Christmas Prep

December is always a fun and busy month getting ready for Christmas!  This year had lots of events that helped us enjoy the season!Image

I picked up Nathan at school one day wearing reindeer antlers and sporting a red nose.  All the kids looked so cute trucking through school so proud of their construction paper hats.

The Bible study we attend had a children’s performance filled with Christmas songs.  I couldn’t see much of Nathan because he was in the back row hidden by other kids taller (and younger) than him.  Levi was right in the front row but didn’t do much other than stand there.  There was a moment when a younger girl came up to him and looked like she was trying to spit on him.  I was just praying he wouldn’t hit her.  He gave her a dirty look then copied her actions to another nearby friend who gave then him a dirty look.  :)  ImageImage

Nathan’s class at school had a cute party.  They made scarves, an ornament, and enjoyed snacks and a hot chocolate bar.  Levi was able to hang with Griz for the afternoon and I was able to volunteer in Nathan’s class during the party.  He was so excited I was able to be there.  Kept coming up and hugging my legs, telling me how much he loved me and how happy he was I was there.  Awe!Image

The Saturday before Christmas the entire family (my parents, sister, and her hubby included) headed up to Georgetown to enjoy the Christmas Train complete with hot chocolate, cookies, a light show, and a fabulous train ride.ImageImage

Choo Choo!!ImageImageImageImage

Sunday we went to the Wildlife Experience in our pajamas (well, only the boys) to watch The Polar Express.  Hot chocolate and crafts were available for pre-show entertainment.ImageImageImage

No Christmas prep is over until you’ve visited the big man himself.  We trekked to the outlet mall late one evening waiting only for one family to finish their time with Santa.  The boys were extremely excited to see Santa and share their lists of wishes.  Nathan expressed his desire for Skylanders Swap Force then the awe of Santa struck him and he forgot the rest of his list.  After a few reminders from mom he added Legos and solar system stuff to his list.  Levi said he wanted a trampoline, a big train, and a “green night present”.  We still are not sure what that means so we just asked Santa to wrap his gift in green paper.  :)  Image

I debate every year whether or not to buy the picture.  This year I opted out and instead took my own picture with my phone.  One 5×7 is $15-$20 and it seems like such a rip off to me.  Then the other side of me says “you will only have these times once” and I regret not getting the special picture.  Maybe I’ll make it an every other year purchase.  :)

He’s My Challenge

Levi is my baby, my cuddle bug, and my challenge!  He is busy and gets into everything.  He doesn’t just sit and watch TV or sit and play with toys for long periods of time.  He’s always on the go and if he’s missing from my sights for long I need to go investigate because you never know what he might be doing.  Most of the time, he is not trying to cause trouble to be challenging he’s trying to be independent and helpful.  But sometimes he is being just plain ornery.

Here are pictures from just one more this week.  All of these pictures were taken between 8:00am and 9:30am.

Our morning started with Levi wanting to feed the cat.  Helpful?  Sure!  Sort of.

ImageNathan, Levi, and I were upstairs in Nathan’s room putting some papers away and cleaning out under his bed.  Levi lost interest and disappeared.  All of a sudden I hear this noise….lightbulb….that noise is the garage door going up!!  What???  Couldn’t be.  Levi isn’t tall enough to reach the garage door button. Unless…ImageImage

Yep!  Levi found and moved the step stool in the garage onto the stairs, then stood on top of the step stool to open the garage door.  Why?  Levi said he wanted to go outside and shovel like we did the day before.  Helpful?  Sort of!  (This is the same step stool he was dragging around the house a few days earlier getting into the kitchen sink so Matt put it in the garage so he wouldn’t cause trouble with it anymore.)  I’m shocked he didn’t fall off the stool or down the stairs.

Next, Nathan and Levi are playing downstairs when I hear Nathan yelling that Levi is unrolling the drawing paper.  This is only about half of the paper that was pulled off the easel roll.  The rest I had already taken upstairs so Nathan and Levi could color and draw on it.  If it’s out we might as well use it!  Why would he unroll the paper?  This was pure orneriness.  Image

While I was downstairs cleaning up the rest of the paper again Nathan yells for me.  What this time?Image

Levi was hungry so he pulled out the leftover pizza from the fridge.  Helpful?  Sort of!

