On Christmas Eve, Nathan put out reindeer food for Rudolph. He made it in school and was excited to put it out in the yard. Reindeer food is simply oats and craft sprinkles. The oats for the reindeer to eat and the sparkly sprinkles to shine in the moonlight and light the way to your house. Nathan went around the house to the chimney and sprinkled the baggie of reindeer food on the ground.
Norah and Daddy watching Nathan sprinkle reindeer food on the ground
Baptist East has a cute event each year called "Cookies with Santa". A Sunday afternoon, they open up their Eastpoint facility to the community for a Christmas celebration for the kids. They could participate in games, crafts, snacks, local craft vendors, and Santa. The kids had the opportunity to meet Santa and have their picture taken (complimentary). Nathan didn't know what to ask for from Santa and Norah was just scared. Nathan had fun making ornaments for the tree and getting his face painted. There was a children's choir there singing Christmas carols while we ate our refreshments. A great way to kick off the holiday season.
Nathan and Norah eagerly anticipating meeting Santa
Norah realized she did not like Santa
I ended up having to be in the picture with the kids (Santa is scary when you are only one)
Nathan's school put on a Christmas Program. There were 4 classes involved ages 2-5.
First they acted out the story "Twas the Night Before Christmas". The kids all dressed us as some part of the story: kids tucked in bed, visions of sugar plums, stockings hung by the chimney, snowflakes, reindeer and St. Nick.
Nathan was a reindeer
The second half of the program, the children all sang songs: Away in a Manger Jingle Bells We Wish you a Merry Christmas
It was such a cute program and Nathan did great as a reindeer. I was very impressed that he knew all the songs and sang out loud (even though there was quite a bit of fidgeting and looking around).
I think Christmas decorations are beautiful, a lot of work, but beautiful. I love looking at the lights and the stockings hung over the fireplace. Last year I was not into it at all. We did some decorating for Nathan's sake, but my heart was not in. I'm doing better this year. I still wish someone would come to my house and decorate it for Christmas for me. That would be so much easier. This year we are branching out and putting up outdoor lights. We want to be "green" and use the energy efficient LED lights on the trees and bushes. Unfortunately they are pricey so we are doing a little at a time each year and buying some after the season so in a few years we will have a great display. This year we have white LED lights on the 2 trees that flank the front door and they are very pretty.
Nathan and Norah watching Daddy string lights outside
In addition to outdoor lights, we have 2 Christmas trees (one in each front window) and the mantle decorated with our stockings
Tis the Season... For Christmas cards, that is. This is one of my favorite holiday activities...sending and receiving Christmas cards. I love catching up with friends who live far away and especially seeing their families grow which is why I especially love photo Christmas cards. I also love showing off my beautiful family so I love sending photo Christmas photo cards as well. In the past I have used a number of retail photo sites to get our annual Christmas card. I have not been unhappy with the results, because my kids are so stinkin' cute and anything with their pictures is cute, but I am disappointed every year with the card selection process. It seems what I picture in my mind does not always match what I can find. I guess I just want to see more variety and a better use of my pictures in my photo cards. This year all that is going to change...I found Shutterfly. Shutterfly is an online photo storage site that allows me to make cards, scrapbooks, calendars and so much more. I am new to Shutterfly so this will all be a learning curve, but so far I have seen so many great photo card designs. My problem this year may be narrowing down my choice to the one that is the best instead of settling for the one that is the closest (as I have done in the past). Here are some of the card design I like (insert my cute family photos, of course):
If you are a fan of Shutterfly like me, they are offering a great promotion to bloggers for a limited time. I am definitely taking advantage of this offer (as evidenced by this blog post) and getting some great photo Christmas cards in the deal. Thanks Shutterfly!!
After waking up at 3am to power-shop at Kohl's on Black Friday, I went back to bed for a few hours. We woke up a second time and went to downtown Fort Wayne to The History Center to the Festival of Gingerbread. There are many age groups ranging from K-1st-2nd thru adult and professionals that make gingerbread houses for the display throughout the holiday season. This year was the 25th anniversary of the event. Interesting point: 25 years ago, for the first annual Festival of Gingerbread, my mom and I made a gingerbread house to enter into the festival. 25 years later, we took the kids to see the same display.
My favorite "Teen Category" house a blue Victorian house
My favorite "Professional Category" house Candyland
Norah and Papaw
The History Center houses many interesting displays of historical Fort Wayne The old jailhouse was in the basement of the building and is now part of the exhibit Nathan behind bars
Every year the extended Elser family get together for a big Thanksgiving Feast. Everyone brings food to share. It is an opportunity for the family to reconnect at least once a year. This year the estimated count was 80 people in the Greene Center (an old school building converted into an event hall). We started with the feast:
While the adults socialized, the kids (and many adults) made foam-sticker crafts
It was just too much excitement for Norah She passed out in Stan's arms
For the second year, we went underground to see the Lights Under Louisville at the Mega Cavern. I had a Groupon that got us in for half price. The lights display was even better than last year and the kids really enjoyed the lights and the Christmas music.
Nathan is into Veggie Tales right now so we had a Veggie Tales Birthday Party to celebrate his 4th birthday. We invited a few of Nathan's closest friends from church. There is a lot of information online about theme birthday parties, but not a lot of Veggie Tales specific party things without paying a lot at the Big Idea website. I tried to be creative and made a lot of things using printouts from online sites. It turned out very cute and the kids loved the theme.
I printed small characters on sticker paper and made flags with toothpicks to put on cupcakes and label Veggies on a vegetable tray.
From "The Jonah Movie": Mr. Twisty's Twisted Cheese Curls (i.e. Cheetoes)
I found Veggie character cut-outs and the kids made puppets
My baby boy is turning into an awesome young man right before my eyes. I can't say enough about how I love this little boy. Who would have thought 4 years ago tonight would change my life so much. I can't imagine my life without him. Everyday he is learning and doing more and more. Nathan loves to play outside one the swings and ride his tricycle around the neighborhood. His favorite indoor activity is watching Disney Channel on TV or watching movies on the Wii (we have Netflix). He knows all his letters and can write his name very well. He can count to 29 with very little help. He has a super memory and can memorize scripture for weekly Cubbies homework at church with no problem, and can even remember verses days and weeks later. His current obsession is Veggie Tales, but that could change any day because he is into so many things. He loves to read and play with stickers. He has such a creative imagination and can make up stories about his surroundings, especially while in the car. Stats: 30 pounds (5%), 36 inches (20%)
Nathan and Norah adore each other - despite the fact that they annoy each other and pick on each other. Norah has to be where ever Nathan is, doing whatever Nathan is doing. The other night, Nathan was watching a Veggie Tales viedo before bed on his iPod/radio and Norah had to join him on the floor (even though she doesn't like to watch TV or video) just because her big brother was doing it.