Crisp Autumn Eve 3 Column from TCBOTB

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010 Xmas with Gma Diane .... our final celebration

And here we are… at our final 2010 Xmas celebration at Grandma Diane’s house in Monticello. Again, the boys were adamant that they wanted to take along their precious Harold and Diesel 10, so again they clutched onto them during the ride there and almost the entire time at Gma Diane’s. The kids had a blast with their cousins there (Rachel, Tyler, Brandon, Kelly and Devin) …. Watching movies, playing with toys, jumping on Gma's spare bed (unnnghh). They particularly loved watching Tyler and Brandon try to fly a remote control helicopter. For some reason they found it completely hilarious every time it would crash or hit something or someone as it was pretty hard to control. MacKay was laying hysterically to the point he had tears in his eyes while Oscar kept chanting “Again… Again… Again…. Let Me try…” And MacKay was also particularly interested in watching Devin play his Nintendo DS… asking what all the buttons were for and what was on the screen etc. They really had a good time. And Evie was in better spirits as well, feeling right at home running around Gma's house and playing with her bigger cousins. Any time cousin Kelly (Ke-YEEE) is around, Evie is showered with enormous amounts of love and attention – so she just basked in that.
We decided to get gifts/stockings out of the way, so we immediately dug into that. Again…. I am just going to list some highlights as there is NO WAY I can even begin to keep straight all that they got and from whom etc. The boys each got a talking Dinosaur Train character. Oscar got Tiny Pteranadon and MacKay got Buddy the TRex. They are pretty funny cuz they will talk to each other (they have sensors) if placed near each other. They also got $ to go toward their new dresser for their room, some more games (thanks to Dani and family) and Dinosaur puzzles. Evie got an Etcha-Sketch/DoodlePro sort of thing that she gets a kick out of, and a Little Mommy Rocking Horse for her dolls. She also got the Fisher Price pink dog that sings etc from Dani and family - which she mainly loves to kiss on (like everything else). And all the kids got personalized luggage – I can’t wait to have them help me pack next time we go somewhere, I think they will get a kick out of that.
As per usual routine at Gma Diane’s at Xmas time, we just pretty much grazed on all there was to eat – it was a nice spread ….. AND the big hit every year: BINGO! This year the boys even got into it. They played a couple games (with our help), and that was when it became apparent what MacKay's true calling is …. To become a BINGO caller. No matter who was calling the numbers, MacKay would parrot them out again right after they were called. He was quite the helper. So we decided to put him to work and he sat with Gma Diane and got to turn the BINGO cage to get the balls out, and Gma Diane would tell him what to call out for the letters/numbers. He did quite a good job too. Then, of course, lil Mister Oscar had to get in on it as well and wanted his turn to be the BINGO caller, so he sat with Uncle John who helped him to call out the letters/numbers… but he really liked turning the BINGO cage. We played enough rounds so that each of them got to win once ….. they each won $5 and were excited “This is MONEY!”
Evie again wasn't eating when we all sat down to chow, and started feeling a little warm ….. so we put her down for a nap and she pretty much conked right out. After we ate, Tyler and Brandon helped the boys put together their Dinosaur puzzle pieces which made up a Spinosaurus and a Stegosaurus. Both the boys loved these and ran around with them for the remainder of our stay there. We took some family pictures for use in next year’s 2011 Calendar we’ll make for Diane again – we made 2011 Photo Calendars for all the grandparents this year, I had a lot of fun doing that and I think we’ll continue to do that yearly as all of them really treasured it – who wouldn't?, tons of pictures of your grandchildren. Of course our kids had to be the difficult ones again though, as when it came time for our family picture (taken by Uncle John), Evie got crabby, MacKay became defiant and didn't want to be photographed, and Oscar wouldn't put down his dinosaur, which he put directly in front of his face for the picture. Oh well …. Every picture has to have its story right? And we were able to also nab a few “decent” (Evie was crabby) pictures of Gma Diane with all her grandkids too.
We left shortly before 5pm so that we could still get home in time for some dinner (got home around 6:30) …. And Chris fed the kids dinner – pizza, which thankfully Evie REALLY dug into and finally ate – while I emptied our suburban of all the Xmas presents we had accumulated over the weekend. It was quite a haul and filled our mud room. Slowly throughout that night I took more and more presents out and tried to organize what we had. I had to start making a pile of things we are ready to get rid of (mainly baby toys and things they no longer play with or are broken/missing parts etc) …. But I think that pile needs to get quite a bit bigger to make room for all this other stuff. I cannot wait to get the boys’ room redone (new beds/bedding, paint, decorating etc) so we can move a lot of their stuff into their room … and possibly even into Evie’s as well. We’re throwing around ideas and time lines on when we can get to that, but the goal is to have their new room done by the end of the month – at least that is my goal.
So, that pretty much wraps up our 2010 Xmas. I have a lot of other details and info to share on what the kids are doing and up to, but I’ll save that for another post…. Probably sometime after the new year as right now I am “blog posted out.” Here are some pictures depicting the fun we had at our 5th, and final, Xmas celebration for 2010 with Gma Diane. Enjoy.
The boys taking turns crawling into Gma Diane's toy box ... something they enjoy doing at home too. I guess they don't realize that the toys belong IN the toy box .... not strewn out all over the floor.

