Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Final Christmas Celebration

Today was rainy, but it was so nice to just hang around my mom and dad's house.  The girls enjoyed playing with all their new toys and Harper loved wearing her new jeans.  This evening was the last Christmas celebration for us with my mom's side of the family.  It's always a big crew with lots of chaos, but tons of fun.

 Thankfully the rain cleared up so the kids had fun playing corn hole and roasting marshmallows outside while the adults had fun catching up and reminiscing about old times.  The kids got spoiled with more gifts and I swear its going to take me at least a week to unpack and organize all their stuff when we get home.  Everyone is always so generous though and I'm so happy that my extended family is still as close as ever.

Today is also mine and Robby's anniversary.  We've been married 8 years.  We are talking about it in the car earlier and discussing how we were going to celebrate by going out to a nice lunch tomorrow while we have babysitters here.  Handley perked up and asked if it was my anniversary.  When I told her it was, she then asked Robby if it was his anniversary too. :-)  It was kind of hard to explain to her, but she was happy to try to understand.

Christmas at Mimi and Dadaw's

We decided that leaving around bedtime on Christmas night would make the drive to my parents much quicker and easier since the kids would sleep the whole way.  Thankfully, it worked out just as planned.  We rolled in about 2 AM and the kids went right back to sleep till morning.  It was nice to be able to wake up and spend the day visiting with my family instead of in the car.

After having a very sore throat all week I finally gave in and went to an urgent care location yesterday morning.  As I was texting with Jen I told her I knew it was bad when I couldn't even enjoy my wine!  Turns out I do have strep, but I hoping the antibiotics will knock it out soon.

Last night my Dad's family came over for dinner.  It was fun celebrating Christmas with them and getting to catch up.  It was also their first time meeting Hudson.

After they left I put Hudson to bed and the girls got into their PJ's.  It was a special treat for them to get to stay up late and open their gifts. They got doll carriers and tons of clothes and accessories for their new dolls from my parents.

Stefanie has recently taken up crocheting and made all the kids the most adorable hats!

Harper had us all laughing when she opened her FAVORITE gift.  She tossed aside the toy when she saw what was in the bottom of the gift bag...jeans!  She was jumping up and down and was so excited.  She tried them right on and told us it was her favorite gift of the whole night.  I bet we are in trouble for her teenage years when she discovers designer jeans. :-)

Christmas Morning

I'm thinking that each Christmas is just going to get better and better as the kids get older and even more excited about what's going on.  This year was tons of fun.  I thought for sure they would be up at the crack of dawn, but Harper was the first one up at 7 and I was able to hold her off until 7:30 when Handley woke up.

Handley excited to see her American Girl Doll

Harper was so happy to see her "big" chair 
Harper got right to work on her doll's hair

After checking out their first stash from Santa, Harper happened to look over and saw the really big thing they had asked for.  They keep calling it a "Jeep" because that was what they had asked for, but because Santa didn't want Hudson to have to drive a pink Barbie Jeep as he got older, so he went with something that would make everyone happy for years to come.

Unfortunately it rained most of the day so they couldn't take a drive right away, but later on Robby set them up so they could at least test it out.  And they LOVED it.

After enjoying their Santa gifts we enjoyed a delicious breakfast prepared by Gigi and Papa and then it was time to open gifts from each other.  Robby gave Handley her very own pink wake-board and she was definitely thrilled about it.  Robby bought himself one, too, so now they are really ready for summer.

Handley thoroughly enjoyed watching everyone open the gifts she had given them and would run over and hug each person with a huge smile on her face.

After spending the afternoon around the house we made our way to Gigi and Papa's for more gifts and a Christmas dinner.  It was a fantastic ending to a fantastic day.

"We sure are lucky"

Our Christmas Eve was spent relaxing at home.  We did make one quick run to get frozen yogurt (Harper filled up her marble jar), but other than that we were at home making final preparations for Christmas.  Gigi and Papa came over for dinner and spent the night with us so they could be around for all of the excitement on Christmas morning.

The girls had fun spreading out their reindeer food, getting cookies and milk ready for Santa, singing Christmas songs for us, and hearing a few Christmas stories read by Gigi before heading off to bed.  They both went to sleep right away because they were worried about Santa skipping our house.

As I was putting Handley to bed I told her the plans for the next few days that included seeing what Santa brought for them, opening gifts at our house, going to Gigi and Papa's house to open gifts and then on to Mimi and Dadaw's and more gifts there.  She responded with, "we sure are lucky" and I was so happy that she sees it that way.  We are all very lucky and I was so happy to be able to celebrate Christmas with my little ones and make this holiday a very special time for them.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Eve Eve

I have really enjoyed having the girls home the past two days and, with the exception of a little party last night, we have not gone anywhere or done anything out of the house.  It's been wonderful.  Handley and Harper have been playing so well together and have also loved being home together with no real agenda.  Yesterday we wrapped gifts, today we made cookies for Santa and in between that fun I've done loads and loads and loads of laundry.  I've also answered at least 100 times, when Christmas will be here.  The kids are SO excited and we are too.  

