Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas at Grammy's

For Christmas this year, we loaded up the car and headed to Texas to spend the holiday with John's family. The car was a bit crowded this year, with the addition of Harley, but we were blessed with good weather, and good travelers, so it was a fairly easy trip.

It was just us and Grammy for a few days, which the boys loved.
But when their cousin showed up, they were ecstatic.
Mommy was well spoiled by Grammy, since I wasn't allowed to do much. And all the boys loved having all the adults to read and play with them.
They even got a music lesson. =)
All that activity will wear a guy out...
The highlight of Mommy's week though, was when Grammy decided to make cookies with all three grandsons. Much hilarity ensued.

We got smart and took the clothes off for the frosting of the cookies the nest morning, but that didn't make it any less amusing. Especially when it was decided that eating trumped frosting.
Timothy insisted that the cookies were for Santa Claus, but I managed to convince him that Santa only needed about 6, and he could let his Daddy and uncles sample the rest. The selected 6 were put aside, and set out carefully right before bed.
Christmas day itself was great. Thankfully, only Timothy was old enough to understand that we were supposed to open presents right away, so there wasn't a problem waiting until after church. Once that began though, happy chaos reigned.
The boys made out like bandits, and our car trip home was overstuffed and almost comically crowded. But for me, the memories are the best part. =)

Christmas preparations

It's been a busy month here in "Florida Tallahassee" (To quote Timothy), but it's been good. Here's a few highlights of what we've been up to. =)

We began our Christmas celebrations the day after Thanksgiving, with the annual search for the perfect Christmas Tree. This year we found a tree farm outside of town, and had a great time traipsing all over on our search. Well, most of us. Andrew wasn't so sure.

Once we got the tree home and lit, the excitement really began. The boys loved getting out all the ornaments, and I loved seeing their excitement. Every year they are more and more involved, and it's so much fun.
Once we got the tree up though, I found myself explaining again and again that no, tomorrow was NOT Christmas. We finally made a countdown chain to save Mommy's sanity. Gluing a paper chain together, and then letting the boys take one link off every day, really helped Timothy grasp how far we were from Christmas. Andrew didn't really grasp the concept, but he liked taking the links apart.

Oh, and our December may have included a picnic or two... =)
Quite by chance, I heard about Tallahassee's annual Winterfest, so we bundled everyone up and headed downtown to check it out. Of course, by "bundled up", I mean sweatshirts, which were only worn for part of the evening. I could really get used to this weather. =)

There were LOTS of people downtown, but we made it in time for the tree lighting, and then took a stroll through candy cane lane before the parade.

Oh, and there was a firetruck. =)
The parade was fun, but really long. tired little boys were done before it was, but it was still a fun adventure overall. We'll definitely check it out again next year.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Announcing a new addition!

The baby isn't due for another few months, but in the meantime, we've added a new member to our family.
Meet Harley. He's about 5, mixed breed, and very well trained. All the boys in the house, big and small, are absolutely thrilled with this development. Some friends needed more room in their house, and needed a good home for one of their dogs, so we took him for a trial weekend. Doesn't look like he'll be leaving anytime soon. =)

*Mommy might be a little more excited about THIS new addition,
since the other one worked sporadically and kept burning my baked goods, (this one makes absolutely perfect cookies!)but has to confess that Harley is a sweetie, even for someone who's not really a dog person... =)


For Halloween this year, I dug deep for my creative bone, and went with a Dr Seuss theme. The boys are enthralled with all things Dr Seuss at the moment, especially the Cat in the Hat, so I found a hat and a few wigs, dyed some pants, and Wa-la:

Turned out pretty good, don't you think? I have dreams of getting a sewing machine and making costumes every year, but since I'm not at that skill (or equipment) level yet, I made do. Felt circle make nice labels, and some RIT dye made the clothes close enough in color to work. The boys loved it. Even Andrew stayed still for the make-up application. (He was not so cooperative in the removal, but you can't have everything.)
I wasn't sure what to do with my costume, since I wasn't about to make a fish costume. Then a friend suggested a costume for my belly instead, and "Thing 3" was born. Well, not yet, but it doubled nicely as an announcement for those at church who hadn't yet heard. =)
And look! I got another family photo! =)

For those of us left at home....

