Thursday, December 22, 2011

18, 19 and 20... more to come

18 - Bubbles in the bathtub and oreos before bed

19 - Family Game Night

20 - Took a poinsetta and a plate of goodies to a friend that had her gall bladder removed

18, 19 and 20 existed. Not much to write home about.

A better blog with lots of pictures tomorrow... 21 and 22 were LOTS of fun!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Program

This pretty much sums up my last week:

And, to be honest, that's not even all of it because this picture is BEFORE we got the call that Ryan's culture came back positive for strep after the rapid test was negative. So, after the call about Ryan I took Reid and Ross to get checked too. Reid's test was negative and they didn't do one on Ross because he had a horrible ear infection so got antibiotics for that. So, add an antibiotic for Ryan and Ross to the pile.

SO... nothing for the week has gone "perfectly" but we're managing.

The call on the positive strep test came as we were planning to eat dinner before heading out to the little boys' Christmas program. After a quick minute clinic run, we went to the program.

Ross' class was dressed as Christmas trees:

He did a great job. He kind of just walked all over the stage checking things out. It was pretty cute.

Ryan's class wore dress up clothes. Honestly, I had such a rotten week that I didn't take the time to make sure Ryan had something decent to wear. I found this outfit and called it good... The shirt came untucked, the back of the tie was tied longer than the front but he had a good time. My standards were pretty low that night.

Should have gotten a picture of Grandpa & Grandma Sharp since they drove down to see the program with us... but, like I said, I've not exactly been on my game as of late.

15, 16, 17

As the McDowell's battled every germ on the planet the advent calendar continued...

Day 15 - Watch Kung Fu Panda 2 and get a snack of your choice

Russ picked up Kung Fu Panda 2 at the redbox and the boys were pretty excited to see it. I let them each order a snack and I ran to the closest gas station and picked them up.

On Friday night we had the little two's Christmas program for school. I debated going out for frozen yogurt afterwards but figured they would be swamped and Grandpa & Grandma needed to get back on the road to get home. So, I pulled out some Christmas I-Spy books that I had tucked away and we all found things together.

Day 16 - Christmas I-Spy books

On Saturday John was leaving to go home to Alaska for his winter break and had some presents for the boys. His shuttle to the airport showed up right as he was getting ready to give them to the boys so we did them as the advent calendar right after he left.

Day 17 - Presents from John

John got the boys each two t-shirts, a hockey stick and the older boys got some stocking caps. One of the shirts, the sticks and the hats were from hockey teams. The other shirt was from North Pole, Alaska. The boys really liked the gifts - the first gifts they have got to open this Christmas season.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

12, 13, and ummm 14?

The advent calendar continues. 10 days until Christmas... WOW!

On Monday night the activity was:

Day 12 - Ryan goes shopping for his brothers.

In years past we have done all of our sibling shopping on one night. It's always a bit crazy with Russ and I handing off kids in different aisles and using coats to hide presents in our cart. It's always worked out fine but this year I just decided to let the boys each go shopping by themselves and have their own night.

Ryan took a list of requests from Reid before we left the house and I think went with something he'll love (I believe he had this game before but it's one of the many that he has lost. Some day I'm hoping to run across a black square case that had 8 - 10 games in it but I'm afraid it's just gone). I'm pretty sure this will be a hit:

Ross' gift was completely Ryan's idea and there was no swaying him to anything else. Ryan has been going through a real stuffed animal phase lately and he was sure that Ross would LOVE these stuffed cars that actually talk with the voice of the character when you throw them... I don't know, we'll see.

Ryan forgot to leave his list of requests with Reid before we headed out on day 13.

Day 13 - Reid shops for his brothers.

Ryan was really excited about this Blizzard maker on Monday night when we were at Wal-Mart and thought about getting it for Reid. The boys had already seen it in a catalog earlier in the month and wanted it too. I showed it to Reid and it was an easy sell:

We kind of struggled with ideas for Ross but eventually wound up with this Elmo guitar and I think he'll really like it.

Day 14 - Umm... yeah... it was kind of a bust. It was supposed to be Ross' shopping night. I got a call from Ryan's daycare around 4:00 that he had a fever of 102.3. When I picked him up I thought we'd go by CVS and pick up some medicine. While there I decided to just get him checked out as his cough was VERY barky.

I called Russ and he came and picked up Ross and Ryan and I waited about 30 minutes. By the time we were seen his fever was 103.3 and they could not treat him since it was over 103. So, we headed off to an Urgent Care facility. We didn't have too long of a wait at urgent care. I think his fever there was 103.1... or maybe I have the two reversed, I can't remember. Long story short... he was very out of it, kept falling asleep, no energy. They did a strep test (I told them that wasn't it) and then said that he had croup. We got a prescription called in, picked up dinner on the way home and went home. Ryan slept the whole way home and then just passed out in the living room when we got home. After two attempts we got his prescription filled, picked up and in him before sending him to bed. He slept all night and woke up fever free.

We never did an activity.

