And because I was uploading, a few minutes of the (even farther) past --
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Saturday, December 26, 2009
- FOOD. We had yummy dinners on Christmas Eve (chicken cordon bleu, butter noodles, crescent rolls & almond pound cake with strawberry rhubarb spread) and Christmas (roast, mashed potatoes, cinnamon-brown sugar glazed carrots, pineapple slices, & sweet rolls). Christmas morning was our traditional (extended) family breakfast, at which I ate enough for 3 or 4 mornings. At least. Throw in cheese balls, meats, crackers, candy, cookies, etc throughout the day and I'm still stuffed! In fact, that's the sole reason this came first on my list, not because it was the most important ;)
- Visiting with family. The extended Lawless family was together on Christmas morning, and Grandma Bradford and my immediate family spent the afternoon/evening together. We exchanged gifts and were entertained by the girls until it was their bedtime. Then we checked out Toy Story Mania (for the Wii) and hung out a little while longer before we all were ready to crash! (Of course, that didn't mean we'd get to sleep any, but this is a highlight reel so you're going to miss the lowlights!)
- Exchanging gifts. The girls were SO much fun to watch with their gifts. From the first present, Avery was a master gift opener. She'd rip off the paper like it was her job and immediately toss it behind her. Elise on the other hand was more cautious, ripping tiny pieces off and checking them out before quickly asking for help. She eventually got the hang of it, and by the end of the evening both girls were having a blast tearing into all of their gifts. I'm pleased to say that other than finding Mr. & Mrs. Potato Head terrifying (?), the girls are absolutely adoring all of their gifts! I'd say the favorites this morning have been playing pretend with the dolls (and anything else they can find) with their new stroller and highchair, etc, the Melissa & Doug deluxe band set and the Leap Frog Fridge Phonics toy (that we were finally able to have out with the installation of a magnet board). They have gotten into plenty of the rest, but those have certainly taken up the most time this morning. Well, that and clinging to me, fighting and crying, given the fact that they're sick. But again, highlights only!
Friday, December 25, 2009
I'm not going to lie, it was a little bit of a rough Christmas. Not rough as some people can relate, with true sorrow and pain. Just kinda hard.
As you may have read, Elise struggled with a somewhat nasty asthma exacerbation the first part of the week. The second was wrought with steroid side effects (namely puking, at totally random times). Last night she threw up multiple times when we didn't give Zofran ("knowing" she was done for the night after the first since she had only thrown up 3 times over 2.5 days, never with any consistency). Cleanup of said issues led to 2 wide-awake babies playing with us in their room at 1am. And then, of course, screaming and sobbing babies at 2am for upwards of an hour. I think it was at that point that I realized the whole rest of the day was going to be anything but traditional. Or perhaps it was throughout the rest of the night, when I sat awake in my bed because of the pouring rain and howling winds (ALL night). Even during the ~1 hour 45 minutes sleep I got (broken up in dozes), I think I dreamt three times that Elise was throwing up. And then you know I went in to make sure everything was alright, and came back to be welcomed by more insomnia.
Yeah, it didn't really start out very pretty. Then at 6, the alarm went off and my favorite version of Silent Night (by Selah) had just started. I listened to it, realized I was wasting my time trying to grasp at a few more moments sleep, and found some energy to get up and see what the day would end up looking like after such a rough beginning. I knew anyway, that as great as family traditions are (which, for OCD folks like myself, include matching PJs and perfect timing)... even that isn't what we were really celebrating.
The rest of the morning went as "normally" as possible (including Avery peeing out her PJs - which made sense, considering I had taken advantage of my insomnia and washed Elise's in the middle of the night so they could still match). I spoke with my mom around 8am and heard their power had gone out a few hours earlier and was still out. Plans were discussed, we thought we might be hosting breakfast last minute (entire extended family). It continued to be a weird morning. The rest of the day was somewhat thrown off by a late start when the electricity finally came on at the Lawless'. Afternoon naps were wonky, girls were wheezing and whiney, our "small family dinner" that I cherish turned into a larger Christmas party - and then back to a "small family dinner". Of course, the second change happened only AFTER cooking 8 pounds of roast to include extra guests. (Anyone hungry? :))
It's a good thing I had gone through a major pity party earlier in the week, and then had an awesome revelation/reminder of the important Christmas "stuff" in the form of a somewhat lonely but amazing Christmas Eve Eve worship service. Despite matching PJs being soiled (multiple times) (we're batting 1.000), virtually no sleep, VERY little "normal looking" tradition... it was ok. Frustrating, very much so at times. But - at the risk of sounding cliche - we had one another, and we are so blessed. God is still God, and he is still so good. And after all, that truth is pretty much the foundation of Christmas.
