Thursday, January 13, 2011

Clara's Christmas celebration at school

So guess what country Clara got to be from?  In the kindergarten class, they study Christmas around the world, so for their program, they all do a dance from a particular country and say a few lines including how you say Merry Christmas in that country.  Clara was excited about her part - particularly since she got to link arms with her friend and skip around in a circle for her dance!

It's hard to tell here, but she really was having a good time.  I was way off to one side, but John Michael was sitting contentedly in my lap (a first during one of Clara's programs!) and eating raisins, so I could only do so much with the camera. 

Okay, I think this should be the grumpy kids picture.  I swear they were all so happy right before I managed to snap this picture.  I guess they were ready to get back to their room for the party and food!

Clara loved her party, and I think JM liked it almost as much.   He looks forward to those kindergarten parties so he can either play in the play kitchen or up above it on the loft where there are blocks and trucks.

It was a fun time for Clara & JM, but unfortunately, we couldn't leave when it was over.  We hung around and waited for Gracie's party to start.  They were kind of worn out by the time that started (2:30) and I only got one lame picture, so that will tell you that Mommy was worn out by that time, too.  

I love the kindergarten program at the school, but it takes a lot of participation by the parents! It will be good to have a break for a few years.

Oh ... Gracie had a Christmas program, too, but it was just singing a song with her class - and even though I was the only one there with her (Mike, Clara & JM stayed home to get to bed on time), I didn't manage to get a good picture.  All of the classes went up at the end & had a "jam" session with some of the parents playing different instruments.  Somehow, Gracie & her quiet friends ended up in front of the drums - hence the ear covering!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What we did over Christmas Break ...

 This is the "plasma car" - it's more commonly known as the taxi around here.  Clara's rates vary from $1,000 to $2 (if you catch her on a bargain day). 
 Clara still trying to beat Pap - I think they almost always end in a draw! 
 JM has deemed that spot at our table "Mimi's chair"

 Yes - this is breakfast when your on vacation from school... and only in Texas - popsicles in front of the fire!

 Having a blast at the Polar Express with "Friend Alex" (as opposed to cousin Alex!)

 The part I liked best about Polar Express - the "snow" on the walk to the train!
 More goofiness from the kids.  They got to see Santa on the train and enjoy a short train ride at night! It was fun, and I'm glad we could enjoy it with our friends! 
Fun Stuff - this was the toy Clara wished for one day in Target - she was soooo excited about it!  It's fun, but the little flying discs get lost easily ... or land on the roof!  

The only really not so fun part of our break - the weekend before Christmas & New Year's weekend (he was well in between!) was spent trying to help JM breathe better and get better!  But isn't he funny in his Froggles?  He normally wears sunglasses, but I thought he might see better (he's watching t.v.) with the goggles.  The staff at the urgent care thought we were a little crazy when I asked them if they had any glasses he could wear for the treatment.  Somehow, JM was sure one time that it was bothering his eyes, so ever since then, he is much happier when he wears some type of glasses.  And believe me, it's whatever it takes to!

But overall, we couldn't have asked for a more fun and relaxing break.  Mike got to take off a whole week to spend with us and we were all sad when he had to go back to work after the New Year! 

And just to end on a fun note (and reward those of you who kept reading to this point!), a quick recap of a conversation with John Michael. 

It was Christmas eve morning, and I was going in to get JM out of his crib.  So I was doing the usual, and chatting with him about the day and I said "Guess who's coming to our house tonight???"  He quickly responded "The Garbage Man!", try again.  "MIMI!"  No, guess again - what's on your jammies?  "Santa Claus!"  

Don't feel too bad big guy, the Garbage Man and Mimi get to visit a lot more often!! 

Monday, January 10, 2011

Believe it or not...

Some of the things that are just too funny and I want to remember.

Clara was really starting to question things this year.  The best was about our Elf on the Shelf, Callie.  So you know that the Elf on the Shelf is magic - you can't touch her and each night she goes back to the North Pole to tell Santa how you have behaved and if you have any special wishes (and on Christmas Eve she goes back until next year).  Well, some elves must be lazier than others, 'cause there were several times that Callie didn't move.  Of course, we (the kids and I) reasoned out that I had been up late (past midnight) or up tending coughing/sick kiddos on those nights, so she probably didn't have time to go.  And I think she probably had to make some early morning arrivals at new spots, too.  It's hard to remember to go to the North Pole every night if you are an Elf in a warm, comfortable house - you might just fall asleep and forget what you are supposed to do!  But the kids loved getting up in the mornings and looking for Callie.

