Tuesday, February 9, 2016

JP's Room: Sunday and the Reveal

We had a little bit of a late start Sunday morning because church trumps room remodeling. But as soon as we got back we jump right in (so we'd have time to watch the Super Bowl!)
 My first task was to get the Ninja mask on the wall. I was going to do it in blue, since JP's favorite one is Leonardo, but I had red paint left over from the cars I painted in Hunter's room, and then the baseball stitches you haven't seen yet... 
While the paint was drying, I ran to the store to pick up a mattress pad. I knew I was forgetting something the other day... And then I made his bed up with his new Ninja Turtle sheets and the quilt Nanny made for him. She gave it to him for his birthday a couple weeks ago since she wasn't sure if she'd still be around or not. It's a good thing we told her about updating his room, because she was in the process of making his quilt, and since he was in a queen bed, she made him a queen sized quilt. Though she didn't have to, she removed a few rows and it fits perfectly now on his new twin size loft bed - complete with matching pillowcase! 
After I had couple more coats of paint on this sucker, the four of us walked down the street to go watch the Super Bowl at a neighbor's house. I was so impressed with both Hunter and Charlotte, mostly Hunter. So well behaved! And the food there was delish! I probably had too many ribs... We were only planning on staying for a little bit, but stuck around for the whole game. After we got the kids to bed, I went back to work putting one more coat of paint on the mask, and painting the eyes. I was so glad to bed done. I cleaned up and "staged" his room and then went to bed. 

Here's it finished:
 Perry built the captain's bed. When he first built it, it was a lot closer to the ceiling, and Perry thought JP would need more head room, so he cut a few inches. That was a process...
 We were hoping to put his desk under his bed. It fits, but his lamp is pretty close to the mattress, and with it turned on, it could potentially be a fire hazard, so back to the corner it went. 
 I just love his chair!
Hunter was pretty excited about the mask on the wall, so I knew JP was going to love it!

JP arrived home Monday morning before school, literally 3 minutes after I got out of bed. I had a rough night. I woke up around 1:30a with stomach cramps, then I thought I was going to faint, and then I started get nauseous... Such a horrible cycle! After puking my guts out, I was able to get back to sleep but was exhausted come wake-up time. But I was also antsy to show JP his room, so that was motivating enough to get out of bed. Here's how it went:
Don't mind Hunter's hair, he's growing it out. JP's socks are in the garbage now, and I'm surprised there isn't a hole in the ceiling yet...!

Monday, February 8, 2016

JP's Room: Saturday

Saturday morning came too quick. I wasn't ready to start working again but Perry was. He spent the morning drilling into the concrete. Way too loud for me. Luckily I had other things to work on.
Let me just pause here for a minute to say this: Perry pretty much rocks. He can do almost anything from tiling, to plumbing, to carpeting to anything woodwork related. I really scored big when I married him!
By late morning, he was done with all the drilling and had the padding laid. I made sure the green had enough paint on it and then I busied myself with the curtains. 
I thought about making my own, but I saw some Ninja Turtle ones at the store and opted to go that way instead. I didn't realize they were going to be super long so I ended up hemming them. You can't even tell they were hemmed! I felt pretty accomplished!
This was the first time I saw the carpet. The day before he just went out and bought some without my approval. When I asked him to send me a picture, the response I got was, "You'll see it when I lay it out." Ugh. But he did a nice job picking it out, I'll give him that. 
Also while I was at the store picking up a few things, I spotted this guy. For Christmas, I let the kids each pick out a little stuffed thing that I would buy them for Christmas. Hunter picked out a Minion, Charlotte picked out an owl, and JP settled on the orange Ninja Turtle since they didn't have any blue ones. We stayed at a rented house for Christmas and he slept with his Ninja Turtle and it became lost in the sheets. After we checked out, I called the owner to let him know, and he told us he remembered seeing it, but since there were other guests there, he'd have to wait to get it. And then he never got back to me and we just called it a loss. I went back to the store shortly there after and they were all gone, so I was over the moon when I found one at a different store! WooHoo!
We spent Thanksgiving at my parents house and while we were there, Aunt Bobby and JP had a little time together doing some craft projects. Before I knew it, he handed these to me to keep. I can't tell you how impressed I was! I love his artwork!  When I was done with the curtains, I painted these frames for his pictures. (I'm keeping the originals; these are pictures of the orginals.)
I left for work that afternoon, and later that evening, Perry finished up the carpet. He said he really struggled with the closet because when we made it, the dividing wood piece went all the way to the floor, so he was having a hard time trying to get carpet under it. But he did it, and was sore for the rest of the night. I was planning on painting a little bit more after work that night, but after the shift I had, there was no way. I was too mad and fired up to stay up much longer. 

