Thursday, December 31, 2015


just using this as a placeholder, more info to come

Going to See Santa

We took the kids to see Santa at the coffee shop by our house.  The girls were super excited, but Nathaniel was not amused.  Mrs. Claus was very sociable and friendly and made the girls feel at ease right away.

Amelia and Megan both asked for the same things - Legos and "a penguin stuffed animal with big sparkly eyes", meaning a Ty Beanie Boos penguin.  I think their eyes are a little creepy, but the girls love them.  They told Santa that Nathaniel would like anything that has to do with construction trucks, trains or tractors.  They know their brother so well!

Frozen Dance Recital

Megan's little friend Amelia's mom convinced me to sign the girls up for a little ballet class in the fall that culminated in a Frozen dance recital.  The girls all got to be winter snowmen, dancing to the song "Do You Want to Build a Snowman?"  They had fun in the class, although I think Megan has realized that dance isn't what she really wants to do.  It was interesting to see that Megan (who has only taken a few short dance classes through parks and rec) danced about the same as her friend (who has been taking dance classes for the last three years at the most expensive place in town.)   Anyway, they all had fun dancing together, they loved their costumes, and they loved getting to watch the show from the wings.

I thought I was taking a video during the dress rehearsal, but it turned out that my phone wasn't recording, so all I have is a few photos.  Amelia was the first girl in line, she got to lead the rest of the girls on and off the stage; she was very excited to have that responsibility.  :)  Amelia is the girl on the right, Megan is next to her, and their friend is on the left.

December fun

We had a relatively low key December, but we did plan a few fun things to get us in the holiday spirit.  One Saturday I announced that we were going to go out to lunch and then go see the Christmas tree at the capitol building.  We ate at The Great Dane, which has delicious burgers, and Megan decided that she liked the smell of Ben's beer.  She didn't want to taste it, but she thought it smelled delicious.  Amelia, however, thought it smelled vile.  I guess I know which child I'll have to watch out for in ten years (as if that is a surprise to anyone).

Nathaniel was thrilled to watch the train underneath the huge Christmas tree.  In fact, everyone liked the train so much that I decided I ought to just take a photo of everyone's backs.  The ornaments on the tree are made by school children throughout the state; this year's ornaments were sports themed.  We went up to the second level to see the tree from higher up and look at all the various holiday decorations - a Nativity scene, a menorah, a Kwanzaa candle setup, and a festivus pole (the kids were so confused by that, but Ben thought it was hilarious).  We decided that the tree was not quite as large as the one last year.  They were setting up chairs for a Christmas brass concert, which would have been fun to listen to, but there was no way we were going to be able to wait another hour for it to start.

Amelia lost two more teeth in December, her top lateral incisors, within a three day period.  The tooth fairy brought her a dollar bill for the first one, and then a handful of random change that added up to $1.96 for the second one.  The poor tooth fairy had a $2 bill for the next lost tooth, but she stashed it away so well that now she can't find it.  So she had to take a little break from the lessons about various denominations about money.  Amelia asked for the first time why some kids in her class get $5 for each lost tooth when she gets much less.

The children's director at church organized a Christmas caroling party one evening, so I took the girls for about 45 minutes.  We walked around one street right near the church and sang to a few people.  Lots of people weren't home, but the people who were home seemed to enjoy it.  The kids didn't get discouraged about all the empty houses, they actually really liked singing to the dogs who would come bark at the windows.

I had bought tickets to the Nutcracker for the weekend that Mom and Dad were supposed to come; since they didn't make it, we invited one of Amelia's friends to come with us.  Everyone enjoyed the performance, although I think they were all getting a little bored by the middle of the second act, since there wasn't really any story line to speak of by that point.  During intermission, some of the first act dancers came out and posed for pictures with the audience.  Amelia was the only one who wanted her picture taken with the girl who danced Clara.  Nobody wanted their picture taken with the mouse king, although I thought that would have been really cool!  I loved going to see the Nutcracker again!

 Ben took off the entire week of Christmas, but the girls still had to go to school Monday through Wednesday, so we took Nathaniel to see the trains at Olbrich Botanic Gardens by himself.  He LOVED it.  The train setup is much smaller than either the St. Louis or Chicago Botanic Gardens setups; it had two different train tracks that ran short loops with Lego scenes in the background.  But Nathaniel could have watched it for hours.  In fact, I think we spent about an hour just in that one small room, walking back and forth between the different trains.

He didn't want to be taken away from the trains to get his picture taken with Daddy:

And he got really mad when we had to leave to pick the girls up from school.


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Nathaniel's Second Birthday

We celebrated Nathaniel's birthday when we went to Glenview a week before his actual birthday.  Mom and I made him a three layer chocolate cake, and we borrowed Natalie and Noah's little construction trucks to decorate the cake.  This is a super easy cake to decorate.  :)

Nathaniel wasn't quite sure what to make of his cake; he wanted to take the diggers off the cake and play with them.  He also wasn't fond of the candles, and didn't have any idea how to blow them out.  Thankfully, there were a few other kids around who were excited about helping him blow out candles.

He was, however, excited about eating the cake, even though you can't really tell from these photos.

The bigger kids were also very helpful when it came time to open presents.  Nathaniel was very excited about playing with his new fire truck that makes all kinds of crazy loud noises, and ALL the kids wanted to play with his set of battery operated power tools, especially the CHAIN SAW.  How cool is it to have a toy chain saw?

The girls thought we needed to celebrate his birthday on his actual birthday, too, so we made him a pan of brownies.  Nathaniel absolutely love construction trucks right now, so we made another construction scene.

Once again, he wasn't very excited about having his favorite trucks on the cake, or about having candles lit in front of his face.

Somewhere I have photos of him eating his cake, but my photo management system is messed up, so I'll have to add those photos later.  He decided to use his trucks to eat his cake, so he was licking cake out of the digger bucket; it was very cute.