Yesterday was our big Christmas la-di-dah (we have always done the majority of the celebrating on Christmas Eve).  The night started with a family trip to Top Foods for Christmas candy shopping and picking out ingredients for our pizza dinner.

pretty sure you aren't supposed to sample out of the bulk bins

 Ikaika was super into these gummy frogs.  Sure, candy is unhealthy and I almost never let him eat it - but Jesus' b-day only comes once a year so why not go nuts?!

 learning about jelly belly flavors

After a delicious family dinner, we opened presents!!!  Beth was the gift passer this year (with Ikaika as her assistant). 

Many winners were exchanged this year.  Carolyn, heading to college in the fall, got many many gifts for the out-of-state dorm room (ie. lots of Seattle stuff)  You wouldn't believe the excitement caused by this Snuggie!

 But the best gift was time together as a family.  Aww...

 ...actually, the best gift was this hoodie from Beth.  It's a Bucky the Badger hoodie and I LOVE IT!  Ikaika was really excited about Teach Me How to Bucky on YouTube and watched it at least 5 times.
It wasn't the official Christmas movie though.  This year we skipped the movie and instead played Shout About (a DVD trivia game) instead.  Carolyn and Dad won both times (boohoo).  Then Mom went to bed and we played Time Travelers - a History Channel trivia DVD Beth got.

This year was really fun because Ikaika is old enough to enjoy opening presents.  Here is a sampling of what our 3 hour present opening event was like.


We Put Up the Tree ...

... and now its time to wrap the presents.  Christmas is almost here!


Bell Square and Garden D'lights

Today my sisters and I took the boys to Bell Square Mall in Bellevue.  Excellent children's play area - it's on the third floor and completely isolated from the rest of the shopping.  Three more cheers for the monkey leash.

 Then we went to the Bellevue Botanical Gardens for their Holiday D'lights show.  We were all bundled up and drinking apple cider - it was wonderfully traditional.

Holiday D'lights is this amazing display of holidays lights that have been formed into different plants, animals, etc.  It beautiful, amazing, and mesmerized my two year old.  Ikaika's favorite was the crocodile, mine was this farm scene.

This display was my sister's favorite...


Monday Night Football

Koa was obviously bored stiff by the Vikings performance tonight (we knew it was going to be tragic but tuned in anyway to witness the extreme weather conditions at Gopher stadium).  Ikaika colored with Simon and Mo.  I like this picture because when he saw the camera - without any prompting whatsoever - he said "mommy, cheese!" and smiled like this.  What a big, sweet boy!


@ the Shoreline Stadium

Because the sun was out and the air was crisp and clear today, Ikaika and I headed down to the Shoreline Stadium.  I was planning to jog around the track (training for my new years 5K) but ended up just chasing the boy around and running some lines.  He was massively disappointed that there were no footballs - next time we will bring one with us.

Afterward, we went to the park.  It was one of those beautiful mornings that really highlights all the great things about the Great Northwest. 


Minor Adjustments

Ikaika has not been acting like himself.  The most noticeable difference is a fear of people.  Usually, he is Mr Charm - batting those baby blues and saying something precocious without prompt - but since we've gotten to Seattle he has been reserved.  It took him several days to warm up to my sister.  He refused to even walk through my friend's front door.  Last night, one of my mother's vball players tried to give him a ball and he fell to the floor, crying "NO! NO!" in the fetal position.

I know these behaviors are part of his adjustment process.  Even though I know we are only here for three weeks, in Ikaika's world we might as well be here forever.  I've been trying to help him through this by keeping something that resembles a schedule and not fighting his attachment to me.  My first reaction is to foster his independence by making him "cry it out" or telling him to "suck it up".  There is a nagging little voice telling me that he will revert into some snivelling spoiled brat if I entertain his neurosis.  But I also know that these behaviors are both normal and healthy.  They are a manifestation of his insecurities created by the dramatic change in his surroundings.  With that in mind, it's probably best to just let him sleep with me at night if that makes him feel secure. 

Now that we have been here a few days, I'm already seeing improvement in his eating and toilet training hasn't been affected at all.  I'm going to work for the next few days on getting back to regular sleeping expectations (that he fall asleep by himself) and hopefully socialization will follow. 


Adventures in Babysitting

Who says teenagers are totally useless?!  I was pleasantly surprised to find that my little sister has finally taken a shining to my children.  She even claims to be the captain of "Team Koa".   

