Thursday, January 14, 2016

Bryn's 7th Birthday

Bryn turned 7 at the end of December and it was her "best birthday yet!" We normally do birthday parties every other year and it was her year for a party, but her birthday is a few days after Christmas and so planning a birthday party is never that appealing. So we made a deal: Instead of a party Bryn could have a special NYC day with Josh and get a Bitty Baby at the American Girl store on 5th Ave. Luckily, Bryn jumped at our proposal, so that's what we did...
The day before her birthday Josh and Bryn rode the train into New York City, spent over an hour at the American Girl store (all three floors of goodness!), got lunch at Shake Shack, and then rode the train home. Josh said Bryn was in heaven the entire time.
She had been saving up her money and anxiously awaiting the day she could get one of these dolls. Dreams come true!
So, so giddy with her new doll. She was killing us with her theatrics.
All set!
On her actual birthday we celebrated with her favorite pancake breakfast and a day full of playing with her Bitty Baby.

Happy Birthday to you!
 Bryn on her birthday, ages 1-6
 Oh, we love you, Bryn.

December Pictures

December! The best month of the year.
Below are a few random shots from our busy December. Of course the highlight of the month was celebrating Christ's birth and feeling close to family near and far.
 Bryn and one of her best friends Jane love to do crafts when they get together and this was their Christmas craft in December. They hand stitched these and decorated them all by themselves. It actually took longer and was a little more difficult than I thought! But they turned out really cute and the girls were so proud of their creations.
 Seeing Santa at the New Providence fire station
Tate wasn't happy about missing his nap for this, but the girls had fun :)
 As in past years, we did our 25 Christmas books during December. Each night we unwrapped a Christmas book from our collection and read it together as a family. This has become one of our favorite Christmas traditions. 
 Christmas gifts for Bryn and Mya's ballet/tap/art teachers. 
 I rarely have time to be "crafty" anymore, so let's make sure this is well documented!
 Little Christmas gifts for our Primary teachers at church
 Bryn added these ornaments to our tree and I loved seeing our little faces hanging on the tree. The best thing I ever did was get Bryn a big package of 4x6 photos and letting her use them for all the crafts she imagines. 
Tate vs. Our Christmas Tree
Tate definitely won the battle this December. 
 It's really cold in New Jersey now, but in December it was oddly warm. The week of Christmas even hit the 70's. Mya and Tate and I took advantage of the nice weather and did lots of walks around the neighborhood.
 Mya's little tap dance class at the Rec Center. 
 More exploring with Mya
 My dream house would have a big art room off the kitchen so that the kids (and myself!) can have space to create. The girls are supposed to keep their projects contained on their little blue drawing table, but usually our kitchen table ends up looking like this on any given afternoon.
 I loved this sweet note that Bryn wrote to a little girl we read about on the news who was badly burned in a fire. Bryn has such a tender heart.
 A typical scene: Mya in dress-ups, drawing at the table
 This is probably only funny to me, but I loved these little drawings that Mya did on some scrap pieces of paper she fished out of the recycling pile.
Fighting over Tate
It's a busy, messy, sometimes exhausting stage of life right now, but I am so grateful to be a mother and for these three cute, little faces.

Family Christmas Sleepover

 First of all, Mya's expression in that picture above is cracking me up :)
The weekend before Christmas we had our annual family sleepover under the Christmas tree. It's a fun tradition that our kids love.
 We started off by opening new pajamas. Tate wouldn't stand still for a picture, so the only "group" shot we got was Josh squeezing them all together and lifting them off the ground :)
We made Christmas-tree brownies, kind of by accident! We were just going to make regular brownies, but then Bryn and I noticed the left-over frosting and candy from our Gingerbread party and quickly turned our brownies into Christmas trees with pretzel trunks and ice cream snow. Bryn's creativity always comes in handy in situations like this. Yum.
 In past years we have watched the classic Grinch movie and the old Rudolph/Abominable Snowman movies. This year we watched the Polar Express. 
After the movie we moved our beds from in front of the TV to in front of the Christmas tree and then we said goodnight and fell asleep listening to Bryn and Mya's chattering and giggles.

Christmas Gingerbread Men

In December we had our third annual Gingerbread party with friends. This year the Egans and Thomases joined us in decorating (and eating!) gingerbread men.
I use my mom's yummy gingerbread recipe that is so soft and good. I may need a new gingerbread cookie cutter, though- because mine makes very squat, chubby gingerbread that almost look like flowers instead of gingerbread men :)
Some festive toppings
Some of the crew getting started on their cookies
 Bryn and Mya
Tate enjoyed observing the chaos and munching on his gingerbread man.
 Two of the Thomas girls with their creations

 Two of the Egan kids with their creations
 It was a fun and delicious night!

Christmas Sunday Best

 The Sunday before Christmas is always one of my favorites. At church there are beautiful messages shared about Christ, as well as beautiful Christmas songs performed. It's also a time for Bryn and Mya to wear their new Christmas outfits and feel all fancy-fancy.

 This was the best of the pictures with me and the kids. Tate was trying to jam his hand into my mouth every time I opened my mouth to smile, and the girls were just bring their normal silly selves. 
 I love these four!
 Tate man! His little toothy smile is just too much for me!