Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas Pictures

Surprised when he finally fell all the way through the drift.
All the way past my boots, mom!
Silly Santa and her elf...who looks like she belongs in Arkansas!
In front of Gram's tree.
Claire with her "head". It's real hair she can "do".
Jumping on the trampoline.
All the cousins waiting patiently to open presents.

What's in here...maybe Legos?

Christmas in Kansas

Our family loaded up and headed to Kansas to spend the Christmas holiday with our families. First stop was Nana and Papa's house. Papa had a surprise for the kids before they even opened their presents: A big jump house in the garage! The kids jumped and played until they were exhausted Tuesday and Wednesday. We also visited Ling and Hoopy's house, for a change of scenery to play. Christmas Eve morning everyone gathered in Nana and Papa's basement to open presents. The kids were all in their PJ's and seemed to enjoy handing out the presents before tearing into their piles! After everything was opened, the kids all went upstairs for a break while the adults reloaded for the BIG stuff...trampolines, a train table and a head (check out the pic!). The kids played all day long with their new loot, and made lots of memories. Two other memories for that day: Ling and myself had a stomach bug and, on a happier snowed! It would be a white Christmas in Kansas!

Christmas morning we went to Gram and Poppy's house. Uncle Frank was already there when we arrived, and Unkie and Staci (with soon-to-be baby boy cousin) followed close behind us. We opened presents that afternoon and immediately started charging the RC cars all the boys got in their stockings. The traditional "Silly Santa" appeared soon after the wrapping paper was cleared and we all enjoyed funny stories about things that happened in the past year and opened another round of gifts related to our "story". Once again, the kids played the rest of the day with new goodies and raced cars in the garage. One last memory for Christmas: Geoff got the stomach bug that night. We stayed and played the next day too, and actually went out and enjoyed the drifted snow in the backyard. Although it was just too darn cold to stay out too long! Gram then got the bug too, and with that we decided it was time to cut the trip short and head back to Arkansas. Although we had a wonderful time, we hated that the holiday was tinged with illness. Hopefully the new year will bring healthy days for all!

SHHH...It's a secret!

PARENTS: This could be a spoiler so don't let your children read this!!!!

Don't tell our secret...but Santa came early to our house this year! Our good buddy, the Hokie Elf, told Santa of our travel plans and Santa decided that he would make a special trip to our house so the children could open their presents in the comfort of their own home. This worked out well and the kids thought it was wonderful there would be no confusion come Christmas morning. The only rule from Santa was to not tell ANYONE! And our kiddos didn't! Both kiddos got what they wanted: Zhu Zhu pets, a karoake machine, and Legos, among other things! We don't actually have any pictures of our Christmas morning; only video. But you can be sure it was priceless!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Showin' Off

Several times during the year, Claire's dance studio has "observation week". The parents are invited to sit in the classes and watch their kiddos show off the new skills they are acquiring at dance class. This year, sitting through 2 1/2 hours of class was rough on Mommy's bum, and Landon's patience, but it's worth it when I get to really see Claire perform. She has made obvious progress this year. I think it's because she's in a room with mostly older girls for her first class. She listens and does what she is told. And to brag just a a good tapper, which is Mommy's favorite! We have to sit in the back of the class, so I didn't get any pictures of Claire's face...but this is a good one of her technique!

Party Time

Landon in the reindeer shirt he made from his hands and feet at school.
Landon's preschool class, minus one (she was sick).

The school Christmas parties were yesterday for both Landon and Claire. Landon's party started off with a little singing program for the parents. The kids sang "Jingle Bells", "Happy Birthday Jesus", and "We Wish You A Merry Christmas". It was very cute and Landon sang every word. Afterwards we all had lunch together. Claire's party was a bit more involved (for lack of a better word). Being a room mom, I had to be there early to set up, which took an hour. Why? Because the kiddos did two crafts, ate, played snowman bingo, snowman bowling, had a book exchange and gave their gifts to their teacher. It was a whirlwind, and made more so because of the "cottage" ie: trailer, that her classroom is in this year. I have no pictures because I was too busy! Both kids had fun and enjoyed their party time with classmates. Today is the last day of school for Claire before break, and she is ready for some time off!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Spirit of Christmas

I wish this could be a beautiful, sob story about some wonderful thing someone did for me, or that I did for someone else during this holiday season. It is not. It is only a silly from kiddos, who help me remember what the spirit of this time of year should be. I have needed to remind both of my kiddos several times what the spirit of Christmas truly is...that it's not presents, Santa or who is asking for what. It's been explained, and sometimes I wonder if it ever actually gets embedded in their little minds. I wonder no more...Claire and Landon were having a tiff the other day. Over what, I forget. But Claire told Landon something rude like "You don't get to play with me anymore". This was hurtful, and before I could say anything Landon stated "Sissy, that is not the spirit of Christmas!". Can't beat that!!! But then I also got a lecture, I guess because I was the innocent bystander. "Mommy, Christmas is about understanding what other people need and not always worrying about yourself. Claire's just not doing that!" Before he could stomp away I gave him a huge hug and a kiss, and told him to remind Mommy of that sometimes. He said "Mommy, you always do what I want, and what everyone else wants, so you already know that! Will you play Legos with me?" I said yes, of course!

