Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Oh, how I love you Christmas!

Warning: It's a long one!
We've had a very busy holiday season and I'll be sad to see it come to an end after the new year. In the week before Christmas we did a few more projects. We started by making our first annual picture ornaments. I thought it'd be neat to document each Christmas with a personalized ornament, and what better way than to do it with a photograph? Spencer painted popsicle sticks that I glued together to make the frame. I think the ornaments turned out rather nice!

Painting his hand.
Creating the hand print.
While painting the ornaments Spenc decided he should make some hand prints. He painted his palm and fingers and then flattened his hand onto a piece of paper. I guess I've done too many hand print projects because now he's a pro at doing his own! I couldn't let the hand prints go to waste, so I improvised and turned them into Christmas presents for the great grandparents. They became coupons for a dinner with the Mahlkes. The coupons needed a special package, of course, so we made stockings out of construction paper and slipped the coupons, along with some wallet sized photos from Ashton's newborn photo session, into the stockings.
Gluing the cotton balls.
Decorating with stickers, what else?

Speaking of great grandparents, the next project was for my Grandma Faye. She recently turned 80 and my aunts asked family and friends to create pages to put in a scrapbook they are making for her. The scrapbook pages are supposed to reflect on our relationship with Grams or what we feel symbolizes her. For my page I did foot prints of my kids and then made a list of 10 Wiggly Reasons We Love Grandma.

Barb the Baby Whisperer.
Our Christmas celebrations kicked off on Friday. Great Grandma Mahlke, Grandpa Dave, Barb and her mother joined us at our house for dinner. They all ate up Ashton, and Spenc (once he warmed up to everyone) hammed it up for the audience. Grandpa Dave and Barb gave Spencer a truck, complete with a boat and trailer, that my husband is just as excited about. Apparently he had a similar one as a kid and is jealous at how much cooler Spencer's is. Oh, and I came to the conclusion (again!) that I am very glad I did not continue the tradition of naming my son after his father and grandfather and great grandfather. There are just too many darn Davids!!
Giving Great Grandma her coupon present.
"No, Daddy, it's MY truck!"

Guess who picked out that baby outfit?
Three generations trying to fix the sink.
Who needs presents when you have boxes?
Feeding reindeer.
We spent Christmas Eve just us four. Egg bake and homemade cinnamon rolls for brunch. Spencer got to open a few gifts throughout the day. Then after dinner he got to open the rest from us before we headed to candlelight church. When we got home Spenc poured "Reindeer Grain" on the deck that we got from school (oatmeal and glitter) and we set out some cookies for Santa. Spencer did not like the idea of Santa getting any of his cookies and decided he needed to take a bite or two out of each one. Once the kids were in bed, David and I enjoyed a glass of wine and watched some TV.
Sampling Santa's cookies.
Happy Birthday, Jesus!
Santa ate MY cookies!
Christmas morning we put a candle in a cinnamon roll and sang Happy Birthday to Jesus. Then it was time to see what Santa brought us. Spencer was not happy that Santa ate his cookies. He kept saying "my cookies" all morning long. Afterwards we made the trek back to my hometown to celebrate at my Grandma Faye's house. It was the first Christmas I've made it home in quite a few years because of the weather. It was nice spending the holiday with my family. We got home in time to put the boys to bed and enjoy a nice glass of wine while watching a movie.
Stocking gifts.

Digging in his Santa bag.

Standing in his Santa bag.
Matching Christmas outfits.
Thanks G'ma Smith for the pillow!
We had one final Christmas celebration on Monday, but it didn't exactly go as planned. In the morning Ashton puked a few times on Dave and was running a slight temperature. He called the doctor's office and spoke with a nurse, who said we should bring Ashton in to Urgent Care. I spent the rest of the morning in Urgent Care just to be told he is completely fine and it's normal (and good) for babies to get sick during the flu season. The doctor was far more concerned with the darn circumcision!! I did learn that my baby now weighs 12 lb 3 oz. Since the doctor didn't seem worried about Ashton, we decided to still go to the Christmas party at my mother-in-laws for the big Smith get together. We headed over early to exchange gifts with the first cousins. Ashton was being fussy and unusually clingy to me, so I figured he still wasn't feeling well. Not too much later my stomach was feeling off, so we rounded up all our stuff and left the party early. Halfway home Dave made me pull over on the side of the road so he could puke. So began the worst night of my life as a mommy. It is not fun having both parents puking sick at the same time. Dave was in charge of Spencer and I was in charge of Ashton. I somehow think Dave was luckier. It took me an hour and a half to get Ash to bed because I had to keep running to the bathroom. My sister and her husband were sick as well, so I am assuming we caught the virus that attacked us at my grandma's Christmas day. Thank you to whoever so nicely passed that particular Christmas present along!!

