Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas Day

 Can you feel the excitement?

These kiddos were more than ready to see what Santa had brought!

They each got the requested pillow pets and one of the Toy Story movies. I must say it's very lucky we have three children... it makes the math come out perfectly.

Lila was thrilled with all of the presents Santa brought.

They also each got some little Toy Story figures. 

Lila seemed to be a bit dazed with all the commotion and excitement going on around her.

Evie and Jake were so excited that they got exactly what they had asked for!

I simplified my Christmas at that point and stopped taking pictures. (We were kind of rushing through it so Elena and Josh could get up to her parents and surprise them too!) The only shot I wish I would have gotten was the sea of wrappings and boxes and presents that was my living room afterwards. A true scene of Christmas carnage. 

After breakfast and a nap for me (I was going off of 2-3 hours of sleep for the past 4 nights, the price of finishing all of my Christmas projects.) we headed up to Brian's parents for round two.  And again I didn't take very many pictures.

I did get a picture of Evie with her Tangled barbie doll which was hands down her favorite gift. She spent the entire day sitting quietly and brushing the dolls hair.  Good gift Grandma T.! Or I guess that should be, "Best. Gift. EVER!"

Lila couldn't handle any more excitement and promptly crashed in her Daddy's arms while snuggling her new Tinkerbell flashlight.  

It was a wonderful day spent with the families we love and enjoying their company. 

Merry Christmas everyone,
Happy New Year!
Bring it on 2011, bring it on...

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Eve Surprises

The 1st Surprise: 
We were actually early to my dad's! In fact we were the first ones there. Normally they are getting ready to eat and calling to see if we are on our way over or what... (Hey, you try getting three little children and a husband who is slower than molasses anywhere on time. I challenge you.)

We helped set up food and take coats and mingle with all the family as they arrived. After everyone was there we started the feast! Everyone was joking and laughing and saying how we needed at least 20 more people to handle the amount of food everyone had brought.

But it was all so delicious!

The 2nd Surprise:
While we were eating a couple of people mentioned they were disappointed that we weren't web-camming with Josh and Elena and their holiday party in Maryland.  Dad said they had gone ice skating or something and he would try to call them later.

The doorbell rang and I just happened to be closest, so I jumped up and answered it.  I opened the door and a loud, strong chorus of "We wish you a Merry Christmas" began. I looked at the loudest singer and froze with shock! Josh, Elena and Huck were here! I screamed and laughed and cried and hugged my brother as hard as I could.  Then everyone was there and screaming and crying and laughing and hugging.  Except for my Dad who just stood there looking pole-axed and saying, "You're here. How are you here?"  (Not that he wasn't glad to see them, just completely taken aback by the surprise.)  I think it was one of those moments where seconds feel like they last for minutes, and a few minutes after that Jake and Huck were hanging out and playing video games like it hadn't been more then 18 months since the last time we had seen them!

It took me a good ten minutes to stop shaking long enough to start eating my dinner again. But really we were too busy talking to eat anyway...

The 3rd Surprise:
Not too long after that the doorbell rang again and it was Santa! He comes every year and brings the kids Christmas Eve stockings filled with a few treats and small gifts to help get through the long night of waiting ahead.  (This is one of my favorite traditions from my childhood, our stockings were filled with trinkets such as you might find at the dollar store or from the Oriental Trading Company and we love playing with them while we hung out in the upstairs bedroom.  My parent rule was that they didn't care if we went to sleep or not as long as we all stayed in that bedroom with the door shut.  I also have many fond memories of all out stuffed animal wars and pillow fights on Christmas Eve...)

Evie is still going through a shy phase and was barely audible when she asked for a lady-bug pillow pet.

Lila on the other hand ran to greet Santa at the door, took him by the hand, led him to the chair and climbed up in his lap with no prompting. She asked for presents.  All month long whenever we asked her what she wanted Santa to bring her she would say, "Presents." Then we would say, "What kind of presents?" And she would say, "Santa bring presents."

Jake is entering that awkward stage where he wants to believe with all his heart, but he's not quite sure how the magic works and he really wants to understand the mechanics of everything.  He also asked for a pillow pet, a dolphin one.

Here is Huck with Santa. This is just because I was still thrilled that my children's cousin was here and able to participate in this tradition with us!

We stayed and did Christmas Eve toasts with my family and then came home to open our Christmas Eve jammies. 

The 4th Surprise:
A festive colored shirt for Brian! You can't tell me that shirt wouldn't make your mood a festival!

The 5th Surprise:
I had gotten the kids some magic reindeer food to sprinkle on the lawn and draw Santa to our house! They were very excited to try this.

