Monday, January 10, 2011

Christmas Part 4: Happy Birthday Jesus!

We made cupcakes, sang Happy Birthday to Jesus and then thanked Him for all of the blessings that He gives to us.   Ella's cute comment later that night was, "Mom, how did God create everything in the world if He was just a baby?"  I loved the way her mind works.  

Christmas Part 3: Breakfast with Santa

This will also become a yearly tradition for us!   I randomly heard about this event and had no idea what to expect, but it was incredible.  It was held at the Chateau and was more than I could have expected.   We had so much fun, and the cost was worth it just even for breakfast at the Chateau.   
They had a kid buffet, that was made just for the height of little ones to fix their plates.  Ella and Braden loved being able to get their own food.  
They also had every cereal that you could possible imagine, along with like 10 kinds of juices.  So kid friendly!  They also had a huge screen that was playing Christmas movies while you ate breakfast.

There were tables set up with wonderful "elves" that helped the kids make ornaments. 

They also had clowns that did the greatest face painting I have even seen.  

Braden was not crazy about getting his face painted (we ended up with just an ornament painted on his had), but he was so excited about the clowns that were making balloon art. 

Ella's small dog in honor of her dog Izzy at home.

Braden could not have been happier with his sword, can you tell from his face!  It kept him entertained for days. 

The line for santa was incredibly long, too long for us to wait in.  But the Chateau even had a huge table of coloring books and activities to do while you were in line for Santa.  So clever!

Every child that saw santa got gifts, and they weren't cheap gifts.  We didn't see santa but they were nice enough to still give us gifts.   Ella got a huge princess velvet poster to color and Braden got a block set.  I couldn't believe that each kid got a gift.   Actually Ella cracked me up because after she finished eating, she bee lined away from me, so fast that I lost sight of her.   I grabbed 
Braden by the hand and started off after her, but it took me a couple of minutes to spot her.  I was kind of getting frantic when I turned around and spotted Ella walking off the stage with a gift in her hand from seeing santa.  I was shocked!  Some how she managed to get herself onto the stage and sit on Santa's lap, tell him what she wanted from Christmas (roller skates and ice skates), all without waiting in the mile long line.  I'm sure there were probably some parents who were infuriated and wondering whose child is that, as she butted in front of their child.  That's my ella, fearless.  All she knew is that Santa had arrived and she was going to see him.  Hilarious! 

Santa arrived at the Breakfast on an old fire truck they actually drove into the Chateau.  

Christmas Part 2: Gingerbread House

This will for sure become a new sparks family tradition each Christmas.  I originally thought I would to make a the cookies and decorations from scratch, but I think that would have been a disaster.   I bought the cutest kit from Walmart and I was really impressed with it.  Now, I don't know why I would ever fuss with making it on my own (even though I am usually that person that tries).  

Braden loved this but really just wanted to eat candy the whole time.  It is hard to explain to a 2 year old, that m&ms are for decorations.  

Ok, here is mom battling herself because the kids want to help decorate and I have to die to the fact that I want to make the house look perfect.   Ooops

Making progress

Our institute adopted student and great friend Liz, joined us for the evening. 

The finished product.  Pretty cute! 

This was not for the gingerbread house, but just a fun little moment.  I made peppermint hot chocolate and needing help breaking up all the peppermints, so Braden grabbed his Handy Manny hammer, and Ella got the other one from his tool box and they went at it.  I think we end up with more on the floor than in the pan and the plastic hammers were not quite strong enough to do much of anything, but it was fun to just let them bang all they wanted to!  

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Christmas Part 1

We had a truly unbelievable Christmas season this year.  I think it has been my favorite in a long time.  It is such a fun time with Ella and Braden because they both at an age they can understand Christmas but yet are still not too consumed with just getting gifts.  Everything is magical and wondrous for them.  We really tried as a family this year to plan events to create memories and celebrate the true meaning of the season.  Some of the highlights were going to Silver Dollar City (or Silver Dollar Silly as Ella calls it), putting up the tree, making a gingerbread house, learning about the Nativity, chocolate advent calendars, movie night, the polar express, Breakfast with Santa, and making birthday cupcakes for baby Jesus.   So since I am still catching up on my blog posts I am going to have a few Christmas installments to help remember all the great times we had.

Putting up the Christmas Tree

I decided I wanted to start the tradition this year of giving each of the kids an ornament to remember the year by.  This was the sweet picture to kick off this tradition.  Ella got a fairy, because she is free spirited. loves fairies, dancing and all things princess.  Braden got a truck because he loves trucks and it was one of his first words this year even though now he is talking so much.   This is Beckett's first Christmas so he got a pair of baby shoes.  Well...if I only had a picture to show only a few hours after this picture two out of the 3 ornaments were in pieces!  Oh what super glue can do.  Mom learned her lesson that breakable ornaments are not a good idea.

The Polar Express

We had the incredible opportunity to ride on the Polar Express train in Branson.  We got to go with incredible friends and had such a great time.  We all wore our pj's (just like the movie) and I was really impressed with how great of a job they did making it so fun and special for the kids. please.   They punched letters in the tickets just like the movie. 

The staff came out to the "Hot Coco" song from the movie with cookies and coco for everyone.

We picked up Santa at the North Pole, he visited with each child and then gave them a bell from his sleigh.  Ella was consistent all Christmas asking only for roller skates and ice skates. 

Braden was terrified of Santa at first, but warmed up quick.

All the kids!  The Rapps, Houstons, and Hampsch kiddos.  We are so blessed to get to have all of these wonderful friends.  I love that my kids get to grow up with each of these people.

Beckett was there too, he even dressed in his Christmas pjs.  He just slept the whole time.

School friends!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Mom this post is for you!

When I was little I have many memories of taking all the toys out of my toy box and then getting in and shutting the lid.   My mom has told me many times about how I used to do this.   Well aparantley my daughter is going to be just like me.  This is the site I saw when I walked into her room.  Ella was all prepared with her pillow in place and a flashlight for when she shut the lid.   A little of her momma with the preparedness of her daddy!

Catch up #4 Thanksgiving

We had an incredible thanksgiving with my family.  They were gracious enough to come to Branson to be with us, so we were very thankful we didn't have to travel!  
Braden was quite the cook!  He gathered many of his plastic food toys, and was stirring them in a bowl.

Cooking with Nana

Beckett's first Thanksgiving!  Thanks Nana for my outfit!

Kids Table

Fun with Cousins

Braden was hilarious!  Do you notice how one eye is totally pressed down by the goggles, but that only make it all funnier. 

Christmas Pjs for everyone

We kicked off Christmas with a trip to Silver Dollar City.  It was a great way to kick off Christmas!