T Rex Family

T Rex Family

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve 2012...

It is really fun that we're getting into a rhythm of traditions in our own household. We kept thinking what traditions we wanted to instill in our family and they just sort of unfolded on their own.

For Christmas Eve eve we spend the evening with T Rex Dad's family at his parents house. It was a grand time - very laid back and the kids' favorite food for dinner...pizza!

This morning we woke up, had a slow start to the morning and then went about a fairly normal day. We met up with my family for a brisk walk downtown, some lunch, and present deliveries. We opted to skip naps so the kids would not have any issues falling asleep early as Santa was very clear when he met with the kids that he does not stop if kids are peeking or not in bed. Plus, both kids have had a lingering cough which is quite disruptive to their sleep. We've all struggled with this virus but at least it was not influenza A like my nephew had this past week.

The kids watched a Santa movie while I stitched up one last project for T Rex Dad. Of course, no project plan survives contact with the enemy. I ran out of fabric and had to improvise. I hope he likes the finished project.

Then downstairs we went to make gingerbread cookies for Santa.


After dinner and baths, we checked on Santa's progress via Norad and then snuggled under blankets in front of the television and watched A Charlie Brown Christmas.

We put out the cookies for Santa.

Then T Rex told us why we give presents at Christmas ("Because it's Jesus' birthday). For the full accounting I will post the video (it is only a minute long). It melts my heart that he knows and loves the story so much.

The kids managed to make it to bed before Santa even hit North America. We are really hoping for a good rest, kids who are feeling better, and lots of excitement in the morning.

Merry Christmas to All and to All a Good Night.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Count Down to Christmas...2012

We pulled out our Nativity calendar - a creation of mine from last year (when I saw them I noticed how much my crafting skills have grown in the past year). Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus stand at the top while stars count the way to Jesus' arrival. The kids love this and were so excited when we pulled it out. 

In addition, this year we added a daily activity or prize associated with each star. It has really upped the excitement level engaging the kids interest on a daily basis. Here are more details on this Advent activity count down.

- I wrapped several of our Christmas/winter themed books which are stored with our Christmas things. These are some of the "prizes". Sometimes I pair a book with a movie, too. The books include Berenstain Bears books with a Christmas theme. Other current favorites include A Child's Christmas Story and In the Stable. Movies include Veggie Tales with Christmas themes or Rudolph or Frosty or Charlie Brown Christmas. The Veggie Tales show about St. Nicholas was a favorite of mine. It ties Christmas and Santa together. 

- Some of the activities include crafts like crafting snowflakes or making cotton snowmen. (We're still holding out to build a real life snowman but so far we haven't had much snow.

T's on the left, Lil Sister's on the right. She insisted her showman's hat be upside down to be more girlish.

- One of the favorite prizes was a felt portable Nativity set.

- We also selected tags off the Christmas tree downtown and purchased the gifts asked for on those tags. The kids had a great time picking out toys. They also selected several of their own toys that were in good shape to donate, too. Then they enjoyed delivering them, too.

- Our Santa visit was one of the first outings we enjoyed. Other outings include live Nativity play and a trip is planned to the botanical garden which is all "a-glow". (The Winter Garden-a-Glow is generally a posting in and of itself. Stay tuned.)

The kids wanted to see the baby Jesus after the production was over.
Brother keeping his sister warn during the show. Also comforting her - she was literally moved to tears. She's turning into a rather sensitive young lady.

- Also choosing a live Christmas tree and the later decorating it were also activities. The kids were so excited to get out their stockings and hear about how I came home on Christmas wrapped in my stocking. (I still wrap up the activities in colored envelops stating what we were going to do.) On a side note - this is the first year since we've had kids that we've had a live Christmas tree not on a card table out of reach. I have to say, the kids have been great about the tree, too.


- Some of the prizes are just that - prizes such as stuffed gingerbread men or stickers. Somehow they are more exciting when wrapped.

