Christmas Collection

                  I hope that your Christmas was grand, full of food, family, friends, faith, and fun. We had a great time celebrating the season. Here is a Christmas collection/picture recap of our celebrations. Enjoy! 

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Breakfast with Santa

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This morning when Thomas was on his way to a day of work at his practice, we had him drop us off a the local Methodist church to participate in “Breakfast with Santa.” At point of drop-off, we didn’t have a ride home, but we live in a small community where we have some deep roots, so I told him “don’t worry about us; we’ll find a way home.” (ahhhh, the life of a woman with no car that still is on a driving restriction due to her black out, wreck, surgery, wired jaw, etc…..)

We were the first ones there that weren’t helping cook the food, but some friends of ours had their kiddos already there playing, so my boys joined in on the fun.

The food was yummy, and between the three of us, we managed to have a taste of everything offered. Seeing people from the community that I know but don’t attend church with or see regularly was nice.

For a little craft, they had a set-up for making reindeer food (oats, sugar, and glitter). The food is suppose to be sprinkled on the front lawn on Christmas Eve. The boys also were able to bring home some goodies, such as bookmarks, a small nativity scene, a baby Jesus in swaddling clothes, ornaments, and candy canes.

Thomas and I have struggled with how to implement the concept of Santa Claus, Jolly ol’ St. Nick, or whatever you like to call him, since we had children. Thomas was devastated at the knowledge of his parents being the gift-givers when he discovered a price tag on a gift and his whole holiday world crumbled. I didn’t really get phased by the knowledge but really wanted to respect Thomas’s memory and emotions from his experience, so I was okay with whichever path we chose. Even though we don’t traditionally celebrate Santa as many families do, we don’t ignore him and his splendor and goodness in the historical sense. Recently I read this short and to the point article that I think establishes how we like to incorporate the big man in the red suit into our holiday season and family journey. We also have an Elf on the Shelf, which the kids know is a “game mommy and daddy play” in order to help us all have fun this holiday.

So, based off that premise of Santa, we had a fun Saturday outing, when we would normally be car-less and stuck at home all day while the hubby worked. We easily found a ride home, and I was pleased with the day, along with the boys.

And, as far as non-mall, doing this for free Santas go, I think the Methodist church pulled off one of the best I have ever seen, not to mention a great Mrs. Claus. They obviously were blessed with a well-suited members of their congregation this holiday season! :O)

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A Cat & Dog Christmas Musical

Daniel was in a Christmas program at school where cats and dogs sang songs about unity and togetherness at Christmas. It was short and sweet, and he was really proud of himself and the performance with his classmates.

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(Can you see our little first grade brown dog?)

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He wore me out about making his costume for him, and I had to consistently reassure him that I had plenty of time to finish it. When it was all said and done, he was happy with his appearance, especially due to Thomas’s finishing touches of the face paint.

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Way to go Daniel! We are all proud of you for doing something new and for working together with your friends to create a great performance!

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New Year, Old News

It is officially 2013……but I forgot to tell you of some happenings from 2012. So, since I don’t keep a scrapbook other than this digital one, I want to log these moments for my future self.

This one happened quite a bit ago, but I never shared it here: Thomas commutes into school via the train. This has been kinda cool for him, and it gives him a grand opportunity to avoid traffic and fall asleep or study while someone else handles the transportation. He also gets to circumvent parking on campus and buying a costly parking pass. One day I had a friend in from another state attending a conference. She and I were going to have dinner together during one of her breaks, but if I waited on Thomas to get home from his hospital work and then headed out, I would not have been able to make the timeline work. Instead, I drove into the city and met Thomas at the train station and exchanged a kiss with him, along with handing off the kiddos.

IMG_3596They were so excited, they couldn’t even look at me for the photo. Both boys were bouncing and twitching about getting on the train. It was crazy cute! They rode the train home with Daddy and it was all they talked about for weeks.

