Sunday, December 17, 2017

Where did Santa park his sleigh?

It's amazing how much more I am enjoying the holidays now that those darn gifts are wrapped, and the Christmas cards are sent! I took this past Friday off and enjoyed a leisurely day, where I was still productive, but wasn’t crushed under holidays to-do lists. Amazing!

G had his Christmas concert on Tuesday. All of the kids, from the toddlers up to the pre-schoolers, gathered on stage, and sang four different songs. We could recognize the songs, for the most part, and the kids had a blast performing for us. Ava even had a friend to hang out with while we were there (Ava is in a class at school with a girl who has a little sister in G’s class. I get the feeling we’ll see that family at many events in the future!)

Walking down the aisle, heading up to the stage

Jingle Bells!

Proud Grandma

Looking good in G's reindeer hat! 

During “Here Comes Santa Claus”, guess who walked down the aisle and caused general disruption of the concert? If you guessed the big guy in red, you are right! We stood in line so G could chat with him for a bit. While we were waiting, he asked me if that was the real Santa Claus. I said, “Of course he’s real...he’s sitting right there.” He must not have been pleased with my half-answer, so he asked Grandma Karen where Santa had parked his sleigh. Excellent question, G! These little kids are just too darn smart.

Ava kicked off the weekend with pajama day at school on Friday...which means that when we went out for dinner and shopping on Friday night, she was wearing her pjs. Good thing I insisted on a two-piece set and not a nightgown, since it was snowing!

These Goers guys are hard to capture in pics!

One of the traditions that I love at this time of year is to drive around and look at Christmas lights. We were invited to a few Christmas parties for Saturday night, and we opted to stay local and hang out as a family instead. We took that opportunity, and the clear snow-free weather, to explore our local town. We found some HUGE houses that both G and Ava were thrilled with...G told us that one of the houses is the one he had been looking for all He said we could all live there, and when I asked who would pay for it, he quickly said, “Not me!” He decided that Daddy should pay for it...haha!

We also came upon a well-decorated neighborhood, and guess who we found?! Santa! We hopped out of the truck, and the kids absolutely loved chatting with him. There was no question in their minds about this being the real Santa...this was REALLY him. Santa’s helpers even gave each of them a bag of gifts when they, coloring books, was wonderful. This was Christmas magic at work.

In non-holiday news...Scott and I started watching “The Crown.” We both managed to stay awake for two hours/episodes, so I consider that a huge success. It’s been a while since we’ve been able to watch a series together...usually one of us is sleeping, ten minutes in!

It's a great time of year to snuggle up in fuzzy blankets!

It’s another Sunday, full of things to do around here...busy, as always, but I always look forward to ending the afternoon watching tv/movie, by the Christmas tree light. Happy Sunday!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Christmas Cookies Galore

We’re making progress on our holiday to-do lists. This past Friday I mailed out all of our Christmas cards, and spent 4.5 hours wrapping gifts. Ugh! I had the day off of work, so it was best just to power through and get it all done while I was the only one at home. There has already been much rearranging of the presents under the tree as the kids are taking stock of all of the gifts. And I have just two gifts left to buy...easy peasy!

I braved the lines at the post office yesterday to mail out the gifts to our family member who aren’t local to us. No peeking until December 25! And yesterday afternoon, Grandma Karen came over to help us make all of our Christmas goodies for the season. We now have frosted sugar cookies, fudge, Kris Kringle red and green cookies to snack on, and today, we’ll be making more dipped pretzels.

 Ava, G, and Grandma Karen managed the sugar cookie portion, while I focused on making the fudge (I managed to drop the candy thermometer in the fudge mixture while it was boiling so that was a fun clean up...)

It's a reindeer!

We also squeaked in a visit with Santa this week, too. Ava was very sweet and asked Santa to bring treats for Lucky, a Barbie Dreamhouse (ha), a cell phone (haha!), and some Shopkins for her (that’s most likely to happen.) G has been asking for another train set, so we’ll see what ends up in the stockings on Christmas morning!

