Friday, December 24, 2010

The Man in Red

Those of you who received Christmas cards from us this year might wonder why we did not use this fun photo as our holiday shot. Had this photo been taken earlier in the season it would have been in the running for sure but unfortunately I had already ordered cards when this opportunity presented itself.

Now that it is Christmas Eve and we are on finally on the last day of our advent calendar...the day where Amelia (the even number girl) gets to move the snowflake to the 24th while Natalie (the odd number girl) watches. The same day that every kid we know has been waiting for.
Well, we thought it would be fun to share the story behind this photo.

As seen in the previous post we have a tradition of cutting down our own christmas tree. At the tree farm in addition to tromping through the trees the kids get to enjoy farm animals, a fabulous train set in the gift shop, and of course opportunities to pose for fun photos. Every year there is one activity at the farm that out kids choose to skip....sitting on Santa's lap. In both our families photos with Santa were never on the holiday to do list and something that we have not even considered for our own kids. So when we see various Santas throughout the season our kids well...they have absolutely no interest in seeing him, talking to him and no way are the ever going to sit on his lap. To be honest...they are afraid of him. Not in a run crying and screaming kind of way...just in the wary and watching him from afar kind of way.

Right before we were leaving from the farm I saw a wooden sleigh set up for photo opportunities and thought we should get one more shot. With the bribe of a treat in the car on the way home the kids happily obliged. While loading the sleigh Natalie (in yellow) gave Santa a wary look. I saw this and to speed the photo along looked her in the eye and said,

"Natalie, Santa is not coming over here, He will stay in his chair...I promise".

Amelia of course hearing me say this was instantly relieved and boarded the sleigh. I had no reason to believe that Santa would leave his green Adirondack chair which you can most likely see in the background of the photo.

Like a good Mom I stood off to the side next to Amelia (in green) so that I could catch Sam if he started sliding off the bench. I was not too far away and worked hard to stay out of the shot.
As I was poised to rescue Sam if needed and Mike was snapping away I saw red out of the corner of my eye.

In horror I thought, "Oh no this Santa is going to make a liar of me. I promised Natalie!"
I was also envisioning crying, screaming and jumping from the sleigh.
A bit dramatic but in truth what I thought at the time.

Mike kept snapping pictures and I avoided drawing any attention to the fact that Santa was near...very very near. And as fast as Santa was in place he was gone...back in his chair all safe and sound. As Natalie stood up from her sleigh seat and peered back at Santa to make sure he was still where he should be I smiled a sigh of relief...wondering..just wondering if it had really just happened. Would we actually get a photo with our kids and Santa?

Mike was furiously scrolling through the shots on the camera while I placed our kids back on the ground. I waited and saw the smile come across his face knowing that we had it... the Santa photo! And it was all done without the kids ever knowing he was there.
So, a great family time at the tree farm ended with a fun surprise.

We quietly chatted in the car home wondering how we should unveil this secret to the girls. In the end we decided to order a few special photo holiday cards for family and have Natalie and Amelia sign them. A few weeks later when the cards arrived Mike and I could not wait to show the girls and see their reaction.

Knowing that they were signing special cards for grandparents and family the girls sat anxiously waiting with pens in hand. With Mike watching I sat down in front of them and said,
"These are special cards girls with a special photo so write your name really nice please."

Both Natalie and Amelia were bouncing in anticipation as I slowly pulled the card out of the envelope and showed them.

The looks on their faces were priceless and almost simultaneously they exclaimed,
Their shocked faces were peering at Mike and I unbelieving at what they saw before them.

Thinking to jog their memory I asked, "Where are we in this picture?"

A long pause and then Amelia smiled and said sincerely, "The North Pole?"

Natalie looked at her incredulously while she replied, "The Christmas Tree farm"

Many moments went by where we watched the memories and emotions travel across the girl's faces. As parents we savored the moment of awe for them. The silence was finally broken as with amazed looks on their faces Amelia spoke up and asked, "How did this happen?"

Looking at each other all Mike and I could do is smile and say,
"It's the magic of Santa. It's the magic of Santa."

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Hunt

Last Saturday we spent our morning hunting for the perfect tree.
For those of you who know me well you know that Christmas is my favorite time of year.
This has nothing to do with all the holiday gifts and goodies but instead with all the decorations.
There is just something about twinkling lights and the smell of a tree that bring joy to my spirit.

The hunt went well and the girls were troopers.
They followed the leader (me) waiting until I found the perfect tree.

