Crisp Autumn Eve 3 Column from TCBOTB

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....

Isn't it just a beautiful Christmas this year…. Fluffy white snow everywhere and continuing to come down in the days leading up to the holidays. It’s wonderful. I know those of you in the twin cities are saying “Are you crazy… we don’t need any more snow!” .. but for those of us up north here, who got missed by the big shellacking you got a week or so ago, we are loving this. Today Chris came home early from work JUST cuz it was so nice out, he wanted to come home and take the boys outside to play in the snow and make a snowman. So that’s exactly what we did. Chris helped the boys make a fort / tunnel while I struggled to make snow balls to make a snow man. The snow wasn't quite sticky enough so it took a lot of pressing and patting to get them started and going …. And even then, it wasn't like you could just roll it and it would grow bigger. It needed a lot of finessing, but we finally got some snow balls big enough to use for the body. The boys were quite excited about it… telling us we needed to get a carrot for its nose and buttons for its eyes. I put a scarf on it as well and apparently it still wasn't done as the boys wanted a smiley face on it. We weren't about to dig for more things to try use on there, and I wasn't feeling creative enough to think up something, so our snowman is “smile-less” for the time being.
And if that wasn't enough to make today a great day, it actually started out quite nice too. The boys had preschool today and were very excited cuz they knew we were going to be making ginger bread houses. I had already told them Daddy was going to be joining us to help (there is NO way I would have been able to do this with two kids) and Oscar was VERY quick to nab him up as his helper, telling me that Daddy is “his guy.” So to make things easier I dropped Evie off at Shawna’s instead of taking her with us to sibling care, as I wasn't sure how I was going to handle wrangling the boys out of the building while also carrying Evie AND two not yet set / solidified ginger bread houses. The kids in class all put on reindeer antlers and sang “Rockin' Around the Xmas Tree” while shaking jingle bells as a performance for the parents. Super cute. MacKay was feeling shy and gave us his typical sly grin the entire time, refusing to dance around or participate, and Oscar for some reason got stage fright and wanted to stand by me. But they both proudly wore their antlers. Then it was time to dig into the ginger bread houses. They had so much fun doing it. I worked with MacKay who was very adamant he wanted me to put a door on it before he would even begin decorating (like he needed to know where that was to work from there)…. But had so much fun putting on all the other parts and grew more and more excited as he found more and more types of candies to put on there. And from what I could see, Oscar was having fun with Daddy and liked putting a lot of the sugared gummy rings on his.
Some general updates with us ….. we’re getting ready to give the boys room a total overhaul. New paint (possibly new trim, and texture on the walls and ceiling too), hopefully work in a mid wall shelf to go around the entire room and then…. Drum roll…… new big boy beds with new bedding and the works. All the grandparents are chipping in for various parts for their new room and giving them as part of their Xmas presents this year. Very excited for it all to come together. I think the plan is that we’re going to send the kids down to Gma Chris’s for an extended weekend and try to bang it all out while they are gone so that when they come back they have a totally new bedroom. I hope they are as excited as I am about it. And along with the new furniture/bedding/room the boys are getting….. we finally decided to replace our living room furniture and get something decent enough to tide us through the remainder of the “messy toddler” years (juice spills, spit ups, crumbs, etc) until we can get something nicer for when we finally can “reclaim” our living room (aka, no more toys lining the walls and corners of the room). We found a reasonably priced (actually at a steal) sectional that will work decently in our living room upstairs for the time being…. But the big bonus is that it will fit perfectly, like a glove, in our family room downstairs when we are ready to replace that with something nicer. And I mean, like a glove…. As it only leaves about 1-2 inches of space on the sides when it is downstairs as it wraps around the walls. It was a hard decision ….. we really needed to get something new as the stuff we currently have is falling apart and/or not structurally sound anymore. It is embarrassing watching some people try to get up off/out of our couch cuz it has no structure anymore and the cushions just give way. So we knew we needed to replace it, but didn't want to spend a ton as we know it could get ruined as the kids still are quite hard on things and make messes quite often. Not to mention, Chris is more the recliner type of person, whereas I like to lie on the couch all sprawled out ….. so we needed a configuration that would leave room for a recliner in there too. Luckily we worked it all out … and Chris ordered it up today. Could even be here in the next couple of weeks. Now we just need to schedule ChemDry to come out and do a steam cleaning on the carpet before we do all of that…. They really get it looking like it is brand new.
