Tuesday, December 27, 2011

25 Days: HH Style, a recap...

I promised many of you that I would create a 'master list' of our 25 Days activities so you could steal some ideas...well, here she is:

Day 1: Color Christmas Pictures
Day 2: Go to Holiday Luminary Walk
Day 3: Make an Ornament
Day 4: Write a Letter to Santa
Day 5: Go to Playgroup Christmas Party
Day 6: Eat Breakfast for Dinner
Day 7: Watch a Christmas Movie
Day 8: Make an Ornament
Day 9: Make Christmas Presents
Day 10: Dress up in Silly Clothes
Day 11: Go to Church Children's Musical
Day 12: Have a Christmas Music Dance Party
Day 13: Make S'mores in the Fireplace
Day 14: Read Christmas Books
Day 15: Bake Cookies
Day 16: Make Holiday Milkshakes
Day 17: Visit Santa
Day 18: Take Family Photos by the Tree
Day 19: Write a Thank You Letter to God
Day 20: Watch a Christmas Movie
Day 21: Drive and Look at Lights
Day 22: Make Reindeer Food
Day 23: Bake Cookies
Day 24: Go to Christmas Eve Service
Day 25: Merry Christmas!

Overall, I think our first annual 25 Days: HH Style was a success! There are some of the above activities that will always be a part of our 25 Days, but as the kids get older, other activities will change.  I look forward to including some service activities for us to do as a family.

We are blessed to have such great family.  Both kiddos were spoiled rotten this Christmas (now Santa needs to bring us a bigger house so we have somewhere to put it all!!)! It was so exciting to see Boogie start to understand a little bit and I can't wait till next year when both kiddos will really be able to participate in the season (C-Monk pretty much slept through her whole first Christmas).

I feel really inspired by our 25 Days blog project.  Before, I struggled to figure out what to write about, but now I feel like there's so much to tell!! I hope that I can stay inspired through the New Year and will be able to update more often.  I'll share recipes and DIY projects we try and, of course, update you on the crazy HH world!

But, first....I must figure out how to clean up this explosion of Christmas that was our living room....

Saturday, December 24, 2011

25 Days: HH Style, Day 23 & 24

Day 23: Bake Cookies
Although we still have lots of cookies leftover from the annual cookie exchange...we needed some fresh, delicious cookies to leave for Santa! We went for the traditional, sugar cookies with frosting.  We got to use our new cookie cutters that I got for my birthday!  Boogie was a big helper! He stirred the dough and pushed down the cookie cutters....oh, and when I went to take a picture, pretty sure he took a big bite out of the dough...

Not the prettiest of cookies, but I don't think Santa will mind...

Day 24: Go to Christmas Eve Service
Our church (St. Paul's United Methodist in Lenexa) has an amazing, family friendly Christmas Eve service complete with awesome music by the praise band! Boogie LOVES the praise band!! But, we stayed out at Gramps' house too late last night and thus both kiddos are still passed out in their afternoon naps...not going to make it to church in the next 20 minutes...until next year...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

25 Days: HH Style, Day 21 & 22

Day 21: Drive & Look at Lights
I've always loved looking at Christmas lights.  The neighborhood I grew up in always went all out. We actually had an annual contest, with multiple categories to vote on for light displays each year.  I loved to drive around and cast our votes!  There are some pretty incredible light displays in Kansas City; so many that there are entire websites dedicated to mapping out all the "must sees!"  Since C-Monk hates her carseat, we knew we wouldn't have much time to drive around so we selected one neighborhood display to check out this year; Christmas Card Lane.  This neighborhood has tons of homes decked out in lights, all tied together with the theme of large Christmas cards from each family.  It's a strange neighborhood with 1980's split-levels, mixed with brand new traditional homes and the light displays varied just as much.  My favorite was a huge farmhouse style home covered in white icicle lights and white lights lining the path up to the house; beautiful! Boogie's favorite of course, was the house with the huge inflatable Mickey Mouse Santa!

The whole experience was fun, but also a little creepy....all these cars driving slowly past the houses, some people getting out to take pictures. It'd be fun to live in a neighborhood like this, but it would get old and annoying really fast! Just wondering if this is something you have to include in a seller's disclosure..."buyer must be willing to spend ridiculous amounts of time and money on Christmas light displays each year while hundreds of complete strangers will slowly drive past the house staring at your work (and in your windows) while taking tons of pictures to share with more strangers..."

