Monday, December 29, 2008

Ho! Ho! Ho! - It's Poppy Santa!

Yesterday afternoon we headed over to my grandparents house for an early dinner. Poppy surprised the girls by dressing up like Santa in his pajamas & giving them a few little presents! They were so surprised, but they weren't fooled! Both Kylie & Haley were asking, "Poppy, why did you have Santa's costume on?" It was really cute! Even though she knew who he was, Jillian didn't want to have anything to do with Poppy Santa!

The girls all had a great time opening their goodies from Poppy Santa, as they affectionately called him, & playing with each other! We had a yummy dinner & just enjoyed a relaxing day with each other! The Baltimore Ravens also won their game against Jacksonville putting them in the playoffs, which was also a highlight of the day!!

"Poppy-Santa" - he may look a bit silly, but he made the girls smile & we love him so much!
Kylie getting her presents from Poppy-Santa!

Haley & Kylie with Poppy & Mrs. Santa!

They even fit in a game of golf in the living room! They each got a hole-in-one! :)

A night of playing Santa tuckered Poppy out!

Sweet Jillian looking out the window at all the Christmas lights on in the neighborhood.

What a great night! We have had such a wonderful, blessed holiday season & we pray that it continues into the New Year!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

We Wish You a Merry Christmas...

Since we spent our Christmas in numerous places, I've split it into both Christmas Eve & Christmas Day...

Christmas Eve:

Christmas Eve was a pretty quiet, peaceful day. Dad & I began the day by kneading & baking two batches of homemade, Polish bread - YUM!! After breakfast, we let the girls open their presents from Grandma, Grandpa, Auntie Anna, Aunt Barb & Uncle Max, & Uncle Mark & Aunt Mindy. They got a ton of presents & loved every one!! Jillian was definitely more into unwrapping gifts this year than last! The looks on her face were priceless!

Then, after naptime, we all got ready for Christmas Eve Mass. We went to 4 p.m. Mass, which was the children's Mass. We met my Mom, Aunt Linda, Poppy, Nana, Jen, Jason, & Haley at church & shared in the Mass together as a family. It was wonderful to be surrounded by family once again for such a beautiful holiday! After Mass, we headed to Coici's house (Coici means "aunt" in Polish - she is my Dad's sister) for a yummy dinner & more family time with my Dad's side of the family. The girls loved exploring Coici's house & playing with Dunkin & Angel, their 2 Golden Retrievers. They also loved tagging along after my cousins, Sean & Megan. After we ate dinner, Coici showered the girls with fun presents! She also gave Craig & I scratch off MD State Lottery tickets & I won $50!!! Craig won $7. It was a great, relaxing evening!! Thank you, Coici & Uncle Johnny for a yummy dinner, great company, & wonderful presents! We love you!!

The yummy bread cooling - it smelled AMAZING!!

Jillian excited over opening her presents!

Kylie loved her sweater from Aunt Barb & Uncle Max!

All the wonderful gifts the girls received from Florida & New Mexico - THANK YOU so much!! We love & miss you all SO much!!

Jillian, Kylie, & Haley on the altar steps after Christmas Eve Mass.

Dad relaxing in the recliner before dinner.

Dad stirring the delicious BBQ that Coici made for dinner - YUM!!

The family hanging out - love the bunny ears Craig's putting on my brother :)

Kylie & Jillian petting Angel - they LOVED the dogs!

Jillian hanging out with Megan & checking out the cool snow globe.

Jillian feeding Dunkin his food.

Jillian & Sean - he was helping to clean her up after she spit out a Peppermint Patty she didn't like.

Kylie chillin' on the couch with Uncle Johnny.

The tree after Santa left...two little girls were very good this year!

Christmas Day:

Bright & early at around 7 a.m., Kylie woke us up by saying "Good Morning, Mom & Dad! It's Christmas!" She patiently waited until 7:30 & then we all came downstairs to see what Santa left under the tree! Their faces were priceless!! They were genuinely surprised & excited when they saw all the gifts!! They opened up their stockings to see all the little goodies Santa put in there before heading over to the bigger gifts. Kylie tore through hers so fast! Jillian took a little longer to open each one. We thought we would be there until New Year's! :)

Once the girls were finished opening up their presents from both Santa & Dziadzi, it was our turn! Dziadzi went first & loved his Ravens ornament, new PJs, & dress shirt, plus all his new goodies in his stocking. Craig went next & loved his new Ravens jersey, jeans, & polo shirt! I went last & got a beautiful pair of gold hoop earrings, two books, & a bath & body set! We were all spoiled this year!!

The girls on Christmas morning.

Kylie opening her new "I Spy" game.

Jillian carefully opening her presents.

Kylie & her new magnetic paper dolls.

Jillian on her new Princess bus - She LOVED it!!

Dziadzi opening his new PJs.

Craig & his new Baltimore Ravens jersey - #20 Ed Reed!

After we were all finished opening presents & eating a delicious breakfast of Polish sausage & homemade bread, we got ready to head over to my brother's house for exchanging of presents with him, Jen, & my Mom. Once again, the girls were SPOILED!! They both got new outfits, a few DVDs, & plenty of new toys. Mom-Mom even got them their very own portable DVD player so they can watch movies anywhere in the house, including our room! They also had a great time playing with my brother's dog, Sushi!

Wrapping paper frenzy at Uncle Matt's.

Jillian dancing to her Brobby doll from "Yo! Gabba, Gabba!"

Jillian completely thrilled with her new Christmas board book!

Kylie checking out her new Ponyville Amusement Park!

Kylie holding up her new Princess Tea Set.

