The Short Version of Christmas 2009

I woke up before the kids…walked the dog and got cinnamon rolls rolled out.
Jack woke up a little after seven. He asked, “What did Santa bring me?”
We held him off for about 5 minutes and then we woke Casey and headed downstairs.
Jack loved his toy kitchen. Casey stayed in my arms for a few minutes and then realized there were presents to open.
They ripped through their presents from Santa in a few minutes.
Jack wanted to put all his Legos together immediately.
Casey wanted to sit in her new chair from Auntie to open all her presents.
Wrapping paper piled up. Casey tried to push her shopping cart through it all.
Jack put a chicken in his oven for Christmas dinner.
Pat built a Lego construction fleet and a garbage truck from another building set. Casey pushed her shopping cart through all the Legos on the floor.
Jack & Casey helped Grampie put together a garage that didn’t have all the right pieces but they’re having a good time with it anyway.
Mom & I got all the vegetables ready for Christmas dinner. She made an apple pie for us after I failed to plan to get a cheesecake in the oven early enough.
Casey took a short nap and is not very good at sharing this afternoon. Jack had a “special day” and didn’t take a nap so his sharing skills aren’t great either. But it doesn’t matter because it’s Christmas and there are lots of new toys to distract.
The roast is in the oven and smells good.
The kids are busy playing with various toys.
We’re on our third Christmas movie. The Griswolds, The Christmas Story and now Home Alone (my favorite).
Videos and pictures to come! Or check out Facebook.
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Winter Wonderland

On Thursday, we drove up to Philly to celebrate an early Christmas with Pat’s parents. At that time, the forecasters were predicting 2 to 4 inches of snow for today. Pat thought we should go out and get a sled and boots for the kids. Being from Maine, I thought that was taking it a little far…after all they have winter jackets and sneakers.

But then, the forecast changed a little. 12-18″ of snow! Pat got up early, waited for Jack to get up and then hit the road on a quest for winter gear. He found snowsuits and boots and the cutest penguin hat & mittens for Casey at his first stop. But then he had to go to 6 stores to find a plastic orange sled! Either there was a run on them last night or the stores just weren’t prepared for one of the biggest December snow storms in recorded history.

The sled was a hit! Jack, Casey & Pat were outside in driving snow and below freezing temperatures for an hour this morning and an hour this afternoon. When Jack came back inside, he told Pat, “That was a fun time outside!” I can’t believe Casey stayed outside for as long as she did. The mittens are tough. She won’t put her thumb in the thumb hole so she essentially doesn’t have the use of her thumb. That’s kind of tough when you’re trying to shovel and pull a sled around. It’s even tougher when Jack is in the sled. But, amazingly (after a little trial and error) they stayed on her hands the whole time.

We also introduced a new daytime resident into our household. His name is Bob the Elf and he reports directly to Santa about how good (or bad) the kids are being. He is part of the Elf on the Shelf family. It’s a great little story to help explain how Santa knows so much. Every morning he shows up in a new place after his visit to Santa to report on the previous day. Jack got to name him and I think “Bob” is a good option considering the names he’s given to other things…Hmmm and Hor might have been a little awkward.

We’re actually pretty lucky that we got some snow before Christmas, even if it’s not at our house. Jack was pretty certain that it had to snow before Santa could come. Now that we’ve seen some snow, he can go back to worrying about where our chimney is, how Santa will fit down it and making sure there isn’t a fire going on Christmas eve.

I have some pictures of our winter wonderland but I can’t upload them here, or I don’t feel like figuring how I could, so maybe I’ll post them next week sometime.

Holiday Weekend #2

The kids are snug in their beds after another fun Christmas-ey weekend.