JP's Room: Friday

As soon as JP left for school on Friday, I started working on his room. My first project was his desk chair. This old thing came from the Dome Home and traveled with me when I moved into my first house. In the last decade it's gotten plenty of use from me at my sewing machine or desk, and more recently from JP. With the changes we were making in his room, I thought this would be an easy project to get out of the way first.

I planned on just painting it green and calling it good, but since we're adding a few Ninja Turtle related things to his room, I got a little carried away...
I think my Ninja Turtles turned out to look more like crocodiles than any thing, but hey! Maybe I'll repaint them later... For now they'll do. I just know he's going to like his Ninja Turtle chair!

When he came home from school, he had just enough time to clean up his room and pack his suitcase before Grandma picked him up. He's been looking forward to going to Grandma's house for a while and was SO EXCITED it was finally time to go! Once Perry finished with work and we had dinner, we lost no time emptying out his room.
I forgot how horrible of a job the previous owners did installing the flooring. I mean, I'm reminded of it daily upstairs, but I forgot about this HUGE crack in the floor in JP's room. So glad we're taking it all out! While I started painting one of the walls green, Perry took a trip to Home Depot to pick up carpet and tack strips. I would just like to say this. He made me measure Hunter's room when we went to re-carpet it and he messed up my measurements and almost tried buying carpet to cover a 25'x25' room. I kaboshed that quickly (even though my measurements were wrong, it wasn't wrong by 15'.) This time he measured JP's room, and somehow figured that he would need 600 linear feet of tack strips. I don't know how linear feet are calculated, but I knew immediately when he brought these two massive boxes inside there was a lot of miscalculations going on... He actually needed about 40 linear feet... At least we can return the unused ones!
By then end of the evening, I completed the daunting task of sponge-painting bricks on the bottom portion of the walls. I am in love with how it turned out! I was even more in love with the fact that it only took maybe half an hour? Hardly anytime compared to what I had originally thought! Phew!

Lego-Star Wars Mashup Cake

Hey guys! I made another cake! This one here was for a boy that JP went to preschool with last year, and apparently he's into Star Wars. I knew he loved Legos too, so I opted for a combination of the two and here's how it came out.
The words and the stars are all chocolate. I didn't realize it until after I laid the words down on top that they were a little crooked...but that was probably inevitable since I did that part at 5am. 
I'm getting horrible with my planning timeline. When I started making cakes a few years back, I would make the cake on Wednesday and then freeze it and continue to work on the cake for the next 2 or 3 days. It was a week long process. Now I'm losing my mind when I start them the day before. This one needed to be done by Sunday afternoon, and I baked the cake Saturday morning and frosted it before work. When I came home from work closer to midnight, I power napped on the couch until 2am and worked until 6am. Power napped until 9am and then finished it up while Perry's friend Wayne and his "friend" Ashlie made us their version of eggs benedict, except without the hollandaise sauce...I won't go into details, but two tries later...
It was nice to have a crowd watching me work....hahaha just kidding! But me not being responsible for breakfast in the exhausted state I was in was amazing!
I also made him cupcakes to take to school. I'm really starting to enjoy decorating cupcakes!
Chewbacca anyone?

