December 25, 2011

December 25

I love Hamilton's Christmas pajamas especially on Christmas morning as he examines the contents of his stocking. We opened a few presents this morning before heading to church for Redeemer's simple service. Gathering as a church family to celebrate the birth of our Savior was a good reminder to me and my family about why we have Christmas.

December 24, 2011

December 24

After our Christmas Eve service tonight, I corralled the kids for a picture. Getting Hamilton to keep still long enough is nearly impossible, but the expressions from the other two were so sweet. And I imagine Collier's tugging on Hamilton's shirt to say, "Come on, Hammie, act right for the picture."

December 23, 2011

December 23

This morning the kids opened some gifts from Mimi and Pops so as not to overwhelm Hamilton on Christmas morning. Claire's gift was a Puzzleball, so she, Mr. Morgan, and Uncle Travis have been putting it together all morning. Lazy vacation days are great for fun toys like puzzles which Mr. Morgan enjoys as much as Claire.

December 22*

Last night we enjoyed a Christmas dinner with both our families. Uncle Travis brought Yahtzee which he and Claire played all evening. Only cute antics from the baby could entice them to take a break.

December 21, 2011

December 21

Tonight we visited the Holiday Festival of Lights. Claire enjoyed roasting three enormous marshmallows over a big, communal fire pit.

December 20, 2011

December 20

Last night I spent the latter half of the evening wrapping presents after the kids went to bed. I actually spent some money this year on matching wrapping paper, decorative ribbon, and tags, so now under our tree is stuffed with pretty presents. As usual, the excitement of wrapping gifts made Mr. Morgan and I want to exchange our gifts for each other immediately. So we stayed up late for gift-giving.

December 19, 2011

December 19

Hamilton loves to color with some company, so tonight after dinner Mr. Morgan sat down to color with him. Then a fly started buzzing around. Mr. Morgan cracked Hamilton up with his clapping attempts at killing the fly.

December 18, 2011

December 18

Our church's annual Christmas dinner and talent show was tonight. I have pictures and videos to post from Hamilton's and Claire's performances later, but I love this picture of Hamilton's little friend West. As the crowd listened to a bagpipe performance, West showed his feelings for the sound with his fingers firmly planted in his ears.

December 17, 2011

December 17

While dinner was baking, Hamilton pulled up a front-row seat for watching the train go around and around the Christmas tree. When I said dinner was ready, he looked for a second like he might choose watching the train over eating--though I knew he was hungry. But the rumbling belly won. Claire spent the afternoon creating and decorating a journal for herself--and making a big mess on the coffee table that she had to guard once Hamilton awoke from his nap. She's so proud of her cute journal, and she's excitedly begun writing in it already--information and drawings of cats, naturally.

December 16, 2011

December 16

Claire's writing invitations for an impromptu piano concert she's giving tonight for Mr. Morgan, Grandma Judy, and me. She even created programs for each of us with an order of songs written. She serenaded us with all her favorite songs and her latest pieces. She said she doesn't want to feel nervous at all during recitals anymore; apparently she got a little nervous once the recital started last night. She declared she'd give impromptu concerts to us often, so she can get used to performing.

Claire's Piano Recital

Thursday night was Claire's piano recital. Mr. Morgan took video footage of her playing. She played her two songs well, and she said she wasn't even nervous. The little girl in the white sweater listening to Claire cracked me up when I watched the video today.

Though the recital was relaxed and informal, I didn't want either boy to interrupt another child's performance. One student before Claire was to play, the boys both were sitting in my lap, since Mr. Morgan was prepping the camera. Well Collier started bucking like he wanted to crawl around on the floor and Hamilton kept trying to pinch his cheeks for some reason. I'm wrangling the squirmers, as I'm trying to keep them on my lap. Then Collier grabbed a fistful of Hamilton's hair. Repeat--cheeks pinched again, more hair pulled. Miraculously they didn't actually make any noise during these shenanigans, but it was a juggling act in my lap with those rambunctious boys. I was appreciative of the hallway we escaped to after her songs.

December 15, 2011

December 15

I visited Hamilton at school today during their Christmas party. I always love to observe him in a different, but familiar, environment. He ran around the room while I got to sit back and snap pictures. I have more shots to share in another post, but I like this shot because it shows him--mouth open, giving West an earful about that cookie. Even his posture looks like he's lecturing. Aahk! And a professorial sweater vest, too?!