Let’s just say it was a long morning but that was not the only tough morning of the week.  Remember the massive pile of cat food?  Well, a few days later I discovered one morning that the boys (this time there were two helping) had spread the food all over the mechanical room and put some of it down the sewer drain.  I got the spend that morning vacuuming up the food and scrapping the wet cat food out of the drain with a fork.  Yippee!!  That was NOT helpful!!!

When Levi turns 4 I’m going to have an “I survived” party for myself.  I think it will be celebrated all alone with a very long massage and some wine!!

Thanksgiving Truths

When I posted about our Thanksgiving journey to Omaha I got to the end and felt like I didn’t share the funny, crazy, and odd moments of our trip.  My post just seemed to perfect to be true.  So here is the truth of Thanksgiving!

1.  We beat two school buses full of high school students to the McDonald’s in Fort Morgan.  You should have seen that line!!  Levi and Nathan would not have been happy not being able to have their cinnamon bites.  :)

2.  Within 5 minutes of arriving in Omaha I came upstairs to find both boys had climbed up on Matt’s parents kitchen counters and were crawling around scrubbing them with sponges.  Helpful or not?  Hmm.

3.  Levi unleashed his true orneriness on his first evening in Omaha by sneaking into Matt’s dads bathroom finding some white cream that he smeared on his face (he assumed it was lotion) and took his after shave and dumped it into the basement bathtub (he thought it would make bubbles for a bubble bath).

4.  When we went to the Omaha Children’s Museum we all headed upstairs at the same time.  We arrive at the top of the stairs and turn around and Levi is gone!!  Matt and walking up behind Nathan and I with Levi.  I’m watching upstairs while Matt went back down to find our missing kid.  Guess he made it to the top with Matt but turned right around and went back down undetected by us all.  

5.  Matt’s dad had to go to the ER on Thanksgiving eve but happily he did not have to stay and was feeling much better the next morning.  

6.  Nathan ate only white-ish colored foods for Thanksgiving dinner.  Some turkey and a buttered roll was all he would eat out of all the foods available.  Would not even touch the mixed fruit.  

7.  On Thanksgiving the words “Aunt Kyle, we found Levi playing in the toilet and he’s soaked” came from my sweet nieces.  Matt went downstairs to check out the situation which was followed by another niece running upstairs to get me saying “Uncle Matt needs you pronto!!”.  Levi had managed to put his ya-ya’s (blankies), a roll of toilet paper, a stuffed toy lobster, and the top of his head in the toilet!  He was soaked, the floor was soaked, the ya-ya’s dripping, and the top of his head had obviously been in the toilet.  Levi got a bath, new clothes, and I got to do laundry!  

8.  Levi did not quit his bathroom fun on Thanksgiving.  Saturday night he chewed on Matt’s toothpaste and emptied my shampoo and conditioner bottles into the bathtub.  I was just elated that he chose not to dump them on the floor or carpet.  

9.  While scolding Levi for making a mess with the toothpaste, shampoo, and conditioner I told Levi “You do not make messes.  Mommy is not happy!”  Levi quickly returns a smile to me and says “Yes momma, you are happy!!”.  I had to turn away because I couldn’t stop laughing.  

10.  Nathan “forgot” he wasn’t wearing a night time pull-up (we still have night time accidents) on the drive home so when we got out of the car for breakfast we discovered he had peed in his carseat and never said anything to us.  Guess sitting in a pool of his own pee didn’t bother him.  

11.  We had time to change Nathan’s clothes, clean his carseat, clean the trash out of the car, get Levi dressed, and still sit for a good 15-20 minutes before McDonald’s had our food ready on the way home.  Seriously have never waited so long for “fast” food.  

12.  Nathan lost it shortly after arriving home.  Sobbing about how much he missed our cat while we were got.  This is the same cat that was currently next to him and the onethat he had never even mentioned while we were away.  I put him in his bed and 15 minutes later he was happy again. 

