Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmas Through the Eyes of a Child

I think we can all learn a lesson of gratitude from this video...

Christmas Eve

One of our family traditions is to open a gift on Christmas Eve. The last couple of years we have opened our exchange gifts from Kaylon's family, which has worked out well. Here are some pics.

This was Moira's first ever Christmas present- some really cute clothes from Cousin Ashley:)

Then it was Liliana's turn- you should have seen the envy in
Grace's eyes when she say the size of that box!

Thank you Cousin Derrick!For some reason Grace didn't believe me when I said that her gift was a butterfly attachment for her butt-kicking machine (sorry, family joke). As soon as she ripped off enough paper to see what it was she was thrilled- her own 3 Musketeers Barbie doll! Thanks Aunt Jacquel!

Kaylon was very please with his gift from Uncle Ralph- now he gets to delve
into the back story of Master chief!

And (not so sadly) I was in charge of the camera that night, so no pictures of me, but I would like to thank Jen for the Willow Tree statue and yummy peppermint bark! Two things right off my Christmas list to Santa!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Moira's First Word

She says Dada now. She started saying it yesterday while Pop was here. Kaylon is thrilled. I am slightly resentful. Maybe that's not the right word- too strong I think, but you know, I'd have liked it to be Mama. Oh well. At least I know she prefers me, even if she says his name.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas

Sorry I've just bombarded you all with a bunch of new posts. I figured that I had better get things posted before Christmas Eve took all my time away, in a good way :)

I wanted to reflect a little about Christmas tonight. I always thought that Christmas could not get any better than how it was when I was a child. The anticipation all month long- the cookies, and fruit, and decorations. Putting ornaments on a tree and wrapping the one gift I bought for our family exchange. Our annual Christmas Eve nativity play (which eventually dwindled down to me singing and Brandon playing the Drummer Boy). Fancy dinners while listening to Christmas carols. Trying to fall asleep Christmas Eve while the excitement bubbled up in my stomach, causing to me giggle ever few minutes. And finally the sheer happiness as I tore through wrapping paper to the gifts inside. These are all great memories. But I had no clue.

I couldn't have known then how much better Christmas is as a parent. I never understood how true it is that it is better to give than to receive. I am SO EXCITED for Christmas- but not for my own gifts. My excitement is for the looks on the girls' faces when they open their presents- to see Kaylon's surprise as he looks into his boxes. It's for the chance to have a holiday feast ready for my my mother and brother when they arrive for a week stay. It reminds me of the scripture in Matthew 7:11, "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?" I have wanted to give my loved ones the world this Christmas. And we have been blessed with the means to give the girls a "good Christmas" as gifts under the tree goes. And if I feel so strongly about giving my girls some toys, how much more must my Father in Heaven love me, to have given His Only Begotten Son to the world to die for our sins; to live amongst us to show us how to live the commandments so that we could return to live with Him again? I am so grateful tonight for a Savior, who was born in the lowliest of circumstances, laid in a manger, and visited by mere shepherds. His status demanded so much more. But He did it- for me, and for you, so that we could be happy.

So while it's fun to be excited for the presents under the tree- let us remember why we give the gifts. It is a symbol of the gift that our Father in Heaven gave us 2000 years ago: a baby boy, pure and holy, that would grow up to become the Savior of the world.

Merry Christmas to you all.

We couldn't help ourselves...

There was no parent-prodding of this picture. She found the pretzel where her sisters had discarded it. She got up on the couch. She sat back and relaxed. And she's the one who made herself look like she was smoking- not us. hehe..

Pop's Visit

Pop made the trek out to see us today and we had a great time! We started out sledding outside. I'll have to get some video from dad of that. I took Moira on her first sled ride, which she seemed to like.

We then ate some lunch, followed by some cookies decorating.
Grace then practiced her piano recital for us- doing an excellent job, by the way. Kaylon has done a great job teaching and she really enjoys preforming for an audience. Then we played some games and hung out for a while. I got some good pics of the girls with Pop. Enjoy!

