Dec 8, 2011

Christmas Countdown

Is there a sweeter face?? The kids have been a little sick this season. Colin had a cold this night and since he's sucks his thumb to get to sleep, he couldn't get comfortable in his bed.

Here he is fussing over something at our garage sale. The kids saw a few stuffed animals they wanted to keep and started tossing them around. Hannah got a bunny stuck on the roof, and suddenly Dax says, "I'll just use my cane" .. and pulls out a cane I didn't know he had. haha

Thanksgiving is a good time to catch up with the Bentons. Phoebe and Finley came over for playtime. As they get older, the moms get more and more chatting time. There was only one bloody lip! Which is more than I can say for many playdates with little kids.

Chloe and Finley looking sweet. Pardon the red-eyes in this post- iphoto was not letting me correct them.

Grandma and Papaw came for Thanksgiving!! We had all the usual food, and Nana brought some delicious dishes, too. The kids were happy to see their grandparents. We had some fun playing baseball in the yard with cereal box bases. We took a walk to the park, too.

Grandma treated us to Happy Feet2. Chloe was more interested in visiting the restroom, but overall, they sat perfectly still and never took their hands out of the popcorn boxes.

We had fun putting up the tree. The girls organized the branches by color and helped me put it all together.

We always love getting out our old favorites. The dollhouse dolls visited Mary and Joseph, but it looks like they may have made themselves a little too much at home.

Waiting anxiously for cookies. The doctor told us Chloe had hand, foot, and mouth. Well, all that ever turned up were little spots on her throat, and she rarely complained. The others stayed at Nana's and Chloe and I baked cookies. Notice something exciting and new? At least to us, anyway. A new fridge!!! The parents are coordinating to purchase this for us. Very much needed, loved, and appreciated! Dax and my dad went out for Black Friday and got a good deal. I also went out for a few purchases and ended up in long lines at Toys R Us, but had a good time. My mom and I made our annual visit to Kohls. : )

I've been dying to improve our eating habits and the Nativity Fast
certainly helps since it cuts out meat and dairy. I've been trying to shop more
"real food" also and sticking mostly to the perimeter of the store, where
all the fresh items are. The bill is a little higher, but we are wasting much less food,
and in my opinion, I'm full for much longer, I've had much more energy,
and the food tastes very good. To convince the girls to get on the boat (Colin
can't be convinced of anything lately and Dax is always on board once
I decide on some action) I drew little breakfast items we would be sticking
to. Fiber and protein are breakfast essentials and we hadn't really been focusing on that.
Typical of Hannah and Chloe, as soon as they learn something new,
they are 100% in agreement and like to participate. They've eaten eggs when they
usually don't prefer them, and have even decided on honey rather than syrup on their

Hannah has been in love with markers the past few weeks. Here's her tree.
I love the strand of lights!

This is entitled "Grandma with 2 boo-boos on her face." Haha! I don't know where that came from. She drew a number of these style portraits that day. The one of herself had glasses, since she wants to wear glasses like a girl in her class. All too soon, I'm sure.

We use the washing machine as a hiding place in Hide and Seek pretty often. Colin always gives me away, though. : )

You never know when Colin might decide to go pants-less and try on someone's shoes.

Another night, Colin and I stayed home alone and enjoyed time together. I made him a paper airplane.

And he loved playing with all the snow-globes.

I was excited to find him another thrift store bomber jacket this year. That's just his style to me
: )

We're not doing Christmas cards this year, but still wanted a picture of them all together.
We've yet to visit Santa, and I'm almost sure Colin will disapprove. Here's an outtake of the final photo.

The best one!

Much better of Colin, but the other two were a little off. Still cute, though, I think.

December 6th is the feast day of St. Nicholas, so the kids set their shoes out the night before.
We talked about the St. Nicholas story and how we could be more like him by helping others secretly. Dax put out gold chocolate coins, icon cards, and new pendants to go on their crosses. Hannah asked why St. Nicholas came at night. We explained that we remember who he was, but it's not that he really visits. She was still asking the same thing, so I told her that St. Nicholas wanted Daddy to give them those gifts. Then she said, "But why didn't he just come in the door?" I guess she thought he just dropped them off. : ) On a side note- we were reading some Christmas book the other day, and I get the surprise question we all know is coming- "How did I get out of your belly?" It was just the context that surprised me. I explained in gentle terms (since I had C-sections) how it happened. She was highly disturbed at first, but was soon okay with it. : ) Wow, speaking of bringing up subjects out of nowhere... back to the pendants.

Hannah got Elizabeth, Chloe got Mary and Jesus, and Colin got Nicholas.

Chloe has done really well with her big sister going off to school, but some days, she doesn't really get to do much in place of playing with Hannah. She might entertain herself while I do chores or end up lounging around with shows. She's a bright girl and loves to learn so it bothered me that I wasn't using our time so well. So I made up a simple little lesson sheet for Tuesdays and Thursdays. Once Colin takes his nap, she and I spend about 30 minutes doing little activities. This week focused on the letter A, so we counted Apples, arranged Almonds into Art, read poems about an Alligator, etc. We've had a great time doing it, and she's very excited about "her school." Today we put out honey for Ants on our back fence. When we returned to check, it was all gone.

We tried to make Apple chips, but they turned out pretty terribly! At least the making part was fun.

She was excited about this number sticker activity book.

Mazes are a little much for her although she gets the concept, so I did the drawing. Chloe is very efficient, I would say, and this was pointed out when she tried to draw the line straight to the mailbox. I said, "Oh, we have to stay on the street." She said, "Why don't we just walk on the grass?"

Another thing I've been desperate for is a better schedule.
Sure we have our meals and playdates, etc., but when we have days at home,
it turns into chaos quickly. I bought all these themed papers at Walmart for a dollar
by the way since we are too cheap to buy new ink for our printer. : ) I like them better
anyway. I also wanted to make sure to get in the day what I feel is important, and those things
were always squeezed out of the day- like a basic bible story. Hannah gets it at school, but
is not into sharing what she learned, so I have no idea where she is on it. Also, the kids spend a good chunk of their Sundays in church, but really don't know what most of it is about understandably. So I made up a few sheets and printed coloring pages of objects they see at
church like a censer, an altar server, etc. They seem to like it all so far, and learning about it together at the dinner table is nice. The most effective change in our day by far has been "Personal Play Time." This means each kid gets private playtime with just me. They choose what we do and get uninterrupted play. The others seem to respect that so far! Hannah usually chooses a game. Chloe has chosen books, ponies, etc. I usually wrestle around with Colin or we pick up his room together and make it play. I've loved it so far, and for the first time ever, Hannah told me I was fun to play with. So proud! It's very stabilizing to know everyone has bonded with me in some way that day. I've even scheduled in Mommy time! It's usually taking care of chores, but I'm fine with that. We're looking forward to all the fun things this Christmas season!