Monday, December 31, 2012

Boxing Day 2012

We don't have any traditions for Boxing Day. Nor did we really make any this year. Mark got off Christmas Eve and Christmas Day but had to work on Boxing Day. My poor brother got sick. I had been fitting a cold that I'm sure my sons gave to me. It think I shared it with Josh. He can't say I didn't ever give him anything. ;) He spent the day mostly sleeping. Reading some. But mostly sleeping. Of course he choose to sleep on our chair cause gong to lay down in his bed would be admitting that he was sick . Silly boy.

The boys and I spent the morning playing their new games. We had lots of fun playing board games. Then they went outside while I drank coffee and tried to relax. This can be difficult when everyone comes in (one after another) needing to go potty while being all bundled up in snow gear. Think A Christmas Story. I swear Aiden came in not two seconds after he walked out the door. I did spend a few minute outside taking pictures of them playing. Snowball fights were of course part of the deal

 As were making snow angels.

 And laying on their tummies and eating snow right off the ground. Good thing by this point there was a think layer. Builds up their immune system. Right?

The afternoon was spent up on the landing playing with their new legos. Mostly it turned into me putting them together and the boys playing with them.

It was a nice restful day. Not what I had planned. I had wanted to take everyone bowling. Do something fun with Josh around.

 But in the end it was a perfect day. If you ignore the fact that Josh was sick. For me though I had a great time with the boys. Playing, watching them play and watching the beautiful snow.

 A good way to spend the 2nd Day of Christmas.

Christmas morning- 2012

I feel very blessed. My boys slept till almost 8:30 on Christmas morning.  Of course they didn't get to bed till 10pm the night before. (I feel like I should say I feel blessed for more than this which is true but not exactly relevant with where I'm going here) And on a normal day they are usually not up before 7am so 8;30am felt good. Mark and I laid in bed till 9 so the boys had to play on the landing till then. But at 9am we couldn't contain them anymore and let them run downstairs to wake up Uncle Josh and start our morning. Shouts of "Santa was here!" could be heard. It was kinda funny in my opinion. See bottom of previous post for a short snippet on my thoughts of Santa. Mark got the cinnamon rolls in the oven (Pillsbury for us and Udi's Gluten Free for Cai), I made coffee, and Josh tried to wake up. We then got to open our stockings. The boys got new hats and mittens.

 Mark and Josh got new socks. Everyone got candy from Grandma Cindy and of course our traditional new toothbrush.

 Ian and Cai's light up for 60 seconds so they know how long to brush. So cool.
After stockings we started the gifts from under the tree. The boys had a hard time waiting, but we made everyone take turns opening a gift.

For the boys we started with the gifts they got each other. My grandma had given them money with their new ornaments. Last year we took them shopping after Christmas to pick out their own gift/toy. This year I wanted to start a new tradition. I wanted to start teaching them that in addition to them getting gifts at Christmas part of the joy of Christmas is giving to others. That we give gifts because God gave us the gift of Jesus. So we sat them down to talk about this and that they were going to get to pick out and give a gift to their brother. Ian to Cai, Cai to Aiden, Aiden to Ian. It was fun to help them watch their brothers open the gift they gave.
Cai gave Aiden a Lego boat and a new board game
Ian gave Cai a remote control car
Aiden gave Ian a whistling nerf football and Mario checker set
Mark and Aiden watching Ian opening his gift
I gave Josh a new book and a new hoodie from
My favorite gift I gave Mark as the nerf gun I got to shot at the cat when they are getting into things they should not.
The boys gave him a new xbox controller for the computer hooked up to the tv. 
The boys got me new earrings Mark had them pick out at our Farmer's Market. They are really cool. 
Mark got me a Stir Crazy popcorn popper and a Death Star tea infuser!
The boys got lots of gifts. Legos from both my mom and my dad, plus a car track for Aiden, a new Angry Birds game from my dad. Star Wars books from Uncle Josh, new Christmas dvds from my mom that we opened early so they could watch them on Christmas eve and stay out of our hair. :) We saved the gifts from Mark and I till the end. This year I stole an idea from a friend of my mom's. We gave 3 gifts based on the gifts of the magi. The Frankincense Gift is a family gift. This year we got two board games for the boys to all share. 
Heroica has been a big hit. Ian likes the Catan JR game but the other boys get bored easily with it still. Another year or two and they all will like it hopefully. 
 The Myrrh gift is a Practical Gift. Ian and Cai got jeans because all but one pair of their jeans has holes. 

