Christmas Morning

Ahh, nothing beats sleeping in until 7:30 and waking up to happy kids on Christmas morning. We seriously had the best Christmas. The kids were adorable and loved each and every gift. It took us well over an hour to get through them all, but I cherished every minute.

The kids looked adorable in the their PJs from Santa and as you can see, Santa did manage to bring Ellie both a Sleeping Beauty Barbie AND an Ariel barbie. Although, getting the Ariel barbie resulted in me going to every Target in the East Valley and being suckered into carrying $300 of tools through Home Depot and scanning them through the self check-out lane. But that's a story for another day. . .

Enjoy our SCADS of Christmas pictures! :)

Just like last year, we had to beg Ellie to open more presents. Both of the kids were perfectly happy with what was in their stockings. I think Nate would have sat there all day running his cars over the carpet making his little "vrrrooooooooom," noise. And Ellie would have been in heaven if all she had gotten was barbies.

Nate seriously would have been happy getting boxes for Christmas. He was so cute wandering all over the house carrying presents and laughing. He would go from box to box lifting them. Then he'd go back and play with one of his trucks for a minute or two. He kept himself pretty well occupied while Ellie did all of the unwrapping for him.

One of the "big" presents we got Ellie this year. We gave Santa credit for all of the toys we got them for the back yard, but we wanted credit for the kitchen. Little stinker keeps telling everyone that Santa got it for her though. I keep trying to explain that it's from mommy and daddy, but I'm pretty sure she thinks all of her toys were Santa.

I seriously could have eaten Nate on Christmas morning. He was laughing so hard. I'm not sure he understood what was going on, but he was high on a Christmas spirit. I couldn't believe how much fun he was. Great Grandma, Beaney and Dave sent the kids Book of Mormon Story board books. They are so cute. We took them to Church on Christmas day and Ellie loved them.

I'm glad I didn't open them on early even though Kristine was prodding me to. It was so nice to have a little present from my Grandma under the tree. Even though she passed away a few weeks ago, it was neat to have a little part of her there with us on Christmas.

Nate loves all of his toys. He got a lot of cute stuff and I think he's just happy to have things that are just his (try telling that to Ellie). He was seriously giddy anytime he got to open a present. Then he would just hold the box and walk around.

This particular bath toy is from his cousins in Tennessee. He loves it you guys!

Ellie got quite a few nightgowns for Christmas, but the one from Grandma and Papa Walkem is her favorite. It is "sooooooo beauitful" that I had a hard time convincing her that it was for sleeping in and not a dress up dress. As a compromise, it hangs on a hanger on the dress-up rack in her closet, but we still wear it to bed. I also had to convince her to take the robe off when she sleeps. The second she wakes up, she puts it back on.

Sweet Nate. Still perfectly content to just hold a present. Even if it is for his sister.

Our house is now over run with Barbies. Ellie got SIX barbies for Christmas -- Ariel and Sleeping Beauty (which you've heard about multiple times by now), a "n"ermaid barbie from Fairytopia, Cinderella and two "Highnesses" barbies from Barbie's Pegasus movie. To say she was thrilled would be an understatement.

She also got a matching Cinderella dress up dress as a hand-me down from a friend. But I still wrapped it and put it under the tree for Christmas. Moms can do whatever they want.

Ahhhhhhhh, Princess Alexa. A gift from Ellie's cousin Alex Anne. She's actually much cooler than you would guess from looking at her. She makes these really adorble noises, and you can even burp her. Ellie absolutely loves her, and Nate tries to steal her whenever possible. He has an obsession with babies (maybe because they are smaller than he is), so he thinks Princess Alexa is pretty neat.

However, on more than one of ocassion, we've gone in search of Nate only to find it is Princess Alexa making the noises.

We've played with every toy every day since Christmas. My one rule is that I will only do Bella Ballerina once a day though. It is far more work for me than it is for Ellie. She's so darn cute when she does it, though, so it's totally worth it.

I'm starting to think I'm going to be forced to add one more activity to our schedule and put her into dance.

Please not how graceful she looks though. You'd never know she was one of the clumsiest children on earth (I can only blame myself -- Dustin was never called Maddy Boom Boom as a child).

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve was so much fun -- for most of us. Poor Tanner ate a glass prnament shortly before the festivities began, so he and Hans ended up in the ER until 7:30 at night. We had soup in bread bowls and the weather was warm enough (80 degrees) for the girls to eat outside. The only dowfall of them eating outside: we're not sure if they ate anything, leaving way too much room in their bellies for sugary treats.

Tasha prepared a little Nativity story and we put the nativity costumes I sewed to good use (well, I should probably give a lot of the credit to Joyce for helping me sew them). Ellie was Mary, Ashley was Joseph, Abby and Dustin were shepards, Tasha, Tony and Papa Rogers were the Wisemen and I made an appearance as the angel. It was pretty stinking cute.