Lucky for me, Mo's FBO (facebook official - real slang, I kid you not) boyfriend is totally willing to pitch in.  It could be because Mo likes to watch 16 & Pregnant with him and rate him against all the loser boyfriends on the show.  Whatever the reason, Koa falls into a coma whenever Simon picks him up.   

Ikaika is adjusting to the change of scenery.  He's testing his boundaries (already well acquainted with the timeout chair), not as hungry but obsessed with drinking milk, and unwilling to sleep in his own little bed (I've been thoroughly enjoying all the extra snuggles!)  We have also discovered an indoor playground at the Shoreline Community Center - $2 for 2 hours of play!  I was freaked out by the sheer number of knee-high rugrats running around the gym.  But Ikaika loved it and it was a lot warmer than playing in the rain at the park so I got a 10 punch card :) 


BBC Big Read Top 100 Book List

Here is a list put out by the BBC that has been making its way onto my facebook recently.  Supposedly, they claim that most people have only read an average of 6 of these titles.  Ive read more than 6 but far less than half.  What a shame seeing the movie doesn't count!

So here we go: new years resolution time.  I am going to try and read one book from this list every month.  Starting with Pride and Prejudice (or The Kite Runner) 

It kind of annoys me that they include the entire Harry Potter series.  I sucked it up and read the first one.  It was alright.  But I'm not about to read 10 (or however many) more. 

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling 
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee 
6 The Bible - God
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell 
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens 
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott 
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy 
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller 
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien

17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger 
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell 
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald 
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck 
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen 
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis 
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving 
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery 
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood 
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen 
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zifon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens 
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck 
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov 
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding 
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett 
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson 
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Inferno - Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens 
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell 
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White 
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery 
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams 
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole 
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas 
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare 
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo


Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Another photo from the parade - this time with some of my mommy friends.  Make no mistake about it, Waimea gets downright chilly (Mr A said that yesterday on his way to work at 6am it was 40-something degrees!).  Of course, the sun is shining right now and I spent all yesterday morning at the beach so I can hardly complain!


Waimea Twilight Christmas Parade

Tonight we went to the Waimea Twilight Christmas Parade.  That parade starts at 6pm and features big trucks decorated with holiday lights.  It was chilly, crisp and clear out tonight so it was really the perfect night for holiday festivities.  Ikaika came direct from the beach and was unfortunate enough to not have a change of clothes so I stuffed him into my fleece and wrapped my scarf around his head.  Next year I am coming prepared with a quilt/blanket, folding chairs, and a thermos of hot cocoa (and ear plugs - those truck horns are LOUD!) 

He looks like a mix of modern and traditional Christmas - like the Macys of Nazareth. 


Koa with Crazy Hair

I wish I could get Mr A's baby picture on the blog (its kind of fuzzy/crinkled so it wont photograph well - i would need to scan it) so you could fully appreciate how much Koa looks like Mr A as a baby.

And how about that mop on his head?!  This is post-bath hair.  Classic.


Easy Cookie Dough Muddy Cups

I got this recipe from my friend, Jill.

1 tube of prepared sugar cookie dough
1/4C cocoa powder (I used 1/8C dark cocoa)
cookie crumbles
4 pudding packs
gummy worms

Mix the cookie dough with the cocoa until well mixed.  My hand mixer actually died - burnt toast - on this so I would recommend mixing with your hands!
Roll the dough into 18 balls (about 1 inch)
Spray a muffin/cupcake pan and press the balls into the bottom of the cups and up the sides somewhat.
Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes let cool in the pan for 10 minutes then pop them out.

Then scoop in pudding, sprinkle with cookie crumbles and hide a worm in the "mud".  Adorable and delicious!

I'm making these for a meeting tomorrow and, in retrospect, I probably should have waited until tomorrow morning to fill the cookie cups because now I have to put them in the fridge.  I don't know if that is going to make them soggy (I hope not!).


Double Stroller Action

This time of the year is frustrating because all I'm doing is making cute things left and right but I can't blog about any of them because they are all gifts. 

So, instead, here is what my morning looked like.  Doesn't this just scream "MOM!"???  Ikaika's hair is still defying gravity.  Note to self: never shave the boy's head again.  Koa seems seriously disturbed by his brother's antics.