Christmas Card Photos 2013


I think all my Christmas cards have finally been mailed, and most of them received, so I thought I'd share our Christmas card pictures!  I took some of the ones of the kids and Derek, but my friend Ashley took most of these for us and she did a fantastic job!  I really like the way they turned out!

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So, since I can't send all of you a Christmas card - consider this my little Christmas card to all of you!  You all make blogging so much fun, and I want to say thank you for visiting my little corner of the internet.  Praying for a beautiful Christmas season and blessing for all of you in the New Year!

22 Weeks Pregnant (Baby #3 - BOY!)

Time for the 22 week update!  It feel like a lot has happened in the last two weeks in this pregnancy.

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The biggest thing, we found out we are having a baby boy!  I would have been thrilled either way, but I think it will work out really nicely for our family to have a boy next.  I love that this boy will only be three years younger than Wyatt - I feel like that is definitely close enough to be good friends as they grow up!

I've been trying to keep an eye out for little boy outfits so that I can get a coming home outfit for our little guy, but most of the outfits out now are a little too wintery for April.  I'll probably wait until after Christmas so I can find something that will be warm, but not too middle-of-winter-ish.

I bought the fabric for his quilt, and I'm excited to get started on it after Christmas!

We pretty much have a name picked out, but we also have a backup, just in case.  It's a little different to have a name so early in the game this time - usually we don't seriously talk about it until later, and we've never made a final decision until after the birth.  The decision isn't really "final", but we have a pretty good idea!

Baby Boy was 13 ounces at his last ultrasound (two weeks ago, so I'm sure he's close to a pound now), and he's about 11 inches long!  Tooth buds are starting to form this week as well!

For me, I feel like the belly has definitely "popped" over the last two weeks.  I don't think it's ever changed so drastically in a two week period!  I woke up one day and it was all of a sudden way bigger.  Here are the comparison pictures between 20 and 22 weeks:

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See?  Maybe it's not as drastic as I thought, but I can definitely tell a big difference.

I've been having a lot of sciatic nerve pain over the last couple weeks, so I think it might be time for a chiropractic adjustment.  I've also been eating way too much.  All the Christmas goodies have bombarded me since our gender reveal party, and it's just been too much sugar.  I need to slow down so I stay within my weight gain goal!  But I really do feel hungry a lot of the time.

The maternity clothes are finally starting to fit, but I can still make a lot of my regular clothes work too, so I'm kind of in between.

One exciting thing to me has been feeling the baby move from the outside!  It's so fun to feel his little kicks get stronger.  The other day I was sitting on the couch and I was just watching him move around inside my belly.  This is my absolute favorite part of pregnancy - feeling and seeing the movement.  There is nothing like it.  I'm going to miss it when Baby Boy is born, but I'm so looking forward to meeting him!

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More Party Pictures

You can read all about our Christmas gender reveal party in my post yesterday, and today I just thought I'd share a few more personal pictures from the party!

Me and Gwen.  See, isn't my sweater a good one?  I didn't even get a vote.  But there really were worse ones at the party this year, for sure.


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Me and Wyatt.

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Derek and Wyatt deciding which present to auction off next.

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Derek, auctioning off the ornaments!

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Wyatt thought the ornament auction was so fun!  He kept clapping his hands and jumping around whenever anyone won their bid.

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Happy girl.

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Opening the packages after the auction was over!

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My cousin opening the gender reveal package.

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And it's a boy!

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Family picture.

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These were the two winners of the ugly sweater contest!  My sister and my friend Ashley's husband, Jed.  And can you believe that it was the same two people who won at my last ugly sweater party?!  They just know how to pick 'em, I guess!  My sister informs me that the secret to winning is to not only find one that is ugly, but that is ill-fitting as well.

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My mom and sister with the kiddos.

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Me and Derek after the reveal!

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The one thing I wished was that I had gotten more/better pictures of the guests in their sweaters.  I got a few in a hurry, but I didn't check them and they ended up blurry!  Agh.  But we had a fun time with it, and hopefully all our guests did too!  

Christmas Party Trivia Ideas

For our ugly sweater/gender reveal party, Derek and I painstakingly came up with a bunch of different Christmas trivia questions and tasks.  I tell you, it took us forever!  We wanted to include questions that had to do with the nativity story, Christmas songs, and Christmas movies, and then we had to figure out good "easy", "medium", and "hard" questions.  

It's tricky trying to come up with questions of varying difficulty that aren't too easy or too hard!  Personally, I think our easy questions were too easy, but a lot of the difficult questions I wanted to include would have been too hard, so I'm probably not the best judge.  It's a good thing I had Derek there to help me, because I was surprised at how many people had a hard time with questions that I thought were fairly easy!  I'm glad Derek was there to rein me in.

We also had such a wide range of guests, in age and Christmas knowledge.  I knew some people would probably know the answers to every question, and some might not know the answers to any!  So this list ranges a lot in difficulty, but that's because it was tailored specifically to our guest list.   If you are trying to come up with Christmas trivia for one of your parties, you'll probably have to tailor the questions to what kind of people will be at your party!  

