Monday, December 27, 2010

Some Conversations with Elle recently...

"Mommy, why do we have to get old?"
"That's just the way God made our bodies, Elle. But as you get older, you get to do a lot of fun things that you can't do as a kid."
"No, I mean why do we have to get really old? I don't want to get really old! I want to be able to play on the floor and spin fast forever!"


"Mommy, I don't want to get old and die!"
"Well, Elle when you die, you get to go to heaven to be with Jesus, and you'll be really happy!"
This went back and forth for a little while and she started to cry, "But Mommy, I don't want to go to heaven! I just want to stay here with you and daddy and Lauren and baby Ava forever! Mommy, can we go to heaven together?"


"Mommy, when we go to heaven to see baby Jesus, can we bring him a present?" "Sure we can, Elle." "Can I share one of the presents I got with him?" "Of course, Elle! Jesus would love it if you shared with him." "Well, he's a baby, so can I get one of baby Ava's toys out of her bin to bring to him?" "Yes, Elle, but remember that baby Jesus isn't a baby anymore; he grew up and died on the cross to save us. We just celebrate his birthday at Christmas, just like we do with your birthday." "Oh, well Mommy, I don't want to get old and die on the cross, so I'll just stay here and send baby Jesus a gift in heaven!"

"Mommy, can we get a picture with baby Jesus? He can sit in the little chair like baby Ava and we can stand behind him and smile!"

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

A very Merry Christmas to anyone reading this!

At Christmas, we see Jesus as a

little babe— helpless and poor.

And He came to love and be loved.

How can we love Jesus in the world today?

By loving Him in

my husband, my wife, my children

my brothers and sisters, my parents,

my neighbours and the poor.

Let us gather around the poor crib in Bethlehem

and make a strong resolution that

we will love Jesus in all those we meet every day.

--Mother Teresa

For more Christmas Eve and Christmas Day pictures, here's a link to my facebook album:

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Fun

We had a Christmas playgroup this morning, and since the girls will only have a few opportunities to wear their various Christmas outfits, they were festive this morning! When I was putting Lauren's dress on her, Elle remembered that it was her dress/shirt last year, and we started talking about how she did indeed wear that dress for the past two years. And then when I pulled Ava's dress out, I explained that it was Elle's when she was as little as Ava. And as Elle always points out to me, "That was when it was just me, you, and daddy, right? Before baby Ava and Lauren!" Elle loves her sisters, but being the firstborn and a lover of attention, I know sometimes, she wishes she could have us all to herself! And, I can't believe just how quickly time goes and that just 4 years ago, my first born was wearing this dress, and that the dress is already being used by our 3rd girl! As I tell Elle all the time, these girls need to stop growing so fast! Although it's so fun to watch them grow at the same time.

We've had snow and ice this week, so Elle didn't get to have her Christmas program at school yesterday and she was really sad about that, especially since she's been practicing her songs a lot, but I got to watch her practice on Tuesday and it was pretty cute. She sang the first song and then spent the rest of the time on stage dancing, playing with a star she was holding, spinning in circles, and doing ballet moves. She definitely likes to put on a show!

We have been a little more minimal in our Christmas decorations/activities this year, mainly because it's just been crazy and I feel like I've had so much to do, but seeing the girls in these outfits certainly made it feel like Christmas time! I especially like Ava's face in the last few. She looks like she's saying, "Save me, mommy!" Hope you enjoy! (And no, these aren't our Christmas cards--those went in the mail yesterday!) Oh and I added a video at the bottom. There's not much to see on it, but Lauren took the video on my phone without me knowing it, and her voice is just so cute!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Elle the Ballerina

Elle had her very first ballet recital today, and she did great! The pictures and video are not the best quality, since they wouldn't allow flash photography, and we actually weren't even allowed to videotape at all (but, I had Kyle sneak some iphone pictures/video because we did not want to spend $25 on the dvd they were trying to sell us!). It was a pretty short performance, but Elle did get to go on stage 3 times, and she got to lead her group out one of the times. As she told us when we got in the car after the show and asked her if she had fun, "Yes, and I even smiled!" It was adorable to see her and her friends on stage, and we're already looking forward to the big recital at the end of the year. Elle's been dancing all around the house since we got home; she really does love ballet so far. Not sure how easy it is to tell, but Elle is the 3rd one from the right in the pictures and in the video.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Some cuteness around our house these days...

