Christmas 2012

We had a wonderful Christmas but it felt a little strange this year not having Nanny Karen in town. We hope that she will be back with us next year.

Liam just managed to keep himself off the naughty list and got both of the Santa gifts he wanted: an Imaginext Batcave and a Lego Batman airplane & Joker helicopter set. The only thing missing was a white Christmas, tho we did have a cold one.

I’ve enjoyed my time off from work and Liam & I’ve both quickly become very accustomed to sleeping in late each morning, so it’s gonna be tough going back to real life again!

I’ll leave you with a few pics from Christmas:

Liam tub Santa

A Russian “Onion Dome” Christmas ornament

Sprinkling out reindeer food on Christmas Eve

(And making quite a fashion statement with the Agent P hoodie and Lightning McQueen slippers!)

Playing with the awesome Imaginext Batcave

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and I’m looking for 2013 to be a great year for all of us!

Christmas 2010

Since this is the last day of 2010, I thought I’d better get busy and get this posted! We had another wonderful Christmas this year. Liam has made our Christmases a very special time. There’s just nothing better than all the fun things we do during this time of year and the build up to and the excitement on a 4 year old’s face on Christmas morning.

Liam on Christmas Morning

My best friend Karen (or a.k.a. “Nanny Karen”) spent the week with us and it always feels like our family is complete when she is here. She convinced me to make real cookies with Liam this year instead of our traditional open the package and put on the pan kind. We all had a fun time baking and decorating and Karen enjoyed my stressing over the cookie imperfections and sprinkle mounds that Liam put on the cookies.

baking cookies

baking cookies

This was our first Christmas in our new house. We started putting up a few decorations outside but soon discovered that we’re living across the street from Clark W. Griswold! And our next door neighbor is a close second with his incredible light-wrapped trees and giant wreath, so we sort of lost interest in doing much decorating outside this year. But we were very excited to have a fireplace for Santa to come down this year—its always been a bit of a mystery how he got into our house before. Of course, the big question now is how he avoids getting burned by the fire & hot ashes on his way down.

I heard Liam wake up early on Christmas morning but never heard him come out of his room. I went to check on him and he was still in bed with the covers pulled up and said that he had to stay snuggled in his bed or Santa wouldn’t come. It was quite a relief for him to find out that Santa had already come & gone. After further discussion, we discovered that we had both heard the sleigh bells and reindeer on our roof that night.

Needless to say, he loved all of his gifts and spent most of the day unwrapping a gift or two and then playing for a while. He had asked Santa for a Henry and James train (from the Thomas collection) and a Batman car (which is really the Joker car) and Santa came through for him and also included a train table. Here are a few more pics from Christmas morning and Liam reading his new books with Nanny Karen.

Liam on Christmas morning

Liam reading new books

Liam & Nanny Karen reading

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and have a safe and Happy New Year!

Breakfast With Santa 2010

A few weeks ago Liam met up with “The Big Guy” for his annual Breakfast With Santa. Liam went fully loaded with his wish list for Christmas but Santa is getting off pretty light this year since there were only 3 small requests: James and Henry trains (from the Thomas the Tank Engine set) and a “Shake n Go” Batman car (which is really a Joker car).


Photo compliments of Jennifer Spera Photography

I can’t believe how big he looks in Santa’s lap compared to last year. We had a great time and it gave me a chance to catch up with some of my former co-workers at MCH.

But the most exciting part of the day was after we left Santa. Liam had an opportunity to ride in a fire truck. The fire department academy’s graduating class was practicing driving the truck in the parking lot and they promised to be safe and give both my boys a ride. I’m thinking Rob might have enjoyed it as much as Liam. You be the judge. 😉

Liam & Rob riding in a fire truck.

Liam & Rob riding in a fire truck.

Liam & Rob riding in a fire truck.

Christmas 2009

I hope everyone had a great Christmas this year and are enjoying your holidays!   I’m finally getting around to uploading our Christmas pictures and doing a blog post.

Nanny Karen arrived Christmas Eve and Liam was so excited that she was finally here.   He had no problem turning off Cars to go pick her up at the airport.   That’s a sign of true love!   Most times he won’t even stop to eat during that movie.

Liam was wiped out from all the excitement of the day that he fell asleep early on Christmas Eve and missed out on baking cookies for Santa.   Poor little guy held out as long as he could, but the driving around to look at Christmas lights just did him in by 7 P.M.

