Dec 24, 2010

'Twas the Week Before Christmas

26 Weeks and ready for his very 1st Christmas!

We went to the Finley's Christmas party and the girls saw all their pals as well as some new folks too. Colin tried to eat everyone's shirt.

Pleased with her sausage ball.

Beautiful tree! One day, one day.

It's a jingle bell party.

In my hurry to finish up Chloe's stocking before we actually needed to use it, I sewed a bit during the day. Hannah was really interested, so I got out Granny's sewing cards from her old playroom. I played with these as a kid. She really stuck with it and spent quite a bit of the day perfecting over and under. I was pretty surprised this trumped all of their other toys.

There's always fun to be had with empty wrapping tubes.

I did it! Here is my diploma from my writing course began in October '09 and finished this month. Now to buckle down and really work on submitting a few things to see if there is any success getting them published.

Christmas is on it's way, and it's 79 degrees? We enjoyed another pretty day outside.

Voila! It's finished! Since the pattern was old and from a thrift store, it didn't come with all the necessary parts...and the directions for sewing it all together were too confusing, so I winged it. I lined it with some soft fabric and the backing is actually made from a red pillow case I used in the hospital when I had all three kids. I thought that would be a neat thing for her to have.

She approves!!! Colin's is way more complicated, so we'll see if I tackle it for next year or if I find something a little more doable.

These were our babies last Christmas season! Chloe's hair cracks me up.

All grown up with a new baby brother in tow. Have a great Christmas and I'll see you next week with some posts from the holidays!

Dec 17, 2010

Christmas Fun

Last weekend we were able to take the kids to the North Park Center in Dallas. We didn't realize it was actually a mall, one my sisters would really love. Stores galore and tons of activities. On the way in, we listened to some orchestral Christmas music. I've played with this group before for a time or two, and I can't tell you how happy I was just to be watching with my family rather than off at a gig by myself. I'm playing zero Christmas gigs this year!

Next it was off to see the model train exhibit! All aboard! They have their engineer hats on...and you know can guess how long that lasted : )

The entire room was filled with trains running in and out of tunnels, high and low.

My favorite part was all the scenery around them. I loved this ice skating rink outside the White House.

Maybe toys do come to life at night- and have a little too much eggnog.

San Francisco

A Porsche dealership? I knew Dax would like that one.

Texas State Fair complete with "Big Tex" himself.

Here's the real deal.

Then we watched an electronic string quartet and headed to Chick Fil A. You can't go wrong with chicken nuggets.

From the balcony we caught the end of the Waltz of the Flowers from the Nutcracker.

And enjoyed cinnamon-sugar pretzels!

As we were leaving, Hannah caught sight of the Dirk mannequin and seemed fascinated. She wanted her picture with him. Maybe we need to take her to a Mavericks game sometime. Now to actually score some tickets... Later that day the girls went with Nana and other families to the Pet Spa from last year- remember Doris Roberts? : )

I wish there was a better photo, but the male choir at church called "Chantus Maximus" (pretty clever : ) has had several performances this year. Last week they went to the cathedral in Dallas. Dax led them in a service and a performance.

I'm always looking for new places for the kids to play, especially ones that are free, and very especially indoors since it's cold. Jessica invited us to try this out. A baptist church in a nearby town has a place called "The Ark" and the inside truly looks like an ark with the ceiling meeting at a point and faux wooden beams everywhere. They had a place for toddlers.

And a larger place for big kids. I was really surprised they would have such tall slides, but Jessica said last time she was there, they were actually quite slow. Then her daughter raced down one with lightning speed and she suggested maybe they had been waxed since then- ha! In any case, Hannah never made it quite that far so I didn't have to worry about it.

Back at home, of the two girls, Chloe seems to really take to the piano the most.

"Shhh! Your list is taking a nap!"

Back to spring... it was 74 degrees the other day! And our tree is the only one in the neighborhood hanging on to fall.

It was a beautiful day.

Last night, we decided it was time for more family fun. Here is the sunset on the way across the lake. We headed to the Shop of Highland village, and outdoor mall. Here is the conversation.

H- Daddy, where are we going?
D- Highland Village
H- Is that the jungle?

Later she asked if we were at the island yet, so I can see a bit of connection there.

A horse and carriage ride!

Giddyup! Or, trot slowly, we have a lot of babies in here!

Hannah especially loved listening to the horse shoes clop on the pavement. The whole night, we heard the horse come and go and Chloe would say, "Here comes the horsie!"

Brilliant Sky is a really neat toy store. The kids can play with lots of toys in various areas of the store, and the toys are mostly things you don't see at all the chain stores.

Chloe found a piano just the right size.

Hannah put all the dolls to sleep and took good care of them. They are always so great in stores. They never beg to take anything home. Chloe did try to take a doll with her, but when I explained she lived at the store, she put the doll in the dollhouse and said good bye. Too bad that makes me want to buy every doll in the store for her! Before I was a mom, I didn't understand parents giving in, but now I get it. If I see them playing happily with something, I automatically want them to have it! I know the same goes for Dax.

Next was a stop at the Nestle Tollhouse store! Hannah picked out a gingerbread man and Chloe picked out a Christmas tree. Dax and I shared something with lots of delicious layers and I got my chocolate.

The center of the shops had a little fountain, and decorations to climb on.

Everyone that saw Colin that night fell in love, mainly because he likes to give all the ladies sweet smiles and then hide his face. Such a flirt!

