Saturday, December 30, 2017

end of the year

christmas with the gaubs
My sister and her family weren't able to be here on Christmas, but they came out a couple of days later to do Christmas with us.  The kids were excited to see Miss Hannah and for more presents and it was so fun being able to watch Hannah enjoy the fun of a big family Christmas!

hannah and ellie
While they were here, the girls had their very first slumber party-- they did surprisingly well!!  And we obviously went to Target.

lunch at chick-fil-a
We had lunch at Chick-fil-A before they headed back home so that we could see Christopher in action and have a delicious lunch.  The little girls were excited to play in the play area after they finished their lunch.

sleepover with nick
Ellie often has sleepovers with Chris but really wanted to have one with Nick, too.  He did a great job and let her pick out a movie to watch but as soon as it was over, she ditched him and slept in her own room.  At least Nick was a good sport about it!

i've got a blanket.mp4
Her favorite song from her school's Christmas program.

we the people.mp4
Her all-time favorite song, the Preamble.

Monday, December 25, 2017

christmas fun

christmas morning
On Christmas morning, the kids all have to stay upstairs until everyone is awake and ready which means that we don't usually make it downstairs until a little after 8am.  I love seeing the look of excitement on their faces when they finally come down the stairs!

We always go through our stockings first...

santa and breakfast
... and then open the presents from Santa.  This year he used the most delicious sugar cookies to label the packages!  After stockings and Santa presents, we take a break for breakfast-- our traditional Eggs Benedict casserole and orange juice.

christmas presents one
And then it's time for presents!!  We always go one at a time, youngest to oldest, that way everyone can see each gift and enjoy the surprises.

secret santa
Every year, the kids do Secret Santa and draw names and then get to pick out something for their sibling.
This year, Christopher picked out a Sofia doll for Ellie, Nick got Christopher a new band for his Apple watch, Ellie got Nick a Google Home Mini and Ben and Lexie picked out Lego sets for each other.  Nick also got Ellie some silly putty (with his own money!) and she was so excited!

new jewelry box
Ellie was really excited about her new Belle jewelry box and necklace from Grandma and Grandpa!

We surprised Christopher with a PS4 this year and boy, was he surprised!!  And excited!!

christmas presents two
Since there are so many of us, it usually takes several hours to get through all of the presents.  Ben had quite the Lego tower built by the time we were done!

One of Ellie's favorite gifts was her Luvabella baby-- she played with her all afternoon!

Such a good little mommy!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

christmas eve

girls before christmas eve service
Since Christmas Eve fell on a Sunday this year, our church decided to do a morning Christmas Eve service which worked perfectly with our plans for the day!

donuts before church
We stopped at Dunkin Donuts for breakfast before church...

christmas eve movies
...And went to see The Star at the movie theater after church.  That evening, we enjoyed our traditional pizza for dinner while watching classic Christmas cartoons.  Poor Ellie fell asleep after dinner-- our busy day wore her out!

reindeer food
We made reindeer food to sprinkle all over the front yard so that Santa didn't miss our house. 

albaeck sweethearts
- the Albaeck sweethearts -

the littlest sweetheart
- the littlest sweetheart -

christmas eve presents
Right before bed, the kids each opened one present (they each got a new book!) from under the tree.

the stockings were hung
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there...

Saturday, December 23, 2017

christmas traditions

little helper
Ellie is the little helper in our house and loves to help with anything and everything!  She helped decorate our Christmas card envelopes and put all of the stamps on, she helps make dinner, and this year, she helped wrap Christmas presents.

pancake helpers
Both Lexie and Ellie love to help out in the kitchen and anytime I need to bake something, I know that they're going to want to pour and scoop and mix.

making christmas cookies
Christmas cookies are their absolute favorite thing to help with-- especially the Hershey Kiss unwrapping, the rolling and the eating!

One of my favorite Christmas traditions is getting Chick-fil-A peppermint shakes and driving around to look at Christmas lights.  This year, we did it after Christopher's first official day of work at Chick-fil-A!

december fun

sleep sweet
She FINALLY started sleeping in her big girl bed instead of the pack-n-play (because I'm sure THAT was comfortable for a four year old!!) but she still loves coming into our room to snuggle/sleep.

