Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Party

Claire had her Christmas party Thursday afternoon. Landon came to help. It was a Polar Express theme, so the kiddos wore their PJ's, had tickets to get into the room for the party, and had donuts and hot chocolate for their snack! They also played snowman bowling (provided my this room mom!), musical train (chairs), and did a cute train craft. Very cute!! That evening we went to a family friend's house and had dinner and, unexpectedly (haha), Santa showed up!!! The kids were confused, and then excited to sit on Santa's lap and get a little private time to talk and giggle with the big man himself. Claire was willing to sit with Santa this time, and all in all, there seemed no concerns. We teased the 4-year-old of the house that he had "connections"!
As I write this, my children are in Claire's bed having "breakfast in bed". My wonderful husband was up early and ran to Krispy Kreme for a morning sugar high. They are giggling and begging for more...so I better go before someone starts rioting!!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008


It's been awhile, I apologize! I've not been feeling well, and therefore have only been prioritizing. What have we been up to? Well, Sunday afternoon, in the midst of feeling terrible, Claire and I went to see the Nutcracker with two other mother-daughter pairs. We had a great time, it was a beautiful production, and actually made me feel a little better! Monday, Claire took a day off school. She said she wasn't feeling well, and was super tired, so we just went with it. We laid around all day and took it easy. Tuesday was back to the grind, although the last late night with dance class until next year!!! Wednesday was just a regular day, which brings us to today. Claire's school party is today, and we have a dinner tonight. It's a good thing my stomach is finally starting to cooperate this morning! I have several things to blog, including carols by a 3 year old and then the joy of KG parties. Looking forward to it!!!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Griswold is BACK!

Today I finally finished my master piece. I have many of the lights up since Thanksgiving, but the rest just got here last night and today we installed. Needless to say I can here the meter spinning on the side of the house! The kids love the 7ft Snowman in the front and Landon looks forward to dark everynight to watch him inflate. Now let's just hope I dont blow a breaker!
Merry Christmas!

Breakfast with Santa

Our church hosted a breakfast with Santa this morning. Landon did not want to go, but Claire was up and ready this morning. Funny how things change...when we got there, Landon went right up to Santa and shook his hand. Claire hid under the table (no joke). They did finally both go up and sit on his lap, but only Landon would talk to him. He told Santa he wanted a new train to go underneath the Christmas tree that's "full of juice" (the one we inherited from Geoff's parents lost it's "juice" this year and won't go). Claire wouldn't even look Santa in the face. Surprising considering she generally doesn't know a stranger! Today we have also baked cookies for our cookie decorating party and are currently making a shrinky dink Christmas tree. Now that's a blast from the past! What a holiday Saturday to remember.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Crazy week

So besides Landon's birthday, we've had lots of other things happening this week that are quite interesting. First off, Landon has his 3-year-checkup at the Dr. Okay, I know what your thinking..."He's been to plenty, don't need to hear about this on the blog". This one was different. Landon did NOT want to go. I bribed him with a tractor just to get into the truck! Once we got there, he seemed fine. Then the nurse called his name. He turned around in his chair and held on to it screaming "I'm not going to the doctor"! I am not even kidding! It only got worse; Landon wouldn't be weighed, have his temp taken, let the doctor look in his nose and mouth...pretty much nothing could be done. He screamed and cried the whole time! I was mortified, and completely relieved when we left. Maybe his trip to the allergist has tainted him forever!

On a sweeter note, Claire was quite a chef Tuesday evening after dance class and offered to make dinner for us (excluding Daddy, who was out of town). We leave at 4 and get home around 7, so Tues. dinner is usually in the crock pot or something from the microwave. Claire made PB sandwiches, bananas, carrots and celery and, of course, cheetos. She got out paper plates and filled them with her creations for each of us; she even filled glasses with water! I was proud of her, but probably not as proud as she was of herself! It was a fun dinner for us all.

