Thursday, December 29, 2011

Merry Christmas!!!

We hope you and yours had a fantastic holiday with friends and loved ones. As usual we have been pretty blessed this Christmas.  For the first time ever, John and I woke up Christmas morning with our kiddos at our own home and low and behold, Santa came!!  We spent Christmas Eve with John's extended family with the traditional gift exchange, TONS of people, and good food.  We briefly stopped by his parents on the way home so we could all open our traditional Christmas Eve goodies.  The boys got cute jammies and John and I got hooked up with soft, warm slippers.

We had most everything all ready to go and we actually made it to bed by midnight.  Aaron had been asking about Santa for the previous few nights so we weren't sure who was more excited.  Turns out it might have been us - we got up at 6:30 to make sure everything was just right and wait for Aaron to come running out into the living room so we could see the look on his face when he saw that Santa had actually come.  By 7:15 I had already nursed Ethan and we were still waiting...  so John nudged Aaron a bit and voila! He WAS very excited and did a crazy Aaron dance in front of the fireplace which included jumping and throwing himself on the floor while laughing hysterically.  LOVE IT!  We opened all of our gifts to each other.

 Anxiously awaiting...
 Notice a lot of ornaments are gone... as they got pulled off they were put away.
Even Ellie was getting impatient.  
7:12am.  He's usually roaming the house by now looking for trouble.
Santa came?!!!
 He sure did!
 And he left a note...
 The stockings were the biggest hit.  Once Aaron found his suckers he was set!
Big brotherly help

Still in our jammies it was off to the Farnsworth's for biscuits and gravy and round 2 of gifts.  Then around 11:30 we changed into nice clothes and headed to my family's house for lunch and round 3!  We had a fabulous day and received all sorts of great things from everybody - too many to name because I will inevitably leave something out.  I will say that I am REALLY looking forward to going on a cold weather backbacking trip with some of our new stuff.  The kids are very busy with all their new toys and gadgets.  I have lots of new boots, clothes, and jewelry to sport, and I can't wait to make popcorn in our new microwave! Thank you to everyone for such a great Christmas.  We love you all so much!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A video message from Santa

Video from Santa

Holiday Bug

Last week some kind of bug made its way through our home and decided to become playmates with our boys.  Both Aaron and Ethan got whatever it was.  Consequently we spent a lot of time indoors and had to keep ourselves entertained in between "episodes" of illness.  Good thing we have the boredom bucket!  We built obstacle courses, pitched a tent, colored using the refrigerator as our easel, and snuggled - a LOT.  No complaints here on that last one!

 Eman peeking out.  Aaron kept saying "Ee-son, come in."

We moved the tent to Aaron's room and it's been there since.  He slept in at for three nights in a row!  We read stories with flashlights and then he would insist on going to bed in it.  

He was a little tired about half way through!  He went from major spurts of energy to snuggle mode and back again.

Everyone is feeling well again and we are SOOOOO looking forward to Christmas.  I'm not sure who is more excited, the kids or us!  Santa is coming and Aaron has been counting down the days.  He asked us if Santa brings suckers.  Apparently he REALLY wants some suckers in his stocking.  I assured him that Santa's suckers are the best. : )  Three days and counting!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Grandma Great

Two Sundays ago Ethan and I went to see Grandma Great perform in her Choir at the Atriums for thier annual holiday program.  The program was great - Aaron stayed home to nap as it was at 2:00 in the afternoon.  I knew Ethan would sleep anywhere so I went ahead and took him and sure enough, he found the perfect place to take a snooze - on Nanny's shoulder! 

Later on Papa got a few snuggles of his own when went to visit Grandma Great in the hospital.

Yes, later that evening Grandma took a tumble and unfortunatly ended up in the hospital.  She has some pretty nasty bruises on her face and while she was there the docs discovered some unrelated issues for which she ended up with a pace maker.  She is back home recovering now and is doing better but will be unable to go to Texas as planned for Christmas.  I know she is bummed about it.  We hope she gets better soon.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Gingerbread Website

Why didn't I think of this before?  Check out this AWESOME website! I'm totally going to have to look this up next year.  It has great designs and ideas for even small children.  We may have to make one with the boys and one "grown up" one!

New Family Traditions

As the kids get older we've started thinking about Christmas traditions.  We both have great memories as kids of things we always did growing up... John's family opening PJ's on Christmas Eve and eating biscuits and gravy for breakfast.  My family having a big fancy dinner and then heading out to a movie.  We figured we should have some Christmas time traditions of our own.

Last year was the first year we loaded up Aaron and headed out on a Christmas light tour.  There is this awesome website that divides the metro up and gives you a tour guide on houses and displays to go see for free.  We had such a great time last year that we went out twice and took Matt and Jenny with us the 2nd time.  With the addition of Eman this year, our car was full with just us!  All of us dressed in warm jammies, we made Aaron some hot chocolate and picked up Dunkin Donuts coffee and donuts while we were out.  We had a blast!  The best one was in Prairie Village in the Shawnee Mission East parking lot.  It was about a 15 min show and both the boys sat on our laps in the front seat playing with jingle bells that we made and cheering at the lights.  We even let Aaron poke his head out the sunroof.  He thought it was great!  At about 9:00 they both finally passed out and we headed home. 

