As I was looking over the pictures we took on Christmas Day in order to make my collage, I commented to Scott that it appears I wasn’t there for Christmas morning as I couldn’t find any shots with me in them. 

Then I realized I was wrong as I spotted this picture.

my appearance with text

Whew…. good thing I was wrong… there is photographic evidence of my existence at Christmas 2009.  :-)

The next day when the family gathered again for our more formal dinner, Scott rectified the situation by snapping this lovely picture of my backside. IMG_4824

Hmmm…perhaps I was better off when there was no photographic evidence of my existence!

Who me?


Couldn’t be


Then, who?


Visit here or here for more fun with pictures.

One of my favorite things we did this Christmas was take the kids shopping for each other and for us.  It is heartwarming to see them get so excited about giving.  I also loved seeing what they picked out for others. 

My son is an excellent gift giver.  He is very thoughtful and thinks very hard about finding a gift the person will truly like. 

I just had to share the story Scott told me about taking him shopping for my gift.  It’s a memory I don’t want to forget.  Ah, the innocence of youth!


According to Scott, my son really wanted to get me mistletoe and flowers for Christmas.  This is truly sweet and actually quite perfect b/c I have always wanted to have some mistletoe to hang in the house.. guess you can call me a hopeless romantic. 

When they were shopping for mistletoe they had a very hard time finding it.  My son was convinced it had red berries and Scott was fairly certain it had white.  They asked two different people and both sided with my son on the red berries. 

Soon they found a plant with red berries and Scott told my son he wasn’t sure if it was really mistletoe.  

My five year old then totally innocently and very seriously said to Scott,"Dad, why don’t you just hold it up over somebody and see?”

Ha, ha, can you imagine?  Your minding your own business shopping at Target and a man you don’t know puts something he thinks is mistletoe above your head.  “No ma’m, you have to understand, my son asked me to do it… no really, tell her son, we just wanted to know if …”

Sadly, they weren’t able to find any mistletoe for me, but this is one case where it truly was the thought that counts and I did greatly enjoy the pink roses he gave me on Christmas morning.

FYI - According to wikipedia, mistletoe has white berries…so Scott was right!

Visit Mary’s blog for more Tiny Talk Tuesday…where others share the innocent, cute, and laughable things that come out of their children’s mouths!!

christmas 09 collage

We have had a wonderful couple of days here at the circus celebrating Jesus’ birthday.  We decided to spread the celebrating out over several days rather than cram it all into one day.  On Christmas Eve we went to the Children’s service at our church at 4:30.  Then we went to Boston Market for our now traditional Christmas Eve dinner before heading back to church for the candlelight service at 6:30.  We then went home to change into our Christmas pj’s, read Luke 2, put up our advent calendar piece, and leave cookies and milk for Santa.  Christmas morning we had both sets of grandparents here, Great Grandpa, Aunt Karen and baby Eli.  The kids were up a little after 7 and the revelry began shortly after.  We took our time opening presents and enjoying our time together.  We then had a pot luck brunch followed by more playtime.  On the 26th the gang all came back for a more formal Christmas dinner followed by birthday cake and ice cream for baby Jesus and some game playing with Aunt Karen’s Wii. I really appreciated getting to spread the celebration out over several days rather than try to rush it and cram it all in on one day.  I am also so thankful for our extended family.  It’s now Sunday night and I am looking forward to having Scott home for the entire week.  We hope to enjoy some great family time as well as tackle some projects around the house. 

Hope you all had a wonderful and merry Christmas!



Only 2 days till Christmas and my to do list today looks like this.

