Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Merry Christmas From Our Family to Yours

Pinecones and Holly Berries

Singing about pinecones and holly berries will never be the same for me after living here in Southern Pines. We have so much holly and so many pinecones we don't know what to do with them! The holly tree in my front yard is one of my favorite plants. I never knew that holly really blooms in December until I moved here. The tree is just loaded with holly berries. But holly is really hard to kill and I have way to many bushes all over our property. We thought we killed one holly tree and two years later it sprang up right in the same spot! And as for pinecones, you wouldn't believe it. No, really. We have thousands and thousands of pinecones and we are constantly collecting and burning them. And as soon as they are picked up, it rains or blows, and another huge batch comes down. Pinecones and holly berries....

Christmas in Southern Pines

This is the nativity set puzzle that Papa (Doug) made and my kids love to rearrange it all season.

My kids are always excited for the live nativity on Christmas eve. They love to find their props and put together the costumes. Ryan did double duty as wisemen and shepherds.
Both girls wanted to be angels, so I was left to play Mary and Shan was Joseph.

Playing games on Christmas eve.

Waking up on Christmas morning!

Madeline was thrilled that Santa brought her exactly what she wanted... a sparkly mermaid costume!

Emma singing karaoke to her new cd player.

And this is the look of video games. They steal your children and turn them into zombies.

Santa must have been in a hurry because he left his dishes in the fireplace. He ate all the cookies, but Rudolph left the end of his carrot for us.

Operation Mistletoe

Objective: To earn money for a special Christmas gift for someone in need.
Shan- mistletoe finder/tree climber
Marisa- mistletoe clipper/ bow tier
Ryan, Emma, Madeline- door knockers/ sweet sellers
This is how mistletoe looks in the trees. (For all our friends/family in Utah who have never seen it!)
We clipped it into smaller pieces and put ribbons on it.
The kids went door to door and had a roadside mistletoe stand in our neighborhood. They were soooo excited about earning money and helping someone else.
After three weeks of hard work, we totalled up our money and went shopping! The kids loved choosing presents/clothes for our special delivery, which was done on Christmas Eve. Shan ran the presents up to the door and when he got back to the escape vehicle, he said, "Operation Mistletoe complete!" and everyone giggled. What a memorable Christmas we had.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Blogging should be against the rules in December

Seriously, who has time to blog in December? You can see, that I for one, do not! Much has been happening here. I am so happy to have the kids out of school and home for three weeks. We've been enjoying many Christmas festivities- decorating the house, shopping, making treats, more shopping, delivering treats, more shopping, wrapping and packing, sending out Christmas cards, standing in line at the post office for hours on end, school programs, Primary performances, choir performances, school parties, making more treats, more shopping, church parties, more treats, work parties, more treats, playgroup parties... party anyone?
In between all of the parties, we have been talking a lot about the Savior and His birth and life and what we can do for other people at this time of year. The kids are full of joy and excitement and have been working really hard on a Christmas surprise (that post is yet to come...) for someone in need.

This morning was Shan's work party, and it was a family fun run/breakfast. It was 26 degrees outside, something that is not typical for around here and we froze, but we still had fun. I made two big batches of sticky buns and they were DE-LI-CIOUS, so I'm going to post the recipe on my other blog, as well as some of the other crafty things we've been up to.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Jolly Old St. Nicholas

The kindergarten classes at Emma's school are putting on a Christmas program, and Emma wanted to give us a preview...

Emma's Fairy Tea Party

Miss Emma turned six today and I found myself wondering where the time has gone. It seems like yesterday when she was born. I hear people say that you forget about your labor and birthing experience, but I have never forgotten mine. Especially Emma's. It was long and very difficult, and I wondered why she didn't want to come out. But she hasn't been hesitant since! She is our eager one... full of laughter and creativity and spirit. We love you special girl.
Presents for breakfast
The jewelry box was a favorite.
We had her birthday party yesterday and she invited five little girls from her church class. The tissue paper flowers doubled as our center piece and as fairy wands
Tea with fairies
happy girls
cupcakes baked in ice cream cones
The wish

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Madeline Turns Three

When Madeline asked for an "Ariel" party, I had to use my creative juices. While I love to throw parties, I really can't stand character anything. So, I created an ocean party, threw an Ariel candle on top of the cake, and Madeline loved it. I can hardly stand that my baby is three years old! It is seriously breaking my heart. She has just been an absolute delight to have in our home.
You are so precious sweet Madeline. We love you so. Madeline's invitations read, "Little mermaids of the sea, Madeline is turning three!" She walked around the house all week long saying it over and over and holding up three fingers at the end.
Fellow cake lovers, check my other blog for a better cake view.
Madeline's favorite present was a jewelry box with five pullout drawers. She spends hours pulling the jewelry out, putting it on, and then packing it back up.
We went fishing for prizes (punch balloons).
The two little mermaids.

The gentleman.

Emma, Madeline, her friend Kendi, and the three sweetest older girls ever. They are from our church and love to play with Madeline. I invited them to our party to help out with the little girls and it made Madeline feel so special.

We made mermaid crowns from silk flowers, ribbons, and stretch cord.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Jesus Wants Me For a Sun-beep

I'm the children's music leader at church, (which is the best calling in the world) and every week I spend time in Nursery with Madeline and the rest of the children. We've been singing "Jesus Wants Me For a Sunbeam" for months. This morning, I asked Madeline to sing it for me, and this is what she did. I was cracking up because I had never realized she doesn't know what the words really are.

Images from a Great Trip

Shan, Ryan, Bryce

Eli's blessing

cutie pie with the macadamia nuts

David and Henry

Chelsea and Eli

Bryce's football game

Ryan in the cockpit

Monday, November 10, 2008

I love our Veterans

This picture is of my stellar grandparents, Joseph and Marie Stobbe. It is the only picture I have of my grandpa wearing his military uniform so I thought it was appropriate for Veteran's Day. Grandpa Stobbe landed at Utah Beach in France on D+10 as one of the first replacements for the 90th division. He fought through extraordinary situations and was wounded three times. To this day, he credits his survival to the Lord for protecting him and answering his prayers, which were offered from fox holes and hedgerows when they were in dire circumstances. It is to this hero and so many more that I say thank you this Veteran's Day. Shan's grandpa, Knude Swensen, also fought in WWII, and Shan's uncle, Bill Youngren, fought in Vietnam. So many soldiers throughout America's history gave the ultimate sacrifice, and so many more gave where they could. What I love about these noble men is their love of freedom and their sheer bravery. Goodness and muscles are such a good combination. I love them- every single one.

Emma's Animal Library

I walked into the living room last night to an Animal Library. Emma had set it up all over the couches, fireplace, chairs, and floor and she even picked books that she thought the specific animal would enjoy reading (the ocean book for Mr. sea turtle and so on). How cute are children?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Pinkalicious Party

Shan and Ryan are taking a "boys' weekend" to visit Bryce and Shan's family in Oregon. Emma is so jealous, so I've been trying to make our girl's weekend lots of fun too. So far, we've painted fingernails and toenails, gone to Chick-fil-a for lunch, seen "Madagascar 2" at the movie theatre and held a "Pinkalicious" party.
Pinkalicious is a darling new book that the girls love. It's about a girl who eats too many pink cupcakes and turns pink. It is clever and cute. So, for our Pinkaliciuos party, I had the girls dress up in everything pink we could find and we made pink cupcakes with pink frosting. Then, my little Pinkalicious fairies delivered them to friends and neighbors.