Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas Eve at the Kruegers is our annual family tradition.  We eat yummy finger foods, act out the Nativity story, sing Christmas carols, and open presents from each other.  This was the first time in many years, that we were all there together, since my sisters' missions overlapped.

Mary is carefully inspecting the gifts brought by the Wisemen.

Antonio's first Christmas with us he got to play the donkey AND the camel! Lucky guy!

Andrew and Ryan played the piano for us while we sang carols.

Antonio played the guitar.

In our family, we pass out all of the gifts, and then take turns opening one present one at a time in order by age.  Molly could read this year, so she helped pass out the gifts.

After opening way too many wonderful presents from very generous grandparents and aunts, we drove home so that Santa could visit us.  The children sprinkled their reindeer food on the lawn and went straight to sleep.

They woke up around 6 in the morning, eager to head downstairs.

This year, we decided to video tape Christmas morning with our nice camera on a tripod.  So all of our pictures are with our phones, and are not great.  Santa brought Molly an American girl Molly doll and tent for her dolls.  He brought both boys lego sets and video games.

We missed seeing Grandpa Bud this holiday.  He sent lots of nice gifts to all of us and spoiled us rotten. Thank you Grandpa Bud!

Not a great pic, but here is the moment that all three of them realized that they had each received their own 3DS from us.  They were more than a little surprised!

After breakfast, we headed back up to Winston-Salem for lunch with Too-Too at my mom's house.  Chad's parents were in Texas, so we weren't able to see them on Christmas day.

After eating a wonderful lunch, we gathered together to play games.  The children played the Saran Wrap candy ball game. Daniel won the $5 inside the center of the ball. All of the pictures I got were very blurry, since there was so much action.

After the kids played their game, the adults played a present unwrapping game, similar to musical chairs.  We passed the presents around while the music played.  When it stopped, whoever was holding the gift got to peel off a layer of wrapping paper.  Each present was wrapped multiple times.  If you opened the last layer, you got to keep the gift.  It was a fun game, and it even turned into a sing along at one point, as we sang as we passed the gifts.  I love having fun with my family!

I had brought supplies for several more games, but everyone needed to head back their homes or other family's celebrations.  So once everyone left, the Kruegers and the Scribners played the building a snowman game.  Ryan and Molly were so excited to do it again, that they volunteered to be the snowmen!

After our games, we headed over to see Ben, Jen, Alex, and Evin for a little while, then headed back home.

The rest of the weekend was spent playing with our new toys.

On Monday, we headed back up to Greensboro area to see Grandmother Stone.  Although we miss seeing everyone on Christmas Eve, it was wonderful to get to spend time one on one with her.  We ate lunch and spent a few hours together before we headed back home.  Grandmother gifted me with beautiful Christmas glasses and dishes that I remember her using each year at Christmas.  It is a gift I will always treasure. She also bought each of the children  lap desk to use in the car.  It was so thoughtful of her to remember each of my children.  I am blessed that my children have both of their great grandmothers still.

Although it means many hours and many miles on the road, I am grateful to have so much family close enough that we can spend time together on the holidays.  There is no other way I would rather spend my time than with our family creating happy memories and strengthening traditions.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Andrew's 11 Year Old Favorites

Food: Enchiladas 
Color: Blue
Movie: One of the Harry Potter movies 
Video Game: Legends of Zelda
Best Friends (who are not related): "All the same ones from last year plus new friends, Josiah, Kenny, and Jared" 

Books:  Lord of The Rings Trilogy
Toy: Legos

Sports: Sword play, running, bike riding, and soccer 
Animal: Wolf 
Bird: Bald Eagle
Scripture Story: Alma 47
Hymn: Families Can Be Together Forever
Composer: John Williams 

Weight: 78 pounds 
Height: 54 inches 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Andrew's 11th Birthday

This was the birthday party, 3 years in the making! Ever since they announced a 7th Star Wars movie in December 2015, we knew where we were spending Andrew's 11th birthday.  Andrew invited several friends and family members to join him on our galactic adventure.  Some even came all the way from Winston-Salem!  I love Andrew's friends and enjoy being around them.  They are great boys!

We are so appreciative of theses dads who made the "sacrifice" to be there to help chaperone. ;)

After the movie, everyone headed back to our house for pizza, cake, and video gaming.

Andrew did not want a traditional cake.  Instead, he created a recipe for chocolate and fruit multi layered trifle.  He even wrote down a recipe and shopping list for me.  It was absolutely delicious and there was not a bite left.

I love my sweet 11 year old boy.  He is becoming such an amazing young man.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Polar Express Day

Our school has a lot of fun crammed into the last week before break.  We have a Holiday Shop, Polar Express Pajama day, and a First Grade Christmas Around the World Day.  My sisters were awesome and came down to help me with Molly's Polar Express Day and all three kids' Holiday Shop on Thursday.  Unfortunately,  I only have pics of the Polar Express parties.

I will be honest, organizing two class parties, teacher gifts, Holiday shop volunteers, a first grade parent breakfast, and buying Pinewood Derby cars to bring to our Christmas Cub Scout meeting all occurring within a 48 hour period was a tiny bit overwhelming.  Add a husband with pneumonia and a hurt back, and tiny bit overwhelming turned into more than a tad bit stressful.  He is always so helpful with my big plans and my serious trouble with over commitment, and he couldn't help at all that week. But we survived and managed to pull it off with lots of help and prayers.  Being lucky enough to be able to be there at the school any time I want to be there is such an incredible blessing.  I am grateful for the opportunity to volunteer.  I know there are very many moms and dads who would like to be at school, but can't. So I am not complaining, I am just being honest that some times it feels like it is a full time job.

This is the middle of our living room floor at the beginning of that 48 hour time period while I tried to get everything organized in my brain and my van.  The craziness does not come without a price.

We did five fun games in Molly's class for Polar Express Day.  The children all received tickets and special bells that my co-room mom made for each student after she read the story to them.

  I love the look of surprise on Molly's face when she looks in her desk to find a bell.

At the first center we played "Do you want to build a snowman?"

At the second center, the children played with homemade gingerbread playdough and cookie cutters.  It made my house smell so delicious when I made it, that I was tempted to taste it. WARNING: It did NOT taste as good as it smelled!

At the third center, we played Polar Express Roll and Cover with Jingle Bells. This was the center that Aunt Rachel hosted.

At our fourth center, we played Jingle Bell Snowball Toss.  Somehow I missed getting a pic of Molly there.

Our final center was making a yummy graham cracker train.  Aunt Emily helped out here.

Ryan's party was the next day, and we did some of the same centers.

We played "Do You Want to Build A Snowman?"

We drank hot cocoa and made marshmallow and toothpick sculptures at one center.

At the third center, the children played bingo with jingle bells and won candy prizes.

At the fourth center, we played the Saran Wrap Candy Ball game.

At our last center, the children decorated cookies.  I did not manage to snap a picture of Ryan decorating cookies.  But I like to record what I did each year, so I can do something different the next year.  :)

After Ryan's party, I picked up Andrew who had finished the 5th grade pancake breakfast and Molly who had finished watching Prancer and we officially started our Christmas Vacation!!!