Thursday, December 30, 2010

Some Christmas Pictures

Such a sweet picture of Xander on Christmas Eve

 Is Xander placing the cookies for Santa, or taking one?
After Santa came

Xander's stocking is hung with care, and pretty full too

A note from Santa! (his reindeer chowed down on celery)

Stocking time

Xander's excited about his
Ooh! Good job, Santa!

Nick enjoying the first thing he pulled out of his stocking

Grandma Bonnie and Dad(dy) got their stockings filled too

Xander passed out presents - the first one was for Nick

Nick wasn't sure about opening presents, so big brother willingly helped

At this point, Nick was ready to take over

Now Nick will play with this one present for days in a row

Tons and tons of thanks to Grandma Lucy, who captured all these photos. There are many more pictures which I will either post or leave for Erik to make his post-Christmas family video/slideshow. Christmas Day video footage has yet to be uploaded and shared, but it exists!

They Be-leeb In Science

"I did this rocket before in this book with Dad, when I was calling him Daddy," said Xander today. He was cutting pictures out of his new cutting book.

His comment showed me that he remembered consciously changing over to calling us Mom and Dad instead of Mommy and Daddy. It happened a couple of months ago. I was curious why he decided to do it at that time, and I had a suspicion.

"Why did you decide to start calling us Mom and Dad?" I asked him.

"Because it was on TV," he said.

Yep. That was my suspicion, though he couldn't remember who on TV called their parents Mom and Dad.

Right now Erik is teaching Xander some science using his new science experiment kit. Xander just (VERY excitedly) learned about solids, liquids, and gases. Erik gave him examples of solids and then asked him for examples. I had to laugh from the other room when Xander was still going a couple of minutes later. ("And toys! And wood! And chairs! And video games! And story videos!") Then he said water and mud for liquids and the sky for gases. I'm impressed. I don't think he knew much about solids, liquids, and gases before tonight.

Meanwhile Nick was saying "Ga-go" when I handed him the Diego bath toy, and conducting his own bathtime science experiments with various stacking cups.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Some Christmas Reporting

The kids had a lovely Christmas with plenty of presents, but most of all, the attention of two grandmas along with their parents.

Nick has played with his new Little People airplane for two or three days straight. Xander has been playing hours every day with his Lego Kingdoms sets.

Even the adults got plenty of stocking stuffers and gifts and ohmygoshthecookies. I guess I made and then saved aside way too many. Mom is doing her best to help me with the prayer bars and I am making good headway on the chocolates. The children are happy to help, too. ;)

Possibly my favorite gift this year was Xander's reaction to the unicorn I knitted for him (by request). Now keep in mind he requested this and has seen me knitting on it throughout the last few months. He pulled it out of its wrapping, said, "Oh I love it! I even wanted one!" and sprinted off to his room to put it on his bed. That made me feel really great. Thanks, Xander.

I am sure I'll remember lots more to say about Christmas and have pictures to post, too, later.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Mommy-Son Date

Xander and I went to see Voyage of the Dawn Treader today at the theater. We had both been looking forward to it. This is just before we left:

On the way there, he was excited to see two cement mixer trucks and many, many American flags. He said it was the drive to count American flags. At the theater, I let him choose where we sat and he plopped down next to a twelve-year-old (or thereabouts) boy. The boy was eating Twizzlers and offered one to Xander. Xander enjoyed the movie very much. I enjoyed being able to hold his hand or have him on my lap because I won't get to do that much longer, I'm sure.

On the way home I told him I had a good time watching a movie with him. He said, "You did?" I said, "Yes." He said, "Thanks!"

And this is Nick drawing with Grandma Lucy on the sidewalk.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Things I Have Wanted to Tell You

Dear Xander and Nick,

What I have really wanted to tell you boys is this:

I haven't regretted anything, really, in my life. I have always gone after the things that were important to me. I have been blessed with a wonderful husband and children. There are a few things I am so embarrassed about that I wish they had never happened...sort of. One of those bad mistakes helped me get to know your father, so I can't regret that.

