Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Outfits, A Christmas Miracle & The Big Man

Because Elizabeth grows so slowly, she has lots of Christmas outfits that still fit (parts from all of them since her first Christmas). We find things that coordinate for the boys and look Christmasy at church for the whole month of December. Here are the outfits from 2009.
Elizabeth's outfit from 2008 looked great with Harrison's outfit from 2004, which fit Johnny perfectly.
Here are the pictures from the Santa visit. I forgot to upload the one of all three of them. I'll add it later. Elizabeth had accidentally told the Santa at the church party that she wanted a Barbie. She kept asking me to remind her to ask this Santa for a Princess Umbrella. She remembered all on her own.
She said she wanted to wear red and white to match Santa, so this is what we came up with.
Johnny had the typical baby's response to Santa.

I mentioned the Pillow Pet incident in my last post. Harrison was thrown off because when he told Santa he wanted a Pillow Pet, Santa asked which one and then named a few. Harrison had been teetering between a panda and a dog. Well, Santa named off a few including the dog. He did not mention the panda, so Harrison took that as meaning the panda was not an option. Grandma went out and purchased the dog the next day and the panda is sitting in her basement waiting to be returned to Bed, Bath & Beyond.
We had a bit of a Christmas miracle that day. We had to go to a different library because I didn't sign up in time for our local library. It was 30 minutes away. Well, we left his school uniform sweater there accidentally. He and I were both pretty upset about it. Him because it meant he'd have to tuck in his shirt (he loves the sweater because you don't have to tuck it in) and me because going back to get it would be a major pain especially at this crazy time of year. Later that day I was helping in his class and in walked a parent with his sweater. I was stunned, confused and very happy! It turns out that another parent from our school had been at the library and seen the sweater with the school logo on it on the floor. She brought it to the school and because I had written our name in it, they brought it straight to his classroom. Yeah! These are the Christmas outfits from 2007. Elizabeth's 12 month skirt still fits. Harrison's tie still fits (getting a little short) and a friend was selling Johnny's outfit at a garage sale that was from the same collection. So, so cute! Nate didn't get the memo about wearing grey and red, so he was the photographer.

Little Two Fingers looking quite spiffy. Of course, he wanted nothing to do with the hat during church. None of my kids have tolerated hats.
We're at my parents in Virginia right now having so much fun!!! If I have time I'll do some posts from here. Hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Ebenezer & I

I'm sorry to report that I've been in a very Scroogey mood this month. I'd really love to blame it all on my naughty children, but I know it's too little organization and too much procrastination that have lead to a very stressful Christmas season this year. Which has lead to one too many one AM bedtimes for Mommy.
Tired, cranky, stressed out Mommy + overly excited about Christmas children = extra naughtiness.
Which only makes Mommy worse and it's a vicious cycle. Add the pressure of an Elf on the Shelf witnessing the whole thing and you've got one ugly scene. (How many times have one or more of us yelled in an ugly voice, "Buddy can see you right now. He's going to tell Santa!")

I have felt really bad about the lack of Christmas Spirit around here this year. There has been some concerted effort, there really has. And there have been some nice moments. But amidst
-a child breaking one my beloved, irreplaceable Christmas dishes
-Nate having to miss his off Friday and work Saturday last week
-poor decisions on my part such as going to Great Clips on a Saturday in December with all three kids by myself (exact opposite of Heaven on Earth)
-spending a full week stressing over making Shutterfly books that we had coupon codes for and working until literally the last minute before the codes expired only to find that it was "limit one per household"
-having the tree stand break which lead to a "TIMBER" situation
-getting up extra early to try to meet our 2009 goal of being to church on time for once and then spending 20 minutes searching for Elizabeth's shirt which I remembered was in the car after giving up and doing a last minute outfit change (alas, the goal was not met)
-Elizabeth cutting the neighbor girl's hair again and them not being very happy with me
-and all of the other normal stresses of getting ready for Christmas, getting ready to go out of town, and life with 3 kids in general
I have not felt very merry.

Now, I am not sheltered or self-absorbed enough to think that any of these things truly qualify as having a hard life or tough times during the holidays. But I have still let it get to me. I have lashed out at everyone in this house besides the baby. And then the motherguilt sets in and I just feel worse.

Fortunately, we had a few turning points last week. The first was when I finally found our Sesame Street Christmas CD. It is copied from a record from my childhood. It is an integral part of Christmas at our house. I love it and my kids love it and I could not find it until last Monday night. They usually listen to it as they fall asleep every night in December. Once we started listening to that it started to feel a little more like Christmas.

The next night, when the guilt of only reading the kids one of the Christmas stories from my extensive collection got to be too much, I was determined to read them another book before bed that night. It was way too late for a story, especially a long story, but I wanted to read them my favorite Christmas story, The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey. I knew it was a sad story and would probably make me cry a little, but by golly, I really wanted to read it. Little did I know that all the pent up emotion had me a little on edge and I could hardly get through the book. I had to stop several times and gain composure as I choked out this heartbreakingly touching story. My kids were pretty perplexed as to why Mommy was balling during the story she had declared her favorite just minutes before. They asked if they were Happy Tears. No no, these are sad tears. But don't worry, there's a happy ending to the book. 30 minutes later the children were nestled all snug in their beds with visions of sad mommies dancing in their heads.

Some might not enjoy a good Christmas Cry, but I think it was just what the Dr. ordered. The next morning brought snuggles and giggles in bed
and later an impromptu performance of Silent Night at the piano by Harrison and Elizabeth. (The video didn't work on Blogger, so here's a link to Youtube).

Now if that doesn't make your heart grow three sizes, I don't know what will.