Time to head back. I really like this area, so it's great they just built a new bridge that will allow us to get there in 6 min. instead of 20! On the way home, we toured some holiday lights in the neighborhoods. One house always does the light show synced with a radio station, and the girls loved singing Santa in their window- one of those videos of Santa on a monitor that looks like he's really there waving and walking around. We all had a great time!

Dec 10, 2010

December Activities

We'll begin with a conversation between Hannah and Chloe the other day, who were shouting across the house at one another.

C- Hannah!!! Hannah!!!
H- Yes?!
C- Yes?!
H- No, I said yes to you!
Oh, okay!!

6 months old! How is this possible?

This is what goes on during my showers. I can see his swing perfectly from the shower and the girls like to read books in the floor and occasionally push him for a few laughs. He's starting to really think his sisters are funny.

Cooler weather is here.

The girls help Dax set up the Nativity scene. They've begged to play with it, but we put it in a high place this year. Last year, the ceramic animals lost various limbs and underwent hot glue surgery. I don't think they could handle another beating.

They also helped put up the tree. We have a new ornament this year, but no hook to hang him with.

So sweet. We let them hang most of the ornaments and of course they all ended up in the front, lower 1 square foot of tree : ) A few days later, after seemingly un-ruinable (is that a word?) santas and snowmen also began missing limbs, the no touching rule had to go into effect.

We have always contemplated going with a more uniform, high-end look for the tree, but 1. we don't want to buy the stuff, and 2. we can never pass up all our childhood favorites. We always enjoy looking back on the memories.

The piano gives us a place for our Christmas village, now.

This sneaky guy was not allowing me to peruse the internet. He's definitely getting interested in grabbing everything he can see.

Last week, Chloe was diagnosed with whooping cough and Dax with bronchitis. So we all got put on antibiotics and I was at home with the girls- no field trips! We made some fun of it. We made snowflakes for our mantle. I kind of forgot how to make them the right shape and they get really antsy anytime I glance at the computer to look something up, so we stuck with the rectangular versions. They thought it was pretty neat.

Hannah has discovered Word on the computer. She always wants to "type my letters."
She spelled her name on her own, so I told her to try another word, and she spelled "pop."

So I'm guilty of having one of those cookie mix kits you get as a gift in the pantry for about 3 years now. I couldn't find an expiration date, so we forged ahead and made little Christmas tree sugar cookies. A fun chance to use their hand painted aprons, too.

They loved rolling the dough so much, it took quite awhile to get to the cookie cutting stage. But they were even more excited about the sprinkles as you can imagine, so it was all plenty of fun. I set them up to watch a movie and eat their warm cookies- is there anything better?

Colin's early Christmas present- a fun rubber mat for his room. He loves scratching on it.

And someone else loved biting on it, until I discovered who it was. I'll give you a hint- she's fiesty and she's 2.

The fun thing (and sometimes overwhelming thing) about having all these little ones is that they get super excited about everything. You should hear the cheers and hurrah's when we get out Colin's bathtub. I usually do this in the evening when they are in bed, but being sick at home makes you pull out anything for entertainment. They love to brush his (non-existent) hair.

Dax has had some musical goings-on lately. He has a few performances with his church male choir Chantus Maximus. I only have video, and I'm waiting until he chooses the clip he likes best. He's also pulled out his trombone from the depths of the garage to play a Mozart Requiem gig. Chloe hates for us to play our instruments, Hannah wants to join in, and Colin is intrigued. He tries to eat the trombone.

Chloe is suddenly showing interest in the potty, so we brought out the mini-seat for her. She absolutely loves sitting there, but no "results" yet. In the meantime, Hannah is working on making it through the night in order to give up the pull-ups. She's done great so far. Won't they be so happy I made these posts when they are teenagers?

Uh-oh. I was cooking dinner when I heard, "Aaaagh!" She said she was trying to "get that thing" so I'm not sure what was going on or how she ended up back there. So much for putting the breakable ornaments high in the tree. I love the guilty look, here! I laughed and tried to make light of it for her, but she took it pretty seriously. My aunt suggested this be our Christmas card this year. If I hadn't ordered the cards already, this would have been great! We could have a tradition of Christmas mishap cards.

But wait a minute! The other morning, I was awoken by more cries from the tree. This time it was Chloe who did the deed. We now realize that it's not really all their fault. The bottom of the tree does not have it's longest branches on the back side (so we can fit the tree in the corner) so it's pretty imbalanced already. In the meantime, another ornament was sacrificed.

December 6 marks the feast day of St. Nicholas. It's tradition in many countries to leave out your shoes and wake up to have them filled with treats. I know one family who wakes up to new shoes that morning. Hannah and Chloe picked out their St. Nicholas shoes, put them in "time out" according to Hannah, and Dax filled them with chocolate marshmallow santas and jingle bell animal ornaments.

A fun morning surprise!

"What's this?" He loves his reindeer bell. I kept calling it a moose.

There are certain scenes I've had in my head my whole life of family moments yet to come.
When I see an opportunity to create one, I try to jump on it...and it always turns out slightly different than expected : ) Since our kids go to bed pretty early, we usually don't watch any tv or movies together. I've always envisioned us all curled up on the couch together in the dark with our popcorn watching Polar Express. All went as planned the other evening...except they didn't want to sit with us!!

Having the only popcorn left in the room brought them my way in the end. : )

Colin is starting to sit up, but after getting lots of laughs from Chloe, he would rather do the toppling.

A few successful seconds!

He loves his frozen teething rings.

And his big sister. That's her "cheese" face.

Chloe grades college finals, and unhappy with the low scores, flings them to the floor.