As much as I may have fooled you yesterday with the “perfect” Thanksgiving I just felt the need to come clean and truly share my crazy life.  :)  

Thanksgiving Fun

Thanksgiving this year was spent with Matt’s family in Omaha.  Since Nathan was off the entire week from school we decided to extend our normal Wednesday-Sunday stay and drove out on Monday.  With the extra days we were able to spend some great time together.  Several years ago we visited the Omaha Children’s Museum and really enjoyed the activities they had for the kids.  I believe the last visit was before Levi was with us.  The boys really had a great time (even the big boy in the family was engaged)!ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageOn Wednesday we snuck away for a few short hours with Matt’s mom and enjoyed the warm areas of the zoo.  ImageImageThanksgiving was wonderful!  The cousins loved playing together, we enjoyed lots of time with family, the food was delicious, and we all had much to be thankful for on this holiday.  The kids even put on a thanksgiving parade that included outfits – Nathan was an Indian and Levi a cowboy.  ImageFriday, the entire extended family gathered for professional photos followed by a Nebraska football party.  The kids again played like crazy.  Levi and Nathan both miss their cousins and the excitement of having them around.  The below picture shows the cousins getting ready for their shot.  :)  Amazingly the photographers could not only get all 8 to sit still but they even got them to smile at the same time!   ImageOur final adventure was to the Air and Space Museum.  Lots of airplanes and interactive exhibits made it a wonderful place for the kids!  Plus, they had two huge bounce houses.  Can’t go wrong with bounce houses.  :)  The boys were extremely excited to see a model train set up.  Real airplanes are easily topped by little model trains for my boys.  ImageImageImageImageThis slide comes out the back of a space shuttle bounce house.  It was really pretty cool.

We have decided we make the best travel time when we leave early.  So at 5:50am (4:50 Colorado time) we left Omaha.  The boys are sort of in a dazed zombie state for the first several hours and we just keep driving until they start acting up then we stop for breakfast.  We made it about 2/3rds of the way home before we stopped.  Sorry to my family in Ogallala, we didn’t stop to say hello, but we did enjoy your McDonald’s.  :)  Levi fell asleep after breakfast and Nathan crashed out about 20 minutes from home.

When they boys came inside he house our Elf on the Shelf had returned and was sitting on our table with some new books and an advent calendar.  Nathan, still being sleepy and somewhat emotional, saw our elf and gave a quick smile which was followed by him hiding behind Matt’s leg until we moved the elf on to a high shelf far away.  He eventually warmed up to the elf again and by that evening he was excited to have Son (yep, years ago he named our elf Son) back in our home.  Image

Levi’s 3rd Birthday!

Levi celebrated his 3rd birthday complete with a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse family birthday party.  Took me many times of asking him what type of party he wanted when I finally picked Mickey Mouse for him.  ImageImageImageImageWe were leaving town on Monday (Levi’s actual birthday) so we celebrated the Saturday before with my family.  We tied Levi’s party into the annual Castle Rock Star Lighting.  After Levi opened gifts and before dinner and dessert we bundled up and headed to the top of my parents hill behind their home to watch the lighting of the star and the fireworks that followed.  ImageAfter a dinner of hot dogs (in honor of the Mickey Mouse hot dog dance) and chili (because it was cold) Levi enjoyed his Mickey Mouse homemade cookies and cream ice cream cake.ImageThe evening ended with some snuggling on Net’s bed watching Mickey Mouse!ImageLevi weighs in at a hefty 30lbs (33rd percentile) and almost 38 inches tall (59th percentile).  Nathan was almost 27lbs (3rd percentile) and 36 inches (25th percentile) at the same age.  He eats most things but changes his mind from one day to the next – will eat broccoli one night but refuses another.  He’s still not a big fan of meat unless it is a chicken nugget, sausage, pepperoni, or bacon.  He loves all fruit (cantaloupe, strawberries, blueberries, and pineapple are a few of his favorites) and some veggies (potatoes – especially sweet, squash – mashed, corn, and broccoli are a few yummy ones).  He loves spaghetti and macaroni and cheese.  Does NOT like plain cheese chunks (which I find extremely odd).  Other favorite foods are black beans, burritos, chips and salsa, yogurt, cream of wheat, cinnamon rolls or cinnamon/sugar toast, and eggs.

