Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Our Christmas

So, our Christmas was spread over three days this year.  I don’t think I want to do it like that again, but I guess it worked for this year.  We started on Christmas Eve with a few gifts, opened one more on Christmas morning, and finished with the grand finale and stockings on the 26th.  The girls liked it – presents every day – but I feel like it was “Are we going to open presents again??” type of attitude.  Oh, well.  As Jeremy would say, they are 2 and 4; that is what they think about.

Anyway, they got a number of different things.  Some were used finds (yep, I am “those” people…. Jeremy not so much), but they loved them anyway.  Some were shared things – games and books.  And there were some only mine things. 

On Christmas Eve, the big hit were tiny dolls with clothes.  They have kinda rubbery clothes that go on and off, and they are small.  They have played with these a lot.  The other big hit was Madison’s bridal Barbie and new clothes.  The bridal Barbie had a wedding gown, veil, gloves, shoes, and jewelry; super fancy.  (As a side note: on the side of the box it said the appropriate age was for “adult collectors 14 and older.”  I mean, seriously?  It is a Barbie!)  The clothes were a craft fair find hand picked by Sandy for us.  They are awesome.  We will have to hit up another craft fair. 

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On Christmas Day, they each opened a small bag of their own newborn baby clothes to use with the doll Grandma Yoh had given them.

On the 26th, they opened their “big” gift.  Ellie received a strider bike.  It is a bike without pedals that kids ride on to get the feel of balance.  She definitely rode on it – all over the house!

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Madison’s gift was a Leapster 2 with two games.  She really enjoys this.  Now, we just have to figure out how to manage this screen time.  Suggestions?

Jeremy bought me a bike that we had looked at together.  It is still waiting to be picked up at the store.  It is a little cold to use it now, but I am excited about it.  It is the first bike I have owned since my orange 10 speed in high school.  So, yea!  I hope to be able to go biking with him, and then as a family, this summer. I also got a new, reliable watch.

I found slippers and Ohio State clothing for Jeremy.  I am always hesitant about clothing purchases because the first time I tried buying him something, it was a total flop.  This year, I managed with more success. 

(Sorry this post is all business.  I have done about four posts today, and think I was just working to “get them done.”  Perhaps I will be more inspired in the New Year!  Take care and have a safe and Happy New Year!)

Yoh Christmas(es)

We had Christmas on Christmas Eve at the Yohs.  But we were missing Arturo, so we completed this mission on Christmas morning with stockings and breakfast.  It was a wonderful time of sharing gifts, seeing what everyone got, and watching the excitement of little kids.  (Theo was still working on being excited.  I am sure it will be a different story next year!)

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Madison and Ellie received Legos, a young scientist kit, Frozen stuff, night gowns, baby dolls, Elmo slippers, and a fun book, A Book with No Pictures by BJ Novak.  It is a fun book; you can see it read aloud here.  The science kit is pretty cool.  It has kid size tweezers, a beaker, a flask, even big test tubes.  It also has 10 cards with experiements.  We already did “Shiny Pennies” (pennies get shiny in lemon juice, but not water) and “Dancing Raisins” (raisins float to the top of the beaker of clear soda pop).  Still to come… The Volcano!  (and many more).  Ellie loves her Elmo slippers.  The first day, she even slept in them!  The dolls were a hit the next day especially.  It was a quieter day, and they were busy taking care of their babies.

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Madison was able to hold Theo.

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And so was Jeremy.

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Arturo came in late Wednesday night.  So, we welcomed him on Christmas morning for breakfast and stockings.  We got one final picture with everyone before Niki, Jason, and Theo departed on Christmas morning. 

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The girls said one final farewell.  He even flashed them a smile!

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It was (I think) a successful plane ride home!  I can’t wait to see him again.  It will be crazy how big he will be.  While everyone went to the airport, we had quality time catching up with him and Jennifer. 

Preschool Program

In all the hub-bub about Christmas and Advent, I missed sharing some cute pictures of Madison’s preschool program.  She had a short, 15-minute program on the Thrusday before break.  They chanted some rhymes and sang songs with motions.  I was thinking Madison might be a little shy in front of people even though at home she is performer extraordinaire.  I voiced this concern to her teacher.  She said I might be surprised. 