I have been full of fear. It holds me back and it is a bad way to live life. I hope that you can escape from the bonds of fear in your lives.

I believe you are both good-looking, smart, talented, sweet, determined, loving, and funny. I'm your mom so you may roll your eyes but I want you to know beyond a doubt that's what I think. I will love you forever no matter what happens in our lives. Even if we make mistakes. We will make mistakes, but we will get through them okay.

I hope that you go after what you want in life and that you don't stop until you get it...but only for the really, truly important things. I hope you stay open to people. We are all humans and so very similar to each other. I hope you have joy in your lives and I really want you to be happy most of the time. Most people don't get to be happy as much as their parents wish they could be, but that's okay. We make it anyway.

I just love you. Thank you for bringing real meaning and love and joy and contentment into my life. I thank your father for the same things.

Christmas Holidays

Wednesday Xander had a Christmas party at school. Nick and I stayed the whole time, although Nick got very, very, very tired. The kids exchanged gifts (they didn't understand about the gifts they brought being for another kid, but they finally exchanged), ate a yummy Christmas snack, sat on Santa's lap and got pictures with him, and had a holiday lunch. (Xander couldn't stay for lunch because it was late and we really had to get Nick home.) Xander gave a pack of paintbrush markers, which his friend Lance (or was it Russell?) loved, and received a Memory game that he and I played that afternoon.

Today was his last day of school until after Christmas. A whole week at home! The teachers even compiled some fun worksheets for us to do at home if we wanted to. We want to! Xander made three ornaments at school which now grace our tree and wrote a marvelous Christmas card to us that said "Happy Holidays" (all in his own writing!!!!!!!!). Ms. Heather made everyone a cute snowman decoration which Xander intends to use to decorate his room.

Ms. Valerie took pictures of the kids with Santa, even including siblings. Here is me holding them up to the laptop camera:

Xander gave gifts to his teachers. They each got a Jiffy popcorn that I decorated with a gift label and bows. I have to admit it was last-minute. Maybe next year they will look a little nicer. ;)

Erik may get a little more time at home for the holidays than he expected, or at least he will feel more relaxed about work. We'll have to take advantage of that with popcorn, Christmas movies, eggnog, hot cocoa, wine, the zoo, and of course our Christmas celebration. Mom arrives Tuesday. Bonnie will probably come on Friday if not sooner. I just cleaned the bathroom, Moms!

Monday, December 13, 2010

First Powers Gingerbread House

Erik gets pretty much 99.9% of the credit for this:

Fabulously Wealthy

Got a lot done this morning (laundry, quiet time, got dressed, planned the day, made breakfast, drank coffee, exercised) but my patience has been tried today. Four-year-olds ask endless questions to which only they know the correct answer. It must be the first teenage period - parents are never quite right. If we accidentally bump Xander, we have hurt him and it is an amazingly evil thing to do. If he jumps on our back while we are trying to write something and balance our coffee, he is hurt that we don't quite appreciate his enthusiasm.

And he's right. My responses to him are my responsibility. Deep breath. New cup of coffee. If I could have my most important wish come true, it would be to appreciate every interaction with him, Nick, Erik, and others.

It is not a bad thing that he is active, curious, engaged, smart, and loving.

Just please, please, please could someone else stay here for a day and field all the non-questions?

Nick has become more and more pleasant as he has learned to communicate better and sleep longer at a time. It is more and more a joy to see the boys play together. Thinking about it brings tears to my eyes.

I am fabulously wealthy in love.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Being Amused

This is Nick and me being amused by Xander pretending to be a dog during snack time:

The one of me was taken by accident when I swung the computer back around. ;) Oh, and here's Xander being the dog:

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

'Tis the Season

Xander is very proud of his new clothes from Aunt Pat and Grandma Bonnie. He told me he had never worn clothes like these before, and he pointed them out to his preschool director and friends. Today he is wearing a sporty long-sleeve shirt with those warm-up-type pants that have yellow and white stripes down the sides. I saw in his classroom that they posted each kid's gift wish on a poster. Xander's says, "A new toy knight. If Santa has one."

