Friday, December 23, 2011

Surprise Visitor

A couple of mornings ago, SS had a visitor drop by unannounced.

It was actually quite a surprise to both J and I when we found BB had climbed himself into SS's crib and laid down right next to his baby brother.

BB was delighted. He gave SS some hugs.

And helped adjust his pacifier.

After BB would get close or touch him, SS would smile huge.

Happy big brother.

And then BB gave SS a sweet kiss.

And then another.

And once again, SS's whole face lit up with smiles because his big brother was so close to him (and also because SS loves kisses).


You can see how SS feels about BB's surprise visit.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Here and Now

In current, happening-here-and-now news, the freeze that left a thin layer of snow (yes, SNOW) in my backyard a few days ago finally finished off my garden. I just pulled up all the dead plants. Those were some crazy-hearty basil seeds (from Westwind Seeds at the Farmer's market for the Tucsonans out there). I would like to plant a winter garden and grow lettuce and other things, but I don't know that this is the year it will happen. We're hosting a Friendgivingmas party next week that I have been looking forward to for months - can't wait! Our Christmas tree is up, Christmas cards are in the mail, shopping has commenced, and family Christmas cookie decorating, yearly family ornament shopping, SS's dedication to the Lord, and a walk through the Christmas lights at Winterhaven are all on the calendar.

Today I committed to no longer allow myself to stress over any of it. It's embarrassing to admit that I am so easily entangled in trivial things and don't always step back to see the big, beautiful picture, but that's where I'm at, here and now. It is so easy for me to just be a stretched out rubber band ready to snap all December long, just moving from event to event until it's over, but today I am putting a stop to it. No more stressing this Christmas. Because I am blessed beyond my imagination. Beyond what I can really even believe and absorb in the day-to-day. Because it's all good things. Because I get to do it all. Because I get to do it all with J. Because there are people struggling with real problems in the world, and what I'm going to wear to a party is a joke (but if you see an understated, forgiving, dressy-but-casual holiday dress, please let me know :) ). Because He loves me, and He sent Jesus to earth for more than garland and gifts, more than tinsel and traditions. Because I have my own babies to gaze and wonder at how God came to Earth in this helpless, precious, fragile form. Because that's Christmas.

Days of Fun

In between Washington and Thanksgiving, we squeezed in a trip to Phoenix to visit our best friends C and A (ahem, Dr. A, that is) and Little C and new little baby A, who's a few months older than SS. It was the kind of joyful and relaxing weekend you can only have with the kind of friends with who completely accept you, with whom you have innumerable inside jokes from years of friendship, and who are really family. We went to a kiddie amusement park (where Mama had several mini-heart-attacks watching her baby ride rides), another friend's engagement party, I got my hair cut (bangs! gasp!), we enjoyed their church, and wrapped up the weekend with a game of Cranium (We are all committed, competitive board-gamers and have an ongoing pastime of playing boys vs. girls....I can't remember who usually wins.....) All while watching BB and Little C run wild together. After we got home, I was putting BB down for a nap, and this is the conversation that followed:

BB: Sing a song bout Little C

K: (singing) Little C is our friend, he has red hair, he lives in Phoenix and we just went there.

After a few rounds of that, BB: Nudder song bout Little C?

K: (singing) Little C is our frieeeend, Friend till the eeeeeend, we love hiiiim, Little C is our friend. (Not my best work.)

BB: Nudder song bout Little C?

K: (singing to the tune of Old MacDonald) Little C and BB are best friends, B-B-B-B-B, Little C and BB are best friends, B-B-B-B-B, Little C loves BB, BB loves Little C, Little C loves BB, aaa-nd BB loves Little C.

Jonah: Little C. (nodding and very serious) We love him.

Keeley: Aw, yes, we do love Little C.

Jonah: (still nodding) Little C loves BB and BB loves Little C.

And then he snuggled into his pillow to sleep.

It's so gratifying to see the next generation of our families love each other as much as we do.

The carousel at Encanto Park

BB got firm talks about not standing up during any of the rides

Up, up and away!

I had to have the attendant stop the ride once BB's eyes started rolling around in his head

First roller-coaster
This was the main source of my aforementioned multiple heart attacks - I mean, it's a little intense for a 2-year-old. But once BB saw Little C smiling, he enjoyed it.