I hope yours was a blessed one. Details and pictures to come, of what turned out - as I'm sure you already imagined - to be a perfectly fine Christmas. Picture perfect? Nah. But blessed.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
If you're confused as to why we make our small holiday houses out of cereal instead of gingerbread, read here. You could also read there if you just want to look at super-cute 6 month olds who were practicing their decorating in anticipation of this year, when they would get to help.
Tonight was finally the night, and let me just go on the record and say I think Kyle and I deserve an award. For shortest holiday-house-decorating, NOT for prettiest. Maybe most creative, but only in method.
You see, we each had an 18-month-old on our laps. Not a 3 or 4 year old, as some people might think an appropriate age to begin (or continue) such a tradition. One-year-olds. I'm sure I don't need to tell you, but it was certainly entertaining! :)
At first they were interested in watching what we were doing... until Avery got a taste of the candy decor. Then, as quickly as Kyle could put a gumdrop or candy "light" on, it was back off the house. And her sister followed suit, picking up everything I put down. Of course, then Avery one-upped her and just grabbed handfuls of candy out of the bowls before we could stop her. I think at some point in the pictures you can see as "finished" as the products got! Here are a few of my favorites. Be sure and check out the Picasa album for the rest!
And just in case something happens again, we also took a few preview pictures of the girls' Christmas pajamas :)
They're trying to fall asleep now, but from the way they were behaving just before bed, you'd think they know Christmas is just a few hours away. Or perhaps it was a sugar-high.
Posted by Jennifer at 12/24/2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
In coming up with an activity for playgroup (which we subsequently canceled this morning, but whatever), I thought about how much kids love to unwrap Christmas presents. If you have children (or know a child), I am sure you can relate -- $50 toy, $0.50 worth of wrapping paper & ribbons, a free box, and you know what they play with most on Christmas Day. Not the $50 toy, I can assure you. (And no, my girls aren't getting any $50 toys!)
You know what I'm talkin' about, admit it.
So, I put together a sort of "sensory box", filled with Christmas trimmings - wrapping paper, tissue paper, bows, ribbons (of all varieties - silky, velvet, "curling"), etc. While we didn't have any friends over to share it, my girls sure had fun with it. In fact, they're continuing to have fun with it all over our first floor! :)
Posted by Jennifer at 12/23/2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
It's really been my motto the last couple of days.
We were supposed to go to Neiderman Farm tonight so the girls could walk around and look at the Christmas lights display, and get some free cookies and cocoa. I had been looking forward to it, but Elise is sick. Again. My poor little asthmatic had the slightest sniffley nose yesterday morning, and yesterday at noon she was in a full-blown asthma exacerbation that we could hardly control. Because we were doing breathing treatments as frequently as hourly with no real relief, we started her on steroids almost immediately. Today she's doing "better", but she's still a bit of a wreck. Here's hoping dose #2 leaves her mostly well tomorrow. The good news is that the illness was a very minor one, and the 'roids should have her 100% by Christmas. Or so we're hoping.
So tonight, as soon as Kyle gets home, we're instead piling in the car and trying to find the biggest light displays we can around the area, in the comfort of the heat and with the girls in their PJs. This is one of my favorite traditions anyway (from as far back as I can remember), so - while I'm not positive the girls will see quite as much as they will in future years - I'm looking forward to tonight's Plan B. :)
Posted by Jennifer at 12/22/2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
As Elise has been reminding me all morning (even though we just left there not much more than an hour ago), we did, in fact, see a "show" this morning. But let me rewind...
Last year as you may recall, we partied at the Great Wolf Lodge for Cassi's 16th Birthday. A friend in the WCMOTC works there and made it all possible then, and reminded me this year that there are lots of activities free and open to the public during the holiday season. While much of it would have left me pulling my hair out with two one-year-olds, I did want to take the girls to see the decorations and the adorable lobby show.
We arrived about 35 minutes before the show, and Elise and Avery LOVED running around finding all of the bears. If you have seen my children lately, you know they adore bears - so this was just the coolest place I could have ever taken them on this particular morning :)
They ran around kissing various animal statues (germs, anyone?)...
... sat for 0.00023 seconds while I attempted to get this picture again - one that perhaps we'll try each year, so long as we're in the area? - and just generally enjoyed running around looking at the beautiful lobby. (Seriously. Look back at the previously linked entry from last year's Lodge visit. Any bets on when that picture in the chair will actually turn out? :))
They even sat and played a bit of checkers!