On Friday, Pat and Jack went to a Norfolk Admirals hockey game. They left right after dinner so they could get a free hockey jersey for Jack as it was jersey night. Casey and I played and put together a puzzle for the hundredth time.
“Where’s ‘dis go, Mommy?”
“Right over there, Casey.”
“Where’s ‘dis one go, Mommy?”
“Right there, Casey.”
Casey went to bed early and I started to do a little cooking for our Army/Navy football party on Saturday. Jack & Pat got home around 9:30. Jack came in and didn’t say a word but handed me a puck that he’d gotten an autograph on. He was very proud of it. Then he took his jacket off and showed me his jersey. He was swimming in it but he looked very cute. He also got that signed. Both the puck and the jersey were signed by the mascot of the Norfolk Admirals (a dog) which is impressive considering that Jack wouldn’t go anywhere near mascots or anyone dressed in a large costume last year. And yet Santa is still scary.
On Saturday we held an Army/Navy football party and combined it with a playgroup Secret Santa party. We had 8 kids aged 3 and under running around here. It was a little crazy but everyone was having a great time. The kids played, stole cookies from the kitchen, opened presents and ate pb&j’s for dinner while the grownups chatted, ate, and tried to slow the flow of cookies out of the kitchen. Oh, and there was a football game on too. Go Navy/Beat Army.
Today was rainy. Jack and Casey spent at least an hour playing with play-doh at the kitchen table. It was Casey’s Secret Santa gift from the party. Then we watched the Elmo Christmas special and had a picnic lunch on the living room floor.
After naptime, we went to Portsmouth to go to Winter Wonderland. It’s a display of animated characters (elves, animals, carolers, reindeer, etc) and a couple of trains. We also got admission into the condensed version of the Children’s Museum. (The actual museum is under construction so they moved some of the features into another building.) We played for about an hour in there and then headed across town to the Botanical Gardens drive-through light display. I’d say it was a success since after we drove through all the lights Jack said, “Can we drive through again?”
Another big moment in the day was when I finally finished putting some decorations up in Casey’s room. About 8 months ago, I bought some vinyl applications to put on her wall. I procrastinated and procrastinated for months. Then we decided to paint so I felt justified in my procrastination. After all, it would have been ruined if I’d tried to take it down to paint.
Last weekend, I finally started putting it on the wall. It was a lot harder than I thought it would be…I spent about an hour trying to get the first piece up. I was a little discouraged and out of time so there were just some stems of flowers on the wall for the last week. Today I put the flowers on and Casey’s name and it is finally complete. Thankfully the other two pieces were not as hard as the stems. And some day I will post pictures of it, but I don’t have any yet. I’ll have to do a room makeover post and show Jack and Casey’s updated rooms.
One more weekend until Christmas weekend!

A Good Trip to the Hospital

Sometimes it’s the littlest things that make me feel like I’m doing my job (as Mommy) well. Today we went to the hospital’s immunization clinic for our second round of flu shots. My goal was to get H1N1 vaccinations for the kids. Last time we went, we got the seasonal flu shot and it was a 2 hr excursion that left me kind of frazzled and resulted in missing Legos (but don’t tell Jack about the Legos.) Luckily, I was able to get a vaccination for myself as well.

This trip, I remembered snacks for the ride to the hospital and better toys for the wait. Despite the full waiting room, the wait was a lot shorter this time. The kids each grabbed a chair and played quietly and nicely with their toys. This allowed me to fill out the paperwork without having to entertain the kids. After about 15 minutes, we were called and we went in to get our shots.
Casey was really the only one who got a shot. Jack and I both got flu-mist. I had a little talk with Jack about how to breathe in and not out when he gets the shot. For some reason, when he first started smelling things, he was actually breathing out instead of in. I had to tell him to do the opposite. He was so cute…as soon as the corpsman came near him, he took a deep breath and held it. But the corpsman told him to do it again after a count of 3 and he did just fine.
Anyway, it was a smooth operation all around and we got home in time for lunch and naptime. In fact, Jack informed me that he really likes getting flu shots. Go figure. Even Casey, who got stuck with the needle, was happy because she got a bandaid.
As a side note, it’s probably not a good idea to tell your 3 year old that his sister needed a bandaid because she had a little “hole” in her leg now. All sorts of questions that begin with “Why…” will result. For some reason I thought that might be a good explanation.
Round 3 of flu shots is one month from now when they get their second H1N1 shots. Next year, when we only have to get one shot, will be a piece of cake compared to these monthly trips.

Holiday Weekend #1

We had a great weekend of holiday events…ice skating, shopping, movies, parades, dog washing and decorating. It was a lot of fun and I can already think of a bunch of things I want to get out and see this weekend.