  1. Clean bathroom- scrub toilet, scrub sink, scrub tub and tile (I write each individually so I can feel more satisfaction when I am done by crossing off 4 things instead of one)
  2. Clean guestroom-  My parents always say, don’t worry or stress about cleaning up for them.  And I appreciate the fact that I can keep things real and not stress out, but… I think I need to clear off a place for them to sleep, don’t you? IMG_4536
  3. Take kids to see Santa (not usually on my to do list as they see him at Scott’s Family work party but this year when they snapped the pic at the party my son wasn’t ready and after we got home he came out that night in tears asking if we could go again b/c he wasn’t ready for the picture) I of course told him I’d take him to the mall before Christmas so he could see Santa again… and here we are on the 23rd and I still need to make good on that promise. IMG_4540
  4. Finish shopping for extended family
  5. Take kids shopping for each other
  6. Decorate cookies we baked last nightIMG_4501
  7. Finish stringing cranberry and popcorn on tree
  8. wrap presents (this may get moved to tomorrow as Scott and I typically wrap gifts after church on Christmas Eve while watching It’s a Wonderful Life… sometimes I think we’ll be on top of things and do it early, don’t think 2009 will be that year)
  9. buy a few grocery items for Christmas brunch and dinner


The time is now 1:39 and I can cross off item number 3.



The kids are fed and down for nap/quiet time and I ate my lunch… I’d say it’s time to get off of the computer and see what else I can cross off before Scott gets home from work this afternoon!

“Procrastination is the bad habit of putting of until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday.” Napoleon Hill

Megan is hosting her annual Sharing Christmas carnival where bloggers can invite their readers into their homes for a sort of Christmas Open House.   I tend to use the same decorations each year in pretty much the same locations and since I posted on those here last year, I am not going to redo the same post.   Instead I thought I would post on how things are different this year at the circus.

This year we did not get lights hung on the house.  We had very good intentions.  We were going to hang them up the Sunday after Thanksgiving.  And then we were going to cut our tree down on Monday afternoon.  Scott even took a vacation day from work.  But, I checked the weather report on Sunday and it was calling for rain on Monday.  And I decided if we only had one sunny day to work with, the tree was more important than the lights.  Scott attempted to go quickly up on the roof before we headed to the tree farm but the lights weren’t cooperating… as in we didn’t have enough strands of working lights.  And since we were short on time we decided to postpone that task and go for our tree.

IMG_4473 Since Scott doesn’t get home from work till after it is dark, we are left with weekends to hang lights.  But, the next weekend it snowed… can’t get on the roof when it is snowing.  Weekend after that it rained.  And THEN this past weekend, it snowed.  So, yea, no lights this year.  We do have our inflatable nativity up though. And this year, unlike last year we have 2 ft of snow in our yard… way more magical than lights, right?

Another way we are different this year is that we haven’t done Christmas cards yet.  Yup, three days till Christmas and I have done NOTHING in regards to Christmas cards.  I used to LOVE doing Christmas cards and would start thinking about them before Thanksgiving.  But I’ll be honest.  Last year we got a few cards, ok newsletters, that made me weep.  Literally weep.  I read about all this stuff these moms were doing with their kids, or to be more accurate, I read what these kids my child’s age were doing and realized that I had been doing none of that with my child.  And I felt guilty and defensive and angry and like a failure.  “Merry Christmas,” huh?  Anyway, it made me think… do my newsletters paint some perfect picture that makes someone else feel awful?  And now that I blog regularly and post status updates multi times a day on face book, don’t all the people that want to know about my life know way  more than they care to about my life?  What more can I say?  And so, I haven’t felt like doing Christmas cards.   And for the first few weeks of December it appeared no one else was doing it either.  Didn’t get a card till mid December and I honestly thought, “Maybe no one wants to do cards this year?”  But, no, people really are sending cards.  On December 18th I said to Scott, “Guess I should start thinking about Christmas cards, huh?” 

It is December 21st and I’ve still got nothing.

I am thinking rather than stress out and throw something together out of obligation, I am going to work on something cute for New Years.  It’s my aim to send something out in January… perhaps a collage of photos from the year with a personal handwritten note at the bottom…sound nice?  This way people will know we’re thinking of them, I can pick some favorite pictures highlighting the year and I can do it during a month that has a lot less activity in it.  Hoping I can bring this idea to fruition. 

