I am kind of mad at myself that I didn't document the morning better. I took just a few pictures of the kids in their excitement and then I think I got caught up in it all and forgot about the camera.
I took a few pictures the night before of everything set up. The one picture is a close-up of James' stocking that my mom made for him this year. I think it turned out so cute!
Avery giggled as she ran down the stairs to see what Santa had brought. She just stood and took everything in for a little while. James was pretty wide-eyed through the whole morning. He loved all of the bright paper.
Christmas was a great success!! Avery got some Littlest Pet shop things, some cars, books, puzzles, make-up, play dough toys, Hungry Hungry Hippos, and various other things. James got a big stuffed doggy, new bibs and bottles and treats, a transformer (or was that for Al...?), lots of Thomas Train pieces, books, and a little fisher price table thingy that plays songs, etc. and various other surprises. They could not have been happier. I will post pictures soon of them playing with their toys.
After the opening of the presents we had a huge Christmas breakfast and then spent the rest of the day in our pajamas watching movies, dozing off on the couch, playing with the new toys, and eating.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Al was on-call on the 24th, so we celebrated Christmas on the 25th and 26th. I baked most of the 24th while my mom finished the painting. Then on the 25th we cleaned the house and made all of the party food for that night.
After dinner we all opened our traditional present of new pajamas and were excited to put them on.
Then we let Avery open one more present for the night. She had been so patient this whole month and has not bothered the presents at all or even asked if she could open one. I was really surprised by that. James on the other hand managed to rip into a few before the big night.
We sang some carols and read some Christmas stories and then put the kids in bed. Avery was really cute about leaving a plate of cookies for Santa. She also reminded me that we needed to leave a glass of milk, so I poured a small glass for Avery and she put the cookies, the milk, and her letter for Santa on the fireplace before we tucked her into bed. I thought she would have trouble sleeping, but she went to bed quickly and slept through the whole night!
The adults then watched A Christmas Carol and wrapped a few more presents and got everything set up for the next morning.
This was the first year since I was growing up that we weren't with a huge group for Christmas eve, and my first Christmas ever that I was 'away from home.' It was all kind of bittersweet. I am so glad that my parents were there. It was so much fun having them at our house for Christmas.
Here are some pictures from the week before Christmas.
We were really busy! Al had from the 14th-20th off from work and my parents flew in late on the 16th. I had already taped a lot of the rooms that we were going to paint, but there was still some work that needed to be done. We spent a lot of the week getting the painting supplies, painting, celebrating my dad's birthday, finishing Christmas shopping, driving around looking at Christmas lights, etc.
We also squeezed in a trip to the galleria and my mom and I took Avery to see Princess and the Frog, which we all thought was cute. Oh, and my parents babysat while we went to New Moon! It has been sooo long since Al and I have been out on a date...I think the last time was last December when we were home for Christmas.
James outgrew his infant carseat. The straps were maxed out and were so tight on him that he cried when we put him in the carseat. So we went and bought Avery a booster seat and switched James into Avery's old carseat. As you can see, both seem really happy with the change.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
James is starting to get into everything. He doesn't crawl yet, but he is army crawling everywhere. He is getting fast too. This morning I was in the kitchen loading the dishwasher. When I came out James had taken off the snowflake ornament, yanked the ribbon off of the bottom of the Christmas tree, and unrolled a whole bolt of silver ribbon.
I came around the corner and exclaimed, "James!!" He looked up at me and gave me the biggest grin. So of course I had to go and get the camera, only he wouldn't smile after that. He also discovered the fireplace today and has been trying to get into that. I guess somehow I will have to block that off. The tree...well, there isn't much I can do about that. He is just so curious about it. He doesn't even mind that it is kinda pokey. He will just grab a bottom limb and give it a good yank. Then the whole tree kinda shakes a little bit. He seems to get great enjoyment out of that. Sometimes he just lies underneath the tree and stares up at all of the lights and ornaments. I remember when Avery was a baby she was intrigued by the tree too, but she didn't like the way it felt so she never really bothered it. I can see James is a different story.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
It snowed on Friday! I guess it was in the news and everything. It only snows here about once every seven years or so. My visiting teacher said that when they were kids it snowed one day and they let everybody out of school so that they could see it. Most of the kids had never even seen snow before!
