Monday, November 20, 2017

Main Christmas Tree

After working on the "white house" tree, Tony set up our main Christmas tree (main meaning the one the presents will go beneath) in the living room so that the kids and I could start decorating it as well.

I turned on Mickey's Once Upon a Christmas and we set to work getting it decorated. As you can imagine, the bottom half of that tree is chock full of ornaments while the top was nearly bare. There were branches that were 4 ornaments deep. I told them we didn't have to use all the ornaments, but apparently they disagreed. 

Once we were done decorating that tree, I was exhausted. They sat on the couch to finish the movie with little bowls of m&m's and popcorn while I tried to rearrange the tree so that the top half wasn't bare. :) 

Our White House Tree

After spending time at the mall with Santa and seeing all the Christmas decorations we headed home to set up and decorate our Christmas trees. Dakota was super excited to get started on it and I was ready to have them up and decorated as well. We started in the library with the "white house" tree; only the annual white house ornaments and some blue and silver balls are on that one.

This year's white house ornament features a big bald eagle. Not one of my favorite ornaments but it's a nice one. The ornaments are designed by the White House Historical Association each year and this year's ornament pays tribute to Franklin D. Roosevelt and "his remarkable journey to restore the faith of the American people". 

If you're interested, you can learn more about it here.

Here Comes Santa Claus...

It's hard to find a great time to take the kids to see Santa anymore since they're both in school so I decided we'd better get up to the mall early on Sunday to get that checked off my list of things to do. We got to the mall around 10:30 because Santa was available beginning at 11 am. Our mall has a fast pass that you can reserve online but I thought if we just got there early we'd be fine, and this time we were. There were several people who had reserved/paid ahead but we were first in the regular line and we only had to wait for two families to go ahead of us, maybe 10-15 minutes total. 

While we waited I tried to get some pictures of the kids with the decorations but as you can see, they weren't in the mood. 

We go to this mall pretty much every year and I think the Santa there is just a really nice guy. He takes a minute or two to talk to each kid and he even took the time to read everything on Dakota's last minute wish list. The lady who was taking the pictures told Tony that Santa keeps every letter he's given! 

As we made our way back to the car we stopped in the Lego store, the kids' favorite place in the mall.

While Tony and I looked for potential Christmas ideas the kids built at the Lego table. Harper made this for me:

From the Lego store we stopped at the big Christmas tree for a couple more pictures and then went home. All the Christmas decorations at the mall made Dakota want to go home to put up our trees so we did just that. 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Dakota Stays Home

When I got home Wednesday night Tony told me that Dakota had been sick earlier that evening with a fever. So, I knew she'd be staying home with me on Thursday. Harper got up and dressed and went to school as usual but Dakota slept and slept, it was 9:30 am when she finally got up. (I must have checked on her a half dozen times, she never sleeps that late!) She was running a low fever when she got up but after some medicine and Paw Patrol, she was ready to help me decorate the house for Christmas!

We didn't do a lot of decorating but she really wanted to hang the stockings so I let her have that job. The rest of the day was spent sitting at the table building Lego's and chatting. 

She seemed to be feeling better and didn't run a fever or need medicine again for the rest of the day but she did complain that her tummy hurt a bit so I didn't get too hopeful that she'd be going to school the next day. Its a good thing I didn't get too excited either because after an initial "I'm ready to go back to school" she started to complain of a tummy ache and it all went downhill from there. She ended up spending another day at home with me on Friday and another whole day sitting at the table building with Lego's. 

After getting sick twice that morning though, she was better. No more tummy ache, no fever, nothing. We played it safe and stayed in on Friday night, just in case, but we didn't need to. She felt great and was back to playing and fighting with Harper as usual. 

Theresa Caputo

This past Wednesday Mema, Zoe, Landon and I went to the Lyric theater to see Theresa Caputo. (You may know her from the TV show Long Island Medium.) The show didn't start until 7:30 pm but because Zoe was coming from her house to the venue and meeting us there we decided to go early and have dinner together and then go to the show. We planned to meet around 5:30 pm but that didn't quite work out because going into the city at that time of day is an absolute nightmare. Landon really wanted to drive that night and against my better judgement, I let him. It was very stressful trying to direct him through the busy city streets while trying to read tiny or non-existent street signs in the dark. There were a few times I just KNEW we were going to hit a car and even one time I thought he was going to take a person out, but it didn't happen and we made it to the parking garage around 6. We couldn't get out of the van fast enough!

Our first stop was in Barnes & Noble to use the restroom and one of the cashiers there told us about a good pub to eat at that was right outside their doors, so we headed that direction. We only got inside the small pub to find that there was a 30-45 minute wait for a table so we headed back outside to find somewhere else to eat. We ended up walking a bit and found the Pen & Quill which had good reviews and wasn't busy at all. It was a really nice looking place and we were thankful to be somewhere indoors and warm. The food ended up being really good so that was a big bonus! We ate, paid and made it back to the theater by 7:15 or so.

We had bought our tickets well in advance so I couldn't even remember what type of seats we had so I was pleasantly surprised when we were seated in the very front of the middle balcony. It was nice not having anyone sitting in front of us. The show was supposed to start at 7:30 but for unknown reasons it started at least 15 to 20 minutes late. When Theresa finally did come out it was to a thundering applause. People were really excited to see her and probably even more excited that they had a chance of being "read" by her.

