Saturday, December 22, 2012

Trevor growing up

Since the wonderful Monday luck that I had a little over a week ago, many things have changed.  Mostly our luck...but we'll start with the first big event.  Trevor had a well-check for being 9 years old.  Not really surprisingly, the kid is growing up, literally, quite fast.  I was asking if he would please start to slow down, at which the doctor explained that no...he goes faster before finally slowing down.  So he's now less than a foot away from over taking me.  92nd percentile for height and 76th percentile for weight.  Not exactly a string bean, but he's leaned out over the years.  We had a little conversation about how he'll probably be the tallest one in our immediate family and I don't think the idea really makes sense to him.  I'm guessing its one of those things you can't really imagine what it would be like to be that big.  I don't know that I ever really thought about it.  I was usually one of the tallest girls in my class. was a good appointment and we had some good conversations about what is expected for his age.

Then, this past week, the kids have been pretty pumped to get close enough to Christmas to see it coming within a week.  Unfortunately, Gwen got a bad cold starting on Monday night.  She had a low grade fever, and didn't have any energy on Tuesday.  So I explained she wouldn't be going to school.  She was SO mad at me.  She was crying "Mommy, PLEASE can I go to school.  I REALLY want to!"  Man, if I could have recorded that conversation to play for her later.  It really gives me a peace of mind that we made the right choice for her this year.  She got better that day and night so she was able to go to school the next day.  So on Wednesday when she went to school so was so happy.

As a side note to all of this:  Russ and I volunteered to help with the winter party in class on Thursday.  They were playing a game that put the kids in a line to hand the game to the player sitting behind them.  The class spontaneously chanted "cha-cha-cha-cha-cha-CHA" while sitting down and their teacher remarked...."this class is so fun...they will be remembered as the class that spontaneously breaks out to cha-cha."  Russ and I see it too.  The kids get along very well as a class, have fun and still know how to get down to business and do what is expected of them.

So on Wednesday, our traditionally busy day, we went from school to swimming to religion class.  Trevor reported that he got two rocket rewards that the beginning of the school day.  The kids got their last day of swimming classes in, and we had to run to church after eating a quick dinner in the car so they could practice for Christmas Eve mass: bringing the nativity characters up to the manger.  We made it just in time to practice and then get back home for a half hour before religion.  This religion class was really just their Christmas party, which I volunteered to help for.  When I got to his class, it turned out that they had more than enough people to help organize the snacks for the party.  So we tried to get as much done as we could, but there was a lot of waiting around.  Then my special time happened.  The religion leader came in looking for someone to help drive a person that came in for confession, but broke their key off in their car lock and needed a ride back home to get their spare set of keys.  I jumped at the chance.  It was a perfect opportunity to pay it forward since I was the one in need just a week prior.  The woman offered to pay me for gas, but I declined.  She then said that she would pray for me and my family, and that was something I could accept.  She needed a ride about 5 miles away and back, but we got back in plenty of time to do what was needed to help for the party.

I had a chat with Trevor about how lucky I felt to be able to pay my help back to someone that needed it.  Because of his day of rocket rewards, and my luck he thought maybe it was just a lucky day for the Johnson family.  I said that because of Gwen being able to get back to school that day, I knew she would agree that it was a great day for her as well.  We decided that because Russ was in town to enjoy the day, that would be his lucky day as well.

So the kids are now off of school until next year.  It started off with Gwen having a difficult sleeping night last night with her cough but she seems to be handling it ok.  Trevor has been playing Ninjago/Lego Friends with her nicely for most of the morning and we have activities to get them through most of the next week.  Christmas will be here quick!  Happy Holidays everyone!

Friday, December 14, 2012

One of those days

There actually haven't seemed to be that many unlucky days in my life.  So maybe I was due for one.  Regardless, last Monday was it.  It started on Sunday afternoon when I went to try out a refurbished snow blower that was given to us since our one that we had been using was also broken.  I wanted to make sure I knew how to use it since Russ would be traveling that week.  Well, after 4 runs of the driveway, I broke it.  Russ tried to fix it, but when he did, the auger didn't move.  Boy did I feel bad that I had already rendered it useless in the middle of a big snowstorm.  Thankfully, Russ finished the job with a shovel.