Levi is into trains (not as crazily as his brother was at that same age).  He plays mainly with the polar express train we own.  Otherwise, he doesn’t really play with toys as he would rather jump off furniture, the couch, or the stairs.  He roams the house just messing with random toys or items – this morning it was two mixer beaters he found when we were putting dishes away.  He loves being outside and wants to play out there whether it is hot or cold.  Levi is extremely busy and gets into EVERYTHING!!  He will find the bubble bath and pour it into the empty bathtub or he may climb the pantry shelves to find candy or cookies (we now have a lock on that door) and if you are not watching carefully he may sneak off to the bathroom and put rolls of toilet paper in the potty.  You have to keep track of him!

We still lock Levi in his bedroom (we flipped the lock a long time ago) so I can get ready in the morning and not have to worry about him waking up, coming out, and causing trouble around the house.  It’s for my sanity and his safety!  He sleeps great – 8:00pm-6:30/7:00am and has been in his big boy bed for almost a year.  He still naps but about 1.5hrs-3hrs each afternoon.  Usually I have to wake him from his nap to go get Nathan from school.  He still sucks his left thumb and snuggles his two ya-ya (tiger) blankies, favoring their tags.  I love that he still rolls on his tummy and sticks his tushie in the air to go to sleep.  After Levi gets in bed at night he asks me to get in his bed and lay down with him.  He loves the extra snuggles.

Levi is not nearly as interested in letters, numbers, etc. as his older brother.  By this stage Nathan knew what most kindergarteners know.  Levi can count but usually gets lost somewhere after 11.  We worked for months just to get the number 5 included!  He knows about 1/2 the letters of the alphabet by their sounds but not their names.  Some he knows both name and sound, some by sound only, others by name only.  He really doesn’t care to tell me what he knows as usually starts being silly and saying his favorite word “poopie” when I ask him.  He’s my potty talk kid and I catch myself saying “no potty talk at the table” more than anybody should.  Levi is good with shapes and colors and is starting to like to try to draw letters and cut with scissors.  Levi loves to help and is great at cleaning up!

We will be starting potty training soon and Levi already has a pretty good grasp on going in the potty.  He will go potty any time I ask him and always gets something out!  He even went on his own last night several times in order to score another oreo cookie.  :)

When Levi turns 4 I am going to have my own little survival party (hoping that both he and I do).  He is my challenging child!  But, all of Levi’s orneriness is counteracted by his hugs, I love yous, and his snuggles.  He’s a cuddly kid and it is a nice treat!

Happy 3rd birthday Levi!!

Deer Hunt

Last weekend we trekked to western Nebraska to my grandparents farm to enjoy the opening of deer hunting season.  The boys were super excited to go to the farm, see great grandma Pat and great Grandpa Bob, and play with their cousins (well, actually they were my cousins’ kids).  After an early morning of deer hunting (riding in the pick up and looking for deer with the boys) we headed back to my grandparents to play!  My cousin Brandie’s two kids, Tai (5) and Jessa (almost 2), and the boys just played like crazy all afternoon.  We wore them out!!  Image

After hanging out inside with grandma for a bit and having some lunch we made it to the park in town for a little playground fun.Image

When we returned to the farm the kids played and explored.  They ran up and down the hill in the leaves hundreds of times!Image

We tried really hard to get a good picture of the four of them, but that seriously was mission impossible!! ImageImageImage

The hunters (which did not include us) returned with one deer an the kids were so excited!  I think looking at the deer was the calmest they had stood all day.  Image

My other cousin, Eron, told us he had seen some trees a beaver had cut down so Brandie and I took the kids on an adventure to see what we could find.Image

If you look closely in the back ground of this picture you can see the the white chewed off tree trunks left behind by the beaver.  Image

The beaver also cut down this large tree and then stripped it of it’s branches to use in the damn.  We never did see the beaver damn.  My cousin Eron said it took the beaver about a week to chop this big tree down.  It was huge!

