December 2008

New Year's Eve
Our good friends John, Dawn, Peter, Jenny — and all their kids — came over to our house on New Year's Eve. We had an awesome time!


Jenna shows off her "two tickets to the gunshow... bam... bam." :-)


Hattie helps Max open gifts


Emma loved her new High School Musical fleece!


Jenna opening her gifts


The kids playing their New Year's horns. As Jenny said, it sounded like a bunch of dying geese... Very LOUD dying geese. :-)


Hattie works on opening her popper


Max and Jenny


Emma toots her own horn ;-)


Jenna in all her New Year's gear


The kids did slow down long enough to eat a little dinner


The boys. ...You can't take John anywhere, I guess. ;-P


The girls


Me


Jenna was serious about partying


Us girls again


Troy and Peter come dangerously close to holding hands, while Troy shows him the Wii ;-)


Tanner and Peter play Wii boxing


The Ruhlands watch the boxing action


Then Charlie and his dad boxed a match


Peter and John have a Wii boxing championship


For some reason, Troy decided to change into his hockey gear. ...I'm sure it had nothing to do with the beverages he was drinking. ;-)


Our cutest Wii boxers — Max and Hattie — give it a try


Troy and Emma have a boxing match, Wii style


Emma and Tanner give Wii bowling a try


Hattie and Emma relax


Two tired girls


Jenna and Hattie


Joe was excited to join the party... and have someone play ball with him!


Girls' Day Out
The girls and I had a fun day on Dec. 30. We went to a special program at the Botanical Center, visited the State Historical Society of Iowa and did a little shopping.


Jenna and Emma at the Botanical Center


Part of the program at the Botanical Center sent kids on an "Artcic Animal Scavenger Hunt." We had to search through the whole center to find pictures of animals that live in the Arctic. The girls LOVED it!


Emma took a photo of Jenna and me


Jenna took this photo of Emma and me. (So much for a "point and shoot" camera. Ha!)


The Botanical Center had a ton of beautiful holiday displays, like these poinsettias


A banana tree in Iowa in the winter? ...A very welcome site. :-)


The girls explore these moth orchids


The three of us at the Botanical Center


There were a ton of other activities the girls got to do, too... including making edible snowmen from marshmallows, frosting, pretzels and candy corn. Yum!


Emma's snowman


The girls also made three-dimensional snowflake ornaments


Jenna playing the "Polar Bear/Pengin Walk" game


Jen shows off the cool tattoo she won playing the game


Jenna built this "igloo" out of boxes


Emma made this penguin


Emma shows off the penguin tattoo she won


The girls made this snowman, too


And they worked together to build this igloo


After going to the Botanical Center, we visited the State Historical Society of Iowa. The first display we saw? ...One on Shawn Johnson, of course!


The girls thought this replica of 801 Grand, made completely out of Legos, was really cool


They also liked seeing the mammoth skeleton... until Emma started having nightmares about dinosaurs breaking into her room a few nights later. Ugh!


The girls in the American Gothic cut-out


The girls, with their best dour American Gothic faces


The pottery display had a section on pottery made in Mason City (my hometown)


Fore!
Troy took the girls to Longview Golf Centre, to hit a few balls, on Dec. 28.


Our little lefty, trying to learn to golf right-handed


Apparently sticking your tongue out helps your drive ;-)


Jenna tees up, with the same tongue-out focus as her big sister. ;-)


Jenna gets a little help from Troy


Ice Skating
We took the girls ice skating at Brenton Skating Plaza on Dec. 27. Unfortunately, it was after a bad ice storm, so the ice was a little bumpy and it was bitterly cold, but it was still a good experience.


Our ice princesses, in their new skates, before heading out to the rink


Can you tell Jenna is a little nervous about heading out on the ice? ;-)


Troy and Emma hit the ice


Emma did awesome! By the end of the night, she was skating by herself — without even holding onto the bar — and loving it!


This is how Jenna skated most of the night... and is also why Troy was sore the next day. ;-)


Troy finally gets some solo ice time


Troy shows off, skating backwards


Emma and me, and a still freaked-out Jenna, take a little rest

 


Troy and Jenna have one last time around the rink


Emma and me


The Girls and Their Mini-Mes
The girls showed off their new dolls on Dec. 26.


Emma and her American Girl, Mia, matched


Jenna and her Baby Alive


Christmas Eve
We had a fabulous Christmas Eve. It was busy, but wonderful.


The girls and I, before heading to the Christmas Eve service at church


Can you tell Jenna wasn't very interested in having her picture taken?


Three silly-faced reindeer


Troy and the girls


Troy and Jenna at the candlelight service


Emma with her candle


The church was beautiful, bathed in candlelight


More of the candlelight service


A painting that an artist painted DURING the service. He is truly amazing!


After we got back from church, we made cookies


The girls were all smiles making cookies


While the cookies were cooling, Troy and the girls decorated a gingerbread house


Emma was very "precise" in her decorating


Jenna, decorating her side of the house


You can't tell he's her dad, can you? ...Just look at their focused expressions. ;-)


Almost done!