December 14, 2011

December 14

Since today was pajamas day at school, Hamilton didn't have to get dressed after breakfast. He loved just keeping his "jah-mahss" on this morning. As we were waiting for his ride to school, I wanted to capture his new Christmas pajama set from Mimi and Pops. He quickly grabbed the gingerbread-man ornament he made last year at school and said, "A cookie! I bite it!" Somehow I was able to interject my "No, it's not a cookie!" before he chomped down--while I was taking this picture. If I didn't know better (or know Hamilton's tendency not to pose for pictures), I'd think this shot was staged.

December 13, 2011

December 13

Hamilton loves to play on the piano. He especially loves to push the buttons for the different instrument sounds!

December 12, 2011

December 12

We finally got our Christmas tree up and decorated this weekend; now our house feels festive. Appropriately we always have a live tree in our house, and we cut a Carolina Sapphire this year. I tend to like my Christmas trees wild and woolly.

December 11*

The boys love to play in the piano room which houses the Christmas tree this season. I've spent lots of time straightening out the tree skirt, rehanging ornaments, and picking up fallen needles so Collier doesn't sample them as a snack. I love how Collier is fixated on Hamilton who's obviously in motion with his silly antics.

*Didn't even take two weeks to be late on a DPP post.

December 10, 2011

December 10

How can a cute kid get cuter? Put him in reindeer antlers.

December 9, 2011

December 9

We finally pulled our Christmas decor down from the attic and decorated our tree tonight. Hamilton loved playing with Claire's nativity. Grandma Judy gave Claire this sweet nativity several years ago, and every year she loves to open the boxes with each nativity character and set the figures in a place of honor. Claire showed it to Hamilton this year, and he fell in love. How sweet he was moving the figures around the nativity and trying to tell the story just as she had told him.

Christmas Concerts

Last week was Claire's orchestra concert, though I'm finally getting around to sharing more pictures. To say Claire was excited about this concert is an understatement: She was giddy even about the rehearsal the day before! She shares a music stand with Cady who's first viola and one of Claire's best friends right now. 
Their orchestra teacher was so proud of them, so I'm assuming they did well for second-year orchestra students. As for "good music," I'm sure it was similar to the middle-school-band concerts my parents sat through when I played the flute.
The boys were well behaved during the short concert, though getting Hamilton to stand still for a quick picture is nearly impossible.
Cady's family invited us to party at a local ice cream shop following the concert. Claire was so excited to go with her friends, and I got to tag along and talk with the other parents. Mr. Morgan took the boys home for baths and bed. Claire ate a cheesburger and fries, and she shared a banana split with the other girls. She hadn't eaten much dinner at our early suppertime because she'd been so excited/nervous, but she made up for it aftewards. Here the girls--Claire, Cayley, and Cady--show off their newly purchased friendship rings.
Last night we were not at Hamilton's school Christmas program for long, but after such a busy week a quick night was best for all. Hamilton's performance was truly quick with the two-year-olds' singing only one song.
The boys' matching outfits were adorable, and I'm eager for other occasions to wear these cute Christmas duds.
My little boy looks so tall in his jon-jon suit.
Since I was dressed more festively than Mr. Morgan, he snapped pictures of us three.

December 8, 2011

December 8

Hamilton's school Christmas program was a bit anti-climactic for the two-year-olds' parents. We patiently waited through several cute songs from the older kids only to have Hamilton's class thrust on stage just before the last song. Since Hamilton and Grady had not been at school during the dress rehearsal, they were mesmerized during their song by the costumed kids and lighted decorations. Most of my pictures show Hamilton--head turned, mouth agape.

December 7, 2011

December 7

Sliced bananas drizzled with almond butter and topped with golden raisins replaced a huge bowl of ice cream as my nightly snack. After a few weeks I truly didn't miss the lactose-laden dessert.

Christmas Party

Last Saturday Mr. Morgan and I got all dressed up for his company's annual Christmas party. Our dear babysitter came over early to feed the boys and put them to bed for us while we danced the night away. Mr. Morgan looked especially dapper in his new suit. We look forward to this party each year because of the fun friends who always attend--and it's a night out without the kiddos!

