Monday, December 9, 2013

The Calm and the Crazy with the Young and the Restless

Hello blog friends, it's been a while since you've gotten more than a small snack of Facebook nonsense to tide you over.  Since my brain is filled with visions of sugar plums (or sugared cereal or something) I'll go backwards again to try and clear out the cobwebs.

This morning we hosted playgroup and a gingerbread house making fest!

It was fantastic having Amma here to help so I could take pictures and hold babies and the like:

The kids were pretty excited and made some really cute creations:

Prior to that Matthew and Catherine helped make a train track for under the tree.  Kudos to Uncle Matt who got us a battery operated Thomas so we could just use the miles and miles of track we already own.  Now if he just wants to send us more batteries as I'm guessing the train will be on an awful lot!

Originally we planned to head out and cut down our own tree for a measly $5 permit, but we extended our stay in Wyoming from a few days to a few weeks and missed the optimal weekend to tree hunt.  While we were in Wyoming the temps in Montana (and Wyoming) dropped to well below zero and stayed there, reaching -3 as our high temp on the day we got our tree.  So even though we bundled the kids up in almost all of their warm clothes, it was just to head to the tree lot by Target :-)  We decided to pick a taller tree than normal this year since we have such high ceilings upstairs.  Our tree is the one on the right, that is not actually tied or bundled, it's just frozen solid in that shape!
Once we took the tree inside to warm up, it's fell down beautifully and gigantically and now takes up most of the floor space in our upstairs living room.  Oh and speaking of all this excitement, the kiddos can hardly contain their excitement about all things Christmas.  I'm pretty certain Matthew hasn't been still since Friday (which means Catherine a.k.a. Mini-Matthew has not been still either) which leads to lots of hilariously awkward pictures, like this one of them showing off their ornaments:
They were able to concentrate for a bit to start hanging their ornaments: 
 And of course, it was nice to have Amma here to help!
 More awkward photo attempts.  Matthew is back into a "footie pajama" phase and batted his little eyelashes at Amma for some Christmas pajamas with feet and pretty soon both kids had new Christmas pajamas that needed photographed :-)

And of course, storytime with Amma.  Catherine was pretty excited with her ISpy capabilities.
Amma came to visit on Friday night and we've been loving every minute of it, even if we're not loving the weather.  We celebrated with a Sunday Snowman breakfast!  
 And the kids worked very hard making decorations for over our dining room table:

Though Amma arrived Friday, we only made it back home Thursday night.  Long story short, we had planned all of November to go to grandma's one weekend before Thanksgiving and celebrate early and then spend Thanksgiving weekend at home.  Unfortunately, grandma was admitted to the hospital with severe back pain the week we came down, so we left a little early hoping to bring some cheer and help her transition back home if needed.  She was discharged soon after we arrived, week but after staying a week at home was readmitted to the hospital again with the pain and we stayed with her until she got settled into rehab.  I tried to take the kids up once a day to say hello and/or deliver their myriad of drawings and on our last night the nurse told us we could join grandma for a meal in the dining room!
With below zero temps and not a lot to do in grandma's little town, the kids had a very interesting adventure.  They got to watch quite a few Christmas shows:
 And spent a lot of time bonding with each other and getting creative with grandma's toy closet.  And being ridiculous of course!
 Luckily grandma was home for Thanksgiving so we were able to enjoy a small spread with her that day.  The kids had helped me menu plan and turning pumpkin pie into "Fox pie" was their addition to the meal.
Oh and instead of a humble brag, here's an all out brag about my homemade pie crust.  It turned out super flaky and awesome and I was proud:
 As grandma has mentioned in the past she doesn't often buy herself beef, I did a cut of prime rib and twice baked potatoes in addition to a few more traditional sides.  I still think my kids were confused by all the Thanksgiving day TV references to turkeys :-)
 Grandma did lots of reading with the kids:

 And some Kindle exploring:
 As we were flipping channels Thanksgiving afternoon, we came across Ghostbusters.  It was too scary for him last year, but this year Matthew insisted he wanted to watch.  He sat motionless for the nearly 3 hours that CMT stretched the 90 minute film into, only moving to ask questions of course!
 The first Saturday we had coincided with a birthday party for Matthew's cousin JJ.  James took the kids over and they had a blast with the construction theme!
 Prior to leaving our last bit of excitement was Dad's night James attended with the kiddos.  It was at the Museum of the Rockies and the kids had a blast.  I may have a few more pictures later when our photo stream decides to behave properly but here's Catherine the park ranger:
And that's all the news that's fit to print.  In this season of giving thanks I am very thankful to have amazing friends and neighbors who jumped in to take care of our animals, mail etc. while we extended our trip and for an AMAZING husband who didn't bat an eye at offering to work remotely an extra 2 weeks so we could stay longer.  I'm super thankful for a wonderful and supportive immediate family and extended family across the continent and for two kiddos who are mostly adaptable to new situations and as we call them "adventures".  Grandma is working with some good doctors and nurses to heal and control her back pain, but any extra good thoughts or prayers you might have to send her way this holiday season will help.  

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