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Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Dinner

The day after Christmas, known to us Canadians as Boxing Day, the family felt well enough (not well, but better) to give a go at Christmas Dinner.

This year we decided to start a new tradition. Steaks. Big steaks! And sauteed peppers with mushrooms. And oven roasted potato wedges. It was AWESOME!!

Then we topped it off with some ice cream.

Oh yes, we are DEFINATELY doing this every year!! YUM!

Oh, and check out the foam decorated houses at the end of our table. Kaylee did the big one. James did the gingerbread house on the left and Jagger did the Santa house on the right. Every year we go to Michaels before Christmas and get these for half price. Then we spend a whole afternoon putting them together. Luckily I had picked them up before we all got sick and it was great fun for the kids while we were keeping our germs quarantined.

Hope you all enjoyed your Christmas festivities to the fullest. I'm sure I'll be back in a few days to post pics of our New Years Eve. Can't wait!!

Santa Came to our House!!

We always do our stockings first. The kids hung them up in our entry hallway so that is where they opened them. It was soooo exciting!

I love Jagger's face in this picture. He is definately our most excitable child and he did NOT disappoint!

James does love his DS games!

A shooting game....oh, the joy!!

A Bakugan Battlefield...now we just need to learn the rules. Oh forget it...we'll make up our own!

Kaylee LOVES Guiness Books and was thrilled to receive one from her Nanny and Papa.

Kaylee and Daddy enjoying the Guiness Book. Unfortunately, Jim took his turn with the stomach flu in the early hours of Christmas morning and didn't get over it for 3 days (hence the look on his face and him laying on the couch in all of the Christmas pics!).

Oh no!! Our house is being invaded by Storm Troopers!!

It's just Jagger! Here he is defending his Star Wars tent from his Nanny and Papa in his Storm Trooper outfit from Mamaw and Papaw. Beware!!

And then we lost our Jimmy for the rest of the day. He made appearances throughout but never for very long. It was a very sad day not having him around! We even saved Christmas dinner for the next day...and a picture of it for the next post....

Merry Christmas everyone!!

Christmas Eve

Since Kaylee took her turn with the stomach bug in the early morning of Christmas Eve, we decided not to go to Christmas Eve service at church. Instead we read the story of Jesus' birth at home and then drove around the neighborhood looking at lights. Normally there are jammies all wrapped and waiting for us when we get home from service and luckily they were still delivered while we were out looking at lights (now if we could just figure out who puts them in our drawers...top contenders are Mrs. Claus or one of Santa's elves).

And here we are trying to get the perfect Christmas Eve Jammie Photo....





After pics we snuggled on the couch and watched the Christmas Story. Everyone had seen it before but me. It was awesome. I loved watching my husband laugh so much...he must have had a lot of memories going through his head because I didn't find it nearly as funny as he did. I really enjoyed how old fashion it was though. Very cute.
Once the movie was over (Jagger started in the middle of the movie) the kids began begging to go to bed so that Santa could come. We had cookies and carrots out and the kids were camped out in our bedroom by 8:30. We could hear them whispering and giggling for a while but they were all asleep by 9:15. And they didn't even wake up until 7!!
Then Santa came....but that will be another post.....

Mr. and Mrs. Claus

So, with all of us being sick over Christmas Break we never made it to the mall to see Santa. Luckily for us, Chick Fil A came to the rescue!! While I was taking my turn with the stomach bug, Mr. and Mrs. Claus visited our local Chick Fil A and Jimmy, being the awesomest daddy that he is, took the boys (Kaylee was feeling much too old for that sort of thing this year!!).

Now, it was done in "Daddy Style." There are no cute Christmas shirts on the boys and there is not a picture of them all together, but at least they saw the Big Man!!

Jagger was soooo excited for Christmas this year. Check out his silly face!
I love how Mr. and Mrs. Claus are leaning in to listen to his list. Gotta make sure they get it all on the list!!

James, always one for procrastinating, was still thinking of something to say that he wanted. That boy!!
Oh, looks like he thought of some stuff!!

What a fun idea....gotta love Chick Fil A!! The boys had a blast. And daddy got his tummy fed while mama was laid up in bed. Perfect night indeed!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Teacher Gifts and School Christmas Parties

I did a post back in September where I showed you how Kaylee and I took pictures of things at the park that looked like the letters of her name. We had so much fun doing the activity that we decided to do the same thing with Kaylee and James' teacher's names for their Christmas gifts and frame them.

