Christmas Part Two

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OK, time to share the rest of our Christmas celebrations!

First though how about a little fun? Saturday night we were invited over to our neighbor’s house. The kids were super excited to play with Ryan and Erin and Kris was super excited to play with Jeff and Jeff’s new toy: Guitar Hero World Tour. Maria and I were excited to wrangle kids both big and little? Anyway, the kids played their little hearts out. They were upstairs, downstairs, with us – all over the place – having a great time. We’re trying to teach Annika some modesty and our new rule is going to the bathroom has to be done with the bathroom door shut. Well, she’s very resistant to this new rule. So it didn’t surprise me too much when I went downstairs one time to check on the kids and found Annika walking out of the bathroom without any pants on. When I was going downstairs Erin was coming upstairs. She stopped me and told me they had princess underwear. I said OK and continued on my way. When I got downstairs, saw the naked from the waist down Annika and ushered her back into the bathroom I put the pieces together. Annika had waited until the last second to go to the bathroom (as usual) and had gotten a few drops of pee on her underwear which to her means they are dirty and must be taken off immediately. So Erin was on her way upstairs to get Annika some new underwear, some princess ones just purchased that day (how sweet is she?!). Instead we just put Annika’s pants back on commando-style and she continued playing. What cute kids. They had a problem and they were taking care of it – no parental help needed.

The cutest thing of the night though was when the All Star Kid Band made their entrance. Jeff and Kris had been playing guitar and drums most of the night and the kids wanted in on the act. So Erin came up with a guitar, Annika with a little egg shaker and Ryan with a microphone and they put on a little show for us! Two songs (Rudolph and one other) were sung/played. It was the cutest thing ever!

Sunday was Christmas with Gramme and Papa Merv day. After a yummy brunch we settled down to open presents. I received some gorgeous pearls. Mom had two broken strands of pearls from my dad that she had re-strung for Krystle and I. She even had pearl earrings made for both of us too. They are beautiful and I’m so happy to have them! The kids received legos and princess shoes and pajamas and Christmas ornaments. Both kids let out a big happy inward gasp when they opened their toys. Jamesy loves legos and Annika could not be happier with her princess shoes. She had to put on her new pink sleeping beauty pajamas with her new pink sleeping beauty shoes and then hew new pink sweater too plus her new magic wand and she was officially styling. We had to repeat this ensemble the next day but with her crown as well.

After playing with their new toys for a while we packed everything up to go to our family Christmas party. Great Grandma was there and we got to see and hear all about her vacation to Florida in September. Grandma’s looking good and seemed so happy to have most of her family there. With 9 children and tons of grandchildren and now lots of great-grandchildren, it’s hard to get everyone together. I think there were only 5-6 grandchildren missing (Mathias being one of them – boo!). My aunt Denise was there too. She just finished her chemo treatments a couple months ago and was wearing a wig of brown hair. She took off her wig a few times to show people how much her hair had grown back in and the little kids were fascinated with that! Annika told us on the way home that she wanted hair that came off too. Oh the innocence. We explained that Auntie Denise was very sick so the doctors gave her some very strong medicine to make her better and the medicine made her hair fall out and that’s why she was wearing a wig. All Annika took from that was – I want removable hair too. Silly.

The last few days we’ve just been hanging out at home. I cleaned out some closets and the basement a bit and took a truckload of stuff to goodwill. Kris had to work both Mon and Tues but is now off through the weekend. We don’t have much planned. No set in stone plans for tonight (trying to see if neighbors want to come over now that we have World Tour too!) but are hoping to see Kris’s grandma and grandpa before the weekend is over. We haven’t seen them yet this Christmas season so that is our priority for the weekend.

Since this is the last day of 2008 – Happy New Year! Here’s to a great 2009!

