Wink is back! Our Elf, Wink, returned to spend the Christmas season with us this year, and the boys were thrilled to find him outside on the porch at the beginning of the month.
The trip to get our Christmas tree turned into an extra-fun outing when we discovered patches of snow on top of the freshly delivered, still bundled packs of Christmas trees. The boys haven't yet been to the snow, so getting to pack snowballs and smash them into the ground was a blast!
Landon and I have had many visits to the WOW science museum this month on days when Caleb is at school. I would say it is currently his favorite thing to do outside of the house. They had some cool hands-on activities going on during the two week break, with additional student volunteers working with the kids to show them cool science stuff.
New interactive screen has math, games, science, drawing, and probably more, and several kids can play it at once. It's like a giant iPad. Very cool.
The picture doesn't capture it, but this garbage can has the open end mostly covered, with the exception of a small round hole on both ends. The can is held up to a smoke machine to fill it with smoke, and then when you tap the top end, it puffs out rings of smoke from the other end.
These were cool glasses... They are made of a heavy acrylic cut diagonally, which tricks your brain and body from correctly identifying where things and people are in front of you... and making walking on a wiggly line of tape very difficult.
Other December fun...
Building a Chinook helicopter from Legos
Finishing up their first round of sports, Soccer Shots
Helping daddy work in the yard
Experimenting with mommy and daddy's new camera, as the boys helped us decorate our Christmas tree
The joy of huge leaf piles... and more camera experimentation... No way my cell phone could have captured this!
Obvious personality differences! Caleb is proud, posed seriously. Landon makes the goofy faces. The pictures of Landon following this one were of some very silly faces and poses for the camera. :)
Learning to frost a gingerbread man - Landon watched Candace frost hers, and then he did his own without assistance, and its a pretty darn good job (check out the details)! Maybe this one does have a future in food...
Landon's preschool did their annual Christmas Sing-Along, which included paper reindeer antlers this year to go along with the Reindeer Pokey (like Hokey Pokey with lyrics about Santa's Reindeer), along with a few other traditional Christmas songs and singing Happy Birthday to Jesus. It lasted all of 8 minutes, and Landon kept his serious face as he followed along with all the hand movements.
We had so much fun with Uncle Ben, Auntie April, and cousin Eli during the days they were in Lodi. Eli has begun army crawling, and soon enough he will excitedly keep up with Caleb and Landon. They had so much fun loving on him and making him 'talk' (currently a high-pitched little scream). Caleb always loves playing with the babies, and he does such a good job!
During their time in town, we got to take Auntie A and Eli to the science museum, and lots of police/SWAT dress-up, hunting for bad guys in our neighborhood with Uncle Ben, and setting up pretend boobie traps after having watched, loved, and quoting constantly from Home Alone. Thankfully no bad guys were actually found.
The occasional movements of our elf, Wink... Every two or three days (ie when mom remembered):
Our church, Remedy, had a children's Christmas program the week before Christmas. The kids worked hard practicing after church each week, and were all so cute on the stage, for the most part behaving well... and by that I mean no one lifting their dress, crying or melting down, or being silly with other kids around them. Landon had his glazed stage look, as in his preschool performance, but mouthed the words to each song with little to no facial expression. Caleb had a sleepy look on his face throughout, did all the hand motions, but sang very few of the words.
We have never made it a point to take either of the boys to see a Santa, but this year Caleb asked midway into the month, so based on a recommendation, we went one weekend to check out the setup they have at Lincoln Center. It was perfect - no line at all to see Santa, and there was a little train ride that zig-zags all around the Center's parking lot (with several 'close calls' in my opinion as he looped very close to parked cars winding the train cars all around). We finished our visit with a cake pop and coffee for mom and dad and the boys were thrilled.
The boys wanted to bring their recently received Nutcrackers with them to show Santa. Its cute to just see all the joy in their expressions as they talk to the big guy.
Cookies, milk, and carrots ready for Santa and his reindeer!
Christmas this year was quieter with less family in town, but nice just the same. We enjoyed the time spent as our own little family, as well as with the grandparents and extended fam. The boys were very excited to have these new Star Wars wall decals, and so far are really liking their new ZipIt bedding! I'm loving that they can 'make' their beds so easily, and it is great for bunks where there is no room to tuck in a big long comforter. Win-Win.
The day after Christmas we continued with more fun - the long awaited release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens came out, which the boys talked about for about six months prior. We took the boys to see it, along with Papa and Nonni and Nana Gigi. It was really good, had some new twists to let us in on, and left just enough unfinished that they could carry it into another episode (or two?)... Jimmy's guess is that they will eventually finish out another trilogy.
And one sad note to end on: Mom and Dad had to have Bella put down shortly after Christmas. It turned out her liver and spleen were covered in cancerous nodules - apparently quite common with Goldens. We are sad and will miss her, and it seems to make it a little easier to swallow for the boys knowing she is in heaven with her brother, Gio. I was going back through pictures on my phone and found this, probably the last pictures of her, taken by either Caleb and Landon. Its good to see her face looking happy when she likely wasn't feeling that way inside.