Saturday, December 29, 2012

On the Second Day of Christmas, My True Love Gave to Me... books! 

While I love visiting with family and sharing gifts, I am grateful when after all of the celebrations we can just relax. On the second day of Christmas the weather way icky and we were tired so we stayed in our jammies all day long.  And we read.  Just read. The kids received new books in their stockings this year and they were happy to read them.  The kids loved receiving new books and I think this will have to be a tradition we continue with our kids. I love having children who love to read.  

Mr. Bananas is reading his new "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" book set.
Buggy is reading her new Ramona book from the Ramona series.

Daddy and Boogie snuggling on the couch reading the first book in the Rise of the Guardians series

Boogie reading to himself while Hubby napped

My view from my end of the couch. Boogie was in this position for over an hour. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas 2012

My favorite Christmas decorations: Stockings and a Jim Shore Nativity set
Who doesn't love a little boy in a bow tie?
This year I was more prepared for Christmas than I have been in previous years.  It helped that Hubby and I decided that the kids would get 3 gifts each and some stocking stuffers. I chose the number 3 because I averaged their ages. However, someone in our MOPS meeting mentioned that her kids receive three gifts because Jesus received 3 gifts from the Magi and if 3 was good enough for Jesus, then it was good enough for her kids.  She went on to say that her kids received something they wanted, something they needed, and one surprise gift.  I love this idea and I think Hubby and I will work on giving just 3 gifts for future years.  This idea was reinforced when the kids loved and were happy with their gifts and it made things a lot less overwhelming!  My kids were also blessed with presents from both sides of our family and from family friends from church.  More than enough gifts to go around.  We also have an annual get together with my best friends from college and we look forward to getting together with them for Epiphany.

Not only were presents wrapped and ready to go for our Christmas Eve celebration at my SIL's house, but presents for our kids were wrapped and ready to go for Christmas. This was the first Christmas Eve where we didn't have a ton of wrapping to do and we were in bed before midnight!  Christmas Eve was lovely.  It was an annual tradition held by my husband's great-aunt. My sister-in-law picked up the tradition several years ago with a midday open house and it's been lovely. The cousins exchange gifts, the adults participate in a Yankee gift exchange, potluck/buffet is served, and we enjoy spending time together.  Christmas is a lot less overwhelming and this affords my family the opportunity to celebrate Christmas with my husband's family and then to spend time with my family on Christmas day. It's a great compromise.

Mr. Bananas and Grandma
This year we did our annual cousin picture on Christmas Eve and it actually made things easier. We were all asked to arrive about 45 minutes earlier than the other guests. We did, the kids were cooperative for the picture (though Bananas scowled in every single take), and we managed to finish with 15 minutes to spare before extended family arrived.  The cousin exchange was very organized and each family had a chance to unwrap and appreciate their gifts before the next family received their gifts.    After the cousin exchange the adults participated in our annual Yankee gift exchange amidst lots of stealing of gifts and roars of laughter. A gorgeous set of cordial glasses from my husband's grandparents were a part of the exchange and stolen the max amount of times.  Hubby's uncle ended up with them and then graciously gave a glass to each person he had "stolen" it from.  My teenaged niece ended up with a "beardo" knit cap/beard combo and a D.A.D.D. (Dad's Against Daughters Dating) t-shirt.  She wore her beardo proudly to Christmas Eve. Lots of laughter and fun.

Annual Christmas picture at my SIL's House
Listening to my sisters-in-law talk about dinner preparations for Christmas Eve I realized that our unplanned Christmas Eve tradition has been to grab McDonald's on the way home from Mass. We usually attend Mass with Hubby's family, dress the kids in their pajamas, and drive 45 minutes to get home.  This year we attended Mass with Hubby's sister and her family.  We are also the Godparents for two of her daughters so this was a nice way for us to spend time with them. We were also able to go back to their house, change the kids in their new Christmas jammies in a warm house instead of a cold car, eat yummy food leftover from the party, and then head home.  I really enjoyed spending extra time with my nieces and sitting with them during Mass. Boogie loved having one of his cousins sit in the backseat with him to and from Mass.

Hubby and I still had a few presents to wrap, but nothing like the usual last-minute pile from years past.  We managed to write Santa a note from the kids, set out his "provisions" per Boogie's instructions, admire the lights on the tree, and head to bed.