The girls with the finished house


After the gingerbread house was done, the girls frosted and decorated the cookies


Sticking your tongue out helps you focus, don't you know? ;-)


The girls and their cookies


Jenna, being silly


Jenna and her cookies


After dinner, it was time to open presents


Joe was more impatient than the girls; he REALLY wanted to open his presents!


Jenna and her presents


Emma and her presents


Jenna got a baking gear set from Emma. She was SO excited, because she really wanted an apron and chef's hat!


Emma opens the doll bathtub that Jenna got her


Jenna and her new robe


Emma and the new doll-sized leotard... just like hers and Jenna's!


Two happy sisters


Emma and her new slippers


It was FINALLY Joe's turn to open a present


Joe opens his present


Joe LOVED his new ball


Emma was so excited about her new robe! She really wanted one for Christmas.


Emma made all of us several presents for Christmas, which was very sweet. One of the presents she gave Jenna was this picture of Dora she'd printed. :-)


Jenna and her new slippers


Emma and her new jeans


Jenna and Emma got matching pajamas


Joe opens his next present


Emma's new shirt


Jenna's new shirt


And Jenna's new jeans


Emma's new pajamas


Jenna and her new Cabbage Patch Kid. When she "eats" the ice cream cone she came with, sprinkles appear on her face.


Troy got a new 22" monitor


Emma made Troy and I a mug for Christmas


The bag Emma decorated and wrapped our mug in


Jenna got Troy new slippers


The girls got me a digital picture frame


Emma got Troy new warm-up pants


This was one of my presents from Emma, and the wrapping paper she made


Emma gave me this for Christmas. What more could a mom ask for? ...So sweet!


Emma also made this scarf for me


Troy also got a robe


Troy surprised me with a new Wii


Jenna and her new baby, Ella


The girls in their new matching pajamas, and robes and slippers


Jenna with her new cooking gear


Our little chef is all smiles


Jenna brushes her dolls' teeth. You have to get the sugar bugs off... even on Christmas Eve! :-)


Before going to bed, the girls made some reindeer food out of oatmeal and colored sugar for Santa's reindeer


Emma making reindeer food


The girls put the food out on the front yard


The girls left cookies and coffee for Santa. Emma came up with the idea of putting the cookies in a baggie, "In case he's tired of cookies and wants to take one back to Mrs. Claus." She also wanted to show him the ornament she'd made.


Christmas Day


Santa drank all his coffee, and even left the girls a note


Jenna's stocking items from Santa


Emma's stocking items from Santa


Santa brought Joe something, too


The girls with their presents from Santa


Jenna got Baby Alive, which was the one thing she REALLY wanted


What, Jenna? Did you just realize that Baby Alive actually potties in her diaper? ;-)


Emma was SO excited to get her first American Girl doll, Mia! ...She was even more excited, because Mia (who was 2008 Girl of the Year) sold out two weeks before Christmas. That Santa is awfully magic!


Joe loved his new toy SO much, that he'd torn out its squeaker and half its stuffing within two hours


Emma and Mia


Jenna and one of the Baby Alive outfits she got


Another Baby Alive outfit!


Emma got several outfits for Mia, too


Jenna's new purse. (You might think at 4 1/2 she'd be a little old for this, but she told Santa she REALLY wanted a My First Purse.)


Emma and some of her new outfits for Mia


New diapers for Baby Alive, too


The shirt Emma got for Mia


And one more Baby Alive outfit for Jenna


Smily sisters


Jenna took this photo of her presents


Emma took this photo of some of her presents


And Emma took this photo of Mia... who happens to look an awful lot like Emma, we realized


Emma and her new "mini-me"


Troy set up the Wii Christmas morning, too. We quickly found out that Emma was great at bowling, and Jenna was awesome at boxing.


Emma cheers Jenna on at Wii boxing


Emma gives boxing a try


Troy's turn


Later, we decided to go sledding.


Troy gives the girls a push down the hill


Troy's turn to head down the hill


Jenna runs out to see Troy


Emma, Jenna and I get ready to head down the hill


...And the three of us head back up the hill


Troy and the girls, at the top of the hill


Our two little snow bunnies


All smiles


Troy got some serious distance on his sled


The girls head back up the hill


Emma loved sledding, can you tell?


Jenna had fun, too


Yummy Hot Chocolate
The girls made their "Webkinz Winter Soup" (hot chocolate) on Dec. 20. They made the mix at their playdate the day before.


More of Jenna's candy cane ended up on her face than in her tummy :-)


Webkinz Winter Party
The girls had some of their friends over for a playdate on Dec. 19. We started this tradition a few years ago — of the girls inviting some friends over to play before the holidays. They always have a blast. This year's activities centered around Webkinz (surprise, surprise). We had pizza, played games, made crafts, had cookies (thanks, Sullivans!), and just generally played. A few of the photos are here, but all the photos from the night are on our online photo site.


