Thursday, January 27, 2011

How to get what you want

I've discovered how to get what you want. Complain about what you want but don't have in your Christmas newsletter.

Four weeks ago I moaned that Charlotte wasn't potty-trained, and that Claire wasn't walking or talking and she had no teeth.

January arrived, and voila! Public humiliation has once again triumphed.

Charlotte is making definite progress, albeit marked with her own flair. She really likes the whole bathroom ritual--wiping, flushing, washing, drying. But she's added her own special ending. You must spit into the toilet before flushing it. We try not to ask...

Between that and the two pairs of princess undies that somehow got flushed down the toilet, along with a large quantity of non-flushable baby wipes, I'm wondering if I truly want this.

Claire is saying a few words. Nowhere near what she should for her age, but we're dusting off our well-worn speech therapy tricks and putting up with having our eyes gouged out so she can say "eye" over and over.

And she's wobbly, but she's up on two feet! At 15 months, our latest one yet, but she's headed in the right direction. Actually, I am more excited that she's figured out to go down the stairs feet-first. Maybe we can get rid of the gates soon, since no one ever remembers to shut them anyway.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Christmas morning

I tried something new this year and happily it worked! Last year Christmas morning was a blur, and my pictures proved it. Plus the boys got worked into a bit of a gift-opening frenzy, hardly stopping to look at a toy before searching for the next one. With this in mind, and knowing that Santa might bring a few large gifts that wouldn't have fit in the living room, we asked Santa to put his gifts and the stockings in the family room.

On Christmas morning (at 8:00 when the girls woke up, NOT at 5:30 when the boys woke up), we started in the family room with the Santa presents, and spent about an hour
playing, eating candy canes and chocolate, and examining every single item in precious detail. The boys shot their arrows and crossbows, Claire and Charlotte played in the princess tent.

And if you're wondering what the boys did from 5:30 to 8:00, it's right there in the photo. The handheld games from Grandma Vicki they opened the night before kept us all sleeping peacefully until the sun actually rose.

Then we headed to the living room and had a mini-frenzy under the tree. Crazy fun.

After breakfast I took a nap and the kids watched one of their movies. I now understand why my mom always made sure we got a new movie for Christmas. It was her only guarantee of a 90-minute nap after being up most of the night.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Christmas? Oh yeah, we did that

I know you all think I'm horribly behind. Actually this has been a psychological experiment. If I wait long enough, will my memories of Christmas fade to slightly fuzzy but happy mental pictures? Will I have forgotten, or at least toned down, remembrances of the endless shopping (my life's least favorite activity), cooking, wrapping, and crowd-fighting? Like childbirth, will I only remember enough to be ready--even eager--to do it again?

We'll see.

So here's the fun we had.

We decorated gingerbread cookies. Charlotte won the Cookie Monster award this year. Long after everyone else had left the table she remained, squeezing every last drop of frosting onto her masterpiece. She ended up with a cookie buried under a two-inch thick layer of multicolored sugar and frosting.

Saw the lights at Temple Square which most of us thoroughly enjoyed (Charlotte being the obvious exception, here). It surprised me by being one of my highlights. It felt like a bit of a chore, packing everyone up to be outside for an evening, but we were there on a warmish day right when the lights came on and it wasn't crowded. We heard a couple of high school choirs perform (perfect training for the kids to sit through a nice, short performance), and it was so beautiful and peaceful, while the days before and after had definitely not been.

Went to Charlotte's dance performance and the boys' piano recitals. Wised up and took the boys out for their favorite chili-cheese hot dogs AFTER the recital and not before. (Caroline, that "authentic Viking blood" on Carden's shirt at the Halloween recital was actually authentic Viking ketchup.)

The cousin gift exchange. Who knew that $1 could go so far. It'll be sad (or at least expensive) when they outgrow the wonder of the dollar store. It was far more successful than the nativity play, which the older kids were burned out on and left the younger kids squabbling over which role had the best costume accessories.

Took the kids to the children's hospital fundraiser, Festival of Trees, our second year coming. Afterwards we dropped off our Sub-for-Santa contributions and went out to lunch (me and the boys at Little Caesars, Tyler and the girls at the slightly seedy Chinese restaurant next door). Here's Seth at the "dial-an-elf" phone booth. Charlotte was transfixed by all the dance groups performing. The kids love all the fun craft projects and it's touching to see all the beautiful trees created by families as tributes to loved ones gone.