Aiden got new shoes because as the third kid (and sometimes fourth to wear them) most of his shoes are worn out. His favorite pair the sole is coming apart. 
The Gold Gift is something the boys REALLY want. Aiden got a ukulele cause he has been wanting a guitar.
Cai got new legos. Sadly my mom and I had the same idea and got him the same set. I gave him the choice of keeping both or exchanging one for something else. This last weekend we took one back to ToysRUs and let him pick out something else. He picked out a skateboard and a set of 9 matchbox cars. He was very excited. 
I was very pleased with Ian's gold gift. I had taken the boys one at a time to Target to great Christmas lists for Grandparents. Ian stood in front of the Knex Mari Kart tracks for a very long time. And the track he really really wanted was the Bowser track with the chomper. So that is what we got him. He was so excited. The look on his face was so very much worth it. 
Sadly I don't feel the track works as well as I think it should. But he still likes it so it's ok. 
I can't forget that cats. The boys and I went and got a couple new cat toys for the cats. The catnip toy still is fought over by the two. 
Silly kitties. It was a great Christmas. Follow our awesome gift opening we got ready for our big meal that evening. Mark played board games with the boys. Uncle Josh and Ian got to play MarioKart on the computer. And I cooked. Then Mark's family and our friend Jorden came over for dinner. Family, friends, good food and awesome new toys. Couldn't ask for more. We are so very blessed. 

Christmas Eve 2012

If you are following this blog you might be getting a ton of updates. I'm trying to record my December/ Christmas memories before the New Year. Which if you take a look at the calendar is tomorrow. Nothing like leaving everything to the last minute. One of these days I'll brake that habit. No wait, probably not. My brother Josh just tells me I'm turning into our Aunt Kay. There are worse things. 

Anywhoo, Christmas Eve couldn't come quick enough for the boys. For Mama it could have given me alittle more time. I spent the day working on any and every dish I could get done for Christmas dinner the next day. Plus cleaning. Lots of cleaning. Just because my family knows I'm a horrid housekeeper doesn't mean that I can't have a clean house for Christmas. By the way, I had a clean house for Christmas! Didn't take much after the our morning opening gifts. But that's another story, isn't. 

After our dinner of leftovers, we read our Advent devotional. For the last two years we have been using "Do You See What I See?: A devotional seek and find book for Advent" by Arden Mead and David Mead. I don't hate it. And the boys seem to enjoy searching for the item each day (it's different every day). After that we opened our Christmas Eve gift. In my family growing up it was tradition to get one gift on Christmas Eve. Mom picked it out, us kids didn't get to choose. And every year it was the same "thing." A new pair of pjs. I have continued the tradition with the boys. Last year I made the bottoms to their pjs. This year I decided to go ahead and buy them. Part of me was sad by this, but in the end I'm glad I did. I'm not sure I would have gotten them done if I was trying to make them.

Ian and Cai got Mario pjs. They were very excited. Not to mention adorable in matching pjs. 

Aiden got Lighting McQueen from Disney's Cars. He too was very excited. Of course when you ask him what his pjs are he says "White Queen" Still working on his speech. But he is getting better. 