Lastly, we have a partially decorated tree.

tree with captionsI love, LOVE our tree.  I love the decorations, I love our star on top, love that we cut it down ourselves, love the way the kids bunch up the candy canes when they put them on the tree, and I love the cranberry and popcorn strands on it. 

Make that strand.

Scott and I started stringing cranberries and popcorn in early December… around the 3rd I think.  Hung up the first two strands and were going to get to it the next night.

Hmmm… I am hoping we finish before the fam all comes for Christmas morning.  (in 3 days) I have no excuse except for laziness.

I guess, if you wanna know how this Christmas is different at the circus, I’d say it is a lot more relaxed.  I’ve had a wonderful December.  We’ve gone to parties, we’ve seen the parade of lights in Annapolis, we walked around at midnight madness, we’ve snuggled on the couch and watched movies, we’ve built and decorated a gingerbread house, baked and eaten cookies and played in a record breaking snowfall.  We’ve made many, wonderful memories. 


And the other stuff? 

I’m not sweating the other stuff. 

So, that’s Christmas this year at the circus.  Thanks for stopping by.  Please stop by Megan’s for a chance to take a peek inside some other bloggers homes this Christmas!

Nothing like a good 18+ inches of snow to provide for some family fun and a few photo opps as well. IMG_4303  The kids had even more fun on day two than they did on day one.  I think it was warmer out, which helped the girls significantly.  And even after my 3 year old turned on the outside spicket and sprayed herself with water (oh, yes, she did) she still stayed and played till the bitter end.  I am now convinced those snow pants are a valuable commodity for snow play. The neighbor kids were out as well and in addition to shoveling out the driveway and cars, they also made sledding ramps and igloos.  We attempted a snowman, but the snow really wasn’t packing snow, so it wasn’t quite as glamorous as we had hoped for.   Still a good time was had by all. 




I know I posted this picture yesterday, but Scott pointed out that it would look better cropped… man, was he right… this one is def one that I will printing off and hanging on the wall.


She did not want to leave this igloo, she just kept sitting in there and smiling from ear to ear.  She LOVED it!


What is it about snowstorms that bring about this overwhelming desire to bake?  We’d had cookies, cinnamon rolls, home made pizza…I am pretty sure this snowstorm will bring an added 5 lbs to us all and it well take much longer for it to melt off than the snow will!!


This weekend was a delight from start to finish and I am so grateful for the precious memories made and the time enjoyed with my family.

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!!!

Growing up and living in the midAtlantic region means that snow is something we are familiar with, but we don’t encounter on a regular basis.  It’s not like we’re living in Houston and a dusting of snow occurs once a decade.  But, it also isn’t unreasonable that I don’t go out and purchase snow suits for my kids every winter either. 

We can typically anticipate seeing snowfall at least once a year.  It may be an inch or a dusting, but at least the kids all know what the white stuff is.  More often than not we get ice. 

Growing up Scott and I can recall watching the news and listening to forecasts hoping and praying for a snow storm, while most of the time the storm would seem to hit all around our surrounding area and leave us with rain.

But, every now and then, when everything lines up perfectly, we’ll get dumped with a good snow storm.  Last time it happened was in Feb of 2003.  Scott and I were flying to Ca to visit his sick Grandpa while the Baltimore Metropolitan Area was getting covered in a foot of snow.  I remember being so bummed that we were missing out on all the excitement. 

This time however, we are present for all the excitement.

And exciting it is!

IMG_4283We had planned to take the kids to Hersheypark today to enjoy the Christmas Candyland.  But instead, God blessed us with a winter wonderland, right here in our own back yard. 

The snow started last night around 10pm and it hasn’t stopped yet! The weather men are saying we could see 15-20 inches of snow here.  It is a record breaking snowfall for December in our area.  And 6 days before Christmas, it’s like a winter wonderland.  I really can’t think of anything more magical.  I fell asleep with the blinds open watching the flakes fall peacefully from the sky and woke to sounds of delight from my three children as they looked out their windows. 

