Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas Decorating

Sunday afternoon/night we put up and decorated our Christmas tree! I was getting tired and irritated with the lights, but Steve came to the rescue and I think he did a great job. Then the boys and I (and Steve) put the ornaments on. The boys had a great time and it was fun remembering what all of their special ornaments meant. It was almost like a Hallmark commercial! ;)

After the tree was finished, the boys got to enjoy some hot chocolate before going to bed. I am not sure why Joel looks so sad in this picture. Evan is watching the football game instead of looking at the camera, of course.

Here I was playing with some of the settings on my camera. I thought it was a neat effect.


For Thanksgiving, we headed back to Mississippi to visit my family. One of the exciting times for Joel was when PawPaw (my dad) brought out one of his snakes. (Yes, he has more than one.
I think he said he has three now.)

At first Joel just petted the snake.

Then the snake started to move and he got a little nervous ...

Then the snake moved a little more and so did Joel...

Joel ran all the way to the door yelling and laughing.

We also got to participate in one of my family's old traditions that I had not done in years. In fact, it seems that Steve and the boys had never done this before.

There is a family near us called the Lewis'. Every year they put up an amazing Christmas display that you can walk through. The Friday night after Thanksgiving we go to go with one of my brothers and his family.

The cousins

One of the highlights is the story boards that they have set up. The storyboards on one side tell the story of Jesus birth. The ones on the other side recite "Twas the Night Before Christmas". It's also a tradition that the newest reader gets to read the storyboards aloud. This year that honor fell to Evan. He read the story of Jesus birth. He and Luke took turn on "Twas the Night Before Christmas". (Although he looks much older, Luke is only 8 and was really wanting to read aloud, too.)

On Thanksgiving day we exchanged presents with the cousins from earlier, and Evan got a football. Unfortunately, he was sick and didn't really play with it right away. He finally started feeling better that night and was holding it while watching the game on tv.

I was very glad that he got better, because we were planning on going to a football game on Friday night. After we looked at the lights, Evan and I headed up to my high school alma mater for the South State Championship game between Oak Grove and Ocean Springs. It didn't look anything like it did when I was in school, though. There's a new high school now, complete with a new stadium. At least the announcer was the same. That was pretty cool. And it was a fun (but cold) game with Oak Grove winning 26-7 (or 27-6). Evan really enjoyed his first live football game and I was excited to share it with him!
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Evan's Thanksgiving feast and program

Evan's teacher had written a program that included the kids reading and singing songs. One of the songs named all 50 states alphabetically and they memorized it. Evan is still singing the 50 states around the house.

The "feast" part was fun for both of the boys. Joel was a little disappointed that he didn't get to sit beside Evan, but he was okay. Joel had his own feast at school the next day, but the parents weren't invited to that one.
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Christmas Parade

The boys got to see Santa before the Christmas parade started. They both had no fear this year and jumped up into the sleigh. Evan asked for a San Diego Chargers uniform (no idea why he picked this team) and Joel wants a green Yoda lightsaber.

There were also some games to play. Evan threw lots of balls, including a football. He even got a little bitty football to take home.

Of course, one of the highlights of the parade is all of the candy! Joel decided to use his hat as his candy holder and it worked quite well. Evan just kept giving his to his dad to hold. Joel ended up with more candy than Evan, and Evan didn't think that was fair. I didn't think it was "fair" that they both got as much candy as they had since we had just gotten rid of the Halloween candy.
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Sir Joel the Crazy (and Brave)

Joel put his new knight sword to good use the other day. I got to be the queen, which meant that I got to sit in a big chair (like the one I was already sitting in) and take pictures of the knight.

I love that Joel likes to go barefoot, even if he does get his toesies so very dirty.
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Thursday, November 12, 2009

My, er, I mean, Evan's latest school project

Evan's latest big project for school was to build a home for an animal. We settled on a lizard, but with the craziness of Joel's birthday this past weekend, we didn't work on it until yesterday - and it was due today. It was explained as a "family" project so we all got involved. Steve and the boys went to the lake to find sand, but came up empty. We used sandpaper for the bottom instead. Sand was important because this is a desert lizard (at least in our world). We investigated what lizards need in their home and discovered the essentials to be: a place to bask (and a heat/light source for basking), a place to hide, and water. Of course they also need food every few days, so we put that in our house, too. Evan did help, but I did most of the cutting and all of the glueing (since a lot of it was done with hot glue).

Can you see my contribution to the lizard itself? You may have to click on the picture to see it, but I added a little something to it. (It's not the coloring; Evan did that.) The directions said to have fun, so I tried to. Alas, Evan did not get to deliver his project to school today. He woke up around 2:30am with a fever, aches, and nausea and came to my room to share it with me. A few minutes later, Joel joined the "party" in my bedroom. (Joel seems fine, but has had a fever most of the day. We think it's just from the vaccinations he got yesterday.) They didn't sleep well, so they both stayed home from school today.

Poor Evan obviously hasn't felt well most of the day. This is how he has spent most of his time today (with a throw-up bucket nearby, just in case).

