Friday, December 31, 2010

Merry Bruinsma Christmas

We have arrived and are settled in at Grandpa and Grandma Bruinsma's house in Michigan.  The flights went well, and the kids have been doing so well!  While the snow has melted, we are all excited about it returning and the chance to do all things "snowy!"  Upon arriving the kids were able to have Christmas here both with Grandpa and Grandma as well as the entire Bruinsma side of the family.

Another Christmas morning!!

Aunt Betsy is here too, and we are all having so much fun with her!

Last night all the Bruinsmas came over for a party.  Aunt Karen is reading Shane a new book that he received from Great-Grandma Bruinsma.

Each of the kids had tons of fun with all the "cousins."  Faith ran around with all the kids playing hide-and-seek and all kinds of other games.  Shane enjoyed Emma, who is also 2, and they thought it was pretty great that they had their own table.  And the chocolate milk that the grandparents continued to give them was pretty great too!

A highlight for me, other than being able to see all the Bruinsmas, was going to an exhibit at the Grand Rapids Art Museum on Princess Diana.  It was interesting to read about her life as well as see her wedding dress and many other dresses she wore.  

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas for the kids

We had a very nice Christmas day with Steve's family.  The kids loved all the gifts they received, and reveled in the excitement of the day!  Here are a few of the highlights in pictures...

The kids were very patients in waiting to open their gifts.  Once it was finally time to do so, Faith used her name recognition skills (showing off what she is learning in preschool!) and was our Santa.

Shane received a Toy Story backpack from Grandma Poelstra, which he wore the rest of the afternoon!

Faith received an MP3 Boom Box from Grandpa Poelstra, and she showed how excited she was about the gift with her dancing skills!

Shane's favorite gift so far is the Toy Story Potato Heads he received from Grandpa

Santa made a late delivery to our house since Steve was at work Christmas morning, so here Faith is at 6am today sitting in the new wagon that Santa brought her and Shane!  She was thrilled!

Faith is showing off what has been her highlight so far - a Leapster Explorer!

As we prepare for our trip to Michigan to celebrate  Christmas and our kitchen remodel, our Christmas decorations are already down!  Next step...pack up the kitchen!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.  And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" Isaiah 9:6

As Christmas is just hours away, I can say all the cookies are baked, presents are purchased and wrapped, lights have been viewed, Christmas Eve service attended, kids are in bed...all that is left is time to reflect on the significance and joy Christmas brings!  May you have a wonderful Christmas celebrating the birth of the Savior!  Merry Christmas! 

Friday, December 17, 2010

Preschool Christmas Program

The day that Faith has been counting down to (other than Christmas!) was today!  She was to be an Angel in the preschool Christmas program.  As she and her classmates have been practicing the songs and the nativity scene for a few weeks, Faith gave us daily updates (sometimes multiple times a day!!) about who is playing which role, what songs the class is singing, and anything else related to the program!  To say she was excited was an understatement!  And as the mom, I was just hoping she would do what she was supposed to do when she was supposed to do it!!
After sitting through a few other class's songs, it was Faith's class that took the stage.  This picture, which isn't the greatest picture!, captures her enthusiasm of singing!  It was cute to watch Faith and her friends, and they did really well!
Post-singing, the class was instructed to stay on the stage and smile nicely for the moms and dad who wanted to take pictures!  So Faith put so extra emphasis into her smile!

Not sure what this was, but it was cute!

Following a few more songs, Faith re-entered the stage in her role as an Angel with some of her other Angel friends!  Naturally saying, "Glory to God in the highest!"

A more complete manger scene

After the program, I went back to Faith's classroom with her class as it was time for the Christmas party, which I helped plan.  Faith enjoyed color, of course!  The kids also made Candy Cane Reindeer, listened to a story, and ate a snack!  It was such a fun morning, and I was so thankful to watch Faith and spend some time in her classroom.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Crafty Afternoon

Faith loves to do arts and crafts.  I am not exactly sure where she developed this notion, but I have come to realize that I need to provide more opportunities for her to be crafty at home!  Of course, I try to look for things that aren't too messy!!  So, when my cousin Kate Bruinsma posted a picture of two of her kids decorating wrapping paper yesterday, I immediately thought that would be a fabulous idea to allow Faith to express her creativity. 

So today we bought some long, white paper, and after nap time the kids created some wrapping paper for me to use!  They were so excited, not only to do the creating, but also about the idea that I would use what they did to wrap some Christmas presents as they love to be helpers!  For me, it was so interesting to see what they did.  Shane made lots of scribbly circles, and didn't have much of an attention span for the project, which I anticipated.  But he would then go off and do puzzles or read books or just play with his animals.  Faith, on the other hand, is still working for me, and she is writing letters, making shapes, tracing hands and feet, drawing pictures, putting on stickers, just to name a few things!  And I am learning things about her - I had no clue she knew how to spell some basic words such as dog and cat!  Of course the kids completely occupied means I was able to fold and put away a couple loads of laundry, have some quiet time, and now post this!  I may learn to really like craft time!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Baking

The weather today was a bit dreary and cool, so we took advantage of the grey day and did some Christmas baking!  For the past few years around Christmastime, Faith and I have made Gingerbread cookies.  I think it gets to be more fun each year as the kids can each participate more and also look forward to the activity. 

Faith showed vast improvement in her skills with the cookie cutters this year! 

The decorating still tends to be a bit messy, but that is part of the fun, I guess!  We did add a new twist this year as we made homemade frosting!  What a discovery!  We'll never go back to store bought!!  And while are cookies aren't too pretty, they taste good!

