Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Cookies!

Like her mother and grandmother Lily seems to really enjoy baking!:) So this time around my parents did the actual baking and we just came in to help do the decorating! As you can see from the pictures Lily had a blast decorating the Christmas cookies! Ok, a few times she got a little carried away with the sprinkles, but that made it even more fun! She's also been doing a good job at eating all of those cookies!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Birthday Jesus!

After we opened presents on our little Christmas day Lily and I made a birthday cake for Jesus (Joe was taking a nap because he was sick). This was something we did in my family when I was little- every Christmas Eve we had a birthday cake for Jesus. Lily had a great time helping me bake- especially pouring the batter into the cake mold. After dinner that night we lite the candles and said a little prayer of thanks for the birth of Jesus. Lily loved blowing out the candles! After cake we all sat down to read "An Angels Story"- by Max Lucado- it's a great little 60 page story (Joe and I decided to make this a Christmas tradition a few years ago). Lily didn't quite make it through the whole book- but someday she will. The cake and everything might seem a little on the cheesy side- but I have to say that for the short period of time that we made it, baked it, decorated it, and then celebrated with it I actually felt like I was remembering and celebrating the real reason for Chrismas. Don't get me wrong- I love everything about Christmas- the tree, presents, food, family, snow, santa... but I want to also do as much as I can to really celebrate the birth of Christ (and to teach Lily to do the same)!
P.S. We are now in Wisconsin with my family celebrating Christmas! Hope that you are having a wonderful Christmas Eve wherever you are!

Our Little Christmas

Here she is "Christmas morning"- looking at Joe as if to say, "Is it really mine?"

Opening Stockings

Spreading a little Christmas magic with her new wand and fairy costume!

I love wrapping paper!

Checking out her new owl puppet (from Grammy & G-pa)- from a distance at first!

Enjoying her Christmas present!

So good I can almost taste them now!

We celebrated our little family Christmas the day before we left for all our travels! Joe was sick that day so that was a bummer, but other than that we had a great day together. Our "Christmas morning" was especially fun. Lily's big gift was a great climber/fort/slide- and when we came into the living room Christmas morning she looked at it and almost right away looked at Joe in disbelief that it was hers! She played with it almost the whole day! Lily also loved opening presents- especially the wrapping paper (and sometimes what was inside)! Joe and I also got some fun gifts- Joe got me an ipod and I got him a backpacking stove and camping axe! After opening presents and stockings we enjoyed a yummy brunch- including these delicious homemade cinnamon rolls- so good. What a fun "Christmas morning!"

Friday, December 19, 2008

Tea with Santa!

The other day we had tea with Santa! It was a cute little free program put on by the town of Orono. A bunch of other moms from my mom's group came too- so that made it even more fun! Lily was much more excited about all the cookies than anything else! She was sort of facinated with Santa- especially watching other kids with him- but when it was our turn to go up to meet Santa Lily pretty much grabbed tight to me and wouldn't let go. She didn't cry, but needless to say we didn't get a picture with Santa (there weren't many kids that did)!:) Mrs. Clause even gave out presents to all the children (they were books)! What a wonderful little program! Maybe next year we'll get a picture with the jolly old elf (maybe)!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Chocolate Factory

Yesterday Lily and I made chocolate covered pretzels (something I have done with my mom at Christmas for many years)! As you can see Lily had a wonderful time! She loved every part of it from dropping the pretzels in to fishing them out with a fork and flipping them over onto the waxed paper. Sometimes hers landed in more of a clump of 2 or 3 of them- but that might be even better!:) My favorite moment came when she flipped a chocolate covered pretzel off her fork and it flew in the air landing clear across the table (not on the paper). Oh, she laughted so hard. And the more she laughed the more I laughed (and then she would laugh even harder). We sat there laughing together for a very long time. I think honestly it has been one of my favorite moments as a parent!

And as you can see there was chocolate everywhere!! Lily went straight from this to the shower! Life with a toddler sure is mess, but it sure is fun too!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Nothing says Christmas like...lobster?

