Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas...a little late

Christmas 2012 was a wild success against a lot of odds.  In years to come, when I look back at this Christmas I will remember it as one of pure magic.  Little Man was at just the right age to really believe that he heard Santa's reindeer on the front lawn eating the reindeer food and Peanut was at the right age to be excited because his big brother was excited.  Sweet Pea was at the right age to get into everything and cause trouble in her super cute way that makes it hard to even get upset with her.  We got to accomplish most of our family traditions like making sugar cookies on Christmas Eve, putting out the reindeer food, breakfast casserole in the morning and a special Christmas dinner.  We also added a new tradition of going to our great friend's house on Christmas Eve for dinner. The kids played, the adults drank and talked and it couldn't have been a more perfect evening. 

Christmas morning, the boys played in their rooms until 7 and then eagerly waited at the top of the stairs to be let down to see the magic.  Little Man told us that he got everything he asked for so Santa must have thought he had excellent behavior all year long.  Papa Bear completed the long awaited lemonade/icecream/ticket/fast food stand for the kids and it was a huge hit.  We opened presents and then paused for breakfast and then resumed the present opening.  The kids loved things so much that they would go and play with the gift for 20 or 30 minutes before coming back to open something else so it drew out the pleasure and the fun all morning.  I love that they didn't just rip through the gifts just to open them but that they took their time to enjoy it first.  It helps that Santa has everything out of the contraptions that strap the toys into the boxes so that it was easier for them to play with right away.  The other fun part was that Santa had the presents labeled with pictures instead of names so that everyone could see who the gift belonged to.  This helped alleviate fighting and allowed the boys to pick out the gifts not only for themselves but for each other and their sister.  Santa will do this again every year until they are all reading!

I know that when we look back at this Christmas it won't be about money or stress or jobs, it will be about the magic and miracles that happened for our family resulting in a perfect holiday.
Putting out the reindeer food

Let us down!!!

For me?

Patiently waiting for their first gift


Lightening McQueen

Not what we had in mind for this toy...

Toy Italian Firetruck from Uncle Mark and Tita Michelle

Pretty pretty

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

Santa has already stopped by our house to deliver presents, eat his cookies and cheese and drink his milk.  He was VERY organized this year and each present has a picture on it of the child that it belongs too.  I love this idea and am hoping that it will allow the boys to know whose gift is whose and not fight or argue and it will allow them to be the elves that go and get gifts for each other to open.

Today has been an amazing day.  It is one of those days that you create in your head in the early morning hours but never actually imagine it will go that way.  We had a lazy morning and started the day with candy cane shaped pancakes and reading all of our Chanukah books a thousand times.  Then we played and had lunch followed by baking sugar cookies and decorating them for Santa.  (We used dough that we had made last week and frozen to cut down on the amount of time this all took).  Papa Bear and I prepped our breakfast casserole and the kids Christmas dinner (lasagna)  We attempted naps but there was just too much excitement in the air.  Then we headed out for Christmas Eve dinner, dessert and drinks at our good friend's house.  It was a laid back, carefree, drinks flowing kind of event that was just icing on the cake to an amazing day.

When we got home, the kids sprinkled reindeer food on the lawn, carefully put out the cookies and milk for Santa and then went straight to bed so that Santa could come.  Papa Bear and I got down to business getting things ready and enjoying a few drinks while we prepped for the morning.

I can't wait to see their little faces in the morning when they see everything Santa brought them.

More pictures to come....

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

You Better Not Cry.....

This year we didn't brave the malls with the long lines and high prices for a Santa picture because we still weren't sure if any of the kids would get near Santa. Little Man was excited to see Santa in theory and had written him a letter with the three things he was hoping to get this year  He was so excited to be able to hand deliver his letter but wasn't 100% about actually sitting on the Big Guy's lap.  So we found a local place near our house that had free Santa pictures, an Elf bounce and other fun activities.  Peanut was super excited in theory and didn't have any qualms but the closer we got to the front of the line the more he insisted that we go home.  So we promised him he didn't have to see Santa and he held us to that promise.  I don't even think he made eye contact with him.  Little Man hand delivered his letter and then Santa picked him up and put him on his lap.  Santa thanked him for writing him a letter and told him that it made his job a lot easier and he would try very hard to get him as many things as he could from his list.  Little Man was in awe.  Peanut was in hiding and Sweet Pea, well Sweet Pea was not thrilled at all. But we have our Santa 2011 picture and even though we are missing Peanut and Sweet Pea has her pacifier and is still crying - it is perfect!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Where is Sweet Pea?

