Thursday, January 10, 2013

December 2012

I know I should, but I don't have the energy to put these photos in chronological order today. I'm getting caught up, so I'm going to ride the productivity wave and just knock out 2012. It's all here, but not in order.

An Elf on the Shelf  came to live with us this holiday season.  The head elf, Adam, sent him to us.  It was quite a surprise to all the Brand women . We woke up one morning and he was here.  Reporting for duty.  Elfie, as Kenly named him, is quite the mischievous little fellow.

Kenly and I made some Homemade Sugar Scrub that I found on Pinterest for all the lovely teachers in her life.  I think the end product turned out rather ghetto fabulous
Nana and Papa came up for a visit.  While they were here, Kenly had another performance at school.  The children got to dress up in roles from the first Christmas.  Kenly really wanted to be Mary.  In fact, she had her heart set on it.  I kept telling her that all the roles were important, but she really wanted to carry baby Jesus into the sanctuary. 

She got to carry a box of frankincense instead.  Meet my little wise (wo)man.  My little wise man with a crown two sizes two big.  She was adorable.  A bit disappointed, but still adorable.   
Here she is with her gift for the King.  That saint in red is Ms. Kim.
She got to play the hand bells.  Ms. Gail worked with the kids so that they could ring the bells as they sang Jingle Bells.

Corah and Kenly got to open two presents from Nana and Papa.  Each of the presents was made with love.  Papa made each of the girls a music box.  Kenly's box plays Amazing Grace and Corah's plays You Are My Sunshine.  Nana made each of the girls a blanket.  Kenly's was made of princess material, and Corah's is a beautiful butterfly print.  While they were down for the visit, they coaxed Corah into taking her first steps while I was at Bible study.  They used the box Corah's music box was wrapped in and shred of wrapping paper to tempt her.  Corah really started walking distances on the 26th of December.  I was almost right in my prediction.  She was taking a step or two before Christmas, but she really decided she like moving in the upright position the day after Christmas.

Kenly and I decided to work through The Truth in the Tinsel this year.  I thought about attempting a Jesse Tree, but most of the biblical passages that accompanied the ornaments were beyond Kenly still.  So, I found this and we did all but three ornaments.  Kenly had a blast making all of the ornaments, and by the end of the 24 day project, she could tell me the prophecy of Christ's birth, all of the characters involved, and the whole nativity story.  We made these ornaments as part of the program.  These are cinnamon spice ornaments, and they smell heavenly.  We made them to help remind Kenly of the gifts that the wise men brought to baby Jesus.  I wish I had a picture of all the ornaments or a picture from each day that we made one or two, but I didn't always have the camera close enough to capture the action.

The last day of the Truth in the Tinsel focuses on why Christ came.  Kenly made a cross and I was able to share the message of salvation with her.  Right now, Kenly thinks she doesn't make mistakes.  When we do prayer sticks at night, she really hates to pull a "help me to..." or an "I'm sorry when..." stick.  She doesn't like to admit she's faltered and failed.  I'm praying that God will open her heart to her need of a Savior.  We can't do this life alone.  I want her to have His strength and His righteousness instead of relying on her own.  I planted a seed.  God will water it.  I'm entrusting her heart to Him.

Corah enjoys playing with her activity table that we bought her for her birthday.
This was a Brand Christmas.  Mops and Pops and Jason and Paula came to stay with us for a full week.  We were happy to host. Jason and Paula took us all to the Grove Park in for brunch.  This is a huge treat.  While we were there, we visited the National Gingerbread House display and looked at the many themed trees throughout the building.  We were also able to meet one of Paula's brothers.  This was the first time I was able to meet any of the Batallia family. 

Later that evening we put together a gingerbread house kit.  Seeing all the creative designs always inspires.  However, I cheated and used a hot glue gun to secure the house because I can never get the house to stand for more than a day if I don't cheat.  I guess I'm going to have to work out this small detail if we are going to enter next year.  Kenly will be old enough to enter the youth division.  

Kenly always wants to use our camera.  Shoot.  She wants to use any camera.  Most of the time that is okay, but sometimes it's not safe to hand over our expensive camera to our four year old.  I found this digital camera for $30.00 at Walmart.  It takes decent pictures outdoors and passable pictures inside.  It even takes video.  It's pictures are 7.1 megapixels.  It's not durable, but I figure it is inexpensive and replaceable.  Most of the kiddie cameras have pictures that are 1.7 megapixels.  Granted, she could flush it down the toilet and it would probably survive, but the pictures wouldn't be worth save at all.  Now we can have a view of Kenly's world.  Taken with her very own camera that Pops bought.  She loves it!  It's an added bonus that it is pink.  Her favorite colors are pink and purple right now.  Even the SD card is pink.
Adam decided that he wanted to cook the Christmas turkey.  I was happy to hand over the job.  It was a win-win situation.  He's giving our 19lb feathered friend a bath in this picture.  Kenly was interested in the whole process, so she watched.
Adam made the girls each a CD this year for Christmas.  It wasn't just any CD.  This CD was amazing.  Adam made a CD of all the songs he sings to the girls.  The best part....he sang them.  Both girls now have a CD of Daddy singing them their favorite songs.  He's the best Daddy ever.  Kenly lost her mind when she put it in the CD player.  She giggle and hugged Adam every time a new song came on.  I think it was her favorite present.  I think it even beat out the camera. 
We left carrots for the reindeer and milk and cookies for Santa.  We used the special plate that Nana and Papa bought for the girls. 

