Sunday, December 27, 2009

You can wear that to church Grandma!

A couple weeks ago I took the kids to the Crisis Nursery Holiday shop at the Lincoln Square Mall in Urbana. I'm sure everyone is familiar with what it is - although it is probably a little different everywhere. The parents give the kids a certain amount of money and a list (for the younger kids) of who they need to buy presents for, and a helper takes them into the store to help them pick out gifts. This way they can pick out and buy presents for mommy and daddy and the grandparents without anyone knowing what they are getting. And the money benefits the Crisis Nursery.

Faye and Drew were a little reluctant to go in the store without me, but I assured them I would be waiting just outside the door, and they had a ton of volunteers helping so they had one to walk around with them the entire time and ensure they were returned to the correct parent. So in they went and I waited and waited and waited. They had to have been in there for over an hour choosing their gifts. And they were so excited when they came out. I could tell they really wanted to start telling me what they chose, but I reminded them to wait and we would see on Christmas morning.

They both did great keeping secrets - they didn't mention once what they got for me or Andy. They did give us clues what they gave to the grandparents though - Drew kept telling us he got something silly for Grandpa, and Faye told me she got something pretty that Grandma could wear to church. The silly something for Grandpa turned out to be a funny hot dog pen. The something pretty for Grandma to wear to church.....

Well, it is pretty, but I have a feeling it won't be worn to church anytime soon. If you can't see it well, it is a multi colored flower garland with ribbons coming off the back. I could not stop laughing, and I still have trouble not laughing when I think about it. Faye was so serious about it too, which made it even funnier!

I got really great gifts from the kids, some flower shaped measuring spoons from Faye and some really pretty magnets from Drew with some paper. The kids both got Andy a car shaped magnet. It was so much fun to see what they picked out for us! We'll definitely be doing this again next year!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Program

The kids had their Christmas program at church this morning. They did really well, walked right up on stage and sat where they were supposed to sit. Faye sang and even did the hand motions. We couldn't see Drew very well, he was behind a speaker or monitor, but he told us after that he was even singing - which is amazing for him!! He is a little shy and for him to walk up on the stage and sing is really great. It is a huge room and there were a lot of people. I'm so proud of them!

The pictures aren't great, but you can see Faye in the middle with her red dress and black velvet jacket and her arms up in the air. It is too cute!

You can kind of see Drew in this picture, in the red sweater beside Faye and peeking out behind the boy standing up.

Faye was so excited to finally get to wear her Christmas dress. I bought it last year after Christmas so it has been hanging in the closet for a long time. We even painted her nails to match her dress this morning and she was walking around the house telling everyone to look at her because she was so beautiful. I told them I wanted to take their photo by the tree all dressed up, and Faye said, "especially me!"

Alex won't stand or sit still, so I got out the pony and he managed to sit for a few seconds so we could get some photos. He was too young to be in the Christmas program this year, but he may be old enough next year! He loves going to the nursery; they sing songs, have a snack, and today he even made us a card for Christmas!

Drew even posed for some photos this morning. Usually he runs away or turns away, but after I took Faye's photo he was sure he wanted his taken too! He wasn't as excited about his clothes, but I have let him wear his sweater a couple times already.

Friday, December 18, 2009

School party

The kids had their holiday party at school this morning. We invited Grandma and she had the day off work, so she came to see the kids classroom. The kids were so excited - they were very wound up last night and all day today. Of course some of that could be from all the extra sugar they are getting this time of year - cookies and candy canes and other goodies from neighbors.

They didn't sing any songs for us like they did last year, but we still had a good time. Drew showed Grandma all around the classroom. We all had some goodies and then they headed over to the craft table to make some gingerbread ornaments and bracelets.

Alex had fun playing too. He is really looking forward to when he is big enough to go to school, and finally today he got his chance to check out the classroom a little.

Drew and I went and checked out the cars and trucks that he plays with at school. A few of his friends joined in too, which was neat to see them all play together.

Its Holiday Time!!