This fall Joe and I and our friends Brave and Jennifer started a small group/bible study for couples/families in our area. There are about 10 couples involved and throughout the fall we have been getting to know one another, enjoying food together on Sunday nights, and studying the book of Philippians. Well, last night we hosted a Christmas party for our small group! With 21 adults and 13 children our small little house was packed tight (as you can see from the pictures)! We shared a wonderful dinner together (and fabulous desserts). The day before Joe built a fire pit in our backyard so we also attempted to roast chestnuts. And let me tell you, while roasting chestnuts feels very nastolgic- they are pretty bad to eat (and least that was the overall opinion). Don't think we'll make this one a tradition! We ended the night with a large yankee swap (each adult brought a small gift that somehow represented one of their holiday traditions). It was fun to hear about the different traditions of each family. By far the most interesting gift of the night was a live lobster (on ice in a large plastic container)! Our friend Jennifer's family always makes seafood chowder on Christmas Eve (thus the lobster)! We were all quite entertained- and somehow Joe got stuck with the lobster as his gift. We named him Bob. We ate him at lunch today. Sorry Bob. Anyway, it was a wonderful evening with people we have been friends with for years and with others that we hope will become great friends!

Trees Everywhere!

On Thursday Maine (and a large part of the Northeast I believe) was hit by an ice storm. Thankfully we only lost power here for 2 hours, but Joe's family (including his parents and his sister's family) are expected to get power back today or even later! Crazy! His brother had a tree fall on his house (and will like need to replace their entire mudroom)! Sorry guys. We also lost a large tree in the storm, but it feel back into the little wooded area behind our house instead of into our yard. And technically the tree (although right up against our land) is owned by our neighbors (who also own the land it fell onto). The large root ball sticking up right along our grass line is sort of unsightly though- so hopefully they will take care of it- or at least let us chop it up (and keep for fire wood)!

Saturday, December 13, 2008


300. Christmas cards. Yes, that's right, we are sending out 300 Christmas cards this year! We have over 240 people on the mailing list of our ministry (these are people who regularly pray for and financially support our ministry)- and then we have another 50 or so friends and family that we are also sending cards to. It does feel a bit crazy- starting with taking the picture for our Christmas card all the way through stamping each one of them and dropping them off at the post office. And yes, I do sign each letter and address each envelope myself (just for Christmas). And I admit that by the end I feel a little crazy- but each person we send a card to does so much for us all year round that it's the least we can do. I am happy though that it's done!

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Lily loves books! So do Joe and I. We try to read to her often. Sometimes she lets us read full stories. Sometimes she lets us read a few pages. Sometimes we only get through the first page before moving onto another book. And sometimes she just likes to look at them herself! Here she is shortly after Thanksgiving- all snuggled in for a good read. She sat like this for a while just looking over her books. Lately one of my favorites is a book that my Aunt Linda gave to Lily last year for Christmas called "The Day The Babies Crawled Away." Here's a taste:
"They crawled in a cave-
You cried, 'Babies, BEHAVE!'
But the babies loved bats,
So the babies just waved!"
It is such a cute book!
Maybe in the future I'll post about some of the books Joe and I are reading too!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

More Pictures

Here are some of the other ones I liked- enjoy!
Sidenote: As you can see Lily is once again healthy and happy! After days of running a fever followed by a few days of a head to toe viral rash we finally have our little girl back! It's so nice to see a smiling little Lily again!

Photo Shoot!

Check out those big, beautiful blue eyes!