As you can see in the pictures Avery was absolutely elated. She said, "Mom, it's winter now!!" And then she belted out Frosty the Snowman. Avery has said a lot in the past, and then reminded me at that time, "Mom, you know I like the cold weather." I do too :)
It snowed almost all day on Friday, but was mostly gone by that night. It really is crazy, but the whole city seemed to almost shut down. We were downtown visiting Jon and Jessie and were headed back to our house during the rush hour window. I said that I was worried about the traffic and how the kids would handle it. Jon said, "I don't think there is going to be any traffic today." Sure enough it was like a ghost town. There were a few cars out on the highway, but that was it. The snow hadn't even stuck to the ground downtown! And the valet at the hotel I picked Jessie up at warned her that she probably didn't want to go outside because there was a 'blizzard' going on. Jessie said that she would probably be able to manage it. If they only knew...
Avery was so sad for the snow to melt. She was really concerned that we wouldn't have Christmas because there is no snow now. I told her that it didn't matter and I think she is okay now. Poor little thing.
We had a blast with Jon and Jessie this weekend. Lots of hanging out at the house, showing them around Pearland, eating, shopping, etc. Jon is here for another week, but Jessie flew home yesterday. We always love having company :)
Thursday, December 3, 2009
We've had a few colder days here lately (50's-60's) which is our new sweater and coat weather. Avery keeps asking me when is it going to snow and talks about making snowmen and how she can't wait. Sigh. I have been telling her that it is too hot in Houston for snow. So the other day on the way to preschool she said, "Mom, it doesn't snow in Houston. It snows in Utah." I said that's right.
Except...it is supposed to maybe snow tomorrow night!!! Crazy, huh? I don't dare tell Avery, in case it doesn't happen.
But one of the perks of being in this climate is the fruit. The other day our friend brought over a bunch of bananas off of the banana tree that is in their backyard. I've never had bananas like that before! They were so good.
Also, our next door neighbor has a grapefruit tree in her backyard. Part of the tree hangs over the fence into our yard. I'm thinking that those grapefruit are fair game, and they look about ready for picking :)
Friday, November 20, 2009
I was in charge of Avery's Thanksgiving party at preschool on Thursday. One of the projects was to make these Indian headdresses. I will post more pictures of what we did later. The headdresses were a huge hit with Avery and her classmates...and James :) Avery referred to herself and James and Indian Avery and Indian Jamie for the rest of the day.
We are starting to get ready for the holidays! It finally dipped below 80 degrees last week...so it's starting to feel more like the season ;) Palm trees with lights is a weird combo. Al helped us put up the Christmas tree the other day. It is a little early, but I needed to do it when he had a day off so he could help us lug the box in.
Tonight is the ward holiday dinner. They are having a huge, fancy dinner with turkeys and hams and all of the trimmings. Al is on call, so I will take the kids and go. It sounds like they are going to do a really nice job with it. And on the big day, Thursday, we have been invited to my visiting teachers house for Thanksgiving. At first I kind of declined because I know they are having a lot of family in and I didn't want to crash their big family dinner, but she talked me into it :) And then Saturday, when Al is home, we will have our Thanksgiving dinner.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
This past weekend the kids and I went to San Antonio to visit my friend Becky and her family. Becky and I have been best friends since 6th grade, and even though we've both moved around so much we have found ways to get visits in over the years. It is just so fantastic that we moved to a city that is just 3 1/2 hours away from her.
Becky knows that things are a little tight for us right now, and so she and her husband graciously offered to pay for our way up and back. We accepted, only on the understanding that one day I will return the favor and treat us to a fun outing on our dime.
It was so much fun being back in a city where I lived for four years. It has been over 16 years since I'd been there, so I didn't recognize a lot of things, but some of it was very familiar.
Becky and Jon have a great house and darling kids. As soon as Avery walked in the door she and Alison were best friends. It was so cute watching them play together. They have similar personalities and interests and honestly did not have a single spat or squabble for the entire four days we were there. I don't think you can say that about too many 3 and 4 year olds. Having our kids play together was something that Becky and I used to talk about years and years ago, and so it was really special for both of us to watch it finally happening.
We had a pretty low-key visit. A lot of the time was spent in our pajamas :) But we did venture out a few times. We took the girls to the zoo for a couple of hours. And one day Jon watched the girls while Becky, James and I went to Fredricksburg. Fredricksburg is this quaint, little German town about an hour out of San Antonio. It is full of cute little shops, bakeries, restaurants, etc. We also made sugar cookies with the girls.
We spent most of our time crafting. It has been so long since I've done anything like that and it was great!! Becky is super talented and makes hairbows and customizes t-shirts for her daughter. Before I got there she had gone out and bought Avery tons of shirts and then we worked together on the fabrics and the creating process...well...I just kinda worked on them. I named myself the apprentice. Becky was really patient in showing me the ropes and towards the end I was able to work a little faster.
The only downer of the trip was that both of my kids came down with colds and so did Becky. James slept horribly because he was so congested. And now I am coming down with it too. Tonight I started getting achy and a sore throat/scratchy voice, earaches. Ugh. It's just that time of year I guess.
