These little boogers are so stinkin’ cute that they received gifts from about 401 people this Christmas! Not that they minded….. Of course, as we were on our way to Christmas #3 or was it #4 ? Samuel said, “Not more presents! We already got some!”

It does melt your heart that people love to buy a little something for your children to show them that they love them. Celebrating Christmas with little children around is pretty fun! The problem? 401 presents + smaller car + apartment= wishing for a minivan and a house?

It’s always a miracle each year that we are able to fit everything into our car plus the kids! Poor Samuel was covered in things up to his eyeballs at one point:) He said, “Mommy, we have too much stuff!”

The result is a house that looks like a hurricane blew through it! I worked really hard today organizing and making piles of things to throw out, give away and sell and hiding Christmas presents so there will be brand new toys later in the winter! I also bought these really cool vacuum pack bags from Costco that were recommended to me! They are amazing! I have about 42 (okay maybe a little less) containers of baby/kid clothes (can I hear any other mamas say “Amen?”) that are filling the boys’ closet and under their beds. My friend told me about these bags and I went with a mission today to find them. I emptied at least 6 large bins of clothes today and sealed them up in these bags and fit them ALL under Z’s bed where 2 small under the bed containers were before! I have so much room in their closet, it’s amazing! If I could do a commercial for these bags, I would!

Now I’m looking around the house for other things I can shrink and seal up:) Ben was very skeptical about these bags until he watched the magic unfold before his very eyes. I have made a believer.

After all my hard work today, the status of my house has reduced from Hurricane to small tornado. I have high hopes that it will be livable again soon!

Home again.

Well, after a delay due to weather and exhaustion, we are finally home in “Chigako” as Zakkai would say:) It feels weird to be back after being surrounded by so many people for the past 9 days!

We had outings with friends and family, lunch at Chuck E. Cheese’s, the Christmas Eve service, 2 Christmases on Christmas Day and 2 the day after Christmas. Sunday was lower key because we had reached the point of complete exhaustion! We were kind of glad for the weather on Sunday that caused roads to be bad and delayed our trip:) It gave us another chance to rest since boy-oh-boy did we have cranky boys! And possibly a cranky mommy…:)

More on the trip later. For now, a few pics!

Christmas Day 2009

Chuck E. Cheese’s!

My attempt at a Christmas portrait.

Beautiful Eyes. Zakkai~age 2 3/4

Bright eyes. Samuel~Age 4 1/2

Merry Christmas!!!

Feeling thankful tonight that I can celebrate Christmas with my family in the peaceful country!
Our Christmas so far:
Remembering a 1 little baby born a long, long time ago.
Enjoying sharing the baby’s story with my own 2 little ones.
Reveling in the .2 in. of snow sprinkled on the ground:)
7 hours of driving to get here.
20+ presents wrapped and under the tree waiting to be opened.
6 dozen cookies baked and ready to be eaten.
2 little stockings to be opened by 2 excited little boys.
Approx. 7 hours left to sleep.
8 more family members coming over in the morning.
Makes 14 total for our morning celebration.
3 kitties curled up on the couches.
1 hairy white dog looking for trouble.
0 more days til Christmas!

Merry Christmas! Pictures coming soon!

Busy Weekend!

I meant to post last night but after getting home after a failed trip to the zoo, we got busy putting the boys to bed and then I finally¬†finished making some Christmas presents. You can’t begrudge me that, can you?

As for the zoo, my friend had the brilliant idea to go with her family to see the lights at the zoo. We loved the idea so much and since our membership is about to expire (sniff, sniff), we decided to drive all the way out to our very favorite zoo in the world. Except we chose to do it on a friday night…in the rain…in traffic….And by the time we arrive, over an hour later, the. zoo. was. closed.

So frustrating. The boys were so disappointed and quite honesty, so was I! At least we got to see some lights on some houses along the way… So we turned around and drove home again, the traffic not being quite as heavy but still taking us 45 minutes. Sigh. Someday I’ll get to see those lights at the zoo again. Someday.

Today will be a busy day getting all packed up to head to Ohio again. I feel like we were just¬†there! Oh wait…we were. Anyhoo, gotta pack up the fam, since none of them pack for themselves yet. (I’m working on teaching Ben:) It takes a lot of brain power, of which I don’t have much left (!), to remember to bring everything we need for a week. Fan? check. Clothes? check. Diapers for the child who refuses to be potty trained? check. Books to return to family members? Usually remembered halfway to Ohio….

I’d better go make a list! The Thomas Family is Comin’ to Town!