Thursday I went up to the school to do sight word testing in Claire's classroom. This was so fun as it reminded me of my old days working in the schools. I guess I've been at school alot, because all but a couple kids recognized me as "Claire's mom" and enjoying showing off their reading skills for me. I am impressed by the level of advancement these 5-year-olds are at...amazed too. Claire and about 4 others in her class have mastered every list so far this year, and most of the others are not too far behind.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Happy Birthday Landon!

My little man...rough and tumble, sweet and kind, loving and silly, all boy, but yet still momma's baby, turns the big 3 today. Although he'll tell you he already is 3 (he turned 3 at his birthday party), we discussed that this is the day he was born. He listened to me tell the story, my eyes glistening with memories. He asked a couple questions: What was I wearing? Did someone bring me a truck? Where's the party?; then moved on to playing without much ado. It seems like only yesterday I was living those memories, and extending our family +1. Now he's a big boy, with his own agenda. Happy Birthday Sweet Boy!

The Kiddos Performance

Both kids participated in the Christmas program at our church this last weekend (see video). They both did really well, considering some of the obstacles that beheld them! At the rehearsal, Claire refused to say her speaking lines, and by the the afternoon of the performance had negotiated with the director for her to stand on stage and sing as long as the director said Claire's lines for her! This is what happened and Claire sang and smiled beautifully. Landon was a lamb. He had to wear large lamb ears. 'Nuf said. Landon stood up there the whole time, and although he played with his ears diligently, he didn't take them off! I think blankie helped with this situation! Anyway, it turned out cute and was a relief to be done!

Claire & Landon's Church Christmas Program

Monday, December 8, 2008

Landon's Special Day

Landon doesn't turn three until tomorrow, but Saturday was his special day! Landon and Daddy went to the fire station first thing Saturday morning, (see Right up their Alley). They came home, ate a little lunch, and then the whole family went to Gymboree Play and Music to celebrate with some of Landon's friends. The kids played and ran around, then a teacher stepped in to round up the chaos and sing songs, do a parade, go down the "birthday slide", play parachute and much more. The children all enjoyed a train cookie cake, with Wow Wow Wubbzy driving, before heading on their way. Landon had so much fun...and Mommy was amazed at how well he played with everyone who attended. The only thing he asked for was not to have everyone sing happy birthday to him, he just blew out his candles and that was it!
(see the video for highlights of both)

The day was not over, however. We left from the party to go immediately to church for the Christmas program rehearsal. This was a little much for two tired kids, and Landon was asleep before we made it home. He slept until it was time to go to the Symons' house to celebrate Thanksgiving. We had to rearrange these plans from the week before, but it was just as enjoyable as doing it during Thanksgiving week. We celebrated Scott and Landon's birthdays while there, and had fun watching them both open their presents. A busy day, but so much fun!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Landon's Birthday

Right up their alley

Claire's KG class made gingerbread houses Friday at school. Perfect for Claire's fetish for sweets. Parents were allowed to come in and help and it was so much to watch these kiddos "express" their creative side with candy and frosting! They actually did not eat as much as most of the moms thought they might; I guess because they were so busy making the house! However, since the house came home, Claire has been sneaking pieces off to eat!

Daddy took Landon to the fire station Saturday morning. Perfect for Landon's fetish for fire trucks. Geoff said Landon was quiet and shy, but listened intently to everything the firefighter giving the tour said. It was cool because Landon and Geoff were the only one's there, so he got special treatment (Geoff arranged this). Landon was able to sit in the truck, turn on the light and try on a hat for size. The smiles in the pictures tell me even if he wasn't running around like his normal self, he was certainly enjoying every minute!

