Friday, November 30, 2007

Counting Down to Christmas!!

Today Christian, Abby and I made Advent Chains. Nathan had no interest in this activity, he just wanted his binkie (it was close to nap time). The chain consists of 25 pieces of construction paper that we decorate with different Christmas symbols, then we loop them all together. Tomorrow we will start cutting one link off the chain each day until we get to Christmas! Christian has a creative little mind; when we finished the chain he got down on the floor and started pulling it around like a train. Apparently all these pieces of paper linked together make him think of a train. I can see the connection.
Abby was so creative at coming up with different symbols to draw. I was thinking of all the traditional things like angels, a manger scene, ornaments, wreaths, trees, etc. but Abby was coming up with things like hot chocolate, snowflakes and gingerbread men. She did not want us to repeat any symbols on her chain, so we really had to brainstorm to come up with 25 different things. By the way...Abby is wearing her favorite sweatshirt in this picture. She loves all things pink and princess!
Just a cute picture of my precious boy!! We went to AC Moore today, not realizing that they were having a huge one day sale. The place was insane and we stood in line for at least 25 min. just to buy our Christmas paper for this project and a few things we need for our upcoming Happy Birthday Jesus party. I thought about leaving and coming back another day, but once you get three kids in the car with coats and shoes and sippy cups there's no turning back. Christian was so good sitting in the cart. He spent his time looking around the store counting Santas. Abby on the other hand was entertaining everyone else in line by dancing around and playing hide-and-go-seek with Nathan behind a variety of different displays. It sounds cute, but it really was a little stressful. I just love it when my parenting skills are put to the test in front of a bunch of people standing in line with nothing better to do than observe our chaos.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007 Part 2

The Chattertons have owned this land since the 1800's. This is the "big hill" where Ryan spent many winters sledding.

Christian was anticipating his visit to the farm for weeks and he wasn't disappointed. Grampy took him for mulitple tractor rides. He's still talking about it and has been playing with his tractors since he got home.
Ryan's dad has a business restoring antique tractor. He has a ton of tractors. You could check out his website if you're interested.
Christian loved "two doggies" and they seemed to love him. "Two doggies"
Ryan's Uncle Bob is on the right. He invited us to his farm so that Christian and his cousin Gracey could take a pony ride on Beauty.
Christian brushing Beauty.

Christian going for a ride.
Christian was checking out the snack he just gave Beauty.
Christian and Gracey getting some oats for Beauty.

Ryan was enjoying Christian's pony ride too!

Thanksgiving 2007

This is the whole family that we celebrated Thanksgiving with. It was a great time of family, fellowship and of course food!! I won't name everyone...that would take awhile!
Big sister Emma with her new little brother Evan. Evan was only six weeks old.
Ryan giving a horsey ride to Gracey and Christian.

Gracey, Judy and Ella. Gracey loved playing with all the big girls.
Christian with his Grammy and Grampy on the farm.
Christian had a blast with his cousin Gracey! They got to spend lots of time together.
This looks a little like Christmas morning doesn't it!! We celebrated an early Christmas with Ryan's family. Christian and Gracey in their new "boats" from Grammy and Grampy. These are actually supposed to be pop-up toy boxes, but apparently boats are more fun! This has continued to be a hit since we got home!

Gracey taking a few pictures with her new princess camera.

Christian's new CARS blanket that Grammy made him. He loves it and had to have it in the car on the trip home!
Ryan and I were thrilled to finally be able to meet Olivia Chatterton!! Many of you might remember that she was born with some heart issues and many of you have joined with us as we prayed for her through multiple surgeries! She is doing great now and she's so content!! I hope our little girl is as good as she is! I hope when you see this picture that you'll take a second and pray for Olivia that she won't catch any germs this winter! Is she cute or what?!!!
Aunt Angel gave Christian his Christmas presents early...a backhoe and a dump truck.

Monday, November 26, 2007

We're Home!

We had a great trip to Illinois for Thanksgiving!! Quick, but great! Christian is such a road warrior! He was so good in the car. He didn't fuss once. This is a picture of him getting a new Thomas the tank engine toy. It's a magnetic train track with little magnetic trains. This kept him busy for awhile.
This picture was taken at our hotel at 10:00 at night. Christian fell asleep in the car around 6pm, so he was bouncing off the wall at 10pm. Both Ryan and I fell asleep before him in our hotel room that night!
Christian loved seeing all of Grampy's tractors. We arrived at the farm about an hour before the Thanksgiving meal was to start. Christian's cousin Gracey was waiting for him when we arrived. I took 172 pictures of our trip (I know, I go totally overboard with the picture taking) so I've got a lot of blog posting to do. Hopefully I'll get some time to do it tomorrow. This has just been a little preview until then!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A 15 Hour Trip...

We are heading to Illinois for the Thanksgiving holiday!! I'm looking forward to spending some quality time together as a family, even if it will be 15 hours in the car! We've got lots of special car activities planned; a new Thomas Train to be introduced at a fussy moment, a travel sized aquadoodle, books, tractors, lots of DVDs and my new favorite is a magnetic tin with a train track inside that came with small Thomas the tank engine magnets (Christian's never seen it before so it should be fun for awhile). We will probably be stopping in Zaneville, OH for dinner because they have a McDonalds with an awesome playland and we're hoping to make it to Dayton, OH by tomorrow night sometime. Can you tell we've traveled this route before?

