Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy Birthday, Alec!

Alec turned 6 after Christmas.  For some reason now he seems old.  Its like 5 easily rounds down to toddler behavior but 6 is like...old. Its definitely in the 'kid' category with 8 and 9 year olds. In two year he reaches the age of accountability. Man oh man, I've really got to be careful with this guy and try be the best example of everything I want him to be because pretty much from now on he can remember something for the rest of his life.  Alright, enough about me and my fears...on to the birthday boy!

We started the day off right with breakfast in bed. He was kind to us this year and requested a muffin and fruit loops! Grandma helped make his day special by getting some balloons and Angry Bird party supplies.  We invited over my Aunt and Uncle and their kids (who are fairly close to my kids ages being between 12-1) for opening presents and eating perfectly chocolate chocolate cake rainbow race car cake.

Then Grandma and Grandpa joined us for Zoo lights! Luckily the rainy weather stopped just long enough for us to enjoy a walk through the zoo at night without getting wet. Alec turned on his 'nice brother' button (it was getting kind of rusty) and used his birthday money from Grandma and Grandpa to buy lighty-up toys for him and his siblings on the way out of the zoo. Alec is a good boy and usually very kind, playful and patient with Charlie and Gwen.


The next day we met up with EV friends, the Talbots and Lewis' for some birthday fun. We met in Seattle, did lunch at a seaside bakery, and rode the Ferris Wheel! The sun peeked out at us at just the right moment on the Ferris Wheel.


Alec requested some golf for his birthday so we got a little put-putting in with friends before having a pizza, games and cupcake dinner party.

Its not every day you get to celebrate your birthday with your best buds... especially when you don't even live in the same country!

Alec lost his first tooth on Monday, December 17. His kindergarten teacher says she wishes she could have 60 kids just like him.  He's a good problem solver, enjoys puzzles and coloring, catches on quick at the piano, can practice any sport for hours at a time, builds awesome lego and duplo buildings, is very giving to his siblings and always shares a bite of any food with me.  He mastered keeping his head under water while kicking for 12 feet or so in November and loves to tease his siblings and parents and make people laugh.

We love you, Alec!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Christmas 2012

What a lovely Christmas!  We ended up missing our own ward Christmas party and so were glad to be able to join my parents and sister and my grandma, aunts, uncles and cousins family at their ward party. One of my favorite parts about it was the chance to sing with the choir! I hadn't had a chance yet to sing good choral Christmas music and my Aunt, the choir director, was kind enough to let Chris and I sing.  We had a yummy french toast, sausage, eggs and cinnamon roll brunch.  I love seeing my kids interact with my parents... two of my favorite groups of people enjoying each other's company - it doesn't get better than that.

We kept all the celebrations fairly low key this year. It was nice to just be at home with one another. We did puzzles, watched movies, sang songs, played the piano and watched the kids play.  My cousin and his family actually rent the downstairs of my parents house and they graciously let us stay down in their apartment while they were gone for the first 10 days of our visit. So nice! A kidproof, full-of-new-toys-kind of space is ideal when staying anywhere with kids.

My aunt and uncle host a music night every Christmas for neighbors and family. My cousin played the harp, another sang and played guitar, two more did a viola/piano duet, my aunt brought out the bells for some impromptu audience participation, and lots of people sang. Chris and I sang in a large group, Chris did his Immanuel quartet with my cousins and a friend, I sang a trio with 2 cousins and my mom, Chris and I played a piano trio while my dad and Alec, Charlie and Gwen danced with jingle bells. It was very fun, albeit a bit annoying / stressful to try and keep my tired kids happy during it all. Although that could be a fitting statement for the whole Christmas break. My kids were abnormally antagonistic towards each other and Gwen threw some crazy tantrums at least twice a day. I'm starting to see why my older siblings decided to stay home for Christmas....but don't worry Grandmas... I'm not ready to give up yet!

Before Christmas Eve traditions with the extended family 'on the hill' we skyped with my siblings and their kids for the cousin gift exchange. Gweny loved the purple gloves and purse she got!  The Betteridge Bluff Christmas Eve traditions starts with each family in matching pajamas. (I made my kids pj's out of XXXL pants Mom got for that purpose). We had a delicious dinner of rolls and sandwich fixings, took family/cousin pictures, reenacted and read the Nativity Story, sang Happy Birthday to Jesus and blew out His candle and had a cousin gift exchange. Like every year, it was a blast.  I love my family.

We let Gwenyrs sleep with Charlie and Alec for a sibling sleepover and they surprisingly went to bed great, each holding a toy they had opened that day.

Christmas morning started at 7:30! Not too bad! I helped Mom and Dad make a nice breakfast while Chris read stories to the kids (a family tradition we started when my siblings and I were older, sleeping in and hungry on Christmas morning).   Then Grandpa said goodbye to Santa and Alec and Charlie raced to the top of the stairs to catch a peek... a little disappointed when they didn't see him.  But they were glad to see the hockey sticks, hockey goal and strap on, double-bladed ice skates! (Although, truth be told, Alec had asked Santa for a Powerwheel and was sad he didn't get least he didn't tell me that until the next day and showed real joy with the little musical triangle in his stocking)

 Next was eating breakfast.

Then opening presents! The kids were cute to give hugs to each other after they opened a present from one another. We took them to the toy store one night, 5 minutes before they closed and Chris quickly took one kid in at a time to find something for the other two in the car with me. Pretty fun and they chose great gifts! I made Gwen a Lightning McQueen dress out of a Value Village t-shirt...since she loves that guy and there are never any girl Lighting McQueen clothes.  She loves it. My Grandma made these awesome purple slippers for everyone with smiley faces on the kids.

 The main gift from Chris and I this year was costume set for knights, kings and queens. They all have swords in sheaths on a belt, and a hobby horse that makes noises. Chris made the knight crests by coping the actual Archibald crest.... so its sorta family history, right?  I made the rest - except the helmets, we found those online. Charlie inspired this gift idea because he loves this knight helmet at play group and wear costumes and fight with swords and shields. They've worn the costumes, or at least some part of it, practically every day since Christmas. I'm so pleased that they like it.

We were given some really awesome things by parents and siblings and eachother like Poirot DVDs, a book about my grandpa's personal war history, playmobile sets, lego sets, duplo sets, a watch, a laminator (!!), clothes, sticker books, books, etc...We feel so lucky to have so much and are grateful for our family and friends who make us feel so loved.