We met Rudolph again, though Avery and Elise were most excited by him when he was a safe 1.5 feet away. (I must admit, he did look a bit shabbier than when we ran into him last - must be the Christmas rush getting him down!)
At 10:00, the audio-animatronics show began. It was very cute, though my Christmas Cheer was put to the test as adult after adult plopped themselves (and their big heads) DIRECTLY in front of my girls. I guess they assumed they're "just" toddlers, and wouldn't care? (read: forgot that their 9 year old probably enjoyed such a show MUCH more when they were 1-2 than they do now, and would rather be in the waterpark). But I digress...
The girls really liked the show, and especially loved the snow at the end.
What a wonderful, free holiday event!
If only the part the girls really wanted ("Water? water?") to do were free...
I think another overnight stay is in our future!
Posted by Jennifer at 12/21/2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
... and boy, was it a busy one! On Friday night, we played host to the first (dessert) stop for the LHBC youth group's regressive dinner. Despite my chocolate fountain pooping out on me after about 3 minutes and having to instead do fondue with meat skewers, it was a lot of fun - and as far as I know, nobody was injured with the sharp wooden stakes. :)
On Saturday, we made a long trek to Hebron, KY to hang out with Kyle's med-peds colleagues for the program's Christmas party. The girls and I had never gone, and it was a nice event. Elise and Avery found lots of fun toys to play with, and LOVED Ms. Linda's dog (affectionately dubbed "Thea", though her name is actually Anna). Avery was a little shy, but for the most part they were very well-behaved, gracious little guests.
They loved showing off their pretty dresses (that were originally intended for the Christmas Eve Eve service at church) --
listening to grownups having conversations --
and playing with their new toys. Avery ADORED this little stuffed bunny, and hardly let it out of her sight!
There were even kisses and hugs for uncles Sapan & JT!
Then this morning was a bit of a hectic one! I am part of the Christmas Choir at our church. We got there at 7:40 for a runthrough of the service, which meant the girls had to go to Nana & Pappy's super early. They're napping now, though, giving me a bit of time to catch my breath.
Can you believe Christmas is just 5 days away!? With Kyle's rough schedule this month, I must admit I'm having a hard time getting in the Christmas spirit. I spoke with a few people this morning (and with Kyle just last night) and realized that I am so greatly affected by lack of traditional events. The traditions my family has (and my smaller, immediate family has been making for the last 5 years) are so important to me. Without them, I'm just sort of in this funk lately. I'm so incredibly thankful that Kyle is off on Christmas Day though, so I know it will be great! We have a few fun activities planned in the coming days, too, so perhaps it will begin to feel more and more like Christmas this week. Stay tuned!
Posted by Jennifer at 12/20/2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Where does the time go?! I remember lamenting when the girls turned 1, at how quickly the first year of their little lives had flown by. Um, how the heck was that already 6 months ago?!
I love this age. We have fun, the girls are INCREDIBLY entertaining, and they blow my mind on a daily basis at how much they know. I just wish they'd slow down a little, you know?
For fear of getting all blue on ya', I'm going to leave it at that. We aren't doing an 18-month doctors appointment (no need, really, since there aren't any concerns (or immunizations)), but we will be going in for a weight check when Kyle is working at the girls' Peds office next month (just as an elective, calm down - no job taken anywhere yet!)... so I'll give you an update on stats then. Otherwise, suffice it to say that I think they're sort of brilliant, and as cute as ever! And I think they're growing too quickly.
A Happy 17th birthday to Aunt Cassi, too! (Sheesh, where did those years go?!) We love you!
Posted by Jennifer at 12/16/2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
Who said Mondays have to stink? This week, Kyle has been working overnight shifts at the VA. He's caught a few hours of sleep each night though, which means he is awake for much of the day - and at home with us! Today was especially fun, as he was able to work his sleep almost perfectly around the activities the girls and I had planned, and joined us for everything!
After breakfast, we waited here for him and then left for the Children's Museum. It was time for Music & Movement again! The girls had a great time with scarves, instruments, jingle bells, songs and dancing -- and LOVED meeting Baby Liam! (We met Baby Liam when he was awake, anyway. I think they didn't even notice his existence the last time we saw our friends!)
When class was over, we dragged Kyle around to our (current) favorite museum activities - blocks, the house, the vet office, the ball room, the train table and the Little Sprouts play area. It was a very quick tour, but all four of us had a great time!
