Wednesday, December 23, 2009

{merry christmas 2009}

(Click to enlarge)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Sunday, December 20, 2009

{Gingerbread Houses and Christmas Traditions}

We almost skipped our annual tradition of making gingerbread houses....just too much going on and tons of parties (basketball, school, church, work, preschool, primary....). 'Tis the season to be crazy busy. But, I picked up two kits at Costco on Wednesday and we stayed up late on Saturday night to get them done. Carson did his almost entirely by himself this year. And, both Addy and Car, in their usual fashion, probably ate more candy than what made it onto their houses. Anyway it wouldn't be Christmas without these little houses in my kitchen...

We watched 'Home Alone' even later that night....and this is Ry with his classic 'Home Alone' face!

Aren't Christmas traditions the best? My kids especially look forward to a couple things each year....

Stockings! Going at least 3 generations strong...we sew a bell on your stocking for each Christmas you have celebrated. And since there are way too many for Trevor and I...we have bells numbering the Christmases we have spent together.

Christmas dishes and decor. My mom always decked the halls in serious fashion. She still spends the better part of a week getting the house all Christmasy. So I love doing that in my own home too. I have collected quite a few things over the years and was so thrilled a few years ago when I got my own set of Christmas dishes. The kids can't wait each year for Dad to get the boxes out of the garage with all our Christmas gear. I never thought they would love it as much as they do...but some lights, garland, and decorations galore add a lot of delight around here...And, it makes my house feel so bare when it all goes back to the garage in January.
Advent calendars. This is my favorite one, but we have 3 in the house. The kids know exactly which day is their turn to put up the new ornament.

Ornaments for the tree. The kids pick out one each year. And, we usually pick one up on special vacations too. My mom gave me all my ornaments from my childhood when I got married, and I want to do the same for my kids. Some of my favorite ornaments are ones I remember picking out or making as a child.

Here is Carson's this year:

And Ry's.

Christmas books! I buy a Christmas book each year (sometimes after Christmas on clearance). We have quite the collection now and the kids love to read these at night before bed.

New tradition for 2009: Elf on a Shelf. My mom gave us this darling book and elf this year shortly after is a fantastic story about an elf that your family adopts. He watches your behavior during the day (but can't talk to you) and then visits the North Pole at night to give Santa a report. He comes back and finds a different spot in your house to watch you the next day. You can whisper your Christmas wishes to the little elf too. My kids have loved our elf (aka "Charlie"). They can't wait to find him each morning.

We also have lots of traditions on Christmas and Christmas Eve too (coming soon!).
What are your favorite Christmas traditions?

Friday, December 18, 2009

{The Finished Product}

Here is our fresh cut tree all lit up and decorated. I had to document the finished product with all those little twinkling lights strung by yours truly....which is my least favorite job of Christmas decorating and almost, just almost, makes me want a pre-lit artificial tree. Good thing I've had quite a few years of practice now. I think I have 15 strands on there...and no, not connected end to end...that blows a fuse in one of the strands (been there, done that). Up and down each branch ...winding in a skilled fashion so the cord doesn't show. With green, pine-smelling fingers lingering for a day or two. But, I love it makes me so happy!

The kids decorated most if it all by themselves. It is crammed with childhood ornaments (even one I made as a Sunbeam!) and bunches we have collected over the last 11 years together. Each one of the kids has their own little collection too. It really is full of memories...and that is the best kind of tree to me! Now it is just trying to keep Rylan from pulling the whole thing over. He enjoys pulling off all the ornaments and transferring them to some other spot in the room like it is his little job or something. It's so fun trying to imagine how he might see this ginormous, magical, sparkly tree in our family room. It's amazing to see even our little guy's excitement about something seemingly normal to the rest of us now.

Now to finishing up the shopping/wrapping of the presents to go under it!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

{Here Comes Santa Claus}

Just 12 more days! Carson is sure the Santa Claus we saw at the mall was the real Santa Claus because his beard is real! I am so happy to have three little Believers in the house. We have 3 advent calendars going, lots of activities left to do, many gifts to buy and wrap...busy, but loving this time of year. And we hope you are too!
(Please know that it practically killed my Type A personality to let the kids get their pictures taken in these outfits...we came straight from Carson's basketball game, hence the shorts on a freezing afternoon, and Addy insisted on doing (aka not doing) her own hair. I decided not to pick this battle and just enjoy Santa anyway...and it was worth it, just a little twinge of "oh I should have had them in their fancy Christmas church clothes"...sigh).

