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Friday, December 6, 2013

Giving Thanks and Decking the Halls



 Here are a few projects we made for our November Thanksgiving decorations. I loved Riley's "Thankful Pumpkin". His list of what he was thankful for included all of our family members, Irving, God, grandparents, aunts, and uncles, and YOU! This month we focused on gratefulness and each day at mealtime we'd talk about what we were thankful for. Riley would look around the table and start naming things (napkins, my fork, my juice, etc.). Pretty funny!



 This is Riley's self-portrait! I love that he includes eyes and a smile and arms and legs.
 For Thanksgiving this year, Aunt Renee and Uncle Cal hosted everyone at their home in Florence. We had an AMAZING meal of turkey, ham, and all the trimmings! Below are a few pictures from our time together.





 That same weekend, we decided to go ahead and get our Christmas tree from Penland. The weather was actually a little cold, so we had to bundle up for the first time in years! Riley LOVED being able to help Dad this year and even brought along his own "saw" (a.k.a. vacuum hose extension). We had a chance to pose with several photo ops, talk to the chickens in the coop, find the perfect Leyland Cypress tree, drink some hot chocolate, play in the mulch pile, eat some roasted marshmallows, go on a hayride, and get very sticky with free candy canes. We had a great time together! This is by far, one of my favorite Christmas traditions. Chris then had the really hard part of getting the tree stable in the stand (and after some chainsaw action, he was successful). We then decorated the tree and inside of the house. We eventually after 3 nights of trying to get all the lights to work, got the outside of our house lit and decorated as well!



 I love this picture of my little lumberjack!





 Chris loves that I turn this into a photo op every year! But putting the angel on the tree as the last decoration not only symbolizes a finished tree, but the beginning of a beautiful Christmas season to me! I love having the nativity scenes in our home and an angel on our tree to watch over us and help us remember to spread the good tidings to others!

Something new I decided to create this year was a countdown advent calendar. Inside each of the numbered pockets is an index card that has ideas for us do each day. They include church activities (like the Cantata, Children's Pageant, and Christmas Eve service), acts of kindness (like paying for the meal of the person in a drive-thru behind us, giving hugs while we carol at a nursing home, or buying an Angel Tree gift), community events (like Christmasville, McAdenville Lights, Billy Graham Library), and just for fun events (like visiting Santa, getting a snowman donut from Krispy Kreme, decorating a gingerbread house, and having a dance party). It's been fun moving the little clip each morning and having Riley get excited about the special event for the day!



We went last weekend as well to Portrait Innovations and got some Christmas pictures taken of the kids. Maggie was extremely fussy that day and we're surprised we were able to get even one good shot. Riley is looking down, but at least they both have a smile on their face. Here are the Christmas cards and photos we sent out to Tabitha and Kristin and Lonnie. 


Zippy, our Elf on the Shelf, arrived after naptime the day that we got our tree. He had a present on the front porch and somehow managed to ring the doorbell just as the kids were waking up for them to come to the door and find. Inside were 2 pairs of matching Christmas pajamas, a Josh Grogan Christmas CD for us to listen to on our drive to McAdenville one night, the Elf on the Shelf book, and some special candy. Zippy has been up to all kinds of crazy stuff these past few days (baking miniature pancakes, getting covered in stickers, taking marshmallow baths, and hanging upside down from the ceiling fan...just to name a few). Riley and Maggie both enjoy looking for this little guy each morning! 


It's now time for the update on funny/cute/crazy things are kids are up to these days. Riley loves going upstairs with me each morning to go get Maggie up. He likes to say "Hey, Sunshine, shine, shine" to her as he opens the door! He told me this morning that I didn't come and get him out of bed soon enough and he couldn't "stay in here forever!" He's been talking with a lot more advanced vocabulary lately. While working on a CD player that wasn't plugged in, we overheard Riley say "This is terrible! It isn't working at all." Today, Maggie had a major meltdown while we were at the Children's Museum. So we made our way back to the car and Riley announced that "Maggie is being a drama queen." Hmm...wonder where he may have heard that? :) Just the other day, he found an aardvark in a book he was reading and came to show me that it was just like the one he'd seen on the Wild Kratts show that he loves to watch each day. He told Chris all about a squid and its tentacles. It's amazing what he comprehends and retains! He's been quite into reading lately. His favorite thing to "read" this past month has been toy catalogs. They will keep him entertained for literally half an hour or more! He also enjoys reading High Five magazines in his bed now before he has to take a nap.

Maggie has also been talking up a storm lately! She now says the correct word for pacifier as "paci" not "pappy." She still calls a cracker a "dadu" though which we think is pretty cute! That used to be Riley's word for bubble. Speaking of bubbles, Maggie loves to take a bubble bath and even came up to me last night when I said it was time to go up for a bath and asked for it clear as day! She still gets VERY EXCITED about supper time and runs to her high chair just as fast as her little legs will carry her while shouting "eat eat time!" (except she leaves off the last letter of those three words). She just had her 18 month checkup yesterday and weighs 23 lbs. 8 oz. and is 31 inches tall. She's in the 30-35th percentile for both height and weight. She's been very affectionate lately and will now give unprompted kisses on the leg as I'm cooking in the kitchen and prompted kisses on the cheek! I love the little smacking sound she makes when she does it too!

We're looking forward to the next few weeks as we fill it with all kinds of fun activities and visits with family and friends. My prayer though is that I will help my children not lose sight of the real reason to celebrate--that we have a Savior who came to earth as a baby and lived in human "shoes" to bring a love and peace to us that can't be found anywhere else!

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