Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas
























































This Christmas has been hectic. It is of course a wonderful time of year, but my favorite by far is Thanksgiving. We have had family dinners and get togethers and have opened our home to family and entertaining mostly the entire month. We have attended and planned special school events. (Amanda Lily's preschool program, and Stevens International Luncheon) Then there was ensemble at church. I decided this year that I was ready to take on the commitment of taking part in our Christmas Eve Service which require hours of rehearsal. The service was pretty good, but I was so sad for Melinda who had put so much planning and effort into it, and there were many glitches. We even managed to squeeze a trip to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party in the mix, and we spent the night! It has been a memorable Christmas, but I am ready for a break. I am blogging all of it in this one blog, because I am just ready to move on!
Each of the following paragraphs really deserve there own private blog, so if you get tired of reading, just stop and come back to the next paragraph another day!

Lets see, we'll start with Stevens International Luncheon at school. For those of you who do not know, Steven is in the Dual Language Program at his school, where he is taught the same lessons in English as well as Spanish during the day. When Mrs Keyes called me with the idea of an International Luncheon, I thought it was a great! And, boy did it end up GREAT! We had over 17 mothers make different foods from their country of origin. I of course made Greek food. Baklava and Adaka with Feta which are two of Stevens favorites. We had Spanish Pork, Swedish Meatballs, German Pie, Plantains, Vietnamese Rice, we even had Sushi, and much more. It was all sooo good. We had one of the moms bring in chicken nuggets from chic fil a, because we weren't sure how the kids would take to such a variety of foods, but they actually were more than willing to try everything. We had over 25 parents attend, as well as the Principle, Assistant Principle, and office staff. The day was topped off with Pinatas for the kids to swing at. It was a blast for them.

The Annual Green Family Dinner was at my house this year. I was so happy to have my extended family in my home. Everyone brought a side dish, and we had ham. All the food was really yummy, but the company was even better. I did miss Scott and his family, though. I got to see Jennifer, and let me tell you all....she doesn't look a day pregnant. Will is such a sweet boy. He was ready for some present opening. I think it's so strange that he has the same blood in his veins as I do, and he is my best friends kid. Even after all these years, Jen is not my cousin....she is my best friend. I was also very happy to see my little cousin Michaela bonding with my little girl. The two of them really seemed to hit it off. The night was a huge success, very laid back and relaxed.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party was a BLAST. So worth the money. We had arranged a room at the Contemporary Resort so that Steven could watch the monorails go through. In all our Disney travels, the one thing we hadn't done is spend the night. This seemed like the right time because the actual party started at 7pm and didn't end until midnight. Upon arrival we were told that we had been "upgraded" in honor of Disney's Year of A Million Dreams. The woman handed me a key to insert into a slot in the elevator to get us to the "all suite floor"
I almost dropped my teeth when she told us we had a butler/concierge. If you all remember, the last time we went to Disney, we had gotten VIP service that was very uncommon. This was over the top. Our concierge had Uncrustable PB and J's with juice boxes and milk for the kids along with all kinds of fruit, cheese, croissants, beer, champagne, wine, and espresso for George and me when we got to the room. I kid you not.....our view was unbelievable. We had a birds eye view of Cinderella Castle and all the Monorails and The Grand Floridian, from our balcony. I took photos, so check them out! Once we got to the park, we had lots of fun. For the first time in years, we didn't have to wait in line at all. When I bought the tickets, they told me that they were only selling a "limited amount" I thought yeah, what they consider limited and I consider limited are definitely different. Not so....it seemed as if there was no one in the park. Steven even got down at a Character Dance Party. I laughed so hard as he did the YMCA and danced to Vanilla Ice.....Ice Ice Baby. He actually did pretty good and kept with the performer on stage teaching the kids the steps. George and I enjoyed it so much that we've decided not to renew our annual passes, and to just go to the Christmas Party every year and spend the night. (We may also go in May in honor of both kids birthdays being that they are only a week apart.) I highly recommend it.

Let's see...we opened presents from Mom and Dad the night before Christmas Eve. Mom outdid herself once again. My favorite was one of her gifts to Amanda Lily, a sewing machine. She is so excited about making clothes for her dolls. Christmas Eve service was at 6pm, then we headed up to the restaurant to have dinner with George.

Christmas morning, Steven, Amanda Lily, and Tre' were soooooo excited. I mean bouncing off the walls! This is such a good age for "Santa" they are 4 5 and 6. Steven was most excited about his Amtrak Train Set, Amanda Lily was thrilled with her pink kitchen, and Tre' freaked over his four wheeler! Good times. Mom made her famous omelet's, and I made my famous pancake puffs for breakfast.

