Saturday, December 26, 2009

N week, Christmas, and Preschool Angst

Wow, I didn't realize how behind I was until I started loading pics--I guess we've been busy! For my own convenience I am just going to go in chronological order rather than doing our alphabet fun first.
A couple of weekends ago after the big snow storm, the boys and I went up to Lowell's school to help Daddy move snow. Here are the boys in Lowell's big snow plow/tractor. He is so excited this year to have decent equipment to work with and the covered cab is an added bonus. The boys think it is ever so cool to drive around with him. I helped with some of the shoveling and have a greater appreciation of all the hard work Lowell puts in to support our family. We love you honey!

I spent a fair amount of time the next few days working on gingerbread houses for our twin club activity. Davis helped:

He helped to stir, add ingredients, and of course to lick the beaters.
We ended up with 12 houses all together and I think all the kids had a pretty good time assembling.

Here's Davis with his completed project


Carter too. I have to say making your own gingerbread is SO much better than the kits. Those really aren't meant to be eaten in my opinion. But our gingerbread was yummy! :)
The next weekend Lowell and I took the boys for some cold fun at the zoo. I do love winter at the zoo and it was our cheater way to do zoo lights this year. I had to work the free for members night and it is so busy that night anyway, but I didn't really want to spend $16 to see the lights when we can go to the zoo free (with our membership) any time so we just looked at them during the day--and the boys didn't mind a bit. Plus it is great to actually see the animals because they stay inside--the orangutans were especially fun (and amazing to me) and the baby tigers.
C man with one of the holiday displays.

How many shots do I have with these tigers--I don't know, but it is fun to look at them all!
Tuesday this week we recreated our own Polar Express. I found the Heber Creeper version far too expensive so we took Front Runner up to Christmas Village in Ogden and brought our own bells, saving $90 or so in the process.

Waiting for the train in our jammies


Carter on the train
Big D too

Checking out the window displays at the "North Pole"--yep there's a N word for you.

Another visit with Santa

Chillin' (literally) with cousin Dylan

Goofing off on the train ride home

Flurbiting (making farting noises) each other's faces

Tired tired boys on the way home. We left our hhouse about 4:30 and got home after 10--it was quite the process. And not all perfect, it was hard to contain the kids on the train on the way there with other commuters expecting quiet (we had the car to ourselves on the return trip) and the walk to Christmas Village took us past some questionable shops but I think all in all it worked out and the kids will remember it fondly.
Christmas Eve Lowell was anxious to give the boys his gift so we said Elf on the Shelf had left these as a parting gift to them.

They are kept inflated by a little fan, so fun!
I got to keep my tradition of going to Temple Square Christmas Eve to see the lights and the Nativities (see the N!). This year we even wrangled my family in on it.

Lowell and his boys. Yes, they look like him not me.

Our family

Everyone (except for my mom who opted out of the shot).

Lowell, Davis and the temple--I love the mood it sets to go to see the temple on Christmas Eve, the birth of our Savior and the temple connects everything for me, He prepared the way so we can live together forever as families through the temple.

Cyndel, Carter, and the nativity on the reflecting pool.
After the lights we headed to Lowell's family's Christmas event with a turkey dinner and opening of presents.

Here was tree #1 this year. It was fun, though the boys struggled because they were so tired already. Still good times with the fam.

Then there was our tree, after I finished up late that night--even though I have been wrapping since November there was still a lot to finish up including food prep for the next day.
Waking up to see if Santa had come was magical of course. The boys wanted to dive right in. Spoiled monkeys scored bikes, video Mp3 players, mini camcorders, and zhu zhu pets. Carter told me he must have been good because Santa brought him so much good stuff. I hope he didn't really think he was being good--they were stinkers all month. Of course I can never follow through on threats--blast it all.

Carter videotaping his zhu zhu pet racing around (he named him Wink--I was impressed it wasn't hamster, they are branching out. Davis's is named Rice).

And yet another tree, do you think a few people love these kids? We headed over to my family's house after opening our gifts for Christmas lunch and more present opening.

Davis in his much loved helmet opening a gift from my grandma. Everyone did pretty well--I got a new robe and a beautiful painting from my fam and a bunch of massage gift certificates (yeah!), some kitchen stuff I wanted, and Wii Fit Plus from Lowell. Lowell got a GPS, cologne, some Wii games, and a treadmill. We all scored--such spoiled and very blessed people we are.