After a filling breakfast of Daddy Omelet's, we donned our winter gear and headed out to enjoy the white stuff.  


My youngest enjoyed it the least.  She found it fun for awhile, but once her hands soaked through the wool gloves she was ready to come inside and bake cookies with mommy. 


My middle child doesn’t enjoy being cold and typically bails out first on winter weather activities.   Today however, she held in there pretty well. 


My son would have gladly turned into a snow man.  He was the first to get dressed, dressing in at least 5 shirts and two pants.  Despite the fact that he didn’t have any snow pants, he was out playing in the backyard before the girls were even dressed and never complained once about being cold.  IMG_4240


He truly loved playing in the snow and I am confident is going to be enjoying himself quite a bit over the next few days. 

I am so thankful for this winter wonderland God gave for us to play in.  I am thankful it fell on Saturday and we had no place we had to be.  I am thankful for unplanned weekend at home with which to play, bake, and enjoy time together as a family.   I am also thankful for a warm place to come inside.  We can go outside and play for a little bit and then come inside, put our clothes in the dryer, change into something dry and warm, sip hot chocolate and watch the rest of the storm from our windows.  As we sit down at the table to enjoy yummy treats, I can’t help but think of those who have no place to go and get respite from the storm.  For those who see today as a test of survival, rather than a day of play.


This weekend my thoughts are all on snow.  The fun and joy it brings and the reminder of my great fortune as well.

What are you thinking about this snowy Saturday?

Weekend Thought ButtonWhat are you thinking about this week? Why not use your last post of the week to highlight something a bit "deeper" then the average “Momblog” fair?  I’d love to read your thoughts.  Please feel free to write and link up a  “thoughtful” post below.  You can write a new post or link up one you wrote earlier in the week.  Please include a link back to here in your post.

As many of you with more than one child know, it’s often hard to find one on one time with your children.  I’ve found you really have to be intentional, in order for it to happen.  I’ve also found that it doesn’t always have to be a big elaborate event.  Often it is just taking advantage of the few minutes of snuggle time when one child wakes up first in the morning, or after nap time.  Perhaps it’s taking one kid to the store to pick up a few things.  Sometimes it’s so easy to try and get a few things done while the other two are occupied, but really that one on one time is so valuable, so precious, and so hard to come by.

Every now and then I like to do something more elaborate than shopping or baking.  I like to plan a special occasion for just one child and me.  I don’t have a set schedule or rotation.  There is no system in place.  But I try to keep my eyes and ears open for opportunities when they present themselves.

December 2009 017 Last week an opportunity presented itself for my 3 year old daughter and I to spend a morning together.  The local ballet theatre was giving a performance of the Nutcracker Ballet during the day, especially adapted for children.  It was the abridged version and an wonderful introduction to the ballet for youngsters. 

We got dressed up and went to the show.  She sat on my lap and watched them twirl in their fancy dresses.  Her favorite part was when the Rat Queen died.  (This adaption had a Rat Queen instead of a Mouse King). 

Afterwards we went to lunch at the mall (Chick-Fil-A of course). 

Throughout the morning she kept asking if when her brother and sister were coming.  She really has very little experience of life without one or both of them with her.  I could literally count on my one hand the number of times she’s been out without them. 

While I cherished the look in her eyes as she sat on my lap and gazed up on stage, I think my favorite part was just holding her hand, walking at her pace and listening to whatever she wanted to say.  She wasn’t competing with a sibling for attention.  She had my ears and eyes.   It was truly a treat to be able to spend that time alone with her.

What a full and festive weekend we had here at the circus!  Friday night Scott and I got all dressed up for a fun and fancy Christmas party!  We got to enjoy tasty appetizers, holiday drinks, and the opportunity to sit and chat with old friends.  A super way to start the weekend.  (Though the baby did not like the cheese dip I ate too much of and I paid for that with an upset stomach later that night). 