Nick had his 18 month check-up today and is healthy. He only had one shot - hurray! But the trip still knocked him out. He fell asleep on our ten-minute ride home. I was proud of how many words he's saying (I can think of 15 really quickly) and the pediatrician only asked if he was saying five words. But I think the range is tremendous at this age and there are plenty 18-month-olds who say more words than 15 or 20. He really, really wants to speak to us, as Erik noted today. He gets really mad when his exact message doesn't get across.

So far this Christmas season, we have decorated, listened to Christmas carols, gotten out advent calendars, read Christmas stories and books, and had hot cocoa together. The kids have also helped me make Christmas cards and wrapping paper.

At the moment, a medley from Robert Shaw's Festival of Carols is playing on the computer and Nick is nodding away to it. Music is still the last resort that will always quiet him when nothing else will.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Another Brag About Nick

I have to report that Nick played pretty well on a courtroom bench for over an hour this morning. I was subpoenaed to be a witness since the guy we got into a car accident with contested his ticket. Nick played well with the doctor kit and books, at least well for a 1.5-year-old. When I walked up to speak to the judge with the police officer and defendant, he said I could put Nick down and he could run around. He said, with a smile, that it was relatively safe in there. I said he would certainly run around but the judge indicated that was okay so I put him down to talk to the judge. Nick ran all around and basically greeted everyone from the other defendants to the bailiffs to the seating section for all the police officers. He hung out with the officers for a few minutes, as a matter of fact. He was probably one of the lightest moments in that docket, so it all went fine. We got to go first and leave relatively quickly compared to the other poor souls in there. They were very kind. I can't say Nick didn't scream at all, though.

Activities and Pictures

These are pictures I took this afternoon. First are some grainy, horrible pictures of some of Xander's soccer and school pictures. Perhaps some of you will get a chance soon to see them in person. ;) We did a painting activity and Xander really wanted me to paint a dragon on one cheek and a ladybug on the other. So I did. When I was done with my almost formless dragon, he checked himself out in the mirror and said, "Ha! A Westmin Dragon!" He thinks I'm good, at least. Nick hates having anything stuck to him, including paint, so I just got a couple pics of him in between Xander's activities.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

"Yes" Day

I had an idea for something to do with the kids, based on this post:

This can only be done every once in a great while because if I did it more often, I would come up with spoiled kids, but it makes me a little bit sad how often I say no to my kids. Saying no to dangerous or unhealthy or rude things is fine with me. I'm talking about the times that Xander wants to playfight or make cookies or Nick wants me to read a book to him for the 40th time or they want a little more of something good to eat or drink. Every once in a blue moon, I'd like to say yes to these things more often.

I think I will plan a "Yes" day where the rule is that Mommy has to say yes to all requests that day, as long as they don't endanger or harm anyone or make anyone else feel bad. It's an idea. I may have to refine it.

Letter to Santa

This is Xander's letter to Santa:

"Dear Santa,

I want a toy knight. Do you have any toy knights? I want a new toy Transformer. I want the Transformer with a sword. And this kind of Ironman toy, and this kind of Spiderman toy, and this kind of Captain America toy. [pointing to an advertisement]

That's all,
Xander Powers

P.S. I want the Marvel Superhero Squad figures with vehicles. You can find a picture in my The Amazing Spider-Man comic book."

Note to anyone looking for a Christmas present for him: This is not necessarily to be taken in a literal sense. He has a slightly different list every time I ask him. ;)

Some days he is kind and giving and forgiving and I am so pleased. Some days, like today, he has a "rude" day when he is not all that interested in being nice. We don't let him be overtly rude, it's just that on this kind of day he won't do voluntary things that are nice. I asked him if he wanted to sign his Santa letter with "Thank you" or "Love" and he said, "No, that's enough."