Sunday, January 8, 2012

Good Deeds Chain

About a month ago I had had it with all the whining and tattling. Not a uncommon sentiment for a mother of 4 youngish children. So for a FHE we talked about recognizing the good in each other rather than focusing on the bad. To practice this behavior I had cut up some green and red strips of paper and told the kids they were suppose to write on the papers either something good they saw another family member doing or an act of service they would perform for another family member. Then we would staple them in a circle and make a paper chain to decorate a smaller Christmas tree we had downstairs. Well I recently took down the tree and those paper chains. Instead of throwing them away I pulled it apart and read them. I thought that after the first week the kids didn't really do it so I was surprised by the number of things the kids wrote. I'm still going to throw the chain away but I wanted to record the "good deeds" we saw/did during the month of December:
Annie shared her soda cans.
Today my dad helped me eat my dinner.
Dad shared his chocolates.
Tomorrow I am going to read Suzie a bedtime story.
Dad drove Annie home from dance.
Katie waited for Annie to do crossing duty.
Mom shared her perfume.
I'm going to rake leaves.
Finn did the dishes.
Tomorrow I will make my bed when I get up.
Katie shared her gum.
I will help Katie clean her room.
Suzie helped Hannah clean up the pillows.
Dad set up the Wii.
Mom helped me with homework.
Annie shraed her drink.
Katie shared her headband.
Suzie LICKED the blueberries and said she was sorry.- think maybe that one started out as a tattle but then the author remembered the point of the activity!
Mom read to Suzie.
Dad will take the girls to school.
Finn let me use the IPAD.
Suzie helped clean up at pre-school.
Tomorrow I will let Suzie play with me and my friend.
Annie wiped off the counters when she was asked.
Suzie organized my shoes.
Annie and Suzie set the table.
Dad emptied the dishwasher.
Finn farted and said he was sorry! :)
Tomorrow I will not cry or whine when I'm getting ready for school. (All the ones that begin "Tomorrow" were written by a certain 7 year old red-head!)
Suzie took my dishes upstairs.
Katie shared her headband.
Finn picked up Katie.
Suzie helped Hannah clean up diapers.
Finn set up lights in our room.
Annie will help pass out papers in her class.
Annie didn't get mad when Katie made her late for school.
Finn walked Suzie and Hannah home from preschool.
Dad picked up Annie from Sister Brantly's house.
Annie got her coat for Katie.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Merry Christmas, Ugly New Traditions and Happy New Year

Every year since Eric and I got married we have taken a picture in front of a Christmas tree on Christmas day. Usually it is in front of my mom's Christmas tree but every once in awhile I take it in front of my own. With Christmas being on a Sunday this year I decided since we all had our Christmas Sunday clothes on I would take it at our house after church before everyone changed back into their pjs for the day. I have a self-timer on my camera but it doesn't make a noise so you don't know when the picture is taken. This picture is about our 6th attempt at a picture because some one would look away or start walking away cause they thought the picture had been taken. It still isn't even that great of a picture- Suzie is looking down, Finn is done with all the pictures and Eric is in the middle of saying "cheese." But when Eric inspected this photo he said, "Good enough" and went to go get Christmas morning brunch started. We had 9 am church on Christmas morning and even though we got all our presents opened in time to make it to church we didn't get breakfast eaten and delaying Christmas breakfast to a 37 year old man is just about as painful as delaying opening presents is to his 4 children 12 and under. But choices had to be made and breakfast got postponed therefore our Christmas picture did not turn out as well as I might have liked. But it does tell a story- which I always like!
A new Christmas tradition got started in Eric's family. Our brother in-law, Curtis, suggested we have an ugly sweater contest on Christmas Eve with each person participating putting $5 into a pot for the winner. With a $70 prize on the line the competition was stiff!

Gary, Eric's brother is the usual winner of any contest we have that involves creativity. He and his wife Camille made these sweaters for their whole family. Not seen is a stocking attached to their backs that made a handy spot for my brother-in-law, Scott and I to dispose of our shrimp tails throughout the evening. Sadly they did not win. I'm not sure if the shrimp tails had anything to do with this or not!
Cami, Scott and Tailyn made this a family affair with Cami sporting a poinsetta as big as her head and Scott sporting a lady's sweater with the tag still attached. Pretty sure that made a return trip to Wal-Mart after the holidays!
As much as Jessica deserves to win cause she is wearing moose overalls- the big prize went to her husband Jeff. I personally voted for him. And it wasn't the $4 DI tag still attached to his too short pants that did it for me. It was the Christmas dickey semi-hidden by the Christmas sweater tied in a prep school knot. So regal yet so ugly.
Eric and I donning our own Christmas apparel- matching, handmade Christmas nativity vests. These were lovingly made by my mom and aunt- not just for this occasion but for any chilly Christmas evening really!
Here is Curtis, the creator of all this mayhem as Eddie from Christmas Vacation with Becca as Eddie's wife. Curtis doesn't usually have man-boobs- it is just the pucker in the middle of the sweater that gives that allusion! Don't know if this was intentional or not!
This is Eric's cousin- Mindy with her husband- Matt. If you look closely at her sweater you can tell that it is an actual reenactment of the cat being fried scene in the Christmas Vacation movie. Very clever!
Here we all are in all our glory. You can see how it was a hard decision to decide who won! But again the Christmas dickey over the snowman turtleneck with the white socks and short blue dress pants was just too much for me! Way to go Jeff!
Now onto New Year's Eve. New Year's Eve has always been a hard holiday for me since we've had kids. You can't leave your kids with a babysitter cause all the babysitters have plans and you don't want your little kids staying up past midnight. Eric and I both have no desire whatsoever to go to those downtown parties the city puts on yet I want to do something fun and different for the holiday. Eric came up with this idea two years ago and I think it will be our new New Year's Eve tradition for the time being. We have a Wii tournament that all the family can participate in. We create a bracket system and choose different Wii games from boxing to Just Dance. The games are written on a piece of paper and put into a bowl. Then when two people face off in each bracket they first have to choose a game from the bowl. They play the event 3 times and the winner of 2 out of 3 times moves onto the next round. The loser gets put into the Losers Bracket. So we have the winner of the Winner's bracket and the Winner of the Loser's Bracket. Everyone gets to play about 3 times. It turns out to be a really fun night that everyone enjoys. Here is this year's playoff standings:
We were at the cabin for the holiday and brought our nephew, Michael along with us. Also Steve, Eric's brother and his girlfriend- Chelsea were there too. Steve was the overall winner and Finn was the lower bracket winner.Eric playing golf.
Annie and Suzie dancing it up!
Suzie boxing.
Finn and Katie playing tennis.
Michael and Finn getting jiggy wit' it!
There were even cool prizes like star wars fans/candy dispensers. (This picture may or may not have been a self-photo!:)
HAPPY 2012!