Monday, December 22, 2008

Back To Bethlehem

Last night we took the kids back in time to a little town called Bethlehem.  Our church hosts this very elaborate production where a portion of the church property is transformed, literally, into Bethlehem.  The kids entered into a world of the past when our Savior was born.  Some of the things they were to experience included visiting with carpenters and stone masons. . . 

pressing olives into olive oil. . .

feeding and petting sheep and goats. . .

and petting a donkey similar to the one Mary rode upon on their journey into Bethlehem. . .

There were also basket weavers, women making bread, potters, people selling their spices and fruits & nuts, shepherds, angels singing in the distance, the Inn which had no room to spare, and a stable with Mary and Joseph holding their newborn baby Jesus.

It was really cool to give the kids a chance to "see" the nativity and experience what life was like when Christ was born.  It can be so hard to imagine a different time and place, especially for children who know no different.  We can also become so comfortable with the story of Christ's birth that we forget so many significant details of the time period.  This was a great holiday tradition for our family, our church, and for the community.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Yes, Virginia. There really is. . .

. . .a Griswold family.
If only pictures could really capture the extent of the decorations and lights.  Merry Christmas from the "Christmas House" in Simi Valley!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Oh Christmas Tree

This morning Calleigh serenaded us as she dressed for school.  One of her songs of choice was Oh Christmas Tree.  However, she altered the lyrics a little.  Here is her lyrical version.  You will have to provide your own musical soundtrack.

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree
How lovely are your branches
Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree
How lovely are your branches

My Savior reigns
My Savior reigns
My Savior reigns
My Savior reigns

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree
How lovely are your branches (imagine this last line sung long and drawn out)

My heart smiles for my little songbird.  Only Calleigh can turn a song about a tree into a worship song.  Although I am pretty sure she intended to sing "rains" instead of "reigns" since she has no concept for the latter.  :-)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger hunts are fun.  Not only for teenagers trying to win some really cool prizes at a church youth group event.  They are fun for little kids, too.  Yesterday our kiddos experienced the fun that can be had with such events.  

We attended our very first Christmas scavenger hunt.  This tradition began years ago with Sandi Seal and the Johnson family.  She bought little gifts for the Johnson kids, Haleigh and Dayne, and then hid them around the house.  Last year the Cunningham family was invited to join in the fun.  So Colin was able to experience a scavenger hunt along with Haleigh and Dayne.  This year we were invited to join the fun, and I am so glad we did.  Each child had ten little gifts (that is 50 gifts total!) and they were all hidden around the Johnson's house.  They took turns finding one gift at a time until all of the gifts were found.  Then they were sorted into stacks of ten and the kids ooohhed and aaahhed over their pile of presents.  

(the kids and their stack of presents)

After a quick dinner (the kids were anxious to open their presents!), the kids took turns opening their presents.  Their squeals of delight when they opened their treasures was priceless.  The present that had all of the boys laughing (and the grown-up laughing, too) was the "tooting toy" - you put your finger in this can of gooey stuff and it makes a tooting sound.  It sounds so realistic!
(Haleigh and Calleigh) and (Dayne, Colin and Carson)

Today they have enjoyed playing with their goodies - floam, puzzles, cars, etc.  It was great fun.  Thank you Johnson's for hosting and Sandi for including Carson and Calleigh in your Christmas tradition. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Mystery of the Manger

This weekend the children's choir  performed their Christmas program, The Mystery of the Manger.  I was impressed that a group of young children could memorize not only the words to all of the songs, but also all of the choreography for the whole production.  It was somethin'!

Carson and Calleigh were both excited to perform their musical.  I think in Carson's mind, this is his High School Musical moment :)  Calleigh preferred to wear her enthusiasm on the inside, much like her daddy does with his feelings of overwhelming excitement.
Carson had his moves on for the performance, but kept his smiles tucked away as well.  Although, he said he didn't smile because he was too nervous and did not want to mess up the moves/songs.  A little case of stage fright, I might say.  
Regardless of their outward appearances, they had fun and they continue to sing the songs and recite the lines.  Even at the top of their lungs while standing in line for rides at Disneyland.  Who knew my kids would evangelize in song to the throngs of people on vacation in the land of magic?!  I loved every minute of it.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Holiday Welcome

While my mom was here to visit in November, we spent some time decorating our house for Christmas.  One of my favorite spots that we decorated is our front porch.  We found this cute little train and tree at a decorating store in Simi (it is an amazing store!) and we added our santa that we used in years past.  It makes a cute little holiday welcome.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Round of Applause

Each trimester, the kid's school has an awards assembly to celebrate the hard work of each student from the previous trimester.  Today Carson earned the Academic Excellence award for Outstanding Reading Skills.  This award is presented to the students who are meeting and/or exceeding the majority of the academic requirements as stated on their report card.  In the words of Ms. Radloff, the principal, "academically these students are doing very well in school.  These students are the ones that I expect to shake their hands when they are getting Honor Roll and Principal's List later on in their school years."

Calleigh earned the Eager Eagle Award award for outstanding effort.  This award is given primarily to kindergartners who have worked exceptionally hard during the first trimester to acclimate socially to kindergarten and strive toward academic excellence.

Way to go, kiddos!  We are very proud of you!