He's home with me today... still barky but no fever and has a good amount of energy. He's done play dough, markers, toys,

Monday, December 12, 2011

A few non-Christmas updates

So, all of my updates have been related to our countdown lately so I thought I'd share a little of what else has been going on around here. I have basically stopped going to Reid's hockey practices and games. Russ coaches and always has to go so there's no chance of taking turns. I went to a St Joe game about four or five weeks ago and decided that was my last one for a while. I spend the ENTIRE game chasing Ross around the rink and don't really get to see any of the game. He's a busy, busy guy. (I do have a babysitter planned in a couple of weeks so I can go watch one of his games).

The silver lining (on most days) is that my weekends are not very busy and the little guys and I have quite a bit of time home alone. Friday nights Russ and Reid leave shortly around 5:30 and don't get home until 9:00.

This Friday the little guys and I did some cuddling on the couch:

On Sunday Reid had a game at 9:30 so the boys and I had the morning to ourselves again. Ross found this hat around the house somewhere, put it on himself and decided he wasn't taking it off. It was actually pretty cute :)

Then Ryan decided that he would "style" his own hair. He was pretty proud of it, actually wanted me to take a picture:

Eventually the boys settled down and we played some lite bright. Ryan played by punch holes in the paper and pulling the pieces out. I played by putting the pieces in the right spots. And Ross... he just played :)

Day 11 - Muppets Movie

Our mortgage group rented out a theater and invited us to see the Muppets movie on Sunday night. We hired Miss Nicole from the little boys' daycare to watch Ross. He was very excited when he saw her show up.

We drove separate to the movie as Russ had a hockey game at 7 and the movie started at 4 on the plaza. He made it through most of the movie with us before he had to duck out. The boys and I finished the movie and then took a few pictures outside of the theater by a big Muppets collage they had.

After the movie we had a bit of time before we had to get home so we decided to walk around the plaza a little bit. It wasn't that cold out and it was really beautiful. There were a ton of horse carriages driving around. The boys really wanted to ride one (Ryan especially) and I almost went over to check out prices but decided we'd add that to our bucket list to do sometime. We ended up walking down about two blocks and then back to the car.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Countdown continues

On Friday night Russ and Reid were off to hockey practice and I didn't have a good plan for the countdown event so I went simple...

Day 9 - Choose your own dinner.

Relinquishing control is always a huge hit. The boys immediately hit the pantry (man, this picture gives me a huge goal for 2011... I could use some organization in the pantry, big time!)

I expected Ryan to say he wanted ice cream for dinner since I hear that A LOT but he didn't. He ended up with shells n cheese, cookie cereal , raisins, and popcorn. Ross went with everything that Ryan wanted. They both ate pretty well.

After we finished our dinners we FINALLY got the decorations on our upstairs tree.

Saturday was one of our family favorites.

Day 10 - Toys for Tots donations.

Saturday morning we took the boys to Walgreens to pick out some toys. They actually understood pretty well that they toys were not for them but for other kids. That didn't stop them from asking for things for themselves or saying they wanted the same thing they were picking out, but we had no problems with them not wanting to give up the toys that they picked out. We got six toys at Walgreens and I had picked up six barbies and dolls at Target the day before. We drove down to Nebraska Furniture Mart where we knew the Marines would be collecting so the boys could actually see a Marine while dropping off their toys.

Neither of the boys would stand by the marine to get their picture taken but Russ did for me :)

The rest of our day was pretty lazy as we didn't have anything else planned. That night we watched a movie and snuggled on the living room floor with popcorn (of course).

Friday, December 9, 2011

Two more days down...

I know, I know... I missed blogging a day. Yesterday went by really fast, work was busy and I had to get pictures from my photographer (ok, Russ' phone... we forgot our camera Wednesday night).

Wednesday night (Day 7 - Drive through Jingle Bell Lane). I had bought a deal online for $6 (regular price $12) to drive your car through a new Christmas lights display. It said it was over a half mile long and was pretty close to our house so I thought I'd try it out. It was at the Great Plains Mall (should have been my first clue). It ended up to be pretty janky... half of the light structures that were supposed to blink weren't working and all you did was basically weave through a parking lot trying to follow signs with arrows on them that weren't lit up. I was not impressed at all. Luckily, our kids didn't know any better so they liked it and were pleased with the outing.

Ryan loves the Grinch who Stole Christmas so this was his favorite display...

The advertisement had said that at the end you drove under a tunnel... the lit arches weren't quite the tunnel I was expecting but the boys liked it.

It was a quicker night than last year when we took the kids, Hockey Ross, and Tyler Hanzlik to see the plaza lights and ended up not being able to find anywhere to eat, driving for what seemed like hours and then ending up at a Culver's.

There was a tanker truck tipped over on the exit ramp by the mall and about 400 emergency vehicles which proved to be the most exciting part of the night for the adults...

On the way home we went through a McDonald's drive through and bought cookies for the boys and bought cookies for the car behind us. I'm not sure they are catching on to what we're trying to teach them about Christmas but we're sure trying!! Which leads me right into last night.

