Twas the night before. A white Christmas.

Twas the night before. The cookies and milk were set by the fireplace in hopes that Santa would find them. Pretty papers just waiting for a special gift to adorn.

Santa left a note.

We woke to a white Christmas this year. It was beautiful. Mom was here to share the joy of watching the kids open their presents in the morning. Brandon was so excited to unwrap gifts and Olive couldn’t have been any less interested. Instead she found a coloring book and some crayons and was as happy as could be. Brandon really enjoyed unwrapping Olive’s this year for her though and when she spotted the dolly Santa had brought for her she was anxious for me to get it out of the box it was in and into her hands. After a fun filled Christmas morning I made the dining room as pretty as I could for our Christmas dinner.    Den and I looked up prime rib recipes for our annual prime rib dinner, but in the end we decided to wing it and it was absolutely fabulous. I trend to think we rock, but I’m a little bias.

 We made all the fixin’s to go with it, including a yummy pumpkin bread. It was so wonderful to have Chris and Mark here. It meant alot to us. Family is so very important and it’s great to have them so close now. I love seeing these happy faces as often as possible. After dinner it was off to play with toys for a bit, baths and then bed for the little ones.

They had a very Merry Christmas.

…..

I’m asking for thoughts and prayers for Dad(grampa). His health is declining. It’s hard to focus on the goodness in life when your losing someone so dear that means everything to you and your family.

Frosty The Snowman? Nope, It’s Al. Winter fun.

We awoke to a very Christmas-y feeling. Peering out the window at a snow covered neighborhood i got that antsy feeling.I knew what we were going to do today. I made the kids breakfast, let them play a bit, put Olive down for her nap with anticipation that it would be a short one, and I was right. When she woke I quickly got the kids dressed and bundled up, by then the snowfall had stopped and the temperature was perfect. Today was the day we would be building our first snowman of the season. And the first year Olive would be helping.  It was awesome. Brandon and I rolled snow, patted snow, rubbed snow, trying to get the perfect roundness of a snowman. Didn’t happen but our snowman was perfect to us nonetheless.

Olive made sure his buttons were just right.  We stood back and inspected him a bit. Added a bit more snow here and there and tada.  Brandon named him Al.

This photo is from Al’s prospective.

And this photo is from Olive’s prospective.

She didn’t know what to think. She would run up to him and yell “hi” or “hello”, pat him and make kissing noises.

Afterward I attempted to take the kids sledding only to tip the sled over before I made it a few steps. Epic fail. They wanted to go back inside instead where I made them both some warm milk chocolate with whipped cream and French vanilla snowmen marshmallows.  So, Al is on the front lawn and I’m just crossing my fingers he stays for Christmas. When I went out to photograph him this evening he was missing an eye already.  I patted it back on him and whistled a Christmas tune on my way back into the house like nothing ever happened.

Isn’t winter grand?

I’ve been doing the “ho ho ho Merry Christmas” in that deep Santa Claus voice and Olive has quickly caught on to me and she is now saying “ho ho ho” every chance she gets. It’s adorable.

Brandon’s holiday vacation is off to a great start. He’s so excited about Christmas eve and baking cookies for Santa tomorrow evening. It’s going to be great!

From our family to yours, Have a wonderful holiday.

 

 

Ho Ho Ho. He’s jolly. It’s santa Claus.

“Ho ho ho, Merry Christmas” is what we heard as a jolly Santa Claus entered the building. He walked from table to table greeting and talking with all of the children before making his way to his own chair with a cozy lap and an ear to lend, listening to their Christmas lists.

Brandon scanned the room and asked where the chimney was that Santa came down so I explained that he parked his sleigh on the roof and came down into the building using magic of course.

Brandon was up first and as he sat on Santa’s lap and showed him his Christmas list, Santa read the list aloud, one by one, all fourteen. Then Brandon casually mentioned that his sister wanted a doll. Santa assured him Olive would be getting a doll this year. He’s so thoughtful, that Santa,  and our boy too.

(I love how it looks like Mickey Mouse is whispering in his ear)

My favorite part was when they started waving together. It was so sweet.

And then..

It was Olive’s turn too.

Okay so it wasn’t as bad as the Halloween experience but I don’t think she will be greeting Santa Claus with open arms any time soon. Santa loved her and thought she was just the sweetest little girl and so very cute. She only cried for a short moment after this picture was taken. Once she was back in my arms again she was fine and didn’t seem to mind Santa’s presence.