Santa came at some point.  He left all kinds of goodies for the girls.

He left a stocking for everyone in the house.  I guess we all made it on the nice list.
He even left a note for Kenly. 
Kenly slept until 7:30 on Christmas morning.  I didn't think that was possible.  It was a small Christmas miracle.  Both she and Corah loved exploring the goodies that Santa left. 

Kenly wanted to help everyone open their stockings.  Pops let her help pull everything out.

Each stocking contained a NC scratch off ticket.  Corah got to help Daddy with her very first lottery ticket.  Believe it or not, Santa picked three winners.  The Brand family won a whopping $5.00 total.
One of Santa's special elves added this Hannah Montana guitar to Santa's bag when he realized that he would have no need for it.  It was a BIG hit.  Kenly is really good at "playing" the songs on the video game.  She is really rocking.  
Uncle Jason and Aunt Paula brought some sipping chocolate to share.  Kenly was a big fan. 
We started opening presents on Christmas Eve and we continued opening presents for at least two days after Christmas.  There were not too many under the tree, but it's a Brand family tradition to enjoy what you have opened before moving on to the next present.  It's actually refreshing to open gifts this way. 
We had everyone open the presents from Kenly and Corah at the same time.  They were all homemade ghetto fabulous and all the same.  It was a present open frenzy.  I like that too.

Corah got pretty good at opening presents by the time it was all said and done.  She didn't need help with her last gifts.
It is true.  Babies like the bows and paper much better than the actual gifts.  Corah entertained herself for quite awhile with this curly ribbon. 
She enjoyed trying to get Chance to rip up some more paper.

Kenly got to try out the big girl swing that Santa brought her.  She was a huge fan.
Corah met B-Bear, Boo Bear's back up.  Santa couldn't find an exact match, but she has decided that B-Bear is close enough.
This is the first snuggle session.
She played with this animal sounds contraption for awhile.  She kept saying dog because she loves to hear the toy bark.  Forget the other animals,she wants to hear the dog-dog.
Adam's turkey was amazing.  In fact, I'm not retired from turkey cooking.  It's his job from now on.
It was so tender and flavorful.

Kenly got lots of puzzles for Christmas.  Aunt Paula and Kenly spent hours putting the puzzles together.  Paula and Jason gave Kenly a very special puzzle that has pictures of her on it.  It's a real favorite. 

The first Monday in December, Releve had an open house.  We were able to attend Kenly's tap and ballet class.  Our precious ballerina got to show off for us.  As always, Ms. Merle amazed me.  How she gets that many 4 years old to dance is nothing short of a miracle. 
Kenly had a hard time with preschool.  She lost momentum when she missed so many days with the virus.  When we went back there were lots of tears...hers and mine.  It ripped my heart out to leave her at school when I knew she was upset.  We worked out a rewards system that involved strawberry tic tacs and decorating for Christmas.  If she had a good day at school, we put out a few more decorations.  This kept decorating fun too.  I didn't get overwhelmed because everything came out a little bit at a time.

These shots are from when Elfie came to live with us for awhile.  We found him on the coffee table tucked inside a book.  Since we had not named him yet, it was okay to touch him.
See...Kenly can take a decent picture.  I was so excited that Elfie came.
Kenly and Adam spent an evening playing on Audacity.  It ended with Kenly and Chance having a snuggle session.

One of Kenly's rewards for doing well in school was to visit a Christmas tree lot.  Because of my allergies, we have an artificial tree.  Kenly had never been exposed to a real tree.  We took her to the Farmer's Market and turned her loose.  She ran through the virtual forest of trees available and had the time of her life.

Look how pitiful Corah looks in this picture.  She was a trooper.  She had been running low grade fever for a few days.  I thought she was teething.  She's a horribly S-L-O-W teether.  That evening, she spiked a fever of 104.7.  I'm was so close to taking her to the emergency room.  Slowly, her fever came down, but she had a tough time.  I made an appointment for her on Monday and cancelled it because she woke up from nap acting more normal.  On Tuesday, she woke up with a rash all over her body.  I took her to the doctor only to find out that she was getting over Roseola. 
December was fun.  I will end with a video of one of the most exciting events of 2012--Corah Beth deciding to walk.  Good job, baby girl.

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