Mark got a pair of fleece pants from Old Navy. I had gotten him a pair several years ago and they were his favorite. But last year when we went skiing they got stolen while he was at the hotel pool. These are not quite the same, but he still likes them. Ian and Aiden picked out a Star Wars shirt for him to go with the pants. It has Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader on it. For my brother Josh the boys picked out navy blue flannel pants with green snowflakes. I got him this shirt at  It was perfect for him. 

My new pjs were WonderWoman themed. I got a WonderWoman bathrobe. Mark and Josh say I looked like a boxer with it on. :) My new WonderWoman nightgown has a blue cape! And I got knee high WonderWoman socks with little red capes on the back. They are awesome. Because the nightgown was sleeveless and Mark wanted me to be able to wear it in winter, he found me thigh high blue socks. They are awesome and very warm. It was the most wonderful pj set.
I wore the WonderWoman socks to the Field Museum on Thursday. 
After opening our gifts we got ready for Christmas eve service. It was a very nice service. Our Advent theme has been how we move from scarcity to abundance through God's mercy. I enjoyed it. Although Josh joked that with all our standing and sitting it felt like a Catholic service. Just missing the kneeling. 

Following the service we got the boys changed into their pjs and headed over to a friend's house for a Christmas Eve party. Tons of food, good friends, wine and beer. We had a great time. Plus it was a nice way for me to introduce my brother to many of our friends from church. Hopefully he didn't have to awkward of a time. Then it was home and to bed. Where Ian and Cai told me that "Santa was coming." This year the boys really brought home the idea of Santa. Which if fine. Mark and I have been pretty passive about the whole thing. My thought are I don't mind if they believe in Santa, but I wasn't going to be the one to push said belief. I try very hard to balance the image of Santa with images of Jesus and God. I figure both can hold true if you do it right. The good thing about the boys believing Santa was coming..... I got to tell them if he only came once they were asleep so they needed to close there eyes and sleep. :) Got to love a reason to get them to sleep. It's so hard to sleep on Christmas Eve. Mama and Dad of course had to wrap gifts, just like Josh predicted. I watched Muppet Christmas Carol while wrapping. It was a good night. 

Gifts for their teachers

Last year I had wanted to make the boys' preschool teachers gifts for Christmas. Sadly it did not come to fruition. This year I was determined to get it done. So the day before the last day of school I sat Aiden and Cai down to work on teacher gifts in the morning.
Aiden unwrapping candy canes
 I had decided on making hot chocolate mixes. We followed this recipe, although I"m not sure we used as much peppermint bits. We added mini chocolate chips and mini marshmallows to the top of the jar as well. The boys had a great time hammering the candy canes to make the tiny bits.
Cai helping or just being impatient for his turn. However you want to look at it. 
 I then hot glued Christmas fabric to the top and added a candy cane to each jar. For most of them I used old sunflower butter jars. I think one was placed in a salsa jar, a few in plastic peanut butter jars and Ian got to use canning jars cause I ran out of the others.
Cai hammering the candy canes
 Ian made his own batch when he got home from school that afternoon. I think at that point we left of out the peppermint bits cause he was worried about being done so he could watch Clifford. Of the priorities of a 6 year old. I did make him write "Merry Christmas from Ian" on all his cards. I figure he can do write and I'm sure the practice is good for him. :)
All but Ian's done
 I was kinda proud of these. One with the month we had in December I'm proud I even got them done. I figured in the span of a week we dealt with strep throat (Ian), lice (all of us but Mark) and pink eye (Cai).  The fact I actually got these done and given to all 8 teachers is kinda amazing. Note about the 8 teachers. Ian made gifts for his teacher and the two aids. Cai has two classroom teachers and a art aid. Aiden's speech therapy class has a teacher and aid. So we had 8 total to gift for. Plus I made two extra for our pastors at church. :)Number two reason for being proud: I thought they all looked nice when I was done. It is always nice to make something that looks nice when it's all finished.
 In addition to teacher gifts this year, Ian made gifts for his classmates. His class had a stocking exchange where they were asked (if they wanted to participate) to bring in a small gift for each student. The point was to not spending more than a few dollars for the whole class, so the suggestions were to bring candy canes, stickers, pencils, etc. We made recycled crayons. I had a ton of broken crayons that I cut into small piece. We then melted them in silicone penguin molds that I had gotten a few years ago for free. The shape didn't turn out great but that's okay. I still felt good about it. And who doesn't like mystery crayons with several different colors swirls around? I'm not sure exactly what all the boys got out of all this. My hope was they could experience the joy of giving. If we continue such traditions, I hope they can learn not only the joy of giving but that it's possible to give something fun without spending alot. That making it is just as fun!

