Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas to all

Well, it's almost here. It is just a few days until Christmas.

All of the baking is done. We have had enough cookies and reindeer cupcakes to last us for a whole year.

Santa's sleigh is nearly packed so it's too late to get called out for choking your little brother.

The letters have been written...

... and mailed...

...and Will has been told exactly what he is getting and why.

So from our family to yours, Merry Christmas.

I pray for Christmas blessings for each and every one of you. May you experience the love of Jesus Christ this season. As I watch my children open their presents on Christmas morning, I will always be mindful that nothing I give them can begin to compare to the gift of that tiny baby born on Christmas morning. The gift of peace, grace, and eternal salvation.

Tears are falling, hearts are breaking
How we need to hear from God
You've been promised, we've been waiting
Welcome Holy Child
Welcome Holy Child

Hope that you don't mind our manger
How I wish we would have known
But long awaited Holy Stranger
Make yourself at home
Please make yourself at home

Bring your peace into our violence
Bid our hungry souls be filled
Word now breaking Heaven's silence
Welcome to our world
Welcome to our world

Fragile finger sent to heal us
Tender brow prepared for thorn
Tiny heart whose blood will save us
Unto us is born
Unto us is born

So wrap our injured flesh around You
Breathe our air and walk our sod
Rob our sin and make us holy
Perfect Son of God
Perfect Son of God
Welcome to our world

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Future performers

I am very comfortable on a stage. Rob is very comfortable on a stage. I am thinking our kids just might have inherited this gene. We told them to get on the fireplace and sing Jingle Bells. This is what we got.

Hmmm...... some might say this is me getting a dose of my own medicine. I just call it downright cute. And loud. But cute nonetheless.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


A long overdue post about the youngest member of our clan. Big news on the Will front. He finally has hair. Just a little. But it's there. And it is finally official. We shall remain a family of redheads. No need to change the blog name, friends. Now, the banner.... yes we should probably update it. I think that has been up there since Bennett was 5 months old. Baby steps.

- Will is growing up. I don't want to admit it. I still like to treat him like he is a newborn, but he clearly is not. He's not nearly as verbal as his big sister was at this age, but he knows just as much. He really understands most everything you tell him. He just can't communicate as well. Typical male.

-His 17 month old vocab: juice, ball, bye-bye, No, mama, dada, doggie, duck, cracker, cookie, pass (paci,) night-night, home, car, please, thank you, socks, shoes, and pants. He can tell you what the following things say: a cow, a sheep, horse, duck, snake, cat, dog, bee, train, and Santa.

--Just like his big sis, he loves to read. He will sit in my lap and let me read to him for an hour. He loves picture books the best, but his favorite right now is Brown Bear. When we read his picture books though, he can point to everything in there. He knows what everything is. I will ask him to point out the chair, the sun, the clock, the camel, etc... and he can point to nearly everything in the book. I'm so proud.

-He loves, loves, loves to dance. He is a dancing fool. His shoulders start going, then his hips, and then you just can't stop the beat. He's actually very musical. He loves when Rob plays the guitar and I play the piano. He's got a great sense of rhythm and wants to play the guitar with his daddy.

-He also LOVES princesses. Hey, the kid has good taste. Whenever he sees any princess, he will gasp and say, "RELLA!" As in Cinda. And I mean gasp loudly. Love him.

-He has started standing up to Bennett. He is actually dominating her a wee bit. I told her it would catch up to her one day. Should have listened to Mom. He will now take her toys and then run as fast as he can into another room and hide. Great. As if I weren't loony enough. Now I have to track down Will who is hiding in a closet while holding her horse while she is screaming at the top of her lungs.

-He is a Mama's boy. And I love it. I don't know why that is such a negative term. I wouldn't necessarily want him to be one at 32, but I love it for now. He cries when Rob gets him up in the mornings. It has to be Mommy. He wants me to put his coat on, he wants me to change his diaper, he only wants to cuddle with me. I act exasperated, but don't believe a second of it. I absolutely love it.

-He is just funny. So dang funny. He knows how to make you laugh. And he does it often. He has this mischievous little grin that kills me every time. And he's a cuddler. Is that a word? Probably not, but it describes Will perfectly. He loves to be held and when he rests his little head on my shoulder..... heaven.

