Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Schwartz's vs Christmas 2013

We certainly had a very non traditional Christmas this year.  It's a Schwartz year which means we were supposed to spend the night and Ma and Pa Schwartz's Christmas Eve and wake up and do Christmas morning there.  However, I am really suffering with excruciating hip pain and it is at its worse at the end of the day and first thing in the morning so I'd like to avoid people during those times.  Plus, the thought of sleeping on a futon when I can barely find a comfortable position on my temper pedic mattress sent chills down my spin.  Not to mention that I basically cry as I limb walk to the bathroom a few times a night and have to hold myself up on every wall and counter space I pass.  So I asked Chris if it'd be possible for us to bow out of Christmas Eve this year.  He timidly asked his parents and we were both very surprised to find out that Adam and Melissa had already backed out of Christmas Eve celebrations so there weren't any Christmas Eve plans.

So for the first time in our kids lives we'd spend Christmas at home doing our own traditions, leaving out our own cookies for Santa, and waking up in our own beds.  It was wonderful!  Different, but wonderful.  

Chris got them up and kept them in Sarah's room so I could get ready to take those glorious pictures of them seeing the tree for the first time with presents.  It didn't go so well.
Sarah just gave me the "Mom, why are you being a paparazzi?" eye.

And Cody flat out didn't want his picture taken.  In fact, he's saying, "I no want picture!"

After that they rushed over to their stockings that Santa fills and found their (unwrapped) present Santa left.
Sarah got the Singing Ariel doll she wanted.  It's all she asked for and as much I really didn't want Santa to bring it because I could tell by the looks it will drive me nuts she really didn't ask for anything else.  How could I say no to her one request.  And yes, it was the most annoying toy in the house until Auntie Cam's gifts arrived.

And new socks!  

Santa also brought Cody the only thing he asked for, the Planes movie.  We watched it together after breakfast and everyone loved it.

Santa left Cody a couple of new trains in his stocking.

And new socks!  (I might have still been cramming his foot into 3-6 month size socks.)

I am really proud of us this Christmas.  Chris and I talked about it and we wanted to keep it simple.  Our kids our young.  They already have more toys then they can play with.  And the thought of buying things just to buy things drives me nuts.  I'm seriously not that person.  So we decided 3 gifts would be sufficient aside from a few small stocking stuffers.  One from Santa, and 2 from mommy and daddy.  

We got Sarah some My Little Ponies.  
She was also a present opening pro opening one at a time and showing me so I could take a picture.  

We got Cody a cool set of construction duplos.  

What's in the bag?

Cody opening his cool new toy.  We were all really excited about this one.

Studying it!
It's a hot wheels track that attaches to the wall.  I love it!  You can buy expansions for it and they all hang on the wall with command strips.  No clutter on my floors.  Doesn't have to be cleaned up after they are done playing cause it's stuck to the wall.  Fantastic.  I can see him getting a set for his next couple of birthdays and Christmases. 

Cody also got his potty training pack just like we agreed to.  A pack of big boy undies and a bag of M&Ms as big as his head.  He was no happy.  He quickly threw them aside and said, "I no wear these!"

Opening presents from Auntie Em and Uncle David.

Cody bringing me my present from Chris.  I only wanted one thing and I got it.  The dvd collection of Roger's and Hammersteins.  

Chris looking at what I got him.

I had a key chain made for him from Formia.  I scanned in the drawing Sarah did of their daddy daughter date and had it cut and engraved out of titanium. 

Sarah showing off her new cowgirl costume.  She even got red boots.

Playing with the cool new train track from Uncle Pete and Aunt Elizabeth.

How many Schwartz men does it take to set up a hot wheels track?

