Monday, December 27, 2010

More Christmas celebrations

The day after Christmas is always when we get together with my extended families to celebrate Christmas. We started the morning with my Dad's side of the family.  We went to my grandmother's house, enjoyed lunch, catching up with cousins, and opening gifts.  My grandmother gave us all serving pieces that had belonged to our great-grandmother.  VERY special and I'm so happy to have them.

After a quick nap we went to my cousin's house to celebrate with my mom's side of the family.  Last year we started a tradition of providing Christmas gifts a few needy families instead of exchanging gifts and I love being able to help make Christmas special for those who would otherwise not be so lucky.

The evening ended at my grandmother's house. Most of my aunts, uncles, and cousins stopped by to visit with my Grandmother who is battling cancer.  I'm sure it was a lot for her to have all of us there at one time, however, I know she enjoyed getting to see all of her kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids in her home at Christmas.  Handley kept everyone entertained by singing Christmas carols and Harper charmed everyone with her sweet smile.

Handley also had fun going around taking pictures of everyone with my camera.  She told them all it would be on the here is a sampling of the ones she took.

Christmas Day

Christmas morning at our house was SO much fun.  I think every year just gets better.  Handley came in our room at 7 AM and woke me up.  It was still pretty dark out and she thought it was still night time.  She told me, "I just can't wait in my room any longer to see if Santa came."  I told her that she was in luck because it was morning time and that we could start waking everyone up.  Harper woke up shortly after that and we all got ready to head downstairs.

As they came down the stairs Handley exclaimed, "Yes!!!  He came!!!"  She was thrilled to see that the things she asked him for were delivered.  She and Harper went right to playing with all of their things.

Harper's pile from Santa (lots is for them to share though)
Handley's stuff from Santa (but she is sharing her things too)
Harper loved the life-like shopping cart and her new baby.  Handley was beside herself with her new princess scooter, blender, and her hoola-hoop.  They both spent lots of time with the cash register and all of their stocking goodies.  Handley kept repeating, "I'm just SO excited."

Her face when she saw her stuff

After seeing all their stuff from Santa we enjoyed a delicious breakfast prepared by Gigi and Papa and then opened gifts.  Harper could have cared less what was actually in them, but loved ripping the paper off.  She kept asking, "presents, me?" and pointing to herself.

After opening and getting dressed we loaded up the car (including the new princess scooter) to head to my parents house.  When we arrived we had dinner and opened more gifts.  As usual the girls were spoiled by their grandparents.  We had planned to let the girls open their gifts and then after they went to bed the rest of us would open ours. Handley was oblivious to this and while opening a heaping mound of presents she asked, "Mommy, do you not have any presents?" Ha!  

It was a wonderful day and, although it meant a long car ride, I am so thankful that we were able to spend it with both of our families and that the girls got to see both sets of grandparents on Christmas Day!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve started with a preschool service at Peachtree Presbyterian complete with real animals including a camel, a storyteller and interactive service telling the story of the birth of Jesus.  We attended with Tiara and Avery.  The girls loved it and it was a great way to start the day.

Later in the day Gigi and Papa came over.  The girls played outside, spread their reindeer food, and we all enjoyed a delicious Honey Baked Ham dinner before getting ready for bed and putting out cookies for Santa.

As I was putting Handley to bed she said, "I just don't think I can sleep...I'm so excited."  We all were!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A relaxing day at home

I had imagined that this week would be relaxing and that we would have spent lots of days at home.  For some reason, that did not happen until today, but we sure did enjoy it.  We spent the morning around home.  The girls played, dressed up like princesses, and went to "the ball."  At one point when I checked in on them Handley told me they were waiting their turn to dance with the prince.  :-)
Harper had striped off her dress-up clothes, except for the skirt, at this point.  Here she is sucking her thumb and rubbing her belly button...what she does to soothe herself. 

Another highlight of today was making cookies for Santa!  Every time I mentioned that the cookies were for Santa Harper would point to herself and say, "me" telling me that she wanted the cookies.  When they were done we kept eating them and I was getting worried there wouldn't be any left for the big guy.  I shared my concern with Handley and she told me that he couldn't eat that many anyway.  We ended up setting aside three for Santa (the number Handley came up with) just to be sure we didn't accidentally eat them all.

