Saturday, December 31, 2011

Hair Follies

Guess who's approaching Year Two, and all that comes with it?

A few mornings ago, I was in the computer room when I heard a whirring sound come from the bathroom down the hall... a sound I instantly recognized as Paul's electric razor. I jumped up and ran into the room to see a grinning Lucian attempting to shave his head! He only managed to chop a few strands, and as he had basically nothing to start with, I don't think the patch is noticeable. That child! I don't know where he comes up with this stuff.

Only an hour later, I set the boys up at the table with a snack: apples and peanut butter. I then went upstairs to put away a load of laundry. Five minutes later, I returned downstairs to see my little boy slathered in peanut butter, attempting to wipe off his hands using his hair. Really? What's wrong with your shirt, my son? Don't normal kids wipe their hands on their shirts?

So, like the good mom that I am, I whisked him upstairs and steered him into the guest room for a photo op before plopping him into the bathtub. Hey, I know my priorities. When I told him to look at the camera, he slowly turned his head and smirked up at me with an impish grin. (Doesn't it look like he knows too much?)

Oh child, it's a wonder my hair isn't gray... yet.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmastime is Here

It has been a whirlwind of Christmas celebrations around these parts! As if celebrating the birth of our Savior wasn't enough, we were blessed with a Christmas baby four years ago who deserves some celebration of his own! I think we balanced things pretty well this year, giving Max plenty of time to feel special within the Christmas excitement.

We started out our celebration on Saturday morning at home. Max woke up first and came to bring us downstairs. He stopped short on the landing as soon as he saw his Christmas gift: an easel! "Wow.... Wow! What is that? Wow!" He slowly circled it, examining the whiteboard and the chalkboard, and asked us where the markers were. Thankfully, Louie woke up soon after and Max was able to open his gift from Grandma and Grandpa Yantes: a full art supply set to go with his easel! Markers, paints, chalk, paper, paintbrushes, you name it! He opened the dry erase markers and didn't leave his post in front of the easel until he had to get ready to go to Grandma and Grandpa Radecki's house, several hours later. Louie opened a set of Automoblox, a new book and an indoor hockey set (guess whose idea that was? Oh, and of course Max got a matching one). We ate a leisurely breakfast and slowly got ready to head down to Grandma and Grandpa's for Christmas Eve.

We arrived in Burnsville in the midafternoon with a trunk full of goodies: presents, cookies, mulled wine makings. My mom's parents were already there, and after unpacking we quickly settled in to the first of many games of Buck Euchre. The game went so long that we weren't able to finish it before it was time for Mass! We got the kiddos all dressed and headed to the church, where we celebrated Jesus' birth in the best way possible.

After Mass, we went home for our traditional Christmas Eve Clam Chowder, followed by present time... made even sweeter by Paul's addition of Hot Port (a new take on mulled wine, definitely a keeper! Not that I got to have nearly as much as I wanted... I had to get by on one small half-glassful). My mom tried something new this year: wrapping all her presents in reusable or recyclable wrapping! What a great idea; we ended up with only one small bag of garbage among all of us.

Someone had an encounter with some glitter...

Max was so excited for the next day that bedtime took about two hours! As we sat around the table playing cards late into the night, we were visited by a little boy nearly every twenty minutes, claiming to be thirsty or needing help getting the duplos out of his jammies that he had found and "accidentally" stuck in his shirt. Finally my mom went upstairs to tuck him in and later we found them both sound asleep in bed... all it took was snuggling with grandma to finally get him to sleep!

The next morning started way too early; even after his VERY late night, Max was too excited to sleep in, so we were all up at about seven to check stockings and celebrate Max's birthday! We put candles into a hazelnut sweetbread for him to blow out, then on to more presents. (how is this kid ever going to come down from this craziness??)

"Me and Jesus have the same birthday!"
My parents hosted Christmas dinner for my mom's side of the family, all twenty-something of us. Max loved the long table that got set up in the living room, and he posted himself at the place of honor long before dinner was served! Then the rest of the family came and we feasted on a delicious meal, opened more presents, ate more sweets, and then promptly went into a collective food coma. Perfect! 