Ready for the kids!
On Christmas morning, I was up well before the kids.  I think I was most excited to see the kids' faces and had a hard time waiting for them.  But as always Buggy woke up before her brothers and snuggled with us.  I also gave her a much needed nebulizer treatment. Kind of sad to start of Christmas Day with a nebulizer treatment, but well worth it.  When Boogie woke up he did the same thing. They anxiously waited for their baby brother to wake up while Hubby started breakfast.  When the baby finally woke up I gave the kids instructions to come down the stairs together when I gave the go ahead. I was able to catch their expressions with my camera while Hubby was able to film it. A first for the family. Usually I'm juggling both devices while Hubby escorts the kids.  Having a child old enough to open the baby gate and to have all 3 children old enough to walk down the stairs together is a nice first.

The kids loved opening their stocking stuffers and checking out a few gifts under the tree. The kids enjoyed opening their sibling gifts and gifts from family friends.  We took a break for breakfast and went back to presents.  The kids had fun playing with their new toys and Hubby and I finally had a chance to open our presents. I received pajamas that fit. It was on my list. I'm happy to say that I am wearing a size smaller and all my old jammies were falling off. It's nice to walk around the house without holding up my pajama bottoms with one hand. HA!  And as running has become one of my favorite pastimes, Hubby gifted me with a new pair of running shoes. The way to my heart is through my feet :)  I surprised Hubby with a handmade scarf in Packer colors and I am pleased that he told me it's his favorite gift.  I enjoyed making it for him and finished it just 2 days before Christmas.

O Come Let Us Adore Him!
We joined my cousins and aunt and uncle at my parent's house for Christmas Dinner. However, Christmas celebrations were dampened by the passing of my grandfather. He passed away around noon on Christmas Day.  My grandfather lived in the Philippines and I did not know him, however, my mom and uncle's grief is profound and I am so sorry for their loss. I do not know what to say or do in these situations. And it's in situations like these that I am so grateful for my children.  Hubby told the kids the situation and with their hearts full of love and innocence they gave comfort to my mom by hugging her. Buggy wanted to tell her that "even though she is sad, I love her."  Mr. Bananas saw the tears in my uncle's eyes and while he does not understand death, he understands when someone is hurting. He walked up to my uncle and put his hands on his knees. I lifted him up and he just hugged and hugged my uncle.  Children are so perceptive and I am so grateful for their amazing love and comfort.

LOVE Boogie's excitement
While dinner was somber, the rest of the evening was less so with a family rendition of the 12 Days of Christmas, sharing of Christmas gifts, and a family game of the children's game "Headbanz." Laughter was definitely needed and soothed the soul for a short time.  Christmas was cozy and pleasant. My brother was in town and it was nice to see him interact with my kids. He appeased the big kids by sitting between them for dinner and spending time with them.  My mom who is usually a whirlwind for family dinners took the time to finally sit and sat down during dinner to enjoy food and conversation.

While celebrations were dampened by the loss of a family member, we were able to appreciate the time we have together.

I pray that you have a peaceful and happy Christmas. We are still celebrating Christmas for the next 11 days and reveling in the gift that is Jesus! Merry Christmas!

Super Blurry, but you can't still see their excitement

New Books found in his stocking

New dollhouse with furniture

Enjoying his sibling gift, "Lionel"


My Side of the Family

My Filipino Relatives

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Dear Santa

Boogie has been very interested in writing letters and asked if he could write a letter to Santa. This is his first letter to Santa and we said, "Sure, why not?"  The teacher side of me spoke to him about the 5 parts of a letter: heading, greeting, body, closing, and signature.  Of course after he wrote, "Dear Santa, I would like..." Hubby and I made him change the beginning to include questions. I couldn't help myself.  It was a teachable moment and I ran with it.

Thinking that I am being savvy, I tell him to list 5-7 things on his list and maybe he would get 3 of those things. Nothing like setting his expectations low...or so I thought. HA! The joke is on mommy.  The first thing on his list? Snow days.  Seriously? Snow days? It's a good thing to ask for, but I don't know if Mommy  Santa can bring this particular gift. I told him it might not happen until February and in the meantime I am keeping my fingers crossed.

The next few things on his list included a gecko feet and hands for walking on walls, a diving suit, flippers (for swimming in Maui of course), and finally affordable things like a watch and a headlamp. He also asked for binoculars. Are we seeing a theme here?  My kid loves the outdoors and anything to do with animals. He wants flippers and a diving suit so that he can swim in the ocean with the turtles. He needs a headlamp and binoculars for checking out the wildlife out of the water.

