Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Eve

2011 is at an end. WOW when did this happen?!?!? This is the fastest year in the history of the world. I'm not sure if it's because I'm old and the older you are the faster it goes or if it's because I'm a mom and my baby became a toddler. Either way...lightening speed!!
We decided to spend New Year's Eve safely at home away from the lunatics on the road. We had snacky party foods for dinner.We had spring rolls, Tex Mex dip and tortilla chips, and cheese fondue....
OK so these photos were kind of sucky. Ignore Kyle's squinty eye and the out of focus fondue. No I wasn't drunk, just in too much of a rush to eat the goodies I failed to notice they didn't come out well.
Anyway, the boys made it until 9pm leaving us enough time to watch a movie and still catch the ball drop in Times Square and the fireworks at the Needle.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas Break - Chuckie Cheese

On Thursday Gus had his 2 1/2 year well baby appointment at 12:30 and all three guys had haircuts at 5:45 in Silverdale. Now I guess we could've gone home in between but in an effort to consolidate our trips we decided to stay. To fill the gap we went to Chuckie Cheese. I took the boys awhile back to a birthday party on a Saturday. CHAOS! It was so packed. We only used about half of our tokens. I promised we'd go back with Daddy and this time slot during the break was the perfect time!
SO we saved about a gallon of gas by staying in town, but we spent $65 at Chuckie Cheese! Yeah so much for cost effective. The boys had a blast and Kyle did too.Reese loved the driving games and this snow mobile one. They made me ill. I think I need a motion sickness band to play these. It was funny since someone else was using the other machine Gus just climbed on with Reese.

Reese really got into air hockey with another little boy. I thought he was just having fun, but when the other kid had to leave and I stepped in I realized Reese was digging it because he smoked the other kid. As soon as I got ahead by one point he got all grumpy and didn't want to play! I made him finish, but he was less enthusiastic.He moved back onto the exciting riding games.He loved the riding games even when he was just hanging on the back of the chair while Gus drove. Of course neither could reach the gas pedal but they thought it was great just the same.
I could not get Gus out of the little kid rides! We rode this Handy Manny ride about 7 times!!!
Anyway, it was a bit expensive, but we actually liked the pizza (we got a large for us AND a little one for the boys to share so we could have good toppings). I thought they had an awesome salad bar so Kyle and I got salad bar as well. Then we went ahead and bought the snazzy Chuckie cup for the boys...from now on they'll get free refills at any Chuckie Cheese forever! (That's how we'll make our money back!!) We also had to go back and buy $10 worth of tokens. So clearly this will be a sometimes activity as opposed to a regular outing.

By the way Gus passed his well baby exam with flying colors...stellar across the board!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Break - Children's Museum

On Wednesday we headed south to the Children's Museum in Olympia. Something we didn't really think through was that lots of people were on vacation, so it was a mad house. Gus took awhile to warm up to playing this time since he was so overwhelmed by all the people.
We headed over to the grocery area first. Gus overloaded his basket with a bunch of fruits and veggies.
Reese kept his basket a little less full. Here he's waiting for Daddy to ring up his purchases.
Then we headed over to the theater and veterinarian clinic. The boys sold us some tickets.
Reese pretended to be a dog.
They spent lots of time in the gears area. They built a ball run with Daddy and had a so much fun I had time to browse the gift shop.
Gus loves driving the truck in the construction section.
Reese and Gus had a great time. They were very excited to play with everything with their Dad.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Break - Zoo Lights

Kyle's work shuts down from Christmas to the New Year, a period we refer to as Christmas Break or "the break." I think this is because we equate this to the break from school over the holidays and we forget we're not still that age. So we made some big plans for the break, a bazillion things that there would not be nearly enough time to do. We did get to a handful of activities.
On Monday we slept until noon to recuperate from the late nights/early-ish morning of the previous several days. The boys played with some new toys while assessed our new storage needs. Then we headed out to Zoo Lights.It was cold and slightly blustery, but mostly dry. I'm so glad we chose to go Monday because our other plan was Tuesday which turned out to downpour. The boys really enjoyed the lights and a handful of the animals.The penguins were out in full force. We also saw a tiger and a camel. Reese really wants to go back to see the animals now. I told him we should put that on his birthday wishlist....zoo membership, hint, hint.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Day

Christmas morning we headed over to my parents' house for more presents and Christmas dinner.
By now both Reese and Gus have this gift opening thing down pat.
Reese got the Crime Fighter Headquaters he's been asking for since before Halloween.
These planes are something we bought ages ago and put away, then Mimi bought them too so we took ours back. He's been really excited about planes for awhile and these do cool tricks.
Reese insisted on bringing home his new Captain America suit even though I suggested he keep it at Mimi's since we have a suit at home, but this one has red and white vertical stripes over the ab muscles and he "needed" it at home too.
Again they got hoards of stuff. In addition to the suit and crime fighter headquarters Reese got some Eeboo games and a soccer ball and "Chill Out Scooby Doo", the movie he's been wanting for about 6 months and a Pirates of the Caribbean ship. He's super excited about that. Gus got Magna-Trucks, pattern blocks, a puzzle, animal counters, a sprig truck, a giant teddy bear and they both got fleece blankets Mimi made for them.
We ate so much over the past two days. Both Kyle and I felt sick from eating too much sweet dessert (chocolate mousse from his mom, pecan pie from mom). We need to do a sugar detox to survive our holiday food intake!!
The boys had so much fun. After all the Christmas gift opening was over Reese announced "now that Christmas is over we can buy toys again!" I've been telling him since early October we couldn't buy toys because Christmas was coming and we needed to wait and see what he got. He's totally ready to buy more now. He totally snowed that Santa whose lap he sat on by asking for a silver crayon. That guy had no idea what a greedy consumer that child is! He does love that silver crayon Santa brought though. Mommy loves the other 149 colors!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Eve