My flash needs help but here's Carter talking to Jonny under the tree.
Mmmm and we had ham, how I love ham.
I guess you can decide what toys they liked best by what they took to bed with them, here is Davis with zhu zhu pet village in his bed (plus his camera and Leapster with new games).
And Carter had his Leapster and mp3 player. Close to midnight Lowell took it all away since they were still up and haven't napped in days. Just too excited and too much new fun things to play with.
The final N was neighbors, as in neighbor gifts we passed out. I didn't get a picture of it but the boys did help.
It has been a busy full couple of weeks and we look forward to New Year's and everything the new year will hold coming up soon.
Well, almost everything. The start of the year is typically when people start opening registration for the next fall for preschool. So my search begins again and I am very conflicted. The situation from this fall has left me quite burned. I just don't know what to think. If I put them in school again will they just get kicked out again? Or would they do fine if someone gave them more than a week to settle into it? Since they are older now will that make a difference? They behave better in separate classes at church so should I split them for preschool? And how am I to do that, same school different times (ugg, isn't part of the joy having time to shop sans kids?) or different schools same time? Or is it wrong of me to really want them to stay together because they are happier that way even if it is harder on the teacher? I'm sure we'll separate them in kindergarten but there's still so young to me and Carter especially is anxious without his brother. I would feel better leaving them if they were together. But who will even take them? I think a larger facility based school may be better at not kicking them out but some are SO expensive. Think of the prices times 2 and it gets ridiculous. And then I think about what they are even teaching and how I am already doing that successfully at home and I wonder why I would even pay for high priced babysitters that will put me through such stress. But the kids need to learn to behave in a classroom setting before school right? Or should I just homeschool them in kindergarten too? They are doing so well with reading and everything, but I can't keep them forever, they need to socialize and branch out. But I will miss them deeply and there's always the threat of rejection, looping back to my feeling from this fall. I know I should have let it go long ago but it still hurts that feeling of rejection. And so I muddle through my thoughts, stressed out about something that won't even happen for 9 months so unsure of how to proceed. Sigh.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas

N week has been lots of fun (North Pole, Neighbors, and Nativity) but has spread into two weeks with all our holiday festivities. I will of course blog it extensively once it is all wrapped up. But I wanted to share this thought with you today. As the hustle and bustle winds down, the gifts are bought and almost all wrapped, the projects are nearly done, the groceries are ready and rolls made, I was glad to read this quote today:

"Even in our day, although two thousand years have passed, there are many who say the same thing that was said on that night in Bethlehem. ‘There is no room, no room’ (see Luke 2:7). We make room for the gifts, but sometimes no room is made for the giver. We have room for the commercialism of Christmas and even pleasure-seeking on the Sabbath day, but there are times when there is not room for worship. Our thoughts are filled with other things—there is no room.” (The Teachings of Howard W. Hunter, edited by Clyde J. Williams [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1997], 42.)

While I'd like to think my activities have been worthy ones, gifts for others and spending time with family it is easy to lose track of where my mind should be, even for what could be considered worthy causes. But what could be more important this time of year (or ever really) than thinking about my Savior. Everything is in honor of Him and symbolizes Him even if I am not taking the time to think of it. We have already discussed the meaning of Christmas with the boys and they are quite fond of the baby Jesus on their nativity set but I plan to spend some more time in the next couple of days reading the Christmas story with them and bearing my testimony to them. Of Jesus, his birth, his life, his resurrection. How without Him all mankind would be lost. And as I look at my little men who are just beginning to grasp these concepts and who have such great faith (every time we pass the temple they talk about Jesus being there [because it is His house] and who am I to correct them, they just might be right) I will pour out my gratitude to my Father in heaven for the precious gift of his son who prepared the way that I may be with my sons for all eternity. No matter what is under the tree Friday, nothing will ever compare with that. May the Lord's blessings be with all of you this Christmas. Loves-Me

Monday, December 14, 2009

1 in my heart, 2 cute, 3 years old! at OneTrueMedia.com

Finally finished this year's video, wahoo! It's 40 minutes long . . .so I recommend the first 3 songs and the last one (unless you are me or a grandma). :)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

M is for Motors, Magnets, and the Mind, Max & Maddy, and Meatball Movie

To start off our M week, the new exhibit at the Museum of Ancient Life (dino museum) was perfect. It is called Motors, Magnets, and the Mind and is a traveling exhibit from the exploratorium in CA, which I have adored since I was little. There will be other exhibits coming as well, yet another example of Thanksgiving Point taking something I already love and making it better. Yeah!
There are several stations for the kids to explore and they really do like everything.
Davis and the lightning bolt--funny observation, while the kids' touch the ball, the LED lights in their shoes stay lit up. Interesting!

Hillary came with us too, yeah--here she and Carter and building with magnets.

I found my new favorite fish on this visit (I've been there dozens of times and never noticed this little guy before).

Davis playing at the erosion table. It was a pleasant visit, they played well and got some energy out. Double score. We also spent some time this week talking about Money. I got them each a set of play money (yea for Walmart's $1 toys) and we talked about denominations, what adds up to what, and where money comes from (Mommy and Daddy work to earn money).

We also set up our tree this week . . .well, it's in process anyway. We have more ornaments to put up but the boys love it so much that we are doing a little bit each day.

We couldn't do M and not talk about 2 of our favorite dogs. Here's C-man with Missy Maddy. Really the dogs are just reaching a point where they tolerate the boys. They don't feel the same love the boys feel for them but I think they will eventually. Once they get to the time where the boys are taking them for walks and more actively playing with them things will change.

But who doesn't love a little boy and his dog? Maddy is the sweetest of our dogs and most tolerant. She senses when you are upset and is the first to plop herself down and give you loves. We also call her Little Miss Muff(et) because she will Muff at you if she wants something.