And I was. 

I could hear her singing the entire time.  She was intent on watching the teacher for the next cues and did a great job!  I was so proud of her.  Here are some pictures of her having so much fun!

Jingle bells and intense focus

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Short plays and rhymes

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One little, two little, three little reindeer…

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He’ll be flying in his sleigh now .. “zoom! zoom!”  “Whoa back”

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And of course, there was jumping and twirling and lots of movement!

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Way to go, Madison!

Advent Week #4

Well, we made it.  This week was a little lost in the midst of all the other commotion, but here goes…

Day 22 (Monday) – Make a snowman (inside or outside).  Okay, there was no snow outside.  I had intentions of making a snowman craft out of paper plates with them.  It didn’t happen.  In fact, I have no idea what we did, except end up back at the Yohs for another Meet Theo celebration. 

Day 23 (Tuesday) – Take treats to a local fire department.  We picked to go to Jackson Township where my brother, Luke, works.  It is only semi-local, but it is also staffed 24 hours a day unlike the volunteer departments we have around here.  I had never been to see where Luke worked.  I have no idea why not.  He has worked with the same fire department (at various stations) for years now.  So, I am glad this gave me a concrete reason to go – and take the girls to see it.  We took them some of the Christmas cookies they had made (round two to use of extra frosting), rice krispie treats, and pretzels.  We got to see the whole station – the beds, the kitchen, the living room, the dining room, the bays, and the engines.  I was most fascinated with the beds and the fire pole – Yep, they still have these…. and better yet, they still USE them.  He let the girls get in the truck

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And he showed them how to go down the pole.  (We left this task to him alone; it was a pretty high pole!)

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Day 24 (Wednesday) – Go for a winter walk.  Ummm… we didn’t do this.  It was also almost 60F outside and a little drizzly on and off.  No “winter” was in sight.  Madison and Jeremy did go for a more winter-like walk the next day with Jennifer and Arturo.  So, I say it was partially accomplished.  We celebrated Christmas this day with the Yohs; I’ll post about it later.

Day 25 (Thursday) – Act out the Christmas Story – from the Bible, not the movie!  This just didn’t happen.  Although they semi-attempted it the next day when we had part two of our family Christmas. 

Overall, I loved doing this, even if some days we didn’t get the task accomplished.  Jeremy decided this could be our tradition each year.  I imagine some of this would work for many years, but as they get older, we will need to vary it.  I have a list of random acts of kindness that I would like to filter in for another year, but I think they would understand that better as they get older.  Also, I don’t think that we will keep all the tasks the same each year, but many of them are keepers.  So, next year, I hope to be doing my advent postings again. 

And on to birthday celebrations……

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Advent Week #3

We managed to fit most of the activities in this week, even with the busyness.  Jeremy was gone for the first half of the week, so I was flying solo for many of these.  So, here we go…

Day 15 (Monday) – Make homemade pretzels.  Our pretzels did not look like the picture, but no one complained.  They were amazing – especially right out of the oven!  They have a sweet flavor to the dough because of powdered sugar.  Next time, I might up the taste by dipping in butter and cinnamon sugar; but really, they don’t even need it.

Day 16 – Stuff and stamp Christmas cards.  This one was for me to make sure I actually sent my cards before January or February.  It worked!  The side benefit: Madison and Ellie had fun, and I had help putting all the labels and stamps on.  Madison worked on the putting on the address labels. 

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Ellie worked on putting on the stamps.  Most of these made it on okay, but a few were hanging over the edge.  I think the post office will still accept them.  (Oh, and do you see the pixels where the addresses would otherwise be… I protected the identities of our friends.  Thanks to a super easy to use site – www.photohide.com.  I feel completely tech-y!  Be impressed.)

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I was pretty proud of them.  They lasted through at least 60 envelopes!  The letters were mailed by the end of the week; it took awhile to write a little note and assemble them.

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Day 17 – Make paper snowflakes to decorate the windows.  Okay, we skipped this one, but we did something way better.  We took the girls to Christian Children’s Home of Ohio.  The youth group was going to wrap presents for all the children CCHO works with.  The girls each paired up with one of the youth to help hold paper or tear of tape.  It was a neat experience for everyone, I think.  The generousity of so many will make for a Christmas where the children at least feel remembered.  I don’t know that presents make you feel loved, but maybe they do that.  It was, I believe, the attempt of those giving to share love in a tangible way. 