JP's Room: Before

Remember when we decided to re-do Hunter's room, and I posted all the before pictures and never the after ones? Yeah that was over a year ago...It's all done. Maybe one of these days I'll post it too, but in the meantime, we're re-doing JP's room. It's been a long over-due project that we're just ready to cross off our list. Plus he's turning SIX in a few days too so there's that. 
I feel like I might have touched on this before when I posted about his closet remodel, but JP lucked out a few times when the boys were young and sharing a room. I had enough of the giggling and getting out of bed so I had JP sleep in the guest room, and I liked it so much that it just became his room. Queen sized bed and all.
Originally this room was two shades of green when we moved it. It was also the last room to receive a paint job since we had a few people in and out of the room for about 2 years. If I'd have known JP was going to be *obsessed* with green, I never would have painted it. Aside from having a huge bed, he also scored the extra TV in room as well. (We have a VHS-DVD player hooked up to it and occasionally the kids will get to have a slumber party in JP's room and watch a movie.)
After lots of discussion, we decided it was finally time to get JP a bed that is more appropriately sized for his room and to get him some carpet. Before we got going on anything we made plans to have him stay the weekend with Grandma so we could surprise him. :) And he had to have his room clean before he left too. Looks like lots of work for him!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Happenings of the New Year So Far

The last few weeks have been busy! Getting back into our school routine each morning has been quite the challenge after having two weeks off for Christmas. 
The boys entertained everyone New Years morning as they played princess with their sister. JP loves being "Princess Dorothy" and Hunter makes an adorable Cinderella! Hahaha!
After their first day back at school, Hunter went to a friend's house to play for a little while, and the rest of us took a trip to get Fro-Yo. Yum yum! I couldn't help but to add this picture of Charli all bundled up to go play. She was getting ready for a friend to come play and stood by the door for 10 minutes, mad that her coat was zipped all they way up. 

We received an email from Hunter's teacher towards the end of the first week back at school reporting about his behavior. Both Perry and I were so happy to hear that he no longer needed to be in the "extra help" reading group and is now spending reading time in the classroom, and has been very attentive. The following week didn't turn out so great though...He spent a total of an hour and ten minutes on his math, which should have only taken a few minutes to complete. He ended up missing recess, snack, and part of science. Of course he was overly defiant at home too, but after an extra forty minutes at home, we finally got it done! I think he was just getting too anxious for his train trip with Grandma.
For Hunter's birthday, Grandma gave him a coupon to ride the train with her out to Seattle for his cousin's 1st birthday. I think he started packing for the trip in the middle of December, before we even left for Christmas! The time finally came last week to get his suitcase packed. I've never seen him so excited to do the laundry! I had his teacher send home a few things to work on while he he was gone, and then I printed off a few things I found on Pinterest. Grandma picked him up after school on Thursday and took him to Whitefish to board the train at 9:15 that night. I don't know exactly what time they arrived in Seattle, but I think it was around 10:30 the next morning. They had a sleeper car and Hunter reported to me that he got to sleep on the top bunk going out there AND on the way back. It sounds like he had a pretty good trip, though we didn't hear much from him. Charli was anxious to see him again when he arrived home Tuesday afternoon. I know JP won't admit it, but I could tell he missed him too!

