28 December 2014

Our Christmas!

On Christmas Eve we reenacted the Nativity.   Our cast was as follows...

Elizabeth - Mary
Charlie - Joseph
Henry - Sheep, Wiseman
Annette - Angel, Donkey, Wiseman
Charles - Inn Keeper, Shepherd, King Herod
Book - Baby Jesus

Here we are after the Nativity.

It was delightful chaos to teach the children.  We had reviewed it plenty during the month so they did pretty well.  Elizabeth was a beautiful Mary and she was surely the star of the show.

It was fun to set out Christmas for the kids.  I felt like this was our first real Christmas by ourselves where the kids kind of knew what was going on.  They didn't get many presents because they have plenty of toys.  We are also basing their allotted cash amount on their age so it will increase as they get older.  To help curb potential sickness through the holidays we gave snack food in their stocking instead of candy.  All of the extra sugar through flu season has got to wreak havoc on any good immune system, so we are trying to avoid it as much as possible.

Christmas morning was lots of fun.  The boys love their tractors and emergency vehicles that they got.  Henry calls them his birthday toys.  Lizzy enjoyed all of the commotion and trying to eat all of the stuff that she shouldn't.

Merry Christmas!!!

A few videos I'm sure grandparents will love.

Before Christmas we had Charles' work party out in King of Prussia (KoP) which is outside of Philly.  It was fun.  For the kids there was a Santa passing out presents and a magician.  The kids were a definite favorite among Charles' coworkers.  They were all amazed at how well behaved they were.  Elizabeth was the bell of the ball and had a grand ol' time being passed around among all of them.  We got to stay at the Marriott for the night which was fun.  Elizabeth enjoyed playing peek-a-boo with herself in the mirror while there.  We used their pool in the morning.  Annette was in heaven to be able to do laps.  Charles played with the kids in the jacuzzi which was surprisingly not too hot, just perfect for the kids.  

Elizabeth loves water more than anyone in our family except perhaps for Annette.

Henry was super cautious, especially after falling into the 3 foot section.

 Charlie still loved it even after falling in over his head in the 3 foot section.

20 December 2014

Silly Little Elizabeth

I finally got my little puppy.  Elizabeth loves to hold her tongue out and breath.  She scrunches up her face while doing it.  She make the silliest faces all of the time.  Sometimes she looks kind of mad when doing it.  

But, here is a photo of her keeping her tongue in and sleeping quietly.

But if you wanted a photo of her cute and awake here it is.

If you wanted girly cuteness multiplied by three, here it is :)  Can you say blackmail?

18 December 2014

Christmas Train Ride

Last year we went on a train ride with the BYU Susquehanna Valley Alumni Chapter.  It was pretty darn fun so we went again this year.

All of the kids loved looking out of the windows most of the time.

I think Elizabeth had the most fun out of all of them.

Here are some cute videos for your viewing pleasure.

Santa came on board and gave everyone a bell from his sleigh like in the book Polar Express.

Yea!  Another fun train ride under our belt.

Our Christmas Card!


This year has been exciting!  We continue to figure out all the little nuances of central Pennsylvania.  We visited Washington D.C., Gettysburg, Lancaster to see the Amish, Hershey Park, Philly, New York City, Connecticut, Boston, and all of the places and states between those destinations.  We textured and painted the rooms of our house.  We installed ceiling fans where no overhead lighting existed.  We loved having both sets of grandparents at our home after Lizzy was born for a little visit.  We had some of our friends live in our basement bedroom during the summer.  It was great to have free babysitting!  We went camping twice.  Charles and Annette had their five year anniversary and went to the Pocono Mountains (with Lizzy) and saw the Bushkill Waterfalls.  We spent a lot of time at the park as well.  We enjoyed having the Elders and Sister missionaries at our home at least once a month for dinner.

Elizabeth 8 mo
Her big event this year was that she was born!  Since then she has learned to crawl, stand, climb up things, wave, clap, and eat solids.  She has five teeth and is a lightweight at about 16 lbs.  

Henry 2 yrs
He spent most of the year beating himself up and getting all sorts of bruises and gouges.  Henry really learned to talk through the year and now he doesn't stop talking.  He progressed from the beginning stages of learning to use a spoon to knowing how, but still preferring to use his hands.  Henry progressed from cuddling with my hair to loving used dryer sheets.  Henry has been potty training for about a month and is doing pretty well.

Charlie 3.5 yrs
He learned to potty in the toilet after nine long months of practicing.  Charlie bit his tongue half open this year as his big injury.  Charlie learned the alphabet and how to spell his name this year with "school time" we had at home for a few months.  Charlie enjoys throwing away diapers for a penny each.  Henry joins in at times, but still isn't motivated enough.  Charlie loves Sleeping Beauty and loves slaying the dragon to save the princess.