Day 18 – Deliver treats to neighbors and friends.  We pulled out the yummy cookies from last week for this one.  We took six plates of cookies to families that we know in the neighborhood.  It took much longer than I anticipated.  I think next year it would be fun to go to only one or two house a night over multiple nights, so that you have time to talk to everyone a little longer. 

Day 19 – Watch a Christmas movie and eat popcorn.  After what felt like many hectic nights, it was nice to be able to just tuck into our own home for this one.  We watched Muppets Christmas, Letters to Santa.  It was a good movie – not too long, and easy to follow.  I think Ellie enjoyed the popcorn as much as the movie… I might have agreed with her. 

Day 20 – Go eat cream sticks at the Das Dutch.  This one we rainchecked for sometime after Christmas.  We just didn’t have time this day.  We planned a service/fundraiser with the youth group to help a man in the church move boxes/items from one office to another.  It took all morning.  The girls were drug along for the ride and never complained once.  Wow!  That night we went to Yoh’s house to meet baby cousin Theo for the first time!  The girls were captivated.  I think Ellie more than Madison.  Theo was very alert (when he was awake), and it was fun to meet the cutie.

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Day 21 – Go look at Christmas lights.  This was a big day!  We had church in the morning, as usual.  Then, after naps, we went to Grandma and Papa’s again to be a part of the official Theo party.  Theo took the noise of the party well – not much crying (but maybe not much sleeping either!).  The girls had fun reconnecting with Jeremy’s cousins especially the ones from Texas.  We played Aunt Jane’s version of BINGO – a game where everyone wins and anyone can play.  The girls loved this because they won presents!  Toward the end of the night, Ellie came over and whispered, “Can I hold baby Theo?” in my ear.  She had her chance with permission granted from Jason and NIki.  She did a great job and was so PROUD of herself!

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We left around 8:15.  We stopped by the lights display on Emerson Road before heading home.  They really liked seeing all the character blow ups.  It is a pretty full path of Christmas things. 

Only a few more days left of this calendar.  Then, we move on to birthday parties.  Whew!  I will say (if I haven’t before) that I really enjoyed having a purpose for each day.  It took some planning, but it has been fun.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Ediger Christmas

It has taken awhile to get this post up.  It has been a CRAZY week.  Jeremy was out of town for half of it, and we had a lot going on in general.  We have almost made it to the end.  I am sure many can relate at this time of year. 

Last Saturday, we gathered at my parents’ place to celebrate Christmas.  We started by just hanging out, having small cinnamon rolls, and getting a little excitement out of the kids.  And, boy, were they excited!  We tried to get a few family photos as well.

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We had a small ‘program” to start when people could share what they were thankful for or sing a song or show a talent.  Madison had been practicing a song from Sunday School.  She was too shy to sing it by herself, so I joined her in the song.  My mom also read a book to the kids – The Crippled Lamb by Max Lucado.

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Then, it was the kids turn to open and exchange.  They received presents from Grandma and Grandpa first.  Ellie received a Melissa and Doug house that she can ring doorbells and unlock doors with keys.  I think she will have a lot of fun with it, but we will have to work together for while.  She also got Elmo panties – super exciting!!  She also got a bird in a nest – a gift all the other grandkids received in a previous Christmas.

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Madison received a mermaid Barbie and some Frozen themed panties from Grandma and Grandpa. 

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The kids opened stockings.  Inside their stockings was an ornament from Myrtle Beach where mom and dad are taking all of us this summer!  They also got some spending money in there for the summer vacation.  Super cool!  After stockings, they exchanged gifts with their cousins.

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The kids played (pretty well) for the rest of the afternoon while the adults spent some time exchanging and receiving gifts.  It made for a relaxing time for us.  In the evening, we ordered pizza to eat before heading home for some much needed sleep. 

Sunday, after church, we returned for a soup lunch. 

It was a good weekend of family.  Truth be told, we usually have a lot of fun just talking – and we talk about most anything – eating and playing games.  We are not a perfect family, but we find ways to endure despite conflicts and differences.  I look forward to another year of making memories.