Michelle brought sugar cookies and sprinkles and Cheryl made frosting so the girls could decorate cookies to leave for Santa. Although, I think Santa wasn't quite sure if he should eat them or not, seeing how often the girls licked their knoves and stuck them back in the frosting.

After that, they went back into Ellie's room and played. The doorbell rang and there was a loud HO HO HO so the girls ran to the front door to find pajamas from Santa. They all changed into them and looked so darn adorable. Dustin looked incredibly cool in his blue moose pajamas. I'll have to wait for Tony to get back from Utah to get pictures of all that. :)

I seriously thought Ellie would just crash after everyone left. Grandma and Papa Rogers had been in town for a few days, she hadn't had a nap since Tuesday, and she had quite the exciting evening. However, by the time everyone left it was well after 8 and the exhaustion had turned into a sugar rush. That girl stayed up until well after 9 pm singing Jingle Bells at the top of her lungs.

We still managed to drag out all the presents and climb into bed ourselves by 10 pm. Plus the kids didn't even wake up after 7:30 the next morning. I plan on cherishing one of the last years we'll be so lucky.

In other news!

Nate is FINALLY wearing shoes. After months of struggling with the little turd to get him to wear his shoes, he has finally shown an interest. The other night we hear him grunting down the hall. Turns out he is trying to put on Ellie's dress up shoes. So after laughing at cute it is, I finally remember that this is the kid who cries anytime he sees me nearing him with shoes. I ran and got his shoes out of the closet and sure enough, he wore them around the house all night.

Of course the next day we were out in the backyard with them on and he tripped and face planted into the cement pavers. OUCH! Obviously he needs some more practice. It also explains the lovely red scab on his nose in all of the Christmas photos.


Santa Claus

The whole Santa coming to pre-school thing went well, thankfully. I'd been telling Ellie that not every Santa she sees is the real thing and that Santa doesn't give into commericalism for the last few weeks. I think the abundance of Santas really takes away the magic of Christmas. It also gets me out waiting in line at the mall or any of those other hokey Christmas traditions we force upon our children.

Then last week I get a letter from Ellie's Pre-school teacher saying that Santa would be coming to visit. Immediately the panic set in. Would Ellie announce that it wasn't the real Santa? Would she tell him that Santa doesn't give in to commercialism? I was nervous! So this morning, I started prepping her for what would happen.

Me: Ellie, I heard there might be a special visitor today at school.
Ellie: Who is it?
Me: Maybe Santa Claus will come.
Ellie: No, Santa only comes on Christmas.
Me: But he might make a special appearance today.
Ellie: No, he's coming in two weeks.
Me: Actually, it's only one week now.
Ellie: Nooooooooo, it's two weeks.
And then I decided just to drop it because she was getting upset with me and I hadn't finished her hair.

Luckily, the whole thing went perfectly! WHEW! Santa came in and Ellie was the first kid to run up and sit in his lap. She smiled and told him what she wanted for Christmas: 2 barbies -- a Sleeping Beauty barbie (check) and an Ariel barbie (uhhhh, not checked, I hope Target isn't out of them). Then he gave her a little bell and told her to ring it every time she did soemthing good. Isn't that too cute? I think I'm going to force her to wear the bell forever, because I've already gotten a few good deeds out of her.

After the visit with Santa, she did come and ask me if it was the real Santa or the fake Santa. I told her it was the real one. What other choice did I have?? It made her so stinking happy. Totally worth the hoopla. Nate also got a chance to sit on his lap. I was surprised he wasn't scared.

I am getting so excited for Christmas. Ellie has Girl School tomorrow, so I have to run and do last minute shopping and then we'll be ready to go!



And so it begins. . . the holiday season. Thanksgiving was pretty bad, but no where near as bad as Christmas is going to be. For friend gifts this year, I gave out rolls of wrapping paper with an ornament tied on. Mainly because I didn't want to contribute to the never ending supply of treats that seem to appear around Christmas -- although I fully appreciate the sweets.

It started off fine. A cute decorative snowman that now sits on the piano and a bundle of candles with an ornament and a cute scripture, but slowly the food started pouring in. Some homemade fudge, peanut brittle, then came the loaves of poppy seed bread. I left town in time to miss the dessert bars (they must have been good because Dustin and the kids didn't leave any for me), but came back just in time to hit the mother load.

Starting at about 6 last night, our door bell rang all night long. Homemade salsa, sugar cookies, fudge, caramel, some sort of marshmallow concotion, an assortment of dip mixes, a tin of chocolate covered cookies, hot cocoa and marshmallows, and cups full of chocolate covered pretzels. All part of what I like to call, "Holiday Gluttony."

