Saturday, December 31, 2011

Our Christmas 2011

Steve insists that this Christmas season was one of the best ever. I cannot disagree, but I thought that the time slipped away awfully quick. I feel bad because we didn't follow through and do the 12 days of Christmas like we had hoped. Also, I wanted to go to Kmart and pay on someone's layaway, but didn't. I didn't get cards mailed, and I didn't do neighbor gifts or anything for my buddies at work.
However, we did watch videos on Christ's birth, although the volume was up so high to hear over a crying and whining, overtired 2 and 1 year old. (The church has a great website with short clips that are ideal to watch as a family. They are only 2-4 minutes long and normally kids can handle that. They really are beautiful videos.  We also decorated Gingerbread houses and paid for a van behind us in line at JCW's, and Zac thought that was terrific Christmas cheer. We baked cookies together. We watched the Grinch, Rudolf, and the night before Christmas, we watched the Polar Express. Our Elf on the Shelf, Frisbee, came back this year too. 

Yearly Steve's Aunt Mindy hosts a Christmas Program in her home. The extended family comes in Sunday dress, we have dinner and present our talents for each other. I will enjoy it more in 8 years when I can listen to the musical numbers and not chase and shush small children. But in 8 years we will be more largely responsible for the talent and that may be a problem, because as it stands, we are not a talented family in terms of music (or otherwise). Lissa's and our kids sang jingle bells as a group, and it was very cute, indeed! Jenna also read a nice Christmas story. After that the other cousins went, playing the piano, singing and playing the violin, etc. We left as our kids started to melt down. It really is a special tradition.
We did go to Grandma's Santa party that was very cool! This is also a yearly tradition that used to be at Steve's Grandma's but has moved to Mindy's home as well. This party is a bit more chill than the Christmas program because Santa will be there, and who can contain such excitement?! Grandma does have Santa come. He is prepared and knows, by memory, a little something about every child that sits on his knee. That is very impressive because there are a lot of children there.
 Everyone sings, "Santa Claus is coming to town" and he comes in the door, booming, "HO HO HO!" It is very exciting, even for me. I loved it. Trev was sure to get his attention right away and inform him personally that he wants a Dinosaur. He was cute. When Jenna sat on his knee, he said that she should clean her room and be a good girl. When Zac sat, he said that he was keeping his eye on him, especially. (Maybe this really was Santa!) Trev was thrilled to sit with him, and Gage cried- classic for a baby/Santa encounter.

Grandma with Santa

That night is a wonderful, thoughtful and, in a word- loving- thing that grandma does for the children. She loves all of her children, grands and great grands, this is her night to be matriarch and show love in a playful way. A wonderful tradition too.
We went to Lissa's the Friday before Christmas, because we are real party animals, actually we just like to hang out with each other and we like to eat! We had finger foods and the kids did a gift exchange that was cute. We also played games. Noteworthy is that we played the "What" game, made famous in the family by Zac and Jenna. Kevin, the game show host, quizzed us on Trivia.
It was all quite fun. I know that things wouldn't be nearly so fun without small children around.

Christmas Eve day, we ate like royalty (who loves junk food). That evening we watched Polar Express and read The Night before Christmas. The Polar Express is about believing, and our kids do believe in Santa. That night, after midnight, at about 1am, Steve went to check on the kids and found that Zac was awake in bed, so excited he couldn't sleep. It also took Jenna a while, with extensive back rubbing, to settle in. As a result, we (Steve and I) got to bed after 2am. Because of this anxiety at first, they slept in till nearly 8am from exhaustion waiting for the morning to come.
It was such a great Christmas day, although we threw responsibility to the wind and allowed ourselves to just enjoy being together. No rushing around, no yelling, no time constraints, just us hanging out as a family, putting together new toys, playing and enjoying each other. It was really wonderful. Later that afternoon, Steve's family all came over to our place and ate ham, and played trivia games.

As per usual, I missed my family and was homesick, but technology and Steve's I-pad that is a work-perk made it better. I saw and talked to Buddy's family, my mom and my dad and Regina on and around Christmas. It is so much better when I can actually see their faces. They were again so good to us. Buddy and Carrie even put a bug in Santa's ear that Jenna wanted an American Girl Doll and saw that it was delivered to our house from the North Pole. Jenna loves it! We are so lucky to have family that cares so much for us. We are indeed loved and come from good people! :)
I am also grateful for Jesus and his love for us, every one! Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2011

FastKarts Go Karts

Back in May I won a totally free GoKart FastKart party package for 8 people! That was pretty amazing that I won through DBG on facebook.
 The party, including 40 laps, would expire at the end of the year. So I booked the party for the weekend after Steve's birthday.
Steve and I, Lissa and Christian, Kevin and Anna, and Anna's brother came. Jeff had to work (boo).
When we first got there, it was a little intimidating since my experience with go karts, I am pretty sure, is none. But once I watched for a while, I got excited. We signed waivers and chose a racing name, mine was Go Mama Go. Then we watched a video on GoKart rules and etiquette. We then put on our complimentary head sock (see picture of us looking like a group of jovial bank robbers), and our helmet and gloves. We look like real professionals!
The first 5 laps are the qualifiers to determine your pole place/starting place in the 15 lap heat. I was the first one out of the pit in the first race.  I hooped and hollered and frankly thought that I was kiilin' it, but both times I finished sixth. I was a bit reckless and despite a loss, it was not bitter.
 The first heat, we raced as a group with 2 strangers, the second heat it was just our group which was super fun.
 The highlights for me were going fast, sliding around corners, crashing into Kevin and just generally feeling a little wild and letting loose. It was so nice to not worry about the kids and to be a kid myself.

The Destroyer, Bionic, Captain Bob, Crazy Bull, The Vizz, Go Mama Go, and Anna
1st Destroyer, 2nd Bionic and 3rd Captain Bob

 I am certain that everyone had a great time. I knew the 2nd heat that I was behind, so I pulled out the camera to record some sweet footage. Makes me smile!

Reality of Christmas pictures

It has been a tradition since Jenna was a baby to dress up the kids in Christmas jammies and take their picture by the tree. It is getting harder, and instead of too much yelling, I just accepted the reality of things at our house. Things just don't always go as planned. Gonna have to roll with it and let these little farts have fun, like kids are supposed to. So their pictures reflect our kids. Smiley, restless, busy, and happy....for the most part. Enjoy.