Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas update!

Consider this our annual Christmas newsletter, since we didn’t send one out. And since I haven’t updated the blog in about forever, I can tell you all about the past few months. At least the parts that I haven’t forgotten already

Let’s see, I left off in August. We took another 9 day road trip to Huntsville, Alabama, for Matt to spend some time at headquarters and for me to reconnect with some friends and bore my children driving around looking at how much the city has changed. I got to see lots of friends, drove by our old house, watched agility classes and caught up with my friends from the obedience club, hit EVERY playground in town as well as several library storytimes, and survived a new level of stress that is young kids in hotel room for nine days. We actually had a complaint about our kids’ thumping feet merely one hour after we arrived at the hotel (we moved to a lower floor with no one under us). I tried to stay outside for most of the day with the kids while Matt worked. It was really fun being back in the Huntsville, but it pretty much curbed the tiny amount of wanderlust that was creeping into our lives – toying with the idea of where we wanted to be 5 years from now. I think we want to stay right here in Houston

Nine days of hotel breakfasts
They had separate beds after a few days
When we got back, Matt and I were SO ready to be home again for an extended period of time after traveling all summer, but it was not to be, at least for Matt! He headed to Colorado to visit a great friend and they went mountain hiking and camping (in the snow) and rock climbing. He was gone four days and had a blast! Then a couple of weeks later he headed out again for a work conference and was gone for a week. Last but not least, he left AGAIN in late October for another week, back to Huntsville for more work stuff. I was glad to stay home and keep the kids in their routine but man, those were some long weeks!
Looks pretty cold to me, but he loved it!

In between all that, we had one weekend visit up to see my Dad, and Addison got to go on her first trip with another family. Some dear friends of ours took her with their son to Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine and she had so much fun! Ryan had his 3rd birthday (pirates) on October first and was pleased to finally have something that was all about him. We did the pumpkin patch with some friends and several fall festivals and such, and then had a big Halloween party for Addison’s birthday (dragon cake).
Wolf ears with Micah

Playing on the ladder at Dad's

Making pirate necklaces
Pirate Cake, not one of my better efforts, but oh well
Ryan and Adah, cute pirates

Big Drumming Man like Daddy
In the course of the month of October, Ryan wore his pirate costume (birthday party), knight costume (nursing home visit), Superhero (Church festival) and fireman (trick or treating). Addie wore her homemade fox costume to pieces! We went to Matt’s sister’s again for trick or treating with our nephew Hunter and came home with a huge bag of candy!

The one costume he DIDN'T wear out

Addison on her birthday


Fox and Fireman
Addison, a friend, cousin Hunter, and Ryan
CBC Fall Festival

Addie and Caroline, year 4
Addie and Ryan on the horse

Right after that, Matt and I set out for our long-awaited 10th anniversary trip to Hawaii! We left the kids with his mom and took off on November 3rd. We spent two days in Honolulu, then took a cruise ship to Maui, where we went to a luau, hiked to a volcano, and drove the road to Hana (best hike of the trip was at the end of the road), on to Hilo (waterfalls galore), Kona, (bummed around town), then two days at Kauai (more hiking, snorkeling, bodyboarding) before heading back to Honolulu for two more days. The APEC conference was in town, which I’d never heard of but is apparently a pretty big deal, so we got to see lots of military, cops, noisy protesters, and several blocks’ worth of silent Chinese protesters trying to show the their yoga/religion was good (the Chinese government banned it for encouraging too much independent thought). We had a great time, but were really ready to get home. Matt’s mom kept the kids for a couple of days, then my mom was down all week while Addie was in school, then his mom kept them the last couple of days. The trip was really interesting but not very relaxing, and we all took a couple of weeks to readjust to our normal routines. By the way, we tried to find matching Hawaiian clothes for the whole family, but couldn’t find the right sizes, so we settled on guys and girls matching. Hence our Christmas picture
Rainbow over Honolulu as we were departing

Matt and the banyan tree

Me at Pearl Harbor

At the luau in Maui
Matt on Waikiki Beach
Me on the lava lake. 

Along the north shore of Kauai

We went to our annual Thanksgiving at the farm again, and had picture-perfect weather. I’m really thankful we have such a fun place to go hang out with the extended family!

Pilgrim costumes at the library

Addie at the farm
The next day we took our first family trip to the Christmas tree farm. We have a nice fake tree, and real ones are kind of pricey (to cut down, at least), but we liked the idea of this tradition, so we cut down a short tree which became the kids’ tree and set up the fake one too. We have several ornaments that were just for the kids, and they liked the idea of having their own tree to hang all the various crafts they make

Addison has been changing so much I can barely keep up with her. I ask her lots of questions about books we read and movies we watch and her comprehension is really growing. We are doing reading work at home and she can read simple books (although she complains a lot about practicing). She’s also in private and public speech therapy classes, which have worked wonders in just a few short months. I feel much better about her speech at this point. I’m not sure how much longer she’ll be in the classes. She also started gymnastics, and while she has fun, she’s not terribly coordiated! Oh well, I wonder where she gets that from! =) Her favorite toys are still her stuffed animals and plastic animals and pet shop animals. She’s great at puzzles and makes up all sorts of adventures for herself and Ryan. She helps me a lot more around the house and constantly asks questions about, well, everything!

Ryan is a…boy. He skipped the terrible twos (mostly) and ran headlong into the terrible threes! Defiance, arguing, disobeying, and pushing pushing pushing the limits are the key points of his personality right now. He certainly has lots of sweet moments, especially when Addison is in school and it’s just me and him at home. Ryan thrives with one-on-one attention, and sometimes I think Matt and I forget that he is just three – it’s hard to remember the responsibiliites we gave Addie at that age and I think we might expect too much from him on occasion. But most of the time, he knows exactly what he’s doing! He hates being called "little", as in "little guy", "little man", "baby", etc. and will correct you if you happen to say anything like that to him. He wants to be just like Dad and will show us his muscles. The fact that his legs and arms are not as long as Addison’s is a huge source of frustration for him, as he just can’t do everything physically that she can do. I am amazed, however, at how much he CAN do – he figures out new things every day on his own, that I know Addie couldn’t do at that age. He is determined to catch up to her.

The kids play great and fight loudly, on and off, all day. Ryan is learning to annoy her, and Addie is learning to manipulate him into getting her way. I am constantly on my toes trying to figure out how and when to referee, correct, intervene, or just stay out of it. Sometimes they will play outside for hours together and other times you can just tell they need distance. Addie by nature is more private and plays by herself a lot, where Ryan is constantly wanting companionship and interaction. It make for interesting observations in their character development, sibling relationships, friend relationships, and interactions with Matt and I.

Playing train

We have lots of stuff going on – we have a great Sunday school class on Sundays and greatly enjoy all our dear friends there. We meet once a week with a small group doing different studies, and the kids started Awanas this fall, which they adore. I’m on the steering committee of our MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) group at church (I’m the craft person), so I stay busy with our meetings. Addie has school three days a week, speech two days a week, and gymastics one day a week, plus Awanas once a week. We still try to get to the zoo and/or museum occasionally. Matt is always busy at work on various projects, but we are still loving having him work from home. I count that blessing every single day! He’s nearing 10 years with ADTRAN and it has been an awesome relationship from day one.

That catches us up somewhat. We’d love to hear from you guys!

Merry Christmas!

1 comment:

  1. Love the first family pic. You all look great!