It’s been a LOOOOONG time since I’ve posted about Shopping for Sudan, but as 2011 comes to a close I thought I’d say thanks to those of you that participated with me in Shopping for Sudan.   In 2011 you raised $47 dollars to help the people of Sudan.  It may not seem like much but it’s a lot to the people who receive it.  Furthermore, we are still matching the amount raised and so a total donation of $100 was made on your behalf.  Whoot!  That’s combines to a cumulative World Vision Sudan Relief Fund Donation of $550 since the “program” started one and a half years ago.  That’s real money!

So, thank you to those of you that shopped on amazon through Life at the Circus… by simply clicking on amazon through my site, you made a difference in the lives of the people of Sudan.  And for those that maybe forgot about the Shop for Sudan opportunity, could you please book mark my page?? Then next time you shop at Amazon, simple visit Life At The Circus first, and then click on the “Know the Drill” link on the upper left side of my web page.   It really is as simple as that!  And at this pace, we're only scratching the service.


The most favorite Christmas cookie for the circus fam to make is sugar cookies.    Messiness + sugar = pure bliss for the circus crew!!





This year we enjoyed rolling and cutting the cookies with our cousin Eli. 




It was also the first year that the youngest circus crew member got to participate in the cooking making fun.  And by participate, I of course mean, eating. 




Since it took most of the morning to roll out and cut our our cookies, we saved the decorating for later that day.  Eli wasn’t with us for this part.  But, we still managed to make quite a mess with just 5 of us…


want a little cookie with your sprinkles?IMG_9787



I think this last one sums up the resulting sugar coma quite well.


It has become a Circus Fam tradition to eat Christmas Eve dinner at Boston Market.  We go to the 4:30 children’s service, then have dinner at Boston Market and then return for the 6:30 candlelight service at church.  There really isn’t time to eat dinner together and enjoy both services unless we eat out.  The horrendous service we received at Boston Market this year did cause all of us to question whether it may be the last year we partake of this tradition…


I LOVE the candle light service…this year my favorite parts were holding my nephew Eli on my lap while singing Silent Night during the candle lighting and the look of TOTAL glee on my 4 year old’s face as she held her candle ALL BY HERSELF.  (She kept grinning ear to ear and whenever I looked over at her she’d say, “Papa isn’t holding it… I am holding it ALL ALONE!”

Everyone enjoys putting up a figure on our nativity advent calendar.


Putting out cookies for Santa… this concept was lost on one of us, who thought the cookies CLEARLY were put out for him.IMG_9847

After MUCH waiting, it was FINALLY time to leave Mommy and Daddy’s room and see the tree! 


Since we are so fortunate to have both sets of grandparents and one set of aunt/uncle share Christmas morning with us… there are quite a lot of presents under our tree on Christmas morning!


I love the gaggle of cousins and uncles and Daddies and grandparents and presents and wrapping paper that makes up the morning…IMG_9921


She wanted to give Daddy a bag to put his wallet, keys, and badge in when he gets home from work each day.  That way he’ll always know where to find them in the morning when he’s leaving for work.  Thanks to Miss Jen for helping her sew her this “man purse” for Daddy.  Daddy’s favorite part?  That she labeled the front and back of the bag for him.  Smile


Our 4 year old has been SO good about staying off of the top bunk till she’s 5.  (Circus Family bunk bed policy) So, for Christmas Mommy and Daddy and big sister let her have one night on the top bunk.


Watching him open and play with this tool bench was like déjà vu… as we gave this same tool bench to his older brother 5 Christmases ago… (it’s been living in the attic for a few years… waiting for a little brother to come along and use it)


I found American Girl dolls for the girls on Craigs List in March and have been holding on to them with eager anticipation to give them to the girls.  (Yes, this is the same Molly doll our oldest “borrowed” on her lunch date with Daddy a few weeks ago and when the girls went to a birthday party at the AG doll store last Wednesday these were the same dolls they “borrowed” to sit with at the party). 


The day was topped off with Charlie Brown’s Christmas…


a piano recital by my 7 yr old and birthday cake for Jesus!


I love these traditions!


But most of all, I love sharing them with our extended family… so thankful to have Grandma and Papa, Nana and Pop, and Uncle Jim, Aunt Karen, Eli and Ben here to celebrate with us… many, many wonderful memories were made during our time together!