Well, one weekend morning, *I* couldn't find Callie.  So I went to the kitchen and was asking Mike if he had seen her and he didn't really answer me.  Of course, she turned up safely in a new spot, but Mike was quite amused that I was so concerned about where she was and how she had gotten there!!

So back to Clara.  She was talking with Mike at dinner one night and Callie was just off to the side of the table.  Clara was asking "Is Callie really magic?  I mean, her eyes are stickers!"  Mike didn't say anything and I guess she moved on...

And then we had a discussion about Santa Claus a few nights after Christmas.  Clara came up with the question that I have always had, too.  How does Santa go to *all* the houses in one night?  So I answered that we just can't really understand it, it's just the magic of Santa Claus.  Then she thought and she told me "I know - Mrs. Werner told us in chapel, that God gives each of us a special talent.  I think that must be Santa's special talent."


Writing letters to Santa (on Christmas Eve) - they had already sent all of their wishes by our Elf on the Shelf, Callie.

John Michael was running around like a mad man in his Santa pajamas that say "Ho, ho, ho."  And he was busy practicing that saying - he started a few days before Christmas.  We were driving in the van (as usual) and all of a sudden I hear this quiet, low voice "ho, ho, ho .... Merrrrrry Christmas!"  It was too funny. I have a video clip of it somewhere I'll try to get posted.

After finally getting the little ones to sleep, Mike & I managed to get to bed by 1am.  I don't know how that always happens - it seems like we were more prepared than ever this year, but we still couldn't get to bed early!  But we were luckier than some - the kids managed to wait until 7am to get up (I heard tales of 4:30am awakenings - yikes!).  After the fun of looking through our stockings, eating some candy and checking out the presents (but not opening!), we headed off to church. 

Thank goodness I snapped this picture (even though it is in the garage).  When we came home from church, I didn't get any pictures, so I have none of the kids altogether in their Christmas outfits except for this one.

There was lots of excitement that day - and that was just during the present opening!

Some of us had too much excitement and were lucky enough to be able to nap ...
And look, JM got another towel - he just loves his hoodie towels.  He still wants to sleep with one every now and then, even though he loves all of this blankets, too. 

After being cooped up inside all day opening presents, the kids went out to enjoy some of their new toys and the great fall-like weather we had.  Clara was certainly pulling for snow (especially after last Christmas), but it was really a beautiful day and nice to be able to go out and enjoy it.

And after our fun outdoor time, Mimi & Aunt C were able to come for Christmas dinner.  We had such a grand time with them that we managed to take no pictures at all!! Shocking, I know.  But we did have a good time - we even got Mimi on the plasma car.  And hmmm, I'm thinking I actually did take a picture of that, so I better check Gracie's camera.  That can be it's own post if I find it!

So we really had a grand Christmas.  Here are a few outtakes from the rest of the day:

John Michael just loves his piggy bank from his Aunt Susie, Uncle Dave, and cousins Sarah & Katie.  Of course, he knew right off the bat that he needed something to put in it.  He told us he wanted to fill it up.  Hmmm ... we didn't have too many pennies lying around, so we gave him a little bit of change and told him he could earn more money doing things for us around the house.  Thank goodness he was happy with that! 

John Michael with his "tackages" (we think maybe he's calling those rolls of Lifesavers packages, but who knows!) - he would devour a whole roll at a time.  I really don't want to estimate how many rolls he ate that day - he and Clara both got a Lifesaver "book" (remember those, j, s, and c?)

Our little ballerina, Gracie.  She was just thrilled with her ballet shoes and tutu.  In fact, since it was one of the first things she opened, that is what she is wearing in most of the Christmas pictures! 
Clara gets points for having the best smile and the most photo "opps." When you scroll through our Christmas pictures, you wonder if she got like ten times more gifts than the other two.  But fear not, Santa was as fair as ever (and the relatives were, too) and there were almost exactly the same number of presents for each kiddo.