Our most often asked question these days is "where is the baby" and the answer is never good. The question is always asked when she gets quiet so we send one of boys out as our scout and the report is usually something we don't want to hear. She has been found standing on the table, climbing the book shelves, stuck in the toy box, under the couch and behind the tv cabinet. And that was all in the last three days. The christmas tree is in a room all by itself and it is gated off at every entrance to the room because she would take it down one ornament at a time if we let her so we all admire it from the distance and the boys go in the room when she is sleeping or otherwise occupied.

Peanut is the family comedian and is often found laughing at himself especially at behavior that is not really laughable but he thinks that if he laughs he won't get in any trouble. The other night at dinner he declared "Peanut a funny funny guy". He has also started some real "almost three year old" behavior. After he hits his brother or pushes his sister he willingly goes to timeout but then he says that he is sorry from the step and pops up thinking that all is ok in the world. He gets very distraught when I explain that he has to do his time in timeout. Although he can be very convincing, as I have always said my will is stronger than his.

Little Man is all about trying to be a grown up these days. Oh I wish I could tell him not to be in a hurry but he asked me if he could have a chat with me and I asked him what about and he said that he just wanted to talk to me about life. So we talked about life and it was adorable because we didn't really talk as much as he talked and I listened and then I listened some more and he just went on bout every little thing that vent through his little head. I away good to catch up with my Little Man and I just love how his little brain works.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Virtual Holiday Cards

This year we have decided not to mail out our typical holiday cards to save the money on postage, printing and the work into addressing all of that so that we can spend more time focusing on family time and family fun.  But that doesn't mean that I didn't try to capture the perfect holiday photo to use to send a virtual card.  We captured some really great pictures.

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah and Happy New Years!

Mama Bear, Papa Bear, Little Man, Peanut and Sweet Pea

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Stockings Are Hung By The Chimney With Care....

The Stockings are hung by the chimney with care with hopes that my kids will actually leave them there.  The Children were running all through the house to see if an elf came, hoping they'd find him and give him a name.  They found proof of his folly in a hat and a note, now they are thrilled with the words that he wrote......

Last night an elf came and set up some of the Christmas decorations in our house.  He left a note that he had lost his hat while decorating and asked the kids to find it for him.  Little Man has watched the Elf on a Shelf movie and while he was at a playdate saw the elf that was visiting that family.  He is convinced that we have an elf too but since the elf loses his magic if he is touched our elf is hiding really well because he doesn't want to risk Sweet Pea or Peanut touching him.  (This works out really well for me because the "Elf on a Shelf" is expensive and not remotely in our budget this year).  So our elf is a very good hider but left his hat by accident proving his existence.

The kids have taken down the stockings, rearranged all of the window stickers multiple times, Peanut is running around in circles yelling "ho ho ho" and the fire truck is sporting all of the nativity figures.  (The shepards are driving and Mary is working the rescue ladder).  This is exactly what Christmas is all about.  My house may not be perfectly decorated, heck the decorations might not even make it to see Christmas morning but my kids are loving it.

More fun to come today....we are putting up our tree and then trying to figure out how to Sweet Pea proof it.  I made the kids Christmas ornaments this year and they are almost ready to be added to their collection.  We are watching The Grinch (original version) tonight and maybe taking a drive through a few neighborhoods to see Christmas lights.  I love love love this time of year!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Sweet Pea Note

Sweet Pea is now 13 months old, I don't know why, but I have a hard time thinking of her as that old.  Maybe is it is that she doesn't have a lot of hair so is more babyish in her appearance.  Maybe it is that she is smaller than the boys and much more dainty.  Maybe it is because no matter how many children you have, they are all different and so I have no idea what to expect from a 13 month old.

Sweet Pea has added another couple of words to her vocabulary.  She says papa and hat as well as an occasional mama, uh oh, ta da and this.   She also signs "more" consistently and we are working on "all done, "help" and "please".  She can sign all done but prefers to just scream and throw her food instead. Yeah, we are working on that one.

