Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas a go-go

(Note: backdating this because I have detail issues and I don't like my Christmas post being in the January archives)

So yay! Christmas! We celebrated with a week long crazy schedule of food, family, travel, and of course, gifts. It was really a lovely holiday this year. The kids thoroughly enjoyed themselves and we all got some good time together with some of our favorite folks. Of course, any week long holiday celebration with small children is bound to have its bumps along the road (I'm lookin' at YOU, Infant Ear Infection). There were also serious plumbing issues (no, really, SERIOUS plumbing issues) at both of the grandparents' homes while we visited. Ummm...I'd like to think that's a coincidence? But now we're home and basking in the post-Christmas glow. Some highlights:

Setting out the stockings and cookies at home on Christmas Eve. And if Oma, Opa, and Aunt Mel forget their stockings, that's ok. They can set out their boots.

'Twas the Night Before Christmas

Stockings before breakfast

I have several pictures that I could title, "David in his happy place with a new car."

One of these two let me have four hours of sleep last night. Any guesses?

The gift that got the biggest reaction? Cheerleading outfit that I purchased for $2 at the consignment shop.  Santa brought "a doctor kit with nurse clothes."

The biggest gift this year: train and car table. Heaven forbid you try to put the lid on it.

Nothing cuter than a baby in a Santa hat! This baby slept through at least half of all our gift openings. It took two and a half hours on Christmas morning and he just couldn't make it!

I think Santa brought David's favorite: Mack from Disney's Cars. (also Mater)

We hosted my extended family exchange with a chili luncheon. I was too busy playing hostess to get good pictures, but Katy and David had a blast with their cousins Gabe and Nate.

After a brief stop at the pediatrician for antibiotics, we were off to Kentucky. Like I said, Grammy LOVES photo calendars from Shutterfly.

Presents? Again?

Brian and I were really proud of the leg warmers, purse, and fingerless gloves we picked for Leah. This girl likes to be coordinated!

We went bowling! It was the kids' first time, and it was hysterical. Katy refused to use the 6 pound ball ("that's for little kids") and wouldn't let me help her push the ball.

David had a good time until he pinched his finger, then he was glued to us until we left.

Brian's grandma and Luke cracked each other up.

Add to the list of things I wouldn't have guessed I would do: pull over to a trucking yard in southeastern Kentucky and take a picture of my kid with an old tow truck. David might mention it as the highlight of the trip.

My boys...sitting out from craft time.

Making ornaments. We had to do some kind of organized activity to spend any time with Katy, otherwise she was off playing with her cousins and we didn't hear from her.

Look how Luke's handprint is barely big enough for his picture. Ha!

Kimmy and David were buds, as usual. She's a great helper with the boys.

Brian and his mom and brother spent hours and hours on this thousand piece puzzle. I tried it for about 2 minutes and my head was spinning so I gave up. But they persevered!

Shew! It was a great Christmas full of blessings. Can't wait to see what 2011 will bring.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I didn't know genetics went this far...

David, 5 months

Luke, 6 months

Christmas pictures to come, but for now... if you know David in person, you have no doubt seen him sucking his two fingers and twirling his hair. It's his default position when he isn't using his hands for anything else. (We've also recently noticed that he uses his left hand for most things - will he take after Oma as a southpaw?) So I was cheering when Luke started to suck the same two fingers a couple of months ago, and now he has entirely given up the pacifier for the Middle Two, just like big bro. Isn't that crazy? (And so stinking cute?)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Seasonal Goings-On (Lots of photos!)

(side note: I tried to post this yesterday, but when I went to upload photos, it said that I had used my free GB of photo storage and needed to purchase more. Say wha?!? I did not know about this? I'm curious if other Blogger users have had to purchase more space with Picasa? I mean, this blog is important enough to me that I'm willing to fork over $5/year, which I did, but I'm surprised I didn't realize that this was coming...)

Shew! December has been cookin', hasn't it? Here we are just 2 days from Christmas and I feel like I'm coming up for air. The gifts are purchased and wrapped, the laundry is caught up, the menu is planned and the groceries purchased, I just need to clean the crap out of this house. Brian done with work until New Year's, so we should be good.

This year I stole an idea from Weed for our advent calendar. Rather than filling it with candy (that actually bored them by the 5th of December), I put in slips of paper with some kind of activity for everyday. Sometimes this was as simple as "watch the Dora Christmas special" that I DVR'd, and on busy days I did put candy in. But they have really gotten into it and I hope it will be a fun tradition to continue. To summarize what we've been up to lately, some photos:

The massive Christmas train display at the downtown library was even bigger and better this year. David was beside himself. And it's free (even parking for up to an hour!). Afterward we drove around and I could not believe how much the downtown area has changed in the past year. I used to be down there a lot and it is really different.  

