Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Taryn's preschool Holiday Show

Taryn's preschool held a Cookie Exchange where the families would come and help each student tell about certain traditions they do with their families and share a special treat. We made Christmas Tree Bread! When I arrived at Taryn's class, they had started singing a song (juggling a toddler and two Christmas tree breads in the rain is not easy. I had to make multiple trips inside!) I could see her getting ready to sing another song. Right then, she spotted me and lit up with excitement! She sang loudly and began to jiggle her bells with more animation than before. It made me smile ear to ear, knowing she was happy to see me there. 

These two LOVE Christmas Tree Bread. I need to make it more than once a year. Each recipe makes two so it was perfect for the presentation and enough to save Tyson some later that day. My plan was to make another one for Christmas Eve but the stores were out of YEAST!!!! Wha??!!! I was really disappointed because I felt like I had finally mastered the softness of the bread (thanks to practice last year) and was going to perfect my tree branches - more cuts = beautiful thin branches. But alas, we will have to wait 'til next year….again….for it to be Smith perfect. 

One family brought meringue cookies with mini chocolate chips in them. Oh my goodness. They were amazing. I'm not the biggest fan of meringue but these were amazing!!

Haddie felt right at home at preschool. She loved sitting with the big kids, in their chairs, and playing with their toys. 

They even gave Haddie a candy cane too which she was totally excited about!

And this is the cutest little reindeer there ever was! I love her preschool and how they work so hard to make every day so great for these kids. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Little Princess Haddie

Haddie asks to wear her princess dress several times a day and adores her crown and princess shoes. When she's all dolled up, she calls herself Princess Sofia from Disney Junior. 

She does all her own poses. She LOVES the camera and knows how to ham it up for sure! I just sit there and giggle to myself. 

We love little Princess Haddie! Those goofy smiles and all!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Helping Hands in the kitchen

I was preparing rolls of Thanksgiving and the girls were eager to jump in and help. They "punched" the dough and used the roller to help shape the dough before cutting out the rolls. They were so delicate with the rolls and how they placed them on the baking sheet. Sometimes (always?) having help in the kitchen is stressful to me but I have to swollen my desire for perfection and swiftness and just let them learn and have fun. It's really fun to relax, give a few tips as the go, and watch them experience something that I love so very much.

I've been focused on their tiny hands lately. I've watch those chubby little fingers grab food, play with toys, read books and wrap themselves around my fingers. I know my girls won't stay little for long so I'm trying very hard to take mental pictures of this beautiful stage of life. I love watching Haddie try to hold multiple items in her hands. I want to jump in and help her juggle them but at the same time, I want to stand back because I am always amazed at how bright she is and the ways she thinks to redistribute the items to fit in her arms. Taryn has so much strength in her little hands. I love watching her grasp the bars at the park and then hang her body from them. And watching her grip the swings, preparing to jump off mid air. I'm amazed at what our bodies are capable of.

Taryn will often ask me questions like, "Mom, why did Jesus give us hands?" The explanation can be simple and followed by lots of "but why?" questions on her side. But it makes me think of the little things more, what seems to be common place for us but isn't for many. Just like the little Sunbeam/Nursery lessons, "I'm grateful for my hands" and for my body that is capable of so much. When I focus on the little aspects of life, it helps me to remember, almost pause time, and take in a greater gratitude for what we do have.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Frozen yogurt family date and 70 degrees in December?!!!

Because this past week it has been 70 degrees for multiple days, I wore shorts & sandals , and Christmas is next week, I thought it was appropriate to post about our Frozen yogurt family date a few months ago. when the weather is that awesome/weird, it has to be noted and I'm not going to be sad about missing out on a White Christmas. This just brings back memories of years in California & Arizona. 

While on our family date, Tyson asked us all to make silly faces for some pictures. I like his the best at the end. 

Long live the warm weather that makes it easy for me to get the girls outside (they're pretty happy we don't make them wear jackets right now) and al that Vitamin D that my skin is still loving, even in the middle of December. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Taking care of their little cousins

I have loved watching Taryn & Hadleigh love on their little coins these past 5 months. They want to make sure they have their bottles when they cry and Haddie is obsessed with making sure they have their pacifiers too. 
Taryn is quick to tell me or my sister Brittany that the babies are sticky or they spit up. she is very attentive. 
Taryn is also the best at making Braden and Cora laugh now that they are older. It's pretty hilarious to see what a big kick Taryn gets out of hearing them giggle or putting a funny hat on them. 
These are pictures from when they were newborns to just a few weeks ago.

