Happy Birthday!

Aviana and I made a wonderland cake to take over to my sister for her 29th.With a 12 day old baby with RSV and the toddler, preschooler, and grownups getting over their assorted illnesses, her birthday was not high on the list. Aviana wanted red frosting, which as you can see turned out to be a rather garish pink instead, and I thought it would be cool to make it a sort of towery cake, which again, looks rather odd. Combine that with the top two layers slipping off, this was the most eventful birthday cake I’ve ever made.

After this celebration, we headed for Chuck E. Cheese for a birthday party with our homegroup for two of our members. We had a nice time, although I bet there aren’t too many 44 year olds/50 year olds who celebrate their birthdays surrounded by singing rats and clanging machines–well maybe if they go to a casino. Poor Baby A, we’ve had so many late nights this week, she is just exhausted!

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Big Day, Long Day

Everyone on my mom’s side of the family came over for some good old Christmas cheer–except for my poor sister and her family. They are all sick–Little Titus has RSV, she has a sinus infection and Tony & the girls are just starting to get over their illnesses. Pray for them!

Anyway, my Uncle Phil and cousin Tim were here and I haven’t seen them for about two years. We hung out, ATE a lot, played Scattergories (which involved much fact checking on the internet), and Ultimate Outburst, ATE more, opened presents and frolicked a rolicking good time.

Now we’re all exhausted and are going to bed!

Four Generations
Kevin’s Cyclone Stocking
Opa, Ella and Uncle Phil


My Bro Cory
Aunt Barb

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Good deals

We hit Michael’s for their after Christmas sale and got everything for 50-70% off! I got a sparkly gingerbread house that you put a tealight inside, Santa hats for the girls, some glitter glue and finger paints for Miss A, Christmas coffe mugs, window clings, wrapping paper and bows, ribbon, and Christmas cards. It’s great fun to buy at 70% off!

We met Tina and Addie there (where Tina showed incredible restraint and only spent 50 cents above what was on her list, unlike myself) and they came over for lunch and play. It’s so much fun for me to watch Aviana play with friends her own age!

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Christmas Fun

Last night we all went to Grandma and Grandpa’s church for the family service. Our girls were so incredibly well behaved, I could hardly believe it myself! They were better than most of the elementary school aged children who should have known better. They sang a lot of praise songs we were familiar with, and some of the classic Christmas carols. The children all went up front for a Jesus birthday cake, and Aviana sat on my lap the whole while.

Today, Grandma and Grandpa came over to open presents, have brunch, and do a “Happy cake” for Jesus. We had yummy food and enjoyed each other’s company. G & G left around noon, and we had the rest of the day to ourselves to relax. I changed into my new sleep shirt over some yoga pants and put on my new Christmas slippers, and lounged around for the rest of the day. It’s the first time I’ve been home for Christmas, and I would like to do it like that every year.
Aviana helps open Brielle’s presents

Messing around with my new Christmas tripod

My Dear Husband really surprised me and got me Photoshop Elements. I was so excited, I cried when I opened it.

