Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Hanks girls according to my phone...

I went back through my phone today to see if I had missed any good pics of the girls.  Here are a few cute ones!

Meredith was sleeping with the bear Neal gave me our first Christmas we dated - Pinky was in the car with Neal and so she decided Sylas could take his place for a night

Jillian set up all of her dollhouse people (and some Kai Lan figures) to "watch a movie" I asked which one and she told me that it was the one with PJ in it!
This was a picture I took to send to Neal.  Jillian found this tattoo and asked to put it on, which I told her sure, but then we both got distracted.  A few minutes later, she came out, wet wash cloth in hand and Ariel perfectly placed on her hand.  I was super impressed because half the time I can't get those things to go on there right and she did it no problem!  And now it refuses to come off.  She is an expert!

Jillian, proudly showing off her Line Leader badge.  She loves being line leader - talking about line leaders is a very popular conversation topic on the car ride once we pick up Sissy!

Not really sure what was going on here, but really no big deal - an elephant fairy gymnast in a tutu about to go drive a car, maybe?

Jillian at her dance observation

And Meredith at hers

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Happy Birthday Jesus!

After getting home from Gigi's, we pulled out our Happy Birthday Jesus, cake that we made the day before.  We usually take this to Gigi's, but this year, we had to improvise because we didn't come home to get it after Bubbie's.  So, we decided to have Cookie Cake for dinner!  Hey, it is Christmas after all!

So the girls sang....

 And blew out the candles....
 And while they blew out the candles, Jillian caught her hair on fire.

Yes.  She caught her hair ON FIRE.  So, yes, looking back at these pictures, I see how this could have been prevented....pony tail, better placement of the headband, just holding back the poor girl's hair, but hindsight is 20/20.  Luckily, it seems as though hair isn't something that totally goes up in flames....the flames kind of linger and then peter out.  Trust me.  As I saw my daughter's hair light up with fire, I slightly panicked - first of all, for some reason I seemed to first not know what to do with the camera in my hand, like this is really important when your kid is on fire!  Then I started wondering...."do we stop drop and roll? do i just blow it out? do i get water?" Of course, I am also wondering how quickly she might burn her body.  But as I got to her - I might have blown a little, but, like I said, it seemed to just die down and sizzle a bit longer.  I brushed off the charred ends, reeled at how calm we all remained considering part of my child's body was ON FIRE and how unaffected she (and maybe more so, her sister!) seemed to be by it.  Neal seemed the most upset by the terrible smell that lingered FOREVER.  Then, since it turned out to be more funny than anything, I looked back at my pictures wondering if I had photographic proof of her being on fire, but I did not....maybe that is for the best.  And luckily the appeal of eating cookie cake for dinner drew the girls attention away from our near-death experience.
The girls set up a picnic with all their dolls in the playroom, with cookie cake for themselves, and play cake that Jillian got from Bubbie for the dolls.  What a fun (and exciting!) way to end our celebrations!

Advent Jesse Tree

This is our completed Advent Jesse Tree from 2012. We add an ornament to each night and there is a devotion that goes with each ornament that helps take you through the entire story of Jesus, beginning with creation.  This year, we pulled out Meredith's Bible and had her read the scripture for each devotion.  It was so amazing to hear her little mouth say all these scriptures!  So, this quickly became my favorite part of the night.  She was actually even really eager to get to do it!  The other great thing that I have always loved about the devotions are the questions that they ask at the end for the kids to answer.  I loved hearing her answers but I also loved getting to hear Jillian's first....she almost always tried to just answer "Jesus!" whenever it might happen to fit.  But there were lots of the other answers that she was able to answer correctly that made this mama's heart happy - one of her favorite things to tell you this Christmas season was that the angels came with "Good News!" so when that was a question on Christmas Eve, she was super eager to shout that out!  Then it got better....since Meredith was reading from the Bible, Jillian started wanting to read from the Bible, too.  So, I would read a couple of lines and have her repeat after me.  I loved hearing her "read" the word of God and to hear her little interpretations of some pretty big words.  These girls seemed to soak up so much of the Christmas story this year, even more than past years, I think that I was just so thankful for all the places that my kiddos hear about God and Jesus and that we were able to celebrate Him!

Let it Snow!!

We couldn't let snow go to waste, especially since the cousins were all together for it!  So we bundled them up and headed outside to play!

 The cute snow cousins!
 Meredith's snow angel

 Then there was lots and lots of running!  And Meredith wanted to play hide and seek, but Aunt Katie said her coat made it pretty hard to hide!  The kids had a blast!

 Meredith really wanted to make a snowman, too, so she and I worked to make this little guy!
 Jillian and Landon filled that time with more running!

Then we decided to start making lots of snowballs!  I was the only adult with gloves, so I started making them all, then I gave them to the kids.  Then they started throwing them at ME!  I will admit, that I think I started it by throwing one at Landon, but still! :)

 This was taken right after Landon threw two right at my head!
 This looks risky! 
Gigi found a scarf and hat for our snowman, too, so we got one more pic of us all together!  Oh, what fun!