Since he went to bed so early, we expected him up early Christmas morning but he actually slept until about 8 A.M.   Needless to say, he was quite pleased to see that Santa had not forgot him and remembered everything on his list.   Luckily for us, his list didn’t change from day to day, and he consistently stuck with Mack the truck, Play-Doh and The Lawman (Sheriff), also from Cars.   Once he saw those under the tree, he was done and we had to work over the next 3 hours to get him to stop playing long enough to come open a few gifts at a time.

First Christmas Concert

I’m a little late getting this posted but Liam performed at his first Christmas program last week.   He sang with all of the 3 year old’s at his daycare in front of their families.   After the program was over, the children joined their parents for lunch.

(For those of you reading this who’re still working on your adoption paperwork or are in the waiting stage, don’t give up, these sort of payoffs are countless!)

Needless to say, our little songbird was thrilled to see us in the audience and kept waving and saying "Hi Momma!" during the concert and my heart just melted seeing him up there so happy.   Check out his performance in the video below (he’s on the front row, on the far right in the blue vest):

Breakfast With Santa 2009

Today was our company’s annual "Breakfast with Santa" which should really be called breakfast before Santa.

We arrived as they opened at 9:00 A.M. and were still number 71 (think Southwest Airlines boarding passes).   After we had our sausage biscuit breakfast and juice, we waited for the arrival of Santa and then began listening for our number group to be called so Liam could go see "The Man."

We finally made our way to the stage about 10:30 A.M. where fearless Liam hopped right up on Santa’s knee and told him what precisely he wanted for Christmas.   It’s a short list this year — Mack the truck (from Cars) and Play-Doh.

It was a fun morning and Liam had a chance to catch up on some playtime with some of friends he hadn’t seen in awhile.

Liam with Santa
Click the photo above to see more pictures!

Santa…We Know Him!

You’re never too old to have your picture made with Santa!

We ran into jolly ol’ St. Nick at our work "Christmas Tea" last week and after some convincing, Rob reluctantly stood up with me to have our photo made with Santa.

Santa got off light with us this year since we’ve already received the best gift ever from Russia for Christmas!

Santa with Rob & Dede


Talking Toys

Learning toyAs Christmas approaches, Dede & I have been talking quite a bit about toys for our new tot.   And I was further prompted to ponder on this by a blog post by Bob over at every, every minute.   A few main topics surfaced as we reflected back on our childhood toys…

Maybe Less Is More

Both of our families were of meager incomes when we were kids, so birthday & Christmas gifts were sparse.   And yet, we’ve decided that because we weren’t showered with dozens of toys the way kids are now, the toys we did receive were more meaningful, more special, and certainly more treasured…   I’d be very interested to hear your views on this — does anyone else think that, in an an unconscious effort to show our love for our kids, we shower them with far too many gifts & toys?

Favorite Toys

So maybe it’s precisely because we had a limited number of toys that some of those really stand out for us even today.   For me, these were:

  • My first bicycle — It took awhile, but once I learned to ride a bike, it was more than transport, it was sweet freedom on swift wheels!   (Thank you Thomas Latham, wherever you are!)
  • Legos — One of those odd skills that I possess is a keen knack for spatial relationships. I can often rearrange the furniture in a room mentally and know whether it’s going to fit before ever lifting a thing.   And I’m a packing guru — Dede just sets out what she wants packed & stands back.   A great deal of this, I attribute to Legos & other "building" toys.
  • G.I. Joes — the classic 12" dudes, with Kung-Fu grip, of course!

For Dede, the standout toys included:

  • Easy Bake Oven — Those little cakes were so awesome, but I always got so frustrated waiting on them to finish cooking (and cooling) so the door would unlock!
  • Bicycle — the ultimate Christmas gift, so huge it wouldn’t even fit under the tree, and it magically appeared in the middle of the night.
  • Baby First Step — she graciously volunteered to be the guinea pig for (and put a quick end to) my dreams of becoming a hairdresser.

Tots Don’t Need Tech

A subject I revisit frequently is how much technology should we introduce to young children.   As a parent-to-be, I fully identify with those who want their kids to have the educational advantages of computers & techie stuff, but I’m .   I’ve yet to see any real proof that today’s teched-out kids are any better-equipped for their future than kids were 10 years ago when there wasn’t all of this pressure to teach computers to little children.   Now, I’m not suggesting we should deprive our little ones the chance to build computer-use skills — only that we resist the temptation to make that a primary educational focus.   I’m convinced that tactile toys are still far more mind-expanding than technological ones.