Thursday, December 24, 2015

A letter to Santa

Marry Christmas Santa

Out side there is rain deer food for rudolph and prancer and Dixen and Dasher and all the others like Blisten and Dancer and Vixen and Cupid and Comet and cookies for you and you can put the bell on your sled if it not rite you can take it your workshop and put it on the sled.  Tell the elfs that I watched movies about Santa and I saw you at Marshells and when she tack a picture I felt warm in side and I love you!! Are stocing are in the living room and in the one that ses Finnan may I please git Football cards. I was up when you were in Africa.

From: The Boys

Getting to Christmas

The last couple of weeks have been busy with end of semester school activities, a 4 year old birthday and, of course, Christmas preparations.  

With a birthday and Christmas, we have a lot of Amazon boxes around.  It is true that little ones are just as excited about those boxes...

Finnan and Jude had a swim meet- Jude's second year round swim meet, Finnan's first.  In year round swimming there does not appear to be a 6 & under age group so Finnan and Jude both swam 8 & under.  In fact, they were in the same heats for all of their events.  This made me a little nervous, but I had no need to be, they didn't seem to be competing against each other at all.  They were happy to find out what place they got in the heat and if they got a best time.  True best brothers. 

We had visits from both grandmothers.  Weggi cam in for Rory's birthday and the swim meet.  And Honey came in the next weekend while Atticus was hunting to take the kids Christmas shopping and other Christmas activities.

For about 11 months, Rory has been planning his "Frozen" birthday.  On his birthday we made a decorated a "Frozen" cake.  His play group (preschool) was having their annual later walk on his birthday, so he decided to bring his cake to celebrate with his school friends.  

Before we left though, he opened his presents.  He wanted an inflatable reindeer (look at that smile!) and Christmas books.  He was very happy to receive both.

And then, he was surprised by a musical Jake the Pirates ship along with some Jake the pirate figurines.  He has been dancing along with the pirate ship for the past two weeks!

And here is a little glimpse of the Lantern Walk.  During the week, all of the children helped Ms. Jesse make their lanterns.   There are only 6 other children in the play group (for a total of 6 children/day), so they are a very tight knit group.  The evening started off with the lighting of the advent candles and a pot luck.  At the table there was a mix of siblings and current students.  Cal quickly made it clear that he, too, was going to sit at the table.  And, of the first time, he sat at a table,  in a regular chair, without climbing on the table.  Amazing things happen at play group!  All of the siblings had been in the play group (or in Cal's case, will one day be in the play group). 

After dinner was finished, Ms. Jesse brought out the cake and everyone sang to Rory.

His face tells it all.  He felt so special.  

After cake everyone gathered around to her a story and watch the children do some of their songs and dances that have been party of their school rhythm over the past couple of weeks.  Here is a picture of all of the graduates with Ms. Gabriela.

Then, all of the lanterns were lit and the children ventured along the trial singing the lantern song.  Always a perfect evening to remember what the holidays are truly about. 

 The kids also had their December Exhibit Night at school.  Atticus was on his hunting trip and I couldn't find a babysitter so I was solo with the four boys for this event.  Jude's class presented their animal books.  Jude's was about pandas, though his presentation was a blur as I lost Cal.  He wriggled out of my arms and was wondering around the classroom (while I was watching) and then all of a sudden he was not.  He managed to leave the classroom ad snake his way through at least 50 people before I found him.  Both Jude's teacher and I were frantic and running through the halls.  

Next up was Finnan, who published a fictional story and then had a performance.  The performance was great- they sang Queen songs with physics inspired lyrics.  Once again I was pretty distracted though as it took a while for them to get started and then the performance itself was pretty long.  Cal swept for a little while, but eventually I had to take him outside.

Luckily, Honey was in town for Jude's basketball game and I was able to leave the rest of the gang at home.  This was the first game I have made.  And yes, he LOVES basketball.  He hasn't made a basket but he is very enthusiastic.  He was always the first one down the court during transitions and made a full on show of getting open.  

And no week can go by without a few Cal candids...

He has started diving in to the bath tub when he (or anyone) is about to take a bath.

As usual, there has also been a lot of fort building going on.

For the first time ever, the boys saw Santa.  I could never handle the idea of dealing with holiday hustle and bustle to see Santa, so we had always skipped it.  But, I heard that at the local (very small, somewhat depressed) mall, there was never a line and they had a great Santa.  Yes, Rory fell in to a puddle on the way in...

We also made and decorated gingerbread cookies for the first time.  Surprisingly, Rory's gingerbread men were the most subdued.  I only took a picture of one of the pans, but there were a surprising number of warrior, knight and ninja gingerbread men.  And a lot of pretzel swords.  Or maybe that's not surprising...

Now, on Christmas Eve Day we are stuck inside do to awful thunderstorms outside.  The creek is flowing like a river and Atticus out dealing with his office that has apparently flooded.  The boys are suppose to be shepards at the 4:00 mass, so let's hope this ran stops soon!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Everyday stuff

Every year I take less pictures.  Even with a new camera that a love, this past year has been pathetic.  So, the last couple of weeks, I let my iPhone take over.  I need to do this on a weekly or monthly basis, because I love what came of it.  Little glimpses of our life right now.

