Monday, December 15, 2014

Blessing Pictures!

Ever since Starr started taking our Christmas pictures back in 2012 we've always had one taken with my Blessings sign. I bought it at a cute store in Gillette Wy when we were back there for my grandparents 60th wedding anniversary. I love these shots and hope to have years and years of them! 

2014

 2013

2012

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Family Christmas Pictures 2014!

In mid November we had our Family Christmas Pictures taken by my friend Starr. I look forward to these every year! Starr had a different location in mind this year, but then it rained and rained and rained so those locations were soaked and wouldn't work. So we went back to the same place we did last year...Fort Steilacoom Park. Except this time instead of being in front of the barns she had us in a more woodsy setting.   


It was sunny and clear and COLD!!! 


All the kids' hands were freezing! Thankfully the older ones are pretty good at toughing it out. 


Starr had this awesome idea to capture the kids running around us like crazy animals they are. What you can't see is Zeke...he's right between us crying his head off wanting up!


Uncle Ry and Aunt Stephie looking so nice! 


Loved this cute candy cane idea. 


Smooch!!! 


This is seriously the best picture Michael and I have had in years. I liked last years picture of us, but there was something funky about my hair that drove me nuts. This was is great though! 


I don't know what it was about the candy canes, but we had issues with ours. In our kissing shot they aren't even touching! 


And this is where this little guy was during the candy cane shots! 


Our cute family of six! Ella looks so cute holding her hands, but she's really freezing! 



Let me tell you this cutie was not in a mood for pictures. He was quite fussy, mostly because he was cold, but there was really no soothing him. He didn't want to be covered in a blanket or anything. He just having a bad day. I was so sure that there was NO WAY Starr would even get one picture of him smiling, but she's a miracle worker!  


I love the location and all the wood and trees. So rustic! 


Ga-Ga & Pa did a great job with their candy canes too! 


This is my favorite candy cane shot! 


The whole fam!


I had no idea that Uncle Ry and Aunt Stephie got this cute shot with Ella until we got our pictures back. I just love it!!!! 


At the end of the shoot Starr brought out the fake snow...the kids loved it! 


The first time Jack had a handful of snow instead of blowing on it he just dropped the whole handful to the ground. Silly boy!!! He got the idea of blowing it the second time around though! 


Happy boy! 


Love this shot with his cute smile! 


Her little chipmunk teeth kill me! She's so cute!!! 


Very focused!!! 


In an effort to get a snowy shot with Zeke...since of course he wanted nothing to do with blowing it...Starr thought it would be fun to sprinkle snow on him. Well Jack thought it would be more fun to just smash a handful of snow on his head and rub it around. Man it is sure tough being the youngest!!! 


After the snow incident there was pretty much no going back for Zeke so he was excluded from the boys shot this year! Love my handsome guys!!! 


This is my favorite picture of me and Ella ever!!! I love this girl! 

And Starr worked her magic and I have all new pictures to put in my frames on the wall! Thank you Starr!!! 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Santa Claus Or St. Nicholas???

I recently read a blog post from a mom that talked about the reasons she doesn't let her kids believe in Santa Claus. As I was reading through it I just felt like we might need to clarify things with our kids in regards to Santa Claus. When Owen was young I thought about not doing the whole Santa thing, but then I remembered that I grew up believing in Santa and I wasn't harmed by it. I do remember hearing in the girls bathroom when I was about 8 years old that Santa wasn't real and I remember asking my mom about it, but I don't remember it dramatically affecting me...I was disappointed of course, but...I still got presents, the stockings were still full on Christmas morning and I still played along and left cookies for Santa knowing full well my Dad was going to be the one eating them. But now my kids are getting older and wiser and I really want them to trust me. We have always been one to tell them the truth....when we go to the doctor, yes you are getting a shot and yes it's going to hurt a little bit. We are just upfront and honest with them. We have found that things just work out better that way. I don't want the kids to get confused and think that Jesus is something we lied about to them as well and maybe all those stories are just made up too. For some reason Santa has been different....I don't know if it's just be the idea is so prevalent or if it was just because it was fun, but we've let the kids believe and we've fed into their belief by buying Santa gifts and playing along. We haven't made a huge deal about it....we do put more of the focus on Jesus, but the Santa stuff is still there. 

