The Bloggable Snowman

The "Blog" Version of Our Afternoon...

This afternoon I bundled up my sweet kids. Then, we headed out to frolic in the snow. I shoveled a bit of snow while they rode around on their sled. I was amused at how much fun they had sledding down "hills" no higher than a foot or two.

After a bit of shoveling, I decided to build a snow man with my little ones. The snow was perfect. It had rained a bit today, so the snow was perfectly packable. Not only that, but the temperature was hovering somewhere above freezing. It really doesn't get much better than that if you want to build your own Frosty.

We worked together and built a sizable snow man. At least it was sizable to us since it took me quite a bit of effort to lift the midsection onto the base!

Once we'd built the snow man, we added sidewalk chalk for a nose. (That was my creative Ann's idea!) Then, I had the idea to use our mega blocks for eyes and a mouth. I thought it was rather clever, but I think the kids were a bit confused at first. We only found one stick, so that's why our snowman only has one arm. Chris did have the idea to use a long plastic box that used to hold a curtain rod for an arm. I had to explain that his idea, while creative, probably wouldn't work.

We topped off our creation with one of my hats and a scarf. Then, we headed inside feeling quite pleased with ourselves, but not before taking some pictures.

And, that is the blog version of our afternoon. The real story would involve things like a toddler who kept falling in the snow, but who also insisted on removing her mittens and hat despite the constant falling in the snow. Her hands were quite red by the end of our adventure.

The real story, if I was going to tell it, would also involve a mama who was quite flustered by the time she had everyone bundled and ready to head out into the snow. There were boots that wouldn't go on without several firm tugs and hats that kept slipping over eyes. I won't even mention the fun had while helping a certain three-year-old put on some gloves.

In addition, the real story might also include a grumpy child who announced, as the snow man was being built, "ha ha, your snow man has dog poop in it." That child was right in the observation, but the child's tone was wrong. The same child was more than happy to join in the fun when the snow man was mostly built.

Finally, the real story could possibly involve a mama who became quite stubborn about finishing a snow man despite her children's wishes to go inside and have hot chocolate while watching a movie. Of course, this is a blog and therefore only the bloggable version will be told. The rest will remain a mystery that will hopefully fade from our memories so that the afternoon that remains becomes quite a fond, rather than tiring memory.


Yellow Flowers

A few months ago, my son announced that he was going to get me flowers for my birthday. I didn't think much of it at the time.

A month or so later, I was on an errand with just my little man. Once again he told me that he was going to get me flowers for my birthday. That time I asked him if he knew my favorite color of flowers. "Yellow," my three-year-old said. He was right! My heart melted at the thought of my crazy little guy knowing his mama so well.

Last night, Tony took my oldest daughter on a quick run to Target. I knew they were probably picking up a few things for my birthday today. My son was a bit disappointed not to be included in the shopping trip, but it was late and he was tired.

So, you can imagine my surprise as I was preparing breakfast (okay, I was just toasting some bread) and my little man came walking into the kitchen with yellow flowers! He was so proud as he wished me a happy birthday.

I felt so blessed to not only have a son who wanted to give me my favorite flowers, but also a husband who remembered his son's wishes.

Apparently, they not only look alike...they also think alike! I love them both so much! Thanks Tony. Thank you Little Man!


The Igloo

Though my children got some wonderful Christmas gifts, the older ones soon forgot all about them when their daddy built them this:

That is a little snow fort made from packed 5-gallon buckets. Late Christmas morning, Tony headed out to shovel the driveway. (It was the first of many times that we would have to do that.) I soon sent our older two kiddos out after him.

Later as I peeked out the window, I noticed that Tony had abandoned his mostly finished shoveling job in favor of building a snow fort. I also observed that Ann and Chris were not paying much attention to the fort. Instead, they were sledding down the "mountains" created by the snow Tony had shoveled. I smiled at my husband as I leaned out the door and asked if he was making the fort for himself or the kids. He laughed.

Eventually, the fort began to take shape and the kids started to take more interest. Soon they were making windows by adding flattened boxes to the top of the fort. At one point there was even a large blue toy truck on top of one of the walls. I'm not exactly sure what its function was but it seemed to make them happy.

After lunch and naps, the kids headed back out with Tony where they put the finished touches on the fort. The kids had asked all month to put Christmas lights on the outside of the house. Well, for one reason or another, we never got around to decorating the outside of the house. So, you can imagine their delight when their amazing daddy put Christmas lights on their "igloo."

The cheesy smiles don't do their delight justice.

Watching my little ones play with their daddy just might have been my favorite Christmas present.


A White Christmas

As we finished up playing Santa and Mrs. Claus on Christmas Eve, my husband commented that he thought it was cute that I was so excited. I assumed that he was talking about how excited I was about giving the kids their new presents. It turns out he thought it was cute that I was so excited about all the snow. Well, he was right.

