Thursday, January 31, 2013

So Far This Year

If I had to name the girls' favorite Christmas gifts, I'd have to say the princess dresses that they got from "Santa".  They spend as much time as possible playing dress up, and if at all possible, in those dresses.  

Dress up can be combined with pretty much anything--which is why they spend so much time in the laundry. Santa was a smart fellow.  Rather than the flimsy costume dresses, he chose nightgown dresses and they are much more durable.  This is a very, very good thing.  Now, if only he'd had the fore sight to get duplicates...

We've also spent some time playing with Aunt Bekah and little James, who isn't so little anymore.  He's almost as big as Kaylie--they now wear the same diaper size, and the same shoe size.  We haven't spent as much time with as we usually do, though, because I am now working part time at JoAnn's.  
It was a decision prompted mainly by two things.  The first was a desire to contribute to our family's finances, to give us a bit more wiggle room.  The second was for my mental stability.
Really, that's overstating it, but I was definitely stagnating.  Going back to work has helped to revitalize me, to get me moving.  It's a simple thing, really, but it has been so good for me to get out and interact with other adults, and to do something that I know I'm good at.  And moreover, I have to keep doing it, for as long as I want to keep the job.  If I'm feeling all "meh", I can't just not go, and that's a good thing. 
We're all still adjusting to the change.  I'm working evenings and weekends, when Brandon is home, so the girls aren't going to a babysitter.  They gave me way too many hours at first--my first weekend I had back-to-back shifts, closing Saturday and then opening (7am!) Sunday.  I didn't even realize that I'd need to work the following morning until I was gettting my stuff together to go home Saturday night, and I kind of freaked out a bit when I realized that after not seeing my girls all night, I wasn't going to get to see them the next morning, either.  Now the schedule has been straightened out, and I'm working right around 20 hours a week, with no back-to-back shifts, and it's a lot better.  

I was supposed to work last Friday evening, but they called that afternoon to tell me that I didn't need to come in, because it had been so slow.  It worked out really well, because we ended up getting 3 inches of snow that evening and I was only too happy that I didn't need to go out in it.  And, since I was home, I got to go out and play in the snow with Brandon and the kids.

Now, dealing with snow is not exactly my favorite thing.  I'd normally rate it somewhere in the vicinity of getting a cavity filled, on the scale of things I'd like to do.  But, it was the only real snow we've gotten all winter, it didn't last long, and it was the perfect opportunity to play and the girls loved it.  
There's more (apparently, January has been an eventful month) but I think this is enough for now.  For one thing, I don't have pictures for any of the other stuff, and for another, well, it's 10:30 and I still haven't packed Bran's lunch for tomorrow.  :)  Goodnight!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Christmas 2012

Brandon's parents came up to spend Christmas with us this year, since we didn't go down to Florida.  I certainly missed seeing all of the people I normally see when I'm there, but I've got to tell you, it was really nice to be able to just relax and enjoy the holiday at home.  

We took the girls to the little neighborhood playground on a nice afternoon a few days before Christmas.  Naturally, it provided lots of opportunity for taking pictures, and I took full advantage--but this time, I was working in full manual.  I've decided it's high time that I really learn how to use this camera, but as you can see, I haven't got it quite right.  Oh well, practice, practice, practice, right?

Elora got this doll from Gigi for Christmas two years ago, but hasn't really played with her much until this year.  Her name is Dolly Francis, and it was an absolute must that she accompany us to the playground that day.  They dressed Dolly in her warmest outfit, so she wouldn't be cold, and then Elora took her all over that playground. The best was the teeter totter.

On Christmas Eve, Elora and I made chocolate chip cookies (Elora's choice) for Santa.  She helped me with every bit of it that didn't involve the oven, and was so proud of her contribution.  And if she licked her finger after every cookie she dropped onto the tray, well, I can't say that I blame her.  (Besides, I doubt that any germs survived baking.)  

It was almost bed time, so Gigi read The Night Before Christmas and the Story of Christmas to them between batches.  Then we set out a plate with cookies and milk for Santa, and tucked the girls into bed.  

It took Elora a while to settle down and go to sleep, naturally, but once I was sure she was asleep, I pulled out all the gifts and got everything set up for the next morning.  I'd had to keep them all hidden, because Kaylie would unwrap any presents that I tried to out ahead of time, but it made for an impressive transformation.  The unwrapped gifts on the hearth were the only ones from "Santa", the rest are all to and from the family.

When Elora woke up the next morning, she'd forgotten that it was Christmas--which was good, because Brandon and Kaylie were still asleep.  We kept her distracted in the den, away from the tree and gifts, so that she wouldn't remember until we were ready.  

When we were all awake, we "remembered" that it was Christmas, and went to see what Santa had brought.  "He" left a thank-you note for the cookies, as well as their gifts.  They each got and a book, a princess doll and matching dress, and Elora got matching undies too.

They were all a big hit!  We spent a good hour just playing with the things from Santa before we moved on to the mountain under the tree.  When we were all done, and after I had started cleaning up, this is what the living room looked like:

My children might be a wee bit spoiled, but don't tell anyone, please.  We spent the rest of the day enjoying our gifts, and one another's company.  We watched our new movies (see Cinderella on the TV, above?), read the new books, and erupted the new volcano.

We finished the day with a delicious dinner of salad and snow crab and twice baked potatoes, and it was wonderful.  I think we'll be doing it this way from now on, and plan to visit Florida during the summer or something.  Hopefully, next year, Mom and Wade or my dad can come have Christmas with us!  We'll just rotate.  :)

I hope everyone else had a great Christmas, too!  Happy New Year!