Christmas 2008 Wrap Up

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It’s time to write this all down before I forget all the cute, fun details! I know this will bore most of you to death but remember, this is my personal journal/baby book for my family. I don’t care if you’re bored! OK, I do a little. Please stay! :)

First up – Christmas Eve. After a lazy morning, quick lunch and a nap for James it was time to get crackin’! Showers/baths for all, dressed in our dressy clothes and off to church for the 4pm service. Kris couldn’t understand why I was hurrying us, rushing us to get out the door by 3:30pm. I wanted to make sure we were at church 10-15 minutes early in order to get a seat. He thought service started at 4:30pm and was wondering why I wanted to be at church that early. After church we went to Uncle Dusty and Auntie Melanie’s house. By the time we got there the kids were starving. We usually eat dinner between 4:30 and 5:00pm as a family before Kris goes to work. Now it was almost 6pm. It was going to be close to 7:00pm before Nana and Papa arrived so we got out some snacks for the kids. And we sat around and talked and snacked and watched old school Rudolph. When Nana and Papa arrived we opened a few presents including Nana’s new Spudtrooper! (Mr. Potato Head as a StormTrooper) She loved it – who wouldn’t! The kids also opened up the “For Visiting Children of Dusty and Melanie” present that Santa brought. It was a Thomas the Train Lego set. The kids loved setting it up and playing with it. OK, the adults also loved setting it up and playing with it. Who am I kidding? We also like that now there is a toy at Dusty and Melanie’s house for the kids to play with when we visit. Always a good thing. Dinner was Oyster Stew, Squash Soup and Seafood Chowder with Swedish meatballs on the side. Delicious as always! After dinner we finished opening presents – the kids were spoiled – of course! They each got some Thomas Trains, some pajamas, some coloring books – the list goes on. They were in heaven. Kris and I received some very nice gifts as well (a nutcracker for Kris and a hand knit, scarlet red pidge scarf for me most notable). By this time Annika was all warmed up to everyone and decided she needed to play with James and Melanie – and no one else. I was banished to the basement with the other adults. Each time I came up I was told to go away again. After a while it was clearly time to go home as the kids were tired and cranky.

Christmas morning we did our normal routine of the kids wake up one by one and climb into bed with us to watch cartoons until we’re all ready to get up and go downstairs for breakfast. Except less than 5 minutes after Annika was up (the last of us to wake) she was asking if Santa had come. There was not resting in bed for a while for us this morning! I told her I didn’t know, we had to check and that was it – we were up. We went downstairs and Annika saw the new presents under the tree and exclaimed “New presents! He came!” Kris quickly mixed up the Swedish pancake batter while Annika, James and I sorted all the presents into piles by person. Kris got the video camera, I grabbed the digital and then the kids opened presents, one by one. I was actually surprised how orderly it was. The kids loved everything they got from us (Matchbox cars, car mat, books, clothes for James; game, puzzle, books, clothes for Annika). When Annika was down to 2-3 presents left she started asking where the Cinderella Barbie was that she asked Santa for. She either forgot or didn’t realize that the Santa present was behind her. When she finally opened up Santa’s present (last) she exclaimed “I knew he’d bring me what I asked him for!” Hilarious. Then James opened up his Santa present (also last) and Annika exclaimed “James – I knew he’d bring you what you asked for too!” By the way, James got more Duplos from Santa. All the presents were a hit. And all had to be opened immediately. Annika not only got a Cinderella Barbie but 7 of Barbie’s freinds: Mulan, Belle, Sleeping Beauty, Jasmine, Ariel and Snow White too. It was the 7 pack of Barbie’s. She was in heaven.

After playing, eating a light lunch and napping, we go ready to go to Grandpa Dan and Marcia’s house for more Christmas fun. Marcia’s family was still there from their noon celebration and it was great to see them again. It had been a while. Not long after arriving we bundled the kids up and headed outside. The kids got their very first snowmobile rides! The weather was perfect (mid 20′s), the snow was perfect (8+” of powder) and we were all excited to go. Annika got on in front of me and we took off (slowly) around Grandpa’s house. We’re lucky Grandpa lives in the country (sort of – town is moving closer and closer to him!) and the fields around him had beans this year (not stalks of corn) and hadn’t been plowed this fall – they were nice and flat. So we had acres and acres of powder and rolling hills to go play in. Absolutely perfect! Annika got a ride with me, Daddy and Uncle Pierce before it was getting dark and we headed in. And she loved it – squealing with glee at all times. Yay! Jamesy even got a couple rides too! The first time he was scared. I think because it was loud and we went down a hill and he just got scared. The second time though he knew what to expect and was absolutely fine, even smiling and happy. I’m so glad they liked it!