Oscar with his Ke-YEE (Kelly) and Gma Diane with her little "mini Chris" (MacKay)

The boys with their new Dinosaur Train toys ...

BINGO! ! !
MacKay (with Gma Diane) and Oscar (with Uncle John) helping to turn the Bingo cage

MacKay and Oscar helping to do the Bingo calling ....

Devin & Kelly and Brandon & Tyler

MacKay playing Bingo... and his winning card.

Silly Evie kissing on Gma's hide and seek doll ..... and NOT eating her lunch.

Grandma Diane's slew of stockings and holders

MacKay wearing cousin Brandon's new hat he got for Xmas this year. I think we need to get him one of these.

Cousin Fun
Tyler and Brandon helping the boys to put together their Dinosaur puzzles

Devin showing MacKay a think or two on his Nintendo DS - Oscar and Kelly coloring - and MacKay laughing hysterically at his older cousins trying to fly the remote control helicopter

Kelly loving up her little Evie doll .... and the younger boys jumping on Gma's bed [sigh]

Family Pictures
The siblings .... Jolene, Chris and Dani

Gma Diane with her children

The Hehir Family - Kelly, Jolene, John and Brandon

The Barthel / Ridgeway Family - Rachel, Tyler, Devin and Dani

The Hoglund Family ... and the Hoglund gals

Grandma's pride and joy

Oh MY .... am I seriously done blogging my Xmas 2010 now? I feel so relieved.
I probably won't be back on before 2011 hits ...... so everyone, have a very safe and happy new year, and good luck in 2011. Come back next year, we always have more to share.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Xmas Day 2010 at Gma Chris's .... and our feverish little Evie

