Thursday, December 27, 2012

Sledding with a Surprise!

The whole time I was in Utah I was praying for snow. 
I packed all of the kids snow gear and I needed some justification for bringing it all.
I had only planned on the girls playing out in my parents backyard, and sledding down a small hill in the park behind their house. 

But, when I realized that Sarah's best friend the the whole, wide, world would be visiting Utah...
we had to meet up... even if it meant sledding down a hill bigger than they ever had before.

Both of our girls had never really been sledding. Sure we sled down our driveway when it snows in Pittsburgh, but that isn't really much.

So both girls were a little timid about it. 

But after going down once, they were hooked and had so much fun.

And who was our surprise?


Sarah was so excited. Although you wouldn't have been able to tell by their first interactions. They both were acting so shy. Made me laugh. 
Silly girls. I'm sure if we could have spent the day together they would have been just like before. 

This hill was quite the mountain to climb.
It was so cute watching these girls climb back up and their crazy ideas for doing so.
Like pulling each other up the hill... on the sled.
Pretending to be like dogs... you get the idea. 

Ryan and I even went down a few times. 
Abby actually preferred to just slide down on her bum.

But I convinced her to go down once with me before we left. 

Yay for snowy days!!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

All things Christmas...

Okay... first things first.
Got to post pictures of these (pain-in-the-butt-pattern-that-I-had-fair-warning-about) stockings.

They are the same pattern that my mom used to make the stocking I had growing up.
Although Pinterest tempted me with a lot of other really fun ideas (some darling burlap ones trimmed with lace) I kept coming back to the ones I grew up with. 

So here they are...

Drum. Roll. Please.


Ta Da!!!

I know, I worked it up to be a lot more than they really are.
But I love them. So much that I cut out NINE stockings altogether. 
Some for when our family grows... 
and others for guests and eventually... 
son/daughter in laws. *yikes* 

Here is one thing that I stole from Pinterest.

I loved the look of the ribbon hanging the stocking by.

My mom taught me how to do the simple Chain-Stitch so I could embroider on our names.
It took several hours, but it was so worth it in the end. 
Anyway. I love them, and am so happy I FINALLY made them.
(even if I stayed up until 5 or 6 in the morning to do so)

On to the rest of Christmas festivities!!

There was some overlap in time of when Roberta was visiting Utah, so I drove clear in the heck to Spanish Fork to Michelle's house to hang out. 
And Michelle.... where are you? The middle of nowhere?!!!
Okay... not really, it was right off the freeway, but it was quite a drive. 

So worth it. 
We made sugar cookies, ate pancakes, had story time, tickle attacks, and more!
Sarah was loving being with cousins (with Hallie & Richard).

The kiddos were entranced with the tree. I thought this was such a darling picture. 

It was so fun to have all NINE kids together, and to think Sarah is the oldest... at FIVE!!!
It was lots of fun. I'm so glad that it came together the way it did. 
We even ended our day with a trip to City Creek for dinner and a walk over to the lights on Temple Square.  

Oh... had to post a couple of these. 

Ryan didn't even get into town until the evening of the 21st, 
so for me that is when it really felt like Christmas Vacation began. 

The next real Christmasy thing we did was on Christmas Eve.

My Mom was is in a Bell Choir during Christmas, and so we started the evening going to a little old church right by the Capitol to watch her play. It was even more special because they had someone who needed a sub... and guess who filled it? 
No, not me... you crazy?
My amazing sister, Brooke. 
She had done it the two previous years, but obviously couldn't do it anymore because she now lives in Washington. So for her, I think it was really fun to get to participate as well, I bet she missed it.

We then headed to Pat & Deb's house where Deb made us all Chili. 
It was delicious. Way more food than we all could eat.

We had our annual Newey Talent Show.
Sarah sang two songs from school, the Dreidel song and the Mitten Song.
And Abby danced to a Nutcracker song.
Zak's talent was clapping, drooling and just being cute. hehe

Here are some pictures of the whole crew.

My Dad even humored the kids with some magic tricks.

Here he is magically moving his fingers from one hand to the other.

He also made a quater disappear and pulled it out of Sarah's ear.
(I love the reactions of everyone, my family is full of hams... guess that is what you get with two parents with theater degrees)

The kids ate it right up.

My mom also told us her annual Christmas story and gave each of the kids a tine star keychain charm. (You can see it really well in June's hand). 

Proof that Zak and Abby were there.

