Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas 2011

Our Christmas began on December 22nd. We packed up the car and headed to visit the grandparents. We arrived Thursday afternoon and were greeted by "the guys" (Mason's cousins). If I have said this once, I have said it a thousand times- hands down best thing about moving back east, getting to see Mason and Reagan spend quality time with their cousins. They LOVE them. They all play together and watching their bond grow warms my heart.

Friday morning the festivities began! We had breakfast with their great grandparents and then exchanged presents with the Holt's and Grandpa and Grandma. Mason and Reagan were in heaven. It was just enough to get them even more excited for what was to come. The Holt's headed home that afternoon and we had a nice quiet dinner with Grandma and Grandpa. As we were getting ready to put Mason to bed, there was a knock on the door and we opened it to hear Carolers. I have never had Carolers come to my door definitely a benefit of living in a small town. It was a wonderful surprise and a great way to remember the true meaning of the season.

On Saturday morning we headed to have breakfast with the Marlowe's- including their great-grandma, great Uncle, great Aunt, Gram, Uncle Bryan and Aunt Michelle. Great Uncle David was in from California and this was his first time meeting Reagan. It took Mase a little while to warm up but once he did- he had a blast hanging with David. They shared a love for video taping and picture taking! After breakfast we headed to Grams to exchange gifts with her and Uncle Bryan and Aunt Michelle. We spent the afternoon packing the car back up and getting ready to head back to Knoxville. Before heading out, we stopped by the Becky and Johnny's to enjoy Christmas with the Short's. We had dinner and visited with even more cousins before putting on our PJ's and getting in the car at 7pm to make the drive back to Knoxville.

This is our first year trying to do Christmas Eve in Winchester and then heading back to Knoxville for Christmas and I have to say it worked out great. The drive back was quiet and uneventful. Traffic was moving and for the most part, both of our kiddos slept. Although right before heading out, Mason realized he never sent Santa a Christmas list and insisted on writing one. (Luckily, he fell asleep a few minutes later). We made it home in a little over 2 hours and both of the kids fell right back to sleep giving Santa the whole night to come.

Christmas morning we woke Mason and Reagan up at 8:30 because they were both still sound asleep. Santa was great to Mason and Reagan as were all our family and friends. Mason was PUMPED to open presents, see what he got and then open more. Reagan wanted to open one and play so we helped her open most of them. By noon everything was open, and playtime began! We spent the entire afternoon playing, riding Mason's new bike and enjoying being a family together. We couldn't have asked for a better Christmas.

I was lucky to snap a picture of Christmas after Santa came!

Mason opening up presents.

I love that Mason was watching Reagan intently open a present.

If you don't know yet, this girl LOVES Minnie. She got two Minnie's Bowtique dolls and one plush Minnie. She was in heaven. Lord help us.

Super Mase!

the back of a super hero.
We hope you had a great Christmas as well and are gearing up for a new year. Ready or not, 2012 is on it's way!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Holiday Crafting

Before having kids, I loved to craft. It filled my soul, gave me a sense of peace and honestly was fun. Once Mason was born, I tried to keep up but it slowly dwindled. After Reagan, it was a sinking ship. I mean chasing two toddlers and trying to craft?! I did some things on the side and while yes I enjoyed it, it was also typically last minute and rushed and that sense of peace and fun wasn't completely there. Well, 19 months after her birth and I feel like I am starting to remember how to swim, so I decided this month to go all out crafty and enjoy it. I took my time, and incorporated Mason. I figured if I really liked it, maybe he would too.

First up- Oreo Truffles. I found the recipe and printable here. I love that the TomKat Studio has free printables and really good, easy ideas. I had never had Oreo Truffles so I made them for Mom's Night IN (a cookie exchange) as a test run to see if I wanted to make them as Christmas presents. They are DEEE-LISH! Seriously. Try them. Mason was super pumped to work the food chopper with the oreos. He was concerned that the whole bag of oreo's was being chopped. I did the rest, but he was pleased to help and for me that was enough to make the whole experience worth while! Here is our final product and since presentation is 90% I added pics of that as well. We gave these to Mason's teacher (along with some other things), the director and assistant director of his school, and his speech therapist. Even though we finished therapy- he has done so awesome since then that we wanted to say thanks.

This little box was in the dollar bin at Target. I love the peek-a-boo window.
Not just a box of chocolates. We made those! It was fun to drizzle chocolate on them or sprinkle them with crushed oreo's and look at how NICE they look.

I loved having them all ready to go and lined up.

Then today, we decided to make Reindeer Food for the kids in his class. (I am hoping they didn't do this in class, but Mason said no, so I believed him) Again, TomKat came through with a free printable here.
We only used oats and glitter. Mason measured and poured the oats into every bag and then I added the glitter, he held the bag while I tied the ribbon. This year he discovered candy canes so we added one to each bag as a little something for the kids too. Mason is very excited to hand these out tomorrow.

All our reindeer food lined up and ready to go!

He was a little preoccupied with a show, but he wanted to show off the final product.

I like the candy cane hanging from the bag.

And this printable. Totally made my packaging!
Happy Holiday Crafting everyone!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas PJ's

I have a lot of quirks. I know this, I like Reagan's hair in pigtails and sewing the patch on Mason's Lowe's vest the night he finishes the project. I like to plan the meals weeks on Sunday and Tuesday is laundry day. Like I said, I have a lot of quirks. Bless my children's hearts my favorite thing is matching clothes- or to be more specific PJ's. Nothing says sweetness like two toddlers running around in matching Christmas PJ's. It makes my heart melt and for that moment everything is right in the world. Regardless of how messy the living room is, or if the dishes are done. My babies are matching.
Take a look, I think you will see for a minute why everything is right in my world tonight.