Other than that, we’re just pretty geared toward Xmas lately. All the presents are bought (a while ago), and wrapped – so that feels good to have that all done and ready. The tree is still intact which I find shocking. Really, for the most part the kids have left it alone. Oscar is constantly saying “these are not toys… they are ormanents” (and no that wasn't a misspelling). Evie on occasion has been found running around with an ornament or two… but has done a good job at leaving it alone. They love to just sit and look at the tree. Every morning MacKay runs out of his room, straight into the living room to crawl under the tree and flip the switch to turn it on…. Then he goes and sits on the couch and just stares at it. Oscar settles for wanting to plug in the kids tree… which I regret to say is NOT on a switch and instead just requires plugging the string of lights into an extension cord. I am just waiting for him to electrocute himself… but he insists “I be careful Mommy…. I don’t touch the metal part.”  They are really getting into all the Xmas shows that are on during the Xmas season too. They loved Rudolf, Frosty, Shrek the Halls, and Prep and Landing … but their favorite has been the Mickey Mouse Xmas – which is just a bunch of old Mickey Mouse Xmas related clips. They laugh hysterically at the clips where Chip n Dale are wreaking havoc on both Donald Duck (who has patience like Daddy) and Mickey. They also love their Avent Calendar… which happens to be the Avent Calendar I used as a kid. Just a big piece of felt with a big felt tree on it. And 25 little ornaments stuck on the 25 days before Xmas that they get to take off and put on the tree one by one. They happily take turns doing it every day (Oscar always reminds us to do it every morning) and LOVE to then count the remaining ornaments still left on the calendar and will them proclaim… “Mommy….. only __ days until Santa comes to my house.” They are quite proud and amazed that Santa is actually coming here, and tell me they are being good boys. Just this morning Oscar filled me in on how it will all go down… telling me we go to sleep at night, so that when we wake up we can see the presents under the tree cuz Santa will put them there. Classic. We took the kids to go see Santa at the mall up here the other weekend while Gma Chris was up visiting …. Was a bit of a wash. Santa was LAME. He had no personality, looked like he was on something, didn't engage the kids in ANY conversation… just sat there and handed out candy canes and stickers to entice the kids. Couldn't even manage to break a smile for pictures being taken. Come on. You’ll see what I am talking about in the pictures below. We also took the kiddos through the Sertoma Winter Wonderland up here at the Northland Arboretum. It is just a trail you drive through that has tons of light displays put on by various local companies up in the area. They really do a nice job. The boys were excitedly pointing out things they recognized while Evie just looked on in amazement at the wonderful colors all around her. It was the first time Gma Chris had accompanied us, and she too thought it was pretty cool.
Some updates on the kids. The boys still love going to preschool and talk about their teachers, Peggy, Mary, and Michelle all the time. They gave Xmas gifts to their teachers this year (they said they wanted to give candy, so we gave them Lindts) and drew pictures on their cards of snowmen, Xmas trees and even Rudolf – all I did was help them with the basic shapes to make them and they took it from there. They started now talking more about their friends in class too. They seem to go through phases in who they remember or prefer to talk about, but I think it is great that they are making those connections with others and remembering names of others in the class. They both recently got haircuts again (by me) and did quite well. So did I, I must say… as I did not scalp them like I am sometimes accused of (MOM). They really needed to have a bit taken off though as they were starting to look scruffy and I wanted them to look their best for Xmas. They love singing Xmas songs… so far they know Jingle Bells, We Wish You a Merry Xmas, and Rudolf - though on Rudolf they cannot sing the words, they recognize the tune and hum along, but the others they sing quite clearly. They LOVE helping … it’s borderline incessant and annoying at times. They want to do EVERYTHING… and by themselves. We struggle a lot with the things they cannot do on their own, but I’m trying to let them do everything else that they are capable of as if I don’t, they let me have it and will completely throw a fit. We've been playing a lot of games with the boys too …. Usually when Evie goes down for a nap so I can give them (and the game) my full attention. They caught on right away with Candy Land and really enjoy playing that one …. They know how to move their pieces forward and can usually figure out their next move all by themselves based on the cards they draw. We also have Memory, which we don’t really play the way it is intended. We have tried it a few times that way, but I just don’t think they are ready for it yet. So instead we made our own variation which is more like a matching game. I take 6-8 matching sets of cards and tell them to close their eyes while I count to ten and lay them out on the floor in front of them all mixed up. Then they race (which they don’t really comprehend that facet) to find matches. I