Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas : Rounds 2 - 6

Oh wait, maybe it was SEVEN. Either way, it was a lot of celebrating and we were totally and completely (and overly) spoiled. Let's just do this in a picture story, it's probably easiest.

Christmas Eve was at my Mom's house....AKA GraGra and Papa Greg's house. Uncle Willis and Uncle Stevie cooked up a mighty (albeit a little tardy) dinner for all of us:

Uncle Stevie and some asparagus:

Uncle Willis and some more asparagus (we did eat more than asparagus) and Gillian eyeballing the asparagus.

The kiddos opened presents from Uncle Stevie and Aunt Emily and Uncle Willis and Leah:
Then they headed to bed. Then it was gift exchange time for the grown-ups....and Milo.
He doesn't know he's not a lap dog.

Christmas morning brought stockings at GraGra's house. The highlight of which was PICKLES!
Oh, and the first aid kit!
Colin's favorite was this light-up whirlygig thing. No idea what you'd call it!

After getting cleaned up and dressed up, we were off to Grammy and Papa Frank's house for lunch!

A note on G's dress. The minute she saw me get it out, she yelled "ON!" and she HAD to get dressed right then! She spun and fluffed and twirled and just loved that dress all day long! It was a bit big on her, and her (classy) white t-shirt poked out all day long, but she just loved being dressed up and in her SPARKLE shoes all day. What a girl!

Aunt Mercedes and Uncle D were kind enough to get some pots and dishes to go with our new kitchen! Yay, we can cook now!

Colin was kind enough to brew Uncle D a cup of coffee with the brand new coffee pot Uncle D had given him! (Colin just LOVES to make coffee, real coffee, pretend coffee, he doesn't care! I hope he can barista his way through college, actually!)

Gillian was pretty excited to get ANOTHER party dress from a friend of Grammy's! Hmm, now we need a party!

Before lunch was served, we took another peek at the trains Papa Frank has been working on in the basement!

After a (very yummy) lunch, it was back to GraGra's to grab a nap and then on to Great-Grandma Smith's house for ANOTHER Christmas celebration.

Yep, another one!

With more presents!

Even for Matthew....
I'm not even sure I remember what was in that box that was so interesting? Coffee thermometers, maybe?

Phew, ok, that might be enough Christmases for now. More later...yes. MORE.

Thursday, December 30, 2010


So, Santa came to our house! Our very OWN HOUSE! It was magic. Ask Colin and Gillian. I think they were in disbelief that the Big Guy stopped at their house and left them presents and treats. That Santa, he's pretty popular around here right now.

The night before Santa came, we told the kids he would be coming and that he wouldn't come until they were asleep. They were cute and picked out four cookies for Santa and left them on the coffee table before they went up to bed.

When we all got up in the morning and went downstairs, the kids were SO SURPRISED! Gillian just pointed and Colin yelled, "NEW KITCHEN!" I think they liked the big gift Santa left them:

It only took a few seconds though for Gillian to notice the presents under the tree, and off we went!

Oh look! Santa brought us own copy of Polar Express with NO commercials! Yay!

And a copy of the Polar Express book!

The rest of the presents were from Mommy and Daddy, but were just as fun to open!

Ooooo, look! Lynnie, Tuck, and MingMing in a book!

Ooooo, and a Choo Choo book!

Oh, and how about that toast that the kids requested??? Yep, Santa brought it! And Colin ate it!

Oh yeah, and Santa had left a bite of cookie on his plate! Gillian helped him out and finished his cookies. She's still talking about it!

Just the beginning of a long and fun Christmas! More to come!

Butterfly Christmas!

The kids and I have been going to "Social Butterflies," a version of Mommy and Me, since this summer. The program is provided by the company I work for and the most wonderful developmentalist in the whole world is the teacher. Miss Melanie is just awesome!! All I have to do in the morning is say, "We're going to Miss Melanie School!" and the kids get really excited and are ready to go!