She cut her bottom molars over the past few weeks and is still napping twice a day and going to bed around 7:30.  She is waking up about 6:30 but has been content to play in her crib until the rest of us get up. (Little Man has been sleeping in or playing in his room until about 7:30 too and Peanut would sleep all day if we let him).

Sweet Pea is still our easiest to run errands with and our MVP on most outings since she is more content to sit and watch or play near me than the boys are but I see that changing over the next 6 months. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite family holiday.  I always thought that everyone celebrated it the same way our family celebrated with over 50 people in a house of all generations, eating, watching football, catching up, kids running around stealing food from the table, drinks flowing only slightly slower than the fun and laughter.  This year was no different than the many many Thanksgivings before, only this year it was my children running off to the basement, following their bigger cousins around and sneaking desserts off the table, instead of me.  I love Thanksgiving.

Little Man was in heaven following his big cousin M around while she followed her bigger cousin E around.  He also spent a lot of time with Aunt Suzi and Uncle Dale and there was a story about a horse and some steaming poo that I won't go into on this blog.  He was at the perfect age to really enjoy Thanksgiving.  I don't think we saw much of him at all.  I caught him snagging cookies off of the dessert table but my Uncle covered for him by telling me it was the first one that he had eaten.  The chocolate smeared across his face told me otherwise but I let it go since I figured it was a bonding thing with my uncle and Little Man. 

Peanut had a good time playing but was probably our most difficult aged child at an event like this.  He is old enough to WANT to be independent but young enough that we still needed to follow him around to make sure he didn't get into any trouble.  It was also difficult to find food we could give him that was corn-free so he was a little punchy because he wasn't exactly eating a balanced diet on the trip.  He had a great time though and was very well behaved.  He was over MVP of politeness as he greeted anyone we asked him to with a big "Hi, I'm 2".

Sweet Pea stayed in my arms most of the day and was super easy and laid back in the crowd.  Sometimes she would want to get down and explore but would turn around and run back to my arms the second someone stopped to say hi to her.  My favorite part is that all of these people remember me as a baby so they can see the likeness between myself and Sweet Pea.  It is gratifying to have one of my children look like me!

My kids watched their first Thanksgiving parade (it was probably the 2nd one for Little Man) and got to spend a ton of time with their cousins M and Q and even got to sleep over in their rooms like big kids.  I love Thanksgiving!

Playing Air Hockey - Little Man is obsessed

Peanut and Cousin M

Little Man and Cousin M

Watching the parades on TV

Peanut Sitting on Q (Peanut outweighs him by about 10 pounds)

Cousinly Love

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Peanut Prompting

Here is a video of Peanut's speech therapy session from yesterday.  This is hard work for my little guy but he is doing so well!  This is just a sampling of how he is working on learning to go from words in isolation to words in phrases.

He continues to be my hero.

 If you want to read more about Peanut's progress, you can head over to this blog....

Monday, November 14, 2011

Fall Fun

Peanut Screams

Sweet Pea Screams

We all scream for piles and piles of leaves

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The "Little Man" in Charge

"I'm tired of cleaning and washing.  I am going to supervise instead"

Yes, those are the way too grown up words of my 4 year old while I was mopping the kitchen floor.  I had asked him to wipe down the kitchen chairs and he very cheerily took on the task.  About half way through he decided that he would prefer to supervise the process.  So I asked him what it meant to supervise.

"It means to look and to watch while someone else does something and see if it is ok or not."

So yes, he does get the purpose of supervising and has a firm grasp on the proper role of a supervisor.  When I was mopping the bathroom floor he decided that he wanted to be the helper again and asked if he could mop while I supervised him.  I do appreciate his willingness as a supervisor to get down and do the work as well because we all know that a good supervisor is someone who knows the challenges that someone they are supervising might face.  It was also very helpful because he is so small that he could get into the bathroom and mop with the door shut getting all of the places that I can't reach.  Thinking that maybe Papa Bear or I had taught him the fine roll of supervisor or that he gleaned this information from my Human Resources career, I asked him where he learned about supervising.

