Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!!!

 Wishing you all the happiest of holidays!  Merry Christmas from our family to yours!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Cinnamon Christmas Ornaments

This year we made our first batch of cinnamon Christmas ornaments!  Two years ago, we had everything mixed together but, unfortunately, didn't end up making them.  I was newly pregnant, felt like I was going to upchuck 24/7, and every time I looked at that brown ball in the fridge my stomach turned!
 Last year I had full intentions of making them again.  However, I was still in a sleep-induced coma and really don't remember much about last Christmas!  Remember that was when I asked Grace what the spider's name is on Charlotte's Web!!  Enough said!
The stars aligned and, believe it or not, we made not one but TWO batches!  WAHOO!!  I wanted some for our tree and another batch to give out to the kids in Grace's preschool class.  That was a great idea unnnntil Grace came home with one the next week after they made them in class!  CRAP!  So much for trying to stay ahead of the game!
Grace LOVED making them and Anna really enjoyed eating the cinnamon, nutmeg, applesauce, or whatever else she could get her hands on!
Grace is ALL ABOUT Christmas this year and I am LOVING it!!  When we come downstairs, she'll say, "Mommy, let's turn on some Christmas music and get into the Christmas spirit!"  I have no idea where she gets it!  BUT I am THRILLED that she shares my enthusiasm for the holidays!!!

Christmas Card Photo

A few weeks ago we set out on our mission to get our Christmas card picture.  I had exactly what I wanted in my head......both girls in old-fashioned looking nightgowns, holding hands, and looking up at the Christmas tree.  Should be a piece of cake, right??  My first problem was finding the dang nightgowns!  Who knew finding red, plaid nightgowns at Christmastime nonetheless would be hard to find!  Let me correct myself.  I found them online but I wasn't about to pay upwards of $40 just for two nightgowns.  Not this cheapo!!  After hearing a rant from me about how hard it was to find them, I got a text a few days later from Mom saying two, red, plaid nightgowns were on the way to our house!!  THANK YOU, NANA!!!  They were EXACTLY what I was looking for!  YAY!  My second problem was getting Anna to hold still for one nanosecond so we can get that all important shot.  You might think that should be no problem at all, buuuuut I'm here to tell you it was no easy feat!  Matt would get in position, I would get them ready, and as soon as I let go of Anna, she beelined right for the tree.  If you know me well, you know that just the thought of this photo shoot sends me into a complete, full body sweat.  Now, after several attempts, it wasn't going well.  Drips of sweat were now falling off my brows.  The girls walked over to the fireplace and I saw an opportunity to get them looking up our "fake" fireplace.  We ended up getting one were happy with (even though you can't see their faces) and it was only fitting that our little Linus was holding her "me!"


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"The Happiest Christmas Tree"

Ready to go!! 
Cheer Section

Strike a pose!

And again!

Making chocolate Santas!

They look like Santa, right??  HAHA!

