Saturday, December 29, 2012

Happy Birthday Molly!

We were in town just for a few short days but we did get to celebrate Molly's birthday!

A very happy birthday to my very wonderful sister!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas: Round Two

We finished up the dishes, took down the Christmas tree and threw our stuff in the 'Burban and headed to Boise.

Even Zachary the fish got to come along!

We are so lucky to have TWO Christmases and to see all of our family during this very special holiday!
It means so much to us - especially Grace and Charlotte!

Not many pictures were taken during our second Christmas but I did manage to get a picture of the girls in their new sleeping bags from Grandma and Grandpa!

Christmas vacations is officially in effect!!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas {2012}

We REALLY thought the girls would be up before dawn this year.
The excitement of what Santa would bring being too much.
So Court and I set our alarms for 5:30 am. 

We wanted to be awake - contacts in! - to see their reactions to what Santa had brought!
Well, the girls debunked our plan and both slept well past 7 am - the latest they've slept in in weeks!
The quiet time in the morning let me get a few pictures of how Santa left things before heading back to the North Pole. 

This year, I took more time in wrapping gifts.
Santa came!

And so did Mommy and Daddy.
The big gift every year is from us and this year it is a new kitchen!
Put together in the wee hours of the morning, there was not time to wrap it so we slapped on a few bows and left it out for the girls to see right when the woke up!

Their first looks!

I realize most families let the children dive into their presents in total Christmas pandemonium.
Not us. 
We've incorporated traditions from both sides of our family and while I get to keep "Christmas magic" Court gets to keep the orderly, controlled present opening. 

We start with stockings for a few little surprises before we break for breakfast and showers. 

Even Mom and Dad get stockings!

Elfie returned to the North Pole with Santa and left behind a few notes and treats. He also took with him all the Christmas movies.

At 10 am, the family is dressed and assembled.
This year our guest list included Mana, Boppa and Great Grandma Wyckoff. 

The girls, feeling the spotlight and excitement, decided to put on a show.

The girls each made cards for Daddy. 
And handprint to look like a Christmas tree. 

A super duper foot piano from Great Grandma. 

Daddy approved!

My niece has a birthday the day after Grace and so that week I spent just about every waking moment finishing up a dollhouse for her. Unfortunately, I ran out of time to finish Grace's for her birthday so she got it for Christmas.

Santa brought both girls what they had asked for - Grace a Barbie and Charlotte a baby.
All were happy!

The rest of the day was spent cooking and preparing Christmas dinner while the girls played with their new toys. 

We had the usual spread - turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes...I never get tired of that meal!

We popped open our Christmas crackers during the dessert course.

Everyone got in the spirit!

It was a magical and memorable day.

Merry Christmas!

Next up: Take down Christmas tree and pack for Boise for Christmas #2 with my family!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve {2012}

The girls were excited all day!
So much so that I probably washed Charlotte's new nightgown at least two times!

We invited Court's parents over for dinner and had a lovely, relaxing evening.
We left Santa his cookies....minus a few sprinkles.

And without hardly any trouble, the girls were in bed and asleep!

Thank Goodness because Mom and Dad had left a lot to the last minute!

I had hidden a few gifts for Court so well that I found myself frantically looking through my underwear drawer at 1 am! Luckily, I found everything that the UPS guy brought on time!! 
Anyone else have a few things delivered AFTER Christmas even though they were promised (and paid for) deliver BEFORE Christmas??

Can't wait until tomorrow!
I am betting the girls will be up before dawn!!

Christmas Eve Advent Envelope {2012}

Hard to believe it's the day before Christmas. 
The girls can believe it because they've been counting down the envelopes!
The envelope this morning had a special note in it...that they each could open one gift...selected by Mom of course.

What do you know?
Christmas pajamas!!

You have no idea how much they love nightgowns. 
They were both beyond excited!

Someday, pajamas wont' bring on so much happiness.
Their unfettered joy in things so simple will change. 

So today, we dance. 
These simple, precious and oh-so fleeting moments of Christmas magic. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Holiday Card(s) {2012}

Because I was indecisive and couldn't decide, we sent out two versions of our holiday card this year!
We've never done this before but really liked the idea of sending a few more pictures to our family and something short and sweet to our friends.
This might be a new holiday tradition!
(Lucky you family!! hehe)

If you were family you got this!
(Mind you this is a scanned copy of a tri-fold card so part of it got cut off.)