But this year we are going to tell them that Santa's not real. We are going to explain to them the story of St. Nicholas and how that's where the legend of Santa came from. We are going to tell them that it's just like those characters that dressed up like Mickey Mouse at Disneyland....it's not really Mickey Mouse it's a person wearing a costume....they already know this so it won't be a new concept to them. It's just fun to pretend and play along. I do believe in the magic of Christmas and joy that comes from being with family and giving to those you love and I don't think that just because Santa isn't real that that part will be forever tainted in their minds. Even though we don't believe in the Easter Bunny we still play along and go to Egg Hunts. It's fun! We do want to make sure that they don't ruin it for other kids like it was ruined for me in school all those years ago so we are going to explain that some people don't know it's a game and they just need to let them go on pretending. Hopefully they won't be that child that breaks the news to some other kid!  

So what does your family do in regards to Santa Claus? Do you put more of the focus on Jesus?

Friday, December 12, 2014

Tea Time!

Ella loves to play with her ceramic tea set that Ga-Ga got her at a garage sale last year. Of course now that Zeke Man is big enough he wants to play along as well. 


I wasn't quite ready to let him play with the ceramic one though so we went upstairs and got the plastic princess one instead. 


I thought it might be fun to actually let them play with liquid so we used white grape juice. 


Of course Zeke poured all his tea from his teapot into his creamer and it overflowed. Cute boy! 


Time for more tea! 


Mmm...that is good tea! 


So good! 


She's such a doll!!! 


Zeke had so much fun getting to join in with us. Although I'm pretty sure it had something to do with the juice. He was chugging that stuff down. 


Tea time in action! 

Note to self....next time just use water...juice is way to sticky! 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Pajama Pants!

Since I made all those pajama pants for my friend at church I just couldn't resist making some for my kids. Of course when the snuggle flannel went on sale for 75% off around Thanksgiving that helped too! A whole yard for $1.74! When can you buy pajamas for $1.74? I did have to buy plain colored tops for the kids at Wal-Mart, but those were only $4! So $5 for super cool jammies! 


Zeke picked out these cute space monkeys, elephants and puppies! 


Ella was absolutely in love with this pink design! 


Since the older boys were at school we picked theirs out for them. Jack got Pirate Puppies...what can be cooler than that! 


And Owen got Rock 'N Roll guitars and drums. I also bought another fabric that just screamed Owen. It has potatoes on it and couches and tv's and it says couch potato. This kid could seriously sit in front of the tv or computer All. DAY. LONG! That's why Owen has two shirts for his jammies. I was going to make another pair with that material for him, but now I've decided that I'm going to save that fabric and use it to make his quilt that he'll get next year for Christmas. 

The kids have all seen their fabrics, but they haven't seen the finished product. I'm going to wrap them up so they can open them on Christmas Eve and sleep in their new jammies. I'm thinking this will be a new tradition as well! 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Living Nativity!

Saturday we went out with Ga-Ga & Pa to see The Living Nativity. It's at this church in Gig Harbor. They set up the whole outside of the church like the city of Bethlehem. The congregation dresses up as merchants, tax collectors, inn keepers, shepherds, wise men and of course Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus. 


Walking into Bethlehem!


This was Boaz's Market...that lady had nice warm bread for everyone to try. All the merchants were fun to talk to. They were in character of course so they would try to sell you things for a sheckle.


This was a bell shop...all the kids got to ring different bells.


This is the Pharisees being holy! 


Owen and Jack especially liked the Roman Soldiers!


This was an oil shop. There was also a spice shop where the kids got to smell spices and see how they were grounded down from seeds. At another shop they were serving humus and warm lentils. It was so yummy!


Pa hauled around Zeke most of the time.


Once we had walked through the town and got to the inn...where of course there was no room...we were escorted into this tent where the 3 wise men spoke. This was probably one of the coolest parts....hearing the prophesy of Jesus' coming and imagining what it was really like back then when it came true. Oh....I get chills!


After walking out of the tent we went over by a fire and then the Angel of the Lord proclaimed Jesus' birth. After that they pulled back a fabric wall and revealed an area you could walk that lead up to the stable. They had Christmas lights in the shape of the star. Of course Owen leaned over to me and said, "I know that's not a star and I know that's not really Jesus!" I told him just to enjoy it and pretend! 


The baby that played Jesus was the cutest thing ever! He was all smiles! He LOVED the attention and never fussed once! Precious boy! It actually made me think about when Jesus was visited by the shepherds and wise men....I bet he smiled at them and enjoyed the attention as well. It's funny to think of the Son of God as a baby, but he was! 

Once we finished seeing Jesus we walked across the street to a neighboring church that had set up a free coffee and hot chocolate stand inside the church so people could come inside out of the cold. 


All the kids got their own cups of hot cocoa. 


It was pretty hot so we added some water to make them drinkable for them. 


They love getting to use those little stirrers as straws! 


Our next stop was The Black Bear Diner for dinner....after sitting in a big back up from Hwy 16 to I-5!