Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Program

The kids were so excited for their Christmas program.  They were all excited to dress up in their costumes and perform their little hearts out.

Shane and his buddy James were two of the cutest shepherds on stage. 

The little shepherd boy with his two little angels. 

Alexa was a bit nervous but also very excited to sing in a quartet for one of the songs.

Emma sang her little heart out with a smile on her face! 

The girls were on stage the whole time and Shane had to join them on for the last couple songs.  As his time to shine drew near I looked next to me to tell him it was almost his turn to go up and he was sound asleep! Good thing he wakes up fast and happy! 

He got up there and sang his little heart out actions and all! 

I love his face on this picture! This little boy loves life! 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Alexa's 1/2 Birthday

Alexa came home from school a couple weeks ago. She had taken her 1/2 birthday into her own hands. She had a date on the calendar at school when she was bringing treats and she knew exactly what she we bringing. She wanted to make her Reindeer Cookies again this year. It just may become her 1/2 birthday treat tradition.

We began mixing up her favorite sugar cookies when I got a little distracted.  I had been watching my phone all day for an email from our agency with our Travel Approval.  It was the last piece of paperwork we needed from China telling us they were ready for us to come get Max.  

Well right in the middle of mixing up cookies it came.  I was totally giddy, leaping all over the house, totally distracted .... down right excited.  Alexa, being my first born, responsible child was just trying to get those cookies mixed.  Good thing she is so responsible and and baked and followed recipes numerous times because my head was in the clouds and she was telling me what we had and had not put in.  Alexa was determined to get those cookies finished and she kept saying, "Mom, I have never seen you act like this!"  We talked about how excited I was that we finally get to go get Max.  It still seems pretty abstract to the kids I think.  I think they probably won't feel the reality of it until we are in China or maybe even home.  I also talked about having all same feelings when she was born.  It was fun to talk about the first day we held her.  

So eventually the cookies did get mixed! 

Sugar Cookies
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 cup butter
1 cup vegetable oil
Blend above thoroughly
then add:
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
4 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp cream of tartar

1 tsp soda

1 tsp salt

Flatten dough ball with glass dipped in sugar

Bake at 350 degree for 8-10 minutes of until lightly brown around the edges

Alexa flattened out the dough and placed the pretzels on for the antlers and some chocolate chips for the eyes.

When they came out of the oven she quickly added the red nose. 

She carefully added the finishing touches to her 30+ cookies. She wanted enough for her classmates, teachers, specials teachers, secretaries and of course the principal.

She had a great day celebrating her birthday and share treats.

The Museum Of Visual Arts

I was able to go with Shane's class on his field trip to the Museum of Visual Material.  Have you ever been somewhere and wondered how in the world did I miss this place?  Well this was one of those places.  I feel like I have been to or heard of the kid friendly, fun places in Sioux Falls but somehow I missed this fun little place. 

They had a variety of activities set up for the kids to do when we arrived.  Everything they use is recyclable products.  First on the agenda was making a Christmas card.  

There were so many fun items for the kids to pick from as they let their creativity run wild.  

I loved watching Shane at work creating his cute little card. 

Next up was beads thread on a pipe cleaner to make a candy cane.

A highlight of the afternoon was the cookie decorating station. 

Especially when they got to eat their masterpiece! 

I love Shane's face as he is concentrating so hard on getting his snowman finished.  The snowman was a recycled CD painted white. 

Shane was proud of his finished product.

The last station was making a snowflake.

They finished with a little playtime.  Shane thought the tee pee was pretty cool! The place was amazing and they did such an amazing job making us feel welcome and provide fun activities for the kids to participate again! We can't wait to go back. 

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The House That The Three Created

Another December tradition is decorating a Gingerbread House. The kids were excited to break out the house and start spreading the frosting.

Shane concentrating as he placed his candy in just the right place.

Emma and Alexa were also busy places the candy in just the right place.

It was so fun to sit back and watch the kids work together as they decorated their house. They laughed, shared, helped each other and encouraged each other.

