Saturday, December 22, 2007

Happy Birthday to our spunky girl Ella

Today Ella officially turned 4 years old! The years have really gone by too fast. She has been such a joy to have in our family. She always makes us laugh with the funny things she says and does. She has the biggest most adorable smile. I love to hear her sing and watch her little dance moves. She has a flare all her own. She is obsessed with Troy from High School Musical, loves jewelry and dress up, and is just a true girly girl in every way imaginable. Everyone loves Miss Ella! She is a great sister and a wonderful daughter. We feel so blessed to have her in our family!
We took them to see Alvin and the Chipmunks today-they loved it. Anything with a farting chipmunk is a winner:) I bought a box of Hostess cupcakes(I can't make 2 cakes in one week!), stuck 4 candles in one, and we sang her Happy Birthday again today. She got to celebrate twice this week, lucky girl.

Ella-we hope you had a great party Monday and hope you have enjoyed your special day today as well. We love you sooooo much! Happy 4th Birthday!

Friday, December 21, 2007

A little present under the tree

A couple of days ago I left Cali in the family room with the girls for a minute while I switched laundry. Then I hear, "Mom, Mom! Hurry!" and I come into the living room to find Cali wedged under the Christmas tree trying to eat presents. She must have crawled really fast to make it from the family room to the living room where the tree is in less than 2 minutes! And did I get her right away? Of course not, I had to grab my camera! Aubrey did not approve of that. :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Ella's Birthday Bash

We celebrated Ella's 4th birthday this past Monday night. She had a GREAT night with lots of her little buddies, bouncing around at The Zone, eating pizza, cake, and opening her presents. She wanted it to be a princess party, so I made her a princess castle cake. And it didn't turn out too shabby if I do say so myself:) She scored big on gifts! Thanks to everyone that came to help us celebrate. She said it was the best birthday party ever!

Ella's facial expressions were just priceless as you can see:)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Ella as Suzy Snowflake

This past weekend Ella performed "Suzy Snowflake" at her first dance recital. She did so great! At the rehearsal in the morning, she just stood there timidly and barely moved. She is actually very shy in front of groups of people and strangers(not shy with family and close friends at all though). We told her we would give her a surprise if she danced for the recital that night and she said, "Flowers?!" She knew already:) So, we watched nervously as she walked onto the stage that night and sure enough, she did almost every move. Joey gave her pink roses he picked out for her. We were so proud of her! Great job Ella! We love you so much!

Doesn't she look so beautiful?

Rehearsal pics(they wouldn't allow any flash photography during the performance. darnit.) Adorable little snowflakes

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Gingerbread house night

We all enjoyed decorating a gingerbread house the other night. We do one every year. And yes, it was a Wilton kit. Thats the only way! Making it from scratch just causes stress and frustration as the rooftop always seems to implode and the sides always fall down:) So, the Wilton kit is the way to go for us. Decorating is the really fun part anyways I say. Joey did the icing on the roof. I did the icing for the windows and front door. The girls did all of the candy and we let them eat some too. You can't make a gingerbread house without eating some of the candy!
Candy placement is key

Aubrey and Ella loved every minute of itI LOVE this picture. Cali's smile is so adorable with her little eyebrows raised. Thats our happy baby!
Finished product. I sifted powdered sugar on top for the "snow" effect. The kids thought that was cool. My mom always did that. Good job everyone! This is our prettiest house yet!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Clapping Cali

Cali started to clap her hands this week! Yea for Cali! She also can wave and say "Hiiiiiiiiiiii."She also got another tooth in on the bottom, so she has these two tiny(and sharp- believe me, I know) teeth on the bottom now. Oh, and she has started to give the best wet kisses and is starting to dance to music and she's a crawling maniac! This girl is learning new stuff every week. Stop growing already Cali! :)

Showing off her new skills to her Daddy

What'd I do?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Oops-please forgive me Don Roy!!!!