I didn’t tell you about Daniel’s first race! Beginning in the summer, at each road race, Daniel insisted that he wanted to run too. When I ran the Halloween Haunt in my chicken costume, he begged to come along, but with that being a 5 miler, I knew it would be nothing but a bad choice if I agreed. Thanksgiving day though, there was a Turkey Trot 1 mile fun run, so I signed the boy and myself up and we were ready to run!

IMG_4260(I like the cute kid photo bombing in the back. I like to believe he is thinking of how awesome I am and that he wish his mom were to run with him in the race) Daniel completed the whole mile and had a super time. I didn’t get our official pace, but it wasn’t about that of course. It was about Daniel doing something that I love, which was also something he wanted to do. All Thanksgiving day he was busy telling everyone what he had done that morning. Such a great boy!

DSC_0166And I know this picture does not have him in it, but I just love this picture anyway, cause it shows me, unaware that Thomas was taking our photo as we prepared to cross the start line, and I am genuinely proud of my 6 year old road race runner in his very first Turkey Trot.

Daniel also performed in a school Christmas musical. He sang some superb songs, like “Hip Hop the Reindeer.” Christmas classic, indeed.

IMG_4321 He looks a little unsure in this picture above, but he really did a great job in the performance. One of the best bell ringers out there, if you ask me. IMG_4322In late November, after Thanksgiving, my mom celebrated another birthday. I know how old she is but I am not sure I should tell you :O).  We went out to eat and had a great time

IMG_4289Thomas and I, along with Wesley, were able to go to Daniel’s Christmas party at school to help and have fun.

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Parents were asked to send a wrapped book to school for their kiddo to open at the celebration. Daniel unwrapped his fast and read it faster. That boy is a fantastic reader, and I am so glad he loves exploring a book.

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I bought the game Operation for the kiddos. I thought that they would like it, and I remember loving it when young. Although they have made some slight changes to the game, it is still a fun one, and the fine motor skills it helps to improve is pretty awesome.

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Even Thomas took the game seriously :O)

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I was able to chaperone Daniel’s field trip to a local arts center to see an animal exhibition. We rode together in the very last seat on the big school bus. He was so proud to be sitting next to me. May those sweet days never fade (insert very, very wishful thinking here. I would love it to be, although I doubt it probable at 15 that he will want me sitting next to him)

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So yeah, new year, old news, but essentially since I have put it on the good ol’ web log, it is actually new news, right?

Exactly.

Happy New Year! I hope yours is off to a great start. Maybe this year I will update more frequently, for I know inquiring minds want to know the mundane and the magnificent about our days :O). Much more has happened, obviously, but at least logging a few here makes for a good record.

Be on the lookout for a Christmas recap. Maybe I can get that one out in January too!

Love, The Bakers

Our friend from college, Molly, of Simply M Photography, took some fantastic photos of our family back in March. They adorn our home and also currently serve as the header for our blog. She’s a talented individual, for certain!  Her session was altogether filled with wonderful images.

 

Card design image from http://bethhartdesigns.blogspot.com/

Today Molly notified me that her friend and designer used our photos as the basis for several mock/sample Christmas cards. They look so cute, even if they are filled with made up names, such as Love The bakers/The Hickmans or from “Thomas, Mary Ann, Lucas, and Mark Andrew” (funny how she randomly got one right in the mix!).

 
So, since I was told my last blog post a a bit depressing by my husband and “made me tear up” by my sister-in-law, I decided fake Christmas cards might be the perfect lighthearted post to follow.

Love,

The Bakers :O)

Merry and Bright

We had a great Christmas, full of family and fun, dinosaurs and angry birds, Legos and love. It was merry and bright.

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And for the record, Wesley prefers candy over gifts, hence the photo of a mouth shoved full of M&Ms and the tummy time near the tree sneaking Pez he got from my mom.

Finally, three guesses on who we need to thank for this gift, although if you know our family much, I am sure you will not need all three:


 

Big Apple Adventure

Movies show the Big Apple at Christmas time. It always looks magical. I had always wondered what it would be like to actually visit the city during the holidays and see all the sights first hand. That idea, plus a summer of VBS focused on NYC, I was even more intrigued. I mentioned to Thomas in early November that we should do that together as our Christmas, and even though it was in passing before Bible Study, Thomas took it to heart and he set out to find some good deals on plane tickets. When we realized the cost was not near as much as we anticipated, he and had a mission to try and make it all work out. When my mom got on board to watch the kids for a few days, we booked the hotel and plane and began counting down the days.

