Tuesday, December 31, 2013

christmas 2013 {before 2013 is over!}

I was a horrible photographer this year, so I don't have much to show for it (except really I do because Ben took lots of video of the morning), but Christmas was lovely.

On Christmas Eve we baked cookies for Santa, wrapped some presents, went out for Chinese and to the first half of the Christmas Eve service (before Owen and Bob started getting too unruly), then home for some carols by candlelight before stories (The Night Before Christmas, The Spirit of Christmas, and the Jesus Storybook Bible) and bedtime.  Bob had been telling us for days that he was going to stay up all night and see Santa, or at the very least he'd hear footsteps and sneak downstairs in time to see him pop out of the fireplace, but by the time he was to his bed he was too exhausted to think about it.  There was a quick attempt at grabbing A Christmas Story (a super sweet book about Mary and Joseph's donkey's baby with gorgeous illustrations, by Brian Wildsmith) off the shelf after I left his room, but I caught him and he went straight to sleep.

our little elf left a couple of small gifts at the breakfast table on Christmas Eve...

 Owen kept tearing the paper into little bits even after the present had fallen out...
 Bob could use an entire roll of tape and bag of bows on a single gift if left to his own devices...
 play doh and pizza...
 baking cookies for santa...
Owen reading his fortune out loud (he likes to copy Bob and pretend he can read too)...
 our makeshift candlelight service, since we didn't last through until the lighting of the candles at church...

And then we had our traditional late night cousin Christmas Eve with Nate and Erica, where we eat and drink and play games and half-watch Elf and finish off the kids' gifts and set them up all cutely.  This year's game was a masterpiece made by yours truly for Bob and O's cardboard gift of the year - and it was a hit, for adults and littles alike.  (See pics at the end of the post.)  We painted a chalkboard race track on the coffee table, wrapped up the new hockey goals and sticks and balls, filled the stockings.  Stuck bows to the new step stools (red for Mario-Bob and green for Luigi-O), and set everything up just so under and around the Christmas tree.

We finally wrapped things up and said goodnight around 2:30am or so, and I was so exhausted I didn't even take a single photo of the scene.  But as tired as I was, I couldn't resist snapshots of my babes with visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads.  (Owen had already awoken and was nestled in our bed by now.)

I forget whether Bobby or Owen woke first, but much too early and not a moment too soon they were both climbing over and between us on the bed, and pulling presents and goodies out of their stockings on the "puppy bed" on the floor.

Eventually we lugged ourselves downstairs and started slowly picking through the present pile.  The boys were so sweet, wanting to play with each toy for a while before remembering there was more to open.  Us parent folk actually had to hurry things along a bit so we could get the turkey in the oven on time.  Yep, we hosted Christmas dinner in the log cabin.  What could be cuter?  The rest of the day is a blur of cooking, playing, relatives arriving and more presents, eating, chatting, and later on watching The Sing Off with Ben's mom and bro, in town for a Christmas visit.

my cousin jake picked up my camera and snagged this lovely shot of me climbing on the island trying to get the turkey out of the roasting pan...
 as promised, the mario bros game pics...

And then suddenly the next day I was back to scooping mac and cheese and portioning out nuggets.  But nonetheless, it was a beautiful holiday with so much to be thankful for.

Monday, December 23, 2013

holiday time

It's holiday time!  We've been into the spirit since Thanksgiving.  Went out to New York for Thanksgiving day, got our tree on Saturday, then had Sunday Thanksgiving at our house.

The past few weeks have been sweet -- spending day and night under twinkling lights, cutting paper snowflakes and making white paper chains, sending out Christmas cards, listening to the music and drinking the cocoa that make this season feel so cozy, enjoying tons of Christmas stories and advent readings and little treats, planning and making and buying and wrapping presents.

It's not all Hallmark movie around here, though...  As fun and exciting and magical as it is to experience Christmastime with a four year old, it's also at times frustrating and sad -- when we talk so much about giving but can have trouble seeing past the getting.