Waiting very patiently for our table at the restaurant, after we had seen Santa!

We have G’s holiday concert this Tuesday, and he shared that they will be singing a song from Frozen, Rudolph, some song I’ve never heard of, and the fourth one is a I ask him what the fourth song is and I get a blank stare. Sooooo, we’ll see how THAT goes on Tuesday! It should be super cute. He’s been looking forward to this concert for a while!

Next weekend, we have a few parties we were invited to, but we’ve narrowed it down to the less formal one. Should be fun to catch up with people we haven’t seen in a while! Plus, we can bring the kids, so it’ll be a fun night for us all.

My favorite holiday achievement, however, is finally getting a timer for those dang outdoor Christmas lights. I no longer have to go out in the cold to unplug them before bed. Thank the Lord for modern technology. It even has a remote I can use to turn them on or off, if I want to deviate from the timer function. Amazing! Not sure why I waited so long to get one of

We need to figure out a time to drive around and look at the light displays and then...we just need to wait for the big day to arrive! This is a fun year, as G is really engaged in the holiday activities. They are thoroughly enjoying looking for George (our elf) each morning. G’s squeal of laughter when he finds him everyday just bring joy to my heart. I love seeing Christmas through the eyes of a young child. It’s a magical time!

Scott built Ava a puppet theater, so we were all treated to a puppet show last Sunday. Love the lighting!

Scott had fun while he was giving G a bath. All I heard was, "Dad, you look like Santa!"

This is our future...eye rolls and sighs.

Happy Sunday Funday to all!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Bowling and Batons

We were busy this week with Ava’s performances (and work and daycare...but the shows were the most fun!)

The fourth grade class at Ava’s elementary school had their annual performance on Thursday night. The theme was “Get in the Game” and it was all about trying different sports and having fun being active. She had volunteered for a speaking part, so we had been practicing for a few weeks. No concerns, she nailed it! I wasn’t able to get the full video of her part, but during the bowling song, she went up to the mic and said, “Strikes, spares and turkeys just get me all confused!”

I've added an arrow so you find her on stage!

Grandma Karen and Grandpa Doug joined us so she had a nice cheering section. Now that G is older, it’s a little easier to have him at these shows. He was super flirty with the family behind us...and in fact the mom informed me that he has the best smile and she’d like to take him home! G also spotted one of his daycare friends in the audience, so when the show was over, we tracked down his friend Mia so he could say hi...and give her a hug. Lol.  Turns out Mia’s older sister is in Ava’s class, so there was a lot to talk about in the few minutes before we headed home.

Then, on Saturday, Ava had her mid-year baton recital. Scott had to work, and we didn’t think G would enjoy the dancing and twirling, so just Grandma Karen and I were in the audience. The theme was “Movin’ Out” and all of the music was Billy Joel songs. It was fun to see something different, and the little dancers were so adorable. Ava only dropped her baton once, and I think she had a great time!

Ava's the one with the baton over her shoulder

Since she was around all of the dancers, I thought I’d ask one more time if she wanted to do dance, and the answer was no...but she’d like to do gymnastics. I’ve asked her many times over the years about gymnastics and she waffled on trying it, but this time, she’s, we’ll give it a whirl. She took tumbling when she was little and always seemed to enjoy it. I guess we’ll see what happens!

In other news...Scott’s been working on the basement, and now we’re ready for cabinets in the shop room. We may need to have them built, as we don’t want the standard 24” deep cabinets. My goal is to work on getting the Christmas cards addresses so I can mail them out this week. And I need to get started on wrapping the mountain of gifts. Yikes!

