Saturday, December 26, 2009

December 26, 2009

We had a wonderful, blessed Christmas and are now enjoying a relaxing weekend.

My extended family meets together on Christmas Eve at "the farm", which is the area where two of my brothers, my dad and his wife and my uncle and aunt live and where my grandparents used to live before they passed away. It takes us about an hour and fifteen minutes to drive there from where we live. There are other family members who live further away, however they were all staying with relatives nearby so we had the furthest drive on Christmas Eve this year.

We had planned our get together for around noon time however, after listening to the weather forecast multiple times, I started calling family members first thing on Christmas Eve morning, asking if we might move up our start time to around 10ish. Fortunately we were able to contact everyone and make it work out because the bad weather was going to moving into our area sometime between noon and 3ish, according to the forecast. The day before Christmas Eve, we were enjoying 60 degree weather:). Huge change from one day to the next.

We had a wonderful time seeing the whole family, enjoying the holiday feast that my sister and others put together. My sister always makes her homemade lasagna and it is absolutely awesome. One of the nieces read the accounting of the birth of Christ from the Bible and then it was time to open the gifts. Everyone enjoyed themselves and we headed back towards home around 1ish.

It is a good thing we did not wait any longer because the last 20 to 30 minutes of our drive was in sleet and the closer we got to home, the worse it got, until the point where we were having to drive very slowly because it was so icy. The road that leads to our subdivision is one that has not yet been widened and it is a small, windy, uphill two lane road to get to our home, regardless of which direction you are coming from. Our subdivision is at the top of a hill. There was already a car off in the ditch on that road and a fire truck blocking one lane of the traffic so we ended up having to turn around and go around to come in from the other direction. We were very glad to finally get home and we were surprised that we made it up our driveway without any issues.

Later that night I heard on the news that they had closed all of the major highways around us. It was a pretty treacherous blizzard, one of the worst in our state's history....but was it ever beautiful! Once we were home, we could really enjoy it. We all enjoyed watching it turn into snow and it was really windy so it was blowing all over the place. It was very pretty to watch and we ended up getting about 8 inches in our neck of the woods, although with it being so windy, it is much deeper in places and you can see the grass poking through in other places.

We had a lovely Christmas present opening together the next morning. I spent a good deal of the mid-morning preparing our Christmas dinner (my first real holiday meal!) and the husband spent about three hours outside, shoveling the driveway. We invited friends to come over to join us for Christmas dinner around 2:00 so we had preparations. The boys enjoyed their new toys while we worked and everything came together quite nicely, although I did have to call my mom a couple of times to ask her how to do some things. I made the traditional ham, mashed potatoes, corn, deviled eggs and salad and my friend brought a wonderful green bean casserole. I also made a red velvet cake with cream cheese icing and we let all the kids gather round and decorate it and put on the candles. We all sang happy birthday to Jesus and the kids blew out the candles and then we all had cake. It really was a lovely get together and I was very pleased (and very very thankful) that everything came out so well. The food was great and the company was even better and my friend and I ended up wondering why we had not had our families together more often....and promised to do so in the future.

She is a good friend of mine and we have spent a lot of time together, off and on, over the past year or two. She has twin girls who are 5 years old and she has a new baby girl who is 7 weeks old. They go to our church and her husband sings in the choir and has an amazing voice. They only live about a mile from us (as the bird flies, as they say:) and we used to have play dates a lot with the kids, when our boys were 3 and her girls were 4. Now her girls are in school and she has the baby so it had been a while since we had gotten together.

Today I have been reorganizing things, getting rid of more toys that have been out grown or are no longer played with and organizing new toys. The boys have been playing upstairs yesterday and today and they seem to be doing pretty well with it now, which is nice. It gives them a lot more space to run around and there is carpet up there, which is good for certain kinds of play.

Earlier the dad took the boys outside to play in the snow. They wanted to go out so badly yesterday but we just did not have time, with everything we had to do. Plus the wind was really gusting yesterday and the wind chill factor was in the single digits so I don't think they would have enjoyed it much or lasted very long.

We normally get so little snow in these parts and it usually melts so fast that we do not usually spend the money to buy snow boots or snow suits for the boys. So getting them ready to play in the snow was a big task. They each wore two pairs of sweat pants and a T-shirt underneath a sweat shirt. The only shoes they could really wear were their good shoes that they wear for church, which are leather (kind of like dock siders but they lace up). Their sneakers are wearing out and I need to get them a new pair but I knew they would not be as warm as their leather shoes. So, after putting on their leather shoes, we had them step each foot into a large ziploc bag and we used duct tape to seal it to their sweat pants. We also put some duct tape on the bottom to give them a bit more traction. By the time we were done, they kind of looked like they were wearing boots, duct tape boots:)! It was pretty funny and very effective. We also tucked their sweat shirts into their sweat pants and put some duct tape around their waist to make sure they didn't get snow up their shirts or down their pants while making snow angels. Then we put their coats, hats and mittens on. We tucked their mittens into their coat sleeves and put duct tape around them so their mittens would not fall off (they fall off very easily, for some reason). Then they went out and had a great time!

