Saturday, December 10, 2011

Our Christmas Tree

It is HUGE!

The second Chris got the tree into the tree stand I knew it was too big! We had gone too big once again (we had the same problem last year!) even though the whole time we were out at the tree farm I kept telling everyone we needed to think skinny.

We cut the twine off the tree and as the branches burst out the tree almost filled the whole room!

Here is Sam's expression when she saw it put up with the lights on!

Then we got busy decorating and getting ornaments to the top meant a ladder or Sam using Chris as a ladder.

Yes, Sam is sitting on his head!

Because of the size of our rooms and where the tree is placed I can't even find a spot to stand where I can get the whole tree in one picture from top to bottom! You will just have to stop by for a visit if you want to see the whole tree in all its glory.

Friday, December 9, 2011

hunting for the perfect tree

When Chris and I were first engaged and living in a small apartment together I discovered the joy of cutting down our own Christmas tree. We went on Thanksgiving weekend with his whole extended family to the tree lot and each household found, cut down, hauled out and straped to their car the perfect tree. I LOVED it! The landscape was beautiful, it was great family fun and it seemed like each tree just got better than the next until you finally decided you were far enough away from the car and you better pick one!

Chris and I don't go to the same tree lot anymore and have not been able to cut down a tree with his extended family for a few years. But we have continued to cut down our own Christmas tree every year. Having the girls has only made this tradition more fun!

Inspecting the a potential tree.

Then watching Chris cut it down.

And having Chris turn into the TREE MONSTER!

The girls got pretty tired this year because we seemed to walk every inch of the tree farm before we found one we could all agree on but overall it was a great time!

And transforming that tree into OUR Christmas tree was even more fun! Stay tuned...

Thursday, December 8, 2011

christmas is coming

While we were on our vacation in Cabo Christmas got started with the beginning of advent! I actually took our advent calendar in our suitcase so that we wouldn't be behind when we got home. We are doing an activity advent calendar this year that has us doing something different each day to get us in the Christmas spirit.

Day 1 - we read the story "In the Stable Where Jesus Was Born" (yes, I packed that in my suitcase too!)

Day 2 - Sam wrote her letter to Santa.

Day 3 - the girls recieved their felt christmas trees! I am super proud of this project and wanted to share this one with you in more detail!

Here are the finished bags. One for each girls with the initial on it!

Inside each bag is a big green felt Christmas tree and then a whole bunch of different colored ornaments to use to decorate the tree.

The girls are loving these felt Christmas trees. I gave them to them on the third day of advent so that they could practice decorating a Christmas tree before we got home and put up our real Christmas tree.

The only supplies I needed to make these were felt, a big red button, scissors and cookie cutters. I used the cookie cutters to trace the shapes for the ornaments. I drew the trees free hand (which is why there isn't an up close picture of that because they are not exactly perfect! ha). Then I made the simple felt bags for each girl to put the tree and ornaments in. I hand sewed the bags, cut a slit for the button and then used yarn to make the initial.

The whole project took me a couple of hours to make both of them and it was very inexpensive! Love this project!!

Happy Advent!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

catching up!

We are in full holiday spirit swing at this house! And I am loving how "into" all the holiday happenings my girls are getting. Which means I have LOTS to share!

I am going to try do a lot of posts the next couple of days to get us caught up.

First off I wanted to share some pics from our recent Thanksgiving trip to Cabo with the Enlund family. We were all horrible at taking pictures while we were there and didn't do any real family photos. Which is such a shame because we are not all in the same place very often. But I have some fun candid shots!

We had a great trip! The girls were actually pretty easy as long as they could be in the pool with lots of toys. I had a ton of time to read and get a good tan and Chris got to play four rounds of golf with his family. And it was SO great to get to spend so much time with our newest cousin. I loved the chances that I got to kidnap him from his parents early in the morning and let him play with his cousins and give his mom and dad a break!

For more stories about the boat rides that we went on and other parts of the trip head over to Greening Sam and Avery. Sorry for the lack of stories here but blogging the same thing twice just seems silly!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

we went spooking

Have you heard of spooking?

This letter was in a bag of fun goodies we got on our doorstep late last night. Someone rang our door and ran, leaving the bag behind (thank you next door neighbors!). The girls got some fun Halloween toys, candy and fruit snacks.

So, today Sam and I visited the dollar section at Target and grabbed some stuff to fill our own spooking bags. We waited till the sun went down...

grabbed our spooking bags and headed out.

And then the actual spooking!

We had so much fun tonight! Hope the people we spooked enjoy their bags of goodies!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

the lessons I have learned

I have been robbed twice in the last three weeks. Being robbed ever can open your eyes and teach you something, but being robbed TWICE in THREE WEEKS really affects you.

For those that may not know my car was broken into on September 24th while I was in Milwaukee at a board meeting. My window was smashed, car door and roof dented and purse stolen.
Then just last week I walked down the street and left the garage door open. I was being lazy, I guess, by not grabbing a key or garage door opener to take with me but I was only going to be gone for two hours and Chris was home. No big deal. WRONG! Someone came into our garage, went through our cars (including my trunk) and stole all my cash. Luckily this time they didn't do damage to the cars or take anything else from our garage. OR come into our house!!!

