alot of elves, reindeer, and penguins!

Meet Penguin #9.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Daily December: Day Twelve

Daily posting is hard. Even for the venerable Ali Edwards, who I stole this idea of Daily December from. If she can't even keep up with it, and it's basically her job, then I don't feel so bad. So, on to day twelve...

Wednesday, December 12th was baking day at Heather's with Brandy and our helper Megan. We made tons of cookies which we packaged up in tins to give out. This was my first year doing this with these girls, but it's definitely a must do from here on out. I just need to re-vamp the recipes that I pick for this project. They need to be easy, easy, easy. And no breaking blenders next year!

After school got out, we went to the Mudpie for storytime/pottery painting. The project was a "cookies for Santa" plate. We don't have one of those so I really wanted the kids to do this project. Jackson complained about having to go, but ended up working very diligently on his plate. Jensen and Jordan also did a great job. Jordan even opted to skip gymnastics to go to the Mudpie...a rare event. The plates are ready and I'm going to pick them up tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Daily December: Days Seven and Eight (and nine, ten, eleven)

Well, what can I say? I tried. I tried to post everyday in December to get myself back on track with this blog. It lasted six days and then wham! life got in the way.

I'm going to try to get caught up by doing a few days together.

Friday, December 7th
Not much happened this day except we were consumed with finding a mouth guard for Jackson for his first flag football game on Saturday. We had success and he's ready to play!

Saturday, December 8th
Flag football at 11:00. Look at all those boys in shorts. It was so hot! About 80 degrees while we were cheering the team on. Jackson's good friend, Austin, was on the opposing team for this first game. I'm glad the game ended in a tie. Jackson really enjoys football. I think we've found a sport that he might actually want to do instead of us forcing him. Of course, this probably means he's going to want to play tackle football next year. I don't know if I'm ready for that.

After the game, we drove down to the Kemah Boardwalk. It a great waterfront destination with an amusement park, restaurants, etc. We like to take the kids down at least once a year. In the past we've gone in October around halloween time, but this year we didn't make it then so we decided to go this day for their Christmas boat parade. We've never seen it before but had heard it was great. Well, it was great! While we were watching I thought, "this is just not something you see everywhere." I'm glad we went and will probably add it to our holiday to-do list in the future.

For Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday I got nothin'!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Daily December: Day Six

Today the kids' Advent Calendar treat was "Breakfast for Dinner," so that's what we did. French toast, bacon and eggs. Yum.

I know this picture looks cute and idyllic. But don't be fooled. Minutes after taking this photo Jackson knocked over the powdered sugar shaker thing and powdered sugar went all over the table, floor, my chair, etc. Typical chaos.

We've lived here six years and I'm still not used to it. Kids playing outside in shorts on December 5th. There's something just not right about it.