Monday night, Vickie called and told us Christmas at the Schwartz house was canceled because 2 of Adam and Melissa's kids had the flu.  I'm definitely not a fan of cross contamination especially since even though I make Chris and the kids get the flu shot I never do.  However, I really couldn't fathom not spending Christmas with family.  That's what you do.  Christmas isn't about the presents it's about being together with your family.  So open presents, don't open presents, I don't care.  But what I do care about is gathering together and sharing a meal with your family on Christmas day.  It's a Schwartz year, therefore we needed to spend time with Schwartz family.  So Christmas Eve, we were those people shopping at Kroger getting all the stuff to make a real Christmas dinner.  On Christmas, Chris smoked a ham, and I made an apple pie.  We had other fixings too but those were the main stars and we had Dennis and Vickie out for Christmas dinner.  Again, it was not our traditional way of doing Schwartz Christmas, but it was better than not spending any time with them on Christmas.  I'm glad we were able to enjoy some time with them.  The kids loved showing grandma and grandpa the new toys they got.  And I'm pretty sure Dennis liked the hot wheels track as much as Cody and Chris did.  

Now I'm exhausted, after 13 days of Christmas activities, it's time for me to take a day off.  Tomorrow Chris can take care of the kids and then we'll tackle taking Christmas decorations down.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Schwartz's vs Cookie Creations

On the 11th and 12th day of Christmas we make and decorate cookies.  Is it a bit of a cop out that I break it up over 2 days...perhaps.  But by this time I'm just exhausted so it is what it is.

On Monday after dinner while Chris was bathing the kids I prepped the sugar cookie dough.  I have a really good and easy recipe and I LOVE sugar cookies especially with cream cheese frosting.  So I thought we'd make 2 double batches of sugar cookies to have enough to eat, share, and satisfy my sugar monster cravings.

As I was making the first batch I kept doubling everything and as that worked out it mostly meant 2.  2 eggs, 2 tablespoons of this, 2 teaspoons of that and so on and so forth.  When I got to the flour I was on a 2 roll, so when it said 2 cups of flour I forgot to double that.  Whoops.  We went to roll out the first batch to press cookies and it was a mess.  I was super confused I've never had that problem before.  I'm wondering if I need to chill the dough first even though I've NEVER done that with my dough before.  I told the kids we'd have to make cookies in the morning and Sarah was heart broken.  She thought she did something wrong and I had to explain it was mommy's fault and that I felt bad and I made the dough wrong.  She gave me a hug and said it was ok.

So as they went to go get their pjs on I'm looking over the recipe, figure out my mistake, toss it back in the mixer add the other 2 cups of flour and victoriously call them back into the kitchen.

Daddy showing them how to press the cookie cutters down right.

Sarah got the hang of it pretty quick.

Cody could do it when supervised.

Otherwise he just did this...

Sarah loved cutting the cookies and stayed up after Cody went to bed to help me finish the first batch of dough.

Tuesday we planned a play date with Emily's family to help decorate the cookies.  I usually stick to just frosting and sprinkles but since Emily started a gingerbread house tradition with her family this year she came loaded with other candies and goodies to put on the cookies.  The kids were very excited about those additions to the decorations.

Sarah and Cody

Sarah was very intense making sure she got the sprinkles right where she wanted them.

Henry is adorable.

Having a good time.  

Most of Sarah's involved drawing happy faces on them until she ran out of gel.

Auntie Em and her Santa Gingerbread man.

Cody just ate the candy for the most part.

Cody bailed first from the cookie decorating with Henry shortly behind him.  Sarah hung out for a while but eventually tired leaving it to the adults who got pretty creative with it.  Emily made the Staypuff Marshmallow guy from Ghostbusters 2.  

Chris made the Avengers.  He also added Director Fury but he's not pictured here.

After dinner and baths it was time for each of them to pick a cookie to leave out for Santa, and snuggle with Chris on the couch while he read Twas the Night Before Christmas to them.

After we were sure they were good and asleep we finally got around to wrapping presents.  Ha!  And put them out.  Apparently, Santa doesn't wrap his presents.  I did not know this.  It's been far too long for me to remember this detail but that's how Chris wants to play it.  He muttered something about how why would Santa wrap his gift in the same paper as the rest that mom and dad bought and the handwriting being the same.  He must have been an over analytical child.  But as I have no opinion on the matter and that's one less gift per kid that needs to be wrapped I went with it.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Schwartz's vs Christmas Movie Night

On the 10th Day of Christmas, we watched Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas and ate snowman poop.

