|Xander is into making his stuffed animals "look cute"|
|the mini ornaments from Great-Grandma's advent calendar on the mini tree she sent us|
|raw material for a couple of Christmas gifts Xander made|
|one of his sword and shield drawings|
|opening an early Christmas present from Great-Grandma|
|something I made for my cousin's twins - the red and white one reminds me of candy canes :)|
|see how Nick is reading Rainbow Valley by L.M. Montgomery ;)|
|another of Xander's toy configurations|
|making a big train track with Dad|
Notice that little potty chair in the background? Nick has started refusing diapers and asking for the potty. No results yet. I finally told him, in the midst of my organizing, knitting, cleaning, and thinking about Christmas, that he had to wear a diaper. Hopefully that will work in our favor after Christmas is over. If his stubbornness kicked in so that he insisted on the potty instead of diapers, our work would be done for us. :)
|Xander and I made the Santa's Castle from Betty Crocker's Christmas|
|I think he's closing his eyes on purpose|
|even when I asked him to keep his eyes open, they closed at the wrong instant|
|if you make this, I recommend having marshmallow creme on hand for quick "glue" fix-ups|
|this photo series is out of order, but I wanted to show you how Nick started to understand the goodness of presents|
|yep, now he wants to unwrap this one|
|made three of these today, too, for Christmas morning or whenever we need them|
|going backward in time again because I love this picture - not the most handsome of Nick but definitely cute (he blew through that learning activity - time to step it up a notch)|
|beautiful advent calendar made by their Great-Grandma|
|he is truly happy to be opening the advent ornament, but the presence of a camera somehow brings out goofy smiles|
|hanging the advent ornament|
I think that's all our holiday photos for now. There will be many more after tomorrow...which is when Uncle Jeremy, Aunt Leslie, Bailey, and Foster arrive!! The next day we will see Grandpa Larry, Grandma Alla, Grandma Bonnie, and Aunt Pat.
I didn't have my camera or phone with me at the playground this morning or I could have gotten a cute one. We met four other families at the playground with Christmasy treats that everyone brought. Two moms also brought holiday-themed crafts for the kids to do which turned out really neat. Toward the end, one mom tried to get all the kids together for one photo, which was ambitious. The babies didn't get in the photo after all...there were a lot of kids there with us. :) But after a lot of cajoling and even some frustrated words, most of the children hung out in the same general area and it really was adorable. We had them say, "Cheese!" and the mom with the camera got some great pictures that included both of our boys. I'm not sure how I got Nick to stick around while the photos were taken, but I'm happy it happened. A few minutes after all of that was finished, I noticed one of the little girls was still hanging off the back drop saying, "Cheese! Cheese! Cheese!" It was cute.
Oh! Let me take a picture of the photo of Xander with Santa and Mrs. Claus at his school and include that. Never mind. It didn't work out very well this time around, so I will try again when it's not dinner time.
Even though we don't have pictures of it, I can't forget to mention our trip to the Lyndon Johnson State Park for their tree lighting ceremony. There were lots of speeches, which totally lost Nick, but there were also lots of deer to see and space to roam. Xander told us about the deer. He is really good at spotting wildlife from far away. Finally, the tree was lit. (There was a good German-heritage-dressed band and singers from a community church and Luci Baines Johnson, President and Lady Bird Johnson's daughter, all of which I would have appreciated if I weren't walking around with Nick. :) I did read the letters to President Johnson which they had posted on the wall of the visitor center, and they were hilarious. (Although they were not meant to be by the writers of the letters.)
Xander sat on Santa's lap again after the ceremony. He mentioned, while we were in line, how this was a different Santa. I said, "Oh, really?" to brush it off, because I didn't want to get into any kind of a "different Santas" conversation around other little kids. :) I don't think he meant that he had any suspicions, but I haven't followed up on that comment.
Then we saw a live Nativity scene which was really neat. I felt bad for the angel, who was the only person who had to stand stock still in an uncomfortable-looking position. Xander didn't even remember anything from the Nativity scene except for the baby goats. They stole the show for him.
It was a great night but we didn't get back until after 9pm and the kids have yet to catch up on their sleep. Well, I was expecting imperfection over the holidays. :)