Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Got It!

We discovered that a $1 bribe per child makes a huge difference in what they are willing to do (dress up) and how they go about doing it (with a smile and giggly!)!!! The above picture is the one I ordered for our Christmas cards. I pick them up on Friday...and hopefully get them mailed shortly thereafter!
I love this picture of the two kids, in matching outfits, in front of our Christmas tree. Aaaahhh, that's the coordinated look I wanted!

Another cute pic of Josiah and Mackenzie together. Robee even made the picture. Ha.

A rare picture of David and me together! The kids really are pretty good with the camera. ;)
Merry Christmas, Everyone!!!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Our Week in Pictures

We have had a week full of activities, so to catch up I'm beginning with the most recent pictures first, and ending with the ones from this past Saturday night. I finally got a good picture of both kids in front of our tree. Too bad they're just in pajamas instead of their Christmas outfits! That's alright, though. I'm just happy to have the picture!
This picture is going to be our Christmas card for this year. I was pretty excited about how it turned out for a random moment of photo op with the tripod and timer! The kids cooperated so well because by doing so they were delaying their bedtime. ;) Though our outfits are not coordinated, we're at least all smiling and looking at the camera! He, he.

The kids totally enjoyed the camera on the tripod. Our two photographers, one age 3 1/2 and the other 5, did a terrific job of taking a picture of David and me together!

I think Josiah took this one! I thought it was pretty cute of Mackenzie with me.

Mackenzie took this one of Josiah and me, together with his new toy robot, too! It's name is Robee, in case you were wondering. :)

We gave in to the begging and let each child open one present early. Josiah opened his new robot, which he named Robee. It really walks and its arms move and everything! He has not turned loose of it yet. It slept near him, played Mario Kart with him, and even went to school with him today! He is one proud little boy.

Mackenzie opened her new backpack. Bless her heart, she needed a new one. She had been asking for a new one for months now, and I made sure that was the one she opened early so that she can use it these last few days of school before Christmas break begins. Her criteria for a backpack: purple or pink, strap in front to hold backpack on better, and mesh pocket for her water. I found this one on Land's End and it seems perfect for her. :)

Josiah fell asleep in the van as we picked Mackenzie up from school yesterday. When he finally woke up, he simply climbed into David's arms and promptly fell back asleep! What I love about this picture is the multi-tasking that David is doing: holding Josiah and cooking, too! Don't worry, I took Josiah to free David's hands up...after I got the picture!

Yesterday, I was blessed to be able to go to lunch with Mackenzie and then watch as her class dressed up to be the nativity, if you will. Thanks to Cindy M. for keeping Josiah so that I could be there for Mackenzie. Mackenzie is an angel standing in the back row, second child from the right. Cute kids!

My little angel, just about to get out of her costume as I snapped this picture!

Last Saturday night we hosted our H2H Bible Study group's Christmas Party. This is a picture off of Matt and Holly's camera--thanks, guys--of most of our group. We were missing a family or two, but surely made a great group picture with the 12 adults and 12 children present! We had a traditional Christmas meal and it was fun to enjoy each other's yummy dishes. The gift exchange was fun, and the kids enjoyed a craft and story time, too.
How's that for catching up?! :)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My Sweet Kids

On Monday morning while I was helping Mackenzie get up, dressed, and ready for school, Josiah came up the stairs with a half opened package from under our Christmas tree. He had spent several days asking to open that one package early. I kept telling him that we should wait until closer to Christmas. I guess he just couldn't wait any longer, but in the middle of opening the present (without permission) he decided maybe he should ask! So, in the dark of the early morning, Josiah came upstairs with the half opened package to ask if he was allowed to open it now. Ha! I asked him if he had already started opening it, to which he replied an honest, "yes." Then I asked him if the package was to him. He said with excitement, "It says, To Josiah From Mackenzie!" I told him since it was from Mackenzie, he needed to go ask her if he could open it early. "Hooray!" he yelled as he ran passed me and into Mackenzie's room. He used his best manners and sweetest voice to ask permission from Mackenzie, who was even more excited than he was! She answered yes and watched eagerly with a huge smile on her face while he opened his package. He tore the paper off and then took the lid off of the shoe box. Peering down inside he saw a toy gun with a target. He was thrilled and she was so pleased! As I watched from the other side of the room, I could not have been a prouder Momma! Josiah belted out a huge, "Thanks, Kenzie!" and Mackenzie just beamed.

