Sunday, December 30, 2012

Our little elf, Annie

Not sure if everyone has heard about the "Elf on the Shelf" craze that is going on right now.  The cute little elf comes with a story that explains about his/her purpose.  Basically, your elf is sent to your house from Santa to watch the kids and make sure they are being good during the holiday season.  He/She sits on the shelf (or other various places in your home) and keeps an eye on the kids and whether or not they are being good or bad.  She cannot talk to the kids, but they can talk to her and tell her what they want for Christmas or anything else about their day.  She cannot be touched by anyone because she will lose her "Christmas magic" and won't be able to fly home to the North Pole to tell Santa how good (or bad) the kid(s) were.  In the morning, she can reappear in a different place in your home after reporting to Santa that night.  That's the fun part. ;)

First things first.  When you get an elf, you have to name it.  Ours was a girl, so the kids wanted to call her Annie.  They named her after a character on the show "The Little Einsteins".  We read her book and I reiterated what her job was and how we couldn't touch her.  They were super excited about it, and every morning it was a hunt to find where Annie ended up after her trip to see Santa.

Annie's being chased by the cops!  Oh NO!

Swinging from the stockings

Annie enjoying a mug of hot cocoa after her long trip home.

Zip lining through the breakfast area (Landon loved this one!)

A note from Annie helped reinforce some good behavior at school. :)

Hanging out on the pendant light.

People get pretty crazy with the where-abouts of their elf, but I didn't have the time or energy to put into it this year.  I tried to keep it pretty simple.  The kids are still too young to really care about some of it, so it worked out perfectly.  They just loved finding her every morning.  I'm sure with Braydon's help next year (and his overactive imagination) we'll have a more active elf. :)  

Nonna rocks!

Thanksgiving is normally held at my house.  We have a few other military families over for food, nice company and football.  This year we were invited over to our friend's house.  We had a lot of fun eating and hanging out with everyone.  Of course, it wasn't the same without Dad, but we made due. :)

The day after Thanksgiving, my mom came to visit us from Atlanta.  We always love when she comes to visit.  The kids love playing with her, and she's so helpful that it takes some pressure off of momma too. :)  We did some Christmas shopping while she was here as well as some Christmas decorating.  I always put my tree up right after thanksgiving and I wasn't going to let Braydon being gone interrupt my fun. :) 

We have a pre-lit fake tree that we got on a day after Thanksgiving sale about 5 or 6 years ago now.  It was a fabulous deal and came with white and colored lights on it.  You can switch which ones you want on or light up both.  It has a remote control, so it's so easy.  Last year, I remembered us having some issues with some of the lights working, but Braydon had fixed them.  This year I took the tree out of the box and about 20% of the lights worked on it.  I wasn't going to spend time finding which ones were broken, so Mom and I took them off the tree!  An hour and a half later, we had a light-free tree.  I bought some lights from Hobby Lobby and put new ones on it instead.  It looked so much better and now we will have working lights for next year too. :)

Our finished product. :)

I have to add this in.  I tried to get the kids involved with decorating the Christmas tree this year.  Landon just wanted to steal all the ornaments that had a number or a door on them and hoard them.  Sigh.  Sydney, however, LOVED helping!  She liked to help me hang the ball ornaments.  Problem was, she was so quick! Before I could even help her, this is what I found at the bottom of our tree:

At least she's eager to help, right? ;) hehe

After tackling the Christmas decorating, we wanted to have a little bit of fun with the kids too.  Mom loves the pizza place, Papa Murphy's.  There aren't any in Atlanta, so when she comes here, we try to make a point to go there just for her. :)  They are a take-n-bake place where you buy the pizza at the store, they put it together, and then you take it home and bake it in your own oven.  The pizzas are super good and aren't as greasy as other places.  If you haven't tried them yet, you should.  

They have little mini pizza kits for the kids to make their own pizza.  I remember doing that with my Grandpop when I was a kid, so I thought we would give it a try with Landon.  Things like this are very hit or miss with him.  I kept my fingers crossed that he would give it a chance and he loved it!  He did such a good job. :)

Adding the cheese and pepperonis.

Before the oven...

Pictures while the pizza was baking.  Sorry for the blurry pictures.  I think I need to remind myself how to use my camera again!  :)

This one would've been so cute too! :/

Okay, pizza, hurry UP!

Our finished product!  :)

Landon and Nonna spent some time together and Nonna taught Landon how to play tic-tac-toe and hangman.  He did pretty good with it.  He really liked the tic-tac-toe!

As always, a big thank you to my mom for coming to visit!  Especially this time!  It gave me something to look forward to in that long 6 weeks and broke up the time so it went by quicker.  We love you Nonna!!

Halloween 2012

Our Halloween was a little different this year.  Normally, Braydon will take Landon out trick-or-treating while I pass out candy.  I hate when people leave bowls of candy out instead of answering the door.  Unfortunately, I was that person this year.  I had no way around it.  There was only one of me and too many places to be at once.  I felt no remorse leaving the bowl on our front steps.  The fact that Braydon wasn't going to be here to share a holiday that he always shared with Landon, it was imperative to me that I make up for the missing parent.

One of our nurses, Theresa, (who is as sweet as can be) offered to come over and help me take the kids out.  I'm so thankful and grateful that she did!  Since Landon still needs help going up stairs that don't have railings, it was very helpful to have another set of hands.  I put Sydney in the wagon since I knew she would just run from me otherwise.  She didn't mind it, thankfully.

This year Sydney was a bumblebee.  I found this costume at a consignment sale in August and couldn't pass it up.  She wasn't very happy when I put it on her at first, but she warmed up to it.  The back of the costume was the cutest...