Christmas night we all packed up and went over to Amanda's (mom in laws) for dinner and gift exchange. The kids and I made cupcakes for "Baby Jesus' Birthday" The food was prime rib and lots of Greek dishes. It was really unbelievably good.....I mean Stavro (dad in law) really has a gift in the kitchen. Steven got an awesome CSX train engine from Uncle Pete Aunt Heather and Jimmy. His reaction was priceless. He literally could not come up with words to say. He was like "this thing........" Then he passed around the huge thank you hugs. Amanda Lily got kitchen stuff from Pottery Barn Kids, little Cupcakes and a cake, and the cutest apron ever with cherries on it.Baby Sophie was laughing really hard at Steven as he danced around all silly to entertain her. She is getting so big. Heather had to remind me that she is almost 8 months old! I keep thinking she is 6 months. I just don't want her to grow up!

The kids also received a Christmas package from Greece. Our cousin ViVi aka Girly Girl, is AWESOME. She sent them glow in the dark stars that are already on their bedroom walls and beds. As well as all kinds of stickers and chocolates and candies and goodies. She spoils them so much. It is very special to get things like that all the way from Greece. It keeps them connected. I love that the kids are so loved and doted on by our family.

I got a Cricut cutter for my craft room, a new camera, and a yellow diamond ring! My husband is so good to me. He surprised me thoroughly.....and I LOVE to be honestly surprised.

Sorry to have put all of my Christmas adventures into this one blog. I am just really ready to move forward a pull out of the Holidays. I may keep my blog colors though....they will do through Valentine's Day at least! Oh and I took so many photos that I am putting them in seperate slide shows. I'll title them so everyone can see the different goings on. Also, I'll put a couple of my favorites on the blog page. I hope you all had as blessed a Christmas as we did.











Sunday, December 21, 2008

Church Christmas Padgeant





Both Steven and Amanda Lily participated in this years Christmas Program at our church. Steven was an elf who helped with the singing. Amanda Lily had a small speaking part. Her lines were "Grandpa Biddlebop, tell us again about your first Christmas at Santa's workshop." and "I just love that story" Pretty simple stuff, but we were sure proud that at a young 4 years, she had no problem speaking into the microphone in front of around 400 people. I was certain that she was going to have a panic attack and run off the stage, but she did not. She was very composed and said her lines perfectly. Her only concern was that someone was going to put makeup on her face.....that she did not want, and she most likely would not have done it if they had. The play was the same weekend that the stomach bug had gone through my house. Steven and Ben (his friend that had also been sick) were standing side by side in the play. Trish and I had our fingers crossed that the two of them didn't start throwing up!

Aunt Mary, Mom, Yia Yia, George, and myself were there armed with cameras, but none of us got really good photos. The kids were all great, and we were once again thrilled to watch.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas Cookie Bake







The annual family cookie bake was an interesting adventure this year. We were planning for a crowd as usual, but sometimes plans can be interrupted. It was a bit frustrating because we were all so excited. I had the hot chocolate with cinnamon sticks and marshmallows, all the sprinkles and cookie cutters, and Mom and I had made up lots of homemade cookie dough. We had even made everyone personalized brown bags to bring their cookies home in. But, lets rewind to Friday morning. I woke Steven up for school around 7:00. He was eating his breakfast and kept running into the bathroom. I followed him in to investigate. The poor guy had diarrhea. I had a big day with Amanda Lily's program, but thought it better to keep him home from school. He did pretty good all day with just a couple of "incidents", so I didn't really give it much thought. Until, his best friend Ben's mom called. Trish told me that she had kept Ben home from school today due to diarrhea and vomiting. I told her that Steven had been home as well, but no vomiting. That was at 9pm on Friday night. Around 15 mins later, Steven threw up. I decided to call everyone to let them know of the possibility of a stomach bug. I got mixed answers, just as I thought I would. Some of the moms said their kids had already had the stomach flu, so they were still coming. Some said they would rather chance it than send their kid into a complete meltdown by telling them they weren't coming. And of course, others said they would see us next year. Steven threw up until 4:45 that morning. It was a rough night to say the least. I went ahead and sprayed the entire house with lysol and wiped down every surface with a mix of bleach and water. People started showing up around 9:00am Saturday morning. We had lots of fun cutting and decorating. The gingerbread cookies were my personal favorite. At the end of the afternoon, I was more than exhausted. Amanda Lily came over, gave me a big hug and said "Mommy, I love you more than much" I almost cried. I was so glad that she was happy and Steven was feeling better. They are after all the reason to have a cookie bake. I have yet to hear of anyone being sick. Hopefully all the brave souls who decided to come will remain healthy!




