Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Eve

Group shot

Today the kids and I went to Noon Year's Eve at the zoo. We met up with Hoa and her boys, Chase and Ben.

When we arrived to the party room, we were given Hawaiian leis, a passport and a popsicle. The leis were for fun and the passports were for stickers after finishing activities. They were all "green" related - very educational. I found out that it takes 55 gallons of water to do one load of laundry! WOW! And the popsicles were....just because.

The activity was put on by Radio Disney; we heard lots of Miley Cyrus and The Jonas Brothers.

There were games,

hula hooping,


and dancing
Here are the girls doing the Hokie-Pokie

I wish I would have taken pictures of the "characters" they had visiting. (They were from Regions Hospital.) Imagine people in full costume dressed as the following - a urine cup, an H1N1 vaccine, a tooth, and a guy named Reegie with a bump on his head! Gianna waved to all of the characters as long as they were across the room from her. She's not a fan of people in costume....remember the Easter bunny?

Noon was the main event.....The Beach Ball drop! It was a little anti-climactic when the string to be pulled broke and the balls didn't drop. It took an extra minute or so, but they finally managed and all the beach balls fell.

Patiently waiting for the big beach ball drop!

The main event!
And that was it! Actually after we managed to leave, we headed to Mc Donald's for a quick lunch and then it was home for Gianna to nap. It was nice to spend time with friends we don't get to see enough.

2009 has been a tough year for our family. I'm wishing health, happiness and love to all in 2010! Nothing but the best for us all!!!!

12 Years...

It's been 12 years. I still miss you.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Spencer and Gianna were having a light-saber fight, a-la Star Wars. (Probably not the best activity for a 2 year old, but she's having fun.)

I heard Spencer yell, "Gianna, you hit me in the tenders!".

Since when did we start calling it your "tenders"?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

After Christmas Lunch

We had a wonderful lunch with some wonderful people at The Olive Garden this afternoon with Chris (Gianna's godfather and David's best friend) and his parents. We were there for over two hours - I couldn't believe Gianna lasted that long! :)

Of course our children were spoiled some more - they received more gifts! How fortunate are we to have so many loving people in our lives that take the time to think of our kids. But I think the best present was the time we spent together. No gift is better than that!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

After our evening with David's family, we headed home to get ready for Santa's arrival. We checked Norad for Santa's location and found out we had about an hour before he would be in our area. Needless to say, bedtime was quick and easy this night!

I hadn't put out the kids stockings, because I knew Gianna would be pull them down so I had intended to put them up on Christmas Eve. I never said anything to the kids about this and they didn't say anything to me. However, after I put Gianna to bed (David had already tucked the big kids into bed), I came into the living room and found this.....David helped the children make a plate of cookies and chocolate milk for Santa while Gemma added her socks to the fireplace! One for her and one for Spencer - I guess Gianna was on her own! David said she thought I had forgotten about the stockings!

I went ahead and put their stockings up before I went to bed. I wanted to make sure Santa had plenty of room for all the goodies or coal.... :)

The presents finally made it under the tree on Christmas Eve.

Here are the kids Christmas morning. Santa leaves his gifts by the stockings (I neglected to take a picture!), that's why the kids aren't even looking at the tree.

Gianna and Gemma are checking out the loot - they didn't do too shabby!

Here is Gianna unwrapping her gift - an Aquadoodle. She is really enjoying the toy. But I think she had more fun unwrapping! After this, she helped David with his gifts.

Here are Gemma and Spencer opening their gifts. After spending some time admiring their gifts, the kids spent about 30 minutes sitting quietly on the couch reading! (They each recevied 2 chapter books.) By Christmas night, Gemma had finished one book!

After a quiet morning at home we showered, dressed (I should also mention that David had to go out and clear the driveway of 4 more inches of snow. This was the heavy, wet kind - he was exhausted when he was done!) and went to spend the afternoon with Judy, the kids and grandpa and Nonna. It was a quiet (relatively speaking) afternoon. Judy had a spread of appetizers and we just grazed while visiting and enjoying one another's company.

Then we went to my mom's house. She too had a little something for each child. After an evening of visiting it was time to go home and go to bed! I really wanted a picture of the kids together NOT in pajamas. I had tried several times throughout the day. Gianna was always being a stinker. Apparently I was ALWAYS catching her at the wrong time.

We had a great Christmas with our family. David and I feel very blessed to have such a great family and have great friends in our lives!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve

We had a wonderful Christmas Eve at David's parents house. The usual noise of children playing and grown-ups talking/laughing/eating was heard. Though we definately could feel someone was missing. It's only been one month since John passed away, so I think many of us were thinking of him.

Here are Gianna and Gemma playing with their cousin Moira. She received a digital camera for Christmas and Gemma was showing her how to use it.
Here are some family members enjoying great food and conversation. This is just a small portion of the crowd. I believe the final head count was 28!

I was able to distract David from a story to take this photo.

This is David's nephew Jason (Moira's dad) and his brother Jim.
A group shot of the little ones in front of Nonna's Christmas tree. I tried several times and this is the best I could do. At least I captured them all looking in my direction - that should count for something!
Another of Gemma - dressed up in garland. After this, we hurried home to get ready for Santa's arrival. Christmas Eve is the only night that the children will hurry to get home and get to bed without a fight!

Christmas Eve Snow

We woke up to quite a snow fall this morning. Our neighbor started clearing our driveway before David could get outside to help! (We have great neighbors!)

After a quick breakfast, everyone got dressed and headed out - David to snow blow and the kids to play.

Here is Spencer helping daddy - David cleared the sidewalk and Spencer shovled the front steps.
Gianna played with beach toys. She had so much fun outside!
I took this picture of Gemma while she was working on a tunnel in the back yard. It's still not finished, but I think that she'll have plenty of time over the next 2 weeks to work on it!

We found the van! We received six inches of snow overnight and we're expecting eight more by tomorrow night! No worries for a white Christmas!
Here's my handsome hubby. After clearing the driveway and sidewalks, he took the kids sledding in the back yard. I could hear them giggling as they ran and fell in the snow - it was wonderful to watch (from the comfort of the backdoor!).

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Worth The Wait

Today was a very exciting day. The kids and I went to the airport to pick up David. He's been traveling, but was able to make it home in time for Christmas - and to beat the storm that is on it's way!

The cuties "patiently" waiting for their daddy.
Don't they look bored? His flight was 35 minutes late and we were 30 minutes early arriving to the airport....lots of waiting!
And here are my favorite people all reunited.

This evening, David's parents came over for dinner and to exchange gifts. It's so much easier doing it this way instead of on Christmas Eve with 30 + people! It makes for one big mess!
Gianna was very excited to see the presents. She was also very patient while Nonna took things out of the bags for the kids.
Gianna is opening her first present. Look how excited she is!
Gemma got this great blanket made by Nonna.
Spencer got this cool Thomas the Train blanket. I have a feeling Gianna may try to get this for her use!

Gianna was "sneaking up" on David. I love their smiles - you can see how happy they are.

And this is my attempt at a group photo. Clearly not something I would want to use for a Christmas card, but it shows real life. Our life. And I wouldn't want it any other way.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Insect Fair

We received a note from Spencer's teacher last month inviting him to participate in the Insect Fair. He worked in a group of 5 children and a teacher. Their project was entitled "How Do Insects Change?" Each child worked on a different insect and showed the different stages. The final project was to be displayed at the University of Minnesota on December 12th. It was to be an all day event at the U, which would have required me to farm out Gemma and Gianna for the day.

Since November was such a hard month for our family, I told the teacher Spencer wouldn't be able to participate in the final project. I was disappointed but, I explained to Spencer that we needed a break from all of the craziness. He seemed fine with that and he was just happy to work on the project at school.

Spencer brought home this certificate and medal on Tuesday afternoon! I am so proud of him. He worked very hard on his project - and his efforts were rewarded!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Cards

Tonight I had the kids work on Christmas cards for their teachers. Gemma and Spencer are giving them gift-cards to Barnes and Noble.

A certain little girl had to get in the action too!

After Gemma finished her card, she decided to draw a picture. She used a bottle of soap as her inspiration. I swear, those were her words - not mine!
Here are Gemma and Spencer showing off some of their new Christmas presents from Titi Edmee. Spencer was very excited about wearing his Wild jersey to school - he actually asked me shortly after he opened it on Saturday if he could wear it to school on Monday!