Day 8 - Take dinner to some friends

We have some friends (a couple from my hometown) who are dealing with some major medical issues. He has PKD and is in kidney failure. His wife was supposed to donate her kidney and they actually stopped the transplant just as they were getting ready to transplant... SO... they already had her opened up. Their last cross match didn't work and they cancelled the surgery. So, she was recovering from a major operation and he's still in failure as they test other family and friends to try and find a new match. It's been one hurdle after another. So, we took them over some white chicken chili soup and brownies for our activity last night. The boys were pretty good in there house but we didn't stay too long. (no pictures)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

December 6th recap

When Russ and Ryan got home from Ryan's skating lesson last night we did our advent calendar activity.

Day 6 - Make a Gingerbread House

All of the boys were really excited about this one. Ross had no idea what was going on but he saw bags and bags of candy so he was happy.

Reid and Ryan started on the front and back of the house and we gave Ross some candy to keep him busy.

Russ was our main engineer... He took the pieces the boys decorated and put the actual structure together.

Next the fun of adding the candy began! Ryan liked to add the icing and then lick the piping bag off.

I really like this picture that Russ got... too bad Reid has candy or something hanging out of his mouth...
And our finished product which Ryan really wanted his picture taken with:

And then we voted and decided just to knock it down and eat it :) The boys really liked that part, of course! This picture is posed.. they weren't really sad that it was knocked down - dad was teasing them:

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

May your heart be filled with kindness...

I have writer's block today. But for documentation purposes I'm going to continue on with updating the blog...

Day 5 - Read books by the fireplace

Our kids love to read books and any chance to pull the pillows/cushions off the couch and they are excited! Last night was a hit with all of the boys. We did the evening in shifts as Reid and Russ had a boy scouts meeting. While Russ and Reid were at boy scouts Ryan, Ross and I set up the pillows and got out every Christmas book that we could find. We turned on the fireplace and read and read... and read. I think the final count was eight books. Ross is used to us reading him books in his rocking chair so he wanted to sit on me so he spent most of his time jumping on my stomach if he wasn't hitting Ryan or biting him... so he did spend several trips in timeout:

Had to send this picture to Grandma Linda's new phone so she had a picture... at least time out is pretty when the tree is on :)

Russ and Reid got home from boy scouts as our reading was wrapping up so Russ read MORE books to Ross in his room and put him to bed while I read one more book to Ryan in his bed and then worked on his weekly sight words.

Funny story during sight word practice. The word was 'to' so I explained that it wasn't the number two but like 'let's go to the store.'. Next was 'may'. I said like 'May I have a glass of water?' He says' 'oh, like may your heart be filled with kindness'.... Such a shocker from him, loved it!

Once we had the younger boys in bed then I snuggled up by the fireplace again and this time Reid and I took turns reading chapters for twenty minutes.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Day 3 and 4

Our Christmas Countdown Continues.

I had visions of getting out of the house early on Saturday and spending hours scrapbooking. Didn't happen, the night was a disaster. I did eventually get gone but then had just one bad misstep after another, almost comical. I did eventually get a good couple of hours of work done at home after the boys went to bed. Going for a redo sometime early in 2012. I made it three times total in 2011.

Anyway, since I was hoping to get out of the house I went with something easy for our countdown and something that had to get done anyway.

Day 3 - Write letters to Santa.

Reactions were what I expected. Ryan went running for the paper (which is why we ended up with neon green) and was so excited. Reid was disappointed. He said something like "I thought these events were supposed to be fun." Poor kid, he HATES writing. It literally took him about an hour and lots of urging from me to just do it and be done.


He actually wrote all of the things he wants and then told me what to write to Santa at the bottom. His writing is getting so good:


At first Reid just made a list like Ryan but I told him he actually had to write a letter. That's when he came up with "Hi Santa. I can't wait till you come"... such an overachiever... ha ha.


Whenever you ask Ross anything he ALWAYS answers with "I don't know" first and then tells you the answer. He doesn't know what he wants for Christmas though. He does know that there are presents downstairs, he's already started unwrapping a few of them. He also knows he loves Christmas trees. He should be a lot of fun come Christmas morning!!

On Sunday Russ was gone all day. He left for a coaching clinic before the boys and I were out of bed and went right from that to his 5:40 hockey game.

Anyway, I thought about the calendar several times during the day but just didn't have the energy to do anything big. Earlier in the day I had hired a neighbor boy to watch the kids while I stole some time to go on an 8 mile run with Suzanne and her husband. We tackled some major hills and I felt drained. It had already been a long morning of house cleaning, grocery shopping, etc and I didn't have lunch until 3:00. So, I just kept putting the calendar off. Finally, I realized it was getting late and we needed to do something so we made cookies.

Day 4 - Make Cookies.

Of course the boys were thrilled when they opened this slip:

John had played four games in St Louis this weekend and had JUST gotten home from the trip and said he was wiped out. Thankfully, he still helped me scoop dough so the boys didn't go too nuts waiting turns.

The cookies weren't great. I think I remember us having this problem last year too. I went with the lower temp and they just weren't done enough... still doughy. Our last batch was the best as I left them in longer but next time we'll go the higher temp and longer time recommendation. Doesn't matter, we still ate them.