After saying good-bye to Marcia’s family and feeding the kids some dinner, we all settled down for our gift exchange. The kids were once again spoiled – more puzzles, Thomas trains, clothes, trucks. And Annika got a Playskool Dance Cam from Auntie Krystle and Uncle Pierce. Kris and I had no idea what it was when Annika opened it up. She did though and exclaimed “Dance Cam” upon seeing the box. When I asked her where she saw it she said TV. Of course. Marketing at work. We had to hook that up right away and it was a big hit. Both she and James love seeing themselves dance on tv. And Kris and I were excited to receive a Wii Fit from Krystle, Pierce and Mathias. We’ve played it every day since! A big hit for us! We stayed as late as we could (more melting kids) and then headed home.

More to come but this is getting pretty long – I’ll tell you more tomorrow – like playing World Tour – the all star kid band and Christmas with Gramme and her family.

Christmas Vacation!

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I’m officially on my two week vacation from work.  Woo-hoo!  We don’t have a lot of plans so I’ve created a to-do list and hope to accomplish some things around the house.  It’s time to clean closets (and donate treasures before year end), sort, organize and purge toys and get some paperwork cleaned up and filed.  Ah, such fun times ahead!

Let’s talk about our fun weekend first though.  Saturday was a shopping day.  We went to the local mall, finished up our Christmas shopping and visited Santa.  Jamesy hopped right up on Santa’s lap and then got stage fright and wouldn’t smile or tell him what he wanted or anything.  Annika was her usual shy self.  I had to put her on Santa’s lap and then she wouldn’t look at him or talk to him at all.  We took the picture (neither kid smiling, of course), I told Santa what they wanted (Jamesy managed to eek out Lego’s after I prompted him) and then we were done.  At least there wasn’t much of a line (10 minutes maybe?) for all that joyous holiday fun.

Saturday night (there might have been a nap in between shopping and dinner some the mommy in the house) the kids and I donned our cooking finest (aprons for Annika and I, chef’s hat for James – pictures coming this week – promise!) and set out to make our meatballs for Sunday’s party.  We mixed everything together (with help from the children of course) and then I rolled 63 meatballs and baked them.  They and their citrus infused sauce (jellied cranberry sauce and orange marmalade being two of the ingredients) were a hit at the party too.

OK, now officially on to Sunday.  After church we stayed a bit late to partake in a congregational meeting to vote on officially calling the new pastor the call committee has decided on.  That was my first time voting for such a thing!  The kids were pretty tired of being good and quite and fairly still after being in church for an hour first so they (Jamesy mainly) started melting down.  We voted and then left, not waiting for the results.  (I have since found out the results were 150 yes, 2 no, 2 abstain – guess he’s in!)  From there we drove to Grandpa Dan’s family’s annual Christmas party.  It’s really the only time during they year (apart from the occasional wedding) when the whole family gets together.  You would think it would be a time for us all to have fun together, catching up after a year apart, remarking on our kids’ growth, updating each other on our lives, jobs, hobbies, etc.  Instead, we form cliques and spend our whole time talking with the same people we talk to all year long.  It’s shameful,for all of us, me included.  I’m terrible at small talk anyway and then you put me in this big group of people and I have absolutely no idea what to talk to them about.  Weird isn’t it?  I mean, they’re my family!  We should have tons to talk about!  But with 14 kids in that family (Grandpa Dan has 10 sisters and 3 brothers) plus their spouses and now all my cousins and their families, that’s a lot of people to stay in close touch with.  So, inevitably, cliques form.  I stood up at one point, gazed across the room and saw no less than 6 distinct groups of people, all groups that normally socialize throughout the year.  Well, at least it’s not only me that can’t socialize.  Maybe it’s a family trait!  The kids got to see Grandpa though and Auntie Shelly and Uncle Dale.  Annika asked me to go to Auntie Shelly and Uncle Dale’s house all alone with only Jamesy.  Mommy and Daddy have to stay home.  Her orders.  And since Auntie Shelly and Uncle Dale offer to babysit all the time?  Well, we’ll be taking them up on that soon I think.  Mommy and Daddy could use a break!

After the party we stopped at Gramme’s house for a little while.  Gramme had stitched Kris’s Christmas stocking together for me.  I cross-stitched it but I don’t have a sewing maching (or know really house to use one) so Gramme stitched it together for me (Picture coming this week – promise!).  I now have Annika’s and Kris’s done and I have a good start on James’.  I’m working to have his complete by next Christmas and mine complete by the year after.  Our house looks a little silly right now with two cross-stitched stockings and two cheap red felt stockings hanging up.  Oh well.  Gramme and the kids had a great time playing when were were there.  I didn’t get to visit too much with Gramme but that’s OK.  Gramme first had to feed the kids (sometimes Annika has an endless pit of a stomach).  Then it was time for hide and seek.  The kids and Gramme ran and hid and played all over the house leaving Kris, Merv and I in the living room watching football.  After a while we pried the kids into their shoes and coats (complete with crying) and drove home.  They were both out cold within miles of Gramme’s house (Jamesy within 1 mile).  Jamesy went straight to bed when we got home and didn’t get up again until morning.

