Tuesday, December 15, 2015

On Their Lists

It's that time of year again! I love seeing what the kids ask Santa to bring-- I think it really reveals their personalities. I tell the kids they should try to not be too greedy as they make their lists, but to make sure to give enough options for Santa to choose from. I'm too lazy to blur out their real names this time around, so don't stalk us, okay?

Edith wrote her list all by herself this year (with just a little help with spelling). Short and sweet. I love it. 

You can definitely tell where Big's interests lie when you look at his list. I'm happy there are still some Bruder requests-- it would seem weird and wrong if there weren't. And, yes, there's pizza all over his list. That seems pretty fitting, too. I really love the effort he made with the block lettering. 

Bud's list really shows how he's turning tween. The abyss between kid and teen can be a tough one to straddle, but he does pretty well. I love the notes he added to his request for socks-- first using parentheses, then brackets, then braces. He gave Santa some great things to choose from, that's for sure. 

Ginger kept hers pretty short and sweet. Just like her. Ha! Ginger knows who she is and what she wants, except when it comes to shoes and boots, apparently. Santa might make her figure that one out on her own after she earns a bit more babysitting money. :)

Pen's list, even more so than Bud's, is a clear indicator of the duality that exists within-- for Pen it's part teen, part adult. I still can't believe she's a senior this year. I guess next year she'll have to email her list from afar. I love #7 on her list-- she put a blouse into the laundry with no special instructions, so I washed it and dried it with the rest of the load. Now she knows that if she doesn't want her size M women's shirt to end up about a girls' size 10, she should wash it herself. Oops.

I just love seeing how the kids' lists evolve as they get older. They all contain a bunch of stuff consistent with the children I know, a few emerging things that I'm excited to become acquainted with, and maybe just a teeny glimpse of who they'll be in the future in there, too. It makes me excited to see how they continue to grow and change as time goes by. Who knew Christmas lists could reveal so much?

Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Rest of November and Into December

As I mentioned at the end of the last post, Crayons Go Berserk met its Kickstarter funding goal! So, so awesome. 

I'm just so thrilled for the opportunity this is giving all of the kids to continue to work on making their dreams come true. I'm especially excited because of how much Bud loves to build the game. It makes him sparkle with excitement. It's so great to see.

Edith finally decided to officially become a reader! She has been mostly-a-reader for a long time, so I knew it was coming. I love hearing her read to me in her little voice.

I never imagined that I'd purchase a black turtleneck for anyone in my family unless I was being held at gunpoint, but when Bud said he wanted to portray Steve Jobs for his 5th grade wax museum I was eager to do it! What a great idea, Bud! I love all of facts and quotes he came up with through his research. So cool.

My sister came into town just before Thanksgiving and brought Josef along. It was so great to see them. We enlisted them to test Crayons Go Berserk when they were over for dinner, and I just had to snap a photo of Bud's face as he watched them play. He loved watching them try to make it through all the levels he has built. So cute. 

Thanksgiving was nice and quiet with just our little not-so-little family this year. So relaxing. I really love being together. 

The food was super delish (if I do say so myself). Just looking at the picture makes me super hungry. I can't say I'm bummed to have it again in a few weeks. 

We put up our Christmas decorations the next day. The past few years we haven't gotten them up until after the 1st, which gives us a late start on the advent calendar, and that's lame. Can I just say again how much I love this house? It's so warm and cozy feeling, especially with the Christmas decorations up. 

It's funny how people either love this house and think its retro-ness is totally cool, or they tell me that I must be sad that it's a rental and I can't do anything to it (usually those who love new-build houses) and then act awkward after I tell them how much I love it. I mean, if it were a run down 70s home it would be gross, but LOOK at it. It's pristine, well-built, and awesome. The only thing I wish I could do was paint the front door to better show off the wreath I made. 

I think I'll ask the owner if I can paint it in the Spring. Edith totally cracks me up. She was looking at some Christmas decorations given to us by a sweet, elderly neighbor and said, "The moose is wearing a Santa hat, the polar bear is wearing an elf hat, and the snowman is wearing a human hat." I will never be able to call a top hat anything else from now on.

I played the boys in a cutthroat game of Scrabble. It was pretty intense, as you can see.

With the house feeling so cozy, comfort food seemed to be in order. Pot pie fit the bill perfectly, plus it was a great (and tasty!) way to use up the last of the leftover chicken from Thanksgiving.

I drew my sister, Martha's, name for Christmas this year. I decided to go the homemade route and made her some ornaments like the ones I made last year. I made 5 in various colors, but I really love this new, really cool yarn I found. I think it's looks great, don't you?

Edith read me her word flashcards as I made the ornaments (multi-tasking, don't you know). After Edith finished reading me the flashcards a few times, she tried to convince me that they would be great for us to use to play a game of "War." After I expressed my skepticism, she began to attempt the hard sell:

E-- "It's really not that hard. If 'elf' goes against 'gate', the 'elf' wins because it can just walk through the 'gate.' Then if 'dog' goes against 'cold,' of course 'cold' wins. But if 'elf' goes against 'dog' it's a tie. Got me so far?"

Me (befuddled)-- "Uhhh..."

Merit then proceeds to assign either strength or number values to all of the flash cards, making sure that I'm following along as she goes.

E-- "So that's how it works. Do you understand?"

Me-- "Uhhh..."

(Even Edith knows when it's hopeless.)

E-- "You're right, maybe it is too hard for you. Especially since I change the rules every day. I'll just go play with Muffin." 