In the end I think we could have made every category one step harder.   Many people picked from the "medium" or "hard" categories, so the "easy" category was rather neglected - if we upped the difficulty of each category a little I think each one would have had more equal use.  But I'm glad we played it safe to start with, because I wanted people to have fun!

I'm posting them here just to give you ideas and inspiration for coming up with your own questions!  These are the ones we came up with, starting with the easy ones and moving down to the harder ones.  We kept all of the nativity story questions pretty easy because I didn't want those to be too hard to answer, regardless of category.

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Finish this song lyric:  “Away in a manger, no _________.”
Answer: Crib for a bed.



Say the next line to this carol: “Joy to the world . . .”
Answer: The Lord has come.



Fill in the blanks to this song:“__________ night, ______ night, all is _________, all is ___________.”
Answer: "Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright".

  

Say the next line to this carol: “Hark the harold angels sing . . .”
Answer: Glory to the newborn king.



Name your favorite Christmas song.
Answer: Any answer will do. 
(We just decided to throw a couple "gimme" questions in there to encourage people to play!)



What was the name of Jesus’s mom?
Answer:  Mary.



What was the name of Jesus’s (earthly) dad?
Answer: Joseph.



The wise men followed a _________ to baby Jesus.
Answer:  Star.

  

Finish this movie title:  “Miracle On ________ Street”.
Answer: Miracle On 34th Street.



What Christmas movie is this quote from?  “From now on we won’t let Rudolph join in any reindeer games.”
 Answer: Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer.



Finish this Christmas movie title:  “It’s A ___________ Life”.
 Answer: It's a Wonderful Life.



What was the main character’s name in Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol”?
Answer: Ebenezer Scrooge.



What color is the Grinch?
Answer: Green.



Draw a Christmas tree.



Give me your best Grinch face.



Say the next line to this carol: “The first Noel . . .”
Answer: The angels did say.



Which Christmas song is this line from?  “Until the other kiddies knock him down.”
Answer: "Walking In A Winter Wonderland".  
(You'd be surprised at how many people had to think about this one!  I guess it's easy for me since I came up with the question.)



Name a popular Christmas orchestra.
Answer: Mannhein Steamroller or Trans Siberian Orchestra.



Say the next line to this song:  “I want a hippopotamus for Christmas . . .”
Answer: Only a hippopotamus will do.



What are the three gifts the wise men brought to baby Jesus?
 Answer: Gold, frankincense, and myrrh.



Finish the sentence:  “There was no room for Mary and Joseph in the _____.”
 Answer: Inn.



Finish this sentence:  "They laid baby Jesus in a ________.”
 Answer: Manger.



In the movie “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer”, Rudolph and Hermie run from the _____________.” (Hint: Large, white, monster-ish creature).
Answer: The Abominable Snowman.



In what Christmas movie is there a pink bunny suit?
Answer:  A Christmas Story.



Go out the downstairs door, grab a handful of snow, bring it back, and put it in the sink.



Using the paper and scissors, cut out a snowflake.



Give me your best Frosty The Snowman impression.



Which Christmas song is this line from:  “You’re a bad banana with a greasy black peel.”
Answer: "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch".



Do your best impression of a Christmas tree in the wind.



Do your best impression of an ornament falling off a tree.



What Christmas movie is this line from:  “Don’t you touch that!  You were always jealous of that lamp!”
 Answer: A Christmas Story.



Stand in front of the fireplace and sing the first line of any Christmas song.



Which Christmas carol does this line come from?  “All seem to say, throw cares away.”
Answer: "Carol Of The Bells".
(This is the one question that I am unsure if I would have known the answer if I hadn't written it myself.)



Attempt to sing the next line to this carol:  “Feliz Navidad, Feliz Navidad Feliz Navidad . . .”
Answer:  Prospero ano y felicidad.  
(Our guests mostly do not speak Spanish, so they just had to attempt to sing it!)



What Christmas song is this line from:“Mom says a hippo would eat me up, but then, Teacher says a hippo is a vegetarian.”
Answer: "I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas".



What is a Christmas tree called in German?  (Hint: “O ________”)
Answer: Tannenbaum.



Finish this sentence: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and . . .”
Answer: Goodwill to men.



Who were the first people to see baby Jesus (besides Mary and Joseph)?
Answer: The shephards.



Who did Mary go to visit while she was pregnant?
Answer:  Elizabeth, her cousin.



Which Christmas movie is this line from?  “The best way to spread Christmas cheer, is singing loud for all to hear.”
Answer: Elf.



Which movie is this quote from?  “Look Daddy!  Teacher says every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings!”
 Answer: It's A Wonderful Life.



What is the little girl’s name in the Christmas cartoon “How the Grinch Stole Christmas?”
Answer: Cindy Lou Who.



Neil, who always wears ugly sweaters, is a character in what Christmas movie?
 Answer: The Santa Clause.