It turned out to be a fun day. I crashed around 10:00 because I had to have the kids at the church Sunday morning at 8:00am for the church Christmas Pageant......but that of course will be my next blog!






Amanda Lily's Pre School Program

Amanda Lily's class had their Christmas Performance on Friday. They mainly sang carols and did some small motions. As I caught myself smiling from ear to ear, I looked around thinking how amazing it is that we adults are so easily impressed! You all know the scene....parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles all clammering about to get the perfect picture. George looked like a proud papa watching his little girl. It was really a great program, and of course to me, Amanda Lily was the cutest kid up there. She is her sweet girly girl self. I am posting a video of their last song. I hope it makes all the family Greece smile. By the way, she's the one with the big red bows in her hair!
video

PAUSE THE MUSIC AT THE BOTTOM OF MY BLOG SO YOU CAN HEAR ONLY THE KIDS.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving has been all I would have hoped it to be. Mom, Dad, and Larry drove down from Georgia to spend the Holiday together. Mom and I started prep on Wednesday, then finished things up on Thursday morning. Our job was easy this year, as it was my Sister in Law Heather's turn as Hostess at her and Pete's house. Mom and I were responsible for the ham, green bean casserole, sweet potato souffle, and garlic roasted maple carrots. I also was in charge of the "kids table". Everything turned out so nice. It was particularly great for me because I had both sides of my family present. We had dinner around 6:30, and of course watched and played football in the backyard. Some photos are from Thanksgiving morning of Steven and George in the backyard playing football. The guys played play station while waiting for us girls to get things together. I mostly helped out with Sweet Sophie. She had skipped her nap, and refused to fall asleep even though she was so tired. I don't really blame her though....who wants to sleep when your entire family is at your house! Too much fun going on. Dinner was wonderful...we have leftovers out of our ears. (Ham and turkey sandwiches for a month) We just took most of the leftover side dishes up to the restaurant for the employees to enjoy.



Earlier in the week, Steven had a Thanksgiving Feast at school. It was fun to have all the kids in the classroom for lunch. He didn't eat a bite of his lunchroom food, with the exception of his bisquit. Those of you who know him, understand. He told me that the Turkey and Gravy looked like "dog food" I have created a very picky eater by cooking most of his meals and sending him with a lunch box everyday. I pride myself in putting healthy food in my kids bodies. It is one thing that I am pretty consistent about as a Mother. I think it is very important. I could really run off on a rabbit trail here on nutrition, but I'll save that for another blog. I am after all posting about Thanksgiving!



Our family tradition is to pick out our Christmas Tree on Thanksgiving night. I usually string the lights on it, then we all decorate it the following day. This year, the kids were so excited to decorate it that we went ahead and got it all done on Thanksgiving night. I was happy to get it done. Now we only have to get the "Kids Tree" put up in the kids activity room. That is actually a project for us to do today.



What am I thankful for? This year I am really thankful that I am an American. Maybe you are thinking, what???? The economy is awful, the price of gas, the war, etc. I realize that alot of us are "hurting" financially, but in reality, WE ARE NOT. We as Americans are spoiled. Most of the world does not have clean water to drink.....we mop our floors with it. And, we have the audacity to complain about the price of gas? Many citizens of our world are happy to walk miles

to get food for their families. I have been guilty of muly grubbing myself, but I have a new outlook. Thank you God that I am blessed in so many ways, and please forgive me for my selfish heart.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Chasity

I am a little late in blogging this, but in my defense, I just got my hands on the photos that were taken with Carrie's camera. So, I am happy to finally get the chance to do this post.



Most of you do not know my God Daughter Chasity. Let me tell you all...she is a special girl. Not only is she a bright shinning child inside and out, she is a CHEERLEADER!!! (A girl after my own heart) She recently had a birthday, and it makes me feel old. She is now 9 years old, just a year younger than I was when I met her Mother.



I am sharing pics from her birthday party that was a blast. Kudos to Carrie for pulling it off. It was a glow in the dark party, complete with glow in the dark putt putt, glow in the dark face painting, glow in the dark necklaces, etc.


All the kids had a great time, but most importantly, Chasity did. She is such a love, who will always hold her very own spot in my heart.
























Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween!!!!

