Friday, December 31, 2010

Because my son has TOO MANY TOYS! last month I begged everyone we knew to send books this year for Christmas. I knew my son would love it because he can never get enough books.  I began thinking about this because some of the most fun he had on his birthday was shopping for books.  So when my Uncle said he was brining a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas I decided there was no topping that gift and books it was.

Then one night while kissing Awsumb goodnight, I realized he was in major need of a new bookcase. His little bookcase was double stacked and books were overflowing onto the floor. Not to mention all the shelves he had taken over in other bookcases around the house.  And that's when I had the idea to give him a new bookcase full of new books!  Friends and family joined in on the fun. I also pulled a few series from Kenneth's collection to pass onto Awsumb.

I wrapped up all the books and then wrapped the entire bookcase.  (excuse the iphone shot, I'll update with better photos later).  We gave him three guesses.  He said, "A rocket ship, a TV, or a bunk bed!"

He loved it and was pretty suprised!  After the weekend everyone started emailing me this You Tube video...

His parents have since removed comments and keep saying, "he's only 3!"  At any age that kind of  talk is not allowed in my house.  In an attempt to redeem their child this year they made a new video of their child opening books for Christmas.

I'm so glad that my child love to read and loves books. Awsumb has been wandering around with books tucked under his arm since he was a toddler.  He never destroyed or ruined books, even as a baby... Awsumb wondered in awe over the words and illustrations as he carefully turned one page at a time.  But even more, I am glad that he is thankful for gifts of any kind. Including 45 new pairs of socks!

Maybe Kenneth will edit some video of Awsumb's reaction later. I think this will be a pretty memorable Christmas!  And one that he will use for years to come!

No crib for a bed...

This tiny little manger, is empty you can see.
Fill it with straw, to make it as soft as can be.
In December add a piece of straw each day,
For service you give and kind words you say.
Show daily acts of kindness. Do them secretly
So this manger will be ready, for a special baby.
This Christmas I placed each piece of a new Playmobil Nativity set in Awsumb's Playmobil Winter Forest Friends Advent Calendar.  Remembering how much my little sister loved this activity when she was little, I also cut a few pieces of embroidery thread into hay for Awsumb to earn for the baby Jesus.  One night Awsumb had the idea to quickly unload the entire dishwasher before Daddy got home.  This is a new responsiblity for Awsumb and he often doesn't put large dishes or pans away or forgets to do the top rack.  So there he was furiously trying to unload every single dish and put them away before he was caught... when I heard such a clatter!  Instantly I knew what it was and told him to stay put.  Awsumb had climbed up on the counter with a large Pyrex dish to put it away on the top shelf. What made him think it even went up there in the first place I'll never know?!  And of course not only did it break into a million little pieces, but it took a few dishes with it as well.
Awsumb was so upset it took me a while to figure out if he was hurt.  And even after that he wouldn't calm down. He kept asking how we was "ever going to earn enough soft hay before the baby Jesus arrived, when he couldn't even do a simple job like unload the dishwasher?" 

Awsumb was sure that I was going to be sad and that old Pyrex must have cost at least $100. "I don't have that kind of money," he kept saying.  There was no soothing him.  To distract him I sent him to open the next box to his nativity. He came out of his room carrying this shepherd complete with hobo stick and exclaimed, "What is this?  A hint that I'm kicked out of the family." 
He thought it was a homeless guy, not a shepherd!

And of course that led him back to being upset there would not be enough soft hay for he baby Jesus.
In frustration he said,
 "Maybe we should just get him a blanket!"

The funny part is that the Pyrex was a replacement gift from my father after I had a major Pyrex disaster of my own 15 years ago.  Let's just say I learned that night not to put a pyrex dish on hot burner!  The pan exploded EVERYWHERE and the hot shards of glass melted into the vinyl flooring making clean up impossible. 
Looks like I need a new Pyrex, Dad!

Best and Worst of Christmas 2010

KLEENEX!  That's right my husband gave me a box of Kleenex....  Under the tree, wrapped with a bow and everything! OK, it's not as bad as it sounds.  First off you should know that years before we had children we stopped buying Christmas gifts to eachother.  Instead we buy cartloads of toys for kids in need. One year we filled the car with so many toys and games, that I had to get in and let Kenneth stack stuff all around me so it would all fit...  Too bad that was pre-digital camera days, because it was hilarious - my face pinned to the passenger side window surrounded by Hot Wheels race tracks and Little People Doll houses!

This was such a fun tradition for us during the years we were praying desperately to have a child of our own.  We continue the tradition now that we have a little boy. Every year Awsumb and Kenneth take a big bag of toys over to the Giving Tree at Microsoft and we look for other ways to help during the season.

