31 December 2009

Handmade Christmas 2009

My goal of "Handmade Christmas 2009" was not only accomplished, but very successful! I made everything except the gifts for the kids. I am not a toymaker so I figured that I better do some shopping for them. I gave the following gifts:

-8 matted 4x6 watercolor paintings by Caroline
-10 handpainted ornaments embellished with ribbon
-2 ornaments decoupaged with pictures of the kids
-4 sets of notecards from pictures that Chad and I have taken
-variety of knitted items including 4 hats and a scarf
-a framed needlepoint monogram
-1 framed 8x10 acrylic painting
-1 8x10 watercolor by Caroline
-1 hand embroidered lace
-4 hair bows
-2 framed pictures taken by me

I think this is it, if I remember correctly. I really enjoyed handmaking everything. I was proud of the gifts as I knew that each item was made specifically for each person/family. Somehow these gifts seemed more meaningful than just choosing something off the store shelf. It was definitely less stressful. Because we live an hour away from civilization, it is often difficult to get to a real shopping area. I am not sure when I would have gotten any shopping done, if I had to buy gifts. I hope that this is a tradition I can continue as I have gotten lots of positive feedback! Below are some pictures of a few of the items that were given this Christmas.

25 December 2009

Merry Christmas!

Santa found 156 Maple Street, that's for sure! I woke the kids up around 7:45 so they could get up and see what Santa brought them. Caroline informed me that "Santa did not come to our house." We had a conversation about this for about 5 minutes when I finally convinced her to just come and look to see if there was a pink princess dress waiting for her. I carried Tucker into the living room with his head on my shoulder because he was still sleepy. As soon as he saw the matchbox cars, dump truck and motorcycle, he was ready to get down.

Caroline immediately saw the princess dress and said "Oh wow!" She then began to point out all of Tucker's new toys to him. Tucker was way ahead of her and did not need a guide! I think her favorite thing was the collection of beads in small pink containers for her to sort. She said "Mommy, it's beads like you have!" Tucker began loading all his matchbox cars into the dumptruck and wheeled it around. It has definitely been a Merry Christmas at Brown House!

December 24th

We had a great Christmas Eve dinner with great friends. Chad's Beef Wellington was delicious (as expected) and my birthday cake was yummy, too. The kids were so excited to see each other and barely slowed down to eat...that is until they saw they cake! Caroline spent most of the day in princess attire and for some reason decided that she was ready to put jammies on right before dinner. Tucker was a cutie in his Christmas outfit.

The wind was blowing like crazy last night. The lights flickered a little and then around 8:30 the power went out. We still enjoyed each other's company in the candlelight and the kids calmed down a little. They tended to stick closer to the adults. Our friends left a little after 9:00 and the power finally came back on around 9:30. We were all glad to have electricity again, as it may have been difficult for Santa to do his job in the dark!

24 December 2009

Christmas Eve Dinner

So, it is Christmas Eve and I should be preparing food for dinner tonight as we are having three other families over this evening. Although we are not having the traditional Christmas Eve dinner that I remember from when I was a kid, I am still excited and know that Chad's Beef Wellington will be delicious. I am going to make green bean casserole and Paige's Potatoes. Paige's Potatoes are a family favorite! I haven't made them in a while so I thought I'd give it a try. As I was looking in my Grandmother Goffigon's cookbook for the recipe, I found a list. It was titled "Christmas Dinner 1989." Wow- 20 years ago! My mouth was watering just reading over the list of comfort food. Here goes:

Turkey and Dumplings with Gravy and Dressing
Turnip Greens
Baked Apples
Paige's Potatoes
Christmas Cranberry Salad
Rolls and Biscuits
Tea and Coffee
Cookies and Ambrosia
Coconut Cake

I have lots of memories of family gatherings at Boo's house. I would usually fill my plate with turkey, dumplings, mashed potatoes and rolls. It had to be white to make it on my plate. My family will be glad to know that that rule no longer applies! Oh what I would give for this meal to magically appear tonight...enough dreaming and back to work on my Paige's Potatoes. Merry Christmas Eve!

