Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Our Christmas

We spent Christmas Eve at our friends the Candlands house along with the Turners. We all came in our PJ's and ate a huge breakfast including pancakes, gingerbread waffles, quiche, monkey bread, fruit salad and bacon and sausage- yum. The kids even made those cute little candy cane reindeer and Robyn in her usual fashion had games for us to play like Christmas Bingo, a game called Blizzard and the kiddos exchanged some little gifts as well. We were so grateful to have somewhere to go and it was such a fun time, especally since the kids were giddy with Santa excitement.
Chrsitmas morning was so much fun. I think I was looking forward to it more than anyone else, just because Cameron is finally at an age where the magic of Christmas begins and I wanted to see the look on his face when he came down the stairs to see all that Santa had left him and Gavin. Santa did not disappoint and the highlights of what he left were scooters for both boys, a play kitchen, and a tent-like jail thing to take up more room in our basement. The kids were so into it that Jeremy and I just sat back and watched until they were done and then had our own little Christmas exchange while the kids were busy playing. Fortunately, it was not a very cold morning and we took the kids out to ride their scooters even without coats! Gavin was a bit overwhelmed with all of the excitement and Cameron was just glad that he had received everything he had asked Santa for (a scooter and a train).

That afternoon, we headed over to my sister Becky's house for dinner with my dad and some of her in-laws. We pigged out Thanks for including us Beck!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Cameron's 5th year Montage

Cameron's 5th Birthday

It's hard to believe that Jeremy and I have a 5 year old! I remember thinking when Cameron was a baby that 5 was such a milestone and when they really start to grow up. That seems like it was just yesterday... Cameron has been looking forward to his birthday for weeks, months really, ever since his friends all started turning 5. We went out to breakfast at Cameron's favorite restaraunt- Cracker Barrel and he inhaled his pancakes and bacon (also his favorite), with chocolate milk, of course. We let him open our couple of gifts that morning since we knew he would be getting many from his friends after his party in the afternoon and then we headed to Total Sports to help get ready for his soccer party. Cameron has been in a Soccer Tots class there for a few months now and really enjoys it, so when I mentioned having his party there, he loved the idea. He had several friends from school, friends from church and two of his cousins at his party- in total 12 of his dearest friends and they all had a blast! His coach- Coach Dennis led the kids (and some parents) in several activities including kickball, dodgeball, and a flag football kind of game, and after an hour it looked like everyone could use a nap. We then had some pizza and cake and opened presents- something that should've waited until we got home. All the kids wanted him to open their gift first and they were all shoving them at Cameron before he could even open the one he had. It is a miracle if I get the thank-you cards right, I'm still not sure who gave him what, but he did wind up with a TON of toys that will make Christmas pale in comparison. We have decided to put some away for the coming months so that he will have some "new" toys to play with once the novelty wears off from the ones he has. Most importantly, Cameron enjoyed every second, he loves being the center of attention and he can't wait until his next birthday already. I told him he needs to slow down and stop growing up so fast, mommy isn't ready for him to be a big boy yet.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Little Drummer Boy

Tonight Cameron had his Christmas Performance at 4 R's Preschool. I was really impressed that a secular school would put so much emphasis on Christ when the rest of the world seems to be so concerned about political correctness. It was a sweet program and the teachers obviously invested a lot of time making it perfect. Cameron had three speaking parts and in my impartial opinion, delivered them better than any of the other children. He even had the gestures down to go with his parts. They sang lots of cute songs and Cameron was the little drummer boy. Us parents were even educated on how they celebrate Christmas in other countries. I never thought I would learn so much from my 4 year old. Jeremy and I couldn't be prouder of our little preschooler and I am so glad that he is in such good hands at school and is obviously learning a lot of valuable things. Oh, and don't worry, Jeremy was in charge of the video camera this time so I wouldn't screw it up again.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

All I want for Christmas is my one (soon to be two) front teeth...

