Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

We will be busy the next few days with a lot of extended family celebrating, so we made Christmas Eve Day just our family celebration.  We had a great day today.  We went out for breakfast, checked out a really cool train set up, saw Santa, opened presents wearing matching p.j.'s (well the kids anyways), saw Santa again and then made a gingerbread house.  Here are a few pictures from our fun day.

Caroline was very excited to have apple juice with her breakfast.

Love this girl!

There couldn't be a bigger Daddy's girl in the world (except for maybe me)

Mommy and Jack

Looking down on the amazing train set from the 2nd floor.

Our two cuties in their matching pajamas

We wanted a picture of the pants too, but that would have been a lot easier if Jack could stand by himself :)

Apparently my running from hitting the timer on the camera distracted him quite a bit from being able to look at the camera.

Caroline helping Jack open his presents.

He looks at his big sister in awe like this quite often.  I hope he keeps looking up to her like this as he grows up.

Caroline picked out a sand castle ornament just for me!

She loves anything princess!

Scott got a UofM Snuggie.  He was pretty excited!

She had to test all of the candy before we could put it on the gingerbread house.

Happy Boy!

Caroline got a recorder from Santa.  Thanks a lot Santa :)

Our gingerbread family
She was very proud of her house...and can't fathom why we didn't start eating it the second we were done decorating it.  It's going to kill her to see it sitting on our table.

Well, that was our Christmas Eve.  We had a great day together and can't wait to spend the next few days with dear family and friends.  Merry Christmas!


Well, to say that I have struggled this year with what to do with Santa would be an understatement.  You can't really get around talking about him, since he's everywhere (and pretty fun for little kids!), but I certainly don't want him to be the focus of Christmas around here.  So I have gone back and forth quite a bit.  But in the end we did get to see Santa A LOT!  Probably more than I would have chosen, but I am a pushover for a good picture.  What can I say.

Let's start with this picture...

This was Caroline (on the left) on her first Christmas sitting on Santa's (aka Grandpa) lap with her cousin Kaitrin.  She was petrified!  Caroline has since seen this picture (on our picture calendar) and has made the statement over and over again, "I'm not going to be scared this time.  That was just Grandpa.  I'll tell Jack he doesn't have to be scared."  So she was eager to prove to herself that Santa was in fact OK.

This was last year's picture with Santa (Grandpa).  She was ok as long as she had her baby with her :)

Our first chance to see Santa this year was when we were out at the mall on a weekday morning.  There was nobody else in line so I thought, well it doesn't get much easier than this.  Let's see how she does.

A little bit unsure, but trying to hold it together so that Jack will join her.

Jack kept his eyes on Mommy the whole time, but there was no screaming.

"Are you still there Mommy??  I think I've had enough now."

Grandma was hiding in the trees behind the real picture taking lady because we didn't want to pay $20 for mall Santa pictures.  I think she was discovered by Santa because he seems to be looking right at the camera. 

At this point he was asking her if she wanted to sit on his lap.  Still not so sure about him...but she was doing everything she could not to cry. :)

She made it!  Mostly because there was the promise of a candy cane.  This position was VERY short-lived, but she did a great job.

Our next Santa encounter was a Meijer.  Caroline, Jack and I were out shopping and ran into Santa in the holiday section of Meijer.  They were offering free pictures with Santa, so we couldn't pass that up.  Caroline wouldn't sit on his lap, but stood right next to him and wished him a Merry Christmas.  She did make sure that her cup was between her and Santa.  I don't have this one in digital form, sorry.  You'll just have to come over and see it on our fridge.

Today was another chance to see Santa.  We headed over to a mall near our house that has a great train set up.  We had brunch at a restaurant there and then headed in to see the train.  Santa was also there and Caroline was eager to see him again.  Here's a cute shot that we got of Caroline and Jack with him.  Just ignore the sweet rash he has on his cheek.

And then tonight as we were celebrating our family Christmas tonight (more on that in another post), Santa (aka Grandpa) made a surprise appearance at our house again.  Here's a video of Caroline talking to him when he came in.  The best though was when he asked her where he could find her cousin and she said, "She's at Grandma and Grandpa's house. Your house!"  She knew exactly who it was but apparently played along anyways :)

Caroline and Santa from Jenn Miedema on Vimeo.

So for not wanting to make this season too much about Santa, Caroline has sure managed to see him a lot.  I am glad though that she has no idea that he is supposed to be bringing her presents.  I think that she really just thinks he is a guy who comes around at the same time as Jesus' birthday.  I'm sure as she gets older she will have more questions, but for now I'm just glad she didn't break down into tears during any of her meetings.

Ernie and Singing

We have had some fun activities in anticipation of Christmas.  We were able to go to storytime at Barnes and Noble where Caroline's Grandma (who is also a ventriloquist and retired pre-school teacher) was doing a little show.  Caroline was beyond thrilled to participate as she is her Grandma's biggest fan.  She could be heard throughout the activity shouting, "Gwamma, Gwamma!" as there was always something that she needed to say right at that moment.  It was a bit hard for Grandma to be both teacher and Grandma, but she did a great job!  I didn't get any pictures of Ernie (her puppet/doll) unfortunately.  

Caroline also sang in church for the very first time.  I attend a Bible study at church once a week and while I am in my Bible study the kids are having a great time in their own "classes."  Caroline is only 2, but was moved up to the 3-year-old class this year because they wanted to even out the classes.  Because of that, she got to participate in the Christmas Program (which 2-year-olds do not get to participate in) and it was so much fun to watch.  Here is our singing star!