Day 22: Make Reindeer Food

1/4 cup sugar 
1/4 cup oatmeal (we don't eat oatmeal so we used rice krispies!)
a sprinkle of red/green sugar

How does it work?
Sprinkle on the lawn at night
The moon will make it sparkle bright
As Santa's reindeer fly and roam
This will guide them to your home

(no, I didn't write or invent this, but thanks for thinking I could be that creative...)

Boogie did a great job helping scoop the ingredients and put them in the bag.  We'll sprinkle it in the yard before bedtime on Christmas Eve!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

25 Days: HH Style, Day 19 & 20

I've been busy finishing up Christmas presents the last couple days.  So much for our plan to accumulate presents throughout the year...next year we'll do it (yea, right)!  I didn't take a picture of the calendar activities for the last couple days so you'll just have to trust that these are the activities I found in the envelopes...

Day 19: Write a Thank You Letter to God
'Tis the reason for the season, right?!

Yes, my kiddos, again, are too young to write letters for themselves and J's just too busy with work and our 'new house' (did we ever mention the H clan have become "flippers"?) so you'll just have to be satisfied with my letter alone.

Dear God,
I can't thank you enough for blessing us with two perfect children.  They bring more joy to our lives than we can ever describe. Thank you for helping me find the 'perfect match' in J. He makes me a better person everyday.  Thank you for blessing him with a strong work ethic that allows for me to have the job title of "full-time mom." I love getting up and going to 'work' everyday (even those days that I don't have to get up because I'm already up and have been up all night)! I'm so grateful for being able to spend this time with our children; watching them learn and grow everyday.  I promise to teach them about your love and lead them to teach others. I can't wait to see what you have in store for us next year, it'll be tough to top this one!

Day 20: Watch a Christmas Movie
I was prepared this time!! I knew we had another movie night somewhere in the activity calendar so I was diligent about watching the TV lineup and hitting "record" on the DVR when a good one came up! I snagged "The Muppet Christmas Carol." Who doesn't love the Muppets?! Well, it's currently playing right now and the fact that I'm typing this at the same time probably sums up the fact that this activity isn't the couch snuggling family time it was planned to be....C-Monk is snoozin', Boogie is moving his legos (one-by-one) from one side of the room to the other and J, well, I'm not sure where he ran off to.....

On another note...
An update on C-Monk! We had her hip ultrasound today and the doctor said "her hips are beautiful!" Great news! Looks like all that time spent in the breach position only hurt mommy, not baby!

Monday, December 19, 2011

chunky monkey and a peanut...

We had a double doctor's appointment today; Pumpkins' 2 month and Boogie's 18 month well visits...

We'll start with our little Pumpkin, who will, going forward, be loving referred to as Chunky Monkey (C-Monk for short).  Over the past month we've noticed that she is definitely growing out of her reflux.  Before, she was 'spitting' up constantly what seemed like her entire meal, she screamed in pain all the time, and never seemed to sleep.  Now, she'll spit up after she eats and a little bit here and there, but that's all.  It seems like maybe only a couple times a week will she scream in pain and she's sleeping much better; sometimes giving us 7 hours straight at night.  Overall, she's pretty happy; smiling a lot more, almost letting out a little giggle here and there (she thinks her big brother is pretty funny) and she's starting to notice her hands and is trying to figure out how to use them. She's still attached to her binky, but will hopefully find that thumb soon!

At her well visit today she was...wait for it....13lbs!!! That puts her in the 93% for weight, thus the reason for her new nickname :) She's pretty average in height at 22.8in (64%) and has a huge noggin' at 41cm (93%).  You may remember that most of C-Monk's time in utero was spent butt down, with her head up under my ribs.  Well, since she was in this possible 'froggie-sit' position for so long, her pediatrician wants to make sure there is no sign of hip dysplasia (abnormal hip joint development) which is common in babies who are in the breach position for so long.  He said things look good from the outside and they feel strong, but we're going for a hip ultrasound tomorrow just to be sure. If there are abnormalities, they want to catch them as early as possible to prevent any further irregular growth. So even though I crossed my fingers that we wouldn't have to go back, tomorrow we're headed to Children's Mercy again....

Now, on to Boogie. He's always been my little peanut holding strong in the 'under 50%' (usually very much under!).   His 18 month stats come in at 24lbs 12oz (37%!!!, that's up from 17% at his 12 month), 32in (45%) and a 48cm noggin' (58%, up from 25% at 12 months).  So, he's slowly making progress and growing out of the peanut category; I'm just worried his "little" sister might catch up to him soon!! His pediatrician was impressed at how interactive he is and with his broad vocabulary! One of his screening questions was "is he saying at least 4 words?" Ha!! J and I started making a list yesterday of everything Boogie says on a regular basis and he's up to at least 25 words (and that's just what we could come up with on the top of our heads) and he also repeats and tries to say just about everything you do (so watch what you say in our house!).  Since he's not technically 18 months until next week, we'll wait to take his 'birthday' picture then.

