Friday, January 15, 2010

Busy Busy Busy

I've started falling behind in my sorry! Here is my attempt to get caught up. One of the reasons I'm falling behind is because I have begun the Daunting task of organizing our digital photos from the last 10 years or so. Yikes! While this isn't the most fun I've ever had, it will give me the opportunity to get a lot more photos available to you on the web. we go.

Christmas Part III: Yes! There was more to Christmas. We spent the 26th with Ryan's mom and step-dad. There were more presents, more family visits, more super delicious food. The girls made out like bandits, receiving everything from cute new clothes to Princess books to pony toys. We had a wonderful time together, visiting with aunts Erin, Jessie, and Stephanie. The snow kept coming down, and we ended up spending the night. Good thing; we got 10 inches of snow at home (on top of the ice). We would have gotten stuck in a snow bank for sure.

New Year's Eve and Day: The family didn't do much for New Year's. After the excitement of the birthday and holidays, we decided to take it easy. It was a pleasant change.

Trip to DuPage County Children's Museum Part I: We wanted to spend Ryan's last day of vacation together as a family, so we packed up and drove the 45 minutes to the museum. I said, "Oh there it is!" as we came up to the entrance. At that moment Emily proceeded to projectile vomit her entire breakfast. Trip canceled. Drive home with the windows up due to -30 wind chills was a bit long. Yet Ryan and I kept giggling, because crying was out of the question.

Nora's Back in School: Christmas vacation is over, Nora is back in school. She is up to her 2000 paper.

And now we are sorta caught up. Phew. Time to be less busy. At least that's the plan. Let's see if it works out that way.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Christmas Day 2009

The man in the red suit did not disappoint.

The girls must have had a hard time falling asleep because Ryan and I woke up before they did. We laid in bed, waiting for the pitter patter of feet, so we could pretend that we were sleeping. Eventually, we did hear Nora's door, Nora's feet run and then STOP!, and then, a moment later, she came running at full speed to our bedroom. It was hard to stay still, because I had a fit of the giggles, but I managed.

Nora burst in our room and cried out, "Santa left presents! There's a tent! Its not wrapped, I saw it, Santa left a tent!!!" She turned around and ran out as quick as she ran in. Ryan and I went upstairs, and I was surprised to see three neat stacks of gifts. Apparently I've been a good girl, because I had presents too! Nora eyed the gifts impatiently, and finally, I caved and broke rule the only real rule of the house. I woke up Emily. My oh my, she gave me the stink eye. But as soon as she saw the aforementioned tent, she perked up and sat in it happily. And then the gift opening began. Nora and Emily must have been very very good. They got games, books, Super Why dolls, and big play sets. Plus the tent. Plus more wooden tracks for their Thomas trains! Where to start??? They played with everything. They ate candy canes and chocolate for breakfast. They were happy.

After our breakfast of junk, Nora wanted to play the Cootie games in the arts and crafts (and computer and game) room. We opened the door, and guess what!!! That silly Santa Claus, he left a huge slide hiding next to the computer. Nora and Emily were stunned silent for a moment, which was followed by shrieking and running and sliding and general mayhem. Such fun. This was even better than last year, when Santa hid the Pixos. (I had a tiny suspision that Santa had hid something, and let me tell you folks, I was just dying for them to find that toy! I actually cried a little because of their excitement. It was just so darn cute).

The morning was just as delicious as a morning can be until about 10:30, at which time Emily decided that the ups were just too much and so it was time for a low. She had a pretty big meltdown, fueled by the candy and excitement and lack of sleep. I was worried that perhaps we wouldn't get out of the house and get to my sister's, but Ryan and I are pros. The three girls all wore purple dresses and headed to Renee and Brian's. The ride in the snow calmed them down, and I was especially pleased with their behavior. I was proud to see them sharing with cousin Layla, and remembering their manners for the most part.

We had a cozy afternoon visiting with my side of the family. The snow fell down, but the coffee in my mug was warm and the food in my belly was delicious. Dinner was a hoot; the three girls were stripped down to their tights in order to avoid ruining their dresses with tomato sauce. The dinner conversation was crazy (hello, its my family, what else would you expect?). More presents. More snow. More Christmas music. It was a thoroughly satisfying evening. The night ended with a trip to my in-laws for a sleep over. Thank goodness too, because with all the snow that came down, we wouldn't have made it back home if we tried.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Christmas Eve 2009

Fact of Life: Nothing is certain. I try and keep this in mind when making plans, because they never turn out the way I think they will. Just accept what is, right? And sometimes what is turns out to be is way better than the plans anyways. Case in point: Christmas Eve.

We planned to go to my in-laws on the night of the 23rd, go to the museum during the day of the 24th, dinner and gifts with in-laws, go home to DeKalb and await Santa's arrival on the morning of the 25th, go back to the 'burbs to spend Christmas at my sister's house. This plan involved a lot of driving, so the ice storm that struck on the morning of the 23rd put a kink into this plan. Ryan had a hard time driving the 1 mile from work to home by 5pm because the van was coated in a shell of ice, and the roads weren't salted. I couldn't see out the front windows of the house because of all the ice; we were living in an igloo. There was no way I was putting the kids in the van for a 70 mile journey.

New plan, laid the morning of the 24th for the 24th. Clean the house, because Santa was coming, and we couldn't risk him not leaving presents because he thought we were lazy. Nora immediately asked me what chores she could do! How evil, I knew she'd want to clean her room with that comment! After we cleaned a bit, Ryan and Nora made cookies for Santa. I made a goat cheese, onion, and broccoli quiche for dinner, and we shared a wonderful meal together. Well, Ryan and I shared a meal and the kids ended up eating Ritz crackers and cheese sticks because goat cheese wasn't to their liking. But everyone was in such a good mood, singing and dancing to Harry Connick, giving hugs and kisses just because. It was a happy happy house.

