Saturday, December 31, 2011

Holiday Pretties

I can't believe that Christmas has come and gone so quickly...wasn't it just August?... and I've yet to share any pictures with you.  So, before I tear down the tree and pack up the pretties, here are some pictures of our lovely decorations.
I absolutely go over the top when it's time to decorate for Christmas. I hang wreaths in my bathrooms above little gingerbread man candle holders. I make evergreen swags for the windows, hand garland from the chandelier, and you will always find more than one elf on the shelf. We love it! (Truth be told, everyone glares at me and harumphs around for a day or two each New Year's when I go all Grinch and 'take Christmas away'. Dash has enjoyed the tree and fairy lights so much this year that I'm sure he'll be hopping right on that bandwagon, too.) Our decorations are homemade, vintage, antique, from the dollar store, from Target, you name it! I even got some from Starbuks one year when they were tearing down their decorations and were going to dispose of them. Yet somehow they all seem to work together to add that special air to the place that only the holidays can bring. Every year we find the perfect nutcracker to add to our collection, and label the year on the bottom. I love love love our nutcrackers. I'm sure this was the last year for Dashiell's itty bitty baby stocking, I'll be sad to see that go. I love the excitement every year when the Playmobil nativity comes out and the girls get to play with it for the season. On Christmas morning, they always use it to act out the Christmas story as Daddy reads it from the Bible before we open presents, but after stockings, of course. And last, but not least, the infamous chili pepper tree. I can't imagine Christmas without that ugly thing.

Oh and those rides!

I think it's safe to say that Oaks Park is one of my kids' favorite places on the planet. I have really been hearing it for not posting these pictures sooner. (Obviously they have not yet been to Disneyland.) This was, however, Daddy's first trip there along with us. Until this summer the only place with rides Joel had ever been with us to was the Planters Day carnival with its kid-centered rides and Ferris wheel. Somehow every time we went to a fair or Oaks Park, Joel was working.  So this was a verrry special treat. He had been rather skeptical of the fact that Amarra has been going on the scrambler with me since before she was 2 (I love this kid!) and had probably thought I was exaggerating Elora's love affair with the 3 mile an hour motorcycles and airplanes. No longer! And Seleia...Mikaela got her to overcome her fear of rides she had never been on before (we could not get her off of the Rock 'n Roll! Or get Joel on it, for that matter.) and she had so much fun!  This was really the first time she ever got to go off on rides with her friends and check back in with us later (*sniff*) and she was smiling so big at times I thought her face might actually crack. The biggest news of the day, though.....I found out while we were there that my husband had never been on a roller coaster.  Never. For those who don't know, I've been on pretty much every roller coaster from California to New Jersey. I love thrill rides. I momentarily reconsidered my marriage, but he saved the day by agreeing to go on Oaks Park's one upside-down coaster. He had a blast, don't let him tell you otherwise. Now we need to go somewhere with real coasters.  The kind not bolted to the asphalt. I've got some plans in the works, hee hee hee....

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Most Thoughtful Gift

This Christmas I took the girls to the Dollar Tree, each armed with $5, to buy presents for everyone in our family.  They got to select one item per person and had a great time sneaking around the store, hiding their potential purchases from one another, and occasionally sneaking over to me, who was at the time also hiding stocking stuffers under the coat in my cart, to ask my opinion or share with me a stroke of genius in finding a gift. They surprised both Joel and I with the thoughtfulness of their gifts! They really thought about what everyone would like and didn't give up until they found that one thing that just screamed "perfect". (And I should mention that they had so much fun doing it that they were downright giddy by the time we left the store!)
When I opened my gift from Elora on Christmas Morning, I was surprised to find a box of....Lemonheads?? Sure I've told the girls that I like them when they've gotten little boxes from a pinata or from their violin teacher, but I doubt the girls have ever actually seen me eat a Lemonhead. So I smiled, said thank you, and gave my sweet girl a hug. Only later did I hear the story behind the candy:

  "You know Mom, those Lemonheads are dairy free."
  "Yes, sweetheart, I do."

  "Well, I absolutely did not want anyone to have a sad Christmas."

  "Me, either. What exactly does that have to do with Lemonheads?"

  "Well, I talked to the girl in the store. I told her I needed to find something dairy free and gluten  free so my mommy could eat it. I knew you would have a sad Christmas if I got you candy that you  could not eat. And these were the best because they have real lemon juice in them.  I know you like lemon juice so much and that it's good for you! I made sure I got you only the best!"

What do you say to that? This seemingly meaningless box of little candy pieces (that it will probably take me a year to eat) turned out to have more thought put into it than I ever could have imagined. You know, I suddenly have a new fondness for Lemonheads.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Food, Friends, Fun and Sun!

Before I add more pictures to my overwhelmed hard drive, I'm sorting through some that I never actually got to during 2011! The girls are none too thrilled that I forgot to share their Homeschool Summer Picnic at Oaks Park! We had such a fun day...picnics, 3 legged races, freeze tag, potato races, a watermelon eating contest (go, Elora!) and more all with friends old and new. Seleia's BF's Mikaela and Danie and Elora's BF, the lovely Rose, were there to share in the fun. And then, of course, there were the rides! WE can't wait to organize the 2nd annual summer picnic!