We had a great December, packed with lots of holiday activities. In fact, it's been such a busy month that this is the first time I've actually had a chance to see what pictures we took (and what pictures we forgot to take.)
At the beginning of the month, Todd and I joined his family in celebrating his Grandmother's 91st birthday. We stayed at a bed and breakfast near the family farm and had a great visit overall. It was our first weekend being away from the kids; Luke stayed with Nonnie and Poppy, and Evan and Joel went to Grammy and Grampy. We had a great time with the family, (and an even better time enjoying our first full night of sleep in over two years!), and the kids did pretty well without us. Good to know I can start planning that trip to Europe and feel confident the kids will do well staying home with the grandparents. (KIDDING!)
We had a holiday party with our college friends. Everyone has a slew of kids now, and it's fun to get together and see the transformation we've all taken. No more video games and endless sport conversation from the guys; I think I actually overheard them talking grocery prices! It was a lot of fun, though. The twins are very shy with other kids, so didn't really want to interact, but enjoyed doing their own thing most of the night. (Joel pushed a grocery cart, and Evan played with a balloon. Very typical behaviors from each of them.) Luke was his smiling self as usual. He's an easy kid most of the time, thank goodness.
The boys decorated cookies at a holiday party. They had fun!
This year I decided I really wanted our holiday season to be heavily focused on family, so we made an advent "event" calendar. The calendar only lasted two days before the twins managed to destroy it, but we still were able to enjoy a lot of family activities. We baked cookies, which they loved; did a night drive looking at holiday lights, which they loved; went on a train ride, which they loved... there was an activity every night for two weeks straight, and they loved them all. One of my favorite parts was making salt dough ornaments and using them to decorate the Christmas tree. I particularly enjoyed this because when it came to taking the tree down, I was able to toss all the ornaments in the trash! I think I've come up with a great new "tradition" in our home. (Todd hates all my "Christmas tradition" planning, but I think even he appreciates this one, since it was easiest Christmas cleanup ever!)
We also decided to start a new-- ahem, tradition-- in our home regarding gift giving. We really want to make sure we teach the kids that Christmas is for celebrating Jesus' birth, and not just "gimme the gifts." So we've employed a great idea that I had learned about last year; we give each of the kids a total of three gifts to represent JOY: J- a gift about Jesus (the twins' received Bible music, Luke got a VeggieTales DVD); O- a gift to share with Others (all three kids received books for us to read together); and Y- a gift especially for Yourself (the twins' received CD players since they both love to sing, and Luke got a teething toy, which he immediately tossed aside and never gave a second glance. Oh well.) We also decided to buy one family gift, so ended up getting a Wii system (which I have mixed feelings about. I agreed to it only because I figure we can play the games as a family.) Between our gifts, gifts from relatives, and Shamu gifts (a fishing game that has been a tradition in my family since my mom was little), the kids made out like bandits and our house is now overrun with a host of new exciting noisy things that make random noise, even when on the shelf (those of you with these toys know EXACTLY what I am talking about. Nothing like waking up at 2am to the sounds of a toy train choo-chooing without being touched-- creepy!)
So Christmas was a blast, we enjoyed lots of visiting with family, and now 2010 is already around the corner.
I'm making a long list of resolutions this new year, including spending more time working on the blog. My very awesome brother built me a laptop, which makes it a lot easier to work on it throughout the day. Feel free to encourage my resolution my leaving comments every now and then; I miss hearing what you have to say (and I'm curious to see who is reading! Sometimes it gets lonely out here in cyber-world!)
Joel had a lot of fun over our 3 days of Christmas.
Happy New Year, everyone!
For those who wonder why we don't have family photos to share, here's an example. Christmas Eve, (I'm still unshowered, so ignore the hair and lovely face):
"Hey, let's do a family picture!" "Well, THAT didn't work!"
"Okay, everyone look at the camera! LOOK at the CAMERA! SAY CHEESE!"
"Come on, guys! Just ONE picture!"
Ah, forget it. Merry Christmas, all.
And some more random December photos, as my gift to you!
This is Saucy, one of our new pets. He and Wall-E (the other) are both eastern painted turtles. They seem very happy (by reptile standards.) They are surprisingly friendly and enjoy poking their heads up to see us when we look over the tank.
Bathtime at the White house! All three boys now squish into the tub together, but they love it!
His middle name ain't Matisse for nothin'. Here's Evan busily painting with yogurt.
(Evan was shocked when he looked up and saw me standing on the chair. He knows the rules!)