Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Christmas recap....

I really wanted to post yesterday about our fun Christmas but as I sat down to write my post, Bella asked what I was doing. I told her "I'm about to write a blog post about our Christmas". She said, "How about if I tell you a story and you write that instead?". Okay, sounds fair. Plus, I think she'll get a kick out of it when she reads it 20 years from now!

We started our Christmas celebration by baking and decorating sugar cookies.

Yes, it was as messy as it looks! Yes, some would say I had to be flying higher than a kite to let two 21-month toddlers and two 4-yr olds have free reign with the icing tubes and colored sprinkles! But I made myself promise ahead of time that I would not focus on the mess or the chaos but that I would enjoy every minute of this experience with them and that's exactly what happened. We had so much fun and the kids were so proud of their sugar cookie creations!

The next day, I took Bella to see The Nutcracker ballet for the first time!!! My sister had given her the "Barbie in the Nutcracker" DVD last year at Christmas and Bella instantly fell in love with the story and the music. So this year we decided to accompany my sister and her daughter on their annual viewing of the Nutcracker ballet. Bella loved it...and she got especially excited every time she recognized a song that she had seen on the Barbie DVD.
Initially, she wanted to dress herself and I was fine with that until I saw what she old tank top with a faded butterfly on it, blue jeans, shin guards and water shoes. The water shoes actually replaced the Hello Kitty flip-flops she originally wanted to wear. Oh and she insisted that her hair looked fine the way it was. The snarled-up rat's nest on the side of her head wasn't a problem for her I suppose.
I managed to convince her that the ballet was a special occasion and she should dress up a little bit. She ultimately decided she wanted to wear what I was wearing, which was a black sweater, blue jeans and black shoes. So we looked like twins (once again) but it was a much better look than what she had originally planned!

Here she is with my sister and my niece before we entered the theatre:

Here we are right before the ballet started, with her holding the program, so excited!

In January, Cole will get to do a special outing with Tim when they go see the Thomas the Train live show!
Because my family is so dysfunctional with this person not talking to that person, we had 3 Christmas celebrations. On Tuesday, we celebrated with my sister and her family at our home. We got pizza for the kids (and Tim) and then my sister, her husband and I feasted on crab....oh, to die for!! Yum! My sister tried to get revenge on me by buying all my kids toys that make noise. I guess that was pay back for all the loud toys I got her kids before I had kids of my own (when I thought it was funny). The weird thing is that the noise doesn't get to me anymore. I guess that's what happens when you have four little ones running around the house.
Here's Cole wearing the Thomas the Train bathrobe that my sister got for Landon. I thought Landon would love it but he kinda freaked out when I put it on him so Cole offered to try it on. I think it has become Cole's bathrobe now (even though it's 2 sizes to small on him).

Then on Christmas eve day, we went to my IL's to celebrate with Tim's family. We walked in and there were 2 Kettcars and 2 Strider bikes in the living room for the kids. Tim's brother and his wife really spoiled the kids this year! Garrett and Landon are really too young to get the whole idea of the Strider bikes. They kept getting on them and then lifting their feet off the ground and falling over. I imagine they'll enjoy them more in a few more months. My IL's also got them little buggy push cars, which they really loved, and we spent a majority of the afternoon taking turns running them around the outside of the house.

I love this pic because Garrett really wanted to ride Bella's Kettcar so Uncle Mike was trying to convince him to try out his Strider bike one more time and Garrett pouted and made his angry face at Uncle Mike.

Cole loved his Kettcar and rode it every chance he got! Look at that smile...just melts my heart!

When we got home, it was way past their bedtime but we let Cole and Bella stay up for a few minutes to check Norad to see where Santa was. He was already in Minnesota so we told the kids they had better get to bed so they'd be sure to be fast asleep when Santa reached California. We left cookies and milk for Santa on his special plate and a couple carrots for the reindeer and they were off to bed.

Then came Christmas morning and the kids' Christmas gift to Tim and I was to sleep in late. And by late, I mean 7:30 am!!! Never have they slept in that late. I woke up and immediately panicked when I looked at the clock and saw the time! But they all woke up shortly after that and excitement set in when they saw all the presents that Santa had left for them.

Obviously, the new play kitchen was the biggest hit! They pretty much ignored the other presents for awhile so they could check the kitchen out! It's pretty cool....makes real noises when they "cook" the food, the microwave beeps, the phone rings, the clock reads the actual time. Bella and Garrett offered to make Christmas breakfast.....a piece of pretend bacon and a pretend hotdog. Rachael Ray, move over....

Tim took those pictures, which explains why they're all blurry. I don't know what it is with him and pictures but every single time he's in charge of picture taking, they come out like this...all blurry and out of focus, which explains why Cole looks like an elf with pointed ears in one of the pictures. I was too busy filming the kids with my new Flip Ultra Video. The coolest little gadget, in my opinion. Tim also got me a Fossil watch, some Nike earphones (I suspect he got me these because I "borrowed" his and never remembered to give them back) and a set of mixing bowls I desperately needed.