We had G's conferences on Monday this past week, and turns out that he's a pretty smart little guy! He's doing very well at all of the tasks he was "tested" on, but needs a little bit of help getting up and speaking in front of people (um, who doesn't?!) He is officially left-handed and can cut a pretty nice straight line with his scissors (that came as a shock to me - he knows how to use scissors??) The other day, I was asking him subtraction questions, and he was getting them right, without needing to think about the answers...they are doing a pretty great job teaching him all sorts of things at his daycare. So glad we moved to The Clubhouse!

Ava and I made candy covered pretzels last weekend, and we’re going to get together with Grandma Karen next Saturday to make all of our Christmas cookies. Yum, yum, yum!

G and Lucky were getting cozy in front of the fireplace the other day...

This is amazing weather for winter! Not a drop of snow on the ground (but I do know that it's coming soon, so I tried to enjoy the sunshine as much as I could last was lovely!)

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Bag vs. “Bayg”

Four-years olds can be hard to understand...their enunciation may be iffy, and sometimes they make up words, just for fun. Our little G speaks pretty clearly for his age, and I can usually decipher what he’s saying, but in the last few weeks, we’ve all struggled with the name of a new friend at daycare. We know the friend is a girl, and she really likes Skye from Paw Patrol. We also know that G wanted her to come over to spend the night. Hm. Not sure about that one...

G kept calling her ”Danie” (with a long a) but when I would repeat "Danie" back to him, he would get very frustrated and loudly say her name again. This went on for a few weeks until I remembered that we live in the north. And our children were born here, so they both have accents from this crazy place. One of the things that drives me bonkers is how people here say the word “bag”. The “a” becomes long and it sounds like “bayg”. So, finally, I asked G if his friend’s name was Dagney. Ding ding ding! My little G has picked up the very Minnesota way of pronouncing “ag” as “ayg”. I’m just so happy that I got the name right so he stops getting so frustrated when we don’t understand what he said!

Now that mystery had been solved, I could focus my energy on my vacation and holiday fun. :) I had a fantastic time off (haven't been to work since 11/16) and I'll be working from home tomorrow, so it's an easier re-entry to the work week.

Our Christmas shopping is almost completed, we got the tree/house decorated (thank you for the assist, Grandma Karen!), ordered Christmas cards, spent fun time with the kids, Scott and I had a mini day-date, I saw a movie with my mom, and we hosted a small Thanksgiving dinner with my parents. It's been a very good 10 days! I think we need to look at our investment strategies to see when we'll be able to retire so we can stop this working thing! Heehee.

Enjoying the glow from the Christmas lights at night

I made a yummy caramel apple appetizer for good!

Ava and I made some lip balm yesterday morning. It was easier (and messier) than I anticipated, but she really liked the end result.

I love our can have either colored lights or white lights. Scott and Ava prefer the colors, while G and I like the white lights. Good thing the tree has a feature that allows the lights to go back and forth between color and white automatically!

We're having some really fantastic weather was in the 60's earlier this weekend, and sunshine is in the forecast for the next 7 days. It's been a great time to finish up the winter prep and also get some work done on the basement (painting) that requires the windows to be open.

Scott's picking up donuts for breakfast (yum!) and we're going to be sure to enjoy this lovely winter/fall day before Monday appears!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Utensils are Optional

G has recently discovered the closet where we keep all of our board games. I often find him playing Hi Ho Cherry-O, Candyland (aka "the gingerbread game"), and the memory game all by himself. Last week, he discovered our Twister game, and thought it would be fun to play with Ava and me. I politely declined (not sure I could become a pretzel at this age) and offered to run the spinner for him.

After some begging, Ava was a good sport and joined in the game with her little brother. She actually did a great job and followed the rules, while G didn't quite grasp the full concept of keeping his various hands and feet on the correct colors while moving around. He ended up just sorta flopping around on the game board instead. And eventually he just decided it would be more fun to use his sister as the game board. I'm not 100% confident that Ava thought that was very fun...

