Friday, January 30, 2015

Christmas With Grandma & Grandpa P

Finally!  I’ve found the pictures – for some reason, these were NOT downloading to the computer.  They’ve been stuck on the camera, even though I’ve transferred all of the pictures to the computer multiple times.  I had to find an alternate method to get these to the computer.  Ugh.

From my spot on the couch, I didn’t get great pictures…but here’s what we have of Christmas Day at Grandma & Papa’s house…


annual gag gift for Kevin – a string cup phone to make
long distance calls to Jessica at college this fall


Let’s go back in time for a moment.  A little over 7 years ago, this very exhausted couple welcome their first child into the world on the day after Christmas.  (Little did they know that 3 years later, they’d have THREE children and still be just as exhausted, ha!)


Now we have a seven year old.  I’ve had a month to get used to that, and it still seems impossible.  Alex has done a whole lot of growing up, but he’s still our baby!

With his birthday so close to Christmas, we wait until mid-January to do a family party.  We still have to acknowledge his special day, though.  This year, we had a pretty lazy day – the girls of the family went shopping in the morning, and then the guys of the family went to see a movie in the afternoon.  In the evening, we had Alex’s favorite food – pizza – and we gave Alex our presents for him. 

This year, he got a Captain America pixelated t-shirt, Nutella & breadsticks snack cup, and the much-wanted Skylanders SwapForce game.  After receiving the game, he wanted to pose for pictures with his siblings.


Alex’s family party was last weekend.  He picked a TMNT theme this year, which really surprised me.  I thought he’d go for Skylanders! 

The party was simpler this year because we didn’t do the cooking – since  was TMNT party, we HAD to have Alex’s favorite food – pizza!  We found a good online deal AND a coupon code for Pizza Hut, so we sprang for pizza.  Along with that, we had chips, veggies & dip, and fruit.  (Thanks for the fruit, Deb!)  Grandma S always does pigs in a blanket, but we skipped that this year since we had plenty of pizza.

Party Highlights…


presents – Transformers socks, Ninjago Legos, Switch & Go dino, Skylanders characters, Super Luigi U video game, basketball shirt & shorts, Ninja Turtles book, and Donatello stocking cap

Yep, all 3 kiddos have Ninja Turtle shirts (even a pink one!) that I found
on Target’s website for dirt cheap with free shipping!

sweet Lance looking on in the middle of the chaos…

Cailin popping bubble wrap…

Alex’s last super-special cake – Jessica is heading off to college in August, so the amazing cakes by Grandma P & Jessica are coming to an end.  I’d say they went out with a bang, though – a TMNT Pizza Cake with cookie crust, candy toppings, and rice krispie treat ninja turtles?  You can’t beat that!


Here’s a picture of the pizza – cookie dough crust, gummy soldier green peppers, gummy bear onions & red peppers, round red gummies sliced thin & topped with crushed red velvet sprinkles (pepperoni), and chocolate cluster sausages.  What imagination!



futile attempt at a cousins picture with Lance,
but there were too many distractions!

Seven.  Not sure how we got this far, but you are turning into one wonderful young man, Alex! We hope and pray that you will continue to grow just like Jesus did – in wisdom, in stature, and in favor with God and men!  We love you!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Christmas Morning at Home

Cinnamon rolls – Alex has now recognized this is our tradition, and it’s not Christmas morning without these!  We’ve done canned cinnamon rolls, homemade cinnamon roll bread, and now we’ve moved on to amazingly good homemade cinnamon rolls.  It’s definitely a tradition that will be sticking around!

The other part of this tradition is sticking a candle in the cinnamon rolls & singing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus!  We do open presents first…but we don’t play with presents or do anything else until we’ve sung Happy Birthday!  (We went to church on Christmas Eve, and all month long we read the “Jesus Storybook Bible” advent plan, finishing it up on Christmas Eve before putting the kids to bed.)


We have an every day rule that kids may not get up for the day until 7 AM.  That rule still applies on Christmas day, but we had two little boys read to go at 7 AM.  We had to wake Jensyn, our sleepyhead, and give her a few minutes to realize that CHRISTMAS was worth being roused from her cozy, warm bed!

Peeking at what’s under the tree.  Santa doesn’t wrap, and one of Jensyn’s presents from Mom & Dad wasn’t wrapped because it was too big to easily wrap.  (It was a gently used Klip Klop Stable that I purchased from a friend whose daughters had outgrown it.)  So that was their first stop…checking out the unwrapped gifts.

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moving along to stockings…

Stockings were pretty simple – a small coloring book/dot-to-dot book, a candy cane of Hershey’s candies, a regular candy cane, some character band-aids, and either a book (Jensyn) or a TMNT coloring set with markers (both boys).  I think stockings were under $10/child.


And now opening the wrapped presents from Mom & Dad

As usual, each child got 3 gifts from us.  This year, we limited gifts to about $30/child total.
(Thank goodness for GREAT sales & for buying gently used toys!)
Max: K’Nex, Switch & Go Dino, and TMNT t-shirt
Alex: Batman Lego set, Bumblebee transformer, and TMNT t-shirt
Jensyn – Klip Klop Stable, new Sofia dress, and TMNT pink t-shirt


It was after this that the kids started to realize they hadn’t spotted their Santa gifts yet.  Then the boys discovered a Wii U hiding in the corner!  (How did I not get a picture of this?!  Our Wii died in early December, so the boys were THRILLED to have this!  It was their biggest Christmas wish!) 

Jensyn finally looked up and saw the beautiful, pink, handmade tablecloth playhouse over the kitchen table!  If you can’t tell, she loves it!  All 3 kids play in it, and it’s a great place for lots of imaginative play!  (My friend Erin made this…I’ll have to post more pictures sometime, but it was a labor of love that included my mom & sister helping me select fabrics and use a ZILLION coupons at the fabric store & then a lot of hard work by Erin to make this into a reality!)


Daddy opening his gift from the kids…
and the Christmas aftermath - crazy wrapping paper & toy mess!