While Hunter was gone, JP received a little extra attention. He's always over-shadowed by Hunter, poor guy! After school on Friday I took him up to Aunt Kim's house for his first piano lesson. He rocked it! They spent half an hour at the piano, and by the end, he was able to play a song. He was even understanding the difference between quarter notes and half notes!
 They are two peas in a pod! 
 Monday was Martin Luther King Day so JP didn't have school. We had tried to plan a play date with one of his pre-school buddies over winter break, but his friend caught a cold, so we rescheduled for this past Monday. While he was here, we played Go Fish, built a fort in the basement (which needs to come down...) and then went outside to play. It was perfect snow for a snowman! After we assembled it, we were going to "put clothes" on it. As I was about to head inside to get a couple spray bottles, his grandpa came to pick him up. Such a bummer but JP had fun spraying his snowman completely green. Unfortunately dad didn't get to see it because it fell over before he got home. Apparently we need to work on our snowman skills!
JP and Charlotte also had dentist appointments last week. Like last time, Charlotte didn't get in the chair. She even refused to open her mouth while sitting on my lap. Her dentist tried to ease her in by showing her how he was going to count her teeth with a demonstration on her kittie, who goes by the name of Booties. Eventually she opened up and was able to use the mirror in her own mouth. One thing we're working on now is getting her to stop sucking on her fingers. She's able to take any kind of bandage off of her fingers so that method hasn't been working so well. She did leave her taped on band-aide on throughout the night the other night...I'm going to make her a couple finger gloves that hopefully she won't be able to take off. If that doesn't work, we might have to make the blanket disappear...

Kitchen Remodel: The Plans

As many of my readers know, when we moved into this house, it was in need of some work. Painting alone did wonders for the majority of it, but there's still one spot that needs some love. The kitchen, which is also the place I spend a good portion of my days. Every so often we talk about remodeling it, but come up with one excuse or another. I, however, convinced my sweet, loving husband that we should remodel it this winter. He finally agreed! 
We spent the last two weekends at my mom's house putting up her backsplash in her kitchen. It turned out nice, but I'm glad we, hahaha, who am I kidding? I'm glad Perry put it up so we know how hard those mosaic tiles can be to put up around outlets. Before we headed up there on Sunday to finish it up, we made a rather quick trip to Home Depot to talk to someone about cabinets for the kitchen. She was so helpful! 

By the time we left the store, we felt a little overwhelmed. We had picked out our cabinets, and apparently we have pretty expensive taste. Her estimate based on the size of our kitchen, with the wood we picked out, put us in the $16k ballpark. She made copies of the sketches Perry made and later Sunday night she sent us a virtual mock-up of what it would look like. 

They also sent out the 3D, in color version, but I'm only showing the black and white.
This first one is looking into the kitchen towards the back wall. 

This one is standing by the stove looking at the window. Originally we planned to have more counter space and drawers next to the dishwasher, but since the full pantry didn't fit on the back wall, we opted to put one in by the entrance. I'm not thrilled about it, but since we're taking out our pantry in the back left of our kitchen. We're even taking out the closet behind it too.

This is the view from the sink. As of right now, our peninsula come out from the sink wall, but we're moving it to the other side so the dishwasher can be next to the sink. We've thought about taking the peninsula out completely, but I love having that extract work space when I'm decorating cakes. That's normally where the kids eat breakfast at, and I love seeing their smiling faces all lined up. We're also going to get a microwave range hood so it doesn't take up space on the counter. 

We're going to go back in to see more options to get our price down. They currently have a 20% off promotion on the line that we're interested in, but an in-store promotion, but it's still a little out of our ideal price range. We're hoping to make it look rustic with the wood grain and knots showing, but we'll see how much changing the finish and door style will help us out. But I'm so excited to get this project underway!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Mom Confessions: Rejection Hurts

For the last several years, or maybe even a tad bit more than several, I've been struggling to deal with rejection. A little over a year ago, in the fall of 2014, I wrote about how I so desperately wanted a friend. (If you missed that post, or want to re-read my breakdown, you can do so here.) Going into the New Year, I decided to really put myself out there and step out of my comfort zone of being so shy. I do have the tendency to want to to just hide when I'm in a room full of people, but I feel like I've made leaps and bounds in getting out there.

