Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas 2011

Round one of Christmas started Friday night with the extended family coming to our house.

The kids played a fun game with dice, oven mitts, and a present wrapped several times.

Hannah got to the prize inside! Luckily, everyone was a winner and they all won Reese's trees!

Then the adults played games that my cousin, Beth, and I planned.

Last we played a game with white elephant gifts. It was too much fun! There is always a lot of screaming, laughing, and fun when our family gets together.

Here is a random picture of Ava in a new outfit!

Round 2 of Christmas took place at my mom's with my family, my brother's family, and my parents. We started off with breakfast and there was enough food to feed an army! It was all so good!

Then Grammy and Papa got each family a new book. Papa always reads the bible story out of the bible every year. However, this book was one of those where you can record your voice reading the story, and it just so happened to be the Christmas story from the bible. My mom and dad took turns recording their voice reading the story. What an incredible gift that the girls will treasure for the rest of their lives!

Then it was present time, and boy, where there presents! I think Grammy and Papa spoil their grandkids!

Round 3 of Christmas involved Santa. He showed up on schedule on Christmas Eve, and he did not disappoint.

The girls went straight to their Kindle Fires, and did not see much else Santa brought for several minutes.

They they emptied their stockings and Miley's stocking.

After the girls saw what Santa brought, they wanted to dive into the presents from us so Elia played Santa and passed them out.

Miley got to open her presents first.

Then the girls wanted to open a certain present they have had their eye on every since it appeared under the tree. Thank goodness it was what they wanted, an Xbox Kinect!

Then it was time to open the rest of the presents!

I think it is safe to say the girls had a great Christmas!!! (and we still have Round 4 tonight with Kevin's side of the family!)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Baking Day- December Theme Dinner?

As everyone knows, December can be a crazy, busy month. I had good intentions to carry on with our monthly theme dinner even though things are busy. However, it just didn't happen so I decided to cheat a little and call our baking day our theme dinner for December.

We baked the Thursday before Christmas, and I had two very excited helpers to assist me.

We even found our elves sitting among all our ingredients the morning of our baking day.

Here are the girls about 5 minutes after we got started:

Here they are about 30 minutes into baking:

And an hour into it:

And an hour and ten minutes into baking:

I was surprised they lasted as long as they did, but considering it took me about 5 hours, I completely understand why they abandoned me.

I managed to make 8 different things, and I only had to throw one out. LOL! The Snickers popcorn we made just didn't turn out quite right.

We ended the day with pretzel rolo bites:

Seasoned oyster crackers:

Peanut Butter Reese's cookies:

Frozen Banana bites: (which I forgot to pull out of the freezer for our family party.)

Chocolate toffee:

Peanut butter balls:

and brownie rolo bites:

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Our Christmas Vacation

Elia just turned 9, and Ava just turned 7. We knew there was not much time left for those magical Christmas memories so we decided to take a little vacation over our Christmas break. We left Sunday, and drove 7 hours to Stone Mountain, Georgia. They have a lot of fun things to do at Christmas! It was like a little Christmas village with decorations and lights everywhere. It truly was magical! I was a little worried that Elia would think she was "too grown" for some of the events, but she ended up being glued to everything we saw and did.

The girls got to hear stories from Mrs. Claus.

They got to shop in a candy shop.

The lights at Stone Mountain were so pretty as the sun went down!

We also saw a Christmas parade with the Snow Angel, floats, and of course, Santa and Mrs. Claus.

We saw a very fun show called Toyrific. It was very cute!!!!

One of the highlights of my night was getting to stand under the mistletoe with Kevin!

Some other fun things we did at Stone Mountain Christmas included watching the Polar Express in a 4D experience, drank the best (and most expensive) hot chocolate, and ate dinner at a restaurant where they throw rolls.

As you can see Ava, had too much fun! She could barely keep her eyes open as we waited for Kevin to open our hotel room door.

The girls loved our hotel room at Stone Mountain Inn. It really was one of the biggest hotel rooms I have ever seen!

Day 2
Once we woke up, we drove about 30 minutes to the American Girl Store. We had never been so we didn't know what to expect! The place was a madhouse. There were moms everywhere buying up all kinds of dolls and doll clothes. Too bad I didn't think of American Girls!

Elia and Ava have had their dolls for a couple of years now so their dolls hair was a little messed up. It was time they took a visit to the beauty shop. It was fun watching the dolls get their hair done.

Ava also got her doll's ears' pierced, and each doll got a brand new outfit! Ava chose a cheerleader outfit and Elia chose a basketball outfit (no surprises there!).

Kevin even helped get the dolls dressed in their new clothes after lunch.

Once we left the mall, we had two very happy girls!

We drove 2 hours to Chattanooga where we had even more fun. Our hotel room was much smaller but much more fun! We got to spend the night in a train car!

Once we got checked into our train car, we went to visit Santa. (The picture will be mailed in a few days.) Then we went to the Elf Workshop. We met an elf there named "County" because he is in charge of counting all the presents for Santa. Here are some pictures from the Elf Workshop complete with mailing one last letter to Santa.

Once we ate dinner, it was time to head to the North Pole. We boarded the train about 7:30. The girls were SO excited!

The ride started off with a story from one of Santa's helpers.

Then we had gingerbread cookies and Yohoo chocolate drink. (I guess Santa did not want the liability of hot chocolate on his train.)

Once we went through the magic tunnel, we were at the North Pole. We got to see Santa's warehouse and all the stalls of all the reindeer. Then we saw the big man himself, Santa Clause. I love this picture of Ava looking out the train window trying to get a peek of Santa.

Santa boarded the train and visited with every child on board.

He gave each child a bell from his sleigh. The tag that was attached to the bell said that he will always come and visit as long as you hear the bell.

On the way back to Chattanooga, we sang Christmas carols, and the girls got a hand stamp to show they had visited the North Pole.

As we got off the train, the girls got a picture with the conductor.

We had been back in our room for about 30 minutes when there was a knock at the door. It was two of Santa's elves ready to tuck us in for bed. They read a story about Rudolph, and did a silly routine of tucking in the girls. It was so fun to hear my sweet girls laughing! The elves even had a gift of a Christmas Pez dispenser for the girls.

Day 3
It was time for us to make the 5 hour drive back to Memphis. First, we had to stop by the Moon Pie store. Kevin said it was for the girls but he secretly loves Moon Pies!

This was truly a trip I will never forget! There were so many years I spent so many Christmas breaks and Christmas mornings without kids. Those were some of my darkest and saddest days. I know the real reason of Christmas is not about Santa, presents, and fun kid things. However, I have always longed for children to love and share these magical moments. I think sharing these moments make the true miracle of Christmas that much more real for me and my girls!!!!