Put the red construction paper on your nose, stand in front of the fireplace, say in a loud voice “She thinks I’m Cuuuuuuuute!” 
and leap at least once.
(Derek and I were absolutely cracking up when we wrote this one!  If you haven't seen "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer", the old clay-nation version, you might not get it, but we thought it was hilarious!)



Step into the snow barefoot, and stay there for 3 seconds.


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(These are the snowflakes and Christmas drawings that some of our guests completed when they drew the slips of paper with those tasks. We decided to hang them up and display them, right under our ultrasound pictures since it was a combination Christmas/gender reveal party!)


So that's what we came up with.  Brownie points for you if you think you could have answered them all!  I think I could have gotten almost all of them if I hadn't known the answers beforehand, but everyone in my family are Christmas aficionados.  And I totally would have done all the tasks (except the singing one might have been a little intimidating, but that was the point).

What do you think - were the questions super-easy to you, or difficult?  Comment below!  I need this information in case I ever need to come up with more Christmas trivia again!


Christmas Gender Reveal Party




Since finding out the baby's gender fell right at Christmas season this time around, we decided to do an Ugly Sweater/Gender Reveal party!

We asked everyone to wear an ugly or crazy Christmas sweater, and also to bring a wrapped ornament as part of a gift exchange/gender reveal. 

For food we did Christmas cookies (including Snowdrop cookies - you can find the recipe here), Christmas punch, jello popcorn, and other snack foods.  I wanted to keep it easy for myself this time, so sticking with snacks helped since I didn't have to get a whole meal ready.

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When the guests arrived we had them decorate either a red sweater or green sweater name tag according to whether they thought the baby was a boy or girl.  I had little sticky pins so that they could pin the tags to their sweaters!

Instead of doing individual gender reveal party games this time, Derek came up with a great idea that kind of made the whole party a game!

When guests arrived we confiscated their wrapped ornaments in a black bag so that no one would know who brought what.  Then we had each person take a cup of Hershey's kisses (we did candy cane kisses, mint truffle kisses, and cherry cordial kisses, just because they were so Christmas-y).  Each cup had seven Hershey's kisses each.  

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We explained that we were going to hold an ornament auction with all the wrapped ornaments everyone brought, except there would be one extra package that would contain the answer to the gender of our baby!   They would use the kisses to bid on the package they wanted.  One person would be allowed to win two packages (since there would be one extra).

Derek and I came up with a variety of different Christmas-related trivia and tasks.  I printed them up on Christmas-y paper, and we divided them into three categories based on difficulty.

We also threw in a couple questions that had to do with Baby #3 - easy ones, like "Tell us what you think Baby #3 is and why," and "Look at the ultrasound pictures and tell us who you think Baby #3 looks like."  It was a gender reveal party after all!  It was fun to hear what everyone thought.

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If the guests wanted to they could "gamble" some of their kisses to try to win more for the auction.  Easy questions were worth one kiss, medium questions were worth two, and hard were worth three.  If they got the question right or completed the task, they would win the appropriate number of kisses!  If they got it wrong or didn't complete the task, they had to give up that number of kisses.

I wasn't sure how many people would want to gamble their Hershey's kisses, but we ended up having to form a line because so many people wanted a chance to win more!  Either Derek or I manned the table, and we were there the entire time.  Finally we had to cut it off because everyone just kept coming!  I was glad there were two of us to tag-team it, because then at least one of us could be socializing and enjoying the party as well.

We also had a voting station for people to got for their favorite ugly sweater - one guy sweater vote, and one girl sweater vote.  I printed the ballots up on fun Christmas paper.  At the end we had a prize for each of the winners -  "ugly sweater" s'mores snowman ornaments!

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Finally it was time for the auction!  We set out all the ornament packages and let people take a look at them so they knew which ones they wanted to bid on.

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Then Derek played auctioneer (he actually has really good auctioneer skills) and we auctioned each ornament off one by one!  I was surprised at how many kisses some people had gathered.  The "winning" package that we snuck in, a red box with a red ribbon, went for 19 kisses, I think.

Once all the packages were gone, we had everyone open them at once!  My cousin unknowingly won the gender reveal package.  Inside, I had another ugly sweater ornament, but I wrapped it up in a baby sweater that announced the gender . . .

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And it's a BOY!

We had a lot of fun with it!  It was different than our other gender reveal parties, but I thought it was unique to make the whole party a game!  Kuddos to my hubby, he always has such great ideas!

I'll post some of the trivia we used and more pictures of the party soon, so stay tuned!

P.S.  In case you are curious, the results of my boy/girl blog poll were:

Girl - 67%
Boy - 33%

I was surprised at how many of you thought it was a girl!  Definitely a significant majority (which I guess is good for those of you who voted boy - ups your chances of winning!).

I used a spreadsheet and Random.org to choose a winner and it was Rachel M!  Who I actually know in real life too, so that's kind of fun.  Rachel, I'll get your Starbucks card in the mail this week!
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