The show was supposed to end at 10 pm but it ended a bit earlier than that, who knows why. She did some interesting readings during that time and while I admit to being quite skeptical, she did make me feel like she knew things that she shouldn't. It never felt like she was guessing what people wanted to hear but more that she had a bit of knowledge that she was sharing. She did repeat herself a lot though and often said that "spirit was showing her something she'd never seen before". I wouldn't say that I'm not skeptical anymore, but it was definitely eye opening and and an interesting performance. Theresa is one of those people who you want to be friends with. She has a charismatic personality and seems like a fun person to hang out with. She's silly and says things you wouldn't expect and claims that she can talk to dead people...who wouldn't want to hang out with her?!

I'm not sure I'd go see her again, at least not in such a large venue with so many other people, but I do believe that most of the audience truly loved her and the show.

Getting home from the show was another nightmare, but mostly just because we ended up sitting at a complete standstill in the garage for a good half hour. Why? Who knows. It wasn't until just after 11 that we made it home and oh man was I exhausted!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

End of Season Soccer Party

Harper's soccer team celebrated the end of the season with a family pizza party at Ledo's. Each family was responsible for their own meal and there was a big sheet cake and cupcakes for afterwards. When everyone had finished eating the coach handed out trophies. When she gave Harper his trophy she told him that he'd been a great goalie, especially in their last game. It is true that he does good in goalie and we think it's because he understands exactly what to do in that position. He has a hard time figuring out what to do out on the field when everyone seems to be running around haphazardly.

Dakota had received her trophy a few days before so he was anxious to see if his trophy was going to look just like hers. Dakota couldn't wait to see what he got either!

The trophies are identical with the exception of the engraving. He was still very excited to have earned it though and couldn't wait to get it home to see it glow in the dark! Who knew that glow in the dark trophies even existed?

I don't know what's next for this little guy, only time will tell. 

Kindergarten Goes to Camp Woodlands

Recently the kindergarten classes went on a field trip to Camp Woodlands. I remembered going on this trip back when Harper was in kindergarten and thought it had been fun so I decided to volunteer to go again. It was really cold when I went with Harper's class but it was much colder this time. You just never know what you're going to get in November, one day it's beautiful and the next freezing and raining. Luckily it didn't rain when we went but it was super cold.

The whole trip was based on learning about trees and their importance. The kids were divided into groups with tree names; Dakota was in the Gum tree group. Our first stop was to learn about how trees are important to bees and vice versa. 

It was so cold, even inside, that we had our coats and hats on!

Our next stop taught us about how birds and trees go together. The kids loved using the bird callers to make bird sounds and the rakes to look for bugs under the leaves.

Once we were done learning about birds and nests and bugs, we headed inside for lunch. I was really hoping the cafeteria area would be heated, but it wasn't and we continued to freeze while we ate. 

Our third station taught us how to measure a trees age by the width of its trunk and/or to count the rings if the tree has been cut down. The kids loved using the magnifying glasses for this activity! We also gathered and identified different seeds that fell from the trees. 

The final station was indoors and slightly heated (thank goodness!) and the kids played a game called Bug-O. Just like Bingo, but instead of numbers the kids marked bugs on their cards to win. 

When all of the kids had gotten a Bug-O, they then learned a little song about bugs. We finished a little early and to kill time we played a few rounds of simon says; it may have been Dakota's very favorite part of the entire day!

Before heading back to school the kids were each rewarded with a tree expert necklace. 

It wasn't a bad trip but I can't remember the last time I was that cold for that long! I've gotta remember to only sign up for indoor trips from now on.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Mario Enemies and More...

Harper loves making books. He's made several books in the past couple of years and just lately made one all about Mario's enemies (the famous guy from Nintendo). He's really proud of his work and I think his drawings and labels are really cute so I thought a blog post about them was in order. 

The cover says: Mario enemies and more...go away JK (just kidding) now read it now! by Aeden and Harper. (Aeden helped a little but 95% of the book was done by Harper.) Some of the character names are correct and others are made up but even if he doesn't know the exact names, he certainly knows what they look like and what they do!

Goomba Power: if you touch its side you will get hurt. Weakness: is jumping on it

Boo Power: lick you Weakness: is light

Red Koopa Troopa Weak: Jump on it. Power: Follow You. Extra:You can throw its shell to the enemy.

Koopa Troopa Same as red Koopa Troopa.

Yoshi Not an enemy. (My favorite drawing!)

Electro Bomb 

Fire Bro

Hammer Bro


Chain Chomp

Worm Cactus

Magic Koopa

Boomerang Bro

Piranha Plant



Big Icicle

Small Icicle

Stacked Chain Chomp

Chain Chomp Loose

Bullet Bill 

I took these pictures a week or so ago and there are many more pages to this book as of now. I had to talk him into drawing several things per page in order to save paper! We go through a TON of paper around here! And, now that Dakota sees Harper making books, she makes them too!

Main Christmas Tree

After working on the "white house" tree, Tony set up our main Christmas tree (main meaning the one the presents will go beneath) i...