Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas Eve Pictures

Christmas Eve has always been celebrated with my mother's side of the family, only now Greg's mother joins us as well. The kids tend to get a lot of the attention, but I feel that's how Christmas should be, with a focus on children.

I like the photo below because of the details. I am the only one posing. Henry is engrossed in the soft teddy bear. Rusty the dog is also interested in the teddy bear, but for more nefarious reasons. (I believe he likes to chew on stuffed animals.) Nick is looking bored and impatient because it isn't his turn to open a gift. 

Auntie Mandy got Nick a hexbug, which looks remarkably like a cockroach. I told him to make sure not to have it crawling around the floor or I might stomp on it.

Nick also got a nerf gun from his Uncle Andy, and boy did all the guys have fun with it. Even Grandpa Ray joined in.

Henry got the neatest bristle blocks. I haven't seen those in years, and he adored putting them together. I am thinking we'll have to get more so he can build bigger things.

Nick got a V-Reader that he calls his "Nook." It is a kind of e-reader, so he's not too far off, actually.

Grandma Linda was just as excited about her books as Nick was about his "Nook."

Henry adored all of the cars he received. He loves cars, and "Ca!" is one of the few words he has been saying consistently. He also makes car noises.

Grandma Toni had a great time watching the boys play with their presents. I think my sons must be some of the most photographed children in the world. I believe there are over 900 pictures on my computer just from the 24th and 25th of this month.  :)

The boys were MOST excited, though, at the end of the evening, when Grandpa Ray brought out his new helicopter and let the boys play with it. (All the boys. . . Uncle Justin, Uncle Andy, Nick, Rusty, and Henry).

Besides the helicopter, Nick also loved the all time favorite. . . empty wrapping paper tube. Typical.

Here's Henry rocking around the Christmas Tree.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Getting Ready for Santa Claus

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house. . . creatures were definitely stirring, but that's okay. We have cats. Nick also wore a Santa hat and helped pass out the presents.

Nicholas hung the Santa ornament on our Christmas calendar.

The stockings were hung. . . well, over the dining room window on nails. We don't have a chimney.

The children were nestled all snug in their matching reindeer pajamas.

There was dancing going on: Nick and I did the happy dance when he went potty.

Instead of visions of sugar plums in their heads, though, they were chasing Grandpa Ray's new RC helicopter. For real.

Then, on the way home, Nick talked for 45 minutes straight, mostly about Santa Claus. He wanted his daddy to park on the street, so the reindeer could use the driveway. Grandma Toni told him that reindeer feet were sensitive and liked to land on the soft grass instead.

The moon did not fall on the breast of any new-fallen snow, but Nick did sprinkle some reindeer food on the front lawn.

I don't wear a kerchief, and Greg is more of a shorts and t-shirt kind of guy. We did both settle down for a long winter's snap, though. Eventually.

First, there was a lot of work to do.

We didn't jingle any bells after the boys went to bed. We didn't want to wake them up! Henry jingled plenty of them before bedtime, though.

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Storytime with Santa

Last Wednesday night, Grandma Toni and I decided to take the boys to a special "Story time with Santa" at the library. The only thing that put a damper on the experience was that Greg didn't leave the stroller for us.

For Henry, it was "run around the library shrieking happily" time. This is the only time he sat for a story. I believe his sitting lasted about thirty seconds.

Then the running and dancing started anew.

The boys did a craft project where we traced their hands and attached antlers, an eye, and a nose to make a reindeer.

Nick loved the hole punch. Henry kept trying to eat the glitter glue. I don't blame him. It did look pretty neat.

The ornaments turned out pretty cute. Nick's is on the left. He decorated with the glitter glue instead of trying to eat it.

Oh, and of course, Santa was there. . . and this time, I got my Santa picture with both boys smiling. Henry seemed more used to the idea this time.

It's a really good thing that Henry sat on Santa's lap instead of Nick. We figured out right after we walked out of the room that Nick had wet his pants. Ah, well. Merry Christmas.  :)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Zoo Lights!

We have never been to Zoo Lights at Brookfield Zoo, but we decided to go last Saturday even though it was raining. It was a little wet, but the rain had mostly stopped by the time we arrived. The weather was pretty warm, too.

The lights were beautiful, and both boys were mesmerized. Henry, especially, looked all around and made happy noises.

Grandma Toni showed Nick some real reindeer antlers. No reindeer were harmed, though. They lose their antlers once a year, according to the zoologist.

Despite the water all over everything, Henry and Nick decided to play on the playground.

The lights really were spectacular. Nick loved the dinosaur lights.

What a great celebration of electricity  ;)

I think this is a holiday event we'll repeat next year.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Cookie-Making Day at Grandma's House

Last week, I spent the day at my mom and stepdad's house baking cookies for the holiday season. This is a tradition in my family, though a highly caloric one.

For me, cookies have always meant love. In my family, we show our love by baking, and Christmas is the ultimate time for showing love. (Also for shoving cookies into one's mouth, though that is another kind of love entirely.)

Nick was able to help with most of the steps, though he spent the day in and out of the kitchen. He liked shaping the cookie dough, and even let grandma carve out a cookie shaped like his hand!

Henry was old enough to try helping just a little bit. He preferred the eating of the cookies, the stealing of the cookies, and the crumbling of the cookies.

Mostly he just caused mischief, but Henry loves to copy what we do and he adored helping Grandma with the gingerbread.

Here is our official cookie-tasting team. Grandpa is curled up with Nick and Henry, taking a break from the hard work of tasting cookies.

In addition to cookie-baking, we also decorated homemade fudge with melted white chocolate. Nick loved helping with this part.

We made tons of cookies, fudge, dipped pretzels, and one big mess. Gigi and Nick liked sprinkling the chocolate-dipped pretzels best.

Only one week left of school for me, and plenty of cookies to help celebrate Christmas.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Decking the Halls

We've been decking our halls lately, and both Nick and Henry simply adore helping with the decking. We don't have a chimney, but our stockings are hung over the window with care. (Notice Terrance the Elf hanging out in Nick's stocking. Terrance is a bit of a tattletale.)

When I was a little girl, my mom made an advent calendar for us, and I have temporary custody of it (until my sister has kids). Henry and Nicholas have been taking turns sticking up the ornaments. Today was Henry's turn. He is able to stick the ornaments onto the velcro by himself, though he sometimes tries to chew on them or put them back into the little pockets.

Our whole house is looking festive, even if our tree is denuded everyday of all ornaments below about three feet.

I picked up some static cling decorations, and man, did that $4 worth of plastic entertain my boys! I bought polar bears ice skating in the wintertime, and Henry loved pulling them off and sticking them back up.

Last week, we went to a craft fair, and the boys helped me pick out a few new ornaments. Nick liked this little mouse the best. Notice Molly the cat in the background, looking mildly disapproving.

I was mildly surprised at Henry's dexterity at sticking up the static clings.

Ahh, the many joys of the holidays. (And I haven't even talked about cookies yet. That's a whole other post. . . )