Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas 09

I hope the four of you had a very Merry Christmas this year!

Ours was full of many blessings, family, and more food than would fit in my fridge.

I have so many pictures of the last seven days that another post will be forthcoming full of random cute pictures not included here. So you have something to look forward too New Year's Eve that doesn't involve Ryan Seacrest screaming into a microphone at Times Square.

Christmas morning at our house started at 7:15 when I woke up minutes before my alarm clock and realized that no little boys had come to wake us up that morning. We had threatened them with life and limb the night before (with the love of Jesus and Christmas in our voices, of course) that they had better not go downstairs without waking us up first. I was debating appropriate Christmas-morning discipline for the sneaky brothers when Brandon informed me that the boys weren't awake yet. That was officially the latest Aidan has slept in 2009. When they finally did wake up, we made them pose for pictures on the stairs before opening their stockings and presents from Santa.
Don't they look thrilled to be posing for pictures? Don't they?

Santa brought the kids a couple of things from their lists, and a few other things that they had no idea they ever wanted. (One of Aidan's favorite gifts is a pair of $4 girls' slippers from Sam's).

Harper got her first cell phone, a green Tinkerbell number. I wonder if 15 years from now we will have a similar Christmas picture of her with a cell phone.
Dane and Aidan could not wait to open their Build-a-Bears that they had made for each other.
After we opened stockings and Santa gifts, the rest of Brandon's side of the family joined us for massive-Christmas-present-opening-extravaganza. And we all learned a few things about each other:

1. My sister-in-law Adrienne plays the harmonica. She got three of them Christmas morning, and she entertained us all with a rousing rendition of Sweet Caroline.
2. Dane's love of all things Lego is apparently genetic. My father-in-law Doug got a Lego-replica of the Guggenheim Museum, and three generations of little boys sat around the kitchen table and argued over how to assemble it.
3. A twenty pound turkey will fit just fine in a fry pot intended for a 16 pound turkey, and the oil will only overflow a little.
4. Hot peanut oil will stain a driveway.

5. Harper looks very cute in Christmas leg warmers, red shoes, and a red dress.
6. Even from this angle.
7. Cousin Joel's four-wheeler that Santa brought him will entertain three little boys, one daddy, and two uncles until the battery runs out.
8. The $13 rocket is worth every penny.

Still recovering from the Christmas-food coma and the accompanying leftovers that we finally almost finished today. More pictures to come of our adventures from last week!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

This Week Will Wear. Me. Out.

It's only Wednesday and oh, the Christmas fun that we have had. But before I get to all the Christmas-goings-ons, I need to catch up a little on last weekend. Yes, I'm a little behind. I think that will be my theme for the week, in fact. Or perhaps my theme for 2009.

Sunday was a pretty eventful day here at our house. Brandon started off the day by preaching 2 church services. We've been in a preaching series called "Backstage Pass to Christmas", where every week we take an in-depth look at the "main characters" of Christmas. Joseph, Wise Men, Mary, etc. Brandon's "character"? Jesus. Yes, Brandon managed to cram Jesus into just a 40 minute sermon.

After church, we had our annual Dane and Wilson's birthday extravaganza, hosted at our house this year. Last year, our house was unavailable for parties and such, so it will be doing a lot of hosting to make up for it. As birthday parties go, it was a success. 30 kids, 1 Spiderman moonwalk, 3 band-aids, 2 cakes, and 50 Capri-suns later, the party was over.

A mere 3 and a half hours after the birthday party started, our babysitters arrived to watch Dane, Aidan, Harper, and Cousin Joel so all the grown-ups could go celebrate my father-in-law's retirement by eating our weight in filet mignon at Fogo de Chao. And because we're gluttons for punishment, we had to stop at House of Pies after all the meat eating and embarrass ourselves with the amount of pie we put away. I think the van actually cried a little as we climbed back in to go home.

Monday consisted of me spending the greater part of the day in the kitchen, whipping up some puppy chow, pretzel reindeer, cake balls, and peppermint bark for Brandon's coworkers. That night, we decided to go drive around and look at Christmas lights so that I wouldn't have to clean the kitchen. The boys got to wear their new "Christmas Eve" pajamas and drink hot chocolate out of their new travel mugs. That is, until Aidan dropped his mug and spilled his hot chocolate not 2 minutes after we had left the house.
After looking at several neighborhoods with boring white lights adorning the outside of their pretty homes, we finally found a lovely subdivision whose neighbors were obviously trying to out-Griswold each other this year with all the lights and lawn ornaments and dancing snowmen and such. I'm embarrassed to say that I also had to stop my husband from stealing the front-yard nativity set that he was convinced he needed for our church's Christmas Eve service this year. Yes, my husband almost "temporarily borrowed" a light-up Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus, and apparently, our church's Christmas Eve service is one that Brandon thinks could be improved with a plastic Holy Family on the stage.

Tuesday was another eventful day filled with Christmas merriment, starting with a trip to my aunt and uncle's house to see some of my family that was in town for the holidays. Harper got to meet some new cousins, and she wore the dress that her G.G. bought for her when she was still in utero at my baby shower.

Dane and Aidan spent the visit upstairs thinking of various things to throw over the railing into the downstairs living room (Aidan actually squirt half a bottle of Germ X downstairs. Thanks Aidan), and Harper was a bit overwhelmed at first with all the family fun. Overwhelmed to the point of screaming and crying at my cousin Cliff when he so much as looked at her. After an hour or so she had warmed up to everyone a bit more, and she even let Cliff hold her before we had to leave to continue our search for a front yard nativity for Christmas Eve service (yes, I'm serious).

After unsuccessfully checking at Garden Ridge for the elusive front yard Holy Family (though they did have 3 Wise Men made of tinsel), we headed over to Val's house for some fajita-eating and cookie-decorating. The boys made cookie art,

Brandon made a skull,

and Brandon, Adrienne, and Val had a Santa-cookie contest. 10 points to Val for busting out the marshmallows.
Tonight holds the first of four plastic nativity-free Christmas Eve services for Brandon, and some family time, lasagna, and Christmas movie watching for the rest of us.

And maybe we'll eat a cookie or two.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sugar Pie Honey Bunch

Harper has a new nickname at our house.

Little Dainty One?
Cute Little Precious Baby Doll?

Thunda' Thighs?
Barf Vader?

Um, no. (Barf Vader and Christmas leggings that MY SISTER made is what the girl has resorted to wearing for the holidays because I can't find any "My First Christmas" stuff in a size 18 months for my not-quite 9 month old daughter to wear).

We have crowned the girl the Princess of Destruction.
Did you notice that Dane has been glasses-less in the last set of picture? That's because Harper snapped them in half. The indestructible glasses that Dane and Aidan had yet figured out to break were child's play for Harper.

Destroys Christmas presents.
Ornaments quake with fear.
Lego instruction booklets? They are no match for the Princess of Destruction.

She can't wait for Dane's birthday party. She's heard there will be tissue paper and maybe even wrapping paper to play with.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

December 15, continued

My Dane turned 6 on Tuesday. Six years old. The day started off with a bang, and by a "bang", I mean with two little boys climbing in our bed at 6:15 in the morning. Aidan has developed a habit of waking up pre-6 am (I don't actually know what time he gets up, I just know he's in the playroom with the light on when I get up at 6). Dane opened up all of birthday gifts in our bed bright and early on birthday morn, and then the boys headed downstairs to watch Up! (which Dane had just unwrapped) before school.

That's how early they were up. I have to entertain them BEFORE school. They watched almost an entire movie BEFORE school. I was bleary-eyed and caffeine-seeking with some serious bed-hair, and they were fully dressed and watching a movie (a SAD movie at that) with their teeth brushed and backpacks ready. Good grief.

Brandon, Harper, and I had lunch with Dane up at his school. When the drug-sniffing dogs were finished inspecting his pizza and cherry-limeade (oh, I kid) we enjoyed a lovely 23 minutes together watching Dane consume 2 breadsticks, 3 slices of pizza, and a medium Sonic drink. My apologies to his teacher for the ensuing carb-crash.