In January I sat down one night and began to read the book, "Love Does" by Bob Goff. I had bought it a while back on my Kindle and for whatever reason, decided to read to it months and months later. By that point I forgot what it was about. For those who haven't read it, it's a short narrative about his life and how the Lord has shown himself throughout it. In one chapter, he wrote about a prank he played on one of his good friends, and then begins to tell about a phone call he received from Uganda asking if he could be an Ambassador for their country. Thinking it was a prank his friend was playing on him in return, he decided to just say yes to whatever they asked. Turns out it wasn't a prank but a legitimate thing. He then questions readers to think about what could happen in their lives if they decide to just say yes to the next opportunity that presents itself instead of making up excuses not to.

I finished that chapter and was done reading for the night, but thought long and hard about starting to just say yes to things, even if I wasn't comfortable doing it. The next day I dropped JP off at pre-school and went home to spend the morning with Charlotte. It was then that I received a message asking if I wanted to join a Bible study group that she would be leading, starting in just a few days. I immediately recalled the book and what I had just read, and opted to just say yes.

I can't even begin to tell you how nervous I was that first session, and every session following it, but I've met some really great women through that study. Because I was so new in the group I really wasn't sure if I would go back to the session in the fall. It wasn't until that August that I decided I would. I made a cake for the previous leader's son, and quite a few familiar faces were there from the Bible study, one of which told me she was going to be leading the fall session, and said something to the effect of "loving it if I would join." Remember how I just wanted to feel included, like I was needed? I hardly knew her, but in that moment, I felt wanted. It sounds dumb, but just her asking me to join, literally almost brought me to tears. Just recalling that does the same.

This past summer I felt like I was doing so well at meeting people too. I felt oddly social. It's weird for me to feel that way. One summer evening we even had a family come over for dinner, and I again feel silly for saying this but, THEY DIDN'T CANCEL ON US!! That alone was HUGE for my self confidence. I can't even begin to tell you how many times Perry and I have been cancelled on at the last minute. Or even when I set up a play date, or coffee date and I'm cancelled on at the last minute or they just don't show up. It kills me every time. Every time I'm brought to tears or close to it. You would think eventually I would get used to it, but I haven't yet. Perry doesn't understand why I keep trying to meet up with the same people over and over with the same result - quite frankly, I don't either.

In September I met our newest neighbors on the street, and got re-acquainted with a couple others. By the end of the year I was really feeling like I belonged, that I had people I could call friends. I was being invited to do things like go to dinner, come over for play dates, share in a glass of wine, and meet up at a concert. I really felt like I belonged. It was a wonderful feeling to have after so long!

One evening before everyone went their separate ways for Christmas the neighbor ladies and I got together for an afternoon class of painting. We all thought it would be fun to have a progressive dinner party over New Years Eve as none of us had plans already. I was stoked! I had a group of people to do things with! Then my work schedule changed a little bit and I let them know, but then to me it sounded like everyone wasn't up for it after all because of their New Year's Day plans with work and such. I followed up with everyone a couple days before hand to see if it was a go. One decided on going to a concert because they didn't think we were going to do the dinner party since I was working. The other two decided to get together for dinner, and then we all agreed to meet up afterwards for games, appetizers and desserts.

I spent the afternoon getting appetizers ready. I made ham and pickle roll-ups, shrimp and cream cheese dip, and had everything ready for little smokies in the crock pot, not to mention all the chips and dip I also had ready. I was all ready to entertain people, a bit frazzled, but so excited to entertain people. I went to work and left at 7, as planned, and I texted the group to let them know I was on my way home and they could come over to our house when they were ready. Three hours later I had one reply apologizing for for the late reply, and then a vague reference to coming over but the baby was still sleeping. I replied telling her to bring her over because we had lots of food here. And then nothing. No response or anything.

I will say this, I was very thankful Perry had a friend in town who also brought over a friend so we weren't alone on New Years Eve. I had also invited my "let's have wine" neighbor over for a drink too and she stopped by for a little bit. Perry told me over and over that I did a really good job getting ready for the party and was there to comfort me as night progressed and I began to realize no one was coming over. The four of us watched the ball drop before they headed home. Perry stumbled off to the shower and I hopped on Facebook before crawling into bed. And then I saw it. A picture of the neighbors together on New Years looking all happy and I burst out crying. I immediately was overcome with a feeling of rejection.

