Sunday, February 26, 2012

Caroline's First Ballet Recital!

Caroline's ballet recital was in January, on the 21st.  It was in the morning, and then we celebrated Cecilia's 4th birthday in the afternoon.  Here are some pictures from the recital... the January recital always has a Christian theme.  They dance to Christian songs and the background has various titles of Jesus on it.  I really like that since they are a Christian organization, there is less worry about things like immodest dance moves and costumes as I might at a secular dance studio.  The dances were all so interesting to watch.  Lucy slept through most of it. :)

So, here are some photos my mom took with the awesome camera that belongs to her preschool.  We couldn't use the flash, but this camera did a good job of capturing the dance!  Their song was called "Big Fish" and was about Jonah and the Whale.

Here's the finale, when all the dancers come out on the stage and up the aisles.  They have another recital in May, which will be a secular one this time.  Cecilia loved watching the dancers and was pretending she was one of the teenage dancers!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Epiphany 2012

On Epiphany (celebrating the three wise men visiting Jesus) in our home, the children wake up to find three small gifts on the breakfast table: a gold gift (something homemade), a frankincense gift (something religious), and a myrrh gift (something for the body).  Well, seeing as this mama has at least one hand full of baby nearly 24 hours a day, making something homemade with just one hand was not quite do-able for me.  So... for their gold gift, the girls got some saint bracelets (similar to these) that a sweet lady at our parish got for them at a cathedral she had visited!  Their frankincense gift was a new DVD - a movie about St. Bernadette, who saw a vision of Mary in Lourdes, France.  We just celebrated the feasts of Our Lady of Lourdes and St. Bernadette this past week (since it's February already!).  The myrrh gift was really cool, I thought... a bar of soap I got from Etsy called "Three Kings Soap."  It is made and sold by Swan Mountain Soaps (so I did work in a bit of "homemade," even though it wasn't by me!), who I found by chance when perusing a list of pro-life Etsy shops!  I also got my brother some shaving soap from them.  I would link to it, but the site is down right now.  But the soap has swirls of gold in it and is scented with either frankincense or myrrh (or both; I can't remember)... so neat! 

If you click on the photo, you can see the gold swirls better!

We do this Epiphany celebration on the morning of January 6, although the Church in the United States has moved the feast to the following Sunday.  We have been having "Gifts of the Magi Bread" (I make ours with whole wheat flour and omit the cherries) for breakfast for the past few years - yum!  Like the gifts brought by he magi, this bread is full of sweet treasures: chocolate chips, banana, mandarin oranges, coconut, almonds... yum!!  And especially delicious with my Irish breakfast tea!

In some countries, children receive their gifts on Epiphany.  Some areas have legends that the gifts are brought by Old Befana or Babushka, who was looking for the Christ Child to bring him gifts along with the wise men and never found him, so she still roams the world every Epiphany eve, leaving gifts for all children just in case one of them is Jesus.  So my kids seem to think she's come to our house since we've read the stories, although  I think they are just pretending (particularly the almost seven year old).  But it's fun!

This year on the Sunday after the 6th, we had an Epiphany party with some friends!  We did this a couple years ago as well.  I made a "king cake," which was a walnut butter rum cake shaped like a "crown" by being baked in a bundt pan.  I'd also picked up this box of dark chocolate star cookies from Trader Joe's right after Thanksgiving, thinking the stars were perfect for Epiphany!  And oh, those were some yummy cookies... I love dark chocolate and probably ate most of them myself!

The kids decorated crowns and colored pictures of the three kings offering gifts to baby Jesus.  My friend Beth and I read them some books: The Last Straw and The Legend of Old Befana.  We might have read The Story of Three Wise Kings too; I can' remember.  Caroline, Cecilia, and their friend Brianna are reading Strega Nona's Gift, a new story that covers St. Nicholas Day (December 6) through Epiphany.  We got most of these from the library.  The kids also went from room to room and searched for the Baby Jesus (played by Lucy), returning home another way so they could avoid King Herod (Chris)!