Dear Postmaster

Dear Postmaster,

While I appreciate (sort of) your meager attempts to apologize for “mishandling” my mail, I am still amazed that my mail appeared to me in the condition it was in. Seriously, was your postal worker attacked by a dog? A very hungry person? Someone waiting anxiously for an important letter? I’m really confused by the appearance of my very first seasonal Christmas card. By the looks of it, my friend now only has 2 children instead of 3. It’s too bad, really, because I was really looking forward to seeing the handsome face of her youngest. Sigh.

And now I have no Christmas card to hang on my refrigerator. Perhaps you forgot to add the other half of my card in the plastic envelope? I could have taped it together…

Postmaster, if you would kindly refrain from playing games with your paper shredder or tossing my letters to passing dogs, I would really appreciate it. Oh and if you could deliver my packages on time instead of 6 weeks later and quit losing my mail, I would also really appreciate that.

Sincerely yours,
Heidi T.

Getting Older..

Dear Samuel,
I know you are getting older because:

*I can rarely take a picture of you with a genuine smile these days. It’s usually a very cheesy grin but adorable nonetheless!

*You like to tease us all the time now, whereas before you didn’t understand teasing and it made you sad

*You can hold such normal “adult-like” conversations with us. It’s so fun to ask you about your day and find out what you are thinking about life!

*You are getting so tall and slim. I look at you from afar and can hardly believe that you were once a little butterball with peach fuzz that I held in my arms.

*You get irritated with me when I don’t hear you right the first time and have no bones about expressing your frustration over things. I have to remind you how to slow down and teach you about patience.

*You are handling changes in your routines so much easier than when you were younger. We are amazed at the confidence we are beginning to see in you and hope it continues to grow!

*You are more willing to try “yucky” foods or at least give in a little more graciously:) You still hate peas and corn though..

*You really get things when we explain them to you and soak in the information to talk about later. Your memory amazes me!

*You like to remind Daddy and me when we forget things or aren’t doing things the “right” way. You are pretty sure you know what’s best and we have to remind you who’s boss!

*And speaking of “boss”, you’re getting pretty bossy towards Zakkai! But I’m pretty sure it’s an older brother thing and he can hold his own anyways:)

I can’t wait to get to know you more and more as you grow and change. You are an amazing little person. But I still treasure those things in you that remind me that you’re only 4. I love you!

Dear Zakkai,
I know you’re getting older because:

*You just started calling Samuel “Samuel” in this past week instead of “Samel.” It makes me sad to hear it but I knew you were going to do it sometime…

*You are also getting tall. I looked at you today and couldn’t believe how long your legs are getting. I can see your little slim neck coming out more, although you still have the cutest, softest little belly ever!

*You are getting such a good memory! It’s really fun to build on your memories and have conversations with you. You remember some really little details, too!

*You are really trying to discern the passing of time. You are really trying to understand and convey “yesterday”, “this morning”, “last night, “last week!” But for now, everything happened “last night” even if it was just this morning:)

*You are getting so close to being three and heading towards acting like one instead of a two year old. You still love to tell me “No” and awful lot, though!

*You really spend some time reading books and even drop little phrases into your vocabulary from books we read together, even if it doesn’t make sense!

*You are really adding more adjectives and descriptive verbs into your vocabulary, too. Today you ran up to me with the happiest look on your face and told me that you “just scared me silently.” “Silently” is probably your favorite descriptive word right now!

*You really don’t want to be potty trained. You were excited a couple of months ago but probably because it was new. Now you realized you’ll have to do some work so you’ve decided it’s not so cool after all. We’ll see who wins this battle..

But even though I see these subtle changes taking place in you, I am also storing up in my heart all of those sweet, ornery little 2 year old things that you still do and say. I love you!

Lemon Cake

The boys begged for a taste of lemon cake tonight after their dinner. And, being the soft-hearted mommy that I am, I indulged them:) Samuel brought his fork of tart yellow goodness to his lips immediately and smiled in ecstasy. Zakkai? Watched for the cake eagerly until it was set before him. Then, true to 2 year old fashion, promptly burst into tears and claimed insistently that he did NOT want or like lemon cake, thank you very much!

We chose to ignore him.

“I don’t like lemon cake and I never liked lemon cake! I will not eat lemon cake ever!”

“Maybe I’ll take one bite….”

“Hmm…maybe I’d better take another bite just to be sure but I think…this might..not…be..too..bad..”
“Well, I don’t know if this bite was big enough! Maybe just another teensy taste…”
“Well, you see, I’m just not sure if lemon cake is something I really like so I have to just try one more piece just to be sure..”

“Boy! It’s gone already? Who ate it?”

“I suppose it was a’right.”

“More tomorrow?”