So much for being savvy. Fortunately, we can get him 3 things on his list.  The rest, well, you know.

A few days later Boogie exclaimed obviously distraught, "Oh, no!  I forgot to ask Santa for something. Is it too late?"

M:  No, Honey, what do you want.
B: I want that thing.
D(addy) patiently:  What thing?
B: You know that thing that can go down the continental slope. Not the big one. I don't need the big one. Just the little one.  You know so that I can see the animals on the bottom of the ocean floor.


D:  Do you mean a mini-sub? Do you want a mini-submarine?
B: Yes! That's it! A mini-sub! Can I get a mini-sub?
D:  Kiddo, I'm asking Santa not to bring a mini-sub. We don't have room for it.
B: Oh...

And so it goes. My son has grand ideas and would love to fulfill them, but we don't have the budget.  But in the meantime we will foster all of his passions in the best way we can by encouraging him to play outdoors and read, read, read to his heart's content about every amazing thing he wants to explore :)

Friday, December 7, 2012

She Has a Bed...Really, She Does

We have a really nice bed for Buggy. We have it on loan from a friend.  We bought her a new mattress and it's pretty comfortable. I once hid from my family when I desperately needed a nap by taking a nap in it when Buggy took a nap in my bed. Don't worry, Hubby was home taking care of the kids who weren't napping.

But here's the thing, my child would rather avoid going to bed at all and play all day and night if she could. Which leaves us with some pretty interesting sleeping arrangements. Just take a look here:

Age 2 1/2, sleeping upright in our chair and a half in our family room.

Same day as above picture.
I had taken her to her room only to find her later asleep on the hard wood floor in our front hall.
She took the time to put on tights and frilly socks before falling asleep again.

Close up of her on the hardwood floor.
Seriously, is that comfortable?

After a fun night of trick or treating I found her sound asleep on our laundry pile in our room.
Yeah, that's right our dirty laundry pile. Sigh and gross.

Her favorite place to fall asleep is waiting for me in my bed.
Especially when Daddy is away on business.
Yes, I carry her back to her room.
I have amazing arm strength carrying all 3 children from my room back to their respective beds many, many times.

In the upstairs hallway between all 3 bedrooms.
This is because I told her that I didn't want to find her in my bed when I came upstairs  to go to bed.
Take that, Mommy!
She's quite comfortable with her pillow pet and blankie.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Best Friends

I love when all three of my children play together well.  I love when they are kind to one another, I love to hear them giggle and to watch them get along.  Buggy is the middle child. I remember having concerns about "middle children" because I had heard so many stories about friends who were middle children and didn't feel like they fit because they weren't the oldest or the youngest.  I was reassured by many other friends that Buggy would be just fine and they were so, so, so right.  I think it helps that she is the only girl between two boys.

Buggy adores her big brother and will do just about anything for him. She will share her last piece of candy, she will find the toy that he has been looking for all over the house, she will give him comfort when needed.  Buggy is also a fantastic little Mama to her baby brother. After he broke his nose a few weeks ago (oh, yes, he broke his nose and that is certainly another blog post!), she could be heard in the gym childcare saying, "Mr. Bananas, get down from there! You've already broken your nose once!!!!"  She shares her toys with him and soothes him. She shares her snacks and her love.

I think Boogie and Mr. Bananas will be closer when Mr. B. can start running around without injuring himself. I think when Mr. B's vocabulary broadens and he can play soccer, the boys will be very good friends. Right now I think there is too much of an age gap and while Boogie is not super nurturing, he looks forward to playing with his baby brother when Mr. B. is older.

In the meantime, Buggy and Bananas are best, best, best friends.  Seriously.

Just this morning as Boogie was walking out the door with my mom to go to school, Buggy said, "Wait, don't forget to kiss me!" Boogie gave her a kiss and merrily went on his way.  As I dropped off Buggy at preschool, Mr. Bananas did the same thing. He went up to her, waved, and said, "Byyyyyeeee" and waited for his kiss before he could leave her. I love that my eldest modeled how to give love by giving Buggy the love she needed to start her day and how Mr. Bananas saw this and and received the same type of love from Buggy.  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my children. All 3 of them!

But as I said, the younger two are the bestest friends and here are the pictures to prove it:

Saw this during dinner one night.

How sweet. This was "just because." Makes my heart so happy.

Playing superheroes together. Do you think she will always "protect" and "defend" him?

How cute are these heros?