Wednesday, November 30, 2011

25 Days of Christmas!!!

Okay so I know it so out of character for me to post 3 times in one day but I have been trying to get all caught up because starting tomorrow we are going to be doing 25 days of Christmas.  Ahhhh.  Can you feel my excitement???  I got the idea for this from Pinterest (my most favorite idea I have gotten from there yet!!).  I was going to make one of the super adorable advent calendars that I saw on Pinterest but then I found this one (picture below) at Target in the dollar spot (the $2.50 section of the "dollar" spot) and picked it up instead. 
 I had seen on Pinterest the idea of putting a Christmas-type activity in each day of the advent calendar and l-o-v-e-d it.  I just love Christmas and love making memories with my family and know that this will be a tradition we will all look forward to and remember fondly.  I also found this great blog post on 50 things to do at Christmas-time.
 So I used some of those, put it in what I already had planned, and came up with a few more ideas until I had our 25 activities (will post the list at the end).  I cut up some Christmas scrapbook paper I already had and wrote them on there, got out our schedule so I could plan what activity for which day.  (You know, I didn't want to plan a long activity on a night when we have small group and won't have the time to do it.)
 Then, viola!  Also, at TJ Maxx-I found the perfect book!  I am convinced God placed it there just for me!  It is called My First Read and Learn Countdown to Christmas by Mary Manz Simon.
For each night of December 1-25, there is a page, a scripture, a prayer, and something you can do (sometimes it is a craft, sometimes it is a dance, all are pretty short).  We will do this before bed each night. I love it!

Our 25 activities (in no particular order) are...
  1.   Decorate Tree--Lilly and Reid both have their own small tree with ornaments that they will freely decorate.
  2. Read Christmas story and play with Little People Nativity set.
  3. Take Christmas Photos.
  4. Pick an angel from the angel tree and shop for him/her as a family.
  5. Go to Branson to look at lights and go to see Dixie Stampede show.
  6. Make Christmas Cards--we will be turning the kids artwork into Christmas cards.
  7. Make a Christmas card for soldier.  (If you don't know a soldier you can mail a Christmas card to Holiday Mail for Heroes, P.O. Box 5456, Capitol Heights, MD  20791-5456)
  8. Christmas Craft--we are making a banner for the fireplace mantle
  9. Make a treat (Snowflake mix or Reindeer munch) and watch a Christmas movie in our sleeping bags in the living room. 
  10. Ornament Party--we are making all kinds of ornaments!
  11. Shop for sibling and parent.  We will split up and go to somewhere like the dollar store and let each child pick out a gift for their sibling and the other parent.  Then we will meet together and pick out a special ornament for the year.
  12. Cheap dinner and drive around looking at Christmas lights.
  13. Gingerbread nativity and/or village.
  14. Candlelight dinner with chicken nuggets and fries along with a candlelight bath (for the kids and obviously the candles would be away from the tub) or glowstick bath.
  15. Decorate wrapping paper.  The kids are making their own wrapping this year.  (:
  16. Dance party to Christmas music.
  17. Cookie decorating party.
  18. Special breakfast and night on the square. 
  19. Make a fort and read Christmas books in it.
  20. Make candy and take to neighbors.
  21. Bake dinner and a treat and take it to my Aunt. 
  22. Pajama Express Train!
  23. Watch Polor Express on our way to visit family.
  24. Make Jesus's birthday cake!!
  25. Read, "It's Jesus's Birthday!", sing happy birthday Jesus, and have some cake!   
We may not get to everything, I know "life" can happen but I am so looking forward to a month full of special times with my family!  I plan on blogging each day so you will be able to see how it is going!  (:

