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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

'Twas The Night...

Well, it's been one of those weeks... no school for kids, long hours for daddy... and lots to do.

One of these years I am going to be one of those women who has all their shopping done at least a week before Christmas, along with all the other things that need to be taken care of way in advance. This was not that year. Along with making a jont to Target today for last minute stocking stuffers and Kroger for last minute grocery items, the weeks adventures included:

The making of a gingerbread house (a $9 kit that Gracie wanted to try). The girls loved making it, and are excited to be able to eat it tomorrow after Santa has seen it, of course. Something tells me they're going to be disappointed because I bet it tastes terrible.

We celebrated Christmas with Grandma and came home with a doll the size of Gracie.

And we baked our traditional sugar cookies for Santa, which didn't get decorated until today. We did, however, add M&M's to our decorating items this year... which was a big hit.

And in an effort to do something at Christmas that actually centered around, you know, Christ, we paid a visit to a friend's church this evening for their Christmas Eve service. But unfortunately, it turns out that their idea of a "family friendly" service, was not really the same as ours. We were thinking loud and festive... they were thinking quiet and somber. And while I'm sure I would have loved it had we not had Tanner with us... we did. When we arrived and saw absolutely no other children there as small as ours, that might have clued me in that this was a mistake, but oh well.

Gracie had an impromptu performance of Silent Night with the other kids there (which she loved). But after 30 minutes of chasing Tanner all over, we excused ourselves allowing the remaining congregants to enjoy the service in peace!

So... home to bed, just in time for Gracie (Tessa had already fallen asleep) to set out Santa's snack, and hang his "magic key" on the door (yes, I bought a magic key at Hallmark years ago... we don't have a chimney.)

And prepared as usual, now I'm waiting for Trav to arrive home with the gifts Santa hid at Aunt Mandy's house to be wrapped! Again... one of these years I'm going to be completely organized and prepared... but this is not it.

Merry Christmas to all... and to all a good night. :-)

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Look Back..

Inspired by my friend, Heather's, blog, here's a look back...
There we were.

Gracie - 2004

Gracie and Tessa - 2005

And again, in 2006

Tanner - 2007

And here we are... 2008!

As Kenny Chesney would say.... Don't Blink.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Dear Santa...

I don't remember exactly when it was that I became concerned that maybe Santa was, perhaps, embelished... but it had to be older than six, right??

Gracie is, sadly, already getting a bit wise to some things. Earlier this year when we visited the Easter Bunny, after we walked away, Gracie pulled me aside (away from where Tessa could hear), and whispered to me in an alarmed tone, "Um, Mama, that's a person in a bunny suit." A bit caught off guard... I said, "Well, I'm sure the Easter Bunny has helpers." She looked at me as if she couldn't believe I was actually telling her that... but she let it go.

Last week after Tessa's singing debut at school, we went to the mall and paid a visit to Santa. Gracie was very eager to visit him, and unlike her sister who had had enough of sitting on his lap after about 5 seconds, we had to tell Gracie to "get up" because it was time to go. She probably would have hung out with Santa and talked his ear off all night. She was so excited to have told Santa what she wanted, and I left thinking this is excellent... she doesn't suspect a thing.

On Wednesday I had Gracie alone with me in Wal-Mart. It was around 9:30 AM, and as we were walking in, there happened to be a Santa there at the Wal-Mart, just passing through. He was in his full suit (had a real beard and everything), and was buying, oddly enough, some bread and lettuce.

We walked by the checkout lines where he was with about three or four children gathered around him. Gracie waited her turn, and then walked up and said hello. He was very friendly to her, and asked her all the regular questions, you know, "Have you been a good girl," yada, yada, yada... and then he finished with "Now, what do you want for Christmas?"

Gracie looked at me, puzzled, and then back to Santa, and said, "Well, don't you remember? I already told you the other day at the mall."

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Almost 40...

Here's a HAPPY ANNIVERSARY shout out to my mom and dad (a/k/a Nana and Papa).

They've been married 39 years today... and we celebrated with dinner, dessert, and an attempt at some family pictures. Tessa had a brief cooperative moment, but it didn't last. Bless her!

My parents were both born and raised in Mattoon, IL, and share the same birthday in August. My dad is three years older than my mom, and was actually friends with her older step-brother growing up... but somehow or another, they never met. Luckily, they did meet later when my dad worked for his uncle in a shoe store right next to a store where my mom worked.

I forget exactly how it was their paths crossed there, but my grandmother used to tell us how she remembered my dad coming home for lunch one day and saying, "Mom, I met the cutest little red head today." Three dates, and they were engaged... 39 years later, and he still thinks she's the cutest little red head.

