Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas 2012




Handley woke me up around 7:15 asking me to please hurry and get up so we could go see what Santa had left her.  Harper was awake just after that and I had to wake Hudson up so we could all head down the stairs together.

They were so happy with their things and loved it all!  For a minute they just stood back and took it all in.  

Then they went to really begin looking at what they had gotten. It was funny to me that out of everything Harper went to her stocking first and was so excited about the UGA toothbrush that was on top.  After her excitement about that and some candy wore off then she really started inspecting her big gifts. 

Harper had very specific requests with what she had wanted and Santa delivered it all.  It rained all day so she didn't get to ride her bike outside any, but did few laps in the house this evening and loves the baby seat on the back for her brand new Bitty Baby, which she creatively named, "Bitty."  One of her favorite things she got was the monitor for her new baby, which actually makes crying and/or cooing sounds so she can put her baby to bed and still make sure she is OK through the monitor.  

Handley was beyond surprised about getting another American Girl Doll (a more than 50% off special deal from The Today Show that one of Santa's helpers was able to score).   She kept saying, "I didn't ask for this, but I guess Santa just thought it would be a good surprise!"  She also has had fun with her new karaoke machine, scooter for her doll, and DVD of Brave.  

The girls played with their dolls ALL day long and stayed in character as they played "friend" (a favorite game of theirs where they role play being friends who both have kids and they will go to the restaurant together - AKA the kitchen table for lunch - go to Kroger together, and all sorts of other fun outings friends might meet up to do.) Those strollers have logged many miles around our house, already.  And, if today is any indication of how much they will play with them, they will log many more in the coming days and weeks ahead.  

Hudson started off a bit grumpy and I was regretting my decision to wake him up, but he finally warmed up to the idea of his gifts and had fun trying out his mini 4-wheeler and the lawn mower.  He is really attached to the little pillow in his crib that he recently started sleeping with and loves the girls' pillow pets, so Santa brought him one of his own.  Before his nap today he didn't even want to read a book because he was so excited about getting in the crib with his new pillow pet! 

After breakfast we opened up the wrapped gifts under our tree and were excited to find other goodies (Like stretchy jeans, jeggings, for Harper - another special request from her so she could wear her two favorite clothing items together, jeans and boots, earrings for Handley, and some new books for Hudson.)  Robby got a remote control helicopter from the kids and had fun figuring it out today.

I worked just about the rest of the day to get the house back in order.  Our tree was beyond dead and really needed to be taken out and we are hopeful to have some lookers at our house this week.  As I was tucking Handley in tonight she told me that she had such a great day and she was just so happy about Christmas and she wished it was Jesus' birthday again tomorrow so we could do it all over again. I felt the same way and I think this was probably my favorite Christmas to date.  

Stitches, Caroling, and the REAL baby Jesus.

It's been 5 days since the girls got out of school on Christmas break, but I feel like I just blinked my eyes and it all happened in a flash.  Since Hudson was still not feeling great on Friday because of his ear infection, we ran a few errands that had to be done and then spent the rest of the day letting him rest.

Watching a movie
Saturday I don't think I stepped foot outside of my house until close to midnight when I went out to turn off our Christmas lights.  I'm still not quite sure how I filled the day, but I know I must have gotten a lot done.

Our real Christmas fun was scheduled to being on Sunday afternoon when we were going to have some of my dearest friends (who are also our neighbors) over for a last minute Christmas dinner.  Earlier on Sunday when I was preparing some things for our little dinner party the girls had climbed up on the kitchen stools to help me out.  Next thing I knew Harper had fallen off the stool trying to climb down.  Her feet got tangled on the legs of the stool and the whole thing fell over on top of her.  She was crying and upset, but it wasn't until I got her up that I realized she had cut the back of her head.  Robby and I rinsed her head and tried to see how bad it was.  After debating about taking her in for stitches we decided to wait a little while and see how it was.  A few hours later we decided she should probably have stitches so Robby got ready to take her, even though she was begging us not to.  I know the idea of stitches in your head was probably scary for her.  However, Robby said she did great and didn't even shed a tear.  Her treat of choice after the whole ordeal was donuts, so they came home with a dozen and we all enjoyed them as she showed off the stickers the doctor gave her.

She only needed two stitches, so it was a really small cut.  She is doing totally fine and forgets that they are even there unless I need to brush her hair - then she reminds me to not brush on that part -  or if someone ask her about it.

