Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A little Magic

Christmas is always more fun when you add children! Finding that perfect gift that makes them squeal with delight, having them shop for each other when they are thinking of what would make the other person happy, having them beg you to go to bed at 7 pm- that's pure magic!

Christmas eve we did our traditional Christmas play. The kids all shouted out when they could play one of the songs. Even Joseph played a song for us. I only played one or two of the songs. I so love that! Then we sang The Nativity Song with our wooden nativity set and then opened our one present from the family. This year we let them pick. Usually they just all get new PJ's, but no one needed any new ones except Emma. Sam and Joseph were so excited about their present to Max. Santa Claus had to put one present back that he had bought once Max opened it. Sam spent almost all his money on getting that present for Max and had to convince Joseph to give up most of his money as well. It was really sweet of them! Then we read The Night Before Christmas.
The rule was no one up before 7:30 am (we have gotten really lazy over the holidays!) Sam just couldn't wait any longer after 7 am, however. We made them all wait it out, anyway- in our room and then on the stairs. They were going nuts and kept trying to sneak down. It was a magical day. Joseph kept saying, "We hit the Mother Load!"
We have goodies galore and I am at least 2 pounds heavier. Sam lost a tooth in a cinnamon roll and so the magic continued with a visit from the Tooth Fairy.
We have Legos everywhere. We scare the dog with the remote control truck. We have played Wheel of Fortune (which I won!) and Family Feud (which we stunk at!) I gave my final lesson to my 14-15 year old Sunday School class. I get a new one next week. We downloaded lots of new apps for my phone and Emma's new Ipod touch. Right now the kids are playing with their friends while I loose at Scrabble to my phone! Could anything be more magical then this Christmas holiday? Rob enjoying my new slippers.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Eve Eve

We did our annual Christmas light viewing tonight. This is the house we picked for our winner this year. They actually live in another subdivision from us, but just through the trees. We can see their blue lighted trees from our house. We picked them because we loved the blue lit trees and because they did all those lights by hand- no blow ups, lighted displays, etc. Coming in a close second was a house that had a manger scene outside with a pole that they stuck a star on with lights streaming down from it. It was really hard to choose. The families are always a little wary of people ringing their doorbell at night, but they always warm right up when we tell them they won our annual prize! As always, the annual prize was chocolate.
Last night we went to a family's home in our ward to see their Christmas village. They do an amazing job! They build the table to suit and change it ever year. They spray paint little rocks and line the streets. They have trees and spotlights and all kind of fun things. They have a bunch of Santas throughout the village and you have to count how many there are. What a fun family!
We wrapped all our presents today and baked up a storm and cleaned the house. Tomorrow I will get Christmas dinner ready and then we are completely ready to relax and enjoy the rest of our Christmas holidays. Time to go read a Christmas story to the children.
PS did I tell you that we are babysitting a dog for Christmas? His name is Malo and he's a toy Schnauzer. He loves Emma best. He chases the boys. He won't bark at Rob and he likes me second best.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Of shoes and ships and sealing wax

The time has come the Walrus said
To talk of many things,
Of shoes and ships and sealing wax
Of cabbages and kings
And why the sea is boiling hot
And whether pigs have wings.

Lewis Carroll

We just got back from a wonderful vacation to the Caribbean. Rob and I took a Princess cruise for our anniversary. We took our first cruise about 6 years ago. At that time, Joseph was 2 and had just been potty trained. We couldn't get any family to come watch the children and eventually had to pay a young family in our ward to watch them. It was very traumatic to Joseph and I swore we would not leave our children again for a long time until they were all old enough to understand what was going on and that Mom and Dad were coming home. For some reason I fixed that age at 5 in my mind. Last year my husband's mother wanted all her children and their spouses to go to Hawaii for a week. Max wasn't 5 yet, so I said, not unless everyone could come. She agreed. In the end, the other brothers brought their children as well and we had a great family reunion in Hawaii. This year, Max turned 5. We had reached the magic year! So I said, Mom and Dad are going on vacation!! My mother generously agreed to come and watch the kids and even did it on her own dime (although, I promise we tried to pay!) This also happens to be the only real vacation Rob will get in his next 3 years, so I figured I had to grab it while I could.
My Aunt did a fantastic job getting us a cruise at a reasonable price and Capital One rewards paid for the airfare. Princess even gave us a $100 on board credit, because Rob is military.
We went out of Puerto Rico and went to Barbados where we swam with turtles, sting rays and over a ship wreck; St. Lucia where we took a catermeran around the island, walked in a volcano, went to a working plantation, and had a Cajun lunch; Antigua where it rained and we enjoyed food and movies on the boat; Tortola where we enjoyed the beach;
and St. Thomas where we snorkeled and saw Black Beard and Blue Beard's castles.
We were sit at 5:30 in traditional dining. I didn't get it changed in time and was planning to do so the first moment I could, but we really enjoyed our tablemates- Gina and Frank and Deb and Bob. Gina and Frank were loving the ease of remembering everyone's names! The last day we had planned to go to dinner at one of the alternate restaurants for our anniversary, but we enjoyed their company so much that we decided to go to dinner in the main dining room as regular. Our waiters knew it was our anniversary and brought out a cake and had all the waiters sing for us. It was a good evening!
On board we watched tons of shows and movies and even did trivia one day. I loved the movies under the stars. They have a big screen set up on the ship and they have movies 4 times a day on it. It is the ultimate drive in movie experience, except it's swim in or lounge in the lounge chair in. So very cool! We did really bad at the trivia. At one point I couldn't even remember the name of the flap of skin that covers the trachea when you swallow. Don't worry, though, the answer did come to me before we were done! Whew! What I have learned about that, is that I would never make it on Jeopardy with their song ticking away your time in the background!!
It was a nice relaxing time. It was hard to feel in the Christmas spirit, though. I don't think I would ever do it at Christmas time. I was so glad to get back and enjoy the snow and the cold weather and people scurrying around trying to get their last minute shopping done. I will, of course, be so done with the cold right after New Year's!
We came home to happy kids which was the best part! Thank you Grandma for doing a fabulous job and helping us enjoy a great holiday!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Advent

