christmas dresses, bikes, and cousins

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Doesn’t she look like she could be in the Christmas Story?I bet you thought I had dropped off the face of the Earth…I am still here. I feel like I have run from one thing to the next, I couldn’t seem to get laundry done, let alone a post, until today. However, I can happily report that Christmas was a fun and exciting success. Megan has loved the bike. She gets this funny little pleased giggle when she is riding around the kitchen. We have even ventured out to the driveway. (It is so cold!) She also highly enjoyed the princess castle shaped palette of lip gloss. You know the kind, I mean–the really gooey kind with sparkles in several different colors–the kind that makes Moms everywhere think bad thoughts about the grandparents who give out lip gloss. Emily has loved playing with her new doctor’s kit and building towers with Dad out of our new large-sized blocks. (Do we have a doctor or engineer on our hands??? As long as she’s not a C.E., we are okay…right?)

I have to admit that I am a total sucker for girls all dressed up and adorable. So, as you can imagine, I loved seeing all of

the sweet little girls in their Christmas dresses at church on Sunday. Of course I thought my own were among the cutest. Megan on her new bikeSee for yourself…

Possibly the best part of this holiday is having the Petersons (Mike’s little sister and her family) in town. They are super fun to be with. Megan LOVES their daughter, Abby. They have been so cute playing together–they just can’t get enough of each other. I love to watch them together. All this fun makes for less of the daily stuff. I guess that is what January is all about though–getting back on track.

The girls opening presents

The girls in their Christmas dresses

(little) hand-made wrapping paper

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a gift for my triathalon-loving brotherStarting to feel the holiday panic? If you are like me, the gifts have been bought, but have yet to be wrapped. Obviously you can’t make the kids wrap their own presents; but they can wrap everyone else’s. As long as they are wrapping gifts up, why not let them personalize them too by drawing or painting on the paper. You can buy butcher paper for around 15 cents per foot at the craft store. You can decorate the paper then wrap your gifts (roll out a long strip and let them go nuts), or you can wrap the package up then setting your little elf to work on it. Imagine how much grandma and grandpa will love a package decorated by their favorite artist. (And it will eat up a little of that hyper-Christmas-awaiting-school-free time on your kid’s hands!)

make your own christmas stocking

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Lulu’s famous stockings

If you are like my family, you may have treasured family stockings that are practically heirlooms. Grandma Lu diligently knits each member of our family one of these cute Santa stockings. You can see the age progression with Mike’s stocking, which he complains is unfairly small. The “Merry Christmas” hanger was one of my projects this year. It is done out of 1/4″ rod and rebar.

FF’s Puppy Paw stockingIf you don’t have treasured stockings that must be used, why not let the kids put their extra time and creative skills into making their own stockings. Felt is a great fabric to use because it can be easily glued. Gather up some pom-poms and sequins and fabric paints and let them go nuts. Older kids can practice a few simple stitches with embroidery floss. I haven’t had time to throw anything together,FF’s Ice Skate stocking but when I searched, I found some great ideas. Here are a few to get you going. My Mom made stockings for our family that look like ballet slippers and cowboy boots. Family Fun’s site has some great ideas, including this ice skate and puppy paw. eHow recommended using an old stocking for your base. Better Homes and Gardens has some ideas for the really ambitious too. You guys may have so much fun making this years stocking that it becomes a tradition!

What a ….week

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I am enjoying the usual Christmas count-down fun. Tonight we delivered the last of our neighbor goodies, I have most of our shopping done and only one major project to finish up; which is pretty good, I think. I am booking to get everything done. There is a certain part of me that really wants to get Christmas here, so I can just be done. It is almost as if the girls can sense that something major is going on and are responding with plenty of naughtiness. I guess they are trying to figure out what Santa’s limits are. ;-P

The low-point: When we went to visit my cute friend from college, Becky. Megan bickered with her little boy over everything; then threw a huge tantrum and refused to go to the bathroom at their house. (A common problem for about a week or so.) About 10 minutes later, she climbed up onto my lap and cuddled up to me (I am thinking, My sweet girl must not feel so red hot. Tender.) and then about a minute after that, she peed all over both of us (as well as Becky’s new couch.) It was so lovely to be about a 45 minute drive from home with pee all down my legs and a crying 3 year old. Argh.