In the afternoon of Christmas Eve we headed over to Kyle's parents' house for dinner and more presents.
They were a little disappointed not to tear right into the gift opening, they had to wait until after dinner. After of tenderloin for everyone except Gus, who spent the whole meal cutting his jello fruit salad, we got to the goodies.
These boys stuffed themselves on candy essentially the whole night while trying out their new stuff.
They got an easel, lincoln logs, action figure legos, neon race car tracks, a Thomas light/talk toy and legos.
We finally packed it in and headed home at 11pm! They were wired! Mommy and Daddy were beat.
Reese went to bed with his new Star Wars sticker book. He also very excitedly told me he wanted more Christmas! Lucky for him the next morning we headed over to my parents' house for Christmas day.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Morning at Our House

When Reese came into our room in the middle of the night I said I didn't know if it was a good idea because Santa may not come if the prep and landing guys didn't see him in his bed. He assured me it was fine because Santa "already just came!" Then he went back to sleep until about 9am, when we got up and started opening presents.
Of course, Santa knows the Benza boys love their PEZ. They each got a new Christmas PEZ dispenser and PEZ refills in their stockings.
Reese got a Marvel umbrella and Gus got a Thomas the train umbrella. I really hope the open umbrella indoors equals bad luck is fake because otherwise we're in for a LONG time of bad luck.
Gus was so excited opening his presents this year. He got a super cool Imaginext crane truck and Elmo guitar that he loved.
I was able to get some photos of actual expressions...
....unlike Reese's gritted teeth "cheese" pose that you can see here. He was overjoyed with his new BatCave but you can't tell by this goofy smile. He was really excited to get the bat boat, bat mobile with lights and catwoman toys that went along with the cave.
Tara was pretty happy with her scratching post. The boys found it hysterical when she actually demonstrated her scratching technique.
Reese really liked the concept of his eukele when I told him he could learn with Grandad who has a new guitar. He was pretty mad that he couldn't instantly play it well.
Way back Gus almost opened the Amazon box holding Grandpop's present. Yes, the brown amazon box you normally need scissors to open. He got all but the last inch of tape while I was in the shower one day. They spent several weeks wondering what was inside the blue bag! They got a huge set of Wedgits!
But Gus was also really happy with the "fort" holding Grandpop's present.
After all the presents were opened we had chocolate peppermint pancakes for breakfast!
When we were all done Reese was about jumping out of his skin when he told me "I really like Christmas! I want some more Christmas!" That worked out well because the boys spent a few hours playing with all their new stuff before we headed out to Kyle's parents' house for Christmas Eve dinner...and more presents.

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Presents are here!

We go to my family's house on Christmas day and they want us there to open presents in the morning. It would be ridiculous to wake the boys early, make then open their gifts in a fog, then say "time to get ready" and rush out the door before they can even play with their stuff, then have them spend the rest of the day cranky. So we open our gifts on Christmas Eve morning. Santa hits our house on the eve of Christmas Eve before he starts on Norad's traditional route.
Here is our tree. You can see Gus' crib in his room so you know he had a great view!
Reese agreed to have his door closed so Santa could do his work in private. It is just to the right of the tree so he has a full on view. Since we don't have a mantel or fireplace Santa left his gifts and stocking right at his bedroom door.
We left milk and plenty of cookies. Reese said he needed lots of cookies because Santa "is a big fat man!" Daddy not only gobbled them up he didn't even leave any crumbs!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Countdown to Christmas - Crafts!

We made some Christmas crafts I found from Our Homeschool Fun. (This may be private, but if not check it out because it's full of good ideas.)

We've been reading a lot of snowmen books, so we made some snowmen from Popsicle sticks. We used felt for the scarf and buttons. Reese is very particular about doing things just so. Gus was just excited to use glue.
We also made a snowman family by painting the boys' hands with white paint and then gripping a clear ornament. Gus just could not stop squishing it so his was a blur of white paint. The photo is Reese's hand. Down on the palm I wrote Reese's name and 2011. I filled the inside with sparkly confetti. I could not get a photo to turn out well, but trust me it looks like snow.
We also did tree footprints. They used sparkly stickers to be the ornaments. They both really love these. I realized that we really need to make more handprint and footprint crafts. They are just so sweet! I love their little feet!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Countdown to Christmas - Baking Cookies

We made cookies with Mimi and Gigi at Gigi's house.
It was not as productive as I had expected. I was thinking we'd have a bazillion cookies by days end. We did not. But we did all come away with a selection of cookies we would not have made if we each made our own in our own kitchens.

The boys thought it was fantastic because now they have tons of cookies to eat. They still consider 2 or 3 at once tons.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Countdown to Christmas - Decorating our Tree

On the Friday after Christmas Reese basically asked non-stop when we'd decorate the tree until we brought it up from the basement and did it!

In the past the boys were not particularly interested in the decorating process. I was afraid they'd break ornaments so we put a minimal number of them on tree and up high.
This year they both loved it and wanted to participate, so they put on almost all of the ornaments themselves.
That means there were tons of ornaments down low, packed together on branches and like kinds grouped together. Normally I'd spread my 12 wooden candy canes around evenly across the tree. But the boys wanted them super close together like the candy canes above.
We put the breakable ornaments up high, so it looks relatively evened out.
Both Reese and Gus love the tree. It's in the living room this year where they both can see it from their beds. After a month of going to sleep by tree light we'll see if they'll go back to sleeping in mostly dark.