Monday, December 30, 2013

CHRISTmas 2013

We had a fabulous Christmas! We spent time celebrating Jesus' birth with those we love. Christmas Eve and Christmas morning were so much fun with the kids at this age! 
We went to the Methodist Church's 5:00 candlelight service. Seth's mom joined us. To me, Silent Night with a room full of lifted up, lit candles is a lovely way to spend Christmas Eve. 

A more normal picture

We got home around 6:30 and fed the kids dinner. We made our cookies for Santa (slice-and-bake white chocolate macadamia nut). 
After sprinkling the reindeer food on the lawn and reading the Christmas story, we tucked the kids in bed. They wanted to have a sleepover (what else is new???) so they slept together in James' room. They went out in record time, knowing Santa wouldn't come until they were asleep. 
Seth grew up having Cornish Hen for a Christmas meal so this has become our Christmas Eve dinner. It takes an hour to bake, so we ate after the kids went to bed. It was a nice little date night! My family always did oyster stew and crabcakes. I think it's interesting to hear what people eat this time of year. We had sweet potato soldiers and spinach salad with pears and feta cheese as a side.

I was worried the kids would wake up before us and come downstairs, so I got up early. Those stinkers slept until 7:15. I was SO ready for them to wake up!

All James asked for was a "white garbage truck". This is what Santa delivered and James absolutely loved it!

Adelyn was all over the board on her wish list. One item that kept popping up was the hugglepod. She found it in a catalog and Santa brought it! It's pretty cool- it has a thick cushion on the bottom and hugs you as you sit and read books. 

Grandma and Grandpa stopped by to see us Christmas morning!

Guess what??!! We are getting a new dog!! Yippee! My gift to Seth was dog accessories and a poem revealing that our family will pick out a new dog. Our house is just not the same without one. 

Next, we ate waffles and sang Happy Birthday Jesus!

Hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Chattanooga- post update

Seth and I took the kids to Chattanooga the first weekend of December (you can read that post here). When we were there, Adelyn and I got the dreaded stomach bug. We were unable to ride the train, so we returned December 19th. 

We got our Santa pictures back! I don't look TOO green, do I? 

Below are pictures from our train ride: 
There were lines of old trains to look at
We waited in line until finally the train conductor shouted, "All aboard!"

Two VERY excited kids

While riding the train, they passed out gingerbread cookies and chocolate milk in a box (I was very disappointed it wasn't hot chocolate!). Then we went through a tunnel that made the train go super fast. When we were out of the tunnel, we were at The North Pole! That's when Santa boarded the train. 

Ho, ho, ho!

On the way back to Chattanooga, Lumberjack read T'was the Night Before Christmas and the kids all sang carols. 

Such a fun family mini-trip!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Cheer

A little peak into what we've been doing this Christmas season....

Sunday, December 1st
I sent Adelyn to check the mail. Oh look, it's a package for Adelyn and James (on a Sunday, but she doesn't know mail doesn't come that day)

James is reading the letter and Adelyn finds Roseanne, our elf! Yes, she touched her for a second. Roseanne has been fun for the kids to find her each morning. She doesn't do anything too wild (and definitely not too messy)
That night, we decorated our tree. The kids liked standing on the stool the best. 

We have lots of special ornaments. This one is Seth's grandfather, who James is named after, in his red truck. James visits the tree several times each day to look at his favorite ornaments. He likes this one, a Batman, Santa with a racetrack, and his John Deere tractor that his sweet teacher gave him.  
Ornaments make great earbobs!

She was something special putting that angel on the top!

On December 7th, I ran the Jingle Jog 5K with my friend Neel. This is our 3rd 5k that we've done together. Neel is really fast- she ran it in 25 minutes. I ran it in 32 minutes. It was a pretty, crisp morning and it was fun to see everyone dressed up in Christmas outfits. 
Adelyn's class decorated gingerbread houses one day. They had bowls of toppings. I helped her ice it and she covered the rest by herself. There's not much room for more candy! I renamed this a GERMbread house, as the kids licked their fingers and then reached for more goodies from the community bowl repeatedly.

Seth was out of town, so my mom came for 5 days. She comes every year around this time so that we can bake Christmas cookies together. I LOVE this tradition! And I love that she's retired this year and is able to come for extended stays!

Both kids love to help  try and lick dough 

We made cookies Saturday and Sunday (sugar and chocolate chip)

On Saturday night, we went to a Live Nativity. The Youth Group did a skit in the church parking lot. It was great! They had a REAL camel, donkey, and goats.
The Two Sweetest Moments in History:
James asking (rather loudly) throughout the skit, "Where's Baby Jesus?".
After the skit, Christmas carols were sung. The kids sat together on a bale of hay. Adelyn snuggled with James and sang Away in a Manger loud and clear, complete with hand motions she learned at school. My mom and I were sitting behind them with huge lumps in our throats. THIS is what it's all about, folks. 
They had hot chocolate and marshmallows for roasting

Sunday night was our church's Christmas play and dinner. The Little Choir wore the jammies. I thought cowboy boots paired perfectly.
 After the play, Santa and Mrs. Claus came. James was the first kid to run up and sit in his lap. It happened so fast I couldn't even grab my good camera. That kid!
 Both kids with Santa
 James and Grandma after his performance
James and Nana at his party. They had a quick book exchange after eating some yummy treats

Adelyn's performance was the following day
Seth and Grandpa came to her party. She also had a book exchange. 