Then, in the morning, when I was getting ready to take the kids to school, the van was starting funny.  I thought it was due to the temperature, and just that it needed to warm up.  I was able to get Trevor off to school before Gwen and I were off to run our errands.  We stopped at a local bank, then went across the street to do our grocery shopping.  After the groceries were back in the car, the car decided to not start for me.  *Sigh*  Getting the car looked at was on the list of things to do this week, because it was also in need of an oil change.  But of course it had to happen right after a snow storm.  So when I called roadside assistance, they were backed up.  I started off asking for a jump because they said it would be quicker.  But when they quoted two hours and said I had to be with the car when they came, I cancelled the service.  I had them tow it, instead.  That was another 4 hours but at least I didn't have to be with the car.  I had them tow it to the service dealership so it could be serviced for other things as well.

Then we went in the grocery store to see if we could get a cab to take us home.  Nope.  The cab companies the grocery store suggested were booked and not taking any calls, or disconnected.  Then I made the call list through my phone book and found a willing friend to pick us up and drive us home.  Since we had another car, I got reorganized and took Gwen back to the car so we could pick up our groceries.  Got those, got on with the day, and when the dealership called, I was told that it was the battery that needed changing and that once that was fixed, it was fine.  I asked to get the key automatic door openers looked at, and an oil change.  

When I went to pick Trevor up from school after chess club, I made the mistake of putting the mail on top of the car and forgot to take it off.  It blew all over the road and I didn't recover all of it.  So I decided that that was my three things that were going to happen to me that day.  Unfortunately, on Tuesday when I went to get the car, they didn't understand about the key and said I would need to leave it there longer, (to which I said no thanks), the car still isn't starting like it should, and two of the tires are low on air, which should have been taken care of with the oil change.  *sigh* So that means another discussion with the service station.  Hopefully someone will listen to a dissatisfied customer.  And hopefully the car continues to actually start until next week.  Russ is home until the new year, so we need both cars during some scheduling conflicts.

On to Christmas!  I want some more fun times please!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Starting our Christmas season

This year, we have just started our Christmas season, but already done so much in the way of changing things a little bit here or there.  First off, on Black Friday we happened to go and see Wreck it Ralph at a nearby mall, and when we came out, we noticed Santa's line was really short, so rather than find another day to come out and visit, we went and saw him.  I put the photograph in the frame this weekend and noticed that we only missed one year, the year Trevor was 2.  But we've seen the same Santa for all but one year.  Usually it is some time in December but I'm happy not to have to make another trip out there.

Speaking of Santa, I finally gave in to Trevor's asking about Santa.  I have read about parents writing a letter to their kids about Santa and have a blogging friend that used one last year for her daughter that seemed to fit well with us (Thanks Erika!).  Here's what it said:

Dear Trevor, 

You asked a very good question: “Are you Santa?” 

I know you’ve wanted the answer to this question for a long time, and I’ve had to give it careful thought to know just what to say. 

The answer is no. I am not Santa. There is no one Santa. 

I am the person who fills your stockings with presents, though. I also choose and wrap the presents under the tree, the same way my mom did for me, and the same way her mom did for her. (And yes, Dad helps, too.) I imagine you will someday do this for your children, and I know you will love seeing them run down the stairs on Christmas morning. You will love seeing them sit under the tree, their small faces lit with Christmas lights. 

This won’t make you Santa, though. Santa is bigger than any person, and his work has gone on longer than any of us have lived. What he does is simple, but it is powerful. He teaches children how to have belief in something they can’t see or touch. 

It’s a big job, and it’s an important one. Throughout your life, you will need this capacity to believe: in yourself, in your friends, in your talents and in your family. You’ll also need to believe in things you can’t measure or even hold in your hand. Here, I am talking about love, that great power that will light your life from the inside out, even during its darkest, coldest moments. 

Santa is a teacher, and I have been his student, and now you know the secret of how he gets down all those chimneys on Christmas Eve: he has help from all the people whose hearts he’s filled with joy. 

With full hearts, people like Daddy and me take our turns helping Santa do a job that would otherwise be impossible. 

Before you go around telling your sister, or friends that there is no Santa, be careful because believing in Santa is all about believing in a Christmas miracle, and destroying someone else’s belief is a very sad thing to do.  If someone asks me if I believe in Santa, I honestly say “YES” because I do believe in all the Christmas miracles that the idea of Santa brings.  I don’t know if this helps you understand why there is a belief in Santa until you are a parent, but hopefully it is a start.

So, no. I am not Santa. Santa is love and magic and hope and happiness. I’m on his team, and now you are, too. I love you and I always will. 

Love, Mom

He didn't get the letter before we visited him, but he also didn't say anything that I'm aware of.  I also didn't give him the letter before his sleepover party on Thursday night, but I did hear the boys talking about it that night.  I hope Trevor didn't ruin anyone's Christmas spirit!  So when he read the letter, he seemed very happy and told me that he wouldn't go spilling the beans to anyone else.  He thinks that when Gwen knows, we'll stop doing a lot of the traditions that make Christmas fun.  