Here is Ms. Madison's. Kaylee was so excited because Ms. Madison pulled her aside and told her that this was the most creative gift she had received as a teacher. Well, you couldn't wipe the smile off of my Kaylee's face all afternoon!!


And here is Mrs. Twiss'. There were two extra spots so we put in a picture of apples and a picture of pencils to make it all fit and give it that "teacher" quality. It was fun to see the teacher's have no idea why they were receiving frames of random things and then watch their smiles grow as the children showed them the letters. Very cool!


Here is Kaylee enjoying a SUPER-ICED cookie at her party.

And a picture of James and Jagger in their cool matching shirts at James' Christmas party.

I love school parties! The kids had a blast and lasted on their sugar high for a VERY LONG TIME!! It was a perfect way to end the year and start off Christmas vacation. Now we have 17 days to get refreshed before we go back in the New Year.

My Superheroes

Here are three of my favorite Superheroes showing off their moves....




Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Rare Insider Glimpse...

I don't often speak publicly about the issues I have faced having an adopted child and two biological children. I also don't speak about the issues that come with a child that spent the first year of his life in a hospital and an orphanage in a foreign country. Sometimes I feel like I will be judged. Sometimes I feel like it's James' story to be able to tell one day.

Then there are the seasons where all of the issues are so big that I can't see through them to the big picture anymore. I'm in one of those seasons right now. My heart is breaking for me and for my James.

I shared my deepest darkest fears with my friend Julie this morning. Her response was to ask me some tough questions and follow up with some serious friendship. Then she sent me this clip. I can see different people getting different things out of this. For some it will be about you and the work you do. For me though, it was as though God shouted something to me about my James. Watch first.

video

So what did God shout at me??

He told me that my James is a Cathedral. He is going to be so much more than I could ever imagine him to be. God is building him and all I have to do is love him and together we are building someone AWESOME!! James will be okay. And so will I.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Another Lost Tooth

For those of you that are friends with me on Facebook, this is a repeat. But he's soooo darn cute, how could I resist??

James lost his first top tooth. Third tooth overall. He really struggles with loose teeth. They make him nervous and he says they really hurt when he wiggles them. So, he likes to sit with me and work on it together. It can take hours!! And this one did!! He was so brave though and we never wiggled too much.

When the tooth finally came out he didn't know what he wanted to do. Go look at his smile? Look at his tooth? Swallow the blood or wipe it off? He gets a little freaked out by the whole experience. He was very excited after the initial shock though.

And he was thrilled this morning when he woke up to $2 under his pillow.


Such a big boy James!!

Festival of Lights Parade

On Saturday night we met up with our friends, the Essers, and went to the Parade. It was a chilly night but we managed to make it until Santa came!

I can't believe I don't have pics of the Essers but Matt is the one in the Santa hat off to the right of the picture.

This was my favorite decorated truck. They also had a truck pulling an old Tow Mater but I wasn't able to get the picture...booo!!

Afterwards we went for some New York style pizza at Anthony's. We had to wait half an hour for the pizza to come out so I decided to entertain the kids with the camera while all of the other adults got to chat. It was sooo much fun! Here are a few of our kooky pictures:

Those are Kaylee's chapped lips....I know....HORRIBLE!!



Christmas Carolers

So, this is a craft we found in the Family Fun magazine. I set Kaylee and her friend up and they sat around Sunday morning creating these. These are Kailoni's, Kaylee didn't like the way that hers turned out.

Instructions: All you do is paint toilet paper rolls whatever color. The faces are cut out of construction paper..faces drawn with Sharpie. Mittens are also cut out. Print one page of sheet music and cut out sections. The hats are old socks tied with a ribbon or string.

Perfect craft for 10 year olds. No help needed and takes up a lot of time!!


2009 Christmas Shirts

This year we had our friends, the Bainbridges, come over to do Christmas shirts with us. We set the kids up at the table with Hot Chocolate and then called them one by one into the shirt making studio (my kitchen). It was tons of fun and I can't wait to get pictures of all of the kids wearing their shirts!

All of the kids loved having their feet washed after the footprint. As soon as we would start to wash their feet they would say "ahhhhh." It was adorable! Alexia was first in line and the first to get the refreshing foot wash.

Jagger was such a big boy this year. I can tell how much he has grown as we go through some of our traditions. Things that he needed so much help from me for last year, he is practically doing on his own this year. It's sad to watch your baby grow so fast!

Kaylee really enjoyed doing her own shirt this year. You'll be able to tell hers apart from the others in the last picture. Talk about babies growing up..!!

