30 December 2010

Laaaaaaaa! (Angelic chorus)

Okay, so this morning, we were AWASH in Christmas gifts: they were littering our living room, strewn across our kitchen table, piled in our garage, and still waiting in my trunk. This afternoon, the floor is clear! I SEE CARPET! And I got Claire's closet organized for the first time basically since she was born. This took a large Rubbermaid tower of drawers (why was the only color at Wal-Mart a hideous orange?), two packs of plastic snap boxes (these were very cool and sturdy and even had label slots), a heap of cardboard recycling and one bag of trash.

Here is her closet (and there's even some clothes in it!):

As I said on facebook, it is not a pottery barn organization job; it's a hand-me-down and Wal-Mart one that took creativity and resourcefulness, and I am quite proud of it! On the left-hand door, you will notice an afghan filled with bows and below that, hooks holding purses. The biggest purse is holding an assortment of small toys. One drawer in the orange monstrosity is holding nothing but markers, crayons, colored pencils, and coloring books, both of which she got several new for Christmas. Claire's kid fishing tackle box was put to good use there.

Doll bed moved to a more useful location, so that new dolls will be tended to more regularly.

New CD player on its own shelf with the kid CDs I dug up around the house. New dolly corner with stroller, bag (dolls ride inside when Claire is on the go), and basket of dolly supplies. New playhut and tunnel folded behind dolly stuff. New rocking horse for Anna, and several new sets on the bottom shelf of the bookcase. Fancy Nancy in the foreground has been a tea party regular since last Christmas.

Our living room!! Ready to relax in, without having to kick anything out of your way!

Anna's new b-ball goal (okay, so maybe you would have to kick it), Elmo (he won't stay there long, but believe me, the Tickle Me X-Treme Elmo is good family entertainment, at least for now) and some sad-looking Christmas decorations.

The toy section: a computer for each girl (but I'm sure Anna will still go for Claire's), a Sing-a-Ma-Jig, Mrs. Potato Head, and a home for Claire's puzzles, which had to move out of the game cabinet to make room for Uno Moo.

And this is my beautiful kid bookshelf, formerly a very messy kid book basket on the floor. There's a side for Claire books and a side for Anna's. Laaaaaaaaa! (This is the angels' favorite part!). The basket in the middle is holding one of Claire's fave presents, a Strawberry Shortcake remote control car.

07 December 2010

Bit of a break in the madness

Thanksgiving recap: First, Claire's Thursday School Thanksgiving program:

Those kind ladies prepare a big Thanksgiving dinner for us and the kids sing a couple songs.

On to Thanksgiving week: We left Wednesday about 1 p.m. for Kansas...and didn't get very far. We had to stop in Mead (about ten minutes from our house) to check on the house Jay is working on, and then we had to stop at the Burger Shoppe (ten more minutes down the road) for lunch, where we ran into Preston and had to talk for a while. After eating our fill of chicken strips, beans, and sweet tea, we were finally on the road! Six hours later, we made it to Don and Archie's house in time for dinner!

We headed over to Jay's cousin Tracy's house, where she, along with husband Kourt and sons Drew and Dylan, are kind enough to host us for the weekend. The next day, we had Thanksgiving lunch (and dinner) at Don and Archie's house--pic of all grandkids present for lunch below. (Drew and Dylan are at their other grandma's house for lunch, and aren't in it. We were also missing one family for the whole weekend, Jay's cousin Keith, his wife Jen, and their kids Logan and Quinn moved to Singapore over the summer for Keith's job.)

Abby Rose and Anna Jae!

We're missing four cousins in this pic:

Claire and Katelyn ride the buckin' bronc called Uncle Ron.
Aside from eating and watching our kids, much of Thursday is spent planning our Friday shopping and riding four-wheelers. (I think there are seven or eight four-wheelers total, and lots of trails.)

Claire got to spend the night at Grandma Winnie's Thursday night with her cousins Carson and Kerrigan so that I wouldn't have to wake her up when I left to go shopping. Anna Jae tagged along with us and was really good, having bites of yogurt and pears in her carseat in between stores. We have lunch together Friday, and then the afternoon is spent hunting, napping, or four-wheeling. Friday night is always steak night, with some of the best steak I eat all year, along with baked potatoes, Kansas corn, homemade bread, and salad.

While we were in Kansas, Anna had several milestones: she started walking really well (so at about 10 months), she had her first tooth come through, and she started clapping and waving.

Usually the Paul Mauck contingent is gone by Saturday morning, but we actually stayed through Saturday lunch this year so Jay could get in one more morning hunting. Alas, no deer to report of!

I'm now in finals week, and I'm in a lull between grading final essays (DONE-hurray!) and grading final portfolios (due Thursday) and calculating final grades (due Monday). After that, I'll be in full-on Christmas mode.