Three Kids and a Dog

Friday, December 28, 2018

Xmas 2018

Christmas 2018 came and went oh so quickly. And to think we had an extra week built in there too and it still wasn't enough. Our family loves the holiday season, from cutting down our tree to making Xmas cookies, to seeing lights to listening to Christmas music nonstop (in fact Austen would often fall asleep to Xmas music every night).

Christmas Day
Christmas Eve was a great time at Grandma's house with the kids' new little cousin, Leo. They got lots of presents and stayed up late. Too late in fact so that the two younger ones were quite worried that we would get home when Santa was delivering the presents (and for some reason they didn't want to run into him!). But, we made it in time:)

We hosted Christmas Day for 16 people so lots of cooking and prep work to be done amidst opening presents and church. Favorite gift for the kids was the Nintendo Switch which they can all play together. As I write this 3 days later, Tom and I still haven't opened our presents to each other.  They remain under the tree as after hosting Christmas, we rolled right into Peyton's birthday party at our house for 11 of her friends (but I'll write more about that in a future post). It's been a crazy and tiring but a good few days as we also prepare to move into our house in Michigan (which is now complete).

So lots to write about in future posts as it's been a very busy season. But, before we go there here's a snapshot of our Christmas festivities:

Xmas Morning
Xmas Eve at Grandma's

Hailey's Dino Scarf and Hat

Cousin Love!

More Cousin Love and Sadie!

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

We Love The Bears

It's been a fun year to watch the Chicago Bears play football. With a new coach in Matt Nagy who runs some crazy, fun plays, covers his mouth with his play sheet while swearing at the refs or just joking around with the media, he's really breathed some new life back into our good old football team.

It's been great fun for the entire family to pile into the family room, light a fire and snuggle up together to watch the Bears games. Even the girls have gotten into watching them (even though Hailey declares her favorite team to be the Dolphins).

Recently, we had gone out to eat before the Bears game came on and the managers insisted on taking our picture as we were all decked out in our Bears gear. The girls both wearing hand me down Bears shirts from Austen, Tom in his longtime gear and Austen and I just sporting blue and orange (guess who needs some new Bears gear for Xmas?!).

The last time the Bears were in the Superbowl was when Austen was born in 2007. They played the Patriots. Here's hoping 12 years is a long enough time for them to rebuild and wreak some havoc!

Monday, December 10, 2018

My Little Elves

Christmas is such a busy time of year. There's buying all the gifts, wrapping the presents, parties galore and just the usual holiday traditions like tree cutting, making Xmas cookies and viewing the magnificent light displays. And of course you can't forget sending the Xmas cards.

Christmas cards take hours to do. It may seem easy to throw it together but for those of you who have done it, it's not. You need to find the right card and then figure out which photos to use and if they fit in the portrait style of the card or do you need to select different photos because your card is in landscape version. Hours literally.

Then you need to update the list. Who has moved. Who do I need new addresses for. Who do I need to add. Who do I need to delete.

So by the time I get around to sending the cards, I'm over it already. So this year, I enlisted the help of my three little elves. With almost 200 cards to send, it was going to be a long process if I had to do this by myself.

I gave each of them a lesson in what I wanted them to do. First was the stuffing. Austen was assigned to that and did fine. Hailey then affixed the return address label and did a great job. Peyton was in charge of sealing the envelopes. All went well on Day 1 and I was impressed with how meticulous Hailey was with placing that return address label.

On Day 2, Austen was in charge of placing the "to" address labels, Hailey put on the stamps and Peyton was at her tumbling class so she missed most of the holiday labeling but helped both of them out when she returned. I was most worried about Hailey doing the stamps. I didn't want to be wasting a bunch of stamps if she put them on wrong so I was keeping an eye on her. But, who I really should have been keeping an eye on was Austen! Where he stuck the address label was almost up by the return address label! Who knew I had to keep an eye on my almost 12 year old. Jeez!

At any rate, the cards got done, the kids helped out and I was grateful for their assistance albeit not perfect. They just better not get sent back to me (or Austen will be redoing all of them)!

Monday, December 03, 2018

My Favorite Holiday Tradition

My favorite holiday tradition has to be our annual tree cutting trip to Michigan. Tom and I have been doing this trip for 18 years. When we first started it was just the two of us but it has grown into a group of friends who look forward to that day each year just as much as we do! Lots of memories have been made at Dudeck's Pine Country - and many funny stories. From tying the car doors shut accidentally when putting the tree on the roof to trees (almost) falling off cars on our way home to Santa walking to his car smoking a cigarette there have been some great times.

My kids look forward to this annual tradition as much as the adults. We start with lunch at a nearby restaurant. Our group has grown as we've had kids or brought nieces or nephews so it's a pretty sizable group for lunch. Then we move on to the tree farm. We visit the one and only Santa so each kid can express their holiday wishes (no waiting and no lines). We shop in their cute store. Ride the trailer to the forest to pick out our tree. Ride back. Enjoy some adult and kid beverages and cookies. Play a little football. Catch up. And agree that we all don't get together often enough. But we sure all make time for this annual tradition. And I'm glad we do. It's something my kids will carry with them forever and hopefully love so much that they do with their kids and friends. Who knows they may even invite the grandparents! They'd better!

Here's a snapshot of our fun day:

The kids at the Stray Dog for lunch

The Stray Dog

Tom's under the tree somewhere!

In front of our Xmas tree 2018

Hangin' with my first born!