Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmas 2009

Our Christmas was a great one this year. We had a lot of wonderful family time, time with friends, and some yummy food.

Christmas Eve my parents came over to do presents and brunch--steak and eggs and hashbrowns. After opening presents (we got family themed gifts of new sleeping bags, air mattresses and a huge new tent!!), we played a few rounds of Disney Scene It and then took naps. We made it to church on Christmas Eve, in the middle of some pretty heavy, wet snow, then headed to Andy's parent's neighbors (who are like family) for dinner. Then it was off to the in-law's for presents.
The girls helping my parents open presents

Ready for church!
The snow from church to dinner at 35 mph
My baby-the Cricut I got from Andy's parents!
There are too many pictures to post them all, so I'll add that Andy got a miter saw from his parents that he's been wanting for a long time. We all got some really great gifts from Bill, Lynn and Alicia and had a lot of fun visiting and being together. We also got a great family gift--a year's membership to the Minnesota Zoo! It will be so nice to be able to go whenever we're in the cities and have some time without having to worry about cost! The girls and I LOVE the zoo, and Andy tolerates going there...
Christmas morning Alayna woke up about 6:45 and it killed her to wait for her sister to wake up at 8:00! The 3 of us snuggled in bed until the little girls woke up, then we headed downstairs to see what was under the tree. There were filled stockings on the stair railing and presents for everyone--including the dogs.

Marley and Sunny anxiously waiting for their bones--Sunny is excited, Marley has no clue but is excited because Sunny is
Sunny tried to steal them both
Lilly got some new V-Smile games
Alayna got a new camera!
Alayna found Mikayla the purple rescue Mermaid that she'd been asking for--we have no idea what it is, but a purple mermaid was found and it fit the bill! She was so excited!
Lilly was relaxing on our new air mattresses and playing her new game
The Christmas pic in front of the tree

Christmas afternoon was spent at my parents' house, visiting with mom's side of the family. Saturday was a day to relax a little, and we went to see the Chipmunk's Squeak-quel. Saturday night Andy's cousin and his family stayed overnight. The kids had a sleepover and played, watched movies, did kid-stuff, while us adults played games. In the morning, the kids played outside with the dads while us moms cleaned up from the previous night. That day at noon, people from Andy's side of the family started showing up and we hosted Christmas for 24 (I think).

All in all, this Christmas was a wonderful time and we are now anxiously looking forward to the new year and all that it has in store for us!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Can it Be? Mikayla's Three!

I know I still need to do the whole "Look at what a wonderful Christmas we had" post. And I will do that, I promise. I also promise that it was a truly wonderful Christmas. But as Mikayla said on Sunday when someone asked whose birthday was coming up, "Baby Jesus's birfday need to be aaaallllllll done, then it's my 3!" Well, Baby Jesus's birthday is all done so that must mean that Mikayla is, indeed, 3.

Oh Mikayla, what to say about you? From the first time I felt you move, I knew you were the mover and shaker of the siblings. We didn't know if you were a boy or a girl, but we knew that you were going to be a handful--and a lot of fun. You were constantly kicking and punching and rolling around. You birth was quick and no non-sense. As a baby, you made sure no one forgot about you while you took in everything. And that is still true today. You seldom sit still, you have tons of energy, you have an imagination that's unbelievable and you say words bigger than yourself (like humongous, horrible and ridiculous) You also throw more fits than your sisters combined, you have the unfortunate grace (or lack) of your mother, and you have to try everything at least once, just like your father. We couldn't love you anymore than we do. Life would sure be boring without you around!

**As I was writing this, Mikayla came up to me and said, "Mommy, yookit--I 3 and I rockin' the beer gut! Aren't I a little stinker?" (Rockin' the Beer Gut is a country song...)

Happy 3, Mikayla!

First family pic with 5 before leaving the hospital
5 months old

Yee-Haw (about 13 months)

Somewhere in the early 2's

Christmas Eve, 5 days before 3!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas!!

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, the celebration of that fateful night over 2000 years ago. That night, so long ago, had all of the inns and extra rooms full. Those rooms were full because of a census. The rooms in our area may be full, too, but not for a census--we're expecting snow. Lots of it. I'm talking 12"+ is all the meteorologists keep saying. And it's going to fall over Christmas Eve and Day, the days we've been anticipating for months.

I'm finally ready. The last of the Christmas cards and packages got in the mail yesterday. The presents are all purchased and wrapped. The girls have their dresses hanging and ready for church tomorrow. The food is bought, the goodies are still here (somewhat). The vehicles are filled with gas, as is the snow-blower, and the shovels are at the ready. Today, we're watching movies and listening to music and having a bit of a party. Tomorrow is church and family gatherings, with more of the same on Friday.

We hope to spend some time with you over the next few days. If we can't, we hope that you have a very merry and blessed Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009


Every year around Christmas, we go to the Holli-dazzle parade in downtown Minneapolis. We meet with friends, brave the cold, and enjoy the lights as they dance by on the street. Afterwards (or sometimes before) we meet for dinner and some time to just visit and hang out.

This year, we had quite the group. There were 25 of us, I believe, and we took up quite a good chunk of real estate along the parade route. The kids all sit down on the curb, watching and waiting, while us adults stand behind them continuously counting little heads, catching up and keeping everyone as warm as possible (it was about 15 F this year during the parade)

After the parade, we all trekked back to our vehicles in various parking ramps, then headed for dinner at the house of our good friends. We ate yummy lasagna, salad, garlic bread and goodies. We chatted and laughed and had a great time. It's one of our favorite traditions for the Christmas season.

