Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Count Down

We have officially started the count down to Christmas. Last Saturday we attended Prestoncrest's "Ho Ho Ho Breakfast". This is one of my favorite events that they put on. The theme was "Jingle Bell Rock" and it was so much fun.
Autumn and Aaron joined us for the morning of merriment.
We started with a breakfast full of yummy treats. Holden especially liked the powdered sugar donuts!
Here are the guests of honor, Mr. and Mrs. Clause.
Look how sweet these friends are all dressed up in their pajamas!
I love crying baby Santa pictures- that might seem mean, but I just think it's so funny. Poor Holden did not like the man in red.

After breakfast and pictures with Santa, we started the craft rotation. First, we made our sacks to carry all the goodies.
Holden and Aaron rocked out with the bells while the bigger kids made the crafts. They loved having this area of the room to play all sorts of instruments.
We made reindeer food to sprinkle on the lawn for those hungry reindeer that will visit us Christmas Eve.
Holden loved Mrs. Claus's house. He couldn't wait for her to read him a story.

We ended the morning with the Hughes' family gift exchange at Aunt Kim's house. I kinda like spreading out all the gift giving so all the presents can be appreciated instead of overlooked. The boys have loved playing with their new puzzles and coloring books. And there is the bonus that since they are busy, I have a chance to get some cleaning done- what a perk!

Today we ventured over to Aunt Kim's house for a morning of cookie making craziness!
Holden decided he'd much rather just eat the dough than roll it out and make shapes with it (he's a lot like his mother).
The big kids worked so hard to make all the fun Christmas shapes- reindeer, bells, stockings, gingerbread men, Christmas trees- it's hard to tell what the favorite was.

Isn't he a cute little baker?
Can you see what I see? I see a mouthful of cookie dough!
We decided to stick with "painting" the icing on just to keep things simple.

But, everyone mostly just started eating the cookies, or even just licking all the icing instead of decorating and waiting 'til later to have them as a treat.

We now have a plate full of cookies to munch on the rest of the week. I wonder if Santa would like one of our creations? Can't believe we only have four more days to pack in the rest of our fun!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Counting our Blessings

Our Thanksgiving weekend started off with the Turkey Trot 5K walk. Darren and I have only missed two since we've been married. Kinda makes me feel better about all the food I eat after I've walked 3.1 miles.

There are always dogs dressed up in sweaters and turkey costumes and even sometimes a few adults wearing funny hats, but I've never seen anything like this Indian guy. I'm just glad he finally put his jacket on- you know he had to be cold!

They say 50,000 people register for this event, but you know even more come join in. It always surprises me that we run into people we know even amongst the huge crowd. At the beginning of the race Darren turned around and saw Mark McClure and his dad walking behind us.

The weather was perfect. The wind was quite strong, but when we were in between buildings and with the crowd we were nice and warm.

Riding on dad's shoulders was the favorite position for the older boys.
Holden took a brief nap under his blanket right in the middle of the race. This was Holden's first race and he did great!
We had a very relaxing day with Darren's parents and his sister and new husband, Sam. We played games, worked puzzles, Gram taught (or tried to teach) the boys to play checkers. We made a dessert tray for the firemen and took it down to the station. They were on a call when we first arrived, but just as we were loading back up to leave, they pulled in. I didn't have my camera :( but the kids loved climbing on the engine and looking at all the equipment. Of course one of my favorite parts of the day was watching the Ags beat tu!!! For some reason the only pictures I have are these two of Holden.

Our fun continued the next day as we got up early and headed down to the farm. Once again we were blessed with perfect weather and the boys had such a great time exploring outside.
One of our favorite activities is feeding the cows. Sarah and Stacy know exactly which ones will eat from your hand. Elic loved calling the cows over and tried so hard to stay still while they ate the pellet from him. They are quite messy eaters and slobber a ton so I couldn't talk Preston into trying. He preferred to throw the food on the ground.

This little heifer is spoiled! She doesn't like to eat her food off the ground and has gotten quite good at sticking her head in the feed bag and eating away.
I have so many childhood memories of riding in the truck and feeding cows and I'm so thankful that my children are able to experience it at well.
Izzy has her own seat in the truck. She runs the farm, you know!
Next, we went to see Stacy's new calf, Rose. We received the royal welcome from Trevor and Belle.
Sweet Rose's mom was not making enough milk to feed her properly so my uncle brought her home to fatten up. I'm sure in no time she's going to really start thriving.

I was laughing and saying that Holden looks like the little brother off The Christmas Story when he's all bundled up like a marshmallow. Holden found a new love- rock throwing.
He would pick up a rock. . .
and throw it into the cattle guard. This entertained him the whole time we were at Clara's house and he cried when we had to leave. We had another great turkey meal while at the farm and then had to head home.

Saturday was our big tree cutting day. We have cut down our Christmas tree every year since we have been married and the boys love the tradition. We tried out a new tree farm this year- one north of us and closer. The Little Elves Tree Farm had 50 acres of trees to choose from.
The hayride to the tree pasture is always fun.
I must say that I l.o.v.e the boys new winter hats! I think they look so stylish. Wonder if I can get Darren to wear one?!
Gram went with us and helped us find the perfect tree.
Preston liked this one but it reminded me of Charlie Brown's tree.

The older boys helped Darren cut the tree down.
I know I say it every year, but there's something manly about cuttin' down your own tree!
Tannenbaum 2010
There were animals and a wooden maze at the tree farm.
While we were loading the tree onto the truck, the kids enjoyed the mini playground.

I worried the whole way home that the tree was going to fly off. But it made it all in one piece.
We finished the day decorating the house inside and out. We gave the boys their Christmas pajamas and these cute little robes.
And we started a couple new traditions. We've added mini ornaments to the boy's tree.
M&Ms dressed like Transformers- how perfect!

And this is Tidbit, our Elf on the Shelf. He's been great fun, but sometimes mom and dad forget that we have him and that he needs to be moved EVERY night.

We're thankful for:
- healthy children
- support and love of extended family
- close to nine years of wedded bliss
- a loving church family
- the gift of the Bible
- the love of God to give his son so we can have a relationship with Him

Happy Thanksgiving!