Tuesday, December 24, 2013

December 24, 2013

Morning cartoons

Ernie turned to me "What I want for Christmas is something that can't be taken away from me- the Spirit of Christmas." 

Mimi says "But if I get coal, I will give it to someone who needs a fire."

Our housecleaner came today- her little girl is adorable. We all played Aqua Doodle together.  She only speaks Spanish, and would anxiously wait for me to say "Si Si!" when she started to draw with us.

Cocoa found goggles.  He's gone!

Here he is!

Fruit for snack.  Thumbs up!

Grandpa came over with a puzzle to share.  Sharing lasted about three minutes before Mimi was in hysterics.  

Grandpa quarantined the small kids and read them stories.  There are a LOT of Madeline stories in this book, it is one of Mimi's favorites.

Cocoa didn't last long.  My dad can put any baby to sleep, just by talking.

We had to send a text to Daddy- "Will you please do my puzzle with me when you get home?"  He is the puzzle master, and puzzle was not happening for Mimi this afternoon, this is her face after attempting it on her own (she ordered us all away .). Daddy texted back "Sure!"

However after a two hour nap for Cocoa and some quiet time for the girls, we pulled out the shell and rock collections to sort and stack and weigh and microscope, Daddy came home and did the puzzle with Mimi, and peace came back.

Ernie is using one of our mini microscopes- pocket-sized and about $3 on Amazon they are a lot of fun!

We planned a simple dinner tonight- I heated up some ham steaks and Ernie made a green salad.  Grandma brought scalloped potatoes and a jello-cream cheese- pretzel crusted confection that her family has enjoyed for years.  I served a pecan and a lemon pie after dinner and J passed around cups of hot cocoa.  I feel blessed to have J's grandparents with us tonight- I knew that our family would need a quiet night which is why we stepped out of the larger family gathering. All three kids are in various states of exhaustion, it's just such a busy time of year.  With such a small group we didn't need a big menu and I got to have fun setting a nice table with family vintage linens, china, silver, and goblets.  The girls were ecstatic when the china mugs, saucers, and tea pot came out after dinner along with the creamer and sugar bowl.  They love tea parties and just ate it up.

Waiting for the grandparents to arrive

 After dinner stories. 

Come on, Grandma!

Ernie listens to the last Christmas story in her  Christmas Eve jammies.  She worked hard to finish her doll, Ivory, in time for Christmas.

Goodies for the big guy and his reindeer. Cocoa really wants to taste test.  Mimi set up the tray this year.

The girls were so.... Gosh almost miserable.  Ernie is so worked up over everything right now.  She wants to do everything we have ever done, in her memory, for Christmas.  That just can't happen.  She's been complaining of a headache all day off and on, so I put her down with a heat pack and some Tylenol and a promise that morning would come whether she fretted or not.  

Mimi said she had an ear ache so I gave her a half dose of Tylenol and told her not to worry if she fell asleep or not.  She's been complaining about that ear for a little bit.  Morning would come either way, just enjoy the dark.

Maybe I didn't do the right thing,  but I sure try!

Santa will come tonight, I have a counter of dishes to wash, and I'm feeling very blessed!  Tomorrow will be beautiful.  Today was beautiful.

Monday, December 23, 2013

December 23, 2013

 Christmas is almost here!  I hate how frazzled I feel-  I have done everything I can to make this season simple and beautiful and Christ-centered, and it seems like that all got lost this past week in the mad dash to finalize meal plans and shopping, check everyone's gifts off the list, and wonder if I have done everything I can to avoid disappointing anybody.

Change in family situations made my wish of hosting a large, beautiful, meal to everybody a moot point.  We moved the smaller family gathering to Christmas Day to avoid stressing over two large meals, and now my sister and I are hosting separate ham dinners on Christmas Eve, and then I am hosting a...cocktail party on Christmas?  There will be a buffet of appetizers and platters of vegetables and cheese, there will be pie and presents, there will be paper goods, and there will be ice cream floats.  Yes, a cocktail party I suppose it is!  We will have our large family gathering next week, with lots of pizza and pop.  

The kids and I ran errands this morning (after I had a very strange dream about being forced to join a "fun excursion" swimming with a school of leaping swordfish.  Ouch.). The car passed its emission test and we passed on shopping at Costco! 15 minutes after opening the parking lot was already full and a policeman was directing traffic.  We hit Fred Meyer instead,  bought enough food that my worries about "What if no one else wants to bring anything to the potluck" could be put to rest, and made it home for lunch.  

My sister picked Mimi up for school and left Ming Wai here to play for the afternoon.  I made the pies we need for Christmas and helped the girls with their sewing projects.  Cocoa slept all afternoon.

I made a pot of rice and sautéed some shrimp in a pat of butter for dinner.  I threw in a glob of puréed peach jam, sriracha, and lime juice to make a quick glaze at the end, and served a salad on the side with our current batch of vinaigrette (creamy miso with honey.). It was very good!  We had pumpkin pie for dessert- Mom's birthday dessert from last night we were all too full to eat and I rudely cut a chunk out to take home with us to avoid the melt downs of "I wanted pie!"

