Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Day 2011

Of course I think my kids are amazing, and I'm biased, but how many kids do you know that sleep until 8:30AM on Christmas Morning.  The kids slept in the same room on Christmas Eve, complete with their own tree and woke to a handful of small gifts under their tree. We heard them bouncing around and decided it was time to get this show on the road.
They have to stay in their room until we give the OK, I love seeing them so excited.
Baby Roller Hand must have been on the good list, because she got a few gifts from Santa this year. 
Mr.Boy has been talking about this crazy expensive Volcom Jacket for weeks.  I told him I can't imagine ever dropping that kind of cash on a sweatshirt.   What he didn't know was that I went to 6 different stores trying to hunt down the one he wanted in his size.  He was ecstatic when he realized what it was.
He immediately wanted to show it off and hasn't taken it off since...except to wear his Leather Jacket.  I swear this kid is going to break the bank with his clothing preferences.  Although... ahem... I may have the same taste. 
Last Year, ALL the cousins and ALL of AK's friends got an American Girl Doll for Christmas.  All of them, every single one, or so AK told us.  This year she asked Santa for American Girl Doll and a cup of her very own.  I have never been more stressed dropping a Benjamin on a doll, knowing it would be one she would hopefully have forever.  There are a crazy amount of options, and then for $12 more you can add this, or that, and next thing you know $100 turns into $500 worth of American Girl items and you can't figure out how that happened.  I swear there must be brainwashing. 
But all that anxiety disappears when you see her face when she realizes what she is opening.  Plus factor in the fact how much she loves Baby Roller Hand, and how Baby Roller Hand has been part of our family, including family portraits for the past five years, you know that AK is going to love this doll.   She has spent hours brushing "Madeline's" hair, and changing her outfits 100 times.  It was a good gift for her.
I got surprised with an iPhone which I have been drooling over for the last few months after my phone tanked.  I am in love with my new toy and Siri is my new best friend.
AK made out like a bandit and seems a little shocked at her giant stack of gifts.  Seriously, ever Christmas I say, "Ok, we are going to scale it back this year," and every year we don't. 
Mr. Boy got everything on his list too, plus some.
After the gifts were opened and played with, we were off to our Sunday Service.  I couldn't resist wearing my outfit made by Aunt D.   I love it and I can guarantee I was the most festively dressed person in attendance that day! 
I think I'm totally going to bring the fur trimmed skirt back.  Hang on let me dial up Vogue see if I can get them on board. 

Christmas Eve 2011

Christmas Eve is my favorite.  The anticipation makes me giddy.  In the midst of all my festiveness, I had grown a bit behind on my Holiday To Do Lists.  A batch of Christmas Cards would have to be New Years Cards and on Christmas Eve morning I found myself at Costco picking up the last of the goods for the next few days of entertaining.  While I felt like a last minute loser, I made myself useful by picking up items the neighbors needed for their festivities.  

Once the food was handled, we could focus on family and fun. Mr. Man & Mr. Boy played "Ping Dong*" in Mr. Man's new Garage-Mahal.  The Garage-Mahal was a byproduct of the big Cleanout of 2011, and now he has lots of space for manly things.  

*Mr. Boy constantly mispronounces or makes up words, and I love it. Fortune Cookies = Future Cookies, Moonhole = Moon Roof, Wonder Woven = Wonder Woman, Ping Dong = Ping Pong
Mr. Uncle arrived in time to join for afternoon cocktails of "Christmas Soda". 
Soon the mini cousins arrived.  (Mini cousins are Mr. Man's Cousin's kids)  Cookies were made for Santa, including a Darth Vader and a Yoda.  AK knows Santa is a big Star Wars Fan. 
We caroled in costume to the neighbors, who loved it!
The best part of the evening was the outfits.  When I was at White Christmas with the Extended Family, I joked that during the Finale, I expected everyone to come to Christmas Eve Dinner at my house dressed just like the dancers in the finale.  Big Red Fur Trimmed Skirts, muffs, and Santa Hats.   Ross's Aunt D, who is someone I aspire to be like, took the idea and ran with it.
 Her family showed up in costume and brought outfits for everyone in attendance.   It made my Christmas!  I couldn't believe she did that.  I had been joking, but we did look mighty festive in our muffs and fur trimmed skirts. I LOVED IT!  We even dressed Zoey up! 
Luke 2 was read and acted out by the children.... 
Santa was tracked by Uncle Mike, thanks to NORAD. 
After lots of laughter and good food, our guests went home and it was time to put our kids to bed.  I love our annual picture in Christmas Jammies by the tree.  The kids are always so excited that they wrestle each other instead of posing.  I love that their is a puppy in the middle of the brawl, it just is such a snapshot into our life right now. 
Then... All is calm, All is Bright.