Annette 24.9 yrs
Her greatest accomplishment for the year was that she was pregnant and had a baby, that was a big accomplishment for Charles, too.  She enjoyed growing an herb garden this year and using it in her cooking.  Annette's scriptures ripped apart and has been in the large process of transferring all of her notes and markings.  Annette did a lot of sewing of clothes for herself and Elizabeth and home things.  Annette was the Compassionate Service Coordinator and is now a Relief Society Teacher at church and substitutes one of the two youth classes every week.

Charles 34 yrs
Three days after Elizabeth was born he changed jobs to a medical manufacturing company out here through a guy at church.  Charles went from being in the Young Men's Presidency to being the Sunday School President.  Charles bought a truck which Annette uses most of the time.  He has been doing most of the home projects of texturing and painting.  Changing knobs, outlets, carpet and floorboards.  Re-finishing the basement bedroom and deep organizing all of his tools in the basement and shed.  Charles has also done an excellent job taking Annette out on lots of fun dates this year.

12 December 2014

Little Lizzy Learning & Her Brothers

Lizzy has this little Johnny Jump Up we got for free.  She loves jumping.
Lizzy has learned to wave and to clap.  It seems way early for her to know real tricks like that, but I'll take it.

Elizabeth got caught red-handed taking all of the diapers out of the bags.

But she is as cute as ever.

A kind of long movie, but she is so cute.

Elizabeth pretty much hasn't had an official bath forever; I just kind of clean her up as needed.  She totally loved her bath.

Heres a little movie of her crazy splashing.

I love Elizabeth's huge eyes.  She had just crawled across our little hall.

Here she is crawling across it.  This movie isn't that old, but she sure has improved since then.

The boys and Lizzy love brushing their teeth.  Here Henry is demonstrating the proper techniques.

I was trying to get a video of Lizzy crawling, but instead I got a great shot of what looks like Henry swallowing a toy screwdriver.  It is just after the 5 second mark.

I remember as a child climbing into our bathroom cupboards.  Henry is now enjoying the same adventure.

Charlie enjoys it, too.

Here is a little movie of it.

And last, but not least, here is a super cute photo of Charlie being excited about something.
In Charlie's prayer one night, when he was listing the things he was thankful for he said, "and Mommy who's grumpy, and Charlie who's happy (he always refers to himself in third person while praying), and Daddy at work (he was at a church meeting)."  Those were the really cute things that stood out to me.  

Christmas Time!!!

We have had a few good snows, the first being the best.  The boys loved making a snowman with Daddy. 

Here are two clips, they are both a little long, but whatever.

We have decorated for Christmas!  The boys love plugging in the Christmas lights every morning and then replugging them in after I unplug them.

We had a Christmas tree, but it broke so I ripped it apart and used some of it to make a wreath.  I added a bell and pine cones.

The awesome part is that it is pre-lit.

I then put more of the broken Christmas tree on our glass cabinet display.

It looks so pretty all lit up.

I made this from some tree branches when Charles helped some friends cut down trees.  It is in a glass vase and the vase is in a crystal platter.  There is also rabbit fur in the platter.

Another portion, the top portion, of the old Christmas tree was left together and was put into a tree stand.  Last year after Christmas I got a new tree for $10!

I really like our Christmas tree this year.

I really like the pine cones and peacock feathers.

Here is the topper of the little tree.

Charles thinks this tree is pretty funky looking with the fabric and twigs, but I think it is fun.

And here are my logs that are just for fun.  I am really getting into the elegant rustic look.  These logs are also from Charles helping friends cut trees down.

Here are more branches from the same tree cutting.  I wrapped it in velvety blue fabric and added peacock feathers.

I think it is fun.  Sometimes I think it looks really kind of ugly, but then sometimes I just love it.  I think I just like how different it is and that I made it from scratch with no pre-rounded wreath thingy.

The kids have gotten into the Christmas spirit.  They like to dress up as Mary and Joseph.  They also take turns being the donkey.  Lizzy totally left the Mary headdress on forever.

Here is Elizabeth being Mary.  She is totally not bothered by her head wrap.

Charlie enjoys being the sheep too.

Here Charlie is the sheep running around.

So, a controversial thing that we did was to tell the boys that Santa Clause was pretend.  I have often heard people say they think the spirit of Christmas would die if their kids knew Santa was pretend.  But since the spirit of Christmas is about Christ and not Santa; I wasn't too worried about it dying.  The boys still tell me he is real and not pretend.  I didn't think it would be this hard to convince them.  Charlie does know that the presents come from Mommy and Daddy.  It probably helped that they picked them out and saw us buy them.