Twas the Weekend Before Christmas

Last week I posted on Facebook that the kids were starting to ask if they could open just one present, “Pleeeease, just one present Mommy!”  I think we were all in luck because we headed to Ocean City to celebrate Christmas with Pat’s family and we all got to open some presents.

We had a great weekend in Ocean City with Pat’s parents and brothers/sisters-in-law and the quickly expanding brood of grandchildren – 5 kids and Jack is the oldest.  Naptimes and any semblance of a good diet quickly went out the window.

On Friday evening, the oldest kids got to open their presents from Pop Pop.  Jack got the latest and greatest Hess truck and claimed, “It’s just what I wanted because it’s a truck aircraft carrier!”  It was a Hess tractor trailer truck with a jet that could fly off the back.  He also melted some hearts when he said, “My Pop Pop is the best Pop Pop!”

The kids got to go swimming on Saturday morning and then there were a few impatient moments before it was time to open some presents.  I think all the kids loved their new presents and were happily playing with them most of the afternoon.  We then headed out for a tour of lights at a local park.  We got to ride along in a tram car and see all the lights.  Casey was especially excited when she saw some pink Christmas lights – “It’s my favorite color!!!”  She really said it so that it required 3 exclamation points.  She was also excited to see lights in Jack’s favorite color.  

We also went to see Santa.  Jack had been talking about going to see Santa and sitting on his lap since Thanksgiving.  This was the year he was going to tell Santa what he wanted and not be afraid to sit on his lap. We were going to get a great picture of all the grandkids on Santa’s lap.  Casey looked like she was amazed by him as we moved forward in line.  She just stared at him like she couldn’t wait for her turn.

All talk.  No action.  Jack backed out at the last minute and I think that made Casey back out.  So there is a lovely picture of the 3 youngest grandkids, but no Jack and Casey.  In the end, Casey ran up and told him that she wanted a baby dolly but no sitting on the lap and no picture.  It’s a good thing Bob the Elf is here to let Santa know what Jack and Casey want for Christmas.  Maybe next year Santa.

On Sunday I hosted brunch and then the guys watched the Eagles game.  Pat’s Mom and I loaded the kids into the car and headed up to Philly before game was over but we apparently missed some ridiculously joyous reactions when the Eagles won at the last second.  We were happy because our guys were happy.  And I’d like to leave it like that…a happy ending to a great weekend.  But in the minivan, things were about to get ugly.  Jack got sick – all over himself and his carseat.  And he continued to get sick all the way to Philly.  We had no buckets handy, but Pat’s mom was resourceful and we had some blankets.

Jack is a trooper though.  Between “getting the yuckies out” into a blanket, he chatted with us like there was nothing wrong.  He also said, “Casey likes to put her head in this blanket” right after he threw up into her blanket.  We assured him (and her) that the washing machine would work its wonders before anyone else touched that blanket.  He was also very interested in a car fire that held us in traffic for a bit.  After we finally got to Philly, he went straight into the house and sat on the couch.  When we asked what he was doing, he said he was waiting for the news to come on so he could find out what happened to that car.

Jack was fine after that car trip, but then Casey was sick the next day.  She seemed to have recovered and then got sick in her carseat on the way back to Virginia.  The silver lining is that they both have clean carseats now.  And I’m still amazed at how they were both such good kids for being sick the way they were.  A yucky ending to our great weekend, but it doesn’t diminish any of the great memories we made at our Ocean City Christmas.    

Casey loved holding the babies!

Jack too!

Adorable babies!

Watching Nana opening a present.

Jack unwrapping his new Hot Wheels track

Casey loves her new baby.

Jack & Daddy at dinner

Bad picture, but we’re both smiling

Getting Ready for Christmas 2010

I’ve been going a little crazy trying to get all my Christmas projects done this month.  I’m almost there!  I wanted to have everything done by tomorrow so I can relax and enjoy the next week or so.  The house is decorated, most of the presents are wrapped, Christmas dinner is planned, it’s fairly clean around here and most of my crafty Christmas gifts are made.

