Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Wrap-up

Since I convert our blog into a book at the end of each year, I try to accurately tell our story so we can recall each year and all of the memories with detail.  Sadly, there is no way to put videos into the book, so I rarely post the many that we take of the kids throughout the year.  However, there are a couple that I thought were so funny, so I had to share them with you.  The first one is of the kids enjoying one of Bennett's Christmas presents (thanks Mimi and Papa for the laughs).

This second one is of Preston dancing with Santa at Mimi and Papa's this Christmas.  We never could capture his full choregraphed dance because everytime we pulled out the camera, he lost interest midway through his dance.  Thanks to his cousin, Maria, for helping him with his moves! (sorry it is sideways, couldn't figure out how to flip a video).

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

That Darn Bob...

Christmas Eve day was the last day that Bob (our elf) made an appearance in our home. He was a busy elf these past few weeks, and has provided entertainment for the whole house. We followed the instructions of the book and prohibited the children from touching him (so he wouldn't lose his magical powers).  Each night he flew back to the North Pole to report to Santa on the children's behavior for the day, and then he would return before they awoke in a new hiding place.

Bennett got in the habit of looking for him in the old spot, and then hunting him down each morning.  Then she would show Preston where he was hiding.  Sometimes Bob would just be sitting in a new location (the days Mommy helped him hide),while other days he was mischievous and caused a mess (the days Daddy helped).  Sometimes Bennett would think it was funny if he got into trouble, but when he touched her things, she got very upset.  In fact, the little stunt of him pulling her panties out of their drawer and throwing them all over her bedroom caused her to cry!  Can you say TYPE A?!

Bob was busy during his stay, pulling toilet paper from our hall bath all the way to the Christmas tree and then all over it, spilling corks from Steve's stash, tipping over mommy's candles, getting into the candy jar (and eating a sucker), and many other things I can't recall.  However, a couple of times he was a nice elf, and loaded new games or stories on Steve's Ipad.  It was those days that Bennett REALLY liked Bob.

On Christmas Eve, the kids got this little note from Bob...

So until next year Bob....thanks for the memories!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas 2010, part 3 (of 3)

Finally Christmas morning arrived, and the four of us enjoyed a nice quiet Christmas morning.  When Bennett awoke, we told her she needed to call for us from the top of the stairs (we wanted to make sure to see her facial expression when she entered our living room).  So, I grabbed her and Pres while Steve went into the living room with the video recorder to capture them walking in and seeing what they got.  They each received a bike from Santa, and they were both happy with the new item (especially Bennett).

Following a couple of laps around the kitchen, each of the kids opened their stocking gifts.  Then we moved under the tree, where they each had 5 gifts to open.  Bennett first opened a new shirt, and she said "How cute, just what I wanted."  She was quite appreciative of everything she got, and very happy.  Preston was preoccupied with a firetruck that we gave him that has a working ladder, siren, and lights up, and wasn't as interested in his other gifts.  After some assisting from Bennett, we had everything opened and they were playing with it all.  Unfortunately, it didn't take long for them to get in a fight about one of their toys, so Pres was put on time out.

Later that morning, my parents returned from Brian and Shannon's house (where they went early in the morning to watch their kids open presents).  Our kids showed them all their new loot and they played with them, while Steve and I prepared our Christmas lunch.  We sat down around 12:30, and enjoyed a delicious meal (if I say so myself) of steak, twice-baked potatoes, asparagus and rolls.  My mother cut her meat so tiny and chewed everything really well, and we thankfully got through lunch without any problems.

My mother then volunteered to do all of the clean-up while we got the kids and ourselves down for a short nap.  Since we had been going to bed so late the past few nights, we were all short on sleep and very tired.  After we awoke, we all headed back over to the Mizerany's for dinner.  My parents only see them about once a year, so it was nice for them to catch up.  Steve's cousins and their families come over too, along with a friend of Dan' it really is just a big gathering.

So, as you can see....we were very blessed to spend this special time with our family.  We also did a lot of eating and drinking over the three day celebration.  We definitely need to diet now, and get back into our routines, but we have another short work week and the kids don't return to school until next week.  So I guess we'll have to postpone it until "next year." 

Christmas 2010, part 2 (of 3)

Celebrating with the family on Christmas Eve has been a tradition for 20 years with the Mizeranys.  So when I married Steve, it was something that my family just had to learn to accept.  It has really worked out well too, all things considering.  For the past two years, we have attended the casual, family service at TUMC with the kids.  Bennett gets to pick a character from the typical Biblical people to act out the day Jesus was born.  It is always slightly chaotic, but very sweet (and she has chosen to be Mary two years in a row).

After the service, Bennett and I took communion.  Though she couldn't really take communion, I explained the process (as best as I could to a 3.5 year old), and we put our hands out for his "body" and "blood."  I told her to eat and drink it, and then I prayed aloud for both of us.  I know she was probably too young to really understand any of it, but it still brought a tear to my eye while I had my arm around her small body and we prayed while looking at the huge cross in our sanctuary.  Of course, Pres was too young (and loud) to go into the sanctuary, so Steve waited outside with him.  Then he took his turn, while I took the kids outside to see baby Jesus in the nativity scene.

Bennett is just fascinated with "baby Jesus."  She always looks for him in every nativity set-up, and tries to pick him up whenever she can.  In fact, she named our fish Mary and Jesus (Mary is the mommy and larger fish, while the smaller one is "baby Jesus").

Following church, we headed over to Steve's parents for a traditional Lebanese dinner.  We all ate a little something, until we couldn't take the nagging any longer from Bennett about opening presents.  Of course, she just plowed through them, barely recognizing what she was receiving.  Preston, on the other hand, had no desire to open any presents after he opened his first gift....a garbage truck.  He is OBSESSED with trucks, firetrucks, garbage trucks, dump trucks, semi trucks, etc.  Though we have a house full of these already, it didn't stop all of the family from adding to his collection, and he was ecstatic with this!

