Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy Birthday, Graydon!!

His birthday is here!  Graydon is SEVEN!  Look at how much he has grown.








I was just reading the birthday blog from last year and many things are still the same.  Graydon still loves to tinker with objects (or food!), is still difficult to get going in the morning, still gives awesome hugs, still dislikes getting his nails clipped, and still wants to be a builder when he grows up.  

He is a fantastic reader.  He is quick with learning and remembers most words after hearing them once.  School, in general, is pretty easy for this guy; though he is my biggest complainer about doing homework (and other things).

He has had the opportunity to play soccer, T-ball/softball, and basketball.  I'd say that softball seems to come the most natural to him.  He can often hit the ball without need for the T.  But no matter what, he has a lot of enthusiasm for whatever he is playing.

Since I work at the kids' school and specifically with Graydon's grade, I get a neat opportunity to observe him in the school setting.  I've noticed that, at school, he is much more serious and quiet.  But at home, I get to see his crazy, silly side.  He's a good mixture of a lot of things and I love that about him.

I'm so thankful for this boy. Happy Birthday Graydon Andrew!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas Cookies!

We did some Christmas baking on our first official day of Christmas vacation.

Bella still wore her whiskers from the day before.



I have to do fewer and fewer every year.

There's a Packer man and a Colts star. :P

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Programs

We were treated to three different Christmas programs this season. The first was one Friday evening at the kids' school.

Behind their school is a one-room schoolhouse.  Bella is part of a club called 'Little Hoosiers' and that group put on an old-fashioned Christmas throughout the evening.

Curtis and one of his best buddies before the show.

Here are some highlights from each of their songs.

The following week, the first graders had their own special program one afternoon at the school.  Mr. Robertson, Graydon's teacher, had been working with them for a while.  The program was sooo cute.

Here are some highlights from that program.

Afterwards, I just had to get a picture of Graydon and Mr. Robertson since they dressed the same that day!

Finally, here are some photos from our church Christmas program.  Graydon is a donkey and Curtis is a cow.

And Bella is Cat Woman?

Our play this year included superheroes who were concerned that a new superhero (Jesus) was going to steal their jobs.

Here is the final song when the boys show up as well.  

Great programs!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

December Randoms. . .

"Mom! Take my picture!"

Face painting from a school Christmas event.

A surprise, early Christmas present from Mimi Jane!  She knows that coffee is a key to our hearts.  We've already gotten great use out of it.  Thanks again Mimi!

Speaking of Christmas presents. . . Andy had this under the tree for me about two weeks ago.  We've been in need of a new video camera.  I found a Sony one that I liked online and Andy's instructions were to go to Best Buy and get that one.  He ended up buying me the new Nikon D3300 DSLR camera.  This is like my Canon XTi, but way better.  And it takes video!  He compared the comprable Canon model to the Nikon and the Nikon seemed the way to go.  So it looks like I'll be selling my Canon camera and lenses.  But this was such a fun surprise and I am having lots of fun learning my new camera!

The kids and I trekked up to Wisconsin one weekend for the annual Benetti family Miller Christmas lights tour.  Graydon really wanted this hat, but at $35, I didn't think so.

The light show was great!

Here's my photo of our photo.

Working at a school has helped me to get into the Christmas spirit this year.  We had a door decorating contest.  I turned the first grade doors into a gingerbread house.  There used to be a Christmas tree where that manger sits.  The tree was moved for the first grade Christmas program (photos and videos coming soon), and the manger was put there until it was brought over for the program as well.

We were up against the Kindergarten through 3rd grade doors and ours won!

I wish I would have gotten a photo of the 4th grade doors.  They had a Polar Express theme and it was gorgeous!  If we were in that group for the competition, we definitely would NOT have won.

On the last day of school before break, the staff all wore Ugly Christmas sweaters.  I don't have one, so I decided to make one.  I'm a Christmas tree!  The kids all told me that it wasn't ugly, but beautiful!  Ha ha!

I am so happy that Christmas vacation is here.  Finally a chance to catch up on everything!!

Tablet Store

The boys have been wanting their own tablets for quite some time now.  They'd been saving their dollars and counting their coins and by November, they both had over $100.  Since Andy knew that they were pretty close to their goal, he began hunting for some deals. . . and he found a great one!  Best Buy had a Black Friday deal and Kindle Fires were on sale for $35!  Andy went ahead and bought them and we decided to give the kids a home shopping experience similar to what we did when Bella bought her iPod.  

We made the boys stay in their rooms while we got everything set up.  Bella was our store clerk.

"Welcome to the Tablet Store."

Time to get the piggy banks out.


Happy customers!

And now Bella has become the sole owner of the tablet they'd all been sharing.  Win/win/win!

The following evening, we still had a Christmas tree to decorate.  I figured it might be difficult to get the boys to want to decorate since they had these brand new tablets that they wanted to play with.  To my surprise, they were both eager to put up their ornaments.




Lots of ornaments on our little tree.  And we didn't even put all of them on!  I didn't realize until now that I didn't get a photo of the whole tree.  That will be coming on Christmas when all of the presents show up!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Bella's 10th Birthday

The month of December has been crazy busy in our household.  Whew!  Finally getting a chance to upload some pics from Bella's birthday.


My parents and brother were in town to celebrate with us.  See. . . Scott does smile!


On the evening before her birthday, my plan was to fill her room with balloons.  After she had been in bed for a while, I started throwing a few balloons in there and then I heard a voice. . . "Mom, what are you doing?"  I was caught!  I abandoned that idea for the rest of the night and planned to fill her room in the morning before she woke up.

Morning came and as I was grabbing balloons from the living room to bring into her room, she met me in the hall along the way.  I told her to go back to bed!  She got back under her covers and Andy and I filled her room with balloons.  Then we started singing "Happy Birthday" to her.  Only she wasn't moving.  Turns out we were singing to her pillows and blankets as she put herself back to bed in our room!  She told us that she could tell we were trying to surprise her, so she figured it would be better if she went into a different room.  Boy oh boy, as these kids get older, pulling stuff off gets harder and harder!  We made her get back into her bed, covered her in balloons, and sang 'Happy Birthday".  Now we're officially ready to start the day.  

Andy brought Subway sandwiches to school and that afternoon and he, Bella, and I ate lunch together in my classroom.  Later that evening, we went Christmas Tree hunting!



It's just a big photo backdrop, but it looks pretty real!  And this may be the only snow we see this Christmas - especially with days like today when the temperature is in the 60s!





We didn't give ourselves much daylight to work with, so we ended up choosing a tree that was in the lit barn.  It's much smaller than we usually get, but also half the cost!

Bella chose our dinner spot for the night: Buffalo Wild Wings.  And here she is at 6:52pm - officially ten-years-old!  (Double high-fives.)

Then we went home for round two of birthday cake.

Fun birthday!  And a late night in our house!