Making snowflakes for the children at Sandy Hook Elementary. Bottom left pic is what happens when a toddler's paper snowflake rips. Crisis, I tell you. ;). If you need an easy craft for your kids AND want to help the kids at Sandy Hook, this is the project for you. :)
See website for details: http://www.ctpta.org/SANDY-HOOK-FUND.html
Monday, December 17, 2012
Last weekend, we loaded up the super cool van and headed over to Branson, MO for a little family/Christmas-y vacation. We met up with my mom, sister and brother-in-law, and it was SUCH a special trip.
I'll show you why....
And off we go! The kiddos did great in the car, and stocking up on crafts from Target's $1 section didn't hurt either. ;) We sang Christmas songs, they napped, and we made it to our condo with time to spare. Thankful for safe travel.
We decided to try renting a small condo on this trip since we have two kiddos who need naps, plus we wanted my mom to stay with us. The condo setup proved to be a great plan, because we had a central hang out area for the whole family, and the girls were tucked away at the other end where they were able to nap in peace. The condo overlooked a golf course, and the girls were able to play a bit and burn off some energy. Cold, foggy morning on the golf course when I snapped the above pic. (Also, I have no idea why this picture is formatting strangely...can't fix it. Meh. Oh well.)
That night, we ventured to Silver Dollar City!!! This was the main purpose of our road trip, and it did NOT disappoint. Sure, it's hokey and filled with little kids and grandmas. But. At Christmas time, I LOVE IT. Just about every surface is covered in sparkling Christmas lights, and even the biggest Scrooge would have a hard time fighting off the Christmas spirit in this magical place. We watched a production "It's a Wonderful Life" during which Emery gasped and cheered with gusto.
That was my first Mary Moment. In Luke 2:19, the Bible says, "And Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart" as she watched her little baby being honored and loved by all those around him.
We've been to Silver Dollar City at Christmas four times now: once before kids were even a blip on the radar; once while pregnant with our first born; once when Emery was nine months old and too young to stay awake; and now this time. The girls (ages 2 1/2 and 15 months) were so aware of the beauty and enchantment around them, and they could hardly sit still they were so excited! To watch Emery and Delia gasp in awe of such simplicity was so humbling, and I found myself in tears many times during the trip. They are innocent and full of joy and wonder. They marveled at strings of Christmas lights. I never want to forget those gasps and squeals.
Priceless to me.
After the play, we wandered around looking at lights...and eating. Oh my, the food there is delish. Maybe it's because you eat outside in the crisp winter air. Maybe it's because the smells waft all around the park, enticing you to come and try. Maybe it's because of the holiday themed foods such as apple dumplins and hot cider and cocoa. Whatever the reason, we stuffed ourselves silly. :) Oh, and Delia found a giant chair and thought she was in heaven. :)
Next up was the Christmas parade! A few times each night, the crowds clear off of the main pathways throughout the park, and a holiday parade makes its way through. Christmas songs, Santa, reindeer, angels, snowmen and the nativity. So sweet. Emery was PUMPED!!!
My family. We are small in number, but we are mighty. Love them.
I can hardly look at this picture without crying. This was such a special moment for me, and my sister was quick enough to capture it on her phone. You see, if my mom is anywhere nearby, I might as well be invisible to Emery. She obeys and remains polite to me, but she could care less about Mommy if Nama is to be found. While I ABSOLUTELY love the relationship between those two, I usually find myself missing my first born daughter, even if she's right next to me playing with her Nama. Anyway, at one point later in the night, Emery was getting sleepy, and I asked if I could carry her for a bit. She acquiesced, and, after I scooped her up, she moved my hair and laid her head down on my shoulder. She stayed very still like that for about 20 minutes, and we strolled lazily together through the illuminated park as she whispered in my ear, "Look Mommy. Another twistmas twee. Look, a beautiful angel," all the while never lifting her head from my shoulder. "Oh Holy Night" was playing in the background, and I shed tears of happiness, fulfillment, and humility as I held my girl and walked and snuggled and whispered. What did I ever do to deserve these two little angel babies from God? Another Mary Moment, and one I will treasure up forever.
My sister. My Schmoo, a nickname we have for each other, and we don't really know how it got started. We live two hours away from each other, and I really miss her. She is truly my best friend in a way that only a sister who has walked the same happy yet hard roads as you can be, and I so enjoyed spending this vacation with her. So did Delia, Caitlin's sweet and sassy mini-me. :)
We spent the following day shopping at the outlet malls, eating together, opening a few Christmas presents, playing dress up, and just being TOGETHER. That was the best part of all. These are my people.