Annika woke up when we got home so she got to help me wrap Christmas presents.  She picked out the paper and bow for each present and we took turns putting tape on each gift.  That is my disclaimer for why Grandpa Dan’s present has blue and silver wrapping paper and a purple bow.  Annika did it.  She had fun though so who cares, right?

Today was Annika’s last day of preschool until January 5th.  She didn’t really have school though, just her Christmas program.  Gramme came with us and was able to enjoy Annika not singing with us!  How lovely!  We all knew that’s who it was going to go though, right?  We had front row seats and both the digital camera and the video camera ready.  Her class (only 9 kids) filed in, took their spots on the risers and then began singing their songs.  Annika stood there.  No hand motions.  No mouth movements.  Just goofy faces every once in a while.  (Pictures to come this week! – promise!)  Ah, poor Annika.  At least she wasn’t freaked out or anything (remember that dance recital?) but she still hardly participated.  Her teacher apologized (she’d been working with Annika all month preparing her and we had talked a lot about it at home too) but really, what are you going to do?  We assured her that we got exactly what we expected and that’s OK.  Her teacher assured Annika and us that she was going to keep working on Annika’s shyness throughout the rest of the school year.

After school we went out for an ice cream treat (it was our Advent envelope activity for today) with Gramme.  Then we came home and while Daddy and James napped, Annika and I made cookies.  And now the kids are in bed.  Kris and I are each at a computer and we’ve settled down for the evening.  Except after I’m done blogging I have to go wrap the kids’ gifts.

A Whirlwind weekend

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This past weekend went by really fast!  Saturday morning we managed to sleep late thanks to the kids and once we got up it was go, go, go until Sunday night.

Saturday afternoon Annika had a birthday party to go to.  Her little friend Madalyn turned four and celebrated with a fun Little Crafters party at the community center.  The kids colored, painted treasure chests and decorated princess crowns with ribbon, glitter and of course glue.  Annika loved every second of that!  She is always so intent on making her arts and crafts just perfect.  Of course she used a gallon of glue on her crown such that it wasn’t completely dry until Sunday morning.  After the crafts it was face painting time!  Annika was too shy to stand in line with the other kids so she sat on my lap and waited until everyone else was done.  Then she had a bunch of stars painted on her check and temple.  It was pretty cute.  I don’t think she talked to anyone the whole day though.  Next was cupcake and ice cream time.  My girl sat there until she was the last one at the table.  She was intent on finishing that cupcake though!  Finally it was present opening time and then time to go home.  Annika has already told me that she wants to invite Madalyn to her five year old birthday party because then Madalyn will invite her to her next birthday party too.  I guess she did have a good time, even if she was extremely shy the whole time.

Not long after Annika and I got home we headed back out again, this time with Daddy and James.  We went to the Mall of America, had dinner, played at LegoLand and shopped for a bit.  We were going to take the train from there downtown but we wasted too much time playing and shopping.  Instead we got back in the truck and hustled our way downtown.  We had a Holidazzle parade to attend!  I got to 6th and Marquette (the parade was 1 block ahead) at 6:35pm.  The parade started at 6:30pm.  I told Kris and the kids to get out and I’d go park the truck.  There was a ramp only a block away so I hustled down there.  Kris was fortunate enough to find a spot in a skyway so he and the kids camped out there.  They didn’t miss a float!  I missed the first two but that’s OK.  I thought the parade was kind of short (only 20 minutes long) but I guess when it’s usually freezing cold out that’s long enough.  The kids liked it.  After that we walked around for a while, ending up in Macy’s, before heading back to the truck.  We didn’t want to fight everyone getting out of downtown.  Instead of heading home, we went to Dusty and Melanie’s house.  We hadn’t seen them in what seemed like forever!  It was great to visit with them.  It got later than I expected and we didn’t leave their house until quarter to 11!  That was pretty late for the kids to be up – more than three hours past when they are usually asleep!  Yeah – they were asleep pretty quickly on the drive home.