Our niece and her son Gabriel met us there, along with Chris and Mark and we all enjoyed pizza together and watched the kids run back and fourth from our table to Santa and back again all the while collecting candy canes from a nearby bowl.

Gabe was a little hesitant and unsure about Santa at first but before long all of that hesitation faded and he was on his lap ready for his picture.

He’s jolly. He rocks. Our Santa has a tattoo!  Awesome.

It was a magical night for the kids. Just what they needed. It was such a blessing we got to share this time with our family.

Afterwards, we headed home for some coloring before Olive’s bedtime.

Check out all of this new hair Olive is getting.

Then, Brandon and I watched Toy Story 2 before he drifted off to sleep in the chair with Mickey Mouse.

Sounds like a plan. Goodnight.

Here comes Santa Claus. Cloudy with a chance of..

Here’s a very short clip I took of the ‘gingerbread house’ up the road. I meant to take a picture but I accidentally hit the record button instead.

house

Yesterday, I bundled Olive up and we ventured out with her stroller to walk to the bus stop to meet Brandon.

(Olive’s hat- courtesy of Three Kittens Knitting)

It was a chilly day but we enjoyed it.

Rudolph Olive was so happy to see Brandon.

We hurried home for a quick play in the yard before heading inside for dinner.

 

 

With our holiday shopping past us we look ahead to the days before Christmas with anticipated children happily finishing their lists for Santa and us wrapping gifts, preparing meals, etc. Tomorrow evening I’m taking Brandon and Olive to get their pictures taken with Santa Claus. Brandon is excited. I’m just going on instinct here but my guess would be that Olive will not want any part of this, especially if its anything like Halloween was. 🙂 and thats okay too. This mama doesn’t mind being needed. Once they get bigger you feel less and less needed as they become so much more independent. The first year we brought Brandon to see Santa he was terrified, so much so that we didn’t go back until he was comfortable going, which was last year.

…..

Can you believe we have no snow yet? December is coming to an end shortly and right at this very moment it is raining. Cloudy with a chance of rain? Weird, but we will take it. I’m almost certain a few weeks from now we will not be lacking snow. I’m really excited about getting outside to build snowmen with the kids,  taking them sledding and snow shoeing with their cousins and going ice skating together!

…..

Olive, Brandon and Daddy. I love these three more than anything. They are my everything.

(Brandon pointing to the flowers on her seat as Olive says flower over and over again)

……

A few photos from today. Olive looks like a little elf that has lost her way from the North Pole 😉

I love these hats.

Happy Wednesday.

giving thanks. Yellow and purple. Thank you. gift giving

What i am feeling right now:

Joy.

Happy.

Hopeful.

Blessed.

Sadness.

Anxiety.

Mixed emotions that are very hard to describe and cope with.  Life is full of so much uncertainty.

Yesterday we were so blessed to have Dad here.  It meant so much to us that he was able to be here and to see us in our home and we appreciate all that was done by our family to make this day possible. This was a huge blessing I have a hard time describing or even talking about, or even writing it really but I want our children to read this some day and know how special the day was for all of us. It was a great second Thanksgiving dinner that we will cherish always. There were tears, laughter, and happiness. Making memories to last a lifetime with our family is what life is all about. I gave so much thanks yesterday as I’m sure everyone else did as well. For the day. For dad. For time. For family. And for life itself.

Olive kept running up to dad and yelling “Hi!” every chance she got and rubbing his hands or putting her head in his lap. She’s so sweet.  He’s grampa to many grandchildren and to Olive he’s “gah-paw”, as she calls him. She’s certainly “grampa’s girl” as he calls her. Olive was named after dad’s mom. He loves it and so do we. The photo you see in the heading of our blog is of Olive and grampa’s feet. I took that photo at a family wedding and I adore it so much. We would love to have it on canvas someday.

Cherished memories. Cherished photographs. I love our family so much.

…..

Olive has some new words she has learned. Yellow, which she calls yellow just as plain as day and purple, which she calls paw-pawl. She also says “it’s cute” alot haha, I taught her that one! She just started saying thank you. When she wants a cracker or anything for that matter and we hand her one, she will immediately follow with thank you, we don’t even ask her to. She’s awesome. A fast learner like Brandon was.

