Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Blog hiatus

I will return on Jan. 2nd!!  Have a great holiday week!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Day 2011

Another Christmas day has come and gone.  Our day started ridiculously early at 6:30 am.  These kids are trying to kill me.  Arlington was the first one up.  She said she was up at 6:11, but held it together in her room until 6:30 before coming to see us.  How nice of her.  Cainan was also up, but Finley was not.  It only took her about 10 minutes to be "accidentally woken up" by her brother and sister.

It was hard to contain them upstairs long enough for Mat and I to grab the camera and take their picture coming down the stairs.  The opening of the presents lasted 1 hour.  After the months of planning, wrapping, careful detail - 60 minutes went by and it was all over. 
They were excited about everything.  Finley was jumping around about the orange that was in her stocking.  It is so fun to watch their faces on Christmas morning.

After the chaos was over, and all the presents unwrapped - the kids spent the rest of the day playing with their new toys and watching their new movies.

Arlington and I built her Night Bus from Harry Potter lego set.  We started putting together one of her Harry Potter puzzles.  Mat and Cainan added his new geotrax to his set.  Finley did a ton of art.  They all ate their weight in candy and sweets.  Now it is evening and everyone is winding down.  Hopefully we can get them to bed at a decent time tonight.

Tomorrow we are going to do some post Christmas shopping and hopefully find some discounted Christmas decorations to add to our collection.  Then we will spend the rest of the day packing for our trip.  We are looking forward to seeing family this week.  Our kids still have two more Christmas celebrations to attend. 

Merry Christmas to everyone.  We hope you had a wonderful day with your family and friends and loved ones.  Enjoy the pictures of our day.

Coming down the stairs:
 Reading the note from Santa:
 Finley got a soft Monster High doll she wanted:
 Arlington eating an apple out of her stocking and holding a stuffed Goldendoodle dog:
 Cainan getting things out of his stocking:
 Finley got a Rapunzel doll:
 Arlington got Creme Brulee nuts and bubble gum.  She takes after her Grammy and Papa:
 Scooby got a stocking too.  I found a Goldendoodle stocking on Pottery Barn, would you believe:
 Cainan got some Batman books:
 Cainan playing with his toy story toy:
 Opening presents from their sister:
 Finley got a Skelipig to add to her Skelanimal collection:

 Transformers for Cainan:
 Arlington got a Harry Potter puzzle:
 Arlington got a Disney fairy:
 The mess!

 End of Christmas - this is what the room looked like:
 My new chairs.  This breakfast table didn't have them, so Mat got them for me.  We just have to stain them:
 Scooby playing outside.  He was overwhelmed today:

 My new cabinet for my entertainment center.  Mat built it for me:
 Finley made a snow globe picture

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve 2011

It is 8:45 at night, and Mat and I are barely awake.  We are begging God that the children fall asleep in the next 15 minutes otherwise Santa's helpers might fall asleep before the presents reach the tree.

Before I tell you about our day, I want to show you our Christmas cards!  Thank you to everyone who sent our family a card this year and a little note.  We feel your prayers over us all the time.

We had a great Christmas eve.  The kids were spazzing out every second of the day, and would spontaneously burst into tears due to adrenalin overload, but for the most part, we had a good day.  We started the day with a cinnamon roll breakfast.  Nothing can ever be that bad after you have cinnamon rolls.

Unless you accidentally take Arlington's puzzle apart without waiting for you to help her.  That.....was a bad idea.

She did get over it - eventually - and wrote her letter to Santa.  SO GLAD she decided that Christmas eve would be a good time to ask for something she has NEVER MENTIONED BEFORE.  She told Mat and I she has been whispering it to Santa in her bedroom.  I kindly reminded her that Santa is not GOD and cannot hear her whispering all the way from the north pole.  And even if he could, it would take so long for the message to get to him that it was certainly too late.  The girl asked for a Reindeer costume.  Where in the world am I going to find that since Halloween was 2 months ago?  Crazy pants is just going to have to be disappointed tomorrow.  Ain't gonna happen.

Moving on.