I often saw Shane sneaking a little lick of frosting or piece of candy.

I love this picture of all 3 of their little hands busy at work at the same time.

They are adding their finishing touches.

They are very proud of their finished product.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Shane's Big Day

Shane has been waiting for his super wiggly tooth to come out. A couple weeks ago Emma noticed that Shane's 2 permanent teeth on the bottom poking through. Shane has been wiggling his little teeth waiting for them to fall out. Eric helped one of them out today. He was so excited to put his tooth under the pillow and see what the tooth fairy would bring him. I don't think he was disappointed with his new dollar bill.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Cozy December Nights

I love books, any kind of books but one of my greatest weaknesses is Children Books. I read to the kids from the time they were little hoping to instill the love of reading into their little lives. One of my favorite things during December is pulling our stack of Christmas books off the shelf and spending our evenings on the couch, cuddled together and reading our favorite books.
We gave the kids their Christmas pajamas so they could wear them all month. They put their pajama's on and snuggled in for some good books.

The girls love that they can read the Christmas books. Alexa is starting off the evening tonight.
I asked the kids their favorite picks of the 2010 Christmas season.

Emma picked My Penguin Osbert.

Shane's is the Gingerbread Baby and ...

Alexa picked the Nutcracker.

Every year the kids love to see what books we add to our collection. It is getting harder to find books but this year we added two keepers. The first was Humphrey's First Christmas.

Humphrey is a funny camel. The kids loved all his funny faces.

The illustrations in this book are amazing and the story is precious.

The Gift Of The Christmas Cookie is the other addition to our collection. If you have a tradition of making Christmas cookies this is a wonderful book that share's the story of how the tradition of making Christmas cookies started.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

It's Starting To Look A Lot Like Christmas

I love the Christmas season. There are so many fun activities and traditions that we have started with the kids. It is fun to see their anticipation of the things we usually do in December. I love seeing things through their sweet innocent eyes.

The kids couldn't wait to get the trees up and pull the ornaments out to decorate the trees. As we were pulling the Christmas tubs out of storage there was quite the buzz of the ornaments that they were looking forward to seeing. I love watching their little fingers placing their ornaments in just the right place.

Shane had fun looking at all the ornaments and trying to figure out which ones were his daddy's from when he was a little boy. He also talked about how much Max was going to like their tree next Christmas and he would show him how to put the ornaments on the tree.

The girls were excited to pull out their very pink tree and put it in just the right place in their room.

They carefully strung their candy garland and placed their girly ornaments in just the right places.

I love this picture of the girls putting their star right on top!

Then it was time to decorate the big tree. Eric's mom and my mom gave us ornaments each year growing up. They have also given our kids ornaments so we have a tree full. It is fun to bring out all the special ornaments and share memories. The kids had so much fun digging through the box and finding their ornaments. There are ones they have been given and made. What sweet memories.

They carefully placed the ornaments on the tree.

Oh to see Christmas through the eyes of a child. There is such excitement, joy and wonder and the month is just beginning.

The kids then opened their ornaments for the year.

I saw this and thought of Alexa. She loved ballet this year and approached it with such dedication and grace.

These little slippers were perfect for Emma. It too was her first year of ballet and she also loved it. She was all about the outfit and slippers so these cute little ballet slippers were perfect for her.

I saw this snowman with hot cocoa and though of Shane. He LOVES going out in the snow but loves hot cocoa more. There are many mornings after we drop the girls off at school that him and I cuddle on the couch. Me with my coffee in hand and he with his hot cocoa. I will have sweet memories of my time with Shane this year as we enjoyed our quiet mornings with our favorite drinks.
And of course we have an ornament for Max too. I saw this cute little ornament and thought it was perfect for Max. The world symbolizes our sweet Max that is waiting for us half way around the world and the JOY that this journey has brought to our family. We can't wait to have 4 little ones together just like the 4 in the basket. There are 2 boys and 2 girls.

We finished off the night decorating the "fancy" tree. At least that is what the kids call it!

I can't wait to experience more of the season through the eyes of my 3 little blessings.

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