We did our advent candle and read a story and got the kids ready for bed.

Cocoa got his pants on by himself this morning- he was mighty proud of himself!

At the store he claimed our new plunger as his own rifle.

Ernie asked me to thread her needle for her project-"Can you thread my needle?  It's a small hole...just like it's a small world.... But it's a big world!  Why do people say it's a small world?"

December 22, 2013

The last Sunday before Christmas is a big deal!  Our choir sang four pieces, three of them a Capella. J did an awesome job leading the choir!  All four were old English carols and very pretty.  (I sang a solo in one of them- it was nice.). Friends sat with the kids during sacrament meeting for us- everything looked calm and Cocoa stayed down there, so that's a win!

After sacrament meeting I practiced with my partner for a duet we will sing next week.  Hope these notes are going to be enough to remind us what we're doing!

I got a new calling today too- I'm joining the organist rotation.  Everyone has said "No big surprise there."

As the primary counselor over senior primary, I've been in charge of senior sharing time since October, and it's been fun.  Today I just read a story to them- The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey.  It's one of my favorites.

I'm subbing as music leader in the nursery for the time being, so I head there right after sharing time.  We sang a few favorite songs and then I read nativity stories to the kids- they were absolutely silent!  After the stories we (the leaders) sang Christmas carols while the kids listened and sat in laps or laid on the floor.  It's one of their favorite things, so funny.  Anyway, I broke most of the leaders--even the men-- when I chose Silent Night as our first one to sing with everyone holding a child...we were all crying and sniffling.  :)

After church we all lunched and then rested in various corners of the house (yes I chose my bed and yes I locked the door.  Yes I fell asleep too.)

I made a double batch of biscuits for my mom's birthday dinner and we all met up at my sister's to celebrate.

I snapped photos while we digested. I missed a few people.

The Bert.  She's texting.

Ma Ma and Yeh Yeh 

Cocoa with Daddy's glasses

Lolo and Uncle

And... A selfie.  I was there too, and slightly crazy.  We left soon after this gorgeous shot ;).  Man I look strange.

Last story of the day- we drove around our neighborhood to look at lights on the way home.  At one point, while J was admiring a horse trailer on the side of the road I had to tell him to pull over: a large white carriage, pulled by two horses and full of happy light-gawkers, needed lots of room to get through. So very strange!  We saw them once more, being followed by an extemely large hay truck carrying at least 30 people.  Merry Christmas!  Guess it was The Night for looking at Christmas lights :)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

December 21, 2013

J hasn't had nearly as much sleep this week, we let him stay in bed this morning while the kids and I went to swim lessons.  Isn't Mimi sweet in her class?  She passed off her level two class today and will go to level three in the next session.  Ernie is staying in her same level- she needs to be able to swim much longer distances before she is ready for the next level.  I almost want to pull her out for a month or two, let her swim laps every Saturday, and then put her back in.

After swim we came back to the house and found J shoveling wood chips- the tree service left them here for us on Tuesday.  It gets dark so fast ( totally dark around 4:45) and it's hard to shovel chips after work in the dark!  Happy to see the winter solstice come and go today.

The kids had lunch and baths, Cocoa is down for his nap, and all three of us girls have found separate couches to read magazines on. Two toddlers still need presents, so we are brainstorming for that too!

We stayed on our couches and chairs all afternoon- I even fell asleep.  Ha- whoops!  J helped a neighbor take wood home in the afternoon.  The man said he runs but hasn't in a while, so J invited him to go running with our buddy around the corner.  Turns out this neighbor used to run quite well- he was an Olympian.  OK then!

We had our favorite roast dinner- cauliflower florets and chicken sausage cooked till it's nice and browned, with a pot of rice.  

The evening was our annual caroling evening at my sister's house- my oldest brother made it to town in time for the party :)

Friday, December 20, 2013

December 20, 2013

Snow day snow day!  Local school districts are canceled, we have an inch on the ground :)

This is where I found the girls when I got out of bed- breakfasted, teeth brushed, beds made, and ready to go!

I made fruitcake yesterday, and nearly cried when I took my first bite and DID get a tear in my eye when I tried it with cheddar (very sharp cheddar.). It's just like my grandma used to make and I miss her.  This is what I will be eating for most of my meals until it runs out :)

Goofy kids are out a third time- they come in just long enough for cocoa and their mittens to dry in the dryer.  This time a snowman is going up!  Mimi is marching around them singing and running to slide on her knees.  She was doing it on the driveway too- ouch!

Good thing our neighbor friend is here- the girls were getting nowhere making a snowman this morning!  M has big siblings, and she knows how to roll up a good snowman :)

J came home early from work today and my sister took Ernie up to Grandma and Grandpa's house for a sleepover.  J ran out to get a pizza for dinner, we watched Charlie Brown's Christmas and had some folks from church over for a choir rehearsal.

Cocoa is 100% better today, though he did sleep in till 8:00 and took a nap from 2:00 to nearly 6:00 when we woke him up.  Tired kid!

It's raining outside now, the snow will be gone by morning, but what a great snow day!  First snow in two years :)