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Merry Christmas Eve Eve

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
Egg nog–I drink hot chocolate the rest of the year. ‘Course, I do put egg nog in my hot chocolate sometimes. Now Aviana likes it that way too.
2. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
I like white, Kevin likes colored- so we have three strands of white and one colored on the tree since I did the decorating
3. When do you put up your decorations?
Whenever I get to it. So we still don’t have lights in the windows.
4. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?
My Aunt Twila’s sugar cookies–I don’t consider this to be dessert!
5. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
My parents did the “make believe Santa” with us, which is what we’re doing with our children
6. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
7. Snow! Love it or dread it?
Love snow! We just got 2 1/2 inches of rain. Which if it were snow would have been over two feet. And I wish it were!
8. Can you ice skate?
I can rollerblade?…
9. What’s the most important thing about the holidays for you?
Being with my family. Laughing with my family. Loving on my family. Being loved by my family.
10. What is your favorite holiday dessert?
Pie. Cookies. Torte.
11. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Going to Christmas Eve service. I’ve never missed a Christmas Eve. Even when I wasn’t a Christian, I’ve long loved a good candlelight service. So much so, we had a candlelight service in our wedding.
12. What is guaranteed to make you smile over the holidays?
My sweet bambini
13. What makes you weepy during the holidays?
Umm…nothing specific, just the regular everyday sort of weepy I might encounter any other non-holiday time
14. How will you spend Christmas Eve and Day?
Tomorrow morning, Kevin is going to be doing the paper route and then he will chisel plow until about 11 while I am hanging out with the kids. Then we will spend the day as a family and go to Christmas Eve service with his parents at 5. Christmas morning I am making a French toast casserole and fruit slushes and his mom is bringing over egg/sausage casserole to eat after we open presents. After his parents go home, we will once again hang out with just the four of us. That is a special treat in and of itself, we don’t do that nearly often enough for me.
15. What was your most memorable Christmas and why?
Probably Christmas 2003, when we announced we were pregnant with Aviana
16. Christmas form letters from friends — pro or con?
Great big giant PRO. My take on it: If we are only keeping in contact once a year anyway, what is the point of just signing your name? I mean, I’m glad you thought of me, but I don’t know what is going on with you at all. AND I’D LIKE TO KNOW!! Please, throw me a bone, send me an email, send me a form letter– anything’s better than nothing, ya know?
17. In your home is Christmas more of a religious or secular observance?
More religious–remembering God’s sacrifice for us, so we could spend eternity with Him is the whole point of Christmas. We tell the story of Jesus’ birth and talk about it to Aviana– although Aviana insists that the Holy Family is Jesus, Mary and Moses, and our Baby Jesus is lost from our nativity scene; she was rocking Him and singing Him a lullaby, and now He’s just disappeared!
18. What is your favorite Christmas Carol?
Maybe Carol of the Bells. Maybe O Holy Night. Maybe Rockin’ around the Christmas Tree.
19. What is your deepest prayer for the world this Christmas?
So I pray that God, who gives you hope, will keep you happy and full of peace as you believe in Him. May you overflow with hope throught the power of the Holy Spirit.-Romans 15:13 (emphasis mine)

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It’s there for a reason!

On Brielle’s carseat is a warning label that reads: FALL HAZARD Child’s movements can slide carrier. NEVER place carrier near edges of counter tops, tables, or other high surfaces. Always stay within arms reach whenever carrier is not on floor/ground.

Fortunately, even though we weren’t exactly within arms reach, we have fast reflexes!

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I never knew what a privilege it would be to drive somewhere by myself!! The weather was cold and rainy and generally nasty. Kevin decided to do some work inside, and got Aviana down for her nap, and Joyce wanted to keep Brielle for me. I went to visit a friend and to the gym. Alone.

The car was silent. I didn’t have to reach over the back seat to try to comfort a fussy infant or hold the pacifier that doesn’t work anyway in her mouth. I didn’t have to answer “What’s that?” “Why?” “What’s that truck doing?” or sing any songs on demand. No one was talking. No one was crying. I was alone!

When the Christmas traffic was stop and go for well over a half hour, I didn’t get all tense, worrying that Brielle would start crying or Aviana would start whining, “WANT OUT! Want out of your seat! WANT OUT!” I didn’t have to think about trying to calm the baby or the toddler, while paying attention to the traffic, and avoiding a rear end collision (like I didn’t once at a stop light, when I was trying to find the pacifier and my foot slipped off the break). Even though it took almost 45 minutes to get across town (a trip that is usually ten), I felt… carefree.

Even getting out of the car by myself was a rare and special treat. I didn’t have to carry anyone or unbuckle anyone. I was able to just get out and walk away!

As a mom with two small wonderful girls, I am never alone. Someone is with me when I sleep. Someone or more usually two someones, are with me when I am in the bathroom. Even when I shower when Kevin is home to keep the girls, someone is banging on the door, hollering, “Let me in, Mama! I want to Sow-Ah TOOOOOOO!” Even when both are asleep at the same time (and no one is in my arms), I am still on full alert, always listening for someone to wake and stir.

But today, I was alone!

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Gingerbread Houses

I had a wonderfully busy morning! I invited over a few friends and their tots to make gingerbread houses. We had a grand time. I didn’t get mine done until everyone left, as I was too busy talking. I thought it would be a fun activity to try–and any activity is always more fun when you do it in the company of others! I would probably clean more if I had someone to talk to while doing it. I was bummed that I forgot to get out the camera until after some people had already left, but here are a few samples of what fun was had!

My House-five minutes before Miss A broke off the door. (Notice I did not say Aviana and my house–she glued on one graham cracker and then ran around delighting in all the company & gorging herself on whatever tasty tidbits she could find. After everyone left and our house was feeling empty, she looked sweetly up at me with hopeful eyes, “Maybe your friends tould tum bat adin!” come back again-for those of you who can’t read toddler-emphasized with an estatic handclap!)

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