Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas 2010

Dear Kids,

It's after 8 pm on New Year's Eve. Libby, you are (presumably) asleep upstairs. Andrew and Adam, you are watching "The Black Cauldron" with me and Dad. I just realized that I am under the gun to put this blog to bed for 2010, and I haven't even covered Christmas. So I am multitasking: quality time with you guys and documenting memories of this last week or two.

This was our Christmas (or "Christmakkuh" as we should probably refer to it this year since it stretched out over so many days) to travel to Indiana to be with the Nichols family. So our Christmas began with our celebration with Poppa Keith, Beppie, and Aunt Whitney the week before Christmas Day.


Libby and Beppie having Christmas tea.

The next day we got a big surprise! While you kids were out with Daddy, Santa stopped by our house! Even though it wasn't quite Christmas Day, he left a few presents here so you could have some to open under your own tree. You just missed him, but he couldn't wait around -- it was, after all, Santa's busiest time of year.

Look who got a new bike! No more hand-me-down boy's bike for Miss L!

Libby's baby got a new bottle and diaper bag for Christmas!

Adam, you just make me laugh. Nice shirt!

My sweet little Christmas boy.

A few days later, we all piled into the car to make the long drive to Indiana. Thanks to some new four-lane roads through Ohio, a 5 am departure time (oh, yes, we did!), and three children old enough to watch movies in the car, the trip was much less hideous than usual. We're making progress! This was an exciting year because you had a new baby cousin to meet: Baby Oliver! And you had good times playing with Cousin Logan.

White Christmas in Indiana!

Reading "The Night Before Christmas" with Poppa.

Putting out reindeer food on Christmas Eve.


All the Nichols cousins!

Cookies we made for Santa.

Leaving cookies and a note for Santa on Christmas Eve.

Christmas morning: Santa wrote back! Uh-oh...Gangee's on the naughty list!

Christmas Day: Singing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus.
And there it is. Christmas 2010 in pictures.

Kids, you are too little to understand -- we try every day to tell you -- you are very blessed. One day when you are older and look at these pictures, I hope you will really look at what they represent. Don't look at what's in them. Look past the presents, extremely nice as they are. Look at who's in them. Look at all the people in these pictures who love you! Check out your grandparents -- you are blessed with four who would do anything for you. Look how special they all made Christmas for you and the delight they took in your delight. Look at your cousins. I am so excited that you have cousins! Cousins are gold. I pray you will remain close through the years. And we're not in any of these pictures, but I think you know...the people behind the camera love you very much.

Daddy and I are so thankful for this Christmas and this year with all of you.

Love, Mom

Monday, December 20, 2010

Five

Adam, you are five today! This day has been a long time coming; but one preschool party, one "friend" party, two early Christmas celebrations, four cake mixes, and a lot of presents later, today's the day!

At your checkup at the pediatrician's today, we got some questions answered. Namely, is it really possible that we have been watching you grow taller from one night to the next morning? And how on earth can one little person outgrow so many pairs of pants at the rate you've been outgrowing them? Apparently you've grown three inches since your checkup last year. Questions answered.

You had a very small party this year. Neighbors Josh and Caleb and church buddy Aedan came over for a night of pizza, cake, and Batman movies. Gangee helped make the party special with all the decorations.


Cake topper thanks to Gangee! Yellow icing thanks to Mom, who, midway through the arduous process of coloring white frosting bright yellow, realized she could have just bought already-yellow lemon icing.

You and your buddies enjoying pizza during "intermission."

Bat pizza! Thankfully you and your little friends have great imaginations. I tried.

Gearing up for the party with Gangee's cool decorations!

And now I have a secret confession to share with you (and any of the millions of people on the world wide web who stumble upon this). My favorite part of your birthday was being with you today at the pediatrician's when you got your shots. Remember? You were screaming and crying and so very upset and I was frantically promising you donuts and Sprite? Good times. No, seriously. After the shots, you snuggled up on my lap in the exam room and just let me hold you for a while. That doesn't happen so often anymore. And you are five now. I don't anticipate being able to cuddle you on my lap for much longer -- especially at the rate you're growing. So, while I am sorry for your tears and sadness, I admit that I relished those moments trying to comfort your sobbing little self.