They are now sitting on my kitchen counter, beckoning to me everytime I walk in there -- reminding me of how little I have worked out this month. They also remind me of how blessed I am. Here I am, thousands of miles away from family, and I have so many people who love and care about me and my family. We are so blessed.

I was reminded this weekend that there are only two things you get to take with you when you leave this world -- your testimony, and the relationships you have with others. As Christmas approaches, I am so lucky to have both. A wonderful testimony of Christ that has only grown as I've followed the prophets challenge to finish the Book of Mormon, and an incredible amount of people who I love and rely on. I am so blessed with an amazing family and thoughtful friends. I truly hope that everyone will be able to feel the same joy this Christmas season.

Merry Christmas!


Catch up

I did it! I figures out how to get the pictures from my camera to my computer all by myself. And it was actually really easy. I'm brilliant!!!!!!!

Anyway, here is a little recap of what has been going on here over the last month. Sort of a random collection of pictures I downloaded today. Well, a random collection from the ones I didn't delete. Went I was looking through them on the computer, I noticed a large chunk of pictures (say 10-15) that Ellie had taken of the TV set while she was watching Mulan the other day. How did kids get so smart? It took me forever to figure out how to use a digital camera, yet now my daughter can get a stool, get mommy's camera down from it's hiding place, open it, take some pictures, close it back up and put it back where she found it?? That's clever.

It's a good thing we live in AZ

That is the face of trouble. Little girls can be so devious when left to their own devices. Today Ellie had a little buddy over for the afternoon. They played so sweetly inside until they asked in their most polite way if they could go outside and swing. So we all headed outside for awhile until the phone rang. I ran inside to get it and left the door open so I could hear the girls play. The enitre phone conversation, I can hear little squeals and giggles, so I figure all is well. Yeah, not so much. When I got off the phone, I see two dripping wet girls running around in the sprinklers out back! (They used to go off at 1 pm, I guess no one told me they had been switched to 3)

All I can say is, it's a good thing they are so stinking cute and it's a really good thing we live where it's nice enough outside in December to get a little wet. But I did make them strip and come inside and get some dry clothes on. After I made them pose for pictures.

We put our tree up. . .

and more proof that Nate is a cuddle ho. Seriously, that kid will cuddle anything. I'm not even kidding. He's cuddled water bottles before. When he's tired, anything will do -- a napkin, paper, a cell phone and now we can add out tree skirt to the list.

Nate's new face

I know every child goes through this stage, but it's just so much funnier and cuter when it is your own child. Nate has finally decided to "pose" for pictures. Niiiiiiiiiiice! For the next 5 months, every picture I take of him will have that horrible pained expression. Good thing he's so stinking cute!!!

Have I ever mentioned that I love to use exclamaton points?

Ellie's Thanksgiving Party

I remember teaching school and loving this time of year (and of course being totally overwhelmed at the same time). It is just party after party. So of course, Ellie is having a ball. All November they practiced songs and the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, we got to hear them. Welllllll, we got to hear Ms. Becky sing them and the kids kind of mumble along. Of course I video taped the whole thing. One day the kids will watch the video and wonder why thei rmom taped that jumk, but I loooooooove it!

They had a Thanksgiving Feast before hand. The Thursday before the feast, Ellie came home with a slip of paper that read, "Ellie has volunteered to bring apple juice and cups." Volunteered?? I can just see the planning meeting now. "Ellie, what would you like to bring?" I'm surprised she didn't say candy if she was "volunteering." So then I ask my girlfriend who brought Ellie home what her little girl had volunteered to bring. Apparently Ashely volunteered to bring mashed potatoes. Ha ha ha!!!!!! I got apple juice and cups and poor Tasha was up the night before making mashed potatoes. I also feel badly for the moms whose children "volunteered" to bring stuffing and pies. :)

Nate and I got haircuts

Just a cute picture of sweet Nate after we buzzed his hair off. It makes him look so much older. And you notice his sweet brown eyes so much better. I'm not sure if you can see any difference in my hair. I just got a few inches chopped off. And according to a certain person who reads this blog. . .Ellie and I have the exact same hairstyle. I think she would be pleased to hear that today we both have pig tails in.

OK, Ellie will obly ever do chores for someone else. Or maybe she thinks hanging out on the hood of a car is cool. My sister hates touching paper towels and of course that was all I had to offer her when she needed to clean of her windshield. So tricky girl that she is talks Ellie into doing it. I'm sure her little plan back fired though since there was no way a 3 year was going to be able to clean all of those bug guts off of her windows.

The yard

We finally got our backyard done! I looooooove it. It of course no longer looks like this. We now have a swing and children's toys littered all over. But it doesn't matter. As you can see from an earlier picture, the kids are already putting it to good use. And my house is staying so much cleaner.