Elle and Lauren are loving making silly faces for the camera these days! We've still be really busy trying to get ready for Christmas, and tomorrow, Elle is in a performance of the Nutcracker with her ballet class, so I'm sure I'll be posting some pictures soon. She's been a bit of a diva about the whole thing and keeps asking when she gets to go on the big stage again so everyone can watch her. Lauren started singing something one day, and Elle yelled at her, "Lauren! You're not allowed to sing! Only I can sing because I'm in the Nutcracker!" Wow! The fame has already gone to her head--guess we'll have to work on that! And Ava has been just as happy and sweet as ever; even though it's hard to get a great smile in a picture, she laughs and smiles all the time. I've enjoyed her so much! Hope everyone reading this is having a wonderful holiday season so far!

Friday, December 3, 2010


Things have been a little crazy around here with Thanksgiving last week, the start of Advent, Christmas shopping, and add to that the fact that we found a house we really liked and put an offer on it this past Sunday (it didn't work out, since the seller didn't want to go as low as we were offering, but we had to work out mortgages and all before making the offer, so it was a time-consuming process!). But I'm just posting a few pictures of my two sweet babies. I often forget that Lauren just turned 2 a few months ago. She talks so much and so well that she seems older than she is and sometimes I expect more from her than is age appropriate. She's really gotten into singing the past few months, and she loves to sing songs from all the Disney movies. Her current favorite is Once Upon a Dream from Sleeping Beauty. It's pretty cute to watch her; she will spin in circles and sing really loudly. I'll have to post a video if I think of it. She still says, "Yeah, sure, Mommy" or "Yeah, sure, Elle" a lot when we ask her a question and also often says she's going to do something "right quick".

Some other comments from Elle recently:

My friend, Kelly, was leaving with her son, and Elle was sad because she wanted to play with him longer, so Kelly told her that next week she could come to her house to play, and Elle responded, "But I don't know how to drive!" When Kelly told her that I'm sure your mom would bring you, Elle said, "She doesn't know how to drive either!"

At school this week, one of the boys upset her, and she didn't want to play with him anymore, so he came up to her and said, "But I love you, Elle!" She turned away from him, crossed her arms emphatically, and said, "It doesn't matter!"

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Advent Calendar for this Year

Elfie (the name of our Elf on the Shelf) came to visit us for the Christmas season yesterday, and the girls are already eagerly anticipating the Christmas season! For the past few years, we have done an activity-based Advent calendar (here's a link to our countdown calendar with a list from the past few years), and Elle has loved it. I'm excited about Lauren getting involved this year too! We are trying something a little different this year; instead of just doing fun activities/crafts for ourselves, we are making an effort to focus on others this year, by doing an act of kindness each day until Christmas. I was inspired by this post, and I love the idea of spending the time leading up to Christmas giving to others, rather than focusing on presents and what we will get. Here's our list so far if you want to make one for yourself (I usually organize these in the envelopes before advent begins, but since our life has been so crazy lately, I'm just putting a piece of candy in each envelope, and then I will tell them the day's activity from the list):

Kind Deed Activities

Write a letter to someone you haven’t seen or talked to in a while to brighten their day.

Make and bring someone cookies.

Clean up litter in the park.

Do a chore for someone else in the family.

Look around the house for change and put it in the salvation army bucket.

Write a special thank you note to your teachers.

Make a card and treat or present to leave in the mailbox for the mail carrier.

Go through clothes/shoes and pick some to give away.

Go through toys and pick some to give away.

Gather canned goods to give away.

Make cards/craft kits to send to kids in the hospital.

Make a meal for another family and deliver it.

Write and mail thank you letters to soldiers overseas.

Buy a present for someone on the angel tree.

Put change in a soda machine for the next person to use or tape a card and change to a vending machine for the next person to use.

Buy and candy bar/gum for the grocery store clerk and bring one to the salvation army volunteer too!

Have a smiley face play-date and encourage everyone to distribute their smiley faces and give to others.

Make a new friend or reach out to a friend you haven't talked to in a while.

Offer to babysit for a friend to give her a break and give the kids a chance to play

Play secret Santa to a neighbor.

Makes snowflakes or cards to send to a nursing home.

Write thank you cards to the pediatrician and mail or deliver.

Go to the mall or a store or the post office and hand out candy canes with notes attached and wish strangers a Merry Christmas!

Go Christmas caroling and hand out holiday treats to the houses you visit.