So Happy Anniversary, Nana and Papa... and many, many, many more... We love you!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Deck The Halls...

We got our tree up this year... albeit, somewhat different and less decorative than usual.

Our "fake tree" as Trav calls it (he would like a real tree, but I don't want the mess) that we bought about 7 years ago (pre-lit, big bargain after Christmas) died, so to speak. It's pre-lit lights, the whole point of having it, are no longer working, and Trav, though not for lack of trying, couldn't revive them.

So... we threw on some strands of colored lights (per Gracie's request, plus, I already had some), and hung our oranaments.

Ta Da!

We stuck with just the oranments this year, and left off the garland, ribbons, and the other festive things I usually try to add... this year all those just add up to more stuff for Tanner to pull off the tree and in some cases try to eat or break.

I'm going to have to step my decorations up a notch next year. We do good to have a tree and stockings hung, and Gracie is very disappointed with our lack of decorative effort. In particular, she feels very strongly that we need a wreath for the door.

She really got into the whole oranment thing this year. Her favorite is her Barbie Genevieve that her Nana got her. She was very careful to hang it high up where Tanner cannot reach. And we pulled out her homemade ornaments from her Pre-K class last year. She remembered them and was so excited to see them again.

But her favorite thing to ask about and put up is our little angel on top of the tree. We bought it the year we were married at Wal-Mart, and for whatever reason, have never bought a new one. She got it out of the box this year and turned to Tessa and said, "Be careful with this, it's very, very old." HA!

The kids hung all their oranments, and then I added my "HOPE" banner to the top that Jeru gave me a couple of years ago. It's quite appropriate for us this year... and I love it.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Tis The Season...

If you're a parent... then you know that along with everything else the Christmas season includes, we are also treated to those adorable school performances of our children.

Our Tessa had her first one last night. And she was SO CUTE!

Now... we don't think she did much singing, exactly, but she certainly did her part to contribute with some festive dance moves, and most importantly, thoroughly enjoyed herself up there.

Plus, after the first song's applause died down, when the audience fell completely silent, she gave a big wave and shout out to her daddy. :-)

After the big performance, we headed to the mall for a visit with Santa. Tessa must have still been caught up from her big night and actually agreed to sit on Santa's lap - without screaming. Of course, it only lasted about 2 minutes.... but it was something. Doesn't Santa look thrilled!

Of course, Tanner wasn't all that interested in Santa or sitting on his lap. He was too busy trying to escape and climb the stairs to the next level of the mall.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Party, Party, Party....

So Tuesday was Gracie's big day, and we spent the whole day celebrating!

We started things off with a cupcake delivery to her and her class... which was greated with much enthusiasm.

Then... after weeks of talking about it and anticipating all that it would be, we descended upon Playtime Pizza that evening with our family, and one good friend (our beloved Cori) in tow. It was the perfect night for us to be there... a Tuesday, hardly crowded at all, AND with the buffet/entry fee on sale for $5 a person. Score!

So we arrived and had some pizza (which was really pretty good), and of course, the rest of the cupcakes....

And then we opened some presents... (Yes, Tessa got a present too, of course).

And then we played... we all played. There was go cart riding (and those things go pretty darn fast...).

And there was bowling and video game playing...

And dancing.... I think Tessa is doing her own version of "The Robot" here.

Tanner took in some ski ball...

And then in what could only be described as a "birthday miracle" Trav managed to perfectly position the hook on one of those "games" where you try to get the stuffed animal so that Gracie could push the button and drop it... and actually managed to get a stuffed dog. Now she thinks that game is "easy" and she could always walk right up and win. Great...

So we had lots of fun at the Playtime Pizza extravaganza... and even paused on the way out for a group photo (which clearly, the girls were thrilled about).

So we came, we saw, we ate, we played, we conquered... and came home exhausted!

Gracie is officially crossing more into the "big kid" territory now, and upon turning six her biggest concern is she feels quite strongly she is now old enough to ride the bus to school (which has been quite the topic of debate between her and I since school began).

I have my reasons... and without going into all of them, she's not riding the bus. I hated riding the bus, and Gracie seems to think she's really missing out by having her dad take her each day. Good grief! Oh, all this growing up.... it's fun, it's scary, it's exciting, and sometimes it's even a little sad.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Six And Counting....

Gracie left for school today, officially six years old today!

I asked her what she was going to do today at school, and very matter of factly she said, "Momma... We're gonna party like it's my birthday." HA!