We then did gift exchanges and the kids got spoiled with presents. 
Princess Dolls, Owl Satchels, Flip-Puzzles, Monster Stuffie, ball popper, art set, fairy figures...okay I'll stop now, you get the idea. 

The night was even made complete with a little RockBand. 
I think it really made the evening for Ryan. My family can be a bit overwhelming at times. 
The kids even got a turn. 

Okay... the big Christmas DAY!!

Here is what Santa brought. 

It is tradition to do a stair picture at our house. 

Or two...

The girls were really sweet to let Zak lead the parade to the haul. 

Until Abby spotted her dress... then she just about bulldozed Sarah and Zak over to get to it!
She loves princess dresses. And LOVES this one. 
Santa's little helper spent many hours making it and had so much fun seeing Abby squeal with delight and put it on.  

Sarah got Darth Vader stuff.
Sarah has a friend at school who loves Star Wars, Sarah said she did too, but had never seen it. So at the beginning of December we borrowed the classic three and watched them. Ever since, Sarah has been obsessed with Darth Vader. She is always drawing him in her pictures. 

Here is my all time favorite Christmas picture from this year. 
Perfect... dont' you think? 

Here are few more of Abby in her dress.
Love her little face! 

Testing out the twirl-factor of her new dress. 

She also got a pretend makeup kit (nail polish filled old make up containers) and was being so cute pretending to put it on. Didn't get a good picture of it in action, but that is what she is playing with in this picture.

After we were done we headed over to Ryan's family's house for more fun...
and more presents!!!

We had a delicious dinner together and got to relax and enjoy each other's company.

Chris got a fun Boppit game that we all were trying to beat each other's score.
And Simon Flash.
Love games, and playing them with family.

Here is Zak opening presents with G'pa.

And I was too exhausted from the day... and really didn't take any pictures! Ack.
Sorry G'ma Lisa & G'pa Mark!

But... it might have had something to do with as we were leaving Abby threw up all over the floor. 
Blah. What a way to end our Christmas Day!

We had so much fun being around our family, and with those we love.
I wouldn't trade this time for anything in the world. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

What Happens At Grandma's...

Stays at Grandma's.

Oh my.
Grandma's house.
My kids could get away with murder at Grandma's house.

I think the hardest thing was my kids getting up early... sneaking upstairs and getting into whatever.
Cereal, treats, the snow!!!
Yes, one Saturday morning the kids came in to my room at about 8:30am... they had gotten up around 6 or 7 and dressed themselves in their snow gear and went outside to play. 
By. themselves.
Where is my parent of the year award?

They had fun though.

Usually my parents would be upstairs getting ready to head off to work, and so would turn on a show or something to keep them out of trouble. 

Here are a couple pictures of the fun.

Taking a bubble bath in the jet-tub.

Here they are ready to go out for some (authorized) playtime in the snow.

Most of the snow tracks in this picture is from previous (unauthorized) snow time play.

One of the best parts about staying at Grandma's was having cousins stay at the same time. For almost two weeks the kids could wake up every morning and play together. 
That is one of the things I miss the most. 
It is so fun to watch them all playing together. 

Maybe one day we will all live close to each other again. 
One day...

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Gingerbread Houses 2012

It was getting down to crunch time before we flew out to Utah, but I wanted to have the girls make gingerbread for their teachers. So one late night later... I had homemade gingerbread for them to make little houses out of. 

They are really simple because I did it by myself. And trust me, getting the house to stand by yourself is tough, so we just did simple designs. I'd put a strip of frosting down and then they'd lay out the candy. 

Here is Sarah's
 There are D's on the ginger people for her teacher's name. DiSilvio.
The green one is Mrs. DiSilvio, and the red is her husband.

Sarah was quite proud of her work. 

Then Abby has two preschool teachers, and got a bit more help from me. 
But did a great job decorating them. 

Here is Mrs. Pini's

and Ms. Seiler's

When I carried them in to the school (which was quite the spectacle with me, Abby, Zak, two gingerbread houses, wrapping paper (that was the teacher gift from me)... I'm surprised something didn't crash to the ground. 

Anyway. I brought them in, and Mrs. Pini told me that it was the first year that she didn't make houses with her kids (they are older and married) and she was sad not to have one on her mantle. We were happy to fill it up for her. I'm glad she told me that. It made the frosting filled evening worth it. 

Now... don't be too impressed with my gingerbread houses. 
I went to my mom's house for Christmas and discovered the village she made this year.

On pedestals and everything!

