Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Tender Tennessee Christmas

Christmas was spent with our family in Nashville this year and we had a wonderful time. We were so thankful that Nanny (Christopher's great-grandmother) came down from Kentucky to enjoy the festivities. As the family continues to expand, so does the fun!

Family picture in our snowman jammies!Joseph helped Daddy pass out all the presents.A little pre-present opening snuggle time with cousin Ava.
One of the highlights of this year was surprising Nana with a new iPad and many accessories. She was so excited when she opened it all up!
Other memories of this Christmas: Jacob falling asleep on my lap during present opening. Both boys up by 5 am almost every morning. Joseph developing a fever and earache.

On the way home Christopher dropped Joseph and I off at the General Peds Clinic at the hospital where we found out he had an ear infection. Fortunately the antibiotics have kicked in and he's feeling much better.

DIY Lego Table

Christopher's parents recently had their hardwoods refinished and, in the process of moving furniture in and out, a leg was broken on their wooden card table. They reordered the card table and when the new one arrived a crack was found on the top. My brilliant husband took the good legs off the new table and attached them to the old top. Voila! We inherited the new, cracked top with the idea of turning it into a Lego table. The boys already have a train table for their room and the thought of two big tables taking up space was, well, yucky.

Here is the before picture of the table top.
Christopher installed casters on the bottom.
I ordered 4 15"x15" Lego base boards for the top. After measuring the space, I taped off the 1" excess on the perimeter.
The table and underside of the base boards were coated with a spray adhesive. Once they were tacky I placed them on the table.
Done! Super easy project. The boys love their new Lego table and it slides easily under the train table.
Bonus - building Legos while laying on your tummy is extra fun. :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Since we are traveling for Christmas, we had our own little family Christmas last night/this morning. We started last evening with a trip to Sonic for shakes and then a tour of Christmas light displays. When we got home the boys were allowed to open one present - their new Christmas jammies. (Another fun project with my friend Jenny.) Then Joseph and I had our annual slumber party where we stayed up too late and watched movies. Joseph made it to a rocking 2 am this morning and enjoyed Home Alone 3 very much. He added "pet mouse" to his Christmas list which was vetoed by mama.

Brown paper packages tied up with string - our wrapping theme this year.
The boys checking out the goods this morning. Fortunately they weren't at all upset that they only got to open about 1/4 of those as the rest are for extended family.
Yay! Present time!
Jacob opened his "choo choo" from his brother and wasn't interested in opening anything else afterward.

After the presents were opened we took the boys upstairs to find their new Lego table. There will be more on this great/easy DIY project later.
This was followed by a yummy Brunch of Frittata, Sausage Pinwheels and North Pole Smoothies.
Now the boys are playing and Mama is packing up for our road trip. The Christmas Baking Extravaganza is ready to go!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas program

It was time for the annual Christmas program at the CEC this morning. Joseph's class was the last to perform so we were able to move up to closer seats as parents of the younger children went back to work.

Jacob really enjoyed the concert and clapped exuberantly after each class performed. He especially enjoyed the party in "Joe's" room afterward.

We gave Ms. Jana her teacher gift (more to come on my year of homemade gifts later) and she gave Joseph some books and gave me this sweet ornament that he made.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The True Meaning of Christmas

Christopher & I have been talking a lot this year of how we can focus our boys on the true meaning of Christmas. We love all the stories - Santa, Frosty, Rudolph, etc. We think the Elf on the Shelf is so creative and fun. But we aren't telling our boys that Santa brings their gifts. We want them to know that God gave us Jesus because he loves us and we give each other gifts because of that love. We want them to think about others at Christmas instead of just themselves and what they'll be getting.

As we've been talking, I've been reading a lot of great articles on the subject. Here are a few links:

The Christmas Angel - very excited about doing this next year. It's an alternative to the Elf on Shelf and encourages your child to do an act of service every day.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

party clean-up

Check out my sewing blog for my post regarding my play date clean-up today!

Holiday Entertaining

I love entertaining around the holidays. There is just something about having your home decorated for the season and coming up with creative food preparations and displays. I was asked to host the December meeting for my book club and was thrilled. I had picked the book Eat Cake and decided to try one of the cake recipes listed in the back.The recipe was similar to this one except that I made it on the stove top in a large skillet which I then transferred to the oven. And I used fresh pears. I served it warm and it was so delicious. I think it would also taste delightful with a little whipped coconut cream on top.
I also hosted a fun play date this morning for some of my Bible Study friends. We were all in a small group together last year and have kiddos the same ages. Imagine ten 1-year-olds . . . and Christmas cookies.
I made a little beverage buffet, complete with chocolate dipped marshmallows and chocolate-candy cane stir sticks.
And we all contributed cookies. Afterwards we divided them up so we would each have a plate with a sampling of everything.

Kids at play!!!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Joseph - funnies

Joseph seriously cracks me up sometimes. For about two weeks after we returned from Disney World I would hear him playing and quoting the Disney tram drivers.

"Please make sure children are seated on the interior of the tram. Please keep your arms inside the tram. The tram's next stop will be Film - rows 30-38." And this went on and on. He would also quote ride instructions, the Southwest pilots, etc.

Currently he is "sewing" his name onto a piece of paper. He is making the same noises as my embroidery machine while he does this, complete with the double-beep when the word is finished.


I kept Joseph home from school today because the boys have both had lower GI issues this weekend. Joseph seems to be doing much better and was great at taking care of himself all weekend but I just didn't want to chance it. When daddy went upstairs to say good-bye to the boys (who were playing unusually quietly) he found this:And they continued doing it long enough for me to sneak back up there with the camera.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

tickle hands

Every time I would open the refrigerator with Jacob present, he would reach in and "ticka, ticka, ticka" the side of the almond milk carton. As it was the right side of the carton (facing in towards the fridge) I could really see what he was tickling and thought it was kind of strange. Then I turned the carton around and saw these hands. I'm not sure what draws him to tickling them. But he does it. every. time.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree

It's done!
and filled with memories. . .

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Decorating for Jesus's birthday party

On terms Joseph can understand, as we filled his room with balloons for his birthday, we are decorating our house for Jesus's birthday party! I love how cozy our house gets during the holidays with all the lights and warm colors. I also love the traditions we are starting.

Some of my favorite things:

Our stockings hung on the mantel. They were knitted by Christopher's Nanny.
Our collection of lighted houses started by Christopher's grandmother and continued by his mother.
The latest addition - the nativity set my dad brought back from Africa, hand-carved by a villager.

Last night we went tree shopping and the boys helped pick out our "biggest, most beautiful" tree. (Joseph)

Yep - that's the one daddy. We're excited about decorating it today!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

20 months old

This little munchkin is 20-months-old today! I can hardly believe we'll be celebrating his 2nd birthday in 4 months. Jacob is our little clown and loves dressing up in anything he can get his hands on.

Harry Potter 3-D glasses
His pirate hat.
He loves to perform and will start blowing raspberries on the back of his hand at dinner if he thinks he can get by with it.

This is such a fun age developmentally. I remember Joseph's verbal skills booming during holiday visits with extended family and Jacob is no exception. He added quite a few words to his repertoire while we were in Indiana. My parents live about a half-mile from a train track which, given that they live in farm country in flat Indiana, you can see from the living room windows. Joseph has always been quick to jump on the couch at the first hint of a train whistle to watch it go by. This visit Jacob joined him with excited finger pointing and "choo choo!!!!" He also started saying "night, night" at bedtime and calling Joseph "Joe!" Not all of his words are completely distinguishable and some sound very much like others. So, we often play a little guessing game if he's not actually pointing at something . . . "daddy? doggie? blankie?" until we get a nod, giggle and clapping.

Jacob loves music and loud noises. He absolutely loves the drum and guitar he has already gotten for Christmas. (Thanks aunties.) I'm not sure if my current deafness has more to do with my cold or the drum pounding.

Jacob is still our early bird. We've had a few mornings recently where he slept past 7. I was hopeful. Alas, he was back up soon after 5 again this morning. He usually takes a good afternoon nap though so I really can't complain.

The biggest challenge at this age is discipline. He is a high-pitched screamer when he's mad (and sometimes just for fun). Since he is communicating a lot more his tantrums are also now usually because he's mad instead of just frustrated. We're trying to nip them in the bud and have been getting some great parenting input through a couple different Bible Studies at our church.

Jacob is our picky eater. I usually have to force a bite of something new into his mouth before he'll willingly take a bite. He may eat 2 pieces of pizza one day and refuse to eat it the next. The list of foods that I'm guaranteed he'll eat is short: applesauce, yogurt, bananas, oatmeal, pop-tarts, sweet potato fries. He will probably eat something if it's dipped in applesauce or ketchup. He is great at using a fork (when he wants to eat).

He is still our little Linus, dragging his blankie around with him everywhere and sucking on his thumb. It's still precious. Eventually we'll deal with it. :)

another fun Pinterest craft

There are so many fun ideas on Pinterest that I will never do them all. But, this one was super easy. I picked up this cute frame for $2 on the Kroger clearance table and then used a pretty piece of paper I already had. It became a great dry-erase board for our kitchen table and Joseph finds it useful for helping him memorize his Bible verses.

story time with Grandpa

This picture didn't really fit in anywhere else. . . but I just couldn't leave it out.

Indiana - Shetler Christmas

We also celebrated Christmas with our Indiana family while were there. We had yummy appetizers and roasted a beef tenderloin. I got the idea for the fun cheese & tomato tree from Pinterest.
The opening of the presents was more of a mass chaos than in previous years. Of course the little ones loved the boxes and wrapping paper most of all.

The following morning Scout & Jacob enjoyed a rousing game of one-on-one.
Jacob is our little hat lover and I was afraid he wasn't going to give up Uncle Jon's Notre Dame toboggan easily.