Backing up a little, earlier that day we made a gingerbread house.  Now I know a lot of people make gingerbread houses around this time of year.  We both did when we were little too.  I can remember using milk cartons and graham crackers.  But we, and I really mean I, decided to follow in our friends the Heintzlemans footsteps and make our own from scratch.  I saw all the kits out there that are ready to put together but I thought, "surely it can't be THAT hard right?" Well when  you see our final product you would think it was simple.  That's just because I have an AWESOME hubby who felt so bad at how hard I worked to make the gingerbread that he would NOT let it be a failure!

This is our gingerbread story:
 I started out by finding a gingerbread recipe which I was surprised to learn it is one of the only "hot dough" cookie recipes.  You actually have to make the dough on the stove top much like play dough is made and then work with it while it is still warm.  If you let it cool it is not roll-able.  I made 4 cookie sheets worth.  I cut out patterns from paper to make the walls and roof for the house but my measurements weren't quite exact...  Plus the gingerbread was so hard that I let John cut the pieces - he had to SAW them!  We weren't able to make the notches like I had originally planned which proved to be problematic later on.
 We used a special recipe for the "glue" which was supposed to be stronger than just plain frosting.
 Opps... remember those wrong measurements...
 Meanwhile Aaron helped himself to the decorations. : )
 At this point I swore we would buy a kit next year.  The house completely collapsed from the weight of the gingerbread.
 John to the rescue!!!  He worked hard to put the house back together and patch the roof up which would later be covered with "snow drifts!"  Aaron helped daddy start to put the decorations up.  One for the house, two for his mouth...
 Happy that my house is not a TOTAL disaster and starting to feel like maybe we CAN do this next year.  It was only my first time after all.  Eman doesn't look that thrilled in this pic.  I think he was tired of sitting in his chair and watching Aaron eat the candy while he ate crackers.
 Santa and his reindeer!  John is soooo creative!!
 The finished house.
 Notice all the candy.
Not even a week later...  Someone has been stealing candy! : )  That little house next to it is the milk carton gingerbread house we made with Mom's club.

So Christmas lights and gingerbread houses.  Yes.  I think that sounds like good traditions to have.  I LOVE family time in the Christmas season!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Ethan's 1st Snow

This morning we woke to Ethan's first snow!  
 So it was dusting... but it was still his first!  Upon seeing the glorious white stuff powdered over the back deck, Aaron ran to find his shoes.  He didn't care what time it was or that it was only 18 degrees outside.  He wanted to step in it, crunch it under his shoes, pick up a handful of it and throw it if he could.  We spent about 20 minutes bundling up in layers of clothes, coats, hats, gloves, and snow boots and spent a grand total of about 5 minutes actually outside.  It was FREEZING!!!  Well below freezing actually.  No matter, the boys got to feel just enough snow flakes to hold them over until the next snow.  Hopefully it will actually accumulate.  Although, I would be OK if it didn't happen again until Christmas Eve.  We're sure to see some good snow this year no matter what since Matt and Jacquelyn have officially moved to Denver!  We can't wait to visit them and go check out the Rockies with the kids this winter!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Busy Busy

Whew - I'm one tired momma!  We've had a bustling past two days.  Yesterday the boys and I ventured out to Bass Pro for some daddy shopping.  We got to visit Santa Claus for the first time ever!  It was actualy quite uneventful. : )  Aaron sat on his lap like it was no big deal.  When Santa asked him what he wanted he simply said, "toys." Ethan was a little more nervous but we managed to get a picture with both of them in it.  Aaron was more concerned about the basket of candy canes behind Santa and the trains in the corner of his eye sight to care much about taking a photo.  Oh well, I guess it's pretty normal to get a not-so-good pic with Santa.

Since everything was taking about four times longer than it should that day, it was getting late and the boys were starving so we went and had pizza at Pizza Street.  I couldn't believe how much they both ate - especially Aaron!  He must have had 4 slices of pizza, a dessert slice, AND a bowl of ice cream!  Ethan ate pasta, a bread stick, some of Aaron's crusts, and some pineapple tidbits.

Later that night, Chelsee came over to help make soup and bread to take to Grandma's (Grandma Great) on Saturday.  While she was here we attempted to take some tree side pics of the boys before bed.  We could NOT get the boys together.  Ethan just wanted to play and Aaron just wanted to hit Ethan.  Hmmm... better luck next time!

Today started off with swim lessons at the YMCA.  Aaron has been taking a class every Saturday morning.  It's a 6 week session.  Today Aunt Chelsee came and was a HUGE help as Ethan would not stand for the nursery at all.  She stayed and swam with Aaron while I took care of Eman.  Then it was off to Grandma Great's apartment to help decorate for Christmas, complete with Christmas music, soup, and bread.  We had a good time and were able to get up most of her stuff.

 Aaron "washed dishes" for about 30 minutes while Chelsee and I decorated.
This was a place to put Ethan and *BONUS* a way to block Aaron from a room FULL of untouchables...

We sat around most of the afternoon at home today but the boys were getting bored again after dinner so I decided to introduce Ethan to the wonderful world of finger painting with his big brother.  I quarantined the kitchen and made a "paint coral."  Of course his mouth was the first thing he wanted to paint... It made me nervous so I ended up switching Ethan's red paint for ketchup!  Worked like a charm. : )
 Aaron showing Ethan how it's done with holiday paint stamps.

Our final product.

It's now 10:00 but feels like 1 am.  I think it's time for this tired momma to head to bed, maybe I'll put on a cheesy, tearful Christmas movie...  Seems like a good ending to a busy few days.