Monday, March 29, 2010

Decking the Halls

We had a great evening of decorating the tree while watching A Charlie Brown Christmas and and drinking hot cocoa. Or at least I think that is what we watched (maybe we just listened to music or watched another movie or drank orange juice.... It is nearly Easter!). Regardless we had a great time and our tree was decked out festively. I was clearly too busy decorating the tree to get many decent pictures and the ones that I got only show half the family. Oh well. Sometimes life happens without the camera. (Gasp!)

Regardless I remember the kids being so excited to pull out their own ornament boxes this year and recall the ones they made and were given from the previous year. So special for them to get to have these kinds of traditions and memories.

The Nutcracker

On the Saturday after Thanksgiving we went to see the girls dance studio's version of The Nutcracker. They do a wonderful job and it puts us in the holiday spirit. This year we went with a few of our neighbors to dinner at Carrabba's and then the show. We all had a wonderful night. I am starting to think the girls are going to figure out they can audition to be in The Nutcracker next season though. We'll see!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Day

Very early in the morning Tate got up with me and we made the pumpkin pie.

The kids love watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade all morning long.

Lily makes the Jell-O the night before and the topping with me in the morning.

My sweet potatoes watching me make the sweet potatoes!

They spent all their free time that day making the Christmas Lego train to go around the tree. Nothing is wrong with our TV, it just photographs funny.

We were so busy with preparations we were still in our pajamas at lunch time!

Tate set this table all by himself! He made those napkin rings out of toilet paper rolls at kindergarten. How funny is that?

I didn't have the heart to tell him that napkin rings don't usually stand up in the middle of the plate. He was too proud! And besides, they are so cute!

The kids made all the place cards from their handprint turkeys. Love it!

Tate talking to one of his aunties on the phone while he watches the turkey cooking. These kids all adore their aunties and talking on the phone when we can't be together!

Another perfect turkey! Kevin makes one every year.

These two entertain me while I finish up everything else. I love their singing and dancing.

Feeling especially thankful for kids who love each other so much and get along like best friends. Kevin and I are always amazed by their sweetness. They have not got the memo, somehow, that brothers and sister often times argue, but we like it that way so we aren't telling! ;)

You know you are going to have a good day when you have three pies in your kitchen!

About to start the meal with Kevin's wonderful parents.

They all like the turkey legs so we have to play paper, rock, scissors for it!

Cheers and prayers of thanksgiving for so many blessings!

Thanksgiving Eve

I LOVE Thanksgiving. We all do, actually. We love the smells, the food, the cooking, and the hanging out together. It helps us realize so much of what we have to be thankful for.

We start our prep the night before. We always go out to eat and then come home to get things started.

Sophie peeled and sliced the apples for the apple pie.

Keaton stayed right by her to enjoy the peels. What a funny dog!

Julian made the cranberry orange sauce all be himself! It made the whole house smell delicious and it tasted great!

Kevin and I made the brine and got the turkey in his bath.

Soph finished up that fabulous apple pie! Doesn't she look proud? :) Love that girl! She is such a great helper. Every mama needs one just like her.

Christmas Card Picture

The day before Thanksgiving, you read that right folks, I had the kids get up in the morning and get their previous years Christmas PJs on to try to get a cute picture to use for our Christmas cards. Of course the smiles seemed fake or someone wasn't looking or eyes were closed. You know the picture in my head? I never got it. But as soon as I let them start goofing off I got an even better one. We ended up using this funny one on our card.

Merry Christmas!

A Visit with Santa

We visited Santa early this year as well. Last year we waited in a long line. This year we went on a week night just before Thanksgiving. We think Southpark Mall has the cutest Santa around, as long as you don't mind a little southern accent! (We don't!) He is the sweetest old man and he has been very good to the kids, even last year when he couldn't understand their English very well. He apparently has ties to the big guy too because those lucky kids did get their Christmas wishes, and it wasn't green beans!

Keaton had some fun while we were away too! I guess you now know why we usually close the doors when we aren't home. He may be getting up there in dog years, but he plays like a puppy!

2nd Annual Christmas Shopping Date

Last year Kevin and I had some friends watch the kids for us while we went Christmas shopping together. We had such a good time that we decided to make a day of it this year. Kevin took a day off while the kids were in school and we got the majority of their Christmas shopping done. We made a budget, had the cash in an envelope and off we went! It was a really fun date. We went to lunch, Target (2 Targets actually), a sporting goods store, the mall, Learning Express, and we got some online shopping done too. And home in time to pick the kids up from school at 2. Whew!

We did this the week before Thanksgiving because we wanted to beat the crowds.

The funniest part was that the kids knew we were doing this and it drove them crazy. We had already asked if they had any Christmas wishes. We kept telling them it didn't matter because we already knew what we would get them.... broccoli and green beans! So when we walked into Target and saw this display of canned green beans we had to take a picture.

When the kids were home from school we told them they could have one peek at the presents and told them they could see a picture. They were not amused! Ha, ha.


We have 7 in our family. Call us crazy but we all adore our dog so much that we consider him as much of a family member as any of the rest of us. Kevin and I got him within a year of getting married and he is 9 now. He is the sweetest thing in the world. He makes us all very happy.


My great blogging catch up is still underway and it looks like we are rounding the corner to Thanksgiving! Okay, that still puts me ridiculously behind, but I need to stay focused and motivated. :)

Here's the story...

Our sweet little Tater Tot had a series of colds this winter that came with a side of ear infection. Poor guy. For this first one I took him up to the doctor we go to. We drive nearly an hour to see a pediatrician because I wanted someone who understood internationally adopted kids to check my kids over, test them for various issues, and understand what our family might be going through. We do love our doctor. He is the dad of 2 biological kids and 2 his family adopted from Russia, so he has been there and done that. He's terrific. I am stalling on finding a local doctor now that they are over all of the tests and shots they needed. He is terrific! But when a child has an ear infection I am thankful to the CVS minute clinic 5 minutes from my house! So easy and perfect for sniffles and sneezes.

My kids are definitely Ukrainians at heart. When they have an ear infection they like something wrapped around their heads at all times. Tate wears a beanie. Sophie had one last year and tied her head up with scarves in typical Ukrainian Babushka fashion. Her detsky dom mamas would have been proud!

Anyway, back to our story. One week night a bunch of our small group was sick so we cancelled and ended up having a family night at home. Tate was upstairs watching a movie on the couch (as is the custom for sick kids in our house). The other three and I decided to bake some cookies. I had found some Peppermint Hershey Kisses that I thought the kids would like and they had a sugar cookie recipe on the bag. The results were.... very sweet! The kids loved them, of course. What's not to love about the taste of sugar, bright colors, and something you made yourself when you are a kid? I think I will stick with chocolate next time. :D

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes

This year I had the kids get involved with the Samaritan's Purse OCC shoeboxes for a Christmas Project. Kevin and I have done shoeboxes for years and have even volunteered at the local headquarters, which was really cool! I thought this was a project the kids would understand. They were excited the boxes might even go to kids who are orphans like they were. They couldn't wait to help out!

I let them pick everything themselves. They had a blast! This is a good way to get your kids into a project they can relate too. They kept telling me that they wished they had received a shoebox when they were at detsky dom. :) I hope 4 kids somewhere around the world felt the love!