Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Pre Christmas Activities

What better way to kick off the holiday season than with the arrival of this little guy?  The kids still get a kick out of our Elf on the Shelf, Elvis, so while it is kind of a pain in our adult sides, I will do it so long as they believe in the magic that is Christmas.  Owen and Mason are 6 and in 1st grade.  I can't help but think this may very well be the last Christmas that Santa is "real."  Of course, I said that last year too.  But sadly, I fully expect some bone-headed kid at school to ruin it for them.  

Elvis brought snowy donuts to enjoy!  The big kids remembered this from last year and I overheard countless conversations anticipating the arrival of our elf and these yummy treats.  

We also had some special visitors from Houston that weekend!  Our good friends, Paige and Blake, stopped over on their way back home from Thanksgiving with family.  This was an extra special visit because my boys would finally be meeting their new little buddy, Caleb.  We even all went to visit Santa together!  Jack was a bit unsure but the promise of a lollipop did the trick.  And how sweet that Caleb is wearing one of Jack's outfits from his first Christmas.

My three wouldn't let us leave without a claustrophobic ride on the train.

Next up was tree decorating time.  Here's Owen trimming the tree.

They had fun adding the sparkly crystal ornaments.

Jack was into it for a short period of time.  His idea of decorating was finding a flat spot on top of a cluster of branches and setting the ornament on it.  He didn't quite get the hanging part this year.

We also enjoyed popping in on Numna to see all of her pretty decorations!  She just LOVES her snow village (has for years) and always wants the boys to see it.  Bless her heart, her dimentia has taken over most of her short term memory, and although she won't recall that we came over, she still gets great joy from seeing us.  Thankfully she still has enough of her long term memory that she definitely knows who we are.  The boys did get a kick out of the miniature village.  Jack was all about role playing and making the very breakable figures walk around and land on rooftops.  Luckily there was one plastic reindeer that I sort of convinced him to play with instead.

Here's Numna pointing out all of her favorite details of her village.  

If you know my grandmother, you know she loves to whistle.  She has told us in the past that she used to whistle with her dad all the time.  Her age has taken a toll on her whistling skills; she used to whistle better than anyone I'd ever heard.  But, she still finds joy in doing it so her and Mason (currently my only whistler) did an adorable attempt at Jingle Bells together.

Our December weather was a bit wacky (in the pictures with my grandmother above, the kids are wearing shorts!).  One cold afternoon we had our frined Emma over to play.  Once everyone was nice and cold from being outside, they came in for hot chocolate.  Turns out only Owen really likes it.  Emma took a few sips, and Mason and Jack traded theirs out for plain ole milk.  Here's Mason...

One night after my house was all decorated and everyone else was in bed, I stopped to soak in the season.  A fire going, the tree lit up, and evidence that happy kids have enjoyed their day making messes in the living room.  Yep.  It's the good stuff.

Santa visit #2 was at my parents neighborhood clubhouse.  We atteneded last year and they really put on a fun little party.  Cookie and ornament decorating, food (including a chocolate fountain that the kids thought was awesome), and a really awesome Santa who came with gifts for all the kids, complete with names on the tag!  It really was as if this guy brought his toy sack with him from the North Pole!

Here's Mason showing off his cookie.

Can you tell Owen is my sweet toothed kid?!  

Oh boy!  Gifts from Santa!

Comparing loot!  Legos!

A Thomas the Train bath painting set for Jack!  Nail on the head right there.  Way to go Santa! (us parents had nothing to do with supplying these gifts)

After the party we spent the rest of the day at my parents house just relaxing and being together.  I love the picture below.  To me it captures the season perfectly.  If only we could slow down every day to enjoy the season more.

The following weekend we had a fun little Christmas feast at my grandmother's assisted living facility.  It was a time for all the seniors living there to show off their families to each other!  It was so nice seeing so many of these elderly people's kids and grandkids show up to enjoy a meal together.  The boys loved it because of the open dessert table!  Okay, we ALL loved it.  Dessert is one thing Numna can't turn down, no matter how full.  I know I come by my sweet tooth honestly!

We tried to get some pics of the kids with her, but between Jack goofing around, and Numna thinking it's her job to make sure they smile (instead of just holding her smile for the brief second Jack decides to cooperate) it was next to impossible to get a good picture.  Here are some of the best we took.  Mason and Numna below:

I'm telling you, I don't know who is the bigger kid in this picture - my hornary 2 year old, my goofy 6 year olds, or my 91 year old grandmother who gets tickled at just about everything the boys do.

Well we know they're all at least having fun!  And let me tell you - there's nothing she loves more than being covered in great-grandbabies!!

The very next day after that wass a last minute visit from Uncle Kyle and Aunt Manda.  That morning, the elf had left the fixings for a gingerbread house.  The kids definitely had a good time decorating it, okay eating the candy, with Manda.

Love this adorable, chubby 2 year old hand sticking that mint on there.

Ta da!!

I'm not really sure what everyone is watching, but it must be good.  I found Owen snuggled up under this blankie and Jack chillin' in his chair chowing down on an apple.  The kid loves 'em.

This video was taken on day 4 of the flu.  He was feeling much better but still not 100%.  I love how he entertains himself so well, even when he's sick.

The last day of school was Christmas party day.  Jack was home sick with the flu, so he missed his party (and his Christmas sing-along).  Thankfully Granna babysat Jack while Aaron and I went to enjoy the kids parties.  Here's Mason getting the first bullseye on pin-the-nose-on-Frosty!  He was so proud!

Mommy and Owen.  Somehow I got out of there without a picture with Mason.  Boo.

I told you, the kid has a legit sweet tooth!  There's a cookie under there somewhere.

Owen's class picture.

Later in the day we picked up the kids early from school and headed to Lubbock for the start of our official Christmas celebrations!