It was Christmas . . . we opened presents . . . the kids played with toys . . . it was great.
Presents from Santa.
Carter opening his present from Raine — trains to go with their new train set.
Raine opening her present from Carter — a new baby doll to go with the new doll high-chair, play pen, and play mat that Santa brought.
Grandma and Grandpa opening their stockings — ice cream certificates and lots of chocolate.
Carter with the ukulele that Gma and Gpa Dewey gave him.
Raine with the cash register that Gma and Gpa Dewey gave her.
Carpenter Carter at his workbench, wearing the new apron Gma Anderson made.
I didn’t get a photo of the nap-mat that Gma Anderson made Raine, but here is one from Gma’s blog.
What a fun Christmas! After opening a bunch of our presents, we had waffles — cooked on the new waffle iron we received — then we had a second round of present opening. Soon enough it was time to get ready for our 11:00 church services. The rest of the day we just played.
Here is a little video of Christmas morning — I want to keep this one easy to find so I can pull it out on Carter’s first date!!
Day 13 The kids went shopping to buy presents for their teachers. We ended up going to Braums to buy gift cards so naturally, we had to sample the goods while we were there!
Day 14 We made a special Christmas treat for Raine’s Christmas party the next day at school. And yes, Carter had one of those cookies in his mouth before I finished taking photos. You can see him saying, “sheeezzzz” while his entire attention is focused on stealing that cookie.
Day 15 We went to see the Christmas lights in Interlochen. Almost every house in this neighborhood is covered with Christmas lights and decorations; people come from near and far to see the displays. It takes hours to drive through the neighborhood on a busy night so we decided to go the night before it officially started. Almost all of the houses had their lights on and we didn’t have to deal with traffic. It was very impressive and the kids really enjoyed seeing all the lights.
Day 16 We made a Christmas craft. The kids painted a Christmas present for Daddy — it didn’t turn out so well, but it was fun. Carter was so proud of himself painting with that big paint brush all by himself.
Day 17 We gave this little tree to the individual we selected from the Ward Angel Tree; we were her service-Santas. We did a couple things for her during the month and had a lot of fun making her holiday a little merrier.
I also want to point out the curtains in this photo. After six years, I finally got curtains for the dining room. I had to kidnap our babysitter from the night before so she would be there to occupy the kids the next morning while I hemmed the curtains — but I got them done! (Don’t worry, we brought her an overnight bag to make her captivity more comfortable…and we got her parent’s permission. But I’ll tell you what, I could get used to this live-in nanny thing. We haven’t been that productive with kids around in a long time! DJ re-mulched the entire front yard and trimmed the bushes. Our house looks great.)
Day 18 We made Christmas fudge.
Day 19 Well . . . this was not a good day. We didn’t get around to doing our planned activity, so I took the kids out for doughnuts the next morning to make up for it.
Day 20 We delivered goodie-bags to some of our friends.
Day 21 Grandma and Grandpa Dewey flew in from Utah and they helped us cut out paper gingerbread men.
Day 22 We made faux-gingerbread houses. (Look at that chocolate-coated smile on Carter’s face. “You want me to stick this candy on that ratty little house? I think it would be better off in my mouth!”)
Raine’s house wasn’t finished until every last piece of candy in the bowl was “glued” onto her house — we had to use a candy cane to brace one wall so it could support all the weight.
The next day we sprinkled the houses with the “snow” that Aunt Sarah sent. It looked very real.
Day 23 The kids painted Christmas ornaments.
Day 24 We acted out the Nativity. One of our actresses got stage fright and wouldn’t wear any costumes, she just wanted to stand next to Grandma.
Here are a couple clips from our nativity. I love how Shepard-Carter hands his “baa” to Mary and then throws his box at Joseph as a wise man.
We also sang Christmas songs — including DJ’s annual performance of “Dominick the Donkey.”
This year I decided that we needed an advent calendar — and somehow I ended up with three of them. Two are the candy filled ones so the third one I use as the activity advent calendar. Each day the kids open the drawer and a note inside tells us what Christmas activity we will be doing that day. Here are photos from our first twelve activities.
Day 1 The kids and I drove up to the Grapevine Parade of Lights.
Day 2 We made a Christmas craft — complete with foam shapes, glitter, and hot glue! They turned out real cute.
Day 3 The kids got to wear new Christmas jammies.
Day 4 We made a special Christmas treat.
Day 5 We met Daddy for lunch.
Day 6 We opened a new Christmas book to read.
Day 7 We went to Sister Hill’s Christmas story-time at the library.
Day 8 We dropped off care-packages at the Mission Office for any missionaries who didn’t receive one from home. This is something we started doing when we were in India and then continued it in Zurich. We decided that it is a fun tradition that we should continue.
Day 9 The kids got to sit on Santa’s lap at the Ward Christmas party. Raine was so excited, she wrote Santa a letter and gave it to him. Carter, well . . . as you can see, he wasn’t as excited.
Day 10 We went to the Christkindl Market in Arlington where we ate bratwursts and potato pancakes and then took a carriage ride around Ranger’s Ballpark.
Raine loved petting the horse after the ride . . . almost as much as she loved the hoola-hoop performance we watched later. Apparently hoola-hooping is the latest trend in exercise classes — I’ll be honest, I kind of want one of those hoops with lights inside.
Day 11 We attended the Stake “Sing Noel” concert. It was a fabulous performance but I don’t have any photos because it was in the chapel.
Day 12 We went to the zoo to ride the carousel, but it was under renovation, so we settled for riding the train instead.
We can’t wait to see what the next twelve days bring!
Here is a quick note about Carter, since he seems to get overshadowed a bit by his big sister. Carter is such a ball of fun. He can make just about anything into a fun game. Today he was in charge of dusting . . .
. . . apparently when I said, “Carter can you dust the living room please?” He heard, “Carter can you ride your trusty steed down the dusty trail?”
I really wish I had a video instead of this last photo because it was so funny to watch that little duster wag back and forth as he moseyed down the hall, trying to hold it up with just his knees.
Not that infrequently these days, I find myself doing something before my brain has had a chance to evaluate and approve of my actions. Friday was one of those days, when I gave Carter a haircut. It started with a couple seemingly-unrelated decisions that, by themselves, were innocent enough but when put together created the perfect storm that you see below.
The seemingly-innocent decisions: 1) I grabbed a small bag of M&M’s that was sitting on the counter to bribe Carter to hold still.
2) I sat him in the bumbo in only his diaper because I knew he wouldn’t keep the hair-cape on, so I turned on the space heater in the bathroom to keep him warm.
1) Carter HATES the hair clippers and so screamed bloody murder the entire time they were on.
2) There is a reason M&M’s gave up the tag-line “melts in your mouth, not in your hand.” And I might add that they melt REALLY fast in a three-year-old’s hand while she feeds them to a one-year-old sitting in front of a space heater.
3) When a one-year-old gets hair on his face, he rubs it. And he usually starts at his chin, where it is good and slobbery from crying and then works his way up to his eyes.
And so there you have it — a very sad, chocolatey, hair-covered baby. It took TWO baths to remedy that mental lapse.
Carter’s newest trick is to do “somersaults.” He bends over, puts his head on the ground, then rolls over to the side and gets real excited. I love it!