Thursday, December 16, 2010

no other reason than they make me happy

That face!

This boy!

watching and calling the red-tailed hawk

classic Maddie in front of the camera: hamming it up!

sweet siblings

hanging with Dada

one last shot

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Maddie's Christmas Program

Maddie's preschool Christmas program took place yesterday. It was a joy to see the three and four year-olds singing their hearts out, to the amazement of gathered family and friends. After the performance, we went back to the Yellow Room for a class party. So much fun!
Maddie and Sam before heading to school

filing in the auditorium, smile in place

Still smiling!

crazy parent paparazzi that rushed the stage!!

Maddie's in the back row just left of the left microphone (we were treated to a multitude of songs: ABC song, Jingle Bells, Happy Birthday to Jesus, We Wish You a Merry Christmas, among others)

Nicole helping direct

three buddies filing back out

Mama and Maddie at Circle Time

My Christmas present: a hand-decorated plate!

(Maddie assures me those circles beneath my head are my knees)

Christmas goodies for the awesome teachers (homemade cards by Maddie--notice the pumpkin stickers, awesome; homemade fudge; sparkly apple jingle bell ornaments)

Maddie and her best buds Kate and Nicole. So cute!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Maddie: 47 Months

Dear Madeleine Noelle,

By this time next month, I will be writing to a four year-old. A funny, inquisitive, charming, vivacious, kind, intelligent, creative and spunky FOUR. YEAR. OLD. Nope, not gonna do it!

You are a delight to me. You love to talk, sing, dance, create songs, craft and play. Your imagination runs wild with all sorts of scenarios for your dolls, stuffed animals, pet bugs, princesses and occasionally, your brother. You are like a director on a set, constantly moving, tweaking, arranging, barking out orders, and stepping back to admire your creations.

One of the great joys in this past month is seeing you ride your bike with ease and confidence. You are fast and capable, coordinated and strong. It is so fun to watch you glide down the street, your hair trailing behind you. One of your greatest moments was upgrading to a booster. You cried out, "Thank you Mama! Thank you Dada! I LOVE my booster!" as we drove downtown. Ah, the sweet joys of my almost four year-old girl.

This is a look you've perfected in the past few months. It is your "I don't buy that for a minute" look. Here Uncle Frank was telling you some story and by the look on your face, we can tell that you know he's feeding you a tall tale. You are skeptical (like your Dada), always wanting to know the truth. You don't enjoy being teased.

Your vocabulary continues to astound us (and even leaves us flabbergasted!) When describing a cranberry sauce, you called it, "acidic." When talking about jewelry, it is never just pretty, but "dazzling," "magnificent," or "super sparkly!" You not only understand complicated words but use them correctly all the time.

You are a sweet and affectionate big sister. You always have kisses and hugs for your brother, as well as love pats, snuggles, tackles, tickles and nose rubs. You are incredibly patient with him, even when he head butts, bites, hits and hammers on you (which have all happened this month). He, in turn, thinks the world of you. Today when you were upset and crying, he climbed up next to you, patted your back with his hand, kissed you, and then started bringing you all of his most beloved toys: the dump truck book, an excavator, tools. It so touched my heart because this is how you treat him when he is sad, and he has picked up such tender and sweet care from the times you have comforted him.

You are vivacious! You have seemingly endless energy and are game for any activity we throw your way. You don't often ask, "What are we doing today, Mama?" but when you do, I now know to have something ready to say. We have enjoyed our advent activities so much--the special time we get to spend on crafts, art, activities, and just together--that I've decided to put together a jar of fun things to do just so we can keep this up year round. Special time is definitely one of your love languages and it is fun to see you flourish in the moments we've shared.

This morning I had the pleasure of watching you perform in your preschool Christmas program. You were a star, a shining, smiling, radiating star! My heart filled with love as you followed directions, sang all the songs, filed in and out of the sanctuary, all with that trademark Maddie grin. What a joy you are! What a treasure to behold your sweet face singing songs to Jesus for his birthday. Thank you for being our sweet, tender, smart and loving girl. Love you so much!



ADVENTures: Glitter Christmas Stars, Movie in Bed plus bonus pics

Today's ADVENTure was crafting Glitter Christmas Stars. For all of our craft projects, I'm trying to save money by using supplies we already have on hand. You'll see a lot of this watercolor paper. :)

I cut out shapes and let the kids apply watercolor paints and sponge on glitter glue.

Both Maddie and Sam love to paint. They are very careful and methodical:

And then, at least once in every project, Sam decides to lick the paints:

Our finished treasures, glittery and aglow:

Last night's ADVENTure was a Christmas movie in Mama and Dada's bed. Hilarious how similar their tv-watching mannerisms are:

And, just in case you can't wait until tomorrow for Maddie's monthly update, here's an adorable shot:

Trees in our neighborhood decided to drop all their leaves at once. The kids had a great time making leaf angels, throwing leaves in the air, and crunching leaves underfoot.

Happy kiddos!

Friday, December 10, 2010

10 on 10: December 2010

The look I got after telling Sam to stop grabbing ornaments off my tree and chucking them across the room

After getting some bad news this morning we walked outside. Trauma research shows that your brain operates differently when you are under duress. Well, I swear as we were walking that the leaves on the ground seemed technicolor and the sounds of the birds fluttering through the dry brush was almost deafening. My senses were off the wall.

Two more followers: the kiddos admiring their own pictures on my blog

a solitary bench

a walking boy in his sister's boots

the weekend is going to move at a snail's (or slug's) pace

Serious peepers

more technicolor leaves

on the playground

dance party!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

ADVENTures: Gingerbread Houses!

Today we met up with Melissa, Kate and Claire for a playdate and gingerbread house decorating. In years past I've always bought the Costco kit but this year decided to branch out and try something new: Trader Joe's A-Frame Gingerbread House.

Here it is, all iced up and ready for decorating:

Scenes from the process:
Clockwise from top left: Mel fixes icing, Maddie places gummies, Sam eats candy, all smiles, putting on the finishing touches, Kate deep in concentration

Maddie's masterpiece:

Maddie's and Kate's houses, side by side:

The two decorating masterminds, in all their post-sugar silliness:

Thanks, Larson girls, for a fun afternoon!

ADVENTures: Tea with Mama

The thing I love about Advent is it is all about spending time together. Maddie's love language is definitely quality time, and after a Mother's Together talk this week I was inspired to make Advent last beyond just this month. Spending time with Maddie is so fun and it is nice to enjoy each other's company.

One day this week we just sat by the Christmas tree and enjoyed hot cups of tea. Here's Maddie sampling Candy Cane green tea:

She was a little upset that it didn't taste "just like candy canes," but after the addition of a little honey, that trademark smile made frequent appearances. We laughed, we chatted, we clinked our mugs with "cheers," and we celebrated God With Us, the personal God who cares about things like teatime for Mamas and daughters.

What are you doing to celebrate the coming of our Lord?