23 December 2009

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,

I want a princess dress and shoes. I want a "contar" (aka guitar). Tucky is very nice to me. Thank you God for Tucker and Daddy and Caroline and Mommy and Daddy.


22 December 2009

Visit from Santa

On Sunday morning we got a surprise visit from Santa! He came to Nena and Poppy's house to make sure Caroline and Tucker were on the nice list and not on the naughty list. Tucker was in awe, but Caroline was not impressed. She wanted nothing to do with Santa. Tucker sat on his lap without hesitation and was very excited to see that Santa has candy canes! Finally, Caroline warmed up to Santa, but only after he gave them gifts. They each got a Thomas the Train engine. Santa reminded them to be good and perhaps he might just have a pink princess dress and motorcycle to leave under the tree at Brown House (aka our house in Sewanee). After Santa left I asked Caroline why she was afraid of him and wouldn't sit on his lap. She told me that "he was too big."


The kids and I came to Huntington on Friday to spend some time with Nena, Poppy and Pappaw. Chad flew in on Monday after traveling to Florida for a friend's ordination. Thankfully we arrived just before the snow. We woke up Saturday morning to about 6 inches of snow. We did not have any snow boots as we are not used to getting so much snow. We all piled in the car and went to get some snow boots before going to Ritter Park. Apparently, sledding in Ritter Park is a Huntington tradition when it snows. Nena had a saucer that we used to slide down the hill. Caroline did it once and that was enough for her! Tucker went down the hill over and over! Nena, Poppy and I all took turns riding with him. He loved it! Caroline opted to build a snowman with a little help from Nena. It was lots of fun and definitely got us in the Christmas spirit!

15 December 2009

Always Be My Babies

One great thing about living in Tennessee is that Caroline and Tucker each get a free book in the mail every month. This is part of The Dolly Parton's Imagination Library program. Thank you Courtney for actually signing our kids up! When Tucker was born (almost 2 years ago!!), the hospital gave us a form to submit so we would start receiving books. Of course, I didn't do it as Caroline's bookshelf is already full. Courtney must have been bored at work one day and submitted the information for us. It is always a special treat to receive a book in the mail. The kids love it. Just today, I got an e-mail saying that they were going to start sending softcover books. Currently they send hardcover books which are better for our household.

In the e-mail they said "children in the older groups (children born from 2005-2008)...." Wait a minute! Both our kids are now in the "older group?" Our kids are still little, right?!?! Not so much...I have a 3 year old and almost 2 year old and they are considered "older." Well, not to me, as they will always be my babies :)

Christmas Carols at PMO

Today was the last day of PMO for the semester. It was a crazy day! Caroline and Tucker had on new outfits from Aunt Haley, Uncle Brian and "Baby Will." Caroline was very excited about her new dress. Tucker, on the other hand, was not. He kept saying "don't like it" as I was getting him dressed this morning. They looked so cute, not to mention festive!

The class sang Christmas carols around the seminary. They all loved singing Jingle Bells and shaking their bells. Once that song was over, they lost interest. After singing for the Dean and other faculty and staff members, they sang for their parents back in the PMO room. They really did sing well. I could tell a major improvement just in Caroline and Tucker compared to last year. Granted, Tucker was not even talking last year this time, but he certainly knows the words to Jingle Bells this time around! After the songs, we had some cookies and brownies and hot chocolate. Tucker's favorite was the candy cane I so graciously let him have right before lunch.

14 December 2009


I thought I'd share this quick Caroline story since I don't have an official post with pictures today. Caroline was in the bath being silly. She started talking about broccoli and so I jokingly said "Do you want to change your name to broccoli?" She immediately responded "No I don't, lemon." She started to call me lemon and Chad was orange. She couldn't come up with a name for Tucker because he's "just my brudder."

