Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas!

It is crazy to think that the past month and a half of preparations for Christmas are leading up to the actual day quite soon. We've had a wonderful Christmas season.

From taking our family Christmas pictures to hosting the Women's Ornament and Cookie Exchange, attending the church Christmas Party, attending the Preschool Christmas Party, hosting our own Ugly Sweater Party, and attending the church Youth Group Party--we have been busy celebrating Christ's birth.

I've tried to remind the boys about why we are doing all of this--to celebrate the birth of Christ. At ages 3 and a half and 2, I am sure they are not quite piecing it together, but we have enjoyed laying the foundations.

We've spent time eating Jelly Belly Jelly Beans and chocolates from our Advent Calendars. We've been reading The Crippled Lamb and watching the Christmas Lamb....we've watched Mickey's Christmas Carol, Peanuts' Christmas, and of course we have watched the Thomas related Christmas episodes.

We've eaten a lot of Christmas cookies. A lot. My mom and I got to enjoy some quality time together and attended a home tour in Manhattan Beach.

We went to see the Christmas lights in the neighborhood nearby. And Mike and I have enjoyed some nice quiet dinners with various close friends.

We feel like we have been going full steam since December 1! So you will have to excuse me for just posting these pics and not making more comments about them.

I think I would rather dwell on what Linus explains is the reason for this time of celebration.

Women's Ornament and Cookie Exchange

someone estimated that we had 700 cookies (there were more on our kitchen island)

Manhattan Beach Home Tour with my mom

Angel Breakfast with Mike and Peter

Preschool Christmas Party

Looking at Christmas lights

appetizers for our Ugly Sweater Party

deep conversations....

decorating/eating Gingerbread Houses

deep concentration....

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


We had a great Thanksgiving.

We started out the week with our friends Alexis, Micah, and Ellis. Alexis was kind enough to bring us lunch--chicken, corn muffins, sweet potato fries, and veggies. She also brought a fun craft--pine cone turkeys. We were trying to get our kids to wear pilgrim and Native American hats. It didn't really work in terms of getting a group shot, but we had fun making the turkeys! 

The day before Thanksgiving, we attended a "Thanksgiving Feast" at Peter's pre-school. Ms. Colleen taught them how to make Stone Soup and invited all of us to try it out.
Peter made a special Thanksgiving placemat!
They also sang some Thanksgiving songs. It was so cute! Peter was nervous and was grabbing on to his friend Michael for dear life! Michael nicely shrugged him off and Peter managed to belt out some songs on his own.

The soup was pretty good!

would you like to try some soup?

Thanksgiving weekend was beautiful! We spent the weekend at my parents' home.

We had a great dinner. Brined Turkey, stuffing, Green Bean Casserole, Mashed Potatoes, Sweet Potato Casserole, and cranberry sauce. One of the yummiest things not pictured was our appetizers: Fig Jam and Blue Cheese Bruschetta. It was excellent! Especially when we paired it with a Sparkling Pear Cocktail. 

 Friday morning my mom made pancakes and bacon. It was yummy as usual!

After breakfast we went to the park nearby. 

I am very thankful for all of the blessings in our life!

Monday, December 5, 2011

A Visit with Thomas

I am not sure how it happened, but our boys have become huge Thomas fiends! I think I saw an episode was on TV one day so I showed it to them and my parents had a plastic Thomas engine at their house left over from I am not sure what...anyways, the boys fell in love with Thomas pretty fast. We've "collected" about 15 different engines. Did you know there are about 40 engines total?? I did not. I have learned a lot about Thomas the Train Engine over the past few months.

About a month ago we made the trek out to Perris to see the REAL Thomas the Train Engine. Well..maybe just a life size version of Thomas. It was my dad's idea--he had seen some advertisements (be sure to pronounce "advertisements" British when you read this to make it more authentic) for the event and suggested back in September that we go. Basically they have an engine that looks like Thomas and they attach it to some other cars and then they allow people to go on little train rides. The train ride lasts about 20 minutes and the rest of the time you can explore the tents that they have set up with all the Thomas stuff.

We didn't tell the boys until the day of that we were going. They were pretty excited!

We got there a little after 10 which was great because our departure time for the train wasn't until 11am. After we sorted through the whole car mess, we went into the event.

There were hundreds of little boys ages 2-10 running around wearing their Thomas shirts. It was pretty funny.

We went directly to the train and got in line to board.

The boys loved riding on the train!

After the train ride, we stood in line for 30 minutes to have our picture taken next to the Thomas engine. Of course, when we got up there both kids kind of freaked and Matthew burst into tears. Apparently getting that close to Thomas was more than he could handle. :(

After the picture, we went and found some modestly overpriced lunch. It rained off and on the whole day--we were so fortunate that it did not rain during critical times. It started to rain right after lunch and Matthew had a lot of fun with the umbrella.

They had lots of different tents set up. Of course they had a gift shop tent. They had another tent that had a bunch of train tables and craft tables. Kids could play with trains, color trains, and do other stuff. This tent felt like a gaming convention for kids. I was envisioning all of these boys 15 years from now, attending a video game convention or ComiCon.

The intensity and seriousness of all the little boys' faces while they played with the trains cracked me up! I thought it was just my kids, but apparently a lot of little boys have very SERIOUS faces while playing with their trains. 

After we checked out the train table tent, we took the boys over to look at some steam engines and some model railroads. They loved checking out the big engines and touching looking at the model railroads. 

While we were checking out the steam trains, we presented the boys with some brand new engines. Rosie for Peter and Skarloey for Matthew. They were very EXCITED to get new engines.

Despite the crazy stuff that happened when we arrived, we had a great time! It was so great too that my parents could come along.