Some of the trains were even Thomas!  

 Chillin' with the candles in the fireplace. It isn't fire, but they're happy with it.

I wanted to involve the kids in the gift-giving this year, but taking them shopping makes me queasy. So I bought Christmas color tissue paper and a bunch of foamie stickers, and then I wrapped the gifts in the plain paper and let them go to town. Katy spelled the recipient's name with foamie letters. I'm glad that they know what we're giving everyone and got to help out.  

It took several "sessions" to complete, but I was really happy with how they turned out!

Brooklyn and Maddie joined us for another foamie craft, which went so well that I it gave me new hope for craft-feasibility (David is able to participate now, but the baby must be sleeping).

We used the resulting cuteness to make Christmas cards for Katy's 4 teachers.  

He's fishing, and I didn't stop him. Does that make me a bad parent?  

Don't be fooled! This kid is wild! He got his first tooth last week, and he is up on his hands and knees rocking back and forth. He's 6 months today, but I will save the "Holy cow, he's 6 months!" post for his well visit in January.

We had the first round of Christmas with my Dad and family this past weekend. The kids had so much fun and the theme of the year is games for Katy and Disney's Cars for David. Oh, and we need to practice the "thank you" routine again before Saturday.

My grandma really does have a great lap. I've spent many hours in it myself.

Grandma Sue is making the gingerbread house an annual tradition. What's not to love?

Finally, one more story about my daughter. On the last day of school before break, I went to pick her up and her teacher said, "Don't go anywhere until I can tell you a story! All my relatives are going to hear about Katy over Christmas!" and I knew instantly that I was going to be embarrassed. So I guess Katy had a conversation with her teachers that went like this:

Mrs. M: What are you going to be when you grow up?

K: I'm going to be a doctor when I grow up!

Mrs. M: Oh, Katy, I think you would be great doctor. Will you take care of Mrs. H and I when we are older?

K: Oh, no, you'll be dead by then.

Lovely, Katy. Good thing your teachers have a good sense of humor. (I swear, it all started at church talking about Jesus dying on the cross, and ever since she asks a lot of questions about death. Yikes.)

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Contest/Santa Talk/Battle of The Snot

I don't know how many of you read over at Midwest Mom, but Kelsey is the sweetest. Seriously. She's actually one of the first people who introduced me to blogging, so that's Thank You #1.

Kelsey was a college roommate/friend of my high school friend Cindy (got that?), and when I first moved back to Ohio after college, Kelsey looked me up and we hung out some, even though she lived over an hour away (oh, the single days!). I had gotten into Dar Williams in college, and Kelsey is a serious Dar fan. So how many times did we see her together, Kels, 2 or 3? Good times.

Anywho, I just won Kelsey's Christmas mix contest. She made me TWO Christmas CD's, one for grown-ups and one for kids, and they are incredible. Sugarland? Dar? The cast of Glee? Singing Christmas music? It's to die for. (This is coming from someone who listens to more than her fair share of The Wiggles). And see how she makes them all pretty? She's a gem. Thank you #2!!!


There are quite a few questions about Santa at our house right now. When we first decided whether or not we would "do Santa," Brian and I said something along the lines of, "we'll go along with it, but just try not to outright lie about it when they ask questions." Well here's the thing, it's impossible to talk about Santa without lying. And it feels strange to me to make up elaborate stories about how things happen with him, but how else do you explain things?

They have also become aware of the concept of the naughty and nice list, from watching Dora. Katy is very concerned about this, because the very possibility that she could do something wrong and consequently get no presents for Christmas is crushing to her soul. So just in the past few days, I have fielded the following questions from my 4.5 year old:

-How does Santa fit down the chimney? Will he get burned on the candles? (we have candles in our fireplace)

-How do reindeer fly? They don't have wings.

-If I do not share this candy cane with David, will I be on the naughty list?

-Who do we know who is on the naughty list?

-Are there different Santas? The one who came to my school was a different Santa than the one at the senior center. One had a short grey beard and one had a long white beard.

-How will Santa know whose stocking is whose?


We fight a lot of battles around here, but lately the enemy that is getting to me is The Snot. I feel like I spend half the day wiping noses, and it's been this way for about 3 months. We have not had one single solitary day in 3 months in which one kid did not have a runny nose. Currently, the boys (of course, the ones who cannot wipe their own noses) are running like faucets. Yes, I said it. It's nasty. The other day on the way to preschool David cried at the top of his lungs all the way to school, "I have a runny nose!!" I would have stopped if I weren't several minutes late already. I actually told him, "Use your glove, buddy! Katy, show him how to use his glove!" What else can I do? He also refuses to wear hats and gloves and then cries when we get outside because he's cold.