When they came back in, their outer layer of sweat pants were soaked and their inner layer was also wet around their knees. The rest of them, including their shoes and their pants where the duct tape was (just below their knees) were perfectly dry. All the duct tape held perfectly. It was really quite impressive:). They had an amazing time and probably would have stayed out longer, if the dad had been willing. They made snow angels and enjoyed walking through the snow drifts and getting in their snow filled sand box. They were all over the place and they loved rolling around in the snow. It was very cute to watch and the dad got some good pics so I will post some later.

When they came inside, we read some stories, including one that was all about how castles were built, which we all enjoyed. And then it was time for quiet time...which is almost over and then it will be time for a movie.

This is long enough (too long) so I better say good bye for now. I hope your Christmas was blessed.

Friday, December 18, 2009

December 18, 2009 Part 2

Below is Ben, a.k.a. 'David', as in David and Goliath. He plays this all. the. time. and he frequently insists on being called David. In the picture below, you can see the panda bear hanging from the waist band of his sweat pants. But that is no ordinary panda bear. That, my dear friends, is David's harp. And you can also see the sock hanging from his waist band (it is actually a balled up sock inside another sock). That is David's sling shot. He stays very busy being David (and it is absolutely adorable).
Below is Ben again. You may think that my son is playing with my old purses but you would be wrong. That brown thing across his chest is David's shield and the small bag on his arm is David's small pouch that he puts his stones in before he uses them in his sling shot. I'm sure he also has his sling shot tucked into the waist band of his sweat pants but we can't see it because his shield is in the way. He has also memorized all of the words from the David and Goliath story in one of the children's Bibles that we have. He corrected me the other night when I was distracted and said one of the words wrong. He says all the words when he pretends to be David. He asked the dad to be Goliath the other night. They normally play this in the dad's office because it is carpeted (Goliath needs to have a soft landing in our play:). The dad was in his office ready to play and Ben walked away so the dad started doing something else. I was in the kitchen and saw Ben come into the living room, pretending to talk to Jesse and the other Israelites, according to the words from the story in the Bible. It was too cute. When he finally went back to the dad's office, ready to slay the giant Goliath, he found the dad doing something else but he soon got back into the act and was slain by our hero David. David then came to the kitchen to let me know he had slain Goliath and made sure I said the right words, which I never can remember correctly but David is oh too happy to tell me what to say:). It is really something how much of it he has memorized.
Nick loves hanging upside down, climbing on the dad and jumping off the dad. You can also see Ben in this shot. He has pulled up his shirt so he can put his sling shot into the waist band of his sweat pants:). It is a constant theme these days.
And here is our Merry Merry Merry Christmas picture for all the blog readers. You can click on it if you want to see a closer, larger view. Merry Christmas everyone!

December 18, 2009

Well, we are one week from the big day and I think I am almost ready. Our Christmas cards should go out tomorrow, which is a miracle (if you only knew), and I only have a couple more gifts to find tomorrow morning and then I am officially ready. Then I can relax and enjoy the season a bit more:).

We made Christmas sugar cookies the other day and it was a family project. I was cooking stew & cornbread so the dad and the boys mixed the cookies up, cut them out and put them into bake. After dinner, the boys and I decorated them. The boys really enjoyed the whole Christmas cookie experience, most especially the eating part. Unfortunately the left over ones that we had not decorated yet seemed a bit stale the next day. I should have put a slice of bread in the ziploc with them before closing it and I didn't think of it.

The boys had their 6 month check up at the dentist the other day and their teeth looked great, which is such a blessing. I think it is so hard when little kids have to have major things done to their teeth. I am very thankful the boys seem to have healthy teeth. We try to take good care of them. They were both little champs at the dentist.

Today I printed all the required pictures of the boys for the last post placement report. We are very bad about not printing pictures often so I have to go back through pics from Jan-Dec to find all the ones I want. I ended up printing 141 pictures, although most of them were for Christmas cards and a bunch of them were for family who have been wanting pics (I will send you some soon Dasha:). We are scheduled to have our post placement home visit in early January. The company who has done all of our home visits and reports to date went out of business this month and can't do it so we will have a new company doing it this time, which is kind of a bummer. The lady from the old company was very laid back and the new company will likely not be at all. Oh well. At least this is the last one and I am so glad.

The boys have already received their first Christmas present from Aunt Dasha. Dasha, they love their magazines and trade them back and forth to look at the pics, when we are driving in the car. It is such a great gift, thanks so much! We are really looking forward to seeing you soon.

The next post will be a picture post:). Merry Merry Merry!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

December 15, 2009

Things are busy around here these days. We are getting ready for Christmas and also working on finalizing our plans for the new house. We still have not sold our current house but, if it is God's will, I know it will happen in His timing. In the meantime, we still have much to do before we would be ready to begin building anyway. I have hopes that when we are finally ready, we will be in the process of selling our home but I know God's timing is perfect and He knows so much more than we do so I will continue to trust in Him.

