Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas and A Ridiculous Misadventure

In keeping with tradition, we spent Christmas with my family in Washington. It was a long trip but well worth it. Seven years of celebrating Christmas with children of our own and still it warms my little heart to watch their eyes light up when they open a gift they really wanted. Luke was thrilled to find this biker scout Star Wars keychain in his stocking on Christmas eve. 
 Tops on Andy's list was a certain red car in the form of a pillow pet. He always jumps up and down and shouts with glee, "just what I wanted!" Joy like that is infectious.
 Eli was curious about everything and felt he should be allowed to open anything that was wrapped.
 Andy's obsession with angry birds continues. He has worn this shirt almost constantly since he received it.
 When we couldn't stand another minute of being inside the house and the video game playing and sibling squabbles were making us climb the walls (yet the rain poured down) we headed for Burger King and the indoor play place. You can't help but smile when all of your children clamor to wear a paper crown. He is just adorable, if I do say so myself.
 Sisters are a unique gift and I am grateful for mine. We enjoyed our time together although a week flew by much too quickly.
 At last! A cousin picture in front of the tree and no one is crying. But that's because we extracted the crier from the photo shoot. Sorry, Eli. Maybe next year. The cousins enjoyed their time together, playing video games and examining one another's new toys. Cousins share a special bond, I think. You can always pick up right where you left off.

Celebrating Christmas on the other side of the country presents a few logistical dilemmas. When free shipping abounds and I am caught up in the whirlwind of checking items off the pre-holiday to do list, I don't seem to give much thought to how everything will get where it needs to be. I am thankful for a very patient husband who moved a luggage cart piled high with 7 bags and car seats through the airports and parking garages. Did I mention it was a precarious pile of bags and car seats? Precarious piles have a way of tipping. Frequently. As a matter of fact, we made the very poor decision of pushing our precarious pile all the way to our van in the parking garage at 10pm after traveling all day with 3 young children. We have a bad habit of leaving a light on in our van and then deserting the van while we take a long trip. So there we stood, late at night, exhausted, with our luggage spilled all over the parking garage and the battery in our van was dead.
Can I just say that I hate this van? With a passion. I hate driving it, I hate that there is always something wrong with it, I hate the stereotypes associated with it. I am often tempted to leave it running, unlocked, in the middle of a busy parking lot with the hope that someone will take it off my hands.
So we regained our composure and made the long trek (with our precarious pile) back to the front door of the airport. I'm sure the same taxi drivers that watched us depart were still sitting there having a good laugh at our expense. It took two taxis to get us home, which the boys thought was a grand adventure. This was not exactly the ending we had in mind for our trip, but we are thankful for a dear friend who was willing to help us get the van back home the next day. Perhaps we have learned our lesson about leaving our car in airport parking garages.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Counting Down To Christmas

 There's an almost 8 year old boy here who made repeated requests for the Lego Star Wars Advent calendar. However, he is the only one who likes Star Wars and that didn't seem quite fair to his brothers. Not to mention I would be left to deal with the fallout when a certain 5 year old noticed there were only Star Wars Legos in the calendar. Inspired by a decoration I saw online, I decided to make my own version of an Advent countdown. I made a matchboxes out of paper and filled each one with a surprise, usually a note announcing a treat or a special activity. For the first week, I gave them each a handful of mystery Legos every night and they kept them in a bag and tried to guess what they might eventually assemble.
 We had the mystery Lego reveal earlier this week and Andy was delighted that his Lego creation was a fireman driving a small fire truck.
 Luke was a little aggravated at first but finally assembled his Star Wars thingamuhjig all by himself.
 Eli was pretty happy to plaster some new Cars stickers all over Steve's shirt. Where's my easy button?
Finished the evening by watching Veggie Tales St. Nicholas on mom's computer. I thought for sure that would generate a billion questions about the guy in the red suit but not a word was said about jolly old St. Nick.  My grand Advent countdown plans came to a screeching halt this evening when I collapsed in exhaustion (not really) and the boys impatiently pointed out that I had fallen behind. Box 15 was (gasp!) not only missing but I confessed that I hadn't actually built it or filled it yet. Much whining and fussing ensued. Quite frankly, I am fresh out of clever ideas. Hopefully inspiration will strike soon.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Little Mister Who Isn't So Little Anymore

 We are celebrating Eli's 2nd birthday today. A few friends came over for brunch and cupcakes this morning   and I am sure we will celebrate a little more when Luke gets home from school. Eli enjoys the Disney television show Little Einsteins, so I decorated the cupcakes with the oh so popular red rocket.
 He enjoyed the singing and I did not expect him to understand the candle in the cupcake concept but he knew exactly what to do. I posted this picture because the birthday boy seems a little distracted,  yet Steve is very excited about the candles on that cupcake. 
 With a little assistance from Dad, he blew those candles out. Hooray for 2!
 It isn't a birthday party without a little frosting, so why not smear it on your face? 
And if 1 cupcake tastes delicious, won't a second one taste even better? 
All cleaned up and sitting at the table like a big boy, drinking from a big boy cup and thinking about eating something nutritious. We can't believe he is 2 already yet we can barely remember life without him. Happy birthday, Eli! You bring so much joy to our family.