Archive for December, 2015

Christmas Day

Posted in Celebrations, Family visits, Leah, Molly on December 31st, 2015 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Unlike last year, both girls got a good night sleep. They did get up early (around 6:00, they say), but not ridiculously early. They waited patiently till 7:00 (the time we told them they could wake us). Then we sang Happy Birthday to Jesus (as we always do) and headed downstairs. There we found that Santa had not missed our house. I think Molly’s excited at what he brought her.

Christmas morning


The girls are really into Star Wars, so we got them some Star Wars themed gifts. These pajamas were the first they opened.

Star wars pajamas

These shirts continued the theme, and were the perfect thing to wear to see The Force Awakens in the theater two days later (tickets were already purchased).

Star Wars shirts

Molly was excited to model her new hoodie with her karate dojo’s logo.

Karate hoodie

After opening presents at our house, we hopped in the car and headed over to Grams’s house to continue the present party. We always go in age order, which means Leah has always been first. Not this year, though - Charlie is the new first. But Leah didn’t have to wait long before it was her turn. This vest will keep her warm if this winter ever gets cold.


One of the hot toys for the girls now are Shopkins, so Leah was very excited to get this set. All the Shopkins are now set up in their room.


Uncle Scott is a Star Wars fan as well, so Jen made him a R2D2 apron, which will go perfectly with his R2D2 measuring cups from Aunt Caroline (next to his elbow).

R2D2 apron

After opening pajamas for baby Charlie and being impressed that Jen made them, Aunt EA and Uncle Scott were stunned at the knight hoodie that Jen made for Charlie to wear when he’s a little bigger. Uncle Scott and Aunt Caroline have already placed orders for adult versions!

Knight hoodie

Leah got a plush Fear toy though her expression appears to be one of Joy.

Fear or joy

We had a few mix-ups on our gift list this year, so Jen was amused at a duplicate set of bowls that Grams gave her.


After some intense present opening, Charlie was in need of some reset. Aunt Caroline was happy to provide a place for him to lay his head.

Nap time

Here they are from a bit further back so you can see Aunt Caroline as well.

Further out

That wasn’t all the Christmas fun, but that seems like enough for today. Tune in tomorrow as the fun continues.

Christmas Eve continues

Posted in Celebrations, Family visits, Leah, Molly on December 30th, 2015 by c-had – Be the first to comment

After church, we headed over to Grams’s house for dinner. Grammy was excited to hold her first great grandson.

Great grandson

Charlie is wide-eyed looking at his great grandmother.


You may not have noticed that under Molly’s ugly sweater was a cute top. After realizing that she did not have a festive outfit for Christmas Eve, Jen made Molly a new winter tunic. Molly has been loving high-low skirts and dresses lately, so this new tunic was a bit hit.

A winter tunic

Molly decided to bring her viola along to Grams’s house for a Christmas concert. She's only been learning for 2 months, but she's already doing great.

Per tradition, we opened one present on Christmas Eve. Leah was excited about her DigiPenguin.

Christmas Eve presents

As was Molly.

Another flightless bird

Jen and I received a new Apple TV. Thanks Grammy!

New Apple TV

The tradition continues…Jen made the girls new nightgowns to wear on Christmas Eve.

Christmas nightgown

Also per tradition, the girls put out cookies and milk for Santa, and carrots for the reindeer.

Santa snacks

Then it was time to read ’Twas the Night Before Christmas (also a tradition) and then have the children nestle all snug in their beds.

Christmas Eve service

Posted in Church, Leah, Molly on December 29th, 2015 by c-had – Be the first to comment
Worship leader

The first two Christmas Eve services at our church are family services, and are led primarily by children. This year, Molly got to be one of the worship leaders. Their opening welcome included some joking around ugly Christmas sweaters, so they dressed the part.

After welcoming everyone, Molly quickly headed to the choir loft to join Leah and the other kids. They led all the songs, and sang Rock The Little Baby for the special music.