Friday, December 23, 2011

December: Leading up to Christmas

I love Mr. Man, I do, he is loyal, dedicated, a great father, motivated, and the man does not know how to relax. He started his "vacation" with a bang and a plan, "Let's clean out the house!" 

I kept protesting, "Pourquoi? Mr. Man, it's Christmas!  I still have gifts to buy, to wrap, and baking to do."  Mr. Man assured me it would all get done and he was right, even though I threw several tantrums along the way.    We worked as a team and everything came together for the most part.  

The kids decorated Gingerbread houses while Mr. Man & I purged the closets. 
They turned out great, and the best thing I did this year was buy the ones that are pre-assembled, I'll have to remember that for next year. 
Mr. Boys looks a bit like it's frowning, but no worries it's actually a door with two upstairs windows. 
We took one day off and ventured to Universal Studios for the day!  It's just a stone's throw away from our house and we ended up getting passes for the year.   
So very fun, and a fun break from cleaning out closets.
My favorite was that they had an actual Kwik E Mart from The Simpsons. While the studio tour had some fun features, but it wasn't nearly as fun as hanging out with Mr. Man on the Warner Bros lot.  Even Mr. Boy said, "What we can't go into the soundstages? Daddy.. tell them it's okay!"  I don't think Mr. Boy knows that not everyone has a dad who works in the Entertainment Biz. 
One of the nights, Mr. Man arranged for a night out for me to see the musical, "White Christmas" with Mr. Mans extended family and cousins.  Ms. Cousin and I shared lots of laughs during the evening. 
One day Mr. Man and I split up the kids and went on our own "dates".   AK and I headed over to Nordstroms for lunch and some shopping.   We were on the hunt for the holy grail of all gifts for Mr. Boy and were coming up empty handed, yikes!
We attended my company Christmas Party, which I love because it is a family affair.  The kids love it because they get all the root beer they want plus gifts. 
Mr. Boy was hiding out under the table anxiously awaiting his gift. 
We ended the day with a marathon Merry Go Round session on this fabulous Merry Go Round that has Reindeer and Sleighs. 
The house was cleaned out and tidy, the holiday activities complete, the Christmas Cards were mostly out, gifts were purchased, and it was the evening of December 23rd.  Phew!  We had packed in the festivities!

December: The Third Week

We hosted our 5th Annual Cookie Decorating Party.  (Is it really the 5th, if the 4th got rained out?)  Mr. Boy wore his scout uniform, not because he had scouts that day, but because he LOVES Scouts. 
 We learned a valuable lesson the first year, NEVER host the cookie party indoors.  You will still be vacumming sprinkles around the 4th of July. Trust me.
This is one of my favorite gatherings during the holidays. Lots of Sugar, Lots of Kids...
 And Lots of Cookies that look like this.  I swear there is a cookie underneath all those sprinkles.
 There are also lots of cute faces stuffing themselves on cookies, candy, and cupcakes. 
 The last day of school for the year was Pajama Day, I loved that Mr. Boy was brave enough to wear these jammies to school.  It was easy to spot him on the playground at lunch.
 That night was AK's "Nutcracker in a Nutshell" performance where she performed "Waltz of the Flowers".  
The next day, myself and some friends went to Disneyland for the day, but Disneyland was "Closed" that day, in spite of the fact that two of us checked our calendars.  Closed as in, a blackout day for annual passholders.  Have you ever sat 8 children down and said, "Yes, I know we are sitting here at the gates of Disneyland and people are going in, but we can't go today."  Of course, just as we break the news, the monorail whizzes by. filled with happy kids and parents who don't have passes with blackout dates. We tried to make the best of the day and went to the beach for lunch and to play.  I love this playground on the beach, it's one of my favorite spots in the nation.  

