Tuesday, November 30, 2010

FINALLY beginning to look like Christmas!

It's normally our tradition to set up our Christmas decorations the day after Thanksgiving. (After the Black Friday sales of course). But since we were travelling this year, we knew we were going to have to wait. So our next plan was to set it up on Sunday night. But that got scrapped because I had to have a children's choir rehearsal at the last minute that wasn't originally scheduled. I was quite conflicted - thought many times about just doing it while the kids were at school. Knew it would be faster and quicker. Thought about setting it all up with David after they went to bed, but that wouldn't be fair either. They were so looking forward to it, and so I decided we'd just suffer through a late night on a school night. We hurried through dinner as fast as possible and then got to work!

I'm not sure what Caleb thought we were doing, but he was sure enjoying it.
The boys enjoyed pretending they were in a coffin - gross.

They all went upstairs and changed into their robes. (Callie's robe came from a neighbor with some other hand-me-downs. She was SO excited to have a robe like her big brothers!) Isn't God good!! :)
Josiah provided some atmosphere for us by playing some Christmas music.
Playing with the nativity set - one of my FAVORITE things to watch my kids with during Christmas time. Lots of great memories of my sisters and I arranging and rearranging the nativity set growing up. My mom bought us all the same starter set and gives us each a new piece each year. I LOVE it!
Hanging the ornaments!

Callie got to hang the angel this year! Now off to bed and I can finish up tomorrow! :)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Happy 8th Birthday (your REAL birthday!) Josiah!

I must admit, I had a hard time gearing up AGAIN to celebrate Josiah's birthday. I felt like we had celebrated already over and over....and coming right off of vacation and into a Sunday morning, I wasn't totally jumping for joy to celebrate again. We had already had his birthday party with ALL his friends before we left for vacation, had cupcakes with his class, and celebrated at my Mom's house before heading home. But I knew he needed to have a special day and so I took a deep breath and did a few little things so he knew he was loved on HIS day.

He's the only one that truly appreciates a "hot now" Krispy Kreme doughnut. Mmm. Mouth watering just thinking about it.

We had saved a few of his presents so that he had something to open.
My sweet friend Beth sent the boys matching bathrobes for their birthdays. We've never had robes - any of us. But they were BEYOND excited! They were excited to have an option other than "get dressed" and I was happy they wouldn't come downstairs in their underwear anymore!! (and since i'm posting this after the fact, I can testify that they wear these ALL the time!!)
Callie - performing with her microphone (aka wii remote)
Happy Birthday Josiah! I can't believe that you are 8 years old already. You have grown so much this year - not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually. I have been so proud to watch you grow and blossom this year. You have grown so much more confident and self-assured this year, and I am SO thankful for that. For a long time you were so shy and reserved, but this year you have really been more sure of yourself and have reached out and made some wonderful friends. You are alot like me - more naturally cautious, black and white, and a rule-follower. Those traits will serve you well, but don't ever let them keep you in a box either. Don't be so set in keeping the rules that you lose sight of loving people. God has big plans for you Josiah. Always follow Him first, and He will guide your paths and make them straight. I love you, my sweet Josiah David!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Headed home again...

It was SO great of Mom to let us stop by her house for an extra day with her. We totally loved seeing her again and getting to "break in" her new kitchen with her! It was so special to be able to celebrate Thanksgiving to her - and very kind of her to delay it a day until we got there on Friday! :)
This turkey centerpiece was given to Mom at a biblestudy she was a part of in Hawaii (where I was just a toddler). We've had it every year at Thanksgiving and I'm always happy to see it out again each year! :) Yes, I'm a little crazy about traditions! :)

Back on the road and headed home. What a WONDERFUL vacation! We have always loved going away the week of Thanksgiving. It truly feels like a break for us - a good time for us to get away and regroup before Christmas hits full swing with musicals and concerts that David & I are both in charge of...plus all the regular Christmas stuff. We loved being away!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Celebrating Thanksgiving at Tutu's

We had decided long ago to take advantage of being so close to my mom's house (our timeshare was only 2 hours away) and stop by to see her on our way home. So we checked out of our timeshare a day early and drove to her house on Friday morning. We arrived to the smells of Thanksgiving!!! She had just completed her kitchen remodel and it was beautiful!!! (Sadly, this is the only picture I got of it....I was a little distracted I guess!) All new appliances, beautiful cabinets, granite counters - GORGEOUS!
Mom and I were talking in the kitchen and completing the side dishes for Thanksgiving when we turned around and found Caleb had climbed up to the kitchen table. He's no dummy - he knows where a good place at Tutu's house is! :)
We enjoyed our Thanksgiving meal (a day late) with Mom. It was a real treat because we ate on her mother's china - Fostoria. She now has a place in her kitchen to display it, and so it was the first time I'd ever seen all of it! Very sweet memory for me. (again, no pictures...so sad)
We celebrated Josiah's coming birthday that night...