She really wanted to wear a dress that morning, knowing she was going to be "on stage" as she called it, but I was a bit nervous about that dress finding it's way above her head.  So we compromised with this cute Christmasy cape.  In the end this wasn't so great either since it made it hard to do her motions.  Oh well.  Live and learn.  She did great!  Here they are singing "Away in a Manger."

Away in a Manger from Jenn Miedema on Vimeo.

Here is "Come on Ring Those Bells!"  She got a little distracted by all those ringing bells :)

Come on Ring Those Bells! from Jenn Miedema on Vimeo.

And finally, their closing song, "Go Now in Peace"  Check out the boy next to Caroline.  He's hysterical :)

Go Now in Peace from Jenn Miedema on Vimeo.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Green Beans

I have a whole list of things I need to blog about, but haven't had time so for now until I have more time to write a proper blog post, I will leave you with a video.  This is Jack eating green beans for the first time.  He was NOT a fan.  Watch for the great face he makes about halfway through.  I have figured out that if I mix the green beans with some rice cereal he will eat them, but he won't touch them otherwise :) Funny boy!

Green Beans from Jenn Miedema on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Hanukkah - a little late

Well this post is a little late in coming, but again I was bad at taking pictures so I had to get them from my mom.

We headed to Chicago to celebrate Hanukkah with my family a couple weekends ago.  We had a great time playing dreidel, eating latkes, lighting the candles and sharing gifts.  It was really fun to watch Caroline get so excited about lighting the candles, saying the blessings and playing dreidel. She was also a HUGE fan of latkes. Here are a few pictures from our time celebrating Hanukkah.

Caroline made her own menorah using lifesavers and frosting. If you look closely you can even see a little frosting that made it's way into her mouth :)

Caroline had a great time playing dreidel with anyone and everyone.  Somehow she found a weighted dreidel and managed to spin gimel (a winning spin) just about every time.  This definitely brought out the competitive side in her, but she was always quick to share her winnings with anyone who ran out as long as she had a few to eat in the end.

We also had a great time baking Hanukkah cookies with Auntie Shawna and Nana.  Caroline's favorite part was rolling the dough and then gathering the dough that was leftover from cutting so she could roll it again.

Auntie Shawna showing her how to roll out the dough

Jack got in on the action too!

Caroline and Nana

I love this girl!

The boys!

You know she's concentrating hard when the tongue comes out.  I just hope she didn't drool on any of those cookies.

What's a cookie without some sprinkles.

We may have snuck a taste :)
Caroline and Jack also got lots of great presents (a trampoline, easel, movies, clothes, trucks, etc.) but again I'm bad with the camera so there are only movies of these - which take forever to upload.  So instead, I will leave you with a video of Caroline saying the blessing.  She did pretty good for a 2-year-old, a little camera shy and with crazy bed head from her nap, but we were pretty proud of her.   Better than her Uncle Tim, I hear :)

Hanukkah Blessing from Jenn Miedema on Vimeo.

Oh wait, I almost forgot...Jack decided to roll over for the first time while we were there and we actually caught it on video.  We didn't think he'd ever do it but he did.  Now we have to convince him not to roll over when he's supposed to be sleeping because it is keeping him from getting a good night of sleep/nap.  And to think we wanted him to do this...ahh, the joys of parenting.  Enjoy!

Jack rolls over from Jenn Miedema on Vimeo.

Meijer Gardens

 Scott made it home safely from Mexico and we have gotten to spend yesterday and today together which has been a lot of fun.  It's hard when he's gone, but he does a great job of making family time a priority when he comes home.  Caroline has been eating up time with Daddy and just stops playing at random times to give him a hug, just because she can.  Yesterday he had to go out and shovel the driveway and she had a complete meltdown because she didn't want him to leave.  He assured her that he was only going out to the driveway and that she could even come out with him if she wanted, but she still lost it.  I think she said something about needing Mommy AND Daddy.  She finally pulled it together and watched him from the window - probably watching to make sure he didn't leave our property.  It seems like his traveling  is getting harder on her the older she gets, but she also seems a lot more excited about the presents he brings home.  This time Scott brought her a piñata which she absolutely loved.

So today we all took a trip to Meijer Gardens.  Scott's sister Kim was also able to join us, which is a really nice treat since she isn't home in Grand Rapids very often as her many jobs take her all over from Connecticut to Minnesota to Montana and soon to Ohio.  We love having Auntie Kim around to play with.  Oh and we have Kim to thank for all of these pictures as I left our camera at home.  What kind of a mother am I anyways???

So here are a few picture from our time at Meijer Gardens today checking out the Christmas trees from around the world. 
Jack spent most of the time hanging out with his dog, Baby Oatmeal, in his car seat.  I think he will appreciate the trees more next year.

This was the tree from Mexico.  Caroline was very excited about this colorful tree, especially since Scott was just there and there were piñatas all over the tree.

Here is the Dutch tree. 

More of Jack doing what he does best, chillin'.

Caroline and Auntie Kim checking out the train (please ignore the terrible look on my face in the background- not sure what that was all about). 

So glad to have her home!

Caroline informing Daddy that the train, "makes me feel a little nervous."  She sure doesn't have trouble expressing her feelings.  She's a true girl :)

We had fun posing in this sleigh on our way out.  I think it's missing something though...

Oh, that's what it was missing - a reindeer!  Thanks Daddy!