Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas for $5

So I thought maybe this year I would get a picture of Connor in his Sunday Christmas outfit after church...just so my mom could see how cute he was in the outfit she got him. But he was much more interested in the candy cane Sis. Stewart gave him in nursery. I know...I am a terrible mom for giving my child candy in his nice clothes. But I can't help it--those candy canes (or "candy things" as he calls them) just make him so dang happy. When Santa gave Connor one after he sat on his lap, he talked about it for days--not that he saw Santa, but that Santa gave him a candy thing. Connor's perfect Christmas--a box of candy canes for $1.

But, being the dutiful parents we are, we insisted on getting him several other Christmas presents. It is so hard when your two year-old looks at you and says, "Maybe Santa bring me ____?" to not jump in the car, drive the the store, and pick up the coolest ____ you can find.

However, we soon discovered we should have resisted the urge. One of the biggest hits of Christmas was a mop--yup, a mop. Our son has an obsession with items used for cleaning. So when he opened up the red, black, and white mop (that we got at Walmart for $3.88) he almost couldn't contain himself.

Five days later, it has already made a trip with us to St. Louis and back. Did you know it can also double as a sword? And reach the front seat in our van to poke mommy? It is such a handy tool.

I don't know why we ever thought we needed to spend a lot on Christmas, when true happiness can be achieved with just a five dollar bill.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Wow. What a night. I don't know if you've been watching the weather reports, but it was a little "treacherous" last night in Cincinnati. My roommate from BYU, Erin, and her husband Alex were flying in there to visit her family, and Adam and I went to pick them up from the airport and spend the evening with them. We left Louisville around 2pm. The weather originally said it was just going to be a little gloomy, but that quickly changed to freezing rain advisories, and we saw every bit of it. Their flight came in at 3:50pm, and we should have had plenty of time (since the Cincy airport is actually in Kentucky) but it still took us over 2 hours to get there. We saw car after car spun off on the side of the road. When we finally made it to the airport and picked them up, we decided to go to the Gap Distribution Outlet a few exits down from the airport. Traffic was literally crawling, and we didn't even make it the two exits until 6pm!!!

So we spent some quality shopping time, hoping to wait out the bad driving conditions since it was supposed to warm up later in the evening (yeah, I know that's weird, but true). We kept hearing these bits and pieces of strange conversations about this freeway being closed and that freeway being closed, but finally decided to brave the roads again, and headed up into the city. On the way, we had to avoid a bumper complete with a license plate in the middle of the road, and a van (I believe it was the owner) facing the wrong direction on the other side of the the road. We made it to Red Robin a little after 8pm...and were starving!! We were one of only 3 or 4 groups in the whole restaurant. But it was sooo worth it--who knew their Parmesan garlic fries were bottomless, too? And the freckled lemonade--love it!

After Red Robin we dropped our friends off at Erin's parents' house, and got to see her mom who is one of the sweetest most wonderful people in the whole world. She asked if we wanted to spend the night--an offer we turned down and quickly regretted the decision. We got back on the freeway to head back and thought we were home free, but when 71 split from 75, there was yet another accident and 71 was completely shut down. After a long, long wait, we finally made it back to Louisville around 2am.

So, for anyone who has seen The Nightmare Before Christmas, you know it has a happy ending. And so does this. Today, when we woke up and started thinking back about the previous day, somehow it wasn't that bad of a memory. First of all, we were incredibly blessed that Connor wasn't with us. He stayed home and played with his Gram and had a wonderful time and was in bed by 8pm. Secondly, Adam and I actually got to spend some alone time together on the way home, though I think both of us would have rather been asleep in bed. And finally, as horrible as all the traffic was, I can honestly say we had a great time last night. Erin always has been and always will be one of the people I most enjoy. And when you put Alex and Adam together....my face hurt from smiling and laughing so much. Adam and I both commented it was good it wasn't on Christmas Eve. But on this Christmas Eve as I reflect on all our blessings, I'm thankful to have such wonderful friends who make even the worst situations into memories worth keeping.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tale of Two Trees

People sometimes make fun of me because I try to have my Christmas shopping done by December. Well for those of you who don't know, December is a crazy, busy month. Just this past weekend we were finally able to put up our trees. Yup, we put up two trees.
The first is the main tree, a live tree, and the one in our living room that most everyone sees. Since Connor is actually old enough to understand baby Jesus and that Santa comes, it was really fun to decorate with him this year.