Sunday morning was our normal routine – up – breakfast – get dressed – head to church.  At church we were reminded that Annika had her Christmas pageant that night.  Yeah – totally forgot about that one.  We debated whether we’d come back for it or not.  I mean, really, it’s not like Annika was going to actually participate, right?  But, she said she wanted to go so we promised her and her teacher that we’d be back that evening.  After church was our usual Sunday trip to Target.  That is getting to be an expensive habit!  Then it was home and lunch.  Jamesy was exhausted from his late night and went down easily for a long nap.  Kris had his work Christmas party that afternoon from 2-5pm.  By 3pm there was still no sign of Jamesy getting up and I was nice and snuggly warm on the couch, drifting off to sleep, so Kris and Annika went to the party and left Jamesy and I at home.  We napped until after 4pm!  Heaven.  Kris and Annika got home just in time to pick up Jamesy and I (they didn’t even get out of the truck) and head back to church. The pageant was cute and as predicted, Annika didn’t really participate.  She walked in all right.  She stood in the front row, right in front of her teacher sitting in the front pew.  I made eye contact with her and gave her a big grin and thumbs up.  They were supposed to sing a bunch of songs in between the “actors” saying their lines.  Even with her teacher right in front of her giving her the words and hand motions, she just stood there and grinned at us.  At the end of one song she said Amen with the other kids but that was the extent of her “singing.”  She walked back out with the other kids, gave me a high five on her way and we picked her up in her classroom.  She seemed to have a good time so I guess that’s good.  Not too long after we got home from that it was bedtime and the end to our weekend.  So much going on!  I’m looking forward to my two weeks off from work.  We have hardly any plans (a few Christmas parties, Christmas of course and one day of baking with friends) and I’m looking forward to getting some home projects done and to just being at home without plans for a change.

Mommy Brag Time

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That’s pretty much what this blog is all about anyway, right?  I just have to gush about my son though.  My precocious, adorable, independent little boy.  Last night after dinner James walked over to me in the kitchen and told me he had to poop.  I brought him to the bathroom and sure enough, we took off his diaper, put him on the toilet and he went.  I was so amazed!  He’s been telling us for a few weeks now when he has just pooped so we put him on the potty and then still have to clean him up.  Last night though he told us before he had to go.  I’m seriously considering trying to potty train him when I’m on vacation for two weeks around Christmas.  Is that crazy?  He’s not yet two!  But he goes both #1 and #2 on the potty, now he’s telling me when he has to go and well, could I be so lucky?  What do you think?  Should we hold off?  Go for it?  I’m torn.  I don’t want to push this too early but he’s giving me all the signs saying he’s ready…

Thanksgiving Part 2

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But that comes later.  First let’s talk about Friday night.  Our town had a little party and tree lighting ceremony downtown.  Kris took the night off work and the four of us plus Krystle went down to partake.  It was lightly snowing, not too cold and they had free cookies/brownies and hot chocolate.  It was perfect.  There was a horse and carriage ride but we decided the line was too long for that.  Just after we arrived a fire truck came down the street with all it’s lights on and sirens blaring.  Turns out it was delivery Santa Claus to us!  This was the real Santa too.  Big white beard, big jolly belly.  And he had the most beautiful tapestry cloak on over his traditional red suit.  Annika was in awe of him, but also a little afraid.  She wouldn’t, of course, go near him for a picture.  So, instead we watched him and listened to him say a few words.  The kids tried to catch snowflakes on their tongues and were just generally adorable.  Poor Jamesy would try and look up to see us and get a face full of snow each time.  We ended up holding him most of the time.

Saturday went met Nana and Papa downtown at Macy’s and saw the 8th floor display of the Day in the Life of an Elf at the North Pole.  It was really cute and I think the kids liked it.  They were sure interested in the displays at least.  Jamesy saw most of it perched on Papa’s shoulders and Annika saw half of it on Daddy’s shoulders.  She was acting her shy self though and wouldn’t pose for pictures very well.  Stinker.  We went shopping in Macy’s for a bit afterwards and I scored a cream long sleeve tee and a brown sweater for Annika for $10 off the clearance racks.  Love big sales!  Then we sent the kids home with Nana and Papa and Kris and I went out shopping for a few hours.  It was fun walking around the mall with Kris.  There was even some hand holding going on.  I know.  Sometimes we’re too sugary cute.  Anyway, we are done shopping for the kids.  Yay!  We even scored some drapes and a rod for our bedroom that were on sale for a pretty good price.  After three years it was about time we got the sheet out of our window!  Good grief!  Now of course we want to redecorate the rest – new paint, new bedspread, new painting, new lamps, etc.  I think one chore for my Christmas break will be to completely clean the room from head to toe, even the closet, so that we can start to do some of that work.  Saturday night after the kids were in bed Kris and I were on picking out paintings.  We found some really cool ones!  Like this one. And this one. And this one. And this one. We also found this one that we both love and think would be great in the basement – when we get that finished.

