Friday, December 28, 2012

thumbs up!

Our Nicholas is a bit of a tender-hearted little guy.  It takes him a long time to warm up to new places and people, and sometimes he refuses to even go down the slides or on the swings at the park.  
So we wondered what Disneyland would be like for him.
We talked about the rides for months in advance, watched videos of the rides online, and did as much as we could to prep him for being a big brave boy.  

We could NOT take him on any rides with darkness or loud noises.  
Winnie the Pooh's Grand Adventures--not a good choice.  
It's a Small World--frightening beyond belief.  
Even the Jungle Cruise Riverboats was a bit iffy.  

Rides in the sunshine, however, were perfect.  Especially if they went round and round.  So we stuck to those and the trains.  And we got a lot of happy wiggles, excited giggles, and the signature "Thumbs up" smile.

 We waited in line for almost 20 minutes for the rocketships, and he loved every second of it, laughing and squealing. 
He wanted to go again.
Mommy did not.  Too much spinning. And line-waiting.

There's a carousel in California Adventure Park and another one in Disneyland.  Between the two of them, Nicholas rode the merry-go-round six times in one day.
In line for the carousel.  Thumbs up! 
Sun in eyes, sticker on left pant leg, 
and he has to go potty. 
(My son has a superhuman "holding it" capacity, but that doesn't stop him from doing the potty dance when he gets really desperate.)

The safety instructions are a little too loud.

 Dumbo (Or "bumbo" as Nicholas says) was also loud. Fun, but loud.
 Watching the lights on "It's a Small World" turn on? Thumbs Up!

 Nicholas rode the monorail twice, and the second time, Grandma got him a seat up at the very front, where the driver sits!  
At one point, Nicholas said "Choo choo!" and the driver sounded the train's horn too.  So awesome!
Teacups? Big thumbs up! 

 Josh in line with Nicholas to go on the teacups. Again.  
So as long as we kept him out of the dark, loud rides, Disneyland got a thumbs up from Nicholas!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve

 Hot chocolate, baking, cleaning, shoveling snow (twice!), early morning grocery shopping, Mason (Kent's brother) coming over, children singing Jingle Bells all day, Christmas music listening, cinnamon candle burning.
 We had a fancy Christmas Eve dinner of roast pork, mashed potatoes, homemade bread, broccoli and corn, blackberry raspberry jello salad, and martinellis, of course.

 Making cookies to leave for Santa. We went with the pre-bought dough today.  Had to keep it simple.

We bought a Mickey Mouse tree ornament last week. Nicholas was pretty excited to hang it up.

Kent found a place online that would make a personalized recorded message from Santa.  Nicholas listened to Santa talk just to him, telling him to be good and go to bed so Santa could bring his presents.  Nicholas jumped off of Kent's lap and ran upstairs without even saying a word, tucking himself into bed.  

 I brought him back down, though. We had to get a picture of the cookies we left for Santa!  This picture took about 20 takes, because Nicholas was singing "Jingle Bells" again and would not stop singing or wiggling, and Ellie was stealing cookies off the plate.

Crazy eyes excited!

I took advantage of probably the last year I have before my children are too smart for me to write a thank-you note from Santa in my own handwriting on cards from our kitchen drawer. Santa is pretty easy to explain this year.  
Nicholas believes anything, and he believes it readily and with enthusiasm.

After our dinner we gathered around the piano. Kent read Luke 2 and I tried to show the kids what he was reading with their little Fisher Price nativity set.  

My children have incredibly short attention spans. 
In between verses Ellie would stand up and walk to the window and lick it.  Nicholas would kiss me, roll around on the ground.  Ellie stole the cow and helped it "moo."  

And when we sang "Angels We Have Heard on High," Ellie added an angelic chorus of tinkling on the upper keys of the piano.  

Our Christmas Eve couldn't have been more perfect. 

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a Good Night!

Friday, December 21, 2012

three year old + camera + ferris wheel

I have lots to share about our trip to Disneyland and California.  To start, I'll show you just a few of the 100+ pictures that resulted from me giving the point and shoot to Nicholas to keep him happy during our long, cold, windy ride on the ferris wheel.

And in case you were wondering, he's asked for (and will get) a camera for Christmas.

Thursday, December 20, 2012


 A bit of a disaster with the painted handprint craft we attempted...I laughed so hard and Nicholas just kept saying "Why are you laughing? WHY are you laughing, Mom??"

After we'd been married for almost a year I discovered that Kent's favorite cookie, and an Andersen Christmas must-have, are these gingersnaps.  

Cream together
¾ cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg
4 Tb molasses
Sift and add
1 1/2 to 2 cups flour
½ tsp salt
1-2 Tb ground ginger
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
Roll in balls then roll in sugar- flatten with a fork and bake at 350 for 8 minutes or less.

For Kent and his brothers, we have to double the ginger--to 3 or 4 Tb.  They like it so spicy. Like numb-tongue spicy.  I usually just use 1 Tb ginger, bake half the batch, then add another Tb or more to just the second half of the batch for Kent. 

 My kitchen helper approved.  He had some of the less spicy batch.

 Got these in the mail.  I accidentally ordered 240 gift tags. (There was no clear indicator that they actually came in groups of 12. I meant to order 20...) I had a 90% off coupon code, thankfully.  So for $19 I got enough gift tags to last me the rest of my life.  Maybe no one will notice the picture of my children that gets more and more outdated each year?? 
 Some friends from across the street came over to decorate Christmas cookies with us.  The children ate more frosting and sprinkles than they put on the cookies, so it was a great success!
And that green chain in the corner?  It's our sanity-saver.  Nicholas understands that every morning he gets to take off a chain, and it isn't Christmas until we get to the ceiling.  

 Oh just some shopping...
 I ordered new compact strollers for our Disneyland trip.  The day they came was just as good as Christmas.  The kids played in their strollers for a solid two hours. Who knew?
 Neighborhood Christmas gifts
I got out our candles one night for dinner and it became a new tradition.  In December, we eat by candlelight-breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The best part? Blowing them out after our meal is done.