Last year we just didn't put decorations on the bottom foot of the tree so they wouldn't get eaten. This year he's out of that stage, so the bottom part of the tree is filled with wooden or hard-to-break ornaments. It's Connor's little area, where he is free to remove and replace ornaments--which he does about three times a day. But breakable or not, he is obviously still quite impressed by them.

Our second tree is in Adam's office. When we got married, Adam brought with him a nice collection of sports ornaments and we or our family members add to it every year. We have John Elway, basketball snowmen, bells in the shape of cardinals, cardinals, cardinal ornament balls, just plain basketballs, and many more. And the tree-topper is Santa Claus...dressed in a basketball uniform and holding a basketball (of course...are ya catchin' on to the theme?). The first year we were married, we were in apartments where we weren't allowed to have a live tree, so we bought this little 4 ft. tree. A couple of years ago we realized that it would be the perfect place to display Adam's collection, and we could put it in his already-UofL-themed office with a few strings of red and white lights. Adam gets really excited to put this up every year, and it's really grown on me, too. Most of the shows we like on TV we miss, so we watch them later on the computer in his office while lounging on the guest bed...and now we get to do it by Christmas-tree light.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Angry Face

Connor has gotten into making this angry face whenever we ask him to do something he doesn't want to do. Sad thing is...I'm pretty sure that's the same face I make at him when he does something I don't want him to do. It is scary what we teach our kids.

An Early Christmas Gift

This Christmas, we got one of the best presents of all a little early in the month. One of my roommates from BYU, Lynnie, and her kids came to stay with us while her husband attended a business conference. We were at their house in August, and were sooo excited to see them again so soon.

Lynnie was here for 5 days, and we were sad to see her go. Unfortunately, the week before they got there our house fell apart. Our dishwasher was leaking (again!), two different closet doors came off the hinges, and then the disposal stopped working. Lynnie's husband, John, who was at our house for just one day, convinced Adam that repairing it would be quick and easy. And it would have been...except for a few items we were missing. Three trips to Lowe's later, our handy hubbies had it all fixed. Thanks to John who was (and always is) so willing to lend a hand.

Lynnie is such a patient and loving mom. Having three kids is not easy, and I was so impressed with her as I watched her juggle everything and still make time for each child.

Connor loved having other kids around the house. Everything Ava (her four year-old) did was cool, and he and Nathan stole toy after toy from each other (as is age-appropriate at two), but still announced over and over that they were friends. And that little Elias--I have truly never seen a baby that smiles so much. Lynnie somehow always manages to come here in winter, but despite the cold, wet weather we managed to have quite a bit of fun. We went to inside buildings at the zoo, but the two year-olds still decided snuggling in the wagon was the best place to be. Lynnie was so into the stilt birds, she tried to become "one" with the animals and do as they did. (Sorry sweetie--you knew when I took this it was going on the blog!)

We also got a chance to see Santa at the library and make some fun Christmas crafts.

And..we took some time to make some tasty Christmas sugar cookies. Even little Lias helped us keep track of the spatula. And then we had a little milk to top it all off.

Connor had a little "issue" with the sprinkles, and added about half the bottle to his one cookie.

I have lived many places and had many friends, but Lynnie is one of those friends you just keep forever. She, Erin, and I were roommates our sophomore year at BYU, and we have never lost touch. After someone is your roommate, they have seen you at your very worst, both physically and emotionally, and after that you just don't have anything to hide with them. If I have something I don't feel I can share with anyone else, I know I can tell those two. Sometimes God just places people in your path to help you, and I am grateful that they have never left.

We had a fantastic time, and hope to see the Genhos again soon...in warmer, drier weather.