Kenneth and I still exchange stockings.  Because of the size limitation this usually leads us to give only smaller more thoughtful items. And lucky for me all my favorite things fit in a stocking ie: perfume, jewelry, lipgloss, markers and pens, etc.  Plus there is usually enough room for a paperback and a movie.

So this year, Kenneth hands me this funny round shaped package all wrapped up with a bow and says, "this woulnd't fit."  What could it be?  And what an unusual shape, I must admit I was a bit excited!  So, I pulled off the paper when what to my wondering eyes should appear?  A cream and brown swirled box of Kleenex, more oval than round!  Because this has been the Christmas of surprises, I'll say that I was sure surprised!

Actually it was a pretty sweet little gift. I suffer from year-round allergies.  Years of daily nose bleeds, steroid sprays and trauma to my nasal passages has led to quite a mess.  When I see a new doctor I have to explain that, "NO I have never used cocaine!"  I take multiple allergy prescriptions and still resort to Benadryl many days just for some relief. 

I can never seem to keep enough tissue in the house and it's often at the top of my list.  These days I prefer Puff's to Kleenex. I guess Kenneth has been watching me lately as I look at the cute little designer boxes of Kleenex and pass them up, selecting thebig industrial - family sized boxes of tissue.  So he just wanted me to have something cute and fun... even though it didn't fit in my stocking!  But it sure is funny and I am never going to let him live this one down!

I shouldn't be so hard on him because of our last minute trip to Disney and all that we have going on we agreed to go really simple on our stockings this year.   Kenneth still managed to sneak in a Alfred Hitchcock boxed set of DVD's.  And in all fairness among Kenneth's stocking goodies was a DVD he got FOR FREE from the Disney Movie Club! LOL!  Hey, it was in the pile of DVD's and games set aside for Awsumb and I thought he bought it because he wanted me to put it in his stocking! 

What was the best and worst gift you received this year?

May your New Year be Full of a Million Dreams!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Best Christmas Pageant Ever!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

When Awsumb was a baby we were asked to be in the church Nativity.   I suggested we let a couple of older children be Mary and Joseph, and would give permission for them to use Awsumb,
IF I could help choose the kids. 
 This little girl was so tender with Awsumb. 
Today she is Awsumb's favorite babysitter!
A friend of mine drew all these animals. 
Aren't they beautiful?
I served in the primary for many years
 and watched these kids grow up. 
I just love these photos!
(even with the orange stage lights!)
At some point we could tell Awsumb was getting heavy.  So from off stage we tried to get Mary's attention and let her know she could put him down.  I almost had a hard attack as she placed him in the rickety manger, his head was lower than his feet! 
But if I remember right, Awsumb never made a peep. 
He was a good little baby Jesus.
 This year Awsumb was asked to step in as King Herod.  He refused because he was upset about being a bad guy.  Awsumb was happy to be a shepherd with the rest of his class.  (no photos were taken.)  Apparently the young boy who did play King Herod never broke character and continued to glare at the baby Jesus throughout the program and songs!  I guess he was serious about never breaking character!  Kids are so funny!

When you read
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
by Barbara Robinson,
you just know it's going to be the best story ever when you read that first couple lines...
"The Herdmans were absolutely the worst kids in the history of the world. They lied and stole and smoked cigars (even the girls) and talked dirty and hit little kids and cussed their teachers and took the name of the Lord in vain and set fire to Fred Shoemaker's old broken-down toolhouse."
And when you realize
"the rottenest kids in the history of the world,"
are going to take over the pageant like it or not,
you start to see the Christmas story in a new way,
in a pure and childlike way,
even though these kids are anything but pure or childlike!

It's a good reminder that God sees us for who we really are
and that there is a little good in everyone,
 even The Herdmans!

A Totally Awsumb Christmas

"For unto you is born this day
 in the city of David a Saviour,
which is Christ the Lord."

“And there were in the same country
shepherds abiding in the field,
keeping watch over their flocks by night.”

The Other Wiseman,
Having given away all he had,
Learned the most important gift
We have to give is Love.

I played my drum for Him

The Night Before Christmas...

You better not pout, you better not cry
You better not shout, I'm telling you why!

Santa Claus is coming to town...

All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth!

Remember, if Christmas isn't found in your heart,
you won't find it under the tree

Dreaming is Believing!

Merry Christmas!

Kenneth, Wendy
 and Awsumb 


Santa at Disneyland Ranch

Pluto the Reindeer? 

Minnie - Soarin' Over California! 

Pluto - Awsumb's favorite!

Winnie the Pooh!
and Tigger Too! 

Toy Story Mania! 

Last, but not least...

The Tower of Joy!