I'm also finding dirty tissues all over the house. Recently Katy started to tell me in a tattle-tale tone, "Mommy, after David uses a tissue..." and I thought she was going to say that he drops it on the ground, so I said, "Uh-huh..." and she said, "he puts it back in the box."

Just keep that in mind if you find yourself in need of a tissue when you're at my house.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Santa and his better half

Yesterday we visited the Christmas party at the local senior center, and made this our Santa visit for the year. The Santa at the senior center is worth the price of admission for one significant reason: he brings the missus.

Last year, Mrs. Claus helped my kids with their timidity about the big guy in red. This year, they had no hesitation to climb into his lap and make their requests ("a nurse's costume that's a dress" for Katy, "Lightning McQueen, Mater, and Mack" for David), but she was quite helpful in holding Luke. In fact, I literally had to pry him from her fingers when we were done. And you have to admit, the woman has great taste in glasses and matching lipstick.

The whole event is pretty cute, and we enjoyed it with our friends Stephanie, Brooklyn, and Maddie.

Plus, there's a TRAIN. There's nothing quite like the look on this kid's face while he watching trains and cars.

It's not the same look as when he's showing off his "face" painting.

This last photo might not look like much, but when I sent this as a picture message to Brian, he responded, "Holy crap! It's a Christmas miracle!" Katy has been terrified - absolutely frightened out of her mind of puppets for about the last year. It's made taking her to church a challenge (they do puppets once a month), and we've had breakdowns at school and other places with puppet shows. This time, however, she gradually peeked around the corner, stood at the door, then in the back of the room, until she finally perched at the very edge of the carpet square. A breakthrough!??! Maybe?! We'll see. Anything can happen at Christmas, right?

Wednesday, December 08, 2010


**It's cold. Really, really cold. And yet she still will not wear pants. She made that self-portrait on the fridge with paper, scissors, and scotch tape. Although it's slightly creepy looking, I thought it was pretty good.

**We are chugging along with Christmas preparations. I thought I was on the ball because I ordered cards and bought the pretty stamps nice and early. But they've been sitting on the counter for a week with no addresses on them.

**On Monday, Brian and I had a dream date. At least for me. My dad and Sue came and watched the kids for us ALL DAY while Brian and I went Christmas shopping. We got so much done, sat and ate lunch at a leisurely pace, and walked right past Santa without so much as a glance. And I just love Christmas shopping. The hustle and bustle, having money to spend for just this occasion, and trying to find the best deal of the gifts you want to buy. I was away from the kids for eight hours, which is the longest time in over a year.

**Luke started solids! Yes, the plastic monstrosity of a highchair is back in my kitchen after a good scrub down (I even bleached the straps because they were awful). The first night, I made this bowl of cereal for him, and I thought, he won't eat even a third of it. But he gobbled it down, and by the end of it, he was opening his mouth like a baby bird - his first meal! That's what happens when you wait until they are almost 6 months to start - they are more than ready. (Katy we did right at 4 months and I remember everything we put in just ran right back out)

**The difference between a first baby and a third is that third babies have lots of help, need it or not. Before you notify authorities, you wouldn't believe how well he did eating from them.

**Starting solids did not, however, improve nighttime sleep. In fact, that first night he was up four times, and I was panicking that maybe he had an allergy or some kind of reaction to the cereal. But maybe it was just too big of a bowl for his first feeding. By the third night, he's right back where we started - up at 11pm and 3am. *sigh*

**He IS, however, sitting UP! For at least a minute or two before he topples over. Which means I can finally get a decent picture of the child (it's so hard to get a good picture of a baby on their back).

**We went to see Santa and Mrs. Claus this morning, I'll get that picture scanned later this week. But I am anxiously awaiting your Christmas cards - I even bought pretty magnets for the side of my fridge! I'm checking my mailbox with eager anticipation. :)

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Flashback from Shutterfly and a gift card

Christmas Evergreen Christmas
Shop for elegant Christmas photo cards.
View the entire collection of cards.
Yet another good reason to use Shutterfly! Brian and I have literally spent hours on Shutterfly in recent weeks getting things organized to order some prints and some gifts. Now they are offering a $25 gift card to Bloggers who share a card project they've created. This is our Christmas card from TWO years ago - can you believe we took these two babes on a Disney cruise? Let me know if you'd like details on how to get your own gift card.