For Sam since he does not walk well in snow we were smart parents and brought a sled.
Too bad he did not want to ride in it.
I paid the price.
My arms hurt for two days after that.
It must be a sign that I am getting old.

let the hunt begin

still looking...Mom is picky

Amelia smiling in the sunshine

Sammy happy because he escaped the sled

finally in front of our real tree

classic sleds

good family photo

too bad I already ordered the
Christmas cards ; )

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


The first glorious batch arrived about 10 days ago. The second batch was in the form of freezing rain in the past week. The third batch...well it is scheduled to start today and continue into Thanksgiving tomorrow. Thankfully we do not have too far to travel for our turkey day festivities.

The Saturday that the first snow fell I saw in the girls all the joy and excitement that kids have when they go to bed with green grass and wake up to a world of white. They could not wait to get out and play. Sam was just as excited as he is NEVER to be left out of the me he will let you know how he feels about being left behind. So I bundled him up and took him out to experience the fun of Minnesota snow.

I think the photos may indicate a change of his mind in the future! : )

Shoveling the lawn

Emily their snowGIRL!

Natalie hiding out

Preparing to defend their fort

Launching defensive weapons

Natalie planning her strategy

Sam making Mom be his Sherpa

How Sam really feels about snow

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sunday Smiles

Today was yet another beautiful fall day that we could not let pass by.
Family fun and Sunday smiles at the nearby playground.


Slide climbing Amelia

Serious Sammy

Swinging Natalie

Sam and Natalie

Sam and Amelia


Sliding Siblings

Sunday Smiles

Monday, November 1, 2010

From pumpkin carving to trick-or-treating

Life is crazy around here with three little kids pumped up on sugar.
Getting to a computer to record the funny things the kids say is getting harder everyday.
Please forgive me for the sporadic posts.
I would like to think life will die down and I will get back into the flow of things.
Though with the major holidays around the corner I am not so sure that is going to happen. : )

Enjoy the following pictures from the past weekend.

Natalie and Amelia


The kids

Mike carving with power tools

The finished product



and our little monkey Sam

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Little Green Bucket

Sam has new favorite thing to carry around the house
some kids carry beloved stuffed animals
other kids are connected to their favorite special blanket

Sam would prefer his little green bucket
the bucket usually kept on his dresser
the green bucket that perfectly matches his room
the little green bucket purchased to help keep little things in their place

I will say that he does not sleep with his bucket
however he is attached to its contents

I have thought of moving the little green bucket
but can't bring myself to do it as he so loves having it close at hand
and to be honest I don't mind the sound of pacifiers hitting the bottom
it is a tool I use to keep track of this very mobile little boy : )

Monday, September 20, 2010

Apple Picking

The annual trip to the orchard took place last weekend.
This year was so different with Sam mobile and eager to run everywhere.
Here are some of our favorite shots!

Amelia, Natalie and Sam

searching for the right ones

Amelia having a snack

Sam looking for worm holes

Amelia and Natalie posing for Dad

Natalie hiding in the hay bale maze

checking out the goats

And my personal favorite...
Natalie deciding she doesn't like skin after all!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Another Year

Another summer has come to an end and with that Mike turns a year older
and I take the traditional first day of school photo.
From kindergarten to senior year I always posed upon request for my Mom on the first day.
I started the tradition again once I had kids
and now I no longer am wearing the new shoes and well thought-out outfit.
I now just wear the
welcoming-I-am-fun-loving-this-is going-to be-a-good-year-
middle school teacher attire.

So as I am exhausted after the first day of school
I will just leave you with a few photos from then and now
For those of you parents and non-teachers out there
the first day ranks at the top of the most tiresome days along with
the day before winter break, spring break and the last day of school.

The good thing about the first day is teachers still have some energy to spare. : )

Mike's 33rd birthday

Mike's 34th Birthday

First Day 2009

First Day 2010

Hopefully it is only the kids that look older in these pictures.
If you disagree..please...please don't ever tell us.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sprinkler Fun

The girls love playing and spraying with their little sprinkler.
They love to bend, twist, pull and aim their sprinkler at anything in firing range.

With all this use and abuse I am not sure it will last until next summer.
But at ten dollars maybe...just maybe...
I could invest in a new one for next year. : )

Sam...well he prefers the quiet and reflective
water play outside of the sprinkler blast zone.

Something tells me that next summer he will be waging a
sprinkler war against his sisters.