And this is my reaction when I realized I wouldn't have my photos back in time to send out Christmas Cards in a timely manner... sooooo.... here's a sneak preview! 

Disneyland Christmas Day 3

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Although we woke up at 6:00am and planned to get right over to the park it was still 8:30am by the time we arrived.  The sun was already feeling pretty warm and I knew Awsumb would be miserable in long sleeves.  I hadn't planned on it being oveer 80 in December!  So I stopped In Disney Clothiers on Main Street and found a cute baseball Mickey baseball t-shirt for Awsumb. This store always had great finds and a different selection that The Emporium.
We ran through Space Mountain a couple times with only 5 minute waits. Then over to Buzz Lightyear, Matterhorn and finally to see Small World Christmas.  We had hoped Monday would be slow, but it was still super crowded, evidenced by the lines in Fantasyland. So we chose Peter Pan and Snow White before heading over to Pirates!  Kenneth decided to make quick reservations at Cafe Orleans this day because they have some of the same menu items as Blue Bayou. This is the second time I have been there and once again the service was terrible. Kenneth never even received his soup and was served the wrong entree.  There was no attempt to make things right and well, next time we will just go back to our usual Blue Bayou tradition.
Awsumb wanted to see Pooh and Friends, so we headed over there while Kenneth picked up some Fast Passes.  We made it through just before they closed off the line to see Pooh and Tigger.  Back over to Thunder Mountain Railroad x2 and over to play at the shooting gallery.

The crowds were pretty thick as we headed over to Indiana Jones & The Jungle Cruise.  The line to get a dole whip was nuts and I was about ready to start thinking about making our way too the airport. The cool treat refreshed us and Kenneth talked us into one last trip through Space Mountain so we could use Fast Passes we had picked up that morning. By the time we got back to the hub we caught the end of the Christmas Fantasy Parade. Kenneth put Awsumb on his shoulders and we followed the last parade float down mainstreet!  What a fun way to say goodbye to Disneyland and all our fun last minute Christmas visit!

Although it was only 5:30 the park was closing at 6pm for a special evening event.  Half the exit gates were closed as they set up for the next event... So it was a major bottle neck to get out of the park.  5 minutes after we left the park the magic was over and the craziness of the lasty 72 hours caught up with me. I  was super tired and well, DONE!  A limo service responded to our taxi request and our driver took us to the airport in record time just before the main evening traffic.  And I won't even get into the nightmare we had with our returning flight... that's another story, but by midnight we were finally
sleeping snuggly
 in our beds with
dreams of Dole Whips
and Mickey Bars 
dancing in our heads!

California Christmas Adventure Day 2

After only a couple more hours of sleep than we got the night before, we ended up with a later start than we planned for Day 2 and by the time we got to Disney California Adventure it was about 10:30.  There wasn't as many Christmas decorations because so much of the park is under construction with all the new Cars Land coming 2012.  And because it was Sunday we thought there would be lower crowds... no such luck as this really was the busiest December to date.

We waited entirely too long for our Disney Visa Meet and Greet.. come on, can't they bring in anyone else besides Pluto and the Chip and Dale?  Maybe change up the characters yearly?  After a quick ride through Monster's Inc. and Muppets 3D we were already getting hot and hungry.  We didn't pack prepared for the sunny 80 degrees days! 

Because it was the holidays we decided to gorge ourselves on a TurkeyLeg!  This is a once in a lifetime experience... and I mean, something you need to only experience once in a lifetime!
We found Santa on the pier in a beautiful victorian coat.  The sun made for such surreal photos!  We are used to seeing Santa on a dreary rainy day!  And I think even Santa must have been enjoying that warm sun, just looked at his sunburned cheeks!
And that's when we found Duffy The Disney Bear!  Who went everywhere with us the rest of the trip!
We walked on Screamin' with no wait  but because we were tired and feeling hot none of us felt like going on three times in a row like our previous visit... So we decided to get the big wait over with for Toy Story Mania. Why they can't put this on Fast Pass I'll never know!  We should have skipped the Visa Private Meet and Greet and just headed right to Toy Story - live and learn!
By then we were ready for a break and decided to have lunch at Storytellers.  I think Kenneth only really loves this place because of the bread... can we say mini wonder bread loaves?  I admit I even ate a piece!  Awsumb and I love the chicken corn chowder!
After lunch we found Minnie outside Soarin' in her flight get up and used FP to walk onto Soarin' Over California - a family favorite.
Awsumb was begging to go to the Animation Academy.  Why have we never done this?  Probably because we were in Playhouse Disney!  That's the thing about Disney, if you think there is something you have grown out of there is always something to grow into!  I have no artistic ability, terrible handwriting and can't even draw a stick figure. But just look at this Mickey and Pluto! 