Tonight after dinner we bundled up and took a ride on the golf cart to check out all the Christmas lights. 

The class parties on Wednesday were lots of fun.  Both were at the exact same time and I had planned to just split my time between the two classes.  When I let Handley know about that idea she wasn't thrilled.  I called Gigi and thankfully she was free for the afternoon so she came too.  That way, no one had to be without someone at their party and everyone was happy.  I know I've said this before, but I just love the pre-school the girls attend and their teachers are fantastic.  The girls absolutely love them and I do too!

Last night my neighbor planned a party and invited Santa!  We all knew he was really busy, but he and Mrs. Claus were able to get away from their Christmas duties for a quick stop by the party.  He read the kids a story and gave them each a little gift.  

Handley got a Strawberry Shortcake movie and Harper got a Dora watch.  

Harper showing her watch to Mrs. Claus

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ready for Christmas Break

I am so ready for Christmas break! The girls have still been in school this week and I just want them to be done and be at home!  I want to be able to make Christmas cookies, wrap gifts together, and do all the fun things that make it feel like Christmas.  Tomorrow is their last day, and their class Christmas parties, and I couldn't be more ready.

Today I let the girls wrap gifts to give each other.  I gave them each a few choices of things I had already bought and they were so cute picking out the gift, choosing the wrapping paper, putting on the bow and placing their gifts under the Christmas tree.  They are both eyeing what's under there (our first wrapped gifts under the tree) and have been so sweet to each other.  I love seeing how excited they are about giving their gifts to one another.  They are in the spirit of giving because this afternoon they made some pictures or something in the playroom and "wrapped" them up for Robby and I and stuck those under the tree too. 

This afternoon we had our playgroup Christmas party.  The kids made reindeer food, at snacks, did a craft and had a secret Santa gift exchange.  Harper loved her new dress up clothes and Handley was over the moon about the jewelry box she received.

We were too busy having fun for me to take many pictures, but I did manage to get one of my three before we went out the door.  My mom always makes the kids Christmas outfits each year, and I just love these in non-traditional Christmas colors.  Cute little Christmas trees on a pink dress couldn't make Handley any happier.  Harper wasn't thrilled to change out of her jeans, but gladly did knowing that she got to wear the dress Mimi made for her.

The Nutcracker

This weekend, Gigi took the girls and I to see the Nutcracker!  Gigi had been wanting to take Handley to see the Nutcracker at the Fox since she was born and was thinking about it this year.  However, after checking into tickets we decided that a smaller scale production might be best for this year.  We saw a performance put on by a local ballet studio at a new, state-of-the-art high school theater.   It was absolutely perfect!  

We all met Gigi and Papa for brunch and after that Robby and Papa took Hudson home while the girls headed on to the show.  Handley and Harper had both been talking about going to see the Nutcracker all week and Gigi had even given them a storybook we'd been reading together so they would understand the ballet.  The first half of the show ran 30 minutes, followed by a short intermission, and then another 30 minutes.  It was a  Harper loved seeing the actually nutcracker and applauded when everyone else did, but her attention span wasn't quite ready for a theatrical production.  Handley, on the other hand, LOVED it and stayed interested the entire time. When the show was over she told us she wanted to be the Sugar Plum Fairy because she had the prettiest costume.

After the show we met up with one of Gigi's friends who was part of the production team and she gave us a back stage tour.  She showed them how they make it snow, all of the props, and even took them into the control room and let them check out the spotlights and turn on the mirror ball.  It was fascinating for all of us.  
checking out some of the props

Handley turning on some of the lights

Back at Gigi and Papa's house Gigi had special nutcrackers for each of the girls and they promptly put on a show for us, dancing around with them.  A big thank you to Gigi for such a special day! 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Hudson - 5 months

Hudson turned five months old today.  We all love him so much and can't get enough of his sweet, flirty smiles.  He continues to be laid back and easy going, which is just fine by me.  I constantly have people commenting on what a good baby he is.  Mostly because he rarely cries and when I'm out running errands he is content to sit in the stroller or his carseat and just take in his surroundings.  He has learned his preferences of being held or being close to me.  I used to be able to put him on the floor with some toys and  walk away to do some things with no problem.  Not anymore!  Now the second I put him down on the floor he starts whining and wanting me to pick him up, which I usually do, because he is the baby and I do love that fact that he wants to be close to his mommy.  However, when I do need to get some things done I can usually count on Handley to sit with him and she does a great job filling in for me.