December 6, 2011

December 6

I've been snapping pictures for our church's website, and last Sunday I caught this little guy not singing along with the other kids. He couldn't help himself from turning around to find the camera.

December 5, 2011

December 5

Strand after strand of these colorful beads decorates our church and the necks of our women. Ugandan women hand-make these beads from rolled-up paper, though they used to break rocks in a quarry for 30 cents a day before they were invited to a Bible study by a pastor's wife and taught this beautiful craft. Our missions team to Uganda brought back tons after their last trip hoping we could help these women. Our church and community has given so sacrificially to these women that we've sent back to Uganda nearly $20,000 in donations.

December 4, 2011

December 4

The two-year-olds joined the big kids today at church in practicing Christmas carols for the upcoming Christmas dinner. Hamilton loves hearing "Crissmiss keir-uhls," so we're singing Away in a Manger many times a day now. He and his little friend West did a lot of intense staring at the words and pictures on the poster as the bigger kids sang along. I'm hoping they'll grow bolder as we practice more, so they'll actually sing and smile at the Christmas dinner. Because of Hamilton's fondness for Christmas carols, I kept him in the service with me for the singing. He did love the songs and singing, though he prayed out loud along with the elder offering the prayer of confession. Just before the last song, I told him there was one more song before he'd go back to the nursery. He was agreeable with that arrangement, but as the song finished I hesitated in taking him out immediately. As I was trying to determine the best time to make our exit, Hamilton loudly said, "Mommy, no more song!" I took that as my cue.

December 3, 2011

December 3

Hamilton's eaten almost all of the gingerbread men. He helped Mimi make the cookies over Thanksgiving, and he's been enjoying them ever since. And no, he doesn't notice when cookies are stale or past their prime. He loves munching on the cookies with sweet icing especially. When Pops eats gingerbread men, he bites off a crunchy arm and says in a silly, high-pitched voice, "Oh no, don't eat me!" So now Hamilton follows suit with the cutest little "Oh no!" as he eats.

December 2, 2011

December 2

Hamilton loves the wagon at Mimi and Pops's house. Sometimes he rides, sometimes he pushes, or sometimes he pulls. I love all the leaves on the ground. As a kid I spent lots of time raking leaves, though not usually to clear the yard of leaves. Travis and I would spend hours raking them into piles and wrestle in them, or we'd make trails and create an obstacle course. So much outdoor fun that quickly turned into work when it was time to rake the leaves into the woods and out of the yard.

December 1, 2011

What I've Learned This Week

  1. Don't assume that "NO REFRIGERATION REQUIRED"--printed boldly and proudly on a package--means that no refrigeration is required ever. Mold and gross-looking funk will grow on your nitrate-free pepperonis if you don't refrigerate them after opening.
  2. Don't assume when Claire's keyboarding teacher tells her "Mr. Qwerty" invented the keyboard and spelled his name within the key pattern, that he's joking. A quick Google search and two-day discussion/argument with Claire convinced her to set him straight.
  3. Leaning over and resting his head on the shopping cart is more comfortable for my crawling-but-not-yet-sitting-up son. Though strapped in, Collier does not sit well for long in shopping carts.
  4. Don't assume my son's crying screams during his diaper change are because his big brother head-butted him. Don't automatically fuss at the big brother; the baby's cries might be from having his finger pinched in the wipes container. Oops.
  5. A baby who's normally happy while he's being fed might be upset and fussing during mealtime because he's sitting on a small school bus.
  6. Claire's enthralled by a boy who sings. Here was our conversation tonight as we rode home:
    "Mama, did you ever have a crush on a boy?"
    "Oh yes."
    "Did you ever watch him sing?"
    "Yes, actually."
    "Didn't it make you like him all the more?"

December 1

Since most of my blog pictures are of these three, I figured my first December Photo Project submission should be of them, too. They're in Christmas garb because Claire's orchestra concert was tonight. With only minutes to shoot a picture of all of them, this shot was the best we could do. Hamilton's literally saying "cheese," which is OK since usually he turns every way but toward my lens. Collier's sporting new, handmade shoes; they didn't get messed up during his ritual of spitting up right before we leave the house. His newest Christmas outfit, however, didn't make it out of the house tonight. Good thing we have many other Christmas events to attend this month to show off his new duds.