"Winnie the Pooh.  You know when Rabbit supervised everything"

Well folks, there you have it.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Cronkite, Moving Streets and Compulsions

Peanut's new nickname around this house is Cronkite because he is constantly giving us ground breaking news reports.  His love for being able to say more than one or two words in a sentence has manifested itself into saying EVERY sentence that pops into his adorable little head.  As breakfast is halfway over (and we are all eating) - "Mommy, Papa made cheesy eggs for breakfast!"  We get minute by minute updates when he is on the potty and when he is in bed at night we are still privy to his innermost thoughts as we hear "How big is Lexa?  So big! and 1,2,3,4,5,6,9,11".  Little Man no longer gets away with the I didn't do anything excuse because will give us the skinny on any basement skirmish or toy battle.  I love every news report we get and cherish even most mundane update because my boy is talking and working so hard to tell us what is going on in his adorable little head.

Moving Streets
We were on the metro train heading into D.C. and I was answering an onslaught of questions for Little Man about the workings of the train, the cars he was seeing, if we would see worms when the train went underground etc.  I love his questions.  Then he says "Mama, why do the cars all move at different times?  Why don't we just have moving streets with batteries under the ground so that everyone can get where they want to go at the same time".  Brilliant.  We discussed why it might be better to have cars moving like if a part of the moving street broke down everyone would have to stop but if a car broke down everyone else can keep going.  We talked and discussed the pros and cons of each situation and he is still convinced he is the brilliant one and moving streets is better than a moving car.  It finally came down to it would be cooler that way.  Love how his little mind works and I love that he questions the things that I just take for granted as being the way that they are.

Compulsion to Dance
Sweet Pea just can't help herself.  If she is in the middle of a tantrum or fussing because one of her brother's took her toy, just start singing any song.  Anything.  Really, she doesn't care what you sing.  Hum a tune and her head starts to go back and forth, her knees bend and her little booty shakes.  She just can't help herself which is why Papa Bear and I were singing the entire way back on the metro.  She wasn't upset but she was being her usual loud self and we didn't want to disturb the other passengers so whenever she would start yelling, we took up singing and she would dance instead of yell.  I just have to love simple solutions to Sweet Pea dilemmas.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Day In DC

Last night Papa Bear and I lay in bed racking our brains to come up with Family Fun activity that we could do for very little or no money in weather that would start off fairly cold and if we were lucky warm up to the mid 50's with all 3 kids with little to no prior planning.  We sure do love living just outside DC!  We checked a few metro schedules, unearthed old metro cards from our days working in the city, checked museum opening times, packed snacks and a lunch and our plan was hatched.

We (by we, I mean Papa Bear who blessedly let me sleep in due to a long night with kids) packed the lunches, snacks and diaper bad and caught a metro at 9:23 in the morning and headed into the city with some very excited little boys.  Little Man had a million questions about the metro and Peanut just wanted to "go super super fast".
Sweet Pea was happy to be along for the ride.  (See her back there behind Peanut in the purple hat?) She was our MVP of the day.  With no nap, a piece-meal lunch and a bunch of graham crackers (HFCS-free of course) she was a trooper and happily hung out and took in the sights.
We took the metro for 13 stops while the boys alternated between staring out the windows and walking from seat to seat hoping the sway of the train would knock them down.  We arrived in still chilly buy beautiful DC weather and walked, ran and skipped to the Natural History museum.

We visited with the dinosaurs, lions, foxes, whales and butterflies.  Peanut was scared of the giant whale but loved the T-Rex.  Go figure.  Little Man took more time at each area, asking questions and showing more interest than he has before.  Peanut was a blur.  He ran from exhibit to exhibit taking each display in for a second before moving on.  I learned that I had to tell him to look up because he tended to take in each display from his eye line and when I told him to look up we heard "Awww, wow! So big" but then we would have to remind him to look down again when he started walking because you can see how that might be a disaster.  Sweet Pea loved walking around and touching any object at her level.

Peanut measured up against the leg of an elephant and even our Peanut wasn't as big as an elephant.  I think he was a bit disappointed about that.  And then we tried to get a picture of all of the kids together which was a challenge and good for a laugh.

(At least the monkey and Sweet Pea were looking at the camera)

After a lot of fun, we ate our picnic lunch on the Mall in the sunshine, played a little chase and then headed back on the metro.  We arrived home with happy and tired children and then we all took naps.  Total cost = .84 in added metro fare; Total fun = priceless.

Monday, October 31, 2011

My Favorite Things

Halloween 2011

I can not let this post go without pointing out that I made Little Man's "Flash" costume and I am really proud of the result.  The boys loved trick or treating and had a lot of fun going house to house until Peanut decided he was done.  They each had one piece of candy and went to bed.  It was a great afternoon.