The high-points: Megan’s 3 million mentions of how much she wants a pink bike. Megan’s train worksheet(Including a few pictures from preschool like this one.) This morning she wrapped her arms around my neck and kicked her feet up. In her happy little sing-song voice she declared “Look Mom, I am a necklace!” Pretty cute!

Also, my super-fun friend, Ali and I went to get a massage for the Utah Mama’s night out. She is the person I can be hyper and giggly with (yes, even more than usual…as she puts it, I know Suzy Sunshine.) Anyway, we tried to stop laughing long enough to relax while a stranger rubbed our backs….frankly, it was fabulous. So, I guess overall, taking an hour to have some fun with a friend probably can cancel out the embarrassment and frustration of well, being peed on by a grumpy 3 year old and under appreciated and over-crawled on all week.

all i want for christmas is a pink bike….

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the girls laying in the snow

I have mentioned it before, but Christmas with Megan is just so much fun. She is so excited for Santa to come and bring her a treat and a pink bike. Every time she mentions it (or even better when she sits on the side of her booster seat and says “Look Mom, I am riding my pink bike!”) I feel like I might burst waiting to see her on the seat of the Dora bike currently hidden in the garage. In the meantime, there is the fun in the Christmas parties and playing in the snow. And since I really don’t have anything more interesting to say, just enjoy my two little ones making a snowman. Okay, I did most of the work on it, Megan was more of an executive producer. Emily was more of an executive snow-eater. At one point, she just laid face-down in the snow…you know, to more conveniently partake of the snowy goodness. Yes, a little disgusting, but nonetheless very cute! (As is just about everything Emily does these days.) After a while, Megan headed over to provide assistance. She is such a good big sis.

Emily repeatedly pulling off her glove to chew on it. Megan with her snowman

Gingerbread Garland

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Many of my Christmas decorations had to stay in the box this year. What can you do when you just don’t have a lot of surface area to display nativities and nutcrackers? So a gingerbread house wasn’t high on my list of things to make…or was it? As I mentioned in last year’s gingerbread house post (which has recipes and more ideas.) The Jensen family has moved to making large cookies instead of full houses. It is just easier; easier to make, easier for 19 kids to decorate their own cookies instead of 7 family houses, and this year I realized they are easier to display too.

I have a curtain rod in the kitchen which I usually hang family pictures from. For Christmas, I wrapped a garland around it and then tied my cookies to it with a wide ribbon. As my (well, actually Grandma Lulu’s) recipe for gingerbread is not super hard, (it is the kind that tastes good–really good!) I glued the cookies to mat board and punched a hole for the ribbon in that. Simple to do, you kids will love to decorate an army of cookies for you to hang up and the kitchen will smell even better for it!

Gingerbread cookie garland

it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

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Sitting with SantaThis morning we took the girls to have breakfast with Santa (courtesy of the VV4th ward.) They had a ball playing with their favorite friends and when Santa arrived, Megan just about lost it with excitement. We stood in line to go and sit on his lap and by the time that we got to him; Megan was holding on to my leg (a little atypical, but I wasn’t worried.) Finally, it is our turn! Our friendly neighbor, Dick Winters (think quintessential grandfather type) beckons the girls to come and sit on his jolly (if not really fat) lap. Megan responds by scurrying back a few paces with a little nervous yelp. As I coax her forward, we try to sit Emily down (she has been settled in my arms, just quietly taking it all in up to this point.) In true Emily style, she wordlessly leaptsnowy tree to action, grabbing into my arms with nothing short of a death grip and pulling herself against me with surprising strength. (Meanwhile, Megan is still managing to to hold onto my leg and put as much distance between herself and Santa as possible. While Mike is waiting to snap our magical Christmas picture.) Well, you can see how we ended up.

Outside, we are enjoying 8 inches of new snow, so the city looks like a postcard (with a lot of anxious drivers.) Inside, I finally got our Christmas decorations up and the girls have been obsessed with the tree (and ornaments) ever since. Add a little Christmas music (I am enjoying my Sissel CD) and you can’t help feeling very merry. The point: I am getting excited for Christmas and it just gets better the more the girls enjoy the season.