Two "babies"

This picture was taken just a few weeks ago, when Braden & Cora were about 4.5 months old. I know Cora doesn't look happy but she was a little sick and grumpy. I promise they love all the attention their cousins give them!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015 with the Haley's

This was one of the yummiest Thanksgiving dinners ever! We told the Haley's that they did a great job at picking the guests who could really cook! This is a picture of Tyson's plate and mine was just as full and delicious. The day was just fantastic. 

Tuesday before Thanskgiving
I spent Tuesday running to 4 different stores for grocery shopping, going to gymnastics, and locking my keys in my truck. Ya- that was a special moment. Thankfully I have amazing friends who ALWAYS save the day for me. Im grateful that Taryn takes gymnastics with her little friend Ethan because I was able to use his wonderful mama's car (thank you SO MUCH Lindsey!) and drive it all the way to Dupout Circle (20 min away) to pick up our 2nd set of house/car keys from Tyson at work. Luckily it all worked out that I just missed her gymnastics class and met them at the park across the street 10 minutes after it ended. That meant I could pick up right where I left off and continue on our busy shopping day. I felt like such a crazy person but thankfully I was really calm about the whole situation and I can't tell you how thankful I am for Lindsey (and ALL my friends) who constantly save the day for me and my kiddos. (like- fruit snacks, magic clip princesses etc…just to name a few)

It was my last night of work for the week and we baked so many pies! Pumpkin pumpkin pumpkin! A Lots of apple too and a few cakes as well. I always feel so accomplished when by the end of the night, I can see all the work we've done. The fruits of our labor : 

Wednesday before Thanksgiving

This was my personal baking/ cooking day. As you can tell, I can't turn my back and focus on another dish for a second! There is always a "helping hand" not far from my mise en place. The girls really do love to help so we had a fun time (and a little bit of stress) figuring out what they could do to help. I love explaining the process of cooking/baking to them with every recipe. 

I sent this photo to my siblings after they sent out their "Thanksgiving Day" festivities. There wasn't a shooting range for us or breakfast burritos but there was a lot of great food and wonderful friends and LOTS of fun!

The kids table. Oh how I love the kids table. 

The best cooking crew ever. 

And the best Turkey hunters ever. Chris & Billy set up a Turkey hunt around the house. The kids shot nerd guns at the paper turkeys and found eggs with candy hidden inside. It was the best activity to do right after dinner. It got all of us out and walking around, making tons of room for pie!!! It was such a cute idea!

The weather was fantastic and the fall colors were still around. 
Thanks Lynne and Chris for hosting a wonderful Thanksgiving. They heard we had changed our plans last minute and insisted we join them. I'm so glad I smashed down my feelings of being a burden and just said yes (after a lot of convincing from Lynne & Tyson) because it was so much. I knew it would be but I am always worried about being a burden. This isn't the first Thanksgiving where are plans altered last minute and we joined someone else's Thanksgiving. We're grateful for amazing people who are happy to take us in last minute :) 

Friday after Thanksgiving

We took the girls to see "The Good Dinosaur." If any of you have seen Taryn in person, you know that the character Spot was surely modeled after Taryn. It wasn't our favorite movie ever but Spot reminded us so much of Taryn! We're glad we saw it and so was Taryn. 

Haddie was asking every day during the week of Thanksgiving if it was time for "Tismas tee whites?" When we told her on Friday morning that we were going to put up our Christmas decorations and the tree at night, she got so excited and said, "Tismas tee whites, TODAY?!" Then she would jump all of 1 inch off the ground over and over and say "yay!" Haddie loves Christmas lights and points them out every time we drive at night. I love her little jump that she does to show her excitement 

The Fall colors have almost completely disappeared so when I saw these beautiful trees on my run I wanted to take it all in for probably the last time this Fall. 

Saturday after Thanksgiving

We saw the Old Town Alexandria's Christmas tree and walked around window shopping. Old Town is such a fun place even though it gets pretty crowded. 

We ended our night in Old Town with sharing some Pops Old Fashioned ice cream. 
Thanksgiving weekend went by so quickly but it was so great. I loved that Tyson had Friday off so we could do more together as a family. 
We're very grateful for family and friends who make celebrating holidays even better.