Monday, December 14, 2009

My Little Man

Isn't it funny how the words "Momma's Boy" have a way of sounding harsh and cruel? "Daddy's Little Girl" doesn't sound nearly as bad. Why do I start my blog off this way? Because a Momma's boy is exactly what my little man is. And yes, he is MY little man. But he is also Daddy's big boy, and Poppy's little stinker and Papa's tank. And beyond the nicknames he is loving, kind and sweet. He can be frustrated and angry one minute, and telling you "I love you" with a huge hug attached the next. He does have a temper, that seems to be hanging on more and more as he gets older, but even when it gets the best of him, he is sure to be sweet soon enough. He loves to pretend play...with others and by himself. And unfortunately, anything can become a gun (ingenious, maybe, disturbing, yes!). He can be crazy silly, and quite the actor if the feeling catches him just right. He has lots of friends, and people who want to call him friend. And although he is sometimes shy, to the point of being rude, he will often warm up after a few minutes and become the cheerful, silly boy that everyone seems to love. He's my little boy, and growing up so fast.

Children's Christmas Service

Don't you love how Landon looks like he's reading the words?

Last weekend was the Children's service at our church. The children all dressed as someone or something that would have been at the nativity when Jesus was born. Claire chose to be an angel and Landon a sheep. They looked very cute and were actually quite ready to go do their part. Generally, the children led the congregation in songs during the service. Some children also read readings. It was heartwarming to watch all the kiddos singing Christmas carols and smiling at their parents in front of the church, and actually staying in one place during the whole thing...which I think was our Christmas miracle!!!!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Landon's 4th Birthday

Landon turned 4 on Wednesday. Yes, 4!!!! Hard to imagine. I will do a sappy, mothers-love blog soon, but right now I have been told by my 4-year-old to "put those party pictures on the blog so everyone can see how much fun it was!" (That is no joke; exact words!)
Landon on his bike. Are you surprised he's naked? You shouldn't be!!!! Tasting his cookie at school; it had a monster truck on it!
The whole gang at JumpZone!
Blowing out the candles on the Transformers cake!
Best buddies sharing some cake. All the kids' faces were blue...I'm sure the parents loved me for that one!

Wednesday morning Landon got his present from Mommy and Daddy: A new bike. It was so
frigidly cold outside that we broke the rules and let him ride it around the house. He also got a Transformers learning laptop from Sissy. At preschool that day, they had a little party for him. Mommy brought in a cookie cake and everyone sang. It was sweet. This, however, caused some confusion for my little man. "That was my party? I thought my birthday was tomorrow at JumpZone? Why am I 4 today but my party is tomorrow?" Try explaining party day logistics to a distraught 4-year-old!!! Anyway, Thursday evening we had his "real" party at JumpZone. 15 of his closest buddies came and partied with us, most of them being neighborhood playdate friends. And although one little kiddo ended up in the ER with a hurt arm (nothing was broken, thank goodness!) everyone had a super fun time. There was a Transformers cake, a special chair to open presents in, and Mommy didn't have to clean up afterwards! Landon stated "This was awesome fun, Mom!", so I guess that means we did good! After the party our family went to Red Robin for one last hurrah, ie: the waiters could sing to him. It was fun and memorable.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmas Parade

Saturday morning we woke up, made monkey bread, and then put lots of clothes on to go watch Claire be in the Bentonville Christmas parade with her fellow dancers. Friday evening, Claire and I went to the dance studio for a party where she exchanged gifts with teachers and helped decorate the float. The float theme was "Let It Snow" and so it was covered in snowflakes and the girls were all supposed to wear white. A lovely picture, but hard to do in the winter!!! No white pants to be found meant layers under the one pair of white leggings I could find. Claire was frozen solid by the end of the morning, but had a good time waving and singing. Landon enjoyed watching most of the parade too, although as you can see, he was also frozen! Today we wrote letters to Santa and included the wish lists. I make them chose 4 things they REALLY want with the preface that they won't get it all...I know, harsh. But gratitude is the name of the game in this house right now, and this is one more way to teach that lesson!!! (Will they get everything on their list? Absolutely, because nothing was outrageous this year!)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Old and New Traditions

It is a holiday tradition in our house to have an advent calendar...we are still using a Dora one Nana and Papa gave Claire several years ago. It has the perfect sized pockets for a small piece of candy each day. This year, however, in addition to the candy I added little pieces of paper with something written on them. It may be a craft, or some special family time activity, but they are all Christmas-themed. This has gone over well with both kiddos and we are having fun spending time together. Today's paper said "Christmas craft", and the kids picked the annual Gingerbread House. Beautiful, isn't it? I let the kids take the reigns this year and only helped keep icing distributed evenly. Our new tradition this year is a version of elf on the shelf. If you are unfamiliar with this, here is a short overview: Santa sends an elf to your house (think babydoll size to sit on a shelf) that watches you all day. Then at night it reports back to Santa about your behavior. He returns the next day somewhere new in your house. We have a "Hokie Elf"...seems right for our house, huh? The kids thought this was awesome since it was different than what they were expecting. You can only guess how this elf came to be, and I won't tell since my child may read this! Anyway, it has made my children sweet as pie, and if they are on the verge of becoming naughty, I just have to remind them of the elf, and all is well. Magical...