Tuesday, December 27, 2011


After making Santa's favorite peppermint chocolate cookies, we had some family time and read The Night Before Christmas.

Chess wanted to stay awake to see Santa, so we told her that Santa will not come unless they are asleep.  As she said her prayers that night, she asked that she would be able to fall asleep so that Santa could come.  Then, as Jared and I were watching TV, she came out of her room and told us we needed to go to sleep so Santa would come!  Sweet girl.

The next morning, we got up around 7:00 so we would have time to open presents before church.  It was a little bit rushed, but we all enjoyed it.

A chocolate sucker in the stocking brings a smile right from the start.

Going through all the goodies in the stockings.

Princess Belle - a favorite.

Melissa and Doug magnet dolls, Lera's favorite.

I think these kids would have been happy with just suckers.

Daddy is adjusting the bike seat correctly.

Chess got a balance bike from Santa.

Attempt 1

Attempt 2 (that's all the attempts I got)

Then we ate breakfast and got ready for church.

Here we are in our church clothes under our Christmas banner the girls and I painted.

Chess put together her new puzzle with a little help.

At lunch time, we headed to the church to eat with the family, and have our Christmas program.

Chess did a great job helping all the kids with the traditional Tommy Toad and other songs.  Lera mainly ran around and danced, but she still did a great job.

We let the girls eat their snowman cookie pops on the rainy way home.

As we pulled into our neighborhood, I caught Lera nodding off.  She had half her snowman head eaten, but did not get a nap that day.

Later, Mimi and Poppy came by to see what Santa brought.

What a busy and blessed day.  I hope you had a very merry Christmas, as well!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas at Mimi and Poppy's

A few weeks before Christmas, we have a party at my parents' house.

We brought our bb gun to let Chess have her first experience with shooting.  Jared just bought our first "real" gun, so he and I will be going out to practice shooting it very soon.

The little girls were impressed.

Chess was so excited to open this.  She was squealing and laughing and doing a little jig.

Lera loved her presents, too.

The chaos.

Our personalized shirts from our Daddy.

We made some beautiful cookies.

Like mother, like daughter.

Playing with their toys the next day.  Thank you Mimi and Poppy!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Magical Night of Lights

Thanks to a sweet family at church, we got to go to the Night of Lights using their visitor pass.  It normally costs $40-$60, so we would not have gone otherwise.  We all had a great time.

Lera refused to wear a coat at first.  Chess is covering herself because her face is cold.

The girls enjoyed the lights, but they really loved the carnival.  I was in shock because Lera actually wore her coat sleeves down!  I guess she realized what a cold night it was.  Plus, having gloves on might have helped.

The girls' first carnival ride ever!

We decided to ride a really fast one as a family.  Lera was barely tall enough to ride with an adult.  The man looked at me like I was crazy for wanting to take her on it!  It was pretty crazy, but she had a fun time.  Both girls did, and they wanted to get back on after it was over...

...instead, we put them on this.  When it started going around, Chess said, "Why isn't it going faster?"

They both liked this one pretty well, though.

On the ferris wheel.

I must admit, I got a little freaked out sitting at the top of the ferris wheel while they were letting people on and off below.  It felt kinda wobbly up there.

We ran into some nice people who were about to leave, so they offered us some of their tickets they weren't going to use.  We had so much fun.  I'm glad the girls like rides like me and Jared do.  Next stop, Six Flags!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Town Tree Lighting 2011

We have made it a family tradition to go to our little town's annual Christmas tree lighting.  It's not that exciting of an event, but it's a fun atmosphere and we all have fun.

My daughter, Lera, refuses to wear her sleeves down.  It doesn't matter how cold it is, she shoves those sleeves up past her elbows whenever I put a shirt or coat on her.  Her little hands and forearms were pretty cold this night, but she will not have it any other way.

photo by Chess

This girl was having so much fun on the train you would have thought it was a roller coaster.

Tree lighting 2010

Tree lighting 2009

Tree lighting 2008

Merry Christmas!

Christmas-y Items

After seeing the idea on pinterest, I made this box out of an old wipes box.  I needed somewhere special to put our Christmas books, and I didn't want to buy a decorative storage box or basket for $15+, so this is how mine turned out.  I love it!  See the original idea here.

I spied some mistletoe growing in our bradford pear tree a little while back.  Since it is a parasite and all, I went ahead and chopped that thing off and decorated my home with it!

These little sock advents were everywhere last year.  So after Christmas, I got lucky at Target's dollar section b/c the socks were 75% off.  12 pairs of socks for $4?  Yes, please.  I simply put scripture cards, each telling part of the Christmas story, in the socks.  The girls love picking the sock each night.  And Chess is really noticing how close we are getting to number 24!

I made Chess a comfy sweatshirt dress.  I used a little dress she already has as a pattern.

These trees were a perfect craft the my girls' ages.  Chess did most of the cutting herself, and both girls glued their tissue paper pieces on by themselves.  They love seeing the light shine through their trees.

I saw these adorable mice on Martha Stewart's website.  I made them for the kids in my nursery class at church.  My favorite is the light blue/gray one.