Today is Sarah's birthday so I knew we'd need a nice easy activity today because we'd be doing birthday things after nap time.  So we planned on cuddling on the couch and watching a movie together after dinner.  Sarah is obsessed with the Curious George Christmas movie right now but Chris managed to talk her into something else.  We were hoping Netflix would have the Muppet Christmas movie but no luck there.

When I brought out their snacks and announced it was snowman poop they both said, "Ewww yuck!"  But there was no fooling them as soon as they saw it Cody said, "it's marshmallows."  To which Sarah concurred, "Yeah mom, this isn't snowman poop it's just marshmallows."
Sarah looks a bit sugar crazed in this picture.  It's been one of those days.

I glanced over during the movie and saw this and my heart grew three sizes.  They love to snuggle with Chris.

Ho ho ho! 
Only 2 days to go!

The Schwartz's vs Sarah's Turning 4

Dear Sarah, 

Today you turned 4 years old!  This year has gone by so quickly.  I can't really think of any huge developmental milestones you hit.  You were done potty training by the time you turned 3.  I guess in this year you did night train yourself but that was really early in 2013 that you mastered that.  In October, you switched to a "big girl" twin sized bed.  You love sleeping in that.  You still haven't learned your letters or your numbers.  I guess we'll work on that in 2014.  

At your 4 year old check up, I didn't write down your height or your weight, but I do remember them saying you are in the 50th %-tile for weight and 75th %-tile for height.  Dr. Catherine, as usual, noted that you are very verbal and social.  I talked to her about your lack of focus.  In fact, I straight up asked her, "Do you want to go ahead and diagnose ADHD now or do we have to wait until the parent-teacher conference notes start coming home in Kindergarten?"  She said she's pretty good at catching it at this age and that she doesn't think you have it.  She just wants to see more structured activities for you to help you learn how to focus.  So I guess next year we'll start doing some planned pre-school activities at home.  I will say you have done a great job focusing on the various Christmas crafts we've been doing.  So hopefully she is right and you just need a little more structure to get you to focus.

You are becoming a great helper at home.  I've started trying to give you a little more freedom and responsibility.  In the mornings, I come in and give you your cup of milk and then you go and get the tv turned on for cartoon time.  On laundry day it's now your responsiblity to carry your clothes from my bed to your room and put them away.  This on top of the fact that you've been dressing yourself for quite some time makes your drawers more messy then I would like but that's something we can work on.  For now, I just go in every other week or so and refold and put everything away and show you again where I like things to go in your drawer.  Then I ignore it for another couple of weeks.  If you've had a good day you can earn extra book time in your bed.  I'll let you take 2 books to bed and leave your light on.  When you are done "reading" them you get up, put them away, open your door to tell me goodnight, and then turn your light off and go to bed.  

You are a stereotypical older child.  You can be sweet and helpful to Cody when you want to be.  You'll often turn on the light for him in his bedroom and help him get toys down out of the closet.  You help him build train tracks and do puzzles.  Sometimes you share your toys with him, other times you've had enough and you pack up your princesses and go to your room.  You have finally learned to retaliate.  Cody is going through a hitting phase and for the most part you just take it or walk away.  But every so often you've had enough and I've caught you whack him back.  This gets you both sent to time out, but secretly I'm on your side.  

You are loud.  LOUD.  You have no inside voice.  I am constantly having to remind you that I am right next to you and there is no need to talk that loud.  You are also a yeller.  I get it.  You got it from me, I got it from my dad.  I'm going to go ahead and blame genetics on that one.  When Cody makes you mad you YELL, a lot.  I am really working on not yelling and trying to help you not yell.  On the plus side, it has made me more aware of when I want to yell and has reduced how often I do accidently slip and start yelling.  On the downside, it's not working to reduce how much you yell yet.  But I have hope.  When you yell you go to time out to calm down and then we talk about what you could have done better or differently. 

