Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Very Sugary Weekend...and Christmas!

So here's what I do. I let the kids make their very own Christmas cookies. I cover the table with a plastic table cloth, give them rolling pins, little cups of flour, the parchment lined baking sheets, and the dough. All the sprinkles that their little hearts desire. No comments from me about the mess. No helping on my part unless they ask for it. They can make as many as they can roll out and decorate. I bake them, they show them to everyone, eat them, whatever - until they are sick of it. Then....later that night......when they go to bed.....I make *my own* cute (although not very sophisticated) Christmas cookies. I don't have that "I should really be letting the kids help me with these" guilt. Okay, well maybe I have just a touch of it, but not enough for it to ruin my fun. They made theirs, I made mine, gave some away, enjoyed some ourselves, everyone was happy.

Christmas snuck up on me this year. All of a sudden it was here, and we hadn't done the gingerbread house yet! So on the morning of Christmas Eve, that's what we did. I helped out a little, but the kids did most of it themselves. I think it turned out pretty cute.
We decided as a group (our little clan: us 5 plus my Mom and my sister) that we were going to have a low key Christmas this year. Thanksgiving had been quite the "to do", and we didn't want the stress of the cooking the big fancy meals. We had plans to go to the 7pm family service at church on Christmas Eve, but I got a late start on my spaghetti sauce, we ate dinner at 6:15pm, and it just didn't happen. I of course, feel like crap about that....but what's done is done. Anyway, we had spaghetti on Christmas Eve, which was thrilling for the boys who love my spaghetti. For Christmas dinner, my sister cooked a wonderful authentic Mexican feast. It was so good, and so nice for me to be out of the kitchen for once.
As a holiday must....there was lots of champagne! YAY for champagne! This time last year, I couldn't have any as I had just found out that we were expecting a baby. It was nice to indulge this year! When I look at this sweet, gorgeous, strapping 4 month old baby, I can't believe that one year ago - he was basically a collection of cells. Women. We are so awesome, aren't we? Making humans in our bodies. Totally amazing.

The kids were SO excited on Christmas Eve as they got ready for bed. We left cookies and milk out for Santa, as well as some carrots for the reindeer. N. also wrote a note to Santa, requesting that he leave his stocking in his bedroom. This way, if he woke up at the crack of dawn - he'd have something to do while waiting for his meanie parents to get up, make coffee, etc. He ended up talking us out of bed at 5:30 - 30 minutes earlier than my 6am requirement.

Christmas morning was super exciting for the kids, as we (Big Al and I) don't let them see wrapped presents from us until Christmas morning. The only presents that are under our tree before Christmas are from relatives who have sent them to us in the mail.

This year we had my Mom and sister come over right when the kids got up (also in their jammies...because it was 5:30 in the morning) and we opened all of the presents at once. Santa's, ours, grandma's, auntie's, everyone's. Just one more perk of having my Mom right around the corner! It was a lot of fun. As always, my children were spoiled rotten and have been loving every minute of it. Every year, I'm surprised at what the favorites are. I always think...."Look at that. *That* lame thing is his favorite toy. Why didn't I just get that? I could have saved hundreds of dollars on all of this other crap I bought!" One of my lovely Christmas presents from my cutie-patootie husband was one that didn't have to be wrapped - a 3 hour nap after we were done with our big Christmas breakfast. Awesome.
Anyway, Christmas was great this year. And I'm glad that it's over!

(This pic of R. is entitled "Twas the Night before Christmas...........")

In other, less festive news.....
Yesterday morning, while trying to haul a very smart-mouthed R. up the stairs for a time out, I threw my back out. It's absolutely killing me. Advil is barely cutting it....but little by very, very, little - it seems to be getting better. See what 50 pounds of bratty almost-4-year-old can do? I'm getting old and beginning to break. Thankfully, my Mom is off work this week, and has taken the big boys off my hands yet again. Thank God for that woman. I truly don't know what I'd do without her.

Monday, December 24, 2007

He's Dressed as one of the Wisemen.....

