Monday, November 30, 2009

Polar Express

This year our Sunday School class reserved an entire train car and took our children to visit Santa at the North Pole on the Polar Express. They ask that you dress your kids in their PJs, since the train ride was in the evening. The railway is in Calera, about 35 miles south of us so we packed snacks to get us by before we had our dinner and drove out there. All of the children were running around and excited for the expedition!

The conductor of the train was a pleasant man, who Preston had an interest in and kept chasing up and down the aisle. Thank goodness we had the whole train car for our class because the kids were running wild! They told some type of a Christmas story over the PA system, but we couldn't hear any of it (which is fine). Once we arrived at the North Pole, the kids could see Santa and Mrs. Claus waving to everyone amongst the array of Christmas blow-up items (snowmen, reindeer, etc). I was expecting it to be more magical, perhaps throw some fake snow over the grass, make more of an effort than blowing up cheesy snowmen, but it wasn't. Thankfully Bennett and Preston weren't disappointed.

Bennett was so excited to see Santa, as we have been preparing her for this train ride for weeks. Once we arrived, a couple of elves walked down the aisles chatting to the kids and asking them what they wanted for Christmas. Of course, Bennett asked for a car and a vacuum (the same 2 items that she has been talking about for over a month). Though she talked to the elves, she was looking forward to seeing Santa up close and was more anxious for that.

Santa certainly didn't disappoint with his looks. He was a large, jolly ole fella with a bid rotund belly and shiny black boots. Bennett and Preston both just stared at him in amazement. We were expecting Pres to scream, but he was fixated with him. Since we were third from the end of the entire train, Santa and Mrs. Claus were running out of time so we didn't have much time to chat, just pose for a couple of photos.

So when they left the train to walk back to their post to wave good-bye Bennett started to cry. She was whining "bye bye Santa", and asking for her vacuum. I think she expected him to give it to her right then and there. I had to explain that she had to behave for another month to see if his elves would make it and he would deliver it.

Thankfully the tears were minimal and we were able to go meet some of our friends for a casual dinner before going home and to bed. A group of 25 of us went to grab my favorite...Mexican food!

Then when we got home, the kids got to admire our own Christmas decorations that Steve and I had put up while they were napping. Already Preston is messing with the ornaments on the tree, but this year we were smart and bought all shatter-proof ones. I must admit that I like the uniform look of our tree this year, rather than having all of the hodge-podge ornaments that have been given to Steve and me from our parents.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving in Peoria

We made a last minute decision to come to Peoria for Thanksgiving this year. Since we had no one to spend the actual day of Thanksgiving with, we started talking about going to Peoria to see my folks (and my brother and his family would be there too). Since I have been a mommy full-time, I can make these decisions to go out of town much easier...I just pack up my car and go! Steve had to work a couple of days, so I drove up with the kids and Spence on Sunday, and he flew in Tuesday night.

I was dreading the long drive by myself, but miraculously my children were perfect angels (I know...shocking)! We made very good time, and no one cried for the entire 10 hours...THANK YOU GOD!! We stayed with my parents until Steve arrived, and then checked into a hotel for the remainder of our stay since Brian and his family were staying with my folks. The weather wasn't too cool initially, so we were able to get out and do things daily.

Once Brian's family arrived, my kids had others to play with and they all had fun with their grandparents. My father bought a little pedal car for Bennett and Christian to ride. It was a big hit, even with Preston who loved to just sit in it and be pushed up and down the driveway.

Of course, no trip is the same without my beloved dog, Spence, who was also given special treatment during his stay. When we checked into the hotel, he stayed back at my parent's and slept with them at night. Unlike here, Spence got a treat every time he went outside to go potty because my parent's dogs got one (spoiled I know). So needless to say, he didn't lose any weight while he was there.