When I uploaded my last video to you tube, I got side tracked with a little trip down memory lane as I then watched other videos the circus fam has posted to you tube in the past.

And I came across this gem.

A few things I noticed while re watching the video.

1.  My oldest son used to have that cute  4 year old voice you swear you’ll never forget but inevitably do.—listen to that sweet lil voice!

2.  It must have been spaghetti night at the circus for I can think of no other reason for all of my children to be walking around shirtless.

3.  A tripod can keep a toddler busy for a great amount of time… must pull out that tripod again next time I need an extra hand fixing dinner.

4.  On days when I think a tornado must have blown through my house, all I have to do is look back at the video, b/c I don’t think I have ever seen my house more messy than in this video clip.  Hello there is a an empty milk jug in baby doll stroller!!

As I watched this clip part of me can’t believe that I published this on you tube and my blog?  Really, shirt less kids, trash on the floor…. wow… can’t get more REAL than that.  Why couldn’t this egg nog talk have taken place when the house was clean and my kids were in cute coordinating outfits?

But, you know those golden moments usually don’t happen then.  They happen in the middle of real life.  Messy/dirty/every day life… And we gotta seize them while we can… we gotta stop and have those conversations or run and grab that video camera, right now… in the moment… b/c before you know it that moment is gone.


When I saw the sign on the side of highway advertising a Live Nativity, I was instantly interested.  I’ve never seen one and thought it would be a great experience for the kids.  When talking to a friend I found out more details and made plans to bring them.  It was a simple production, put on by a small community church on a cold winter’s night on the side of a busy highway.   Not many were in attendance.  It reminded me a lot of that night in Bethlehem.  Few stopped then either. 


Luke 2: 1-14:


1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.

4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”IMG_9502

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
   and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”


15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”


16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.IMG_9498

After watching the live nativity, we were invited in for hot cocoa, popcorn and cookies.  Things were wrapping up, I figured we’d be on our way, and then they were calling the cast out to do the next performance.  My kids jumped up, eager to hear it again.  Scott and I looked at each other, smiled, and followed them back out in the cold. 

We decorated our gingerbread house this weekend…before Christmas this year—astonishing, I know.

The big 3 had a fabulous time.



Unfortunately, our youngest found the experience quite confusing and a tad frustrating.  “Why, oh why, aren’t they letting me eat that candy?”


I might have snuck the lil guy a few pieces of candy while they were busy working.



The kids were quite proud of their work.  And I have to agree.. it is most definitely the best looking one they’ve ever done.  IMG_9455

Of course the competitive and ahem, humble, little circus crew they are, they declared that “our house is so good, if we entered it in a competition it would surely win."     Yea… we’ll spend some time working on humility over the holiday season.


photo (7)Scott took a vacation day on Thursday so he could spend the day with our oldest daughter.  First they went with the other kids in her Kindergarten class to see a performance of The Night Before Christmas.   Apparently the sets were gorgeous and the play was very well done.  Such a treat to go to a live theatre AND to get to see it with her school friends and Dad.  I think it was also a treat for Dad to get to see her with her school friends, it’s an aspect of her life that he doesn’t get to see very often. 

Then it was out to lunch at the American Girl doll store (or the Molly store as she called it to me when she was describing later that day).  

(OK so we don’t have American Girl dolls here yet… but we did work things out so that she she could borrow one for lunch that day, since she didn’t have one of her own.)

She was quite excited to discover they both had brown hair and glasses.


and they both were wearing the same shoes…


Filling up Molly’s cup so she could offer her a sip



From what I gathered, Scott was the best Daddy ever… totally engaging Molly and hamming up the whole event for our daughter.  In fact, later that day, he even called Molly on his cell phone b/c she had one more question for her. 

IMG_9328I don’t know all that they discussed in their lunch together.  But, I do know that they enjoyed each other and that’s what’s important.  In a family with 4 kids, one on one time between a parent and child, is a rare and treasured gift. 




My heart kept smiling all day as he’d send me little text messages with pictures of their time together. 


I think they both truly enjoyed their time together and made some memories which they’ll both cherish for a long time coming.