Read the Christmas story in the Bible, and act out the nativity.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Getting Ready for Thanksgiving

We have been having some Thanksgiving fun the past couple of weeks! I feel like every store has completely skipped over this holiday, and I haven't seen any crafts, decorations, etc. for Thanksgiving; it's Christmas everywhere already. But, I like to make a point of celebrating Thanksgiving before we move on to the Christmas season. Thanksgiving is such a great holiday, not at all about presents or candy, just about being thankful and spending time with family and friends. Earlier in the month, I pulled a branch off of a tree and throughout the past few weeks, we have been adding leaves to our "thankfulness tree". Of course, the girls often name the same things over and over, which is why our tree doesn't have quite as many leaves as it should, but it's a great opportunity to talk to them about being grateful for everything we are blessed to have and to talk about how we can help those who are in need.

Elle in her Thanksgiving shirt, which I thought was perfect for her!

In addition to the "thankfulness tree", Elle and I found some really fun turkey-themed activities online, and we decided to have a couple of her friends over for a playdate. We didn't get to do all the activities we had planned, so I'm sure we will do some more this week, but the girls had a great time, especially since one of the games included a treasure hunt (basically, I took pictures of different things in the house, and they would find the spot in the picture to get their next clue) that ended with a scented chapstick for each girl. I didn't take pictures of everything we did at the playdate and this week, but we did some turkey math activities (inspiration for lots of great turkey activities found here), colored turkey pictures, made apple-turkeys (inspiration found here):

Lauren, holding her baby while making her turkey--this girl LOVES her baby dolls!

Elle told me she was making a porcupine with hers.

And played pin the feather on the turkey (printables for all the signs and this game found here):

And finally, a picture of Elle before Parents' Day Out on Thursday (they had a lunch date with their dads, hence the shirt, even though it's a little small, and she was soo excited. Elle loved having her daddy all to herself at lunch time, and when I asked her what it was like, she simply said "I gave daddy lots of kisses and hugs."):

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A conversation today...

We were in Michael's getting some craft supplies today, and I was looking for something on an aisle when Elle started screaming and crying. I told her to calm down and tell me what happened to make her so upset, and I finally determined that Lauren had bit Elle's finger....

Elle, still crying, yells, "Lauren bit me! She bit me with her teeth! Lauren's a dinosaur, Mommy! She's a dinosaur!"
And then turning to Lauren, "I'm not a snack! I am NOT a snack, Lauren! You can't eat me! No! I'm not dinosaur food!"

She rambled some other stuff off too and huffed off and stomped her feet, but I couldn't understand it all, and I was laughing too much as this point to pay attention. If Elle doesn't have some sort of future in drama, I'll certainly be surprised!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Snapshots of our Day

Here are a few pictures from our day yesterday....

We started by playing post office. The girls each decorated their own mailboxes and made cards for each other that we placed into envelopes. We added addresses and stamps and then set up our post office. They took turns being the customer and dropping the letters off and paying for the postage with real money (their favorite part!) and being the postal worker and stamping the mail, putting it in the mailbag and then delivering it to the mailboxes. We used all random craft things I had on hand and it only took a few minutes to set up, but the girls loved it and each took a few turns as customer and postal worker. They are both very into pretend play so they love anything like this and I love watching their little minds work, especially Elle who, as the first-born, is a big rule follower. If I show them how to do something once, she will do it exactly that way every time, and if Lauren tries to do something differently when it is her turn, Elle will certainly let her know about it!

Dropping letters off to be mailed

I love Lauren's look of concentration as she counts out her money.

Delivering the mail

We got a bouncy house as a hand-me-down from one of my sisters and it has been a favorite activity recently. It's especially nice on days when we can't go outside and allows to girls to get some of their energy out. It had gotten a little colder and drier here, and the other night when Lauren got in the bouncy, she started crying and I asked her what was wrong, "My hair, Mommy! My hair!" She asked me to "fix it" because the bouncy was causing her hair to stand out because of all the static. I think she's gotten over it though now, as you can see in these pictures:

And here are some pictures of Ava just because she's adorable and still the best baby. She loves to talk still and has started laughing more, which is just about the cutest thing ever. Kyle took a quick video the other night, so I'll have to post it once he downloads it. She hasn't been rolling over much, but I think it's because she's so rarely on the ground because I'm worried her sisters will squash her!

Hanging out in her sister's chair

A little smile

Checking out her feet