Grace had her first dance recital on December 9th!  How is she old enough to be up on stage dancing in a recital already??  Grace could hardly wait for several reasons:  1.  She was lucky enough to have Nana, Papa, Grandma, Aunt Laura, and Reggie ALL come down for her big show!!  2.  She got to FINALLY put on her tree costume and shake her patoot!  And 3.  She got to wear  lipgloss!  We were instructed to put a little blush and lipgloss on the girls so the lights wouldn't wash them out.  I bought Grace her own tube of pink, strawberry-flavored lipgloss and she thought she had died and gone to heaven!
On Friday, Grace woke up early and I was praying that she would take a nap and pep up a bit.  Luckily, she did and was excited and ready to go by show time!  I, on the other hand, was a NERVOUS WRECK the entire day!  Parents, I don't know how you keep your cool when your kids are competing or performing on a regular basis.  I kept asking Grace if she wanted to practice her dance beforehand and her response was the same every time, "No.  I think I'll just wait until my recital, Mommy."  It was almost as if she was saying, "MOM!  Chill out!  I've got this!"  Alright, but I practiced in my head ALL day.  Am I the only mom who did this?  And worse yet, does that make me a "stage mom?"  NOOOOOOO!!!
We couldn't wait for Grace's cheering section to arrive in Knoxville and were SO lucky that we have family who made the 6hr road trip and took off from work to watch Grace's dance that was 1.5min!!  You've got some folks who love you, kiddo!!  Her dance was to "The Happiest Christmas Tree."  If you haven't heard it before, you'll have to check it out here.  WARNING:  This song WILL get stuck in your head for DAYS on end.  Proceed with caution!!  Anna even starts singing along once we someone hums the tune!  Let's just say it's a tad catching!!
It was finally time to head to the auditorium and I was in panic mode that we wouldn't get good seats.  Should we get close enough so she can see us?  Or will seeing us throw her off?  We arrived to a parking lot already FULL of cars and my heart beating out of my chest thinking we would be in the balcony.
Parents were told to check their child in and then have a seat in the auditorium.  Annnnd here is where my tears started.  She is only THREE and I really didn't like the idea of just dropping her off backstage!  But I guess there is a method behind the madness and I followed my instructions once she was safely inside her dressing room.  I came out to find that my seat savers did great and we would be able to see her just fine.....SHEW!
Grace's class was up 4th in the show.  Thank goodness as I'm not sure Anna would've lasted until the 30th performance!  The second performance was the first class of 3yr olds and, once again, my tears started to flow.  REALLY!  I didn't even have a kid dancing and I was already crying!!  
It was time for the trees to take the stage and they all looked so teeny-tiny up on that big ol' stage!  Grace walked right up to her spot and NAILED it!!  WAHOO!!!  I might act like she was doing a double-back flip with a triple twist off the springboard in the Olympics, but to a mom watching her daughter's first ever big performance, it sure felt like that!!  After her performance, her teachers gave them each a medal and she had the biggest grin on her face when I got to grab her and bring her back to our seats.  We watched about a dozen more dances and then headed out for home.  On our way out, Grace put on an impromptu performance in the hallway that included poses of every kind and even a "walking up the wall" move!  HYSTERICAL!!  We have some on video which you will see once Matt is finished making Grace's recital movie.  
We were sad to see Mom and Dad head out early the next morning (yes, they drove ALL this way just for ONE night!!) for a Christmas party, but we got to spend another night with Grandma, Aunt Laura, and Reggie!  We got in a little Christmas shopping, made some Christmas candy, AND watched the Hoosiers beat Kentucky!!!  WAHOO!!!!!!  And, yes, we're still watching the game and highlights!!  
We had such a great weekend and cannot say THANK YOU enough to our family for coming all this way!!!  While I didn't take as many pictures as I would've liked, we made some great memories!!  THANK YOU AGAIN!!!

Most of the trees!

Waiting for our dress rehearsal.

On stage for the first time!

G with Miss Shelby and Miss Brittany

And again....

Saturday, December 3, 2011

She is her Father's daughter!!

Before Anna was born, I heard countless stories from moms who had kids who seemed to get into everything.  These stories included getting into toilets, trash cans, making huge mess after mess, jumping out of cribs, weaseling out of highchairs and car seats, marking on walls and furniture, climbing on tables, etc.  I can remember seeing child-proof locks for EVERYTHING under the sun and wondering if people really NEED locks for ALL your kitchen/bathroom cabinets, toilet lids, trash cans, etc.  
Annnnd then my second, blue-eyed baby girl was born and now I FULLY understand the needs to locks on EVERYTHING and can totally empathize with those other moms!  I LOVE Anna (and Grace) more than anything in this world but when her feet hit the floor in the morning, it's GAME ON!!!  I make it a point to get up, showered, and have at least one cup of caffeine (of whatever form is available) before she wakes up because I have to be on my toes at ALL times.  She moves at the speed of light and can get into something you would never think she can reach within a split second.  If she can't reach whatever she's after, that's no problem at all.  She simple drags whatever she can find (chair, train, bowls, toilet paper, etc.) so that she CAN reach it.  I swear she has go-go gadget arms!  Anytime I leave her and come back, the first thing that comes out of the person's mouth is (without a doubt), "She never stops does she?"  WAHAHAHA!!!  Happens every time!  
Let me now bring your attention to the 3 pictures below.  This is just one example of what I'm referring to.  Last Tuesday, I took my eyes off her for 2 seconds and this is what happened.  Yep, that's BLUE food coloring and it just so happens to be all over her hands, arms, and face!  AWESOME!  I had one of those "what should I do first" moments and just stared at her wondering where to start first.  She squirted the food coloring all over her outfit.  So if I took her dress off over her head, it will get all over the rest of her head and hair, right??  So should I just cut it off of her?  Or maybe I should just throw her in the bathtub and hope for the best!  Luckily, I rolled her dress up and managed to get it off without getting any more on her head.  I may have covered my hands with it but at least her hair wasn't blue!!  I took what was left of the food coloring and buried it under her (now trashed) outfit in the trash can........or so I thought.  I quickly cleaned up the blue dots all over the floor only to turn around and see Anna with the SAME bottle of food coloring in her hands!!  Yep, she dug it out of the trash can and had it AGAIN!!  AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!  
Now that I had the floor cleaned up and 3 chains including a lock wrapped around the trash can, I now had to somehow clean the blue dye off of us.  The box said to "wash with soap and water water repeatedly" which did NOTHING.  And that was after I washed us both at least 300 times.  So I dumped bleach into the sink and in she went.  Ok, surely you didn't believe that.  Maaaaaybe I only considered that annnnnnd an SOS pad!  WAHAHAHA!!  I did forget to mention that Tuesdays are CRAZY around our house and we go non-stop until 7pm.  So, needless to say, I didn't get to try many of the suggestions I received during the day.  
Luckily, it faded fairly quickly over the next day or so and I didn't have a Christmas card photo shoot scheduled any time soon.  :)  I also forgot about this quicker than I thought since I also recently cleaned up red candle wax that ended up ALL over our kitchen!  Ay yi yi!!!!  Grandparents:  don't be surprised if you find a package on your doorstep in the next few days.  Just make sure you send her back after she's put through an intensive boot camp program!!  :)      

