Oh my God – what happened to December? Whoosh! There it went! I haven’t written here in three weeks! Some of our highlights include:
Levi now cruises furniture! My little baby is now a big boy who can stand and walk along furniture. He also let go Tuesday and stood, balanced, for a few seconds before sitting down. Wow!
There was a blizzard. You knew that though right? Annika went outside to play in the snow that Saturday morning and came back pounding on the door only minutes later. She had a terrified look on her face and told me she thought she was going to blow away! Instead of sending James outside to play with her, we hunkered down for a couple days of family togetherness.
On the 17th Annika’s kindergarten class put on a holiday show. Our family plus Krystle, Gramme and Nana and Papa were able to be there. Her class did about twelve different songs and poems. We were so proud of her! She sang and did all the choreography (simple hand motions) for each song. One song, an alphabet one, had three kids saying a line for each letter of the alphabet. Annika’s was “I is for ice, so shiny and clear” and she said it out loud, loud enough for us to hear! I could not believe it. I’ve been telling her lately whenever she says she’s shy that she’s not anymore. She’s grown out of that. I think that’s starting to sink in a little bit and she’s willing to take more risks and be more outgoing. That or she’s just growing and thriving in kindergarten. On the 15th Annika’s dance class gave us a preview of her ballet dance they are working on for the spring recital. All the parents came into the classroom and the class did their 20 second dance for us. Annika did all the steps and didn’t show hardly a hint of being shy. Granted, she was facing the wall of mirrors with all the parents in the back of the room but still, it makes me more confident that she’ll actually do the dance in the spring recital in front of the auditorium full of people. Anyway her dance is pretty cute and it makes me so proud of her to see her be brave and face some of her fears.
James is not only almost four, he’s also starting to verbalize his personality more and more. He’s not afraid to tell us what he thinks! When Annika makes him mad now or when he’s had enough of her bossing him around he’ll tell her that he doesn’t like her. “I don’t like Annika” he’ll tell me. Of course he does, but at that moment in time he’s had enough sibling time. It’s usually time to separate them. I’ll send James to my room so he can play on the computer. That’s one of his favorite past times now. And he comes up with the most grown up things to say sometimes! He’s such a little boy now – no more toddler there!
The 22nd we went to Dad and Marcia’s house for a visit. Mike and Elisia were home for the holidays! We had a yummy chili dinner with them (unfortunately Kris was at work and missed it all – boo!) and Krystle and Pierce and a nice evening visiting.
Of course we also had Christmas in there too! Thursday the 23rd was my first day off and it was also the day Mathias flew home. I picked him up from the airport and he hung out at our house for a bit that day before going out with friends that evening. Friday was Christmas Eve and we spent the day relaxing at home. All the gifts were purchased and wrapped so the kids and I played while Kris spent most of his time in the kitchen. Am I spoiled or what? He did all the cooking for the food we brought to his parents house (a homemade chicken and mushroom wild rice soup) on the 25th. And he did all the cooking for the Christmas Eve dinner we had at home too. We went to the Christmas Eve service at church at 4pm then came home and the kids changed into pajamas while Kris put the finishing touches on dinner. We had shrimp cocktail, steamed crab legs, corn souffle, mashed potatoes, salad and a super yummy apple cranberry bread pudding for dessert. I then finished the bottle of wine Mathias, Kris and I shared at dinner. We let the kids open one present that night and Kris and I also opened one present from each other before we marched the kids up to bed.
Once we were confident they were sleeping, Santa snuck in to set out his gifts and set up the Lincoln Logs train set under the tree. It was all very clandestine, sneaky and fun! Then we were off to sleep ourselves.