And friends got this:



Happy Holiday wishes to all!

We'd Like to Politely Interrupt Your Baking Day with Snow!

So here it is - December 23 - and no cookies or goodies have yet been baked!!


Slight panic attack on part because for some reason - (probably instilled in me by my mother who always made 10,000 times too many of any one treat yet still found the time to make about 50 different kinds of holiday goodies) - I feel this deep urge to be a baking Godess/Donna Reed at this time of year!

So after we woke up from our previous evening of fun at the family Christmas party (can you believe I didn't get one picture?!?!? Too bad too because it was A LOT of fun!) I was determined to get down to baking business. 

I quickly hammered out an ENORMOUS batch of fudge. 
Not sure why I felt I had to make fudge but I feel you just can't have Christmas without fudge. 

Then, it was on to chocolate covered peanut butter balls. I made these a few years back and absolutely loved them. This year, I made a TON! Shocking, right?!

Once the goodies were out of the way, it was REALLY time to get down to business.
Sugar cookie business.
Otherwise known as: "The Most Time Consuming Baking Activity Known to Mankind."

Think about it.
You have to make the dough. (You could buy it, but not as good.)
Chill the dough. Bring dough back to room temperature. (This takes time.)
Roll out the dough. (Call me crazy but I hate rolling out dough.)
Cut out the shapes! (yay!! fun part until you realize after you've used all the dough and you didn't do one Christmas tree cut-out which is your favorite. UGH!)
Bake cookies. (Careful, oh so careful not to undercook or overcook.)
Make the frosting. (Again, could buy but...)
Finally, finally, finally, it's time to decorate!!

nope. just kidding. not time yet....

No, its time to color all the frosting and put the frosting in little pipette bags (is that what they are called?) and you never have enough pipettes or bags or frosting to do all the colors you want to do.
And at this point, the thought of making more frosting or cleaning out a pipette bag is enough to send a kitchen aid mixer bowl through a plate glass window. 
For the record, haven't actually done the above but I have thought about it.

Moving on.
Pipettes are filled. Sprinkles are ready to rock.
It is finally, finally time for the good times to roll!
Only now it is 10 o'clock at night and you have a 100 cookies to frost and decorate.

Sound fun, right? 

On this particular day, with the above mentioned sugar cookie making regime staring me in the face, I knew in my heart of hearts I was not up to it. I didn't have the time or the energy and throw in two girls who wanted to eat the frosting and sprinkles, make HUGE messes, help, it was enough for me to leave Santa a rain check on his cookies. 

But a Christmas without sugar cookies is like a Christmas without presents, so I battled through and we got the dough made and the shapes cut and baked!! 

When it comes to making large numbers of sugar cookies, I've found it to be helpful - efficient, if you will - to run a pretty tight ship. Keep messes to a minimum. No eating dough or playing with the flour - god forbid you get some on the floor and have ANOTHER mess to pick up on top of the 10,000 dishes you are going to have to do when all this "fun" baking is over.

But this year, I let go.
I let go of picture perfect cookies. I let go of not spilling on the floor (kind of) and you know what?

We had a lot of fun.
The girls loved every single second. 

And even better, right in the middle of cookie decorating, we abandoned ship because it started DUMPING snow!
The most snow I have ever seen at our house.
It snowed and it snowed and it snowed some more. 

So we went outside and we played, 

and we played

we snow-angeled

and we played some more!

My favorite. I made a "track" in the snow in the shape of a heart and told Charlotte she was the train. She rain along that "track" choo-chooing her head off for what seemed like an hour!

Then she got cold.
And tired.

So she retired to the house.

Grace tried to lure her back out but Charlotte was done.

So Grace carried on out in the snow by herself. Happy as a clam.
And the cookies waited. 

Then Dad came home

and the real fun began!

A snowman was made.
Not sure what Grace thinks of him...

Memories made!

And the cookies?
Welllll, the cookies were eventually decorated. 

Large quantities of sprinkles were spilled and eaten.
Frosting was dripped and spread all about not to mention eaten.
Caught red-handed!

Mission accomplished.
Memories made!