After dinner I read the Grinch Who Stole Christmas and Santa Mouse next to the fireplace, which had a warm roasty fire burning. Emily got bored in the middle of Santa Mouse, so I sped through it to get to the evening's finale: the family gift exchange. We didn't tell the kids we were opening gifts that night, and Nora's eyes just about popped out of her head when we gave her the first present. We all got wonderful presents; all the girls (me too!) got new jammies, Nora got her first make-up kit to her delight, Emily got a birthday cake toy that she liked so much we found it in her bed the next morning. Ryan got an air compressor, a tool he has needed for ages, as well as two fantastic books.

The best part of the evening, was, however, putting the girls to bed. Nora's eyes sparkled, her smile spread from ear to ear. She kept saying, "Santa is coming! Tonight! Santa Claus is real, and he's coming!". She got out of bed at least 10 times to tell us she was too excited to sleep. I remember that feeling, that anticipation that I think most adults forget about. Santa! Santa! Santa! Ryan and I sat by the fire, indulging in some Raspberry Tart, waiting for the kids to fall asleep. After all, we had to make sure they were sleeping so Santa could leave presents. And he did, because as Nora so clearly stated, Santa is real!

To see more photos of Christmas Eve, please click this link:

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Top Five Momma Moments of 2009

Welcome to 2010 dear readers! Although I haven't found a moment yet to update you all on our family Christmas, I thought it would be appropriate to look back on 2009 and look forward to 2010 at this point in time. I spent New Year's Eve and most of yesterday reflecting on where we've been as a family and where we're headed, marveling at the changes we've seen in the past year, and remembering to be grateful for all those people that have made our blessed life and happy family possible. If you are reading this, this means you! Thank you thank you thank you.

In order to keep this post from getting overly emotional or just way to long, I now present: The Top 5 Momma Moments of 2009

5. Finding a Steve shirt to wear to Emily's Blue's Clues Birthday Party: Actually, I was so pleased with the way Emily's entire party turned out. But that shirt was like the icing on the cake. We had a tent in the yard, and all of our family and friends gathered there and under the tree. Emily had a great time playing Blue's Clues and scribbling in her handy-dandy notebook. Nora was a jelly-belly, which was upsetting at the time but hilarious in retrospect. (Remember the foot stomping, crayon throwing, screaming tantrum over the third clue? Priceless). One of the best birthday parties yet.

4. Nora and Emily helping me in the garden: It wasn't my intention to have a big garden this year, but we had so much dirt left over from digging holes for the fence posts that we ended up with a number of raised beds. In order to attract bugs to the veggie garden, we needed perennials of course, and it got out of hand from there. But the kids LOVED working in the yard! We got dirty, digging and pulling weeds and planting seeds. They had a set of sand toys that turned into dirt toys, and everyday that the sun shone, we spent in the yard. We also enjoyed the fruit of our work, literally, as we ate the raspberries and tomatoes that we grew.

3. Rachel telling us that she was pregnant: This was a big moment for Rachel, and she had it planned out how she was going to tell us at her 30th birthday dinner I made for her. But in her excitement she let her big news slip over the phone. Then, of course, she felt terrible, because she's pregnant and that's what pregnant hormones do to you! So, in order to tell Ryan, she took Nora aside and whispered into Nora's ear. Nora then came running into the kitchen, yelling out, "Auntie Rachel has a baby in her belly!!!!" Ryan stopped dead in his tracks, and then the hugs and tears and happy feeling spread like wildfire. HOORAY!

2. Christmas Eve and Morning 2009: Won't go into too much detail, as this will be the next post. But it was such a happy day for all of us. Nora was so excited about Santa coming she was ready to burst, we lit a fire and had such a nice time together, and the excitement that ensued after Santa came was enough to make my heart just burst out of its chest. I wouldn't have changed a thing.

Drum roll please...and the number one momma moment of 2009 was

Nora calling 911 because she thought I was lost.

This was the incident that inspired this blog, although I never got around to blogging this story. Early in the month of May, an officer went to Nora's school and taught the kids how to dial 911 if there was ever an emergency. Nora obviously learned the lesson well. During her first week of summer vacation, I forgot to tell her I was going to hop into the shower. I usually tell her where I'm going to be, just in case she needs something.

Anyways, I was in the old shower in the basement, when I heard the dog barking like crazy. Lacey is not an excitable dog, so I knew something wasn't right. I turned off the water, grabbed a towel, and opened the door. All I could hear was Nora sobbing. I ran to her; she was standing at the top of the stairs. She looked at me, sobbing, "I couldn't find you! I couldn't find you!"

"But honey," I said, "I'm right here". She kept crying, and the dog kept barking. Through her tears I heard, "I called the police". WHAT??? Nora, you called the police? Dripping wet and in nothing but an itsy bitsy towel, I went to the front door. There, in the bushes, was one cop about to look in through the front windows. Another officer was headed towards the back. I opened the door...and yes I was still dripping wet and in a towel.

The nice officers (nice in every way ladies) came in and talked to Nora. I suppose they wanted to make sure she wasn't being beat or anything. Then they explained the proper way to use 911, all the while I'm still in my towel. I haven't yet mentioned the fact that I was also MORTIFIED. Utterly and completely. I wanted to die. I hadn't even gotten to shaving my legs and there I was. I am quite sure those cops had a great laugh at our expense. In retrospect it is hilarious, and most deserving of the number one most memorable moment of 2009.