- The kids and I made a gingerbread house and then took it to our Auntie who is severely ill. That was a great visit and also on the activity list. She has been housebound due to her illness and has not been able to partake of any Christmas festivities. Thus, we took some to her. When the kids delivered the house to her T Rex  did a beautiful reading of one their favorite Christmas books which accounts the first Christmas. Auntie really appreciated it and was so proud of his reading. Later Lil Sis pulled out her tea set and she and her princess dolls had tea with Auntie. It was a great visit.

We're having a lot of fun with our count down Advent Activity event. I'll post more as the activities and prizes transpire. In the interim, we hope you are all having a wonderful season enjoying this special and magical time of year.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Market 2012

As I have previously mentioned, I have been taking a bit of a break from blogging to work on some other projects. Here are some photos of those projects that I completed for the Bishop Kelly Christmas Market. This was for my nephew's school and I had the pleasure of working a booth with my mom and sis. (Yes, I also crocheted the snowflakes on the shirts.)

We had two months to pull everything together. Here are the photos of the crocheted items I made. (My mom did some crocheting and sewing) and my sister hand painted cards.

I love their faces.

The white elephant was a big hit.

"I want a hippopotamus for Christmas" - also another favorite and my personal favorite.

This was the big seller - 5 sets total.

Tinkerbell style fairy - you cannot see her wings from this angle.

Sock monkey hats were also big sellers, too.

These are modeled after the kids.

I love this photo of my mom concentrating. She was truly the best salesperson of them all.
It was truly fun to pull together to craft items to sell as part of the benefit for raising money for the school and specifically for my nephew's baseball team. It was especially fun working on this with my mom and sister. This project did consume the majority of my free time the past couple months and I am still finishing up a few special requests that need to be completed before Christmas. The pressure is somewhat off but I will not have much left over time to make the items I want for my family. However, for 2013's market I plan to start early. In fact, I picked up some supplies just today.

A special thank you to T Rex Dad for all his help and patience with my constant crafting.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Santa Visit 2012

It was the best year ever!!!

If you want to remember last year, you can go here. It was not so great. No smiles, long lines, and not so much fun. Oh, not to mention the expensive cost for an unflattering 5X7 photo that is hidden in the back of a scrap book. 

This year, some friends invited us to a private visit with Santa. It was awesome. There was no hurry, the kids were surrounded by warm faces and smiling friends, they watched their friends go up and visit Santa, and they were totally prepared and eager for their visit. Oh, and Santa totally rocks.

Waiting their turn and watching the other kids.

T Rex asked Santa how he was doing, how Mrs. Claus was, and how the reindeer were doing. He told him he was well, Mrs. Claus was well but very busy with the elves getting ready for Christmas, and the reindeer were all practicing their reindeer games. He reminded both kids to go to bed early on Christmas Eve and not to peek or he would not come.

T Rex asked for some Star Wars legos. Santa reminded him that legos are many small pieces and he had to be good about picking them up. (Good thing we just purchased bins for that exact purpose!) Lil Sis was not the least bit shy. She just kept smiling at him. She asked for a big princess castle and was so happy to get a candy cane as when we were driving over she had asked if he might be giving them out. We're not sure where she heard that but she very happy accepted her candy cane and devoured every bite of it. She also asked to touch his whiskers which Santa happily showed off.

What a great time. It was a perfect way to kick off our count-down to Christmas. We're doing a count down advent event in our family. Every day the kids have a surprise, activity, book, or movie they get to "open". I've wrapped or written them all down with numbers counting backward from 25 and each morning they will go to the piano and pick the appropriate number. Seeing Santa was definitely a bit hit. Actually, it was pretty much the best visit I ever had, too.

Thanks to our friends who allowed for this amazing experience.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Captain America for My Captain America...

I just finished this project in anticipation of my little guy's fifth birthday celebration. There is a story behind it that I wanted to share.