The big boys led the way back home.Image

While poopie pants Levi (really, he had poopie pants) got a ride.Image

Tai and Nathan played in the dirt for awhile and tolerated Levi coming and going.Image

The boys got Levi to play a game of hide an seek around the grain bins.  What this really looked like was Levi walking around covering his eyes while counting and the two older boys running from one side of the bins to the other just out of reach of Levi.  It won’t be long before Levi will be able to keep up with the older boys.  :)  (If you are wondering what the grain bins look like, you can see the bottom of them in the above picture or go back up to the picture of the boys walking with their backs to the camera and you can see two of the three off in the distance).

So, how did the hunting turn out.  Well, besides the one deer above that my cousin Eron shot, Matt shot one late Saturday evening.  As soon as he shot it a bigger (one of the biggest bucks they have ever seen – not sure if it’s truth or hunter exaggeration) buck stood up and took off running.  My dad got a shot off but missed.  So I guess you could say…the big one got away.  :)

Fall Photos

Saturday morning we had a quick mini photo session so I took a moment to capture a few pictures since the boys were dresses, hair combed, and still willing to smile a few more times.  :)

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Another quick trip to the playground made the boys happy.  I have two boys who LOVE trains so this park was extra exciting since it had a train to play on.

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The Solar System By Nathan

One of Nathan’s obsessions for the past year has been the solar system.  This little boy knows more about the solar system than I think I do (and remember I taught astronomy for 7 years).  :)  This morning Nathan set up the solar system using balls he found in the basement and then proceeded to teach Levi.  The only trouble was that Levi still thinks balls are for kicking and throwing.  :)  You can see the dismay in his face for sure!

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The big blue ball closest to the boys is the sun.  In the picture below (the above picture cuts out an extra planet) you can’t see the ball for Mars as it is hidden by Jupiter.  Pretty impressive he found balls to represent the sizes of the planets in addition to putting them in the correct order.  Also out of the picture is the marble that he used to represent Pluto, the dwarf planet.  

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Nathan is expanding his space interests to include constellations and happily pointed out Cassiopeia and the Big Dipper to all of us while we were trick-or-treating.    

 

Candy’s Birthday

Happy Halloween!

These two little dinosaurs had a wonderful Halloween!  (Although Levi looks unhappy, I promise he was excited)

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The celebrations for Halloween started about a week early with the church Pumpkin Festival, gymnastics celebration, and a party at The Gym.  The boys got to dress up for all three events and enjoyed games, crafts, and treats.  

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We even found time to carve pumpkins.  Neither boy would touch the pumpkins so they directed us by telling us the shapes of the eyes, nose, and number of teeth each pumpkin needed.  Best news was that for the first year Nathan did not throw up or gag at the site/smell of the inside of the pumpkin.

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After a morning party at The Gym while I worked out Levi and I dropped Nathan at school.  They had a costume parade with the entire school and a Halloween party.  Levi and I watched all the kids arrive at school so we could see their costumes.  A pizza dinner prepped the boys for an evening of trick-or-treating in the neighborhood.  My parents came and took shifts manning the house and passing out candy while the other trick-or-treated.  The boys did great.  I dressed them in 2 pairs of pants, a long sleeve shirt, a fleece jacket, and a puffy vest.  Poor Levi looked like a little sausage shoved into his costume.  Kid could barely roll over and get up off the floor.  :)  But, they stayed warm!!  

Retreating down the driveway of each home was accompanied by a cheer of “CANDY!!”.  As Nathan and I were walking between house he tells me.  “Mom, this must be the birthday of candy!!  Everyone just gives out all their candy!”  Sounds like a good reason to celebrate for me!

Matt and I are doing a paleo diet challenge with our gym so neither of us were able to sample a single piece of candy!  :(  I’m saving some candy because our challenge in done in little over a week.  :) 

On our way back home (a few pair of tired legs and the desire to eat candy was more important than collecting more) the fire truck drove up our street and stopped and gave candy to the boys!!  They were so excited!!  

Once home the costumes and layers came off immediately and the great candy consumption began.  Nathan went straight for Tootsie Rolls and Levi ate anything offered. 

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