Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Brand New Year

2010 is almost here. It doesn't really feel like New Year's Eve to me, but that has more to do with spending the evening watching football than the fact that I'm old and home rather than young and out.

I am excited that Clay and Carey and the kids are here for a visit! I wish ALL the cousins could get together more often, but we take what we can get!

Anyway, I know the blog has been severely neglected lately, but I make this New Year's promise to you: the first week of 2010 will bring you lots of new posts about all our Christmas activities, complete with loads of pictures!

Until then, a belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Reagan's Past Life

I was throwing a beanbag back & forth with Reagan this afternoon and told her that KayKay had made that beanbag for me when I was a little girl. She then promptly informed me that when SHE was a little girl she had played with the beanbag and thrown it to Baby KayKay.

I'm sure Baby KayKay enjoyed it!

These kids come up with the most interesting things sometimes!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhon

Friday, December 18, 2009

Naughty or Nice?

Once upon a time, two parents took four preschoolers to see Santa.

It had all the makings of a disaster: the kids had no nap, I forgot to bring any drinks or snacks, it was FREEZING cold but we somehow left the house with no jackets, we ate late AT A RESTAURANT something we never do, and the kids were up way past their normal with-a-nap bedtime.

But God smiled upon us this night, and a Christmas miracle happened! The kids were WONDERFUL!!! No one was as surprised as I was!

We went to see Santa at the Bass Pro Shops (because it’s free!) so we had the extra entertainment of looking at the fish in the big fish tank and all the stuffed animals that decorate the store. They LOVE fish tanks! (Note: DO NOT BUY US ANY FISH!!!)


The line to see Santa was longer than we expected, and Jim wanted to just forget it, but there was a train set nearby that the kids were quite content to watch, so I insisted we stay, at least as long as they were behaving.


Once the line put us too far away to continue standing by the trains, we managed to distract the kids by pointing out all the things you could see in the store, and then had to get a little more creative: What colors do you see on the Christmas tree? Who can count all the red lights? Now let’s count the green lights!

Finally, we reached the front of the line. Jim and I had decided to do the kids in pairs so each child could sit in Santa’s lap. Jim went first with Jonathan and Zachary. Here you can almost catch the look of surprise when Santa found out this pair was half of a set of quads!


Then Santa insisted on having all four of the kids at once. He was a WONDERFUL Santa, calling them each by name and giving them lots of attention. He insisted on taking a picture with all four, and then also with 2 and 2, so everyone could sit in his lap.


Of course, not everyone was WILLING to sit in Santa’s lap! Zachary didn’t even really want to be this close. He wouldn’t stand beside Santa for the picture, but agreed to stand “beside Reagan”! Ha! So we came away with three free pictures with Santa, none of which are seen here because I haven’t scanned them into the computer yet. We took these ourselves.


Santa was great, and he made a really big deal over us. I felt kind of bad for all the people standing in line behind us, waiting for us to hurry and wrap the quad party up!

After Santa, we went across the way to the Smokies Stadium where Shadrack’s has a second musical lights display this year. The first one is out in Farragut. It was amazing to see all the lights flashing in time to the music, and the kids really enjoyed it as long as we kept moving. They didn’t understand why Mom and Dad would want to stop the car and just sit and watch the lights. No meltdowns, but a fair amount of whining.

After that, it was LATE and we hadn’t even had dinner yet! On a whim we decided to brave the Cracker Barrel. We’ve been there once before, but that was on the way to the beach this past summer and I was sick, so it wasn’t our very best experience. This time, it was GREAT!

It helped that it was late in the evening and not crowded. We were seated immediately and got our food quickly. We were also able to snag some extra peg-jump games from nearby empty tables so everyone could have their own. The kids amused themselves forever taking the pegs out, putting them back in, and lining them up in rows on the table. They were SO GOOD! In fact, two different people from other tables took the time to tell us how impressed they were with our kids! Wow!

And the final bonus: they went to sleep SO FAST!!

What a great night!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Headed for Christmas at Full Speed

We have been SO BUSY!!! The last few weeks are really a blur of shopping, decorating, baking, and Christmasing in general. It’s been difficult for me to find time to sit down and share with all of you. This morning, however, I MAKING time, and I hope you will enjoy a few pics of the things we’ve been up to.

The festivities are extra fun this year because the kids are so much more aware and have their own expectations. They know Santa is coming. They couldn’t wait to put up the tree! Christmas day can’t get here fast enough!

One thing that is helping them somewhat to have a concept of “how many days until Christmas” is a countdown chain they made at preschool. It’s a chain of numbered constructions paper links hanging from a little Christmas tree, and every day you remove one link so you are that much closer to the big day. Additionally, I stuck a smiley face on the day we leave for Bud and KayKay’s house, so we’re counting down to both. After we remove a link, we count how many days are left. I’ll try to get a pic soon.

One of the first things we did this month to prepare for Christmas was put up my grandmother’s old aluminum tree. This was the first year I put it up for the kids, and they really loved helping out. I loved doing it because it brought back happy memories of all the years Jodie and I put that tree up at my grandmother’s house. She always saved it for us! We got out the old color wheel and everything!



The next day, I helped the kids make ornaments for it since we hadn’t yet gotten down all the boxes of decorations from the attic.


We had planned on trying out a real tree this year but the weather and the kids’ impatience conspired against this idea, and we put up the artificial one instead. Here is Jonathan helping Dad put the star on top.


We’ve even gotten to play in the snow this month, something I feel certain has never happened since I’ve lived here in Knoxville!




We even built a snowman! What a fun morning! We played and played and then went inside and had hot chocolate! Well, except for Jonathan who refuses all things chocolate. Sometimes I think he must have accidentally gotten switched with some other child in the NICU! He certainly didn’t get this from me!

Additionally, we have also written letters to Santa, taken the kids shopping for stockings to finally replace the “Baby’s First Christmas” ones we’ve been using, watched Christmas specials (Rudolph and the Grinch are this year's favs), baked 10 dozen cookies for a cookie swap (that was me, not the kids), visited Santa himself, taken Christmas card pics and ordered the cards, and looked at lots of Christmas lights in neighborhoods and one professional show! Whew! And Christmas isn’t even here yet!

I do have pics of the Santa visit, just not with me at the moment, so you can look forward to those and the story that goes with them. Here are some thoughts to keep in mind…How do you entertain 4 preschoolers while waiting in line to see Santa? Who was the ONE child who refused to sit in Santa’s lap? What happens when JonZReaTom doesn’t get a nap and then goes out in public? To a restaurant even? There’s just so much to tell!

Merry Christmas!

Jonathan Update

Just to fill everyone in…as you know from the previous post, Jonathan had an unexpected allergic reaction on Thanksgiving that prompted a trip to the ER and banishment from Granny’s house until the mystery allergen could be discovered.

Well, we have since been to the allergist, and Jonathan is indeed allergic to CATS! There is infinite sadness in my heart over this, as I am a huge cat-lover and entertained great dreams of the cats that would one day grace our home. Alas. At least for now, it is not to be. Maybe Jonathan will grow out of this allergy one day. A mom can hope!

In the meantime, to prevent future ER trips, we will keep special meds for him handy at all times. We will never again travel without them. And in preparation for our upcoming trip to Bud and KayKay’s house (a house shared with a cat), Jonathan is on a daily inhaled steroid which we will continue until we leave Memphis.

We anticipate no further problems, hopefully! I’ll keep you posted!