The routine at school is the same pretty much every week: free play, circle time, a little craft, snack, and gym time! Gillian loves all of it, every second. Colin likes snack and gym. And Miss Melanie. Well, circle and free play are ok too. Ok, so it's really just the craft that he doesn't like. He must get that non-crafty-ness from me.

Anyway, I don't take my camera to school. I don't like to take pictures of other people's kids, especially since I'm also an employee of the company running the program. But, last week was our Christmas party, so I did take the camera. I grabbed this little video of the kids at circle time. This was our first time hearing this song, that's why they look like zombies, usually they are more "into" it:

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Cookies....and Sprinkles!

I only had a few things I wanted to do with the kids this December for the ramp up to Christmas; we are still working out what traditions we are going to try to do every year, and the kiddos are still pretty little for a lot of the hoopla! So, we saw Santa, we got a tree, saw the sites in the city, and we are going to take an evening drive to see the lights (oh man, Colin's head is going to EXPLODE!). The only other thing on my list was to make cutout sugar cookies and let the kids help decorate them.

Sunday was the day! Grammy and Papa Frank came down for the day to soak up some toddler love...

Exhibit A:

And, we got our Sprinkle on! The kids actually did really well with the whole process! They sat and sprinkled, and hardly licked anything at all!

Ok, some licking:

But, more sprinkling....


Did they like the cookies? Umm, no. Colin doesn't eat cookies, on principle. Gillian is usually a cookie monster, but wasn't into the sugar cookie. I bet Santa will be though.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Many Sided Bean

Happy, jingling, dancing Bean!

Super serious, "Don't mess with me" Bean! (With a side of Patty Smith)

All They Want for Christmas is....

TOAST. Yes, toast.

They'll tell you....

I think Santa can handle that.

Monday, December 20, 2010

MoMo Shares

Schmo was kind enough to share his napping spot with some wiggly toddlers:

What a guy.

Too Stinkin' Cute to Pass Up!

I didn't have the right space for these pictures in the tree post, but they are too cute not to share! This is Colin checking out the tree for the first time!

And inspecting the train ornament, I think:

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Our OWN Christmas Tree!

Colin and Gillian really like Christmas trees. They liked Grammy's "Harvest" tree in her dining room at Thanksgiving; they've admired the trees at Costco and WalMart. And Colin says HI to the tree outside the shopping center every time we drive by. I don't think it ever occurred to them, though, that they could have a tree IN THEIR OWN HOME.

The past two years, we were just not up to putting up a full sized tree in our house. The first year due to sheer exhaustion, and last year? Well, I'm not sure what our excuse was. So, this year, it was a full sized, real tree or BUST. Well, ok, a 6 foot, skinny tree or bust. Friday morning we headed out, stopped a couple of places, but finally found the perfect specimen. Daddy wanted a different tree, but Colin and Gillian (and Mommy) picked this one:


The tree gets bundled up, put on top of the car (causing GREAT excitement) and we drive it to our OWN HOME! Then it's lunch and nap for the kiddos. Daddy gets the tree up, and I put lights, tinsel, and ornaments on it (breakable up top, durable on the bottom!). This is Colin seeing the tree for the first time after nap:

As soon as I turned off the camera, he said, "I love you Christmas Tree!" So sweet!!! I really think this was like magic for them. They went to bed in our normal, humdrum house and when they woke up....MAGIC! We had a wonderful, lit-up, pretty Christmas tree in our house!!!

As you could see, Gillian is much slower to wake up after nap and wasn't super duper excited the moment she got out of bed (she takes after Daddy that way, Colin is much more like Mommy in that respect). After she woke up and had some cheese and crackers, she was in more of a mood to comment on her OWN TREE:

They have both been very, very good in regards to the tree. We set it up in the dining room so we could still gate it if we needed to (not that the Fisher Price explosion in the living room would have allowed room for the tree anyway). But, we haven't had to resort to gating yet! They have asked to touch one ornament, one with a bell on it. Gillian really likes Jingle Bells and like to accompany herself with the ornament. We can live with that arrangement.