Turns out, everything is a big, busy, bright and loud as it appears on TV.

(and this was 11PM at night……Times Square staying hopping until 2AM. Insane)

The Statue of Liberty was empowering, not to mention much larger than you expect.

(Isn’t Lady Liberty gorgeous? And isn’t the hubby a great photographer?)

The 9/11 Memorial is simply unforgettable and moving. Seeing the reflecting pools, which are literally built in the footprints of where the Twin Towers once stood, is something I think everyone should experience. Being that the memorial just opened in September, there was still some constructing and creating going on around the area, but the pools themselves create a quiet solitude among the loud sounds of the city and rebuilding.

May we never forget the lives lost on that day.

We also took a visit to the Today Show. Let me just say, I enjoyed this more than I anticipated. It was SO much fun. We literally turned on the TV from our hotel the morning we went and saw the show already in place. Less than 15 minutes later, we were there watching Scarlett Johansson and seeing Ann, Matt, and Al firsthand.

Speaking of hands, I shook Al’s! (side note: his gloves were soft)

Again, I am surprised about how giddy I got at Rockefeller Plaza seeing these people. I usually care absolutely nothing about celebrities (except maybe Joel McHale, but that is a different story for another time). The Today Show folks though just made me excited. And yes, Thomas was on TV! I was too short though, so no me.

Ice skating had to be one of my highlights. It was just magical. The love of my life, the chill of NYC winter, Christmas music, Christmas lights, and just joy all around made it simply perfect.

It is truly a moment that I will always remember, and I am so proud of Thomas for taking his first try at ice skating with me in such a big way! (He did really well too!)

Central Park was a bit of a let down you might say. We couldn’t really peg if that was because A: It was winter and all the greenery was muted B: We didn’t travel through something that was possibly impressive or C: We are accustomed to lots of nature and green where we are from, so what seems great to the city folk seems dim to the country folk.

Purusing 5th Avenue and Macy’s Holiday Windows, along with grabbing a few gifts for the kids made up for most of our shopping.  I did try to hunt down a clothing item I saw at one store, but with there being about 4 of that store within just a handful of city blocks, it was not too likely to find it again. Oh, and the hubby experienced heaven on earth inside the Lego store. He even made Lego men/women that reflect the look and style of himself, Daniel, and me.

A Broadway show, which was amazing, was on our to do list. It was so cool to just walk a few blocks from our hotel and be “where the neon lights are bright” and where there “is always magic in the air.”

The cool thing about watching this show on Broadway, where it stays, not floats around like we would have in our home state, is that every little detail of The Gershwin Theater was devoted to creating the vibe and flow of _Wicked_. From the witch hat lights to the Emerald city glow on every wall, the theater echoed the play, which was such a great experience on a whole. If you get a chance, go see it, even if not on Broadway.

Subway rides, taxi rides, ferry rides, the most delectable meal I have *ever* eaten, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, a viewing of The Dead Sea Scrolls, Irish Pubs, a pizza lunch, coffee to go, traffic galore, and a few more events rounded out our adventures.

It was truly an amazing experience, and even though we could have stayed much longer and taken the opportunity to see so many other things, our two sweet boys beckoned our hearts back home.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, friends and family—and random blog readers! I wanted to thank you for all the Christmas card love (see photo, below right) and I hope that you enjoyed the card we sent you. If you didn’t get one, the postal service lost it, I am sure, so just take a look at our attempts and imagine the final product. Make sure you read my holiday risk assessment and, after reading, if you are still ready to hang around, I updated our “About Us” tab at the top, after only about 2 years. Please accept that as my Christmas gift to you.

Pretty crummy gift isn’t it?

We’ll it’s all I got my friends, so take it for what it is worth. At least it wasn’t the shake weight. :O)

Ok, how about pretending this is me and my family singing to you: