Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas Eve 2014

I've been going through my Christmas pictures, and I'm going to post some of my favorites from each of our Christmases. My mother and stepfather always have Christmas Eve at their house, and the boys really look forward to this day.

Henry got a Little Critter book. My mom said that she used to get these books for my sister because her hair stuck out just like the critter in the stories. Now Henry has inherited her auntie's hair, and the tradition continues with a new story and a little fuzzy guy.

I think Grandpa Ray needed a hug. Hugs are necessary at Christmastime.

I love this look of expectation on my sister's face as she was opening her present. Everyone feels a little like a kid at Christmastime.

Nick was extremely proud of his Lego Star Wars watch. He can't tell time yet, but he's working on it!

Auntie Mandy gives good snuggles, and do you know what else she gave to Henry? A drum set.

Nick brought penguidy along for Christmas. Henry, on the other hand, was enamored of a little Darth Vader Lego Minifigure. It was actually Nick's present, but Henry carried it around the whole night.

Henry loves these minifigures. The only problem is that he likes to pull off their arms and heads and hair. The pieces get lost and he gets really mad.

Greg got some new shoes. He liked them a lot, though not as much as Henry liked the Darth Vader figure.

Notice the extra-cute Santa hat on my mom's lamp. 

We tried to get a nice family shot. This is the best one we managed.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Two Man Band

I'll write more about our Christmases later, but one of Henry's gifts from his Auntie Mandy was this drum set. Yep, my sister loves me.

Henry's first choice of song? Just guess.

Between Nick's guitar and Henry's drums, they now have a regular two man band.

It's even better when they decide to sing the same song at the same time.

This is "Tomorrow, Wendy" by Concrete Blonde. No kid songs for my boys, I guess.

Monday, December 22, 2014

A New Kitchen aid mixer and some advice from a three-year-old

My grandma got me this awesome new mixer for Christmas. I love it after only a few days, and I'm excited to try recipes over Christmas break. I swear, the motor on this Kitchen Aid is bigger than the one on my first car (a Ford Aspire). Works better, too.

Yesterday, Henry helped me make some chocolate swirl cookies. I let him help with all of the parts. He has some advice on the use of these mixers.

Yup, that's right. He turned it all the way up and flour went everywhere. I was mad for about three seconds, and then I started laughing. Flour rained down like clouds. When Nick came downstairs, Henry had all kinds of advice for him about using a mixer. Maybe he can make the cookies by himself next time? Or not.

Friday, December 19, 2014

So was I brave or just mildly crazy?

This afternoon, after leaving work on my last day before winter break, I decided to take the boys and head over to the Best Buy to get a new laptop. I told the boys that if they were good while I shopped, I'd take them to "a fun place" afterwards. If, however, they didn't behave in the store, we would go straight home. The boys know that I follow through on this--the last three shopping trips have ended with us heading straight home. Today, though, it was a week-before-Christmas miracle!

How did he get here? Good behavior!

My laptop started going last week. Tonight it joined the laptop graveyard. We now have three laptops in the graveyard: two Toshiba's and an HP.

From bottom: Slow and old, busted hard drive, and a screwed-up battery

I ended up being in the store for around an hour. Nick sat in the big part of the cart and Henry sat up front. They traded off playing with my phone. Henry took 147 pictures.

Yup, I have to go through and delete them all. A whole bunch of them were Henry selfies.

Nick prefers taking video of himself.

Overall, the boys sat in the cart, played, and let me talk to the salesman and look at the different laptops.

I ended up with an HP touchscreen laptop--a cheap one because I'm tired of buying pricey laptops that don't even last two years. I'm not sure if I'm going to keep it, though.  I'm afraid the processing speed might not be enough. Also, the touchpad is a little wonky and I don't know if I can get used to it. No matter what, though, I'm going to keep the laptop bag I found.

Notice the comfy couch behind my bag? That's where I spent my evening. We left the Best Buy and went directly to the Ball Factory, a play space across the street that serves food and has free wifi. I used the opportunity to set up my new laptop and relax a bit.

Nick played on the foot piano, and Henry played on the little tractors.

They both did plenty of climbing, sliding, and jumping into the ball pit. We stayed until bedtime, but Henry and Nick earned it.

Should I take them to the mall to finish Christmas shopping, or is that just pushing my luck?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Nick lost his first baby tooth!

Tonight Nicholas grew up just a little bit. He lost his first baby tooth. It all started with an apple, and the next thing we knew, that tooth was out!

It's been five years since he got his first tooth, and I think that it is that same first tooth that he lost.

I've heard that is the way it happens. Here's a picture of Nick when he got his first tooth. He was around nine months old, I believe.

Since there was a decent amount of blood and Nick's mouth was a bit sore, we had frozen fruit smoothies (with Greek yogurt) for dinner.

The smoothies were a celebration, but the real excitement is the visit the tooth fairy will have to make later tonight. When I lost my last few teeth, I believe it was the mid-1980s and I got a quarter. I'm pretty sure inflation has brought up the price. Wait--I just googled it. Would you believe there's a calculator for this? Looks like the tooth fairy will leave at least $1.

Poor Henry was jealous. I had to stop him from grinding his teeth tonight. He though that would make them come out. He will have to wait a few years for his turn.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

A Special Christmas Event

Nick's elementary school had a Christmas event last weekend, and I took the boys to have some fun.

There were donuts and milk for snacking. . .

 . . . and face painting, too! Nick chose a snowman.

Henry chose a stocking.

They played "Throw the ping-pong ball in the goldfish bowl."

Nick played this game where he had to try to pick up the bottle. He cheated a bit, . . .

. . . but not as bad as Henry. He cut out the dexterity part entirely.

The boys decorated cookies, which was both fun and delicious, though not very nutritious.

Henry's cookie had even more candy on it. You couldn't even see the cookie!

I called it candy mountain.

I think this picture turned out cuter than the official one from the mall Santa. It didn't cost $27 either! Maybe next year we'll skip the mall and go for free pictures with Santa.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Oh, Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree. . .

On Sunday Greg brought up our Christmas tree from the basement. Since our basement is not used for much of anything, we just leave the tree set up down there and bring it up every December. Usually we make a whole event out of decorating the tree, but this year I came home and Greg had done it all. Ahh well.

Right after Nick took this picture, Henry reached over, grabbed one of the felt ornaments on the Advent Calendar, and tried to put it in his pocket. The stinker actually thought I wouldn't notice!

Lest you think we have only one Advent Calendar, Nick is showing you the awesome Lego Star Wars Advent Calendar his Auntie Mandy got him for his birthday. Each day Nick gets another little piece of Lego heaven, this year with a Star Wars twist. See?

Our other Advent Calendar you can see in the background, here. My mother made it when my sister and I were little, and it has all these cute little felt ornaments that go up on the tree. We hung it up high this year to prevent the kids from stealing the pieces.

Ahh, the Lego toys that I will soon be stepping on. . . 

The stockings are hung on nails over our kitchen table, the tree is up (crooked and missing branches, but it's up), the wreath is on the door, and the elf is on the shelf.  Time for storytime. . .

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Visiting Santa Claus. . . and Aunt Mandy, too!

This year we decided to skip the lines and take the boys to see Santa early. We were in the mall anyway to have our family pictures taken, so they were dressed nice with no dirt or food crumbs. I figured, we'd might as well.

I think next year we're going to find a Santa who doesn't charge $27 for a picture. I'm glad they snapped a picture with both of them smiling, anyway. Here are the Santa pictures from the last couple of years, so you can see how much the boys have grown.


By a strange coincidence, Auntie Mandy is working at the mall we go to this holiday season, so we visited her for lunch.

 Henry tried to steal her name tag, but was satisfied with a nice hug.