Thursday, November 29, 2007

Stephan, The Elf

The Elf On The Shelf arrived today and it is even cuter than I had imagined.

I saved it for the kids to open after Carter got home from school. After reading the book and watching Jack say, "Whoah!!!" over and over again at the colorful pages, Carter decided on a name. Stephan. Pronounced STEF-AWN. No idea why or where that came from, but it was that or Destiny. I felt good about Stephan.

At age 7, the magic was there for Carter and he even sent me out of his room quickly after our nightly prayers in hopes that Stephan was heading out to the North report that Carter had gotten a "smiley" at school and also was nice to his brother and sister tonight. He invited a friend over for dinner and was so proud to show off our new addition.

If you decide to buy it, I highly recommend purchasing it on-line because of the cute packaging it comes in. I told Carter I had ordered it from Santa's Workshop and the presentation supported that. A very cute tradition...

Stamped from countries all over the world....traveling far to make it to our house.

Official seal....


Meeting Stephan.

And, we place him on the mantle.

Wonder where he'll be in the morning?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Spinning Christmas Tree

Our attempts at improving our Christmas tree certainly didn't do a lot. As previously stated, the decorators (besides Caroline) are all under 4 feet tall and prefer to load up each branch with as many ornaments as they can. To test the strength of the tree? To group them in sets? No idea.

Our old tree had been passed down to us by my parents. They had used it for a few years and it was a fine tree, but years of fluffing and de-fluffing made it so sparse that you could see straight through it at any given angle. Plus, a lightbulb went off above my head recently and I thought it would be nice to avoid the usual profanities thrown out during our tree decorating evening by the children's father.....all in a fit because he has to wrap a strand of lights around some branches. Asking such a task of this man has proven to send him over the edge on more than one occassion.

So, our new, fancy tree is pre-lit, like most people have and all you have to do is plug it in. Genius.

Our new tree has one special feature that I bet you all don't have, though. It spins. Blake couldn't get some pin in the bottom of the base, and we didn't think much of it at the time.....and not until we noticed that the "Santa Angel" at the top was facing in the wrong direction. And, all of the sweet, hand-made ornaments that I put near the top to avoid little hands breaking, were all facing the wrong way. It seems as though Jack or Batman....neither accepting responsibility at this point.....take hold of the tree, walk in one direction, and the tree follows.

We offered our old tree to Caroline to take to home and put up in her new house she closes on in a few days. We threw in some ornaments and garland and she really seemed to be excited about the aquisition. Until she saw the box - wrapped heavily in duct tape and torn in several places. She actually laughed out loud at the sight and then suggested buying her own hard feelings.

So, now we have a tree in our basement and it will soon be donated to the Denver Rescue Mission.....unless I hear from a higher bidder before Saturday.

A couple of pictures (secretly intended for Natalie) of the new tree and Batman.

So far, he hasn't been able to get his chubby body up into the tree as he did last year. He has, however, picked out a few favorite ornaments and chases them throughout the house.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Santa's Workshop

During our trip last week, Caroline and I took the boys to the Santa's Workshop theme park in North Pole, CO. It was a darling park including much more than I had anticipated. It's all Christmas, all the time. Santa was there, the boys rode a ton of rides just their size, and the setting was gorgeous - at the foot of Pikes Peak.

A slide show of our fun day....

Elf On The Shelf

We're introducing a new tradition to the family this year. I just ordered the "Elf On the Shelf". Check out the story here.

Click on "The Tradition" to learn more. It seems like a great idea to help children focus on behaving during this crazy holiday season. Because the elf will tell Santa if they don't!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Decorating The Tree

The Thanksgiving holiday included time to put up Christmas decorations, inside and out. Jack was especially helpful this year and continues on by rearranging the ornaments on the tree on a daily basis. It's looking GOOD, let me tell you.

We even attempted to improve on our tree by buying a new one this year for the living room. Turns out the tree isn't the problem at all. It's the decorators. Oh, wouldn't feel right to have less than 4 ornaments on any given branch.

Here's our boy at work...

And, Carter doing the honors with the tree topper.

Jack trying to help....he runs to get a counter stool.

So, Dad lets him be part of it, too.

Lainey taking it all in.

Caroline kept the momentum going.

The boys hiding behind the tree.

This cross is used for the front living room's Christmas tree.....I love it....Caroline thinks it's hilarious.

We bought matching pajamas at Target while shopping for Thanksgiving dinner. It annoyed Blake and Carter just as much as we wished it would!

More decorating.

An attempt at Jack in his hat and Caroline in the one she bought for Blake.

College Football

Just what IS going on this year?! A good article at this link.....

Thanksgiving With Family

A few pictures from our visit at Linda's for Thanksgiving. We are very lucky to have them so close.

Debbie and Lainey.

Belinda helping Emily with the baby.

Lindsey and AnnMarie.

Lainey got lots of attention!

Crazy kids (and Blake) with Magnetics.

Playing piano. At one point, Ryan had enough of the noise and ran in there to put an end to it....only to find Caroline leading the music lesson!

Jack enjoying some left overs. With each bite, he'd say, "Mmmm!"

The cousins, minus Lainey.

Jeffrey, Georg and Ryan.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007

With snow on the ground and a big chill outside, our Thanksgiving was lovely spent inside at home with a big meal and then on the road to visit family.

Cooking with Jack.

He spent most of the time eating the cheese off the casseroles.

With no shame, clearly.

Caroline and Carter made our traditional hand-made placements, thanks to Caroline remembering to do it this year! Here they are meditating before doing the project. Caroline started this during her visit and surprisingly, it helps Carter focus!

Until he sees me taking a picture and gets upset.

Blake carving the turkey.

Getting ready to eat...

Carter tried on his school Indian outfit. He looks thrilled to be doing so, don't you think?

And, then little brother tries the pilgrim hat.

Our 8th Thanksgiving together.

Just before the blessing.

Too much turkey.

A couple of attempts at our Christmas card photo. Jack was cooperating, as usual.

And, then a few attempts at taking one just of the kids.

Next, we drove into Westminster to visit our extended family out here. Had a wonderful time....hoping you did, too!