I'm not perfect! I forgot to blog my nephews birthday a couple of weeks ago and I'm a horrible aunt for it. Anyways, Happy Belated Birthday! I hope you had a great day Don! I really didn't forget your birthday, just wasn't bloggin that day. It was the day after we got back from our trip and our dishwasher broke and everything else it seemed. Still, no excuse! :( You are such a great cousin to our girls and a sweet sweet nephew. You are a wonderful example to all of your cousins. We are so proud of how well you do in school and sports. Keep up all of your hard work. We love you lots!

Happy Birthday Genie!

I just wanted to wish my sis-in-law, Genie, a Happy Birthday! Hope you have a great day! Thanks for always being such a sweet sister-in-law to me and a wonderful sister to Joey. See you guys soon-we can't wait!

I made the cake to the left for you today. I'll save you a piece for when you are in Texas. A little mold never hurt anyone...:) Yeah right, like I could make a cake like that.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Good times with Santa

So, we tried to get the kids picture with Santa this past weekend....
Three reasons I'm a horrible parent
1. Ella may be scarred for life
2. I'm just now realizing Cali had no socks on, or shoes for that matter
3. I told Aubrey just to keep smiling, despite the screaming in her right ear(she did a great job by the way:)
The story: We woke up Saturday morning and thought, lets go to the mall, shop, and see Santa. The hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping I actually enjoy, as long as it isn't too crazy crowded. The mall wasn't too crowded and the line to see Santa wasn't long. The girls all agreed they wanted to see Santa Clause this year, even though in years past they have wanted nothing to do with sitting on his lap. Ella was fine in the line, but when we walked up to him, she freaked. We thought for sure she would calm down after we put her on his lap. But, nope. She only screamed louder. Don't worry-we didn't prolong the agony and picked her up after a few seconds of screaming. Just kept her on long enough to snap the shot we needed for memory sake. We know she'll appreciate it...someday:)

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Feeding the goat

Here are Aubrey & Ella feeding a goat from the "Journey to the Manger" night(my last post). They were a little bit nervous, but once they did it, the smiles on their faces were priceless.

For anyone interested in more info on this event, click here.

Journey to the Manger

This weekend we went to St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Plano for their 17th annual "Journey to the Manger." I had read great things about it and thought it would be fun to go. It was awesome! They had an amazing and elaborate village set up inside where we were able to walk through and learn about different customs from the New Testament days. The kids were given fake gold coins to pay taxes with-if they didn't Joey and I would've been put in jail. Good thing they paid:) The kids were able to see basket weaving, wheat grinding, jewelry making, carpentry and so much more. There were camels, sheep, donkeys and chickens outside too. The kids loved seeing those. Then the tour led to outside where there was a lighted trail of 5 different drama scenes that led to Christ's birth. It really helped us to think about Christ and the true meaning of Christmas this year. As I looked around at the crowds and crowds of people that had gathered at this huge community event, I felt bonded with them. I'm sure we are of all different faiths, but we all had something in common as Christians: a belief, faith and love of Jesus Christ.

Aubrey trying her hand at the wheat grinder

Cali was content in her stroller just watching. She tried to grab for those lights a few times though. She thought they looked fun to play with.

A view of the "village"

We didn't take any pictures outside as we thought it might be inappropriate to blind the actors with the flash:)

Thursday, December 06, 2007

No presents for me

Today I was listening to music in the living room, singing and dancing. I like to get down sometimes. Cali was watching me from her entertainer seat, quite entertained by me as you can imagine while Ella was upstairs playing with barbies. As I'm dancing, I look up and see Ella sitting on the stairs watching me from between the rails. She looks at me with her famous one eyebrow up and says, "Mom, I don't think your getting any presents." I said, "From Santa?" She said, "Yep." Then I said, "Why?" And her response, "He can see you right now." I guess she is saying I'm a bad dancer or maybe a bad singer? I don't know. All I know is whatever I was doing Santa does not approve of.