Harper spent the lunch break flirting with Dane's friends. The high school years are going to be interesting.
You can't tell from this picture, but Harper has a seriously cute outfit on. Her brown corduroy skirt and pink and brown argyle leg warmers are hidden under the stroller.

Later that evening, we decided to pile everyone into the van, and grab a McDonald's Happy Meal, (Dane's dinner of choice), and go look at the Christmas light display in a nearby town.

Sitting on the rope for a quick picture degenerated quickly into flipping over the rope and wrestling on the ground. Nothing says "Christmas" like wresting with your brother in front of the light display.

Harper wasn't too sure about the birthday/winter festivities in general, and she really wasn't sure about the puffy pink coat she was wearing.

We finished off the evening with ice cream treats at Johnny Rockets (Dane doesn't like cake. What kind of kid doesn't like cake?) and headed home for a late bedtime.

(Please excuse the hat-hair).
This week wraps up this weekend with two parties Friday night, a service project and another party Saturday, and on Sunday Brandon is preaching, then Dane and his friend Wilson are having their annual dual birthday party, and then after that we have my father-in-law's retirement dinner. I'm tired (and full!) just thinking about all the fun-ness that is going to be happening! Tomorrow calls for some shopping and a bit of holiday-goodies cooking, with a big "baking day" on Monday. I'm looking for a few new ideas for holiday goodies to give to Brandon's co-workers, bring to Christmas parties, have around for family, etc. Any favorites and easy recipes you'd like to share?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Six Years Ago Today...

So what were you doing six years ago today?

I spent December 15, 2003 in medication-induced labor intended to convince my Cervix-of-Steel that it was indeed Baby Day. After 11 hours of screaming at my husband, Dane Christopher's nine-month stay in cozy-town was rudely interrupted by a c-section at 7:57 pm.

See that perfect round head? He wasn't even thinking about being born on December 15 (which was his due date), otherwise he would have had the courteous cone-head of babies who are in a bit more of a hurry. I would still be pregnant with Dane if it were up to him.
See that lady in the navy scrubs? She charged me $450 to rub that boy's head dry.

This picture is self-explanatory:
Happy birthday Dane-o! We love you so much!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Go Tell It On The Mountain

Last weekend Aidan had his Christmas program at school. His task was to dress like a shepherd, and the suggestion was that he wear an "earth toned adult t-shirt" with some kind of belt around it. Here was Brandon's interpretation of the shepherd outfit:

Apparently in Jesus' days, shepherds wore bright green long sleeved henley shirts with their skinny little knobby knees sticking out.
I made a deal with another parent in the class that we would make rope belts for her girls if she would make a staff for Aidan out of a front yard candy cane decoration. Since our part of the deal only involved cutting a piece of rope, I think we got the better part of the deal there.
And Aidan loved his staff.
Not sure if this is how the sheep were wrangled in Biblical days or not.
Aidan might have seen Brandon with the camera at this point.
This did not end well for the little girl walking in front of Aidan.
In other school-program related news, here are a couple of pictures of Dane's PE showcase a few weeks ago. He had the choreography for "Splish Splash" and "Surfin USA" down pat. Put the other 5 year olds to shame.

I will not discuss the fiasco that was the security screen in the front office of his school that involved me arriving early, standing in line for 20+ minutes with (an eventually screaming) Aidan to have my drivers license scanned, missing the beginning portion of the program, and finally being handed a generic visitor sticker along with the other suckers still in line and directed to the gym for the program. I will not discuss it. That would be tacky and disrespectful to the lovely people at Dane's school who only have my child's safety in mind, because we know that all of the school shootings in recent years involve parents who have snuck into a PE showcase without stopping in the front office to have their retinas scanned.

But check out those moves with the fluorescent hanky!

The "Surfin' USA" portion of the program:
My boys were so proud of how well they did at their school programs, and I am so happy that they are both learning skills that will serve them well into adulthood.