From my brother's house we headed to my Mom & Aunt Linda's house for our last stop on the Christmas Day activities. There we met up with Aunt Linda, Nancy, Poppy, Nana, Jennifer, Jason, Haley, Matt, Jen, & a surprise visit from my cousins, Shani & Truman!! We had dinner & then opened presents. The girls could not wait to open their presents! Jillian had fallen asleep, so she actually got to open hers all by herself when she finally woke up. The highlight for Kylie was receiving her very own Mystery Machine & complete set of figures of Scooby-Doo & the entire Mystery, Inc. gang from Aunt Nancy! Her response was "This is the best present EVER!".

Haley & Kylie anxiously waiting to open their presents!

Kylie & her "best present EVER!"

A new Princess purse set from Aunt Jen, Uncle Jason, & Haley!

Jillian opening her presents after he nap with Mom-Mom's help.

What a wonderful day!! This Christmas made us realize how truly blessed we are & what is most important in life. It's not how much money you have or how many material things you can afford - it's about love, friends, family, each other. We are so grateful to everyone for making this a Christmas to remember! We love you all! From our home to yours, we pray your Christmas was as memorable & blessed as ours! Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Kylie's 1st Major Award!!

On Friday, Kylie won her 1st (of many, we're sure!) major award at school! As some of you may remember, back in October, Kylie participated in the annual "Race for Education" at St. Clement M.H. School. She received mulitple donations from family & friends (Thank you to all who donated!!) and walked a total of 9 laps around a 1/4 mile route. Well, we found out on Friday that she received FIRST place in the race for the Pre-Kindergarten!! She walked the most laps of any other student in the Pre-Kindergarten! We are so proud of her!! When she received her medal, she immediately put it on & got a HUGE smile on her face! She is very proud of her award, as you can see by the smile on her face in the picture:

We are so proud of our little girl! But, we don't need a medal to tell us what a special girl she is! We love you, Kylie!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Visiting Santa!

So today, the girls & I went to White Marsh Mall with my best friends, Natalie (& her son, Connor) & Nicole (& her son, Gavin) to visit Santa! We got there before lunchtime in order to prevent long lines & we did great! The line was huge by the time we left the mall! The girls were a bit antsy, but Kylie had fun tossing coins in the fountain while we waited.

Kylie was super excited to get to see Santa! She kept asking if we were going to the North Pole to see Santa & I told her that Santa was so magical that he was able to visit the malls all over the world everyday in order to find out what each child wanted for Christmas! She did great and walked right over to Santa & hugged him! She sat on his lap & told him that she wanted a "string" she saw on TV & candy. Not too sure what the "string" is, but she did wonderful talking to him & smiling for the camera! Jillian, on the other hand, didn't do so hot....she clung to me for dear life & would not let go. I tried to put her on Santa's lap, but she was not having it. So, I got to be in the picture too! :) It turned out cute though, which was great! We even got a picture frame that Kylie colored to put our picture in.

The boys did great too! After we were all done visiting Santa, we had a mini photo shoot on the backside of the Santa display, which was cute! It's not easy to get 4 kids to all look & smile at the same exact time! They were all so good!! We had some lunch, went to the pet store to see the puppies & hermit crabs, & got a quick snack before heading back out to the rain to go home. What a wonderful day!!

Girls waiting in line for Santa - Jillian is already SO excited, can't you tell??

Connor & Gavin waiting so patiently!

Jillian, Mommy, & Kylie sitting on Santa's lap!

All the kiddos posing by the candy North Pole display.

Sweet Connor checking out one of the cars we got him for his 1st Birthday! He turns 1 year old on the 23rd! Happy Birthday, Connor!

Gavin giving me one of his killer smiles! What a cutie!

Thank you, Natalie & Nicole, for inviting us to go along with you guys today! We had a great time & can't wait to hang out again! We love you!!

Making Christmas Kielbasa

For as long as I can remember, every year at both Christmas & Easter, my Dad would make homemade Kielbasa & bread. Last night, my brother came over & him & my Dad got to work on 20 lbs. of Polish sausage! The entire house smelled like garlic & pepper all night long! The girls were very interested in what Uncle Matt & Dziadzi were doing, but we tried to keep them out of the dining room while they worked. It took them about 2 1/2 hours to finish all the rings, which wasn't too bad! If you are interested in a ring or two for Easter, just let me know & I'm sure Dad can make one for you too at Easter time! Here's some pics from the sausage stuffing:

Dad & Matt getting ready to make the first ring of sausage.

Matt stuffing in the ground pork into the machine.

Working patiently & making sure they are just right.

All the sausage that Dad & Matt made - all ready for Christmas!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Kylie's Class Christmas Party

Yesterday, Kylie's class had their Christmas party before their vacation! As Room Mother, I got to be there the whole time & this time I remembered the memory card!! Aunt Linda was wonderful & let Jillian hang out in her classroom while I helped out in Kylie's class!

Kylie & her friends Cecily & Raphy having a tea party.

BJ popped in for a quick smile!

Jillian got in a little playtime at the cash register before heading upstairs.

All the kids had a blast! They played until about 12:30 when we all went into the cafeteria & made Reindeer PB & J sandwiches! They were adorable!

The kids all eager for the start of the party!

Yummy sandwiches!

Kylie's Reindeer PB Sandwich - too cute!

Kylie enjoying her reindeer.

Kylie hanging out with the boys at the party.

The "Gingerbread" brownie man that I made for the party - he was yummy!

The party was great & all the kids had WAY to much sugar! They are now on Christmas vacation until Jan. 5th, 2009! Mommy will be counting the days! :)