Saturday, December 31, 2011

City Museum

When Uncle Doug and family are in town over Christmas, we always go somewhere fun on the 26th. This year they chose the City Museum. I was apprehensive about going because I thought it would be packed and I've heard horror stories about how unsafe it is (there is an entire website dedicated to lawsuits against CM!). However, it turned out to be the perfect adventure and the kids loved it! When we got out of the car, Cate immediately declared she was NOT climbing up to those airplanes!

This is a picture taken from the official City Museum website. It is literally a playground created out of concrete, steel, tile, old chimneys, old bridges....basically anything and everything you can think of. There are tiny crawlspaces leading to caves and slides...made me wish I hadn't eaten 42 cookies the day before! Oh and there are no rules. The only people working there are the ticket takers and concessions crew. At least I never saw anyone walking around making sure everyone was being safe!

When I said that this reminded me of Goonies, Bennett said "What in the world is Goonies?" Ugh.

Most laid back train ever. In fact, the conductor and Cate sported the same exact pose.

This huge room was filled with bike/skateboard-like ramps. Carter was able to run up a ramp and climb to the ceiling
Cate must have repeated a thousand times that she was not going to climb up to the airplanes, but as soon as we went outside, away she went!
Uncle Mike, Brady, and Cate in the cockpit of a shell of an airplane. As official family photographer, I followed, but I did not love being that high above the ground!

Tim, Scott, Doug, and Nona...this was taken from a platform on the way up to the airplanes

The City Museum was a really great place for my kids. They are pretty fearless and loved all of the climbing and slides. However, I would not recommend this to "helicopter parents" or anyone who gets freaked out when their kids are out of their view. And if you're afraid of heights, don't go outside or to the roof top!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas Afternoon

Aunt Fran and Uncle Mike hosted the Christmas afternoon celebration. After dining on a delicious turkey dinner {because Mike made Fran leave town over the real turkey holiday :) } we had a chaotic, loud, very jolly gift exchange. Thankfully, Fran has a zillion square foot basement that made it more than comfortable to celebrate with 24 of our nearest and dearest!

Cate and cousin Maddox

Teaching Uncle Mike to use her new laptop :)

Uh oh. Fran was not happy with the love Cate was showing Jenny!!

That's all the pictures I took. I know, it's like I only have one child. But whatevs.

The aftermath.

This is only one of the piles of new clothes. I've folded them and continue to move the piles from table to bar and back if they're going to sort, wash, and put away on their own. In reality, I need to clean out at least 25% of each closet before I can even think about putting any of this stuff away. I'm hoping to get to that before March :)

And that concludes another wonderful lucky we are to have such an awesome family to share it with!!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Morning

Santa did, in fact, make a stop at the Smallie's house. A Christmas miracle for sure.

This is a picture of our tree before the kids walked in. I hope my kids never get on facebook and look at the pictures of other trees Christmas morning...some people posted pictures of their kids having more than 30 gifts each under the tree. Um, no thank you. :)

Four very relieved surprised happy kids!
After each gift, Cate would say "this is just what I wanted, how did Santa know?!"
Brady's new electric scooter (yes, mom, he always wears a helmet, just not on this test run). This scooter sparks...on purpose~as demonstrated by Bennett below

After a few minutes (literally) of oohing and ahhhing, we headed over to my parents house to celebrate with my aunt/uncle and my sisters family and eat a delicious breakfast. Favorite gift...big computer monitor--woohoo! And Disneyworld giftcards..double woohoo! After a close-to-perfect morning (only thing that would have made it better is if it started a few hours later!), we were back at home unloading the van and getting ready for our next celebration. Christmas is exhausting :)

Next up....lunch at Aunt Fran's.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Eve

Everyone knows the best way to start Christmas Eve is with breakfast at Cracker Barrel...and everyone is right! Delish. The kids were excited to see Santa walk in, take a seat, and order himself a huge meal. (which I thought was kind of weird...he wasn't hired by the restaurant, just a guy in a Santa suit sitting by himself)

Aunt Sandy stopped by to give Cate a super-cute apron that she made. Cate and I then made sugar cookies for Santa!

At 4:00, we headed to Grammy's to celebrate with Grandma Vineta and Grandpa Bill. They had Bandana's BBQ and Jerry's twice baked potatoes....another delish meal!

Took this picture with my camera timer...not bad!

After Grammy's, we headed to Mau Mau's house. Another huge meal...our annual sausage dinner. Soooooo goood! We sat around and talked for four hours. So much fun to watch Joe and Mary try and keep up with me and Kathy's random conversations!
Cate LOVES her new sparkly TOM shoes. The blingier the better! Thanks Uncle Josh and Lauren!

Leaving food for Santa's Reindeer.


