Thursday, December 30, 2010

Alec turned 4!

Alec's birthday can get lost in the hooplah of Christmas, but I had big plans to make it super special for him. Then I got a wee bit sick. I was practically back to normal the next day, but still... it made for a low key birthday. Luckily, my parents swooped in and helped give Alec the only he thing he asked for: a vanilla-rainbow -and-our-family-standing-under-the-rainbow cake. (He also wanted strawberries on top, but we didn't have any.) Alec had a big grin on his face and chuckled all cute and low whenever anyone said, "Happy Birthday!" to him. He didn't seem to care or notice that there weren't any birthday games or decorations.

Our camera ran out of batteries before we could get any picture of Alec's sweet 4 year old face. (more evidence that I was basically out of commission). But we did get 1 picture. Hopefully I can get more from my parents. I hope to throw a little party for Alec and his friends once everything gets back to normal.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Day

The kids slept in on Christmas morning! We finally had to call to Charlie to wake up around 7:30. We lined the stairs waiting to hear Grandma and Grandpa say goodbye to Santa. Grandpa started having a conversation with Santa only he got mixed up and gave himself the funny voice.

Grandma and Grandpa get up earlier than us all to make us a nice Christmas Breakfast: bacon, German pancakes, hot chocolate, eggnog, and fruit. Yummy!

Then its back downstairs to open and give presents to everyone.

There were many wonderful presents given and lots of smiles and hugs. We wanted our boys to experience the warm feelings of giving so we had them pick out a small gift for everyone that would be with us Christmas morning and if there is one thing my family does super well to over the top, its reactions! They gave the best reactions for my boys and Alec kept saying, "I think they like it."

There was one present I was especially excited for my kids to open and that was the car track quilt I've been dreaming about for a year, and working off and on for the past 6 months. I can hardly believe that its actually finished! My wonderful grandma helped me brainstorm how to finish it and my cousins came over one night to help me tie it. Anyway, I'm REALLY happy with it and I think the boys are too.

One of the best times of Christmas morning was talking over a group skype call with Chris' brother Edward on his mission in Mexico! He sounds so good and happy and I loved seeing Chris' face just beaming as he listened to Edward and all his family.

Grandpa put our boys to bed and Grandma listened to Gwendolyn so Chris and I could go with my siblings and cousins to see a movie! Chris' 2nd or 3rd time at a movie theater this year. We saw the newest Narnia movie. Then we started a 1000 piece puzzle and enjoyed lots of treats and family time. Such a wonderful day.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Eve

We started the day finishing up the decorating! Alec really liked helping Grandma put all the old school ornaments on the tree.

Then, after skyping with my siblings to watch our kids open up their cousin exchange gifts, we got together with my next door cousins and my grandma for Christmas Eve traditions. Starting with matching pj pictures:

Whole group pictures, topped off with the never-missed cousin pyramid.

Reenacting the Christmas Story, complete with costumes.

Finishing off with singing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus and the little cousins blowing out his candle for him.

Then it was off to bed for the kids, and off to the store for mom and dad to get the last stocking stuffers and a fun puzzle to do together.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Tree, teeth and ear infections

We cut down our Christmas tree yesterday! It was really muddy and a bit cold, but Alec really seemed enjoy it. He asked me, "can we bring it inside? in this house?" It was dark (not necessarily late) when we got home and so the kids went to bed almost immediately. Before going to downstairs to sleep, Alec left me with instructions to "put lights all around the tree so when I see it in the morning its all pretty." My brother Jordan and my sister, Sarah helped fulfill that request and Alec's face in the morning was worth all the effort it took to watch them decorate!
Seems like Gwendolyn is almost an entirely different baby, here in Washington. I'll blame it all on teething. She's been way more interested in food recently so we decided to try out solid foods last week. She did so well! She went super crazy for each bite and even started to cry in between spoonfuls of rice cereal. On her second chance of eating a few days later, she did equally as good and finished the entire bowl. Her third attempt was less successful, since she just wanted to blow raspberries after each spoonful, spraying me and anything nearby with rice cereal.

Here she is doing a raspberry:

Still, she smiles whenever she's not eating, sleeping or crying and wins the heart of anyone who is the recipient of her huge grins. I can hardly believe she's 5 months, going on 6!

Charlie has an ear infection (I think). He's had a lowish fever since we got here and is super duper fussy, hardly has an appetite, and asks to go to bed for naps and bedtime. I wish my family could see what the real Charlie is like but hopefully he'll get well soon and be back to his normal self. At least, Chris and I get to cuddle with him a lot more. I love to hold him on my lap and have him lean back on me while we watch a movie or read a book. I also think its cute the way he says, "I need my daddy." I do wish he'd say that for me sometimes but I can't blame him since "I need my Chris" too.

Here he is ignoring my requests to smile at the camera because he wasn't feeling well. Poor kid. I really hope he feels better soon.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Far Far Away..

We drove far far away to Washington for Christmas! I love being home, especially at Christmas time. The drive went really well, there was no snow on the ground at all, even at the pass. The boys were a little disappointed but at least the dense fog gave them something to ask questions about.

On our drive we saw the most amazing rainbow in the middle of Oregon. It was a full arch and incredibly vibrant. The pictures don't do it any justice. [coming soon... as soon as gwenyrs wakes up from her nap and I can grab the camera] - ok days later, I know, but here they are:

Also, about 30 minutes from getting to Grandma and Grandpa's house, I'm singing songs to Gwen trying to keep her happy and while she chews on my finger I feel something sharp! She has a tooth! Check that, she has two. Crazy. Although it starts to make the recent extra feedings and constant she-seems-hungry behavior of the past few weeks make sense. You would think after 3 kids, I would recognize the signs of emerging teeth better, but it surprises me every time.

I love the Puget Sound, rain and all.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas traditions

It struck me this week how much my boys still have to learn about the world. Like all the traditional Christmas songs, for one thing. We've watched some youtube clips and Alec wanted to play some of them he heard on the piano. Contact paper, some colored paper and markers helped us work it all out. Here he is playing the chorus to "Jingle Bells." He never ceases to amaze me.

Also, we had our ward Christmas party last weekend and the boys sat on Santa's lap! It took watching practically EVERY other kid in our ward do it, before they wanted to.. but it happened! Mostly it was because Charlie was brave enough to go anywhere as long as Alec was right behind him1` and Alec has to be brave enough to do anything Charlie does. I think Alec's words were, "Charlie wants to sit on his lap, and I will hold his hand." Its great they can help each other out like that. There was also a yummy pork dinner and a funny little program, which I participated in. It was fun to do and people at least laughed a little so I think it worked out ok. Alec stood on the stage with his fingers in his mouth (a recent habit!) while the rest of the primary children sang some songs. Oh, I love Christmas time!

Monday, December 6, 2010

grabbing toes

Gwendolyn found her toes a while ago and loves to hold them. She also loves to suck on blankets or clothes and almost always has her right pointer finger in her mouth. She's doing a great job sitting up in small spurts, and if we get the position just right, she can sit for a few minutes!

Alec LOVES to entertain her at any time during the day but especially during his "quiet time." If Gwen is awake he'll pile toy after toy in front of her or just lay next to her playing peek-a-boo with a blanket. Charlie also loves to give Gwenyrs attention and often asks to hold her. When he's finally got her on his lap he'll use a special baby voice and say, "I uhv oo, den."

Chris and I were worried that our younger kids would feel the lack of parental attention, but are happy to know that they'll still have fun interactions with their siblings. She even seems to prefer Alec's antics! Alec got her to all out laugh weeks ago and I still get just barely a chuckle with my most silliest efforts.