On Thursday evening, Pat’s ship held their annual holiday party. We got a babysitter and headed down to Norfolk to enjoy the evening. The babysitter’s report was that the kids “eventually” went to sleep, but I got no more details. It sounded like she had fun with them and apparently she really liked Casey but I’m not sure when “eventually” was or how hard it was to actually get them to sleep. This was probably the first time we’ve had a babysitter put Casey to bed so maybe she didn’t like it so much. Usually she is already asleep by the time the babysitter gets here. It was also nice to have a babysitter who could drive. One of the Manic Mommies is always saying that you can never have too many pairs of shoes or too many babysitters.
Pat had most of the day off on Friday. In the afternoon, we went to the mall. Jack and Pat went to the outdoor ice rink and went skating. This was Jack’s first time with rental skates. We have a pair that strap onto his shoes and are a double runner. These were his first lace-ups but they still had a little double runner. Pat finally convinced him that he was too big for the “little” ice which is a 5’x5′ box. I think Jack really liked that he could climb over the 2 foot boards to get on the little ice and that he could open and shut the little door himself.
Casey and I cruised around the mall a little bit while they were skating. She wasn’t so bad all by herself. We looked at all the Christmas things. I should have seen if I could get her to sit on Santa’s lap without Jack around. She was very interested in what was going on around Santa and I don’t think she’s scared of him like Jack. We ended up at the play area eventually where it was nice for me to just have one person to keep track of. I think Casey also loved having all my attention.
On Saturday, we did a little Christmas decorating. We decided to put our tree in a different spot this year and we had to move a little furniture around. Then Jack and I went out on a date and Pat, Casey & Tugger went out together. I took Jack to see his first movie at the cinema. We went to the Cinema Cafe where you get to sit at tables and order food and it is very kid friendly. Jack worked on his popcorn for almost the first hour. A couple of times he told me that he didn’t like the movie and wanted to know when we could go play. After he was done eating, I let him sit on my lap so I could explain what was going on in the movie to him and he seemed to like it a little better. After the movie we went and played in the play area and then we did a little shopping. Once again, so much easier with just one child, although he walks so slowly that it seems to take forever to get around.
Pat took Tugger to get washed at a do-it-yourself place. Apparently it’s not that easy to wash a 70 lb Boxer while holding your 30 lb daughter in your arms.
We ended the weekend with the Christmas parade on Sunday evening. I wasn’t even sure I wanted to go, but I knew that Jack would like it and it turned out to be a good time. This was our second time going so we were better prepared. We brought chairs and blankets and found a great place to watch it. Jack was mesmerized by everything. Casey was yelling “Merry Christmas!” and waving to everyone. And we were warm and cozy. Jack was upset that there was only one marching band but he was distracted by the many candy canes he was given. Just before the end of the parade, Casey fell and knocked her head on the pavement. She was crying hysterically for a while and it caused me to miss Santa. He was in some weird lit-up bus with a lot of windows and probably heat. I actually haven’t been to many Christmas parades, but isn’t he supposed to be on a fire truck? And out braving the elements like everyone else? Jack liked it though, because Santa was behind the glass and that didn’t make him scared. So it was a fun time and great way to end our weekend.

Let’s Call Him Mr. Ed

A few weeks ago, I was playing with Casey while Jack was at his Little Gym class. Casey brought a book over to me and we were looking at the different animals in it. We looked at a horse and she said, “Neigh. Neigh.” Then I asked her what animal it was and she responded with “Hor!” really loudly. The other parents thought it was pretty funny. I tried to get her to add the ‘s’ to the end of it but she’s not quite there yet.

Fast forward a couple of weeks…Jack, Casey and I were playing with some cars on Jack’s town map. He went to get some pets and came back with a horse and a pig. He then said he was going to give the horse a name and its name was Hor.
“Jack, that’s not a very good name for a horse,” I tried to tell him. I was met with many protests and whys. I knew if I told him it was a bad word that he would just ask “Why?” again…”Why is that a bad word?” Eventually I distracted him with something else and we forgot all about the horse named Hor. Hopefully Casey will get the pronunciation right soon and next time I’ll convince Jack that Mr. Ed is a really good horse name.