What a busy day!!! A couple of other Moms and I decided to put on a Fall Festival at Stevens School today. It was a huge success! We were all so glad to see the kids having fun. I am blessed to have two Teachers who share their students with me. We set up four stations......Pumpkin Painting, Sticker Fun, Playdoh, and Fall Cookie Decorating.












Little Pumpkin Patch




















Pumpkin Painting


We rotated the 40 kids between each station. Then George brought up pizza and all the kids had lunch in the classroom. I was surprised at how much Parent participation we had. Over 20 parents sent in goodies for the treat bags, and 8 moms came in to help. It was great fun. I brought in hay bales and set them up with a scarecrow and all 40 pumpkins to make a small pumpkin patch. Each child chose his/her own pumpkin out of the patch and then they painted them. (Thanks to my friend Heather for giving me the idea) The day was flawless.


Around 1pm I left Stevens school for Amanda Lily's preschool. They had a small class party with treats and then trick or treated around the school. It was low key, but fun for everyone.













Pete and Heather brought Sophie by for a photo opp of the cousins. I was so glad that they did. I'm amazed at how much Steven and Sophia look alike! Every time I see her, it takes me back to when Steven was her age. She is such a sweet girl. I am waiting for photos from Heather to post. Pete took some good ones.

To finish the night off, Pam came over with Caleb and Druw for Trick or Treating. The kids had a great time. We even went over to the church festival for a Hayride. Lastly, we headed up to the restaurant to have dinner with George. It was his shift this Halloween, so I wanted him to see the kids in their costumes. Wheeeeeew. What a day. I hit the pillow pretty hard.

















Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Snaggle Tooth Boy


Steven lost his front tooth the other night. It had been hanging by a thread for some time, so we knew it would be any day. His dad and sister cheered him on in the bathroom as he snatched it out. I left the room immediately upon entering to see what all the hoopla was about. I just couldn't stomach it! Amanda Lily was cheering "go Steven go, go Steven go" George said it only took 3 tugs for it to come out. Steven came downstairs to show me and exclaimed "Mommy, tonight was the night" he was so excited. I think he was mostly excited about the tooth fairy coming. She always sprinkles confetti "fairy dust" in his room and that really gets him excited. She also leaves allot more $$$ for the front teeth. I tell you, she must have won the lottery since I was a kid, because I was lucky to get $.25 for each tooth. Anyways, if any of you happen to see my son, he is so proud of his lost tooth, so be prepared to see a gummy smile!!

We are hoping he will lose the other in time for Christmas so that he can sing the infamous "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth" We will see.
Also, the song in the background is my current favorite. I thought you Mom's would appreciate it. It is by the artist Plumb. If you girls have a minute to listen, do. It will strike a chord with you all I am sure. (:






Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Halloween Party








































This past weekend, we had a Halloween Party. It was so much fun. All of the kids came dressed up, and decorated pumpkins. I had lots of treats and just a few spooky tricks. Amanda Lily LOVED helping plan and prepare the party. She shopped with me at Target for the spooky stuff and just laughed at the gross stuff. We had a blast. All of you who know me, know that I really enjoy having parties. I love every aspect of them. From the invitation to the favor. It just is great fun for me to put things together for others and see how they enjoy themselves. We all had a wonderful time. I was very pleased with the way everything turned out. After the party was over, my Aunts and Mom helped with clean up, then we went out to chat on the lanai. The air was so nice.....it was around 10pm. The three of them had me laughing so hard I cried. They are such fun to be with.

My Mother made the kids costumes from scratch. She is so creative. She made Amanda Lily into "Dorothy" from some fabric we bought at JoAnn's. I asked her to make it a little big so that she could get some good playtime out of it. I also prefer longer length dresses on her. Anyways, it turned out to be ADORABLE. Amanda Lily loved it so much she wanted to sleep in it!

She made Steven's costume from a large box I had George save from the restaurant. His Amtrak train even has lights. She has been in town the past 10 days, and we have really enjoyed having her. She has that "Nana" way of making the kids feel special.

So, here are all the photos to show the fun times we had. I hope you all are making the most of this Fall Season.