Check out the teeny tiny wreath! Love!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Mr. Fix-it

While working up the motivation to clean up the house tonight, I sat at the computer to look up what mischief our lil' Elf Eubie should get into tonight. 
Zak came over and happily began slapping my lap for attention, slightly bouncing up and down and occasionally planting an open mouthed kiss/love bite on my leg.
I'm feeling lazy so I rummaged through my church bag, sitting at my feet, for a distraction.
A little tupperware with a twisting lid, holding two final cheerios.
I gave the tupperware a few good shakes to show Zak how he could make some noise, and he happily waddled off with the container. 

A few minutes later I looked over after hearing him repeatedly drop items on the floor over and over again. Some how he managed to remove the lid. Any evidence of cheerios is now gone. 
The only thing left is the container and its lid. 
Realizing the snacks were gone, Zak began attempting to replace the lid back onto the container.
Since it is a twisting lid, it doesn't have a good groove that it will easily slide into. So as he tried over and over, pudgy fingers getting in the way of the container lining up right, the lid and container kept falling on to our wooden floor. 

I couldn't help myself. I had to just sit and watch him. 
Ever since Zak was wee little, he has be curious how things worked. 
Starting with simply watching his hands open and close until he figured out how to grab things.
So patiently he sits, here by my side, diligently working to replace the lid he removed.
He gets so close, and then... oh, off the lid falls again. 

It is really fun watching someone learn and grow.
I'm really glad I procrastinated tidying up so I could watch this. 

See proof of messy house in back ground... yes... I need to stop blogging and get to work.

PS - I think the true reasoning behind his diligence was to give the container back to me, so I could refill it. Our little game while shopping is he pulls it out of my bag, hands it to me, and I open it and give him a snack. Guess he thinks the game won't work if the lid is off. ;) 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Christmas Surprise

Ryan and I weren't really planning on setting up Christmas this year.
The girls and I leave early in the month to visit family and so I felt... meh, whats the point. 

We decided that we were just going to let Santa's elf come and visit our house and that was it, but the silly little elf hid in our Christmas decorations, and when we pulled him out I was bit by the Christmas bug and decided to do some minimal decorations. 

So Ryan and I set up the tree, put lights in the window and around the door and shoved a few snowmen here and there around the house. Oh, and pulled out my advent calendar that took FOREVER to make last year. Remember it? I'll let you check it out again. HERE is a link. :D

Ah, now it feels a little bit more like Christmas.
We didn't bother putting ornaments up because we wanted to do that part with the girls. 
Both Ryan and I grew up where our parents would let us help put the ornaments up and would tell us when we got each one as we put them up. Maybe everyone does that.
I loved it, and wanted to pass along the tradition.

So off we went to bed, and off Eubie our elf went to hide. 
He hung on the edge of the girls bunk-bed to surprise them in the morning.

Well Ryan and I tried to sleep in {we stayed up far too late}, but with little success. 
We heard the girls playing downstairs and eventually Mr. Zak told us louder and louder that his tummy was awake and needed some yummies.

So I rolled myself out of bed to get Zak and as I was Sarah came running up the stairs.

"Mom, you gotta come look at this!!"
"Oh really, what?"
(I figured she wanted to show me the decorations we put up last night)
"You have to come see Mom, it is so cool, and it is about the tree"

So off I followed her down the stairs. 
Sweet little Sarah and Abby had put up several of our ornaments on the tree. 
Of course they were mostly on the bottom branches, but they were resourceful and pulled a bench over to get some a little higher up. (We have our tree on a small table to help keep it away from Zak).

It was such a simple and sweet surprise.

So I called Ryan down and we all snuggled up on the love seat to talk about Christmas.
Me: So, was there a surprise in your room this morning
Sarah: A Christmas tree! And the Elf!! (we put a little tree in their room)
Me: Oh, the Elf is here, do you remember the rules about our Christmas elf?"
*blank stares*
Me: Do we touch our elf?
Sarah: Uh... *guilty face*
Me: It's okay, I'm sure Eubie was excited to see you guys. Did you give him a hug?
Sarah: and a SMOOCH!!
Me: That is okay, but remember what Eubie does...

We explained again how Eubie is magical and flies to tell Santa if they were being good girls and kind to others. That he would lose his magic if the girls played with him too much and to look for him in his new hiding spot each morning.
I think Abby understood.... I think.

I am so glad that I swept away my bah-hum-bugs and got into the spirit of Christmas.
This morning made it all worth it.

(Pictures, possibly to come, but I didn't want to wait to load them on the computer and never write this down... because, ya know, I've been SO great at blogging lately)