Wise-ass is more like it! Can you spot my kid in his adorable preschool Christmas pageant? Here's a hint: He's sitting on the floor with a green robe and a yellow crown. Also - he's making a silly face.
R. is such a funny kid. He's *that* kid, you know? The one who makes the funny faces for the photo op, the one who throws his arms up at the end of the performance and says in his loudest, most theatrical voice "Thank you, thank you VERY MUCH" and then takes several bows as everyone claps. As if he was the only one in the show, and ALL of these friends, parents, grandparents, etc. are there to see HIM. He's my hardest kid by a long shot. He's tireless. And fearless. His behavior can be maddening, but also he's clever and hysterical, and even loving. I admire his spunk.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Holiday Cuteness

Won't you guide my sleigh tonight?
In case I haven't mentioned it, I'm totally in love with this little honey of a baby. So sweet is this little boy. So, so, sweet. I mean - look what he puts up with: a pair of Christmas themed "baby legs," and a reindeer hat from the dollar store. And he is still smiling. It's because the perfectly adorable appliqued onesie (etsy!) balances out the ridiculousness of the rest of his get-up. Still, I appreciate his tolerance. If he can continue to humor his pain-in-the-ass mother for the next....oh....30 years or so - he can secure his place as my favorite son.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

A Promise is a Promise

I promised him a potty party.

He's had the whole pee-pee thing down for a good while now. Never even wets the bed. But poo-poo? Not so much. It isn't that he hasn't been MORE than capable of going in the potty - oh no. He just had to decide to do it. To lose the pull-ups. To grow up a smidge. To hang the white "baby" flag and do it already.

Anyway, we've had a great two weeks. He loves his new undies...yes....more new undies....Spongebob to be specific.....and seems just fine with pooping in the potty now.

Way to go buddy. It's about damn time.

His Big Night

Last week, my big boy performed at his school's Christmas show with all of his fellow kindergartners. It started at 7pm which was exciting for he and his brother. It isn't very often that the kids eat dinner, get all dressed up, and head out on the town. We were told that the dress was to be "nice, no jeans." Knowing that some of the other boys were going all out, we went ahead and followed suit...."suit"...... get it? I'm so clever.

Anyway, who knew that Mervyns carried little zip-on ties with the Nativity scene on them? How great is that? My boy was so proud of is special attire. So handsome. So excited for his big night. He was so thrilled to be all dressed up, so excited for us to hear his songs, so happy that we were all going to see him.

We arrived at the church where the show was going to be held to find that it was beautifully decorated, and complete with a full PA system, huge Christmas tree's....the whole 9 yards. We found great seats, and R. was very cooperative and enjoyable throughout. ****(I'm playing with what to call the kids on this blog. I don't like BB and LB anymore. Just hang with me until I figure it out.)*** The kindergartners sang their songs, and were absolutely adorable. I watched N. onstage, I did notice that he looked tired....or upset.....or something. Oh well - it all went great, and I heard through the grapevine that the Kindergartners were watching Ratatouille while they waited to hit the stage. Fun!

When we gathered N. up after the show, he was definitely upset. I couldn't imagine what had happened to make my boy so sad. He looked absolutely crushed, but wouldn't tell me what happened. I chalked it up to exhaustion since he's almost always asleep by 8:00pm (he gets up at 5am...weird internal clock on this one) and it was now 9:15pm. Once we got in the car, he started sobbing and saying that he was so embarrassed because a kid in his class - SIMON (who is one of his better friends) - said that his shoes were GIRL shoes.

What to do....what to say. Such a struggle. My heart was breaking for my boy for whom this was humiliating and very silly as it seems.

Do I tell N. that Simon is a little a-hole? That Simon's Mom is *very* weird (sorry...she is) Do I give him a laundry list of names to call this five year old little punk who had the audacity to make fun of my sweet and wonderful and......yeah, I'll say it - WONDERFULLY DRESSED little boy?


Do I assure him that his shoes were most definitely bought in the boys shoe department. That Simon was just being silly. That I'm sure he didn't mean to hurt his feelings. Again...that he looks great, sang great, looks as manly and masculine as a five year old can look. Yes...Simon is still his friend.

I went with the latter.

Oh, and I also told him that he could kick him really hard the next time he saw him. No, no, no. I didn't tell him that. Would never tell him that. But I was thinking it.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

A Tree of Their Own

Because the boys have....uh...."different" taste in ornaments than I do, we let them have their own small tree. It isn't that I don't love huge, garish, orange snowflake ornaments.....or cheapo plastic icicles....because....ummm, you know....who doesn't? These are "beautiful (rite-aid) treasures" that deserve their own tree. By themselves. Alone.

