Friday, January 21

Snow Day

Our first snow day came last week, but there was not enough snow to get to play. Early this Thursday morning, the snow started coming down. It didn't stop until about noon. We headed down the street to an undeveloped neighborhood and took advantage of some grassy hills without having to worry about cars. The snow was pretty thick, but once we finally got our path it was really fun. I don't think our girls had very much fun with their cousins today, do you? :)
On Thursday night, we had dinner with the McKrosky's and Hannon's and continued the cousin fun.

Wednesday, January 19

What Brooklyn has been up to.......

Brooklyn is in a stage where I never know what to expect from her. She can be a perfect angel one minute and the next she is screaming her head off and I'm dragging her out of some sort of public place. It's not fun. At all. The majority of the time she is a ton of fun, but the "fits" seem to overshadow the fun a lot of the time. For my own sake, I wanted to document what all B and I have been up to since Christmas and the fun we have had. On the days that she is not at school, this is a taste of what we do around the house on a typical day:

B colors in the doorway of my bathroom while I get ready. Sometimes Belle joins her. :)

She practices her dancing frequently with her "Learn to Dance" DVD.

We walk Belle when it's not to cold. And she dresses in style. :)

We play with the Lite Brite. Santa brought new Littlest Pet Shop sheets in Emma's stocking!

Brooklyn likes to "build" cupcake stands and sell me cupcakes. She prefers real money.

Brooklyn (and Emma) love to play with this bucket of beans. They fill cups and pour them through funnels over and over again. This particular day, B spent about 45 minutes doing this.

Every now and then, we go and have a lunch date with friends after dance. This particular day, it was just the two of us for a soup date at Panera.

We love hanging out together, but we are always super excited when 3:00 rolls around and this crazy gal comes home to play!!!

Tuesday, January 18

Emma's Award

The Monday after the kids went back to school, they had an awards ceremony. They do this once a semester and award the kids for their accomplishments in reading, math, attendance, etc....Emma got a reading and math ribbon along with a special medal! We had no idea she was getting this. Had we known, John would have rearranged his schedule to make it there, but no one told us ahead of time.

Back in November, Emma entered a photograph she took while she was out exploring with John into the Reflections contest at school. The age bracket was K-2nd grade and she won first place! Her photograph will now go on to the State competition! Congrats to Emma! She was so proud of herself and her photographer Daddy was too. :)

In honor of Emma's good grades on her report card, her hard work, her photograph, and for just being a great 7 year old, I typed up this note for her last Thursday morning:

She wanted to go to Taco Bueno for quesadillas and cinnamon chips, so that is where we went. Brooklyn was at school and I was off work, so it was just Emma and me. She loved getting to check out just to go to lunch and I loved having her all to myself!

2011 Pancakes

We woke up on January 1, 2011 and all relaxed and watched TV. Around 9:30, everyone started to get hungry and pancakes were on my brain! I wanted to try out my new Pancake Pen that I got for Christmas and this was my favorite creation!

I see lots of fun breakfasts in our future!

Wednesday, January 5

New Years Eve Eve

Both of the Walker families, the Lewis', and John and I decided to celebrate New Years Eve on December 30th since we knew it would be easier to find babysitters. We left 7 girls and one sweet baby boy with two sitters and enjoyed a night out at Table Mesa in Bentonville. The food was awesome and the people were that much better. I love these families and I was so glad to spend time with them ringing in the new year. (even if it was a little early)

John and I had a relaxing night at home for New Years Eve. The girls were so tired from the night before that they were asleep by 7:30. We grilled steaks and made green beans and Shells and Cheese for dinner. Then we watched a movie and ate molten chocolate chip cookie with ice cream. It was a perfect start to the New Year with my favorite person!

Christmas Day

I woke up at 7:45 Christmas morning to whispers in the monitor. I could not believe the girls had slept that long! John and I jumped up and ran in there to remind them not to come out. We got the camera set up and the coffee made before we went in with them to read Luke 2 together. I love the idea of starting our morning off with THE Christmas story. Once we did that, the girls were ready to go out! I love the picture John got of them coming around the corner. It was an accident, but it is one of my favorites.

The girls both got the long awaited Pillow Pets from Santa along with ZuZu babies and a book. Their stockings were full of toothbrushes (one regular and one electric that they got to decorate), some candy, Lite Brite refills, chapstick and a new Cinderella phone for Brooklyn. Brooklyn would have been completely content with her Cinderella phone and carrying case and not a thing more. She didn't let go of the phone all day.