Josiah is one of the few people that Mackenzie asked to buy a Christmas present for this year. She even used her own money. I took her to the Dollar Tree, as she requested, and she found the perfect toy gun gift for Josiah. I was quite impressed that she was able to pick a gift for him that HE would like, instead of what she liked! I didn't even have to guide her towards any item; she picked completely by herself. Once home from the Dollar Tree, she just could not wait to get his present wrapped and under our tree. She hand wrote the "To Josiah From Mackenzie" all by herself. She was proud of the gift she gave, and he was delighted to receive it. Out of all the packages under the tree, he has not asked to open ANY of the others. The only one he was interested in was the one from his sister. How funny and how precious!

I pray that the kids are able to learn the true joy found in giving. I believe Mackenzie felt that joy while watching Josiah open his package in those early morning hours. I pray that they learn the art of giving and an attitude of gratitude.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Our Weekend

Mackenzie's Christmas musical was this past Thursday night and again on Friday morning. Friday was Grandparent's Day at her school, and I was delighted that my dad and Lisa were able to attend for Mackenzie. The above picture is of Mackenzie's Thursday night performance. Getting there 30 minutes early was certainly not early enough for a seat with a good view! Live and learn. On Friday morning we were there in time for front row seats. :) Mackenzie is on the second row from the top, second child from the edge. Her dear friend, Avery, is standing right beside her on the very edge.
This picture is of the Friday morning performance. We had better seats, as you can tell from the proximity of the picture! Again, Mackenzie is on the second row down, second from the edge. The musical performance was fantastic and quite impressive, too.

As soon as the performance was over on Friday, we headed up to Gatlinburg's Aquarium for the afternoon. This was Dad and Lisa's first time at an aquarium, so it was a neat experience for us all.
My dad and Mackenzie in front of a school of fish.

Mackenzie with Lili at the aquarium.
Mackenzie and me, enjoying the colorful fish in the huge tank.

Papa, or Poppie as the kids often call him, and Josiah exploring at the aquarium.
Josiah in the cave area at the aquarium.
Mackenzie and me in the interactive area.
Mackenzie and Josiah checking out the jelly fish.

My dad, me, Josiah, and Mackenzie in front of a beautiful Christmas tree in Gatlinburg.

Dad and Lisa, or Poppie and Lili

Papa and Lili with Mackenzie and Josiah. I love this picture!

Friday night, though we were all exhausted, we had a surprise party for Lili. Her birthday is this week, so we celebrated a few days early. I'm no cake decorator, but I had fun making a cake for her birthday. I was stunned and pleased when I found out that no one had ever made her a cake before! We all enjoyed the party. :)
Then we woke up Saturday morning to find snowing pouring from the sky. How beautiful is God's creation?! Josiah loved the snow. He had been talking about making snow balls all week, since we first found out that a chance of snow was in the forecast.