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Christmas Spirit

I'm finally feeling the Christmas spirit...it took way longer than usual this year. I think some of the extenuating circumstances that have happened to my family may have something to do with it. But maybe more than that; I just feel too busy to stop and enjoy the season. Finally today I made myself do it. I stopped and remembered what Christmas is all about. My children mostly tuned me in to this. It's not about me feeling rushed to get up the decorations, or about the few people left on my gift-buying list that I have no idea what to get, or the fact that we have things going on constantly in our lives relating to Christmas. It's about my children's faces when I do get the decorations up, Claire actually enjoying buying things for the children on the angel tree, Landon understanding the food drive at his school, and enjoying the family time that we do have together. I know I'm getting mushy, but sometimes that's what it takes to make the Christmas spirit arrive in your heart. It's there now, that illusive spring in my step, the smile on my face and the joy in my body that says "Merry Christmas". I hope everyone reading this has found that place too, and if you haven't gotten there yet, my wish is that you feel it soon.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

What we did today...

This was just an usual day, with the usual things: school, Gymboree, homework. But we did some other fun stuff that was too cute not to blog! First thing this morning, I put up my new Uppercase Living sets on the wall. I got two different ones, but the one over our bed is my favorite! Second, the kids made our annual gingerbread masterpiece. We had fun being creative this year, and not having to do it "by the directions" (Claire), which means just like the box. Lots of giggling and sugar later, well, you can see for yourself! Lastly, the kids are working on their letters to Santa. There's been a lot of talk, but not much action. So this evening, I pulled out all of the toy catalogs I've received (which is about a forest full) and let them start circling. They were so funny, sitting on the couch, telling each other if that was good or not, showing each other toys they thought the other might like and circling like mad! This went on for about 20 minutes...no kidding! The letters are still not written, because mean Mommy said they probably should cut the list down from around 30 toys to about 5. There was an uprising and nothing else done about it! Good times on just a regular day.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Our Thanksgiving Trip

What a whirlwind! We left for Kansas right after Claire was out of school on the Friday before Thanksgiving. We went to Gram and Poppy's, where we celebrated Thanksgiving Saturday. Uncle Frank fried turkey, and we ate all the fixings with Unkie and Staci, too. Unkie even made apple pie! We also celebrated Landon's birthday, with birthday pie and opening presents. We spent the next couple of days visiting Grandma Svitak, riding Barney, making cookies, riding Barney some more and playing with Landon's new toys.
Tuesday morning we left for Wichita, where Lucy was waiting at Nana and Papa's ready to play! The kiddos played all afternoon, and we celebrated Landon's birthday with Ling and Hoopy that evening. More presents and a yummy firetruck cookie later, the kids were off to sleep. However, that evening I received sad news. My Grandma Svitak had passed away that evening. Wednesday morning, we played at Lucy's house in their new basement and ate cinnamon rolls. We were headed back to Bentonville Wednesday afternoon, but instead made the trek back to Gram and Poppy's where Geoff met us Thursday. Thursday was spent cutting fresh greens for Gram's front porch, while Geoff and Frank made a run to Walmart for lights. By 10:00 Thursday night, Gram and Poppy's house was decked for the holidays. Friday and Saturday were spent with family, celebrating a life and mourning a death. Saturday evening we went back to Wichita for a little down time with the Hoopers. Sunday morning we ate breakfast at McDonalds before heading back to Bentonville. Other notes about the holiday: The turkey was good, even several days later! Landon had some kind of stomach bug pretty much the whole time we were gone. Claire enjoys climbing trees and figured out how to "steer" Barney. Cousins make some of the best playmates! McDonald's breakfast is better than I remember. It snowed pretty much the whole drive home Sunday. I hope everyone had a safe and memorable holiday, and Merry Christmas, for the season has begun!

