Saturday, December 29, 2012

First REAL Snow Day

William and Alanna had their first real experience playing in snow this week!
We had a storm blow through the day after Christmas and blanketed everything in several inches of white, powdery snow.

The only real thing that sucked is that Will had a therapy appointment at 9 am that morning so we had to drive through some horrible roads to get there. It was not fun. A commute usually takes me about 25 minutes took over 40 because the plows could not keep up with the weather.
Anyway, in the afternoon the "storm" had passed and it was safe for the little ones to play outside.
Now I realize how unprepared we are for this weather. First off, we did not own a snow shovel. Nor do we own the de-ice stuff to put on our driveway after the snow has been shoveled. And the kids did not have snow pants that fit. In the following pictures Alanna is wearing a size 18 month snow suit -- she wears 3T. Under Will's coat and pants is a warm semi-snow suit I bought for him in Japan which was also probably an 18 month size. They are both wearing between 3 and 4 layers of clothing. Oh well, at least we have snow gloves and snow boots!

They both LOVED the snow. Alanna keeps saying she wants to make a snow man. The day after our snow day Ryan showed Will how to make and throw snowballs... he thinks it's hilarious.

They ran. They jumped. They laid in the snow. It was so much fun to see them enjoying it.
We took a short walk to the hill near our street. Some kids were sledding. Will and Lana were rivited and wanted to do it. Of course, we also don't own sleds. But one of the neighbor boys allowed Will to borrow his to go down the hill. Of course my son instantly became a fan. One of the dad's had a two person type sled so both William and Alanna went down the hill a couple more times. By then we had been outside long enough and I was fairly cold so we headed back home.
We now must get our own sleds so they can enjoy the fun more often this winter. We also should probably invest in some snow pants.

Let's hope this winter isn't too harsh... but I wouldn't mind a several more days for my children to play in snow like little kids should!


Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas Town at the Creation Museum

When we received orders for our current base I started doing my usual "Bucket List" of sites to check out. My dear friend Tegan told me about the Creation Museum and it immediately made it to the top of my list.

During a Bible Study I was participating in at my church an announcement was made about the Creation Museum's Christmas Town. It is held every Friday and Saturday evening during the month of December.

I decided we were going to go!

We decided on a day and thankfully the weather was decent and we went the Saturday before Christmas.

To my surprise I find out that Christmas Town is completely free to the public! Also to my surprise was the mass of people who also decided to attend that final night.

Overall our experience with the special event was just okay. The large crowds kind of put a damper on things. Then it was VERY cold and I didn't realize how much was actually done outside. Although the kids had their heavy coats and hats, I did not bring thick gloves and before we were finished both children had been pretty impacted by the icy temperatures.
What did we do there?

Well, we started out inside at one of the dramas about a temple guard. It was decently acted out and had a lot of emotion. Unfortunately we couldn't get really into it because Alanna was being a two-year-old and was busy fidgeting and talking. At that point we decided not to see the other 2 dramas that were also performed inside since the subject matter was quite a bit above the heads of our little ones.

Although the museum was open for an incredibly reduced ticket price, we didn't check it out because we were just doing the Christmas stuff.

Then we got in line for the Nativity drama. Because of the swarms of people we waited in line close to half an hour. Once we were outside we learn that there are several drama stops we are supposed to go through.
The first two are about Noah's Ark. We learned more about the flood and the building of the ark and how the animals were dealt with. It was interesting, but we were already distracted by the cold. Turns out the Creation Museum is in the process of raising funds to build a life size replica of Noah's ark.
After those dramas, we headed over to see the Nativity drama. The speaker shared some really good insights about how our traditional views of the Christmas story may not line up with historical reality. William was being a great listener, but Alanna wanted to wander. Ryan and I took turns keeping her reeled in, but she was being difficult.
Once the speaker was finished we were ablet to see the Nativity and Alanna got to see what she had been asking about, Baby Jesus. She also got to pet some sheep.

Live Nativity
Then we took off to see the beautiful light displays in the gardens.

We passed another drama about the wisemen, but it was pretty frigid and we didn't want to stop. We passed by the camel rides and the petting zoo... at this point trying to hurry to find a quick way back indoors!