Christmas morning the kids woke us up and we went downstairs together. They eyed the presents excitedly but instead of ripping into them, Annika and James helped me sort the presents into piles for each person. Then we took turns opening a present, one at a time. It’s so fun to see their reactions to each gift as it is opened. They’re so young yet that their faces will show you what they truly think of each gift. Let’s just say some were hits and some were near misses. Near miss meaning they at first weren’t overly excited by the gift but have turned out to play with those a lot. After the gift storm was over we waited patiently as Kris made us all a delicious breakfast of Swedish pancakes. Hmm. I love those! As soon as breakfast was over we hustled to get everyone dressed and the truck packed so we could go to Nana and Papa’s house for the day.
When we arrived there it didn’t take long for another gift storm to erupt. The kids were completely spoiled (again). They also got to play with their cousin Isak. Annika and James really like Isak and they were excited to see him again. We had a yummy lunch there, played all afternoon and then had a traditional dinner of lutefisk and Swedish meatballs. I, uh, had meatballs. Heh. Annika passed on the lutefisk until I told her it was fish. Then she reconsidered and Nana put about 2 tbsp of it on her plate and covered it with a bit of white sauce and butter. Wouldn’t you know it but Annika ate her entire helping! She really likes fish and I guess she thought that any fish would do. I can hardly get her to eat a sweet potato french fry, a piece of white cheddar cheese or anything else out of the ordinary but lutefisk apparently she’ll eat. Weird kid. It was a great day though with Kris’ whole family. And if you got Dale and Lona’s Christmas card this year you would already know the news of the family – Dusty and Melanie are having a baby! We’re super excited and it’s still really early so we’re keeping our fingers crossed that everything goes smoothly for them.
Sunday, the day after Christmas, was yet another festive day for us. We went to Gramme’s house at 1pm for pizza, dessert and gifts and were spoiled again. You know? It really doesn’t get old. Ha! The kids all adore Gramme and they had a fun time with their new gifts and the toys Gramme already has at her house. We didn’t stay too long though as we didn’t want to expose Merv to too many germs. He’s doing really well though and got another encouraging scan result today – the tumors are shrinking! Damn cancer. Anyway, after Gramme’s house we went to Grandpa and Marcia’s house for our final Christmas celebration. We had a low key evening together playing some games and of course creating our fourth gift storm of the season. We were all spoiled for the final time. Well, almost final time. Anyway, the kids had fun playing again with all the new toys they received.
Tuesday, in an effort to keep the kids from going stir crazy, I took Annika and James to Pump It Up for an hour and a half of running, shrieking, sliding, climbing, laughing and other rambunctious behavior. Our neighbors Ryan and Erin and their little brother Charlie and of course their mother Maria joined us there. The kids had so much fun! I even got in on the act a couple of times. I took Charlie down the big slide one time and Annika, James and I went down together, holding hands with me in the middle once too. James also made me follow him through an obstacle course contraption once which used up just as much of my energy as it did him!
Yesterday, in a haste to spend some of our Christmas money and gift cards that we received, we headed out after Kris got home from work in the morning for a long day of shopping. The first thing we bought was an iPod Touch for us. We spent $25 out of pocket for it after finding a great sale price at Best Buy and using a gift card and some Christmas money. Not bad! We’ve had so much fun adding apps to it and playing around with it today. We may just have to use the Target gift card we got to buy another one so Kris and I each have one! The coolest thing yet though is that I was able to Tango (like Skype) with my brother tonight and see his face again! Yes, I just saw it two days ago when I dropped him off at the airport but it is going to be so fantastic to see it basically whenever I want to now!! Anyway, we also purchased a bunch of clothes for the kids and some new clothes for me too. After a couple more returns and exchanges and we came home loaded with bags. Phew!
Today other than a haircut for me and work for Kris, we didn’t leave the house. That’s OK though because it’s been rainy and windy all day. A lot of our snow has melted as a result.
Tomorrow is the last day of 2010. The kids are excited because we are invited to Annika’s friend Elyse’s house for some play date/new year celebrating. She could hardly wait for bedtime tonight knowing what tomorrow will bring. Have a great New Year’s Eve everyone!