Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A poem

My boys...

I wish for you in the year to come
so much happiness and joy.
Such play and fun and wackiness
And never a broken toy

May knowledge find your inquiring minds
And friendships of all kinds

I pray for you your peace and health
And Batman game played with stealth



OK, so I'm not poet. But may the new year bring health and happiness, joy and success, to your family, from ours. Happy New Years!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Weeeee!

The boys love their new Wii from OP and Cracker. They argue with me pretty much all day long about when they can play Batman on the Wii. Seriously, Holden is two. TWO! But they have fun and play together pretty well, so that's something. I've set up a system for how long they can play. Each kiddo gets 6 slash marks next to their name on our message chalkboard. Each slash represents 10 minutes of Wii playtime. They can do 30 minutes of a sit down game (ie Batman) and 30 minutes of an active game (ie boxing, bowling). Then that is it. No more playtime. If they misbehave during the day 10 minutes are deducted each time. Today they got 30 minutes of playtime, so you can figure out how this mid-winter-post-Christmas behavior thing is going. (I can't wait for school to start up again).

As for myself, I've given the Wii a go. It is complex, and I'm still figuring it all out. I bowled the best game of my life last night in bowling - which makes me think that perhaps it is set a touch too easy, as I am a terrible bowler. I'm not sure how it compares to the Wii of my youth - Atari, Intelevision, ColecoVision... I mean how could it? The basics of those graphics were leaps and bounds above the Wii. OK, I jest. They were a couple of pixels shooting at each other, but as a kid those game systems were the thing. Just as captivating. Just as enthralling. And now that I think about it, I don't recall Mom putting any restrictions on our playtime with the Intelevision? And I turned out just fine (relatively speaking). Hmmm...maybe all day Wii IS the answer to our mid-winter-post-Christmas behavior thing going on. I'll have to think on that.

Oh yes, and finally, I made the boys a two bedroom house out of all the cardboard we collected over the holidays. I'm not kidding. Weee!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas, 2008.

There is just about nothing in this world sweeter than two little boys, over-the-moon-excited about Christmas. What a lovely, magical, exhausting day. Merry Christmas boys!

Christmas Eve, putting out cookies and reindeer food
Cookies, milk, Santa's letter
Christmas morning, heading downstairs to see what Santa brought
Stockings filled with goodies, with love from Santa
Seeing that he got exactly what he asked for (and the only thing he asked for): A Spiderman Scooter
A quick ride around the kitchen Christmas morning
A helmet far too big for his noggin
Already shredding it
Pure joy
Marbulous , beanbags and a Wii
(Grammy; Santa; OP & Cracker)Me, cooking the Turducken - a self portrait
(and yes, that is Shawn unloading the dishwasher - my man's a stud!)
Warm enough out to get a quick ride in (seriously, how can this be my baby??)
My 3 favorite guys in the world
Table set for Christmas dinner with our best pals, The Weik's
4 awesome kids: Jackson George, Allie, Jackson James, Holden

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas with Nana

Today we had an early Christmas with Nana, Uncle Al and Aunt Janis. It was a crisp, bright winter day, perfect for cozying up at home, eating good food, enjoying the company of family, and opening gifties. The boys were sufficiently spoiled. The food was delish (even if I do say so myself). But most of all it was the joy of having family around that made the day extra special. It reminds me once again how blessed I am to have married into such a fun, wonderful family. And it also makes me miss my own immediate family back in Texas. Hugs to all of them.

Wishing you and yours a peaceful and loving holiday season. Cheers!

Jackson in his festive holiday outfit - he picked it out all by himself for his holiday program at school, which was last week. (Stay tuned - I'll post video from that on the blog soon)
Holden checking out the goodies Nana brought to fill out our tree!
Fun, fabulous new toys! This Sprig car is majorly cool - made from all recycled materials and doesn't require any batteries for operation!! Thanks Nana!
Pausing to "cheese!"
Pausing to "Ham!"

Dad, loving the Sprig toy almost as much as the boys do. This is the man who drives a Prius and uses an electric lawn mower; of course he's digging the recycled materials toy!
Jackson posing with Aunt Janis and Uncle Al (that's a cape around J's neck, in case anyone is wondering)
Table set for brunch
Holden, thanking Nana for all his goodies
Shawn and his Mom

Friday, December 19, 2008

Too much to do, yet here I sit...

