December 24, 2012

Day 24: Favorite part of Christmas Eve
  Here are the kids in their new Christmas pajamas, made by my mom.  Can you imagine making pjs for 24 kids every year?  She's amazing.  And I know that she puts thought into them, because she knows my girls love nightgowns, especially the silky ones.  Shelbi got a silky gown one year when she was about six and I'm pretty sure she wore it for three straight years, no matter that it didn't fit anymore.
  Coming in at a close second as my favorite part of Christmas Eve is our tradition of ordering pizza for dinner.  As crazy as Christmas Eve can get, it sure is nice to not have to think about dinner.

December 23, 2012

(Day 23's picture is supposed to be "scarf,"  but that's lame.  Who wants to see a picture of a scarf?)

December 22, 2012

Day 22: Tradition

 Our tradition is actually to make gingerbread houses on Christmas Eve, but Jeff has to work that day this year so we did them a few days early.
  This little trick has changed the way we make our ginger houses forever.  I saw it in a magazine a couple of years ago.  You just melt sugar in an old frying pan and use it as the glue for the houses.  The kids came up with their own house plans.  I helped them cut their graham crackers and Jeff and I constructed the houses.  It's too dangerous for the kids to do themselves, but it's quick work and dries nearly instantly.  There's no more houses collapsing from wimpy frosting and the kids can just concentrate on adding as much candy as they possibly can. 

December 21, 2012

  I got to go to all three school kids' class Christmas parties this year, but only got a picture of Erik.  I couldn't resist the green frosting on his chin and how awesome he thought it was to decorate his own bookmark.  He came right home and put it in the middle of a book, just to test it out.

Day 21: Peace
This isn't the original painting that I wanted to post.  A few weeks ago I was feeling especially discouraged and uneasy about things in the world, only to be compounded by the tragedy in Connecticut.  I happened upon a painting of Jesus Christ with a simple caption of "Prince on Peace."  I don't think that it was an accident that I saw it at this time.  I can't find it again for the life of me.  But the painting isn't really what mattered.  It was more about the feeling of calm and a reminder of where I can find peace, even when the world is far from it.

December 20, 2012

  Today Erik turned six.  I don't think he feels slighted yet by having a birthday so close to Christmas.  I'm sure someday he'll realize that it would be better to have the days spread apart in the year, but what are you going to do about it?

 He has been asking for a skateboard for months.  This was his reaction when Ryan gave him one.
Erik is a boy who plays by the rules and feels uncomfortable when he's around others who don't.  For instance, if he knows there's going to be a conflict on a tv show he's watching, he'll hide behind the couch so he doesn't have to see it.  He loves sherbet, playing the Wii, and tackling (or being tackled).  And he makes great sound effects with his mouth.  Boy, am I glad he's in our family.

Day 20: Tree Topper

December 19, 2012

  Sydney informed me that she keeps getting jipped when it's her day to choose an advent activity because it always happens to be a busy day and we don't have time to do anything fun.  So I promised her that today we could do something more than "Eat a candy cane."  She wanted to decorate sugar cookies.
  They liked frosting and "sprinkling" the cookies, but no one actually likes eating sugar cookies at our house.  I'll just end up throwing them all away in a couple of days.  We'll just consider this a craft project.

Day 19: Candy Cane

December 18, 2012

Day 18: Stockings
   When Shelbi was one year old, my mom made her a stocking (third from the left).  Years later I made stockings for the rest of us to match.  Poor Bailey.  I haven't made her's yet.  It's been on my to-do list for about a month now.  It might just be too late.  Next year.

December 17, 2012

Day 17: Presents

December 16, 2012

  Our advent activity was chosen by Ryan today.  He wanted to make snowflakes.  Jeff grabbed the camera and took this shot.  Making snowflakes is very serious business...

Day 16: Outside Christmas lights

December 15, 2012

  Today was Erik's very first birthday party.  He was thrilled to be the host, showing his friends where the toys were and just generally being in charge.  These are his best friends at school.  Daily I hear about what "color" each of these kids was on and what games they played at recess.  It's a highlight of my day.

