Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Tales from Christmas 2017

This post could have been titled Epic Mom Fail

I am a planner.  I love the planning of November and December.  I love making memories for and with the kids.  I love being thoughtful.  The planning and anticipation is more fun for me than the actual event.

Weeks before Christmas, I take the below photo while the kids were sleeping.  (Yes, they seriously are that cute when they sleep.)

I plan to leave it out for Christmas morning with a note from Elfie that said "I hugged you goodbye."
Sentimentality tear-jerker, for those who get the Elf, right?  The magic is so short, only a few years long really.  It is surely to be the last year in our house;  Joseph is figuring things out and told Abigail all month that Santa isn't real.

I had the photo printed and hidden from the kids.

On Christmas Eve, I bathed the kids and I made sure that Joseph wore a red shirt to bed because some red was visible under the blanket.  

I made sure the same pillow cases were on the bed, in the same order and the kids were in in that order. 

After the kids were asleep, I carefully laid out the picture from Elfie and a letter from Santa, next to the cookie crumbs, that said "I have Elfie.  Merry Christmas."

I filled the stockings.  I put presents under the tree.  I cleaned up various dishes and things lying around the house.  

I went to bed with a feeling that I was forgetting something.

On Christmas morning, the kids were excited to find the picture from Elfie and note from Santa.  Abigail read everything out loud to Joseph and when she read "I hugged you goodbye" Joseph cocked his head to the side and trilled "aawww", his voice falling and rising with admiration.

They opened their stockings and then their gifts from Santa.  

Then they went into their playroom and I heard Abigail yell "ELFIE IS STILL HERE!  He is in the same spot as yesterday."


I slipped into a ridiculously crazy Christmas depression after that.  I couldn't believe I messed it up.  


Do you remember getting a Christmas catalog when you were little?  I remember it from the '80s.  We would get a thick Sears or Montgomery Wards catalog and my brothers and I would pour over it, deliberating what we would ask for, trying to be strategic about it.

This year, the kids got a Target Christmas catalog.  It wasn't the door-jam sized tome we used to get, but inside it had the HotWheels Super Ultimate Gorilla Attack Garage.  They wanted this more than anything.  Larry and I told them no in a thousand different ways.  They pined over it when they saw it in the stores.  They teamed up and thought if that was all they asked for together, maybe they would get it.  We prodded them to ask for other smaller stuff.  After weeks of this dance, I think they gave up hope of getting it, but still really couldn't be pressed for anything else they wanted.  But they didn't ask for the garage anymore. 

By that point, the garage was already hidden in a closet.

On Christmas morning, the kids opened the gifts from relatives and the very few modest things we got them (galoshes, flip flops, shirts, a board game, a few Legos, a book).  They looked around and we asked "Did you get everything you want?  Are you happy?  Is anything missing?"  

And the kids assured us they were happy, there is nothing more they could want, and that they were very content and grateful for what they had.

I was so proud of them.  But then we had my parents cover their eyes and Larry carried out the Gorilla Garage.  

They were very excited and surprised to get it.  

An hour later, Larry had the thing put together.  
And the kids decided it was more fun to play in the box next to it.


Lastly, I wanted to share what a kind, old soul Abigail continues to be.  She discovered a box of generic Christmas cards this year and she wanted to make cards and drawings for everyone she loved.  We all got the sweetest drawings and letters from Abigail this year.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Tree Picture

I was just editing photos that I have taken in the past month and was looking at a picture of Abigail, standing between the 2 trunks of a tree, a few days after she turned 8.  The picture was taken at a local park where we were on a short hike.

As I looked at the picture, I thought I had already taken one of her just like that.  So, I went into my photo files from a few days before she turned 3, and sure enough, there was a picture of Abigail standing between the 2 trunks of a tree at my brother's house.

I put the two pictures side by side and couldn't get over it.  The lines from one tree to the next.  Almost the same pose by my girl, 5 years and 1 week apart.  It looks like it could have been the same tree or a planned picture set, but it was all 100% happy accident.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Kenny Weekend

Cousin Kenny came to visit for the weekend!  

First, we enjoyed a fun trip to Alexandria for sushi and drinks before catching the pre-Broadway run of the new musical Mean Girls at the National.

On Saturday, Kenny came to cheer on Abigail in her last soccer game, in which the girls won(!) but we don't keep score.  The game was awesome; the girls had so much energy and did a lot of passing and were more aggressive than they were all season.  I am not sure if Kenny is their good luck charm or if not having 5 subs on a team that can only play 5 kids at a time was our winning strategy.  (I kind of suspect it was not having subs: the kids get bored and unfocused when they have to sit for 50% of every game.)

After that, we went on a short hike at Government Island and got caught in the rain, which was still fun.  

Additionally, the kids "helped" Kenny prepare some of his vials for his big "science fair" at NIH in Bethesda.  They were super impressed that Kenny is a Very Important Scientist and he taught them how to use the pipette correctly.  
Our favorite little mid-fielder in action!

Kenny the Human Sherpa (for carrying humans)

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Fall Pumpkin Patch! One of my favorite days each year!

We tried another new pumpkin patch this year: Sneads Asparagus Farm.  It. Was. Awesome!
There was so much for the kids to do and the property was SO beautiful.  So much of it reminded me of my parents' farm which they sold last summer to move to Virginia.  Speaking of my parents, since they did move to Virginia, they were able to go to the Patch with us today.

It was 85 degrees so we enjoyed the Patch in shorts instead of jeans and fleecy sweatshirts, but I will keep enjoying these hot days for as long as we are lucky enough to have them!

Here are a few pics. 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Pirate Day in D.C.

For our last big adventure of the summer, we took the kids on a pirate ship cruise in D.C.

They bought into the whole story that the pirates on the ship told them about the speedboat scurvy dog pirate who took the keys to the treasure chest.  Down the Potomac from Georgetown, past the Kennedy Center we went.

Joseph followed on the map and realized that we had gone under the Memorial Bridge and that, on the map, was where the treasure chest was depicted.

Lo-and-behold, this is where the speedboat scurvy dog pirate caught up to us.  The kid pirates blasted him with water cannons but he fled.

On the return trip, the kid pirates intimidated him so badly that he threw the keys back to the pirate ship and the kids were able to open the treasure chest and choose a prize.

It was so much fun, they forgot how hot they were.  They even walked around Georgetown with me afterward so I could find macarons!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Sunday Snapshot: Red Roll

At a local conveyor belt sushi place, Joseph homed in on some of his favorite fish, tuna!  Or, as he likes to call it, "red roll."

Abigail enjoyed veggies and a free dessert, brought out gratis because she is cute.