Thursday, December 23, 2010

December Happenings

I'm sure everyone can relate- we have had a very busy month! The holidays aren't supposed to be so busy and stressful and every year I try so hard to try and make that happen, but it just always seems to turn out that way.

But we've had a lot of fun amidst the busyness and stress.

The last 2 days of November, we set up the Christmas tree and decorated the house. The kids love helping put ornaments on the tree. They especially love seeing all of their ornaments from over the years.

Mitch is very good at knowing what are "girl" ornaments and "boy" ones. Anything pink and fairy like are sure not to be his. He is drawn to all of Ben's fun ornaments that he had as a kid- the boy on a motorcycle is Mitch's absolute favorite. It has doubled as a toy this whole month and is found in pieces all over our house. I'm sure it's hard to ride a motorcycle with no arms...

Lexi loved to help unload my Christmas decoration box as she "oohed" and sang to us.

And of course both girls loved the ornaments.

I knew I had to be realistic this year about my expectations with Christmas decorations getting played with, having TWO babies after all. The babies have actually done really, really well. I have let them play with the ornaments, as long as no breakable/glass ones are brought on the tile floor. Mitchell is actually the worst offender- I find ornaments all over the house that he has pulled off, played with and left.

I keep some soft, kid friendly Christmas toys nearby that the kids are allowed to play with anywhere and at anytime, and that helps tremendously.

All done with the tree!

I would love to have a big, full, very tall beautiful "Mom" tree someday with all matching ornaments and beautiful ribbon, but I really do love trees with mismatching, random kid ornaments. I love adding new ones each year and love the memories that come back as we hang each ornament, remembering who's ornament it is, who gave it to them, and what year they received it.

At the beginning of December, we found out Mitch was allergic to amoxicillin. This picture does not do justice to the terrible rash he had from head to toe (every individual finger included). It didn't bother him at all, but he looked hideous to take out in public.

This month our sweet little babies have become extra mobile and extra fun in their playing. Leah especially loves to walk behind anything she can get to move. She really is pushing Lexi in this picture- it is hilarious to watch.

"Sharing" another riding toy

Leah, using an empty toy box to "walk."

The girls love crawling over to the back door to "talk" to Daisy. Whenever they pound on the glass, she comes running. When she feels like it, Leah can even say "Daisy."

On the first Saturday in December, we went and saw Santa.

Mitchell was very anxious to talk to Santa (no fear), and let him know that he'd like some "crashing cars." No one else really understands him when he says this, but Santa knew just what he was saying.

And our group shot turned out just as expected. Lexi could not stop staring at Santa- it was quite cute. We had a very hard time getting her attention to turn around and look at the camera. And Leah would rather get coal in her stocking then ever sit with Santa again.

At least Santa could smile about it. Poor Leah...

Our best attempt at getting everyone to look at the camera.

On the 16th, Chloe's kindergarten class had an evening Christmas performance.
Oh, was this cute! This is our first school concert of any sort and it was so much fun.

They sang songs and did actions for a short and sweet 25 minute performance. Chloe knew every word and every action perfectly and wasn't afraid to perform, but in between each song she would nervously whisper to the boy standing next to her. He wasn't even listening most of the time, but it helped her feel better.
Can you guess what word they are all singing here? (Ho, ho ho).

This is our 6th Christmas in this house and we finally put lights up outside for the first time this year. Nothing big or super fancy, but I love it.

Ben did a great job. It didn't hurt that he has a brand new ladder to help motivate him to hang them quickly (and early in the month). I need to think of more projects he can do for me that involve using his ladder and they will be done in no time, I'm sure.

My biggest time consuming project of December was our ward Christmas party. I have been on the committee for over a year, but was recently called as the head of the committee. Being the one in charge is definitely different than just being on the committee and getting to help where needed, especially for our ward's biggest party of the year. And unfortunately I am not very crafty. Luckily, I had a wonderful committee of woman who helped like crazy and filled in where I am creatively challenged.

