Sunday, January 25, 2015

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Yup, it's the most wonderful time of the year....and it's over.  Boo hoo.   I do love Christmas. It's not the gifts or anything like that, it's that it is the only holiday where it really has a whole SEASON dedicated to it.  No one thinks your crazy if you decorate for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving, even though it''s still November, and I am still seeing Christmas trees on the curb for garbage pickup, halfway through January!  It's the only holiday I decorate for because it is the only one worth taking the time to decorate for--not so much because of what it is, but because if I am going to go through the effort to decorate I want to leave it up for AT LEAST a month.  I'm all about time efficiency.  

We had a funny Christmas Eve this year.  Usually we have our big burrito dinner on Christmas Eve, but this year that was going to be the day after Christmas, so instead we decided to go see a movie and go out to dinner.  Well, the movie went...okaaaaayyy...but after the kids were NOT behaving well, and the last thing Eric and I felt like doing was fighting them at a restaurant.  So we went home.  The problem now was that I had nothing to eat--I hadn't planned on making dinner, plus I was leaving in two days to go out to California to visit my mom so had been trying to use up most of the food in the house.  So, I looked around at places that were open that weren't just like McDonalds or something.  A place called Costa Vida was open and they have awesome salads and stuff so I placed an online order and paid for it online so I could just go pick it up quick.  The website took my order and gave me a pick up time of 6:40.  So I waited a bit and left.  I hit Taco Bell first to get some stuff for the kids--they weren't going to eat a Costa Vida salad, plus it was a cheaper option for them which they would prefer to have anyway.  So I grabbed some stuff for them at the Bell which was closing in only a few minutes, then headed over to Costa Vida.  I pulled up to the window and ... they were CLOSED!  They had closed at 3:00 that day!  But the online order system took my money and gave me a pick up time and said they were open!  I was so mad, and now had to figure out what to do for me and Eric.  Most places were closed at this point, so I hurried back over to Taco Bell.  The guy asked me, "Did you forget something?"  It was sad, in a pathetic way.  Here I was on Christmas Eve, getting Taco Bell for myself and family.  I started driving home and got so upset I bascially started crying in the car.  It wasn't just dinner--this season we did do a lot of fun holiday stuff, but a few of our traditions got overlooked in the business of trying to get things done for the house.  We never went to Salt Lake to see the temple lights, we didn't even go to the Spanish Fork Festival of Lights.  I felt so disappointed--missing out on traditions AND having the saddest Christmas Eve dinner of Taco Bell--half of which was cold by this point.  I got home, walked in the door and started to bawl.  Poor Eric thought I'd wrecked the car or something, but I told him how I felt.  He tried to make me feel better, and the kids were THRILLED at not having to eat some pot roast or something and getting to have their favorite dinner of Taco Bell instead.  Eric then decreed that our NEW Christmas Eve tradition from hereon out would be dinner from Taco Bell!  Ha ha.  I had to laugh.  It was like, the saddest sight ever.  I had also planned to make treats after dinner for Santa but with all the kerfuffle with dinner it was too late.  Luckily I had a package of cookies in the pantry which we used.  We did have hot chocolate and watched "A Christmas Carol."  The kids thought the evening was a complete success---I guess that's what matters the most!

So we got everyone tucked in for a good night's sleep, and kept our fingers crossed that we wouldn't be awoken before 7 am.  It was a little before that but not as bad as the years before.  The kids were so excited.  We all waited in our room while dad checked to see if Santa came and turned on the tree lights....
 Did he come?  The kids ran downstairs so fast I only managed a picture of Joey--look at his face!  Classic Christmas joy.
 We did a little something different this year.  Instead of Christmas explosion, we got each kids 4 gifts--something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read.  Many of you have probably heard of this.  It is amazing.  We had prepped our kids for a few weeks.  Because with this we also called Santa and told him he can fill the stockings with good stuff, but then to please only bring one big present for each kid.  It really made the kids think long and hard about what they wanted.  It was amazing because instead of 2 page Christmas lists, their lists this year only had one or two things on them.  It forced them to think about what they really want.  I had realized that half of what my kids get for Christmas they never even use, or it was junk that got broken after a few days.  Plus kids today are spoiled--I don't care who you are and how much you deny your kid what they want, the fact is that they are most likely spoiled.  Even if it is just in the sense of instant gratification.  Want a movie?  Find one On Demand on tv.  Internet?  Immediate connection, etc.  Remember before internet?  When if you had a question you actually had to do some research and use an ENCYCLOPEDIA?  Kids today don't even know what that is.  And then when we did get the internet it took 5 minutes to boot up, and each web page took a while too.  Not anymore.  Everything today is NOW NOW NOW.  Weather?  Check your phone for instant weather report.  Directions?  Pop it into your GPS system.  Music?  Two taps and your there.  No fast forwarding and hitting play on your cassette deck hoping you get the right spot....zhzhzhzhzhz, click, not far enough...zhzhzhzhzh, click, not far enough.....zhzhzhzhzhz, click, argh too far!  Anyway, we pared down this year and the kids were actually great.  They still got a few extra presents from grandparents and aunts and stuff.  So they still had an excellent Christmas, but it took the focus off of ME ME ME.  And we didn't end up with a bunch of toys that don't get used.  I wish I had started this years ago.