This is the look I get from my kids a lot, a whole lot.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Bed Bath & Beyond presents: The Jedi robe

While browsing through the latest Bed Bath & Beyond circular, I came upon this picture and advertisement for the "Softie Wrap/Throw." The description states, "Throw converts into a robe. Includes snap and zipper closure to keep you warm. Also available in camel." This lady looks like she is wearing her sleeping bag. Either that or its her Jedi halloween costume doubling as a house robe. I don't know why, but I laughed out loud as I pictured myself wearing this sitting in the living room at night sippin some hot cocoa, all zipped up nice and cozy. If any of you have purchased this item, please return it now as you most definitely look stupid wearing it.

Our own little North Pole

I never thought I'd be a village set collector, but now that I have kids, I am. When I was a child, I remember seeing the village sets with the skating ponds at the store. I was so fascinated by them. So, Joey and I thought it would be neat to start one of our own last year. We selected the Lemax Santa's Wonderland village because it is the cutest we've seen. We thought it would be cool to create our own little North Pole. We bought two pieces last year, Santa's house and the North Pole Toyworks. This year, I found the Elf Skating Pond. It has 3 elfs skating around a pond with lights and music. It is really cute! When we got everything out of the boxes, the kids just laid on the floor and stared at them for the longest time. They especially love to watch the ice skaters, me too actually:) This is a fun tradition we have started, picking out a new piece together each year to add to our collection. Here are Aubrey & Ella looking inside the toy factory and Santa's house. They love how you can see Mrs. Clause inside her house baking a pie and Santa fast asleep.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Ready Set Bumbo

Check out this video-it is hilarious! Joey told me about it tonight and I was laughing and laughing. There's also a part 2 and 3. Go to youtube and search "ready set bumbo" to see the others.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Parade night

Friday night we went to the local Christmas parade. The girls were really excited to go and see all the lights and decorated floats. I think Ella and Aubrey were slightly disappointed though. They were expecting big hot air balloons like at the Macy's parade we watched on TV not too long ago. Sorry kids, not in our podunk town:) No, but really, they had a great time.

Aubrey all ready to go

Ella waving to the float passing by

Aubrey, Ella and the Bryson boys
Christmas Candyland floatA float full of toys. I think the gray bear thing in the middle was a little scary looking. If he had jumped off that thing, I would've took off running. I know my kids would've too. He had red beady eyes.
The kids loved the marching band and dance team. I did too. I wanted to get up and dance with them, just not wearing one of those ridiculous costumes. Gosh, I'm not a very nice person sometimes.
The girls standing by the city's Christmas tree

You may be wondering, where was Cali? She was asleep pretty much the entire time. She jolted slightly when the marching band passed through, but thats about it. She was exhausted from her long day of crawling around the entire house.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree

This week we busted out the Christmas tree! The kids were SO excited to decorate it with us. We played some Christmas music while we trimmed the tree and finished the night with hot cocoa. Ella kept hugging us over and over. She was so happy that night. It was cute to watch the excitement in their eyes. Its fun to get to relive the magic of Christmas through your children's eyes.

Aubrey hanging an ornament wearing the Christmas tree skirt as her own skirt. She let the tree have it back when she was done with it. The tree felt naked without it.

I had to include this picture. It is from 3 years ago when Aubrey wore the same tree skirt as a princess cloak. She has always been creative:) Look how shes grown...sniff...sniff..

Me and the girlies

Ella excited to decorate

I love this picture

Last night, Joey got out his Lionel Polar Express train. His parents bought it for him last year. It is awesome! We put the tracks around the tree and it really makes the tree looks so much more magical. The kids laid by the tracks for almost an hour last night just watching it chug by. This will be such a fond memory for them I know.

Cali just stared at the train intently. Then she tried to talk to the train. Then she tried to grab it. Luckily we have the train in a room that she doesn't have access to regularly or she'd be all over it:)

Our Christmas Tree 2007