Our theme was "Christmas in Whoville" with inspiration from Dr. Suess's "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."

All of the ward members were encouraged to come to the breakfast and party dressed like "Whos." Here are my two oldest "Whos" dressed as who-like as I had time for that morning.

We handed out head boppers for all the youth and children to help them get into the Who-spirit!

We have lots of talent in our ward, thank goodness! One very talented sister in our ward painted our Whoville banner. Isn't it amazing? It turned out so cute.

After a delicious breakfast (ever had huckleberry pancakes??), we put on the skit "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." Our stage was set up with a chimney for the grinch to come in and out of, a table full of Who-food- who hash, who pudding and a roast beast, and a tree with gifts.

Who-like trees

I didn't have any time to get any pictures of our Grinch, Cindy-lou Who or any of the other Whos, but they all looked amazing and did such a great job in the skit.

Leah, one of my favorite Whos. Poor baby- she gets a bad wrap around church. Every time anyone sees her, it seems, she is crying. I feel like no one knows how really sweet and wonderful she can be. I promise, this little sweetie CAN be happy. She is prone to cry and has a hard time adjusting to new places and people other than her family outside of our house, but she has a really sweet and wonderful side too.

Lexi loved her head bopper.

After church the next day, we finally got a group shot of all our Whos. I feel like my kids should have these head boppers on permanently sometimes... our house is truly another planet.

With the Ward party over with (whew!), I have since been able to (try) and catch up on things things I have been neglecting (my poor, poor house). But I loved doing a Grinch theme because of the truly wonderful message it has for the Christmas season:

"Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!
'Maybe Christmas,' he thought, 'doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas... perhaps... means a little bit more.' "

We know that "little bit more" is our Savior, Jesus Christ and the celebration of his birth and life. We love Santa just as much as the next family, but we are trying hard to teach our children the true meaning of Christmas. How sweet it is to hear them talking about baby Jesus and Mary and Joseph, and asking what frankincense and myrrh are, in between all the Santa and gift talk.

Just 2 more days and we can't wait! Happy December to all.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Chloe turns 6!

Chloe turned 6 last Thursday. Am I really old enough to have a 6 year old?? I know Ben is, but I don't think I am! :)

Boy has it been a fun six years. This little ball of energy has brought so much life into our home. She always has something to say and always wants to be doing something. She is the world's biggest helper- I really do not think that any 6 year old does quite what she does. She truly is the second mom in this house. She can successfully get the babies out of their beds, put them in their high chairs, feed them a complete meal, change their diapers (no poopy ones, though and I don't blame her), buckle them in and out of their car seats, supervise them while I am occupied, reads books to them and plays with them and loves them like no one else. She recently sat next to Leah on a 2.5 hour car trip back from Portland and entertained her the entire way home. It was the best car trip with Leah to date!

She can pretty much do anything for Mitchell that he requests of her and although she gets tired of being his slave sometimes, she mostly is quite happy to oblige to his demands.

(I know what you all are thinking- if Chloe does all this, what do YOU do, Carrie?)

Some of her favorite things right now:

*School- this girl loves kindergarten. It is the best thing that has happened to her and she couldn't be more excited that it is every day. We got very nice reports from her teacher at parent-teacher conference a few weeks ago. She is doing very well academically and in the top reading group. Her only struggle is accidently blurting out in class rather than raising her hand (that came as no surprise to her parents). Her teacher said she loves to talk and needs to be reminded occasionally to get back to work, but other than that is doing great.

*Riding her bike- she loves to ride bikes, scooters and anything else that moves, especially since she learned to ride 2 wheels this summer.

*Loves to read and be read to. She is picking up new words daily and loves to sound things out and write every word she knows on paper.

*Loves playing with her baby sisters.

On Chloe's birthday, we started off the celebrating by going to Red Robin, Chloe's favorite restaurant. We all love that place, and it doesn't hurt that they give away free meals to the birthday person for their birthday.

