Tuesday, January 24, 2012

So far so good

We are in the home stretch of the dreaded month of January.  My parents are coming back within a week, Gwen has her winter dance program, we are starting to hear about summer programs....and it wasn't that horrible of a winter.  Still doesn't mean I wanted to be outdoors at any point within the past 3 months or so.  If I have to put on a jacket, it is too cold.  Hopefully our trip to Florida will be relatively jacket free...and then I would consider it a successful vacation. 

So Trevor has received his first communion meeting schedule and date of his actual first communion.  He also, for the first time, was picked to bring the gifts up to the priest this last Sunday.  Ever since he started going to the Children's Liturgy over a year ago, he wanted to bring the gifts up.  I asked him to wait until I could show him how to do it by watching the other kids do it.  Then I asked him to repeat to me what he would do, making sure he understood to wait for the other kids and bow before coming back to his seat.  Then it took a few weeks before he was picked.  So that brings us to last Sunday.  He was so proud coming back to his seat and when I didn't see him with the other kids I knew he had gotten picked.  It was one of those moments where I'm pretty sure he will remember.  And I know there will be many more times he will bring them up.  It just seems like he has a big year in church. 

This past weekend, we also got to visit with a few out-of-town relatives.  It was Russ's grandma's 80th birthday celebration.  Three of grandma's son's were flown in from out of town and two of them were a surprise to her.  I know she was very surprised and she got to eat her favorite lobster for her birthday.  I do have to chuckle because Russ's cousin is named Quinn and Gwen loved to hang around him.  Whenever I called out to Gwen, and she was usually around Quinn, he couldn't help but do a double-take.  Their names sound very similar when saying them.

Also, Uncle Mike got to stay with us a few nights, and Gwen also became very attached to him.  He was nice enough to leave us with some of his signature crepes which Trevor has been eating as his school snacks and I have been enjoying as a nice snack as well ;-)  Anyway, when he left on Saturday, she pulled the waterworks and I think he was a little shocked that she had already become so attached.  I also think she thought if he would feel bad enough, he would take her with him. 

Trevor started his second session of chess and he has almost graduated to their second quad.  I have no idea what that means, but his friend is a grade ahead of him and he is in the 4th quad.  He is really enjoying it, and I'm glad we tried it out.  I wonder if Gwen will have an interest in it at all.  I guess we shall see.....

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Game of Life

Well most of our activities have started up again, except that this week, the kids have both Monday and Tuesday off of school.  I've been trying to give Trevor a little of a break because from now until Spring Break it is going to be busy and a lot of homework and such.  So today we had a game hour where he picked out a game for us to play.  I was willing to play Life and it is not an old game, so there have been a few updates, but for the most part it is the way I remember it.  I explained to Trevor the rules of the game, namely that you don't actually pick your career, but you draw it, and if you draw on that requires a degree and go around the degree path, you don't get to keep it. 

I actually played the game the way I normally do, which is to go around the college path, and not get insurance.  Trevor drew the "entertainer" career card, and then drew the $100,000 payday card.  Um...sweet....Lucky guy.  I drew the doctor card but then I drew the $60,000 payday card.  Not looking good for me.  So the "entertainer" got through marriage, got a log cabin (so he didn't owe that much to get his house, only $60,000) and twins before I even had my career.  At this point, he said he was getting tired of having the $100,000 bills so he first asked for two $50,000.  Then the next time, he said he wanted three $20,000s and four $10,000s.  It took all my strength not to laugh and remark how much like me he sounded when he said that.  Actually, I'm surprised he didn't fight be to be the banker.  Although maybe that's because when he plays Monopoly or his own game of Life, he always gets to be the banker.

I got a slightly nicer house, and twins myself, but then Trevor got another set of twins.  He made it all the way to retirement without any big hits of payments.  I, of course, got hit with two house events that had I had insurance, I wouldn't have to pay for, and another car accident that I did not have insurance for as well. 

So after waiting for me to finish, and retiring myself, I discovered that at retirement, there wasn't anything remarkable that happens.  When everyone makes it to retirement, you make sure you pay off your loans but then count up your money.  I had thought in the older games you got money for the number of kids you had and such.  Not this game.  Trevor had two sets of twins and I only had one.  Nothing about the kind of house you had or anything.  There are life tiles that need to be counted, but with Trevor's salary, I couldn't catch up.  He won, without much fanfare, gave me the "good game" and we left it at that. 

It was a great time to be able to play a low key game and have some fun with the guy before the long stretch of stuff coming up.     

Friday, January 6, 2012

The new nomal

With the tree coming down before New Years, that meant that there wasn't too much organizing to do in order to get the house back to regular slightly messy but not too unbearable.  A lot of the cleaning came from the gifts from everyone.  So now we are back to school for both kids and there has been a shift in things to be doing as is the case with the introduction to new toys games. 

Gwen doesn't hold back with anything she can play with.  She wants to be a part of all the games, from Trevor's Angry Birds board game to having her own guy that she restarts (exactly like Trevor used to do with Super Mario Galaxy) in order to see Princess Zelda.  She also has been Ms. Creativity with all the coloring, play-dough like crafts, marker drawings, and sticker projects.  I don't know how long the ream of paper is going to last her.  If she keeps this up, it won't be much past the beginning of February.  I'm not even sure what to do with them all!  I would take pictures, and maybe when I get a chance I will, but I'm just enjoying playing "her" toys with her like her Berry Bitty Market (Strawberry Shortcake). 