I got a head start on our Christmas shopping AND enjoyed a huge craft fair with my mom last Sunday. I'd say I'm about 65% done with my Christmas shopping already, and I'm planning on working on some more gifts and our cards in the upcoming week. Hooray!

Ava worked very hard on her math homework this week, and with some prodding managed to finish up some assignments with the end goal of minimal work to do this weekend. We always work on weekend homework after breakfast on Saturdays so we don't have to deal with the tears and frustration on Sunday evenings. I still believe we made the right choice to keep her in the advanced math class. I reached out to her math teacher and advised her of our decision, and her response back was perfect - she's incredibly supportive and I think this will help push Ava to focus more and try harder in her schoolwork.

I had a super busy week with plans every evening Mon-Wed, so by Thursday, I was pooped. Good thing I'm off of work November 17-26! I thoroughly enjoyed my day off on Friday, and was able to spend more fun time with Ava and G yesterday since I wasn't trying to cram all of my weekend chores into 2 days. Plus, I have some fun plans in the upcoming week (can't wait to see the Justice League on Tuesday with my mom!) and we're set to host Thanksgiving on Thursday. Fun times!

Scott had a very long work week, and ended up working another full day on Saturday, so we treated ourselves to a fun night out. At my parent's recommendation, we went to the Lakeville Brewing Co. The food was fantastic, the beer was great, and the atmosphere was perfect for kids. Great choice to go there! After that, we headed over to Fleet Farm and walked through Toyland so the kids could get all amped up and excited for Christmas (and then we burst their bubble when we didn't buy them anything...ha!) I have to run back there this week for another reason, and it'll be a great time to pick up some toys for them for Christmas.

I swear, he does know how to use a fork...

Ava's been begging me to put up window clings for Thanksgiving, so I better get that going. And next week, we'll decorate for Christmas! The holiday season is really here!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

My Little Chef

With Scott gone hunting, it puts me into the spotlight of needing to feed my children. Yikes! Last weekend, we had pizza with my parents and mac and cheese...easy peasy. This weekend, I decided we needed to incorporate some veggies and home cooked items into the menu.

We did splurge on Friday night...we went to a local Barnes and Noble since they were hosting a book fair for Ava's elementary school. Ava had fun running around with a neighbor friend, and even Garrett ran into someone he knew from daycare! It was crazy and chaotic, and I might have been a little crabby by the end of the night. After the book fair, we went out for a fast dinner, and the hit up the grocery store to pick up goodies for this weekend. We walked through the door at 8:30pm, and we were all exhausted. I'm pretty sure that everyone was sleeping by 9:05pm!

Fletch and Ava with Big Red (the mascot for their school). 

G wasn't so sure about meeting the cardinal, but by the end he mustered up enough courage to give him a high five!

In any case, Saturday was full of fun things...doing a Thanksgiving art project for G's daycare class, helping Ava practice for her speaking part in the upcoming music program, and making Grandma Goers' infamous banana bread recipe. Yum! Ava was a huge help in preparing it, and she even had the brilliant idea of putting Nutella on it, once sliced. Double yum! See, we never have Nutella, but last night, I bought some, out of the blue, without even thinking about the banana bread. Clearly, it was meant to be...

For Saturday dinner, I put my Pinterest-ing skills to work, and pulled out a child-friendly recipe (cheeseburger biscuit cups) that Ava helped me prepare. It was easy, yummy, and gave us a good chance to work together today. After dinner, we settled in for a movie (new to all of us) and then they both hit the hay after cleaning up from a long day. It was a pretty great Saturday...not nearly as lazy as last weekend.

Our deer hunter will be back today...he was successful this weekend, and has already taken in his deer to be processed. This should be the last weekend that he will be gone for a while, thank goodness. Although, now we're getting into a good routine when it's just Mom running the show!