And Grandma Jay, since I know your are reading this- I wanted you to know that we missed you today! It would have been even more fun with you here!

Playing in the snow

The snow has stayed around for a few days, which we took advantage of yesterday. The deck is great for contained snow-playing: I can watch them from the warmth of the living room while they eat snow.
Poor Liliana had a hard time standing up while in her snow pants.
Grace spent most of her time making a snowman (or snowgirl). I showed her how to roll and snowball to make bigger balls and then found things to make the nose, eyes and mouth.

She was very proud when she finished, and rightfully so!

The M&Ms that we used for the eyes were gone by morning, but the blue coloring remains. It makes it look like it's crying. Grace thought that was funny.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

2009 Blizzard

Saturday we had a blizzard here in DC- got some record breaking snow for December. I'm guessing that here in Reston we got between 16 and 20 inches, based on the numbers I've seen in nearby cities. It was a beautiful snowfall- never let up all day. We shoveled a few times on Saturday and then Kaylon and all the neighbors did a big clear out today so that people can get to work tomorrow (and before it freezes). Here are some pictures of our fun.

The view out the back

This is out our basement- I can usually bend at the waist and walk under this branch

The master shoveler

This was only half-way through the day
This was mid-afternoon- Kaylon put Grace down in the snow so that
you could get an idea of the depth.

Sorry no pics of Moira in the snow- she's been sick lately and I didn't want to chance anything.

The last 3 days before school let out for the holidays have now been canceled. How annoying. I don't mind having Grace home- it's just seems unnecessary to me. They've had all day today to plow- why do we need to use 3 snow days? I'm mostly sad because now Grace won't have her class party. On the good side, though, she'll get to spend all Wednesday with Pop when he comes to visit :)

Thursday, December 17, 2009


I have been looking for Liliana's baby for about 2 weeks now. Everywhere. First in the obvious places, but as the days kept passing I started expanding my horizons. I was nearly ready to give up. Then last night when we were putting the girls to bed, Liliana asked for baby and I said we didn't know where she was. Kaylon asked if I had looked under the bed, and I replied that I had a few times. He peaked under and pulled out baby (seriously- I looked under there a few times- even had Liliana help me!). He handed it to Liliana and said, "I'm a hero." Liliana replied,

"No you not, heroes are on TV." (referring to the cartoon Rescue Heroes)

Bubble Burst.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I Told You...

As we were leaving to pick up Grace today I opened the closet door to get to the shoes, which then hit something on the floor and rebounded, hitting me in the jaw. I cried out in pain and grabbed my cheek. Liliana looked on and then I heard my words come out of her mouth:

"I told you that you needed to be careful."

Yeah, I know. Thanks.

She then patted my head and said it was all better. It actually still hurts, an hour later. Oh well. I guess it's a taste of my own medicine...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Visit With Santa

We had our Church Christmas Party this past Saturday and Santa made an appearance. It wasn't the best Santa I ever saw- you could SEE the pillow shape through his suit, and the top button kept coming undone, causing the pillow corner to poke out. He was a very nice Santa- very good with the kids and trying to be funny and all. Kaylon and I think that he might have been a last minute stand in. Anyways, here are the pics...

Waiting for Santa...

Moira's First Visit with Santa

Liliana actually sat on his lap this year!

Grace was very disapointed that she didn't get to ride on Santa's sleigh. I guess another girl in her class got to do that and Grace figured it was a standard Santa visit activity. She was sad for quite a bit after that. And she asked Santa for a Pillow Pet... sadly Santa was not able to acquire one of those due to high demand... hopefully she won't lose faith in Santa when she gets a scooter instead.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Volume Control

Liliana cannot whisper. She does not know how. No matter how many times we model the volume that we would like her to use, she still comes out near shouting. It's like she only has 3 volume settings- Loud, Louder, and Asleep. Today in church all she wanted to do was talk- and if you've known Liliana for a time, you'll know that this is a new thing- she used to barely say anything. Now you can't get her to shut up. And I get that she's a kid and church is a hard thing to get through, which is why I though whispering was a good compromise. But in order for that to work, she would have to actually be able to lower her voice below yelling.