Oh, and the cats have really pretty much ignored the tree. In the past, Weasel would park her furry butt under the tree and sleep there until New Years, but not this year. Michael thinks the dining room floor is too cold for her. Schmo sniffs the tree and sits under it for a minute after breakfast, then leaves. But, he's old, fat, and cranky, so that's to be expected.

All in all, a very satisfying Christmas experience! Can't wait for the Big Guy later this week! It's going to be so fun!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Taking the Choo-Choo to the City!

Last Saturday we had a big adventure! My brother's girlfriend, Leah, had told us that there was a nice holiday display at PPG Place in downtown Pittsburgh. It had trains. Enough said. We decided that since we were going downtown already, we might as well up the excitement and take the kids on their first train ride! Ok, so it was the commuter trolley, but they think it's cool.

We drove most of the way into the city, parked, and got on the train and rode for less than 5 minutes into the city!! The kids really enjoyed it! Colin kept saying, "Choo choo puffin', Daddy! Choo choo puffin', Daddy!" Gillian, as usual, was quieter, but she was looking all around and checking it all out. She didn't want me to leave my seat to take a picture of her though!


Yes, it was cold.

We got off the train, rode THREE separate elevators to the street level, walked about six (small) blocks, and TA DA!!

The PPG Wintergarten was very nice. Small, so probably only 30 minutes of entertainment for toddlers and probably none for kids over 6. But, when C&G are bigger, we can go ice skating by that lovely tree! They had about four trains set up in loops of tracks with gingerbread houses set up all around them. The gingerbread houses were made by many different community groups, schools, and companies.

Two of the trains:

Bean skeptically checking it all out....really she DID like it. She just needed to warm up.

Brother was more immediately impressed!

Some of our favorite gingerbread houses...
Michael liked the Greek Orthodox Church:

Tackily, I liked the reindeer riding on the incline!

The kids' favorite parts of the trip? Well, Colin was VERY fond of this dinosaur (the dinosaurs are part of some sort of art initiative, I think, that places differently "themed" dinosaurs about the city):
He called it a "dip dino!" as in, ketchup "dip" dinosaur. Pretty funny, right?

Gillian's favorite part was the ice rink. She really, really liked standing next to the rink and watching the people skate around and around. I think next year we will try skating. We're not quite coordinated enough for it this year!

So, after a snack, we bundled back up, walked back 6 blocks, down three elevators, and back onto the train!

Next time, we won't hesitate to take the train the whole way into the city. In fact, we may have discovered a cheap, wintertime weekend-morning time killer!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Running Like a Deer

Last Tuesday, Colin woke up from his nap like this:

The running continued for a solid 15 minutes (minus more run-ins with poor Weasel-kitty). He's been running like a deer for part of every day since. It's going to be a long winter.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

What We Did this Week....

...besides drive Mommy crazy. Everyone was feeling especially two-ish this week. Sigh.

Made a well researched and detailed grocery list....

Decided that what a sweat-suit really needs is two pairs of sunglasses and a pair of purple, plastic high heels...

And, played Wonder Pets/Fly-Boat with Daddy while Mommy escaped the house for 30 minutes....

(Note the awesome cape)

Well, at least THEY are having fun!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

St. Nick's Day!

Last Monday was St. Nicholas' Feast Day. Daddy always celebrated it when he was little by putting his shoes out the night before, and St. Nick would leave little treats and a lump of coal (to remind Daddy to be good until Christmas). Grammy Lynn was kind enough to channel some St. Nick's treats our way. So, Monday morning,the kids' wellies ended up on the coffee table with the treat inside for them to find!


It's amazing how quickly they picked up the word PRESENT!



What did St. Nick treat us with? Christmas shirts! To keep us festive until the BIG day!

No coal though. I don't think St. Nick's intermediary thinks C&G need ANY reminders to be good boys and girls....