Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas Morning...

Garrett Jake LOVES the new edition of Super Mario for Wii!

Big Daddy putting together the Batman also housing "baby Jesus and his momma" from the Playmobile nativity set. Such imagination around here...

Garrett Jakers and his Santa stocking. Pottery Barn clearance sale last Christmas was the Rudolph stocking!

Braden Riley and his Santa stocking...also Pottery Barn clearance. He picked it himself and has great taste...fits my new Christmas colors nicely. I wonder...would I have let him have this one if it hadn't? Hmmm...

Saved the best for last! Check out Braden's reaction to his first view of the tree on Christmas morning! I edited for red eye over and over, but still couldn't get rid of the glare. He's just too wide-eyed...and I LOVE it!

On a previous post today, I noted that while a picture is worth a thousand words, it can't compare with the real thing. This is just one more prime example! Folks, you had to be there! The shriek of glee, coupled with the google-eye look, was something, that's for sure! I love these boys, for better or worse, and we had a magical, amazing, joyful, fun-filled, family-oriented Christmas and it was the best! I hope that all of you enjoyed the same memorable moments with your families. Cherish the memories, but more importantly, cherish your time together with hugs, and "squeezers," and kisses, and good times! A picture just doesn't cut it!

White Christmas...Everyone Else Posted One, Why Not Me?

Sunrise into our valley on Christmas morning. You can just see the golden rays of sun touching the tips of the treetops midphoto. This was the chilly view from my front porch.

Looking towards the cul-de-sac, the sun finally rises over the brim of the mountain...hill...whatever that is over there...

You can see the outline of the creek running into the edge of our backyard. Don't you think sepia makes it look like a Christmas card?

Uncle Mike made us this light-up Rudy long ago. He's a sturdy one, what with the snow dusting his nose

This is the barn on the farm that is on the other side of the backyard fence. I bet those cows think it's February with all the NEVER snows here in December!

My Mamma's Egg Nog...

There is one single treat I always look forward to at Christmas...not cookies, or gingerbread, or cakes, or pies...just Mom's egg nog! I live for it! Folks, I've sampled many a brand of store-bought nog, but none can hold a candle to my mom's mix. There's just something about that certain mixture of raw eggs and peach brandy. Only Mamma's nog will do, and, boy, does it deserve it's own blog spotlight! Thanks, Mom, for making my holiday all the more jolly!

"Easy" Bake Oven...

Family fun with the Easy Bake Oven!

"Easy" Bake Ovens are not exactly all that they claim to be. We had a great time baking with Braden's new oven (yes, he asked for it, and yes, he's a wonderful kitchen helper...wants to be a chef!). I am convinced, though, that the liquid measurements listed in the recipe book are not accurate. I truly believe every single one needs to be at least doubled...see last photo! :0)

It's really, really flat, but it tasted like a cookie...although it was supposed to be a yellow cake with chocolate frosting! Oh, well. Guess that means we'll have to keep experimenting!

Backwards Blogging-After Christmas First...

After all of the hullabaloo of the holiday died down, we had calm, quiet play time here at home. As much as I LOVE Christmas, I don't always enjoy all of the loud, raucous antics that come with a house full of people. Trust me, four little ones around the tree amounted to LOUD!

A few days later, Nana came over to just hang out and help the boys break in their new games...especially their very favorite gift-Don't Break The Ice! It's funny, out of all the expensive, fancy play sets they received, this simple game held their attention the longest...they love it! Nothing but trying to knock out the "ice" blocks w/out knocking down the skating bear.

They say a picture's worth a thousand words, but this picture doesn't do the moment justice. Braden was in on the action, too...just a Nanna and her two boys, laughing, playing, matching picture can compare to the special moments they all shared together.

Braden singing into his "microphone" while hangin' out on the top bunk! :0)

Garrett, also hangin' on the top bunk, gives a great goofy grin (how bout that alliteration?)!

Garrett and Braden received suncatcher paint sets from Santa in their stockings. They begged to paint them for three days before we gave in...and they did great. No mess, no muss, no fuss, and they even shared paints because one set was completely dried out...can you believe it?

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Church Christmas Program...

First of all...miracles do happen. AND, my dad's appearance at the program was nothing short of a first class Christmas miracle. The boys were so excited to see him there...totally unexpected.

Garrett, Tyler, and Braden as three of the multitude of shepherds that appeared in the program. Another miracle was that we convinced Garrett to wear the costume! The boys "playing" drums...I called them the little drummer boys and they loved it.

Garrett and the suprise visitor after the program...SANTA! Notice all of the crumbs and left-over snack on Garrett's face!

Not to be outdone, Braden, too, sports loads of left-over goodies on his face, but Santa doesn't care!

After a long evening at church, we came home, donned our jammies, and settled in for Mickey's Christmas special! Ahhhhh...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

My Little Shepherd...

Hitting the photo files once again, I found this little jewel! That's Braden Riley next to the angel, dressed as a "coughing" shepherd. Braden fake-coughed his way through the entire production three years ago. Tomorrow evening, we'll see if three years of growth and maturity have had any effect on Braden's stage performace. The kiddos will be performing "One Starry Night" and I can't wait to see how the boys do this time. After all, Garrett wasn't even old enough to be in the show three years ago!

