Monday, December 21, 2009

Gingerbread Houses

I've talked about my creative & talented friend Claire before...well, her mom (Ann) has got skills too! Not only can she cater a fantastic party (I've been to a couple...most recently our PIM holiday party), but Ann can bake well too! While this wasn't new news to me, I was still super impressed that she baked and assembled eight gingerbread houses (from scratch) and invited her grandsons' friends over to decorate them! How fun is that?! Here's a shot of Noah with his house before decorating commenced for him.

Lincoln was interested in spreading the frosting on his house for a minute anyway :)

Noah loved this project. He accepted a little bit of help with frosting the roof, but that was it. He wanted the decorating to be all him. He carefully chose each piece of candy and where to put them all on his own.

Michael decorating his house.

This picture isn't anything special, but it was the only "group" shot that I had...and I get a kick out of Noah getting ready to pull a face for the camera, and Lincoln climbing down from his chair (he was up and down, up and down, and all over the place).

Understandably, for a 2-year-old, the best party of the experience for Lincoln was eating the candy and licking the frosting. I helped to throw a few pieces of candy from Linc's bowl onto his house before the frosting hardened or before Lincoln ate it all (both were happening quickly).

Noah showing me his house...and Linc's is the other one in the picture (of course Lincoln is nowhere to be seen).

A close-up of Noah's finished gingerbread house. You can tell I'm a mom because I'm actually super proud of this masterpiece that he decorated all by himself!
Thank you so much to Claire & Ann for such a fun Christmas activity! You're amazing!

Sunday, December 20, 2009


The first week of December we got a nice sized snow storm. So, I got up the gumption one afternoon to take all 3 kids (Noah, Linc, and Anna) out to play while I shoveled. It was a workout getting 3 kids (3 years old & under) all decked out in their snow gear. By the time I got the 3rd one dressed, the first one was sweating waiting to go outside in his snow clothes...and I was sweating from just trying to wrangle the three of them. Once we got outside it was a lot of fun though, so I'm glad that we did it!

Noah could hardly wait to make snow angels!

How cute is he?!

A quick clip of his snow angel creation:

Lincoln and Noah running through the snow.

Lincoln was delighted just to trudge through all the white stuff.

But he decided that eating the snow wasn't all that it was cracked up to be.

Lincoln trying to get up (while wearing all that snow gear) after he fell over...

Anna enjoyed poking about. There was no throwing herself into the snow, and she didn't even venture off the pathway...but she looked like a cute little snow bunny out there...

...and she had fun too!

I don't remember exactly what happened, but I had my camera out right as Lincoln caught a chunk of snow in the I went ahead and snapped this quick shot before wiping down his face. Poor guy - the things I put my kids through for a cute/funny picture.

Since I had such a good laugh over Lincoln getting snow all over his face, Noah decided to toss some snow in his own face and have me take a picture. The cold doesn't seem to even phase Noah. I love that kid.

And there will surely be plenty more of these snow days to come over the coming months...

Friday, December 18, 2009

Setting up the tree

Nothing gets me in the Christmas spirit more than puttin' up the tree! It was a lot of fun to watch the boys "help" Mark put the tree up and decorate it. A few lights, some ornaments, and some beads. Let's start at the very beginning ("that's a very good place to start..." come on, you know you're humming the tune)...

First we pulled the tree out of the box. Ta-da!

Next it was time to spread out those branches.

Lincoln decided that it was his official job to turn the tree (which became a bit frustrating for those trying to work on it)...

Checking the strand of lights - yup, they work!

Time to resign this "helper" to the booster seat since he began undoing things faster than we could do them.

Noah begging me not to take his picture.

Dad (aka - the guy who really set up the tree).

Noah admiring the lights...

...and hanging some ornaments.

A break from the decorating to snap a photo of Noah & Daddy.

Noah began taking his decorating quite seriously. We tried to give him a few tips about spreading out the ornaments, but he'd hear nothing of it. He had an idea of just how he wanted things to look, and we decided that was pretty cute.

Apparently what he envisioned was seeing how many ornaments he could balance on a couple of laden branches...

...I snapped this picture as Noah ran to retrieve more ornaments:

Mark with a proud little tree-decorating three-year-old.
Tree update: I have to re-hang the beads daily, the bottom half of the tree is usually stripped of ornaments by the end of the day (and put out of reach), two ornaments have shattered...but one of the highlights of my day is seeing how excited Noah is to plug in the lights (and how proud he is that he can do it himself).

November Wrap Up

It's finally time to post pictures that didn't make it into another post and wrap up November. Here are Drew, Noah, and Michael goofing around. Noah was wearing our monkey costume (which is a tad on the small side). Sometimes little boys really are just like little animals. They were having fun wrestling, climbing on each other, growling, and yelping...

...and pulling faces.

Seriously - look at the elasticity of Noah's cheeks! Ha!

The boys dragged our kitchen chairs into the family room, lined them up and were climbing across them (in just underwear and firefighter hats, of course). I don't remember exactly what it was that they were had something to do with rescuing and firefighters though.

My friend Claire really loves bowling. In fact, last year for her birthday I bought a ball-shaped cake mold, and stuff to make edible purple glitter frosting (so I could recreate her bowling ball). Unfortunately, that cake was a disaster...but I gave the bowling theme another shot this birthday and made these suckers. You'd never know that it took me over 6 hours to make them (I think I'm way too slow at that stuff), but at least they turned out pretty cute.

I arranged them in a glitter basket (she loves glitter), and included some ball cleaner & a flannel pouch thing used to dry off your sweaty hands when bowling. Happy 30th Birthday, Claire!

Random Lincoln cuteness.

After Audrey's birthday party last month we had all those leftover helium balloons to play with. Here is Anna (that I babysit during the week) playing with some of them. Isn't she cute?

My boys just adore Anna, especially Noah. He is always hugging on her or asking me to take his picture with her. Here are 3 of my favorites from last month...I like this one because of Anna's "help me" expression:

One of them chowing down on corn dogs together.

And one that I took after they got done reading a book together. You can tell that she's getting more comfortable with all of his affection, huh?

My grandpa (my mom's dad) turned 80 last month! We had a birthday party for him at a restaurant and it was really nice. It was a grown-ups only event, so Mark's parents met us there and picked up the boys to take down the street to Chuck E. Cheese where they had a great time. In the meantime we enjoyed a nice dinner together as family, and did weird things like...

...suck helium out of balloons and sing, "We represent the lollipop kids" (courtesy of two of my mom's brothers, one one of mine):

We even talked my grandpa into entertaining us with with a sentence :)

(I know, probably not the type of activity to make a tradition for every family gathering, but it was pretty funny)

My mom with her parents and my dad. Happy 80th, Grandpa! We love you!

November is such a big birthday month for our family - here is my grandma after blowing out the candles on her 78th birthday cake (doesn't she look fantastic?!)...oh, and it's not really a cake - my mom made a deep dish apple crisp and it was go-oood!
Happy Birthday, grandma! We love you!