I would be the last person you would hear complain that we didn't have snow for Christmas. And truth be told if Brandon said hey Hun I got a job in Florida and were moving, I would be totally ok with it minus the leaving our friends and family I would not miss the weather here in Iowa one bit!! The last few winters have been enough to about driving me crazy (or Brandon would tell you that yes I am indeed crazy!) But this year has been great almost nice enough that I would consider staying in Iowa :)
Dec. 29th almost 50 degrees, no wind and we played and played outside!!!
Teagan actually said "It's hot out mom!" Lol she would have been in shorts and a T-shirt if I would have let her.
I love Christmas Eve service, it is always one of my most favorite services. I love the candle lights and I'm really thankful our church takes the risk and has real candles :) Even though Teagan burned her hair last year, this year was a success. This year I had the privilege to be a part of the Christmas Eve service with my praise team that lead worship. It was amazing being up front singing and seeing everyone in their pews holding their candles and reflecting the real reason for the season......Jesus. We had a wonderful evening and Brandon was able to handle all 3 girls during the service since I was up front.
I tried really hard to get a picture of all 3 girls in their pretty dresses for our Christmas Eve service at church and this is what I got, this........
And gee doesn't this look familiar this...............
So I gave up and went the easy route and got these 3 beautiful girls
First I have to be honest and admit I stole this idea from my friend Marissa :)
We always get new pj's for Christmas Eve. Which is a Sowers tradition that we have carried on to our kids. This year we got pj's a day early and went to see Santa and drive around to look at Christmas lights in pj's.
Getting our new jammies :)
My 3 sweet little girls
They didn't care too much for Santa......
But Teagan decided the Elf seemed ok :)
And Santa let her wear his hat.....ho, ho, ho
Maybe next year one of my girls will sit on Santa's lap.....haha oh well it's just fun.
I love being able to make memories with my girls, and I hope they remember making sugar cookies every year like I remember the memories of eating (oops I mean making) sugar cookies with my mom. It wasn't until I had my own kids I realized how unbelievably stressful it is to make sugar cookies with kids!!! But I learned this year and it made it much easier. First I made the dough a head of time, then I divided two balls for each girl to have and they each got about 4 cookies to cut and frost out of their balls. Then I made the rest on my own :) Win win situation!
I love going to little kids Christmas programs they are so fun to watch and the youngest ones are always so cute up there on stage either singing, dancing, crying, shouting, waving, doesn't matter they are still cute. Since they are so fun I was so excited to watch both Teagan and Harper in their first Christmas program, we invited the grandparents and got new Christmas dresses everything was going to be perfect. I imagined that both my daughters would sit up their and perfectly sing and dance and be cute. As It turned out it wasn't as I imagined (Shocking!) but the girls were still pretty darn cute and they did pretty good when they were suppose to be singing and doing the motions however, when it came time to sit and listen they squirmed, they giggled, they pulled cotton off their sheep hats, and they were wrestling and playing games with each other. I sat in the pew trying to get their attention to tell them to behave but both the teachers and I had a hard time to not just laugh at them!!
I absolutely love Christmas time, I really do think it is one of the best times of the year! Christmas is full of family traditions that I will never forget. I have already shared one tradition of cutting down our Christmas tree and now I would like to share another tradition Our Family Christmas Stockings.
I'm pretty well convinced that our family has the best Christmas stockings ever. They are the perfect size, they are personalized, and they are specially made by my Grandma. I can't even tell you how many Christmas stockings my Grandma has made, I wonder if she has kept track?? But if you are part of the Woehl Family you have a personalized knitted stocking made by my Grandma. And I mean everyone all of my Grandma's children, her grandchildren, and great grandchildren, My Grandma's nieces, and nephews, and their kids, and so on. It's pretty neat to think about my mom's cousins even family I don't see very often we all have a connection of sharing the same Christmas stocking. One of my Mom's cousins even wrote a story a few years back in his companies book about how special his stocking was to him. It makes me smile to think of how many people's lives my Grandma has touched just by something that seems so simple a Christmas stocking that is now a family tradition.
Here is my first and only Christmas stocking that is 27 years old :)
Our family's stockings all lined up on the fireplace...................
I just love it!!! Thank you Grandma, We love you :)
Some of my best memories of Christmas are waking up in the morning and at the time running to the stairs of our house where our stockings hung and opening the gifts from Santa. My parents always had the rule we could open our stockings but had to wait until everyone was awake to open the rest of our gifts. Our stockings were filled with peanuts, an orange, underwear, socks, and candy :) It's kind of funny to think now that when I was opening my stocking as a little girl it was probably 6 o'clock in the morning.....The one day out of the year I would consider myself an early riser :)
Meet Markle, he is our elf on a shelf. Markle comes to our house after Thanksgiving and he is Santa's helper. Markle goes back to the north pole each night and reports to Santa how the girls have been. Lately I'm sure the report has not been good.....Markle has been in the playroom the past couple of days in different locations but he has witnessed a list of naughty things: Little girls not sharing, temper tantrums, toys not being picked up, and girls who don't always listen to their parents on the first time :(
I remind the girls through out the day that Markle is watching and they instantly stop what they are doing in fear Markle will go tell Santa. Most kids know that Santa has a naughty and a nice list, Most kids believe that if you are naughty Santa will bring you coal in your stockings,Most Kids believe in SANTA.
But I worry do most kids believe in God?? I remind the girls when we talk about Markle he only comes once a year to watch the girls but God, he's watching us all the time. God knows whats in our hearts and whether we have been naughty or nice all the time.
So the question is.....Is it ok to believe in Santa?
