Monday, December 19, 2011

The Halls Are Decked...

At our house, we believe that family is everything. We believe in the magic of Christmas. Pyper believes in Santa. But first and foremost, we believe in Christ. Without Him, we wouldn't have what we have, and wouldn't know true happiness or joy.

Counting our blessings daily, Shannon was able to capture me with mine. Oh, how I love these little ones. I've noticed now that we have children that Christmas has become more than just presents under the tree, baking, and decorating. It's watching the absolute awe of the magic of this season across the face of Pyper. She mailed Santa her pacifiers on Saturday morning and in return, he mailed her the movie Tangled. She squealed with joy, clapping her chubby hands, and hopping up and down...

Our Christmas tree tops at 10'. We've had it up since before Thanksgiving, and have thoroughly enjoyed it.

Pyper decorated it with her first mom buys the girl's their first ornaments, and Pyper was VERY proud to display hers.

She is certainly our gift from God.

One of our first family ornaments. Guess we need to buy another one to add Raegan's name! I have a love for anything with frogs and thought these jolly frogs were adorable.

This was one of my Grannie's ornaments. I love the satin ribbon that we use to secure it to the tree. We made it a point to hang all the older, much loved, breakable ornaments up high to prevent the temptation for those chubby fingers to grab them.

One of my many frog ornaments

Pyper made this one over at Shannon's cousin's house. I love it and will cherish it as much as the older, more glamorous ones.

This puppy is one of 2 that I have. They come from my dad's Christmas trees when he was growing up. I love how the paint has worn off, showing how much they are loved.

I got this one when my mom and I went to San Fransisco a few years ago on a girls weekend. It was so much fun!

This picture cracks me up. This was last weekend at my in law's house. Pyper loves to hold Raegan, but we don't fully trust her holding her, because she loses interest quickly and will just jump up leaving little Raegan wondering what happened.

Saturday mornings beg for Christmas pancakes!

Spreading the cheer all the way upstairs!

My sister in law, Kerry, bought this for me my first Christmas with the family. I just love it. I think it demonstrates why we celebrate.

Our Nativity scene. The last few years, my mom bought me pieces to this every Christmas. I have it displayed this year on our entry table, so those coming in can see it first thing. I love it.

Our wonderful friend, Jenn, made this basket for us. I love it. It sits on our dining room table. Jenn is so talented. She has endless energy and makes the most beautiful gift baskets and flower arrangements. We're lucky to have her as our nanny, too! The girls love her.

Shannon's aunt Linda gave us Frosty. It's really for outside use, but we loved it so much, we put it in our music room. Pyper adores Frosty, and hugs his neck.

That's it! I hope this Christmas season fills you with love, laughter and boundless joy. From our home to yours, we wish you a very Merry CHRISTmas!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Unplug Them!

You may wonder what in the world am I talking about? I'm telling you to unplug your kids, folks! Turn off the TV, the computer, the iPods, the Play Stations and even the phones. Unplug them and plug into what your kids need: You. Creativity. Imaginative Play. Fun. I know this is difficult. Especially now in a day and age when it's sometimes easier to have the TV babysit the kids and you escape into Facebooking or just browsing the web. I'm guilty of this, too. But now that I'm more aware of how much Pyper needs ME and creative outlets, I have forced myself to unplug her and ME. This is an ongoing transformation, I won't lie. Just last night, she wanted to watch TV in our bed while I cleaned up the house from a fun weekend. She's recovering from a cold and ear infection, and is feeling a bit under the weather. So, I didn't feel TOO guilty for letting her get some TV in and have some quiet time. I can also get my housework done a lot faster without her underfoot asking for me to hold her or just whining that I'm ignoring her. Sometimes, TV is necessary. But not all the time. I've stopped Facebooking at home. I limit my internet and computer use while in our home. I try everyday to do fun, creative things with Pyper and just enjoy my girls being little and inquisitive.

Bake cookies with your kids. Pyper has really developed her love of anything to do with baking and cooking. She loves to whisk eggs, stir soup, and push the buttons on the food processor. Let them help you cook--they will more likely eat what they helped prepare!

Play with boxes. I picked up 4 huge boxes at work that held car seats. They were going to throw them out, and I stepped in and saved them. One thing I've learned--kids will play with the box before the toy. Jenn, our nanny, made this creative playhouse for the kids, cutting out shapes of different colors and sizes for the kids to learn from while playing. It is now covered in shapes that Pyper and I cut out last Sunday. Pyper loves to use the glue stick and "decorate" her house.

She will disappear for long periods of time and when I go looking for her, she's in her playhouse playing with her stuffed animals.

Shannon told her to get her markers and "paint" the inside walls. She loved this, and had a ball decorating her house...

These kinds of crafts are great when it's too cold outside or rainy to venture out and play.

But when it's nice out, take the kids out! Two weeks ago, we walked in our first family 5K. It was in honor of Thomas Musser, a little boy in our small community that lost his battle to cancer last year. Our tiny town and surrounding communities raised almost $20K!!! All proceeds went to St. Jude's, where Thomas received his treatments.

It was participating in this 5K that made me really re-evaluate the time spent with my little ones. How would I be remembered spending time with them? Them watching TV while I was engrossed with something silly on the Internet? I didn't want this to be my legacy with my kids. We, as parents are our children's first teachers. Start teaching them to use their imaginations, and creativity. You'll be amazed at how much better everyone will feel.