One of the things I love most about my son is how sweet he is with his little sisters and how quickly he steps up to help them and make sure they are a part of anything fun that is going on.

Ready... aim....


After that it was quickly inside to wash our hands, brush our teeth, say our prayers and get snuggled into bed so Santa could come visit our house and leave us more surprises!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Holiday Humor

Merry Christmas Everyone! I can say that with unfeigned enthusiasm because I have only one thing left on my holiday checklist before I can relax and enjoy Christmas Eve with my family. (It's mopping the kitchen floor... just in case you were wondering.)  We have been busy with the last minute preparations and one of the best Christmas gifts I've gotten has been the happy attitude of all of my children as they've been helping clean the house. You might have to be a mom to appreciate that gift, but trust me, it's awesome!

We stopped for a quick lunch of sandwiches, and while we were eating I took the opportunity to outline the rest of the afternoon so that we can get to Pa Dave's Christmas Eve party on time. I was telling Jake that he needed to remove the Mario tattoo from his forehead, shower and then put on nice jeans (a.k.a.- ones without a huge gaping hole in one or both knees...) and one of his green polo shirts. Brian said, "Hmmm, I don't have any festive colored shirts to wear."  Jake looked his dad up and down and then said, "Well, that's because you're not gay." Both Brian and I came that close to snorting pop out our noses.  After we had finally calmed down a little, Brian asked Jake what he meant by gay.  Jake looked thoughtful for a moment and then said, "Let me put it this way. If your mood was a place, it would NOT be a festival." 

After a little more questioning we determined that Jake's definition of gay is "bright colors and being happy." So here is hoping that my husband can get into a more cheerful and "festival" type of mood and that we all can enjoy a gay and happy Christmas.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Getting ready for Christmas...

 We've done the shopping.

We're ready to stuff the stockings.

 We've told Santa what we're hoping for.

The excitement is palpable.

I hope you're as ready for Christmas as we are!

(That last line is what my children are saying to me...)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Nature vs. nurture

Proof positive that they take after their father.

Can you see why?

Look closer.

Yes. His shirt is on backwards. Pocket and all.

Well. At least now we know which side of the tree the nuts aren't falling far from...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Evie has this holiday all figured out...

I just went into the girls' room to get some clothes for Lila and found Evie happily picking up their room and making both beds.

All month long she has been taking such happiness and pride in helping to pick up both of her sibling's rooms and make their beds for them. It's an added bonus if she can surprise me.  Each time I find her so happily industrious on behalf of another person, it makes my mother's heart warm and swell with pride that I am raising such a caring little person.

I gave her a hug and said, "Evie. You are the best little helper. Thank you for doing all that." She smiled at me and then said, "I know, Mom. I am making the beds to get toys on Christmas."

Friday, December 3, 2010

When a picture is worth a thousand words...

I came around the corner to find Jake like this.

Yoga + reading (in snow pants) = Awesome. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Happy Birthday Lila!

My baby turned two!

We had a little party at Pa Dave's, complete with balloons! (Because you can't have a party without balloons according to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and if you can't guess from the pictures Lila is currently obsessed with all things Mickey Mouse...)

The birthday girl surrounded by her presents! She got Minnie Mouse pajamas, Minnie Mouse dishes, a Mickey Mouse puzzle, a giant Minnie Mouse doll and another baby doll. Like I said, Mickey Mouse is a strong presence in our life right now. She also got an adorable sweater dress with a hood from Dinee and Tay and I couldn't wait for her to wear it!

Here she is on her actual birthday showing me that she is two.  She has a little trouble making her fingers behave the way she wants them to. That or she is showing you the age of her attitude.

My two favorite things about Lila right now:

1. She is a pretty sweet girl most of the time, and she loves to play with her brother and sister and be included in whatever they are doing.

2. She gives great hugs and still likes to be cuddled.  This is very good for both of us when we've had a trying day and been butting heads.

The two biggest struggles with Lila right now:

1. The climbing! Oh my, the climbing.  At least once a day I am "rescuing" her from the top of the TV, or the play kitchen, or a dresser, or some other dangerous place that she manages to scale even though I keep rearranging things so there are no easy access points for her to reach.  I am just praying we make it through the holidays with no stitches or broken bones.  (I just don't know that making it through a whole year is do-able, even with divine intervention...)

2.  The Attitude, with a capital A.  Her current favorite thing to say when she doesn't get her way about something is "Fine! Fine, fine, fine..." as she stomps off.  She also has no compunction about telling someone off if they are doing something she doesn't like, from her brother and sister, to the entire extended family, and even random strangers at the supermarket. "You don' do dat! Dat's not nise!" while she shakes a finger in your face...  And it's so hard not to laugh, but we are trying really hard not to encourage her.

