Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Happy 2012!

HAPPY 2012!  (I know I'm a little late since it is now January 25th).

I hope that everyone had a happy and joyous New Year.  We celebrated this year by spending the evening with my parents, sister, and brother-in-law.  We got a couple of babysitters to watch the four grandchildren and then the six adults headed out for some much-needed adult time. The six of us had never been out to dinner before without the children and it was quite enjoyable.
The family on New Year's Eve 2011
We kicked the evening off by going to dinner at the Copper Kettle where had an over-priced, mediocre dinner (Rob's prime rib was about 40% fat).  After dinner Dad took us into the VFW (where is a former Commander) which had just re-opened that day. 

When we finished up at the Post, we all went back to my parents' house, hung out with the kids for a bit, and then watched the ball drop.  Side note: I love watching Dick Clark's Rockin New Years Eve and I'm glad to see that Dick is still able to co-host the show.

New Year's Day was quiet but we celebrated with a traditional pork and sauerkraut dinner at my sister's house that evening.  It's bad luck if you don't eat pork & sauerkraut on New Year's Day (or so my Pennsylvania Dutch ancestors believed)!  My brother-in-lawl added brown sugar to the sauerkraut this year which sweetened it up and made it quite good. 

After dinner was over we loaded up the kids and went to pick our brand new collie puppy, Zoey.  More on that in a few...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

FAMILY wall art

My husband and I converted a room in our house into the playroom a few months ago so I was looking for fun family-centered art ideas for the walls.  The first thing we did was to buy a few canvases and give our then 2-year-old daughter some acrylic paints and then we turned her loose.  What resulted were two beautifully painted "modern" art pieces that are now proudly displayed on the walls of the playroom.  However, for above the fireplace I wanted something a bit more uniform.  I stumbled upon a web site that had an idea for FAMILY wall art.  Here are the supplies you'll need if you want to make your own.
  • Canvas
  • Acrylic Paints (I used the $1.00 tubes from AC Moore in coordinating colors that matched the color scheme of the playroom)
  • Vinyl wall letters (I had an impossible time locating the large letters at AC Moore and ended up buying them at Michael's)
  • Ruler
  1. I had my husband use a pencil & ruler to lightly draw a straight line for the FAMILY letters.  Keep in mind some letters are wider than others so the center of “family” isn’t necesarily between the “m” & the “i”.
  2. STEP TWO:  Affix the letters to the canvas and seal the edges with a bit of Elmer's glue. 
  3. STEP THREE:  Paint!  Enlist the members of your family to paint their handprints, dogprints or catprints.  When you’re stamping your handprints, try to push directly against the letters and not push them sideways or peel up any corners. Be sure to cover the entire canvas several times over. You need to let each layer dry before making another and another. The more the better! Globs add texture so get messy!
We did the background work in dark, somewhat neutral colors so they’d anchor the piece. Navy, Maroon & Grey for the most part. Once the painting was well-covered I had my daughter do more hot pink handprints and my son did his in lime green. Those two colors really popped against the darker smudgier prints.

Beginning the first layer

Getting there...

My daughter LOVED getting her hands in the paint

My son getting in on the action

Almost done!

Finished product

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Christmas 2011


Christmas has always been my favorite holiday and more so now that we have our 2 beautiful children. I love everything about Christmas.  Everything.  The hustle & bustle, the shopping, the music, the wrapping, the excitement in my daughter's eyes, the baking, the parties & pageants, the visits with our families, the stillness and peaceful quiet of Christmas Eve, the anticipation of Santa's big ride, the joy of Christmas morning.  I could go on and on. 

Two months of preparation and it's gone in the blink of an eye.  Now the gifts have been put away, the house has been de-Christmasized, the decorations have been put up in the attic, and it's back to life as usual.  Back to the routine.  I miss Christmas already and it's only January 4th.

Our Christmas season was spread out over several weeks.  Here are a few highlights of the Pond Family's 2011 Christmas Season:

December 3, 2011     Breafast with Santa
Every year our church hosts Breakfast with Santa.  Last year, Alaina was petrified of Santa and would only wave at him from a distance.  She didn't dare sit on his lap.  NOT THIS YEAR!  As soon as we arrived, she RAN for Santa.  Luckily there were no children in line.  Alaina ran right up to him (coat and all) and told him she wanted dance shoes for Christmas.  Before the morning was over, she visited Santa not once, not twice, but five times to tell him she wanted dance shoes.  Such a sweetie!

December 11, 2011     Calvary UMC's Christmas Pageant
This is Alaina's first year being able to participate in our church's annual Christmas Pageant.  The children in her class had a choice of being angels or lambs. Alaina chose to be a lamb (after trying on the angel costume for 10 minutes).  Their class sang two songs: "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" and "This Little Light of Mine."  Alaina stole the show!  She was the loudest singer of her whole group and despite a slip-up with her little candle during "This Little Light of Mine" she kept on singing and didn't miss a beat.  The choir director wants her to join the children's choir this Fall so we shall see.  We were so proud of our Little Lamb.

December 16-19     Christmas in Virginia
In order to save ourselves a bit of chaos this year, we decided to celebrate Christmas with Rob's family one weekend prior to the big day.  It worked out quite well and we're hoping to make this an annual tradition.  We got to spend 4 days total with his family and didn't have the pressure of trying to visit our 3 families in 3 days.  The stress of traveling has always been our least favorite part of Christmas.  We spent Friday and Saturday in Virgina Beach with Rob's mother & stepdad.  We also got to see his brother, sister-in-law, and stepbrother.  Alaina & Brady had such a fun time visiting with their MeMa and PePa.  We spent Sunday and Monday in Smithfield visiting with Rob's dad.  We got back to Maryland on Monday afternoon just in time to kick off Christmas week.  It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Christmas Eve
My most favorite night of the year.  I spent the day baking 36 cupcakes for Jesus' Birthday Party at church that night. Note to self: It wasn't well attended so 12 cupcakes would've been enough.  We went to the church's 5pm Children's Service that evening and had a wonderful time.  Despite the service going 50 minutes, the children were pretty well-behaved since we brought lots of toys to keep them entertained.  Alaina even went up front with the other children for the reading of the Christmas scripture. 

After church was over, we hit up McDonald's for a quick bite to eat while we went out and looked at Christmas lights.  Then it was time for bed so we headed home, read Twas the Night Before Christmas, tucked the kids into bed, turned on "A Christmas Story" on TBS, poured ourselves an adult beverage, and waited for Santa. 

Christmas Day
Joy. Excitement. Peacefulness. Contementment. Fulfillment.  Christmas morning was spent just the four of us at home unwrapping gifts.  We drove up to Chambersburg that afternoon to see my family and have our gift exchange with them.  Christmas night Rob & I embraced our family's new tradition of having Chinese for dinner.  Fra ra ra ra ra. Ra ra ra ra. 
BawBaw and Brady

 Christmas Day + 1
My parents have hosted my dad's family for Christmas dinner on December 26th for years and this year was no different.  The whole crew was there except for my cousins Brad and Nathan.  Hopefully they'll make it next year.  We ended the evening by watching Mr. Creosote which is a sickly funny tradition in my fmaily which my father started years ago.  It wouldn't be a Christmas family dinner without Mr. Creosote.