It's been a few days now, and it consumes my mind. I'm embarrassed as to how excited I was to have people over, and even more so when no one showed up. I'm embarrassed as to how excited I was to tell everyone at work about the dinner party I was planning and then later having to say no one showed up. My boss even went to the extent of helping me figure out a solution to the schedule so I could still go to the dinner party as planned. For the last few days I've just felt so rejected.

A lot of what I've been thinking about this evening is how do I face them tomorrow? I want to throw down the mature adult card and pretend like I don't feel hurt and move on. But I do feel hurt. I also don't want them to feel bad for making me feel bad. I really don't know how to approach the situation. I'm so tired of being blown off by everyone. I feel like I'm back where I started 2015 at, in tears crying about not having friends.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

2015 Christmas Recap

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind, and before I know it, the kids will be back in school. I meant to post about their concerts at school, but I just haven't had a free moment. To sum them up, they were adorable! 

This year Christmas was spent with Perry's family at a house just a few miles south of town. Gorgeous home! The preparations began in mid-October (long before I had a solid decision as to what the kids were going to be for Halloween!) with a lot of emailing as to who was bringing what, and what was on the menu, and ideas for gifts for the kids, and such. I'm not a planner, so Christmas prep tends to stress me out a bit. Most everything went off without a hitch once we arrived at the house. 
 With Christmas landing on a Friday this year, we packed what felt like all of our belonging and met up with the rest of the family Wednesday afternoon. It was so nice to see everyone again! Once the sleeping arrangements were hashed out, and everyone was in attendance, we gathered around the dinner table for spaghetti made with Great-Grandma Dustin's spaghetti sauce. Before the kids ran out of energy, which never seemed to happen, we frosted sugar cookies. I say we, but I should mention Grandma and I decorated the large majority. Hunter and JP decorated a couple, Charli barely got through one. The men weren't overly helpful but Perry did add sprinkles to my frosting-only cookies. I think after 2 hours, we finally had them all done?!
 The first night putting the kids to bed was a little rough. Charlotte fell asleep in our bed, and then later had to be moved, but JP fell asleep under the pool table because "Hunter is too loud to sleep by." They each had their own bed but sometime Hunter can't just be quiet! He must have moved to the couch in the middle of the night though...
 Christmas Eve morning, everyone but Perry (who was working) and Grandma, drove a mile across town to a sledding hill to have a bit of fun. Ain't she cute?!
 All I want is just one good picture you guys!
 The sledding hill was really steep but both the boys are fairly fearless. They hiked their sleds almost to the top of the hill before going down...
 Once she saw the boys go down, Charli wanted nothing to do with sledding. It didn't help that Uncle Cameron had to push her out of the way to save her from being ran over by one of the boys...Eventually she decided she would try to go down too, but she didn't believe in using a sled. You can make this stuff up - she hiked herself halfway up the hill, and then sat down to scooter herself back down. Occasionally she would shout things like, "Look at me go!" and "Watch out for me!" and "Here I come!" I can't get enough of her humorous ways! 
 After going our separate ways for church, we gathered at the house for Christmas Eve dinner. Grandma Betty made their traditional Clam Chowder Soup, and since I'm not into seafood, I opted to make the second soup and decided on Chicken Cordon Bleu Soup earlier that day. (Like I said, I'm not a planner!) With the arrival of Santa increasing by the minute, the twelve of us curled up on the couches and in the recliners to listen to Great-Grandpa Dustin's re-telling of their Christmas traditions via tape recording. Instead of reading the book this year, we instead watched, "A Child's Christmas in Wales." 
 Before we sent the kids off to bed, Uncle Cameron read, "The Night Before Christmas" and I for some reason volunteered to read, "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas." I'm not entirely sure why I did that as I hate reading out loud. But I did it, and I "voiced" it well. 
 Look at all those cuties on the fireplace! Ahhh!
 On the second night in the house, Charlotte wanted to sleep with JP, and he obliged. He's such a good brother to her!
 When we put the kids to bed, we sternly instructed them NOT to go upstairs without mom or dad in the morning. At the usual 7:30a we heard them giggling in their beds so we rolled out of bed to distract them for a while. Perry played pool with them for a little while, and then later I played foosball with them. Charlotte somehow made it upstairs without Perry or me realizing...
 This is how they have to go upstairs - with pillowcases over their heads so they can't see what Santa left them...
 After a LOT of fighting about it, Perry and I came to an agreement as to what was going to happen with their Christmas presents. A few weeks prior, we had the boys write Santa a letter to tell him where they were going to be at for Christmas and what they wanted. JP has been on a roller skating kick for a few months so that's what he asked for in his letter. Hunter asked for "anything for kids" so he was brought a robot kit. Charlotte just wants "more kitchen" so she was brought more food. 