After she played for a while with Muffin (her stuffed dog), I heard her say, "Muffin, you're going to lose." 

I love how she even admits to me that she changes the rules every day (more like mid-game, poor Muffin). She's hilarious.

That night, Rophone and I were able to take my mom and go watch Pen perform in her dance concert. Since it's her senior year, she had the chance to choreograph and perform a solo in addition to dancing with the company. It was so great to watch.

That Saturday, Rophone got up early to run Pen to the big city to take the SAT and then we went to the big annual Christmas party put on by his dad's side of the family. It's always so great to see everyone.

Big started up with a new basketball season. We're excited this year because he's on a team with a bunch of friends in a new, more competitive league. It should be great for him to be able to stick with his friends and such a great coach. He's going to play city ball, too, but that doesn't start for a few months. 

We gave Edith an old phone to use to take photos every so often. She asked me if she could take some the other morning when I was trying to get some work done, so I told her she could. She came back up to me, so sad, because her phone was only at 1% charge. Still needing to get my work done, I decided to let her use my phone. One of my best decisions ever! Seriously, this girl really cracks me up. 

She's really fun to snuggle with, too.

I went with Rophone to the post office the other day, and saw THE BEST thing on the car in front of us as we were exiting the parking lot. 

I don't know if the owner noticed it said "Oddles" instead of "Oodles" but decided to put it on anyway because they shelled out so much dough and couldn't afford to have it remade (plus, the puppies are sooooo adorable), or if they had no clue it was wrong. Either way, it made my day. My week, really. I can't believe how blessed I am to see something like that in real life! Ha!

Friday, November 20, 2015

What Comes After Halloween

Rophone's birthday is just a few days after Halloween. Every year. Crazy, I know. Sometimes I get worried that in the midst of all of the Halloween festivities I'll forget to get anything ready for his birthday, but it hasn't happened yet. And, I will say, I think that the birthday balloon color and pattern combination I managed to put together is probably my favorite one yet (but, of course I didn't take a photo).

We kept things pretty low key, just as Rophone likes it. A little pizza for dinner and homemade cheesecake for dessert. Grandma Fish and Grandma and Grandpa Gorilla came to help us celebrate. It was lovely and relaxing.

Happy Birthday, Rophone! We love you and we're so glad to call you ours! 

P.S. He got his wish-- the kids' Kickstarter campaign funded the very next day. Thanks to generous support from friends and family, Crayons Go Berserk is going to happen. Woohoo!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Back At It

I admit that it was a little tough to make the transition back to my everyday grind when I got home from my trip. Something about having to see to others' needs again...constantly...or something. Ha! It was so good to see Rophone and the kids, though. And, luckily, the weather was still warm enough for a couple of hikes. Edith sure is a good hiking companion.

Thank goodness we can grab a drink of the "Energy Water" to boost our stamina.

I really love this picture Edith drew. I'm amazed at the detail she includes in her drawings at only 4 years of age. 

Edith's Halloween costume arrived, so of course she had to try it on. Adorable!

I took the 3 youngest on a hike, trying to squeeze at least one more in before the weather got too cold. It was a beautiful day. Maybe even a little too sunny and bright. 

I wanted to be sure Bud came along so he could see the layout of the city from above. He loved it like I knew he would.

That afternoon, it was time to carve pumpkins! Everyone really was much more excited about it than they appear in the photos. 

You can probably tell that reaching in to grab the guts isn't Edith's favorite part. 

Bud and Big both carved their own pumpkins start to finish this year. So awesome. They did a great job. I should have taken a photo of the jack 'o lanterns with my real camera  for clarity's sake, but I was feeling lazy. You get the idea anyway. Bud's is the bat, Big's is the cyclops, and Edith chose an owl to match her costume. 

While all of this Halloween stuff was going on, the kids' Kickstarter campaign was still active and they were busy working on the game.

Pen gathered some stuff from around the house to create the costume she wore to work the morning shift on Halloween. You wouldn't think that Wednesday Addams would be a friendly bagger...

...until you see her laugh and do jazz hands. Then you can see that her customer service skills may not be that lacking after all.

Just don't mess up her neatly fronted shelves.

Ginger had a little trouble deciding on a costume this year, but ended up with something perfect. One of the friends she was going to hang out with that night was planning on dressing as Santa, and every Santa needs a reindeer. So cute!

Bud went as a mad scientist. One of my favorite trick-or-treating stops was at the home of an elderly friend-- she provided a little commentary about the costumes as she was handing out the candy. "Another Star Wars costume on Big...Oh, and Edith aren't you a beautiful bird!...and Bud is a scientist." When we corrected her and said, "Actually, he's a MAD scientist." she muttered, "Well, aren't they all." in the funniest little way. You probably had to be there, but she has an awesome sense of humor. 

Big is just a wee bit Star Wars obsessed right now (like everyone else), so it only seemed right that he dress as a clone trooper. 

Edith was a totally adorable, super fluffy owl. We just wanted to hug and squeeze her constantly because her costume was so soft. 

Pen went out to a masquerade party that night, but I didn't get a chance to snap any photos because she went to a friend's house to get ready. Totally bummed. Ginger went with us to my mom's house before her party so I got a photo of everyone dressed up-- even my mom! I don't think I've ever, not once in my whole life, seen my mom dress up for Halloween. It was weird! Fun, but weird! Ha!

It was a really great Halloween. Everyone had fun and was happy with their costumes, so I call it a win!