 Ok, so Pluto looks more like Goofy!  But it was fun. I was suprised how many people threw these out. What fun FREE souvenirs!
And here's Awsumb's! 

(I gotta scan these in.. check back!)

That's  right, we went to two classes. Awsumb could have done this all evening!  But we pulled ourselves away to join the party at ElecTRONica!  They were showing a special TRON preview in the Muppets theater.  Looks pretty nerdy, but my boys are excited for it.  

And finally time for MY favorite ride in the park - The Tower of JOY!

Awsumb was tired and even more traumatized than usual.  So we popped into Bugs land to ride the Tuck n' Roll bumper cars. it's simple, but I think he loves it because he can ride in his own car!  And even better because Duffy was his passenger!

Back to the ElecTRONica party to get a front row spot to see Laserman!  Forget World of Color - Go to Laserman!  OK not a fair replacement, but very entertaining!

We had late reservations at Napa Rose and didn't want to be late to see Auntie and Uncle!  We were so glad to see them and have a chance to relax.  Dinner was AMAZING, of course!  Awsumb didn't make it to dessert, which was too bad for him becase the apricot sorbet was so refreshing!
We made it back to our room after 10pm where we hoped to get some sleep before our last day.

A Very Disney Christmas! Day 1

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Saturday ~ Disneyland ~
After staying up all night and waking Awsumb early in the morning to get to the airport and reveal The BIG Disney Surprise, By the time we checked into the hotel and got over to the park it was about 11am.  First up you gotta get your Christmas Mickey Ears!  The best value in the park for sure. Awsumb has a few different colors and styles.  Isn't this Christmas plaid so cute? 
Disneyland was all decked out for the holidays! 
The big tree was beautiful! 
So we had to get a few family pictures.
Although I had seen pictures of the castle at Christmas,
 I was still amazed at how beautiful it was! 
At night it looked like an ice castle.
The park was SUPER crowded. 
And we skipped fantasyland altogether. 
Somehow we weave our way through the crowds to
The Jungle Cruise  (check our Weird Al's sade tale of Skipper Dan!)

Because we had been up since 3am after Pirates we were ready for lunch at the Blue Bayou.  After lunch it was time to get this Christmas party started at the Haunted Mansion Holiday.  Kenneth made a silly joke and the fast pass attendant sent us through to the front of the line!

Then it was off to ride Big Thunder Mountain or as we call it the Wildest Ride in the WEIRDerness!    Awsumb spotted Woody and Jesse from Toy Story on the way and we had to get a photo. 

And finally it was time to go to the Disneyland Ranch for a Visit with Santa.  Lot's of locals, but the line wasn't too long and Santa's cabin was pretty cute.  Awsumb asked Santa to surprise him!  Obviously he is well cared for and doesn't have a want in this world! LOL!  Mrs. Claus was also there and we were so looking forward to seeing her.  By the time it was our turn she had some cookies burning or something and dissapeared!  insert frowny face!
Awsumb did get to see Pluto, who was was having an identity crisis. The ranch had some animals including the 2009 Thanksgiving Turkey pardoned by the President.  (Did you know they sent them to Disneyland?  How do you think they make those giant smoked turkey legs! Just Kidding!)  We also saw all Santa's favorite Reindeer and Awsumb thought that was a lot of fun.  It was hard to take photos of the real reindeer, because they had set up such a protective barrier to keep them safe from kids I guess, and all I ended up with was butt shots, so here's Awsumb and PLUTO
Fantasyland was a mad house and we headed over to the Matterhorn. When the rickitiest ride in the park breaks down when your in line and you stay in line because that makes it all the more exciting you know your an addict.  We enjoyed some treats like a Mickey dream bar and ended up with a pretty resonable wait. 

We got off just in time to catch the  Christmas Parade from the raised parade viewing by small world.  I think we waited longer for the parade to get to us than for any other rides on our trip!

And finally Space Mountain and Buzz Lightyear and it was getting dark - time for fireworks!  We were looking forward to the special Christmas display.  After picking the perfect spot to eat dinner with a great view of the castle we waited and waited and well, 30 minutes after they were supposed to start we found out they were canceled due to winds (which must have been way up high!?!)  Seriously, there was not even a breeze!

All the waiting and well, you can see Awsumb was dead tired.  We decided to call it a day when he woke up and begged to go on Indiana Jones before we left the park.   We obliged because we had fast passes.  And after a quick ride through Pirates again we finally got back to our hotel about 11pm.
Here are just a few quick iphone shots.You can see we only managed about 18 attractions.  Definately not our usual routine. Did I tell you it was very crowded?  But a great first day.  The boys fell asleep the moment they hit their pillows.  Day 2 -3 coming up...