Tale as Old as Time

On Saturday, my mom, Alayna, Lilly and I went to see Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" musical. Alayna had gone to her first show, The Lion King, a few years ago and Lilly has been so excited for her first musical since that day. Well, B&B was it.
When we walked into the doors of The Ordway in St Paul, she was overwhelmed with all the people, the decorations, the size of the theater. We found our seats and both girls quickly started asking, "How much longer?" "When will it start?" Thankfully, it was only about 15 minutes.
Throughout the show, Alayna and Lilly were just enthralled. Alayna, being older, was a little more reserved. Lilly, however, was not. She clapped, she smiled, she jumped, she laughed! At the end of the show, when the castle inhabitants defeated the villagers, she exclaimed, "The castle WON!" and when the beast turned into a man, she was jumping up and down, clapping. I think her first major musical was a success.

Friday, December 18, 2009

School Programs!

Both of the girls have had their Christmas programs in the past 2 weeks. Unfortunately, I was in such a hurry for Alayna's that I forgot my camera. I was so upset. But, she did a great job singing and dancing to the songs. She was also a line-leader for a certain part of their program and she did a great job keeping in time and doing what she was supposed to. It even earned her picture to be published in the local paper! Great job, Alayna!

Lilly's first school program was Thursday night, with just the 4K students. They sang several songs and did some finger plays. It was adorable to hear all the little ones singing their hearts out! After they sang, we went into the commons area of the school and Santa was there! The younger girls sat on his lap, while Alayna was helping get things ready for the other parts of the evening. After Santa, we ate snacks and decorated Gingerbread houses. It was a great night!

Monday, December 14, 2009

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas around these parts. We got several inches of snow last Wednesday, then a couple more last night. When you drive through the area towns, there are Christmas decorations on the lampposts and houses are lit up with colorful lights and plastic nativity scenes. Sometimes, you can get a glimpse into the houses to see their beautiful Christmas trees all lit up for the holidays.

We've been doing a lot of decorating here, too. We have our two trees up, the garland and stockings are hung, the nativity set is on the coffee table, and I plan on putting up my Candy-cane village today during nap time. Pictures of all that will come later today. Right now, though, we're going to talk Christmas traditions.

One of the long-standing traditions in our family is our church's Sunday school program. My children were the 4th generation of our family to be baptized in our church--my grampa, my dad, myself and now my girls. So there's a lot of time and tradition in that little church. Yesterday was the Sunday school program that my mom actually wrote, and with the help of my good friend and I, put on with the kids. It was about a little angel who was too little to do much of anything, but she was able to calm a crying baby Jesus with a sweet lullaby. Very cute and the kids did a great job!

Here's Alayna as one of the Teacher Angels
Here are Lilly (the napping Mary) and Mikayla the sheep (in the black pants)
After the Sunday school program we came back to my house for another family tradition--baking Christmas cookies! My mom, mother-in-law and sister-in-law came over and we baked and dipped and decorated and sweet-treated our little hearts out. We made sugar cut-out cookies, peanut butter star cookies, oreo truffle balls, pretzel wreaths, Bugle stockings and spritzes. I forgot to take a picture of everything sitting all over the counters and table, but did think to take one after all was bagged up. The pics below are just our part of the prize, after being divided out so everyone had some to take home!

There were only a few casualties during our baking--a couple cookies lost a limb or head and had to be eaten, my knuckle was burned on a pan right out of the oven, and my mixer was burned up by someone who shall remain nameless (but rhymes with "hi rom"--and she bought me a replacement by the end of the day) All in all, we had a great weekend. And now, it's starting to feel more like Christmas as well as look like it, too!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Naughty List

Dear Santa Paws,

Usually, our dogs (Marley and Sunny) are model citizens. Sunny won't eat food from the floor unless you tell her it's okay and she mostly just sleeps when she's in the house because she doesn't want to be kicked out in the cold. Marley, while just a pup, is learning the ropes and doing very well. She's getting better about eating off the table (she doesn't even have to lift her head or stretch much at all to reach the middle of it) and she's learning what is and isn't considered food. But, sometimes they slip up...

I am writing to inform you of a little "incident" from last night, in case it didn't come up on your radar. Yesterday, Andy and I did the last of our Christmas shopping and while out, found an adorable set of gingerbread dog-houses. There were 4 in a box, with all the decorations you could need and a Snoopy for each house (and the set was only $7!). We bought them for the girls, thinking it was great they could each decorate one. Apparently, the dogs didn't think so. I don't know if they thought we were going to force them to sleep in these tiny houses that were the size of their ears or what, but they didn't like it one bit.

We left Marley and Sunny in the house for about an hour after we got home, while we went to get the kids. When we got home, the doghouses were gone. I mean, Gone. Finished. The only thing left was some shredded cardboard and 2 tiny candy balls. Oh, did I fail to mention the houses weren't set up yet and were still in their original, unopened box? Apparently they weren't sealed tightly enough in plastic if the dogs could smell them and figure it out.

Of course, when I asked who did this, they both gave me blank stares and neither one fessed up. Later, Marley tried to tell me that it was the neighbor dog, but I wasn't buying it. I would have thrown them outside for the night for eating the houses and lying, but it was only 2 degrees at that time and I do have a heart.

So when you're double checking your list, Santa Paws, make sure that this last incident is on there. Again, I don't know who did it, but I think it was a team effort.

Candy, the annoyed dog-owner

Monday, December 7, 2009


We went down to the cities this past weekend to ring bells for the Salvation Army with Andy's cousin's family. We had a great time and were able to donate some of our time and energy to those less fortunate. The girls learned about giving of themselves, and their time, to help others out. We explained to them that the money went to people less fortunate--people who were poor, people who had lost their homes in a fire or flood or storm, people who didn't have the resources or opportunities to help themselves. It really seemed to sink in. We hope it did.