After dancing off some of their sugar buzz with Grandma and Grandpa, the boys were ready to head home. We decided to do some Christmas light touring on our way home, but Max barely stayed awake long enough to see anything! We pointed out a huge lit-up tree to him as he was drifting off, and he managed to shake himself awake slurring, "What's a tree...." before heading back to dreamland. 

Dancing to Christmas tunes
Yesterday the celebrating continued with my dad's side of the family, where I forgot to bring my camera. Thankfully my aunt got some great pictures and I hope to get a hold of them eventually and share them with you. It was a great time, including a meal of soup and corn bread, more gifts, and an intense game of Bowls (My aunt and I totally rocked it!). 

Today has been a day of decompression, playing with the truckload of new toys that have overtaken our living room. It was a crazy few days, but what joy to be able to spend it with family!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Smile for the camera! At least look at the camera...

For an early Christmas present, my parents gave us a family photo shoot with a friend of theirs, a great photographer who took Max's 18 month pictures... wayyyy back in the day. We got all cute and coordinated in brown and blue, and made our way down to Burnsville for the pictures a couple of weekends ago. While Tom is an amazing photographer, our children were not in the mood to be cooperative! I'd like to treat you to some of the best outtakes, because they will probably not see the light of day again.

Obviously we couldn't pick this one for our Christmas card

Something smells...

Look, Ma! No hand!

It's not every day we get such a beautiful photo of our children fighting

Louie may look like he's smiling... but I assure you he's not enjoying this choke hold.
We did get some really nice photos for a Christmas card, but seeing as I'm not on the ball this year, they'll be going out some time after Christmas... hopefully still within the Christmas season! New goal: Epiphany. Hold me to it!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I'm Dreaming...

Looks like we might have gotten our Christmas dusting of snow just a little too early! According to the forecasts, it looks like we may be in for a brown Christmas this year in Minnesota. Bummer! Max has been asking me when the snow will come back, because he is bound and determined to build a pirate fort with Grandpa. Sad to say, they won't be playing in that fort on Christmas Eve this year.

In all honesty, I'm in no hurry to have four feet of snow on the ground. Here in the midwest, we'll have snow until March regardless of when it first falls. So if it waits a few more weeks, that's only three months of battling icy roads. I can deal with that! I'm still holding out hope that we'll see some flakes falling on Christmas Eve, but I'm ok if the heavens don't open until we're safely home from our trip to Rapid City in mid-January. 

We have had two good snow days so far, and the anticipation will make the next snowfall that much more exciting! The first day it snowed, Max came running down the steps yelling, "It's a snow day! It's a snow day!" That evening he played outside for an hour, making tracks on every inch of our yard, leaving not a speck of untouched snow.

We got outside once more before everything melted, and while Max could have stayed out all day, Louie was a bit more cautious. He preferred to stand on the sidewalk and point at the white stuff. When he accidentally got some snow on his mittens, he held his hands out to me and whined until I brushed it off. Not so much a snow bunny, that one. 

According to Max, it's not actually winter until there is snow on the ground. Actually, "It was winter, but it's not anymore... but it will be soon. At Christmas." I hope he's not too sorely disappointed if "winter" doesn't come this week! I have a feeling the sugar and the presents might distract him. Then after the celebrations settle down, we can move on to sledding and skating and snowmen. At least it's already cold enough for hot chocolate!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Keeping a Secret

This weekend, Max went on a shopping excursion with my dad and came back with a present just for me! Apparently they were walking through a store and Max stopped and said, "I want to get this for Mommy for Christmas." No prompting. Melt my heart. The gift was wrapped in-store, and Grandpa reminded Max that the contents were a secret until I opened it at Christmas. "Don't tell Mommy what you got!"

That evening, when we got home from the Holidazzle parade, we met Paul who was just returning from North Dakota. Max was very excited to share the fact that he had picked out a Christmas gift. As I put it under the tree, I made a comment about how I couldn't wait to find out what was in it. As Max bounced on the couch with uncontrollable excitement, he blurted out, "They're mittens!!"


Daddy tried to rectify the situation, reminding Max that presents are supposed to be a surprise, and to throw me off-track he said, "Maybe they're socks. Or shoes. Or..."

"Or MITTENS!" chimed in Max.

Well, at least I don't know what they look like yet!

