Sunday, December 22, 2013

Christmas Program, 2013

On Friday the kids had their Christmas program at school. This year, they broke the Christmas story up into hearing the good news (the younger bunch--young 3's, 2's, and 1's) and then the Bethlehem part with the older group. It was okay. Leo's class didn't have costumes. The director of the school told me to watch Leo because he knew all the moves, but he was dazed from the audience and barely shook the shaker to the music or rang his bell later. And then he saw me, and it was over. You can see the moment he saw me and the aftermath in these two photos. In my defense, they had Leo's class sitting on hay bales in the front of the stage, so we couldn't see him from where we were sitting way in the back. I snuck up to the front to see what he was doing and get a picture. Hmm... I guess I shouldn't have.

Olivia's class dressed up like sheep and shepherds, and she was not happy about that. She cried several times in the weeks leading up to the program because she wasn't going to be an angel. She didn't want to practice her songs, either. So, although she knew the first verse of all three songs: Silent Night, Away in the Manger, and Joy to the World, she didn't know the second or third verses because they never sent home a sheet telling me to practice those with her, so I didn't and she definitely didn't want to. She did, however, have the bible verse memorized, and showed off during FaceTime with Grandma Dorothy, saying "For unto us, a child is given. For unto us a son is born. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace." That was probably the sweetest part of the program, to me. You can tell from the pictures below that she is not overly thrilled.

Her class came out first.

Then the 4Ks (angels) and the other 3K (angels).

Doing some motions with the music.

I add this one just to point out the "head" angels and Mary--the parts that Olivia really wanted!

So, today, Nicholas helped Olivia play "Baby Jesus" in a new way, complete with headdress! Ha! She loved it!

And in an effort to make her look more like the part from her Christmas program, I came up with some fabric I had used to back some curtains. She is still waiting for me to "order some blue fabric and blue shoes, just like the Mary at my school."

Both kids had "Happy Birthday, Jesus" parties in their rooms after the program, and both seemed to enjoy that for about ten minutes. Then, Leo started saying, "I want to go home!" And we did.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Oh, Christmas tree! Oh, Christmas tree! Your limbs are so heavy!

My neighbor, who is a budding photographer, is also the best Christmas tree decorator ever! Her trees are gorgeous! She wanted to get some cute pictures of her trees with kids looking on, so she invited us over last Thursday. These pictures are magical!

My diary post script: Olivia fought me about pajamas to wear, and I gave up. So, she ended up wearing those random purple pajamas instead of the more Christmasy ones I had picked out. I admit it. I just can't bring myself to buy Olivia and Leo matching Christmas pajamas because (1) they are expensive, (2) if they don't like them they throw fits, and (3) they are only "in-season" for a short time. Maybe next year.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Breakfast with Santa

On Saturday we headed to the South Zone of the football stadium on campus for Breakfast with Santa! We knew going in that neither Olivia nor Leo wanted much to do with Santa, but the even promised breakfast, a great view, and some Christmas activities, so we tried it anyway!

Here are Olivia and Leo waiting by one Christmas tree before it was time to go in. (Who are you parents whose children will stand still, at the same time, while in view of each other and you? I seriously have no idea how to become such parent.)

We got our breakfast first and had this great view!

Although there was coloring, face-painting, making reindeer donuts, writing Santa letters, and making reindeer food stations, this was by far Leo's favorite activity: crawling around under the table.

I gave up and put the camera away--the good camera, which I remember now why I do not take out of the house--when Santa waved to Olivia and she beamed. Then feeling like I had missed the best moment, Leo gave Big 'Al high five twice! (Big 'Al is UA's mascot for the uninitiated.) In my mind, my kids were adorable!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Olivia's parent visitation day at ballet

Olivia's ballet class had their parent visitation day last Tuesday where they showed all the parents what they had learned so far. This was exciting for the girls because it felt like a performance! And it was great to get to see how much the girls have learned!

They started by warming up. These poses are tondue and modified arabesque. 

They call this their ballerina splits, and they are pretending to put on red lipstick.

The Butterfly Dance

The Wand Dance

They showed off walking on their tiptoes, doing jetes, and doing sashays. Then they put on their tap shoes.

Bongo the Clown Dance

Ending their dance to "Thank God for Kids"

Party in the USA

Olivia with her friend Mary Grace with their flowers from their daddies. And sweet Olivia with Nicholas!

I apologize for the pictures...of course, we forgot our good camera. These are from my phone. It was exciting for me to get to sit through one of Olivia's class without running after Leo. Usually we can look into their class through a one-way mirror in the lobby, but instead I just play with Leo in another room or outside and glance in every now and then. Last Tuesday, though, I took him to school for two hours so I could watch Olivia. I'm so glad I was able to! I teared up during their last ballet dance when they danced to Dolly Parton's "Thank God for Kids." So sweet! I love my Olivia and I can't believe she is growing up so fast!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Christmas is coming!

Christmas is coming! You can see the signs everywhere...the kids are talking about their Christmas program nonstop. A new game in our house is playing Baby Jesus. Here's how it went the other night: 

Olivia: Let's play "Baby Jesus!"
Nicholas: Who are you going to be?
Olivia: Baby Jesus!
Nicholas: Who am I going to be?
Olivia: The hay!