The kids loved looking at their new stuff, we took our time opening presents too.

 Even dad got something!
 Before Christmas the school had a couple little programs.  Jacob's class did another Reader's Theater and I got to hear him play his violin again.  It is so fun, I'm just thrilled that his teacher is able to incorporate that into the class.  Jacob is just the sweetest kid.  Always gets his stuff done, is just fun to be around, usually agreeable, and just an all around good kid.  I think I'll keep him.
 Maggie also had a class program.  It was adorable.  She sang her little heart out and remembered all the movements and stuff.  She certainly loves attention.  She is just so funny and spunky.  I guess I'll keep her too.
 Here are the kids on Christmas Eve, after the "Taco Bell Debacle."  They are wearing their new pjs that they got to open that night (an extra gift not included in the 4).  I remember being a kid and being so excited on Christmas Eve.  I'd sleep in my sister's room with her and just willed myself to sleep so Santa would come.

I just love my kids--sometimes they drive me up the wall and I feel like I'm at the end of my rope, but other times I just feel like my heart is going to burst because I love them so much.  I got a good bunch here.
 After Christmas I took the kids down to my mom's house for one last hurrah before she moves out to Utah in the Spring (we will see if that actually materializes).  2 minutes out of the car and they were in the hot tub.  I hadn't even unpacked the camera.  We did go to the children's science museum.  It was really fun.  We had been before but it had been a while.  Now the kids were older and could do more of the activities.

 They had a huge room filled with info about bugs.  Gross!  The kids loved it.
 Kaleidoscope room....Joey was too short for the mirror.
 We also went to the Museum of Natural History.  I went there mostly for Joey since he loves dinosaurs...well he was a little (excuse my french) turd the whole time.  I was ready to leave him there.  He wouldn't even stand for a picture to pretend he was having a good time.
 The other kids had fun though.  Lots to see and do.  We even got tired and didn't really explore part of it.  They wanted to go back to grandma's house and (betcha can't guess....) go in the hot tub!
 Jacob has a way with Joey.  I guess it's because they share a room, but sometimes the only one who can get Joey to do anything is Jake.
 Through all this the house has been moving along.  I need to take more inside pictures.  Here is one of the drywall guys doing his thing.  They were awesome--these guys showed up every day (a big deal--if you've built a house you know what I mean) and did a great job.  And we even came in under budget!  Hallelujah.
 Now they are working on finish carpentry and tile work.  It's is really fun and rewarding to see the house start to turn into a home and not just a bunch of 2x6's and wires and pipes.  It is starting to resemble something we could live in!  It's fun...stressful, but fun.

We didn't have any plans last weekend so we went to a car show with Eric's parents.  They had a mechanical bull there for the kids (or adults).  Each of the kids took a turn.  It was hilarious.

 All the kids had a blast on it...all, that is, except for Joey.  He was NOT happy about the situation.  But it made Eric and I laugh.  Does that make us bad parents?
 Oops, crazy picture uploading...back to the kids museum in California.  They even had a room where you could decorate a sugar cookie.  It was very intense, precise work as you can tell from Tyler and Joey's concentration.

 I crammed all the kids in the hurricane machine and cranked the wind speed to 80 mph.  Maggie was very concerned about her hair...what a girl.  Ha ha.  The boys thought it was awesome...Jake wants to put one in his new room.
 They also had a cool hockey simulator.  Here I am trying to get Joey to hit the puck at the screen.  More challenging than it looks---not because of the hockey skill but because of Joey's reluctance to let me help.
 Tyler tried the one where they actually shoot a puck at you and you have to block it.  I didn't get to see it since I was fighting, er, helping Joey, but apparently he did pretty good!
 Jake taking a turn at the stick...
 We of course went to Farrell's and skipped the food but got some super yummy ice cream sundaes.  Ugh, I could eat ice cream until I die.  I always can never be too full for ice cream.

 Randomly this pic inserted here--another science museum shot.  She is trying to look like an elk.  Ummm...keep working on it.
 And here we go with the hot tub.  One afternoon Maggie just wasn't getting her way and decided to make it known.  Her expression here is priceless--the boys were just ignoring her having a blast.  She was having a major melt down.
 My kids + water = Good times.  I guess that means I have to build a swimming pool.  I think my kids are half fish.  People say that all kids love water, but I'm telling you, my kids LOVE water.  They want to leave Disneyland to play in the hot tub.  They basically lived in it the whole time we were there.  And when I tried to mix it up, like go to the museum or something, after about an hour or two it was, "Can we go back to grandma's and swim in the hot tub???"

For these cute guys and gal, anything.