Fortunately you recovered pretty quickly from your traumatic experience at the doctor's. Some presents helped. (See below.)

Five. I just can't believe it. My funny little baby with the mischievous twinkle in his eye is five. Happy birthday, little big boy.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Santa Closet's Coming to Town

It's that time of year. The tree is up, Mom is up to her ears in unfinished Christmas projects, and Adam can be heard earnestly practicing for his preschool Christmas concert:

"Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all da WAY!
Oh what IS it is to FUN in a one more soapin' SWEIGH!"


On Sunday the children at church did a mini-program for Christmas. Andrew got to dress up as a shepherd and give the introduction to one of the songs.


Here is the only decent group shot I could get. Our camera doesn't like the lighting at our church. What cute kids we have in our congregation! Andrew is dressed in his red shepherd's outfit on the right. If you look for argyle in the middle of the picture, that is Adam. He was dressed as a reluctant Southern boy wearing what his mama made him wear to church. He was adorable, if I do say so myself. And frankly I don't really care what he was wearing. I was just relieved that he did not end up sprawled on his face in a giant pile of dirt and poinsettia leaves in the middle of the program.

Andrew with his buddies Seth and Michael before the program.


In other Christmas news, Libby is terrified that "Santa Closet" will come to her house. A large, strange man with a beard showing up at her door yelling, "Where's Libby? Ho Ho Ho!"? That's the stuff of all her greatest fears rolled into one. Poor Libby has been walking around mumbling her new mantra over and over: "Mommy and Daddy and God keep me safe Santa Closet...Santa Closet not come Bibby's house." Good old Santa Closet is up there with spiders in Libby's book.

One thing Libby does like about the Christmas season: Christmas music! She loves helping me and Adam practice his preschool songs at the piano. And I am so happy to have a little person sitting so sweetly next to me on the piano bench.


Friday, December 10, 2010

Another One?

It looks like Cocoa has a cousin. Meet Honeybear. He and his journal followed Adam home from preschool today. Apparently that place is just crawling with homeless bears with no baby journals of their own.

Last year, I got away with writing a 3-sentence journal entry for Cocoa. (The 24-point font I used and the giant blown-up pictures made it look like a full report.) (I'm sure I fooled all the teachers and other parents. Totally.) Much to my dismay, this year's parents have really stepped up the journal entries. (Thanks, Susan. Really, two pages of adventures with Honeybear?) Oh, the pressure. So far Adam and Honeybear have eaten ham for lunch (directly off the table like hillbillies) and watched "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." We don't have a lot going on this weekend. I think the ham and the TV show may be the highlights.

I guess I'll have to step it up, too.
Think this will work?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Gingerbread House

Beppie brought the kids a gingerbread house kit! After several days of patiently waiting begging to put it together at completely inappropriate/impossible times and whining when I told them no, the kids were thrilled to build the gingerbread house tonight!

Here it is:


Adam was so proud that the candy design on the roof matched on both sides. He is so artistic and particular about it! I love that about him.



Adam's chief delight: "Look, Mom! The gingerbread man has a mean face! Ah ha ha ha ha ha!"

(Mr. Gingerbread does look rather ticked off. I imagine he is yelling at the kids to stop riding their bikes through his yard. Rather ironic that he's standing on a doormat that says "JOLLY," though!)


I can't believe the house turned out so cute! However, I won't lie...it was an interesting time "building" a rather fragile house with sugary icing, tiny bits of candy, a tired two-year-old, and two somewhat wobbly little boys hyped up on high fructose corn syrup and Christmas emotion. I am now going to spend the rest of my evening breathing into a paper bag.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

What I Found

Last night around 10:00 pm...an empty bed and no Andrew:

Next to Andrew's bed:

Upon further inspection:

Someone remind me why we buy furniture for these children?

