Saturday, December 31, 2011

It's Christmas...again!!

We are incredibly blessed that this is the second year my parents were able to make a trip right after Christmas to come and celebrate with us.  My girls are going to start thinking its normal to wake up multiple days in a row with presents under the tree.  My parents arrived on Monday evening and the girls opened presents from my Aunt Tina and Uncle Terry...which of course had lots of fun surprises.
Can you tell Elle is super cautious about opening presents?  She takes off each peice and makes sure you have it in your hand before moving on.  It's sweet, but I'll be ready for this stage to be over.  It takes forever!!

Clare got a beautiful new dress up outfit that had to be tried on immediately!

Then after everyone went to bed Grammie and Papa unloaded the car and it looked like Christmas all over again!!!

Clare came bounding down the stairs in the morning saying "There are so many presents...AGAIN!!!"

LD got this I love Michigan, I hate Ohio State book and its like it was written just for him!

It was fun slowly opening presents and playing as we went.

Clare got Tangled!!!  Of course her, Grammie and Papa had a movie night while LD and I had a couples massage, which was a present from LD for me!

Clare also got an under the sea Bingo game, which was played nightly during Grammie and Papa's visit.

Then...we decided to go on an adventure!  My brother had given Clare a gift card to Chuck E Cheese for her birthday in Sept.  I had been holding it waiting for the perfect opportunity to use it.  I knew I could not do that crazy place by myself with the girls, so this seemed like a great time since there were more adults than kids!

This picture really sums is up.  Notice Clare's spaced out look and Clare already plotting where she will run next as soon as she is released.

But, even with the chaos...we had fun!!

And even got to meet Chuck E Cheese himself!

We worked hard to play games and earn some tickets.  I will say we started with 55 tokens and brought home I think its safe to say my girls would rather play toys and run around than play games.  Clare got two peices of candy with her 35 tickets we worked so hard for.  But she was happy.

My parents left our house and drove to Missouri to visit my Grandma and Grandpa Vann.  My grandpa has been sick lately and we are praying for a quick recovery for him. 

We are so thankful Grammie and Papa came to spend a few days with us!! We love you both very much!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Happy Birthday Jesus!

I truly think Christmas gets more and more exciting every year with the girls.  This was the first year Clare knew the story of Jesus birth and spent a lot of time acting it out with her nativity set.  She was very excited to celebrate Jesus birthday on Christmas.  I think LD and I were as excited this year as we were when we were kids!!
Of course we started with stockings

Elle was so into it....wanting to be a big girl like her sister.

No, Elle did not get nail polish, but she sure was excited about it!!!

She did get a new laptop

and some anti slip socks, which were a challenge to walk in.

Clare got a keyboard,

And her highly requested Olivia house.  This is the one present she asked for from Santa!

And we had to stop all the present opening to assemble and play with Olivia!

We had such a fun day just playing in PJs!!

And being super silly!!

LD got a beautiful straw hat from Clare, which she was incredibly excited to give him.  Clare had $3 to spend on LD at the dollar store and he ended up with a flashlight, this great hat and a jumbo sized pen for work.  I know they were on the top of his wish list to Santa!

And the girls got a ball pit!!  When LD and I set it up on Christmas Eve we were very sad to see the pitiful number of balls they give you.  As you can see they don't even cover the floor.  So...we have a little work to do, but the girls were thrilled!

It's fun thats its big enough for our whole family to play in!

After all the presents we spent lots of time relaxing before heading over to our fun dinner plans!

We were invited to our great friends, the Aquaros for dinner.  They had a few family members and friends joining them...and they were all from Michigan!  This is Clare and Annie, their middle child at the kid table.  As you can see it was set up with candy and "kids juice" which Clare LOVED!!

We were so blessed to spend Christmas day with this sweet little boy and his family. They truly have become one of our Charlotte extended families and are such a blessing to us!

Clare bounced all around Joey all afternoon while he worked hard on his lego set.

 I am so thankful for my friendship with Maggie and the example of a Christian woman she is. 

We could not have asked for a better Christmas weekend!  We were not with family this Christmas, but the friends that we spend the holidays with have taken up residence in our hearts as family and we are blessed beyond measure God has allowed us such amazing friendships!

My parents are heading down as I type this and tomorrow will be Christmas morning all over again!  The girls have no idea what is in store.  I am THRILLED they are spending a week with us!!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

T'was the day before Christmas!!!!

This little story of our Christmas Eve actually starts the night before on the eve of Christmas Eve.  I panicked on Friday morning when I realized our oven was not working and was showing an error.  After a visit from a repair man, it was determined we would need a new oven.  I was a little worked up thinking we would be eating cold cereal on Christmas morning and how sad that would be, when LD came to the rescue!  Friday evening we went and purchased an oven in stock, loaded it in our car and he came home and installed it!!!
Of course he had the girls help every step of the way!  Thank you LD for saving the day!

Christmas Eve we woke up to David, our elf sitting in our tree and a few presents under the tree!!  Clare was thrilled that presents were here early, but David had brought everyone pj's and a book on the story of Jesus birth. 

Then, it was time to get ready...we had a very fun and special lunch planned!

We headed to Quail Hollow Country Club to meet the Schmidly family (the family that I helped with their children for four years prior to having our own chidlren).  The Schmidly's are like family to us and a big treat was that all the grandparents were in town!  The boys had a men's lunch to attend, so all of us girls ate together.  (The poor girl that took this photo really struggled...she actually cut someone out of the left side and you can tell I had to do a lot of cropping, but at least we have the memory).

Henri, who is now nine took great care of the girls, as always!

Aren't they such a beautiful family?  We are blessed to have them in our lives and thankful that they allowed us to be a part of their Christmas Eve celebration!

After we ate lunch, all of the children headed outside to run...

And run....

and run...

And RUN!!!!!!  My girls were exhausted after this fun playtime!

We came back inside for a few family pictures....and of course some presents!

Then after a very long nap, it was time to get all dressed up again and head to the Christmas Eve service at church.

This was the best pic of the girls together I could get.  They were definetely burning out on smiling for the day.

We grabbed some take out and had a late night dinner.

And then put on our new pjs to get ready to wait for Santa to arrive......

We are all so excited for morning!!!!  Merry Christmas!!!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Holiday Storytime

The girls and I planned to head uptown to ImaginOn the Children's library today, which is one of our very favorite places ever.  It's a huge treat when we go!  It is a very rainy day in Charlotte today, so it was a perfect plan.  I was praying the whole way up there that the parking lot below the library would not be full...and it wasn' we didn't have to head outside in the rain at all!!!

As you can see...Clare thinks storytime is just for her.  She has no problem with choosing a front row seat so no one is a distraction to the story!

It was especially fun today because all the stories and songs were about Christmas!

Then afterwards we played and Elle found a perfect little reading spot.

And of course we read lots of books!

Which is a challenge with Elle...even if in this picture she looks like she is just quietly reading.  I promise this vision lasts 2.5 seconds before she is off and running.

Clare was a perfect big sister helping Elle stay close by.

We packed out lunches and ate them upstairs.  Halfway through lunch we heard beautiful music...and there was a little harp concert put on by children.  We had the perfect seat!

Clare informed me she would like a harp so she can have her own concert.  This comes as no surprise to me at all!

Such a fun day and my girls are worn out and sleeping peacefully while the day is gloomy and dark!