Thursday was pretty awful again. You can't expect teary story times and sibling singalongs 24/7, people. But that night I did some serious repenting and had a new determination to make this final week before Christmas better than the last two had been.

Friday we went to see Santa. It went really smoothly and was very enjoyable (other than the part where Harrison told Santa he wanted a dog pillow pet instead of the already purchased unbeknownst to him panda pillow pet). I helped out at Harrison's class Christmas party. Nate took Elizabeth on a date to see Christmas lights at these special gardens (all his idea, so sweet). Saturday Nate took Harrison snowboarding all day. I'll tell you what, spending a day as a single parent is a lot easier if you're down a kid! Plus, for the first time all month, we had absolutely nothing on the calendar. The three of us stayed home, in our PJs ALL day! I wrapped presents while watching the newer Miracle on 34th Street that I'd never seen (cried again -- I swear something is wrong with me). Sunday was church and it was the first time we've been in our ward on the Sunday before Christmas (we're usually with family at their ward). I really liked being with our own ward family and sharing the special spirit of Christmas with them. We did a gingerbread house in the afternoon (with a kit, of course, there's no way I'd do one from scratch at this point) and had a really yummy dinner. Then kids and I drove around and delivering Christmas gifts and looking at lights.

Soon we're off to Grandma and Grandpa's and then the fun will really begin. My point is, better late than never, Ebenezer and I aren't seeing nearly as much of each other lately. Next year, I will do as much as I possibly can to eliminate "bah humbug" from my vocabulary by planning ahead, simplifying and letting go of the crazy notion that my family will suddenly be blissful and angelic just because the calendar says December.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Daddy/Hubby Celebrations

June brings two special holidays. I thought it fitting that Nate took the time to teach Harrison how to play Chopsticks on Father's Day. Really sweet. They play it often (last night was the latest) and each time Nate teaches Harrison a new variation. I'm thrilled they share a love of and knack for music.

We went to a BBQ at the Birnel's, whose backyard makes me drool. At one point the kids did an impromptu performance of "I'm So Glad When Daddy Comes Home" from the trampoline. (I originally wrote "from the tramp," instead of "from the trampoline" but that would be an entirely different kind of song :)!) It was pretty darn sweet.

Daddy's little girl.
"Little Big Man" (Used to be Little Man until Johnny came along).

Each of the four daddies had a baby!

My friend gave me a great idea for a Father's Day gift. I had each child plan a date with Dad. They picked an activity and a treat. Then we got gift certificates for each thing.

Then it was our 9 year anniversary. We went to Texas de Brazil (an all you can eat Brazilian BBQ place) and ate ourselves silly. We brought the kids because kids eat free. Between that and the coupon, it was just a little more expensive than a typical night out for all of us.

It's at a nice outdoor mall and they had a little street fair set up. These alpacas were interesting.
They waited outside while a enjoyed shopping at NY&CO (it was fun to discover that we have one of those in Colorado.)
It was a fun night. The other day Harrison asked when our 10 year anniversary was. I said next summer and he said, "I have a great idea of what we can do to celebrate. Let's have a movie night and push the couches together!" (Something Nate and the kids do about once a month on a weekend night). He was disappointed/slightly insulted to hear that we're planning on going on a trip without the kids instead!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A Passtime

This summer Harrison tried baseball for the first time. After practicing in the back yard with dad, they graduated to the batting cages. (Please note tongue stuck out in concentration, inherited from mom who inherited from grandma who inherited from great grandma).

The practice paid off. See the ball? He made contact consistently.
Fielding? Not as fun! Especially considering it was always hotter than you-know-where.

After the first game and we went to the park by the fields. Here's my cute girl.

And my cute boy.

Some post-game Father/Son playtime.

We had Rockies tickets from Nate's work. At the last minute I decided it really wouldn't be that fun to take a baby to a baseball game (especially with the threatening weather -- check out that ominous sky). Plus even without the baby excuse, I'm usually bored once all the treats are gone. So I got the kids decked out in their purple, met up with Nate and sent them off.

Elizabeth was asleep for the pass off (too bad you can't see her Rockies shirt).

They left shortly after they arrived. So basically, they had a fun train ride into the city and back. One of the kids enjoyed this adventure and the other didn't. Can you guess?

Ah, baseball. A somewhat fun passtime. I don't know about favorite.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Backyard Fun with Friends

We had a playdate with Andrew and Hudson and they showed my kids how to use their imaginations and play outside. We did stuff like this all the time as kids, but my kids don't. Am I suppossed to teach them? Hopefully arranging playdates with other kids will do the trick!
These were their "Animal Houses." The used just about every plastic container I had and most of our plastic animals. It was great. Kept them entertained for a long time!
Here's Elizabeth with our neighbor/BFF Natalia. It's a cross-cultural relationship. Natalia gives them all sorts of Polish food (mostly candy) and we give her some Japanese food, like these Spam Musubi. She liked it. My kids also think they're learning Polish. They often tell me, "Mom, I know how to say bum in Polish. Bum."
They had matching dresses that they were both growing out of, so we did a photoshoot one day. Let me tell you, having a neighbor close in age to your child is the best thing ever! They have so much fun together and get along great (most of the time!)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Johnny in June

I love this baby so much I have to hold myself back from squeezing him too tight, kissing him too hard and/or smothering him with syrup and eating him right up!
Do you blame me? And look, he sits up . . .
. . .momentarily.
Unfortunately, his older brother is not as good at holding himself back from expressing his love. And behavior like this. . .
. . . can leave a mark to prove it.
Yes folks, that is Johnny's 1st (and hopefully only) hickey.
Given too him by his overly adoring brother.
Johnny also became enamored with himself when he finally noticed his reflection in the mirror on his swing.
It's official. We're all in love!