Monday, October 6, 2008

Greece

I am really into blogging right now, so I wanted to get as much posted as possible. Mom, the children, and I traveled to Greece this summer to visit family. George joined us after the first 2 weeks for a total stay of a month. It was a great trip. I am posting a slide show, because I took over 800 photos while we were there, and ended up with a little over 200 that were good. (Don't worry, I didn't blog all of the photos.) Our family in Greece will get to see the pics I took, and my American friends will get to see how beautiful it is over there. If any of you ever get a chance to travel abroad, I HIGHLY recommend Greece. The people there are so warm and hospitable to even complete strangers. They are allot like Southerners in that respect. There is always something going on. They are nightlife people. When Mom and I first arrived, my Father in Law's side of the family invited us to go out for dinner. We accepted the invite, and they said they would be at our house to meet us at 9:30pm. We ended up not getting home until 2:00am . Steven feel asleep in my lap at the restaurant. Amanda Lily was like the energizer bunny playing with her little cousin who had also come along. Keep in mind that this was just a restaurant we went to, not a bar. Most family places here are getting ready to close at the time we arrived for dinner. The entire sitting area was outside underneath huge trees with lights strung in rows. You guys can see it right? The kids were just running around, and no one looked at us like "control your kids lady" because their kids were running around too! George says the kids have allot more "freedom to be kids" over in Greece , and I really saw that on this year's trip. We adapted to all of the social norms easily. There is a 7 hour time difference, so we were already used to sleeping in the afternoon and staying up late into the night. On George's Moms side, there is allot to be said. Amanda has 5 brothers and sisters, and they each have kids for a total of 18 cousins. They all live within walking distance in Mystras. We were never bored, that's for sure! They all made sure we were taken care of. Uncle Yanni has a sheep farm. Steven has such a heart for animals, so we were at their house alot. Amanda Lily spent the night at each house. Allot of the girls are in their early 20's, so they all doted on the kids in a BIG way. Once George arrived, we took Mom to visit the Parthenon and Acropolis in Athens. She hadn't gotten a chance to go the previous two times she visited, so I promised her that we would do it. Well, she ended up almost having a heat stroke. Seriously, it is like hiking up a mountain to get to the thing. I have no idea how the ancient Greeks got all that heavy marble to the top of that mountain. It is really amazing. George's bloodline is from Sparta, and his parents house is sitting in the valley of the ancient village "Mystras" The Byzantine Castle you see in some of the photos is literally the view from my In Laws veranda. There are also photos of the ancient city that comes sprawling down the mountainside. Also, there is a Monastery that is still used today by Monks. I think it is the only "working" part of the ancient city. I could go on and on. When it was time to leave, we all got up and went over to YaYa's (Grandma's) to say goodbye. It was 5:30 in the morning, and they were all there. All the uncles, aunts, cousins, drinking coffee and crying that we were leaving. I had told George that I was going to try my best not to get emotional, because I didn't want to upset the kids before that big 24 hour trip. Well, when his Uncle Yanni picked up Steven, put him in a big bear hug, and started crying, I was like, OK forget it. Steven started crying too, and I couldn't bear to see the little sweet in his heartbreak. He had really made a connection with his family this summer. Waterworks all around. We were all so sad to leave. But, we know there is always next summer when we go to visit again, and have a Christening for our newest addition, Sophia. Who's coming with me???? (:

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Patio Work






My sister in law, Heather, recently redecorated her lanai. "It's like adding another room to your house" she said. I had gone over to her house to see what all the hype was about, and was totally inspired by the work she had done. I am sharing these photos mainly for her, as she is very busy with little Sophia. Also, I thought Aunt Shawn would enjoy seeing my kitchen herbs are still out there.( I actually use them quite a bit.) And, I am hoping to entice my friend Heather to come over and sit in those comfy rocking chairs with me while the kids play out back. (:
Who knows, maybe I'll pass on the inspiration, and someone else will have another room to enjoy these fall evenings. I will warn you though, concrete stain is a smelly thing. I had to take breaks to keep from getting a headache from them fumes!

ps....Jennifer, do you see what I see????? I can't keep away from those birds. lol


Saturday, October 4, 2008

Pumpkin Patch
















Every year, our church has a pumpkin patch. This past Thursday, the pumpkins were delivered. Our Wednesday night club, Awana Cubbies and Sparks, asked that we bring the kids out to help unload over 1000 pumkins and ghourds. I thought it was a great chance to teach the kids about teamwork, and also, who doesn't like a pumpkin? It was organized that the adults lined up in one line, and the small children another. They literally tossed the large pumpkins down the adult line, and the smaller ones down the kids line. I have a TON of photos to share. Those of you who are close to me know I am a shutterbug big time. I usually like to let the photos tell the stories.




It was a fun time. We didn't select our pumpkins just yet, we'll probably pick out a couple on a Sunday after church. I'll take photos of that as well, and share them later.