After breakfast, we cleaned the house.  And when I say we - I mean me.  Mat went to get Dunkin donuts for us to have tomorrow for breakfast.  Yeah, yeah.
Then we took the kids roller skating.  Arlington had brought home a coupon from school that the kids could rollerskate for a $1 today, so we were game.  The kids do love it.  I forgot to take my camera, and I should have taken a video.  They were hysterical.  My kids have no coordination.  At.all.  Arlington likes to flail her arms all around and wonders why she fell 15 million times and is covered in bruises.  Finley "ran" in her skates so fast that I had a hard time keeping up with her.  Thank goodness for those little things that hold the kids up - she was crazy on those skates.  At one point she got brave and decided she would just ditch the little "skater helper" and take off on her own.  And she decided this WHILE she was skating on the rink - right in the middle.  Weirdo.

After 3 hours of skating, we headed home.  We spent the rest of the afternoon making cookies for Santa and homemade pasta sauce for our dinner.  The kids had a great time making the cookies.  They ate a fair amount of cookie dough and chocolate chips.  Mat let them decorate them however they wanted and Finley used a whole bottle of sprinkles on one cookie when he wasn't watching.  Tasty.
After dinner - which was actually quite painless - Mat took them to look at some local holiday lights and deliver some cookies to our neighbors.  During this time is when I moved the presents from my secret hiding place in the locked attic to the basement so that Mat and I can get everything ready at a reasonable hour.  The attic is on the same level as Arlington's room, so I knew I had to get them out of there before she went to sleep.  Or pretended to go to sleep.
I found that hauling presents up and down three flights of stairs is for people who exercise.  I should have traded places with Mat.  I thought I was having a coronary at one point.  Whose crazy idea was this?  Oh yeah....

Once the kids returned, we played a game.  Each year for Christmas eve, we get a new game to play with the kids.  This is a tradition that Mat's family had, and I always thought it was a great one.  This year's game was Quirkle cubes.  Quirkle is one of the kid's favorite games, so when I saw this, I thought it would be perfect.  It was fun, but it was hard to keep the kids focused.  We were also watching a Christmas special at the same time.  They cannot do more than one thing at a time.
By 8pm - well past their normal bedtime - we headed up for baths and bed.  So far, I haven't seen a child appear out in the hall.  I am hoping our very full, very busy day tired them out and they will be asleep soon.

Although, the lights just went out in our living room because we are running the space heater, the lights, the TV and the outside Christmas lights all at once.  Power overload.  Mat.not.happy.  It is a little National Lampoon's Christmas vacation right here in the Pletcher house.
I hope that everyone has a wonderful Christmas. We are looking forward to seeing the kid's faces tomorrow when they appear at the bottom of the stairs and see what Santa brought them.

Let's just hope the lack of reindeer costume goes unnoticed.

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Night Before the Night Before Christmas

This one is actually a book!
It is actually a really cute one.  We read it tonight.

Today was the kid's last day before break.  The all bounded off the bus at the end of their day so excited.  Each one had brought a little present for Mat and I home that they made in school.  They wouldn't let us look at them though - they went right under the tree.  Arlington - being Arlington, and always a bit clumsy - said she fell carrying hers out to the bus and landed on it.....  She wasn't too upset - she said she is pretty sure she only broke a piece.  Glad she is so carefree about it.  Weirdo.

Arlington had her last tennis lesson before the holiday today.  She is still really enjoying it.  She will be resuming it after the holidays.  I will let her play until we get to softball/lacrosse season and then we may have to give it up until the summer.

We went out to dinner tonight.  We ended up just at Chili's because it is still a Friday night.  After our morning at the grocery store - with every other living soul in our town - we knew trying to be adventurous for dinner would be out of the question.  Thank goodness for call ahead seating.  We haven't been out to dinner in awhile, since we have had such a busy month, so it was nice.

We came home from dinner and our penguin holiday display had fallen over.  If you have a weak stomach, you should probably not look at the carnage.  Our little penguin family - very tragic.
 Baby penguin is the worst.  He lost his head in the fall.  I have been telling him that if he didn't carry those presents on his head, he would be better off.
He didn't listen.  Now look at him.

