Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Visit With Nana and Papa

Following Christmas Day the kids and I packed our bags and headed out East. We stopped in Ohio at the Sorensens for a couple of days. Nana and Papa were visiting as well. The kids were able to play with their cousins and spend some time with Nana and Papa. Josh and Jon are the best of friends. They spend every waking moment together when we are visiting. We don't ever see them and that is just how we like it! They play so well with each other.

The kids snuggling up with their Nana and Papa...even though they were supposed to be in bed!

Natalie is attached to Mackenzies hip when we vist. She adores Mackenzie. Mackenzie is so good about playing with Natalie. They will dance together, paint fingernails, and play babies. No wonder she is Natalies favorite!

While we were there we took all the kids ice skating. This was Josh's first time and he did great. In fact, he LOVED it. He has asked to go back more than once since we left.

We love going to visit the Sorensens. I wasn't very good at taking many pictures this trip but we had a great time. We were in good company, played lots of games, and ate WAY too many hot fudge sundaes!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Morning

Is it really March already?? And I haven't posted about Christmas morning! Yes we did have a Christmas morning. And it was great! Of course, Natalie was first to wake up. She is always up at the crack of dawn. I don't think she remembered it was Christmas so she came and hung out with Mark and I in bed for about an hour. It was now around 8 o'clock and Josh was still snoozing away. So we had Natalie go in a wake Josh up and tell him it was Christmas. It was the first year that we had Christmas morning with just our little family in our home.

The kids checking out their loot.

The dumping of stockings.

It was so fun to be able to start our own traditions on Christmas morning. We had a very slow, relaxing morning. After seeing what Santa brought, the kids played with the stuff they got. I think they had forgotten that there were still tons of presents under the tree. Which was fine by me. We wanted to stretch Christmas out as long as we could! We had breakfast and opened/put together/played with the stuff in and around their stockings. Later that day we got around to opening up the presents.

We took it very slow. If the kids wanted to open and play with their toys as we went along, by golly we let them. No rush in getting through them all at once! Its so fun that way!!

We had a relaxing rest of the day. The kids played with their new stuff. We layed around. Enjoyed each others company. Watched a new movie or two they had recieved. And had a delicious dinner. It was perfect!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

This was our first year to have Christmas at our own home. It was so much fun to be able to start traditions of our own for our little family.

Fred joined our family this year. He is one of Santa's Elves sent to us from the North Pole. Each day he watches the kids to see if they are being naughty or nice. And each night he reports to Santa what he saw. In the morning he is in a different spot of the house. There is only one rule. You can not touch him!

Growing up, on the Eve of Christmas Eve, my family would all sleep around the tree. Josh got to sleep around our tree this year. He was so excited!

On Christmas Eve we enjoyed a beautiful snow fall. Mark took the kids out to play in it.

They built a snowman.

And built, smashed, and rebuilt snow castles.

They got into a few snowball fights.
And went sledding!

That evening we had our good friends the Tree's over.

We made gingerbread houses.

Ate a ton of great food.

Danced to Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas!

And of course, among all the fun and games, you can't forget the reason for the season. Mark told the Christ story to the kids using our Nativity and each of the kids had their own little part.

The kids opened their Christmas PJ's.

We couldn't forget treats for Santa.

And we called it a night!

I love the excitement that is in the air with little kids and all their cute guesses of what Santa may bring!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Sunday

On Sunday the kids wore their new Christmas outfits to church. They looked so cute that I attempted to get a picture of them before we went.

Please stand up Josh. And Natalie, not so forced.

Yes, both standing. Exactly where I want them. Open your eyes dangit.
(I may or may not have bribed them with candy canes)

Much better Josh. Natalie, really?

Natalie is checked out. Its only been 4 pictures. Come on.
(I may or may not have threatened to take candy cane)

Perfect Josh. Natalie you are getting closer to perfecting the forced smile, but not quite there.
Just one more.

PERFECT! Stupid candy cane.

Until next year...this will have to do!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

We finally got our first snow of the season! Church was cancelled and we had a nice, relaxing Sunday.

We don't see much snow here so the kids were sure to get out and play in it!

It was super windy. I was surprised how long they lasted.

Our beach buckets can be used for all sorts of things!

They liked playing on the side of the house because it wasn't as windy.

We enjoyed hot chocolate afterwards. It is so fun being able to enjoy the snow from inside. I remember my mom always having hot chocolate and goodies for us when we came in from playing outside and it is so fun to be the one making them inside while everyone else is outside playing!

We made some brownies.

And did a lot of relaxing!
I live for days like this!

Dear Snow,
Don't stop.
Please stay for a while.
We would love to get enough
to make a snowman tomorrow!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

French Lick & The Polar Express

We met the Sorensens in French Lick, Indiana for a weekend of fun to kick off the season! Right after we checked into our rooms we went down to sit on Santas lap.

Josh asked for a green race car.

Natalie wouldn't sit on his lap so we opted for a group photo! She did, however, love the candy canes!

That evening we rode The Polar Express to the North Pole and back!

While we were waiting to board the train the kids colored pictures for Santa.

And even mailed them.
Josh, Jon, Natalie, Mackenzie, her friend, and Tyler.

On the train!

Waiting for the Conductor to punch our tickets!

The Conductor came around and punched our tickets.

We got delicious hot chocolate!

And cookies.

We waved to Santa at the North Pole...then we picked him up!

Tyler danced with the elves.

Mark and I had just as much, if not more, fun as the kids!

Josh even got to put on the Conductors hat. He was so excited!

Santa came around and gave each kid a bell from his sleigh.

All of us in front of our hotel with all the lights lit up. Notice the snow falling. It was the perfect night to go to the North Pole!
After our train ride we went back to the hotel and swam all night.

There is something about kids and goggles that just makes you smile.

Natalies favorite place is in the water.

The kids loved the hot tub. It was snowing outside but being in the "hot pool" was a hit.

The following morning we had breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Natalie still wouldn't go near Santa but she loved Mrs. Claus.

We love vacationing with the Sorensens! We are always in good company with them. And the cousins go crazy together!! It was the perfect way to kick off the season and to get everyone excited for Christmas!!