Thursday, December 31, 2009

Auld Lang Syne

Our New Year's Eve celebration began at Mumsie and Poppa's with their traditional Fondue dinner. This definitely satisfied Morgan's new appetite for steak! She enjoyed cooking her own meat right at the table! It is a fun event that I always look forward to. After a delicious dinner we headed to the New Year's Eve performance of Willy Wonka.

After another great Oompa Loompa performance by Morgan and Merritt, we headed to GranMe and Poppy's for a little snack and fireworkin'! Scott, Morgan, Merritt and I had shopped under the tent earlier in the day and made our final selections. Daddy won with his "Pyro Package." We knew we'd be in for some fun with the menagerie that Daddy bought!

His "Pyro Package" put out some smoke at times!

These aren't your Momma's sparklers, Morgan!

Poppy, are you sure this is alright with the neighbors?

It didn't take long for the bravery to come out! I think Merritt was ready to go first but Morgan didn't want little sister to do something before she did! The Roman Candles were fun!

It's all fun and games until her hand slips and she aims right at the Momma with the camera! Daddy was quick to save the day and the lady behind the lens never saw it comin'!

Morgan and I shut down the party in the bathroom pulling her 8th tooth! Either I have become an expert or Morgan has become braver because it only took 5 minutes this time!

How appropriate to lose your 8th tooth a week before your 8th birthday!

Two Thousand and Ten or Twenty-Ten, However You Choose to Say It, We're Ready!

Have you decided how you will pronounce the new year? My first thought was two thousand and ten. I guess since I've said two thousand and something for 10 years now but my father pointed out that we said 19 so why not say 20. Good point! Whatever you choose to call the new year, the Year of the Tiger, my prayer is that it will be a healthy and happy year for us all!

In honor of the Year of the Tiger, a symbol of bravery, I am entering 2010 bravely, unarmed, no resolutions! That being said, I still have many changes to make and issues to continue working on but for this year, that list will remain in my head!

2009 In Review

WOW! This year flew by! The older I get, the faster time seems to travel! It seems like I just started this blog and now I am in the process of making it a book for a keepsake for the girls!

As for my resolutions at the beginning of the year, I kept some, still have some to work on and am already looking forward to some new ones for 2010. My resolutions for 2009 went something like this:

1). Lose Weight ~ although this is not a completed goal by any stretch, I am happy to report that I am ending 2009 lighter than I began it!

2). Organize our home ~ work in progress...

3). Continue to exercise regularly ~ Although I have not been faithful since Thanksgiving, this is a resolution that I feel I kept the most! I have really enjoyed my mornings this year at the Y and am proud of my progress with my running efforts. 2009 saw me improve my 5K time and run my very first 10K. My friends tell me that I'm running a half-marathon in April! I better get my running shoes on!

4). Write more handwritten notes, not emails ~ If you were a lucky recipient of one of my handwritten notes, it probably arrived earlier in the year! This is one I would like to continue into 2010.

5). Be more patient with the girls ~ This is one I always want to continue because I always want to approach our children with patience. I will brag and tell you that since they began sharing a room at the very end of this year, we have seen much more sharing and cooperation between them. They seem to enjoy playing with one another now as Merritt begins to have more in common with Morgan!

6). Regular date night with Scott ~ Scott and I were really good about this until the summer and once school began again, we haven't gotten back into it on a regular basis.

7). Start my own blog ~ Woo Hoo! Accomplished! I have enjoyed putting my feelings in writing, documenting milestones, telling funny stories about the girls and sharing our lives with our friends and family far and near while making some new friends along the way! I know I haven't captured every memory this year, but I've captured way more than I missed!

2010 ~ I'm ready!

I'm a Wonka-er, Are You?

Peter Pan Players' production of Willy Wonka opened the day after Christmas with two of the cutest Oompa Loompas I know!

Merritt, a yellow Oompa Loompa

Morgan, a red Oompa Loompa sporting her Mike TeeVee glasses

Mumsie, Poppa and Aunt Nancy attended the opening night show

Momma and Daddy attended all of the productions where Momma became quite skilled in the art of Oompa Loompa make-up!

GranMe, Poppy and Ms. Jo shut down the performances and took Merritt home so Momma, Daddy and Morgan could "strike" the set!

Our Oompa Loompas enjoyed their holiday production!
Next up, The Little Mermaid!


Christmas morning began at our house with stockings and presents!

Merritt was thrilled to get the most coveted Christmas toy of the year, Zhu Zhu pets and Morgan was without words when she opened her Nintendo DSi!

GranMe and Poppy came over to see what Santa brought and to have our traditional Christmas breakfast, sausage balls and Blueberry Coffee cake. The coffee cake was especially good this year. Next year I'll need to shadow GranMe in the kitchen so I can learn the secret!
GranMe and Poppy headed to Ms. Jo's for Christmas lunch as our little family enjoyed Christmas lunch together and created a new tradition, "Christmas Pasta." It's from the children's Paula Deen cookbook that Aunt Jane gave the girls. It's basically fettuccine. The girls loved it and have deemed it a keeper among recipes!

Christmas afternoon we headed over to Mumsie and Poppa's house to spend some time with them and Aunt Nancy and Uncle Billy and exchange gifts. Morgan got some more DSi games and Merritt received lots of new treats for her beauty shop. We played a few hysterical rounds of Christmas charades where Poppa won the award for funniest actor and then had a nice dinner before heading to the theater for dress rehearsal! Willy Wonka opens tomorrow night!
Christmas 2009 was a success! Lots of memories made, traditions continued and new ones begun!