Two days before Christmas we were getting rain. Sure, it was rather warm, but still, rain! On Christmas! Of course, Tony and I started singing "I'm dreaming of a rainy Christmas." It just doesn't work!

Fortunately, on Christmas Eve it started to snow. Now two days later, it hasn't really stopped! I guess that's why they say "be careful what you wish for." By the time we made our way home from church on Christmas Eve, the roads were getting quite slick and the ground was covered with snow.

I honestly don't remember a time in my life where the ground was bare and then it started snowing on Christmas Eve. Sure, I've had my share of white Christmases, but never quite like this one!

We managed to get our kiddos to bed at a reasonable hour. Then, we began bringing the presents up from the basement. We stuffed the stockings and put the Santa gifts just under their stockings. I even remembered to take a bite out of one of the cookies we left out for Santa. Oh the sacrifices parents have to make!

Amazingly, the children slept until nearly seven on Christmas morning. I couldn't believe it!

I made them all wait to come down together so that I could snap a few pictures. They were so excited.

The big surprise we had for them was a play kitchen. Two days earlier, we'd made a last run to Sam's to get some things for our holiday meals. While we were there I noticed the kitchen back in the markdown corner. We made the last minute decision to buy it for the kids. They were quite surprised to find out that Tony went back to pick it up after I bought it right under their noses.

Anyways, little Jane was absolutely delighted with the kitchen. She stood and played with it the entire time we opened gifts. Chris and Ann helped open her gifts because all of her attention was on the new kitchen.

Before we opened the gifts, we added Baby Jesus to our nativity scene. Fortunately I remembered where I'd hidden him for the past month!

At our house, our children get three gifts from us for Christmas and one from Santa. Though I grew up with amazing Christmases and piles of gifts, we thought it would be important to limit what our children get in order to keep the focus on the real meaning of the season. It is surprisingly hard to decide on just three (well, I guess technically four) gifts to buy for my little ones. In fact, I cheated a bit this year by giving them the kitchen as a joint gift. I also put a few nicer little things in their stockings. I couldn't help it. Sometimes it's just fun to spoil them!

Since we knew it would take Ann and Chris all of three seconds to open their gifts if left to their own devices, we decided to slow things down a bit. We opened gifts one person at a time. That included Tony and me.

Tony opened a large collection of piano classic CDs that he'd been eyeing at the bookstore. He also opened some new workout/lounge pants and an electric fondue pot. (We're guessing we'll soon learn why dinner at The Melting Pot costs so much!)

I opened a wonderful Lisa Leonard necklace. I had suggested it to Tony and I love, love, love it! I've got it on right now. I also got a small hand vac and a larger corded hand vac. Yes, I actually wanted these, and yes, I realize I'm quite lame. He also got me a Jillian Michaels workout DVD since he knows I've been enjoying The 30-Day Shred so much. My stocking was stuffed with a Starbucks gift card and some gum. (If only it would stop snowing, I could go get a yummy coffee drink!)

Ann, who was quite possibly the most excited about the whole present thing, opened some new Little Pet Shop toys, a slumber party set for her 18-inch doll and a little cooking set. Her Santa gift was a the Klutz Tea Party book. Santa was even thoughtful to include extra tea sets so she could have parties with her friends and their dolls. (She is already planning her first party.)

Chris was beyond delighted to open a nerf-like bow and arrow from my dad and stepmom. We gave him a new View Master with some slides, Trio Blocks, and a new plastic piggy (technically a robot) bank. We learned the hard way that his piggy band should not be breakable! His Santa gift was the Klutz Superhero book. It came with a wonderful red superhero cape and the book has masks and wrist guards to punch out and use.

As I mentioned, little Jane was delighted with the kitchen. However, she also opened some new board books, a Little People set, and a new stainless steel water bottle with her name on it. Her Santa gift was a little baby doll that came with a binky, bottle, tiny bear, and a toy rattle. She is sleeping with it as I type.

After we opened gifts, we enjoyed cinnamon bagels from Panera. That is the kids favorite breakfast treat right now, so I figured why not. We spent the rest of the day enjoying our new gifts, watching movies and playing in the snow. We made cookies to celebrate Jesus' birthday.

It was a wonderful Christmas.

I remember as I grew upI was a bit sad that Christmas would never have the same magic as it did when I was young. It turns out it only gets better when you see it through the eyes of your children.

Merry Late Christmas!


Sweet Sisters

So I figured if I'm not going to get my act together enough to write a post right now, I might as well at least post a picture!

I love this picture of a recent morning at our house. Ann is doing Jane's hair while Chris stands in the background trying to join in the fun. Jane looks a bit concerned, but she really wasn't. She enjoyed every minute of her big sister's attention.

As I look at this picture, it is so easy to imagine them ten years from now doing the same thing! Oh how I pray that they would be good friends!


Still Blogging

I just happen to be blogging over here...