Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas from The House of Des!
We hope the holiday season finds you healthy, wealthy and warm!
It was a brown Christmas here in Chilly-Minne. Not that anybody noticed...all we could see for miles and miles was Cars. Cars, Cars 2, Mater's Tall Tales, Lightning McQueen shoes, Lightning McQueen pajamas, Tow Mater matchbox cars and Cars Playdoh.
Richard decided not to buy Vikings season tickets this year, after Brett Favre (verily, verily) retired and he grieved not being at the Metrodome on Sunday afternoons...until we realized we would just be grieving if we were there, anyway, what with their dismal season and all... He has since turned his attention to Tim Tebow and enjoys tuning into a Packer game every now and then. He tore down and rebuilt our deck this summer and helped me plant a beautiful vegetable garden. Never have there been more cucumbers or tomatoes for one small family. Rich enjoys playing pick-up hockey on a fairly regular basis works hard from his office in our basement.
Erin has discovered the joy of Zumba and has lost over fifteen pounds since September. Now that the children are no longer hanging from her body (literally), she has rediscovered the joy of reading, writing and the occasional alcoholic beverage. She turned the Big Three-Oh this year and has grown leaps and bounds in the arena of "not caring what you think about her." She thinks this comes with age. In 2011, she had the opportunity to emcee two events at her church and longs for more opportunities to hold a microphone in front of large groups of people! (The POWER! Oh, the POWER!) She maintains her status as Media Maven (self-titled) and makes people laugh on a regular basis on Facebook (or so she is told).
Shirley Jean started preschool this year and loves every. single. minute. Shirley's vocabulary has grown exponentially in the last year and she has not stopped talking in approximately seven hundred years. She loves "danleen" dance class, Mater, princesses and her favorite color is purple. Her best friends are her Dad, her "buddyPedro," and Button, who we think is a horse. She is starting to listen and pay attention when we talk about God and Jesus, and loves praying for her family and friends.
BabyRichard (which is what we all call him...we did NOT think this through) is a healthy, happy, hungry boy. He is also very vocal. And by vocal I mean, he is VERY LOUD! He wakes up very slow in the morning and by the time he is cheerful, it's time for naps! He is a lot like his mama in this way... He is starting to talk more and more every day and is growing by inches daily. (I swear!) He has grown a very nice mullet that I just can't bear to cut off quite yet. He will just have to have "hockey hair" for a little while longer.
Pedro turned six this year and grows more neurotic by the minute. Kitty is between eight and ten years old and grows less interested in humans every day. We figure our mammal pets have approximately ten years left with our family. But who's counting?
It was a tough year for fish in The House of Des. Our beloved Fishmael died after living in our care for nine months. We replaced him with Nemo, Pinta and Santa Maria, who all died within twelve hours of coming to live with us. We replaced them with Boring, Stirling and Ming. Only Stirling and Ming remain. I maintain my innocence. Their deaths are not on my hands, but on the City of Roseville. May they rest in peace.
And that about brings 2011 to a close for us. We hope the Christmas season and the New Year bring you much joy and contentment in the Lord--who is real and alive!
Blessings to you all from our house to yours!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Nice one.

Today for our Advent gift, I got Shirley and Richard cat chase toys that have a fish attached to a string, which is attached to a pole. They look an awful lot like fishing poles and my children were thrilled.
They also look an awful lot like a torture device after an hour or so of having them whipped around the living room.
Good thinking, Mommy.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Santa and Jesus

Erin: It's fun to talk about Santa, isn't it?
Shirley: YEAH!
E: Does Santa bring toys to good or bad children?
SJ: Only GOOD kids.
E: What happens if you are naughty?
SJ: [silence.]
E: Do naughty kids get toys?
SJ: Nooooo.
E: You know what's special about Jesus?
SJ: He's REAL!
E: Yeah! He's real! And you know what else? You don't have to be good to receive his gifts! Jesus gives his gift to anyone who wants it.
SJ: Ok, Mom.

-a few minutes later-

SJ: Mom? What about reindeer?

Monday, December 05, 2011

Advent Calendar

After perusing some friend's blogs and thinking about it, I decided to create an Advent Garland for our children. I set out to put it together the other night. I prayed that through this fun experience, my children would learn something about Jesus.

I picked up treat bags, tissue paper, a package of cardboard gift tags and some pretty ribbon.
I also picked out some chocolatey treats and a couple $1 gifts.
I picked out a font that I liked on my computer and typed out the numbers 1-24, so I would have something to draw from while I numbered the tags.

There were enough tags left over that I could re-make the ones I didn't like. You can see my "boo-boos" on the top right.
Treat bag #1 has peppermint kisses inside!

It occurred to me about half way through to put one member of our manger scene in each bag. Shirley LOVES opening up a bag to see who is inside. She knew right away that they were coming to see Jesus! Of course, baby Jesus is in the last bag. :)

The final product isn't quite as cute as I had hoped, but it isn't hanging quite right because the last ten (or so) bags don't have treats in them yet.
This is what it looks like this morning.

So far, the garland is a huge hit. Shirley loves it, and Richard loves anything his sister loves. As a side note, next year, I might not put so much chocolate in the bags...or set a precident of opening the bags after or before dinner, otherwise your morning starts out with kids all hopped up on chocolate. I thought about putting something else in there, but putting Cheerios in Advent bags just seems a little anti-climactic.
Also, waiting until tomorrow to open another bag is basically torture for my three-year-old. I knew it would be, so I'm glad I hung the garland WAY out of anyone's reach.
More than anything, this garland gives us a way to talk about Christmas and what it means. So far, so good!