Of course, we've had some adult parties, but I took zero pictures at those. It's all about the kids, right? :) Now the kids are out for 20 days. Yes....20 whole days. 

Friday, December 13, 2013


I have always wanted to stay at the Choo Choo hotel. Last weekend, we surprised the kids with one of the hotel's Christmas packages.  I booked the weekend prior, so we were unable to get a room in one of the train cars.
Before I proceed, let me back up a bit. On Thursday night James woke up puking. The poor kid was sick until 3 a.m and then ran a fever and was very puny on Friday. By Saturday he was much, much better. I ran the Jingle Jog 5k and we loaded up the car and headed to Chattanooga after lunch. Everyone was good to go...
I THOUGHT we had avoided James' bug (I went nuts with the Lysol and sanitation cycle on the washing machine) but unfortanately, it hit me about 5 minutes from the hotel. Ugh. This was a strange bug.I really felt fine; I just had to excuse myself several times.We checked in and were lined up to see Santa and take pictures around 4.  Seth was a hero- he manned the kids while I sat in the beautiful hotel lobby as we waited for our turn to see Santa. He took the kids to dinner (pizza on a train car) while I rested in the room. Again, I felt pretty good as long as I wasn't throwing up. I took zero pictures during this time. :( They're mailing our Santa pictures to us- can't wait to see them!
After dinner, it was time to leave for our hour long train ride (Santa, carols, hot chocolate). The kids were SO, SO excited! Here we are about to leave. I even felt well enough to brave it (seemed like the worst was over). We get to the station and we are almost ready to board the train when guess what??!! Adelyn gets sick. Poor thing! She was really upset that we had to cancel our train ride. Luckily we were able to get a rain check so we will return on the 19th for the train portion. 

Part of the package included elves tucking the children in bed. They arrived around 10 pm. Adelyn was feeling better by then. Winter and Silver made the kids' night very special!

Silver, the elf above, really got into character. He did the acting portion of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas

Oh, their faces! Absolute, 100% pure joy and wonder 

The lead train (behind this are the train cars that people can stay in)

On Sunday morning, we headed to the Elf Workshop. They had a room set up with at least 25 crafts. Several elves were circling to assist the children. 


This girl loves to do some crafting!

At one station, the kids wrote their letters to Santa. The elf had them spin 3 times, jump 2 times, and hug and kiss their letter before putting it in the North Pole mailbox

Necklace making

James liked the markers and train stickers

We will definitely repeat this next year. It was a marvelous/miserable experience this year and will ONLY be better next year. At least our little virus only lasted a few hours and we weren't totally down and out. It's never fun to be sick away from home, but we made the best of it! 

Sunday, December 1, 2013


We have so much to be thankful for. We are healthy, have great family and friends, a roof over our head, and a comfortable life. Thank you, Lord for all you have given us. 

Seth, James, and I attended Adelyn's school Thanksgiving program. Adelyn rocked it! She loves to sing and does a great job learning all the songs and hand motions. She was a cute pilgrim!

Mr. James was a little overwhelmed and spent a lot of time either looking behind him at ALL the kids... 

or with this finger up his nose. I've mentioned on here several times that this is how you will often find him. It's kind of his "resting position". 

Somewhat engaged?? Regardless, he's the cutest turkey of the bunch!

Seth had to go out of town, so only I attended this little turkey's performance.

On Thanksgiving Day, we hosted our very first Thanksgiving meal! My grandmother passed away last September.  I miss her so and wish she was still with us. It's so different now. My cousin lives nearby so she came with her family and my aunt and uncle. We also invited Heather and Trevor. It was an awesome meal and I enjoyed having family and friends over. 
Seth picked up our free-range turkey from Ferguson's on Tuesday and started the thawing and brining process. He got up before 5 a.m and grilled it on the Komono Joe. I don't know what all was involved - I do know pumpkin ale was one ingredient in the basting. Whatever he did, it was THE BOMB. There wasn't much left. :( I am proud of my smokin' hot husband! 
I wish you could see this little dance move James does. It's adorable, especially in red mocassins.

Mom and I cooking together!

Slicing up his masterpiece. 

Joseph made some killer deviled eggs!

The food spread- everything was delicious! We all pitched in on the dishes. 

Rylan and Adelyn are both 4 and played great together! 

Adults fixing their plates

Group family shot

It turned out to be a beautiful day and we spent some time playing outside

Seth, me, Heather, and Trevor

Sweet Eliza and Bryna

And then we did the Thanksgiving feasting again that night at Seth's grandfather's house. These cousins loved having their own kid table!