When I was about age three I decided my sister's collectable dolls had funny eyes. I did not like their long eyelashes. Therefore, I took it upon myself to pull all the lashes off her dolls. I recall being quite proud of my work and happily showed my sister when she arrived home from classes (she was in college at the time). My always smiling happy sister was definitely not happy with me. When I explained she stated she understood but tried to explain that it did not make her happy. I recall this as one of my earliest memories. Later my mom had a talk with me about not damaging someone else's property. It really stuck with me my whole life.

Fast forward about 30 years. 

I wanted to craft a Captain America for T Rex as a birthday surprise. I had been trying to work on it while the kids were sleeping but it just seemed that I was running short on time. Therefore, I started working on it while they were awake. He did not really take notice as initially it did not even resemble Captain America but rather one of my other Christmas craft projects.

I am usually pretty obsessive about keeping my craft items and supplies put away out of the reach of small hands. However, Lil Sister needed assistance in the restroom and I placed my items on the couch and stepped away to assist her. When I returned all my lose strings to the head and body of the project had been cut and cut way too short. I inquired of T and he simply stated, "Yes, Mama. I was trying to help you finish your project." 

At that moment I was quite speechless as I could just sense it was one of those key pivotal parenting moments during a stage of life when he would remember what took place. Plus, I was feeling grumpy that my work was nearly ruined. As I said, I was speechless so I called for my hubby to assist. I explained what had happened and he had a short but to-the-point talk with our son.

It seems he really did think he was helping me. In his defense, too, I did leave my stuff unattended and scissors are a big draw these days. We did have a conversation about other people's property and not changing it or defacing it. We praised him for immediately taking responsibility for what he had done. It was tough, however, to explain that the item he has damaged was intended for him and that it may not be ready in time for his birthday. He was pretty crushed over the whole ordeal but I felt good in how we handled it. Discipline is so tough but we just try to remind ourselves that by doing so now, it will lay the ground work for the future.

Well, I did manage to finish the project in time for his birthday celebration. I plan on leaving it by his glasses for him to find in the morning - early for his birthday but perfectly timed for his celebration. However, I was just so excited about how it turned out that I wanted to share my completed project. So thank you for sharing in the excitement with me. Oh, and when I shared my angst over the damaged project my dear mother just hugged me and smiled. Once again, things have come full circle.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Land of the Lost...

The kids don't watch much in the way of shows. However, we do allow a few select ones. The current favorite is from 1974 - The Land of the Lost. It was a Saturday morning show for kids about a family who fell through a time doorway into the "Land of the Lost" where there are dinosaurs and giant lizards (sleestak) as well as plenty of life lessons to be learned. 

The kids have been very much enjoying their viewings and this is how I can find them watching their show...

T Rex likes to suit up as Captain America complete with his giant shield strapped to his back. This way he can protect his sister from the dangerous dinosaurs and sleestak.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Fall Family Photos...

Thanks to our Good Neighbors D and M, we had a nice photo shoot by the river a couple weekends past (my apologies for the delay - lots of crafting going on). The lighting may have been a bit too bright but I guess better too bright than too dark. Oh, and there were lots of shadows, too. However, the fall colors were wonderful and there were still leaves despite the huge wind storm that hit a couple days before the photos were taken.

We are all amateurs and certainly not professionals taking this photos. However, some of them turned out great. What is wonderful is that our kids are getting to the age where we can actually do posed shots. We had their attention for about 15 minutes before we had to get moving. This is huge for us. Historically this has not been something we were able to do.

T Rex's face was intentionally in shadow because if the sun is in his eyes he squints and if we take off his glasses he is very unhappy because he cannot see and the only way he can see is if he crosses his eyes and those don't make good photos.

There are several photos. 

First the group family photos:

Photos of the kids:

The kids wanted to take a turn taking photos:

For the first time in a decade, some photos of us as a couple:

My sweetheart:


Once again, thank you to our Good Neighbors for their photo taking efforts. We very much appreciated it. Now we can pick some for our Christmas cards.