Saturday, December 31, 2011

How high can you jump?

For Christmas, Jace's parents gave Cohen a trampoline. Of course, poor kid had to wait until we got home and put it together to play on it. When we got home later that day, Cohen and I took nice long naps, while Jace put together the new toy.

It was getting dark when we finally woke up, so we jumped for a few minutes then came inside. I was busy jumping and only took a picture of the finished product.


The next day, some of Cohen's friends, Stella and Cille, came to play for a while and they got to enjoy the new trampoline.



Of course, the trampoline was lots of fun....but as mentioned in an earlier post...kids really do love the simple things in life...such as a cardboard box.




The very next day, Ethan, Aaron and Molly came by to say hi. Cohen immediately told them about the trampoline, and the 4 of them went straight to the backyard and played. Aaron and Cohen had a wrestling match in the trampoline, and Ethan helped build a nice fort with the boxes and the dog house. They all had lots of fun! I know we will make lots more fun memories on the new trampoline.

Monday, December 26, 2011

What is one of your Christmas traditions?

After reading my good friend Iris' blog on one of their Christmas traditions and I thought I would just steal the idea from her and do my own blog on it.

Each year, Jace and I have exchanged an ornament for our tree for Christmas. Many years, this has been the only gift we give each other (If you know me well...you know how I am with gifts...I don't care much for them. I don't love to receive gifts. I'd rather you give them to someone who needs it.)

Here are all 8 of Jace's Christmas ornaments from me....


Not sure what started the penguin thing, but that's what he always gets. As you can see, the snow globe from 2003 is looking pretty sick. For those wondering, don't get snow globes if you want to keep it forever!

Now for mine...

As you can see, there are only 7. We are missing the one from 2003 (or maybe Jace didn't get me one that year and we actually didn't start this tradition until the second Christmas).


We have a few ornmanets from some of our favorite vacation spots (Biltmore Estate and Disney).


We've even passed the tradition on to Cohen. The rocking horse was actually purchased for him in Russia and we hung it on the tree the year we were waiting for him to come home. Every time I see that rocking horse I think of how tough that Christmas was for us, and then I remember how wonderful it is now that he's home.


The only tree in our home is our family tree, and that is where we proudly display these ornaments (along with many others that have been given to us over the years).

Saturday, December 24, 2011

What do kids really want?

Last weekend we stayed the night with Jace's family to celebrate Christmas with them. It was wonderful! On Friday night, we enjoyed a Siclari (my sis-in-law, Tricia's family) Christmas Tradition. They have what they call a "Decadent Dinner." This is basically an assortment of finger foods that you eat until your belly cannot possibly hold any more...then you eat more! Ok, so maybe that's not how it is supposed to be done, but I managed to finish my night with more food inside of me than I care to ever have again! I was so full! AND THEN I ATE SOME MORE! It was so yummy!!!

Check out that spread....




The menu:

Smoked Sausage
Ham
Salami
Turkey
Summer Sausage
Shrimp Sausage
Pork Sausage
Cream Cheese pinwheels
6 types of cheese
Strawberries
Grapes
Cucumber
Kiwi
Pineapple
3 types of crackers
Rolls
Cream Cheese bar with Pepper Jelly
Tomatoes
Celery
Broccoli
Carrots
Apples
Olives
Pears
Pickles

And that's for 6 adults and 1 child!

And that doesn't even include dessert!

After we ate, we rolled ourselves into the living room where we opened presents.

Cohen was very happy with all of his gifts!!





For those that don't know this, Amazon boxes come with what we call "poppers" and they are very fun to pop. Everytime a package would come to the door, Cohen would immediately being requesting the poppers. Uncle Awesome and Aunt Trix gave Cohen a box full for Christmas! He was super happy with those!


The next day, we all met up at Jace's cousin's house for another party with the extended family. Cohen got some really nice things at this party, but his favorite...the poppers and bubble wrap!





So if you are wondering, "What is it that kids really want these days?" The answer is bubble wrap, poppers and boxes (I have a future post on boxes!)

The weekend was a lot of fun! We can't wait to do it all again next year!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Who do you sing for?

Cohen's school had their annual Christmas program a week or so ago. The day of the program, Cohen's teacher pulled me to the side and asked me to talk to Cohen about his behavior on the stage. I sat with him when we got home and I asked him what he was doing on stage...his reply, "dancing, singing, playing with baby Jesus." So we had to have a talk about playing with baby Jesus, and how to stand still and sing the songs. He did an amazing job on stage! When he saw me, he waved at me....just melted my heart!

Here are a few pictures from the event.

"Who do you sing for?" Well we should all be singing praises to God for all the many wonderful things He has done for us!! I love this picture of my boy!