Another little hiccup in life: Ben got laid off this winter and so I've picked up a little part time job at the ski resort up here as the midweek kids program lunch "attendant" (read: lady).  I open up shop, clean the cocoa machine, heat and serve the food (to the ski instructors, not the kids), clean up, lock up.  It's vaguely reminiscent of my college days at Gillies Cafe.  Mostly strange; mostly I just kept cracking up at the whole thing.  Oh, so I'm leaving my home occupation of feeding and cleaning up after my two beloved little ones to do the same for 350 little ski vacationers instead?  I haven't had that many kids yet; I've only done two days -- one for training and the second I was in charge.  (Except the sixteen year old kid assisting me knew everything there was to know about the place, so I was the head lunchlady but really he was showing me the ropes.)  On my "training" day there was some difficulty finding someone who actually knew what I was supposed to do and how to do it, but eventually someone convinced 70 year old Ralphie to give me the rundown.  He had some interesting techniques -- like pre-heating the water for the steam table in a small bowl in the microwave -- but he showed me where to find the supplies and let's be honest: it isn't rocket science.  I got the idea.

very satisfied after making his own BLT
Day one was laughable but day two was a little hard.  When I went to pick up my mac and cheese from the kitchen I found a five gallon bucket full in the warmer.  I pulled it out and that crap was heavy.  My pregnant lady self was like, heck no.  "How should I get this 50 pound deadweight down to my kitchen three buildings and five sets of slippery outdoor steps away?"  Answer: "Carry it."  So I did.  Or I tried.   I made it out the door and down the first three sets of steps -- I had to stop and put it down a few times and every time I picked it up again, or actually the entire time, that sucker was killing my back.  As I endeavored the tears welled in my eyes until I reached the top of this giant double staircase and I just imagined the giant tub of macaroni and bag cheese bouncing down and spilling all over the steps, followed by me breaking myself and my baby -- and fortunately at that moment a ski instructor type man must have seen the look on my face and offered to help.  And I gratefully accepted.  It was all I could do to not burst into tears.  Somehow I held it together until I was able to sneak off to the bathroom and compose myself.  (I will not be carrying that bucket again; if they try to make me I'll dump it on the floor.  Just kidding, I wouldn't.)  I don't know why the scene made me so emotional -- it's just that it sucks to start a new job a few days before Christmas, it's kinda like an un-vacation and has sucked out some of my spirit.  And being away from my boys to carry mass amounts of nasty cheese sauce -- it's hard not to ask myself, Why?  And plus there's the pregnancy hormones, which can put my emotions all over the map anyway.  So.  Feelings will happen.  They're happening.

It's just two nights 'til Christmas Eve, and Bob's glee at that thought tonight at dinner was enough to make me grin from ear to ear.  Another big smile-inducer: Owen's urgent "Santa!" exclamation as his little finger stabs at the drawings in our books.

meeting santa at community christmas: "Santa, do you remember me from last time?!"
... and sharing his request: a new Mario game

I love the branches down low with six ornaments on them
I'm super excited for the next few days, even if I will be scooping a few hundred portions of mac and cheese.  So sweet and magical, this time is.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

ultrasound + blood + xray {+ so much less dramatic than it sounds}

We saw little one yesterday.  I went in with Bob and O for the 20ish week anatomical survey ultrasound.  Meaning: we got to hang with our not-yet-born baby for a while.  It's always amazing to me.  Getting the chance to see what he's up to in there -- seeing him drink, and put his hands to his face, and kick and cross and stretch his little legs.  We've decided to keep Baby Tiki's gender a secret this time around just because, why not?  Good surprises are all too rare in adulthood.  Plus I really want Ben to shout, "It's a whatever!" in the delivery room and then run out to the waiting room with the pink or blue cigars.  Maybe I'll videotape the final moments so we can get a shot of him catching the baby and making the proclamation viewed between my legs.  Don't worry, I'll be sure to youtube that right up.  Or maybe I'll get an iphone so we can have a live feed going.

