Monday, December 23, 2013

The Joy of Christmas

When last we spoke Amma had just arrived and we began our slightly delayed Christmas preparation. Matthew is VERY into Christmas this year as it's the first year he "gets" it and Catherine feeds off his energy so she is incredibly pumped as well.  This has made this year's Christmas season not only super fun, but also super exhausting!  The excitement in the house is palpable and in their eyes the littlest things we do are magic.  As a heads up, if you start to think that my children wore the same outfits for maybe, eeehhhhhh, 5-6 days in a row, you're not completely wrong :-)  For Christmas "activities" Matthew goes and puts on his sweater with "red and white like Santa" and Catherine has been rotating 2 reindeer outfits and a gingerbread dress.  I got into the holiday spirit with a new haircut to match Catherine's:
 While Catherine enjoyed morning coffee with Amma:
 We started making our gingerbread house:
 The kids helped decorate the tree some more.  We tried to shoot for 5 ornaments per kid, per day with James picking up the slack at the end with all the breakables:

 Catherine may not have decorated the *tree* but she did do a heck of a job decorating this branch:
Our almost completed tree:
 In mom's last 24 hours of visiting, she helped me throw host our book club Xmas party, host preschool and take the preschoolers to sing at the retirement home.  Phew!  Unfortunately we had to say goodbye eventually and unwillingly send her home:
 While the kids were still dressed for excitement we decided to stop in and see the big man:
Matthew rattled off items from the lists he drew in October while Catherine asked for "Ghostbusters and Candy" from what we can tell, which is at least a vast improvement over last month's answer of "Robin for Halloween". 

After a full day of excitement, we ended the day watching more classic TV with the 1960s "Santa Claus is Coming to Town".  Eventually we'll learn that all this vintage TV makes toy making very difficult for Santa.
 On Friday we had a cookie exchange with our Moms Club to benefit the Symphony, but before we could deliver our cookies Matthew had his preschool program and family party.  Unfortunately, when surrounded by his best buds Matthew's energy goes through the roof so getting pictures of him is near impossible, but tag-along Catherine doesn't mind posing for the camera.
 Matthew played Joseph in the play.  Here his is singing their "calm" song "In a Little Stable"
 And during Jingle Bells, which when you are four years old can turn into an infinite loop:

 The following weekend I parked myself on the couch to finish our Christmas shopping and some digital projects while James took the kids sledding:
Which must have been awfully exhausting!

The next day we headed off for one last playgroup before Christmas followed by a potluck.  Our friend had made a great photo prop and the kiddos had tons of fun with it!

That evening it was time to finish up one of our big Christmas projects and complete the gingerbread house.  We added dinosaurs:
 And while I stepped away to snag a package from the porch, tragedy befell the operation:

 Don't worry, everyone was okay but a stegasaurus slid off the counter and shattered.  Once we calmed everyone down and grabbed some dinos from our stack of extras it was back to work.  Matthew worked on using the piping bag this year:
 And I tried to get a picture of the kiddos with the gingerbread house.  Their new favorite "poses" are silly pictures and jumping pictures which is how most of my pictures are like this:

Somewhat nice smiles achieved through bribery:
And a close up of the house.  My favorite are the snowman skiing on the roof, the fishing pole in the lake (with fish food) and the collection of graham cracker shanties surrounding the house from various kid parties.

And most importantly, our redneck cloche to protect the house from the puppies:

There was no bribing the kiddos to get a nice picture together though:
 Not a bad solo shot:

 Then it would appear Matthew was trying to kidnap Catherine:
 Then there was just silliness:

 And because Catherine will sometimes ask me "Momma take my picture" (or is that a demand?) I do it everytime since I know these moments are fleeting at best.  She wanted a picture of her and Boo:

After 5 days with just Mom and Dad the kids were elated to discover it was time for Mas, Pas and Uncle John to come for a visit!  We then rounded everyone up and headed to Yellowstone - an adventure for another day on the blog but certainly one we won't soon forget.

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