The day after Thanksgiving we attended the oldest Santa Claus Parade in the nation in my hometown of Peoria, IL. It is 128 years old, and we were all there in the frigid 30 something degree weather. The kids were enjoying it initially, grabbing candy and pointing at the various floats. Christian even "played" his horn as the different bands walked by. But as the sun moved, and the parade continued, we all started to get restless and cold. So we sought refuge in a warm bar and enjoyed a cool one in front of the window overlooking the parade (a much better place in my opinion).

But before we headed inside, Bennett was given a bracelet from the child who recently was built a new home on Extreme Home Makeovers in Peoria. She also filled a bag full of candy (to share with her Mommy of course)! Preston got bored quickly since we wouldn't let him run into the street to touch every float and band member that walked by. The longer we held him, the sleepier he became until he finally gave up and took a short nap.

Henley loved all of the excitement though, and didn't poop out until the ride home!

So all and all, it was a great Thanksgiving! I am so thankful for all of our family members, and all that they do for my family. I am thankful for my loving husband, who does so much for me and the kids and works so hard at his job. I am thankful for my beautiful, healthy, and happy children, and all of the joy that they bring to my life daily. And I am thankful for my devoted dog, who loves me no matter how bad of a mood I am in and even when I don't take him on walks. I have a very blessed life, and I know I owe all of that to God, who I am so very thankful for too! I hope all of you had wonderful Thanksgivings!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Bennett's 1st Dental Visit

Today Bennett had her first dental appointment. I was planning to go, and just take her to watch and get a feel for everything. But at the last minute, I added an appointment for her too. The entire visit went very well, she colored for a few minutes while we waited. Then we walked back and she sat on my lap while the hygienist cleaned my teeth. Robin, my hygienist, explained everything to her (in kid terms) as she was doing things. Bennett loves to understand how things worked, so I think she really appreciated the explanation.

Robin turned on cartoons, so during my cleaning, Bennett would watch some TV and keep an eye on what she was doing to me at the same time. When it was her turn, she immediately took my place, opened her mouth and cooperated. She loved the taste of her berry toothpaste and kept licking it off as Robin was applying it. So when it came time for her to squirt water in her mouth, and then suck it up with "Mr Thirsty," there wasn't much to remove.

But that was okay, because Bennett loved each little tool. She even sat there patiently while Robin gently flossed her teeth. When our dentist, Dr. Amanda Thompson, came in to inspect her little teeth, she got a great report: NO CAVITIES!

If You're Happy and You Know It

clap your hands....

If you're happy and you know it, shout horray!

In order for my children to stay interested in eating, we have to play games or sing while we eat (pathetic I know, but it works)! This is a sample of us singing this morning during breakfast.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Fall Fun

Today we enjoyed a beautiful Fall day...70 degrees, sunny...what more could you ask for in mid November? While we did some yardwork, the kids played outside in the lawn. Preston enjoyed running around in the grass, while Bennett played in her house.
Of course, Bennett wanted Pres to play with her in the house too, but he wasn't as interested and kept trying to escape. They are only 2.5 and 1 and are already fighting. What fun we have ahead of us!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Geaux Bama!

Can I get a Roll Tide Roll?! What a great game! Steve and I were lucky enough to go to the biggest college football game in the country today: Alabama vs LSU! And though it didn't start out good, it sure ended on a high note. Today's big win secured them a spot at the SEC Championship game against Florida in Atlanta, so all Alabama fans are floating right now!

It was a gorgeous Fall day, and we took in the excitement at our normal place....our friend, Danny's. We got down to Tuscaloosa several hours before the game so we could tailgate for awhile. Danny and his tailgating buddies always put together a big feast for this game. They had several dips, gumbo, and a HUGE shrimp boil with corn, potatoes and hotdogs.

Danny (seen here with his lovely girlfriend, Paige) is wonderful host to all of the home games. Since having our children, we have been unable to make many of the games (in fact this was only our second game of this season), so it was a nice treat for us to be there today.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Shower Time Fun!

Both of my children LOVE the shower, and taking baths. Before I hopped in with them, I snapped this picture of them enjoying the water.