My mom and I are hitting up the huge craft fair in Shakopee this afternoon...can't wait to see what fun stuff they have available for the holidays. The countdown to Christmas is ticking by quickly!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

A Gladiator and a Ninja

What a fun and busy week! We started off the good times with G's fourth birthday last Sunday. We invited the Minnesota grandparents to join us for dinner, cake, and presents...and it was fun! G had a blast opening his gifts, blowing out the candles, and eating mac and cheese (Scott made a marvelous turkey dumpling soup for those of us that didn't want mac and cheese. Yum!)

Trying out a Halloween bomb by Ava!

G also received a happy birthday call from the Paw Patrol on Sunday morning, so that was exciting...once he figured out who was calling him. Haha!

Halloween was just two days later, and man, what a day. I took the day off of work, and then learned that G's daycare was having a Halloween party, so I was able to spend a hour with all of the little kids. It was really neat to see G interact with his little buddies. Grandma Karen and Grandpa Doug were able to join that fun event, too, so G had quite the audience to entertain.

As soon as Ava got home from school on Tuesday, we started getting her dressed and ready to go out trick or treating. When G got home, we got him ready to go and headed over to the neighbor's house. Scott stayed at home to hand out candy and enjoy some peace and quiet. We had pizza with the neighbors and then a whole crew of us headed out. Once we hit up our house in the trick or treating path, G decided he was done and stayed home with Scott. Then, we lost the other little once she got to her house, so we were down to four kids, all nine years old, and all fully capable of begging for candy on their own. Soooo, we moms had a great time walking with our coffee mugs of wine, and keeping an eye on things. We were out for just under two hours, so at around 7:30pm, the neighborhood goes dark...and we went back to the neighbor's house for a little after party and a candy sorting event. What a fun, fun night!

Our lovely gladiator and fierce (aka adorable!) ninja!

Wednesday night was Ava's school conferences. I had a very enlightening conversation with her teacher about math. Ava hasn't been enjoying math as much this year, and isn't trying to understand as well as she should. Turns out she's in an accelerated math class, and I think the pace is too much for her. Math is so important to understand, and while I don't like pulling her out of an accelerated class, I think it's best that she goes back to the standard class and really understands what she's learning.

She and I spent at least an hour yesterday working on the end of her loooong assignment, she totally understood it, and was already beginning to memorize some of the bigger number equations. I want her to know that math can be fun...and that it should always make sense in the end! She's super advanced in reading, and doing really well at her other subjects, so we're not concerned about anything else.

She's #1!

On Thursday night, I had a long-awaited happy hour with some girlfriends. We enjoyed pedis and a nice dinner out. It's so important to take the time to enjoy friendships, and ensure that all parts of life are being taken care of. I truly value my friend time, and need to make sure those relationships are solid!

This is deer opener, which means that Scott's been up north since Friday afternoon. When we spoke with him last night, he had seen lots of deer but hadn't shot any yet. This time of year can get to be a bit long with Scott gone for many weekends (3 down, only 1 more to go!) so my parents invited us over for dinner with them on Friday night. We had a great meal, and then Ava spent the night with them. They live in a condo, and there's limited space, but they have the option to rent the guest room in the building. Grandma Karen and Ava stayed up until almost 11pm, watching a movie, playing games, and talking. They took her out for breakfast the next morning, back to the condo for crafts, and then to Michael's to decorate her very own Christmas tree! I think they all had a fantastic time.

Happy plate at breakfast!

Meanwhile, G and I were being super lazy at home...we watched some tv, I watched a movie while he was napping, and then last night, once Ava was back home, we all watched The Emoji Movie. So fun and cute!! And so much screen time...and I'm ok with it. It was a lazy, lazy weekend...

He loves hanging out in the tub...

He just wanted to crawl into the tub one day while I was getting ready for work...pjs and all!

After such a busy weekend, you'd think there would be more sleeping...but the time change totally threw off G. He wandered into my room at 5am today, and was wide awake. Maybe next year he'll sleep in...But, knowing this family of early birds, probably not!