Music has been a huge increase in our house.  I was tired of the "mix tape" CD's not being able to be played anywhere because the quality isn't the same as the regular CDs.  Russ has an old iPod nano, but I convinced Russ (and used a gift card) to buy a speaker system and a new iPod nano to put the kids music on.  A big hit with the kids is when they get to play Just Dance Kids 2.  We haven't done the first one, but with Gwen and her love to learn a new dance routine, this was just perfect.  It did get all four of us into the groove and of course Russ and Trevor become very competitive.  Gwen wins most of the time and Russ sometimes has to back off in order to make sure Trevor doesn't come in last place all the time.  We did find two new songs to put on the nano:  "Despicable Me" and "Gummy Bear".  They both start dancing to them when they hear the songs. 

Gwen has started her requests that she sees on the Disney Channel like a song from the Pixie Hollow Games and songs from the pre teen shows like A.N.T. Farm, Shake it Up, and a Lemonade Mouth song.  When I was searching through all the songs that Russ had saved onto an old computer, I came across an album I got called Kermit Unpigged - a take off of all the Unplugged albums that came out at the time.  They are all cover songs with at least one Muppet singing along to them.  I had totally forgotten about them, but I put a few of them onto the nano for the kids and Gwen found them.  Do you want to know what her favorite song is of the entire group at the moment? Ozzy Osborne and Miss Piggy singing "Born to be Wild".  I guess I should have seen that coming as she loves Miss Piggy.  But just a few minutes ago she said to me her name was Ozzy Osborne.  Her last name only.  Made me laugh out loud.

Also, Miss Gwen has really picked up her reading.  She has been asking me to point out words in books as I read them but just last night, without anyone reading anything to her, she knew the word Rupee on the Zelda game Trevor was playing.  She doesn't like it when you ask her what words she can read...but I know they are quite a few.  The thing that is really throwing her for a loop now is the difference between a company name and what kind of place of business it is.  Like if we go to the grocery store, she expects Grocery Store to be on sign name.  She knows that we go to Cub Foods, but that's not what I usually say.  Restaurants are easier, but if we go to get a haircut, that is confusing for her too.  Our bank says Wells Fargo, but a nearby one says US Bank. 

*Sigh...kids grow up...what can you do. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Last day of the Holiday Break

Happy New Year and Merry Christmas to all!  It is hard for me to believe that over a week ago was our Christmas celebrations and two days ago was our New Years celebration.  Time has really flown.  The kids, I think, had a great time at all of our celebrations.  We had Christmas Eve mass where the kids got to bring up two pieces of the manger scene:  This year it was Mary and Joseph.  Although it wasn't baby Jesus, and I knew both of them wanted to bring it up, I thought it best that neither of them should do it.  So they did their part and we had fun with Derek and Kyrsten, Kyrsten's family, Bubba, Papa, Brian and our family.  In order to save seats for the entire group, Trevor and I walked (because the weather was SO nice) to church an hour before it started.  While walking to church, Trevor says something to the effect of, "Mom, you look really fancy.  In fact, if someone saw us walking down the street right now, they would think you looked really fancy." He then started talking about wanting to get me a smoothie which I wasn't sure where it was coming from, but I really enjoyed our short walk to church. 

We headed out to Grandma's house for our yummy crab and prime rib dinner with the exchanging of gifts.  It always is a great way to wish each other a very Merry Christmas!  The kids made out with some fun Star Wars and artsy toys as well as some clothes.  As always we had to rush home in order to be back before Santa came to our house that evening. 

Also as usual, Trevor was up around 7 and stayed in our bed with us until we allowed him to wake Gwen up at 7:30.  Gwen got her big Cinderella doll she asked Santa for, and Trevor got his video games he wanted.  Trevor got a bunch more diary type books and a few board games to play as well.  Before long, it was off to Bubba and Papa's house to have the next Christmas and my birthday celebration.  We brought over a few favorite things from Christmas and were off for an overnight.  It makes more sense to not have to rush back home when it is easy to hang out there for the night.  So we played a game of dominoes and left in the morning to do our fourth Christmas.  After that, the kids and Russ with the rest of the family got to do their skating time.  Gwen quickly tried to figure out how to skate on her own.  She's not quite there yet, but she learned a lot in a short time. 

The time between that evening when we were finally able to be at home to organize and clean until now seems to have passed in a blur.  We did get out to see Chipwrecked at some point, as well as take the tree down and put away all Christmas decorations, so we really are ready.  Now it is just about deciding what to play with or what to do next.  We went out to the lake house for New Years but even that felt like it was two seconds rather than two days.  I know I was really worried about how the kids were going to do this break, but it seems to have worked out well.  Perhaps it was the change of toys and the want to play with someone else.  I'll take it though.  Now, if I could fast forward to March I'd be good.  January can often be too cold and depressing for me.  Only 62 days until our vacation, which doesn't sound too far away!  Yay!  Just a few more finalizing details that I can work on and we will be all set. 

So bring on 2012!  It's going to be a great year for us all, I have a feeling!