It's one week to Christmas and I am ready! Well, we have a few more presents to buy, but are otherwise ready for Christmas! The tree is up and the presents are wrapped. We put up our outside lights. I baked cookies and even managed to give some to the neighbors this year. I LOVE sugar cookies. They are my favorite and I will eat them till I have an upset stomach. It is just one of those things I have no control over. I used to make them so often that I could have a double batch rolled out and baked in 30 minutes if I had enough ovens and baking sheets. But I try to limit my baking them to big holidays like Easter, July 4th, Halloween, and Christmas. I made a double batch last weekend, thinking I would put some in the freezer so we'd have some for Santa, but nope, they are gone already (less than a week). I should have known better - I do that every year, and if any do actually make it in the freezer, I sneak them out and before long they are gone too! So I will be baking more this weekend I hope. I got a new cookie cutter this year which has 3 designs you can stamp on them, which I thought was the coolest thing! Then I piped on the icing - Andy thought I was crazy, but then he usually does. The kids loved them, especially the snowman.

OK, so he's not perfect, but I really don't have time to put that much work into sugar cookies just to eat them all in 3 days. I love this time of year - nothing better than sugar cookies!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Parent Teacher Conference

I had parent teacher conferences on Friday morning. Andy took the morning off and stayed home with the kids while I went in to speak with their teachers. Andy chased the kids around the house threatening to take their photo. Apparently they got out their Nerf guns after I left. They were having a lot of fun, but were still in their pj's and the beds are still unmade (and it was after 11am when I got home). Its probably a good thing I'm the one that stays home and not Andy.

The preschool teachers didn't tell me anything I didn't know. The kids fight sometimes at school - just with each other not the other classmates so nothing to worry about there. Faye is the ringleader of their group, which includes Faye, Maddie, and Drew. Apparently she tells them what to do and they do it, but as their teacher said they are the type of kids who really don't care. She thinks she is in control here at home too, telling me and Andy, and well, everyone what is right and wrong and what they should be doing. Drew is quiet at school but is doing well. He has been opening up to the teachers and telling them lots of stories, and is starting to play with some of the other boys rather than checking to see what Faye is doing all the time. Faye spends the majority of her time at the craft table with her friend Maddie, which was definitely no surprise to me. She colors/draws most of the afternoon at home. Drew is torn - he wants to be with Faye and Maddie but he really is not into crafts as much as they are and would rather play cars/trucks.

It is always so much fun to hear about how they are doing in school. I only get a brief glimpse each morning when I drop them off and pick them up, so it is great to hear more. I think they will be ready for Kindergarten next fall! Now we just have to choose which one and if they will be in the same class. No Pressure!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Black lipstick

Faye loves to color and draw. She makes me probably 10 pictures a day, sometimes even more. Her teacher at school even commented on how 'full of artwork' our house must be. She really has no idea. The kids get really upset if they seem me recycle any of their work, but I really just can't keep it all. So I have to sneak it out when they are not looking, and sometimes I get caught and the kids usually have a breakdown. I do have a gigantic pile of artwork in our basement that I just can't bring myself to get rid of, but I really don't know what to do with it either.

Since she loves to color and draw so much, we have a lot of crayons and some markers. The crayons seem to last a little longer than the markers, for several reasons. The kids sometimes lose the marker lids, or don't put them on tightly, or they just wear out eventually. Lately though, Alex has been getting into the markers, and while sometimes he does actually draw on paper, his favorite thing is to draw on his lips, like he is putting on lipstick. Faye and Drew were both coloring me some pictures this morning. They have been making pictures for me for Christmas and hiding them all over the house so I don't see them till Christmas morning, but I've found several as their hiding places are not too great. Alex of course got in on the action and he was having a lot of fun, and then he once again put it all around his lips and was just making a show of it. He loves to make us laugh and the kids and I were really laughing. Thank goodness they are non-toxic and washable!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

1st Snow

It is the first real snow of the season here today. It is actually more wind than anything, I think around 30 - 40mph, so it is freezing cold, but the kids haven't seemed to mind. This morning after I got the kids ready for school, and while we were waiting for Drew to choose his item for Secret Sack, Alex and Faye and I went outside to check out the snow. Alex loved it! I love the look on his face - it is just pure joy! He was trying to catch the snowflakes and he was spinning around and around. He had so much fun.

