Charlie, Evie and Ford

Charlie, Evie and Ford

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Adventures of John C. Elf

Right after Thanksgiving, we welcomed a new little Elf into our house.  Charlie christened him "John Charlie," after his favorite school friend, John, and, of course, you-know-who.  He has been fascinated with him during the holiday season, and responds remarkably well to reminders that "John Charlie is watching!"  He races around looking for him each morning and usually finds him almost immediately.  That boy has a knack for noticing the slightest change in a room, and it has led to quick discoveries of JC's hiding place.  Charlie's only issue with John Charlie is the fact that he doesn't blink his eyes.  He has remarked on this a few times, and then I noticed him standing under him, looking up, and blinking his eyes in a very exaggerated manner.  I asked him what he was doing and he responded, "I'm trying to teach John Charlie to blink his eyes, but it's not working!"

Here are a few of John Charlie's favorite hiding spots this year:

We arrived in Seguin this weekend and were surprised to find that he flew down here as well, landing on a deer's antlers.  Charlie was so glad he came, but has had to remind Papa several times "You can't touch John Charlie or he will lose his magic!"  I am not sure how I will inspire such good behavior after John Charlie's disappearance.  We will miss him!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Charlie's Class Christmas Party

At Charlie's school, two of the moms are responsible for each holiday party.  I drew Christmas, and it was so fun getting ready for it.  (Ok, it started out fun, but got a lot less fun the day before the party when my first two desserts didn't turn out right, Charlie and Evie ate 30+ M&Ms while "helping" cook and turned wild and terrible on me, the winter storm knocked out our power for 10 hours, and I had a small fender-bender on the way to the party.  I don't think I've ever been so glad to get something over with!)

Here is sweet Charlie making our pretzel treats.  
SO happy with his endless supply of pretzels and chocolate kisses!
I was a tad bit harried when I finally got to the school, but we got the party set up just in time for the kids to get back from their post-lunch walk.  I felt so much better when Charlie ran in the room, gave me a huge hug, and said "Merry Christmas Mommy!" as he presented me with an adorable handprint ornament he had made for me. :)  I know it sounds cheesy, but my heart completely melted and the things that had gone wrong that day really didn't matter anymore.
The desserts that Charlie and I made are below.  He was SO proud of these cookies.  He kept proudly exclaiming that we had brought cookies to share with all of his friends.  The only trouble we got into at the party had to do with his indecision over which cookie to eat--he took a bite out a reindeer and a stocking, and then wanted to return those for a green tree.  I promised him a tree when we got home, but unfortunately for Charlie, one of his friends ate it before we could get to it.  He chastised her for doing so, and I had to make some quick apologies to the mom and whisk him out of the way. :)
As usual, Charlie was more into the food/drinks than the Christmas tree ornament craft.  I love crafts, but I just cannot get him interested.  Our little projects always involve me encouraging him along and then ending up finishing it myself.  This was not any different, but I must say, my tree looks great. :)
Charlie and I (with wet hair, thanks to the power outage) are below.  Evie was there, but didn't quite make it into our photo.  She was too busy stealing milk and cookies from the big kids and generally terrorizing the classroom.  I think I must have explained to people 20 times that she usually behaves better, but just hadn't had a nap yet that day.  I know they were probably thinking that I really just needed to get that baby under control!
Such a fun party with fun friends.  My favorite part was seeing how much fun Charlie had and how pleased he was that Evie and I had come to his school (and brought cookies).  I am very grateful for such sweet teachers and such a fun class!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Playgroup Christmas Party

My sweet friend Amy hosted an awesome Christmas party for one of our playgroups.  She is an amazing hostess and always makes her parties so fun for the kids.  We started out with a regular playgroup, made more fun by popsicles (how is it that we can be playing outside and eating popsicles in December??) and a shiny red convertible...

Here is Charlie O. (the source of the famous "Charlie O. raisins") and Charlie B.
 This picture just scares me.  What a frightening glimpse of our future!
 Charlie O., Reese, James, and Charlie B.
 Another sweet pair of siblings.
 Evie is getting wilder and wilder.  She used to be so nervous at playgroup, but now she loves it.  She is getting to the point where she plays just like one of the big kids, and it's so funny to see her following them around.
 She loved jumping on the trampoline!

 Sweet Layne looks so big now that she's sitting!
 Then, after we'd played for a while, guess who showed up?
 The kids were in awe (except Charlie O., who had a sneaking suspicion that it wasn't the real Santa; just his dad in a Santa suit :).  
Here is Charlie and Santa.  Poor Evie became hysterical as soon as she saw him and was very hard to calm down (she didn't really get comfortable until he was gone).  She has developed a strong aversion to the guy, so I am not forcing anymore photos for her this year. :)
Sweet Bo with Santa.
 Harper and Santa.
 Charlie O., thinking this might be his dad (his little brother Will did not realize who it was, and reacted similarly to Evie :).
 James and Reese with Santa.
Such a fun party!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Holiday Fun

We have had such a fun round of holiday activities this year.  Having Charlie really understand Christmas this year has made the holidays so much fun, and has gotten me so motivated to get out and do some fun activities.  Charlie is loving all the build-up to Christmas and is super pumped about Santa coming to our house.  Hopefully his wish list will stay consistent; otherwise, poor Santa won't know what to bring!

Here is Charlie and sweet Blythe at the Children's Christmas parade.  Clint had the bright idea of riding the DART train downtown for the parade, and I think that was the real highlight of Charlie's day.  He could not get over the fact that he'd been on a real train, and is desperate to do it again.  But the parade was pretty awesome too!  It was so fun watching the parade, and really nice to get to watch it from the comfort of Blythe's hotel room.  As usual, she was quite the little ham.

These two were completely enthralled by the giant balloons.
Miss Evie really enjoyed the parade (and running around the hotel room) as well!

Trying to get a photo of Charlie's favorite float: Curious George on a fire engine.  Doesn't get much better than that!
I love B's "Mrs. Claus" dress. :)
Later that night, we did a carriage ride/lights tour through Highland Park with the Jordans and the Stoltzes.  It was a beautiful evening and such a fun way to get in the holiday spirit.  Evie absolutely loved the lights.  She sat so nicely in my lap the entire ride, occasionally belting out excited little squeals.  Charlie, on the other hand, got a little wild mid-ride and had to be bribed with the promise of cookies to sit on the seat.  But despite his wildness, we had a great time.  I definitely want to make this an annual tradition!

So excited about the ride...and, not surprisingly, voicing strong opinions on which horse he wanted to pull his carriage. :)
The Stoltzes.
The Burri.
The Jordans.
We also went back to the Dallas Heritage Village for their candlelight evening (we went to this for the first time last year and although I didn't really think we'd go again, somehow we ended up there again this year... :).  I wasn't expecting much, but it turned out to be so fun!  Both kids loved running around there, and Charlie was really excited about the model trains and the tractor-pulled hayride.  Here is my family listening to the carolers...

The trains were so cool--definitely Charlie's favorite part of the evening.  I thought he'd have trouble not touching it, but he exercised amazing self-control.  He was very militant with me about not touching as well. :)

The old-fashioned St. Nicolas at the Heritage Village is pretty funny.  Clint calls him "bad Santa."  Charlie knew something was different, but he just couldn't quite figure it out.  Evie has developed an intense dislike of Santa, and started screaming as soon as she saw St. Nick.  I decided to stop torturing her and have put an end to Santa/Evie pics until next year. :)

We capped off our night with a really fun hayride behind an awesome tractor.  Doesn't get much better than that!
We also went to see the trains at the North Park with Ford and Ryan (and their moms).  This is such a fun holiday tradition!  Charlie is obsessed--I really think he could have stayed there all day.  I had to drag him out when I was ready to leave!

 Evie really got into the trains too.  I think she liked them almost as much as Charlie (not sure that anyone quite approaches his level of train-love :).

  These three are SO cute together.  They are trouble!  (but so fun to watch :)
 Aside from the goofy pics below, the boys were surprisingly well-behaved at lunch.  I felt like I was eating with civilized human beings!

 We made a quick stop at a puppet show before we left.  Such a fun morning!

 And tonight, after a busy day of holiday parties at school, we settled down to watch the Grinch for the first time.  The kids had so much fun watching it (and I loved having a few minutes of down time to get dinner ready...amazing!).
We have also kept busy going to two playgroup holiday parties (too wild for photos!), the Snider Plaza tree lighting, and several other holiday events.  Charlie has loved every minute of it, especially when sweet treats are involved (he isn't eating much "real" food these days; I think he is saving himself for holiday cookies).  Evie likes our events for the most part, but I think is getting a little worn down by all the running around.  Even though it's exhausting, I do love this time of the year!