"Look Ma!  Blue hands!"

"Ohhhhhh!  You don't look too happy!"

"Really sorry about that!"

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Searching for our tree!

This tree hunting stuff is fun, Mom!
This year we spent Thanksgiving in Knoxville since Matt only had Thursday off from work.  We decided to head out in the morning to pick out our Christmas tree. Our options were a bit limited since most "cut your own" tree farms weren't open on Thanksgiving day. We went to House Mountain Christmas Tree Farm with high hopes of finding the perfect tree for us!  The farm was beautiful and the owner was the sweetest, old man.  Unfortunately, his trees weren't so great.  We did end up finding one that looked ok and went with it.  I can make a Charlie Brown Christmas tree look good, right??  We'll see!  The girls loved running around the farm and Matt got quite the workout dragging the tree up a BIG hill!  WAHAHAHA!!

The winner!!

I had a great, little helper while making our dinner.  Grace really does love to be in the kitchen with me and is constantly asking me if she can help.  She helped me make our pumpkin pie but her favorite part was by far the yeast rolls!  What kid wouldn't love mixing, rolling the dough, and getting flour everywhere??  I was able to put my anal retentiveness aside (for the most part) as I kept repeating to myself, "This flour will clean up.......eventually!"
Dinner turned out delicious (if I do say so myself :) ), we got our tree, Matt got our outside lights up, and our house is now starting to look a lot like Christmas!!

Friday morning the girls and I headed north for a visit to the Hoosier state.  We only stayed 3 nights, but seemed to go nonstop from the minute we arrived.  We got in some playtime at the school soon after we got to Nana and Papa's house to get out some energy from being cooped up in the car all day.  On Saturday, Mom, Carrie, and I did a little Christmas shopping while Grandma watched the girls.  They made their annual gingerbread house (I forgot to leave my camera with them :( ) where chaos ensued and structural malfunctions were dealt with!  The girls had a blast (even though they barely napped for Grandma!), we had a great day of shopping, and EVERYONE slept good ALL night!!
Pumpkin pie!

Yeast rolls!

Watching a Christmas movie!

Squishing Papa!

Go Jack!

On Sunday, Grandma, Grace and I tagged along with the Townsend's during their weekly basketball trek that takes them all over Indiana.  Anna stayed and played with Nana and Papa while we were gone.  Something about bringing a very busy 16month old to a gym where she can't run out and play, had disaster written all over it!  We got to see Jack play two games and I'm happy to report that they won both!  YAY!!  Grace was a little disappointed that we forgot her pom-poms but she still cheered nonetheless!
Clearly all the noise bothered Reggie!  :)

Cheering for Jack!

Hangin' with the team!

Hugs from Grandma!

Story time!

We all stayed at Grandma's house that night and finally got in some snuggle time with Reggie!  As you can see from the picture, the buzzers and sounds from the games didn't faze him one bit.  He didn't even flinch and even slept through a good part of the first game!  
He is all smiles and tries his hardest to talk.  He loves Grace and smiled at her every time she talked to him!  CUTE!!
Jack's mini-me!
We had another great visit to Indiana!!  Thank you to everyone who helped out with the girls!  We're looking forward to another visit for Christmas!!