Just when we thought our Christmas couldn't get any better, we got to have TWO more Christmas mornings with my siblings!
First, the Reins arrived in town late at night on the 26th. Charlie and Evie were SO excited to see their beloved Meggie, Foggie and Walter when they woke up. And were really pumped about another round of presents. Here's Charlie munching on Evie's new fake sandwiches. He is in love with these!
Charlie got new Legos--another very favorite gift!
Since Walter was snoozing, Charlie helped him open some of his goodies. He even showed the requisite level of excitement. :)
Walter and Ali.
Evie is making her way somewhere...likely to Walter...
Evie has recently developed an obsession with babies ("bay-ba") and Walter is her very favorite one. She is crazy about him, and could focus on nothing else the first few days he was around (luckily, she eventually lost a bit of interest). Every time Walter entered the room, she would zoom over and want to get right next to him. She would proudly point and exclaim "bay-ba!" and look around to see who had noticed how smart she is. Then she would go in for a hug or the chance to point out his eyes. All very risky when your head is twice the size of his and you don't have much control over your very pointy little fingers. So we tried to keep her away, but it was hard!
So happy that she made it on the couch. Thank you Charlie for helping to restrain her...
Uh oh, we lost Charlie. And now Evie is going in for the hug. You can see her saying "awww" (which she says each time she hugs someone, as if to say "see how cute I'm being?").
Walter moved, but unfortunately for his eyes, Evie tracked him down. Papa doesn't quite know her ways yet...
Papa wises up and uses physical restraint. :)
Here's Walter surrounding by his gifts. Doesn't he look excited?
Speaking of Walter, he is the best little baby I have ever seen. He is so happy and spent the days just hanging out and amusing us with his sweet smiles. Here he is relaxing nicely in his seat. I don't remember my babies ever being this good!
We spent another day out at the ranch, per Charlie's request. Papa let Walter drive the Ranger and Charlie was surprisingly pleased about this development. I think he thinks that if Papa will let a baby pretend to drive, he might let a big boy REALLY drive. Oh dear.
Evie rode in the back with the girls. I think she's trying to claw her way to the front (closer to W) here. :)
We had beautiful weather all week--so perfect for being outside!
We decided to do a bit of canoeing and it was so much fun. Charlie loved it; Evie was a little unsure, but eventually came around.
Daddy, Meggie and Charlie.
Papa, Mad Evie, and Mommy.
Miss E preferred watching the canoers safely on dry land.
Other highlights of the day included climbing trees...
Trying to take a swim...
Begging for another canoe ride...
Relaxing on a hay bale...
Swinging with Meggie...
And playing in the back of the Ranger and trailers. My kids have an odd fascination with jumping up and down in the back of old trailers. Meg taught them to do it while taunting Foggy with "na na na na na na," which Evie loved. Unfortunately, they both will still stick their thumbs in their ears (or on their cheek), wave their hands around, and shout "na na na na na na" at me.
I love this happy little face. Charlie is SO happy out at the ranch, and becomes such a little man out there. He opens and closes gates (sometimes even by himself--it is SO cute to see that little guy holding the gate for us all by himself), helps drive the Ranger, clears brush from the road, and "fights" wild hogs with one of Sam's toy pistols (lovely, I know). He is a big fan of Sam's army helmet and pistol, and although my mom had a talk with him about the fact that the gun had to stay in Seguin, Charlie had other plans. On our way home, after we were about 30 minutes into our drive, we heard Charlie exclaim from the back, "what's this gun doing in my carseat?" I turned around to see the happiest, guiltiest face you've ever seen.
And just when we thought things really couldn't get any better, Sam and Audra arrived! They brought with them MORE gifts, one of which was one of Charlie's very favorite gifts ever: a bright orange forklift. He had told me about 30 times that he really really needed a forklift for Christmas, so this was a huge hit. He especially loves the basket that comes on and off. So fun!
Walter was similarly excited during this gift exchange.
Sam and Charlie are really not very different, so Sam was pretty jealous of Charlie's train set. I think he played with it as much as Charlie did!
While the boys hunted, the girls stole the Ranger and took a drive...
...to the treehouse! Here's Evie enjoying the view. :)
I think I am finally out of Christmas pictures (I am sure everyone is happy about that :).
After spending some time with Sam and Audra, Clint and I headed back to Dallas for a few days of childless (yes, childless, for the first time in 1.5 years) fun. We thought the kids might be a bit sad to see us go, but I should not have worried. As we left on Saturday night, Charlie was relaxing on the sofa with Papa, Ali, Meggie, Foggy, Sam, and Audra watching football and eating pistachios (two of his favorite pastimes). We broke the news to him that we were leaving and were rewarded with two big thumbs up from the little man. He finally did break down and give me a hug, but happily waved as we drove away.
Charlie and Evie had a great time without us, and although I'm sure they kept everyone hopping, my sweet parents were so nice about the stay--they claim to have loved it! My mom's only shock was seeing how crazy Miss E is. My mom said every time she turned around, Evie was standing on top of a different table, which is just how she is at home. Let's just pray this crazy girl doesn't get hurt before she gets some sense! And Charlie had a great time playing with our old toys and playing various pretend games (in one, he ran around with Sam's toy gun and pretended Ali was a wild turkey and Evie was a wild hog). When I picked the kids up, they were so proud of having had a little vacation and full of discussion about the trip. I have gotten so many tidbits about Papa's habits from Charlie. I learned that he breathes heavily when he exercises, chews dramatically when he eats pistachios, leans back with his hands behind his head when he's relaxing, raises his eyebrows a lot, says "Ranger Danger" and "Poo Poo Pee Pee Papa", and watches an obscene amount of football. Tell me something I didn't know, Charlie. :)