Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Merry Christmas!

Hands down, this Christmas was substantially better than last year's Christmas. Last Christmas, we had a stomach bug and felt pretty miserable. This year, everyone felt well and we were all in good spirits.

We went to the Children's Mass on Christmas Eve. I like the children's mass as they try to involve the kids in various parts of the mass. Mike and Violet were assigned to help with the collection. Violet was super excited to help.

In the evening, we opened a couple of gifts. Violet received a bunch of dress-up clothes from Baboo. She had a great time trying on different costumes. Oscar received so many dinosaur-related items, he almost imploded with dino-happiness. Simon received a bunch of trains and train-track items. Violet and Oscar are well versed in opening gifts, but I was surprised to see how quickly Simon picked it up. He did not like waiting for his turn and would give the best pouty / pained expressions in his efforts to convince us that he should be able to open all of his gifts as his pleasure.

What? I have to wait my turn?

Christmas day was a lovely day. In the early afternoon, we decided to get out some of our energy by taking a walk on the beach. We packed the kids up and walked along the beach for a while. It was a beautiful day and a great way to give thanks to the Lord for the many blessings he has bestowed upon us!

Poor Mike, only received coal for Christmas

Violet and Oscar found this tree that they determined they would set up as a Christmas Tree on the beach...

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Gird your loins!

There is a church in our community that puts on a program called "Bethlehem Revisited" every other year in December. The church recreates a market in Bethlehem during the census the night that Mary and Joseph reach the city. They have market stalls staffed with parishioners dressed in a fabulous costumes and all acting the part of townsfolk.

We all love going to Bethlehem, although I think Mike enjoys the program the most. Mike is 100% into the act; as I packed up the car to head to Bethlehem, Mike beckoned the kids with, "Kids, gird your loins! We're headed to Bethlehem."

The kids weren't exactly sure what to do with Mike...gird your loins?  And that is the moment where you have to decide either to walk separately from Mike all night or say, "Okay, my loins are girded, let's go!"

I had to look up the meaning of the saying before I could really make any comment on girding loins. Once I felt comfortable saying that I had tightened my belt aka girded my loins, I opted to go down the road to Bethlehem with Mike. Shalom!

I can't wait until the kids are teenagers - Mike's instructions to gird their loins will probably be enough for them to disown us for at least two years.  

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Santa burned his butt

The other night, I came home and Simon came running out and said, "Santa burned his butt!"

"How?" I asked.

"Because fire is dangerous!" Simon exclaimed (at which point, he waved his hands in the air to demonstrate just how dangerous fire is).

"How did he burn his butt?" I asked again.

"In fire!" Simon replied.

Come to find out, Mike was building a fire in the stove with Oscar and he and Oscar were discussing how Santa would enter the house through the stove on Christmas. Mike and Oscar decided, they had better not build a fire on Christmas Eve lest Santa burn his butt!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Chugga Chugga Choo!

This year, we coordinated a trip to Anchorage to ride on the Christmas Train with a couple of family friends. We headed up to Anchorage on a Friday and were able to meet my brother and his family at the Alaska Zoo for the zoo lights. The kids had a blast running around and we were able to enjoy all of the lights. The highlight of the tour was getting to see the tail end of the ultimate cat fight – the two tigers were having a scuffle. It was pretty impressive to see and hear – we were all thankful for our viewpoint from the bridge above.
Look at these cute cousin wolves!

Saturday afternoon, we arrived at the train depot nice and early and met up with our friends. We boarded after a bit of a wait in the depot and got all settled in. The lineup of activities was similar to the last time we went – Mr and Mrs Santa Claus came to visit, trivia games, raffles, magician, and balloon art. We were amazed to win train tickets AND the final prize of a basket of train treasures (from the gift shop).

Just as we were pulling into the train depot, we can to a rather sudden stop. At first, we all thought it was a graceless stop, but we soon learned that the train had actually derailed – the first derailing in 3 years. Fortunately, we were only a couple hundred feet out from the depot, so we were all able to debark and walk to our cars. It was a pretty exciting trip!
Here you can see how far the train was off the tracks - not a huge amount, thankfully we were going pretty slow when it happened.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Thankful for Thanksgiving

This year, we opened the house for Thanksgiving. We were joined by four other families for a day of food and fun. It was controlled chaos, but the noise and action adds an extra air of celebration to the day. Mike and I remembered back to last year’s Thanksgiving where we spent the evening in the ER with Simon who had Croup. Hands down, this Thanksgiving was much less stressful!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Painting Party

Recently, I decided I wanted to make an octopus for the upstairs bathroom. I drew the octopus out on some waterblock and then cut it up into 2 inch squares. Then we all proceeded to paint the squares. It took a couple of painting sessions, but we finally made it. I have to say, it was a super fun activities and the end product is pretty fabulous.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Hide and Seek – winter style

The kids are huge fans of playing hide and seek. One morning, I found these three cuties hiding in the woods. The game is particularly challenging when it’s night. I’m surprised at how brave Violet and Oscar are – often hiding several feet in the woods. I often have to ask for a hint as I have no idea to where to even start looking for them. They are sneaky little critters!