We are the music makers and we are the dreamers of dreams . . .
yet we are the movers and shakers of the world forever, it seems

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas, "some how or other, it came!!"

The Christmas Spirit has been hard to come by for me this year. I don't know if it's because I've been too focused on the budget, or looking beyond Christmas to piano lessons next month, or if my "shoes are to tight", but it was not cool. It wasn't until we took some goodies to our old neighborhood that I finally found that "Christmas, perhaps, doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas...means a little bit more." We took some of my Mom's world-famous (according to Uncle Kimball) poppyseed bread to Ron and Sonya, and they wouldn't let us get away without showing us some Christmas love. They urged the whole family out of the car and into their wonderful home, because, like they said, they don't do all the decorations for themselves; they don't do it for the adults; they do it for the kids. It was so fun to see them bask in the kids' wonder as they looked at their collection of Nutcrackers, Christmas Villages and nativities. They let Archie touch whatever he wanted, telling Mike and I that  that's what they're there for. I just felt so much love for these two people, who understand what Christmas is, and what the magic of Christmas can do for the kids. They nailed it :).
The next day, we were all set up to go to a local live-nativity, but it got cancelled because of RAIN...in December...it's just shameful. But, we were bundled up, and gosh-dangit, we were going to see some Christmas wonder if it killed us! So, we headed out to Caldwell to see the downtown Winter Wonderland lights. It was FREEZING and BLUSTERY and BEAUTIFUL. 
Totally OVER the rain by now, Santa decided to bring us some snow. (Christmas day, we caught Archie running outside to yell, "thank you for the snow, Santa!") We got a white Christmas this year!!! It started on Christmas Eve, and it stuck around all week!! Mike and I went for a run while the kids played outside: Elliott shoveled, Lucy pulled Archie in the sled, and then she built a snowman all by herself. I am so happy that they are old enough to play together outside, and that they like each other enough--most of the time--to play together. 

 Amongst the chaos of the season, the kids get two weeks off to spend at home. It has actually been super-nice. We've only had a few "incidents". This one was my favorite. I had just gotten out of the shower, and I see Archie walking in my room with his GUILTY face on. Lucy, Elliott and Mike are all in the room playing on their phones.
"Archie, what did you do? You look like you've done something naughty.."
 He leads me two feet outside my bedroom door and points to this:
 What do I say to that?!
 "Archie, Why did you do that?"
"It was making a noise and I didn't like it."
 First of all, what kind of a noise does an outlet make!!?
"How did you do that?"
"I just punched it and punched it until it came off." 
 Easily fixed, and a very interesting story. We're wondering what the "sounds" will make him do next!!
Ok, ok, it's finally Christmas Eve!!!! The kids slept under the tree, and we are ready to Christmas Spirit ourselves to death!!! 
I couldn't sleep in because, let's face it, it's CHRISTMAS EVE!!!!, so I sat down on the couch and watched a few hours of my old family videos of Christmas. I was very touched by the fact that I was watching Christmases from when I was my kids' ages, and it was beyond priceless to show them my Dad, their Papa, reading How the Grinch Stole Christmas; something he has been doing for 50years this year!
 The day seemed to fly by after that. We watched a few Christmas movies and played in the snow a bit, then it was time to head to the in-laws for our progressive Christmas Eve festivities!!
After dinner at Harmony and Had Abogi's, I told Archie he had to sit quietly on the couch in order to start opening presents, and he was amazing. Yet another reason Christmas is a magical time. 

 After dinner, we came back to our house for some bingo and silly games. 