Our Thanksgiving Weekend

The pictures are all willy-nilly ordered but that is okay.  Wednesday after Matt got off work we headed to B-town to see some family. 
 The kids were so excited to go to Mike and DeDe's house but Lilly kept saying, "DeDe lives SO FAR away."  Ha!  On Thursday we had our Thanksgiving meal for lunch (and snack and dinner).  I did not take a single picture on Thanksgiving day.  I slacked.  It is becoming a pattern and the grandparents are concerned that our sweet children will not have enough photos.  I did just laugh.  Anyway, I do hate that I didn't get any pictures of Grandma Betty or Lilly and Reid's sweet cousins!
 (In this picture is MeMaw).  Thursday night DeDe and I went to Wal-Mart for some black Friday shopping fun.  I wanted a marble comic dress up trunk for Reid.  I am glad I went because I really didn't think it would be a hot ticket item but since there were only 6 of them total I was thrilled to get it. Lilly is getting some dress up clothes (shhh) and I am hoping him having some boy dress up clothes will keep him out of princess dresses.  On Friday we did some more shopping and watched our Razorbacks lose.  I would still rather be 10 and 2 with Petrino than 12 and 0 with any other coach!  Still proud to be a Razorback fan!  After the loss, though, we did do some retail therapy to help.  Ha! 
 Mike and Granddaddy with Reid and Lilly.  We went by and saw them on our way out of town Sunday. 
 The kids were WILD this weekend.  They didn't stop for one second.  I am pretty sure it was because they ate candy for the entire 5 days we were there.  Lilly laid on these two ottomans and told Reid to get on for a piggy back ride.  Ha!  He did.  And then they switched spots. 
 And of course Lilly and Reid love spending the weekend with Uncle Bert and Aunt Becca.  We are so excited they are having a girl, Breanna Katherine, in March!!! 
 Playing with Bert. 
 DeDe got Reid these Christmas Cars pajamas and I thought he was just the cutest stinking thing in them.  He calls the shirt his "jacket".  He thinks if it buttons up, it is a jacket.  If you could see his feet in this picture you would see his blue crocs on.  He is insisting on wearing his shoes at all waking moments of the day now.  Weirdo.  Ha! 
 I forgot to show this in the last post but Reid made this for me at KDO.  Love it! 
On Saturday we went by and saw MamMa. 

One funny story--DeDe turned the tv on downstairs for the kids to watch and Lilly was messing with the buttons and either turned the channel or turned it off.  So she came upstairs to tell DeDe that the tv was off and DeDe asked her, "Why were you touching the tv?  You aren't supposed to touch it." And Lilly looked at her and said, "I think we need to go downstairs and talk about it."  It was so funny! 

Kid's Crafting. (:

Well Lilly and Reid LOVE to do some crafting.  ESPECIALLY painting and doing handprints and footprints.  So the week before Thanksgiving, we did some fun crafts!  
 This is Lilly's new "cheese" face. 
 I love that Reid always gets really serious when it is craft time.  Focused!
At first we painted coffee filters with just a mix of water and food coloring but the colors just weren't vibrant enough so we brought out the real paint. 
 Then I did their footprint and we made these darling little turkeys.  The above is Reid's and below is Lilly's.  I don't know if I have mentioned this yet, but his foot is bigger than hers. 

Then I traced each one of our handprints and made this family handprint turkey.  Matt's is obviously the red one.  Mine is green.  Lilly's is orange and Reid's is yellow.  I think this is the last yellow Reid will be the top layer.  We made these in my KDO class and they were a big hit.  SOO cute.  I am going to frame mine and hang it.  I don't care if thanksgiving is over.  (: 
Lilly and I made a Thanksgiving book.  Reid painted a few pages when Lilly was on the painting part but he didn't really want to put the rest together.  I got the entire book idea from here off of pinterest.

Lilly was insistent that the rock be placed there and since it is her book--I said okay.  I did try and show her where things were supposed to go but I let her put them wherever she placed them. 
I thought it was so funny because she insisted on putting the leaves next to one another.  She said they were sister and brother and needed to be right next to each other.  I don't know where she is coming up with half of the stuff she is saying lately but she is cracking us up!
There is also one more page that says, "They had a wonderful feast to celebrate all that God had provided for them."  We left our book in Benton on accident.  But on that page all we are doing is cutting out some pictures of yummy food and sticking them on.  LOVE this book!
And our last crafting project was making DeDe and MoMo a handprint Christmas tree canvas with thumbprint ornaments. 
They were a big hit! 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Testimony Tuesday: Thankful

In honor of Thanksgiving, I thought I would do a "thankful" version of Testimony Tuesday.
  • I am thankful that God made me and knows me (Psalms 139).  I am so thankful for a God who made and designed me with a purpose specifically tailored for me and my abilities.  I am thankful for a God who knows me and wants me to know Him.  I am thankful that if I carve out time to spend with God in my schedule that He, God the Creator, Lord of everything, will meet me and speak personally to me.  (Again, I always feel the need to clarify, not in a burning bush or anything like that but through a specific verse, a random thought that could only come from him, a song, a little thing that happens that just verifies or clarifies something, etc.) 
  • I am thankful that even though I daily sin and fall short of the Glory of God (Romans 6:23), His grace and mercy are sufficient for me!  I am thankful that He sent His one and only son to be a savior for me (John 3:16) and for everyone that calls on His name (Romans 10:13).  For a little old testament humor--I am also thankful that because of Jesus I do not have to sacrifice a goat every time that I sin...I would single-handily be responsible for goat extinction if that were the case...thankful all I have to do is ask forgiveness and it is given. 
  • I am SO thankful that I am saved TO DO good works and not because of good works (as it is impossible to earn salvation--see Romans 6:23).  I am thankful that anyone who asks Jesus to be Lord of their lives and believes in their heart that God raised Him from the dead will be saved (Romans 10:9).  I love that God is not exclusive!  He wants everyone!!  Everything above that I am thankful for is available for anyone. 
  • I am also thankful looking at my life and seeing how faithful God was to me even when I wasn't walking closely with Him and the things he saved me from that I didn't even know about.  I look back at my life and see (theoretical) doors he closed that at the time I was so upset about...but that I see now were(huge) blessings in disguise.  Had some of those doors not closed I wouldn't be where I am now, who I am now, married to the awesome Godly man I am now, or have the two beautiful sweet children we have together.  Praise the Lord for His plans are always better than mine!
  • And I am so thankful for Matt, Lilly, and Reid.  I am also thankful that God has given our family a wonderful support system including our (extended) family, our friends,and our awesome church family and that he has allowed us to be part of their lives, too.
Hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving and found much to be thankful for too!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Testimony Tuesday: Praying

