Christmas recap 2013

So Christmas was, what, two weeks ago? My bad. Does anybody expect anything less? I can hardly keep up with the piles of laundry around here, let alone sharing pictures on this blog.

We ended up traveling 10 hours to my sister’s house in Northern Colorado and had a wonderful time. No, really we did. Everyone got along and nobody yelled! It’s a Christmas miracle. Susannah recently moved into a bigger house and it’s pretty damn glorious. I liked my house until I saw hers, for real. We jokingly refer to it as The Ski Lodge. If you had two sets of twin boys, you would need a ski lodge too.

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It’s almost unbearable for me to look at these pictures. The boys (especially the older ones) get along and love each other so much. It’s so hard to not be near family. Simon, Roan, and Rowdy got the bright idea to set an alarm and wake up at 3:15 AM Christmas morning. THREE FIFTEEN AM. Grandpa heard the giggling and the running and sent them promptly back to bed.

It’s a good thing they aren’t around each other 24/7, because I can’t imagine the trouble they would cause.Christmas 2013 055Christmas 2013 050

Santa brought everything the kids were hoping for, of course. Santa even managed to deliver TWO bicycles and a highly coveted Playstation game to Colorado. (Did I mention we were 10 hours from home? Well done, Santa.) Other notable gifts: more Nike apparel because one can never have too many workout clothes (Hint: that wasn’t a gift for me), rolls of duct tape (why not?), an American Girl Doll, tennis racquets, Legos, books, Rainbow Loom Bands (Lord help me), wooden play food, and more clothes.

Some might call it tacky to share Christmas gifts. I share only in the interest of preserving history. One might look back and laugh some day at the Christmas gifts of ’13. If only this blog post could count as Thank you cards too. Thanks, family, for all the gifts. You guys rock.Christmas 2013 118

The gift we almost brought back with us was a puppy. Somebody dumped a dog (who immediately was pregnant) and my nephews ended up raising the puppies. Susannah managed to sell all of Rosie’s 11 puppies, except for their favorite three. While she really wanted us to take Opal, I liked the big boy Jasper. He was the calmest of the bunch and most well-behaved. We had Jasper loaded up in the van to begin the trek back to Kansas and were 5 miles down the road, when broken-hearted Rowdy texted that he wanted his puppy back.

We probably ended up dodging a bullet with that one, especially a working dog designed to herd cattle. Lord knows we didn’t need another mouth to feed, puddles to clean off the floor, and a puppy to train. And really it’s all good because Jasper will have plenty of company with four wild boys, five dogs, a barn full of kittens, cattle, and more horses than I can count.

He lives at a freaking Ski Lodge, remember?


The not-Christmas card

I totally planned to send out a holiday card this year but never managed to get the job completed. I could bore you with super lame excuses like:

1.) Working sucks and takes up all my “free” time.
2.) Matt had a major abdominal surgery.
3.) I have poor time management skills, especially at bedtime when the kids are asleep.
4.) We didn’t have time (or money) to pay an actual photographer to take quality pictures.
5.) I have a good 10 lbs. that I would like to lose. If Mama doesn’t look good, why send out a card? Also? I needed a hair cut in these pictures.

I know, excuses.

So let’s just pretend that I did use these photos for an actual holiday card, yes?

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While we are pretending, look at that nicely written font that says “HAPPY HOLIDAYS!”

Love (for reals),
Matt, Audrey, Simon, Bennett, and Cora Jane

PS. We took pictures like this last year: here and here. (Seriously, Big Mama in the house compared to last year!)

Christmas 2012

It doesn’t feel right to write about anything until I share our Christmas first. I know, I know. I’m like two weeks behind. We went to Wichita to spend time with Matt’s family before heading to Great Bend to be with my side.

I keep saying this but SOME DAY I AM GOING TO MAKE A BLOG BOOK. Heaven forbid I look back and wonder what happened to Christmas 2012. I get that nobody cares, so scroll quickly. SPOILER ALERT: I took a lot of pictures and we had a great time.

We started with church on Christmas Eve-Eve.

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The next day, Santa came to visit Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Santa was the real deal too- complete with a (real!) full beard and big belly. We successfully blew Simon’s and Bennett’s mind. Except not Cora. Cora was HIGHLY unimpressed with the Big Man.

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I find it shocking that Simon still believes. I know that other children his age have stopped believing. So far, so good.

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After Santa came and we ate way too much good food, we sent the kids to bed. Santa and our parents were good to my family this year. Baby dolls (many, many, many different ones), an iPad, Legos, books, new shoes, nerf guns, and new clothes for everyone. Matt also got a nail gun/air compressor which has already been used.

We’re so thankful for all the gifts we received. If only this could count as a thank you note. Still got to get those finished. #mybad

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Cora Jane was a HORRIBLE, TERRIBLE, NO GOOD sleeper on Christmas Eve. She seriously screamed for over an hour during the night. We almost let her sleep through Christmas morning but then the Mama guilt kicked in and I woke her up just as we were starting.

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After she woke up, she caught on quickly.

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Grandma and Grandpa with all the cousins. Not everyone is looking but Cora is about .3 seconds from screaming. Trust me. We don’t need to see any sad Cora pictures.

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Ending with the beginning another family picture. I prefer the first one.

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Wasn’t that fun? Still here? Good! Next up, I’ll share Christmas with my family and our road trip to Colorado. After that, I promise to pick up with the house updates.

I know you’re excited. Almost as much as Cora being forced to sit on Santa’s lap.

Ugly Sweater Run

I think it's part his personality plus part encouragement from his family but Simon has taken a pretty big interest in running lately. The record should be clear that I DON'T ENJOY THE RUNNING. Uh-uh. No, thank you. BIG HEAD SHAKE NO. I don't like to sweat and I certainly don't like to run. The closest you'll see me running is to the car when I'm late which, sadly, happens entirely (read: every day) too often. So this running interest? Not from me.