As you can tell, they LOVE sprinkles

Enjoying her masterpiece
We are so excited about Christmas!  This afternoon Handley and Harper were pretending to "sleep" and then "wake-up" on Christmas morning.  Tonight Handley was doing math on her fingers to figure out how many more nights she had to sleep until Christmas morning.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Gingerbread House

After such a busy weekend I had planned for a day at home today.  The biggest event we were looking forward to was decorating our gingerbread house.  Wouldn't you know that my plan of us staying in our PJ's at least half the day was spoiled when I opened the box to find the "pre-assembled" house crushed and crumbled into pieces.  Well darn.  Handley started pouting because she really, really wanted to decorate the gingerbread house.  We all got dressed and headed to Wal-Mart to exchange our crumbled mess for one that was still "pre-assembled."

When we got home we got to work.   I was impressed with how well the girls did.  Handley was very precise in her placement of the candy, while Harper intentionally got the icing on her hands so she could lick it off.  I can't believe that this was the first time we'd ever done a gingerbread house, but we'll definitely be doing it again.  They both had a lot of fun and were proud of the final product.  

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Weekend Parties

We had a fun and busy weekend.  First we started with a birthday party for the girls' friend, Ella.  Her party was at the Center for Puppetry Arts.  We got to watch the "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" puppet show and it was amazing!  This was our first time visiting the Center and we will definitely be going back.  After the show we had lunch/cake and then the kids got to make their own reindeer puppet.

Last night was our neighborhood Christmas party so the girls spent the night with Gigi and Papa.  They had SO much fun together.  They went to see a spectacular light show and while they were there Handley got to ride a real pony!  Today they went to a place called Tanglewood Farms and were able to see and pet all sorts of animals and she got to ride another pony.  When she got home today and was telling me about everything she said, "It was just AMAZING!" I'm so happy that they got to do such fun outings with Gigi and Papa.  Robby and I were very thankful to be able to sleep in this morning.  What a treat! 

Our party was great. We have such fun and crazy neighbors so anytime we all get together it's a blast.  We went to a few different houses and ended at our clubhouse.  The guys enjoyed getting to ride the golf cart around to each house (complete with a Snuggie).

Tonight we had our dinner club.  Our group consists of 6 couples (and the kids).  We get together once a month and rotate who hosts.  We've been doing this for a year now and it's always great to catch up with each other and enjoy a meal together.  Sometimes we do themed dinners and tonight's dinner club was hosted by my brother and sister-in-law, Trey and Stefanie.  They decided to do a traditional holiday meal (which was delicious, but honestly I'm just happy to not have to cook so anything would sound good to me :-)).  They also suggested tacky Christmas sweater/attire.  Robby wore his singing Santa tie and I didn't have any tacky attire, but I did wear the reindeer antlers proudly (compliments of yesterday's birthday party).

Handley just loved getting to visit with Baby Leah and was so happy every time she would smile at her. 

 We were missing a two families tonight, but it was still fun celebrating Christmas with our friends.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas fun

I can't believe it has been over a week since I blogged.  You would think it might be because I've had nothing to report, but actually, quite it's been quite the opposite.  We have be SO incredibly busy preparing for and participating in all of our Christmas activities that I really haven't had much time.

This week was packed full of fun.  We had several parties with tons of cute Christmas activities.  First was the party at one of our neighbors houses. They had crafts, food, and the kids even got to make "Magic Reindeer Food" (made of oats, brown sugar, cheerios, popcorn and glitter) to spread on our lawn Christmas Eve.  

Yesterday Handley's class had a birthday party for Jesus.   When I asked her about it on the way home said said,  "Mommy, it was such a special party that we had cake...Cheetos...and SPRITE!!!!!!!  I just can't believe I ever had Sprite at school!"  Sprite is a big deal in our house and something she has only had a handful of times, so you can imagine her excitement when she got to have it at Jesus' birthday party!

This morning was her school Christmas Party.  It was a Gingerbread Man theme.  The kids performed a few Christmas carols for us and then got to partying!  They had lunch, listen to the story of the gingerbread man, and then decorated gingerbread man cookies and made a gingerbread man craft.  Handley enjoyed me being at the party with her and did a fantastic job ringing her bell with enthusiasm during their rendition of "Jingle Bells." For a video of Jingle Bells click HERE.

This afternoon a few of the neighborhood moms put on a party for our old (and too huge to hold anymore) playgroup.  There were over 20 kids and all their parents at our clubhouse.  Santa even showed up!  Watch THIS VIDEO of Handley, Harper and their friends jumping up and down with excitement when he arrived.  He passed out a gift to each child and my girls were very happy with their Princess CD player (Handley) and singing/talking phone (Harper).

These little girls just love each other so much! 

Showing off their crafts