And today I found more!

This morning in the music room...I found two little cousins:

And a little later in the kitchen...check out the floor:

I don't think Mary Caroline wanted this to be found.

There's always something interesting to be found around here!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Very Moon Thanksgiving

Two days.

One grandfather.

One grandmother.


Ten aunts, uncles, fiancees (ugh, we all hate that word), and "significant others."

Four "born" grandchildren.




One "unborn" grandchild.

Two turkeys.

Three turkey legs (all consumed by one small boy).


Eight pounds of mashed potatoes.

Two trips to Urgent Care.

One trip to the Emergency Room.

One case of pleurisy.

One case of croup.

One ear infection.

One big Yankee gift swap (ironic, most of us actually being Yankees...)



Countless games of Jenga.

One Arizona football game. (Bear down!) (That has nothing to do with childbirth.)

Several coins and gifts from Taiwan.

Two adorable little dresses handmade by Beppie.


Lots of good times.

Four extremely overtired children.

One big happy family.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Because We Are Super Classy

Here is a video of our precious two-year-old daughter singing the classic Christmas song "Jingle Bells." As taught to her by her two big brothers. Holding a tinker-toy microphone. Wearing a dinosaur costume over fuzzy jammies. With no hairbow. In our extremely messy bedroom.

video

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Seven

Andrew, unbelievably, you are SEVEN.

What's going on with you now?
  • You are 48 1/2 inches tall.
  • You weigh 54 pounds.
  • You are in first grade.
  • You are a voracious reader.
  • You think anything involving underpants (oh, most especially wedgies) is the funniest thing, EVER.
  • Your favorite thing to do outdoors is to ride your bike.
  • You love to burp. At least you say "Excuse me" pretty automatically now.
  • Your favorite meal (as requested for your birthday dinner) is spaghetti, fruit cocktail, root beer, and cupcakes. (I will not open my mouth about some of the components of this meal because it is your birthday.)
  • You have been wanting me to spike up your hair with gel in the front when I comb it. Your earnestness about this makes me giggle to myself.
  • You love building with Legos but have recently branched into K'nex.
  • You are so excited that we have started weekly game night -- just you, Mom, and Dad. You are freakishly good at Rack-O. Dad and I can't seem to beat you!
  • You are adorably kind to your baby sister.
  • You continue in your twisted "You're my best friend/I can't stand the sight of you" relationship with your brother. (I think it'll work out OK in the end.) (Maybe with some therapy.) (I'm just saying.)
  • Your daddy is your hero.
  • You make your mom so very, very happy...just by being your sweet little self.



Happy 7th Birthday, Andrew!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

In Search of a Good Time...

This year for Andrew's 7th birthday party, we had a scavenger hunt. A few 14 boys (plus Adam) came to help celebrate! It was an uncharacteristically beautiful November day, so pretty much the entire party was spent outdoors. Thank you, Jesus.


I found instructions for making this cute treasure cake online. Miraculously, the whole thing did not collapse on itself! Gangee, who was here for a visit, and I had fun shopping for all the edible treasure!


The boys were split into four teams of four. Each team had a leader. And at this point I must give BIG UPS to our friends Mike and Josh, who came with their boys to the party and stepped in as team leaders along with me and Steve. We could not have pulled this off without them!

Each team had a pack of clues to solve. Upon solving each clue, the boys had to find an object scattered in one of three yards (thanks to Elijah's and Josh's parents for letting us use their yards!) on our street. Then they had to perform a silly activity and have the team leader take a picture.

Best of all, the boys are at the perfect age for this. They were so into "team spirit" and earnestly raced around the neighborhood solving clues. **So adorable**

A couple of the teams in action:




The whole crew ready for some cake! (Can you see why we were so excited about having nice, outdoor-play kind of weather?)

The birthday boy blowing out his candle:


Everyone got to play and eat cake outside after the scavenger hunt.

What a wonderful day of sunshine, friendly competition, and celebration! A good time was found by all.