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Thursday, November 20, 2008

The First Thanksgiving

Claire had a program today at school with all her fellow Kindergartner's. They sang songs, recited poems, and told the story of the first Thanksgiving. All the children were either pilgrims, Indians, or turkeys. They were adorable, and seemed to have lots of fun performing. Claire was a pilgrim woman ("Woman, not girl. There were not girls making the Thanksgiving feast, Mommy.") and played the part well. She knew all the lines and songs, but I think was so tired from getting up early that she was a little dazed! She was so excited last night that she woke up really early and it took it out of her! Hopefully we'll get the video posted in the next couple days for all to see bits and pieces of it. (Someday I will learn to do this task, but for now I rely on my hubby)

We are also preparing for our trip to Kansas. Both kiddos are really excited to see everyone and I think relax a little bit! I know Mommy's ready for the food and some relaxation myself! Well, we're off to Chuck E Cheese for a birthday party and a fundraiser (all at the same time)!!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Silver Dollar City

Our family made the trip to Branson MO Saturday to zoom through a sale at the Polo Outlet and then spend the afternoon and evening at Silver Dollar City. SDC is decked out with millions of lights and does beautiful displays for Christmas. But, if you didn't notice Saturday, it was FREEZING!!! Did this stop us? NO! We bundled up and enjoyed ourselves. Even after the rides were closed because of cold, we still rode the train, took in the new Frosty musical revue for kids and even enjoyed a couple indoor rides (Flooded Mine and Fire in the Hole). The kids had a blast, and mom and dad enjoyed spending time with our family. It was a trip that will not soon be forgotten...at least as long as the rosy cheeks and chapped lips are still visible!

Friday, November 14, 2008

When it's too quiet

The lunch discussion in our house is typically the same day to day, whether it is Landon or Claire. "What would you like to eat for lunch?" "Cheetos." "What do you want with your cheetos?" "Just Cheetos on a plate, Mommy." So adding a fruit, veggie, protein, anything besides our favorite orange carb has become sort of a battle. So the other day when Landon became really quiet and I couldn't find him, the pantry was the first place I looked. Here is how this moment transpired:

I opened the pantry door to find him sitting on the step-stool in the pantry with a bag of Cheetos open.
Mommy: "What are you doing Landon?"
Landon: "You no see me Mommy." (Classic Landon-line)
Mommy: "I see orange fingers and a Cheetos bag."
Landon: "I NEEDED these Mommy, I'm starving!"
Mommy: "How about something healthy with those Cheetos?"
Landon: "Please close the door now Mommy."
Which I did, right after I snapped a picture. Some things are better left behind closed doors!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

It's not always pretty...

Claire has seemed to have a couple rough weeks lately. Or maybe Mommy has. I'm not sure which way it is, but finally, yesterday, we had a GREAT day. We got through the morning without rushing and getting frustrated. The afternoon went smoothly with homework and dance. And the evening was relaxing with a quick dinner, bath, book and falling asleep. I was so thankful last night when I crawled into bed and realized I didn't have to yell or get mad or count to 10 at all yesterday. This morning, Claire woke up without issue and started eating breakfast. The morning went off without a hitch and as we were waiting for her ride, I commended her for having such a good day yesterday and a good start today. She looked at me with a grin and said "Momma, it's not always pretty, but I get the job done". I have no idea what that had to do with anything, but I thought it was funny that she made that quote!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Lucy's Here!!! (And Laney, Ling and Hoopy, too!)

Okay, so the kids were so excited about Lucy coming to visit this weekend, that we had to keep reminding them that the whole Hooper family was coming too! The kids had so much fun playing together! Friday evening we just let 'em play: dress up, trains, upstairs, downstairs...you name it, they did it (and of course a ranger ride)! Saturday we made a turkey and then tried to walk the mall, but it was bitterly cold, so we went to Fast Lane instead! We rode go karts, played games and turned in tickets for priceless care bears and candy! Claire and Lucy also won stuffed dolphins. We went to ChickFilA for lunch and then went home to rest and play some more. The evening was spent watching TV and taking a bath all together in the big tub. Sunday morning came too soon; tears were shed as the Hooper's left for home. But good memories remain of watching Laney roll and drool and of Lucy's dress up talents. Thanks for the visit!!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Being Thankful: By A 2-year-old

Yesterday Landon and I were watching some Noggin together when a snippet came up of Blue's Clues having a Thanksgiving dinner. They were saying what they were thankful for. As it ended, I asked Landon what he was thankful for. Without missing a beat, he responded, "Blankie". After a giggle, I asked what else he might be thankful for..."Milk" (the two things that were in his hands at that moment...and generally are not too far away when they are not in hand). I told him I was thankful for him, Claire and Daddy, thinking he might give me something sweet..."That's good momma", was all I got!