Saturday we went to my in-laws to watch the Army/Navy game.  My FIL is a Naval Academy grad and my brother in law is serving in the Army in Iraq.   We route for Navy out of our devotion to Pop, but totally understand why baby Eli cheers for Army to support his Daddy.   Then Pop, Aunt Karen, and baby Eli joined us in downtown Annapolis to watch the boat light parade and fireworks display.  A good time was had by all, though my youngest does not like the fireworks.  The noise scares her and she has found the best way to deal with this is to bury her head in our arms and not look.  Somehow not looking at them makes it all better. 

army navy light day

Sunday was a much needed low key day.  We had church in the morning and a very leisurely Sunday afternoon.  Naps, followed by a Christmas cartoon, followed by decorating our gingerbread house.    After the kids went to bed, Scott and I topped off the relaxing day with a quiet dinner of grilled steaks and watching The Nativity story. 

A perfect weekend from start to finish!

I am reposting this post from last year because, it’s still what it’s all about and I love reminding myself of that as often as possible. 

That’s What It’s All About…

December 20, 2008

in Weekend Thoughts

As we were getting ready to go to the tree lighting ceremony downtown my son asked, “Mom, can I tell Santa that he is not what Christmas is all about?”

I love that as we anticipate Christmas, my kids know that we are preparing to celebrate Jesus’ birth.  Yes, they know we are going to have presents under the tree, and they even sat on Santa’s lap at Scott’s work party, but when I asked my son what he likes best about Christmas, he answered, “celebrating Jesus’ birthday.”  This warms my heart, because the lights, the tree, the songs, the cookies, the presents, the pageants…all of them are meaningless traditions without Christ. 


But it’s about much more than just the Christ child being born in the stable.  Because without the cross that too would be meaningless.  If you’ll bear with me, I have yet another video clip to share.  I’ll put the lyrics below so you can read them as well.  This song was on the Go Fish Christmas CD I bought for my kids this year and it’s become one of my new favorites.  With 5 days left till Christmas, as we scurry around to finish shopping, cleaning, cards, baking and fitting in all of the traditions, let us not forget to take time to reflect on what it is really all about.


It’s not just about the manger
Where the baby lay
It’s not all about the angels
Who sang for him that day
It’s not just about the shepherds
Or the bright and shining star
It’s not all about the wisemen
Who travelled from afar
It’s about the cross
It’s about my sin
It’s about how Jesus came to be born once
So that we could be born again
It’s about the stone
That was rolled away
So that you and I could have real life someday
It’s about the cross
It’s about the cross
Verse 2:
It’s not just about the presents
Underneath the tree
It’s not all about the feeling
That the season brings to me
It’s not just about coming home
To be with those you love
It’s not all about the beauty
In the snow I’m dreaming of
Repeat Chorus
The beginning of the story is wonderful and great
But it’s the ending that can save you and that’s why we celebrate
It’s about the cross
It’s about my sin
It’s about how Jesus came to be born once
So that we could be born again
It’s about God’s love
Nailed to a tree
It’s about every drop of blood that flowed from Him when it should have been me
It’s about the stone
That was rolled away
So that you and I could have real life someday
So that you and I could have real life someday
It’s about the cross
It’s about the cross

Weekend Thought ButtonWhat are you thinking about this week? Why not use your last post of the week to highlight something a bit "deeper" then the average “Momblog” fair?  I’d love to read your thoughts.  Please feel free to write and link up a  “thoughtful” post below.  You can write a new post or link up one you wrote earlier in the week.  Please include a link back to here in your post.

That’s right folks… a little tiny baby bump is making his or her appearance into the world.  I alluded to the fact earlier when I mentioned I was now in maternity clothes.  And I figured, why not share this bump with the rest of you?  Because for some unexplainable reason we seem to enjoy looking at others increasing waistbands and what other time in my life would I willingly post a picture of my belly for the world to see?

