Friday, April 30, 2010

I'm Gonna Like Me!

The other night I was reading the kids a book called "I'm Gonna Like Me : Letting Off a Little Self-Esteem" during our (almost) nightly book reading and/or Bible study time. It's a cute little children's story about liking yourself and being proud of all the things that make you different and special. I was talking to the kids about self esteem because I think it is really important and is something teachable, to an extent. When we were done with the book I decided to go around and ask them what they really like about themselves. I had no clue what they were going to say. Sophie piped right up and said, "I love that I have a family." How sweet is that?

True though. They are all very proud to have a family. Obviously something most kids don't think about. They are always thrilled to point me out to their friends at school and church when I am with them. One of the things that makes our kids unique is their past. They really appreciate things most kids have never been without. And while it is heartbreaking that they haven't always had a family to care for them, it is part of their own powerful testimony.

Our Favorite Christmas Lights

One of Kevin's coworkers goes all out to celebrate Christmas with an awesome display of Christmas lights each year. He starts putting them up at the beginning of November. He is so serious about it that when they moved a couple years ago they bought this house over some others because it was a corner lot with a lot more space for lights! Mark does a great job and our kids think he is just so cool. Don't tell Mark this (Kevin is afraid his ego would inflate too much ;) ) but when the kids are playing at home the boys often say their name is Mark. How funny!

Sophie and I took Uncle Noah, Aunt Maggie, and Henry over to see them one night. Of course Henry really liked them too!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Christmas Visitors

The day following the cookie party Uncle Noah (my brother), Aunt Maggie, and the kids only cousin Henry came for a visit. This is their second timing visiting since the kids came home and we were so thrilled they were coming for 5 days! It is so much fun to have family around for the holidays. So my next few posts will be about all the great fun we had leading up to Christmas.

I had asked Maggie before they came to visit if she would teach the kids about some of the Hanukah traditions she grew up with. She treated us all to the most amazing latkes and homemade applesauce and taught the kids the dreidel game. Thanks, Aunt Maggie!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Christmas Cookies!

The girls did a Christmas cookie decorating party last year and had a blast so asked to do it again this year. We didn't have enough going on the last week of school before winter break ;) so we decided to do it then! We did it on Friday after school. Sugar cookies to decorate and gingerbread to cut. We had a very sweet time! (A neighbor and I planned a party for the boys too that week. We were too busy keeping those little guys occupied to get pictures though!)

Christmas Cheer

The kids' activities kept us super busy the week before their winter break started. All 4 kids had class parties (thankfully different days and times), the girls had observation days in dance (they are each in ballet, hip-hop/jazz, acro, and tap), and the first graders had a holiday singing production. What a week. Here is some of the fun!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Christmas Whimsy

I love the whole Christmas season. There is nothing like cuddling up on the couch in tree lit room munching on wintery snacks with a warm drink. I hope my kids always remember those times too and feeling of importance and togetherness the whole season brings.

My decorating is pretty traditional Pottery Barn style. I do love a little whimsy added in here and there. The kids love the Santa's Village. My grandpa was a carpenter and had a big house he built and decorated with my grandma that had all the elves snacking on cookies and such. (At least that is how I remember it.) I would stare at that house for hours. Grandma and Grandpa's house was a very magical place for all us grandkids. There was always something cooking from scratch, whimsical decorations handmade by the two of them, and the coolest play house ever built to pretend in. This village reminds me of how I felt when I was a kid and I would go there to visit.

Julian's Christmas Lego Train

Some of my favorite ornaments:

My favorite childhood ornament.

Nothing is sweeter than a tree full of ornaments made with love and hung with pride.

Another of mine from when I was a kid.

One I remember hanging on our family tree when I was a kid.

One of my favorites that Kevin and I bought to decorate our tree the first year we were married.

Cookies from Auntie Bea's!

My cousin took her personal cookie, cake, and cupcake making talents to a whole new level this last year and started a small business selling her delicious and adorable baked goods to friends and the local community where she lives near Sacramento, California. Were we ever excited to be her guinea pigs for seeing how her cookies shipped! Perfectly well, by the way. They arrived all in tact and packaged up beautifully. The personalized sugar cookies and gingerbread tasted as good as they look too. Thanks, Bethany! We heart Auntie Bea's Bakery!