Mouw sisters, Hallie and Courtney, play Legos with Emma and Jenna before the other kids arrived


The kids played our version of Gem Hunt, from Webkinz.com. They took turns "mining" these "rocks" for "gems" (pictures that told them if they's hit "slag" — and got to go again — or which Webkinz they'd won).


Molly H. and Claire play Gem Hunt


The stars of the night — everyone won a Webkinz


The kids also played our version of Wacky's Bingo, another Webkinz.com game, with sleeping bags and pillows for their new Webkinz as prizes


Everyone playing bingo


Emma, Clara and Kara playing bingo


The Webkinz sleeping bags and pillows


The kids also played a Webkinz Relay game; they had to do "walks" like some of the Webkinz at the party — bear walk (which Emma, Clara and Courtney are doing in this picture), frog hop, and horse gallop


Emma LOVED singing karaoke


Emma getting in even more karaoke time


Courtney golfs, and Jenna is silly


BFF's do EVERYTHING together — even lifting weights ;-)


All the kids and their Webkinz


Silly kids!


The kids also made "Webkinz Winter Soup" mix — better known by some as hot chocolate — to take home


The kids work on a craft — making jingle bell collars for their new Webkinz


Emma, with her new Webkinz (Kung Fu), wearing the collar Emma made


Molly D, Claire, Molly H., Jenna and Hattie play dress-up


Claire, Hattie, Max, Hallie and Jenna watch "A Charlie Brown Christmas"


Emma, Clara and Kara hang out in the office, after going to Webkinz.com, of course


Hattie, Max and Jenna watching "A Charlie Brown Christmas"


Hattie, Max, Jenna and Molly H. finish watching "A Charlie Brown Christmas"


Jenna's Santa Visit at School
Santa and Mrs. Claus visited Jenna's school on Dec. 17. Jenna told him (again) that she wanted a Baby Alive and a My First Purse.


Our Cuties
Jenna's school has an annual "Parents' Night Out," where the kids (and their siblings) get to come back after school, to make crafts, have snacks, and watch a movie. The girls always love to go. Here they are before heading to the event, on Dec. 16.


The Girls' Christmas Program
The girls did such a great job in their Christmas program at church on Dec. 13... even though they were singing in front of around 2,000 people! :-) Jenna was in the "Jump for Joy" part of the program, and Emma was in "What a Dude," which told the Christmas story through Abba music (a la "Mama Mia"). A great job by all!


The girls at church, before their program


Jenna and her friend, Mollly. Molly's dad played guitar for part of the service, and Molly and Jenna LOVED seeing him up on the big screens while they were waiting for their turn to sing!


Jenna, with Molly to her left, singing "Jump for Joy" during their program


Jenna and Molly singing


Emma, as part of "What a Dude!" — which told the Christmas story through Abba songs... and was VERY cute!


Emma, behind Joseph


Our Holiday Girls
The girls LOVE Christmas. Here they are by the tree the morning of Dec. 12.


Silly Jenna
This is the outfit Jenna concocted on Dec. 12 for dress-up.


Most people wouldn't have the — um — courage to pair a seed corn cap with a dress, knee-highs, and two different shoes, but Jenna owned it! :-)


Our silly girl!


Jenna's Holiday Program
Jenna's school had its annual holiday program on Dec. 11. Jenna did a fabulous job during the program — which is no big surprise, coming from our little ham! It was a little bittersweet, though; after having both girls go to the school, this was our last holiday program there.


Jenna with some of her friends, in their "fancy" clothes — Max, Hattie, Kaylie, Claire, Joey, Jenna, Alex and Kate


Hattie and Jenna. (They were posing SO cutely, but the other kids — who were beyond amped for the program — kept getting in the way of the photo, so this was the best shot we got of the two of them.)


Hattie posing for the camera


Claire, Hattie, Max and Jenna


Jenna's class — the Hot Rods — sang "Frosty the Snowman," "Deck the Halls," "Here Comes Santa Claus" and "Feliz Navidad," and then came back out to sing the "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" finale


The stage was decorated with artwork the kids made. Here is Jenna's stocking creation.


Jenna's class lining up on the stage


Jenna LOVED performing


Singing her little heart out!


Jenna and Max (who was standing next to her in the back row) got so excited singing "Feliz Navidad" that they decided to start jumping up and down. ...Which they also both did two years ago during the holiday program. :-)


Nada Silent Night
We went to Nada Silent Night on Dec. 5 with our friends, Pete and Jenny. What a great show!


They did some awesome stuff with lighting and the set, none of which the lame pictures I took with my cell phone give justice to. There is a great recap of the night and some utterly awesome photos on this blog.


Getting Ready for Christmas
I'm not sure what the girls were more excited about when they started using their Christmas countdown calendars on Dec. 1 — the fact that it meant Christmas was getting closer, or the fact that they get candy every day! :-)

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Email us | Troy tamaifeld@yahoo.com | Jami jamimaifeld@hotmail.com |

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