Day 15: My favorite Christmas song

December 14, 2012

Day 14: Christmas Tree

December 13, 2012

  Today was Spelling Bee day.  Not my favorite.  But as I got to thinking about this, I decided it's a good thing that schools still have Spelling Bees.  It seems like there's so much emphasis these days on making all the kids equal and being careful not to let any child feel inferior in any way.  Too much coddling.  But a Spelling Bee allows kids to experience a competition where there is only one winner, and that person is usually someone who worked hard.  It's a good lesson.
  I won't reveal what a bad parent I am for not having a lot of confidence in Sydney's spelling.  I wouldn't dare tell you that Jeff and I were nervous that she might not even be able to spell her practice round word.  I will tell you that she's not necessarily a natural speller.  So, needless to say, I wasn't very nervous about today because my expectations were low.  (Wow, that sounds terrible.)  She made it through the first round, spelling "end," and got out on "amass" the second round.  She wasn't heartbroken, so I'd call it a success.
She's wearing yellow and black because she wanted to look like a bee.
 We also got to go to Shelbi's Christmas band concert.  It was short and sweet.  She has loved taking band and learning the flute and is pretty good at it, if I do say so myself.

Day 13: Family
Getting ice cream following the concert

December 12, 2012

Day 12: A beautiful sight...
...we're happy tonight
 (because it's 9:10, the kids are in bed and we're reclining on the couch in our pjs.)

December 11, 2012

  Apparently there were other visitors that first Christmas who weren't mentioned in the Bible.

Day 11: Green

December 10, 2012

Day 10: Wrapping paper

December 9, 2012

  Notice anything missing?  We've been anxious for this tooth to come out because the permanent tooth has already come in behind it.  As you can see, the other bottom tooth is barely hanging on too.  Luckily, the Tooth Fairy actually remembered to come.

Day 9: Something I'm reading
  This book was a staple on our coffee table at Christmas time when I was growing up.  I bought it a few years ago to read to my kids.  I remembered how it ends and tried my hardest to not cry, but I couldn't get through it.  We're reading it again this year.  It takes three or four nights to get through.  Tomorrow will be the last night.  I may have Jeff read it because I'm sure I'll tear up again.

December 8, 2012

Day 8: Ornament

December 5, 2012

  When you can't quite get any more pudding out with your spoon, 
use your hands.

Day 5: My temperature today (tonight)

December 4, 2012

   This year in school Sydney is a member of the Honor Choir.  The kids have to try out to be on it and then be at rehearsals twice a week after school.  Tonight was their Christmas concert at the Amarillo Botanical Gardens.  I didn't even know this place existed.  The setting was lovely with all the Christmas lights, but not very convenient for the audience, as the kids weren't on any sort of risers or stage.  I was lucky enough to be sitting on the ground in the front where I had a good shot of Sydney.  She took the concert very seriously, hardly taking her eyes off the conductor.  But afterwards she was all smiles.

Day 4: Joyous

December 3, 2012

  This year we've started an advent activity that Jeff did with his family growing up.  Tonight we decorated envelopes for each day remaining until Christmas.  Each envelope holds an activity to do with the family for that day.  I imagine most days will be simple activities like "Drink hot chocolate," or "Drive around to see Christmas lights."  Erik has already decided that on the 18th we're going to look at our stockings.
Day 3: Red

December 2, 2012

   Tonight we decked the indoor halls.  I noticed Bailey was taking all her ornaments to the back of the tree.  This is what I found:
 I plan on leaving it just as it is.

Day 2: My favorite Christmas movie  
(This shirt depicts one of my favorite lines from Elf.  It's a very quotable movie.)

December 1, 2012

 December 1st, Jeff is hanging Christmas lights in shorts.  Today was gorgeous--mid 70s.  And now our house is gorgeous too, thanks to Jeff and Shelbi's light hanging skills.
   Look who showed up on our doorstep tonight.  The picture's a little fuzzy, but I wanted to get a shot of the kids opening the door to Santa.  What you don't see is Erik, who made a b-line to hide behind our bed when he saw Santa.  He's not necessarily afraid of him, it just rocked his sense of order when we had this unexpected guest.

  And finally, I'm trying something different for December.  I saw this list of picture-a-day ideas and thought it would be kind of fun.  

My view today, taken from the upstairs loft just before I went to bed: