Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!!!

video

December 30th

Yesterday we got to take it easy most of the day.... just a quick trip to Trader Joe's for our NYE supplies and that was it.

Late in the afternoon, Clara left to go to her sewing class. They finished up their pajama tops.

Here are Clara and her friend in their matching tops....
(well... except for the seam up the middle of Clara's shirt).

And here they are after Jeff told them that they couldn't have another sleepover last night....
I guess they had made big plans during class that they needed to have a sleepover so they could wear the matching pj's that they had made!

I was at Alex's second to the last show "wrangling" the kids. They were wound up last night! But it was still a lot of fun. He's going to be sad to have it all end on Sunday.... they have a great time together.

December 29th

The 29th was my birthday and it was a marginal day at best. You know it's going to be a stellar day when you start the day at the DMV. I had never gotten an Illinois license after we moved here four years ago. I rarely drive so it wasn't a huge priority... plus I had severe anxiety over taking the written test. Silly, I know.... but I did. Anyway.... my license was expiring that day so it was now or never. It went really, really well.... sadly, it was probably the high point of my day.

I had promised the kids that I would take them ice skating that afternoon. It sounded like a good idea at the time.... and apparently it sounded like a good idea for most of the people living in the Chicagoland area! The rinks were PACKED!!! We had thought we would give the rink at Millennium Park a try... but it was insanely crowded. We ended up at Daley Bicentennial. It was crowded but we were desperate (Alex was dying to try out his new skates).

I took a little bit of video.... totally not really worth posting... but since this is my Daily December post and I have nothing else... here it is....

video

Things went down hill here. It was so crowded that Clara, who rarely falls, fell twice (which made her fairly despondent). I decided to wipe off the lens of my flip to clean it and noticed that somehow the lens was cracked in two!! (well... not the actual lens, but the piece that covers it). This made me ill. I have absolutely no clue how it happened, it didn't get dropped, hit or anything... ugh. Then... final straw.... while going back to get on the ice, Clara slipped and fell in the slushy puddle by the rink entrance. She was soaked! We were done. We packed up and went over to Old Navy to buy her some dry pants.

We finally went home and it was so nice to relax for a bit before Alex needed to go to his show. After he was at the theater, Jeff, Clara and I went out to dinner and my day brightened a bit :-) .... but I was still ready to go to bed and put that whole day behind me!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

December 28th

I only have a couple cell phone photos from the 28th... but I do have a bit of video. Actually, I even took more than this... another installment of "Mango, the Snow Dog" but I haven't put it together yet.

On Tuesday, Clara and her friends had the first of their two part sewing class. They're making pajama tops. While Clara was in class... Alex and I (and Clara's friend's mom) headed over to Target. Alex had the money to buy the Kinect package to go with his new Xbox and since it was on sale at Target this week... he was ready to make his purchase. He went straight in... grabbed one of the only two remaining Kinect packages and picked out a couple of games to go with it. He was sooooooo excited!!! He had been talking non-stop about the Kinect for months and months now. He couldn't believe that he finally owned it!

He couldn't wait to set it up... however, we were going out for my birthday that night... so he had to wait.

Finally, we got home and we let them set it up and try it out. It truly is amazing! There are no controllers.... it tracks your body movements!!

Here's a little video of the kids playing Kinect Adventures (it's quite the workout!)....

video

The Kinect has now been moved to the big tv in the back of the house so they have more room to flail about! :-)

December 27th

Clara slept over at a friend's house on Sunday night... so Monday morning Mango and I walked over and picked up both girls for an afternoon at our house.

At one point, they decided that they wanted to play outside in the snow...
I gave them spray bottles filled with water and food coloring and they made "cakes" for quite a while.

Then, when I came out with the camera, they got all goofy...
Trying to get up....
And Clara falling back down....
I know this one isn't that sharp... but I love Clara's expression...
They came inside again and we put their stuff in front of the fire place so it could dry out a little since we were heading back out to sled and skate in a little bit. I didn't take any photos of that... just the video I posted below!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Winter Fun with Friends

I have a couple actual photos from yesterday, but they're still on my camera. So, in the meantime... I'll post this little movie the kids and I put together of our adventures last night....

video

I know, it's very dark.... but we didn't end up there until after dark :-)

So in love with my little flip video camera.... totally addicted to using it and making movies!!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Mango the Snow Dog....

I'm on a roll today! I got a little Flip video camera for Christmas and I've been playing. Alex and I just figured out how to make "movies".

Here's a little "movie" we made of some of the video we took yesterday....
video

Clara and I planned our little video taking trip outside to capture how much Mango LOVES snow.... however, we didn't realize that it had started to snow. Mango loves to play in snow but it not a big fan of being snowed ON. She wasn't her normal crazy snow dog self while we were out.

December 26th

My parents left bright and early Sunday morning.... so it was just us again.

The kids had gotten Starbucks Gift Cards from their Auntie Donna, so they decided it was a good time to use them....

They both look like they could use some coffee, don't they? :-) I think Alex had a caramel apple cider and Clara had a vanilla steamer.

Alex played on his Xbox again, and Clara went with Jeff to run errands. They ended up at Play it Again Sports to look at new skates for Clara and to get Alex's new skates sharpened.

They found a pair....
.... she brought them home and immediately shined and polished them... they look really nice! She was able to trade in her old pair as well.... we bought them there last year for $15 and sold them back for $9.90.... not too bad! They're both itching to try out their new skates now (they might just get the chance this afternoon... but we'll see).

They also stopped at Petco for dog food... plus Mango got a new collar and leash... but the collar was too small.

After lunch, we walked to the theater since Alex had a matinee and along the way, we dropped Clara off at her friend's house. I "wrangled" backstage with the kids (although... they are so easy, it's really no trouble at all)... Jeff went to buy new running shoes.

Alex also had a show that evening so the artistic director and music director had everyone over to their house for pizza and cake between shows. It was a really nice time!

We dropped the kids back off at the theater and had a nice dinner out just the two of us. While at dinner, we got the call to see if Clara could just spend the night with her friend. We went home and packed her a bag to drop off when Jeff picked up Alex. We had a nice quiet evening at home. I can't believe Christmas is over already! But it's nice to be starting to get back into a normal routine.

December 25th

Sorry I'm running behind with my posts... I'll try to catch back up today!

Christmas Eve we had told the kids the "rules" for Christmas morning... at 6:30 am they would be allowed to go into each others rooms... but they were not allowed upstairs or to bother us until 7:00. 7:00 was also the time we told my parents to be back over to our house so the Christmas morning festivities could begin!

At 6:30 on the dot, we heard Alex go into Clara's room and excited chatter could be heard from down the hall. At 7:00... my parents arrived and the kids rushed upstairs!

First we passed out the stockings and started opening those gifts....
Alex has been taking drum lessons along with his guitar lessons for the past couple of months and was thrilled to have his own set of drum sticks!

Then they passed out the gifts from under the tree....
There were quite a few to pass out as there were gifts from us, Grandpa and Grandma Missouri AND Great Grandma....
Clara holed up in the corner to open her Santa gifts...
After all of the gifts were opened, we sat down to our traditional Christmas Morning meal...
.... Land of Nod Cinnamon "rolls", sausage and eggs. Not a fancy table.... but the food was good!!

After that, everyone started to explore their gifts they had gotten.

Clara decorated her new ski helmet and tried out her sucker she had gotten in her stocking...
Jeff and Alex played NHL '11 on Alex's new XBOX 360....
Mango modeled her new hoodie....

And Clara eventually broke out the Jenga game she had gotten from her Great Grandma...

Jeff making an apparently "painful" move...
We had a great time playing this....
We all ended up playing....

I lost track of how many games we played.... 3 or 4, at least...
We had a big mid-afternoon meal of turkey, potato casserole and "trees and raisins" and just hung out together playing games and looking at presents.

Just as Grandpa and Grandma were leaving for the night, Alex decided to try out his Pop Rocks experiment kit....
He wasn't so sure about the taste!

We had a great time on Christmas!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

December 24th

This post with photos from yesterday took me a little longer than usual to get together. Somehow by the end of the day, I had photos on three different cameras to sort out! I had my usual 5d shots, Clara's photos with the point and shoot and then I dusted off my old 20d for some (my batteries died in my external flash and we didn't have any spares so I had to fall back on the 20d's on board flash).

First thing Friday morning we had cookies to decorate....

This year we just didn't get homemade cookies made, so these were store bought slice and bake...

I guess the kids really don't care all that much as long as they have free reign with the sprinkles and candy chips....
Next we made some chocolate pretzels....
With breaks at every half hour to see the latest SantaTracker update on the "Santa News Network"....
Then back to work....

Then it was time to get ready for Clara's last performance in the Nutcracker. On the last day, the kids get to bring there cameras and take photos backstage and in their dressing rooms. Here are a few of the photos Clara took...

Their pink snow tree angel shirts....
The snow tree angel dressing area....
Her and a friend....
... they met this summer during the summer intensive and really got to know each other better during the Nutcracker.

And her and her snow tree angel bff...
... these two would text each all of the way home almost every night!

After Clara was released at intermission, she came and sat with us for the second act. After the show we took a few photos...

Clara and Alex....
The kids with Grandpa and Grandma Missouri (my parents)....
Clara showing off her angel ornament to commemorate her snow tree angel role...
Clara in the theater....
One last shot of her and her friend....
We then went home and had our usual Christmas Eve dinner of Taco Soup (in the crockpot). After dinner, the kids went back to the condo where my parents were staying to play games and watch a movie so Jeff and I could wrap presents. It took us a couple of hours, but we finally got it done....
The kids came home and finished up their Santa prep....
(look how tiny those hand prints are!!!)

While they finished that up, I got the Land of Nod Cinnamon Rolls ready for our breakfast the next morning...
I think they were finally in bed and fairly settled by about 11. Nobody would sleep well, with the next day being Christmas!!

Merry Christmas!!!

Our Christmas card this year....

front....
inside right....
inside left....
back....