Monday, December 31, 2012

Per tradition, we spent Christmas Eve at Grandma and Grandpa's house with plenty of presents and a delicious ham dinner. The boys were totally wired, but found this reindeer doorknob hanger craft strangely soothing.

Then we moved on to presents and all bets were off. We try to have them not open packages simultaneously so that we can all see all the presents being opened. There was just too much giddy anticipation this year and the system broke down quickly. They did managed to open together two shared gifts from Grandma and Grandapa--a set of backyard soccer goals and an "indoor camping" playset.
roasting marshmallows and hot dogs in Grandma and Grandpa's family room

Other highlights were Angry Birds hats and dinosaur- and gorilla-foot slippers. (Sadly, the dinosaur foot slippers were defective--back-of-heel seams split the first night--and were returned to Old Navy, which is no longer selling them. A similar item is on its way to us via

sitting on hands in attempt to keep from ripping all packages at once

There was a last-minute rush at bedtime to put out cookies and milk for Santa (they must have read this in a storybook.) And then I inadvertently got them all wound up again by reading "A Visit From St. Nick" with some slight deviations from the original. ("Not a creature was stirring, not even an elephant." "I sprang from my bed to say, 'Hey, quiet down out there!'" etc.) Brought down the house with my ending: "And I heard him exclaim ere he drove out of sight, 'Next year get your own presents!'" Gales of giggles. There were several encore presentations requested in the ensuing days.

The boys dutifully waited until 7 a.m. to wake us up to behold the beauty of Santa's visit. There was a LeapPad for Daniel and a Nintendo DS for Edward, plus a game for each.

They would have spent the whole day like this. But there was also Lego to put together. Edward spent most of the afternoon in his room alternating between Super Mario and Lego construction (Forest Police Station from Grandma and Grandpa.)

And of course, there was the cleverly-named Mr. Snowman. John spent every night of the week leading up to Christmas in the basement finishing this project. It was a hit! Definitely too big and bulky for Santa's sleigh (plus Santa's workshop annex is too accessible to prying eyes.) And John has already declared victory that the snowman lasted longer than the number of hours it took him to create. That doesn't mean there won't be tears if/when he meets his demise.

We all got dressed and went to Mass at 10:30 (I'm still not strong enough for the effort it would take to get us all through the Christmas Eve children's service.) But after we got home, Edward declared, "It's my birthday, so I'm putting my pajamas back on." Daniel followed suit so even when Grandma and Grandpa came for dinner and cake, the boys remained pajama-clad.

I did manage a birthday picture in real clothes. This shirt is the size seven version of the one he wore for his first birthday/Christmas. I found it at a consignment shop last year and scooped it up. Happy Birthday to our big guy!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

After lunch, Edward was working on the puzzles from his "children's worship" bulletin from church this morning. A code was presented as the way to find the answer to the question, "Where was Jesus" (when he got separated from his parents after traveling to Jerusalem for Passover.) Daniel, across the hall in the bathroom, piped up, "In His Father's house!" (wait a beat) "And I don't mean Joseph." Guess he was paying attention to the story!

And speaking of stories, here is Daniel with his first book. We've had several conversations recently about how long it takes to write a book because we've been listening to the Harry Potter series in the car. I've been trying to explain that kids who were reading them when they first came out had to wait months and years for the next installment. Daniel presented this with a flourish, "I'm a book author!"

Edited to add: I was sure Edward had also "written" his first book around this age, but couldn't find the video. Finally found it last night (1/7) while browsing the blog archives to fill out a birthday information sheet for Daniel's school. (It asks for a few accomplishments from each year of life that the teachers can read to the class as part of the celebration.) The video is at the end of the blog post and starts with Daniel singing before transitioning to Edward's book.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas from the Kenyons!

We'll have more stories and photos to share before the end of the year (I promise!) but as of 8:53 p.m. on Christmas night, there is only the sound of heads hitting pillows. A beautiful, but exhausting Christmas/birthday celebration.

Monday, December 24, 2012

The excitement of Christmas has the boys on edge, and it has made for some tense moments where they just can't bring themselves to behave. This morning, Daniel was playing with his new remote control car, and sent it down the stairs. This is something he was told numerous times yesterday not to do, with the warning that he would lose the car for the day if he didn't obey. So, the car went down the stairs and then went to the basement. He told Mary that if he didn't get the car back, he was going to take all of his pajamas and clothes and leave (bonus points for preparing for night... something I never did when I threatened to run away).

He stomped upstairs, then came back down and said he needed the blue bag and a suitcase, which were the things we used when we packed for our trip to Evanston over the weekend. I gave him the blue bag. He came back down a bit later and issued one last ultimatum. Give him back the toy, or he would run away. I told him goodbye. He went upstairs and banged around for a while, then came back down and, on the verge of tears, said that he didn't really want to go. I pulled him onto my lap and told him I was glad about that. I figured he was near tears because of the thought of leaving, but instead it was more practical: He had taken all of his pajamas, underpants and socks out of his dresser, and was having a difficult time getting them back in the right spots. 

I went up and everything from that drawer was out and on his floor. We got it all put back. As we came back downstairs, he said, "Dad, as I was packing the blue bag, I thought to myself, do I want to leave and make Dad, Mom and Edward sad, or do I want to stay and make them happy? I decided to make you happy."