Really?!? Can you bottle this cuteness?

Look at that FACE? Ohhh, Mase. What am I going to do with you?

Best buds.

See that giggle? Ohhh. There is nothing I love more.

We spend A LOT of time playing peek-a-boo at our house.
There's Mason! (Reagan's a little slow on the draw)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Train 2011

This weekend we headed downtown to the Holiday Express train at the UT Gardens. You may remember reading about this excursion last year here. Mason still loves trains and we were hoping that Reagan would enjoy the lights, trains, and landscaping as well. The day started off great with Steve and Mason heading to Lowe's to finish the last piece of the Christmas train while Reagan and I stayed home and tried to get some rest- she was up at 4:30 AM which meant so was I. She has been teething and her poor nose has run nonstop, but after a nap we were all ready to see what the Holiday Express would hold!
Mason was again in heaven! He loved looking at all the trains- it is amazing to see all the tracks- they even had a train carrying a hamster cage with a zui-zui pet in it. Reagan wasn't really interested in the trains, but she loved the bridge that overlooked all the trains. So I spent a lot of time going up the bridge and back down.
After some train time, we headed outside to roast marshmallows and make s'mores before a quick walk through the gardens.
Overall a great family day and now a Christmas tradition!

Dad and Mason checking out the trains.

Watching the trains on the bridge.

One of many trips up the bridge.

Mason did really well roasting marshmallows and he LOVED them. Reagan just stuck to graham crackers and chocolate.

Stone heart @ the UT Gardens.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Mason's Christmas Program

On Friday, Mason's school had their Christmas program. We have known about the program for a while so needless to say, we have been practicing songs every day! Jingle Bells, Santa Claus is coming to town... ALL the great ones. We were also excited because Gram, Grandpa Andy and Grandma Kathy were all able to come up to see the program. I think I must have been more excited than Mason because I had a hard time sleeping Thursday night. We woke up, ready for his big day. The kids made their shirts in class- the 3 year old classes were snowman, and the 4 year old classes were penguins.

(this is our first program with Mason and I had NEVER experienced mamarazzi before! WOW there were ALOT of proud parents there and we were glad to be among them!)
Mason singing a song
Mason with his class
Reagan was so excited to watch brother. (she usually doesn't have binky but we have some teeth breaking through and she is having a hard time)
Mason's entourage!

here's a video of his performance as well!

We were so proud of him! He sang every song (even if it was just parts of the song), he smiled, and had a great time. I was one.proud.mama.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Santa at the Zoo

Santa has a secret workshop at the Knoxville Zoo, so the kids and I packed up on Thursday to go visit. Mason wasn't excited about sitting on Santa's lap, but he was ready to tell him what he wanted for Christmas. When we go there he warmed up to sitting on Santa's lap, unfortunately Reagan did not. Ohhh, one day both kids will smile for a picture right? :) We had a good time and afterward we walked the zoo and visited animals who weren't afraid of the cold (it was in the low 40's that day) Overall great day. Santa Claus is coming to town (15 days!!!)

Mason was ready to give Santa his list.

Look at that face. She is pitiful.

Talking over the "list" with Santa

Mason and Reagan checking out the workshop.

Reagan loves ornaments. :)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas Parade

Last Friday night, we braved the cold and headed out to the downtown Knoxville Christmas Parade. I wanted to go last year but Reagan was just 6 months old and it was so cold, that we decided to hold off another year. I am glad we went this year. I think Steve thought I was crazy when I picked him up from work at 5 pm (the parade started at 7) but by the time we got there, it was 5:45 and there were a TON of people there. We still got a good spot but we were farther down the parade route then I would have thought. We brought blankets to sit on and cover our laps and Steve and Mason ran and picked up dinner while Reagan and I guarded our spots. Before we knew it the parade began and Mason and Reagan LOVED it. I have to say the most magical thing it seeing Christmas through the eyes of a child. They were both filled with such amazement and excitement. Mason kept saying, "mommy, it is so beautiful," and not a float went by that Reagan didn't wave at or say hi too. They both loved it and I see it becoming a family tradition. Reagan refused to nap that day so you can imagine when we got in the car at 8:45 she immediately feel asleep.

She was so excited for the parade to start.

Steve, Mason and Reagan enjoying some blue coast.

Some of the floats.

I am usually taking the pictures but I thought it might be nice to actually have a picture of me and the kids.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Count your blessings

I can't believe it was one week ago today, we were feasting on turkey and celebrating with family. Our thanksgiving included 54 (YES, FIFTY-FOUR) of our dearest family and friends. I like to think of it as a family reunion, but my mom and dad prefer to say it's their Christmas. Yes, it is wild, and sometimes chaotic but it is also fun, filled with laughter and memories that will be relived for years to come. My favorite part is having the red head connection (all three Knapper girls) back together. I don't get to spend as much time as I would like with my sistas, so for me thanksgiving brings us all home. As we begin our holiday season I like to think of all the reasons I feel blessed.

Two of my greatest blessings.

We took this after some people left, but here is the majority of our group.

And just for fun. Here is Reagan this year....

And last. WOW this year flew by.