Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas 2015 is in the books

We are experiencing our first snow/sleet storm of the winter today.
The sleet is hitting the windows so hard, it sounds so nasty out there.
And so ends our Christmas 2015 celebration.
I took all the Christmas decor down this afternoon except for the trees and I replaced it with all my snowmen, seemed appropriate for today's weather.

It is always bittersweet as the last of the guests leave.
Today Courtney, Paul, and the girls took off in the midst of the storm for home.  It took them 2 1/2 hours but they made it safely.

Our Christmas started on Christmas Eve day when Alissa and Nathan arrived around 3:00.
We headed over to Kev and Vikki's for our Christmas Eve festivities.
The White Elephant was a great time, as usual.  We enjoyed great food, good drinks, and fun conversation.
This was Courtney and Paul's first Christmas Eve to stay home and start their own traditions.  I must be mellowing in my old age because I was fine with it and actually looked forward to an adult night.
Here are a few photos from our Christmas Eve:

On Christmas Day, Courtney and family arrived around 2:00.
The girls loved their gifts and took lots of time to play with them in between opening the next one.
Our big gift to Tiz was a desk, she loved it and our big gift to Soliana was a doll house which she also loved.
My mom gave Tiz desk supplies and she gave Soli two families and a car for the doll house.
Over the next few days, those two girls played so much with their gifts.
Made me feel really good about the new gift giving-Something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read.
We had a great dinner of chicken and rice after lots of snacking in the afternoon.
Later that night, the six of us opened our exchange gifts.
It was great fun and I think everyone enjoyed what they were given.
Photos from Christmas Day:

On Saturday, the day after Christmas Day, we stayed home and played with all of the fun, new things.  It was a stay in your pajamas kind of day until 6:00 when we went out for pizza at Capn's in Fort Atkinson.  We had won the pizza party at the Alpha LIfe Resource Center Silent Auction.  Kev, Vikki, and Mal joined us.  It was great pizza and another fun night.  When we got home, the girls, John, and I watched ICarly and the girls, husbands, and Mal went out on the town.

On Sunday, we went to church, played some more with the desk and doll house and then John and I took the girls to see Alvin and the Chipmunks movie in Johnson Creek.  Courtney and Paul spent the afternoon and night at a Bed and Breakfast in Cambridge.  We had said Good bye to the Hunters in the morning as they headed home to Bloomington.  Took the girls to Culver's for dinner and then it was more ICarly snuggled together on the couch.

Today, was our final day with the girls.  We had planned on going to the Children's Museum in Madison with some free passes that we also won at the silent auction, but the weather changed our minds.  We did some more playing and just enjoying each other's company.  It was a fine way to end our Christmas.

So, we put this Christmas in the books.  Many new memories were made, old memories were rehashed, and a great time was had by all! 
Now on to our New Year's Eve celebration in Door County.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

My Service, Celebrating Tiz's 9th Birthday, and a Gingerbread House Failure

Another Christmas service for my Preschool class is in the books.
The kids all did a wonderful time sharing the good news of the birth of Jesus.  No one can tell the story better than little ones.
Their favorite song is "Go Tell it on the Mountain" and they sing it out loudly and proudly.
I always feel relief when the service is over, but this year, I also felt so much pride for the job they had done.
The service, conducted by Pastor Carter, was so kid friendly and only lasted 25 minutes.

After  visiting my dad and grandparents at the cemetery and putting some Christmas things on their graves, John and I headed up to Oshkosh to celebrate Tizita's ninth birthday.
Where did those years go?
Granted, we only have had her since she was 21 months old, but that is not why it went so quickly.
I just treasure every minute I get to spend with this special little girl who is growing up way too fast.
We took her out to The Golden Corral, who choice.
She loves the chocolate fountain and all the choices of things to eat.

After our delicious dinner we went back to open gifts.
We were all so full!
Tiz enjoyed all her gifts.
John and I were able to stay overnight because with John's new job in Fond du Lac, he was only 20 minutes away and I was starting my Christmas break.
On Monday, I was able to go to a Christmas sing along featuring Soli's 4K class.
I always enjoy being on the "other" side of those things.
I just love her teacher.  She reminds me of me!

We also were able to do two crafts in her classroom.
She loves school and I think a lot has to do with her teacher.

When Tiz got home from school on Monday, we attempted to make Gingerbread houses.
It was a failure.
Soli had the best house, Tiz, in her usual fashion, put her own spin on things, and I threw mine in the garbage!
At least we had some laughs and we did make a big mess.

Back to the drawing board for net year's houses.
John came back after work to pick me up and we headed home after our dinner at Fazoli's.

Now to get everything ready for Christmas.


Monday, December 14, 2015

A Very Special Pre Christmas Day of Memory Making

This past weekend was so much fun.
It all started on Friday evening when John brought my two favorite girls with him from Oshkosh.  Now that he works in Fon du Lac, it is easy for him to bring them to our house.
We baked cut outs on Friday.
Of course, in true Tizita fashion, she has to add her own personal touch on all the cookies.
She simply cannot cut out a cookie and put it on the tin, oh no, not Tiz, she has to cut a few out and fashion them into large cookies.
She is quite the creative cookie maker.  We had some really unique cookies and they all tassted really good.
Soli joined us for the frosting and sprinkles.
Here are a few photos from the baking night:

After baking, we just had to watch some I Carly.  I am sure that when John and I are long gone, the girls will remember the times we watched I Carly together more than anything else about us!

The girls hung their stockings on Friday night and left Santa some of their cookies.
On Saturday morning they were so excited to find that Santa had indeed come, filled their stockings, and enjoyed their cookies.

The excitement really started after lunch when we left to see A Charlie Brown Christmas at the Todd Weir Theater in Milwaukee.  Last year we saw Rudolph at the same theater and enjoyed it so much that we decided to make it an annual event.
This show was so good again.
Both girls said it was even better than Rudolph, John liked Rudolph better, and I just liked them both.
I really like this theater experience because it is so kid friendly.  There is not a bad seat in the house and the cast is made up of mostly kids from 4th grade up to high school.
There was a fun sing along at the end of the show and the actors took questions from the audience about the show.

I bought the girls these cute little pink dress/tunic tops especially for the show.
They both looked so cute if I must say so myself.

After the show, we had dinner at Culver's on our way to the lights at Country Springs Hotel.
Driving through these lights has become a tradition for us and the girls.  The best part for the girls is the fact that they get to drive on Grandpa's lap.

Both girls fell asleep on the way home, so there was no I Carly that night for us.

Our fun was not over yet.
We left by 7:30 on Sunday to get the girls back home for their Christmas service at church.
Mom came with us and we all enjoyed the service so much.
Tiz played the part of Eve and Soli was a sweet angel.

After the service, we all went to Red Robin for lunch.
Courtney and Paul had decorated the tree over the weekend to surprise the girls and it was beautiful.  They went back to a real tree this year and it is so pretty.  Almost makes me want to go back to a real one or at least try to find an artificial that looks more real.
I am guessing my search will be on after Christmas.
I gave the Van Auken family a book about the traveling wise men and I also gave them three African American wise men to use as their very own traveling wise men.

Finally, our day ended as did our great weekend as we headed back home.
The Packers won which capped the weekend off perfectly.


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