This display is a PAIN.  It falls all the time and is very touchy.  This is what the penguins get for being such a pain.

A friend of mine took a picture of Arlington in her class today during her Christmas party.  She looks so cute.  The hat she is wearing is from her teacher.  Her teacher made these winter hats for all the kids - they are really nice.  Arlington told me she wore it all day at school and then she wore it here all evening.  She loves her teacher.
Finley and Cainan's school is doing something called "Artsonia" where you can view some of the kids art the teacher submits online.  The art teacher submitted 4 pictures Finley made.  I thought two were cute, so I will post them here.  That girl loves to draw above everything else.  She wants to become an art teacher when she grows up.  It is all she talks about.  Please, Lord, let her keep her sight.

 Finley's teacher had sent a note out to the families in her class stating that instead of giving her presents this year, she would like the families to donate to our RDH12 Fund for Sight instead.  Wasn't that nice?  Today - we were given over $300 in donations from the families in her class, and a few people told me they are mailing theirs.  We were very humbled by their generosity.  It made our Christmas.  I was at the school today volunteering and a cute little boy in Finley's class came up to me and said "I brought in money to help fix Finley's eyes".  So sweet.

Tomorrow is Christmas eve!  We have a full day planned which starts with having cinnamon rolls.  We are going to take the kids roller skating.  We are going to make cookies.  WE are having homemade pasta and sauce for dinner.  And at some point, we hope the kids fall asleep.

Only two more sleeps 'til Christmas.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Twas the night before the night before the night before Christmas

And all through the Pletcher house were sounds for plastic cutting into our fingers and more twisty ties than you can imagine being undone around toys.

Yeah.  Tonight - we assemble for Santa.  National security would have trouble breaking into these toys.  They make sure that you are NEVER going to steal these toys.

Mat and I started our day with breakfast out.  Without children.  It was a beautiful thing.  Don't get me wrong -my kids are pretty well behaved when we go out.  But we are always on alert.  It isn't really relaxing to eat out with them - it is more like work.  So this was nice.  We talked.  We sat.  We didn't hurry.

This evening we went to look at a piano.  Now that Finley is taking lessons, we felt that we needed to move beyond the electric keyboard and upgrade to a piano.  But, because she is 5, and not a concert pianist, we were looking for a FREE piano, or a low cost piano.  We had found several online, but we found out that moving a piano with professional movers is quite expensive.  So, we were really hopeful for the free one.

And we got lucky.  Tonight, we went and saw a free piano.  We had low expectations since it was free.  But we got there and were pleasantly surprised.  It is only 15 years old, and is a good name.  We played it and it sounded wonderful.  We are going to go and get it after the holidays and we are so happy.  I am so glad we were able to get this piano for Finley.  She was excited that it was going to be hers.  She doesn't get to do everything everyone else does.  She doesn't get to play sports.  So - this will be for her.  It is going to be great.  What a find!

Tomorrow the kids have their last day of school before break.  They are having their holiday parties and they are excited.  So we will only have one whole day to contain their excitement at home before Christmas.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Advent Day Twenty Five - the LAST day of ornaments

Today's ornament - the manger
This is the last day.  We have had a lot of fun putting the tree together.  And I have enjoyed reading the stories and versus to the kids each day.  Arlington is sad that we won't have any more advent days this year.  It was a great little project.  We will look forward to doing it every year.
 I took pictures of the tree from different angles for this post - enjoy.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life." John 3:16

 Today was Mat's first day of vacation.  We had a nice, relaxing day.  It was a rainy day, so he hooked up the train around the tree for the kids to play with after school.  They played with it for hours.  We have the G scale train - so it is big.  This was the first year we have had the space to put it out for the kids to enjoy.  Scooby found it interesting and tried to chase it. 

Tomorrow Mat and I are starting out day with breakfast out - just the two of us.  It will be fun.  We are going to try and start to help Santa get ready for Christmas by removing some of the twisty ties from the toys.  We are nice like that.  Santa is very welcome.  The more we get done over the next few days, the earlier we can go to bed on Christmas eve.

Just a few more days.  The kids can hardly stand it.