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Friday, December 28, 2007

On Christmas Day In The Morning...

Well, Santa has come and gone. Here is what Gracie and Tessa awoke to find Christmas morning.

Gracie was next to my bed at 6:45 sharp Christmas morning, and while it about killed her she managed to wait 10 minutes until Nana and Pa Pa pulled in the driveway! Here are some pics of the kids with their stuff.

A few years back Gracie got some old dance costumes and among them was a blue ballet dress. The dress has been the prize possession in our dress up clothes collection, and has endured many spills, washings, and being pulled at several times in an argument over who's turn it was to have it. So needless to say, Santa was kind enough to bring some new ballet dresses - one for each of the girls. Tessa put hers on immediately... and began singing for us with her new microphone that Santa left in their stockings.

Here is Gracie with her new laptop toy (Tessa got one too). Earlier this year, my sister got a new laptop, and there was lots of discussion about "laptops" and she brings it over sometimes and has let me use it a couple of times for school. Gracie began playing with an old book end and calling it her "laptop" telling us she was very busy with "work".

Then at a random encounter at the mall with Santa (it was two weeks before Thanksgiving), she told him she wanted a "laptop" for Christmas. We laughed, and Santa told Gracie he'd see what he could do, but then looked at me and Trav like we were clearly the most ridiculous parents in the world. Oh well... luckily, Gracie doesn't know the difference between a real laptop and this v-tech toy one. She loves it...

Here is Trav opening his new "gaming rocker". He really needed it, of course, because the TV is high up, and he has to lean against the hard table to play his X-box. HA!

Trav is worse than a kid when it comes to gifts! I got this for him on Black Friday (a great deal - only $30), and Amanda has been hiding it at her house since. She brought it over (and even wrapped it for me - bless her) on Sunday before Christmas, and Trav practically kept circling the box for two days! As you can see, the wrapping paper was still attached while he's cutting the box open to get it out.

I typically mock Trav's "X-box" addiction, along with all of its accessories... but I have to admit the chair was pretty cool, and I could see where it "made the game better". HA!

Even Pa Pa had to try it out!! HA!

Our sweet little Tanner slept through most of Christmas morning, and pretty much most of Christmas afternoon at Nana and Pa Pa's.... but Santa did not forget about him! Since both girls got one, Tanner got a laptop too - just his size!

Christmas was not too shabby for mommie either... Trav won the "fantasy football" league at work, and used his winnings to upgrade my IPOD to the "bigger and better" i-touch version. Watching my Bon Jovi videos at the gym will be even better now! HA!

After our busy day of present opening and Christmas dinner eating, Trav spent the rest of the evening like this. Via a family effort on my part, my sister's, and my parents, he got all the necessary elements to hook his beloved X-box up to the internet so he can play online... it was probably a mistake on my part as his addiction (which hasn't been too bad) might now take on a whole new level!!

And finally, me and Aunt Mandy snuck off to a movie. I guess I haven't done the Christmas movie thing in a while... it was packed - crazy packed! After hiking like a mile or so from where we had to park - we managed to get in and saw P.S. I Love You. Really good... really sad... really sweet.

So a grand holiday was had by all! I hope yours was too!!

Monday, December 24, 2007

God Bless Us Everyone...

"So fill your heart with love and joy
And through the eyes of girls and boys
Share their wonder, live through their joy
It's easy to do, just open your heart
The spirit will come to you"

Well, the children are all nestled, all snug in their beds... We have no chimney, so our stockings are pinned to the curtains with care... and our tree is soon to be rounded out with gifts from Santa's visit - just as soon as Trav is done wrapping all of them. He grew up with beliving that Santa does not "wrap" gifts... but I like to see the kids "open" them, so he's agreed to do it my way. Bless him.

Gracie hasn't been able to sit still all day, and was anxious to get to bed! I managed to snap a picture of the three kiddos under the tree before we tucked them in. Tessa, of course, is displaying her typical picture demeanor...

God bless you and yours this Christmas!

"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior,
which is Christ the Lord... Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace, good will toward men."

Merry Christmas Friends!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Comfort And Joy...

The other night we watched "Deck The Halls". Cute movie. Danny Devito, Matthew Broderick - pretty funny in that hokey Christmas sort of way. In the movie, Matthew Broderick's character is obsessed with his Christmas "traditions" and making sure that all of the required holiday family moments and activities are checked off of his list. Of course, as with any good holiday movie, in the end, he learns how the moments that really matter are the non-manufactured, off the list, unplanned, spontaneous little things that just happen and how being really "present" in those moments is what really makes your "memories". I agree.