We were not going to let that adventure stop our dinner party fun though because the kids had been looking forward to it! While the adults were eating Handley seemed to get the other kids organized to put on a performance for us that included several Christmas carols, cute costumes, and musical instruments.  That sparked the idea for us to take them caroling and next thing I knew we were making our way up and down our street with the kids ringing doorbells and singing the first part of "Jingle Bells" over and over and over.  The people who came to the door were all surprised, but extremely delighted to see our little carolers.  I dare to even say that the kids maybe had more fun doing this than they did trick-or-treating and I have to believe this will become a new tradition of ours!

Kids table

performance by the kids



On the rainy Monday morning we completed another tradition with our good friends, the Atkinsons.  Tiara and I took the kids to church for the morning children's service.  A local storyteller brings the Christmas story to life, complete with actors, crowd participation and live animals!  The kids got to see and touch animals out front before the service began and then they saw donkeys and sheep and even a real camel walking down the aisle escorted by the wise men.   After the service the kids got to go on stage and see the actors up close. While Handley and Avery were interested in checking out the Wise Men and their "gifts,"  Harper was mesmerized by the live baby playing the role of Jesus.  Come to find out, later that day when Robby got home from work and she was telling him about it, she was convinced that she had seen the REAL BABY JESUS!  Bless her heart.  She seemed a little disappointed when I explained to her that it was just a baby pretending to be Jesus.


Handley and Avery saying "hi" to the Wise Men. 

We had a very low key afternoon and when the rain let up a bit we made our way outside to play a bit and to spread out the reindeer food.  After showing the girls a clip someone posted on Facebook showing Santa's reindeer pulling the sleigh around and heading towards Georiga, Harper declared, "We better go to bed RIGHT NOW!"  After quickly setting out milk and cookies, they were snoozing away in their beds.

Hudson, on the other hand, choose last night to wake up only an hour after he had gone to bed due to teething and would NOT go back to bed.  I would have just told him goodnight and put him back to bed, but I was worried he would wake the girls and we were already assembling and getting things ready.  He finally went back to bed and I went back to work.  I just love the anticipate of Christmas Eve!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

School Christmas Party Day

I stayed up late last night to get everything ready for today's school Christmas parties.  I wrapped gifts, got crafts organized, had my camera battery charged, the whole nine yards.  I had worked out the logistics for the day (including Jen to come babysit Hudson and Gigi to meet me at the parties since they were at the exact same time and I would be running back and forth between the two if I was alone), but sometimes the best laid plans just don't happen.  That was the case today when I rolled over and saw the clock read 8:25 AM.  Not sure what happened to my alarm, but we needed to leave in 20 minutes to get to school and everyone was still sound asleep.  And it was pouring rain. And as I got Hudson up I realized he was burning up with a fever.  Somehow I managed to get everyone dressed and out the door in time.  I fed the kids a granola bar for breakfast in the car on the way to school and made calls to Jen (to cancel so Parker wouldn't get sick) and to Gigi (to ask her to come stay with Hudson instead of coming to the parties).  We all tracked through the pouring rain to get inside, but delivering the teachers gifts made me smile and got my day back on track.

Back at home as soon as Gigi arrived Hudson practically jumped from my arms to hers.  He just adores her!  I'm so thankful that she was here to love on my baby while he wasn't feeling well.

The girls had fun at their parties and enjoyed decorating gingerbread man cookies, playing games, and doing a few crafts.

They brought home all sorts of Christmas artwork and handmade ornaments that we immediately hung on our tree.

This afternoon after Handley's gymnastics class we rushed to the pediatrician to make it by the walk-in hours.  Hudson was all hyped up out in the waiting room and you never would have known he wasn't feeling well.  However, as soon as they called his name to come on back he turned on the tears and played the part of pitiful.  That didn't stop until we were out of there with a lollipop in hand.  I opened it for him, he took one lick, stopped crying and said, "Mmm!!!"  His happy mood swing lasted about as long as the lollipop did, but I'm hopeful that he will wake up feeling a little more like himself tomorrow.  Turns out he has an ear infection (just as I suspected) and I'm glad that 1) he isn't contagious 2) that it is treatable, and 3) that after a day or two of antibiotics he should be feeling better.

