Thursday, January 24, 2013

Why, that sneaky little elf...

Hisself made his appearance in our Christmas preparations last year, and Claire was only too excited when he showed up again this year.  He turned up the day after Thanksgiving, which I think is WAY too early, so maybe we'll invite him a little later next year.  Adam and Claire started with the story, of course.  Most of the story is cute and fun.

But there is also a warning that if children don't behave, the elf will go tell Santa.  Claire took that very seriously.

The kids - both of them - had a great time looking for Hisself.  It was the first thing Claire thought of when she woke up in the morning.  And even Henry became an expert at spotting our little friend.  In fact, Henry had is own name for Hisself:  "Guy Guy".  Often, when Henry would point to the elf, we would ask, "what is that little guy doing?"  Well, after a while, Henry tried to say "Little Guy," but after a while, it just came out "Guy Guy."  Cutest. Thing. EVER.

Anyway, we are not as creative as many people out there are, but we still tried to have fun with Hisself.  Here were some of his favorite hiding spots:

(Photo note:  Notice Henry on his tiptoes, trying to get a better view of the elf)

Even Hisself knows the true meaning of Christmas.


Henry is so mobile now, that a certain 4-year old has a difficult time playing on her own.  Henry thinks Claire is pretty great, and so nearly everything she plays with, he is also interested in - but only while she is playing with it of course.

Thankfully, Claire is resourceful, and instead of hitting and/or pushing her little brother away (not that that has never happened before, however), she has devised what I think is an ingenious way to escape her brother's curious little fingers:

Monday, January 21, 2013

Look Who's 4!

A lot of things happen in 4 years.  Presidential administrations change.  Technology becomes obsolete.  Fads come and go.  Little girls grow up.  

I had wanted to take Claire on a fun play afternoon with friends, but she woke up with a fever, cough and runny nose.  So Claire had to hang out with just her family instead, but she seemed just about as happy as could be.   We arranged to pick up Jimmy John's (Claire's favorite) and meet Adam at Intel for some lunch.  We brought along a present to make it fun.

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Claire had asked for this toy every time we would go to Target.  And I thought I was all sneaky in purchasing it in her presence, only for her to discover it shortly thereafter when a toy of hers rolled under the bed where I had hidden it.  Way to go, Me!  So she would ask if she could look at her present every now and again, and was so happy to finally open it.  

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Hisself's special place for the day was hanging out with presents, which I'm sure is pretty natural for an elf.  He also wrote Claire a card, which she thought was pretty great.

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Poor girl...her birthday is St. Lucia's Day, so her birthday dinner will probably always be Swedish Pancakes, whether she likes it or not.  But don't worry, she got her chosen meal the following day, which was pesto pasta with chicken, mushrooms and tomatoes (but of course she doesn't eat the mushrooms or tomatoes)

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When I asked Claire what kind of cake she wanted, all she said was a pink cake with sprinkles.  Man, this girl makes it easy on me!  

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I think Adam may have been more a fan of the strawberry cake than Claire was, but she was a happy little girl, even though the day didn't go quite according to plan.

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And here is Claire's birthday questionnaire:

What makes you happy?  Friends
What is your favorite animal?  Raccoons, because they are really sneaky
What is your favorite thing to eat?  Pizza (which is weird, because she doesn't really like pizza these days) and spaghetti (or basketti, as she calls it)
What is your least favorite thing to eat?  What I don't like is the pizza that is the wrong one (huh?)
What is your favorite thing to do?  Play games with all my family
What is your favorite TV show?  My Little Pony, because the ponies look so pretty when they get the sparkly hair on them in the Crystal Empire  (no one-word answers for this little girl!). Wild Kratts, too.
What are you really good at?  Playing games with my friends
What is your favorite movie?  Tangled (she still calls it "The Long Hair Show")
What is your favorite color?  Light purple
What is your favorite thing to wear?  Sparkly shirt from Grandma Hensel and my fancy skirt from Auntie Julia
What is your favorite song?  Choose the Right
Who is your best friend?  Becca
What is your favorite thing to do with Mom?  Singing songs
What is your favorite thing to do with Dad?  Playing games
What is your favorite sport?  Daddy (I don't know if she understood the question.  A few minutes later she asked, "Is Daddy a Packer player?"  "No," I said.  "He just likes to watch the Packers play."  Then she asked "He's a watcher?" )
Where is your favorite place to go?  To my friend's house
What is your favorite book?  "Llama Llama" and "Fancy Nancy"
What do you want to be when you grow up?  I want to take care of my baby

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Christmas Prep

Christmas seemed to creep up on us.  It kind of just showed up on our door unannounced.  Okay, not really.  But it did seem to surprise me.  It seems that we wait all year for the Holidays, and then suddenly they show up and I wonder how it got to be the end of the year already.  We had our big Thanksgiving weekend, and then when that was over my mind reacted thus:  "Well, I guess I should get ready for Christmas."  Very unceremonious.

Claire, on the other hand was READY.  I think the Advent calendar that Glenda brought her didn't hurt.  I mean, who wouldn't be in the Christmas spirit when you have a yummy chocolate waiting for you every morning?  But we did some fun things to collectively get ready for Christmas.

We began with the Festival of the Nativities in Vancouver.  Claire is at the age where she is starting to understand the meaning behind Christmas, and enjoyed looking at our nativity-themed ornaments as she helped me to decorate the tree.  So going to a church building that housed hundreds of nativities was a no-brainer.  There was such a variety that Claire was easily able to pick out some favorites (I believe a pink and white porcelain set was at the top of her list).  This festival has been held for a number of years by an LDS ward in Vancouver, and they really make it family friendly.  There were two or three rooms that were just for kids.  One area they had costumes  so that kids (presumably families) could have a live nativity.  Well, since we only have our two small kids, we just encouraged Claire to dress up like Mary and stand by the manger. When she put on that little costume, it just about took our breath away:

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She was so sweet and shy about it.  She melted our hearts.  Pure innocence, right there.  

We had some more fun at the other activities for the kids, too.  Even Henry was able to get in on a little of the action.

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And of course, one can't get ready for Christmas without cookies.  Claire had been asking me for quite a while to make "shape cookies" again, and I was only too happy to oblige.  Claire quickly became an expert in cookie decorating.  

First, you drizzle the glaze:

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After you reluctantly let Mom  help you spread the glaze, you decorate with colored sugar:

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Who cares if there is too much sugar?  This is Christmas!

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Then you admire your work:

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Then, the most important step of all...EAT!

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They did turn out pretty good.

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I wish we would've made more...

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We also had a sneaky little visitor show up.

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I think he liked the cookies, too.

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Harper Turns 3!

We sure love this little girl, and we were excited to wish her a happy birthday.  But, of course, this little sassafrass decided to have so...