Onto the Xmas Day fun at Grandma Chris’s house in Coon Rapids. Like I had said before in the previous post… we got to Gma Chris’s late on Friday (Xmas Eve) night and immediately put the kids to bed. We adults sat up for a while chatting and getting things organized for the next day … then headed to bed ourselves to rest up for yet another fun filled day, or so we thought.
I woke up around 4am (cuz I cannot seem to sleep through the night since having kids) and just happened to check on Evie on my way to the bathroom. I noticed she was breathing different… almost like groaning or moaning. So I felt her head and she was HOT. Luckily I had remembered to pack the thermometer and Motrin/Tylenol, so I grabbed that and she was at 103.7 degrees. I gave her some Motrin and had her drink some water – which she guzzled and she went right back to bed… but not me. No… I stayed up and worried and kept checking her to make sure she was okay and that her temp was going down, which it wasn't going down fast enough to make me comfortable. Eventually I fell asleep again … and luckily all the kiddos felt like sleeping in, cuz I didn't hear a peep from anyone until about 8:45 when Oscar woke up and wanted to get out of the room. Shortly after we all got up and headed down for the tasty breakfast my mom had made for us – Sausage Egg Strata and Carmel Sticky buns. It was right about that time that I realized I had forgotten to pack diapers. Yes.. you are reading that right. I FORGOT TO PACK DIAPERS. I had packed enough in my diaper bag to get us through our stay at Bonnie and Deans and a little extra, but that was it. I think it was because usually when I go to my mom’s for a visit, she picks up diapers for me so I don’t have to pack them up. I cannot believe I completely forgot about diapers. So after we had breakfast I had to run to Walgreens (the only store open in the vicinity) and pick up size 3 and 5 diapers. What an idiot eh? And I should mention …. Evie didn't eat anything at breakfast (which is weird for her, she is SUCH a good eater) AND she was also shaking the entire time like she was freezing cold. We took her temperature and sure enough she was spiking again. So she got a dose of Tylenol which seemed to help…. For a while.
The original plan was that we were going to have the kids open their presents and stockings immediately after breakfast … but we also wanted to wait for Uncle Dennis to arrive, so we decided to wait until later, but we did allow them to open one present each and dig into their stockings. The boys got two more pieces for their Dinosaur Train collection, and Evie opened up yet another Snap ‘n Style doll – Elena. I should note cuz I forgot to mention it in the last post… Evie also got two more Snap ‘n Style dolls from Bonnie and Dean – Erica and Kerri, as well as a few more snap on outfits). The boys were pretty happy with the load they got from their stockings too as they got quite a few more vehicles – and Ice Cream Truck, Snow Plow, Mail Truck, School Bus and two Tractors, some rolling pins for their play doh, and something new for them – kaleidoscopes. Evie’s stockings were filled with…. Stockings, literally. She got a ton more packs of socks (2T/3T – the size she is moving into) and a cute pair of striped tights. At this point we also started digging into some of the presents they had gotten from Bonnie and Dean the night before, which the kids enjoyed… but not Gma Chris as her recycling bin was full to the brim with all the cardboard and plastic from all the packaging. Hee hee – there is a method to my madness.
Uncle Dennis got there around noon … which was when Evie hit her wall and was getting groggy, as well as spiking yet ANOTHER temperature. She had on this super cute outfit …. A long turtle neck sweater she got from the Ledweins for her birthday, with some matching Matilda Jane leggings … but she was feeling so miserable and hot that we had to strip her down, and even that didn't help. So she got yet another dose of Motrin and off to bed she went for an early nap. She took a nice long one too – which she probably needed. During her nap time we snacked on the huge schmorgesborg (did I spell that right?) of food my mom had put out …. All sorts of dips, chips, veggies, crackers/cheese platters, Xmas cookies, AND we set up a couple of the boys new Thomas TrackMaster sets that they had gotten the night before from Bonnie and Dean. They played with those for the longest time. Then Uncle Dennis’s girlfriend, Danielle, arrived and the boys pretty much swarmed her having them read to her and showing her all their toys and such, though they also liked playing shy and coy with her at times too. Little flirts.
Evie woke up around 3:00ish and was still a little warm, but not so bad that she needed to be medicated again. So we decided it was time to dig into the presents. Again…. I will do some serious injustice if I try to list everything they got from Gma Chris and Uncle Dennis… so I will just give some highlights. For the boys…. The highlights were the two different packs of Wedgits ( - a starter tote, complete with starter board, and a deluxe pack – and a couple more TrackMaster engines (Mavis and Diesel) from Gma Chris AND the numerous TrackMaster train car sets that they got from Uncle Dennis. But the biggest highlight, surprisingly, was probably the Karoke/Sing Along Machine they got ….. it plays 15 different songs to sing along with and can even distort your voice to sound like a child, a man, a robot etc. MacKay LOVES singing his ABCs and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star in it …. I think this might be a good way for them to learn some more songs. Evie wasn't feeling so great so we had to open her presents for her … but she got a wardrobe (storage and lighted mirror) for her Snap ‘n Style dolls, along with another snap on outfit or two and an outfit for her Little Mommy dolls from Gma Chris. And the classic Fisher Price remake of the Record Player/Phonograph from Uncle Dennis .... complete with 5 records (2 songs each, so 10 total). I remember having one of those when I was little so that really took me back.
Poor little Evie didn't even make it 2 hours being awake before she started getting tired again…. And spiking yet another fever. She was making us nervous though as she wouldn't eat anything (she hadn't eaten at breakfast or lunch) and, to boot, wasn't drinking anything we threw at her either. So she got another dose of Tylenol and she was off for yet another nap. So while she was conked out, we decided to dig into dinner – Porketta. Mmmmmmmmm. After dinner we just relaxed as we were all stuffed. Evie woke up around 6:30 and was actually in much better spirits for the last few hours of the day that she was awake for. Still a little needy and whiny… but not nearly as bad as earlier in the day. And for once…. She actually felt cool. Evie played with her dolls and all of the boys toys, while the boys played with their Wedgits (which Uncle Dennis couldn't resist the urge to join in on) and sang along with their karoke machine for all of our amusement. And for me… the highlight was when Gma Chris brought out the Lemon Angel cake (more like a pie). I only get to have this once, maybe twice, a year as it usually only rears it’s lovely head on special holidays or occasions. Yum…. It is to die for.
Not much more to tell about Xmas Day… we played out the rest of the night. Dennis and Danielle eventually left around 8pm, and shortly thereafter we put the kiddos to bed. Evie got one last dose of Motrin before bed though she wasn't really at a temperature I would normally medicate at…. But it was nighttime and I never want to gamble with them spiking in the middle of the night. I was getting nervous too… because if she wasn't going to get better and was going to still need fever reducer medication throughout the night I felt like it would be best that we left Evie behind when we went to Gma Diane’s the next day. So I was just hoping it was just going to be a 24 hour thing …. Which it pretty much turned out to be. We all went to bed, and though I checked Evie periodically throughout the night, she was cool as could be and woke up in VERY good spirits on Sunday (12/26) morning, our typical Evie. So we rushed to get the kids breakfast (though Evie still wasn't eating), dressed and ready to be out the door and on our way to Gma Diane’s by 10am …. To go to our final Xmas celebration for 2010.
Here are some pictures from our time with Gma Chris on Xmas Day. I am regretful to say we did not get a family picture like I had hoped to get (from all the Xmas celebrations) for my family as Evie was just so miserable and under the weather. We were so focused on trying to deal with her when she was awake, and she just really in a picture taking mood. Thank god for Gma Chris though – she was the one that Evie wanted a lot of the time when she was feeling miserable … and Gma was more than happy to hold and comfort her the best she could (which also gave me a little break here and there).
Evie feeling like her old self between fever #2 and #3 on Xmas day. (Note: wearing the cute outfit I mentioned above... sweater from the Ledweins)

Gma Chris's stockings for the kids

The kids digging into their stockings .....

Evie playing on the bulldozer about an hour before fever #3 hit and she started feeling miserable again

The boys opening their presents from Gma Chris and Uncle Dennis - MacKay was feeling shy and trying to hide, and Oscar decided he didn't want his face to show in the picture while trying to show me a book he got

Playing with Wedgits.

Again, stay tuned..... coming soon: our final 2010 Xmas celebration at Gma Diane's