Have I ever mentioned to you about the Bainbridge children having the most precious smiles?? Well, they do!! Check out Ryan having a good time getting his foot painted.

Mr. Bill showed up and was able to help me out with the more wiggly children. Yes, my James is definately in the more wiggly category!

Jonathon went last. He wasn't so sure about getting painted. He ended up loving it and proving that he is such a big boy!

And here are all of the shirts. The Bainbridges did short sleeve and my kiddos did the long sleeves. What a fun afternoon!!

Trimming the Tree

Every year my children get a new ornament to put on the tree. If they did something special (such as start school, play a sport, etc) then they get an ornament that reflects that. Some years though we just have a "personality" year....that means that nothing big took place so the kids just get something that suits their personality.

Kaylee got a peace sign...in turquoise. She is at the age where she writes peace on everything and turquoise is her favorite color.

James got an ornament that looks like a DS because he is the handheld game KING!!!

Jagger got a transformer ornament...he loves transformers.


And here is a picture of the tree decorated with the boys in front that Kaylee took.

Friday, December 11, 2009

My Kitchen Makeover Wish

So, I know I talk about all of the great savings I get with groceries, clothes and pretty much everything else. I'm also on the saving boat and refuse to buy anything that is not budgeted for.

However...it's not always easy.

Jimmy and I love to travel. And we love to remodel.

And I have an itch!

I love living in Colorado. And I really like my house. But I HATE (and yes, I mean to use that strong of a word!!) my kitchen. The layout is stupid...truly! However, I could deal with the layout if we could just update everything else. My cabinets look pink. It would be expensive to get all new cabinets because we have a ton. However, I'm scared that if we paint them then we it will make the kitchen seem cheaper somehow. I would love a deep chocolate brown...yum!

The floors are just a boring beige tile. What I miss most about my house in TX is the slate tile we had in our kitchen. It's not a very expensive tile, it looks awesome, it has the warm earthy tones I love...and it hides dirt!

My counters look like they walked out of the 80's and straight into my house. The edges are wood and you can see the finishing nails. I seriously thought the project hadn't been finished but no, it's the same counter and edges in the upstairs bathroom. Yuck!! I have a granite that we both love and it turns out that it's the same granite that is in our fireplace upstairs. It has beige and brown and black...totally yummy again.

And wouldn't it be nice to put some nice beige subway tiles as the backsplash??

So, my husband is out on the town with a friend tonight, my daughter is at a sleepover, my boys are off playing in their rooms....and I sit here dreaming.......

Monday, December 7, 2009

Christmas Shirt Instructions

One of our very favorite things to do in the Clinton house is to make Christmas Shirts. We started on Kaylee's 2nd Christmas (she was only a month old for her 1st Christmas....not enough time to come up with these great ideas!!) and we have not missed a year since. This year we sent Christmas Shirt kits to the three babies in our family, my niece, Jim's nephew and my great-niece. I hope they all have as much fun making them as we do!!

So, the instructions...

Put a plastic bag in the middle of the shirt. You don't want the paint to bleed through and end up on the back of the shirt too.

Use brown fabric paint. Pick a foot and paint the bottom of it. Make a footprint sort of in the middle of the shirt. Wash foot. (Really good idea to do this at bath time.)

Now it's time to paint the hands. Do one at a time...too messy with two painted hands!! Do the left hand and place it down for the right ear. Right hand becomes left ear.

If the child is old enough then they can trace the outline with the brown paint themselves (straight from the bottle, not with a brush, so that the line is slightly bubbled). If not, then mom or dad can do it for them. Use red paint to draw on Rudolph's nose (we've also used small red pompoms for older children) and use black paint to do the eyes (we've used googly eyes also but again, not safe for babies or toddlers).

Then you can use red, green and/or yellow to put any other decorations on. I always put the year somewhere on the shirt. Sometimes on the line of the reindeer, sometimes on the neck. I also did it once on the back of the shirt up at the top. You may want to put initials somewhere if you have more than one child or plan on having more than one child. Even though they may be different sizes now, in 5 years you won't be able to tell whose is whose anymore.

Here is Jagger's shirt from last year for an example:


Our kids always wear their spiffy shirts to Christmas parties at school and to get their pictures taken with Santa. Kaylee is 10 now and she is refusing to wear it to school but still enjoys the fun of making the shirt...especially now that she can do it all by herself!
Have tons of fun!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thanksgiving Feast

This was taken at Jagger's Thanksgiving Feast at school...new favorite pic of us!