Thursday, December 22, 2011


A day in the life

It all started at 7:00am. 3 hours earlier than I'd like. Hadley and Tyler came over at 7:30 and then the fun started. Got the boys up, packed their lunches and sent them walking to school at 8:15. Got Cate up and we took her to school at 8:45. Ok, who am I kidding, it was more like 8:55 (school starts at 8:45 but we are NEVER on time). Walk into school and notice that everyone is wearing pajamas. Whoops, teacher forgot to give me a monthly calendar with pj day notification on it. Cate, in a quiet little squeaky voice with very sad blue eyes, asked me if I would run home and get her jammies. Of course I did. Loaded Hadley back in the van and headed home. Hadley fell asleep. Back at school, I had to change Cate in a bathroom stall while holding a sleeping baby (Hadley rocks the "transfer" while sleeping too...only this time it was not so great!) Had to do all kinds of Matrix moves in order to help Cate get changed without anything dropping on the bathroom floor, including Hadley. Sent a very happy Cate back to class and went home. Since Hadleys nap was already half over at that point, I only got a few things done before we had to go back and pick Cate up. Straight from school, we went to Scott's classroom for a meeting with the districts Josten's yearbook representative...did I mention I'm creating Coolidge Middle School's yearbook? Don't ask. After meeting, grabbed lunch and headed home. Laundry, dishes, and Hadley finally took her second nap at 2:00. Jill picked her up at 2:45...right as the boys walked in. Bennett handed me a Christmas gift he made in class and as I was pulling it from the bag, I dropped it and it shattered. Break. My. Heart. and Pissed. Ben. Off. Ugh. My nephew came over at 3:30 and as soon as Scott walked in the door, we walked right back out to do some shopping. Dinner at California Pizza Kitchen, 3.5 hours of shopping and finally at 10:15 we arrived back home. So here I am, anxiously awaiting my sleeping pills to kick in. Holy crap, I'm tired! Tomorrow morning, I'm back at it early to finish up a few things (by myself!!) and then I'm going to sit back and enjoy the holiday!

Thanks Candi for taking these great pictures of Cate playing in her classroom!

A football playing princess. How could it be any other way?!

Digging for money to pay for her goods :)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Fa La La La La La La La La

Lots of Christmas activities going on this week. First up, Cate's Family Fun Day at her school. She was so excited that Mau Mau was going along with us (huge thanks to my mom for her help with Hadley!)

Cate and Reid making a mitten picture frame. We made it through 11 activity rooms, but didn't get her picture taken with Santa. She said she'd already talked to him at the mall and didn't need to do it again! However, Santa did tell Reid that he was getting EVERYTHING on his list this year :) (guess that's what happens when your dad works at the board office with said Santa!) She fits in her locker just fine :)
That night, Bennett had his 4th grade Christmas program. For our family reading this, sorry you weren't invited! Bennett made us promise that we would not tell anyone because he was mortified about performing in front of everyone! He cried and begged us not to mention it so for weeks we have held his secret. Then, Tuesday night at 10pm, he said that it would be ok if we told MauMau, Papa, Grammy and Papa!The three 4th grade classes sang 8 songs and they did a really fantastic job! My favorite was "Do You Hear What I Hear" brought tears to my eyes.
Still embarrassed and so glad it's finally over!

And finally, tonight, we took the kids to the Way of Lights. I'd heard horror stories about the outrageous traffic and crowds on Friday and Saturday nights, so we arrived around 5:15....just as the park was opening and the sun was setting. The camel rides and petting zoo were almost empty when we got there but packed by the time we left. Perfect timing!


Carter has just one final this week and then he's done with the semester....half-way finished with his freshman year. Unreal. Everyone else in the house has four days of class this week. I admit that I'm a big fan of the shorter Christmas vacation this year. The 17 days off last year were a bit much. So, we'll enjoy this short break, enjoy our family and friends, and all things Christmas and hopefully have plenty of time to rest up before our Disney trip....just 24 short days away!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Video From Santa

Santa sent Cate a video and her reaction was absolutely magical! She couldn't wait for the boys to get home so she could tell them she "made the nice list"!!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Cate's Song

Cate has been talking a lot about how Santa gets into homes to leave gifts and then asks a million "what if" questions. What if you're sleeping on the couch? What if you're not sleeping in your own bed?(something that should concern her considering she NEVER sleeps in her own bed!) I guess she got it all figured out because she made up this very informative song to sing to Hadley :)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Gingerbread House-1st Grade Style

Today, Brady's 1st grade class made gingerbread houses. Scott volunteered for the leaf painting project last month so it was my turn to go. It's a really great time and the kids love creating their houses, but I hate to get my hands dirty and the whole licking the icing thing really freaks me out. Brady and his "pod friends". On the bulletin board behind them are the Christmas tree family projects...Brady's is the second to last on the bottom row. It's a great tree and I should have taken a picture of it. I also wish I would have taken pictures of the actual making of the tree, but there was a mishap with Brady and the hot glue gun and well, it wasn't pretty :)

When the houses were finished and the desks cleaned, the kids got to feast on the remaining candy! Sugar 'em up and send 'em home!!

Success!! Now I'd like to know how many gingerbread houses actually make it home Friday afternoon!