Friday, December 31, 2010

Bechtel kids come for a playdate

veronica was super excited to play with my kids and Brian and I were super excited to play with Jack...I mean we've had 4 years to play with v and only 4 months to play with Jack!

Brian loved making Jack laugh!
And Al was a good helper with the bottle!
And this was what Bri had been hoping for....for Jack to fall asleep on his chest. Alaric did it all the time and Amara only did it ONE TIME EVER so when Jack got tired, Bri took over and got him to sleep instantly. We loved every second of our morning with the kids!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas in Coal City!

Our final Christmas was to Coal City to see Brian's grandma, uncle Tom, and Aunt Mary and Uncle George. We love our time here, especially being made fun of for being a Cubs fan!
The kids loved their new playdough set
And while they were excited to get Transformer and Winnie the Pooh sheets, it was more exciting to do sack races!
Mara and Aunt Mary played "hide baby Jesus" and it never got old to watch them giggle together.
Bri helped Gram in the kitchenand Alaric was pretty much always near or on top of his crazy Uncle Tommy!Uncle George loved looking at the Christmas gift he and Gram gave me- my blog published into books. He read through and caught up on the last two years in pictures and print!Gram and Mara counted the days on a new calendar
And when we went to Aunt Mary and Uncle George's house today, the kids loved playing on the organ with Mary.
What an incredible finish to our Christmas marathon!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas in Iowa!!!

We had a wonderful trip to Iowa! Jack loved his first Christmas here.
We played with new toys,
kissed lots of family members,
watched movies and had snack together,
held babies,
played with cousins,
played big kid games,
and little kid games with family we loved,
sat around and talked,
and took lots of family pictures ( this is all the cousins ( kids)
The Houser Cousins..Maddie, Alinia, Samantha, Benjamin, Brady, and Taylor
What a great time together!
My cousin Benjamin is a WONDERFUL pianist. More impressive is that he only took two years of lessons. Now, he finds a song he wants to learn, goes on YouTube to get the instructions and teaches himself. It was awesome to see him excel at a skill I am so very jealous of!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas in Monticello!!

The kids WERE SO EXCITED the second their eyes opened up!
We scoped out the note Santa left them!
They each got what they wanted. An Elmo umbrella for Mar and a StarWars Transformer for Al!
Pure joy
Our Family Tradition that we love more and more each year is our comittment to only giving each other three gifts on Christmas morning for the 3 gifts the wisemen gave to Jesus ( if it was good enough for Jesus, it should be good enough for us, right). Because Brian and I don't like to put emphasis on "STUFF" and prefer to focus on time spent together and making memories as a family, we each get one gift that is just for us, one that is for us to do together as a family inside the house that is geared just towards the likes of that person, and one thing to do away from the house as a family geared just towards that person. Here's what we all got.
Inside the house: Little Mermaid DVD
Away from the house: Elmo character on skates and a trip to SKATELAND! just for her: a restaurant set complete with an apron, steak n shake hats, menus, food, plates, silverware, order pads, and more! Huge hit-right away ( we had to drag her away from it)
Away from the house: A snorkling set and a trip to the aquatic center!
Inside the house: A board game
Just for him: A power ranger mega pack with 4 characters, two books, two t-shirts, a DVD, and PJs- HEAVEN!!!
Inside the house: 80's dance music for our impromptu dance parties in the kitchen!
Away from the house" Dairy Queen Giftcard!
just for me: the newest novel by my favorite author, Nicholas Sparks!
Inside the house: a puzzle of cartoon bikers

Away from the house: a kickball that you put ice cream ingredients in and get icecream instantly!
just for him: wine, a gift certificate for a local deli to buy meats and and cheeses, and a new cheese tray!
Brian and I loved just sitting back and watching them play amounst the mess and love
Then we had our perfect Christmas breakfast...homemade cinnamonrolls, bacon, and fruit!
Then for the best part-a day in PJ's on the aerobed in front of the TV watching movies! We stayed there all day and all night. Ate our meals in front of the TV, napped there and Brian and I even slept over there. The only time we left the room was to go....
...SLEDDING! Gotta love it ( that's Bri and Al with their arms up)

What a wonderful day!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas in Champaign!

Before we headed to my parents, Al wanted to give us the gift he made at school- a picture frame! We loved it!
Just a few precious Christmas pics with the kids and family!

The kids did so great waiting patiently to begin openning!
This is what Sweet Jack did!
A sea of packages and giftbags!
Everyone got something they loved....Jack got a musical stuffed animal (look at his eyes)
Alaric got the 1986 Transformer movie he had been hoping for
Veronica got Beer ( no, really she got a dancing/singing/clapping dog but it fit in the beer box perfectly)
Grammy and Papa got an original piece of artwork by Mara and Alaric for their bedroom
and Mara got a Clifford Backpack AND a tricycle ( Dan, Jen, me and Bri got stuff too)
Jack was forced into taking the traditional baby in a stocking picture and he was not too happy about it but he'll look back on it later fondly, right?

Jack's first Night Before Christmas with Grammy & Papa! So special!Both kids fell asleep on the way home...exhausted by the gifts, the cocoa, the food, the monsterous cookie, and the love of family!!!
Grammy & Papa gave Al an Optimus Prime Helmet that changes the voice of the person wearing it. Everyone had fun trying it out- especially Grammy as she started Twas the Night....