Nov 25, 2015

The Christmas Tree Farm, Part 1

It's that time of year again!  Time for our annual pilgrimage to Yawn Station Christmas Tree Farm to choose a tree and visit the Gersch family.  We had a blast, as usual...
 4 of my loves on the train...
 Stella posed on both sides of the train car...

 You have to check them all out in order the choose the perfect one...
 We once again went with a pre-cut tree.  They actually apologized to us when we arrived.  Seems that last year Damon bought their largest tree, and this year someone else beat him to the punch.  Thank goodness they did, because we had to cut 6 inches off this behemoth to be able to stand it up in our living room...
 Family photo with the tree!
 The ceremonial pulling of the tag...

 This may be my all-time favorite photo of Corinne...





 The kids enjoyed the slide just as much as last year...








More farm fun to come!

Nov 20, 2015

Thanksgiving Parties with Our Little Turkeys

Ahhh, Thanksgiving.  The time of year when I run from class to class on Parkview's campus and try to simultaneously attend parties for all four children.  Our cute little squaw Cille was first up...
Inexplicably, Parkview kindergarteners still make "Indian" shirts and celebrate Thanksgiving by dressing up in war paint and feathered headdresses.  The Pre-K kids dress as Pilgrims.  The words "Native American" are not mentioned and none of it is very PC, but the kids have fun and it's a school tradition, so who am I to judge?

This little turkey was next...
The teachers in Watts's class did not know how to spell Corinne, and I am not exactly sure what
"me boy" is.  Watts does have a special affinity for chicken, french fries, Captain America, and the letter W, however...
One little Indian girl...
Before...
And after...(the facial expression was her idea.)
Later that afternoon Corinne really enjoyed the treats at her feast...
Yum!
The second graders celebrated with cupcakes, but parents were not invited, so there are no photos from Stella's celebration.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Nov 15, 2015

Corinne's First Birthday, Part 2

The day after her party Corinne did have a few gifts to open...





This dress was exquisite...and seeing it reminds me that we still need to schedule birthday photos...



Once everything was checked and packed properly (turns out two year olds aren't the most efficient at making sure one of each item ends up in each box...who knew?), we had a grand total of 29 (mostly overflowing) boxes to donate to Operation Christmas Child!
We made our labels online so that we can track where our boxes end up.  When I find out, I'll blog it! Update: the box destination post is up!  Check it out here.


We divided the boxes and took half to Stella's class for drop off and half to Cille's.  During a special chapel service at school, the girls and their friends got to take the boxes down to the altar.
Thanks to every one who helped us bless others for Corinne's birthday!

Nov 14, 2015

Corinne's First Birthday, Part 1

If you have visited the blog recently, you know that the top spot has been dominated by information about Corinne's Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Packing Birthday Party.  This was probably the last first birthday party we will throw, at least until we have grandchildren, so it was a little bittersweet for me.  First birthdays are tricky because the child is really too young to have shown much interest in any specific character or activity.  I think they usually end up being more a reflection on the parent than the child.  With that said, we have had 4 parties that reflected on us, so if you would like to look back and get that full reflection, check out Stella's first birthday crawfish boil, Cille's first birthday luau, and Watts's lightbulb themed first birthday.  Corinne's birthday fell on Friday the 13th, which was the Friday before Operation Christmas Child Shoebox Collection Week.  The timing was perfect, and Corinne has been blessed with so many fabulous clothing items and toys by her older siblings and cousins that we decided a giving party would be the best way to celebrate our sweet girl's birthday.  We themed her decorations with red and green, got OCC boxes from church, collected items to pack inside, and asked our guests to bring any items they would like to send in the boxes instead of birthday gifts.  It was really a very easy party to plan, so I would highly recommend the theme if you have an appropriately seasoned birthday or just a hankering to throw a party.  Here was Corinne's cake...
The birthday girl herself...
For party favors we passed out The Berenstain Bears The Very First Christmas books, which Cade is checking out in this photo...
Lots of our cousins were there...
Corinne was a little unsure of what to do with that candle...

...but she was still excited about it!

Finally Stella helped her out...

In spite of Cille and Watts's disinterested expressions, I love this picture of our family.  Four out of six smiling ain't bad!
The older kids were never very enthusiastic about their smash cakes, but Corinne made up for that with hers...


Special thanks to Missy, who took all of these photos while I was entertaining guests.  I have the best friends on earth!
I. Love. It.
I just want to kiss the cake off her sweet little face!

Lilly took a drive around the backyard...
One of our favorite surprises at this birthday party was that our sweet Sharbonos were able to join us for the celebration.  Isn't Callie the cutest?
And Jude, following in Dad's footsteps...

Corinne's birthday banner, handmade by Mom with love...
Sharing some cuddle time with brother after the festivities were over...
Stella had a great time packing shoebox gifts...
If you do decide to throw your own OCC packing party, this writing prompt is a great resource to help kids share their faith through shoebox gifts...

We had a wonderful time celebrating our sweet Corinne.  It does not seem like it has been a full year already since she was born, but then again it also feels like she has always been with us.  One of the most special moments from her party was when our pastor and friend Michael Hardaway led us in a prayer of thanksgiving for Corinne and a petition that our shoeboxes will shine the light of Christ to those that receive them, wherever they are in our great big world.  We are extremely blessed to be a part of a wonderful community of family and friends who are believers, and we are so grateful that they are so generously partnering with us to share our Savior's love with others and teach our children the power of giving.