Life as we know told by Heather

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

It's over already?

Isn't it weird how Christmas is like a wedding? You plan and plan for what seems like forever, and then it's over before you know it. This year Christmas was such a blur. Or maybe it was the stuffiness in my head from being sick the whole week. At any rate, even though things didn't go quite as we had planned (do they ever?) we had a good time just the same.

Every Monday before Christmas the old train depot here invites families to come see model trains, tour train cars and take a small train ride. We were glad that our niece and nephew could be here this year for it as well.
Our niece, Autumn, a.k.a. Cindy Lou Who

Sarah and Me with Dominic and Jordis

My boys

A few days later we had our Christmas with Jason's family. His dad just had back surgery and wasn't able to join us, but we were able to send him some food and videos of the kids wishing him Merry Christmas.

You really can't trust these three together.

You probably can't trust them here, either, but they sure do put on a good show. Ha, ha, just kidding. This actually turned out to be a great picture.

On Christmas Eve we went to my dad and step-mom's and the kids were much less cooperative. In their defense we didn't go until 8 p.m. so it was technically past their bedtime.

A little sugar perked them up though and we all had a nice time. The ride home was quiet as well.

Santa liked chocolate and coconut this year and made sure the kids were well taken care of.

My mom and step-dad came over for Christmas dinner and that was a more laid back celebration. The kids were so lackadaisical about the whole thing I checked them for signs of illness. I think they were just worn out.

Now we're starting to wind down and think about the new year. Sad that the holidays will be over but looking forward to a prosperous 2010. We wish the same for you as well.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmastime is here!

Sometimes I think I love getting ready for Christmas more than Christmas itself. We've been having so much fun with it this year!

Xander and Jordis are old enough that they can help decorate the tree now, so I let them put on their own ornaments. They just need a little guidance so all the ornaments don't end up on the same branch.

The kids also helped me put stamps and return address labels on the Christmas cards this year. That might explain things for a few of you. :-)

We've made cookies, had gingerbread men and enjoyed hot chocolate....

We also had an unsuccessful trip to see Santa at Fantasy of Lights.

Finally made it to the zoo to see Wildlights as well.

While Xander was at school making fun crafts and learning about Christmas, Hannukah and Kwanzaa, Jordis and I had some fun as well. We did some Christmas shopping and caught up on current events.

Currently, Jason's brother and his family are here as well. I love when they come to visit because the kids have so much fun playing with their cousins and I love hanging out with my sister-in-law. Isn't she cute?

She's really tiny, but she's been in the Army so she could definitely take you out back and beat you up. We always have so much fun together and I love having someone around in the morning to drink coffee with and the extra people around the dinner table at night. We only get to see each other 1-2 times a year, so I will be sad when she leaves.

For now, we are just enjoying the season. I didn't get all of our cookies made, probably missed sending out a few cards, and haven't visited as many people as I'd like. But we're having fun just the same.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Our Little Laureate

Back in October, Xander entered his first writing contest. Our county chapter of The Red Cross has a heroes breakfast every year where they honor local heroes in different categories (public service, education, community, etc.), along with writings by children in grades K-12.

Xander brought home an entry form from school and the category for his age group was "A Hero In My Family." I thought it would be a great opportunity for him to write about his dad since he always asks about his work and if he caught any bad guys, but he said no. He decided on a fictional story instead. I told him I didn't think it was supposed to be a made-up story, but he assured me his story was perfect. I type over 100 words per minute and he spouted off his story faster than I could keep up with him. I turned it in for him and about 4 weeks later I got the phone call that he beat out all the other kindergarteners in the county.
He couldn't wait to wear his suit to the awards breakfast.

He was also excited that there was lots of breakfast "junk" to eat, like donuts, and he picked Jason to go up with him to get his certificate and $100 savings bond.

Sitting through the rest of the banquet was a little tough, but Jason's parents were able to join us and helped try to keep the kids' attention, too. Then things got a little hairy at the end when it was picture time.

We're so proud of our little man!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Learning to spell

Aaaah, learning.

I don't want our kids to be uneducated......but I've always kind of dreaded when Xander would learn to read and write, thus ending our ability to conversate in front of the children by spelling out the words we don't want them to hear.

Apparently this day will be coming soon, as Xander is learning to spell a few words.


Yes, that is our wall.

No, you may not get Xander markers for Christmas.

(On the bright side, it's the toy room and hasn't been painted yet. And at least he spelled it correctly. No illiteracy permitted here.)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Happy Birthday Sesame Street!

I'm sure I've never told you all how much I love Sesame Street. I watched it every day when I was little and my favorite character was Snuffleupagus. As a new mom I was secretly excited to watch Sesame Street with my kids so I could see it myself and sing along to the fun songs. But guess what? My kids don't like Sesame Street.


Xander had a Sesame Street video with a bunch of their popular songs on it that we got him as a baby. We used to let him watch it when he was in his bouncer and we thought he liked it. But when it came time to watch it on TV he'd have nothing to do with it. Jordis will watch it if you tell her it's Sesame Street or nothing, but she's not a fan either.