What is interesting about this whole thing to me though, is that we still have our Elf on the Shelf (Frankincense) that comes around and I his toys, he still has a hard time fully believing that they don't come to life when we aren't watching.  A few months ago he told me that he can't throw away his character toothbrushes because of what happened in Toy Story 3.  He has such an imagination that while he has loved to create his own stories with his toys, its hard to switch off that imagination switch when it comes to seeing the toys portrayed as real things when no one is watching.

Gwen has been loving the Christmas changes in our house and taking full advantage of the new music selections on both the radio and the CDs that we have.  Her favorite is a Kids Bop Christmas CD that we have already listened to 5 times and it has only been out for 3 days.  Her dance class is starting to prepare for their Winter Show in January, and they are performing "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" but if she hears the Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, she actually still remembers most of the moves from that recital as well.  

We have only seen 2 movies of our Christmas collection - both Grinch movies.  She has been playing with the Christmas ornaments and as a side note, we were putting the ornaments up and Trevor opened his Lightning McQueen and Toy Story ones, and saying that they didn't have hooks on them.  I explained that he never let us put hooks on them because he always played with them instead, so he took them out of the box and put them by the doll house to be used as a toy.  Gwen, of course, picked up right where he left off.  She undecorates and redecorates the tree.  She has a lot of princess ornaments and so with the lights, they put on a show...usually some kind of dance number.  Now that Frankincense is here, she also wants to give him part of her Advent Calendar chocolate the way Trevor has the past few years.  At least, that is what she said this morning...and then she ate both pieces.  

She also is enjoying the books that come out too.  I somewhat forgot about those and got more library books so I've read her favorite books, but she has some other new books (American Girl Doll books) that we have been reading as well.  

So with all that, I believe we are in the Christmas spirit.  The kids are again slotted for bringing up Mary and Joseph for the manger scene at church on Christmas Eve.  This will be Trevor's last year bringing a character.  He can bring other things, but they listed pre-k to 3rd grade.  His comment is, why does church have to be so long that day?  He's used to Children's Liturgy where the kids get to go out of the service to have their own discussion about the readings.  It's a nice break for them so that they don't have to be still for the entire hour.  But that doesn't happen on Christmas Eve.  Hard to believe it's only 3 weeks away.  I gotta get on the shopping bandwagon!  I'm probably very behind!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Trevor's parties

Well, we had three of them.  Technically, I don't know that you would call his actual birthday a party since it was just the family. was something else I had to organize.  We had his family party on Sunday prior to his day.  It was a day for the Bears vs. Vikings football game....glorious game.  We watched it and when the Bears won, Trevor quickly removed his Vikings jersey only to prove that he was cheering for both teams and had his Bears jersey underneath.

Trevor wanted his traditional spaghetti (two years now) dinner instead of pizza or lasagna.  We ate, sang happy birthday and opened gifts.  After that, it was time to clean up and get ready for school the next morning, so he didn't really get a long chance to play with his gifts.  He opened his character Ninjago sets because those he could put together quickly and play with.  This Sunday was the last day of the kids' 5 day break from school.  So we had to make sure we were ready to go the next day.

On Tuesday, we had spaghetti again, and he got his gifts from us.  This time, he had to run to hockey practice and since Monday is going from school to chess to dance class (for Gwen, not for Trevor), he hadn't had any chance to play with his gifts until Thursday (Wednesday is swimming and religion class.)  But wait...Thursday was the last school day of the week for him, so we decided to have his sleepover party with 3 of his friends since they didn't have school and he didn't have hockey on Friday.  Turns out, two of the three boys had never had a sleepover at a friends house before, so it was somewhat of an experiment.  One of the two did have a hard time falling asleep, but finally did so right around 11:45.  Then they were up again at about 5:30am.  I suppose at some point, I will have to do this with Gwen to keep it all equal, but I can guarantee I'm not doing a group of guys again.  I can handle one at a time.  Its not a big deal at all.  But wrangling and keeping all 4 of them busy and entertained was not all that easy.  Perhaps I should have pushed it away from the other parties because I was seriously burned out by this point in the month.

The one saving grace through all of this was that the boys were saying the next day how awesome of a party it was.  That was my hope....Trevor had been to a sleepover party earlier in the year which was where he got the idea.  So I'm glad he got to feel as special as he did having more than one friend over to stay over night.

And with that....this weekend we were finally able to get out the Christmas decorations.  His birthday celebration is done.  Time to get reorganized and ready for the incoming gifts this month.  I'm finally feeling like I can start to cross things off the list now.  Here's hoping!