(playing with her Brandon)

(Olive’s awesome tie dye tights –Spotted Pony Designs)

(standing on her head haha.. she does this in her bed when shes tired too)

(playing peek-a-boo)

…..

Brandon has a half day on Wednesday. The last day of school before Holiday break begins. They are having a class party and gift giving exchange. He got this really cool solar powered oven for a boy in his class. He loved it so much he has asked for one for Christmas. He is doing wonderfully in his new school, has made lots of friends and is enjoying each day.

We are so blessed for this.

…..

This morning we woke up late. I sat up and looked out the window and sunrise over the river had just begun and it was absolutely beautiful. What a gorgeous view from our bedroom.  My first instinct was to grab my camera.

It’s like magic.

Have a great day.

new words. a pirate’s christmas. holiday cheer.

What is currently making me smile?

(Brandon made this yummy gingerbread tree yesterday!)

Simple joys. Like walking around town with a child in tow and a camera around my neck and decorations and holiday displays adorning window shelves begging for some attention, hoping someone will stop and enjoy the scenery.

 Someday I promise to take my children on the Polar Express because I want them to keep their imaginations as long as they possibly can.

…..

“caw-pah mmmm num num”…

This is Olive’s response to the cake pop infomercial.

Oh and at the end she said “its cute!”

She also brought me her diaper wipes this afternoon, opened the cover and pointed to the wipes, “baby poop” she said. I did not teach her this. She is learning so much and we are so thrilled everyday when she comes up with new words and sentences and knows exactly what shes talking about. She’s growing up so quick. At 18 months old she is so wise already.

Infact, today as we drove by the golden arches she got all wide eyed and  exclaimed “fries”! That’s our girl!

…..

We were so thrilled when Brandon announced today he wanted to be in the holiday play at school. It is this evening. So exciting. The play is called A Pirates Christmas and Brandon plays a reindeer. Santa will be there too! So, I have the big camera all ready to go. Brandon chose a shirt so perfect, his red and white tie shirt made by Bubbles and Bugs.

…..

Last night I got my Merry on and jazzed up the ceiling in the dining room a little. Daddy found our old snowman and i added some sparkle to him too!

…..

There’s so much holiday cheer everywhere we look. Even at our house.

 

The view from  our house.. our neighbors know how to get their Merry on too!

…..

Update:

The Christmas play at Brandon’s school was nothing short of amazing and dare I say it was the best holiday concert I have attended thus far.

(Olive  checking out the program highlights)

Although I couldn’t see Brandon as best as I wished so I didn’t get as many photos of him as I was hoping I do understand. I’m sure it is really difficult to get each child in a position where they will be seen by their parents. Seeing him taking part in this play by dancing and singing along with the rest of the students after only being part of this school for three days made me tear up a bit. I love how ambitious he is and he was so motivated to attend and participate all on his own free will.  Proud mama right here.

(he’s the one in the third row towards the end in a black shirt. The reindeer looking towards the wall 😉 )

(preschool above)

See Santa! And pirates and elves!

Pirate ship!

Raising their  swords!

Singing and dancing! Yes , even Santa.

After the concert, out in the hall, I glanced up at a message that hits home right about now.

 This has meaning to me. It was like a sign I was meant to read. It made me think more about our move to a new town. How we are blooming and blossoming every day that passes here. How we are challenged and we push past our most difficult moments, because life itself is so unpredictable. I believe we are right here right now in our life because it was meant to be. And I think of how meaningful this phrase is to our children now and in the future. Brandon is blooming more and more each day and lately I’m digging his new outgoing personality.

Holiday cheers to you and yours.

Believe in the season. school. photos

(watching daddy put away outdoor furniture)

(back yard)

(rain drop)

(mena loves it)

The photos above were taken last week as was me writing this draft.

…..

For some reason I still cannot find our Christmas decorations. I thought I had peeked in every box but they are still missing so tomorrow I will look some more. Still no tree. No decorations. No holiday treats. Nothing that resembles our love for the holidays. We have ice on the edge of the house though. And snow covered hedges. If that counts as Christmas-y.

*****

I look outside though and realize we are surrounded by everything Christmas-like in one way or another and it’s a beautiful sight.

(I call it beautiful, Olive calls it a bath!)