Then she proceeded to lay down on him and pretend to go to sleep. She told him that she wouldn't even cry. Ha! You can tell that she just learned to sing "Away in a Manger."

I kind of got a picture of the kids piling on Nicholas below. Ha! This morning we played Baby Jesus for a long time in another way. Olivia was Mary with a Jesus in her belly. We built a tent to be the barn and made a nest of blankets to be a manger. She had Baby Jesus, but wanted me to watch him on Friday night because she had a date! Ha! You can tell exactly where her mind pulls things, as Nicholas and I had a date on Friday.

On Thursday we went to the mall to drop off our gifts for our angels that we got in matching ages to the kids. Olivia liked helping me pick things out for the kids. She was really funny about asking me how much each thing cost and then if I had enough money for that. I suppose that is because we have been trying to explain how fortunate we are and how some people are less fortunate. On our way out of the mall, we put some change in the Salvation Army bucket, and I tried to explain again why we were doing that. After my explanation, Olivia said, "So you mean for people who don't have enough jewelry, they can ask for money for jewelry?" Not exactly where I was going with that thought!

While we were at the mall, we ran into one of Olivia's classmates as we were heading for the train. I had planned to ride with the kids, but they were happy to go with Riley! They did a double ride because Riley's Grandma insisted since I accidentally paid for Riley on the first ride. Oh, what fun they had!

You'll notice that Olivia is in a summer dress. It was over 70 degrees Thursday and when Olivia picked that out of her closet, I just went with it. You notice that Leo's shoes are looking a little ragged? Those are the only pair he will keep on his feet. And he is in that terrible stroller because we had those packages to bring in and we were having a rough listening day! But, Olivia did send her letter to Santa, which only listed a Ring-Around-the-Rosy doll for Leo and some Sophia dress-up things for her. The rest of the letter was just chatting with Santa! She cracks me up! We didn't attempt Santa since we are having breakfast with him next weekend!

We also stopped by the ceramics place on the way home and used a gift card that a friend had given Olivia for her birthday. I wanted the kids to paint some ornaments for our tree and I was afraid we wouldn't get to it if we didn't just do it. So, we did, and it was fun! And they didn't break anything! Of course the colors Olivia chose were not Christmasy and Leo's ornament was a gloppy mess, but they were their own. I really didn't fuss over them. I'll be interested to see how they turn out!

And we went to McWane again yesterday for more Christmas magic! We love the science center! I only took pictures of something that wasn't there before. They both got a kick out of Santa's sleigh! 

And today, Olivia and I had some Mommy-daughter time when we went to the Tuscaloosa Community Dancer's production of The Nutcracker! This was a favorite of mine growing up, and my dad took the four of us kids many times. I LOVE that Olivia wanted to go after hearing about it at her ballet class. I was a bit nervous that she wouldn't make it through the whole show, but she did great! We got there early to meet the dancers, do some little art activities, and eat cookies. The wait was very long because some of the seats were double sold--including our's--and so the show started late. But, our seats were great--center section aisle seats. Olivia's eyes lit up with all the dancers, she giggled at some of the silliness, she asked questions about what each scene was, and she clapped for each part of the performance. Truly, it was wonderful! She asked me if we could go again next year. Hopefully the whole family can go next year. The dancers were really amazing! I didn't get any pictures at the theatre, but we took a few before at home.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving! And Happy Birthday, Nicholas!

For the first time, we had visitors on Thanksgiving! And that made it extra special since it was Nicholas's birthday that day, too! I was thrilled that Nicholas's mom, Jane--who the kids call Mutti, and Uncle Chuck came down on Wednesday night. Since we had just put the kids to bed when they arrived, we had a little visiting time right away.

On Thursday morning, it was birthday time! Of course, the kids helped!

While I cooked and Nicholas took a birthday nap, Mutti and Uncle Chuck played with the kids.

I don't think Leo understands the point of "Don't Break the Ice," but he sure had fun playing it!

 Here is Leo wearing that crown I made for him, but he wouldn't wear on Halloween. It must have been cooler since Mutti put it on him!

Taking the cornucopia down from the mantle to decorate the table.

Proud of her table setting and decorating. (Dad, forgive me. I have so much good china, silver, and stemware thanks to you, but I was afraid that the kids would break it! In a couple of years, I am telling myself, we will use it!)

I don't know why I didn't take pictures of the feast I prepared. I usually do. We had a 16 pound turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, green beans, corn casserole, cranberry sauce, a pumpkin pie and a German chocolate cake.

Happy birthday, Nicholas! You'll never be as old as I am!

And thanks to Mutti for bringing each of the kids a bird! The perfect pretend pet that Olivia has been wanting!

Uncle Chuck and Leo got along famously! Leo talks about him everyday now.

Mutti brought the guitars she got for the kids in July, and they LOVED playing with them. Especially Leo. We had some major concerts!

Guess who was excited to be sitting at the counter with Uncle Chuck! He's got two thumbs and his name rhymes with Tio.

Friday, we put up the tree. Olivia had to have a Christmasy dress on.


More hanging out.

More decorating.

What a fun holiday! Please come back next year, Mutti and Uncle Chuck!