Santa Always Knows!

After our earlier freakout over not specifying to Santa WHICH Transformer Harry wanted for Christmas, it turns out, Santa figured it out!

Oh, man, Christmas morning was the best thing ever. We all had been horribly sick the entire week before Christmas -- so sick we had to cancel our family cookie-making party, which devastated Harry and yours truly. But on Christmas morning, Harry was like Ralphie with that Red Ryder BB gun and it made it all worth it!

Parenting FAIL

In the car, on the way home from seeing Santa, I turned around from the front seat to see Harry's bottom lip puckered as he tried to stifle a sob.
"What's wrong?!" I said.
"Santa's not going to know what to bring me!" he wailed and started sobbing.
"Yes he will." I insisted.
"No, you just told him I wanted a Transformer. You didn't say Transformer that turns into a police car."

Bad Mommy moment. Harry froze when Santa asked him what he wanted so I jumped in and said Transformer. But I was not SPECIFIC! Oh, man did we feel for him. I'm hoping to rectify the situation with a video from Santa that spells out Transformer that turns into a police car!

A Christmas Story

Fun Fact: Everyone's favorite holiday movie, "A Christmas Story" was filmed in the next town over, which has a month-long festival dedicated to the movie. (Complete with an "Oh FUUUUDGE!" race, a Mommy's Little Piggy mashed potato-eating contest and much more fun.) The boys haven't seen the movie yet, but Rob and I were very excited about this. (OK maybe it was just me.)
Matching Christmas sweaters in front of the replica of a storefront from the movie.
Intrigued by the model trains but not quite knowing what to make of all this.

Looking out for little brother.

This year's "official" Santa shot. The festival had an awesome Santa. Max brought along his lovey, Puppy, for support.

Kids could ride a slide down after meeting Santa!

Scene: A Restaurant in Indiana

At the end, what you can't hear Max saying and what I try to get him to repeat is: "Coming right up!"

Harry took it to another level for his turn, with an apron and a pen behind his ear. But I failed to capture it in a photo. Bad Mom.

We Live in A Box

Yes, the children have spent much time in boxes over the past month. They've grown so comfortable with boxes that we even feed them there :) With the move, and then trying to unpack, and not succeeding in unpacking, and having two toddlers repack things that you pack or dump bins of unpacked items or undo any organization that you've done, it is quite challenging to actually feel settled. But apparently, HUGE amounts of fun for them to have boxes laying around the house for two months -- one month pre-move, and one month post-move!

We did manage to get Harry off to his new school in our first week.

Daddy and Harry on our new front step!

During the first week, Harry had a field trip to the performing arts center in our new town for a performance of "Sleeping Beauty." Mommy had to work, so we booked Nana as his chaperone. He was very excited for his date -- Note the argyle sweater! Max insisted on being in the photo, even though he is in his pajamas and had big plans of his own with his Grammy, who was also in town to help the super stressed-out parents!

OK, so when you move to Indiana, you get a yard. And when your kids get crazy, you can just turn them loose on a pile of leaves. Glee!

The discussion over what kind of pumpkin to have -- Spooky? Silly? Happy? Max obviously has an opinion. (Are you serious with this, Daddy?)

Harry takes a stab, or a pre-stab. Daddy is not giving up, note him sketching furiously in the background.

Harry's attempt!

The resulting compromise. Yes, Max is in Christmas pajamas. Not because we are one of those families that jumps seasons ahead, but because they fit NOW and we have unpacked THIS box.

A proud Harry and Daddy.

My Super Duper Zero 3000!

Max is very busy these days saving everyone in the household from various imagined villains. He is quite adept at transforming any boring toy into a SUPER DUPER ZERO THREE THOUSAND! According to Max: "It can do anything!" In the example below, he is trying to save Harry from Frankenstein and then describes how he does it.


Me: "Harry, your turn to pick a program. What do you want to watch?"
Harry: "Bob the Builder."
Max: "That's shocking."

(Last line delivered with such an appropriate level of sarcasm that I could not help but be proud.)

P.S. Scroll down for an update from our summer. I started the post so long ago, that blogger pushed it way down on the blog. But it's new stuff, so look!

Do not give up on me

We are moving in nine days, and packing, packing and more packing is pushing blog updates off the to-do list. Do not give up on us! I have a camera full of cute pictures to share. I will do that soon! In the meantime, here are some photos of the boys in the new house:

"Mommy, How can I climb this tree?"

Big McKenzie Lake 2011

"We have you booked for next week." -- Resort owner when we arrived after a 9-hour drive crammed in the car with two toddlers.

(Insert expletive of choice here, because I said them all.)

Eventually we got it worked out. YES, these are from two months ago, but dear reader, I want to catch you up! My family squeezed into a lake cabin with Nana and Papa, who were hoping to stretch out in their big cabin. Ha! There were people everywhere, but I think everyone had a nice time :)
Nana and Papa watched the kids one day so we could go out fishing and have a break at The Landing, the shoreline bar that you can drive your boat up to and dock it!

Self-portrait by Harry, who is loving the camera these days, and seems to have quite the eye.

Harry's portrait of Auntie and Uncle Joe, who is sporting some awesome vacation hair!

Dinner accomodations. Yes, Harry is sitting on a box of wine. We were in the wilderness, people! We needed to stock up on supplies!

We spent a rainy day at the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame, which has giant panfish...

and a two-story tall Muskie! That's us in the mouth!

Daddy and the boys, showing just how big the fish is!

Great-Grandma Margaret reading to some very interested boys.