Yesterday I did my first little photo shoot with Lily- to try out my new camera and to get a picture of her for our Christmas letter. I am so happy with the way these turned out- especially since photographing toddlers isn't the easiest (just trying to get them to stay in one place is hard enough)! I have a ton to learn about my new camera and about photography in general, but I feel like this first little "photo shoot" was a success! It helps to have such an adorable subject! These top 3 pictures are my favorites and I'll post some more later that I also love (I think combined they capture different aspects of her personality)! Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


So some of you might know that I have been interested in photography for a while now. I would say though that I've really fallen in love with taking pictures since Lily was born (she's a great subject)! So much so that it's become a dream of mine to do some photography professionally someday (I would absolutly love to shoot weddings and portraits- children and family). I decided this summer that I'm going to go for it- to begin to take the steps to see that dream happen someday. One of those first steps became a reality this week when I got my brand new camera!!! I've been saving up for a few years now and just a few days ago it arrived- a beautiful Nikon D200 digital SLR camera! It was recommended to me by a wedding photographer I met this summer (who by the way has offered to let me shadow him photographing a few weddings- so cool)! I have sooooo much to learn, but now that my camera is here I feel like I can really start. In fact, I'm hoping to take my first class in January! Thank you to my husband and all my family that through birthday and Christmas gifts have contribued to the purchase of my camera- I am a lucky girl!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Lily's Ornaments

Every year growing up my parents gave me a new Christmas ornament for St. Nicholas day- and now I have a wonderful little collection of ornaments. So, I am continuing the tradition with Lily. My hope is to give her an ornament each year that somehow reflects part of her year. As I looked for one this year I was having a difficult time. And then I found this sweet, adorable little white bird (pictured above) and thought that this would work- since this year Lily has become facinated by all animals and birds. So I bought it. However, at the very next store I was in I found an owl ornament- and was sort of kicking myself that I had already bought one- since Lily just LOVES owls (she can't say owl yet, but every time she sees one in a book she says, "whoo whoo"- it's the cutest thing). I just didn't feel like returning the other ornament so I passed on the owl. Then all week I debated about going back to get it (yes, I know, it's only an ornament, but this is just how I am)! In the end I just didn't get to it. Then... the night before St. Nicholas day my mom called to tell me that she had bought Lily an ornament and had left it wrapped and hidden in a corner of Lily's closet (to be given to her for St. Nicholas day). My mother is so thoughtful (she bought the ornament way back in September)! The next morning when we opened the ornament from my parents I was shocked to find the very same owl ornament that I had wanted to buy for Lily (the one pictured here)!!! What a wonderful suprise! I guess mother and daughter do think alike!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

St. Nicholas Day

St. Nicholas Day Boots!

Lily's St. Nicholas ornament

Happy St. Nicholas Day! For those of you who don't know, this is a European/German tradition- and one that I celebrated with my family every year growing up (we are very German after all)!

St. Nicholas was the real-life bishop in what is now Turkey. He earned his sainthood for numerous miracles, but his neighbors knew him best as a kind and generous man with a great fondness for children (the original Santa). In some areas of Germany St. Nicholas still comes as a bishop with flowing beard and a bishop's miter and staff. Houses are thoroughly cleaned and children clean and polish their shoes or boots in preparation for the saint's visit. On the evening before St. Nicholas Day (Dec. 6th), children put letters to the good saint along with carrots or other food for his white horse or donkey on a plate or in their shoes. The shoes are left outside, under the bed, beside a radiator, or on a windowsill in hopes of finding goodies from St. Nicholas the next morning. During the night Sankt Nikolaus goes from house to house carrying a book in which all the children's deeds are written. If they have been good, he fills their plate, shoe or boot with delicious fruits, nuts and candies. If not, they may find potatoes, coal, or twigs. Today, in many parts of the world Saint Nicholas delivers gifts on the eve of his Feast Day, December 6, and Christmas is reserved for the religious observance of Christ's birth.

Lily found her boot from St. Nicholas this morning- including a few small gifts (like the Curious George monkey you see above), two Christmas books, and her Christmas ornament. Every year growing up I got my yearly Christmas ornament in my St. Nicholas stocking (so this has become one of the most important parts of the tradition). I'll post more later about her ornaments (it's a good little story). Joe and I also got a few little goodies (including chocolate) in our boot! I think that Lily had the most fun though playing with the boots (as you can see in the picture)!

Happy St. Nicholas Day!