Alright, back to making more Christmas magic...

Sunday, December 18, 2011

25 Days: HH Style, Day 18

Day 18: Take Family Photos by the Tree
Not much else to say about this activity.  Couldn't find a good place to set up the camera to use the timer so we could all be in one...

Saturday, December 17, 2011

25 Days: HH Style, Day 17

It's the 17th! Our baby girl is two months old today! Wow, time flies...stayed tuned for her monthly 'birthday' picture, she has her 2 month appointment on Monday so we'll get her official "stats" then...

Day 17: Visit Santa
Boogie didn't go meet Santa last year.  He was only 6 months old so we figured it'd be more trauma than it was worth. He still has no idea who 'Santa' is and why he sat on his lap, but he was a good sport and very polite. He smiled and said "hi" when we walked into the room.  He said "thank you" (well, he blew a kiss and said "muah!") for his candy cane and then waved and said "bye bye!" to everyone as we left.

We decided to go to the Johnson County Museum for our Santa visit and I will say, if they have this event next year, it's where we'll go again!! There was no crowd, no line, no fees....quick and easy!! If you've never been to this museum (and you have little kiddos) you should check it out! They have a large exhibit called "KidScape."  It was originally planned to be a temporary exhibit, but because of it's popularity (with people like our playgroup) it was made permanent!! The museum's description of the exhibit is "Designed to look like a suburban streetscape, KidScape immerses children into a colorful, exciting environment where they can learn about community through role-playing and meet some of Johnson County's most talented citizens - past and present!. Enter into six enticing environments: bookstore, park, City Hall, hospital, fashion boutique, and theater." Boogie loves to play here. Oh, and did I mention it's completely FREE!!

Construction and Street Maintenance...

Dr. Boogie...the Pediatrician??

Pumpkin was checking it out...

Santa was hanging out in the KidScape Theatre. I was surprised that we were one of maybe 4 families in the whole place!! They also had a room in another part of the museum where kids could make holiday crafts. (We figured they'd be geared toward bigger kids so we skipped that part...) Like I said, it really was a great place to go see Santa. Hopefully the slow turn out won't keep them from having the event in the future. Well, without further ado...here's the picture you've all been waiting for....Boogie meets the man in red...

Friday, December 16, 2011

25 Days: HH Style, Day 16

Today started out great! We got a good amount of sleep last night, probably 6.5 hours?! So, everybody was rested and happy this morning. We actually got it together and were able to make it to a playgroup this morning; the first time in ages!! The momma who hosted has a baby girl who's just a week older than Pumpkin.  At first, Boogie was very confused by there being two babies, but then he kicked into big brother mode and started kissing and loving on both of them!

An update on yesterday's cookie making activity: the cookies turned out NOTHING like the picture (do they ever?).  Mine seriously looked like a 3 y/o made them, but they're pretty tasty so I guess that's all that really matters, right?

Since mommy got some girl time last night at our annual cookie exchange party/BUNCO night....daddy gets some boy time tonight to play poker; only seems fair I guess.  So, Boogie and I were on our own for today's activity.  (well, technically Pumpkin was here, but she's a little young to actually participate).

Day 16: Make Holiday Milkshakes
Well, we discovered that, yes, Boogie is still terrified of the blender!! At first, I wasn't going to let him partake in the milkshake enjoyment because he decided his carrots were better thrown than eaten, but he was so upset by the loud noise of the blender that I couldn't help but calm his tears with a little sip or two....speaking of the scary blender, I think it's officially time to retire it.  I totally wore it out making all of Boogie's baby food and it's never been the same since....and now it's leaking out the bottom. So, Santa, if you could bring me a new blender, that would be great...oh, and maybe a small food processor so I can make Pumpkin's food, cause apparently blenders just don't hold up to that amount of use....

OK, back to the milkshake....we used Hy-vee's Peppermint Twist ice cream and it was delicious (although, it was a little 'chunky' since the blender doesn't really "blend" anymore...)!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

25 Days: HH Style, Day 13, 14 & 15

Yes, I'm behind. I feel like we've been really busy the last couple days.  Really, we haven't done much more than usual, I just think the stress and crunch of the holidays are starting to set in! Plus, the activities over the last couple of days haven't been as eventful and can easily be summarized in one posting.