And now for Thanksgiving part 2.  Sunday we went to Grandpa Dan and Marcia’s house for a Thanksgiving meal.  And Uncle Mathias was there too!  He flew in on Saturday to go to a friend’s wedding.  It was so exciting to see him!  I admit that I teared up when I saw him and gave him a great big bear hug.  He, of course, thinks I’m a big dork.  Whatever.  He’s probably right.  Still, we had a wonderful meal together with Mathias, Grandpa Dan, Marcia, Krystle and Pierce.  And after we were done eating we all retreated to the family room to watch football and veg out.  Eventually Mathias fell asleep.  So much for our quality time!  The kids had a blast playing with all the toys and getting spoiled by Grandpa and Marcia.  And shortly after Mathias left to go visit Gramme, we left to go home.  The kids were tired.  Jamesy didn’t get a nap and I’m not sure what got into Annika but she completely melted down.  And that was our cue.  Time to go!  She was better once we got in the truck.  Jamesy was asleep instantly and was then out for the night.  Annika enjoyed looking at the Christmas lights with us on the way home and then a few miles away, she was out too.  It was an easy bed time that night!

Tonight Annika did a magic trick for me. She asked if she could do one for me and of course I said yes.  So she lays a doll down on the floor, covers it with a blanket and then asks if I want to watch her make it disappear.  I say yes, of course.  So she picks up the doll with the blanket as if she’s just grabbing a handful of blanket.  Then she puts the blanket down behind her, slips the doll out and brings the blanket back in front of her, smoothing it out on the floor.  Then she grabs a handful of blanket again, lifts it up and ta-da! the doll is gone!  Funny, clever little girl.  Then she asks if I want her to make it appear again and I once again say yes.  So she puts the blanket behind her back, picks up the doll, brings it to the front, arranges it all on the floor and lifts up the blanket to reveal the doll laying there on the floor again.  She was so proud of herself.  I laughed and told her how smart she was.

Now I’m sitting here writing this while the kids are playing with two laundry baskets, making a play park out of them.  Lots of Annika bossing James around – same as usual around here.

Long time, no Write

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Sorry about that!

There’s lots to share with you too!  Thanksgiving (already a week ago!) was a fun filled weekend with Auntie Carrie and Uncle Adam in Iowa.  We packed up and headed out Wednesday evening.  I think that was a smart plan because the kids slept most of the way down.  We arrived at their house around 1am, I think.  Either way it was so cute to drive up to their house and see Uncle Adam waiting up for us.  Thursday morning we (well, everyone but me because I’m a slacker – I mean because I was entertaining the children) started cooking for our big meal of the day.  I think there were four adults at all times in the kitchen chopping and boiling and baking.  Our lunch was delicious – a perfect turkey with two kinds of stuffing (hey, what can I say – I’m picky!  Hold the onions and mushrooms for me please!), green beans, buns, cranberries, mashed potatoes – you know – the works!  The kids picked through it all and were hungry minutes after the dishes were cleared – of course.  I think Annika ate only buns with butter on them.  Jamesy may have eaten only mashed potatoes.  These are my children.  God love ‘em.  The rest of the day was spent in a food coma – I think most of us had naps.  Except Annika of course because that girl just won’t nap.  That night after getting the kids to bed we broke out the game Apples to Apples.  I had some good, often funny (to me), answers but I guess not everybody else agreed with me because I LOST.  I was dead last out of the six of us (Adam’s parents were also there).  Why don’t you people like my answers!?!