figure once they really get good at that, we can go back to the original way of playing. And lucky for us, we were just over at Shawna’s (Jack and Wyatt) house doing our Xmas gift exchange between the kids and they got the boys two NEW games. One is another memory game (Thomas) and the other is a matching game (Penguins of Madagascar). Can’t wait to play those with them. Another game the boys have gotten into….. hide and seek. We played that SO many times when Gma Chris was up the other week. Gma kept getting on me though cuz when I would hide I would jump out at the boys and yell BOO when they would finally find me. She would practically pee her pants laughing at the boys and how they would jump back about a foot from being scared… but they loved it and kept asking for more. One particular time I actually hid in the living room (where they were starting out with their eyes closed while Gma counted to 20) and I threw a blanket over myself on the love seat. They were just at a loss trying to find me all over the house … and just as I was thinking of revealing where I was, Gma brought them back into the living room trying to lure them into finding me and MacKay came over to where I was and actually leaned up against the couch (aka me) not even having a clue I was there. So again, I jumped out and yelled something out to scare them and I swear I left MacKay speechless. On one occasion we got Daddy involved too … and by that time the boys had been freaked out so many times (by me) that they were so hesitant to look in places, behind doors, in closets etc…. they just would giggle wanting to go in but couldn't get up the courage to do it afraid someone would come lunging out at them again. Ahhhh… all in good humor.
Individually…. Oscar lately has been quite whiny. It is somewhat related to his desire to help all the time and wanting to do EVERYTHING. He’s constantly saying “No, I (stress “I”) want to do it MYSELF!” But he also wakes up most mornings already sort of crabby and whiny and it never lets up. I don’t know if it is a phase or what… but it is getting old. We constantly have to get him calmed down to explain why he cannot do certain things and have to remind him we cry when we are hurt, not to get our way…. And that we don’t respond to whining, that he needs to cheer up and ask for things nicely etc. I feel like a broken record most days just spouting that off every 5-10 minutes…. Hopefully it will pass…. SOON. He also loves to REPEAT things over and over and over and over again until he gets the result he wants… which could range from just a reaction or comment from us, or us getting something for him. I think he just really likes hearing himself talk. But he’s such a lover lately too…. Always wanting to just chill out and snuggle up. I LOVE that. And because he’s so uber chatty lately he says the FUNNIEST things. He kills me. Just the other morning he told me “Mommy…. You not my friend.” I shockingly asked him “I’m not?” To which he replied, “Nope. You not my friend. Daddy’s my friend.” When I asked him what I was then, he said, “You’re for MacKay. Daddy is for me.” Okaaaaayyyy. But later on that night he changed his tune and told me that I was indeed his friend. But then again that next morning he reiterated that Daddy was his (he’s even gone so far as to say Daddy is “his guy”) and that I was for MacKay again. So I asked him “Well, then who is for Evie?” He hummed and looked around the room trying to figure that one out and finally came to the conclusion of…. “Angus is for Evie.” Nice. I have no idea what was going on in his head, but he’s clearly been pretty drawn to Daddy lately. Like I said before, he was quite adamant that he was going to work with Daddy on his ginger bread house and that I was going to help MacKay. He’s a stitch.
MacKay’s latest personality obstacle is defiance. He’s always been the more fiery of the two… but lately he’s taken it to another level. I cannot even discipline him most of the time cuz he’s too busy telling me “Stop talking to me Mommy.” It’s like he gets either angry with me or embarrassed when he has done something wrong…. And doesn't want to hear me tell him he did something wrong. Many times he will even go running out of the room down the hall to get away from me after he’s done something wrong… even before I have the time to say anything to him or give any consequences. Makes disciplining him very difficult … because when he is like this he isn't listening to what I have to say (reasoning as to why we don’t do things like that), is more focused on yelling back at me, and definitely not in a place to reflect and think about what he did. But on the flip side …. He’s been doing more of that self disciplining I mentioned in the last post. Since that first time where he put himself on the naughty bench, he’s done it quite a few more times. Most of the time when I am not there to witness it … I’ll just find him sitting on the bench again and telling me to set the timer so he can wait for the beeper. We’re starting to think this isn't such a good thing though… it’s almost as if he weighs his options …”Let’s see, if I hit her, I have to go on the bench…. Yeah, it’s worth it” [SLAP]. Unnnghh. And he’s very into telling you his feelings too. When he is upset (crying etc) he will tell you he is sad and always follows it up with “I want to be happy!” (awwww) He’s been a reading fiend lately too … can’t get enough of books. He has yet another book he’s memorized now too. This one is an extension on the Itsy Bitsy Spider that goes on to tell more about the ventures of the spider…. I have to share it as I think it is amazing that he has memorized all of this (set to the tune of the song). It continues on where the original leaves off….