Doesn't that face just make you feel bad, too? It does me!
But ...

every now and then he perks up just a little and that makes me smile, too.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Birthday Shots

Unfortunately, I am talking about the kind you get with needles, not a camera. The downside to having a birthday at Joel's age is the vaccination shots. He got FOUR today. I have to say that he was very brave and didn't start to cry until the third one. It was a full-on cry after the fourth one. I know they had to hurt! He did use it to his advantage later today, though. When he didn't want to do something, his legs would hurt, and he couldn't move them. Magically, they were okay when he wanted to run and jump. I have had shots myself recently, so I know the pain can come and go, but it does seem like he might be milking it just a little.

As for the rest of the birthday check-up, he is doing well. He is over 41 inches and over 38 pounds. He is in the 75th percentile in both categories. (He had been in a lower percentile for weight, previously. This is the first time either of my boys have been in the same percentile for height and weight.)

Tuesday he got to celebrate his birthday at school, along with two other boys in his class. They had cupcakes, juice boxes, birthday crowns, and a birthday pin. (They wore the crowns and pins all day.) I got to see him that day at the book fair at the school, and he told me that was his favorite part of the school day. Talk about making his mama's heart melt! This boy knows how to work it!

That should end all of the birthday happenings for a while. He is very excited that he is now really 4. It seems we've been talking about this birthday for a while. I know everybody says the time goes by too fast, but it really does! Here are a few pics from the last 4 years.

Few Minutes Old

One Year Old

Two Years Old

Three Years Old

Four Years Old
Monday, November 9, 2009

Happy 4th Birthday to Joel!

Joel's birthday is today, but as far as he is concerned it was Saturday when we had his party. He decided a couple of months ago that he wanted to have a pirate birthday party, so we obliged.
It was a lot of fun, and Steve really got into this theme. He even helped with the cake decorating! Joel liked licking the beater and batter bowl. Can you tell?In our family, the birthday boy or girl gets to pick out the meals for the entire day. When I was making the grocery list I asked Joel what he wanted. After I bought it, he changed his mind. I told him that was too bad. He started to have a fit that morning, but then something changed and he was excited about his waffles and the "little meat" (aka canadian bacon).
I don't have pictures of lunch because I was busy getting ready for the party, but that was chicken nuggets and tater tots.

The party started with getting the guests dressed in their pirate gear, complete with tattoos, and then they went into the backyard to play in the pirate ships. (Steve made these and he did a great job! They are even still in one piece.) After everybody got arrived, we split the kids into teams and they had a cannonball fight. I think that was everyone's favorite game.They also got to decorate some treasure chest picture frames. Somehow we managed to lose two of those finished crafts by the end of the party. We found one while cleaning up, but still haven't found Kate's. (Sorry, Melody!)We had the obligatory "pin the ..." game, which was Pin the Patch on the Pirate. One of the kids kept trying to put the patch on me. The winner was the second one to go and she just went straight to the right spot and put the patch right on. She was so fast and sure I was wondering if she could see through the blindfold. No one else got that close, though.

Steve helped me make the cake by kneading the colors into the fondant, rolling the tentacles out, and rolling out the fondant for the octopus body. I had never worked with fondant before and would not have been able to knead the color in myself (at least not in the amount of time I left myself to finish the cake). Thanks, Steve!

Then it was time for opening the presents. Joel seemed to be making exceptionally quick work of the presents. I couldn't even get pictures of the last few. After he opened the last one, I figured out why. He was looking for one certain present that he had been asking for for a couple of months. It had been purchased by Grandpa and Grandma but was going to be opened after the party. Instead, Joel burst into tears and started crying that he "didn't get my golden knight! I want my golden knight! I was supposed to get a golden knight!!!"* I was mortified, but the other moms around just laughed/smiled/understood that he was being a 4-year-old. I tried to convince Joel that he had other presents to open later, but he wasn't even listening. I asked Grandma to go ahead and bring out the present. When he saw it, he immediately calmed down and said, "Is this my golden knight?" with such expectation. He was very excited when he opened it and saw that it was. He even carried the box around for the rest of the party. He started putting it together that night and played with it most of the day on Sunday, too.
*I would like to add that he started acting tired just before the party, so that was part of the reason for his outburst.

While dinner was cooking, Joel opened (the rest of) the family presents. He was very excited about them all, especially the tattoo that Evan gave him.
He also liked his knight dress-up set, so that he could be a golden knight.
He hasn't been allowed to take baths recently because most of the water ends up on the bathroom floor. His last gift from us was some bubble bath, bath paints (made by Steve) and some time in the bathtub before bed. It was a great ending to what had been a (mostly) great birthday celebration for him.
Yesterday Grandma took us out to eat. When the waitress asked if we were going to be wanting dessert Steve said no because we had some birthday cake still at home. We told the waitress it was Joel's birthday, and she was sweet and talked to him about it and told him Happy Birthday. Somehow I got around to asking if they did birthday stuff, and she said she would check. A little later she came back with a little piece of warm chocolate cake topped with a little vanilla ice cream served in a wine glass. Joel's eyes got big and he asked if it was for sharing. I said, "Oh, do you want to share it?" He usually is very good about sharing, but this time he emphatically and enthusiastically said, "NO!" He gobbled down every little bit as fast as he could. I think it was the first time he had his own dessert at a nice restaurant, and he thoroughly enjoyed it!
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