Christian is really excited about seeing Grampy's tractors (Ryan's parents live on a farm) and Christian is also looking forward to seeing the doggies. He's been talking about this trip for about 4 days now. I hope he's still excited 5 hours into the drive!!!

I won't be posting anything until we get back, so pray for us! I'll have tons of pictures to share next week!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!! Enjoy your time with your family and friends!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Tree Lighting

Tonight was a very special night for our family and we loved getting to share it with my sister and her kids for the first time!!! Tonight was the annual lighting of the Christmas Tree in our town square. Ryan and I have been attending this event ever since we moved to the town of Greencastle. I remember being there three years ago when I was pregnant with Christian. It was especially fun to share it with him this year.
Our town gathers together in the square the Friday before each Thanksgiving. We sing Christmas carols, drink hot chocolate, eat popcorn (although we didn't get any this year) and all the children are given a jingle bell. At 7:30pm everyone rings their bell and the lights on the tree are lit! It's beautiful every year! One of my favorite things about our small town is it's lack of political correctness. It brings me such joy to stand with several hundred other people and sing about the birth of Jesus.
Our friends from Left to Right: Carter, Anessa, Emma, Abby, Nate & Christian.
Angie, Judy and Mandy. This is a rare picture, we're usually the ones taking the pictures!
Nate was all bundled up and was wondering what was going on!
Abby and Kate are great friends. They had a great time running around after each other.
Anessa, Emma and Ellie all go to the same school. Anessa and Emma are in Sunday school together and they go to Good News Club together! These three had a great time throwing leaves at each other.
Christian checking out his jingle bell. The mittens didn't stay on for long...he found them to be a little too frustrating.
Ellie and Emma!

After the tree lighting we went to our friends the Furnish's house! We ate too much yummy food, including pumpkin cheesecake (to die for) and Angie's pizza dip! Left to Right: Brian, Devon and Taryn. Taryn is a great babysitter!
Christian entertaining us with some music!

The girls had a great time with all the dress-up clothes. This picture shows just one of at least seven outfits Emma had on through out the evening.
Don't you just love a 15 year old who has enough humility to play with a two year old? Devon is such a great guy and a great sport when it comes to playing with Christian. Christian loves to play doctor. He was even listening to Reagan's (the dog) heart, although I didn't get a picture of it.
What a special start to a great holiday season! Traditions like the tree lighting are what make great memories and we loved sharing it with our dear friends the Houpts, Furnishs and Marshalls.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

You've gotta get this toy!

We have a "no touch" fancy nativity set that everyone is allowed to LOOK at, but we also have the FisherPrice Nativity and it is the perfect Christmas toy. I figured that if we have books and toys about Santa, we really need to have books and toys about Jesus. Thanks to my dear friend Heidi McNair, Christian got this for his first Christmas. He was only 6 months old and he put it in his mouth, but this year he's really getting it (if you ignore the cow on the roof of the stable). He now knows who Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus are. He loves to make Jesus go night-nights and he even sings to him. It's so sweet and you know I think it probably is a blessing to the real Jesus!

Monday, November 12, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like....CHRISTMAS

I know, I know it's so early to be decorating for Christmas, but we're doing it anyway. Just for the record, we've never decorated this early before but since we do a "fake" tree we can do it earlier and this year I'm just needing to get it done. I'll blame it on the fact that I'm pregnant and feel like I have so much to get done before this baby comes and Christmas is one thing I can get started on now. I can't really get the baby's room ready until right before the baby comes because Nathan has claimed her crib and I don't want to kick him out until it's necessary (which might be after she arrives...she can be in a bassinett for awhile). Another reason we're getting ready a little bit early is because we have something to do every weekend from now until Christmas. I love a busy Christmas season, but this is stressing me out slightly. So this weekend, Ryan, Christian and I started to work on the tree. Christian loved the lights and the star on top. He was convinced that we were going to cover it with balls and trains. Unfortunately, we only have one train ornament and it's breakable, so it's not that fun for him. We might need to remedy that.

When Abby and Nate arrived this morning we had a tree with lights, but no ornaments. The three kids quickly helped me fill up one little spot on the tree.
The boys were really taking this project seriously!
Abby was trying to get the boys to organize their ornaments a little bit and not hang them all on the same branch. I assured her that the "girls" could fix it later.

One of my absolute favorite parts of Christmas is reading beautiful Christmas picture books. I have great memories of reading wonderful Christmas books from when I was little. When I used to teach I would choose a different picture book to read each day in December to my class. Needless to say, I have a lot of great Christmas books. Abby was thrilled to find this "princess" book in with all the Christmas books. She thought Mary was a princess. So we read the story and talked about how Mary was even more important than a princess! She got to take care of Baby Jesus.

I think this Christmas is going to be one of the best ones I've ever had. I love having a housefull of children to share in the joy with me. I love talking about Jesus' birthday. I love seeing the reflection of the tree lights in their little eyes. I love making crafts and baking cookies. I love looking through toy catalogs and hearing them "ooo" and "ahh" over all the great stuff. Emma is so sweet... Last week she went through a toy catalog and circled all the gifts she wanted to get for different kids in her class. It had never dawned on her that she wouldn't buy gifts for all her school friends. It probably would have cost about $5000.00 if I had bought everything she circled.

Get ready, I'm going to be posting a lot over the next month and a half!! We've got a lot of great activities planned!!