Monday, December 22, 2008

Not So Merry Christmas...

Well, Santa finally decided to come to Germany. He was at the commissary this week so we decided to pay him a little visit. Landen was a good sport about it (he knows it's not the REAL Santa. Yes, he's questioning if Santa is even real. I think he knows, but I refuse to play along.) Jordyn on the other hand, wasn't much of a fan. I knew before we got there that she probably wasn't going to like him. Man, that was an understatement. She saw him from outside the window and panicked. She clutched my neck, grabbed her arms around me and screamed! Matt took her and did a quick walk by Santa as fast as he could, while I snapped a couple of pictures of the boys. Whew!

Today, we had to make a return trip to the commissary. Jordyn freaked out the second we pulled up, so I had to make a fast entrance into the exit in order to avoid Mr. Claus.

Merry Christmas to everyone who reads my blog. Thanks for reading! I didn't send out any Christmas cards this year, so this will have to suffice.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Hayden's Christmas Program

Matt and I had the joy of going to Hayden's Christmas singing at his kindergarten class today. They have been working hard this past month, learning lots of words to Christmas songs. They included 2 German songs, a Spanish song, a song using sign language, and of course the classics. Hayden got to play a solo with his jingle bell on one whole song! I was so proud of him. His face was a little flushed of embarrassment, but he did a great job. I got most of it on video, but don't have it uploaded. For now, here's a few pictures. I just love his teachers!

They also made all the parents a handmade calendar and we have several new Christmas ornaments for our Christmas tree.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Last Minute Shoppers

I had this vision to do a post about all of my favorite toys the kids have had. I thought I would do it back in November, yet here it is less than 2 weeks from Christmas and I still haven't done it. So, though most of you are probably finished shopping, here are a few more thoughts for your little ones. If you are done this year, maybe you can hold on to them for next year.

There are so many toys we have bought the kids that they don't play with. Then, there are those few that every child has found much joy with. The ones I am showing can pretty much all be found at Walmart or Target. Here are some of my favorites:

This s a fisher price car racer. This one was bought back when Landen was a toddler and I know they are new and improved, but all 3 of my kids have enjoyed watching the cars race down the ramp time and time again.

Aquadoodle. I bought this for Hayden a couple of years ago and he and Jordyn both seem to love it. It is especially good for toddlers since they enjoy drawing on everything but paper. There are tons of different designs and types now... we have the "Farmer in the Dell" version which plays the song as they are drawing and makes animal sounds.

I'm still trying to figure out little girl toys, but Jordyn plays with her umbrella stroller constantly. She loves to push anything and everything in it and has played with it for almost a year straight.

Yoho Diablo. This was bought by my brothers family for Landen last year. It is definitely for an older child (Landen was 8, but he is pretty persistent at things like this and will work until he gets it.) Some 8 year olds may get frustrated. If your child loves some good yo yo tricks (walking the dog, around the world, rock the baby, etc.) he/she would love this.
Star Wars light sabers! If they love Star Wars, they'll love these. The boys have 5 of them floating around the house, some are more expensive with lights and sounds and some are the $10 version without the bells and whistles. They dress up and play Star Wars a lot. Surprisingly, they hold up fairly well and my kids have given them a good beating.

Jordyn helped model this one. Guitar Hero. The boys have played and played this and I love that it is peaking their interest in music. Again, it's for the older, more coordinated kids. Hayden has mastered it on the easy level and medium level where Landen is working on the hardest level. It does, however feature rock songs which some of you may not want your kids exposed to and I don't like what the "rockers" are wearing in some of the songs. Other than that, it's a lot of fun for all ages. Yes, even mom and dad (I'm terrible at it, though!)

Nintendo DS. These, along with i-pods, have been life savers in the car on long trips. The kids (lots of fun when cousins come too) can link up and play each other.

Magtastik. These are similar to magnetix, which I know some have been recalled for children swallowing. However, these are extremely large and not able to go in a toddlers mouth. They are loads of fun and have provided a lot of entertainment for Hayden and Jordyn. I wish I had more. Landen enjoys the smaller (more dangerous) magnetix. They were exclusively at Target when I bought them, but I have no idea if they sell them anymore.

Only a few more... are you bored?

Shake N' Go Cars/Track. I don't have the track pictured because it's not put together right now, but I highly recommend this toy! The track assembles easily (even with number guides on the bottom) and little kids can shake the cars to make them go. Several children can play at a time if you have several cars with it. It was fairly inexpensive when I bought it and has been well worth the money. I bought Jordyn a pink shake n go car for Christmas, she loves to play on it too.

There are both boy and girl sets of these and different sports. The boys have had fun setting up the figurines and making "plays" on the cloth football field. I know there are soccer ones in boy and girl. I'm not sure what else is available. Again, this is more for a 6 and up crowd, probably. I don't usually go by the recommended age on the box :-)

Kid Laptops. Again, fun for all 3 of my kids. Landen plays the games, though he is getting a little too old for this toy. Hayden loves it and Jordyn just likes to push the buttons and listen to it make sounds. It really is a "teaching" tool and fun at the same time. Again, there's all different versions of these.

The last one isn't a toy, but one of my favorite things. So, for the few men that read this... it's an idea for your wife. :-) You can buy them in many jewelry stores, or order them online which is how I got mine. If you have more children, you can add on a strand as needed. I had to do this after I had Jordyn. I really love it and wear it often.

So, there ya go. Those are my thoughts on Christmas presents. I would love to hear about your favorite toy!

Saturday, December 6, 2008


I can't believe my brother and his family are already gone. Time flew by, but we had a great time together. We got to visit Christmas markets, play in the snow, they went to Paris, and best of all we got to hang out at the house and just visit together. Thanks for coming! We already miss you.

We love you! See you this summer :-) Now, we're ready to see Nana and Pops in a few weeks!!

On another note, December 6 is a German holiday called St. Nicholas' Day. As in many other European countries, on the eve of Dec. 6th children place a shoe or boot by the fireplace. During the night, St. Nicholas, the patron saint of children, hops from house to house carrying a book of sins in which all of the misdeeds of the children are written. If they have been good, he fills the shoe or boot with delicious holiday edibles. If they have not been good, their shoe is filled with twigs.