Sometimes when all of the Christmas festivities are over, and I'm left with a long stretch of winter ahead, I sink into a little bit of a post-Christmas funk. While I loved everything about Christmas, I'm ready to move on. We have so much to look forward to in the upcoming year that I can't help but feel excited about moving forward. How can I feel dreary when I get to be with my three favorite boys each day? As I reflect on 2009, and the new year approaching, I feel so grateful for my greatest blessings, my sweet little family.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Since this was the first Christmas that we've spent at our own house, Aaron and I had to make some major compromises to blend both of our family traditions. I think we were able to enjoy the best of both worlds...
For Christmas Eve dinner, we enjoyed a feast that would rival Thanksgiving, made up entirely of appetizers, cheeses, chips and dips, and all kinds of tasty snacks.
Afterwards, we sang Christmas songs, read a few stories, ending with the Bible story, and put the kiddos to bed in their brandnew jammies. Hank was so excited about all of the festivities that I'm surprised he was able to sleep at all.
Ever since I was a little girl, one of my favorite Christmas traditions has always been to bake (and EAT!) bunches and bunches of cookies and treats and then deliver the goodies to our friends and neighbors. This year, Hank and I made over 34 dozen cookies! Phew! It was a lot of work! I hate to say it, but even I am feeling a little O.D.'ed on chocolate--and thats saying something.
Some of our favorites were the peanut butter truffles, russian teacakes (Aaron's request), peanut butter blossoms, chocolate crinkles, pretzel turtles, toffee bars, and 7 layer bars.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
As a tradition, each year we take the kids to the mall to visit Santa Claus and have their picture taken. This year, we stepped up our game. Big time. Hank, Max, my wonderful mother-in-law-"Nana Grover," and I, rode the light rail from Tukwila to Seattle to see The Real Santa at Nordstrom's.
If you know one thing about Hank, you know that he is positively obsessed with trains. He loves them. It would be an understatement to say that Hank was in heaven. He was so alert and attentive, watching out his window, completely fascinated during the entire ride.
Friday, December 18, 2009
Last night I took Hank on a date, just the two of us. Sometimes in all the hustle and bustle of our daily routine, I'm not able to take the time that I would like to just give Hank my undivided attention. So, last night we just hung out together! I thoroughly enjoyed his company. First, we went to the toy store and Hank got to buy a Christmas present for Max. I had to explain to Hank that the present was not for him, it was to give to Max, so he should pick out something that Max might like. Hank had a hard time passing up the dinosaurs and trucks (toys that he would like himself), but in the end, he deciced to buy Max a corn-popper toy that I know Max will love! I was proud of him for choosing something that Max would like all by himself. I wanted Hank to understand, in a small way, what it feels like to give, since I know he will be spoiled rotten on Christmas Day. Afterwards, we stopped at Baskin Robbins for an icecream treat. Hank was in heaven with all the delicious ice-cream choices. I held him up to the counter and told him what each flavor was and let him sample a few. In the end, he chose a chocolate milkshake with Mike 'n Ikes on top, a popular combination I'm sure. Thanks for the fun date, Hank!
Monday, December 14, 2009
So, next year I vow to get all of the prep-work done while the kids are in bed and then do the fun part, putting up the ornaments, together the next day. We tried to decorate the tree on Sunday but by the time we hauled the tree in the house, messed around with the base until it was sturdy and straight, wrapped it in lights, and then covered it in garland, we were definately not feeling too merry. So, we called it a night and picked back up where we left off for FHE tonight and got to do the fun part--the ornaments.
Tonight was Hank's Joyschool Christmas Program. The kids have been working really hard all month long to learn songs and practice their parts for the nativity program. Unfortunately, our rascally three-year-olds get distracted easily and the performance turned into more of a wrestling match, but, nonetheless, it was definately a cute little performance that I will remember forever.
I pretty much did a solo on our opening song--the kids sang about every fifth word while I did all the hand motions like a crazy person.
Hank has been talking about riding the choo-choo train at the Red Barn Tree Farm since we went there last year. So, it was a pretty big deal to Hank on Saturday when we got to go to the Red Barn Tree Farm again to ride the choo-choo train and cut down our Christmas Tree.
To beat the crowds, we hit the tree farm early. It was FREE-E-EZING cold outside!
Our family has been trying to invite the Christmas spirit by doing one Christmas activity together each night of the month. A few of the fun things we've done together so far: deck the house with Christmas decorations, sing Christmas carols, drive around to see Christmas lights, bake treats, drink hot chocolate, and read Christmas books. One of our favorite activities so far was when we had a slumber party together on Friday night. We blew up the air mattress, snuggled up in our jammies with our pillows and blankets, and watched Christmas movies together. Hank loved it!
We still have so many fun things left to do on the list: family service project, visit Santa Claus, deliver Christmas goodies, and the soup party!
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Last weekend we made the seven-hour drive to my parents' house in Oregon to spend Thanksgiving with my mom and dad, my sister Amy, and her baby, Jasper.
I was a little nervous about how the kids would fare on the long road trip, so I packed a few tricks up my sleeve: movies, treats, and surprises from the dollar store to keep the boys busy. They did great! They both watched a movie, Max took a long nap, and Hank really enjoyed watching and commenting about all the scenery (particularly every tractor, train, or emergency vehicle we passed along the way). The road trip was actually one of my favorite parts of the entire vacation because we really just got to be together and enjoy each others' company.
Monday, November 30, 2009
I don't know what I was thinking. I had this crazy idea that we could all be have our picture taken together as a family. I even fantasized that we could use this hypothetical picture for an upcoming Christmas card. Hahaha. Silly me. Us? A family picture? You mean everyone looking at the same place all at once? Ha!
This is the best we got. Out of the literally 100s of pictures we took, this is it. So, here are a few of the rejects that you won't be seeing in the Christmas card. Actually, these probably show a more true sense of our family than any picture-perfect posed photo anyways...