Saturday, December 26, 2009

First Annual Cookie Exchange

What would Christmas festivities be without Christmas cookies? This year, my gal pals Jessel and Kelly, hosted a cookie exchange for our friends, new and old. It was a great time to meet some new friends.

And was I ever impressed with the cookies they brought.
Not only were they beautiful, but they were soooo good.

All I had to do was dress the table,
and purchase some fun cookie wrapping materials.

But the best part about the evening was when Kelly, a pastor's wife, shared about the true meaning of Christmas. That it was about the King of Kings who humbled himself and was born in a lowly manger. That He came to give us the greatest gift of all, and that we can rejoice and celebrate at Christmas because of His birth, that God gave us His son so that we may have life.
It gives us all a reason to be merry this Christmas!

Happy Birthday Jesus!

When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. - Matthew 2:10-11

What a wonderful birthday celebration!
Our greatest gift to mankind.
This year, so we didn't forget the real meaning of Christmas,
we baked a cake and sang baby Jesus a catchy tune.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Cousins Escapade

My goodness, the month of December has been a time for family and frolic. When two sets of cousins left, another one came to join in the merriment! To add to the excitement, we had one of our biggest snowstorms in Virginia! Here's Patrick in our front yard:

Like father like sons. Micah and Caelan came out to help.

I wasn't prepared for Caelan's outfit yet,
so the little guy had rain boots.

The snow kept them inbound quite a bit, so we had to be creative.
They would, however, dream of being outside.

But while indoors, they practiced their artistic skills on...gingerbread cookies...

And on ornaments...

and on each other!

The cousins bonded.

Stuck together at the hips, really.

When they exhausted all the toys in the play room,
they made it a fortress instead.

They soared to new heights.

And this was the week BEFORE Christmas!
More pictures of the Christmas celebration coming up.
I'm working on a video again! :)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Part II: Michigan and Arizona Cousins

New word for the day: Funology. Definition: The science of having fun. I believe we experimented with funology with Micah's "Michigan cousins" and "Arizona cousins" during their week here. Check it out:

The kids went swimming with their grandparents
and all their aunts and uncles at our indoor pool!

What could top an indoor pool in the middle of the winter? How about seeing the National Christmas tree?

And Trevor and Micah were told where the President lives too.

They all got their history lessons as they visited the Smithsonian's Museums.

Downtown was pretty cool, but nothing tops being able to go to a local fire station and ride the fire trucks! Pictured below are future fighter fighters of America.

There were the planned activities, and those that were unplanned, which often had the most meaningful impact on the kids.
They had reading time with their uncle Patrick:

And arts and crafts with their Aunt Soryda:

I also got to make a special gingerbread train with Micah and his "Michigan cousins". I was pleasantly surprised that most of it didn't get eaten as we were putting it together! Very good restraint from all the children.

Micah got sick towards the end of the week, and missed grandpa driving the tractor
with all the kids at the Schweisthal farm in Middleburg....

...but felt a little better the next day, so we went to see a Christmas parade at grandma and grandpa's neighborhood in downtown Purcellville.

If that wasn't mastering the art or science of fun, I don't know what is! Micah really missed his cousins when they left, but the next day, his other cousins Luca, Gabriel and Lily came to stay. And they are here for two more weeks until they relocate to England.
The funology just doesn't stop....stayed tuned for those updates!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Family Celebration

This week has been a whirlwind. We had Patrick's sisters in town--Kristen from Michigan and Meghan from Arizona. We also had special guests at our house party from Penn State - Patrick's Aunt Bev and Uncle Paul. We have a lot of pictures to show you from the nine days, so I'll start with part I: the Family Celebration. Most of Patrick's extended family in the area were able to come visit with one another. And the snow that day just made it more of a winter wonderland.

With six children under 3 at the same house for a week, there's bound to be family squabbles. But, the dueling sword fight by a fierce dalmation and a ninja would often take care of things.

And if that didn't work, Caelan would settle it.

There were a lot of preparations to be made. All of Patrick's sisters and mom helped, and Patrick helped by tasting it.
Someone had to do it!

And there were important meetings in the playroom. Batman was trying to figure out if the fire chief or the firefighter-biker was right, or did the dalmation have a more convincing argument?

It was fun to see families get together, and
new generations forming.

Everyone brought food to share.
Those are the best parties to throw. :)

And we even had cheese fondue, but hands down the chocolate fondue fountain was a hit!

For the first time, I was able to host a party where 22 adults could sit, and I even had my own kid's table! There's a first.

It was really nice to celebrate with Patrick's side of the family, and also great because his birthday was the next day! That will be part of Part II. Stay tuned!