His good looks? You better believe it. The desire to make your chest hurt and legs feel like jelly? Not so much.

Just this fall, Simon completed his first school marathon by running 26.2 miles after school every Wednesday afternoon. Typically it takes him all of the fall season and part of the spring. This year his goal is to get another marathon completed during the spring season. This drive? Again NOT FROM ME.

We also can't forget that we "ran" the Color Run in October. This month's big running adventure? The Ugly Sweater Run with his Uncle Josh and Matt.

The course was a 5k and Simon ran almost the entire course with Josh. Josh reported that they walked twice during the race but ran the majority. Sadly, Daddy couldn't keep up with the young crazies. He finished, of course, just not quite as fast. I thought it VERY FITTING that his fake 'stache came in gray.

Simon had an absolute blast out on the course and really enjoyed playing with the fake snow after the race. I really enjoyed watching him run. (I may or may not have actually missed the finish. I was on the playground with the other two.) Anyways the key word here is watching.

I enjoy watching him run. I enjoy celebrating his success.

And his dance moves too. I enjoy watching his dance moves. Maybe he did get something from me after all. 

I swear to be a better blogger this week. I have an updated kitchen and house post. More Elf on the Shelf shenanigans and out-takes from our not yet arrived Christmas cards. #ifailatblogging

The Elf on the Shelf

You know what we've been having an incredibly fun time doing? The Elf on the Shelf. I know, I know. Some people think he's really creepy. And truthfully? I do too. Honestly, I believe that children should WANT to behave appropriately and not be WILLED into submission because of threats. Or you know, the belief that they won't get any Christmas presents. 

But whatever. Part of the fun is that Simon still believes. I really thought he wouldn't buy into the whole deal. NOT SO, FRIENDS. The first night he woke up at 4:30 IN THE MORNING and went looking for him. Simon even writes notes to him. (Example: Are you coming with us to Grandpa Pool's on Christmas? Mark yes or no.) (Um…YES IF IT MEANS THAT YOU BEHAVE.)

Seriously. He's NINE. I love it. 

Anyways, Buddy is an ornery little cuss.

1.Buddy was sad that the Christmas decorations are missing. He took matters into his own hands. #stockingsarehung? #elfontheshelf #iheartfaces 2.Oh Buddy. You're so funny. #elfontheshelf
3.Buddy, if you want to wrestle then take it outside. #elfontheshelf 4.Buddy got into big trouble last night. Good thing we are painting the kitchen and cabinets this week. #elfontheshelf

1.) Buddy was sad that the Christmas decorations are missing. He took matters into his own hands. #stockingsarehung? 

2.) Oh Buddy. You're so funny. 

3.) Buddy, if you want to wrestle then take it outside. 

4.) Buddy got into big trouble last night. Good thing we are painting the kitchen and kitchen cabinets this week. 

The last picture was shared on Making It in America and was selected to be a part of Your pics: Awesome Elf on the Shelf Ideas! I am officially "that Mom" that takes the idea too far. My apologies. 

Christmas recap

How was your Christmas? Was it delightful? Did it leave much to be desired? Were you richly blessed or sorely forgotten? Are you glad it is over or are you wishing the fun hadn't begun?

Christmas wonder

For the first time in eight years of marriage, we stayed home in Lawrence. It was okay. It was better than okay, actually. Matt had to work and so we made adjustments. We made a big Christmas Eve meal and more cookies by ourselves, went to the candle-light service at church, and slept in our own beds.

And boy, oh boy, did Santa (and our families) deliver.

Christmas 2011

Clothes, Legos (and more Legos), shoes (that light-up!), robes, candy, wii games, an iPhone, bicycles, a racetrack, markers, coloring books, socks, diapers, lovies, wooden rattles and more. The kids got more than enough.

Christmas 2011
Christmas 2011
Christmas 2011
Matt and I didn't do too bad ourselves. A new tool chest for him and a camera lense for me. I'm in love, of course, and deeply sad that the holiday is over. I believe that all the fun is in the anticipation and now there is nothing to forward to until spring break.

But just like we had to do at Christmas, I will adjust.

Christmas Eve

First we went to the candle-light service at out church,

Christmas Eve

and then we came home and opened just one present. New jammies for all!

New jammies
After the children went to bed, some brand new things made their way under the tree at our house. I guess Santa was under the impression that our kiddos were actually good this year? I can't imagine that being true.
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and now our tree is very, very full. Just like our hearts and our bellies.

Christmas eve

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

Reindeer Ornament

I don't craft. I don't sew or knit or crochet. I don't make pretty pillows or hairbows for Cora Jane. I don't do handmade. I decorate my home with overpriced, mass produced, and store purchased decorations EXCEPT for the Christmas crap that my children drag home from school. These, my friends, are the gifts that keep on giving.

And now I have a gift for you. Mama got her craft on today at Simon's classroom party (Thank you, Pinterest for the idea) and I thought I would share. This only happens once in a blue moon, so please enjoy this tutorial.


reindeer ornament

Glass (or plastic) ornaments
1/2 sheet of brown construction paper
Red and white paint
One brown pipe cleaner

reindeer ornament

1.) Tear 1/2 sheet of brown paper into small pieces and stuff inside ornament.
2.) Use the sharpies and allow the kid to write their name and the year on the back.
3.) Cut pipe cleaner in half. Use the first half to make a V shape. Cut the other half into half again. Wrap the two small pieces around the V for antlers.
4.) Press thumb into red paint for the nose and the index finger for the eyes.
5.) After it dries, add black dots to the eyes and an optional mouth.
6.) Pat yourself on the back for not eating any children during the duration of the craft.

reindeer ornament