Claire's school is having a canned food drive for the food bank all week. I asked Landon if he was going to help me gather cans one morning this week when I had offered to help. He said he would and then inquired why we were doing it. I explained what a food bank was and how it was used. Landon asked, "Mommy, when we help, will we bring cans too?". I told him yes and then he said "I think we should buy all the cans at Walmart so everyone can have some food!". A humbling response by a toddler when us adults grumble and whine when we have to take the time to donate time or money to the cause of others in need! I am thankful...

Monday, November 3, 2008


I cleaned out a box of miscellaneous things yesterday that had been up in the attic. The kiddos grabbed on to it as quick as it was empty to make a club house/castle (depends who you ask) out of it. They had fun drawing and decorating and then playing inside of it. I don't have a picture of the actual playing with it, because I was the wicked witch/dragon. This was a very serious, very busy job! Also including a cute pic of the kids with Maddie. Maddie is able to jump on the chair from the ottoman now, and therefore she has been required to cuddle...A LOT, with whomever happens to be in the chair at the time!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Unkie and Staci come to visit

My brother, Fred and his wife, Staci, came to visit us yesterday. They stayed for just the day, but the we all had a great time playing and catching up! The kids pretty much kept them both busy until mid-afternoon, when we took a ride around Bentonville-Rogers. This is the first time they have made it down here to see us, so we thought they needed to see the "culture"! We took a couple Ranger rides, played outside and ate! It was great to see them, and the kids were sad when they left!

Halloween All Day!

Halloween was a busy day around here...but SO much fun! Landon's school had a parade and small party time. The parade was the greatest thing ever...for Landon. He thought he was hot stuff getting to show off his costume to the older kids. Claire's party was later. They also did a costume parade, which was a massive event considering 750 kids plus all the teachers and aides participated! Claire had fun at her party wrapping mummy's and making frames. We came home to rest for a little bit before heading to a neighbor's house for dinner. Then the group of kiddos there went on their very important excursion to get candy. Landon lasted for about 45 minutes, but Claire kept with it for a long time. After going through the loot, we headed into the culdesac across the street for some hot chocolate and play time (work off those sugar highs!) with more neighbors before heading to bed. Both kids understood the point of the holiday and participated this year; which made the parent's job of following them around a bigger treat than candy. Watching those faces light up and giggle as they said "trick or treat" was the best!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Tricks and Treats

Yesterday we did our preppy for Halloween. We made lollipop ghosts (that carved pumpkin is Papa's creation), an orange and brown layer cake, and of course, carved pumpkins! Geoff came home with a little extra treat for him...a Polaris Ranger. If you recall a while back, there were pics of rides on the Rhino. Well, we now have our own similar set up. Everyone is excited; yes, even me! We'll take it trail riding in various areas, and hopefully get some good use of it around the neighborhood.

Have a Happy and Spooky Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Trunk or Treat

Our family attended Trunk or Treat last night at our church. There was a petting zoo, smores-making, games, pony-carriage rides, and, most importantly, trunk or treating! If you are not familiar with this concept, everyone sets up their cars and trucks so that they can open the back and hand out treats as the kids walk around the parking lot. It was good fun for everyone!

(PS: Much to some of your disappointment, we did not get a video of the Thriller dance. We weren't thinking that far ahead and by the time we got everything ready, we couldn't go back!)