This becomes a very controversial topic among Christians. It's also a topic I never really thought about until I had kids, and really I didn't even know that it was that controversial until I became a parent and talked to other parents some who have Santa and some who don't.
I get it, I really do I see why some choose not to have Santa but do I think it is a sin or wrong to have Santa.....NO! Do we have Santa at our house...Yep! Are my kids going to believe in Santa when they are 20..NO! Are my kids going to believe in God when they are 20....I pray everyday that they do!!
I think every family has to decide for themselves and remember that if they feel convicted to have or not have Santa that it's their conviction....doesn't neccessiarily have to be somebody else's conviction too.
We have a book that I just absolutely love to read the to the girls it's called "What is Christmas?" by Michelle Medlock Adams. It talks about how all the presents, christmas plays, santa, food, trees and lights, its all very nice but the real reason we celebrate is because of Jesus Christ.
So as we celebrate and have fun we remember the birth of Jesus.
11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
First of all I have to say I am so thankful for the awesome family that God has blessed me with! I have a wonderful husband who is a great daddy to our 3 lil' girls.
I am also thankful for pinterest.....I know sounds lame....but seriously I feel like it has made me a better mom because I have found so many cool ideas to do with the girls. One blog I found has a lot of great preschool ideas and this week we used their "thanksgiving theme" preschool packet. http://www.http//homeschoolcreations.com/PrintablePacks.html
Both girls loved coloring turkey's this week. This was our color by numbers activity......
Then we sorted Turkey sizes.....
Teagan working on her writing skills....she is so serious!!
Proud mom moment....Teagan colored me a turkey and then wrote my name....I didn't even have to tell her how to spell it!! I thought it was pretty cool....then she spent the rest of the week writing my name because she could see how excited I was...Too Cute :)
Friday night we enjoyed the parade and courthouse lighting in Newton with my parents........
Blakely enjoyed plenty of desserts this week :)
And to finish off our week we cut down our Christmas tree and decorated it............WOW!!! What a busy week we had and that is just the start of the busy holiday season!! Love it though!! :)
Last night I had the weirdest dream and it hit me at like 4 am. I'm writing this post more for my own reminder and journal but it might help others too.
Ok so in my dream I had this brilliant idea about teaching the girls about snowflakes and how each snowflake is created by God and has it's own design. My idea was to put all kinds of different white socks into a basket and show the girls how the socks have a lot of similarities but every sock has something different about it that makes it unique. In my dream I thought this would be so easy because Brandon's socks all have at least one hole in them. (Yes I'm willing to buy Brandon new socks, but he refuses to let me throw the old ones away and continues to wear the ones with holes...) Anyways in my dream I had it all planned out and I just thought that it was one of my best ideas ever for the activity for today. So still in my dream I call my mom and I tell her all about my idea and how excited I was and I thought it was seriously the best idea ever and really I was calling my mom looking for her approval and for her to tell me just what a wonderful idea it was........and that's not what happened. My mom told me how stupid I was and it was the dumbest idea she had ever heard and that was not the best way to teach the girls about snowflakes. (Remember this is just a dream) I was so heartbroken that my mom didn't give me the praise that I wanted so bad.
This is when I woke up, I look at the clock and its 4 am and that's when I felt like I had this serious heart to heart with God....... There are times when I know my girls come to me with these great ideas that they think are just the most wonderful ideas and what they want so bad is for me to praise them and give them the approval they are looking for on this wonderful idea. I know that there are times especially in my busy day that I just respond to the girls as if their ideas are stupid or that they don't matter because they are young and don't know whats best. I need to practice patience with the girls, to not get annoyed when their ideas are different then my own. To let them know how much I love them and give them the approval and praise they are looking for from their mom.
Anyways that's my seriousness for the day and something I will strive to be better at! I know I won't be the perfect mom but I hope I get better everyday!!
One of my favorite family traditions growing up as a kid was going to the Christmas tree farm every year and picking out the perfect tree and then watch my dad cut it down. I have a lot of good memories taking the old station wagon and having the perfect tree on top :) I also remember times of my brother pushing me into trees and snow piles....like I said great memories!
Brandon and I have choose to continue this tradition with our kids evidently minus the brother thing :) We have found a very cute tree farm just south of us that is little but perfect size for our family. This year we were able to go out early and tag our tree that we want and then we will go back on a later date to cut it down.
We found the perfect tree for Christmas!!
And look how much these two little girls love each other :)
After our hunt we went for a Sunday drive while all 3 girls slept in the truck and I got to spend time just looking around at the beautiful country and talking to my husband!
Brandon's Family was here to celebrate Blakely's 1st birthday! It is hard to believe that she is already 1, it really does go fast. Blakely's official birthday is Friday, November 25th but she got to have her birthday cake early :)
Can I really eat this mom??.........
Look at all those rolls :)........
Hey I think I will even use my foot......
I can even sit on my cake!!!!!!!!
The finished product.....YUMMY who wants some cake??
Blakely or "Blake" as we call her at one already shows a lot of determination. She will not put up with her sisters taking anything from her and she can hold her own!! She is a total mommy's girl, loves to be held (and of course it has to be a certain way), and while the first 3-4 months were rough she is now a pretty happy little girl.
A special thanks to a few special people.....
Marissa: You are an amazing friend thank you so much for helping clean and get ready for the big day!!
Andrea: Thank you so much again for making the cake it was amazing!!
Butch and Brenda A.K.A Grandpa and Grandma Sowers: Thank you for all the food you brought up for the Thanksgiving dinner.
And thank you to everyone who came to help celebrate the big day. It turned out to be a wonderful party and it was so fun to see all 5 of the sowers granddaughters play :)