He was mid-lollipop in this picture and happy as can be. 
I am beyond excited that we do not have to rush out the door first thing in the morning and that the girls are out of school for almost 2 1/2 weeks starting tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Playgroup Christmas Party

If I stop too long to think about the fact that this will be probably be our last Christmas party with our playgroup (at least while we are living in this neighborhood) I would start to cry.  The kids are some of my kids' best friends and the other moms are some of my best friends.  We have had such an incredible 5 years together raising our babies into Kindergartners and they have been the best support system I could have ever asked for.  One of my dearest friends will only be in our neighborhood for a few more weeks and then, slowly, I know others of us who will be moving, too.  Lots of changes coming and adjustments coming in the future for all of us, but I didn't let that thought even creep in my mind until now.  Today's party was just lots of fun and hearing the kids run around together, squeals and laughter filling the house and best friends enjoying each other's company made for the perfect evening.  For the past few years the hostess has invited Santa to our little party and to the kids' delight he has stopped in for a quick visit.  This year he sent a letter that he was so busy feeding his reindeer and getting ready for the big day that he wasn't able to make it this year, but he did drop off a little gift for everyone.

The girls got some Christmas jewelry as their gifts and Hudson got a new pair of shoes.  Imagine that!  Santa knew exactly what the girls wanted and just what Hudson needed.

Handley has been asking for new earrings and when I would ask her what kind she wanted she would tell me she would like Christmas earrings and Georgia Bulldog earrings.  Each of the girls got earrings (stick-on for Harper) a jingle bell bracelet and Christmas necklace.

During the party they also got to make "reindeer food" and we all had dinner together, too.

All the kids, minus Hudson

If you are wondering why Hudson isn't in the group picture it's because he was busy pitching a fit in the background.  He discovered the reindeer food ingredients and was determined to eat the brown sugar off the table and spread popcorn kernels all over the floor.  Apparently I was putting a damper on his fun.  It's a good thing I color my hair because I have a feeling that boy will be giving me gray hairs before long.  Earlier in the day he had several "moments" and I'm learning to just ignore them (and the stares I might get from other people, at least those that aren't parents) and keep on keeping on.  He certainly has taught me to be humble, like earlier today when he had a full on tantrum in the middle of the grocery store, or the time when he had a meltdown in the middle of another store this morning, or when he just about knocked over an entire display of candles at the mall yesterday and screamed when I buckled him back into his stroller.  Notice a pattern here?

I pride myself on having well-behaved children, but the incident at the grocery store today just had me laughing as all that is changing!  It was partly my fault because I knew he was tired, but we were on our way to pick up Handley and I just needed to run in and get the teacher gift cards for the class Christmas gifts.  Usually when we pull into the parking lot he starts saying "car, car!" because he wants to ride in one of those fun carts that has an entire little car attached to the front of it.  The ones that are twice as long and three times as hard to steer around the aisles.   We scored the only pink car (Harper's request) and both kids climbed in and started honking their horns.  I didn't buckle him in and as I stopped to look at something he climbed out and just stood there smiling at me.  I sweetly told him that he needed to stay put in the car and buckled him up this time.  He did not like that idea.  At all.  He started flinging himself out the side of it and trying to wiggle out of the seat belt.  We made a beeline to the bakery to get one of the free sugar cookies they pass out to kids hoping that make him happy.  He just said no and then started taking his frustration out on Harper by pulling at her clothes (his way of getting back at us when he is mad).  Harper, being as calm as she could, told him to leave her alone and he didn't so I got him out and put him in the seat at the top of the cart.  I thought he was upset before, but that was just the warm up.  He went into a full blown fit and was trying everything to get out of there.  I even tried to give him the paci, which usually calms him down, but he took that and threw it as far as he could.  I collected that (and my mothering pride) from the ground and just continued on.  I know people must have thought I was extremely harsh when I informed him that that was absolutely enough, but he finally took the paci and calmed down.  Another mom I knew walked by right about that time and informed me she had that kind of day too and was headed to the wine aisle.  Thankfully for me I was already stocked up at home.

He is just so stubborn and strong willed.  I don't remember the girls ever being quite like this.  He goes after the one thing that they treasure, because obviously if they love it, it must be worth getting into.  Like Harper's purse full of trinkets that she loves carrying around, or her favorite doll she wants to play with.  Today in the car he and Harper both started getting frustrated and when I asked her what he wanted she said he was taking her baby away. I look in the mirror to see him yanking one of the doll's legs towards his seat as she was pulling hard on the rest of the doll. She finally gave up and let him hold it.  As soon as he had full possession he said "baby" clear as day and smiled.  He's such a stinker, but he's so darn cute that I have hide my laughter so he doesn't think it's OK to act like that.  What's funny now will not be funny later.  I was telling my mom this story earlier and she said, "You know he is going to torment those girls the older he gets." Oh yeah, I know, because my little brothers were the SAME WAY!  I just hope I can get a handle on his stubborn ways before we stop thinking it's kind of just a little bit cute.  I'm just glad they all get along and love each other and love laughing together and I pray that never ends.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Nutcracker

This morning we had a lovely brunch with Gigi and Papa before heading to see a local performance of The Nutcracker.  The girls were very excited and Hudson wouldn't let Gigi put him down.  They immediately found all of the nutcrackers she has and posed for a picture.

