Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Christmas in Wisconsin: 2014

A few days before Christmas, I was doing some grocery shopping and figured I'd pick up some snacks for our upcoming road trip to Wisconsin.  I usually stock up on stuff; but as I stood in the aisle I realized that wasn't totally necessary this year.  By moving to Indiana, we've shaved about ten hours off of our drive.  We could probably get by on cups of water and snacks from the kids' stockings! And that's just what we did.

We left on the morning of Dec. 26th and arrived at my parents' house some time after 2pm.  It was still daylight!  And we could still actually do something with our day!  Plans for the afternoon were already in the works since that day was my sister's birthday.  Most of our family and my sister's in-laws gathered together at the Sprecher Brewery in Milwaukee for a tour and some sampling.  Super fun time!  
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Sisters!  (minus Kristen who just got her wisdom teeth pulled, and our sister-in-law Steph who was celebrating Christmas down south). 


The kids played a little 'Ring Around the Rosy' while we enjoyed some samples. 
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And then we followed up with a birthday dinner at the Sprecher restaurant.  Delicious food and a great family time!
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The next day was the Benetti Family Christmas! 
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Lots of new toys! 
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We've already made some new crayons with this! 
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Super durable remote control cars - a perfect little boy gift. 
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My sister, Mary, surprised all of the kids with tickets to see 'Frozen on Ice' at the end of January.  I think I'm just as excited as they are! 
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The following day, we celebrated Graydon's birthday a little early. 
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He got so many cool presents!  A greenhouse for our little gardener, Ninja turtle toys, clothes, and pajamas, puzzles, etc.  He was one happy boy! 
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We met up with Jodi and her girls at Monkey Joe's the next day.  I meant to get a good photo of the kids, but I forgot.  These were the only two photos from that outing.  Whoops! 
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Using a new Christmas gift. 
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Curtis found a 'hot spot'! 
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Apples to Apples! 
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Before long, it was time to pack up our bags again and load up the van to head onto part 2 of our Wisconsin trip:  Verona! 

On our first night in town, we were able to have a night out with two of Andy's high school buddies and their wives.  Such a fun night of adult conversation and reconnecting with people who we enjoy. 

And the next day was Graydon's birthday!!!!!!!!!!!
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The temps dipped down to super chilly; but the kids still wanted to play at the park across the street.  I probably should have packed their beard hats. 
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We went bowling later in the afternoon. 
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Poor guy, no matter how hard he tried, his spin on the ball always had it veering to the left and knocking down few pins.  He did manage a strike one time; only it was when he bowled a round for his cousin! 
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Ice cream cake!
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It took a while to decide what his birthday wish should be. 
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More fun presents!!! 
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I introduced the kids to the game, Po-Ke-No, which my grandparents played with us growing up.  It seemed to be a hit, so I'm sure it will make an appearance again in the future.

And since it was New Year's Eve, I just had to bring out the hats and noisemakers.  Next year, I won't give the kids the horns until a couple minutes before countdown.  It was LOUD! 
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The following day was Kilps family Christmas! 
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So many cozy things going on in this photo. 
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Bella and Jacob got these latch hook kits from Papa and Gaga.  They spent hours working on them. 
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We also went swimming at the Verona High School pool and the kids loved it.  I loved the hot shower I took afterward.  ;)

Sunday morning arrived and it was time to pack up again and stuff our van full of luggage and presents.  But again, I felt super grateful that we didn't have a two-day trip ahead of us.  We got back home around dinner time. 

Graydon opened a few remaining birthday presents the next day. 
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Phew!  I think that covers the majority of it! 

Friday, January 02, 2015

Christmas 2014

Christmas Eve

I've been hearing from others about how Bella looks older, but I haven't really seen it.  Until I looked at these pictures of her.  She's growing up right before my eyes!
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But she still fit in her Christmas dress from last year.  Is it bad that I had her wear the same dress?  No one here has seen her in it!
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Curtis was much more cooperative for pictures this year than he was last year.
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I sure love Graydon's smile!
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The kids had their program at the first Christmas Eve service.  We had two little sheep. 
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And an angel. 
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I didn't take this photo.  It was on our church's Facebook page.  I think the Christmas candlelight service is so beautiful.  
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I always like to get a family photo afterward.
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We let them open one present on Christmas Eve.  These nice gifts came from Miss Jane.  
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Our tree with all of the presents under it. 
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Christmas Morning

Andy and I were actually up before the kids this year.  Of course, we waited in bed for them to come get us - which didn't happen until 8:30ish.  Graydon was the first one to wake up.  We heard him whisper to Curtis that there would be presents under the tree.  Soon, the sound of his footsteps filled the hallway.  They were at a normal pace on the way toward the living room; but when he saw the tree, those steps became a run back to our room to get this morning started. 

We lit a candle and sang 'Happy Birthday' to Jesus.  The kids found their stockings. 
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Then it was present time!
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They each made a pile of their gifts. 
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And then tore in!
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One of the new gifts was a robe and slippers!
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If I had to guess, I think Bella's favorite gift was the Connect Four game.   Graydon and Curtis were super excited about remote control helicopters and LEGOS!

The aftermath. 
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Christmas time is my favorite time of the year. Lots of happy memories. :)