After lunch today the kids wanted to go back outside. I wasn't going to stop them, but I stayed inside except to snap a few photos. It was much too windy and cold for me, but the kids were so excited. Andy left the wagon outside, and it had some water in it that froze, so the kids had a blast getting out the chunks of ice. I am always surprised how anything can amuse a kid! Faye didn't last too long and came back inside to stand on our heater. Alex and Drew kept playing and playing until finally I made Alex come inside. Drew really had a good time and didn't want to come inside, but I could tell he was getting really cold.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Faye and Drew have been asking me a lot of questions about Santa this year. They really haven't been too excited about him in previous years. I think they were just too little to really understand or care. Last year they didn't believe me that Santa was 'real', but this year they are really into the whole Santa Clause thing. Faye keeps asking me tons and tons of questions - how do the elves know what toys to make?, why does Santa live in the north pole?, is he an elf? and on and on and on. I get so tired of the hundreds (or is it thousands) of daily questions from two five year olds, but I try to smile and answer them as best I can, as I know this will pass quickly too!

So I decided to take them to see Santa this morning. Last year I waited too long and the lines were terrible so we never really ended up seeing Santa. I decided we'd go early this year, and on a weekday morning when it would not be so busy. The kids were so excited! They talked about it all they way there - mostly Faye was explaining to Drew how it all worked. He kept asking her, "but how do you know", till finally she told him she asked mommy and I had told her.

We were just about the only ones there this morning, so no waiting! They got right up there and did sit on his lap, but were a little reluctant to tell him their names or what they wanted for Christmas. Drew muttered out that he wanted a monster truck and somehow Santa actually understood him. I'm guessing he's used to this and can understand the mumblings of about any small child by now. Faye, who is usually a little more outgoing than Drew looked to me for help, so I told Santa some of the things on her wish list. They got a candy cane and coloring book and were thrilled! As we walked around the mall, Drew told me he forgot to tell Santa something else, so we went back before leaving today and he told Santa he also wanted a Transformer.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Parade of Lights

Last night was the annual Parade of Lights here in Champaign. We picked Andy up from work and searched for a parking spot. Last year it was ridiculously cold and we made the mistake of parking and trying to walk to West Side Park. We didn't even make it until the parade started before we headed back to the van and found a place to park and watch. This year we were a little smarter, and found a parking spot at the YMCA, which is right across from the park. So we could either sit in the van and watch if we were cold, or venture outside.

It was much much warmer this year, around 30 degrees, and I had the kids bundled up, so we waited until the parade started and walked out to watch. The kids were cold - Faye was especially complaining that her face was cold - until the first person came around with a candy cane. She was sold!! She'll do just about anything for sweets. Drew was ready to head back to the van and warm up after a few minutes, but she was now going to stick it out. We did end up going back to the van for a couple minutes to warm up, then ventured back outside to watch the end of the parade. We ended up with a whole bunch of candy canes!

Alex was a little confused about the whole thing, but he didn't complain once. He was actually the only one last year who didn't seem bothered by the cold either!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Non - crafty

I'm no Martha Stewart, but I certainly have a lot of ambition for craft making. I've tried painting, jewelry making, scrap-booking, sewing, and crocheting, and who knows probably some I've forgotten. Crochet is my favorite and probably the one I'm best at, but don't look too closely at anything I make because I'm sure there are lots of errors!

By nature I just am not a crafty person. I don't usually have the patience to take my time and do things exactly right. It stresses me out if I have too many projects going at once - I have to finish them immediately or I freak out about how many things I have to do. I like to have everything organized and finished, or I have trouble sleeping (I know it is ridiculous). So you would think I would just give it up, but no, I have about 10 different craft projects going on right now. Yep - I'm stressed. But at the same time I do really enjoy it.

My latest project was one of the most fun I've made. It's a present for the kids for Christmas, and who knows if they'll like it, but they had fun trying to guess what it was before I had the eyes and legs sewn on. Andy of course looks at me like I'm crazy and has the opinion of "can't you just buy that at a store", but I think it is cute and hopefully the kids will appreciate it someday. Now I just have to get busy and make 2 more!

If you can't tell, it is supposed to be an octopus - and I did get eight legs on there.

1st Santa visit

I took Alex to see Santa on Wednesday. It was his 1st real visit - and he was really frightened. I can't really say I blamed him. Santa was a little cranky and smelled like smoke. But I set him up there anyways and snapped a quick photo. He got a candy cane and all was well in his world again.