Monthly Archives: December 2012

A White Pennsylvania Christmas


Each year we travel up to Mechanicsburg, PA to stay at Tom’s mom and Will’s house.  We usually go up the day after Christmas and stay about three days.  While we are there we have a “Christmas morning”.  This means that we wake up early, unwrap presents together, have brunch, play and nap, and then have a nice Christmas dinner.  The kids love having two Christmas’.





When I was growing up we did the same thing in Georgia, but we did it at Thanksgiving.  It is always more fun to see everyone open their gifts rather than mailing them and hearing about it over the phone.  I am glad that we carried on this fond childhood tradition for my kids.

This year we had a special surprise…..snow!  It snowed a little before we got there, but when we woke up on “Christmas morning” (Saturday) it was snowing.  It has been coming down all day and we should get about 5 inches.  the kids went out into the snow to play.  We all lasted about 15 minutes.  It was cold!  They did snow angels, tried to build a snowman, and then just ran around in the snow.

Wilson in snowFaith in snowAlexis IMG_1080


Of course we didn’t come prepared with snowsuits, mittens, snowboots, etc.  Everyone had on rubber rain boots, mittens that were too big, and jeans….not exactly snow clothing!  It did the job though:  it let the kids play in the snow.

At MawMa’s and Pa’s in PA

We are in Mechanicsburg, PA visiting Toms family. We arrived Thursday afternoon after stopping in Roanoke for the night….five hours in the car is about all we can take.

There was snow on the ground north of Virginia. The kids kept begging to stop so that they could do snow angels, but the snow was more ice than snow. It is supposed to snow again Saturday and I really hope it does.

The kids are having fun playing with their grandparents, two aunts and Cousin Alexis. Faith rarely leaves Alexis’ side when she is around. Here they are making fun faces together.


MawMa taught Faith how to knit today. Very cute.

In order to wear them out we took them to Monkey Joes to play and jump. Better to jump there than on the furniture at home. :).


Christmas Day

The kids went to bed fairly early, woke up not insanely early, and were somewhat ready to open presents. I was amazed at how casual they were about starting to open the gifts.  They wanted some food and to wake up more before they began asking.  Once they did start, however, they tore through the presents quickly.

Wilson and grandpaIMG_1036

Then Wilson began asking if there were more. I have tried to prevent this greediness by instituting the rule: “The wise men brought Jesus three gifts and so you will get three gifts….plus a stocking”. Some years I have done better than others. Faith got three, Wilson got five, and Miller got two. They get many other gifts from grandparents and cousins so they don’t need more from us. As they get older I am sure the rule will be adjusted to include a dollar amount as well.


My parents came over after we had opened our gifts and brought more. Wilson got a fireman costume and Faith got a beautiful red dress.  My dad even took Wilson outside so that he could spray the trashcans like a real fireman.


After presents we went to Lisa’s house for brunch, which has been a tradition for years. We have brunch, eat ourselves silly (while still in our pjs), and go home to play with the new toys. I even got a nap.

I have also started making Jesus a birthday cake. We make a cake, light candles and sing the Birthday song. I try to keep Jesus the focus of Christmas above all else. It is difficult to do.




Faith asked me if Santa was real. I can’t lie. I have always been a terrible liar. I told her “No. He was a real person a long time ago, but now he is make believe like Cinderella.” She asked me, “Can I believe it if I want to?” “Yes, of course.” And she did. She lit up when she heard that Santa would be coming up to PA….I guess she really wants to believe…who wouldn’t. :)

All in all a very successful Christmas.

Christmas Eve

I am terribly late getting my Christmas blog posts written. Having three kids running around, a father-in-law at our house, Christmas services and breakfasts to attend, and driving to Pennsylvania the day after have made it virtually impossible to write anything….and, I obviously haven’t made it a priority.

So here it goes…

Christmas Eve is always crazy in our house and at our church. We have four services on Christmas Eve and our family attends the first one at 2:00 pm, the kids’ service.

Before the service the kids all dress up as shepherds, angels, and wise men.  Faith was an angel and Wilson was a wiseman.  Wilson was so short and quick that we weren’t able to get his pictures, but here is Faith as an angel.


This year Faith sang Morning Star, which she also sang at the congregational love feast. She is by far, the shortest and youngest singer this year. It was adorable watching her up there. I was very proud.

Faith singing at Love Feast


We always take some of our best pictures at the service.  Here are Faith and I with our candles and Tom with the boys.



We always take our family photo next to the tree at church.  We have done this three years in a row now.

We take the normal picture first….

Family photo in front of tree at Little Church

Family photo in front of tree at Little Church


And then we take a silly picture…..




My dad with the “little people”…



Tom’s dad has spent the last few Christmas’ with us.  He finally got his own picture taking event at the church….



After Tom worked three of the services, he came home and we went to pick up Faith’s new Barbie house from my parents house. Thankfully, they put the house together for us. It took them 2.5 hours to do it. I was soooooo thankful that they did!! The thing is huge! It is almost five feet tall and four feet wide. I always wanted a Barbie house like this one….which is why my daughter got one. I am, obviously, living vicariously through her.





Discovery Place and Singing Bears

Today we went uptown to Discovery Place for an hour and then walked over to see the singing bears with some friends. Discovery Place is a kids museum in uptown Charlotte that the kids really enjoy. They have two favorite things there: the smaller kids play area and the fish. The smaller area is perfect for Wilson and Miller. Today the water table was a huge hit for them. Everyone tends to get very wet, even with the apron on. I knew that Miller would be a total mess so I decided to take off his shirt and his socks. He loved it! He splashed around in the water with only his pants and apron on. It was adorable. All three kids had fun splashing around in the water today.