Christmas Past...

What with the funeral today, I've been thinking a whole lot about the past. Nothing specific, really, just the past in general. Upon considering the past in general, I found myself perusing the photo files of our lap top, when in fact, I should be creating a lesson for kids' church tomorrow...well, today, rather. Anyway, I found this one of the boys and I in the dining room of our Blackjack Dr. house three years ago. Isn't it sweet? It's a miracle we got a shot of Garrett w/out the "nunnie," or pacifier as the rest of the known world refers to it. Don't they both look like such innocent little babies? My, times have changed! :0) Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My Grandpa...

My grandpa passed away today. He has been very sick for a while now, and this was not "sudden." However, I'm still in shock, not really sure about how to feel. Honestly, I am simply relieved. Grandpa has been in pain and suffering for some time and I just want for him to be at peace. He was a strong, courageous, loving man of God and I have no doubt that he is with our Lord this very minute.

I am blessed to have had such a wonderful grandfather. He was always our ticket to cows, tractors, rides on tailgates, plentiful soda, snack cakes (he had an ongoing love affair with Little Debbie), tire swings, walks in the pasture, and all things country, pure, and amazing. From teaching Sunday school for YEARS to letting us get away with murder on the farm, he was simply a quality human being who will be missed...a lot.

My boys are blessed, too, for having been able to have a relationship with Grandpa. Tragically, so many of the older men in our families have passed, but they will always remember Grandpa and loving to swing on his gate. They will always have fond memories of their brief times at the farm. They will always remember, as will I.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Elf on the Shelf...

THIS is the greatest story ever! My wonderful friend, Cindy, purchased this set for our family, thus helping us to begin a brand new Christmas tradition in the Springs household. As the story goes, the little elf watches the children and reports back to Santa each evening on the quality of behavior he has witnessed during the day (my kids have been rather concerned about this on occasion). They are to look for him in his new observation spot each morning (now a contest between my children), but are NEVER to touch him. Touching could, in fact, lead to the disappearance of his magic, and possibly the entire elf...not good.

When we first began reading the story about a week-and-a-half ago, Braden was very negative and distrustful of the whole operation of elf reporting and whatnot. He was just a "Negative Nelly," or I guess a "Negative Ned," since he's a boy. Anyway, he now is the first one up each morning, trying to beat Garrett to the discovery of the Elf's new position. It's so much fun to watch him tell Garrett to make sure he behaves because the elf is if he, too, did not need to watch his behavior! :0)

There is a certificate in the back of the book that allows each family to record the date of the beginning of this new tradition and the name they have chosen for their elf. Needless to say, my boys chose to name their elf "Minniehaha!" Those of you who know of their obsession with this name will immediately understand! On one of their "Frosty" holiday movies, the children are trying to brainstorm a name for Frosty's new snow-wife. Several choices are suggested, including "Cornflakes" and "Minniehaha..."all before settling on "Crystal." The boys just crack up and belly laugh when they say the name Minnihaha to each other. It's really fun to watch!

So, now our elf is Minniehaha, and Braden is fully on board with this whole new tradition...finally! I'm just dreading the day he decides not to believe any more and tells Garrett the whole thing. I just don't want them to grow up...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Fun Night's Gingerbread Activity...

Last night, the boys and I entertained ourselves by making this super cool gingerbread house, complete with super size snowman! I picked up the pre-baked kit at Sam's Club and was a little apprehensive at first. You two rowdy boys, tons of sugar icing, MANY candy dodads to decorate with, and a delicate house made of cookie dough! But, the boys did great and helped me very calmly...yes, really helping! :0)

This is a view of the side, complete with Hershey's chocolate shutters and M&M window panes!

The back door was styled after the half doors at the church nursery.

And the front is green (my signature color) with a HUGE snowman that's almost taller than the house itself! It was a cookie tree ornament, but I definitely don't want cookies on my tree!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Does This Tree Look Right?...

Well, I finally got the tree decorated, with a LOT of help from the boys...and a LOT of removing, replacing, and rearranging the ornaments afterwards! :0) Eric says he's not sure about the "topper" I've gone with this year, and now I'm seconed guessing myself. Any and all commentary is welcome. Does it look right? If not, any suggestions? I'm just not a star kind of person.

Garrett's Trip to the ER...

Yesterday, I received a call around 11:45 that Garrett had fallen on the playplace at school (again) and had jammed his teeth through his bottom lip. Apparently, he was running in his sock feet and slipped on a step. I immediately called Eric, who took him to the ER, but luckily no stitches. Xrays at the dentist office showed no damage to the bottom teeth, but one of his front teeth could still "die" and become discolored.

The good thing (if there is one) is that he is having the time of his life eating McDonald's shakes or Wendy's frosties at every meal!

He is in super whiny mode, which is to be expected, I guess. He constantly slurps the drool back into his mouth and sounds for all the world like Darth Vader...good thing he's a Star Wars fan!