I love the little stinger. :)  She was very interested in the lollipops this year.  She was pretty insistent that she have one, and it being Halloween and all we decided to humor her. :)  She loved it, and had it all over the place within seconds.  In her hair, all over her face, on her get the idea. :)

Landon decided that he wanted to be Pocoyo.  Pocoyo is a cute little cartoon character on Nick Jr. that Landon LOVES!  Here's a picture of the cartoon:

The little guy in all blue in the middle is Pocoyo.  I was so happy that he chose something semi-easy to recreate! :)  I did my best, and bought a white sweat suit and dyed it blue and added the cute little zipper on the top.  Then I dyed a white hat the same color blue as the suit and wa-la! I was done. :)

Cute little Landon...I mean, Pocoyo and Miss Theresa :)

Getting a good picture of the two of them is almost impossible!  You can see Sydney's lollipop...

A picture of all of us and Sydney with her lollipop.

The lollipop didn't last much longer after that.  I had to take it away from her because I didn't want her sticking it to herself, or worse, the wagon and then putting it in her mouth.  Yuck!  She cried when I threw it away.  A lot.  I reassured her that she would get more, and thankfully, the first house we went to gave her a lollipop!  Thank goodness!  After she realized she was getting candy at all the houses, she was a happy little bumblebee.  Towards the end of the trip around the neighborhood, she was saying "Halloweens" for trick-or-treat and " 'nother house" when we would leave one house and go to the next.  She caught on pretty quick.  

Landon took to it like a duck to water.  He didn't need any reminding of what he needed to do. :)  After the night was over, we came home and enjoyed some Fruit Loops that the neighbor gave out, and headed for bed.  They did really good and I think it will be even easier next year.  I even got to pass out a little bit more candy after we got back. :)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Our beautiful family!

Is it really the holidays again?!  Where does time go??  I swear I turn around twice and it's Christmas again!  This year will be so much more special with both of my children getting older and having more of an understanding of what the holidays mean.  I love being the one to pass on traditions and come up with new ones.  This time of the year is so magical when you have children!

Again, it was time to get our family picture taken.  Braydon always gives me a hard time about getting pictures taken, but it's one of those things that I feel is very important.  Our kids are only young once, and I want to be able to freeze times of their lives in photographs.

We went with our friend Megan, who has grown so much in her photography in the past couple of years.  She's fantastic and the kids are totally comfortable around her.  Here's a few of the pictures she caught of us:

She always does a beautiful job!  She does such a good job, that I have a hard time picking which one I want to get blown up for the house!  Decisions, decisions...

Fun with Dad at the pumpkin patch

Since Braydon wasn't going to be home for Halloween, we wanted to make sure that we enjoyed each other before he left and keep everything as normal as it usually is.  Around this time of year we always enjoy taking the kids to the pumpkin patch to pick out a pumpkin to carve.  We headed to the same place we go every year, Bellevue Berry and Pumpkin Patch, which isn't too far from our house and isn't as busy as some of the other places around Omaha.  It's perfect for our family.

This year we ended up taking the kids right after Landon went to school, so there weren't very many people there.  It worked out fabulous!  We picked out pumpkins and walked around and enjoyed the scenery.  The kids got to run around and burn off some steam.  We had a lot of fun!

This year there were a lot more animals than they had in the past.  Sydney really enjoyed seeing the animals, and Landon could've cared less.  He just wanted to hold Dad's hand.

Apparently this pumpkin-loving pig lives in the right place. :)

Sydney was very facinated with the chickens.  I had to tell her to stop poking her fingers through the chicken wire cause those chickens were licking their chops!

Landon didn't want to have anything to do with the scary pirate's cave!  Dad tried to walk Sydney through, but she started saying "out" almost as soon as she got in there.

Sydney's a brave girl.  Even through she didn't go all the way through, she did better than me!

Walking through the ghost town.

Taking turns on the tire horse.  It's actually attached to a long wire thing and they "ride" the horse down the wire.  Landon didn't want to do it at first (in his normal Landon fashion), but once he was on it he didn't seem to mind. :)

Sydney had to stop and say "moo" to the cows :)

Landon made it to the top of the pirate ship this year!  He didn't want to climb the weird ladder to get up there, but he did it with a little pushing. :) He enjoyed walking around for a minute and then wanted to get down.  At least he tried. 

Sydney lost her seat in the stroller to the pumpkins.  The kids were excited to pick out their own pumpkin and picked up several before we decided which ones we were taking home. :) 

The blogging blues...

I know.  I'm so behind on blogging I just don't know what to do with all of the pictures I want to share!  I've been contemplating just skipping over the fall and just starting off with the last major holiday.  Then, I think about how many people that don't get to see my kids daily, or even monthly, and how disappointed they would be if they didn't get to see their cute little faces. :)  So, no worries!  I'm gonna work my little tush off to try and get as many pictures and fun stories up as I can! (I might even surprise you with a video!  I know, I'm  living on the edge, huh?) :)

Summarizing the past few months:  It's been hectic.  Braydon was gone to Mississippi, as I said before, and got back home on the 14th of December.  We were all very happy to see him.  Landon didn't let him out of his sight for a few days, and when he had to go back to school that Monday, he asked repeatedly if Daddy would be home after school.  Poor guy thought Daddy was leaving him again. :(  It made me sad, but I reassured him that he wasn't going anywhere any time soon.  Even today, he asks me all day when Daddy will be home.  I think he's just making sure I'm going to say the same thing every time.

Anyways, Braydon was gone right before Halloween, missed Thanksgiving with us, and a visit with my mom.    I will catch up with pictures in the days to come.  I'm hoping to be on track before the new year, so you won't have to wait long. :)  But, please don't judge if I don't.  Did I mention I have two small children? ;)