Saturday, January 14, 2012

Happy New Year!

We rang in the New Year with my parents and were finally able to exchange our Christmas presents since we were unable to get together on Christmas day.  Chris made it a very joyous occasion by spoiling us all with grilled lobster and prawns.  (It is becoming quite the perk to be married to a grill-master.)  He also did a great job stuffing my parent's stockings for them and the kids had fun being the elves and handing out presents. 

And believe it or not, everyone made it to midnight!  And then we all went straight to bed.  Here is Lia enjoying her Melissa and Doug cookie set.  The penguin bath toys were a big hit too.

She has her oven mitt on here... "Cookies are hot when they come out of the oven."

Christmas Dinner at Pop Pop's House

Our family gathered at Pop Pop's house on December 28th to have the annual Christmas Dinner.  It was a beautiful, cool, sunny day and we were all able to enjoy being outdoors and the cousins were able to toss the football around.  We joked that it felt like we were out on the beach with all the folding chairs.  This was our first Christmas without Nonna and her presence was certainly missed when it came to figuring out how much meat to buy, where everyone would sit, and how to get all the food out on time.  That said, everyone in the family pulled together to make this meal a success and it was very joyous.  KG planned the seating, Tom cooked all the meat, many prepared appetizers and desserts, and everyone ate till they popped!  Pop Pop was very happy because he knew Nonna would want us all to be together enjoying our family.  And we did!

Stacey and Steven gave Pop Pop a Twin #1 shirt to wear with his grandson, twin #2.  Their baby pictures look amazingly similar as you can see below.

Here is a picture of 4 generations.  Pop Pop, his son Rob, his grandaughter Cheryl, and great grandaughter Aliyah.  What blessings!

My kiddos were very smitten with baby Anthony.  They could not get enough of him.

Anthony with his Mommy Stacey, and Aunt Cortney.  If you look closely, his bib reads 'Stud.' 

David and Uncle Rob.

 Emily and Uncle Tom

Friday, January 13, 2012

Christmas Eve

This year, Emily sang on Christmas Eve with the choristers.  We came home and had our Christmas dinner and Emily ran around the house putting baby Jesus back into all of our nativity sets.  She hid baby Jesus at the beginning of Advent because we are supposed to be "waiting" for Him to come.  So what a joyful night it was to celebrate His birth!

We also opened our stockings and christmas presents on Christmas Eve because we would be travelling to North Carolina on Christmas day to visit Pop Pop and family.  Chris always stuffs the stockings and I'd say he did very well getting Lia a Hello Kitty coloring book and stickers!

Unfortunately, if you are the designated stocking stuffer, either your stocking doesn't get stuffed or you have to stuff your own.  Chris chose to stuff his own.  The kids are anxiously looking to see what Daddy got himself:  chocolate covered almonds!  Might as well get yourself the good stuff!

And walkie talkies!

Tuba Christmas

We met Stan and Peg for brunch at La Madeline and got to enjoy the Tuba Christmas concert in the park afterwards.  There had to have been about 200 tuba and euphonium players (of all ages!) there to participate.  What a treat.

The kids, literally, spent the entire concert on these bicycle statues.

Note the different colored socks... this is Lia's trademark style.

And another one of my clever window reflection shots...

 What a magnificent tree!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Carols and Lessons

Emily had a solo part this year for our church's annual production of Carol's and Lessons.  She is the second soloist in Gaudete.  This video doesn't do her justice... but it will give you an idea.   I like her little military exit too.  Yea Emily!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

David's Bedroom Window

December 16, 2011

Bethlehem City

We visited our friends Lowell and Cynthia the second weekend in December.  Baby Jude continues to be the sweetest, happiest baby ever.  He is crawling all over the place.  Emily fell in love with him all over again.

We headed out to Burnet to visit Main Street Bethlehem, where we were able to experience what it would have been like for Mary and Joseph, in the first century, to arrive in the crowded city of  Bethlehem where there was no room at the inn.  Unfortunately, we had to wait for almost 2 hours to get in... and it was very cold!

So we bundled up and stood in line.  These ginormous (Emily's favorite word) blue bonnets were fun.

The kids got to drink hot chocolate.

We hung out... and shivered...

But once we made it inside the gates, it was all worth it!  Here is Emly at the well.  We were able to visit the jail, the cloth dyer, the jewelry maker, a traditional Jewish home, the very full inn...

Everything was lit by torch and candle-light.  Roman soldiers were everywhere.  Lia thought it was a little bit scary!
The candle-maker...

And real camels!  As we made our way through Bethlehem we could see the star of David and as we made our exit we walked by the cave where Mary and Joseph were huddled with baby Jesus.  There was such a crowd of people around that I couldn't get a picture of the live Nativity but it was beautiful and we were able to enjoy hot chocolate again before we headed back to Austin.  I hope we can go back again!

Christmas Card

The Methodist church near our house has a beautiful Christmas tree in its lobby.  My hopes were to get a picture of all three kids together... but they didn't cooperate as a group.  Luckily, they were pretty smiley on their own so I took the best and made a collage.  This is the first Christmas that I have been ahead of the game.  Last year, my Christmas cards went out as a Valentine greeting.  Maybe I'm getting better?

St. Nicholas Day

St. Nicholas day was such a hit last year that the kids didn't need much encouragement to put their shoes out before they went to bed.  Lia put out two different shoes... isn't she silly?  If you look closely, David wrote a letter to Santa and left it in the fireplace. 

The next morning, December 6th, the kids were very excited to see what St. Nicholas left for them.  Here they are checking out their loot!

Lia loves the chocolate coins and they all love hearing the story about how St. Nicholas secretly dropped gold coins down the chimney of a poor family so the daughters could have dowries and marry.

St. Nicholas of Myra, Pray for us!

Playing Shop

Emily's Math Assignment

The kids stayed busy with their school work right up to Christmas.  Emily has been working on a money unit in her math book and I really liked the enrichment activity.  We made "shop" cards to create a pretend store where we could go shopping and Emily could practice making being cashier and making change for her sibling's purchases.  The kids had a ball going through the newspaper ads and selecting all sorts of things to buy.  We glued each item on a square piece of paper to make up our shop inventory.

Lia kept a little purse handy to put her money and "treasures" in.  She is eagerly picking out something she wants here.

I would have liked to use all real money... but I just don't have stacks of cash lying around!  So we used real change and I printed out some play money for the bills.  Here is our register.

Here is David trying to figure out what to buy.  They usually start out with $40.00... but they get more cash if they run out.

Here is all the stuff Lia bought:  Candy Land, squinkies, Christmas lights, a gum ball machine, a Bop-It game, pizza rolls (she was hungry), and a strawberry shortcake toy.  Do you think this is what she would really buy if I set her loose with cash at Walmart?  By the way, from a math teacher perspective, I love that Walmart always has such wacky prices like $14.86.  It is easy to make change for $9.99, especially if you pay with a ten dollar bill.  But goodness, $20.00 - $14.86 makes you think!  The kids wanted to play this every day for a while and it was fun to watch Emily improve every time.

And David picked The Smurfs video (he affectionately calls it the Squoosher Movie), peanut butter and avocado (he was hungry), Christmas Lollipop decorations, a baby walker (???), and what he called boy jewelery.  So silly.