Day 13: Make S'mores in the Fireplace
I thought this would be a fun activity, especially since it's been rainy pajama weather this week.  But, J stepped in and said this was a bad idea. S'mores? A BAD idea??! Never! He was being the responsible parent and explained to me that this would teach Boogie that it's OK to put things in the fireplace.  I guess he's right, but isn't that the point of having a fireplace screen?! I don't know....I didn't fight it.  We snuggled and enjoyed some warm Baked Potato Soup instead.

Day 14: Read Christmas Books
I was worried this activity wouldn't go well.  Boogie has never been one to sit still long enough to listen to a story.  He'll sit for the first page then grabs the books and flips to the last page and then runs away.  But, lately he's starting to show interest in books.  He'll grab a book, bring it to you and say "up" (meaning he wants to sit in your lap.) We read "Jingle All the Way" (with Jingle the pup) and "O Little Town of Bethlehem."

The 14th was also the 10 year anniversary of J and I's first date! 10 years?!!On one hand that seems like a crazy long time, but on the other hand, I really can't remember life before "us."  Boogie and Pumpkin had playtime at grandma's house while J and I went out and relived our first date....dinner at Applebee's and watching "Not Another Teen Movie."  With such a high class first date, is it a wonder why I stuck around?!

Day 15: Bake Cookies
We're currently in the process of completing this activity.  Tonight is the annual cookie exchange party with the moms from our playgroup.  The recipe I selected seemed simple enough, but is turning out to be a pain in the you-know-where.  I say we're currently 'in the process' because the second step in the recipe is to let the dough sit in the fridge for 2 hours.  So it's sitting, doing something; something that will hopefully make the rest of the process easy? I'm a little worried how this might turn out.  I'm also a little worried that my first batch won't yield enough cookies and we'll have to do this all again, all before 7pm tonight! yikes! Boogie hasn't been too much of a help with them; he just runs around the kitchens yelling "cookies! cookies! cookies!" I'll let you know how it all turns out....

Monday, December 12, 2011

25 Days: HH Style, Day 12

Before we get to today's activity, we've received word from the North Pole! You may remember that our Day 4 activity was to write a letter to Santa.  Well, the kiddos both got replies from the big man! Here are their letters:

Pretty cool, huh?! Signed by the jolly 'ole man himself! Looks like both kiddos are on the "nice" list!! They're both excited to go meet him this weekend (oops, I think I just gave away an upcoming activity!).

Alright, moving on to our newest adventure...
Day 12: Have a Christmas Music Dance Party
Dance parties are a regular afternoon activity around these parts! Boogie loves to, well, boogie! We just turn the TV to one of the music channels and dance around till daddy comes home! Tonight, daddy got to join in the fun!  According to DirecTV the channel we tuned to is supposed to be one of the holiday music channels...well, we got to listen to 2 Christmas songs followed by one random song and repeat.  So we danced to "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" and then a little Jonas Brothers...Boogie didn't seem to care!

Daddy was sad because his dance partner kept falling asleep....

And she slept through most of the party...

But, not even the camera could keep up with Boogie's crazy moves....maybe we shouldn't give him anymore Christmas cookies...

Can't believe we're halfway done! Christmas will be here before you know it! But, we've still got lot's of fun stuff planned in the HH so keep coming back to check out our crazy adventures!!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

25 Days: HH Style, Day 10 & 11

Day 10: Dress up in Silly Clothes:
This activity was more for mommy and daddy (at least for this year!). Saturday night we went to the 'parents only Ugly Christmas" party with families from our playgroup.  We ate yummy food, drank adult beverages, got a break from the kiddos and most importantly wore amazing outfits....

We also played some silly games. The first one, of course J won...guess the # of M&M"s in the jar.  I'm sure he used one of his crazy math equations to figure it out....he was only off by 6 M&M's!! Another game the boys played was a competition to see who could make the best Christmas tree....with construction paper....without scissors....behind their backs....

We were all pretty impressed with their tree making skills!! It was a really great night and we've decided we need to do an "ugly" party for all the holidays! Up next...Valentine's Day??

Day 11: Go to Church Children's Christmas Musical
Mornings are crazy around here and getting out of the house before noon has been quite impossible lately, so that means, NO, we haven't been to church lately.  I was excited when I saw that the children's musical was going to be in the afternoon; finally, we could make an appearance at church!  The kids did a wonderful job with their acting and singing, portraying the Christmas Story.  Although Boogie was pretty tired (having skipped a nap today), he still had fun clapping and trying to sing along.  It made me really excited to think about our kiddos being up their on stage in a few years!!