I was also a little worried about how Andrew would handle his big brother being gone every afternoon, but I needn't have. He really seems to enjoy this quiet time to himself, or to spend with Mommy.

We've run errands,
with the occasional surprise treat. =)

We spend hours doing floor puzzles, which can sometimes wear us both out. =)

And then sometimes, he's just silly:

His imagination is really showing through now. The other day, he put his fingers in his mouth, and pretended they were walrus tusks. And he's talking up a storm. I guess not having your personal mouthpiece around garners a need for that. =) Grunts are still his preferred form of communication, but he's learning words accomplish things so much faster, which I'm grateful for. =)

Of course, he's SO excited when Timothy gets home. Timothy loves to teach him what he's learning, so as an added bonus, A's also learning his letters. He's nowhere near perfect, but it's fun to listen. =)

As for me, my morning sickness seems to be finally over, so I'm usually able to make it the whole day without wanting to fall over. They boys keep me busy. =)

We did have a bit of excitement in early September, when I was rear-ended right after dropping T off at school.
Thankfully Andrew and I got away with only mild whiplash, and we do have our car back, good as new. Although, I have to confess, driving around a minivan with all that room, but it's nice to have our car back too. =)

School Days

Timothy has really been enjoying preschool this year. I was a bit nervous about sending him off every day, but FL has a voluntary pre-kindergarten (VPK) program for 15 hours a week, and we decided to give it a shot.

He has LOVED it, and I have to admit, it has been pretty good for him. He only has 8 other kids in his class, is always talking about what they are doing. All the stuff I'd been working on with him over the last several months have finally started clicking, (which is nice to see) and he's learning so much more.

Every week or so, they work on a new letter or the alphabet, and the teacher sends home a bag for them to fill with things that start with that letter. It's sometimes a stretch, but he loves the hunt. =) (He's also learned what a dictionary is during these hunts)

He also is constantly telling me about stories they read, and rhymes they learn. Also, thanks to the daily calendar, he can now count to 30 (whereas before, getting to 15 seemed hard, no matter what I did), tell me what day it is, and is developing a sense of time. It's been fun to see what he's learning, and build on it here at home. We're working on telling time, expanding on his knowledge of letters and sounds... and pretty much turning life into a teaching moment. I've enjoyed it, even if at sometimes I'm at a loss to respond to what comes out of his mouth.

About 6 weeks after school started, his class had their open house, and T got to bring home his work from the past several weeks. He was to proud. Here's a shot of our little man and his display. =)

So, may be school days won't be as bad as this Mommy has feared. =)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Day at the Beach. (The first of many to come...)

About a week after we arrived in Florida, we finally made it to the beach. The beach is sadly a couple of hours away, so we can't go that often, but I wanted to introduce the boys to the wonders of the seashore before school started and it was harder to get away. We couldn't unpack more anyway, since the house was being painted, so it was the perfect time to run away for some fun in the sun.

We left early, and got there just as it was getting hot. We found a beautiful, empty stretch of sand, and set up the beach umbrella. Then, it time to explore. The boys loved it! Timothy loved finding shells, and was really excited when I told him that Santa did too. (My Dad is already one of his heroes) Andrew loved the waves. He would lay down and just let them carry him in. So cute!

We tried to interest them in the other usual things you do at the beach, like sandcastles,

and burying Daddy,

But what they really loved, was filling their buckets with water and dumping them out just farther than the tide was reaching.

This kept them busy for quite a while... =)

We had a nice picnic lunch,

and went for a walk. We saw seagulls, and crabs, and of course, lots more shells. we brought home a pretty impressive collection for a four year-old. =)

Andrew eventually got sleepy, so we put him in the car for a nap, and drove around exploring the island. St George Island is simply beautiful, and fairly quiet. I think we'll really enjoy coming here as often as we can.

After naptime, we headed back to the beach, where the tide was coming in, and proved all kinds of fun for little men.

Then, after an outdoor dinner at one of the island's few restaurants, we headed home just as the sun was setting. It was a great day, and for me, finally felt like we were in Florida. =)