On the final night, my mom graciously sent the four of us out for a (much needed) date night together! We strolled the beautiful Branson Landing, ate massive amounts of BBQ, watched the fountain show while snacking on delicious cakes, laughed, laughed, laughed. At one point, I thought my sister and I might get booted out of a dressing room in one of the boutiques...we got a case of the giggles, and we couldn't make it stop!
At the close of the trip, we all decided it was way too short and that we'd stay an extra night or two next time.
That's how I know everyone had fun.
We didn't want to leave.
What about you? Any Mary Moments in your life recently or that you remember from the past? Does that term even make sense...!??! ;)
Friday, December 14, 2012
Monday, December 10, 2012
About a year ago, I wrote this post regarding embracing The Season of the Mom-iform. You know, sweat pants, yoga pants, leggings, t-shirts, etc. After having a second baby, I just had to let it go that I would not get all gussied up every single day of the week. What would be the point? We do get out of the house a few times a week for play groups, church, Mom to Mom, or to run errands. But there are those blessedly slow days where we don't even leave the house, and I spend much of my time down on the floor tickling, playing tea party, and doing messy crafts with the girls. Maybe I'm in the Mommy minority, but I don't see the point in doing full hair and makeup and putting together a spiffy (albeit uncomfortable) outfit to stay home and collect lint, stickers and boogers on my clothes. ;)
My Mom-iform was getting a little, well, homeless-chic. For example, I have a weird thing about clothes that touch my neck (give me massive headaches), thus I've cut out the necks on most of my t-shirts. Hott. I've had the same three pairs of lounge-y pants since before I had Emery, and they were starting to sag and become bespeckled with holes.. Not that Russell would EVER say anything, but I'm guessing my homeless-chic look probably wasn't the most romance-inspiring thing he'd ever seen upon coming home from work. ;)
So, for Christmas, I asked for a gift card to Victoria's Secret. NOW HOLD ON. It's not what you think. ;) They sell some fabulously long and comfy tunic T's and hoodies, and, for this 5'9" girl, I have found it difficult to locate t-shirts that will cover up my bum when I want to wear leggings. Enter Vickies. They make a bunch of different styles, all long enough to cover the lady bits, and, after my hubby told me he liked seeing me in leggings (whatever floats your boat, babe), I decided it was time to update the Mom-iform.
Christmas came early this week for Mommy! These are some of my faves. Pardon the cheese-tastic hand-on-hip pose, but I wanted to show you the side ruching on the two tunic T's...the folds and pleats hide a multitude of sins. Trust me. ;)
Anyway, not a big deal, but I love reading fashion tips and tricks on other blogs...thought maybe you'd like a little peek into my Mom-iform makeover! Not that this qualifies as 'fashion' per se...but you know what I mean.
What about you? What's your Mom-iform? If you are a workin' Mommy bringin' home the bacon, what do you do when you get home? Sweats and T's? Jeans and cute tops?
(And, please ignore my messy bed and room. Keepin' it real, folks.)
Wednesday, December 05, 2012
Lunch with my sweet family at Frank & Lola's in Bartlesville the day after Thanksgiving. DELISH, as I've mentioned many times before. :)
Sent my MIL and Mommy to lunch and a day at the spa.
They more than deserved a day of pampering after getting their daughters married off over the past few months. Two of the best Mommies I've ever known.
Bought my big girl a fox sweater from the boy's section. She's rockin' it.
(I may or may not have broken my no-shopping rule and bought a fox sweater to match her.
Will she love it? Yes.)
Daddy had to work at the hospital on Thanksgiving day and that weekend, so when he finally got to come home for a few days, the girls were all over him. He was happy to oblige. (I was all over him, too, but that's just TMI).
Took the girlies to see the Christmas lights at a college nearby. They were mesmerized. Oh, I can't express to you the joy of watching a child's pure, innocent excitement over the smallest of things. Strands of blinking lights. Crunching leaves under their boots. Their mittens. Humbles me and reminds me to be thankful. God has given more than I could ever deserve.
Delia Jane channels Charlie Chaplin. It's a nice look for her, eh?
Russell had to travel for work once again, so the girls and I were on our own and missing him greatly. In swooped the bestie and her cuties to brighten our day! She brought a Christmas craft for the kids, pizza for dinner, and her son even handed me a vase of gorgeous hydrangeas. We love them...and Katie and I kind of suspect that the kids think they are all related. ;)
My in-laws graciously invited us up to camp out at their place while Daddy was still away. They are wonderful. Terri had stocked her house with our favorite snacks and foods, and we were able to relax and play all together. Plus, not gonna lie, it was SO WONDERFUL to have an extra pair of hands to help with the girls after so many days of going at it alone. Very grateful.
It's been a long couple of weeks not having Russell around, but we've filled it up with friends and family and fun. Very much looking forward to 3:05pm today when his plane lands. :)