Hudson was happy to sit at the table and have his very own plate and fork for brunch.  As a little bonus there was donuts, which Hudson went crazy for.  The next thing we knew, he was eating his donut like this with his fork:

When we were laughing at him he just sort of looked over at us and then went right back to eating. After brunch us gals made our way to the show while the guys held down the fort and stayed back to let Hudson nap.  Handley and Harper were really excited and did fantastic during the show.  They literally were on the edge of their seats watching the beautiful dancers and all of the special lighting and effects on the stage.  After the show we got to meet up with one of Gigi's friends who was part of the backstage crew and she gave us a special tour.  The girls got to see the props up close and personal and even caught a glimpse of a few of the dancers up close (and they thought they looked like princesses).

When we got home they immediately started acting out the story for us, props included, and dancing around like they were Clara and the Sugar Plum Fairy.  It was so sweet and a really special outing for them, so a big thanks to Gigi for planing this special day!

From there we changed out of our nice clothes and into our Christmas pj's.  Our dinner club was tonight and it was a PJ party!  As usual, the kids had fun running around and playing together while the adults caught up with one another.  So thankful to have such wonderful friends and I can't believe we are about to start our 4th year of dinner club fun.  I love how our group has grown and evolved with all of the kids.  What used to be sit-down dinners with fine china has evolved to eating anywhere you can find a spot and often on paper plates with red solo cups, but what we all love is the fact that we can have a set time out of our busy schedules to get together and enjoy each other's company.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

5 years and counting

Today we completed one of my favorite Christmas traditions.  For 5 years now we have gone with some of our very best friends to ride the Macy's Pink Pig ride and see Santa at Lenox!  The kids all look forward to this day and I even let the girls stay home from school today to go on this special outing.

First up was the Pink Pig ride.  Priscilla, the pink pig, was there saying hi to everyone before the ride.  Handley danced around with her and hugged her while Harper stayed as far away from the dressed up character as possible.

Handley and Avery ran to the back to find their seats while Harper and Reece jumped in the first seats they could find.  The ride itself is pretty short and really not all that exciting, but the kids just love it and it is fun to go through the lighted tent and see the characters.

Hudson wasn't to sure what to think at first, but he usually takes his cues from the other kids and wants to fit in so when he hears and sees them being excited he follows suit and joins in.  During most of the ride he was just fascinated by everything, and loved seeing himself in the mirrors.

We got to ride twice, so the second time around the kids decided to switch to the front!

Next up it was time to visit Santa.  One of the reasons we plan this outing in the morning one day during the week is because there is hardly anyone else there.  We don't have to wait at all and the same was true today.  We arrived to find Santa waiting for us.  The kids were thrilled when we saw him from afar and they all started laughing and waving and running to get in line.  Handley and Harper grabbed their lists and were ready, but I wasn't sure how Hudson would do.  He was eating a snack at the time and I just let him hang on to it and set him right beside Santa at first.

Next the girls were busy telling Santa all about their lists.  He is such a sweet man and really takes the time to listen to the kids and talk to them, which makes the experience so magical.  He reminded them to leave out milk and cookies and for the rest of the day Harper has told me that Santa really likes cookies so we have to make some for him.

I tried putting Hudson on Santa's lap just before saying goodbye and he didn't seem to mind.  He didn't smile, but he didn't cry, so I am considering that a success!

After we walked away from Santa and waited for the rest of our group to take their turns Harper kept telling me she wanted to see Santa one more time.  There was no one else in line so I sent her back over and she gave him the biggest hug.  We were able to pile all the kids onto his chair for one quick group picture and then we were off to have lunch at the food court.  Herding 7 excited kids through the mall was a challenge, but one that I would do over and over again for the memories we made today.

Christy, Tiara and I vowed that even though we will all be living in different cities this time next year, that we will continue this tradition and get together for this special time of year!