Every year my Mother sends us a chocolate advent calendar. The kids love this tradition! We also own a little wooden tree where we put up a heart with the number of that day on it, until it gets to 25- Christmas! Yeah! The one advent that we have just started since I sent one to Rob in Iraq two years ago is the mitten advent. Inside the mittens are all kinds of things to do as a family. We have gone to the Ward Christmas party, done a service (which was Mom writing and directing the Relief Society Christmas play and Emma being a shepherdess and serving dinner to the ladies), we have decorated for Christmas and yesterday we addressed Christmas cards. I printed out the letter, Emma folded them, Sam stuffed them into the envelopes that Dad was printing out, and Joe and Max fought for who got to stamp them. All the while Christmas music was playing and the kids were playing that game where you try to put the shapes in before the timer goes off and they all pop up. It was just a little crazy! When Joseph decided to tinker on the piano too, that's when I said, "Enough!" One thing had to give and the piano was it last night.
Tonight we were suppose to make a special treat, but none of us are up for a treat, so we are substituting "watch a holiday movie!" Hope you are enjoying the magic of the Christmas season as well!

Monday, December 6, 2010

St. Lewis and the Shiner

Last night while we were all snug in our beds St. Lewis came and left treats and little gifts in our shoes. Never heard of St. Lewis? How odd! To tell the truth, I had never heard of St. Lewis either, until this year. St. Lewis is the patron saint of Maxwell, apparently, because he is the only one that knows about him. St. Lewis' real name happens to be St. Nicholas. The other children didn't have much time to enjoy their St. Nicholas day offerings, since they had to hurry off to school in the freezing cold, but Max thoroughly enjoyed them. Don't worry though, Joseph was still able to stuff every last peanut butter cup into his mouth before leaving for school.
The other day Max, Joe and I were having a catch me and tickle me fight. Max did the throw your head back thing and caught me right in the eye. I now have a nice Zombie eye. Thanks for the shiner Max!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Holiday Cheer

It's snowing outside again. That's the 2nd time since December 1st. Around here, it is very prompt with it's weather shifts to go along with the seasons. It's December, so there should be a blanket of white for the old man and his sleigh! Rob got to use his new, very big, exceptionally early Christmas present- a snowblower. He bought it during the black Friday, our other black Friday fun
but not until after all the sales, because really who has a sale on snowblowers at peak snowblowing time? Um, no one. There was no reason for me to get up either, except my back was hurting and keeping me awake, so I decided to get up and check the sales out. I got to target at 4:45 am and it was a mad house. I found nothing I wanted, so I left and went other places. At Kohl's I found some stuff, but left my basket to go around a corner that was blocked by bodies and had the whole cart stolen! Ah, what a day Black Friday is- all about the me, me, me!! The only good thing to come out of it, was that I went home after the Kohl's incidence and took a nap, then got up and and took Emma out with me to get a few clothes and then out to breakfast. We had a nice time at Bob Evans together! Although it was packed, we decided to take the last two seats at the bar and got our meal within 15 minutes of arriving. It was yummy!
Thanksgiving already seems forever ago. We had a wonderful time with Grandma and Grandpa Thomson. Emma gave up her bed, but took Sam's bed in return. Sam and the boys camped out each night, sometimes in our tent down in the basement, sometimes in their own makeshift fort in their room. Max ended up under the bed a couple of times!
For breakfast we had cinnamon rolls, of course, and fruit. For dinner we had this is the trick to making it look nice when transferring it to a bowl from the pan it was baked in! Isn't Grandma creative! Turkey, mashed potatoes, asparagus, spinach salad (that no one ate, because we were all too full), green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, homemade rolls, the traditional Keck jello- so yummy, cranberry salad, the best apple pie in the world (I don't use her pie crust and I use a combination of Jonathan and Pink Lady apples), lemon pie, and pumpkin cake. I like the cake version much better than the pie version. We made turkeys out of oranges and sour patch kids and drew pictures of what we were thankful for on leaves that I had cut out. We sprinkled these all over the table and then at dinner we each picked up three of them and tried to figure out what the person was thankful for. Sunday, our Sister missionaries came over to share more pie with us. This was a group picture, because Sister Siebel is going home on Wednesday- back to Idaho. And the other Sister who is from Kiritbati (said, Kitibes)- have you ever heard of it- look it up, may be leaving the area also.
While Grandma and Grandpa were here we went and saw the Air Force Museum. We got to go on a bunch of planes that were former Air Force Ones- of course they weren't always called Air Force One. We even got to go on the one that brought JFK back after he was killed. We saw WW2 planes and the beginnings of manned flight. There is still lots more airplanes to see for another day! We also played games with Grandma and Grandpa- the Great Dalmuti, Twister and California Speed! We wore Joe out! Don't you just love when they still curl up like little bugs!
Now Christmas is just around the corner. I think I will go curl up like a little bug, too!