We’ve received many boxes this week and the tree has a healthy sprinkling of presents under it.  I pull the presents out of the boxes and they place them under the tree.  Jack and Casey love when boxes come and continually ask, “Is it for me?  Is it for me?” when they hear the doorbell ring.  Which reminds me of a funny story – One day when we were coming into our neighborhood Jack said, “Mommy, I just saw a No Trucks sign!  But that’s funny…because how is the UPS man supposed to come in our neighborhood?”  I had to try to explain that they didn’t want just any trucks barreling through our neighborhood but that the UPS truck was allowed.  I think he was relieved.

Today, Jack and Casey started begging to be able to open just one present.  It’s fun to see them so excited…I remember begging to be able to open “just one” present when I was little.  I have even been tempted to peek into some of the bags this year, but I’ve been good.

And now for a random picture that I’ve been meaning to post:

This is Jack in his turkey costume!  When I was getting some things ready on Thanksgiving Eve, he found this brown bag sitting on the counter and asked if he could have it to make a craft.  A few minutes of hard work later and he donned his turkey costume.  If it looks like it’s greasy, it is…I had originally put the popcorn in it for the popcorn turkey at Jack’s school Thanksgiving party and realized that it was a little greasy.  I switched the bag right before the party.  I think it just makes it look more like a real turkey…right?

And back to Christmas things.  On Sunday, we went to the Children’s Christmas Party hosted by Pat’s ship.  Unfortunately, Pat was stuck on the ship working, but Jack, Casey and I managed to have a great time.  There were 3 craft tables and since Jack hasn’t met a craft he didn’t like yet, he had a great time.  We decorated Christmas cards with stickers, made snowflake ornaments for the tree and made snowman photo frames.  The kids also got presents.  Jack got some cars, colored pencils, a notepad and some Beanie babies.  Casey got two dolls and she loves them so much.  They were so good at this party and we had a great time!


Despite any posts to show any progress lately, I have done more quilt making this month than all year I think but they’re Christmas presents.  And now, I have one quilt left to make and I need to have it done this week.  But I seriously miscalculated how much fabric I have.  I thought I had 120 5″ squares.  I only have 72.  A combination of really wishful thinking and being tired I guess.  This is not enough for the lap quilt I wanted to make.    It’s a really cute baby quilt right now but I’m not giving it to a baby.  I’m thinking about adding sashing but I really don’t want to.  So, I’m disgusted and can’t make a decision and it makes me not want to do anything else either, like the 100 Christmas cards waiting to be sent out or preparing for what’s going to be a crazy week.

Facebook Status Updates

Pat had duty today.  And even though I usually talk to him at the end of duty days, my thoughts end up as facebook status entries in my head instead of things I tell my husband at the end of the day.  Mostly they don’t ever become status updates for a variety of reasons – I’m not near my phone or computer, I don’t think anyone would really care about it or it’s not really that interesting or it would have been too wordy to explain it all.  But I figured today if I put them all into a blog post, it would be little snippets of my day.  So here’s what I might have posted:

8:50am – Why does it seem like everyone is late for dropping their kids off at school and early for picking them up?  I’d rather be the opposite and get a few extra minutes.  (Although I’m usually early for both.)

10am – Casey saw a man in the commissary who looked just like Santa – he had a red jacket and red hat on with a long white beard.  When he talked to her, her mouth just dropped open in shock.  It was the best reaction.  She didn’t know Santa has a military ID.

10:30am – Quadruple whammy at the grocery store – diapers, wipes, toilet paper, and paper towels!

12:15pm – Jack said that he played knights and princesses at school today.  Then he said, “Casey you’re always a princess!”  And she said, “Uh huh.  Yes I am.”

1:30pm – I’m making homemade bread.

2pm – Jack can sometimes be way too crafty for me, as in wants to make elaborate crafts way too often.  I just gave him an egg carton and he has been cutting, taping, looking for cardboard and other crafty things while talking to himself me for half an hour trying to make a cow.  He thought the egg carton looked like it would work well for a cow’s udder.

2:30pm – Holy Chatterbox!  Jack won’t stop talking.  I’ve had to put Ruby and Max on to get a break.

3pm – Casey’s not into napping today.  Time for some Dora now.

4pm – Might as well make some gingerbread men as requested by Jack.  I warned him that they have to go in the fridge before they become “men” so hopefully there are no meltdowns.