 Later, we rode the Ferry over to Balboa Island.  

Our family attended the Church Christmas Party in full Bethlehem attire, with the exception of Mr. Boy who was a Roman Soldier commanding people to be taxed.  I looked more like a nun than an ancient traveler.   Mr. Man was a Jedi Sheppard, who watched over his flock wearing Star Wars sheets, and hauled around LuLu the Rocking Sheep.
Guess who had the staring role as "The Baby Jesus" in our church's Living Nativity,  Baby Roller Hand!  AK was so proud of her baby in a manger, and would visit her in the stable and whisper, "It's okay Roller Hand, shhhh, just remember to stay swaddled, and no crying!"
And thus begun Mr. Man's two week vacation from work...  

Thursday, December 22, 2011

More than I can chew

I'm not sure where I went wrong, but somehow I got way behind on Christmas.  My kitchen table looks like this, and I'm in way over my head.  Throw in a car accident, strep throat, and one husband who doesn't know how to relax while on "vacation" and we are in the middle of crazy chaos.   Anyone have a few more hours they can spare?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

December 2011: The Second Week

Mr. Man and I enjoyed a shared work at home day, which is rare for us.  He and I held hands and stared adoringly at each other while we worked. Maybe that's an exaggeration, but we did chat and enjoy our time together.  Even better, we got the Christmas List hammered out and gifts ordered! PS His new look, makes him look like a zombie.
While not super festive, it was fun and a change from my normal routine.  The good folks at GoGoSqueez, my very favorite snack food, sent over a researcher to document the "A Day in the Life of a GoGoSqueez Mom".  I love their product, and I've declared my love previously.   I'm so tired of feeling like I'm losing the "good food" battle, and GoGoSqueez is my secret weapon in making sure my kids are eating well. 
Charlie (Mr. Research Man) got a peek in Chalet Life, and spent ample time in my filthy mom-mobile shuttling kids around. AK was deep into Nutcracker Practice and that night I hosted a small gathering for some people I volunteer with. 
Zoey, after getting fixed, and her last round of vaccinations as an early Christmas Present, got to finally go out the back gate to explore the "Back 40".   She and Rupert had quite the standoff for their first meeting until Rupert took a good sniff of her rear end and declared to the heard, "It's okay, she's one of those domesticated things!
I attended the annual Holiday Handmade Party again this year.  Last year I made fancy tea towels, that were not a hit.   This year I bought an old frame from a thrift store, painted it white, and made it into a  magnetic chalkboard.  This year I hit a homerun, and it was hit!!
Mr. Man and I attended his swanky company party.   I ended up changing my outfit at the last minute, and ditched the giant flower and the white jacket for something a bit more black. I naturally stuck my foot in my mouth when I implied someone was old who was only 26.  Mr. Man is good to put up with me.
AK & I went to see the "Real" Nutcracker and loved every minute of it.  She was in awe of the dancers and the costumes and can't wait to grow up to be a ballerina.  While we were waiting to go to the performance, we wrote our letters to Santa   AK asked for an American Girl Doll, Monster High Girls, and her very own cup.  She always throws something in her letter that is odd, but sweet.  Last year it was Scotch Tape. 
Mr.Boy had 100 items on his list, but in the end narrowed it down to three.   A skateboard, a leather jacket, and a ridiculously expensive Volcom Hoodie.  The kid has expensive taste just like his mama.
The next day I prepped for our annual Holiday Cookie Party.  While out grabbing the last minute items, I got into a car accident, when someone decided to change lanes and hit my car. Thankfully, no one was hurt, but it is a pain in the rear, especially during the Christmas Holiday when you have 10,000 things to do.   I spent my evening baking away my frustration in the form of sugar cookies.