So, after these two events I have learned some serious lessons and made some serious changes to my behavior. Here they are....

  1. My purse goes with me everywhere now. Even with the car locked it is NOT okay to leave your purse in the car.

  2. If you have to leave anything of value in your car, HIDE IT.

  3. Don't carry cash, it is only going to be stolen anyway.

  4. Things of personal value that cannot be replaced should not be carried in your wallet for you to look at everyday.

  5. Your garage is public domain. Do not leave your purse in your car, even in the garage.

  6. Lock your car in your garage.

  7. The door that leads into your garage from the house should always be locked. Since the garage is open to the public you just never know what kind of rif-raf might walk in.

  8. People SUCK!

I have lost some of my innocence, some of my sense that people are genuinly good. And the second set of cops that I spoke to said that as more jobs are lost in this state, as more people are in financial crisis the crimes of opportunity like this will only increase. We have to be even more prootective of what we have.

I hate that this is the world my daughters now know. It breaks my heart that Sam has told many people "the mean people broke my mom's car and stole her pink purse". A three year old should not ever have to know things like that happen.

The "mean people" suck!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


I cook. Not perfectly beautiful meals that have all the food groups every time but they are still meals that require planning and effort. More times than not my children look at the food I have so lovingly put on their plate and they turn up their noses and say "I don't like that" or some other ridiculous statement. Which I know is ridiculous because most of the time they have eaten this same meal and gobbled it down with no problem. Or it is a meal full of ingredients that I know they like and there is no reason for them to not like them now.
But instead getting them to eat just one bite is a fight. We have to feed them, bribe them, scowled them and force them into eating. Dinner time is stressful and ruined.
What is a mom to do? How do moms overcome this? I would love to know how other parents get their kids to eat new foods. What rules do you have for dinner time? How do you deal with mean statements that your kids say about the food you have prepared?
We have a "No thank you bite" rule that I think I got from my sister (sorry if I am mis-remembering and not given credit to the right mom!), which basically means that my kids have to have one bite of everything that is put on their plate. Then once they have tried something if they still don't like it they don't have to finish it. But I NEVER make them something else.
I really like this rule and it seems to work out okay but even just getting them to eat that one bite can be torture sometimes. I often wonder if it is really worth it. And how do I teach them to appreciate the fact that I cook for them at all.
I was horrible to my mom growing up and would often look at the amazing food she had prepared and literally say "yuck do I have to eat that?". I was mean and I know it hurt my mom's feelings. But how do you teach kids early to not have those kinds of thoughts in the first place? I have no idea how my mom heard those statements on a regular basis and continued to turn around and cook more great meals for us.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

family visit

I got an AWESOME surprise this weekend! Chris arranged for my two best college friends to come up for a visit. I have not seen both of them at the same time in SO long (right after Avery was born they both came to stay with me because Chris had to go out of town for a bit). I was blown away when I saw them and we had a great time catching up and just laughing like we use to. But unfortunately my surprise weekend fell on the same weekend that my sister-in-law was coming to the mid-west for a visit with my brand new nephew Chester. I was so bummed that I couldn't go with Chris and the girls to see the the family. All six of the next generation of cousins were together and the stories that I heard from Chris and Sam make it sound like they all just had a really great time. Wanted to share with the family some of the photos that Chris took for me (I forced him to take the camera and was very clear about the requirement for me to see LOTS of pictures!!). I think he did pretty good as the cameraman...maybe I will hand over that job more often!

This is Chester. Gotta love that baby scowl!

Love this shot of Sam holding Chester. She was very excited to tell me how gentle she was with him.

The girls really enjoyed seeing the family and we can't wait to do it again soon!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

a little bit of golf

We had amazing weather today so when Chris got home we headed out to the golf course to let the girls play a few holes.

Golf makes me feel like that sometimes too Avery.

Just a little video of Avery. I have finally figured out how to work the video feature on my camera (woohoo!) and have been going crazy with it but unfortunately my videos are still pretty awful and I have no way to edit them. Oh well. At least you can see my inability to understand my daughter right now!

Hoping we can get out golfing at least once more before the golf courses close. We will see!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

the ice cream shop

I am not above bribery! Especially when it works and results in me getting good ice cream! A while back we started a good listening jar. I put a cute tag on it with a ribbon and placed the jar on the kitchen counter. I told her that each time she was a good listener and did exactly what I asked her to she would get to put a penny in the jar. There are measurement lines on the side of the jar and I told her each time the pennies got to one of the lines she would get to go to a real ice cream store and pick out her own ice cream!
She doesn't remember to ask for a penny (and I don't remember to give her one) everytime she listens to me so it has taken her quite a while to reach the line but she finally did.
Saturday we took her to a real ice cream store for the first time! I have never seen her so excited as when she saw all those flavors of ice cream to choose from.

Gotta love that fake little girl smile!

And of course Avery got to enjoy the treat too.

One determined little girl!!

Bribery may not be the best parenting tool. Hopefully we will not still be using this when she is in highschool since I don't think ice cream will have the same value to her at that point!