After dinner - we had ham, potato salad, fruit, and some really yummy crock pot baked beans that Beth made - it was time for dessert.  In years past, I have put a little plastic baby inside the cake for somebody to find in their slice.  I bought a package of six of them a few years ago in the cake decorating section of a craft store, but I haven't seen them since.  So this year, I cut a few slits in the cake and inserted three chocolate coins.  Brianna and Leah found the first two, making them "kings" of the party.  The third king ended up being Alex, who was eating his cake very slowly, as all the kids crowded around, waiting for him to find the coin.  Turns out he'd apparently eaten it on the first bite because we never saw it, but we knew he took a slice that had a coin in it.  It was so funny because his dad kept asking if he had the coin, and he said no, and ten if his dad said "Oh, you don't have the coin," he'd say, "Yes I do!"  

We had a fun Epiphany this year!!

Friday, February 17, 2012

More Christmas!

I am so behind on my photos... eventually I'll gt to Epiphany, Cecilia's birthday, and Caroline's ballet recital!!  Here are pictures from Christmas with Chris's side of the family, which we had at our house on December 30th.  I love the picture of the cousins above, like they're discussing some all-important kid business!

We had a bunch of finger foods and snacks at lunchtime, and later we had a big dinner with a roast, mashed potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts, and other stuff I can't remember at the moment since this was nearly two months ago...

Gran and the kids by the tree

a wide shot of the fun

Daddy on camcorder and baby duty... he multi-tasks better than I do!

One of my gifts arrived a few days past December 25th, so Chris labeled it "From: Slow Santa," which I thought was pretty funny.

Cecilia was excited to get some more horses for their stable!

Caroline got some as well... here they are trying to decide which horses go with which family.  This later resulted in a discussion of how I could tell which horses were the mothers and which were the fathers.  So last week, we saw some real horses and Caroline, after they'd all passed by, announced, "Those horses were all boys."  Forgetting the identification of the toy horses several weeks prior, I stupidly asked, "Oh, how do you know?" thinking she'd say something like, "They're all tall."  (She still has a hard time grasping things like how my little brother can be taller than me.)  Instead, she answered, "They all have boy parts."  Whoops.

Cecilia wearing a bow on her head... a throwback to her first Christmas (oh my goodness, who is that little baby and how did she turn into a kid so fast??)

Lucy got this adorable Noah's ark from Gran and Grandad!

Yum yum!

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Christmas Day 2011

So, better late than never... I will try to catch up on posting some.  It's slow going typing one-handed while holding a sweet sleeping/nursing baby... anyway, here are some photos from Christmas morning.  The girls discovered their new stable...

Caroline got the new baby doll she wanted.  She is afraid to play too much with her favorite baby doll, Ensa, because her eye is loose and she's scared it might fall back inside her head.... ick.

Cecilia got a bunch of the Jesse Bear books.

She also got her own Calico Critter bear family.

The girls gave Daddy a picture for his office.

Lucy got a stuffed giraffe from my college roommate, Aura Lee.

I think she likes it!

Caroline and Cecilia both got horses for the stable.

Lucy got this giraffe from Mommy and Daddy - Caroline has named it Chew-raffe.

Cecilia found these in her stocking!

Later in the day, we drove to Atlanta to celebrate with my parents and brothers.  Here's their tree, along with everybody's stuff piled under/around it.

Opening gifts: my sister-in-law Crystal, brother Tim, mom, brother Stephen, and dad.

Caroline opens some books from Gramma and Grampa.

Lucy wearing the "Baby's First Christmas" onesie I bought for 75 cents last year, on clearance in the first week of January... we found out she was on the way on December 31st!

I made my brother Stephen a memory journal where I wrote down funny memories from when we were kids.

Snacks... yum.  I can't guarantee these were on Christmas Day; they might have been out the next day, but I am pretty sure it was the 25th... I could just check the date stamp, but I guess I'm too lazy.

Lucy on Christmas Day evening, wearing a new outfit from Gramma.

She liked lying on the sunroom floor... she rolled from her back to front twice on this day, here on the floor... and I think she's maybe done it one more time in the month+ since...

Hanging out with Grampa

Uncle Stephen hanging Cecilia upside down

Cecilia and Caroline trained Dutch... jump over their legs!  Notice Caroline is wearing Gramma's Christmas socks, which she brought home... she claims Gramma let her keep them.