Friday we hung out at their house for a bit before heading out shopping.  No crazy early lines for us.  Although at 11am the line in Kohl’s was still almost to the back of the store.  Crazy!  Another nap for most of us and we were ready to play some more games.  The kids played with all the toys we brought.  Adam even found one of his old puzzles from when he was a kid and Annika and James had a great time putting that together over and over.  Another of their favorites games was to play with Auntie Carrie’s exercise ball.  They would try and roll on top of it or bounce it around the room.  They also colored many, many pictures.  Auntie Carrie and Uncle Adam are going to need to invest in more magnets for their refrigerator.  We left it covered in pictures and had to double up pictures on magnets.  :)

Saturday we packed up and headed to Kris’s cousin’s wedding.  How nice that it was also in Iowa and on our way home actually!  The wedding was in a small town church (so cute!) but I missed most of the ceremony.  James did not want to sit still so I was with him in the fellowship hall.  I’m sure it was a lovely service.  The reception was at this awesome little park building.  They had a dance and the kids were so excited.  It was so cute to see them “dancing” together.  They would hold hands and go around and around in circles.  Sometimes Annika would go a little too fast and Jamesy would go crashing to the floor.  Sometimes that would end in laughter and sometimes tears.  He was always back out there in no time though.  And when the slow songs would play Kris would always come find me so we could dance.  Jamesy didn’t appreciate this too much.  He had to wiggle his way in between us most times.  When the kids tired out we tucked them into their car seats and headed for home.  It was a great weekend away.

Sunday we had Thanksgiving with Gramme, Auntie Krystle, Uncle Pierce and us.  It’s always nice to get everyone together.  We had yummy pizza and cake and then while Kris, Krystle, Pierce and I were lazy on the couch, Mom played hide and seek with the kids.  Nika would hide then Gramme would ask James where she was hiding and James would show her.  Or if Gramme called out “Where are you?” then Nika would tell her “I’m hiding behind the door/in the closet/etc.”  OK, so my kids aren’t so great at this game yet.  :)   One time Gramme sat down on the stairs and covered her eyes to count.  Jamesy sat down next to her and covered his eyes too.  How adorable!  Next it was Jamesy’s time to hide.  So Gramme sat down on the steps and this time Annika sat next to her and covered her eyes too.  Then Gramme couldn’t find Jamesy.  Annika told her he was probably under Gramme’s bed and sure enough when gramme lifted her bedskirt, there he was peeking out.  He had to wiggle his way out of there as it was a pretty tight fit.  Too cute!  Uncle Mathias called Gramme while we were there.  It was fun to talk to him too.  We put him on speaker phone so we all could here him.  I can’t wait to see him on Sunday!  He’s coming home for a friends wedding tomorrow and then spending some time with the fam on Sunday.  I can NOT wait!

Wednesday night after gymnastics I decided everybody needed ice cream!  Yummy, yummy ice cream!  So I swung into Dairy Queen, bought two blizzards, and drove myself and the kids to Kris’s work.  I pulled into the parking lot, called him and told him to let us in the door.  He, not knowing we were coming asked “Here?  At work?”  Hee.  I let the kids out of their car seats and they ran to the door.  Inside we went to the cafeteria and shared our treats.  Luckily for me, Kris wasn’t busy and had time to take a break.  It was so fun to surprise him and the kids, of course, loved to see Daddy (Annika insisted on sharing with Daddy) and have ice cream too!  After the ice cream was gone, Daddy made a cup of hot chocolate that he and the kids shared.  They were in heaven!  Of course then they also ran around the room like crazy children but that’s only to be expected, right?

Last night in the bath tub Jamesy was blowing bubbles.  Only problem was every once in a while he would forget to take his face out of the water when he tried to breathe so then he’d choke and sputter and cough.  Then he’d grin at me and stick his face back in the water and blow some more bubbles.  Crazy child!  He was having so much fun though.  He got in a rhythm that went like this: breathe, blow, spit out water, breathe, blow, spit, etc.  He was just cracking me up.  That little boy is so silly.  And he’s getting so independent now too!  He wants to walk everywhere, not be carried.  This is fine (especially since he’s getting so big) but when we’re in a parking lot he doesn’t want to hold hands.  He only wants to walk on his own.  Kris and I insist that hand holding is a requirement and then he gets so mad!  Finally one of us will pick him up and just carry him to the vehicle and that makes him even more mad.  Too bad he can’t throw a fit too well then.  At home when he gets mad he flops down on the floor and cries.  It’s quite dramatic.  Too bad Kris and I usually laugh at him.  Especially when he moves from a hard floor to a carpeted floor and then flops.  He’s very independent with his clothes too.  He wants to help take them off (including his diaper) and put them on.  And he wants to help wash his body in the bath tub and help put his lotion on, etc.  My independent little man!