The boys were mildly interested in the ultrasound, far more interested in terrorizing the room and trying to crush themselves with a hospital bed.  Then later in the doctor's exam room: riding the stirrups like horses.  (Dr. B: "Well, he's very agile, isn't he?")  All considered, though: they were angels.

Poor Bob had to go after that for a second round of blood testing.  (No problems, except a little concern over his height; not concerns from us -- his pediatrician just wants to rule some stuff out.  Everything except, that's how God made him and he's just perfect, I guess.  Which is what we've known all along.)    This time around I opted not to tell him it was coming.  Last time I did, which led to many tears of anticipation along with absolute wailing as I held him in a vice grip on my lap.  So this time I let him pick out a toy while we did our grocery shopping, telling him that later we had to do something not fun so I wanted him to have something special.  We put some lidocaine ointment on his arms to numb them, then 45 minutes later we're waiting in the lab for our beeper to go off and he's asking, "Mom, do you have to get your blood drawn?"  I told him no but let him enjoy his ignorance until the last second, when we went back and I picked him up and sat down on the chair and told him, I'm really sorry we have to do this again, but the ointment on your arms is to make them not hurt, remember?  So this poke won't even hurt, and don't forget about your new Donatello costume, you look so tough with your headband (he couldn't hold the stick because I feared for the poor girls stealing his blood)...  And the screaming commenced and continued and I squeezed him tight and tried my best to comfort him.  Blood flow slowed to a drip in his first arm so they had to switch and poke him again.  Torture.  "This is not fun!" the poor boy yelled.  And Owen was wandering off playing with syringes or test tubes because there weren't enough hands on deck to keep him under wraps as well.  But we all survived, and the techs laughed as we left and Bob called out between sobs, "Bye -- I hope I never see you again!"  And then we went to get an m&m cookie.

Just an average day in the life of any parent: beautiful moments, followed by screaming and heartache, and then hopefully cookies.

an x-ray to determine bob's bone age {normal range}
parking garage roof

Thursday, December 5, 2013

a roundup roundup

I've got all these browser windows open right now with things I want to refer back to.  Bookmarks and whatnot don't really work out for me because I completely forget them.  SO, lucky you, I'm sharing.  Enjoy this roundup of roundups from around blogland.

#1.  An all boy gift guide from Shannon at the Scribble Pad.  I've got my eye on the SmartMax and the trampoline for Bob and O.  -->

#2.  A parenting book roundup from Sara at Bonzo, Chooch, Mushy & Me.  Some I've read, some not.  Some I've been wanting to read for a while.  Might have to add a few to my Christmas list.  -->

#3.  A post about "Kindness Elves" as an alternative to the Elf on the Shelf, with a list of other acts of kindness ideas for toddlers and preschoolers at the end. -->

#4.  A list of the family at Clover Lane's favorite toys -- Sarah is a mother to six, four of whom are boys, and one of the wisest mom bloggers I know of, so I totally trust her judgment on this.  -->

#5.  Another Bonzo Chooch book list -- Christmas books this time.  We celebrate a Christian Christmas, but I like to have a mix of Jesus and non-Jesus books to read.  I love to embrace the magic-Santa-reindeer-goodwill side of Christmas along with the Nativity.  Nancy Tillman is one of my favorites, so I think we'll definitely have to add The Spirit of Christmas to our collection this year.  {I think I should give you a list of my own faves, too!  Won't make any promises, but I'll try!}  -->

#6.  Ok, do you know about Lennon and Maisy Stella?  Goodness, I love these girls and I could listen to them sing anything.  I made a little playlist of my personal youtube faves for you... I don't actually watch Nashville but I love the Lennon and Maisy performances.  I've been listening to 'A Life that's Good' on Spotify; even though it's not a Christmas song it fits the spirit for me.  -->

#7.  Last one.  A free holiday font roundup from lil blue boo, for all your Christmas printmaking.  -->

Hope you liked my roundup roundup and found a little something of interest!
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