Poppie pulling Mackenzie on the sled in our yard. I bet we got a couple of inches of gorgeous snow. By lunchtime it was all gone, but we certainly enjoyed it while it lasted! We had a great weekend and made some wonderful memories. Thanks to Dad and Lisa for taking the time off work to come our way for a visit.
(Side note: David's Grandma had major abdominal surgery Thursday night and is in ICU. She is 95 1/2 years old. Please say a prayer for her and all involved in her care.)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Our Week

Our week began with the arrival of Granna and Z-Pa on Monday for Thanksgiving week. Uncle Zac joined us on Tuesday, and we've had a great week. Tuesday, November 24, was Josiah's half birthday. I cannot believe that he is already 3 1/2 years old, and yet in some ways he seems so much older than 3 1/2! He is counting and saying his ABC's all the time now. He loves to count to ten in Spanish. He is able to legibly write his name. He loves to play with gadgets and anything that transforms, like bakugans. He loves things that go, like cars and balls, and enjoys playing computer games and watching PBS Kids. He goes to sleep at 7:00pm, same as Mackenzie. He wakes up between 5:30 and 6:30am as he only requires 10 1/2 hrs of sleep per night! (Mackenzie still requires almost 12 hrs per night!) He loves school and all his friends at school. He can lay it on thick with his perfect manners, complete with yes ma'ams and no sirs and lots of hugs and kisses; he can also demonstrate a great lack of manners complete with a rude tone of voice. He certainly keeps us on our toes these days!!! He is an affectionate little boy, and we love him dearly. He weighs 34.5 lbs and is 39.5 inches tall.
He enjoyed his half birthday celebration with Granna and Z-Pa. He even got the chocolate dinosaur cake he requested! Thanks, Granna and Z-Pa, for making his half birthday a special one.

Here's the first ever chocolate pie that I made from scratch! I used my momma's crust recipe, and my Granny Long's chocolate pie filling recipe. I let everyone choose whipped cream or Redi Whip to top their piece of pie! I was kinda proud of how it turned out!

After enjoying a Thanksgiving meal (and that chocolate pie), we went to The Fantasy of Trees. I love this as it benefits Children's Hospital, which I'm kinda partial, too. ;) The kids sat in Santa's lap and I got our traditional picture. I'm so happy with how it turned out! The kids told Santa what they want for Christmas, and we enjoyed making our annual hand print potholders and thumbprint ornaments. (Josiah told Santa he wants a light saber and a toy motorcycle for Christmas, and Mackenzie told Santa she wants a swim suit, Barbie doll, and Dora Saves the Mermaid DVD and Dora Dance to the Rescue DVD.)

Both kids enjoyed the train and put put golf at The Fantasy of Trees, too. We've had a great week, full of activities. I have so much to be thankful for...that could be a whole other post! For now, I caught the blog up with some pics and our latest activities.
Also, Mackenzie is 38.5 lbs and 44.25 inches tall. She is now 5 years and 3 months old. As I tucked her in earlier this week, she began asking questions about Grannie Horn (her great, great, grandmother who died when I was 18 years old). I enjoyed telling her about my own Thanksgiving memories at Great Grannie Horn's house during my own childhood. She asked one question after another and we ended up having a terrific conversation about death, faith, and Heaven. Her questions struck me as deep from a five year old. One of her questions was, "Mom, since you and Dad are older than me, does that mean that you'll die before me?" Again, the answer was lengthy and in depth, but her response was, "I want you and me to die together, Momma, because I need to be able to see you, talk to you, and touch you at least once every day." She melted my heart. Such a sweetie. I pray that some of what we talked about regarding faith, death, Jesus, and Heaven sunk in!
Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Nutcracker Field Trip

Today, I was able to join Mackenzie and her Kindergarten class for their first field trip--to the Nutcracker! The class rode the bus while the parents followed behind forming a caravan. Here's a picture of Avery and Mackenzie sitting side by side, ready for the show to begin!
I was surprised by the number of Dad's who made the trip in place of the Mom's who were otherwise occupied! I counted at least 8 Dads, and maybe 4 Moms. All the kids were happy to see parents at the auditorium as they got off the bus. It is fun to see the kids recognizing who's parent is who's, and it is fun to be greeted by multiple children, too! :)