So yesterday was the big day. Cameron had been wiggling and jiggling his bottom middle teeth for over a week and one of them was hanging literally by a thread. I kept asking him if he wanted me to pull on it a little bit and sometimes he would let me, but only for a second. Yesterday he came to me and asked if I would try again and sure enough, one little twist and out it popped! There wasn't even any blood- thank goodness or it might have been a much different experience. I think all of our talking it up really helped because he was extremely excited! He wanted to call grandma first (she had given him a tooth fairy kit) and then daddy. He washed off his teeny tooth and put it in the special pouch we'd gotten and put it right under his pillow. This morning sure enough the tooth fairy had visited and left him $5 and some change! Apparently the first tooth is worth a bit more than subsequent teeth. Cameron said he was going to use the money to buy Christmas gifts for Gavin, Jeremy and I, very sweet, but I explained that he might just want to get something for himself since it really wasn't that much money. To this he replied, "That's ok, you can just pull out some more of my teeth and I will get more money tonight." Smart kid. I just hope he doesn't really start to try to yank out his other teeth...

Monday, December 17, 2007

Bull Run Festival of Lights

Tonight for our family night we went to the Bull Run Festival of lights. Normally, we've gone in our warm car and leisurely gazed at all of the light displays, but last year our friends the Porters introduced us to a new way of going through the drive- in the back of a pickup truck. It was so much fun last year that we stole their tradition and invited my sister Becky and her family to join us. Jeremy was not so reluctant to be the driver with Gavin snug and warm up there with him, while the rest of us were all bundled up with hats, gloves, scarves, lots of blankets and sippy cups full of hot chocolate to keep us toasty warm. Even despite our best efforts, the cold was nipping at our noses, but we hung in there and tried to sing some Christmas carols as we drove through. What a fun memory. Hopefully, this is a tradition that will stick with our family as well.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Candylane at Hershey Park

Yesterday we headed up to Hershey, Pennsylvania for yet another Christmas experience. They open up part of their theme park during the holidays and totally deck it out with lights and music and they have about 30 kiddie rides also decorated for the season. So despite the threat of a snow/ice storm we took our chances and made the 2 1/2 hour drive. It turned out to be a pretty decent day, that is if you don't take into consideration the frigid temperatures that kept us running for more hot cocoa. We got there at 12:30 and the kids were absolute troopers. We rode a ton of rides, caught a Christmas show (it was inside and heated...), took a virtual tour of the chocolate factory, did some chocolate shopping-they have crazy flavors of Hershey Kisses you can't find at the store, and once it got dark we ventured back into the park to see all the light displays and ride a few more rides until our noses and toes could take no more. Our luck held out and it only started to rain on the way home, and never turned into sleet or snow. The only casualty of the day was that Gavin came down with a little fever this morning which I'm sure is due to being out in the cold. But I think all members of our household would say it was well worth it and it is something we will definitely do again. Thanks for the idea, Robyn!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Family Party and Christmas Hayride

Yesterday we all got together at my sister Kristin's house for a pre-Christmas party. Granny and Pop Pop, my Mom and Jeff, my sister Becky and her kids, us, and Kristin's family were all there. All the cousins had so much fun playing together and it was nice to have everyone in one place. We also celebrated Cameron's and Kristin's twins Daniel and Courtney's birthday. We ate well, opened gifts, and just enjoyed each other's company. It was nice to just be able to relax and enjoy the season.Later when we got home, we quickly bundled up for what has become a family tradition- our neighborhood's holiday hayride. Luckily the rain from earlier in the day cleared up and we hopped on these huge wagons piled with hay and were led around to look at Christmas lights by two gigantic draft horses. Then we warmed up with hot apple cider and cookies in the clubhouse. We look forward to this fun event year after year and it never ceases to put a smile on our faces!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

O Christmas Tree

We had another busy Saturday planned today. I was able to score some last minute tickets on the sold out Santa Express- a ride on the local VRE train with a visit from Santa Claus himself, thanks to a woman getting rid of her tickets on craigslist- I love that site. So we got up early and made the 9 am departure. The kids were just so excited to be on the train, and when Santa came it was just icing on the cake. After the ride was over, we set out to find the perfect Christmas tree- yes, we are all for fresh trees in our family, although every year after I have untangled the lights and straightened the tree for the hundreth time, I always reconsider our decision... But even now just hours after that whole ordeal, those painful memories grow dim, perhaps because of the sweet piney scent that now fills our home, it's intoxicating, it makes it all seem worth it. We out did ourselves this year, we truly picked a tree without blemish, not a single bare spot or ugly side, and it is my favorite of all of our Christmases together. The kids were eager to start the decorating process so that we could get to the highlight of the event for them- putting our trains around the base of the tree. Every year Cameron and this year Gavin too, look forward to watching the choo choo's go round and round all lit up and they love to make the horn and whistle blow. So after the lights were on and every ornament was "just so" we got the trains going and the kids pretty much stayed put for the rest of the night, and that is probably where they will remain until Christmas is over and it's time to box them up again. Now that the tree is up, I can finally sit and revel in the feeling of the season, it really is the most wonderful time of the year!