There was not a big item that the girls wanted this year. Brooklyn gave Emma a new ZuZu pet because hers had broken a few months ago. Emma gave B a Beauty and the Beast book for her Tag reader. John and I gave Emma a new glove, hat and scarf set and some fun rain boots. We surprised her with a Princess Lea toy that she had wanted at Disney World. She was out of spending money there, but we bought it and brought it back to save for Christmas. She was really excited! Brooklyn got Tangled for her Leapster, a Letter and Number dry erase book and new rain boots. We got them both Toy Story Mania for the Wii. It was designed after the ride at Hollywood Studios that we loved. It is a fun family game. Both girls have really enjoyed it.

I had put our breakfast in the oven after Santa gifts and it was ready right about the time we finished opening gifts. We had breakfast pizza and Monkey bread. The monkey bread is our birthday cake for Jesus, so we sang Happy Birthday before eating. We played around our house after breakfast for a bit and then piled in the car (still in pj's) and went to the Hannon's to exchange gifts and eat a light lunch with John's whole family. It was super laid back. We had fun seeing all their new toys (lots of electronics!) and hanging out with all of them. We are thankful they live so close and that it is easy to see each other.

It was a great Christmas holiday. We saw a lot of family and enjoyed the slowed down pace that the school year brings. I enjoyed not having to get everyone up and out of the house early in the morning. There were many days that we never took off our pj's and never left the house.

Christmas Eve

John and I decided last year that we wanted to start staying at home for Christmas Eve and Christmas day. This meant starting our own traditions and figuring all of that out. This year, we had the Hannon's and Nana and GDad over to our house for Christmas Eve lunch. We all pitch in with food and it is always SO good! Since Sam has to be at church for most of the Christmas Eve services, we always eat an early lunch. The services got moved even earlier this year, so we decided to save presents for Christmas day so we were not rushed. We all went to church for the 3:00 family service. It is very casual and laid back. All the kids got glow sticks and the adults got candles.

After church, the four of us went home to decorate our sugar cookies that we had cut out the day before. We did this last year and had such a good time, we have made it a tradition! I had been in the kitchen for 2 days preparing food and had intentions of making tacos that night (voted on by the four of us), but when John suggested going to pick up tacos and cheese dip at our favorite Mexican restaurant I thought that was a great idea! John's parents joined us for tacos, cheese dip, margaritas, and cookies. It was easy and good. It gave me more time to enjoy being with everyone. John's parents left after dinner. The girls got ready for bed and prepared Santa's cookies and milk. We all read The Night Before Christmas and tucked both girls in Brooklyn's room for the night. Surprisingly, it didn't take much time for them to fall asleep together.

Tuesday, January 4

Christmas in Little Rock

We went to Little Rock the weekend before Christmas to celebrate with my family. My extended family gets together that weekend and since we are usually in LR for Christmas, we rarely get to go. It worked out great this year to be able to see some family that I haven't seen in years. Sadly, we did not get any pictures of that party. :(

On Sunday, we did Christmas with my parents and my sister's family. It was fun to all be together and exchange gifts. We all bought my Mom some adorable, personalized melamine plates for each of the girls to use at their house. My sister in law designed them and together we came up with the saying to go around the plate. I think they turned out super cute. Emma got two more DS games, a huge set of Legos and some money. Brooklyn got her fun TAG reader with three books and her beloved Tangled dress that she has barely taken off her body! I got a new coat that I have been wanting and money. John scored some iTunes cards and money. We got more than we need!

The girls and I stayed in LR until Tuesday, but John had to go back on Sunday. I wasn't feeling 100%, but we still had a good time. I took the girls to see the Tokar girls on Monday and they had a big time in the hot tub! Kate, Lindsay and I had coffee on Monday night. It was great to catch up with them.

On Tuesday, we had intentions to take Emma, Brooklyn, Claire and Andi to see Santa at the mall, but my sister got sick, so they could not come. My Mom and I took Em and B. I was still not feeling great, so we headed home from the mall.

It was a great visit!

10th Annual Gingerbread Party

Our favorite holiday party every Christmas season is the Elleman's Gingerbread Party. It was all started 10 years ago when we were newlyweds with no kids. One year we attempted to bring our children to help decorate the houses, but quickly realized that was mass chaos and went back to adults only. The Elleman's are the ultimate hosts. We always have great food, drinks and prizes! The people there are not people that John and I see consistently throughout the year, but we like them a lot and always have a blast hanging out. The only rules for the party are you HAVE to wear pajamas and the house you build has to be edible.

Over the 10 years, we have seen all kinds of creativity. John and I always stay classic and we never win. SO, next year, we are going to ditch "classic" and do something crazy. The Thompson's were the most crazy this year and added a live mouse to their house.