Anyway, we can't wait to go back for another visit! The kids were wonderful in the car. The only thing is that we hope that next time Al can go with us too.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Baby James is already 6 months old. I can't believe it! He is getting so big. These past few months have seemed like some of the longest I've known, but at the same time James seems to be growing so quickly.
Six month stats:
Weight-- 21 lbs. even-- 90th percentile
Height-- 28 inches-- 90th percentile
He sits up very well on his own now, for long periods of time. He cut his first two teeth last week and is still getting up on his hands and knees a lot. He stays up for quite a while, kind of rocking, and sometimes scooting backwards. James, or Jamie (as Avery has taken to calling him fairly often now) continues to be a great eater. It is normal for him to eat 2 big bowls of oatmeal and fruit for breakfast. He slaps the tray in excitement when I walk towards him with the bowl. He is a funny little guy. He is very interested in what other people are eating around him and really follows you with his eyes whenever you put something in your mouth.
We went to the pediatrician while Avery was at preschool. The doctor said that James is super healthy. He got 3 shots today, and one oral vaccination. He handled it very well, only crying for a few seconds. One of the shots was the H1N1. The doctor said that the regular flu vaccine is not available and they don't know when it will be. The company that makes H1N1 vaccine also makes the regular flu vaccine and they have focused so much on H1N1 that there is a big shortage of the other. He asked me if I wanted the H1N1 while I was there and I said I might as well, so I got it too. Then he told me to make an appointment for Avery, for later that afternoon to get her H1N1.
So this afternoon we went back to the Dr.'s office and Avery got her H1N1 and then Al got his too. The kids' shots were covered by insurance and mine was only $15. Al got his for free...a little hook-up from one doctor to another. He said that the $15 I paid earlier that day covered Al's too :) It is nice for Al to get looked out for by another doctor, since it's a far cry from what he experiences every day at work.
These pictures were taken today. James just playing and then James doing the touchdown! I wish I had gotten a better shot of it, but you can get the gist of it.
Friday night was the ward Halloween party. They put on a big production: dinner, lots of games, and trunk or treating. The weather was perfect and they served dinner outside, but there was really nowhere to sit, so it was a bit challenging juggling hot dogs, chili, salad, a baby, and trying to reign an excited Avery in. I was super happy and relieved when Al finally showed up after work.
After dinner we headed inside for the games. They had a fishing booth, donut on a string eating, pumpkin bowling, a fall scene where they took your picture, and a cupcake walk. Avery's favorites were the cupcake walk and the fishing booth. They also had a silent auction to raise money for cup scouts. I signed up to bring Halloween sugar cookies. Last week they sent out an email to all those who signed up and then the item that they said they would bring. It was crazy!! A new bike, gift certificates to various places, a spa certificate, photography, a webkinz gift basket, etc. I guess next year I'll know what I'm getting into before I sign up. I don't know who ended up with the cookies or how much the went for, but I hope it at least brought in a little for the scouts. My kitchen still hasn't resumed it's normal state :)
The trunk or treat was fun. It is still a little lonely at these types of things. Most of the people in the ward have been here for years and have built really strong friendships. We are still lucky if we know a few peoples names, but we are trying.
Al worked on Halloween, so I took Avery and James out. Avery was still thrilled to get into her costume, even on the third day in a row. She would flick her wand to "cast a spell" and as she flicked it she made a sound effect that was something like "Fwee-wee-wee-wee! Fwee-wee-wee-wee!" And it was like an echoing effect, where she would let her voice fade with each "wee." It's pretty amusing :)
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Today was Avery's preschool Halloween party. She was SO excited. She has been asking every day this week about wearing her costume. When I pulled out the wings to put on her she whispered, "Oh...they are beautiful!" It was pretty cute.
I tried to do Avery's hair like Tinkerbell's. It kinda worked, and I thought she looked so pretty, but the humidity makes it a little hard to make the hair stay where you want it to. Tomorrow is the ward Halloween party and I will try to put the ponytail higher and use less product to see if that works.
Miss Annie had a black wig on, which I think kind of scared Avery. She is kind of weirded out by wigs. But after Avery gave her a few glances she warmed up and was okay with it. One of the other mom's was in charge of the party and she helped them make these cute pumpkins! The moms got to go and pick the kids up 5 minutes early, so we could take pictures of the whole class in their costumes. There was a little bit of confusion about which pumpkin belonged to which kid, but the mom knew without a doubt that the pumpkin with the green hair was Avery's. She was the only kid that did green hair. Her favorite color has been green since she's been able to vocalize it, and has never wavered.
Tomorrow is the ward party, so we will take more pictures.