Unfortunately, it wasn't a "normal" Christmas Eve since Sara was home sick with the flu and Michelle stayed home with her.  (I don't know what it was about the holidays this year, but our missing family members really put a wrench in our plans, and made everything a little off kilter.)  When the kids started to unravel, Bennett chose some cookies from Mimi's stash to take home and leave out for Santa.  Then it was bedtime, which neither child fought.  Steve and I got the last of the gifts around the tree, then hit the hay while we anxiously awaited the arrival of Santa and Christmas morning.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas 2010, part 1 (of 3)

It was a three day celebration, and one filled with too much food and drink, a lot of present opening and a lot of laughs with all of our family members.  It all started on Thursday (23rd), when we went to Brian and Shannon's for a "Banta Christmas."  It started off great, with a few cocktails, appetizers and story telling while Brian was grilling the meat.  We let each of the kids open a couple of presents before dinner, and then we sat down to eat.

Brian was trying out a new recipe for his pork tenderloin (it was garlic stuffed and bacon wrapped).  He tried hard, but it was a little overcooked and the outside was crunchy due to the bacon catching on fire while on the grill.  He failed to tell us that he inserted about 50 toothpicks to keep the bacon wrapped around it, so when my mother took her very first bite, she choked on a small piece of a toothpick.  It ended up getting lodged in her throat, and she couldn't swallow it, or get it up and out.  We tried lots of different things...drinking water, eating bread, gagging her, taking shots of liquor, but nothing worked and she was started to feel pain.  Christmas came to an abrupt halt when my father and mother drove off to Brookwood E.R. at 8pm.


Since we knew that we wouldn't get a chance to celebrate with Brian and Shannon again, we decided to keep opening the presents that we gave each other.  We kept checking on my mother, who was doing fine.  But an x-ray finally determined that she had in fact swallowed something, so a GI doctor had to come take it out.  They gave her some morphine, and pulled out a small piece of the toothpick, with meat attached to it.  They told her that it perforated both sides of her esophagus, so she was on a liquid and soft food diet for the remainder of her stay.  Fortunately, she felt fine, just had a sore throat.

Before we left, the kids started doing gymnastics, including somersaults, headstands and finally jumping from the coffee table to the sofa.  They thought it was so much fun, and we got some great "air" shots that I had to post.  Henley was fast asleep by this time, but Pres was still keeping up with the older two.  We finally wrapped up the night around 11pm.  My mother and father arrived back at our house just before midnight (she was still a little loopy, but woke up feeling much better).

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Gingerbread House

Wednesday morning, my parents helped Bennett and Preston craft their first gingerbread house. Though we cheated and started with a kit that came with everything we parents were convinced they needed more candy. Poppy tried to be the moderator of the candy, only doling out small portions when needed. Unfortunately it didn't work too well because Pres has the biggest sweet tooth when it comes to candy and he had a one track mind....EAT IT!

Nene did the frosting, and then each child decorated one side of the roof, until Pres grew bored.  Bennett ended up finishing his side too and then decorated the door and windows.  Though they tried to follow instructions of one particular house, Bennett preferred her own artistic skills so we went with the flow.  In the end, the house was cute and Bennett was proud of her creation.

Of course she was immediately ready to start eating it, so we had to convince her to save it for her Daddy to see.  After dinner, she and Pres started eating the candy off the roof.  They would have eaten the whole thing if I didn't pull it away from them.  I guess it provided about an hour of entertainment, so it was worth it in the end. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Girls Night Out

It took us a couple of months to plan it, but we finally found a date where a group of my girlfriends and I could meet out for a few cocktails before the holidays.  Last night, we all met at Oak Hill to catch up over drinks and dinner.  We had a great time!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Winter Fun!

Monday morning, I took the kids to McWane Science Center to meet a friend and her children.  The four kids ran around exploring many of the exhibits, including their feature for December....Winter Wonderland.  Our kids enjoyed playing in the pretend snow, petting the sharks and stingrays, watching the large train sets, playing with the water table, lying on a bed of nails and running around in a large jungle gym.  They exerted a lot of energy, and worked up an appetite, so we all went to lunch afterward.  You would have thought Bennett hadn't eaten in days by the amount of food she consumed!  However the combination of energy spent during the morning, and full stomachs after lunch resulted in good naps!  Always a plus for a busy mommy!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Baking with Mimi

Every year, Steve's mother slaves in the kitchen for several weeks before Christmas making all kinds of items to share with her friends, family, butcher, hairdresser, etc.  She makes several different Lebanese cookies, Baklava, chex mix, fruit cake cookies and chocolate covered pretzels.  It is a big ordeal, but she enjoys baking, and then giving it all away.

Saturday night we headed over to Mimi's house so Bennett could assist her with dipping pretzels in white chocolate.  When we told Bennett about it earlier in the day, she was so excited to go help.  So as soon as she woke up from her nap, Steve took her over.  Of course, she made a huge mess dripping chocolate everywhere.  But after she had dipped about 10-12 pretzels, she started sampling them (I think she liked that part much better).

Though Mimi made an entire batch of these pretzels (she was helping alongside of Bennett), I think we left her with about 20 pretzels.  Between my sampling and Bennett's, and then the "to go box" that we had to have...there just wasn't much left...sorry Mimi.  Of course, there were no worries on her part, "that's what they're for."

After Bennett's short-lived baking job, the kids danced with Santa and watched a movie.  It was a nice, relaxing way to spend our Saturday night before the crazy holiday week kicks off.