 Then to Jason and Kristine's for dessert and more gifts. Elliott got the world's craziest Rubix cubes!!
 We came home, did a quick and truly-ignored run through of the manger scene, (I'm sure some part of it sunk in, you really can't expect a 4 year old to sit still and learn about Jesus hours before Santa comes! My timing will be better next year) read the Night Before Christmas, sent the kids to bed, and waited for Santa to arrive. 
He came:
 Archie got a drum set...YAY for more music in our home! I've wanted one of these for the kids for years!
 Lucy got an amp, mic and stand, music stand, and prop-box for her movie-making. 
 Elliott got a green screen with lights for making awesome movies! (I'll post a picture of it in all it's glory in a little bit)
 The large box with the bow wasn't actually from Santa, but we threw it in with the bunch anyway, for effect. In this box, were 3 small presents. The first was a paper chain with 38 links. The second was an Olaf doll that we hide and find every day in December. He had a card saying "the next time you find me, I will be very far away". The third box had a paper Mickey Mouse head and 3 Disney gift cards...WE'RE GOING TO DISNEYLAND...WITH PAPA AND GRANDMA...IN 38 DAYS!!!!
I CAN'T WAIT to see this chain get smaller and smaller!!
 In other Christmas news, Mike traded in his beautiful, beloved, black Titan truck for this super-cool, electric Leaf!! They even gave us the Giant bow because it was so close to Christmas time. Appropriate that it's green, right?!
 We set up Elliott's green screen, and got to work right away making some pretty hilarious videos. It is in his room, and he can edit the movies with an app on his iPad. This kid amazes me so much. 
 Elliott kind of got a double-win this year because he REALLY likes playing on the drums too. 
Archie tells me several times a day, "it's time for drum piano lessons!" We're practically a band. Archie likes me to play the "bad guy song", which is the Phantom of the Opera. 
 After Christmas, when things settled down a bit, "Dark" Vader started hanging around. It's pretty great. 
 All the December excitement doesn't end with Christmas. My parents celebrated their 47th anniversary on the 27th!!!!! They are truly the greatest people I know. I won the life-lottery being born into their home. 

Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas Festivities!!

I'd like to start off with a little montage that I call, Archie's Awkward Photo Face. I think you'll see why I named it that. Let's begin...

First we have his Frankenstein-grimace as he shows off the Gingerbread man that he made for his cousin, Christian. 
 Our next example of Archie-awkward-photo-face is when he decides to show off his castle made wholly of Christmas decorations...
 I call this one, his no-eye-contact smirk.
 There are many versions of the no-eye-contact-smirk. Here is another example:
The Rudolph.
 This one, after seeing Santa at his preschool party, is his one-sided-popeye-face.
 Ok, that ends that little montage, I'm sure I'll gather more examples as time goes on. But, for now, on to more Christmas fun!!
We had some friends over for sugar cookie decorating and it was so much fun! There ended up being about 11 of us, and it lasted all afternoon and into the evening, but I loved it. It is one of the rare occasions when I can watch a MAJOR mess being  made, and be okay with it. 

Even Aunt Amanda made it over to decorate a few.
Mike likes to make sure that Elliott doesn't miss out on any of the perks of having a big brother, since he doesn't have one. So, he told Elliott about the impossible Quarter-drop game.  It isn't possible to roll a quarter off your nose into a circle drawn on a paper. After many attempts, Elliott DID IT!!! This is his victory photo. Then he went to look in the mirror and found out the real game. (kinda glad there wasn't so much photographic proof of things like this when I was a kid!!) He is such a good sport, and I'm happy Mike has an outlet for his practical jokes, because I am not a fan.

 Lucy had her first band concert!!! They played several Christmas songs, and it only lasted a few minutes, but it was pretty amazing to see how much she's learned in just a few months. 
 It wouldn't be Christmas break without some sibling conflict, but Mike has the perfect solution. Here they are "hugging it out". Works every time.
We went to see a live nativity by our house on Monday night, but when we got there, it was cancelled. All bundled up with no place to go, we decided to head out to Caldwell to see their Winter Wonderland light display. Gusting, frigid winds couldn't stop us from enjoying it! Only minimal grumbling, just another Christmas adventure!
 It's hard to see, and you may have to really concentrate, but it's worth it to see Mike warming his backside, sharing fire with Pooh Bear. Made my whole night that he was willing to pose for this picture for me!! I kinda like this guy!!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Bye-Bye Basketball

Lucy is our resident baker. She loves making yummy goodies, and if I wasn't such a mess-a-phob, she'd get to do it much more often. My favorite kind of treats are the not-so-messy kind, so her Rolo, Ritz cookies were Okay!!
 After slogging through ankle deep mud and water at a local tree stand, we picked out our Christmas tree. It's a little bigger than last year, but in our tall entry room, it still looks tiny. But, it smells good and looks beautiful, and that's what matters most!

Lucy got into the Christmas Spirit with some of her friends from school band. They sold raffle tickets at a local grocery store to raise money for the food bank. It looked like too much fun to be service :)
 Basketball has got to be one of my favortie sports to watch my kids play. It is so high stress and fast moving, but it is so great! Elliott's team, Lightening, had a great season. His last game was Saturday.