The original plan however was that Santa was going to bring the boys pedal cars, and Charlotte a Little Tikes cars. Perry and I went round and round and it wasn't pretty. In his family Santa can only bring one present and its always the biggest. While I had originally agreed on the cars, I really wanted JP to get the roller skates he asked SANTA for. I wanted the Christmas magic of it, but Perry was pretty set on no, the pedal cars can't be from us. Eventually I agreed that Santa could still bring the pedal cars, but I wanted them to go on a scavenger hunt for them instead of putting them under the tree. After more arguing about whether the other presents would be wrapped or not, we came to another agreement. (This is why Christmas is hard for me with him - breaking tradition is a huge no no to him!)
 Before they could see what Santa left for them, we all gathered in the master bedroom to open our stockings, but only after eating our first breakfast of kringler and breads and fruits. 
 Hunter claimed the middle of the room as his spot to open gifts, where as JP hopped on the bed and opened his presents with his aunt, uncle, and baby cousin. 
 Charlotte, Perry and I hung out by the fireplace to see what we received. Charlotte was too cute! "Okay let's see what we got here!" 
 Finally a few hours after they woke, the kids were released from the bedroom to see what Santa left. They all knew exactly what was theirs and were very excited. That's when they found their first clue to the scavenger hunt. Their elf, Skippy, left a note saying he hid the other present from Santa as one last joke before he left. They were lead around the house and eventually outside where the cars were all parked. It was so fun to watch them cruise around the driveway!
 The rest of the morning was spent trying out new toys and unwrapping more from under tree.
 I love watching the excitement of little kids on Christmas! 
 JP loves to color and draw so one of the gifts he was given was this HUGE set of coloring supplies. I think there are 3 sets of markers, varying in sizes, variety of crayon, and paints and colored pencils too. He and Grandma hunkered down in the afternoon for a little bit of coloring. 
 The rest of the time spent together was fairly unstructured. We took another trip to the sledding hill on Saturday and spent the rest of the day working on a puzzle. On Sunday we managed to take Hunter and Charlotte ice skating. JP came but didn't want to skate. Later that evening Aunt Em gave little Stevie his first hair cut.
 And since JP was getting a little shaggy, she trimmed him up too. 
 Hunter on the other hand is growing his out. And he enjoys wearing it in a ponytail.
Before I missed my opportunity, I sweet talked these little ones into taking a picture with me, but only after we played Ring-Around-the-Rosey a dozen times! My how they've grown!

We said our goodbyes Monday morning and parted ways. I took *forever* to load and unload the car and then to put it all away... I think this next Christmas we're going to try to have it at our house. We have virtually no memories of Christams at home and with the arguing that ensued this year, we have come to the conclusion that we realy need to make our own traditions instead of trying to always have it like it used to be. The last and only time we had Christmas here was when Hunter just turned a year old. So while it's not official yet, I just might get another award for wrecking Christmas again. Time will tell...