Cohen only goes to school one day a week...so the other kids had lots of extra time to practice. This is one of the cute faces Cohen made when he wasn't real sure what he was supposed to be singing.



And a couple of family shots.



Thursday, December 22, 2011

Which picture did you use for your Christmas card?

Yesterday I posted some of the many wonderful pictures my sister-in-law, Tricia, took of my family. Well I have just a couple more to share with you.

I wanted to share a copy of our Christmas card.



We hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Do you know the Allen Family?

About a month ago, my sisters and I decided that for our parents Christmas gift, we wanted to get them a picture of the entire family. It has been YEARS since we have had real pictures done of all 4 of us and our families.

We have had family pictures done TWICE with Jace's family since we came home with Cohen. It was way past time to do this with my family.

For the photos, we asked my wonderful sister-in-law, Tricia, to make the drive to North Louisiana to take the pictures for us. She graciously accepted our offer and she did an AMAZING job!!

We all met up in downtown Monroe, LA for the family pictures.

Allow me to introduce you to some of my favorite people on the planet...my family! (Left to Right: Charles, Mitch, Joani, Alyssa, Ana, Alvin, Jane, Greg, Emily, Cohen, Jace, Mitzi and Jamie).


Big Al (or Bigubal as the kids call him) and Meme with all 4 of their grandkids: Alyssa - 11, Ana - 9, Mitch - 5 (turned 6 two weeks after this photo was taken), and Cohen - 3.











Ok. I wanted to get a picture of the four of us from a few years ago. I searched and searched and I'm guessing that all the group pictures are stored away at my parents house somewhere. This is the only one I could find. We've changed a bit since then!

I'm guessing this picture was taken in 1989?? (Please excuse the quality, it's a scanned copy of a wallet size photo).

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Why do we celebrate?

Again this year, Jace and I are trying to do our best to remind Cohen of the REAL reason for Christmas...to celebrate Christ's birth. It's so hard in this super commercialized world!

As with other holidays, I decided to send a special card to Cohen's grandparents. I wanted to use this as an opportunity to teach Cohen a little more about Jesus.

Here is our fun card craft...A Manger Scene with Baby Jesus.



Friday, December 16, 2011

How was your second race?

As mentioned yesterday, Jace, Cohen and I did two races last weekend. The first was the Reindeer Run and Romp. The second....Celebration in the Oaks.

This is the third year we've done this race, but only the second for me to blog. Check out last years race here.

This is a 2 mile run/walk, so we decided to make Cohen ride part of the race. (and yes, that's our friend, Matt Safley, with an empty stroller. His kids had a ton of energy that day!).


A fuzzy running picture. GO COHEN GO!


Here he is running to the finish line.



After the race, we get to go to City Park Celebration in the Oaks. As a tradition, we rode the carousel. Look close, you can see Nan, our friend, Stella and her dad, Damon riding too!



And the Raney's group shot...in matching shirts! Oh how I LOVE matching shirts! (Cohen didn't get one for this race, because they didn't have kids sizes). Check out Cohen's face...I do love that kid!


We took a big group picture of EVERYONE we know that was at this race (there were like 40 of us). That picture was e-mailed to Damon, so I'm hoping he will post it to his blog very soon.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

How was Cohen's first race?

As you know, Jace and I like to run/bike/swim/whatever. We were thrilled to learn that there was a fun 1/2 mile race in New Orleans called the Reindeer Run and Romp and Egg Nog Jog. We signed up Cohen (and ourselves...mostly for the shirt).

Cohen was very excited about his first race. He kept reminding us that we were supposed to cheer for him and tell him to "stop" when he made it to the finish line.

Here he is...race number pinned on and ready to go!


GO COHEN GO!



He makes the craziest faces! This is his "I'm really focused on finishing this race" face.



We met up with some of our good friends, the Safley's, for this race.

Go Mattie Anne! I think Mattie Anne beat everyone (in our group anyway). She was fast! And didn't slow down or stop. That 1/2 mile was not nearly long enough for this distance runner.


Lyons had help from his grandma and dad. Go Lyons!


Go Evans!


Here we are finishing the race. Go Cohen!


Our finishing time: 8:35 (that's about a 17 min mile...not bad for a 3 year old).


Cohen getting his race metal.




Family pic in matching shirts.



They had face painting, music, and crafts for kids at the finish line. We made a tool box at the Home Depot booth.




Now for our son's TV debut. Fox News had a reporter on the scene of the race and she was asking if anyone would like to be interviewed. YES OF COURSE WE WOULD!!




To see the video GO HERE.

It was a great race! Check back tomorrow, because we actually did TWO races on this day. I'll post pictures from the second one tomorrow.