And now with some non-Christmas related news: Cameron informed me on Friday that one of his teeth was hurting. When I took a look at it, I realized it was loose! We were both shocked, but sure enough, the tooth fairy will soon be visiting our house. I thought Cameron was way too young to be losing teeth already, but he did get his first baby tooth at 4 months which makes him lose them early too, and it is one of his bottom middle teeth which apparently are the first to go, so Jeremy and I had better make sure we have some cash on hand! Cameron isn't quite sure what to make of it all, a few weeks ago we were talking about a friend's daughter who is just losing her first tooth at age seven and Cameron told me he didn't want to grow up and lose his teeth and several times since had mentioned that he doesn't want to turn seven because that is when your teeth all come out... Well it looks like for him it's age four and we are really trying to talk it up and so far it seems to be working. I had better not tell him about when I was little and my dad used to yank my loose teeth out with a pair of pliers!

Gavin is the most outgoing little guy around. He will start a conversation with anyone walking by us at the store and he seems to have no fear whatsoever. He has become quite the little singer, all you have to do is ask him to sing and he will make up his own little song on the spot. It really is adorable. He loves to join in when Cameron sings us the songs he's learned at preschool and all of these Christmas carols have encouraged more, and louder singing. And he's also picked up some great dance moves... Sadly, it seems he has his mothers dancing abilities...

As for the little guy that is yet to come, he seems to be dancing up a storm as well. We used to call Gavin a kangaroo because he would kick me so much, but this little boy puts Gavin to shame. All day long it feels like he is doing cartwheels in my tummy and Cameron was the first to feel him move this last week which he couldn't believe. I think this whole new baby thing has really started to seem more real to Cameron in the last couple of weeks and he is getting so excited. He is constantly asking me when the baby will come out and "after Easter" is so far away for an almost five year old, but is coming all too quickly for me.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

All things Christmas

Christmas is my favorite holiday. With all of the pretty decorations and lights, Christmas music and anticipation of the big day, it is hard to supress the kid in me. At least now I actually have my own kids to use as an excuse for my giddiness. So this year I have planned out all of the places I want to go and things I want to see before Christmas day. We started on Saturday, by attending the Manassas Christmas Parade where they had floats, balloons, bands, and my kids favorite, the firetrucks from all the local departments. The parade started at 10, and by noon we were all frozen and the parade was only a third of the way through, so we decided to forgo seeing Santa at the end and went home for hot chocolate. Next year we will plan better and show up at around noon. Later, my friend Robyn took our family Christmas pictures which you will all have to wait and see when you get our Christmas card. We came home and Cameron helped me bake Christmas cookies. He asked me who we were making the cookies for and I told him they were just for us to which he replied, "I think we should give them to someone who has no cookies and really needs them." It seems all of the service projects we have recently been involved in- a food drive at school and sending items to the wounded soldiers in Germany, along with some others yet to come have rubbed off on our little philanthropist-score one for mom and dad! Later that night we set off to the DC Temple to see the thousands of gorgeous lights they have on display and to hear a piano concert by Marvin Goldstein of Christmas music. It was a lot of fun and by the end of the day the kids were so exhausted and passed out in the car on the way home. I hope they can keep up with all of the other activities I have planned for the rest of the month!

Robyn's Christmas Party

This year was the fifth annual girls Christmas party at my friend Robyn's house. She and Miranda have always hosted this amazing gathering and since Miranda moved last year (miss you!) my friend Brooke and I attempted to fill her shoes by helping Robyn out a little with this one. It is always such a fun party where we get to cozy up and catch up with dear friends, eat lots of outstanding food and have our holiday gift exchange. In the past we've exchanged children's Christmas books and ornaments, but this year we did Christmas CD's and I was excited to add to my collection! I ended up with a Jim Brickman Christmas album, which I love! Robyn, thanks so much for keeping the tradition going and having us all in your beautifully decorated home, it really put me in the Christmas spirit!