4:45pm – Started picking up all of the random construction paper/wrapping paper around the house and decided we should make festive paper chains.  It required a lot more work for me than I thought it would but Jack thought it was awesome.  He said, “Don’t bother us Casey – we’re working on an experiment.”  We hung it from the mantle as Jack wanted.

5:30pm – My new go to meal when Pat is gone will be baked potatoes with broccoli, blue cheese and cheddar cheese.  Maybe some bacon next time, but that would add more work.  So yummy.

6pm – My new game is “How many toys can we pick up in 5 min?”  Jack thinks it fun and can’t believe we can clean most of it up in 5 min.  Of course it helps when you don’t hear the buzzer go off.

8:30pm – The bread is finally baking…2 hrs of rising turned into 4ish.

9pm – I’m baking bread and making a quilt.  Maybe later I’ll sweep my dirt floors and you can call me Laura Ingalls.

10pm – Mmmm!  Warm bread fresh from the oven.

How To Be A Preschool Party Planner

Or at least how I plan a preschool party.

I volunteered to plan Jack’s preschool Thanksgiving party.  The instructions for the party planning parents are “Parties begin at 10:30 and run smoothly with a story, finger foods, a craft and a game.”

The original volunteer was unable to plan the party and I had seen the Halloween party and how it flowed, so I decided I could jump in and plan a great Thanksgiving party.

About two and a half weeks before the party, I started to browse the internet for ideas.  I thought I had it figured out pretty well.  I went to Jack’s teacher and told her my plan.  Then I walked away and felt like my plan was only the start of a plan.

I think preschool teachers have a huge cache of ideas just in their heads.  Meanwhile all my ideas came from hours of searching the internet.  She started talking about making a teepee out of pvc pipes and how much the kids would like that.  The “finger foods” turned into more of a lunch.  She said we could go out to the playground for the game or move into a bigger room and that it would be great if it was something physical.  I think she said something about a high ropes endurance course.  Maybe.  Oh, and maybe some Thanksgiving music while you’re at it.  I’m sure the library will have something.

So I did a little more planning.  Added some more food to my menu.  Decided I needed some help making all that food.  Couldn’t decide what to actually ask other parents to bring.  Finally sent a note home asking for some food contributions.  Messed up when I put the notes in the lunchbox and not everyone got the notes.  Didn’t want to ask parents to help at the last minute.  Ended up making all the food myself anyway.

For a week, it felt like I did nothing but prepare for this party.  Pat laughed at me.  I merely pushed by him to get the scissors to make crafty things.  The night before this party, my kitchen looked like this:

Something on every bit of counter space, a frozen pizza for dinner and obviously that was a great time to get some mopping done too.

Finally, it was time for the show.  And I think it went well although I’m happy I don’t have to do another one until Easter.  (Probably should start planning that now.)

Turkey headbands – I cut out strips of paper to wrap around their heads, turkey heads, eyes, beaks, and feathers.  Probably should have made a model for the kids to copy but I just told them to do what they wanted to.

Pin the feather on the turkey – I created a turkey out of posterboard and cut out a feather for everyone

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Roll – I got this idea from a website called One Charming Party…give two kids each a broom and a pumpkin and see who can roll the pumpkin to the other side of the room faster.  The kids loved it and asked to do it over and over.

Ritz crackers with cream cheese or pumpkin butter spread with chow mein noodles on top to look like a turkey track
Turkey roll-ups
Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches
Pumpkin Butter Sandwiches
Pumpkin Pie Pudding

Cranberry Oatmeal Bars

And finally, the part that got the most oohs and aahs, the turkey!
Another fabulous idea from One Charming Party…

Brown paper bags, filled with popcorn, scrunched up a little, placed in a roasting pan to look like a turkey.  I started off snack time by telling the kids that first we were going to carve the turkey.  Jack kept saying, “But I don’t like turkey.  I don’t like turkey!”  I told him I was pretty sure he would like this one.

I think the kids all had fun based on the decibel level in the classroom.  I came home, put Jack in front of the computer playing Sesame Street games and took a nap.  I couldn’t even bear to think of preparing a Thanksgiving dinner or really doing anything except recovering.