The porches of each neighbor covered in lights and so festive. Our town has their holiday on, so to speak. You know the infamous “seasons greetings” adorning every lighted pole and the familiar giant lighted snowflakes you see everywhere this time of of year, a reminder that Christmas is almost here.

Around every corner there seems to be more holiday magic happening. Of course being new to this little town we have yet to discover all of it’s magic as of yet, but it will happen.

Olive thinks so too!

It’s beginning to feel alot like Christmas ’round here.  We have been enjoying holiday specials. In search of anything with Christmas in the title or description. Tonight it was Penguins Of Madagascar Christmas. Gotta love those penguins!

*****

UPDATE:

The day after I wrote this draft I finally found the holiday decorations and tonight we decorated the ‘happy tree’.

I know some of you will be wondering just why it is named the happy tree and we will have to get to that story another time but i tell you this lonesome and almost forgotten tree is now happy once again. I’m really hoping I can keep up with this little tradition we started a few years back because our kids enjoy it very much.

(olive is mesmerized by the tree decorations and lights)

(Brandon lounging and watching Mickey’s Twice Upon A Christmas)

…..

Brandon started back to school today and has already made so many friends. He likes this school and says his teacher is great. We had to laugh when he came home happily telling us about his day and how at lunch he had to move to another table because the girls were swarming him- his words.. haha.  His teacher offered a seat with her at her table instead along with a boy her has quickly become friends with. We have a Christmas play to attend this week; A Pirate Christmas. We can’t wait!  Olive doesn’t know what to think of Brandon being gone from her sight once again. I can tell you she recognizes buses and will yell “the bus” excitedly, at any bus she gets her eye on.

These past few days  has left our little Olive  not feeling well.

There have been lots of snuggling and rocking to sleep in this mama’s arms these last two days.

That’s how I can always tell our babies are sick. They are generally not into snuggling, never have been. But when they are sick they cling to me like static to a balloon. I suck it up, trust me.

…..

A few more pictures just because.

(playing)

(southern comfort eggnog, whipped cream, shredded chocolate flakes)

(cute winter tights and boots)

(Olive’s hat- courtesy of Three Kittens Knitting)

(our train)

(cute antique bell on our house)

(This was a must, love at first sight for our little apple lovin’ girl)

…..

And last but certainly not least, little Olive.

-Believe in the season.

goodbye spongebob. holiday movies & photos.

Yesterday morning Brandon’s goldfish Spongebob passed away. He was 3 years old. He was a great goldfish that survived through 4 moves in his lifetime and he always seemed so happy and content in his tank with his Elmo accessories. He was born in Maine and was transported to Vermont after a wedding along with 3 or 4 others. He was the lone survivor this past year. He will be missed.

….

Olive has this funny new thing she does. She will point to anything food related and say “num num num num num num…” it is the cutest thing ever! I love it, especially when that commericial comes on advertising cake pops she will get really excited, stand up tall and point and go “num num num num num.”
She’s also learned how to say grampa “Ah pa” and Pete. Last night in the tub she was pointing to the cupcake on the side of the body wash bottle and saying “cah cake”. She’s getting there. She is really into trying to repeat us and she gets really happy when she says something someone understands and they say it back to her. If you don’t understand her or misunderstand what she’s saying she will give you the most awkward look, which is totally priceless!

……

Another totally priceless moment? When Mena sits like this, like its no big deal haha!

With less than a month to go until Christmas we have yet to put up our tree or decorate. I’ve had the habit of putting it up the day before Thanksgiving every year and putting Brandon’s birthday gift under it, this year being the exception because we had to retire our old tree last winter. So with that said I’m hoping to have our tree up by the end of next week.

I’m totally in the holiday spirit though, especially with ABC Family’s 25 Days Of Christmas starting. I need to watch my favorite movie of all time; Christmas Vacation! Brandon loves it too! I love that he loves watching it being as it is an older movie and all. Our family always sits down to watch it together every year, its our tradition. Speaking of holiday movies, another favorite of mine is Home Alone. I absolutely love that movie too and I could watch it a billion times and still would anticipate watching it again.

…..

The kids had a great evening chasing each other around my bedroom, jumping off my bed and just being silly together.

 

…..

Brandon has another book he would like to post later so be sure to check back in this evening.

…..

Well I’m gonna park the cars and get check the luggage, and well, I’ll be outside for the season. -Clark (Christmas Vacation)

Tis the season to be merry!