Our first "Real" Tree

In front of our tree before we cut it down
In years past, our Christmas tree has been a small 3 ft "fake" tree that I was given in High School by my mother. As kids my brother and I got a new Christmas ornament each year from our Grandmother. By the time I got into High School my mom thought it best if we had our own little tree for our rooms since we couldn't fit all of the ornaments on our family tree. After that we got to pick one from our collection for the family tree and the rest we used on our own little tree. That tree and those ornaments went to college with me. Decorating my dorm rooms and bringing me joy.
At the tree farm
 And when Mark and I moved in together we not only had a tree that fit into our teeny tiny apartment but ornaments to decorate with. :) It served us well. In my opinion at least. Mark my have other thoughts on the matter. I grew up with artificial trees. Never once in my memory did we have a live tree. Mark on the other hand grew up with live trees. They went out each year to cut them from a tree farm.When the farm they got there tree stop doing DIY cutting they would go buy them from their lot. So, I think, not having a "real" tree bothered Mark somewhat.
Mark and I at the tree farm
 Sadly in Kansas we lived in such tight spaces that anything larger than our 3ft tree won't have fit very well. And the advantage of that little "fake" tree was that we could sit it on top of the entertainment center or bookshelf; away from crawling babies and little fingers. Once we moved to Indiana we talked about getting a "real" tree. That first Christmas here we traveled to Kansas over Christmas, thus making getting a live tree seem pointless. After all we wouldn't be here to enjoy it or take care of it. Last year we traveled to Pennsylvania to spend Christmas with Mark's extended family. Same thoughts.
Ian and Cai running among the trees

 So this year when we realized we would be home for Christmas we decided it was time to get that "real" tree we had been talking about for what felt like years. We bundled up the boys and went out to Eby's Evergreen Plantation.
Aiden having just woken up got to ride on Dad's shoulders
We got lost trying to find the place, but after what felt like "forever" to the boys (Aiden fell asleep poor boy) we got there. The boys loved running between the trees and playing hind and seek. Oh and don't forget all the awesome sticks and tree limbs lying around. I swear Cai had a stick in hand almost the whole time.
Cai and his sticks
 It took us awhile to find the perfect tree. In fact in the end it wasn't the perfect tree but we were still pretty pleased with it.
putting it on the van to take back up front to pay and prepare to take home
 As Mark took care of getting the bottom drilled to go on our stand and then put it on the van, the boys and I enjoyed hot cocoa and a visit with Santa. Aiden wanted Santa to bring him a snowman. At that point in time we hadn't seen any snow. To be honest I can't remember what the other two told Santa they wanted. I think Ian said something about the Knex Mario track he really really wanted. In the end it was all a pleasant experience.
all set up!
 Once we got home and got the tree up I was surprised the worse the cats did was sniff and chew on the ends of the needles alittle. Really they have been doing very well.
Our First "Real" Tree with our brand new Star on top :)
We decorated the next day.Sadly I have no pictures of us decorating. Just the finished product.
The whole "dinning half" of our large room
 To be honest I feel the tree is alittle on the big side. Mark says it's just right. Either way it's our First "REAL" Tree. And that is something to be excited about. Even weeks later.
The boys won't all look at me so this is the best we got.