I myself am often guilty of aspiring to "plan the perfect" whatever... but of course, fall quite short. Someone is tired and needs a nap, someone needs a new diaper, someone won't get dressed, someone is throwing a fit... and of course, we're always running late! You name it - something is always popping up that causes a veering from the plan. But, oh well... Praise God that so often it's the imperfections in things that can make them so grand - and may he continue to remind me of that when I forget.

And speaking of grand imperfections... here are Gracie's and Tessa's traditional batch of Christmas cookies for Santa. Last year I wimped out and used the ready-cut Pilsbury, but this year I braved an actual recipe and did the whole sha-bang!! It was a big mess, but lots of fun.

As you can see, the girls are big fans of the "sprinkles"!

Daddy helped in the decorating! Yes... I know, again, here is Tessa with no clothes!

Tanner watched from his swing... which sadly, he is about to outgrow! He's 19 pounds now!

So however you're spending this holiday, may it be perfect for you - and full of sponatenous and messy imperfections to make it even better!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Fa la la la la... la la la la...

Here's Gracie after her school's Winter Musical extravaganza... she was quite adorable belting out Frosty the Snowman, and only fiddled with her Santa hat (her "costume" as she called it) for the second part of the song.

It has been a crazy few weeks post Gracie's birthday... wrapping up my classes, Christmas festivities, Trav's busiest month of the year, you know... blah, blah, blah. However, I did mange to escape my classes with a "B" and an "A", which was such a relief!!

And more importantly, I've arrived at my first major downsizing goal, and am officially halfway, with 40 pounds gone! 41 actually. Big JOY!

My parents celebrated their 38th anniversary last Friday. And we had a family trip to Garvan Gardens last week - the Christmas lights are beautiful up there.

The girls had lots of fun, and of course, saw Santa. Gracie was sure he was the "real Santa" because Mrs. Clause was with him as well. They roasted marshmellows (which Tessa could not get enough of). Gracie said she loved the cold weather and getting to wear her "big coat".

Now, I've been told there aren't enough pictures of Tessa on my blog. And trust me, I would love more pictures of Tessa... but trying to take her picture is CRAZY!

She screams and runs when she sees the camera. We can hardly get her to stand still, and when we do you've got like a split second, and then she's gone. Occasionlly we can reel her in for a moment with the help of bribes (notice the sucker in her mouth), but even that doesn't last long! Maybe she'll grow out of it...

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Happy Birthday Gracie!

Today our Gracie turned FIVE!
And here she is on her birthday "throne" at her party this afternoon!

Five years ago, Amanda Grace (named after my sister, of course), arrived after a very long day weighing 6 pounds, 7 ounces... and completely adorable, if I do say so myself.

The week before she was born, a friend of ours who had a daughter that had just been married at the time, told us that now we would finally understand what all the "fuss" was about when people say "time flies". He was right.

Gracie attended a party at a "jumpin place" as she called them, just before she was 3, and has wanted a birthday party there ever since. So, since this was a milestone, as they call it, we celebrated in fine fashion at the "Jump Zone" with lots of jumping, sliding, friends, family, cake, and pizza! So here's the birthday girl enjoying the inflatables!

Tessa had fun at the party too... as usual, she was much too busy to pose for family pictures (practically any pictures really). As far as she was concerned, it was her birthday too.

Tanner sat on the sidelines with Nana and Papa at the party, and slept through the cake and ice cream... but here's a picture of him from yesterday. He's sitting up all by himself now!

Here's Gracie with her namesake, and the best aunt ever! Aunt Mandy took Gracie to a movie Friday, and they paid a visit to what Gracie calls "the wand store" (a/k/a Claires) in the mall for a new necklace and a wand or two.

And the party was even complete with a few friends for me too!

So good times were had by all, and Gracie's birthday wish was that it would be her birthday again tomorrow so we could all go back to the Jump Zone!

On the way home Gracie was telling us how much fun she had, and asking us what our favorite part of the Jump Zone party was, and could we believe that she was already five years old... and the truth is no, I can't believe it! And while I know that watching her grow up will be such a gift, part of my heart would certainly love to keep her just the way she is.