31 December 2008

Merry Christmas!

Here's December in a nutshell:

Here are a few pictures of the annual Winterfest from Claire and Rylie's school. The kids had fun decorating cookies, making jingle bracelets and reindeer horns.


Here's her story: "The shovel hit an icycle and the icycle hit me on the eye." She has since admitted that maybe she was holding the shovel and maybe she swung it at the icycle!


I was originally scheduled to work on Christmas Eve, but a dear woman at work switched with me so I could be home. We had so much fun together. We had our annual Christmas program over the webcam. This year was nice because we were able to see the computer screen on the TV and hear the sound through the speakers, so it was a much more enjoyable experience this year! We love being able to connect with family in Texas through the computer. In fact, the McMullins were in 3 different cities and we were all together singing hymns and hearing the Christmas story.

We had to booby trap Tyler's door to make sure he didn't sneak out and get a preview of Christmas! They were all very happy with what Santa brought. Tyler got a huge Bionicle ship he really wanted. Rylie had asked for a hair braider, but Santa figured she would love a baby doll and a crib. Claire got an Easy Bake Oven and cupcake decorating supplies.

A few days later, we decided to break out the oven. The results were fun, if not culinary masterpieces!


One of the most fun things the girls got was a game called Pretty, Pretty Princess. You win the game when you get all of your jewelry on, complete with crown! But watch out for Malificent!

Let me introduce you to the newest member of our family, Lydia. She is Rylie's baby doll and we all love her so much!


Grandma helped out and created some memories at bedtime.

Once we finally got there (wrong directions, disaster parking) most of us had a great time. Brian had taken the girls a few weeks ago and their favorite exhibit was the butterflies. So we had to go there again.

11 December 2008

Family Photos

Amy Rahm took these portraits for us. We love them. And yes, I know my hair looks awsome!

06 December 2008

Once in a Lifetime

Our family had the most incredible experience tonight. We went to see the REAL Santa Clause.

Tyler has been doubting his authenticity lately, so I knew something had to be done. As everyone knows, the Santas in the malls and at church activities are not the real Santa. He can't be everywhere at once. But he does make appearances now and then (although it is really hard information to find). I found out he was going to be in Port Washington, a town about 20 miles north of Milwaukee--tonight!

We left our church party early, just as "Santa" arrived. The girls were upset (and Tyler was rolling his eyes) about having to leave until I told them what I had discovered and where we were going (Tyler continued the orbital rotation). We drove and drove, listening to Christmas music most of the way, including my favorite album, John Denver and the Muppets. We realized that the girls had no idea who the Muppets were, a sad void in our parenting that will soon be rectified.

Anyway, we finally got there. He was in the back of a portrait studio. There wasn't a line at all. When we arrived, Santa was in the back room taking a potty break, I think. When he came back in and passed the photo umbrellas so he could see us, he exclaimed, "Tyler!" Tyler was a little surprised and asked if I had made an appointment (which must have been how he knew Tyler's name), which I did not. He looked at the girls and said, "You must be Rylie and you are Claire." Of course, he was right on both accounts. He then said that he also knew Karee, Sydney and Zach! Tyler was blown away. He asked the girls if they were enjoying the dollhouse Santa brought last year and if Tyler liked his nerf longshot rifle. Whoa!

Santa then greeted Brian and me by name, too!

He sat down and invited the kids over to sit for a picture. They asked how he got into houses. He explained how he dematerializes on the one side and rematerializes on the others. Sounds like physics concepts I haven't figured out yet. Then he asked what they wanted this year.

I told Santa that some in our family were unsure if Santa was real and didn't believe that parents have Santa's cell number. I asked if his phone was nearby. He said that it was, so I dialed the Santa's number on my phone, and guess who's phone started to ring! Santa let Tyler answer it and I was on the other line!

Then Santa got onto me for all the string we had wound around inside the house as a Christmas trick for Tyler to find his present because he tripped on it. It took me a minute to realize what he was talking about, but then I remembered what he meant. We had it tied to a suitcase for Tyler (which had plane tickets to Texas inside)! At this point, I was freaked out! Then, Tyler tested him. He asked which room the suitcase was hidden in. Santa said, "The other room." "Which room?" Tyler challenged. "The basement," Santa responded. And of course he was right.

Well, by this time, there were other kids waiting and we had to leave. The portrait studio wouldn't let us pay for the photo, and as we couldn't wait an hour for it to be ready, they agreed to mail it to us. We will post it when it arrives.

It was a most incredible experience, one that I'm sure not many of you have ever had nor ever will have. We know that a lot of people out there don't believe in Santa, but as for me and my family, we believe!