 At five months he:

  • loves to eat baby food and has had sweet potatoes, squash, pears, and applesauce.
  • takes 3 naps a day and occasionally a 4th little cat nap in the evenings.
  • likes putting toys in his mouth and chewing on his fingers
  • has become increasingly interactive and smiles at us all the time. 
  • laughs when ticked, but he hasn't found anything else funny enough to laugh at...yet.
  • enjoys his bath and prefers to sit up in the bath now instead of reclining back.  
  • discovered his feet and thinks they are loads of fun to grab.
  • rolls around on his back from side to side, but still hasn't flipped all the way over. 
  • can roll from his stomach to his back. 
  • loves playing in the exersaucer and is happy to hang out in there for a really long time. 
  • starts fussing every time I put him in the car seat, but calms down as soon as he has his paci.
  • loves the paci when he is tired. 
  • falls asleep on his own for naps at at bedtime each night, generally with absolutely no crying at all!
  • calms down if he is upset as soon as I give him his blue lovey.  He loves covering his face with it.
  • sleeps with the lovey covering his face and while I used to go in and move it off, now I just leave it.  In fact, if he is upset or wakes at night, sometimes all it takes is putting it back on his chest so he can pull it over his face.  
  • can sleep all night, but usually wakes once a night.  Often it's due to a leaky diaper.  I've tried going up a size and using overnight diapers, but for some reason he still wets through and wakes with wet pajamas. 
He was more interested in his feet than he was looking at me for a picture. :-)

How he sleeps

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Jeans and some Elf drama

I love watching how my kids' personalities and preferences develop.  Most of the time, they are pretty opposite.  For example, Handley loves wearing dresses.  She always tells me she wants to look fancy or cute and generally that means a dress or skirt.  Harper used to have no preference in regards to what she wore, but that has changed.  That girls LOVES her jeans.  Every night when we pick out her clothes she asks me if it's going to be cold tomorrow and when I say, yes, she then tells me, "Then I gonna wear jeans tomorrow!"  I don't care if she wears jeans, but I also like for her to wear all the cute dresses she has.  If she finds out her jeans are dirty, she starts pouting and tells me, "I like to wear jeans every, every, every day."  I think part of the reason she likes jeans so much is because she sees me wearing the most days.  When she wears a dress and I'm in jeans she asks why she can't wear them.  I tell that when she is a mommy, she can wear jeans everyday too.  Then she asks me when she's going to be a mommy.  :-)

Even today at the playground, Handley was still dressed up from school, but that didn't slow her down one bit.  She and Avery had a blast riding their bikes together and I'm so impressed with how skilled both of them are becoming on their bikes.

One more quick little story about our Elf on the Shelf, Elfie.  The girls have LOVED him this year and each morning the run around the house together looking for him. He's been some pretty funny places doing some fun things (riding in the Barbie Jeep, playing a board game with some stuffed snowmen, in each of the kids stockings, etc.)  Yesterday he was sitting on their bathroom counter holding some floss and they were certain that he'd been flossing while they were asleep.  As I was giving Hudson a bath the girls were in there playing with some makeup.  Next thing I know I turn around to see Harper touching Elfie.  For anyone who has an Elf, you know that is a big no-no.  I asked her if she touched him and she immediately started sobbing, which means she did, but she was saying over and over that she didn't.  Handley and I reassured her that we wouldn't be mad if she had, but that she needed to tell us.  She stuck to her story and said no, so I let it go.  As soon as Robby got home the girls ran down to greet him and I heard Handley telling him that we thought Harper maybe touched him.  Robby asked Harper if she touched him by accident and she boo-hoo-ed a big YES.  That made Handley start melting down because now Elfie had lost his magic (what happens if you touch an elf) and wouldn't be able to fly to the North Pole to tell Santa she'd been good.  Robby reassured her that if it was an accident he wouldn't loose his magic and I even found something online that tells how to restore his magic if he was touched by accident (apologize and sing him your favorite Christmas song).  We did that and they went to bed hoping that tomorrow he'd be sitting in a new spot.

This morning he was perched on our foyer light (wonder how in the world he got there?!?!) right outside the girls rooms.  Harper was actually the one to notice him first and started jumping up and down with excitement.  Robby came over and told her that he was right, Elfie wouldn't loose his magic if he was touched by accident.  Then Harper turned to us, lifted her arms and exclaimed, "I not gonna touch him today!" We all started laughing and I think from now on Elfie might just choose to sit in places out of reach.