Friday, February 22, 2013

Mystery Reader and The Real Christmas Story

Mid December, Anthony had some fun events going on at school.  I signed up to be a "Mystery Reader" for his class.  A different Mystery Reader is assigned every Thursday, and is a parent or grandparent of a student in the class.  I had to leave 5 clues about myself with Anthony's teachers, and they read the clues here and there throughout the day to build the anticipation of who it might be.  Hopefully by the time the teachers read the 5th clue, your child has an inkling that it might be you!  

My clues were...
1) I have blonde hair and blue eyes
2) I love to paint things
3) We always go looking at Christmas lights for my birthday
4) We love to laugh in our house
5) The angel ornament on our tree is my favorite

I read a book to the class called "Room for a Little One" by Martin Waddell and illustrated by Jason Cockroft.  The illustrations are absolutely beautiful!  The story is the description of the night of Jesus' birth as told from the perspective of the stable animals.  Here's the link...

I also made a little treat to give out to Anthony's class.  These didn't have anything to do with my story, but when I saw them online, they were too cute not to make!!!  

"reindeer noses"  :)
here's the link to the free printable bag topper i used...this girl is genius!

This same day was the day of Anthony's big Christmas concert at school.  It was entitled "The Real Christmas Story".

It was really cool because the program was streamed lived through their website, so our parents got to watch it from Tennessee and Illinois!

me and my little lucas ready to take some pics

even daddy made plans to be there!

my friend jen--
she has a little boy named caleb in anthony's class as well as one that's lucas' age

there's jen's other little one--seth
seth and lucas are trying to catch a glimpse of their big brothers from the balcony

anthony's class had been working very diligently to learn their songs

the 4 year old classes got to go up on the stage twice!
they were so proud!

we got so sad because anthony would not look up, and we were waving our hands from the balcony trying to get him to see us.  the little blondie to his right, eli, kept looking up and waving to his family who was sitting near us, but anthony never did.  we didn't want him to think we didn't come, so mario rushed down to the front row to snap this picture and to wave.  anthony grinned so big when he finally saw his daddy!  and his class did such a fantastic job!!!  a beautiful performance!!!
(and yes, that sweater is waaaaay too small, but he really, REALLY wanted to wear it for his special day because it has a TRAIN on it!!!  how could i possibly say no to that?!?)  haha!  ;)

Some Pre-Christmas Fun

When we got back from Memphis, the holiday season was in full swing.  Here are some quick highlights of the first few weeks in December...

storytime with Ms. Clause at Anthony's school

a "family coloring" night

we all worked together to color these giant Cars pages

the finished masterpieces

my birthday...#32
we went to dinner at ghengis grill--
the boys call it the "gong" place--haha!
they do have a very family friendly atmosphere, and the boys do get to bang the gong on the way out--i'm sure the other customers LOVE it!  ;)

after dinner, we drove around to look at the Christmas lights
the boys loved the reindeer flying--they looked like they were flying over the street

i like the simple white lights the best

we had to stop and watch these robotic santas for a bit...
they were decked out in jerseys for all the dallas pro sports teams--the cowboys, the mavericks, the rangers, and the stars--and they were singing and dancing....hilarious!

we got home and got the kids to bed, and had a quiet dessert and gift time.
mar gave me cheesecake (LOVE!) and the promise to have the island countertop replaced when i can decide what i want!  haha!  yay!

santa gets to visit anthony's chapel at school...
his teachers are so kind--ms. jenna is on the left, and ms. lisa is on the right.
and his class is full of boys--12 of them!  (and 4 girls!)

We had so much fun in December!  It seemed like there was some new way to celebrate every day!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Memphis Christmas in November

Phew!  We sure did celebrate a lot while we were in town...and the holiday season is just getting started!  On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, we celebrated Christmas with the Bellican family since we'd be up in Chicago with the Mammina family over Christmas in December.  I love how we just take it pretty easy "Christmas" morning--we have a spread of fruit, breakfast foods (including homemade hot pockets!), cookies, oh, and we cannot forget the sausage balls!!!  :)  We just come in and munch whenever we are hungry or take a plate into the den.  The kids love it because it's so different from eating at the table, and therefore oh, so special!


the kids woke up in their new spiderman pjs

they had fun showing off their webs

james loves his too

sweet minnie -- i mean, reese

these two were big buddies over the weekend
love how the guys in the background are serious about getting some things done!!!

my mom left out an empty stable for the telling of the Christmas story to the children...
somehow there ended up a donkey eating out of a snack bowl...
hmmmm...wonder which little one did that?!?  ;)

mario gets some snuggle time with his boys

michelle and josh are INCREDIBLE to bear with all the "kid stuff" of the day

my dad recited an easy to understand version of Jesus' birth while my mom assisted the children in putting the right people/animals in at the right time...they loved it!

it was definitely a little busy in this area, but i love this tradition and hope we keep it up!
they really got into it!

anthony volunteered to lead the family in prayer to thank God for the gift of His Son, Jesus

sweet little Lucas closing his eyes

baby Reese folds her hands

and, oh, my sweet nephew james--busy watching everybody else!

we had to get a corrected pose in our "redo" shot!  ha!

time for stockings!!!
the kids had a blast opening gifts and did fantastic overall!

uncle josh helps reese with her new backpack

james and anthony check out their new lanterns 

lucas tries on his new crocs for summer

and the most fun present of all?
when they woke up from their naps, the boys were treated to one last gift...

a racetrack that battery powered cars and trains zoom over!!!
it's a flexible track, so the boys discovered they could make "bumps" in the track by putting their legs under it!  how exciting!!!

what a fun gift from meme and papa!  they loved it!!!  james and reese got one too!

the best part?  the headlights shine in the dark!
the best part for me?  all the pieces disassemble quickly and neatly into their storage bag until ready to be played with again!  haha!  thanks for that, mom!  ;)

 We had so much fun celebrating with you!!!  Thanks for a lovely holiday weekend!
And happy early birthday, Jesus!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

December Birthdays in November

Just as the fun was winding down from our Thanksgiving celebration, we were on the go the next night in order to celebrate all the December birthdays.  Even though we do cram a lot into these weekends, it's worth it, because it sure is special to be able to celebrate with our family--particularly for us since we live far away from everyone and have to miss out on birthday celebrations sometimes.  My sis and brother-in-law, Michelle and Josh, invited us over to their new house for a party!  I was thrilled because our little family hadn't gotten to see their new place yet!

before we leave my parents' house, anthony tries to sneak in another snuggle with oscar

mario, josh, michelle, mom, and dad--
i love this family
it was right at dusk, so we used the opportunity to get some family snapshots on michelle and josh's front porch

meme and "her" boys  :)

me and sweet hubby

our little family

my special twin!!!
loooooooooove that we share a birthday every year!

mandy, justin, james, and reese

the four amigos--so sweet
i love reese's lime green accents--so fun

and our family photo which turned out extraordinarily easy to capture this time!
wow!  everyone is looking and smiling!  yay!

after we had gone inside, i saw all the kiddos congregated by the front door.  i went over to investigate and found...

...this little guy!
a sweet little stray cat who was enjoying all the attention

time for presents!!!

we celebrated my birthday and mandy's birthday...

...as well as my aunt cindy's birthday
we had lots of helpers with blowing out our candles

the kiddos got a little sleepy, so we let mickey mouse babysit them for a few minutes, but...

...they're not sleepy anymore!!!
the boys amazingly morphed into spiderman when they opened these new pjs from meme and papa.  here they are practicing their flying!  reese transformed into minnie mouse, and even though you can't see her cute pjs, she is working on her flying too!  ;)