Mom found these cute little turkey ice cream desserts from Baskin-Robbins. Since Josiah was born on Thanksgiving day, we thought it very appropriate! :)

Mom has a tradition of getting all of the grandkids their very own towel for when they visit her at her house. I always love going upstairs and seeing all 4 of the kids' towels out! :)

After bathtime, Mom surprised all the kids with new jammies...
poor caleb...
there's ALWAYS a piano lesson involved when Tutu's involved :)

he looks really guilty, doesn't he? :)
i wonder how Josiah enjoyed playing piano with a bunch of kids at his feet?

A very NON-traditional Thanksgiving

We woke up on Thursday morning to begin a very fun, but very non-traditional Thanksgiving day! This was our last full day at the timeshare, and we had some very fun things in store...none of which included cooking all day in the kitchen for 4 kids who don't really care about the whole feast anyways! :)

Started off with a little parade viewing...Callie loved the dancers the best! :)
Made sausage balls for Josiah specifically - they're his favorite! :)

We headed to go explore around Luray Caverns. David LOVES caves and caverns and thought the boys would REALLY enjoy this. Callie had her two babies along with her too :)

Caleb was excited about walking all through it - but nearly made me lose my mind trying to keep him contained. He's not a "wild child" at all, but trying to keep a 14 month old quiet (he is a happy squealer) and SLOW while you are with a guided tour is near impossible. I kept saying to mysef "everyone is having such a good time...just suck it up and keep caleb and callie from falling off the side of the trail into a pit of the cavern and you'll be successful". I didn't really get to "enjoy" it like everyone else did, needless to say...
I can't remember way Jacob was "in a mood" but he apparently was. Everyone got to wear a headset, and the kids had special ones. Their headset tour had them look for really cool things and they were TOTALLY into it!! David said eventually he switched over from the adult channe to the kids channel because it was more fun and interesting! :)

Can you see the little green sign in the distance? Every so often we'd be walking on the path and stop at these green signs. They would punch in a number on their headsets and then hear the info pertinent to where they were standing. It did look very cool...but again I was just trying to keep my toddler and 3 year old alive and trying to minimize their distracting of everyone else.
See her face? She looks so cute with her blonde ponytails...and then she makes a face like that! Oi!
Another failed attempt at a picture of all four...ahem...angels.
This was called "the waterfall"
A point where the stalagtite and stalagmite met (top ones met the ones at the bottom).
Organ that used the stalagtites as pipes to play "A Mighty Fortress". Awesome!
"two fried eggs"
We came home for some rest time....watched a little bit of the dog show...
I went for a run and saw more people out for a walk than EVER before! It was about 3 pm,and I think most people had just finished their big feast and were trying to walk it off! :) When I came back, the boys were playing Monopoly (the U-Build version!) and having a little snack! Yes, when it's the last day of vacation, you have to eat up the ice cream so that was offered as a snack and they all said YES!
Even Caleb got in on some ice cream when he woke up from his nap!
We decided to enjoy dinner out one night that week, and so I voted for Thursday night and we went to a Japanese hibachi restaurant!!! YUM! (Not sure why Jacob wanted his napkin tucked into his collar, but he did!)

Caleb was quite intrigued, and LOVED the soup!
Everyone loves the flaming volcano! (Callie and Caleb started crying- it's always a little startling :) )
Josiah LOVES the shrimp there, and ate his WHOLE meal with chopsticks!!!
A little worried that there might be more fire....

I don't think Jacob ate a bite of his dinner...but he loved his chopsticks.
Came back to the timeshare and watched the new version of "The Karate Kid". It was SO cute - they all loved it, as did David and I! A fun, but very non-traditional Thanksgiving day. A GREAT way to end our week at Massanutten!