Okay before I start with the whole testimony thing, I have a story that I find hysterical!

As we were pulling into the garage we were listening to The Revelation Song (you know, "Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty who was and is and is to come"). We turned off the car and as I was getting out I was still singing the "Holy, Holy, Holy" part and as soon as I finished the last "Holy" Reid sang in the exact same tune, "Holy Moly". Hahaha! I think I laughed until I cried.

So at the beginning of the year one of my New Year's Resolutions was to "pray better". I had no idea what that even meant at the time but it was clearly one that God had put on my heart and one area that he has grown in me far beyond my expectations. I talked previously about my prayer box. I can not tell you how much that has helped me more thoroughly cover family, friends, and requests in prayer consistently.

Another thing the Lord has been teaching me about prayer is not to just pray about things or for things but to ALSO pray to see whether or not He wants me to take any kind of action to make that prayer happen. (For example if I am praying for encouragement for someone or for someone to be surrounded with love and support during a difficult time...he is teaching me to also ask if there is any way that I can encourage that person or if there is a way that I can help surround them with love and support.)

I thought I would end by adding one of my FAVORITE prayer resources. It is 31 different Godly characteristics to pray for your children. The idea being that you pray for one every day of the month. You can look at it and print it here. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this. I pray these for my children, their future spouses, and Matt and I. And if I miss a day or if the month is short I just pray for more than one on whatever day that is. I love having the confidence of knowing that I have covered these areas in prayer!

Dance, Nails, & Lights

Well since Lilly was sick last Monday we had to skip dance but thankfully they let us make up the class on Saturday morning. Since we don't have dance this week due to Thanksgiving that would have been a long time to not go with a certain tiny dancer asking daily if it is dance class day.
So we got all dressed in our dance "costume" (as Lilly calls it) for the first time and I almost died at the cuteness.
Oh my soul the cuteness abounds just looking at the photos--you should see it in person.
MoMo is in town and she got to witness the dance class. Lilly does such a good job in there. And she LOVES it. Today as she was talking to herself in her crib before nap she was saying, "I just love my dance class." I have loved every stage of her life (even the high-maintenance baby she was phase) but I LOVE LOVE LOVE this phase of watching her get excited over something, look forward to it, and then enjoy it so much AND listen to her telling other people about it.
The back view.
The "ballerina hair" she insists on having for class. (c; MoMo got some pictures of her dance class so I will post those when I get them.
After dance MoMo wanted to take Lilly and her cousin Emma to get their nails done. This is Lilly's second time to get her nails done and she didn't forget a thing from the first time! (Both times, by the way, were with the grandparents.)
Having fun!
Lilly already loves to be pampered. It was so funny-the lady came around and was going to paint her toenails in the chair she was sitting in and Lilly said, "No, I want to sit in THAT chair!"
Ha! Last time she had her toenails painted she was sitting in my lap in one of these chairs. She was barely able to reach her legs to the lady for her to paint her toenails but she managed. Ha! She also asked where her water was (the water that you usually soak your feet in)...I tell you she forgets nothing!
The girls drying their nails.
Saturday night we loaded up the kids for one of my favorite annual traditions! The lighting of the Ozarks! Our local square has thousands and thousands of lights and we go there each year to watch them turn them all on and then they have a parade.
This was the look on the kids faces when they turned the lights on. Lilly was really more interested in her cotton candy. We don't get cotton candy very often so I think she was most excited about it!
Reid got excited and started pointing out the lights.
Meanwhile, Lilly polished off her cotton candy. (:
Then we watched the parade!
Reid loved every blow up but especially the Mickey Mouse one.
He waved and waved at Mickey and every one that waved at him. He kept saying, "Bye" really loud to each person/character.

All in all I would say it was a pretty awesome Saturday. The rest of our week has been hanging out with MoMo and Papa Ray and trying to get things in order before Thanksgiving. I have been so thankful for the week at home!

Oh, and Testimony Tuesday is still coming! It will be up tonight!