Friday, December 16, 2011

I did it!

I thought you might enjoy a quick little video of Lucian's very first sentence! He's definitely not a chatterbox like his brother, but I think he's taking everything in and will repeat it back when it's convenient for him. As you can see, he is pretty proud of himself when he knows he's said something we can comprehend. Behold: "I did it!"

Other new words in Lucian's vocabulary include "apple" (ba-pu), "hot dog" (ot-da), "help" (ep!) "popcorn" (pa-coo), "Macky" (Ka-ka), and "Louie" (Oo-Woo).

Oh, and how could I forget "Hula" (hoo-ah)? ...Yes really. It's in his favorite song, "Dance Like You've Got Ants in your Pants" by Eric Herman. You should check it out, it's under two minutes and very addictive. Lucian says "Bop! Bop! Bop!" every time he comes near the computer, which I discovered is his code for "I want to watch 'Dance Like You've Got Ants in your Pants!'" (If you watch the video you'll understand.

So, communication is slowly coming along! It's fun to hear his little voice, and I can't wait until he and Max start conversing... can you imagine the things I'm going to overhear? Stay tuned...

Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas Spirit

The tree is up, the lights are hung, the third candle on the Advent wreath is lit, and we are waiting in joyful anticipation for the coming of Christ at Christmas! This is the first year that we will have a normal Advent and Christmas season in our St. Paul home. Two years ago, I was very pregnant with Lucian, so Christmas preparations were... well... slow and simple. No tree, few decorations, baby could come any time! Last year we traveled to Rapid City so we decided to forgo the real tree and opted for a little tiny artificial one. Not the same.

 But this year, this year, we have a tree! A real, live, beautiful Christmas tree. And we did it proud! Egg nog, Imperials Christmas music, every ornament we could find in the house, and I'm happy. For the first time, I feel like the preparation of our home is truly a reflection of the preparation of our hearts. O come, o come, Emmanuel!


Oh pregnancy hormones, how I love (loathe?) thee...

I am usually a pretty even-keel person. Well, within reason... I have my moments. But during my previous two pregnancies I went off the deep end emotionally. If you knew me at the time, you may not have noticed, unless you were my husband. He got the brunt of everything. For example, I remember a string of nights when I was pregnant with Lucian that I would decide right about bedtime that my life was falling apart. Just as Paul was drifting off to sleep, I would begin to cry inconsolably. When I realized I had no good reason for crying, I would cry even harder because I didn't know why I was crying. And then when Paul didn't wake up (or pretended to stay asleep), I would cry because my husband didn't care that I was falling apart!!

Paul, I'm so sorry. You know that, right?

The best one, though, was about halfway through my pregnancy with Max. Have I told this story already? If so, oh well, it's worth a repeat.

During pregnancy, I became very, very, very clumsy. It's as if my body forgot where its limbs were, and I hit my elbows and stubbed my toes on just about anything that didn't jump out of my way. One particularly clumsy day, I was walking into the bedroom and I tripped over a cardboard box on the floor. I threw myself onto the bed in tears, unable to believe what a klutz I was! As I sobbed and sobbed, Paul sat on the bed behind me, silently rubbing my back. Thankfully I didn't find out until much later that he was trying with every once of his being to stifle hysterical laughter. Because he knew that if that laughter had slipped out, I would have clobbered him.

But back to the present. This time around, I've managed to contain my emotions pretty darn well! I've had no insane outbursts, no late nights up crying. Paul got it rough for the first two, I guess God decided to give him a break this time ... so far.

There is just one area in which I have become an emotional wreck, and that is music. If I hear any song that I like, or that has any emotional connection in my brain, I have to fight back the tears! On the radio, it works out fine. I can change the station. But in church? Ugh... not so much. The worst is when they play a song that we used during my years as a youth minister. Last week, it was "Salvation Belongs to our God". Oh man... I spent the entire song staring at the ceiling and blinking rapidly to keep from breaking down. Everyone around me probably thought I was nuts.

And now we're closing in on Christmas. Oy. Just about every song I hear gives me the sniffles! I'll just have to start pretending I have allergies, or else take a break from music altogether.

Or I could just bring this image to mind... kind of hard not to smile when I think of this little goofball: