Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Jolly Old St. Nick

If you don't look super close, it almost looks like Ben is really enjoying himself on Santa's knee and just laughing it up, right? Wrong-o! As soon as I placed Ben on Santa's lap, Ben instantly burst into tears. Initially, I tried to distract him with a game of "peek-a-boo" but he quickly launched into full on blue-in-the-face meltdown mode, so I knew there was no hope of getting a photo of three smiling boys. I had the photographer take the picture quickly, and then rescued poor Ben. Two out of three--close enough:)

"She's a beaut, Clark!"

I'm just going to go ahead and say it. It's a sad, sad little Christmas tree...if you can call it that. Sorry, Mom, but it's the truth. When we told the boys on Sunday that we were going to decorate the Christmas tree, I think they were a little confused when, instead of heading to the farm, tromping through the forrest, and chopping down our beautiful twelve-foot live noble, Aaron brought down a small dusty box from the storage room and proceeded to pull out a crumpled, artificial "tree." Looking at the boys' puzzled expressions while Aaron "built" our tree, and then exclaimed, "She's a beaut, Clark!" (name that movie), I literally burst into hysterical laughter. But, you know what? For the first time ever, I think the boys really did have a great time decorating the tree! Since I couldn't care less about styling the tree just right or making it look just so, we just let the boys go to town with it and decorate it as they please. Put a third ornament on that same branch? Sure! Go ahead. Now I'm not saying I'm going to convert to the artificial tree and let the boys go willy-nilly with tinsel any time again soon, but maybe next year I won't get quite so caught up in making the tree just so, and let the boys join in on the decorating fun, too.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Christmas may be my very most favorite time of the year...the much anticipated trip to the tree farm to cut down our tree followed by a family tree-trimming party, decking our house with Christmas decorations inside and sparkling lights outside, and all the cozy nights enjoying family time, creating memories and enjoying traditions. Well...being that we're entirely homeless this month (visiting our Nana and Papa before we make our way to Utah), all of our possessions are currently being stored in a trailer 1000 miles away, Aaron spent the past three weeks out of town (leaving the boys and I to make our own fun), and the flu bug has already circulated once...this hasn't been the most traditional of Christmases. Bound and determined to make this Christmas-time special, despite our unique circumstances, the boys and I have been busy all month long with Christmas festivities:

What would Christmas be without baking? The boys got to help their Nana Grover make Christmas sugar cookies--good practice for our day 'o baking soon to come!

Our family was visited this year by one of Santa's elves, whom we named Donald. Donald has the special job of watching the happenings around the house all day long, and then reporting back to the North Pole at night to help Santa determine whether or not the boys make it on the "Nice List." Each morning, we find that Donald has been up to some little antics while we've been sleeping: snacking on milk and cookies, reading Christmas books, or riding the kids' train.

Here is one of the many little Christmas craft projects the boys and I have been working on together: handprint-reindeer that we mailed to my grandparents for Christmas cards. I'm going to turn those boys into crafters whether they like it or not! Right now, its looking like not.

We cap off most nights with a little treat (brownie sundaes are the favorite) and a family game of Uno or Bingo.

We are soooo happy to have Daddy back home!
A few other fun things we've been up to:
  • Carroling - Hank and Max LOVED going carroling!
  • Christmas parties
  • Polar Express Party with our best buddies....miss you guys already!
  • Making snowflakes and painting homemade ornaments
  • Service Project
  • Reading Christmas stories every night before bed
  • Watching Christmas movies - makes me laugh to hear the boys quote "Home Alone"
Ironically, I anticipated that I was going to have to work extra hard to make this Christmas special and create that magical Christmas spirit since we are without our home, our tree, and our belongings...but, it turns out, maybe Christmas isn't about any of those things after all! The perfect Christmas means simply being with the ones you love most, and that is what makes this my most favorite time of the year.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Hank's First School Pictures - Kindergarten 2011

And so it begins....the annual school pictures. Boy, I can think of some school pictures of my own that I wouldn't mind accidentally burning....say, like years 9 through 13. I cringe to think of some of my hairstyles (bangs?! really??) and outfits. But, nonetheless, those photos are priceless--humiliating, but priceless--as they capture my progression from childhood to adolescence. So, it is now Hank's turn to mark his journey with the annual school picture:

What a cutie! Hankie, I promise you, I will always do my best to send you to school on picture day in a clean outfit, with combed hair, and hopefully your school pictures will be more kind to you than they were to me:)