William was very cold so I just told Ryan to take him quickly and Lana and I would catch up.

We all found each other inside and sat down by the fish so the kids could warm up, eat a little something, and be entertained.
Like I said, our experience was just okay.

I really want to go back and actually go through the museum, probably without kids first. There is so much to learn and go through. It really is fascinating to see how history, archaelogy, science, and the Bible all line up to a very logical and practical "theories" that I strongly believe in. This place is only about an hour away from us so I actually hope I can visit several times in the remaining months we have on station.

If you are ever in the Cincinnati area I highly recommend a stop at the Creation Museum, it's worth the detour and the ticket price!


Thursday, December 27, 2012

MilSpouse Secret Santa

This year I again participated in the MilSpouse Secret Santa organized by Wife of a Sailor. It was fun last year and this year was not a disappointment.

I received my gift on Christmas Eve. Perfect.

My Secret Santa was Rheanna from Cammo Style Love.

Here are my goodies:
A Washington D.C. Starbucks Mug (I seem to be collecting Starbucks mugs from all over)
Chocolate mints (yum!)
A vintage book: Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield

I'm pretty happy with my gifts. I'll be adding the new book to my "to read" pile.

Thank you Rheanna! I hope you had a merry Christmas! And when we eventually go sightseeing in D.C. maybe we can have a blogging buddy meet-up over coffee or something.


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas 2012

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.
Ours was good. Just the four of us. It was fairly relaxing and restful. We did Skype with our families and see them open presents we sent home -- that was nice, but definitely not the same as all of us being together.

The kids had so much fun opening their gifts!

Alanna just wouldn't stop opening. She would toss aside gifts quickly so she could move onto the next. She didn't really ignore them, she gave a nice "ooOOoo" or "preddi" or some other short comment.

William on the other hand took his time, opened the gift, looked at it, and decided if it was worth playing with at that moment. It took some effort to bring him back to his pile of wrapped items sometimes.

Since it was just us we kept our tradition of reading the Christmas story from Luke 2. Ryan likes Cinnabon on Christmas morning but I didn't know where one was so I bought some Pillsbury Cinnabon rolls to make at home. Ryan was up early and put them in the oven but neither of us heard the timer go off... so no sugary rolls with Christmas this year. Another tradition is having some pictures of the kids by the tree.
With our small family we sat on the floor next to the tree and I began sorting presents. Will sat with Ryan and of course Lana took over her own space. Then we just allowed them to choose a gift to open. They sort of went one at a time...

Will showing off some new clothes... you can't see it, but he has a super excited look on his face
After they were finished, Ryan and I began opening our gifts -- and our Skype calls began. The kids were, at that time, enamored with their toys and figuring out how they all worked.

When I was chatting with my brother in Afghanistan he asked about the Lincoln Logs he sent for Will. We didn't have any Lincoln Logs and I then realized Will still had a big present sitting on the couch. Mike got to see Will open his gift and the happy reaction that went with it. I think that's what makes Christmas so special -- seeing it through the children.

Our gifts were fun this year. We received many of the items from our lists.

For Ryan I got him 12 Dates. I'd seen the idea on Pinterest and then altered it to fit us and what we like to do. For the next year, once a month, a date has been planned and, most notably, funded for hubby and I to enjoy. I'm so excited! Ryan appeared to be happy with it as well. He knows his new iPhone comes later.

My "big" gift is something I specifically asked him for. I am in desperate need of a makeup overhaul. Everything needs to be replenished or replaced. Everything. Brushes, foundation, concealer, blush, eye shadows, eye liner, mascara, lipstick... like I said, everything. And I don't exactly go for cheap stuff. There are a couple places I'd like to check out before deciding on going for new brands so instead of a gift card he gave me a special gift certificate of cash for what I want. It may not seem like much to some people but I am totally thrilled with it.

With the money left over (if any) I'm adding it to the several Amazon gift cards I have in my possession to purchase a new camera. It's a win/win!

Once everything calmed down we settled into watching some of the kids' new movies and cleaning up.
Christmas present pajamas, Scentsy Buddy (frog), Tiana doll, and gingerbread cookie... all while watching the new Tinkerbell movie.