Christmas Day with Gigi and Papa

We headed straight over to Gigi's to see if Santa had visited her house.  And these lucky kiddos found lots more surprises!

First, we found that the elves were not the only busy builders this year, Papa had worked hard to make the girls a balance beam!

 We joked that the balance beam was the obstacle course to see what Santa had left....
 A "Maddie that has hair!" Meet Laura, the newest addition to the Hanks family
 And Laura also has a wheelchair, just like Jillian hoped for!
 And there were crutches and a cast for Meredith's dolls too!

 Santa even left a bike for the dolls to play on just like the girls got!
Looks like a great Christmas for two little girls and four little dolls!

Christmas with Bubbie and Granddad

After lots of fun at our house Christmas morning, we packed up to head to Bubbie and Granddad's.  Meredith was excited to wear her gymnastics outfit over there, too, so we insisted on a warm-up suit over it, but she got rid of it the second we walked in the door!

 Bubbie and her girls!

We had a yummy pizza lunch and while we were finishing, it started to snow!! A white Christmas in Texas!! And this is the second one for both girls - seems unheard of, especially since I think this is only my third white Christmas!
 The girls ran to the front door to see the HUGE flakes come down.  Loved them holding hands watching it together!  Plus, I thought it was super funny that my oldest looks like she is in a swimsuit on a snowday!

 After we watched the snow for a bit, we got to open MORE presents!

 Jillian had seen several tea sets while we were out shopping and was really hoping for one, so she was really excited that Bubbie made this wish come true!
 Bubbie made this girl happy, too, with her Pet Vet set!

After presents, we put a few more layers on the girls (Meredith especially!) and headed out to check out the snow up close!

 Meredith really wanted to catch snowflakes on her tongue and convinced Jillian to give it a shot, too!
 We went out in the front yard, too, because there seemed to be more to play in!  

We came back in to warm up and play with our new toys some, then decided we should head out - we had one more stop and wanted to make sure we avoided any yucky roads. 
But first, hugs for Granddad!

Christmas morning!

After we got home from Gigi's Christmas Eve, we put out our doughnuts we made for Santa - the girls chose a chocolate sprinkles and a doughnut hole.  And we put the girls to bed.  Meredith fell asleep really quickly, but it took Jillian a bit longer! Earlier that day, Meredith had asked what time they could wake up, Neal joked that they had to sleep until 10, and Meredith said "No!  How about 8:30?" To which we both screamed "Deal!!" We never thought she would suggest walking up an hour and a half later than normal!  She actually came in a little before 7 because she was "scared" but she dozed with us until a little before 8, when Jillian woke up and then we all watched a little TV in bed before heading out.  Neal and I couldn't believe it!

 Our treat for Santa

And when we woke up....

 Meredith's cool new green bike
 And a purple one for Jillian
 The girls making their way to see their new toys!

 Meredith was very excited to read the letter that Santa left for the girls

 It was raining when we got up and really cold, so this was as much as we got to do to try out the bikes, but it was enough to get a taste of it, then move on to stockings!
 The girls got lots of fun goodies - some of the favorites were a wallet, yo-yos and for Jillian, a Dora bath paint set.  Daddy's favorite moments were when the girls (especially Jillian) would take something out and immediately want to go put it away!  
 Jillian was excited to help daddy once she had seen what Santa filled her stocking with.

After seeing what Santa left, we had breakfast - our homemade doughnuts and some homemade Kolaches, courtesy of our friend, Taylor.  They were delish! Of course, Meredith still couldn't wait to go see what was under our tree.  She kept offering to go out and organize piles while Neal and I ate.  I sure do remember those times when you were little!

For the past few years, we have had themed PJs.  This has been complicated each year because I keep starting with the girls PJs.  This year, they had this super cute ones that matched their dolls, so I decided to go find gingerbread man ones for us.  No luck.  So, I figured, I can make them!  I bought fabric (that cost probably twice as much as just buying pants, by the way) and set off to make them.  They are hilarious.  I made mine first and they were pretty off, but I messed with them and tried to adjust for when I made Neal's.  I do believe his were worse.  Oh well, they made it in the picture!

 A shot of the PJs, that does not do them justice (taken by Meredith at a very artistic angle).  Neal sang "2 Legit" whenever he saw me because they have a very MC Hammer pant vibe to them.  Not to mention amazingly awkward extra fabric in the front and rear.   And I must not have stitched the seat of mine well, because after bending over a few times, they were no longer really sewn shut.  Oh well.  Someone please show me this picture if I tell you I am making PJ pants ever again.
 Neal showing off his awesome pants again.

 I surprised Meredith with a USA Gymnast outfit - it was a hit!
 One of Jillian's top wishes - a Penguin Dream Lite
 The girls made a card for Daddy telling him they got him an audio book subscription
You would never know that it was freezing outside -she couldn't wait to put this on!