At least we laugh about it later... when she's not around.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Flashback Friday

Oh how time flies... this was Grace's 2nd Christmas, although she's only about 7 months older in these pictures than Moira is now. The second one you can't see her face but i love it- jeans, black shirt, carrying around the snowmen- amazingly the snowmen have survived, but they did sustain some injuries.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas...

Mother Nature graced us with the first snowfall of the season today. I believe we got 3-4 inches by the end of the day. This is the view from our back door.
We decorated the tree tonight. I finally found MY tree- it's a 300$ 7.5 ft, pre-lit tree that I got brand-new for only 100$ off of craigslist. Yes, I rock.

And here are my outside lights. I do these myself every year- even last year when I was 8 months pregnant (I must have been a sight!). I never tell Kaylon that I'm going to do it because I love to surprise him when he gets home from work.

And here are my snow angels.

Santa's Elves

I admit that it is not beneath me, at this time of year, to use Santa's elves as a means of better behavior. I remember my mom seeing elves out the window often at Christmastime, ready to report us to Santa- and although she used it to cut out some noise or fighting, it also made Christmas that much more exciting. It made the magic even more real.

The other day Liliana was having a particularly difficult moment getting Liliana to say thank you to Grace and so I evoked the warning of elves looking in the windows. I then warned her that if she didn't start acting nice that I would have to tell Santa myself that she was being mean. When Liliana's thank you was still half-hearted and I was about to continue in my threat, Grace interrupted and said,

"It's ok Mommy, she's sorry. Just please don't tell Santa. I want her to have some presents."

Is she not the best big sister ever?

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Moira stood on her own this morning. She had been holding on to me and then she let go and just stood there for about 5 seconds before half lowering herself half falling to the floor. Long enough that I had time to catch Grace's attention and she got to see. Yeah, I'm in trouble... especially since the Christmas tree just went up.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Moira is climbing now. It shouldn't surprise me since she can go up the stairs, but it does. The other day she climbed right up into a kid chair and stood up. Luckily Kaylon was sitting nearby and supervised. He still missed her when she fell on her head though :P. She tried to climb into her baby stroller yesterday- she actually had one foot in. Right now she's trying to climb onto the girls pull out princess couch which is wedged under the sewing table- oh- now she's wedged in there too. Haha, I helped her out and got some cute video- I'll post this when I get the video uploaded!

First Fieldtrip!

Grace and I got to go on her first fieldtrip today to Frying Pan Park, which is a working farm here in the county. She has been excited all week. This morning she came into our room and asked if it was 9 o'clock yet. Thankfully it was not, or we would have been late. :)

Part of the excitement was that Grace was finally getting to ride the bus. More than half her class rides the bus sometime during the day, so she's been feeling left out. She spent the whole bus ride staring out the window- i imagine for her it's the best view she's ever had driving down the road.

The farm was great, even though it was coooold. They taught the kids about cows- lots of terminology (bulls, calves, udders, etc) as well as practical knowledge. They had a wooden cow set up so that you could 'practice' milking a cow- the kids all loved that. When they asked what we get from cows, Grace raised her hand and said that we kill them and get turkey. At first I was confused as to what she meant, but 10 minutes later I figured it out- she was trying to say that when you kill them you get hamburger, but with Thanksgiving being last week, she got confused. I made sure to tell her later that I knew what she had meant.

We then got to go on a tractor ride around the farm, and finally go on a scavenger hunt to look at the animals up close. Grace said her favorite part was the horses, and her least favorite was not having a stroller to ride on. I enjoyed just being there with her and seeing her have fun.