I have one million and three things I should be getting done. We are having an early Christmas with Nana this weekend before she flies to Buffalo to spend the holidays with Wendy and the kids and Grandpa. Aunt Janis and Uncle Al are joining us for brunch on Sunday. Christmas itself is 6 days away. Tonight is Jackson's holiday program at school. I'm working steadfast on the Hope For Kyra benefit (don't forget to get your tickets now!). The house needs a very thorough cleaning. Laundry is piled up for days. I haven't picked my menu for Sunday. The beds aren't made. The dishes aren't done. I see dust in places dust shouldn't be able to reach. And yet...Holden is napping (the first time all week), and Jackson is at school. And this morning was crazy and busy and slightly emotional. So I'm sitting at my desk (which needs desperately to be de-cluttered), uploading pictures from my camera, and sipping white tea. By myself. I think I've earned this. One hour of solitude for myself. Yup, that's my gift to me. Ho ho ho!

Some recent pictures of the boys:

Cookie decorating party at Jackson's school
Holden even got to participate -and he loved the hot cocoa!
...and the frosting
Jackson opening a treat bag from his classmate Sara
This face, oh my, I love it...

Cookie baking at home earlier this week:

crushing peppermints for Christmas CandyPeering into the camera
Yes, mom bought pre-made cookie dough. The best.
Finished goodies. The frosting is pink, yes, I know. Don't ask.
Cookies and Candy all in a row

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Lucky Me!

Life is crazy right now. The holidays always bring a sense of chaos to our family life -- lots of extra sugar will do that to little bodies. The kids have been wired, cooped up, and ready to stir the pot. I've felt a strong sense of needing to run screaming from my house more than once in the past few weeks. Thankfully I have my usual partner in crime, er, I mean parenting, to help me through the evenings when my head is really ready to explode (never mind that sweet man has been stuck in work-training all day long for 3 days straight). He is my saving grace.

That, and my Pentax. I love, love my Pentax camera. And I love love love love the new lens Shawn got me for an early Christmas gift. OK, actually I just said "I have to have it!" when I did some sample shots with it at the camera store. And he obliged. So to that end, I have also had the good fortune in the last week to get to do photo shoots for several of our friends and their kiddos. They are kind enough to let me fool around with angles and shots and try new things. Guinea Pigs if you will. In return they get some family shots for a song. And I'm lucky they provided such cute kids to photograph. Other people's kids. Not mine. That makes for a very stress free hour. Lucky me!







Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Advent Calendars



When I was a kid my sisters and I had cute little felt Advent Calendars that I *think* my Godmother made for us. There was a piece of candy tied on for every day of Advent, and then of course on Christmas day, the grand finale candy! I loved pulling those out with the Christmas decorations each year. Mom tied on candy and we counted down the days til Christmas. This year Mom (Grammy) made one for each of my boys. They love them. Every morning, first thing, they beg me to get their treat from their Advent Calendars. They are filled with a variety of treats, each one grander than the next: suckers, pencils, erasers, candy canes, cookies, and the best of all, tiny little tinkling bells. I'm glad to pass along a tradition from my childhood to my own children. Thank you Mom for such a wonderful gift!


Monday, December 15, 2008

referee

The brother's are quarreling, as they are oft to do these days. I hear a loud thwack, silence, and then bawling from my youngest. My eldest automatically runs to the time out spot without even being told - he knows he's in trouble. I rush to Holden's side to check on him. He's tough but he's 2.5 years younger than his much stronger brother. And have I mentioned our wee one is barely on the weight charts? A minor blow could really do some damage.

I assess the situation, and very little damage has been done. Just a lot of crying and and carrying on. But I soothe heavily so that the attention is on him and not on Jackson...

me: "Oh baby are you OK? Where did Jackson hit you?"

Holden: (through tears) "The bathroom!!!!!"

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Ah Norman, you got it all wrong

A Norman Rockwell Christmas - come on, we all strive for it. We all envision it. We all imagine the perfect tree, the children beautifully dressed and well mannered, a delicious meal with all the trimmings coming together at the exact right moment, etc. You know what I'm talking about. And yet, how often does that vision really happen? Um, yeah, never. But the moments of imperfection are the ones I think I'll remember in the long run...

Gingerbread House in the making
Well on the way to perfection
10 minutes later when the thing collapsed and we let the boys have at it
Happy Boy
Very Happy Boy

Our snowman lost his nose and one of his eyes, and broke his arm
Happy as can be in Santa's lap, until Mom backed up to take the picture, then all hell broke loose. I promise I didn't force my son into this picture! He was actually quite excited just 1 minute prior!
"Well if Holden's not doing it, neither am I!"
"NEVER again Mommy!"
"Back it up lady, no more pics!"