Your life is a musical.  You are constantly singing anything.  You pick up songs quickly from the radio and sing along in the back seat.  You sing primary songs at home.  You sing songs from your favorite movies.  You also make up your own songs about whatever you're doing.  I love that about you. 

You are friendly, sweet, and kind.  You always want to be the center of attention.  You are quick to give compliments and hugs.  You are my snuggle buddy and look forward to Sundays when I let you nap with me in my bed.  You are a girly girl and always want to wear a dress with leggings (a compromise we had to come to that you now enjoy).  But you hate letting me fix your hair and hair bows are almost a thing of the past.  

You find joy and delight in the little things and share that with the rest of the family.  We love you dearly.


PS: We did your birthday interview today.  It's was over 4 minutes long of you in all your mommy diagnosed ADHD glory.  I'm going to wait until January to try again because right now you're just a little too hopped up on Christmas and so all your answers were centered around that and I didn't think it truly captured how you would answer those questions if you weren't obsessed with all the Christmas activities we've been doing.  

Since your birthday was on Sunday this year we enjoyed a nice quite family dinner together and I made you a pink cake, just like you asked.
Grandma and Grandpa Smith sent a present from FL.

A new dress!

Opening your gift from Mommy, Daddy, and Cody.

A Sophia the First dress, crown, and doll.

Singing Happy Birthday

Make a wish!

I love sugar!  (No really, you said that!)

Sugar high.

While you were eating the cake you told me the frosting was "deeeelicious".  You ate all the frosting, and even mined it out of the center.  You barely ate any of the strawberry cake you asked me to bake for you.  I jokingly asked, "next year do you even want a cake or just frosting" and you said, "just a bowl of frosting would be great mom."  Yeah, that's not happening.  

Happy Birthday sweet Sarah!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Schwartz's vs Breakfast with Santa 2013

On the 9th Day of Christmas, we had breakfast with Santa at the fire station.  I'm pretty sure this was Chris's favorite activity so far.  It wasn't officially on the calendar but it was in the back of my mind to look for when our friends the Brooks would mention it on Facebook.  They were the ones that tipped us off to it last year and it's definitely a worthy cause and a wonderful meal.

And all the stereotypes about firemen knowing how to cook and passing out big portions is so true.  I think that's why this is Chris's favorite event.  That and because they always ask him to join the volunteer firefighters.  Maybe it's because I'm a little hungry right now but I want to give a run down of the food that they had oh so good!  Waffles, pancakes, french toast sticks, bacon, sausage patties, eggs, fried potatoes, biscuits, and sausage gravy.  Oh man!  And they dish it up by the mounds and don't mind if you want seconds.  

The kids ate a bit but were dying to get to Santa.  Cody after every bit would say, "I talk to Santa now."  So we finally let them go ahead and get some lap time with the big man.  They had a volunteer there taking pictures and emailing them to you.  So here's the pictures we got at the breakfast.

This year Santa also passed out presents to the kids.  Cody got a couple of cars and Sarah got a jigsaw puzzle.  Both of them were very excited.  They also expanded the kids activities this year.  They had 3 crafts set up in an adjacent room for the kids to do.

Cody made an icicle ornament.

And he said he wanted to make the Christmas light finger paint activity.  But he lied.  Cody hates getting sticky.  HATES it.  He flips out.

Sarah on the other hand was very excited to make her finger paint craft.

The lady in charge of the crafts helped Sarah so I could take pictures.  And we thought if Cody watched Sarah do it he might be more willing.  No dice.  

Adding her lights.

Cody's finished product.  I love his face!

Sarah's finished product.

While Sarah's painting dried we worked on the other crafts.

Cody and Chris working on his puzzle frame.

Sarah making her icicle ornament.

That icicle ornament was one of those moments for me when I realize Sarah's growing up.  Cody couldn't string the beads himself.  He couldn't even get close.  But Sarah now has the dexterity to do it and I was amazed.  

Sarah making her jigsaw puzzle frame.

Since Cody loves fire trucks we made sure to stop on the way out to climb up on one and take a picture.  But it was raining so that's why Sarah has such a terrible look on her face.