And one of the best parts of Christmas?? The new Doctor Who episode! --- I know, I'm such a nerd.

How was your Christmas?


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas 2012

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year!

May God Bless You!


Monday, December 24, 2012

The Adventures of Nini 2012 Part 2

**See Part 1 Here**

Nini is leaving tonight. He has finished his time of overseeing and reporting back to Santa... and when the big man arrives, our little elf friend will go with him. But we shall see him again next year.

The kids have enjoyed our time together. Here is the second half of Nini's adventures in our home.

Nini hanging around above our dining room table
In the entryway above the coat rack
peaking out from the wall decor in the living room
reading a story to his new friends
sugar angel on the table
being mischevious with the toothpaste in the bathroom
being an artist
zipline across the living room
movie and popcorn for family night
saying goodbye and bringing reindeer food for the evening

Looking forward to next year! Goodbye Nini!


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Some Christmas Festivities

I don't know how many times I have admitted it, but we have great neighbors. We could not have been blessed to live next to better people.

Since we all have children in similar ages and all of us seem to get along a little party was planned for our specific neighborhood. Several weeks ago a name drawing was done so each child would pick a book for another child and every one would have a gift.
don't they look so cute in their Christmas shirts?!
The actual party was organized chaos, but a lot of fun. The parents sort of chatted and the kids ran around playing. Then we ate pizza and Santa arrived. One of the dad's dressed up for the kids. He then passed out the books. This was before we did our Santa visit, so Alanna would not get close to the man. Then she sees all the kids getting presents and sees William get his book and be all excited so she starts crying that she wants a present. About that time I see that Santa has one gift left and is calling Lana's name, so my little girl shyly walks up to him and receives her gift.

As I mentioned, William was VERY happy with his book.
After gifts and eating it was time for the sugar cookies. Every child was allowed to decorate a couple cookies and eat them.
There may have been more after the cookies but we had to go. It was getting past bedtime and I needed to round up my kids before things went wild.

I loaded in the kids and we drove around housing looking at Christmas lights. They LOVED it, especially Will. My end goal worked -- Alanna was asleep before we returned home.

The following night Will and Lana asked that we all go out to see the Christmas lights again. Daddy was able to go along since finals are over. It was a lovely outing and something that will probably become a family tradition.

Oh, and Santa drove through our neighborhood in a "tank" while his posse was giving out candy canes. William was napping so he missed the fun. I thought Santa was supposed to come through a couple hours later, so when we heard the music we were definitely not prepared. Lana had just woken up so I grabbed her, wrapped her in a coat, put slippers on and went outside. Lots of smiles!

*not my pic... I didn't get any pics, so I took this from my friend/neighbor R.C-G.

There is so much to do during this Christmas season. It is fun! I can't wait to share more!


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Santa Visit

Brrrrr! It is COLD in Ohio right now. We received a dusting of snow and it has been icy!

We braved the wind, snow flurries, and traffic to head over to The Greene for the kids to see Santa.

Now Alanna has been looking forward to seeing him for quite some time. I even asked her what she was going to tell Santa she wanted for Christmas and she said, "a doll house." She was so excited!

When we asked William he said he was going to ask for light bulbs. He didn't seem as excited, but he was happy about going to see Santa! He had the air about him of a pro... he's seen Santa plenty of times before!

Once we stepped inside I was happy that nobody was even in there. We chose to go to this Santa rather than the mall Santa because Mrs. Clause reads stories while you wait... but that wasn't necessary. We waited maybe 3 minutes before Will and Alanna stepped up to see Mr. Clause.

Surprisingly, Alanna was timid while Will stepped right up. I couldn't hear if they actually shared what they wanted for Christmas but both seemed content. Then it was time for photos.
This is the best we got.

Alanna would NOT smile. Will did some cheesy smiles but we at least got a somewhat happy face in this shot. The girls took a couple more pictures of them... one pose reading a book, another post just looking at Santa.

After they hopped of Santa's lap and got their suckers they both went into normal mode and were smiling and laughing and checking out the fake fireplace.
Goof balls. Gatta love 'em.