Here Shane is trying to sneak a cookie!!  Thankfully we discovered that Gingerbread cookies are not his favorite!  We also made some fudge today, and he loved that!!  And I think I am in need of a nap after cleaning up all the bowls, spoons, measuring cups, sprinkles, etc!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Church Christmas Party

Another day...another Christmas party!  Today we were able to celebrate at CPC's Christmas Celebration for Children.  It was a fun afternoon of eating ice cream, crafts, gingerbread house decorating, singing, and playing!!  For my kids, the highlight was making their own ice cream sundaes!  This was a first for them (they didn't know so many toppings could go on ice cream!!), and they both savored every bite!!

Here Faith is making a star ornament for our Christmas tree.  Ricarda, a favorite of both the kids - but especially Shane!, is helping Faith.  Faith also made three Wise men for a little nativity scene.

She also decorated a gingerbread house!  And notice her shirt - it was 80 degrees here today!!

And here is what Shane did with the house he made!!!  It was a struggle the entire time of making the gingerbread house to get him not to eat it or the candy to go on the house!  Thankfully we were sitting by other kids around the same age who were doing the same thing.  Well, eating the candy!  Shane was the only one I noticed trying to eat the house!

My little angel and Shepherd!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas Party at the Fire Station

It was a busy but very nice day!  The kids and I attended a birthday party in the morning, and in the words of Faith, "It was a great party!"  After the birthday party, we headed down to the LA area for a Children's Christmas party at Steve's fire station.  This Christmas party is a highlight each year.  Given Faith's great memory, she was very excited about going to the party. 

The bounce house is always lots of fun.  At first Shane was too scared to go in, so he just jumped on the step to get in to the bounce house!  It was entertaining to watch!

He had fun just running around!

Once again, Faith wanted her face painted!  Meow!!!

Finally Shane ventured into the bounce house!!

Cute little kitty!

Despite his claims on the drive down that he was not going to go by Santa, Shane went quite easily to Santa!  I think it was the fact that he knew he would be getting a present!

Even after his gift, Shane still was drawn to Buzz!

And Faith followed through with her claim that she would sit by Santa!  This was a first for her as well!  It's a little dark, but it was too cute of her not to post!

Enjoying time with Daddy before having to head home.  Steve had to leave on a call during the party, and the kids thought it was the coolest thing to see Daddy drive away in the Rescue with the lights on.  Faith commented that Steve was "off to take care of an emergency!"  Thankfully, he wasn't gone long!

Elf on the Shelf

We started a new tradition at our house this year: The Elf on the Shelf.  This is something that I had heard about for a few years from some of my friends who have older kids.  Now that the kids are a little older, I thought they would have fun with this, so we decided to try it with them!  If you are unfamiliar with this tradition, the basic idea is that an elf sits somewhere in the house all day, and at night it goes back to Santa to report on all things naughty and nice!  And each time the elf returns to the house, it sits in a new spot, so when the kids wake up in the morning they have to find where it is sitting.  When the elf arrives for the first time, a book accompanies the elf explaining the whole story.  So we have an elf name Bella (Faith choose the name!) who sits on our shelf, silently reminding the kids to be kind!  It was cute too as the book states that kids can tell the elf what they would like for Christmas and the elf with pass it along to Santa.  Yesterday I overheard Faith telling Bella that she wanted some binoculars! 

Friday, December 10, 2010

Knott's Berry Farm

Once again we took advantage of the Firefighter special at Knott's Berry Farm!  The few days prior to our adventure, Faith would look at the Knott's website to see what rides she wanted to ride on and to plan out her route in the park!  It was pretty humorous!  And while the kids were both a little fearful upon arrival last year, this year they just beamed and were so excited to start riding the rides!  Faith proved once again to be pretty fearless, and Shane was pretty scared of most things, but still had a fun time! 

The first ride of the day!  She loved it!!

Here is Steve with Shane about to walk across the rickety bridge.  Shane of course had to be carried most of the way as he was scared!

The race cars are always a hit!

After seeing how much fun Faith had on the cars, Shane decided he needed to try them.  I think it was his favorite ride of the day!

Something they could go on together!! 

She was so funny as she insisted on riding alone on any ride she could!

Shane loved honking the horn on this ride!

Our little man didn't even want to ride on an animal on the Merry-go-round!  So we sat on the bench together!!

Not the best picture, but Faith's smile says it all!  She had a great day, and she always loved the tea cups!  We also took her on the Dragon ride (like a giant swing that goes really high), which she loved!  And we ended the day with the Log Ride.  Steve and Faith rode in the front and got wet, while Shane and I were in the back with him hugging me the whole ride as he was scared!  We're already looking forward to going again next year!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Tis the Season...

Tis the season to put up the Christmas tree!  This is a picture of our tree that was put up this past weekend.  I just love having the tree up and the house decorated!  For me, it adds just an extra bit of excitement to the whole day!  It even makes Faith's 6am wake up call a bit less painful as one of the first things we do is turn on the tree and the other lights in the living room!   Of course we are enjoying other people's decorations as well.  As we drive at night and see a house with some lights, the kids have continued the tradition they started last year of yelling "Lights!!!!"  And Faith has even started noticing houses that have lights up while we drive around town during the day.  She lets me know that we should come back at night so we can see them then!  We are also preparing for our Christmas baking.  We have many supplies in the house to make some scrumptious things!

Tis the season also for catching the local colds!  Both kids had minor colds over the last week, and each came down with a low-grade fever for a day or so too.  While I never enjoy seeing the kids sick, I do admit to loving the extra cuddle time that accompanies the sickness!  Yesterday Faith even fell asleep while she was sitting on my lap on the couch!  I don't think that has happened since she was a baby!  And while she napped, I was able to sit and read books with Shane, which also was so great!  They are both feeling much better today!