Up on the rooftop the little spider found – a nice sunny spot, high above the ground – she cleaned up the roof and she cleared the leaves away – then she put down her things and decided that she’d stay.
The Itsy Bitsy Spider worked hard all day long – making a home that was beautiful and strong – she spun a silky web but just as she was done – the clouds grew dark with rain and covered up the sun.
The Itsy Bitsy Spider gazed at the sky and then… - she felt the first cold rain drop, “OH NO! Not AGAIN!” – but the Itsy Bitsy Spider wasn't one bit scared – this time the spider had climbed the spout prepared (to which the illustrations show she has built a web under the eaves of the roof and is safe and sound)
I just think it is so amazing he retains this stuff. He’s constantly walking around the house singing it, AND sitting down reading/singing it along in the book. He actually knows which verses and lines go with what pages too, cuz he will realize when he has skipped a page and will go back because he knows what pages match the lines he’s singing (and the order of the lines etc). I don’t know if there is a common spider theme too… but lately he (and Oscar too) love watching Spider Man movies when they are on. They talk about the Green Goblin and how he is scary and mean …. And when Peter Parker shows up they are always concerned – “Where did Spider Man go?” MacKay has told me that he wants to be (for Halloween) Spider Man.
Evie is changing so quickly and learning so much. I can’t keep up with all that she is doing lately in my notes and in her book. Like I mentioned last post, she’s using utensils… but now she is using them all by herself – she INSISTS on it. We can’t even help her out in the least bit, if we even touch the end of the spoon or fork to help her she drops it and has a fit until we back away. Makes meal times really interesting, tense and messy. She loves that she’s found her voice, both in talking and singing. She’s super chatty, constantly asking “Was dis?” and “Was Thot?” And then gasps, shockingly, at our answers. I don’t even think she is really interested in what she is asking about, more likes feeling like she’s having a conversation with us and engaging. She’s got a couple new words … “No” (the answer to every question – which also includes shaking head No) and “Ahhh Daaahhn!” (All Done). She loves to sing and dance… and I SWEAR she is trying to sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. At times I hear her doing “Ah Pah Bah Da ..” (Up above the…) or “Tee Tah, Tee Tah, Didi Daahhh” (Twinkle Twinkle Little Star). Guess we better start getting her ready for American Idol eh? She also now knows and can point to the following body parts (which came very quickly to her): nose, eyes, ears, mouth, cheeks, hair, belly and feet. We’re working to add a few more on …. But she LOVES to pinch (hard) our cheeks when we ask her to point those out on herself. She’s also SOOOO lovey lately. She’s constantly giving kisses and hugs to us and the boys… and Angus. She’s even moved onto being maternal and loving to her dolls – which prior to this she really wasn’t into. I’m happy to see this as I got her quite a few dolls (a couple 14” ones, and a lot of those little Fisher Price Snap n Style dolls) for Xmas and was hesitant cuz prior to recently, she really hasn’t shown an interest in playing with her dolls.
Speaking of Xmas presents…. I cannot wait and I think I am even worse than the kids this year. I am SO excited for Xmas this year. Mainly cuz I cannot wait to see the looks on the kids faces when they open their gifts, specifically the ones Santa is giving them. The boys have been so clear and adamant on what they want for Xmas from Santa and I can’t wait for them to see that Santa is bringing them EXACTLY what they asked for. It is going to be so magical for them. I love that the boys are at that age where they can relay what they want, and they get the concept of Santa and giving etc. They were so excited to give Jack and Wyatt their Xmas presents today …. I like seeing that side of it too (that they like to give as well as receive). With Evie, I cannot wait to play dolls with her and see if she likes her presents. The kids have just put my level of Xmas excitement at a level I never knew was available. And to top it off, last week the teachers at preschool sent home gifts that the kids had made. They are all wrapped up in green tissue paper and have labels that say they are to Mom and Dad from each of them. And I have had to resist the urge to tear open a little corner to see what it was that they made for us …. I’m dying. The kids have more patience than I do at this point. We decided we’re going to open our family presents the night before Santa comes here …. So I just need to hold out a couple more days.
Well…. I don’t think I am going to get another chance to post on here before the Xmas festivities, but I will try my darndest to get on here quickly after to share our stories and pictures. Until then… here are some pictures of what we’ve been up to lately.
Just some random shots... MacKay helping me make cookies, and MacKay and Evie on the floor waiting for Daddy to come walking through the door.