Molly and the other two worship leaders also introduced the offering.

Molly did an awesome job up front. You can’t see everyone in the congregation, but the first service was pretty full, and the second service was completely packed. She didn’t seem to be intimidated at all by the crowd.

Nice job

Great job, Molly! We’re so proud of you!

Molly’s choir sings

Posted in Church, Molly on December 24th, 2015 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Molly’s choir sang this past Sunday (and they’re singing again today for Christmas Eve service). Here’s what they looked like Sunday. Come to the 2:30 or 4:00 service at Glen Mar today if you’re local and would like to see them sing a different song (and see Molly serve as one of the worship leaders up front).

Christmas cookies

Posted in Celebrations, Family outings, Food, Leah, Molly on December 23rd, 2015 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Per tradition, the girls went to Grams’s house to bake Christmas cookies. Sadly this year Aunt Caroline was not around to help since she no longer lives nearby. We miss you Aunt Caroline.

Christmas cookies

Baking cookies with Aunt EA meant they also got to hang out a bit with Charlie. Leah thought that was great, though Charlie seems a bit bored by it all.

Leah and Charlie

Charlie is excellent at staring. Molly’s smile doesn’t stand a chance at getting him to blink.


Some serious lights

Posted in Family outings on December 21st, 2015 by c-had – Be the first to comment

We weren’t the only folks around us to put out lights. Not far from our house, these folks go all out. In fact, they were featured on this season of The Great Christmas Light Fight. So, we made sure to see them up close for the first time this year.

Serious about lights

Soon after we arrived, our children transformed into an elf and a reindeer.

An elf and a reindeer

The girls’ favorite part was this dance floor. Each square changes colors with the music.


Here’s the view from across the street. I still couldn’t fit everything in (there are giant arrows off to the right showing Santa the way), but this is most of it.

From afar

Outdoor lights

Posted in Celebrations on December 20th, 2015 by c-had – Be the first to comment

In addition to our indoor decorations, we even have lights on the outside of our house. Thanks go to Jen for this, as she’s the driving force (and the one who is more comfortable up on a ladder to hang the lights).

Outside lights

Blue belt test

Posted in Extracurriculars, Molly, Sports on December 19th, 2015 by c-had – Be the first to comment

It’s test time at karate again, and Molly is going for her blue belt. This is a big step, as it will mean she moves out of the beginner class and into the advanced one. It also means she gets a to train with.

Here she is having her core strength tested.

Karate test

There was no surprise who Molly would choose to spar when she had a choice.


Nice punch!

Sparring advanced belts

Sensei sat on Molly in push up position to test her strength.

Supporting Sensei

Molly got her blue belt!

Got her blue belt

Congratulations Molly on your blue belt!


Surprise trip

Posted in Family outings on December 16th, 2015 by c-had – Be the first to comment

After Molly’s karate tournament Saturday morning, we told the girls we had another activity. We had been debating making a trip to Hershey for their Christmas Candylane. When we saw that Saturday was set to be an unseasonably warm, beautiful day, we decided to surprise the girls with a trip. And I mean surprise. We told them we were going some place and it would be a long drive, but that was it. It wasn’t until they saw the Hershey Kiss shaped streetlights that they realized where we were going. As you can see from their faces, they were still in shock when we got to the entrance.

Hershey Park surprise

We got to Hershey Park not too long after the park opened at noon. It was pretty empty compared to what we’ve seen before, which was nice. Many of the rides are closed, but plenty are still open. And there’s a bunch of special Christmas stuff in addition to the usual attractions.

First stop - Skyview. This gave us a nice aerial view of the park to see where there was special Christmas stuff set up.


Leah kept me safe up high. My fear of heights has gotten worse as I’ve aged, so this ride was not necessarily the best choice for me.

My riding partner

Molly was the only one of us brave enough to try the Wave Swinger, but she quickly discovered it was too fast and high for her. So, she closed her eyes for much of it.