The kids were excited to finally have snow in December since we usually get it after Christmas.

snow and warming up
We just got a dusting but it didn't stop Ellie from going outside to catch snowflakes on her tongue and warm up by the fire.

target and basketball
We made a special trip to Target to try the Christmas Tree Frappuccino at Starbucks (the kids gave it a solid "meh").  We lucked out and our Target had a photobooth set up and handed out cookies and chocolate milk!

mms band concert
Nick started playing the trombone this year and we were excited to go hear the 7th grade band show off their new skills.

MMS 7th Grade Band

photos by ellie
Ellie still loves to hijack my phone and take pictures of things around the house or of herself.

afternoon at the movies
I love that Ellie is now old enough that we can all go see a movie like Ferdinand together.

Nick finally built the Meccano Meccanoid robot that he received last Christmas and loves showing us all the cool things he can do.

Friday, December 22, 2017

christmas movie traditions

One of my absolute favorite Christmas traditions is our dinner/movie combos that we enjoy from Thanksgiving until Christmas.  Before Thanksgiving, and usually in October, I start a list of the different dinner/movie combos that we want to do and then start plugging them into our calendar so that we have time to do them all.  Then, I have another list of Christmas movies that we don't watch with the kids so that we can make sure to watch as many as possible.

christmas movie traditions one
(1) Christmas with the Kranks and Peruvian (from Viva Chicken) for dinner (since the daughter in the movie travels to Peru).  (2) Die Hard, also known as the best Christmas movie ever, which we watch while wrapping presents. (3) A Christmas Story with takeout Chinese (which has evolved into takeout Thai...) for dinner since they have Chinese food for Christmas dinner.

christmas movie traditions two
(4) National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation with green jello and eggnog.

christmas movie traditions three
(5) White Christmas is another one we watch while wrapping presents. (6) Miracle on 34th Street (new or old) is always my Christmas card addressing movie with a cup of hot chocolate.  (7) Home Alone and Home Alone 2 is always pizza with the first one and build your own ice cream sundaes with the second.

christmas movie traditions four
(8) We always watch Elf on the longest night of the year (Winter Solstice) and eat by candlelight and it's a night full of sugar since that's what elves like to eat!  It all started because the kids thought it would be hilarious to eat noodles with syrup so we added pop tarts, donuts, and pancakes to the meal, along with some bacon to make it more of a complete meal and topped the whole thing with whipped cream, syrup and sprinkles!

christmas movie traditions five
(9) We have a Santa Clause marathon every year and watch all three movies in an afternoon/evening. After the first one we get the kids dressed in their Christmas jammies and go to Denny's for dinner because "Everybody likes Denny's, it's an American institution".

Saturday, December 2, 2017

carowinds winterfest

winterfest tree lighting
Carowinds introduced Winterfest this year and we HAD to check it out since Christmas decorations and amusement parks are two of our favorite things!!  We started the night with the tree lighting show on their giant, 70 foot tree.

winterfest carousel one
The big kids humored Ellie and we started with the carousel-- the roller coasters were closed so we had more time to check out the shows and "smaller" rides.

carousel lovers
She still gets SOOOO excited every time we go on a carousel!

winterfest carousel.mp4
She was completely giddy the whole time we were on the carousel.

the albaeck sweethearts
After the boys rode Afterburn (the only coaster open during the event) the kids all posed for a few pictures in front of all of the Christmas lights.

It was magical seeing the park covered in lights!

winterfest cookies one
Winterfest had unique experiences that aren't found during a regular day at Carowinds like decorating Christmas cookies!

winterfest cookies two
We bought the giant sugar cookies and the kids had a blast decorating and then eating them!!

winterfest petting zoo
Petting zoos are always a hit!

winterfest entertainment
Pictures with the performers.

winterfest swings
The kids were excited to try out some new-to-them rides like the swings...

... and the Rock-n-Rollercoaster!!

winterfest games
Apparently, according to our children, the fact that we never let them play the games at Carowinds is a travesty so we caved and they each played a game during Winterfest-- and they all won cute, little winter puppies.

carowinds winterfest
We all had a great time at Winterfest and it was a wonderful way to get into the Christmas spirit!

Blog Archive