That answer, would be, ummm, never. 

So, enjoy…here I am at week 15.   


And here’s the baby bump when looking at it from my perspective…complete with dog hairs on my black sweater.


Yesterday, I took my oldest daughter on a mommy date.  It was delightful and I am sure I will post on that special time really soon.  But, the day began with a trip to the “baby doctor” in which she got to sit up on the table with mommy and hold the microphone over my belly to hear the heart beat of our little baby.  It was a precious moment and totally put the doctor who had previously been on my bad side, now totally on my good side.   I also got the referral for our sonogram and called yesterday afternoon.  In early January we’ll all be crowding in the sonogram room to see the face of our sweet little baby!  I can hardly wait!

As I snapped pictures of my happy crew busy at work decorating our tree this year, I kept getting the feeling that I had snapped similar pictures not too long ago.

My son still loves to help Daddy put the lights on the tree, much like he did when he was a mere toddler.


Do you need some help Dad

And this photo of my youngest admiring the beauty of the lights reminded me of one I captured of her big sister just two Decembers ago.


the wonder of the lights

Isn’t it funny that my middle child hung candy canes with great intensity at the exact same spot of the tree as she did last year?



I just love how some things stay the same year after year.  And I look forward to having one more memory maker in our circus crew next Christmas!

This year, I was looking for something simple and inexpensive that the kids could work together with me to make for their teachers.   Too much to ask?  I hoped not, but nothing was coming to me. 

And then I remembered this brittle that someone had brought to MOPS a few years ago.  It uses saltine crackers.  And you can pick up a box of Saltines at Aldi’s for 89 cents… which is perfect since I have to make gifts for SS and Bible Study teachers (times 3) plus neighbors and the tutorial teacher and “don’t forget my gymnastic teacher Mom!”

This recipe is delicious, kid friendly, and cheap inexpensive!

First, line a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with aluminum foil.

Then, have the kids lay the saltines out on the sheet.


Melt one cup of butter, 1 cup of brown sugar and 1 tsp of vanilla on the stove and let it boil for 5 min. 

Next, you pour this mixture over top of the crackers. Make sure you smooth it out so it covers all of the crackers.


Place in 350 degree oven until crackers rise and bubble. (approx 5 minutes)


Then pour a 12 oz bag of chocolate chips on top of the mixture. IMG_3935

Once the chips start to melt, smooth them over the top.IMG_3938

Then you can add chopped nuts on top.  I decided to add Christmas sprinkles instead.



Refrigerate for one hour.


(Yes, I included a picture of the inside of my fridge.  Lovely, huh?)

Then, you simply break it into little chunks and pieces like brittle.


I do caution you to check the bottom as you pull them up b/c I found sometimes the aluminum foil stuck to the bottom.  


We stuck them in these cute little bags I picked up at Target…$2.99 for 12!  This recipe made enough to fill 4 of these little bags and save a few little ones for us to taste test.

Saltine Brittle:



  • Saltine crackers
  • 12 oz chocolate chips
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • sprinkles or nuts

Heat butter and sugar to boiling. Boil 5 minutes. Line 8 x 11 inch jelly roll pan with foil. Place crackers in a single layer on the pan. Pour butter mixture over crackers. Place in 350 degree oven until crackers rise and bubble. Top with chocolate chips. Spread after chips have melted. Sprinkle with nuts. Refrigerate 1 hour. Break into pieces to serve.

This recipe totally worked for me because it provided a nice gift for my kids teachers that was inexpensive, easy to make in bulk, and most importantly, the kids could make it with me.

I do hope that you will stop by my dear friend Sarah’s blog today.  She’s hosting a Christmas Cookie Exchange.  I’ve always wanted to go to or host a real cookie exchange and have yet to do so.  So, I was so excited when Sarah hosted her Christmas Cookie Exchange today.  You’ll def want to stop by and pick up some new recipes to try for your family and friends this Christmas season.