Thanks to the Mease's for keeping Josiah this morning so that I could attend the field trip. It was a huge help to know that he was in good hands and having a fabulous time! He woke up at 5:45am, asking to go on over to the Mease's house. By this afternoon, he was tired...and crawled into his sleeping bag in the warmest spot in the house where the sun comes in the windows, and he fell fast asleep. Don't worry, I pulled the top back so he could breathe! ;)
And to think, he even fell asleep while Avery was here to play! He was definitely tired. The two girls had a great time playing on this Friday afternoon, though!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Dollywood and Thanksgiving Party

This past Saturday we were able to enjoy Dollywood's Christmas Festival. This is the third year in a row that we have taken the kids to see Babes in Toyland, which Mackenzie just loves. We all four enjoyed the rides, and while David and Josiah rode the scrambler together, Mackenzie and I tried some rides that are new to her. I was so proud of her bravery! She tried, and loved, the swings, sky rider, and shooting star. Josiah enjoyed the Veggies Tales roller coaster with her, and the Bumble Bees and Scrambler, too. A fun time had by all! Above is a picture of Mackenzie in front of a Christmas tree with pink lights. I think I read that Dollywood has over 4 million lights this Christmas!!! It was beautiful.
I could not get Josiah to pose for the camera, so I snapped this candid of him studying the Dollywood map. He LOVES the map. We always stop and pick up a map for each child on our way in the park. It's a highlight of the trip. ;)

Here's David and Mackenzie getting off of the Shooting Star (or Falling Star?) that goes up in the air and drops you, kinda like a free fall. This was Mackenzie's very first time on that ride. She loved it.
Later that evening, Mackenzie and I rode the Shooting Star ride together. What fun that she's tall enough to enjoy some bigger rides now! :)

Today was Josiah's Thanksgiving Feast at school (MDO). I was thankful to be able to join his class for their celebration at Noon today. Here's Josiah at his table with Kameron across from him, Brooke beside Josiah, and Brady across from Brooke.

Josiah was so proud of his "J" pretzel! We had fun together today, and I enjoyed seeing Josiah interacting with his friends.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Kindergarten Turkeys! (Update)

Update: My friend, Tracy, who also has a daughter in Mackenzie's class, took this picture of the two of us during the craft time. I am so excited about how it turned out! So, even though I posted this several days ago, I'm updating it to include the above picture of Mackenzie and me!
Yesterday I was blessed to be able to attend (and plan and coordinate) a Fun Friday Craft time for Mackenzie's Kindergarten Class! I had another Mom plan and prepare the pine cone turkeys, and I was responsible for the handprint turkeys. I love the above picture of Mackenzie at her desk with her two crafts!
Here is part of Mackenzie's class, all listening intently to the instructions being provided for the pine cone turkeys made from pine cones, pipe cleaner, pompoms, and googly eyes. Very cute!

Here's a better overview of the class with their crafts in front of them. They are some sweet kids, and some busy kids!!! I think they all enjoyed our craft time. I know I sure did!

Here's the children, very focused on the instructions being given and the craft in front of them. Mackenzie's in the bright blue shirt watching the demonstration about how to fold the pipe cleaners.

The handprint turkeys were made using washable paints in brown, green, yellow, orange, and red. The palm and hand are brown. Each finger is a different color. Then you draw a gobbler on the turkey and feet on the turkey, too. Then glue a googly eye on the thumb/head. Using tacky glue, attach 1x1 in squares of felt in fall colors to the plate perimeter. You're finished! Oh yeah, don't forget to have the kids write their names and date on the back of the plate before you start. Makes a great keepsake! David typed the poem in a rainbow pattern for the kids to attach to the top of the plate, just under the felt squares. The poem is:

This isn't just a turkey, as anyone can see.

I made it with my hand, which is a part of me.

It comes with lots of love, especially to say,

I hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving Day.

Disclaimer: I did not create any of these ideas. I found them via a google search for turkey crafts. I did not write the poem, we simply found in on the Internet!!!

These are easy enough to do and lots of fun, too!

Happy Thanksgiving!!