31 December 2017

Christmas Day(s)!

Ok the last of my documentation which requires time sensitivity. Let's close the book on 2017! Christmas Day was as you would expect: lots of hyperventilating and wrapping paper carnage. Here is the video of the boys finding out that Santa came. Jason and I had bought them PowerWheels last Christmas, but they sat in the basement for a whole year until we decided to give them to them this year finally. Not sure why we made that choice but we did. Anyhoo. Now I'm trying to remember what the boys asked for from Santa. Ashton wanted "a box of diamonds" - he's super into gems and crystals and all that. Lo and behold, Amazon sells a lovely paperweight set:

I died laughing when it came. PERFECT! Alex wanted a play coffee maker and the Playdough oven, which were easy enough. They wrote several "lists" for Pete to take back up to the North Pole and I think they were pleased on Christmas morning, if you can see past the blur :)

It was a beautiful snowy morning and all was right in the world. After breakfast, we packed up in a whirlwind and headed up to Vermont! I have a couple random pictures that don't even capture the wonderful holiday spirit we all felt (for shame) and then some from when we went sledding the next day!

Subpar. I know it, you know it. Oh well. 

Overall I'd say we hit all the boxes for what one is supposed to do over Christmas vacation.

Deal with copious amounts of boxes, toy packaging and batteries ✔
Sit around in the house and/or in a car for long periods of time ✔
Visit with family ✔
Listen to the ten Christmas songs that exist, in all their 4,558 versions ✔
Count the number of days left until school starts (at least twice) ✔
Overspend ✔
Eat and feel fat ✔
Drink ✔
Realize your blessings ✔
Be Merry ✔

My holiday blog posts this year don't come close to representing what a truly wonderful season we had. It was magical. Ashton and Alex nearly burst with excitement for most of December and Jason and I had so much fun "creating" their Christmas experience - shopping for their gifts, writing them letters from Santa, having friends over for crafts and cookies...it was the best. I hope you found as much joy in this holiday season as we did. All our love to you and yours. On to the New Year... :)

24 December 2017

Holiday Staples

The Christmas lead-up was pretty much as you would expect. Get a tree, partake in crafts, concerts, and cookies, fear Pete, and make no less than 9 different lists for Santa.

In the interest of fast-tracking this catch-up process that I'm in, here is our December, in a few pictures.

Holiday Home Depot Kids Workshop - a tree picture frame/ornament thing. The tree was made of wood. Get it? So meta.

Then we went to get our ACTUAL tree. In the past we've had two trees but since the piano came into our lives this year, there was no room for the second one in the front foyer. Poor second tree! We missed it.

We saw two live performances in December - a kids production of Charlie Brown (Alex was sooo psyched ;) )

and Disney on Ice (for which both boys sat, virtually unblinking, for the entire thing. It was a Christmas miracle I tell you).

We also had our friends over for pizza and to decorate cookies (you can guess how long that lasted - also I am still finding sprinkles in random places, those round nonpareils will never happen again!!)

and Jason built an ice rink in the backyard. Yes he did.

This monstrosity did not come into our lives without a few, er, hiccups. But nonetheless the boys have started to learn to skate which is a nice wholesome wintry activity.

Pete (our elf) is always a mainstay. He flies down December 1 and spends a few weeks whipping the boys into shape. As the month goes on, the law of diminishing returns does take some effect, but overall Pete is quite beloved. The boys JUMP out of bed in the morning to be the first to find him. You can see it in Alex's face as they said goodbye to him on Christmas Eve:

Final prep for Santa:

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house...

See you on the 25th!

30 November 2017

Family Photos 2017

There is almost nothing that is as big of a pain-in-the-you-know-what as an impending family photo shoot. Inevitably, your kid will fall and have a scab on his face, or you'll be in desperate need of haircut, or you'll spend so much time worrying about what everyone else is going to wear that you are literally standing in front of your closet two minutes after you planned to leave, staring blankly while your husband honks from the car (you can't wear the top you wanted to because it's navy blue, and then three of the four of you would be wearing the same color and that would create a total imbalance! Doesn't he know that?!).

And so it's pretty bad. You get in the front seat, flushed and feeling a little bloated and the sweater you have on, well, you hate it. Obviously you hate it because it's one of those "adds ten pounds" sweaters but you were in a hurry and out of time to try things on. This portrait that you are about to have etched in time, professionally and not at all uncheaply I might add, is going to be a bust. The kids are already whining from the backseat, which is making your husband snap at them, and then you look down and realize your jeans could use a wash. Fab. We are sooo going to look like a happy, smiling family unit! 

But, if you're lucky, your photographer is amazing. She assures you that even though it feels like each shot is coming out terribly, like all the boys are doing is grimacing, the pictures will be beautiful. And in the end, they are. 

We used this photographer two years ago and our favorite one from that shoot we had mounted on a canvas and put it above our fireplace.

We asked her to get another "tree shot" this year:

And had this one was framed for our bedroom:

I love the trees in these because they are art in and of themselves, but adding our tiny family figures into the photos makes them so personal. They are a couple of my favorite things in the house.

Anyway, cut to all the usual feelings afterwards like "Oh I'm so glad we did that" blah blah. You can't go back in time and retake pictures like this, nor do I have the skill set to capture the boys so perfectly myself, so in the end, it was worth it. After all, I have Christmas cards to think about ;)