Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Here Comes Santa Claus....

Oh my, he was really at our church! Seriously!! Cyrena was so excited, it was magical to watch her face when he appeared on the stage. She was awe-struck. She wasn't scared one bit and hopped right up on his lap (last year she just stared and cried). Natalie thought Santa was some kind of alien, she was completely freaked out....until she was handed a candy cane and the freaking out immediately ended. It was her first candy cane and she enjoyed it.

The primary kids sang a couple of songs

Natalie was happy because she got to crawl/walk all over, eat snacks, and get a lot of attention!

Cyrena and Logan enjoying the program. Although Cyrena wondered why 'those dancers' weren't wearing any really bothered her. She repeated a few times that she does NOT like dancing, only sports. That's our girl.

Logan and Cyrena's Christmas picture 2009

(Just for kicks)
Logan and Cyrena's Christmas picture 2007

Monday, December 14, 2009

Family Pictures

My amazing friend/visiting teachee/preschool mom/sister in zion/photographer took these wonderful pictures for us! :) I love how they turned out. She was so fun to work with and knew just the right things to say and do to create priceless portraits. You can find her here. Enjoy, I know I have.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Advent Activities

We've been having so much fun with our daily advent activities. We made a calendar for the month, cut it apart and stuffed each daily square into our Christmas Advent Calendar. Each afternoon, Cyrena picks out the square and finds out what activity we get to do as a family that evening. Then we read a Christmas story and scripture at bedtime.

Here's a recap of what we've done so far. Some have pictures, some do not.

December 1: We all colored our own pictures of a Christmas tree and talked about the symbols of Christmas from this article in December's issue of The Friend magazine. Then we hung the pictures on the wall.

December 2: We drank hot chocolate and looked at pictures and home movies from past Christmas'. This was awesome!

December 3: Cyrena got her letter ready for Santa. We actually did this during preschool then she read it to daddy when he came home. A few days later we took it to Macy's to mail in their Santa mailbox. They donate $1 to Make-A-Wish foundation for every letter they get in the mailbox.

Seriously, she's been wearing this hat 24/7...this girl and her hats!

December 4: We bundled up (but not enough) and headed over to the city park for the Surprise birthday party! It was fun and included a tree lighting ceremony, hot-air balloon glow, daring skydivers that amazingly hit their targets, and a spectacular fireworks show!

December 5: We watched some holiday movies and ate lots of popcorn!! This was Cyrena's first experience with the Grinch (she was never interested before). I'm happy to say she loved it.

December 6: We had tithing settlement with the Bishop, choir, then we got to enjoy the First Presidency Christmas Devotional Broadcast. There are always such inspiring music and messages. We were also rewarded by seeing some friends in the stake we NEVER get to see anymore....the Smiths!!! It was a happy night.

December 7: We had a special FHE about the gifts of Christmas. We all thought about what gifts we could give to the Savior this Christmas season. We wrote them down, wrapped them up and put them under the tree. Before we leave for Utah we will open it up and see how we've done. (thanks Jennie for the lesson!)

December 8: We were supposed to go through our toys and donate ones we don't use but instead we got together with friends and watched The Biggest Loser Finale. Hey, we're not perfect. But we did have hot chocolate with peppermint ice cream and ginger snaps! A great treat to have while watching The Biggest Loser. We're still working on the toys.

December 9: We made homemade gingerbread men to decorate

Decmber 10: Tonight we're taking a long walk around the neighborhood to check out everyone's Christmas displays!

I'll post more activities as they happen. I wanted to document this so I can always remember year to year what we've done! It's been a great way to focus on family time and making memories.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Thanksgiving Feast

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving!! It was full of food, fun and family. My cousin Tara that lives here in Arizona had a baby just 4 days before Thanksgiving. So her mom (my aunt) was in town then my uncle and twin cousins (who just returned from missions last month) came to meet up with them. My cousin's husbands family all came into town as well.

We all met up at my house for the feast! And what a feast it was....we all ate and ate and ate some more. I think there were 6 different kinds of pie! I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but I love watching my husband eat. He enjoys his food so immensely and is so fun to cook for.

Cyrena was in absolute heaven as she got to eat whatever she wanted (she kept looking at me to see if it was ok), play catch with her dad and 'big' cousins and be involved in all the adult conversation.....what more could she ask for??

Natalie's first experience with olives. Nanny put a few on her fingers and she actually ate them....all except for a bit she spit out

Cyrena with brand-new baby Claire

A table set for royalty!

The girls didn't want to leave Claire alone

The boys played an intense game of RISK outside on the patio

We ended the evening with a few rambunctious rounds of Mafia.....are YOU mafia??? I know I'm not (but I did win twice!!)

Thankful hands

This is a typical picture. I had to run to Michael's last Monday afternoon. Since David drives right by it, I had him meet me there on his way home from work. This is what happens. Both girls have to be with him. They're done with me, it's all about daddy.

That night we had a Thanksgiving FHE. Cyrena retold the story of the Mayflower using pictures from preschool. Then we all talked about what we were thankful for. We traced each of our hands then wrote what we were thankful for on them.

Give her a basket of crayons and she's a happy girl.

Give her a pair of scissors and SHE'S a happy girl

Daddy: mommy, our home
Mommy: daddy, health, books, Jesus
Cyrena: cousins, preschool friends
Natalie: milk, family

I love looking at Natalie and Cyrena's tiny little hand cutouts...precious!

Visting cousins!

The weekend before Thanksgiving we had a special visit from David's sister Julianne and her 3 children. Cyrena could hardly stand it she was so excited! As soon as they got here, we headed to the White Tanks for a picnic and hike. We couldn't believe Cyrena hiked the whole way, usually she gets to be a whiner toward the end. I think it helped having her cousins there.

They attempted to make pictographs on the dark rock

Hiking is hard work!

Ian, Cyrena, Phaedra and Ariadne

The cuteness

We had so much fun hiking, eating, playing and making memories! They are moving out of the country this month so we don't know when we will see them next. We love you guys!

Operation Christmas Child

This year instead of exchanging gifts with David's siblings, we decided to donate to a charity of our choice. Our family decided to work on boxes for Operation Christmas Child. You are supposed to fill a shoe box (cardboard or plastic) with gifts for needy children around the world. We chose to fill 2 boxes, a boy and a girl Cyrena's age.

We had so much fun shopping and picking out what to put in the boxes. We also made a couple of homemade games to put in there. The we got to work organizing and filling the boxes.

The goods

Carefully cutting the wrapping paper

Somebody loves tape in our house

We lined the sides of the boxes with wrapping paper then filled them up!

Cyrena made some really cute Christmas cards for them. Very sparkly.

Here she is making a matching game for them

Ready to deliver our boxes at a local church (they take care of distributing them)

She was so happy to hand over the boxes and get a sticker. We loved doing this activity with her and will definitely make it a new Christmas tradition. We put our names and addresses on the cards so we should be able to find out where our boxes went!

The Deans

My photo
Life as we know it is full of laughter, fun, stress, love, faith and surprises. What more could we ask for?