Besides the virus that so violently attacked my family (passing Spencer, thank God!!), it was a great Christmas. Spencer is at a fun age now where he is starting to understand the concept of Santa and really enjoy Christmas. I'm not sure about my boys, but this mommy is exhausted!

Here is the latest growth picture. It's hard to believe my baby is already two months old!!
2 months old.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Ho, ho, ho!

I truly love this time of year--the days leading up to Christmas. I think I might even like it more than the actual day itself. There's something about the anticipation and all the activities involved. Along with more projects this week, we also enjoyed a few of our new traditions.

Our first project was a major failure. We attempted to make snowflakes by folding white paper and cutting slits in the folds. Scissors turned out to be too big of a challenge for Spencer, although he very much likes them. I guess we'll put them away for a while.

Our second project was to make Rudolph. First, we stamped Spencer's hand print onto a piece of paper. Once dried, I glued on a red pom pom for the nose and some googly eyes.Then he painted onto a piece of thin cardboard with both a foam paintbrush and a small branch I cut from our Christmas tree. Then he glued some needles from the tree branch onto the cardboard. Once that was dry, I glued his hand print onto the cardboard. I did learn my lesson during this project:  Do not leave my child unattended with a bottle of Elmer's glue. I was gone a few minutes to change Ashton's diaper. When I came back, there was a big puddle of glue on the table. Spencer had unscrewed the cap from the glue and dumped it all out.
Friday we attended our second Supper with Santa at the elementary school with some good friends. We did some crafts in the gym and ate a school cafeteria supper (YUM!) and then visited with Santa. Last year Spencer screamed and cried and did not enjoy his Santa visit. This year he did a lot better. He preferred not to actually sit on Santa's lap, but he did manage to tell him what he wanted for Christmas (a tractor, of course). Ashton happily sat on Santa's lap for a few minutes.
Visiting Santa at the fire hall a few weeks ago.
We also walked through the rotary lights with our good friends again this year. Last year each of us only had one kid; this year we have two apiece. Funny how much can change in a single year. Although it was pretty cold, it was fun watching the kids' reactions to the lights. Hopefully next year it'll be a bit warmer! I love making holiday traditions and enjoying them as a family each year.
Aside from the holiday stuff, I also captured my ever-growing baby playing on video. Ashton is less and less of a newborn each day and more alert and active. It's fun watching him change. He sort of smiles now and opens his mouth wide as if he's trying to find his voice.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

More holiday spirit...

We put the alphabet projects on hold another week to do some more holiday themed activities. I always like to give something homemade as Christmas gifts to the grandparents. This year I got my inspiration from Parents magazine. The gifts started with a big cardboard box. We painted, colored and put stickers on it. Once the box dried, I cut out letters to spell LOVE. Then I posed the boys with the letters and put the pictures in a frame. I liked the letters so much that I decided to hang them on Ashton's bedroom wall.
Messy business.

Snack break.

Finished product.
Homemade art on Ashton's wall.

We also made Christmas cookies. Spencer enjoyed rolling out the dough and using the cookie cutters, but he especially loved frosting and sprinkling the finished product. I had more sprinkles on my counter and floor than on the cookies!

Time to sample our hard work.

The aftermath.

Homemade wrapping paper.

This weekend we had our Christmas get together with Grandma Amy and Marmer. We had some yummy food and exchanged gifts. Spencer colored on a paper bag and I used that to wrap their gifts. I think the highlight of the night for Spencer was the ball pit Grandma got him.

Grandma using all her hot air ;)

Reading in his new chair.

Helping Daddy shovel.
Snuggling with Daddy.
We also made a trip back to my hometown for my grandpa's 100th birthday party. Can you imagine...100 years walking this earth? It was good to see all my family during the holiday season since I normally am not able to make it home due to the weather.

Although I very much enjoyed all the family time, I must say the highlight of my week was Friday night when I was able to get away with no kids and have some much needed Angie-time! I left the boys home with their daddy and I went to the movie with my friend and her 11 year old daughter. I am afraid to say that my husband did not enjoy the experience as much as I did since Ashton cried the majority of the time and had issues eating from a bottle. We'll have to work on the bottle issue, otherwise it could be one long year of nursing!