Cal can be quite irritable at times.  Wanting to be held, wanting to be put down, wanting to go upstairs, downstairs, wanting who knows what.  But, he loves being outside.  And we are both loving our new yard.

All of the boys have been developing new and special friendships the past couple of months.  Rory and Patrick just love having play dates with each other.  Here they are putting on a puppet show, with a crazy plot and crazy language that I think only 3 and 4 year olds can really understand.

And yes, Rory wanted to tie a bow in his hair.  We've always said he is a pretty boy.

My parents got us two awesome Adirondack chairs for our front porch.  When we are tired playing in the back yard we head to the front.  This is also an awesome spot for morning coffee, complete with the sounds from the creek below.

Finnan, Jude and Rory all LOVE soccer.  So, we spent a lot of time on soccer fields this fall.  Finnan even signed up for extra soccer practices and games.  He had his first ever tournament on the coldest weekend this fall.  Atticus was out of town so we all had to bundle up and endure.  

Here are some pictures of Finnan in the tournament.  He played all but a minute or two of the three games.  Mostly, center back, which is his favorite position.  It was clear that the coaches appreciated his good listening and hard work throughout the year.  Both Finnan and Jude's rec teams were undefeated this year.  Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of Jude, but he had a great time and is clearly becoming a better player.

On that cold weekend, in between games, I laid down with Finnan and Jude to listen to an audiobook with them.  At one point I peeked up and saw Rory playing in the lego room.  Sweet as can be in his own little world.

And after all that soccer, I had no energy for dinner.  And Cal had no tolerance for the little bites I was giving him.  

And when we are tired of the backyard and the front yard, we head out to the driveway or to see the chickens.  Have I mentioned how much I love the location of our new house?  Beyond this there is also a trail, bamboo forest and beach (on the creek).  

And when I am really tired and just need to get something done, I will open the doors to the front room and let him have at the tree.  Rory loves the Christmas tree (and all things Christmas), so he monitors Cal's tree activities pretty closely.

Jude has become obsessed with basketball.  I signed him up for the St. Thomas More league this year.  After one practice/game he has determined that basketball is just awesome and is his favorite sport.  He loved having Paw Paw in town over Thanksgiving to play with him.  Unlike Atticus and I, Paw Paw at least knows something about basketball.  We went to the park one afternoon and Jude played for a solid two hours, trying again and again to get a basket.  After an hour in and countless times, he did it.  Talk about determination.

Two of the best brother taking a break.  And then Jude saw me taking a picture and decided to demonstrate his craziness.

And then, after recreational soccer was done, and the extra soccer was done, the boys found yet another soccer practice to join in on.  Phew.  At least this time, Atticus was not coaching and there was a play ground.  During this practice Cal learned to slide all by himself.

And Cal has entered his climbing on to the table phase.  In this particular picture, he raided the liquor cabinet, grabbed a mini bottle of whiskey, climbed on the table, stomped his way down, then settled on stealing the rest of my pizza.  I am dealing with a tyrant here.

Most people look at our backyard tree swing and wonder about its safety.  With the help of some neighborhood boys, Finnan and Jude have been working on testing its limits.  What happens if we jump from the top of the fence?  How about if we both swing at the same time?

Pretty much the first thing on their mind when they get home from school is playing football.  It seems to end in Jude's tears too often, so my new rule is, if someone comes in crying, the game is over and they can't play the next day either.  Hopefully, that will cute down on the "injuries."

And while the older two are happily pummeling each other, Rory swings, loves on the Christmas inflatables and is even tolerating playing blocks with Cal.  He hates that Cal will knock down his creations, but knows that if he wants me there, Cal has to be there.  And Rory, does not like to be alone.  He is a mama's and daddy's boy. 

And the little tyrant can be pretty cute, too.  This head tilt pose is a new one.

And look what we ran into during a trip to Walmart. 

Rory loves the backyard swing and has gotten pretty good at doing it himself.  He just ends up hanging off every so often...

This sweet one is also my helper in the kitchen.

Cal can be very insistent that he feeds himself.  He is very skilled...

Jude attended a ounce house birthday party last weekend and Cal got to tag a long.  He wasn't sure what to make of it at first and I eventually had to put him in one of the bounce structures.  But then he was all over the place, in and out, then ready to do it all again.

Since moving we have several projects on our list.  Our old chicken coop did not fair well in the move, so building a new coop has received the highest priority.  I wish I could say here was a picture of Atticus with his helpers, but really those potential helpers have been too busy with other things.  

The coop does make a good place for a later afternoon snack though.

One of Cal's favorite toys now is a little toy gun.  Very charming, I know.  He has a lip blowing noise that goes along with his shooting, too.  This is a house of boys.

One of Cal's little curly cues.

"At work" beside Atticus' chicken coop work.

This little guy loves to stomp around knee deep in leaves.

And lastly, we have been seeing a lot of this recently.  Atticus has started joking that there is too much reading going on in the house.  The boys will be on the sofa reading and not coming to dinner.  We decided not to put up the TV in the new house leaving plenty of time for reading and playing outside.