Friday, December 28, 2012

Tessa, Naartjie Spokesmodel

When we lived in San Jose we had a Naartjie kid's clothing store at the mall. I went there once with Tessa as a baby (when I was hip and used to travel places) and fell in love with their lacy cuffed leggings, mismatched patterns and hooded casual dresses. If left to my devices, I would buy the place up.

Sadly we don't have a Naartjie anywhere in Indiana, so I occasionally order online. By the way, if you're wondering how to say...just sneeze. That sounds about right.

I got Tessa a warm Naartjie sweatshirt dress with matching leggings as a special gift from me for Christmas. She wore it today and pronounce it very cute and comfy. 

I love all the detailing on something as simple as a sweatshirt. Casual, but still mega cute. That's why I love this brand.

I decided to poke around through Tessa's Naartjie hall of fame. Here's last year's Pre-K school picture. Another hooded dress, this one with a a big ruffly skirt and leggings. Happily, this one still fits.

Here's two year old Tessa (look at that baby face!) in probably my favorite one. You can't see in the pic but this is actually a hooded dress with a denim skirt and matching leggings. She wore this thing until fell apart and now I think Avi has it. I loved this thing.

And if I go way way back in the archives, here is Tessa's first Naartije, her first Easter dress. It's hard to see but the leggings are plum colored and match the embroidery on the dress.

I'm so loyal to this brand. Feel free to buy Tessa these clothes anytime as a gift, and let's petition for a store to be built in our state. Or for the sake of my wallet, let's not.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas Morn and the Loot Tally

Our Christmas Morning was a very nice one, and probably much like everyone else in America. Food, presents, pajamas.

It started with the boys starting a fire for us. My brother had brought us a truckload of wood from the farm last week, which we are very thankful for. It sure pays to have a farm and helpful family members nearby. Especially the ones with trucks and tools.

I started breakfast and while that was underway, the kids and Jeremy opened their stockings. 

Biscuits and gravy, the world's most delicious breakfast if made properly. So delicious and high calorie that I only make it once a year...on Christmas morning. If I were a thinner lady I might make it once a week. I know gravy seems like a hard concept, but it's really pretty easy if you're patient enough. Plus I have a secret ingredient...corn starch. 

Tessa approved. Yes everyone took a stocking break to eat breakfast and coffee. That's how we roll. It keeps parental grumpies at bay. 

Then the gift explosion began!

I got a bird feeder, some perfume and assorted housewares. It's an exciting life I live, I know. But it's all stuff I wanted! Plus (if they ever get off of backorder) new couches are coming our way! Sadly, they didn't make it by Christmas. But Jeremy negotiated a major discount on Jeremy's new big boy mattress given their shotty customer service. 

Tessa opening her new cross necklace from Mom-mom and Pop, Jessie and Carrie. She really likes it.

Her first ever pair of tie shoes. The kindergarteners are supposed to be able to tie their own shoes by the end of the year, so I guess it was high time we bought some! 

Obi-Won KaCharley

After it was all open, Tessa asked to rest by the fire and watch a movie which we did. She sat there for a LONG time even though she was really hot. I think she was feeling pretty zen. 

This is Jeremy's present from me. It's a wrapped canvas photo of our own grapes, with John 15:5 adhered to it. Which goes... “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing"

Tessa already had this baby and Mamaw bought her some new awesome outfits. 

Star Wars board books!
The big item Charley had asked for over and over was a Buzz Lightyear. So glad that Aunt Carrie made it happen, otherwise we might have had some disappointment. 

My friend Lori crocheted these Angry Birds. They're pretty awesome because the kids can throw them around the house and not hurt anything. Plus their handmade. I love them! 

Mamaw got Charley "Hunter Dan". He has a rifle, deer stand and all the cammo wear he needs to go hunting. Compared to the Bieber looking Ken doll I had gotten Tessa, I think Barbie can tell who the real man is here. 

Part of my gift was also a couple of easy organizing thing I had commissioned Jeremy to do around the house. Like some shelves and racks in the kitchen and a hanging shoe organizer on the back of the coat closet door for gloves and such.

Now THIS is the stuff I really dig.

So we are swimming in new stuff and very blessed, with lots of thing to keep us playing through the winter. It was a great Christmas for all!

Snow Day 2012

Last year was known as the crazy snow-less winter and we kind of hated it. Thankfully God has given us not just some snow, but a LOT of snow!

This is the first time I can remember the kids being old enough to actually enjoy it. Two years ago Charley stood in the garage and cried while Tessa and I played. And last year we bought boots and sleds and well, nothing happened.

So this year, it is ON!

We haven't yet gone to a legit sledding hill. We might some time but for now, we're using what's right in our front yard.

2012 Sledding from Laura Sargent Bennington on Vimeo.

2012 Sledding #2 from Laura Sargent Bennington on Vimeo.

A Visit From Some Old Friends

Last week some old friends came by for a visit, and it was really nice. Isn't it funny how there are some old friendships that you literally just pick up where you left off and everyone is mostly the same? It's kinda like that.

These two guys are Jeremy's old college roomates and their wives.

In the middle is Ryan and his wife Kim, who have the most romantic wedding story I know of. Traveling across the world for true love and all that, and getting married in Africa. They now live in CA and were in Berkeley at the time we lived in San Jose, which meant we hung out a lot which was awesome. It's great to have friends nearby when you move to a totally strange place!

On the right is Patrick and Jennifer. They brought along their kids who aren't in the picture, probably because they were having such a good time playing and watching movies with our kids. Jennifer bonded with Hayden and Rosie and may have tried to sneak one home in her Thirty One bag. Honestly I might not have stopped her.

I shouldn't talk like that. I'm making a much better effort at getting along with Hayden.

I was trying to dig for an old picture of this gang together and didn't have much success except for this...our wedding day! Almost (gulp) TEN YEARS ago!There's Ryan and Patrick, standing in the same order.

This kind of reunion should really happen more often, because it was a lot of fun. A great kickoff to Christmas week.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Build a Bear Christmas

A while back, Tessa had asked that her big present be a trip to the Build a Bear workshop. After checking and double checking that this is what she really wanted the most...we made it happen.

One nice thing about not doing Santa in our house is that we don't have to abide by his strict time we went on the 23rd.

Yes we went to the area's most popular mall on 12/23. I'm still recovering.

Tessa had a $40 gift card that came in a cute little Christmas house. With that amount, we were able to do the whole Build a Bear experience...pick a flat shell of an animal, stuff it, add a sound and a heart, clothe it, accessorize it, name it, register it, put it in a cool box house and pay!

Out of a wall full of animal choices, Tessa chose a cuddly rabbit. She dressed it in pink from head to toe, including little heels and underpants.

Tessa wanted a 'short fancy' name and since we're in a Downton Abbey phase right now, I suggested Clara. So Clara Beara Bennington it is!

We registered her in the computer so it became official, with Tessa as her 'Mom' and 12/23 as her birth date. 

In the midst of all the insanity in the mall we did see something cool...a gingerbread house competition. I think Jeremy took a picture of this so he can start planning his schematics for next year.

Christmas Eve in Southern IN

On Christmas Eve we headed down where we always do for holiday and such, to Mom's house and Mamaw's farm. The family was all there in full force and we had a great day.

I think my FB status from that night does a good job of summing up the day....TV tells me that maybe somewhere there are Christmas gatherings with fancy clothes, fine wine and beautiful crystal place settings. They also probably have no screaming kids, helicopter injuries, moonshine or blind old dogs with freaky paw deformities. But that wouldn't be my family, whom I love them just the way they are. Another great holiday on the farm

We started at Mom's for lunch, lot of homemade candy and the first round of kid presents. 

Mom usually fills her table with finger foods and we kind of stand around it all day. 

Jeremy had been at the healm of buying Mark and Bob some really cool remote control helicopters for the menfolk and kids spent a good amount of time in the backyard. 

Super Charley was all smiles until he got whacked in the lip with a helicopter. I blame Jeremy. 

Both kids were excited about cowboy boots. I could be too if I could ever fit my special needs foot into a pair again. Sigh. Maybe someday. I even wrote a blog once about my favorite pair...but alas they have been donated in the wake last year's foot surgery. 

Oh well, at least my kids can be cool and  have a pair. 

When we got out to the farm, Tessa and Charley put on a little dance show they had made up to some of our old PMO cantata music. This was all their doing, even the props. It got good reviews.

Charley was a shepherd and waited for the part of the song where the shepherds arise and find the baby in the manger. We used our Jesus snow globe.

After the big show, big food!

And a few more presents.

You know, when  you're the one guy at the party with a good pocket knife WILL be put to work on those toy packages. 

I think Jeremy and Eva have the best approach to watching the kids open presents. Stay away from the action and drink wine. I like it. 

As always it was hard to get all 7 on the couch for a good picture. Some day they'll be bigger and will sit so quietly and nicely for a picture that we will miss these crazy days. Right? 

Spider man hard at work on his spider spreadsheets.