Monday, December 07, 2009

{The Christmas Tree Hunt}

We met up with my sister and her fam to cut down our Christmas tree. Yes, we put up with the needles and sap to enjoy a fresh tree each year. We love it and wouldn't have it any other way! I don't think our kids would even let us get away with going to a Christmas tree 'lot' anymore! We headed to our favorite spot in Orting; The Red Barn. The kids love the train that takes your around and drops you off in the 'forest' to find your tree. You cut it down, haul it back to the train for the ride back to the barn where they wrap it up for you to take home. Nothing like a fresh tree in your home to make it feel like Christmas! It was fun to be with the Apkens too...although I didn't any good shots of the cousins together. But know we had a blast with them :-)

Here comes the train!

They waited for a long time to be able to ride in the caboose! I managed to squeeze in too. Paige was a little wary of the caboose, so she and the rest of the crew rode in the 'open' cars.

Ry's usual spot: on top of Dad's shoulders.

Ry found a tree just his size! This so reminds me of the Charlie Brown Christmas tree :-)

The Pettingill Family Christmas tree!

My two favorite shots of the day...the kids in the caboose of the train.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

{Thanksgiving was fantastic}

We were so lucky to have both of Trevor's brothers (Tyler and Todd w/ Oni, Evee, & Owen) plus his mom and stepdad for Thanksgiving. We so enjoyed their company! Everyone arrived on Tuesday and stayed the whole week. It has been a long time since we have had family stay for that long without any pressing plans (other than the big feast!). It was so nice to enjoy the non-schedule. I hardly took my camera out the entire week...which I am kicking myself now for missing the classic pictures of all of us together, the beautiful table setting, and the yummy feast....but truly the best part was just being together. Plenty of food, sports, movies, shopping, and games made for a relaxing and fun weekend. My kids loved playing with their cousins, Evee & Owen. We don't get to see these guys that often...and Carson and Addy loved being the 'big kids' and helping out with the 'little ones'. We felt so blessed everyone chose to spend the week with us...thanks everyone for a great Thanksgiving!

Carson, Evee, and Addy with their Turkey hats on Thanksgiving Day.

Making turkey sugar cookies with Grandma Judy.

Owen & Ry in the tub.
Addy & Evee on the playground.

Monday, November 16, 2009

{Oh yeah, he started walking!}

This little guy started walking a month ago, and I just barely got video and pictures documenting his big accomplishment last week. [insert sigh]...yeah...the 3rd kid gets a little shafted. With kid #1 we probably took twice as many pictures, called everyone we knew, took 2 hours of video, and couldn't stop gushing...oh, come parents of more than one kid know what I am talking about :-).
Anyway, we are sure proud of our tottling tot. And, even with kid #3, it doesn't get old watching your baby learn something new and get so excited about it. He hasn't been himself the last few days, and I have realized what a low maintenance baby he has become when he is happy and well. Get better soon Ry Ry and congrats on your first big steps in life.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

{Halloween 2009!}

Introducing Harry Potter and Hermoine Granger:

And our little bald eagle too:

Carson wore the bald eagle costume for his first Halloween. He was 10 months old here (below). Can't get over how those two brothers look alike!

And, I don't know why I even try to get all three together, but they were good sports.

Trev carried Ry around at the ward party like this for almost an hour...later we thought we should have dressed him up as a tree or a nest with Ry sitting on top. Wouldn't that have been cute? Why do these ideas come just a tad late?

Bryce & Beck surprised me by calling and coming over to join Reese and I for Halloween at our house. We sure missed cousin Graham in Chicago...but the rest of the cousins all together had a blast! And, yeah, Ry is always the difficult one in the group shot as you can tell.

And notice he has a sucker in his mouth in almost every picture? It was keeping him distracted enough to keep his bald eagle hat on...It was the only thing that worked. Here is his best buddy, Brynn. These two are so cute together!

All the guys with all the kids (babies in tow in the wagon) off to Trick or Treat!

Thanks Bryce and Beck & Reese and Chris for joining us! Halloween was great!

{Pumpkin Carving}

The birthday festivities always throw me for a loop on Halloween week...but we managed to fit in the school party and pumpkin carving on October 30th. ...Turns out waiting that long to carve your pumpkins is a good thing because they looked fantastic on Halloween night!
Just couldn't resist Ry with his pumpkin...he was so fascinated with it and really wanted to be up at the table working on his pumpkins with his brother and sister.

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My little blog is a family journal. I include things on here I want to remember years and years from now. So when I post a zillion is because I want to have it for my posterity. So please forgive the often posted-picture overload.

Currently I am trying to focus on my photography skills...reading, reading, reading, and taking pictures when I can. Then edit, read, read, read some more. I finally feel like I have a basic understanding of exposure...hooray! I updated my blog template so I can display larger photos because...aren't pictures better than anything I have to say anyway?

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