Then we were off to see the fish. It is funny, but all kids want to see the Dory and the Nemo fish. Today we saw them, some beautiful jellyfish, and many, many others. Unfortunately, there were a lot of school groups there so we stayed only an hour.

I have learned to always pack a full lunch, even when we leave for a short amount of time.  Kids are always hungry!  We had our lunch on a bench outside Discovery Place and then walked up to see the bears. We need to go uptown more often….free entertainment, fresh air, and endless things to look at. It was great.



The kids love going to see the bears, but it is always quite anti-climatic. The bears don’t move much and so the kids get bored quickly. We were there over an hour which is too long. They danced, watched the bears, and rode the escalator.

Here are the kids with Payton Bishop.  Wilson was in one of his “I am not going to smile” moods.  He was smiling on the inside.  :) 




During the walk back I realized that my kids need to get out more.  They were fascinated with the magazine stand.  They also saw an ashtray that was made of stones and was funnel shaped.  They thought it was a volcano.  Too funny!!


Side note:  I have to tell what happened at dinner tonight. Miller is becoming quite the comedian. We had green beans for dinner, of which, he ate a few. Then he decided to put one on top of his head. It got some laughs so he put another one on top of his head. He ended up putting three green beans on top of his head and then just sat there while we laughed. I am sure that the response that he got will encourage him to do it again, but at the time we couldn’t help ourselves. It was too spontaneous and silly!

It was a two week celebration…

So, my birthday celebration is finally over.  It started with a party on December 1, my real birthday on the 13th, and then a night out on the town with Tom on the 15th.  A night out was the big finale and it was really fun!

Tom has accumulated a large amount of points with Sheraton due to his travels to Roanoke.  We decided to use some of those points and stay at ALoft in Charlotte’s Epicenter.  The Epicenter is a new three story, square, strip mall full of restaurants, bars and activities.  The hotel is attached to the Epicenter and is a trendy and modern hotel with a very European feel to it.  It was perfect.

The first thing we did when we got to the hotel was climb into bed and take a nap.  Tom thought I was kidding about napping, but I was not!  I was exhausted.  We napped until 6:00, showered and went out to find some dinner.  I wanted to eat at a restaurant that wasn’t too upscale, but also didn’t have too many TVs either.  We found Black Finn.  It was perfect.  An all wood bar/restaurant with good seafood and a medium/casual atmosphere.  After dinner went went to the bowling alley that is in the Epicenter.  We couldn’t bowl because of Christmas parties so we opted to have a drink and a tequila shot (my favorite).  I had to bring in 40 with a tequila shot.  It was delicious!

We did realize that we are a bit old.  There isn’t much going on at 9:00 pm.  As I age, I have to adjust my idea of “fun”.  Fun is enjoying who you are with, having some laughs, and getting a decent night’s sleep.  We did that!  Tom and I laughed more than we have in a while.  It is amazing how much more we get to talk and laugh when we can finish a sentence and not have our conversation be about the kids or finances.  We had a great time together.  We even got to sleep in until 7:30am with out anyone pushing us out of bed or telling us to “get up”.  It was fabulous.

Tom had to get up and go to church that morning to work the A/V stuff.  I had decided to skip church, even though Faith was singing in the service.  In the end, mommy guilt got the best of me and I took a taxi to church and saw her sing.  She did pretty well, except that she kept staring at the song sheet….pretending that she could read it.  She just did what she thought everyone else was doing.  :)  Too funny.

That night she also sang at Little Church’s Lovefeast.  She sang Morning Star.  A song that the children sing each year.  It is sort of a rite of passage for kids in the Moravian church.  She did it!  I am so proud.  She is singing it again at the 2:00 service on Christmas Eve.  I will definitely get some pictures of that!

It is official….I am 40

My birthday came and went without any major changes. I didn’t wake up with more wrinkles, a new ache, or a need for glasses. It was just a regular old day. The morning was actually the most fun and special. I woke up to Wilson sleeping with me and Tom in our queen sized bed (needless to say it was a little cramped). Then Faith came in carrying Miller. She likes to get him out of the pack-n-play and then carry him around. It was nice to be with all my kids in bed. While we played I thought, “Life is pretty good. I am very blessed to have these three wonderful children. I should be happy that I even made it to my 40th birthday.”

After we played in bed we all went to the kitchen, ate breakfast, and then had some cake. I froze a huge part of the cake from my party so that we could eat it on my real birthday. It was just as good as the first time. We ate cake, talked and laughed, and then packed up to go back to Charlotte.  Here is a phone pictures of me and Miller eating cake…



Doug ended up coming over with his two kids around 6:00pm. The kids played while Doug and I hung out and then we put all five kids to bed at my house. Jacqueline was at her last class so she dropped off Doug and the kids at my house and was coming back to get them later. That allowed Doug and I could hang out and we didn’t have to get a babysitter or drive home. Our plan worked perfectly….except that all the kids didn’t get to sleep until after 9:00. We let Faith and Gabriel watch the ipad in my bed and eat waffles…as long as they were quiet we didn’t care. :) We watched Bill Burr, a very funny comedian on NetFlix, laughed and had some good brother-sister quality time. In the end I was ok with being 40. I don’t want to say “40” too many times though. Here is one of the cards I received. How true (unfortunately this happened due to children, not being 40)