Thursday, December 25, 2008

Our toybox overfloweth...

Merry Christmas everyone! Hope your holiday was as fun as ours!! I'll start today's post with a look back at this past Saturday when we had our good friends, Jim, Julie and Hannah over along with Jim's son Ben. It's an annual tradition, we have a Christmas dinner together and exchange gifts. This year it was at my house so we could make use of our pretty new kitchen! Here we see the girls getting ready to open their gifts.

Luci goes nutty for her new Supermarket and "Ipod", while Drew got a new Webkinz horse, a Hannah Montana styling head and some cool new make-up!
Hannah reveals a gift certificate for American Girl stuff! I think she was pretty happy about it!
Fast forward to last night, Christmas Eve. As per our usual routine, we headed over to Dean's parent's house for dinner and gifts. Below we see all four Chinese cutie patooties sitting nicely with some gifts from Grandma and Grandpa.
And again posing with t-shirts advertising the school where Grandma works as a first grade teacher! L to R, Max,3, Luci,4, Sonja,4, and Drew,6.
Dean unfortunately came home from work with a stiff neck...insert your choice of joke here...and so fell asleep in the chair while under the influence of a prescription muscle relaxer. No I did NOT pose him like this on purpose!!
Back home, I took some "BEFORE" shots of loot they had yet to open!
They each got a pink Plasma car from Santa and Luci got a stick pony and Drew got an mp3 player from him as well.

Last night was not my favorite night of the year and here's why...the fates were definitely against me! So the girls went to bed at around 8:30pm after we arrived home from Grandma and Grandpa's house. They were actually very eager to go to bed as they wanted Santa to come soon! So once they were neatly tucked in after a story of "Twas the Night Before Christmas", I started working on the Santa gifts. I put together the Plasma cars and set everything up, drank some milk and ate some cookies and cheese, sure hope Santa didn't mind! I stuffed their stockings and headed upstairs to bed. As I'm walking up the stairs, I hear Drew coughing and sputtering in her bed. Crap! Gotta wait a little while longer before I place their stockings on their beds for them to find in the morning. No big deal, I usually watch a little tv before nodding off anyway. Not helping the situation was the wind storm going on outside. The rear door jamb in our new bedroom at the back of the house has been wrapped with Tyvek but has not been insulated, so the Tyvek acts like a reed when the wind blows across it and makes a lovely and very loud buzzing noise everytime it gusted! At about 1am, all was quiet in the girls' room, so I tiptoed in and put Drew's stocking on her bed (she has the upper bunk). The layout of their bed is such that you can't see Luci in her bed until you round the corner. So I rounded the corner and noticed that she was moving in her bed. I crept a little closer to see if she was just moving in her sleep, but quickly realized she was actually awake! Thankfully, I don't think she saw me, so I hurried back to my room and decided to wait a little longer. (Meanwhile, Drew's stocking is now on her bed!) So at 1:30am, I decided to try again. Just as I threw the covers aside, Drew started up another coughing fit! Argh!! So I sat in bed and listened as she got up, went to the bathroom and then went back to bed where she discovered, what else...her stocking! I listened as she rummaged through it for a little while and then I heard her whisper loudly, "LUCI......LUUUUUUUCIIIIII"! I'm in bed screaming to myself..."NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!", but what could I do??? Thankfully, Luci was out cold and didn't respond! At this point, I am barely able to keep my eyes open, so I decide to set the alarm on my phone for 3:30am hoping against hope that they'll both be out! 3:30 comes and I drag my tired butt out of bed when Dean asks, "What ARE you doing???" I proceed to give him the quick version as I'm again tiptoeing into the girls' room. They were indeed asleep, I left the loot and ran back to bed as quickly as possible before I kicked something and woke them up again. I deposited myself back into bed where I was greeted with, "Hey, as long as you're up...." from Dean. I told him better luck next time (well, that's not EXACTLY what I said, but I'd rather keep this clean!). about 7:30 this morning, I was rudely awakened by the sound of my dad chopping up kindling in the basement. At first I thougth the girls had snuck downstairs before us, but they were actually still sleeping! Eventually they got up and we all throuroughly enjoyed Christmas! I will thouroughly enjoy going to bed EARLY tonight!

Even the dogs get into unwrapping gifts! It's pretty funny, actually!

Yeah, Like I couldn't NOT get them some skull clothing!

Two Lazy Girls in two Lazy-Boys! These were just two of the millions of presents the girls received from Meema!
And below we see the "AFTER" shots! It was total carnage!

Luci hugs a few of the Webkinz she got for Christmas. Between the two of them, they now have 13 Webkinz! They were a hit, but I'm sure I'LL be the one having to feed them online! Oh well, whatever makes them happy!

Hope your day was great! Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas crafts, concerts and countertops!

Last weekend, Jim, Julie and Hannah came over for a visit and to do a Christmas craft. Here's Drew starting a centerpiece log.