In the afternoon, my mom, stepdad and my brother came over to give the kids their gifts and to have dinner. My mom and I kept butting heads in the kitchen. She offered to help, yet she wouldn't stop giving me her tips on how to cook a turkey, a ham, green beans and all the other things I had planned to make. I'm a by-the-recipe-to-the-exact-measurement kinda person....she's a throw-whatever-in-the-bowl and eye-ball-it-instead-of-measuring kinda person. But I wanted everything to be perfect so I insisted that she follow all the recipes I had planned and after offering me lots of unsolicited advice and getting nowhere, she finally decided just to do things the way I had asked her.
Everything did turn out perfectly and I can only assume so because Tim, who never seems to be impressed with my cooking abilities, said, "this was a REALLY good dinner". Even my mom said, through gritted teeth I'm sure, that everything tasted delicious. Just look at my beautiful little 10-pound turkey, which was so juicy and tender....

I have to give credit to Alton Brown on The Food Network for this recipe. This is the 3rd time I've used his recipe for roasted turkey and it's been a hit every time! Here's the link to the recipe:

And now that I've written the world's longest blog post (okay, maybe not the world's longest but certainly one of the longest ones I've written), I'll end this post by saying that I feel very blessed, especially this Christmas. Last year, I was too sleep-deprived to really enjoy it. But this year, as I baked cookies with my kids, read The Night Before Christmas with them, tracked Santa on Norad, wrapped presents for them after they went to bed and then had the privilege of watching their little faces light up as they opened their gifts, I couldn't help but feel extremely blessed.


Anonymous said...

Looks like such a wonderful day! Everyone looks happy and adorable. I also like those light up trees outside.

bonnieearly said...

Hi Helene! Merry Christmas! It looks like the kids had a great time from frosting cookies, to presents. That's an awesome holiday. :) I feel like we haven't talked in ages. Give me a call and lets catch up soon. Oh and give the kids a squeeze for me too!

Corrine said...

wow looks like a busy time...can't believe you had to do three christmas..that must have kept y'all busy as well.

glad you enjoyed it and you are blessed!

IAmDenise said...

Thanks Helene! I had a great time reading your blog today!

Thanks for all the pictures looks like the kids had a blast!

Veronica Lee said...

I really enjoyed your post and you are indeed blessed !!

3 Bay B Chicks said...

I truly do love your blog, Helene. Makes me laugh each and everytime I log on. Wherever did you find such a fun header for your site? Fits it perfectly! Well done. :)

Your Christmas recap was simply wonderful. I am so glad that you were able to really begin to enjoy the holiday with your kids. I felt very much the same way this year. After having newborns at Christmas over the past few years, it is truly a new experience to sit back and watch them begin to understand and really enjoy the festivities.

Also absolutely wonderful that you were able to take Bella to the Nutcracker! I dream of the day that I am able to do so too with my daughter. What performance did you go to? Sacramento?

Happy New Year!

Creative Junkie said...

wow - you guys had such a wonderful Christmas! Your photos are so sweet!

I so miss Christmas Day with little ones - my youngest is eight and it won't be too much longer before she refuses to believe in Santa. It will still be loads of fun, but it won't ever be the same.

eighthelpinghands said...

Oh what a sweet family you have! You take great pictures. I love the happy looks on the kids' faces. I also liked Bella's story. I am very glad I found you through comment club. I will be back!

Trying to Stay Calm! said...

I'm new here! What a great blog :)

Kim said...

Love the pics! And I'm sure your husband blurred them on purpose to emphasize the happy energy of Christmas morn!

I'm quite pleased to see the little grocery carts, since that's exactly what I got my girls. My husband got them a dancing, shrieking Elmo : (

Susanna Kington said...

Wonderful blog! What a happy family you all must be. :)

Hajar said...

Your kids are now all at the age where you can actually do those fun, memorable festivities. You all look like a 'big-happy-family' in your photos. ;>} I'm glad you had a great holiday.

twinmama said...

What a wonderful Christmas! I bet you all have a blast Christmas morning - it sure looks like it!

I love the Nutcracker - my husband surprised me several years ago and got us tickets for Christmas. I just knew that if I ever had a little girl that I wanted to take her when she was older. I am looking forward to taking my girls in a few years!

Arlice Nichole said...

WOW! Ok, so did you guys do the ballet and the Christmas cookies on Christmas day? If so what a fun-filled Christmas day it was! I love the idea of festive activities on the day of the holiday! What a great idea and I may just have to copy that for 2009.

I figure that if the children are alive when my husband gets home at the end of the day, I've done my job.

----Roseanne Barr

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