Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year!

Hard to believe that we are looking at a new year - 2014!  Remember when the year went from 1999 to 2000 and everyone was crazy about what was going to happen and yet here we are 14 years later. 

We are not New Year's Eve party people.  Instead, we stay home, relax, eat snacks, watch all of the shows and go to bed at 12:01.  I am planning a few fun things with the boys like a "countdown" starting at 5:00 so that they end up in bed at 8:00 but we will celebrate like it's 12:00 ;-)  They don't really get the concept yet but we'll still have fun. 

New Year's Day is very quiet around here.  I like to watch Parades and Football and set some goals for the year.  I feel like once we hit January 2nd - we have a long winter to get through before we get to leave the house and have fun again!! 

So with all of that said, from my family to yours

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas Day 2013

Christmas Day - beware this is photo overload but part of why I write this blog is for my own memory too!
 The boys were so excited to come out of their room and see their stockings.  Nate could hardly even wait for a picture - he was ready to dig right in!
 Josh loves pictures  . . and he loves being silly!

Nate finally digging into his stocking

 Once they had pulled everything out, Josh felt like their should be more ;-)
 Josh asked me to take his photo with the presents before they were "all gone."
 After stockings, we ate breakfast.  This year I made eggs, bacon, waffles and we had applesauce.  We usually have Orange Julius and Biscuits and Gravy but, since Darryl is avoiding Dairy, I left those off the menu this year. The boys ate . . a bite. . .and then wanted to open gifts but I made them wait until we had cleaned up - at least I used all paper products so clean up was pretty quick.
 Surprisingly, the boys were more excited about giving us the gifts they had picked out so we did those first.  They boys were so excited to show us their stuff - especially mine because they had picked out 10 things each for m at the dollar store.  As I would pull an item out they would tell me why they picked it with GREAT joy!  It was so adorable and so neat to see how well they really know me and notice things I do and things I like.  (For example, Josh picked out a box of Whoppers . .. back on Halloween I teased the boys and told them that Whoppers were awful so they could give them all to me to eat  . .. they figured out that I love them!)

Time to open gifts.  While we were cleaning up from breakfast, Josh had laid out all of the gifts so that they could read the name tags.  Reading their names on the tags was so much fun for them that I let them pick out the gift they wanted to open next.  They loved it. 

 About mid-way through the gift opening the boys gave each other their gifts - $10.00 each at the dollar store makes for some fun gifts.  They were so excited to show each other what they picked out. (And they LOVE their stuff - some of those gifts have been played with more than the things I picked out for them)

 This is Josh telling Nate that the gift he is now opening is also from him; which it wasn't; so then he told him it was from Santa.  (which, it wasn't HA)

A favorite, much requested toy - Light Friends.  Both boys got one - it is something they have been asking to get for MONTHS. 

 The final gift - Nabi Jr.  The boys would also steal ask to use my dad's Phone or Ipad anytime they were at his house.  When we saw how much they love that type of technology, I did some research and found that the Nabi's are great for kids and are app based.  This was the favorite toy.  They already have them figured out, love playing the games and listening to music. 
 Nate with all of his toys.  This year I did a lot of games and books with a few requested fun toys thrown in for fun.

 Josh with his toys. 

Playing with their new Nabi's.  This is how Papa and Nana found them when they arrived. 
 Josh also had to set up the gifts that Nana brought in - he is such a helper. (or he just wanted to touch all of the gifts!)

 The first gift was a new quilt that my mom made for each of the boys.  My mom makes awesome quilts and she did not disappoint!
 Giving Papa and Nana the gift that the boys made for them.

 Thomas the train stuff - always a big hit in this house!

Giving another gift to Papa and Nana - this one made Papa cry (it had all of the Grandkids listed on it)

 Josh was a huge help all day - he is really a work horse  . .. but he also likes to do this stuff because he feels like he is in charge and we ALL know how much he loves that!

We had a great dinner of Ham, Cheesy Potatoes, Green Bean Casserole, Glazed Carrots, Fruit Salad, Christmas Layered Jell-O, and Rolls.  Yum!! 
After dinner, the boys played and the adults talked.  It was such a relaxing afternoon.  My mom had made Christmas Cookies for dessert so we all munched on those and at least one person who shall remain nameless but goes by Nana took a nap. 

On Thursday morning the boys asked if Papa and Nana were coming back with more presents :-) HA!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas Eve 2013

This year, we stayed home for Christmas and my parents came over on Christmas Day.  This is the first year the boys have really gotten into the full excitement of Christmas so staying home turned out to be such a fun thing.  Plus it was nice to not have to re-pack and unpack all of the gifts :-)

 We started out our Christmas Eve fun with our annual meal of Appetizers.  This year was a little different because I had to think a little outside the box and come up with some non-dairy type things (no thick and rich cheesy dips!)  We had Beef Tenderloin mini-sandwiches with Honey Dijon Mustard (which are a new favorite!), asparagus wrapped in prosuitto (next time I would just use bacon), Shrimp Cocktail, Chips and Salsa, Chips and Hummus, Fruit with Fruit Dip (for me!), and Bacon Holiday Crackers (recipe coming soon!) Josh ate a little of everything and Nate ate Chips and Salsa :-)
 The boys waiting to open their Christmas Eve gift. 

 For Christmas Eve I like to give them Christmas PJ's, new Slippers and a toy.  This year I found these "build your own monster kids" on a daily deal on Amazon and was sure the boys would love them.  Well, apparently I am not good at Christmas Eve Gifts!!!  Josh did play with his Monster for a few minutes but Nate said, "I don't want to do this you can do it mom". HA!  Oh well, I think they will grow into the idea of the monsters eventually.
 The boys were very interested in the fact that Santa would be coming to the house so they set out snacks for him and his reindeer.  Josh picked out the cookies and even got the plate down from the cupboard (which I didn't even know he was doing until after the fact - the kids can now climb on the counters!). 
 He even carried the cup of Chocolate Milk by himself (but I actually poured it!)
 The boys checking out the treats.
 Nate found some carrots - lots of carrots - for the reindeer.
 The final treat :-)
 Nate - he loves to pose for me and give me big smiles.
 The amazement of Christmas  -- "Mom, I just need to feel that bow!"
 The boys in their new Christmas PJ's.  Nate told me that he could hardly stand and so that is why he has bowed legs and Josh is into making faces :-)
 A family tradition from my Childhood - Facing the Tree with their backs to the camera.  What you can't see is that they are discussing ornaments on the tree which is super cute. 

 Darryl and the boys.
 Me and my boys!
 Josh is becoming a photographer and directed us for this photo.  I love it :-)  Darryl kept trying to give me a kiss and just as he would kiss my cheek, Josh would stop taking pictures and would say, "All Done!"
 Darryl and I did something new this year; we decided to have our Christmas together on Christmas Eve after the kids were in bed.  This allowed us to have a conversation uninterrupted and just enjoy a quiet evening.  This year we each had a small amount of cash to spend on each other plus we were re-gifting one gift and we were supposed to do something creative.  I was able to get Darryl a flashlight he wanted, a Charcoal Chimney for our grill, and some headphones - I love Amazon Daily Deals where things are 50% off - it enabled me to get a little more then I would have been able to get :-)  Darryl got me a flashlight (I wanted a mag light of my own that no one else gets to take!) and a Panini Sandwich maker. 
 The re-gifts?  I gave Darryl an external hard drive.  I had two - a smaller one that he had given me 4 years ago then I have one with tons of storage on it that I got with Birthday Money this spring.  He had been waiting for me to clean off the small one so he could use it.  Now, he finally has it!  He gave me a magnifying glass - he figured I could use it for doing small crafts and scrapbooking - and he is right!

 We relaxed for awhile (and made sure the kids were sound asleep!) before we put out their gifts.  Last Saturday, we took the boys out shopping.  They shopped for each other and for Darryl and I.  Darryl took them to the dollar store to shop for each other and me and I took them to Walmart to shop for Him.  To say they had fun is an understatement.  Their favorite thing?  Shopping at the dollar store because they had $10.00 each to spend on me and their brother.  It was cute to see what they had picked out for me - and they had a reason for every item.  It warmed my heart to hear them talk about the things when I unwrapped them Christmas morning.  They wrapped their gifts (with Darryl's help) on Christmas Eve Morning.
 Santa left a note for the boys :-) 
The stockings!!!  I think I have more fun packing the stockings with fun things then the boys have pulling them out.  This year they each got a clock for their bed, a funny little stuffed toy that squeaks, a bath toy, a clothing item (Josh got boxer briefs which he REFUSES to wear and Nate got a t-shirt), a big tape measure and a Sticker Book.

We knew the boys would be up early so we put our alarm clock in their room and placed a piece of paper on it with the # 7 on it and told them they could not get up until the # on the clock matches the number on the paper.   I heard them up at 6:30 so I got up and took a shower . . .then Darryl and I sat in the living room with just the tree lights on . . .the boys opened their door right at 7:00 ready for the fun to begin!