Posing by the Xmas Tree Round ONE: Oscar who is always more than happy to pose for me, especially in front of the tree. Evie was excited to do so as well.... but MacKay wouldn't have any of it and hid underneath our end table.

LAME Santa Picture 2010.... what a dud huh?

Evie feeding (painting) herself some yogurt

Evie double fisting her snack where she got both a Lil Debbie Tree Cake AND an oreo cookie (couldn't tell which she wanted and then couldn't get either away from her). And her brothers hamming it up wanting their pictures taken during snack time too.

Posing by the Xmas Tree Round TWO: MacKay more than happy to pose this time (finally).... and Oscar, well, what more can I say about these pictures other than the fact that I SWORE I wouldn't have kids that would do this. And there very well could have been THREE pictures (vs the two shown here) illustrating what took place there but I was too busy putting the camera down and telling my son to STOP to take that third and final picture. (for those of you not following.... in the mouth) [GAG]

One of many forts we've made for the kiddos with their Melissa and Doug bricks/blocks.

Isn't this just the cutest... I found Jackson snuggling up with MacKay and Oscar (Wyatt, his brother, had the other side of the couch all to himself and was happily sprawled out over there).

Yet another fort we've built for the boys.... all the boys (Jack and Wyatt too) had a blast bringing me all the bricks to put this together.

Snack time with 5 kids all 3yrs and younger ..... Shawna and I both attest, it is much easier taking care of all 5 of them most of the time - they entertain each other.

Wyatt had a blast with his new bud Angus ... even tried to give Rudolf a ride on him

Jack enjoyed our tree (pointing out all the ornaments ... Choo choo... Skoo Bus .... Ho Ho (Santa ornaments) and hanging with Oscar and Evie - who he liked hugging and kissing on. Future boyfriend? :)

Sweet Evie doing a no-no and touching the ornaments - yet looking back at me for my reaction.

All the kiddos gathered around the front window waiting for Shawna to return (thanks to our dog who alerted them by barking at EVERY car that went down the street)

Jack and Wyatt in front of our Xmas tree

MacKay and Oscar posing with their "candies" that they made with the left over almond bark I had melted to make oreo balls. They enjoyed putting all the sprinkles on.

Fun outside in the snow... .and the boys' first snowman and fort/tunnel

Oscar and MacKay with their prized ginger bread houses.

Well that's it. I want to wish all of you a VERY Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Happy Holidays. Be Merry.... Be Safe.

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