Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year!

We kicked off 2017 with a visit to the Museum of Science and Industry. They still have their Christmas Trees up, and the decorations were remarkably festive for January.

Henry was so excited to be at the MSI that he did a "map dance" when he got his map.


The boys got to roam in Maurice Sendak's forest.

We made some time to visit the airplane. We've never taken the boys on an actual plane, so for them this is as good as it gets.

Henry and Nick both absolutely loved the Brick by Brick Lego Exhibit.

Seeing the Lego Creations was awesome, but building their own was way more fun.

Henry wanted to try out the astronaut suit. Nick? He preferred to check out the gift shop. I can't blame him. It was a pretty cool gift shop.

Henry loved the lights in this room. He kept turning the different colors on and off and then on again.

Not too shabby for the first day of the year. Many of us (except Greg, who was driving) fell asleep on the way home.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Cookie Day 2016

Yes, today was indeed Cookie Day 2016. Each year I take the boys to my mom's house to bake, decorate, and eat lots and lots of cookies. In honor of this special occasion, Nick and Henry wore their new gingerbread man shirts. They read: Ninja-Bread Warrior.

In the prelude to cookie day, I spent hours and hours arguing with (and, admittedly, yelling at) my cookie press as I made butter cookies. Some cookies are made with love, but I'm afraid my butter cookies were made with anger. Sweet, delicious anger.

Does this snowman show evidence of his maker's fury?

The butter cookies were still yummy, though. Also, since I didn't get angry enough to actually throw the cookie press out the window, and I eventually made two full batches, I'd call it a win.

There was far less anger and more fun when Nick and Henry made gingerbread cookies with my mom. They loved rolling out and cutting the cookies. 

They made some, ahem, interesting cookie shapes. Notice Henry's custom-made cookie. 

It's a Target cookie, as in the store. Yup. I know what it looks like. Henry loves the Target because I let him pick something out from the dollar spot.

Anyway, the boys made awesome gingerbread houses as well. 

They worked so hard on them--with a little help from G.G. As for Nick, he hardly asked for help at all, and he did an excellent job with roof construction, especially considering he was using white chocolate for cement. He did, however, sneak one piece of candy in his mouth for every piece he added to his gingerbread house!

They really loved making the gingerbread houses--I haven't done this with real gingerbread (the kind you'd want to eat) since I was a little girl. I hope we can do this every year.

Here's Henry showing off his masterpiece.

We concluded cookie day 2016 with a thrilling ride through some pretty nasty traffic as the snowstorm started. It took us over an hour and a half to get home. The gingerbread houses made it safely, though! 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Nick's 8th Birthday Party

Nick had his 8th birthday party today, on our last day of Thanksgiving break.

November parties are normally difficult, because it's too cold to hang out in the backyard, and our house is very small. They year, however, Nick received some outdoor gifts, so he was very definitely outside. His favorite gift?

Auntie Mandy and her boyfriend Andy split the cost of a set of junior drums with Greg and me. I guess they're just like a full adult set of drums, only smaller. So Nick spent a lot of time showing off his drumming skills to various visitors. Auntie Mandy even decorated Nick's drum head, and it turned out really cool.

Personalized drumsticks? Nick has those, now, too.  I'm anticipating Nick spending a lot of time in the basement with his drumset this winter. Perhaps Henry will accompany him on his favorite instrument--the microphone. My mom gave us an older karaoke machine so that my boys can make as much noise as possible.  ;)
They say, "Nick's Sticks."

Nick also lucked into getting an awesome skateboard with a super-cool green helmet and pads. Of course, he wanted to try it out right away.

He's still working with just one foot on the board, but he sure was excited! I'm hoping the weather isn't too cold this week, so that he can spend some more time working on his skateboarding moves.

I bet he'll be a great skateboarder someday, but for now I'm sure glad he's got a supercool helmet and pads.

Something tells me there will be a few bumps and bruises along the way.

It was a Harry Potter-themed birthday, so Nick ended up with these cool mini-cupcakes from Smallcakes. I made sure they got some more wear out of their Griffindor ties from Halloween. He also got a magic set that looks messy but really fun, just the thing for a cold winter night.

His Grandma Toni also got him the illustrated version of the first Harry Potter book. Nick actually ended up with a whole stack of new books he's eager to start reading.

According to Nick, it was the best birthday ever.

What better way for his birthday party to end than with a hug from his cousin Sophie?

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Nicholas is 8!

Today Nick turned 8 years old. Amazingly, he now weighs 56 pounds, can read and write, and does mental math better than his mommy. Not too bad for a second grader!

In celebration of this momentous occasion (come on, you don't turn 8 everyday!), I let Nick pick whatever he wanted for dinner. He picked. . . . Meatheads burgers and cheese fries. Nick has a bigger present coming after Thanksgiving, but for now he got a new book and a Hexbug gym.

What, you ask, is a Hexbug gym? Well, Hexbugs are these creepy little fellows that can move and climb once they're switched on. You have to be super-careful not to let them escape, because they'll get under the furniture and make an annoying buzzing sound. They won't stop moving until their batteries die!

These particular Hexbugs come with a system of sidewalks, ramps, and tubes where they can climb up. There's also a platform that you can put the Hexbugs on and try to fling them towards the open end of the tubes. It didn't occur to me until long after I'd bought them, but these persistent little creatures remind me of little mice, scurrying around and causing trouble, but (thank goodness) NOT leaving presents behind. I don't suppose actual mice would appreciate the catapulting gym much, either.

The Hexbugs didn't seem to mind being flung around, though. The Hexbugs, I expect, will get a lot of action over the next few weeks.

There's another Nick birthday on the books. I sure hope that 8 is a great year for Nick!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Happy Halloween 2016!

Happy Halloween from everyone's favorite wizards. Who says Harry Potter should always have top billing? This time, Ron Weasley and his cool orange hair get to be first.

Greg advised the boys to use Aldi bags, since they won't break. He was right!

Henry was quite scared by many of the Halloween decorations. In fact, he refused to go ring the doorbell at more than ten houses. There were another four or five where I had to hold his hand and walk him up to the door. Something tells me Henry will be like me and not like horror movies when he gets older.

Even this jack o'lantern gave Henry a bit of a scare.

Harry Potter (a.k.a. Nick) was so busy running from house to house that you mostly see him and his friends in a blur in all the pictures. Not as noble as seeking horcruxes, but hey, Nick had a mission.

I think this is the only picture Greg got him to pose for--I guess Nick only stops for death.

Henry wanted to tell me all about his Kindergarten Halloween Party. Here's what he had to say:

Henry also made this cool paper plate pumpkin. Let him tell you all about it!

Nick had a class party, too, and from his descriptions, it was hopping. I'm not going to post the video where he describes, in excruciating detail, the Doritos, candy, and juice that they had. This one is about the games!

That last video ended when a trick-or-treater came to the door. Nick and Henry made out pretty well, and they filled their bags about halfway--not bad for their age and small legs. And me? Well, I ended up walking 13,766 steps today. Probably enough to make up for all the snack-sized candy I pilfered from their bags.

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Carving Green Pumpkins and a Halloween Party with the Cub Scouts

So why, you ask, do we have green pumpkins this year? I suppose that's what happens when you wait until October 30th to go and get pumpkins. These are the best that Greg could find. Good thing green is Henry's favorite color!  :)

Happily, carving green pumpkins is actually less messy than carving their riper brothers. Nick was actually disappointed that there wasn't as much "gook" as usual--running his hands through that stuff is one of his favorite parts of pumpkin carving.

I think their green spooky pumpkins turned out pretty cool, thanks to Greg's superior carving skills. They look pretty scary!

I think Nick was trying to look scary in the above picture.

On Saturday the boys attended their first Cub Scout Halloween Party. Decorating pumpkins was on the agenda--with glue, felt, and glitter!

Glitter is a favorite of Henry's. Me? Not so much. That stuff lasts forever and gets everywhere!

Henry was especially excited about his finished pumpkin.

Look behind Nick and his pumpkin with many eyes--do you see the fortress of cups? They had such a good time building with them that I bought a whole new set of plastic cups for building at home.

They also used nerf guns to shoot down some styrofoam pumpkins. Sounds like the perfect Cub Scout activity for a Halloween Party!