Taking after Captain GG

Oh Captain, My Captain

Preparing for takeoff

SS and Little A

Monday, December 5, 2011

Trick or Treat

Nothing like a throwback to Halloween in the throes of Christmas preparation, right? Consider this post my Advent gift to you.

Seriously though, this Halloween with my sister, brother-in-law, and nieces was so much fun - it was the first year BB said "trick or treat"! After we got home, he called his candy "trick or treat" too. "Moe twick-oh-teat?"

But let's start with pumpkin carving. In the nick of time (seriously, we had already hollowed out our pumpkin!) I suddenly remembered I had seen a toddler-friendly pumpkin decorating activity online that I wanted to try and was able to throw it together, thanks to cousin M lending us some paint she had on hand.

Hollowing out our pumpkin before I remembered pumpkin painting

I used painters tape to make a face on the pumpkin

Then BB finger-painted away (in his diaper to minimize clothing casualities)

I tried to get him to make a handprint but it only sort of worked

And once he was all done, I removed the tape and this is what we had!

The half-handprint on the back

Then BB did some old-fashioned finger painting while everyone else continued carving

Daddy carved a Yo Gabba Gabba pumpkin design to surprise BB with - here BB is seeing it:

My fam was not messing around with our pumpkin carving - here are some of the others:

A wanted to do a ninja riding a unicorn, but settled for a pretty awesome ninja design Uncle J and M helped come up with (but A did all the carving)

Uncle A came up with this design, also very cool

Everyone with their pumpkins

All lit up

Another thing we did not mess around with were Halloween treats. These spooky witch fingers my sister and I shaped awesomely creeped me out!

That's homemade strawberry jam under those "nails" - I told you, we were NOT messing around

And here are the witch fingers (my sister made those crooked ones - CREEPY!) with candy corn rice crispy treats. We enjoyed these while my sister manned the trick-or-treaters at the door. Seriously, she had a whole system, including handing out a mix of warm nuts and candy corn in little Halloween muffin liners to keep the trick-or-treaters hands' warm, along with Halloween candy, of course. Don't you wish you lived in her neighborhood?

My sister in action

My sister is quite the Halloween enthusiast. We went out pretty early with BB and SS, since we knew they wouldn't go for very long (and certainly didn't need a huge bucketload of candy). As soon as my sister spotted crowds of trick-or-treaters on the street, she raced back to her house to arrange pumpkins and heat up the peanuts to be ready while we stayed out and went to a couple more houses. She even told her neighbors on the main road to be sure and send the kids down her cul-de-sac. If we hadn't visited during Halloween, I would never have known this about her, and it makes me smile a lot, so I'm extra-glad we got to celebrate this holiday together.

Here's the house with all the pumpkins lit, lining the way to the front door.

Awesome pumpkins

And now for my favoritest part of Halloween - the costumes:

Woody and Buzz Lightyear

I originally wanted to dress the boys as gnomes, in honor of our fun surprise gnomings this year, but once we decided to take this trip I knew I needed something easy to pack, warm, and easy to put together. BB has been a Toy Story 3 fan for a while now, and already had Woody jammies and cowboy boots. When I asked if he wanted to be a gnome or a cowboy, he voted cowboy, and voila! It was decided. I knew I wanted to dress the boys in a theme, so Buzz Lightyear was an obvious (and adorable) choice. And I knew SS would be comfortable in these Buzz Lightyear jammies too. BB's entire costume was free, and I just bought SS's with some coupons at the Disney store. Not our most creative year, but comfy, packable, and cute. Plus SS can wear the Buzz outfit for jammies, since that's what it actually is.

To infinity and beyond!

Bunny-bee and a jailbird



Trick or Treat!

Family pic

The cowboy galloping

Buzz Lightyear to the rescue!

Beautiful girls. beautiful leaves

The grown-ups :)

After trick-or-treating, BB showing off his cat flasher light, courtesy of Auntie Jen. He still wears this around. And there's all his candy.

A went out for more serious trick-or-treating afterwards and here's her loot

Auntie pics

Happy Halloween-in-December!