Davis and Max. Can you sense how they are both putting up with me?

Max has been my baby since we got him (Max is my dog, Maddy is Max's dog, and Oscar is Lowell's). He is such a love and the most handsome schnauzer I have ever seen. He is such a chicken dog too, scared of noises and being cold. But also the most playful with toys and such.
Last night we got pizza and ate it while driving through the holiday lights at Thanksgiving Point. It really turned a cranky evening into a great one. When we got home we had cider and cookies and watched The Grinch (the original) and then Prep and Landing (love it!).

It really was a great night.

How could you not love those silly faces??

video
Singing in the tub, the words aren't exactly right, but you get the idea.
I am almost done with my year end video and will post it when I do. I am thrilled to be almost done, that just leaves my big Christmas project and 2 gifts to pick up, about 25% of the gifts still need to be wrapped (that's a big headstart from my usual) and I still need to do stockings and teacher gifts and such. Plus I have preschool at my house this week, my SIL and family will be arriving for the holidays, then the UVMOM play group this month is also at my house this week (we're making gingerbread houses) and we're going to try to do Polar Express as well. It's going to be busy (you know I love it!).
On a final Sunday on the blog note, check out this website:
It's dedicated to the true meaning of Christmas, something I have been working on with the boys and this has given me some tools to work with.
Oh and I almost forgot, so we didn't actually go see the "Meatball Movie" (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs) this week because it doesn't come to the dollar theater until next week. But I loved it as an M so we are going to transplant it in this week later (I am making a book of all our alphabet adventures and there you'll never know some things came out of order ;)).

Monday, December 7, 2009

L is for Lake, Lehi Legacy Center, and Letters

L has been a really fun week, we found Lots of fun Ls around! :) First we went to see a Lake (actually Tibblefork Reservoir, but close enough!) We found it frozen--and very cold! Man, it was chilly, 15 degrees in the valley, who knows how cold higher up in the canyon. We got to talk about ice and how it floats which was cool. I stopped short of my lecture on hydrogen bonds and how life on our planet would not exist without them, but I digress . . .can you tell I like the science lessons the best?
Washed out boys standing on the frozen lake.
We also went to see the Lindon Lights, but no pics to share. Such a fun and free light show, check it out at holdman.com.
For a bit warmer of an activity we went to the Lehi Legacy Center. It's our city's Rec center which includes a fabulous indoor pool for year round enjoyment.

Yes we LOVE to swim. My little fish could play all day. Me, I get bored just following them around but I am happy they love it so much, happy they can finally go without swim diapers (since they are 4), and happy they zonked right out for a good nap from being so worn out.
Finally we had fun with Letters this week. We made letter ornaments during preschool this week (and had Lollipops and Lemonade (plus a discussion of sweet and sour)). And Sinter Klaas even brought us giant chocolate (yes, Dutch chocolate, I am so stealing some) letters.

Carter's is a C, he just has it upside down.
Speaking of Sinter Klaas, we went to see him Saturday. He is the Dutch Santa Claus and comes on the evening of the 5th of December to fill good children's shoes with candy and small toys. I loved Dutch Christmas as a kid (my Dad is the first American citizen in our family) and so have passed it on to my children. It's a nice treat during the long wait for Christmas. I do like the Dutch tradition, they have the commercial side of Christmas on the 5th and the religious side on the 25th.

Anywho, here are the bubs with Sinter Klaas and Black Piet at the Dutch store in Salt Lake. They are scared of Black Piet because of all the paint (or because I told them if they were naughty he would take them to be slaves in Spain--the real tradition!). But she was actually very nice and Lowell was thrilled to get his sandwich, such a happy fellow. If you want a good deli sandwich, even if you aren't Dutch and you are in SLC, check it out.
To cheer my spooked kiddos up we also went up to Layton where my Aunt Christie and Uncle Kevin had a fabulous Christmas event.

We got to meet (and pet) Blitzen the reindeer,
And meet the big man himself. The kids were in heaven and I have to say that my uncle (and his beard) are just plain awesome.
Home again we headed off to the UVMOM adult Christmas party (Saturday was a little crazy). Where I brought this cheese ball as an appetizer.
I liked him so much I had to take a picture. Recipe care of Family Fun magazine. The party was great fun, we even won one of the games and it was fun to get out minus the kiddos. Big thanks to Dinda and grandma for wrestling the munchkins.
The boys put their shoes out before bed and anxiously waited this sight in the morning:
Actually they walked by it 3 times before noticing, silly sleepy heads.
They were so excited once they did find it all and have been on a sugar high ever since. I tried making Hashee (beef and onion goulash) for the first time for dinner and while not perfect, we all liked it a lot. We had boterkoek for dessert and it made me wonder why it took me so long to make it myself. Super easy and so so yummy (almondy sugar cookie pie).
I can't think of any other news of interest to report. We are working on arranging a much less expensive version of Polar Express if anyone local is interested. Let me know. Otherwise, have a great December week. Loves!