Like I've said before, Bennett is my heart and Will is my soul. Being a Mom to these two has been the greatest joy of my life and I am so incredibly thankful.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Treats for the Reindeer

It is way too cold to go outside and play. I hate bundling up the kids in layers and gloves just to walk to the car. We go stir crazy inside which usually leads to time outs and many tears. And so I have turned to projects. My kids love projects. And I love keeping them occupied. Some work out and some don't. This one turned out pretty well.

I went and bought a yard of burlap at a local craft store. I busted out my glue gun and craft paper and voila! Reindeer bags. I was only going to make a few, but Bennett insisted that we make one for each reindeer. We wouldn't want Vixen to feel left out.

For the reindeer food you just put 6 cups of Chex Mix in a large bowl. Melt 12 oz. white chocolate and pour over the Chex Mix. Crush up candy cane and mix it in. Both Bennett and Will helped me do this because it is so simple. And then we spread it on wax paper and let it cool for 20 min.

There you go. An easy and fun project for when you don't really want to go out in the cold.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

When did we stop talking to Santa?

I had an odd observation a few weeks ago if I do say so myself. Rob and I were preparing to take our kids to see Santa Claus and as I was getting Bennett ready we talked about what she wanted to say to Santa.

But then I realized something. Santa is just a photo op these days. You wait in a ridiculously long line and then when the kids finally sit on Santa's lap, they are asked to smile and pose for pictures. They are hurried and rushed and then it's time to get up and hurry out. This is Bennett's third year going to see Santa and I don't ever think he has asked her what she wanted for Christmas.

I shared my observation with Rob, and he disagreed. He thought they kids always told Santa what they wanted. After our trip, he realized I was right. Santa looked so ready to be out of his chair that he wasn't asking my kids anything. And if we had taken 10 more seconds of Santa's time, I think the mob of parents in line would have hurled wrapped packages at us. It's kind of sad.

When I was a kid I couldn't wait to tell Santa what I wanted. It was a huge deal. And of course we all remember Ralphie from "A Christmas Story." Talking to Santa was HUGE! Momentous! When did it just become a photo op?

Side note- Here is the picture we did get with Santa. I should have known not to take my kids to the Christmas village with the train running beside it. Will was so fascinated with the trains that he could have cared less about Old Saint Nick. Oh, well.

But then I realized that we do the same thing with Jesus during the Christmas season. We have stopped talking to him. Just like Santa Claus, we do all of the rituals. We go to live nativities, children sing in their church music programs, we sing all of the carols and all of the hymns, and we tell our children all about the birth of our Lord and Savior.

But I feel as if it is so easy to stop talking to God. I mean really talking. I know this Christmas I have tried to teach Bennett and Will that it's more than Santa and Rudolph. We have worked diligently to teach them about Jesus' birthday and why His birth is the best gift we will ever receive. We want them to learn the words to Away in a Manger as well as Santa Claus is Coming to Town. But I know I need to stop and just talk to God.

Just as Santa has become a photo op instead of a magical time to share what we would love for Christmas, Jesus can become just a figure in the nativity instead of a living God who wants a relationship with us.

This Christmas I want to talk to my Lord. I want to thank him for my blessings. I want to know Him intimately. I want to know how I can serve Him better in this upcoming year. I want to talk..... and listen.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Obligatory Christmas Traditions

You have to do it. You have to bake Christmas cookies with your children. It's rule #474 in the parent handbook. You know, the one they give you in the hospital when your baby is born. Surely you know what I'm talking about. That wonderful handbook that tells you exactly how to help your children sleep through the night, when to start solid foods, how to make them use the potty, and gives you step by step instructions on how to stop temper tantrums.

Wait. You didn't get one? Are you serious? Well, then I feel sorry for you. I don't know how I could survive without mine. Maybe my hospital is just cooler than yours. So in the spirit of generous Christmas giving, I will share the rule book with you. If you have yours with you, please open your books to rule 474.

Step 1. You gather the children in your kitchen. If they are in bad moods, you ignore them. After all, it's Christmas and We. Must. Have. FUN!

Step 2. You must wear a funny Elf hat when making the dough. Your daughter will think you're brilliant and your son will think he's born into the wrong family.

Step 3. Your children should then conspire as to what they want to put on their cookies. The oldest child will win. I can promise you this.

Step 4. When the child reaches 2 years old, they can help make the dough. When they are three years old, they will take over completely. Better start preparing them now.

Step 5. Licking the batter is a must.