13 December 2009

Tucker Gets His Ears Lowered

I did it. I cut his hair. I loved his ringlets that bounced off the nape of his neck. I loved that he was almost 2 and had never had so much as one strand of hair cut. I loved that he still looked like my little baby with his curly blonde hair. I also loved that Caroline frequently referred to Tucker's hair as "Tucker's curlies." But, it was time. I have been thinking about it for about a week. Because of the dry weather, his hair was not as curly as normal and it was staring to look long and stringy...not my favorite look.

Tonight, after our friends left, I got the scissors and decided I couldn't wait another day. Poor guy was starting to look like no one cared about him, which we know is NOT the case! He did really well, as I don't think he had a clue what I was doing. Caroline, of course, wanted to cut Tucker's hair, too. I think I did a pretty good job. We'll see how it looks in the next few days. It is still curly even though I cut off about 2 inches in some spots. Other areas just needed a trim. He is still the cutest little guy I've ever seen, just with shorter hair.



The Manger Scene

I have had this manger scene for as long as I can remember. I have set it out every Christmas and I have always looked forward to doing so. This year, I thought that maybe the kids would want to help out. I have always been very peculiar about how the the animals and people were placed in the manger. Therefore, I really had to convince myself that it didn't matter if Mary and Joseph weren't standing immediately behind Baby Jesus and that it was ok if the angel wasn't hanging from the back right hand corner. It had crossed my mind that maybe nap time would be the best time to arrange the nativity scene. However, Caroline didn't think she needed a nap today so there went that idea.

Once Tucker woke up, I asked them if they wanted to help. I thought that they could take turns placing the figures in the manger and I would totally let them do it and resist the urge to rearrange while they weren't looking. Well, Tucker was more interested in making the sounds that the cows and sheep make. While most people probably have Christmas music playing in the background, we had Tucker's sound effects..."moooooo, baaaaaa." He quickly lost interest and went on to play with his bus.

Caroline sat there quietly for quite a while. I assumed she was arranging the manger scene her way, and I was looking forward to see how she thought things should go. I took some pictures and then went to the kitchen. I heard her say, "Mom! I can't find Baby Jesus!" He was there...most likely buried under the hay. A few minutes later, Chad walked past her and I heard him say "Caroline, they don't go on the roof of the manger." Wonderful, I thought. This child really knows how to think outside the box (literally). I went over to her to help get her back on track. I suggested that maybe Jesus' mommy and daddy could be placed beside Jesus. That is when she informed me that Joseph was not his daddy (to which Chad said that technically she was correct) and that one of the Wise Men was Jesus' father. This didn't go exactly how I had expected...we'll try again next year!

The Weekend

It has been a busy week! On Friday we had the Seminary Holiday Party which was lots of fun, as always. It was a fairly "calm" night as we enjoyed sitting around the tables and listening to a great jazz band while chatting with our friends. As I glanced around our ever expanding table (more and more chairs were pulled up to make room for more folks) I realized just how many great friends we have here. I love that we have great friends who have children the same age as our kids and therefore we have a lot in common. However, I also love that we are friends with people that we may have never been friends with in the "real world." We are parents of babies, toddlers, teenagers, maybe not even parents at all. We are in our 20's, 30's, 40's and 50's. We are from Texas, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, etc. We are spouses and seminarians. We are all so different, yet so alike in this seminary world. Best of all, we are FRIENDS.

On Saturday morning, we attended a service in COTA that Chad organized. The kids were most excited about getting fed a constant stream of suckers to assure that they would be quiet. At one point during the service, Tucker started saying, "shake-a-booty, shake-a-booty." I tried hard not to laugh, but it was just too funny. In these pictures, he is hiding (or maybe trying to knock over) the font while everyone else enjoyed refreshments. I think Caroline was busy searching for ladybugs.

This is what Caroline prefers to wear: a "princess dress" aka a "summer dress", leggings, sometimes a shirt underneath and boots. She honestly believes that this matches and looks good. It used to bother me, but not so much anymore. She feels like a princess and that's all that matters when you're 3, right?!?