Hannah's log is coming along.
And Luci's as well.
Jim cut down a small birch tree on their property and cut up enough so the girls could each make two. Drew gave one to Meema, Luci is giving one to Grandma and Grandpa and they eack kept one. Hannah gave one to her grandmother as well. Here are the finished masterpieces!
This past Tuesday was Drew's Christmas concert at school. Here's my little Nightengale in action. Of course she is in the front row as always due to her size. I think she's starting to understand how nice it is being so small...on the way into school this morning, a parent smiled at her and then said to me, "She's so tiny! Just gorgeous!" As we continued walking in, I watched Drew's face and she was grinning from ear to ear!
Hannah is also in Drew's class (multiage with first and second graders).
Each grade sang two songs and at the end of the show, the entire school came out to sing a reindeer rap. Drew was squeezed into a spot all the way to the left against the curtain.
Today was Luci's turn to sing! The UPK does their own mini-concert in the garden area of the school and has the kids stand on the steps to do their songs. Here's my other little nightengale! You'll notice she is NOT the shortest one in her class...the little one on her left is just like Drew in size!
One of these things is not like the others... Can you see Luci's beautiful skin amongst the ghostly pale of the rest of them?
I think it's safe to say that she loves her Daddy!
Luci with her teacher, Mrs. S and the classroom aide, Mrs. McC.
And last but not least...(drum roll please...) WE HAVE GRANITE!! Yay! Here are some shots of my beautiful new countertops!
Now of course I am *still* waiting for my range hood to be installed and now I'm deciding if I want to put tile or pressed tin up for the whole backsplash from fridge to the other side of the range. I can't decide which I'd like better. I've got a while to think about that as we won't be starting that little project until after Christmas I'm sure.

Anyway, in the near future we have a few plans in place...This Saturday is our annual Christmas dinner with Jim, Julie and Hannah, only this year it's at my place! Yay! Christmas Eve, we'll be going to Dean's parent's house for dinner and gifts, Christmas day will be spent here as per our usual routine.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ho Ho Ho!

It has become a tradition of ours to do a Christmas countdown every year. Some would call it an advent calendar, but since we're not religious it seems a little silly to do so. So ours is a Christmas countdown calendar! I bought a bunch of itty bitty stockings at the dollar store 3 Christmases ago and strung them on a rope with mini clothes pins numbered with the date. Usually the rope was tied up to a pole which traverses our livingroom archway, but I found that the more stockings the girls took down from one side, the more the other side sagged, so I cut the rope in half and hung it on a wall in our dining room instead. I put a few small pieces of candy, like one peanut butter cup each, or a couple of Kisses and a small handful of Skittles in them. Every third one also has a piece of paper in it with a number on it. When they open one of these stockings, they can open a small gift under the tree with that corresponding number written on it. The below 2 pics were shot this evening. It was Luci's turn to open the stocking, but Drew wanted in on the act, so I took a picture of her "faking it" taking down the stocking as well.

These 3 shots were taken last night after they opened the #3 gift which happened to be a pair of Slinkies. Here they demonstrate the "walks down stairs, alone or in pairs" move. They also got Slinkies last year but never really got into them. This year they love them!

On Tuesday, we started our annual tradition of making gingerbread houses. They couldn't finish them before bedtime, so I promised they could the next day. Incidentally, the next day was a snow day so they had all day to finish them. Here's where they stopped on Tuesday night.
And here are their finished masterpieces!
You can NEVER have too much candy on a gingerbread house!!
And this last shot was taken today. Luci was watching Noggin and the next time I came out into the livingroom, this is what I saw! Too cute!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas...

As a family, we attended a local Christmas party today held for families of employees who work at our local psychiatric center. Now, neither Dean nor I work here, but my mother has been playing Mrs. Claus at the party for several years and she was given permission to invite her grandchildren. Last year, the guy who usually played Santa for this party was unavailable, so Dean volunteered. The party organizers were so impressed with his performance last year that they asked him again this year and will probably ask him from now on! I agree, he makes the best Santa!! He has always been a kid magnet (what with being a large kid himself, I guess it comes naturally to him!) and rarely has a problem getting a shy kid out of his/her shell! Anyway, here are some shots from today. At the risk of being crude, I just HAD to inlcude this one!

All dressed up and ready to go to the party!
The girls pose in one of several decorated mini-houses used not only for play, but for decor as well. The party was held in the gymnasium of the children's unit.
Here, the girls sing Chrtistmas karaoke with Mrs. C (my mom).
Here's a cute shot of the girls after getting their faces painted. This was also after they finished eating some blue cotton candy! Yummy!
The C's and the girls!
After the party(and the local parade in town), my mom came back to our house and I posed them in front of our tree. How many kids get to boast that their grandmother is Mrs. Claus?? She looks forward to Christmas every year so she can volunteer for parties and for the parade. There aren't many people who dress up as Mrs. C, but if there were, I'm absolutely positive she'd be the best one there is! We have to remind the girls to call her Mrs. Claus and not Meema!