Step 6. Repeat Step 5.

Step 7. Chill out for 3 hours while the dough chills out. Ha, Ha..... but seriously folks. The dough needs to hang out in the fridge for a few hours, so change your kid's clothes, protect Grandma from runaway reindeer, and come back when you are ready to cut out shapes.

Step 8. You always need someone to help you use the cookie cutters or else you might get hurt. In our case, we let Bennett help little Rob. He needed it.

Step 9. Time out for dinner. You may not want to serve spaghetti. If you do, this will probably be your result.

*****We pause the cookie making rules to instruct you to bathe your children. Immediately.*****

Step 10. Back in business. Now it is decorating time. Gather all of your sprinkles, icing, and confetti. No sampling until the cookies are done.

Step 11. This rule really applies to your husband, not your children.

Step 12. Always let your children decorate their own cookie. RESIST the urge to make the cookies look perfect. Let them have fun. And then stop worrying that they will never get into art school.

And there you have it, friends. If you didn't receive your copy of the parenting handbook, then I hope you have enjoyed reading all of the amazing and life-changing tips you missed out on. Happy cooking baking!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Salvation Army Guilt

Okay, I'm just going to go ahead and say it. Who else besides me has major guilt issues when you pass the Salvation Army bell ringers?

Fess up, folks. I know you do. Even if you aren't a huge people pleaser like I am, I know you still feel guilty when you pass by the person bundled up in a huge coat with frost bite on their face ringing that bell.

But this is how insane I am. I absolutely feel the need to go up and tell that person that I gave to another bell ringer at the grocery store yesterday. I seriously do. I cannot pass one without explaining myself. How messed up is that?

I will literally walk up to a stranger in a red apron and fall over myself saying, "Ummm.... I don't have any change on me now. But I, um, gave some yesterday at the grocery store.... and I gave 2 whole dollars last week at Target. I swear I did. And I promise I don't have any change. See! Just a debit card. Do you want to look inside my wallet?"

It is so bad that we went to Wal-Mart the other night and walked past the bell ringer without giving any change. Just inside the doors Bennett spotted a mechanical horse. Rob put her on it and started to reach in his pockets for change. I grabbed his arm and whispered, "Don't! The Salvation Army Man will see you!"

It's a problem. Am I alone in this? I have a sad sad feeling that I am.

Friday, December 3, 2010

About as thankful as you can get

This was my first Thanksgiving away from home. Crazy, right? So it was a little different than usual but we had a wonderful one. It was also my first time to do the majority of the cooking. I got a little worried and in the end I caved and ordered a turkey. So, sue me. It was good, I wasn't stressed at all, and the rest of our dishes didn't have too worry about the bird hogging the oven.

My husbands twin brother and his family drive up from Austin, Texas to spend the holidays with us. I was thrilled to have them here. Having a house full of kids and family are what make holidays so special.

Bennett and Will were so excited to see their cousins, Sophie and Jameson. All the kids are within 4 years of each other and Bennett and Jameson are only 3 1/2 months apart. They are going to have so much fun growing up together.
Crafty Aunt Stacy kept the kids busy with arts and crafts while the kitchen was off limits.

My first Thanksgiving meal! My twin-in-law, Stacy and I whipped up a good one if I don't say so myself.
Pilgrim hats for the kids. I thought those were a better alternative than rich and gooey pecan pie. Or that's what I told the kids. I just wanted more pie for myself.

How many Webster twins does it take to carve a turkey?
My first time using my china and silver. It only took 5 1/2 years.
After lunch, Aunt Stacy started another project with the kids. I think she needs to move into my house permanently.
Will got tired of doing crafts and so he danced with Mommy.
And then I read a story to Cinderella and The White Rabbit. Of course. Who doesn't do that on Thanksgiving Day?

The next day we got up and headed downtown to Union Station in Kansas City.

The kids got to ride a little train around a Christmas village. Bennett is still talking about it. The little girl behind her? Not so much. Apparently she was not a fan of trains. Or fun.
And Will rode all by himself with his cousin. He is getting to be such a big boy!
Then they all went in the model train exhibit. Clearly they were fascinated.

And of course we ate at the train restaurant. Again. But we love it every time.

Yay for family!

We came home and Stacy started another craft project. This time the whole family got involved.
And then it was time to say goodnight.

I couldn't be more thankful. And I couldn't be more blessed.