Tonight I am sitting with the boys as they fall asleep. Most of the time the boys still take naps these days, although sometimes we just can't fit it in. On those days, I always end up feeling badly because Nick just ends up falling apart and his behavior is just really bad and then I feel bad because I know he normally does not act that way when he has had a nap. And if he has to skip it two days in a row, look out. It is going to be really bad. He still needs his nap so badly but Ben really could go without it now and do pretty well probably.

In other news, the boys will start swimming lessons in early January and go once a week through the second week of May. It is a great place and they like what they have seen there (we have been there twice and they have watched other kids taking lessons). I anticipate the first 2 or 3 weeks might be a bit difficult, from what other moms and the people who work there have told me, but after that the kids usually start to really enjoy it and learn fast.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 11, 2009

December 11, 2009

Overheard this morning, as boys were taking turns jumping on the mini-trampoline:

Nick: "Ben, the timer is over (the 3 minute timer they use to take turns). Now we can jump together!" (Ben had just finished his turn jumping.)
Ben: (said as he was walking away) "I don't want to jump. I have a head ache and my pants keep falling down."

The dad and I both had a chuckle over that.

Monday, December 07, 2009

December 7, 2009

We have been quite busy lately.  On Thursday evening we went to the husband's work Christmas party and the boys had quite a good time. We had a nice dinner and then Santa came and the boys each sat on his lap and told him what they wanted and then they each got a bag of goodies.
On Friday we had a play date with friends in the morning at our house. We actually went to their house, got their two boys and brought them back to our house. Their mom had to stay home and watch over things, as they had to have all of the carpet in their new house replaced, as it was defective. So I had all four boys with me at our house and I was very impressed with how well they all got along. After playing for a while, I served lunch and an ice cream cone for dessert, which was a big hit. Then we took them home and came back and watched a movie, as it was too late for nap because we had to be at the circus by 4:30.

Some friends of ours got tickets to the circus and invited us to go too. It was actually better than I had expected and the boys loved it, especially the flying trapeze, which was pretty neat.

On Saturday the dad took the boys up north to a Christmas tree farm where they picked out our tree and the dad cut it down. They got to take a hay ride on a wagon pulled by a tractor to find the tree and haul it back so that was a big hit. I did some Christmas shopping that morning while they were tree shopping and then we decorated the tree and inside of the house in the afternoon. The boys were so excited and they love the tree. They helped decorate it, which was kind of funny because they like to hang the bulbs from the cord for the lights and they hang many bulbs side-by-side in a row. They enjoyed helping though and it was cute.

Saturday afternoon we went to a Christmas play at our church. The boys enjoyed it at first but did not last too long. Part of the problem was this was the second day in a row without a nap for Nick and he was getting really sleepy and not wanting to fall asleep. So he kept saying he was hungry. So I took the boys out and we wondered over to the kitchen and the cooks were busy preparing food for the dinner that would go with the dinner theater that night (we were at the matinee). They generously offered the boys some crackers and drinks and the lead cook also had a couple of fun toys (a cash register and groceries and a pretend bar-b-q grill) for her granddaughter that the boys really enjoyed playing with. I gave them a bunch of pennies to play with and sat and watched them. They "cooked" many things for me to eat and also let me buy lots of groceries from them. They enjoyed themselves.

Sunday we went to church and out to eat and then had a relaxing day at home, which was nice.

We have been trying to wrap up our architectural drawings but we still have a couple of things to do before we can do that. We are waiting to hear back from the Kitchen Idea people on the kitchen design and also the master bath design. Things really slowed down when I got sick and then they just did not pick up again because of the holidays, I guess. Anyway, it seems like things are moving very slowly.

We were at Home Depot for a while and one of the sales ladies who was helping us noted the boys were bored so she got them a couple of coloring books and some crayons. I let them get out of the cart and get down so they could color on the floor, but warned them to keep their coloring on their books and not to color on the concrete floor. At one point I looked at Ben and he had this major look of guilt on his face. So I asked him if he had colored on the floor and he said no but he was still looking funny so I started looking and, sure enough, he had. He was covering it up by sitting on it. He was not happy when I took his coloring book and crayons away and made him get back into the cart. He is usually a pretty well behaved child but, for some reason, he has a really hard time not writing on things that he should not write on.  The last time we left the boys with the sitter, he had her pen and wrote a few big marks on our couch. Fortunately I was able to get it off with some fabric cleaner but he just cannot be trusted yet.

In other news, I called our local agency today to schedule our last post placement home visit, only to discover they are shutting their doors as of December something (one day last week) and will not be able to do it. The funny thing is that I was not at all surprised because, for some reason, I had thought of this the other day, that it would not surprise me to find out they were going or had gone out of business. Anyway, they are trying to work with another agency to provide us with what we need and we are just waiting now. It has to be done in January, dated in January and sent in by the end of January. Hopefully we will hear something soon.

The dad is off this week for a week of vacation. The boys are upstairs napping. It is very very cold here right now. I need a warm spot and a nap myself.