Harry's arty portrait of his brother. (Look at those curls! Sigh.)

Building Lego skyscrapers and rockets with Papa.

Harry testing out their creations. Note the squinty eyes as he pictures it FLYING in the sky!

Air Show

PBA here we come!

I come from a long line of bowlers. Growing up, every adult member of my family put on fancy bowling shirts once a week and bowled in a league. Some of my favorite childhood memories took place in the bowling alley -- birthday parties, Sunday bowling after church and my own first league when I was 8 or 9? -- so it was with much excitement that we took the boys bowling for the first time.

Max's first roll!

Fill in the blank:
Max has been prevented once again from ______
a) Smashing his fingers between bowling balls
b) Running across the oiled floors
c) Dashing down the lane after the ball
d) Sticking his hand in the ball return

Answer: All of the above!

Sigh. They will not know the joy of the small yellow pencils and paper score sheets at the neighborhood bowling alley. We programmed the game so that bumper lanes automatically popped up when it was their turn and disappeared for Mommy and Daddy.


The outing reawakened Daddy's love of bowling. He played 17 games of wii bowling when we returned home!

So proud of my little bowlers!

A Busytown Mystery

The boys love to watch "Busytown Mysteries" on Saturday mornings, which is based off their favorite books by Richard Scarry. We had our own Busytown Mystery recently when we discovered a slight bruise on Max's upper arm. Max plays HARD, so he often has bruises, cuts and injuries, but we can always explain them. Rob and I could not figure out where this came from, which worried us.

Over the next few days, the bruise darkened and filled in, and we got a big break. The bruise looked like bite marks.

And one of the teeth imprints had a suspicious gap in the middle.

Hmmm. Who could possibly be responsible?

In Harry's defense, he is not a biter, but Max has had his issues with biting, so maybe he had his fill one day when Mom and Dad weren't looking?

Now some positive news about the boys, who bring us many smiles throughout the day, despite these recent postings about sleep and biting:

Harry is reading!

Max is going on the potty a couple times a day!


Here is Big Brother looking out for little brother on the train. We were headed downtown and Harry held onto Max the whole time. He once got up to look out the window and said: "Mommy, will you hold onto Max while I look out the window?" Sure, buddy.

Oh, how I love when they do awesome, spontaneous, loving things like this.

Whack a Mole

So after Max's big surgery to correct his breathing at night, we thought "Finally! there will be a full night's sleep in our future!"

But as soon as his sleeping started to improve, the very next day, Max learned how to climb out of his crib without the help of any other furniture, which had already been removed from the room.

Soooo exhilarating and exciting for him. He would come bursting out of the bedroom squealing, and running. You'd pick him up to feel his heart beating so fast, and his skin sweaty, and obviously every time he climbed out, the adrenaline pushed him that much further away from sleep.

The first night, he climbed out of the crib approximately 75 times. It was ridiculous. Harry even appealed to him to GO TO SLEEP BROTHER!

Mom and Dad spent hours not engaging him, but carrying him back to the bed, just like the good doctors recommend.

The first night he went to bed at 12:45 a.m. in our bed.

Then he woke up six hours later. His brother, who was kept up late, was quite a piece of work the next day. Overtired Max then tried to resist the daytime nap, climbing out of the crib 46 times. He eventually passed out drooling on the couch.

Night Two. Max continues to climb out of his bed. Again, and again, and again, and again. Goes to bed about 10:45 p.m. this second night. But only after every toy has been taken out of the room, including the train table.

Night Three. Parents pull out every child safety trick they have to slow the child down, settling on a door knob contraption that is supposed to keep the child from opening the door. He opens it within 3 minutes, emerging even more gleeful than before.

Parents begin designing their own plans for wicked structures to contain the child. He eventually falls to sleep in the 10 o'clock hour.

Night Four. Parents cry. Please, child, please go to sleep, wonder if they have given birth to the Energizer bunny. Have a pep talk with each other after the first climbout about the strategy for the night ahead. Feel like the Worst Parents Ever. Feel like they will forever be returning the two-year-old to his bed. He falls asleep, two hours past bedtime.

Night Five. New approach: Remove the Challenge! Parents remove a side of the crib to transform it into a toddler bed. He stays in bed a bit better, but still runs out over and over and over again. Falls asleep at 10 p.m.

We are now plotting our strategy for tomorrow night, when we intend to emerge victorious! Wish us luck!

Aunt Sue's house!

We went to Indianapolis last weekend to visit Rob's family and stayed in Aunt Sue's fabulous new house.

The boys and Uncle Chris, newly married to Aunt Sue.

Max and Max. Uncle Chris also has a son named Max, pictured above with our Max. Our Max definitely took a liking to "Big Max."

Grammy and Daddy. They may be related.

Sigh. This photo fills my heart. The head on the left is Harry, pressed against the head of his cousin Sydney. How sweet is that?

Big Max reading a book to little Max. (Since our trip, he has asked "Where's Big Max? I'm small Max.")

Max refusing sleep so Mommy has styled his pool/sunscreen/dirty hair into this mohawk :)

Cousin Maggie works her magic at bedtime to put the boys to bed.

Heat Wave 2011

Sweet chubby cheeks like these get pink so fast, as this year's heat wave has proven once again! This is how they were after a 5-minute drive to the grocery store. We did have to wait outside a brief second so I could stalk a dad who was finishing up with this cool car/shopping cart, while the boys screamed "Get that car, Mommy!"

I think Harry looks like a teenager here.

I'm sure regular readers will not be surprised to read that Max continues to love to draw on himself and to run around without clothes on.