Lila's two favorite things right now:

1. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Today at the doctor's she told our pediatrician, "I watch Mickey Mouse all day!"  Which would be absolutely true if I let her...

2. Cheese sticks and apple juice.  If we run out of either it is a crisis. I also have to have a very firm rule of only one a day or she wouldn't eat anything else.

Lila's two least favorite things right now:

1. Her high chair.  Every meal time is a struggle because she is convinced she is a big girl and should be able to eat at the table, but she is still messy enough of an eater that I like being able to contain the mess a little and plus our table only seats four, so at dinner time there isn't a place for her.  

2. Sleeping in her own bed.  We are working hard on this one. But most mornings finds her securely wedged between Brian and I.  

Two things I am looking forward to with Lila:

1. The excitement she brings to our lives as she hits each new milestone and experience.

2. The funny things she says as she adds new words to her vocabulary almost daily.

Happy Birthday Lila! We are so lucky you were chosen to complete our family.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Busy Black Friday

I am one of those crazy people who get up at a ridiculously early hour to go shopping the day after Thanksgiving.  Well, I am mildly crazy. I only go to one store. JoAnn's. I go for the flannel.  It is the best sale of the year and I stock up on enough of it to make my kids' pajamas for the rest of the year.  I spent $61 yesterday, and saved just over $180.  To me that makes the wait worthwhile.  I had a knitting project with me, so I sat and knitted while waiting for my number to be called, and I watched my fellow shoppers.  People watching is very fascinating on Black Friday.  It seems to be evenly divided between those who are excited and happy to be getting a good deal, and those who are ready to have a tantrum because they have to wait for more than thirty seconds for their turn.  Which once again supports my theory that everyone should learn to knit, just for those occasions when you are going to be stuck waiting somewhere.  That or they could learn to adjust their expectations that the world revolves around them. (It would probably be easier to teach most people to knit...)

Once I left JoAnn's I picked up Caite and then headed home to get Evie and we went out for a "Girl Day"!  Evie commented every two minutes or so that it was "...the best girl day EVER!"  I'm guessing it was because Aunt Caite was with us.  Anything is more fun when Aunt Caite is involved, she can even get my kids to clean their rooms without whining. 

The first stop of the day was Cookiecutters to get Evie's hair cut.  The lady was so nice and even took the time to put Evie's hair up into special braids when she found out that we were having a special day out.

Then we went and saw the new movie Tangled.

I don't know if watching a princess movie or having her own popcorn was more exciting for her, but she had a big grin on her face for the entire show.  It was great love story and we laughed and even all cried a little at the end. We would rate it a perfect chick flick.

After the movie it was time for lunch.  This is always a crap shoot on these special days with my kids, because they get to choose where to go.  Evie actually opted for the food court, and I was relieved because then even if she picked McDonald's (again) I could have something different.  But then she surprised me again and picked Panda Express. She was really enjoying her noodles.

Another example of why Caite is way cooler than mom, she can actually use chopsticks. She was teaching Evie how to hold them correctly.  Evie even got a bite or two this way...

...before she got a little impatient and went for function over form. I'm not judging though, this is what I would look like if I had to eat with chopsticks.

We spent an hour or two window shopping and completely wore Evie out with all the walking.

Once we got home Caite helped us pull out the Christmas decorations and start to set up the tree.

The decorating was done by 8:00, the kids were fed, bathed and tucked in bed by 8:30, and I was in bed by 9:00, happily reflecting that everything I had wanted to accomplish that day had been done.

"Best day EVER!"

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope your day is full of family, food, and fun.

I'll be hanging out with this bunch of turkeys!

Monday, November 15, 2010

A new toy vs. the box it came in....

Tonight Lila discovered my bag of fiberfill.  She grabbed a handful and started rubbing it on her chin and cheeks.

"Ohhhh. Fluffy. This my fluffy!"

A piece of the "fluffy" fell out of her hand. She grabbed it up off the floor, brought it to me, and said in a sad, little voice, "Fluffy broken."

(The pouty lip she is pulling here cracks me up. This is the face she makes when she is concerned about something...)

Once I showed her how to fix it, (i.e. smush it all back together until it sticks...) she spent the next twenty minutes or so pulling the fluffy into little bits and then sticking it back together again.

She really loves her new fluffy.

And all I can think is, "Awesome. I just spent the better part of last week knitting an adorable baby doll for her birthday when all I really had to do was wrap up a bag of fiberfill.  Just awesome..."