In the afternoon, the three of them all took a nap. The girls ended up sleeping a bit later than usual (which was great for Kyle), so we got a later start on our afternoon/evening plans. We had intended to go to the Zoo and see the animals, and then be there when the lights came on for Festival of Lights (since you hardly see any animals during). We didn't make it in the zoo until around 5, but still had an enjoyable 2.5 hours there. It couldn't have been bad, anyway -- it was nearly 60 degrees!
The girls really enjoyed themselves, as we hoped they would. They liked oohing at the lights, enjoyed dancing (in the stroller) to the various Christmas songs throughout, saw Santa's reindeer, and met lots of fun characters including Rudolph, Frosty, a Penguin, and even a Winter Walrus! (Huh?)
Can you believe Christmas is next week? Where has December gone?!
Pictures of all of today's adventures in the December Picasa album!
Posted by Jennifer at 12/14/2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Ok, let me just tell you upfront - I'm freaking exhausted. I worked for 6 hours on a project Thursday evening that I shouldn't really have had to do. I slept even less than usual Thursday night (after said project), then stayed out late (um, for us :blush:) last night and then had the craziest of Cookie Days to date... so this is going to be short and sweet. In fact, I'm just going to share a few of my favorite photos on the day, and then direct you to the Picasa album. Sweet dreams (no pun intended!)
Posted by Jennifer at 12/12/2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Growing up in a mostly German Catholic town, Kyle also grew up celebrating St. Nicholas' Day. Rather than finding an orange in a smelly shoe, he and his siblings found their stockings filled on December 6th instead of on Christmas morning, as I had been accustomed to. He shared this tradition with our "family" when that just meant Kyle+Jennifer, and we have since expanded on it to bring a little early Christmas cheer to my family.
I have been thinking about this idea of Saint Nicholas, turned Sinter Klaus (and - on a random note- I thought you might like to know that my fingers totally typed Stinker Klaus at first) turned Kris Kringle, etc and have really come to like the idea of celebrating St. Nick's Day. Is it because he has been
dubbed canonized the Patron Saint of sailors, sea merchants, archers, children, pawnbrokers and more? Nope. It's because this man Nicholas understood an important part of Christmas before it became Christmas as we know it. Like so many people the Catholic church reveres as saints, this guy was a cool one. Or, at least the various stories attributed to him in history are cool, and are worth learning from. For example - with regards to the December 6th Feast of St. Nicholas (and then the extrapolation we've made to gift-giving), he allegedly inherited a bunch of money and gave it to people who needed it. He devoted his life to serving the sick, the poor, the motherless children... to serving a God who called him to do so.
I'm not the biggest fan of this whole Santa Claus craze, which I'll save for another post. After all, this really started out just as a post to share our recent St. Nick's Day until I got on a tangent :) But really - like hugging a life-sized Mickey Mouse in Walt Disney World makes me smile, I like the idea of Santa Claus. The idea of merriment and good will and peace and fun and stuff. Heck, I tape and watch every Santa Claus and Christmas special I can, claymation or otherwise, and watch them each and every year. But the "magic" attributed to him? The threats of no Christmas if he sees you misbehaving in his superhero all-knowing kind of way? That stuff kind of bums me out when I think about what implications it has on the story of Jesus - both as a distraction during the holidays and as a source of confusion when children find out that Santa isn't exactly who they thought. (ie, Then, is God really who they've been taught, or just another cool legend?)
Anyway, at the risk of losing your interest and/or rambling too much since I've yet to completely gather my own thoughts on the matter.... I like St. Nicholas Day. I like incorporating the values of a kind, generous man spreading joy in a tangible - and fun - way. I like giving my children and others that I love gifts. I like learning about (and in time, teaching) various traditions around the world. And I like that December 6th is a different day than December 25th, when I would rather be celebrating something different than Santa.
So without further ado, since there has already been much of that :), our St. Nick's Day, 2009 --
The girls found some necklaces, stuffed lady bugs, small books, jingle bells, and new Mickey Mouse big girl silverware in their stockings, as well as the next ornament in their series.
Kyle and I got ornaments as well (mine from the series Kyle started buying for me several years ago), and a few goodies - though not too much this year, because there will be plenty of yummy junk to eat this season as it is! Even Thea got a bag of treats. :)
The Lawless girls' 4th Annual Cookie Day is Saturday, so stay tuned for lots of mouth-watering pictures from that. Until then, try and stay warm!
Posted by Jennifer at 12/10/2009