Saturday, January 14, 2017

Russell's birthday party

Russell's party was delayed this year, because I was sick, but we sure had a blast. I didn't do as well taking pictures this year, though, and I'm not sure why. I need to do better next year!

We started with lunch. We had a "Build Your Own Hot Dog" station and tons of snacks. We had lots of fun toppings for the hot dogs, though of course my boys had theirs plain. Crazy kids.









After lunch, the kids dressed up in construction gear. They played with boxes, which sounds boring, but they had a blast! They stacked them up and knocked them down, they built tunnels and crawled through, and they played with nothing else for about half an hour.








I didn't get pictures of it, but all the kids got a bag of candy blocks to play with and eat. They also played with beans in a bin, but it was mostly really crowded so I didn't get many pictures of that, either!





Russell loved his cake. He couldn't wait to get the toys off of it, and he kept telling everyone it had his name in red AND blue, his two favorite colors. He really didn't eat much of it, because he wanted to get back to playing, but at least he had fun blowing out the candles!





Russell loved opening presents, too. He has a hard time opening them all first, because he wants to play with each one immediately! But he had fun. His family gives him such awesome, thoughtful gifts. Go family!





We let Russell make a great playlist on Youtube, too. We played it as people were gathering things and leaving, so we got to dance a little. Russell LOVES turning his music up loud and dancing. It was the perfect way to end his party.

I can't believe he is three already. He is talking so well, and so much. He says hilarious things every day. And even though he has quite the attitude, he is getting sweeter all the time. He loves to snuggle, especially once he gets his PJs on! He is Cormac's best friend and protector. They fight plenty, but they can also play together for hours and are getting better at solving their arguments without Mom... Russell is growing up to be an amazing little boy. We love him so much!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas

On Christmas Eve, the boys got to open their Christmas Eve boxes. They had new PJs, cocoa mugs, and a couple of fun things -a snowglobe and light-up nose. I like the idea of a box, instead of just PJs, because they don't get to open any presents. So I won't put real toys in them each year, probably books or ornaments or something. Anyway, the boys were wicked excited, and loved wearing their little noses over the next couple of days.




Christmas morning we went to church, then the boys got to open presents (Mom and Dad, too). They opened them one at a time, or one each, so we could all see what everyone got. I like that way better than everyone just doing their own thing! We had a scavenger hunt for their last present, their kindles. Cormac loved running around following their clues, though Russell didn't seem to get it until the end. We were worried they'd just play on their kindles all day, so we saved them for last, but they actually only played with them for a few minutes, then wanted to get back to their toys. That was fun to see!





After a while, Scott went out to shovel the driveway, and the boys went with him to help. They were productive for a little while, but of course they just ran around eventually. We'd only had one snowstorm with enough to play in, so they were pretty excited to see a few inches out there!




Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

12 Days of Christmas Activities

Last year, I did an activity advent countdown for the boys. It was kind of a lot of work, so this year I just did the 12 days of activities. It was a lot of fun, slightly less stress, and it really helped Russell understand how much longer until Christmas (as soon as the tree was up, he asked me EVERY day if it was Christmas yet, but once we started the 12 days, he seemed to get the countdown idea).

The first day of Christmas, the boys and I made a fort and read some new Christmas books by the fire. They had a lot of fun destroying the fort afterward, and rebuilding it, over and over.


The second day of Christmas, we made snowmen. It was a felt craft kit I picked up at the store, and after it dried I put them up on the wall. They pointed to them often over the next few days, and talked about how fun it was to make them.




On the third day of Christmas, we pretended we were in France. We ate a nice Christmas dinner, slightly Americanized, and more kid-friendly than escargots! Pour l'apertif et hors d'oeuvres, nous avons mange des croissants et nous avons bu champagne (sparkling cider). Pour  l'entree, nous avons mange de la soupe du jour. Pour le plat principal, nous avons mange du saumon et des haricots verts. Pour le dessert, nous avons mange une buche du Noel. Ok, I probably had a lot of errors, since I haven't taken French for like 10 years, but I gave it a shot! Anyway, after dinner, we put the boys shoes out for Pere Noel. In the morning, they ran out of their room, saying, "Let's see if Pere Noel came!" I was actually surprised they even remembered. Cormac kept saying, "This is awesome! I love Pere Noel!!"  Pretty great.








On the fourth day of Christmas, the boys took a bubble bath with their special Christmas duckies. I purposely hadn't let them have bubbles for a while, or even toys, so this would seem extra fun!




For the fifth day of Christmas, I gave them Christmas parachuters. They had one of these a little while ago, but it didn't work well, so I was hoping these might... they lasted a little longer, and they enjoyed them more, since it was Christmas-themed.



On the sixth day of Christmas, we had a German Christmas. We ate turkey (loaf), potato pancakes with applesauce, and drank mulled wine (sparking grape juice). We had shortbread cookies for dessert, as well as apple strudel (Little Debbie style). The boys wrote letters to Christkind, and with their answers, they got Christmas trees to decorate (since we'd listened to O Tannenbaum the night before). Cormac kept saying, "I like Tannenbaums!"








On the seventh day of Christmas, I gave them a Christmas memory game. Cormac liked it until Russell just started grabbing cards and flipping them. They wanted me to tell them where all the matches were, lol. So, I guess they weren't quite patient enough for that kind of game. But they did like flipping them and looking at the pictures!



For the eighth day of Christmas, I gave the boys giant coloring/activity books. Russell kept saying, "I've never be seeing these big books before!" (Meaning, I've never seen such big books, lol.) I had them color on the floor, since they were so big. They thought that was awesome, too.




On the ninth day of Christmas, we had a Mexican Christmas. We went out to Milagros, our current favorite Mexican place, and had delicious food. Then, we came home to do the pinata! The boys were excited to hit it, but I explained it was a pull-string kind. They really liked pulling the ribbons as hard as they could! I was hoping it worked, since I'd never seen one before, and after only a few pulls, they got the candy to fall out. They scrambled around grabbing it and had a great time.




On the tenth day of Christmas, we drove around and looked at Christmas lights. We went to my grandma's house for dinner beforehand, so I forgot to bring our camera. I took a couple of shots with my phone though. And we found the most awesome tree! The boys even got out to walk around it, and just kept staring at all the lights. It was pretty impressive.




For the eleventh day of Christmas, we read the story of Christ's birth, and the boys helped "act" it out with popsicle-stick-puppets. They don't listen very well when we read scriptures, so we read it from a children's book. And Cormac at least could tell us what we had read, so we'll call it a success.




On the twelfth day of Christmas, after we'd opened presents and snacked on yummy food all day, we made gingerbread houses (out of graham crackers). Russell slapped a few pieces of candy on and just wanted to eat the rest. Cormac took his time at first, and did a pretty good job. He wanted to eat the treats, too, though. So we let them give up and have some treats. It was Christmas, after all. Scott and I didn't even feel like eating anything when we finished ours... too much Christmas  :)






Overall, I liked the 12 days of Christmas a little better than the full advent. It was lower stress, and we had more time at the beginning of the month to do unscheduled things, like visit Temple Square and the Seven Peaks North Pole. I think I'll do it again next year, and maybe do the different countries again. The boys really liked that. They even asked if Pere Noel could come again, which was fun. I'll have to find other countries with fun traditions.