But being the fan I am I couldn't let Sesame Street's 40th birthday go by unnoticed. I went to the library and got a Sesame Street video that I forced the kids to watch. I also (against my better judgment because white bread is BAD) let them eat sandwiches made with some of Jason's white bread since it had sesame seeds on it. I even made them cookies that looked like Cookie Monster. I'm talking homemade dough, rolled out and cut, made my own frosting, the whole nine yards. I even had out my decorator tools so I could pipe on the frosting to look wiry like fur, but the button broke off.

At any rate, I thought my cookies were pretty cute.

But Xander decided otherwise.

Xander: What are those supposed to be?
Mom: Cookie Monster.
Xander: Hmph. Doesn't look like cookie monster. The eyes are funny and his mouth doesn't look like that.
Mom: You could be happy that I'm letting you have cookies at all since it's not a special occasion. Xander: Are the cookies all for me?
Mom: No. I thought you didn't like them anyway.
Xander: Well they might be okay, they just don't look right.

I don't know why I'm surprised. I'm the kid who leaned over to my mom at the theater during Fantasia to tell her "This movie is dumb. Brooms can't dance." Apparently Xander is going to be a realist, just like his Mommy.

Friday, November 13, 2009


It's been freakishly warm in these here parts lately. So warm, in fact, that today I made sun tea and also noticed my daffodils have re-bloomed. Before we put our fire pit in the basement for the winter (to keep it from rusting, in case you were curious), we thought it would be nice if the kids could experience a night around the fire. It has typically been reserved for just Jason and me as a place to chat after the kids have gone to bed.

We'd had out Santa hats out in my attempt to get "the picture" for our 2009 Christmas card. The kids had to wear them and decided that we should begin the evening by telling stories.

Then they got the idea that they should get out their guitars to serenade us. They took turns each playing some children's favorites and some original creations.

They made Jason sing, too.

We had a snack and the sugar apparently made us get a little silly....

....then tired.

We had so much fun just the four of us. I can't wait to do it again, before they decide staying home with mom and dad at night isn't cool anymore.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Happy Veterans Day

Sunday was our city's Veterans Day parade and it was a gorgeous day, so we decided to take the kids. Typically we don't hear about it until after it's passed, but we finally figured out it's on the Sunday before Veterans Day, and not actually ON Veteran's Day. We made sure to have on our patriotic-colored clothing.

(After looking at this picture I've decided I think Xander's going to have my teeth. If you look at them they're all angled the same as mine. I'd blame my overlapping bottom teeth on the fact that I wasn't so good at wearing my retainers, but my dad had braces too and his bottom teeth look just like mine. So my guess is part of it is hereditary. Sorry, little man. I wouldn't wish my dental history on anyone.)

The kids were excited when the Boy Scouts came by and passed out American flags to everyone.

Jordis, true to form, loved the hundreds of motorcycles that drove by at the beginning. She really enjoyed waving to them. Then when the band came she marched all over the place.

(I secretly loved the new Camaro sitting at the curb.)

Xander kept shouting out "Where's the candy?" and we had a lot of trouble trying to get them to understand what Veterans Day was all about. But they do know that they have veterans (or as they generalize them, "Army people") on both sides of their families. And they sat still for a few minutes.

Oh yeah, they got some candy, too.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Blades of glory

Isn't this the best face ever?

My poor baby.

Xander's cousin had a birthday party at The Chiller and he was so excited to go skating. But this is what happened when he quickly realized that you can't just "go skate" the first time you try. He was actually mad at me because I could skate, and I couldn't get him to understand that it wasn't the first time I'd tried. I've taken lessons. He doesn't want lessons though, he just wants to skate.


I think learning how to ride his bike in an hour convinced him that everything is that easy.

He mostly did this.... a little braver....

...then went back and forth between doing it himself and having some help from me.

After realizing he wasn't going to learn to skate before the party was over, he decided he would just do this...

He insists it was horrible, but I think if I offered to take him again he'd take me up on it.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Happy Halloween

Halloween was a busy time for us this year! Jason had to work during our trick-or-treat, so we took the kids to my mom and step-dad's. Their night was different than ours so by going there Jason and my mom both got to see the kids in their costumes. They looked fabulous of course.

Batman was very good at using his cape...

...and the chicken was very lovable.

I'm a party helper for Xander's kindergarten class, so Friday I spent some time there getting to meet all of his classmates. Xander has a love-hate relationship with the bumblebee.

Jordis was a hit with the staff and students, although there was much debate among the children about whether she was a duck, chicken or rooster. She made herself right at home though and was a good girl for me while I did crafts with Xander's friends.

Those kids wore me out, but it was a fun morning.

On Halloween night I took the kids around our neighborhood for trick-or-treat. Along the way we ran into some of our neighbor friends. Megan, the Angel, is Jordis' friend, and Xander sits on the bus with Lauren, the pink toothbrush. Evan, the toothpaste, is Lauren's little brother.

Xander wouldn't ring any one's doorbell, so Jordis did all the work.

They had a great time!

Then we got tired. We were only four houses from home, but Jordis was emphatic in her demand that she take a rest before we got there.

After sorting and trading, we had some candy and called it a night.