Goodbye Happy, Until Next Year!

Aunt Karen started us on our Christmas Elf tradition last year when she asked Santa to send us Happy, our Christmas Elf! We have enjoyed having Happy in our home and sharing the Christmas holiday with him!

This year Happy granted us a special treat, to hug him good-bye! What a special moment for each girl!

See you next year, dear friend!

Christmas Eve

The day started out at Strawn's with a wonderful Christmas eve scrambled egg, grits and a diet coke! After breakfast, we headed to Ms. Jo's to exchange gifts! After realizing that Grandmother dined with Joe Paterno at the famous Capri in Homestead, Florida, we enjoyed opening Christmas gifts.

The girls were thrilled to open the most coveted Christmas gift of 2009, Zhu Zhu pets! Ms. Jo was quick to realize how popular they would be and gave each girl a hamster and accessory piece!
We next headed to Mumsie and Poppa's for Christmas Eve dinner. After dinner, we all headed to our church for Christmas Eve service.

Morgan was especially excited about Christmas Eve communion! She decided that she was ready to take communion this year! I guess after this summer's decision of being forever friends with Jesus Christ, this was her next step in her journey! How excited I was when I realized Poppy would be the one to serve us Christmas Communion!

Merritt decided she was ready for a Christmas blessing!

After church we were thrilled to discover a Christmas Eve snowfall!

Santa called the house to make sure his sleigh was packed correctly! The girls were surprised to hear that GranMe was on the naughty list! Maybe next year, GranMe!

We were sure to set out Christmas cookies and reindeer food!

Christmas Cookies

My Granddad Rhoads was an excellent baker and his specialty was Gingerbread boys. They were so good, it has been told that I turned down a free Gingerbread boy at a local bakery telling the baker, "No thank you, my Granddad makes the best!" I guess he passed along his love of baking because I have baked Christmas cookies with my mom and sister as far back as I can remember. I have passed this tradition along to Morgan and Merritt and my Aunt Jane helped perfect the tradition this year with the girls' Christmas present of baking tools, a Paula Deen cookbook, their own aprons and a scrap book and recipe cards for them to create their own special cookbook to treasure for years!

The artist in Morgan took decorating the cookies very seriously!

Merritt was very careful with her decorating too!

She was especially proud of her Christmas angel!

This year the girls added their own tradition of a Christmas tea party to enjoy their delicious creations! They ate Christmas cookies and drank lemonade from Christmas china!

*For years I have left Santa a special cookie, the "Hawaiian Santa", which is Santa on vacation in Hawaii complete with a Hawaiian shirt! This cookie was again created this year but was quickly eaten before I could snap a picture! Maybe next year!

Sunday School Christmas Party

Another tradition of ours is our Sunday School Christmas Party for a local children's group. Scott and I have been part of our Sunday School for 12 years and the party was going on before we joined the group so this is a long standing Christmas tradition for us. It is actually one of the highlights of the season for me and Scott.

This year we sponsored a sweet 6th grader who was actually a student at Morgan's school last year. We were all excited to make that connection. She was very appreciate of her gifts and the girls enjoyed watching her open them. When we left the party, Morgan told me that she felt really good inside. I explained to her that she was feeling the joy of giving rather than receiving! Merritt wasn't as sure about attending a Christmas party where she opened no gifts but still had a nice time! I look forward to many more celebrations in the future as my girls continue to learn to give rather than receive!

Christmas Church Nights

Our church's Christmas church night has been a family tradition of mine since I was 4 years old. I'm sure I performed in many Christmas programs. I remember my sister being the narrator one particular year. I thought for sure the part would go to me! Being that I could barely read, I think Amy was a better choice!

This year, Morgan had a speaking part, Little Glow, a little star with a big voice! She did an excellent job!

Merritt even got in on the action as a lost sheep named Baaaabra! She even had a short speaking line and showed no fear as she was lifted up to the microphone for all to hear!

Rumor has it that one of the local television stations beamed it up to New York City and they loved it, wanting the video of the whole program! I'm certain that some talent scouts will be calling!

The following week found us at Mumsie and Poppa's church's for their annual Candles and Carols. This year's theme was, O Holy Night! It is always a nice dinner and we always look forward to the sing-a-long and jingle bell ringing by the children. Our evening was cut short this year, due to the girls' play practice but we still had a nice time.

Christmas Traditions

Scott and I both come from families with Christmas traditions. As Morgan and Merritt get older, it has become important to us to carry on certain traditions as well as create new ones with the girls. This year has been especially fun to celebrate Christ's birth with our girls as they begin to fully recognize the reason for the season!

Monday, December 21, 2009

All I Want for Christmas Is...

... a new garage door!
It never fails! After 12 years of marriage, something falls apart at Christmastime! This year it's the garage door opener! Thank goodness for quick repairs! We were back in business rather quickly! Merry Christmas to each other, Scott! At least after 12 years of marriage we can both say it's not our marriage that's falling apart at Christmas! That's a blessing I treasure!

Presenting Queen Merritt Elizabeth

Here is the coat Merritt was wearing the night she proclaimed herself a Queen!
Every queen needs a princess....