Too fast, too high

Molly and Leah then chose to ride the Sweet Swing. Always fun and not intense, which gave Molly’s nerves some time to settle. They liked it so much they rode it twice.

Sweet Swing

As usual, I am in charge of spinny rides, since Jen does not handle them well.


Most of the roller coasters were closed. The few that were open included 3 of the most intense ones, as well as the Cocoa Cruiser - the least intense one. Leah was willing to try the Cocoa Cruiser again, and seemed to enjoy it during the ride. Afterward, though, she said it was “freaky” and did not want to do it again.

Cocoa Cruiser

Here’s another shot of Leah on the Cocoa Cruiser. You can also just make out Molly a few cars behind us (she was riding with Jen).

Big sister in back

We went for a ride on the Monorail to see even more of the park.


There were lots of special Christmas-themed things to do (Santa, reindeer, ice skating, etc.), but we didn’t do many of them. We did go to the Music Box Theatre to see a performance of The Littlest Tree.

The Littlest Tree

We then headed over to The Hollow to watch NOEL, their light show with lights animated to music. We even saw some of our church friends there who had a similar idea. In fact, lots of people had a similar idea. The park was not crowded when we arrived, but by this point it was packed. Lines were long and crowds were huge. Also, we were hungry, and lots more planned beyond Hershey Park. So, we headed out of the park.

But we didn’t go far. We headed over to Chocolate World right outside the entrance. First, we got some dinner (including chocolate drizzled corn chips and pretzels). Then we got in line for the Chocolate Tour. We ended up waiting a long time as the place was packed and the ride broke down for a while. But the girls love this ride, so we waited our turn.

Chocolate World

The girls really do love seeing how chocolate is made.

Making chocolate

The initial impetus for going up was actually to see the Hershey Sweet Lights. The local place that does lights was not doing them this year, so we got our fix in Hershey. So, we drove over after our visit to Chocolate World. The line of cars was so long, it took well over an hour to get in to see the lights.

Sweet Lights

They even gave us some paper snowflake glasses. These look like old-school 3D glasses, but they instead make all lights look like snowflakes (even those on the cars in front of you).

Snowflake glasses

Molly was excited to see an owl.


Here’s the same owl in snow-D.

Snowflake owl

The lights took about an hour to drive through. Then it was finally time to head back home. The girls thankfully slept in the car. We got home about 12:10 with a car full of tired people. I think I’m still tired, but it really was a lot of fun. The girls claim it was the best day ever.

First karate tournament

Posted in Molly, Sports on December 14th, 2015 by c-had – Be the first to comment

Molly competed in her first karate tournament on Saturday. Her dojo was holding a tournament, so it was an easy way to try it out. There ended up being girls from lots of other karate schools there (which meant the place was packed). Molly elected to compete in both Forms (katas) and Sparring.

Here she is doing her kata. It was good enough to tie for first place in her division with a score of 7.47.

She lost the tie breaker, but was still very excited about winning the silver medal. Congratulations, Molly!

First karate tournament

In sparring, she had a tough opponent to start.

Tough fight

You get 1 point for a punch, 2 points for a kick, first to 5 points wins. There are 3 judges, which are all sensei’s from different schools. Scoring a point requires confirmation from 2 of the 3 judges.

Nice block

Kick block

It was a very tight fight. Towards the end, Molly was losing 4 to 3, and her opponent came close to scoring several times. But then Molly landed an excellent kick, giving her the 5-4 win.


In the gold medal fight, Molly faced another tough opponent with an excellent kick.

High kick

She fought well, but ultimately lost.

Higher kick

Molly won the silver medal!

Another silver medal

Molly’s a happy champion, even if her smile looks odd with her mouthguard in.

Happy champion

I couldn’t get a picture of her with both her medals there since it was so crowed, but here she is right after we got home.


Congratulations, Molly!