Anyway, here's my Middle boy enjoying a rare moment with his tree. With his big brother sleeping, he was able to have his way with the ornaments. Being almost 4 years old, he likes to take the ornaments off the tree and carry them around the house in various receptacles. Gallon size Ziploc bags.....old lunch boxes.....train cases.....his Daddy's hat....and then when he's ready, he'll go and re-decorate the tree. This drives his older brother absolutely MAD. See, being almost 6 years old, he likes to carefully hang each ornament in just the right place...stepping back to make sure that every spot is covered and that the best ornaments are in the front. As you can imagine...these differing tree-decorating philosophies tend to cause "holiday conflict."
Conflict aside though, the kids are having a great time getting ready for Christmas. Starting on Thursday of next week, the big boys will be out of school for an ETERNITY: two weeks plus a couple of days I think. I'm armed with a couple of new Christmas videos and plans for lots of cookie making, and Christmas craft.....crafting. I even went to the dollar store to stock up on vinyl table cloths in anticipation of the mess! BRING IT boys. I'm ready for you. Let the holiday fun begin.

Baby's First Christmas Stocking

With every new baby comes a new Christmas stocking. In keeping with my current theme/obsession, I wanted a very sweet owl-y/wintery stocking for my little guy. When I couldn't find one anywhere (imagine that), I had to take matters into my own hands.

I bought the new, already (name) embroidered, velvet Pottery Barn stocking off of ebay, and then commissioned the wool needle felted owls and hats from a lovely etsy crafter. My only contribution was adding buttons to the hats, and holly berries, and whip-stitching the whole thing together. I'm not very good at hand stitching, but it was the least I could do. I'm happy with it! I'm sure I'll have to get Jack a more boyish stocking down the road, but I like this for now. I am however, hatching a plan that involves a tiny brush and fabric paint......his name would look so much better in red or green.

It's hard to believe that where there was once two.....then three....then four.....there are now FIVE stockings!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Long time no type to

It's been a while! How the heck are ya? Here is a random selection of pictures to catch us up a bit.

My wonderful little baby. This child is so perfectly delightful and sweet and easy and cuddly. Above his changing table is a Haba butterfly mobile. We call these little friends, "the bugs." As I'm bringing him up the stairs, I'll say "Lets go see the bugs!" and his chubby little legs start to kick. He LOVES the bugs. LOVES them.

Here are Jack's idiot brothers (I kid, I kid.) This is the kind of thing they do Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum. Never a dull moment with these two!

My grandparents came down to visit with us and meet their new great grandson! It was so nice to see them. They came bearing gifts, and were therefore very popular.

Can you believe that my almost 4 month old baby weighs 18 pounds already? Par for the course!

I'm obviously partial, but I think that he is the most wonderful little baby I've ever known. Sweet as pie...and such a cozy guy! He loves to cuddle and warm and toasty. So smiley. sigh. I'm in love.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Thanksgiving part 2

This year, Big Al's grandpa and his loopy girlfriend came for Thanksgiving from Arizona. We all love Grandpa. He's a super nice guy and is a lot of fun to be with. The boys were excited to hang out with him - especially because he brought them a new RC truck to play with! Now. The loopy girlfriend. We'll call her LG. And Kell? If you're reading this? Remember LG from Tahoe? What a nightmare. The entire family has a hard time understanding what Grandpa sees in her, but what can you do?
Here were some of her finer moments:

~ Ate mashed potatoes right out of the serving bowl - with the serving spoon - while still sitting down to dinner on Thanksgiving. This sent Big Al into a TOTAL tailspin. He's a big 'ol tough guy, but he REALLY has a thing about germs and the sharing of utensils.

~ While talking about Food Network shows, she looked right at me and commented on what a "big girl" Rachel Ray is. Yeah. Well, obviously - I would love to be only as "big" as Rachel Ray.

~ "HOW CAN WE HAVE THANKSGIVING WITHOUT SWEET POTATOES?!?!?" Well, I'll tell you LG. I hate them. Kids hate them. Big AL hates them. My mom hates them. My sister hates them. We ALLLLLL hate them. SO........NO SWEET POTATOES.

~ Drank lots of red wine. LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS AND LOTS. Thank goodness I had stocked up beforehand. Ask me if she brought any over. Just ask. Uh, no.

~ "I just can't imagine ever bottle feeding a baby. I nursed mine until they were 3 years old. They (now grown and married) REMEMBER nursing." Um, excuse me while I puke. And thanks for the nazi-lactivist comment. Whatever. My kids are big, healthy and gorgeous, all thanks to Enfamil. So, uh - kiss my ass.

No, I didn't say that - but I was thinking it.

And the grand finale -

They stayed in a nearby hotel, and we had to pay for it.