Chloe ordered the mac and cheese and apple slices with a root beer. Cheesy smile for a cheesy dinner!

She and Mitchell were thrilled when they saw "Red" the bird coming around to pass out balloons to all the kids. Here is Mitch waving to him.

The waiters came and sang Happy Birthday to her at the end and gave her an ice cream sundae. She wasn't quite as embarrassed this year as she was last year, only because she knew it was coming this time. She still didn't make eye contact with anyone during the singing, though.

Notice Lexi and Leah's shirts- covered in mac and cheese sauce! Lexi's hair is even crusty and sticking out because she rubbed cheese sauce all over in it. Mac and cheese without bibs in a restaurant is very messy. (You should have seen the table). But they were happy.

Chloe got to hand out birthday "treats" at Kindergarten. They aren't allowed to bring in any food, so she took little Christmas erasers instead. Her teacher also made her this birthday crown to wear as well.

We headed upstairs to open gifts this year (instead of downstairs). This is what Chloe found waiting for her in the loft- her bed sheets covering her gifts.

Underneath (as you can see in the background) was a new craft table and storage drawer for all her crafts, paper and games. She loves coloring, drawing, cutting, painting and doing anything with paper. Inside the drawers of her storage bin were a few small gifts.

She loves it!

We decided to let Chloe have a friend party this year as well. She had one when she turned 4 two years ago, and I think once every other year is plenty (for me, anyway).

We hemmed and hawed over a good "theme" for the party- Chloe came up with literally 50 themes (most of them very random and off the wall). I finally suggested a Pizza Party theme and she loved it.

For the invitations, we went to a local pizzeria and got mini pizza boxes, then decorated the outsides of them.

Inside we put a paper pizza invitation

Our stack of pizzas ready to be delivered!

On the Saturday after her birthday, the 4th, we had her pizza party. Welcome to Chloe's Pizzeria!

Watching for the guests to arrive!

7 little friends came, plus Mitchell.

We started off by giving each girl her own individual mini pizza dough to make their own pizza just how they like it.

Everyone put cheese on and the most popular toppings were pineapple and pepperoni. I don't know why I bothered, but no one touched the green peppers or onions (except me).

While we were waiting for the pizzas to bake, the girls played "Pin the Mushroom on the pizza." After being spun around 6 times (one spin for every year Chloe is) the girls were a little off balance and some headed far away from the pizza with their mushrooms.

It was quite funny to watch each girl put the mushroom where she thought the middle of the pizza was!

In the next game, I timed each girl to see how quickly they could put a wooden pizza together, put toppings on it, then cut it apart.

We also played "I'm going to make a pizza and I'm going to put ____ on it." Each girl had to name a topping, then the next girl in line had to name all the previous toppings and then add one of their own, trying to remember what everyone had said. I told the girls they could use real toppings or non-edible ones. At the end, our pizza had onions, pepperonis, pineapples, an elephant and some hair, among other things.

FINALLY it was time to eat. And these little girls ATE. Wow- there was only 2 girls that didn't finish their pizzas.

Chloe opened her gifts next and got lots of cute, fun things. I love how excited each girl was when their gift was open and they'd yell "That one is from me!"

Before cake and ice cream, I had the girls do some jumping jacks and push ups to make room for dessert.

Cake time! Here is the "pizza" cupcake cake.

After eating so much pizza, I didn't know how well the girls would eat dessert. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised, but they ate and ate again. Lots of second helpings on ice cream and cupcakes. That's my kind of girls!

With just a few minutes left before their parents were due to arrive, we put on a Tinkerbell movie and the girls spread out and relaxed until their rides came. Notice the birthday girl plopped herself right in the middle...

We sent the guests home with mini pizza sugar cookies, and their left over pizza (which wasn't much). Chloe spent the remainder of the afternoon and evening playing with her new loot.

What a great 6 years it has been with our busy, beautiful Chloe. Happy Birthday to my BIG girl!