Monday, December 31, 2012

That's a wrap!

Well December, you were pretty awesome. I think the past several blog posts tell that story. Here's a few random photos from this month before we move into a new month...and a new year!

Having a green house that we can heat is a pretty awesome development. We still have lots to learn to really use it to its full potential, but for now it's just really fun to still get out to play in the dirt when the ground outside is too frozen to do so! Bea loves it in there!

We have stinkbugs all over the house since they're coming in to find warmth. They're totally harmless and for some reason they don't bother any of us. Josie and Bea totally think they're pets.  Here's one exchange with a "Stinky" before it went in the stinkbug jar with the rest of its captured family members.

This is a video from one of Josie's last days of school before break with one of the four girls in her Kindergarten class. We could call it "why we love Josie's school & its natural playscape" or we could call it "the reason why Josie's boots only last two weeks tops." They asked me to make a Climbing Movie of them. Here it is:

This month we spent a lot of time making special surprises for people we love. Lots of time in our pajamas in the middle of the day getting messy. So in the spirit preserving these memories for the wee ones as they look back on all this one day (and not in the name of sending no-shower, no make-up Mama across the interwebs), I give you these two gems: 

These are just too sweet not to share. Glad I snapped them because these little hands and these carefully written letters on Daddy's gift are just too too too lovely.

Also in the somehow-didn't-make-it-onto-a-holiday-blog-post category, here are two videos of fun little moments from early in the month when we were just beginning to decorate.

Josie loves this little Rudolph SO much and her reaction to seeing that I had the decorations out was just too sweet.

Both girls were really wowed by the lights:

Here are some pics from the Nutcracker that didn't make it into that first post:

Oh no! I forget to mention the Christmas Eve story! On the night before our Christmas at home, we read The Night Before Christmas as we have every year since Josie was just 4 months old on her first Christmas. Then, we put Josie to bed. Then, wouldn't you know? She woke up at about 11:30 PM and walked her little sleepy self down the stairs and saw that Santa had ALREADY put presents under the tree and already eaten the cookies. Then she couldn't sleep. Then she woke up again about 3 AM and couldn't sleep again. Poor thing.

Then, she woke up again at 5am and there was no going back to sleep at that point. Finally, at 6:16 AM, I let her go wake up Bea and Christmas morning at our house began!

This is a picture of the little paper mache snowman that Josie made at school. We think he is super special.

In other exciting news. We got a new dishwasher. It broke right before Christmas, so our kitchen looked like this for a week:

 Then we got a new one and Lou & a wrench-wielding Josie installed it on New Year's Day.

 And now everything is right with the world again.

Goodbye my holly jolly friends. Until we meet again...

New Toys & New Joys

 So if the Holiday Break had two parts - they were 1) Holiday and 2) Break. So far I've just been updating about the Holiday stuff - Christmas at Home, Christmas in Xenia and New Year's Eve. And the Snowy Days posts (here and here) fall somewhere in between.  But, this my friends, is the Break post.  The post that details the blissful "slow family time" where all of the normal routines get tossed out the window and lots of magical things happen that wouldn't otherwise be possible. When you have a set of those days out in front of you, it's possible to shelve the To Do List and just.spend.time.together.

There was a lot of that. And, already (even if it sounds admittedly cliche), these moments seem like little dreamy snapshots in time. Yea, we really did spend several days just playing. Being super silly. Listening to Peter & the Wolf over and over and over. Playing with new toys and experiencing the new joys they brought. Cracking open geodes. Creating masterpieces. Averting our adult eyes from the disaster of two kids pulling very stale gumdrops off the gingerbread houses and popping them in their mouths like we would never notice. Making two pots of coffee. Finding new quiet spots to cuddle and read. Talking about the last year and daydreaming about the next one. Dressing up.

Here are some pictures of these quiet, happy moments that we cherish most. (Some of these I just love because the kids had no idea I was watching.) Enjoy...






All by herself.
 Oh, and we got two new snails. And a giant ball of floating moss. And we love all three of them like family!

Josie got a new container of hand-me-downs from her very favorite hand-me-downer and if you can't tell from this picture, she was blissfully, joyously, dancing on the couch HAPPY beyond belief! And had to try on everything. Hear me. Everything. (Lou & I still don't have the words to express our "overwhelmedness" with the generosity of this hand-me-downer. We're so speechless that we're just making up words like "overwhelmedness.")

Oh and we discovered Lego. And while my inner-Feminist is screaming for her first Lego set being a "girl Lego" set, I'll promise you we had lots of conversation while we were building about just how crazy it is that there is such a thing. 

And then down came the tree. And because we bought the tree from a great place with good trees, it didn't make a huge mess.

Then Lou & the kids threw snowballs at my bathroom window while I showered.
 The bummer was that we spent a lot of this break with nasty Upper Respiratory Infections. The good news is there was way too much fun to be had to let it bother us too much. And the really good news is that a Hot Toddy and the lavender neck wrap from my sister worked miracles!
 Oh, I have to also mention that the annual tradition of putting away old toys to make room for new ones ran into a little roadblock this year. I hit Sophie. Sophie the Giraffe that is. Sophie that dates back to 2007 when Sophie could only be ordered through a special catalog and didn't come for 14 days. Original Sophie. Sophie that baby Josie loved and chewed and then passed on to Baby Bea. When Baby Bea was born and I got to hand over Sophie, it was so overwhelming because there for awhile I was sure there would never be another baby to hand over Miss Sophie to. Then there was. And little Bea loved Sophie. Fast forward to December 2012 and I'm supposed to lock Sophie away to make room for a new toy because another Schneider girl has outgrown her? Ain't happening! So, she lives here now.  I mean, she lives here forever now.
 One last piece of holiday fun:

Christmas in Xenia

After our Christmas at home on the morning of Christmas Eve, we played with the toys (had a little power outage derail our plans) and then packed the car and headed to Xenia.  Do I say every year that it was the best year ever? If so, I'm sure I meant it in the previous years, but this year really really was the best.  Maybe because the babies were now old enough to enjoy it fully. Maybe because the way the holiday fell meant we had plenty of down time at home before and after the holiday away. Maybe because the surprise snow kicked up an already-awesome few days away into a snowy adventure. Maybe it was the Christmas magic Tia put together for some cookies & milk to set the tone on Christmas Eve. Maybe it was because Santa delivered some really really cool toys for everyone on the nice list this year.  Maybe it was Grandma keeping a house full of hungry bellies full to overflowing with home-cooked food at every meal.  Or just maybe it was a little bit of each, with candy cane sprinkles on top, that made for the perfect recipe of holly jolly Christmas in Xtown.  See for yourself...




Here's the video of Christmas morning in Xenia.  
(Disclaimer: This looks like an obscene amount of presents. But it's a little less obscene upon the realization that these are the presents for three families under one tree.)


And a few more from our time in Xenia from my phone: