Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas Chaos

I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas. I intended to post these pictures days ago..but Christmas wore me out! It's taken me until now to recover! We had a crazy few days, but managed to see most everyone.

I had to work on Christmas Eve day, so it was almost 7:00 before we left town that night. Mott was our first stop...bless the Kerzmans for waiting for us to arrive before opening gifts! I still can't believe the kids waited that long! We watched the kids open their gifts (Lizzy LOVES her baby, blanket and crib Grandma and Grandpa Kerzman made!), then had an adult white elephant exchange (I am more than happy with my Starbucks liqueur, by the way!) It was fun hanging out with the family and watching the excitement on the kids' faces. Santa even made an appearance, and was nice enough to take photos with everyone, even Brad. Too bad Caleb was MIA during the visit.. I'm sure he would have loved to have had his picture taken with Santa.
In keeping with our tradition, we left the Kerzman farm late Christmas Eve night and drove to the Shea farm. Everyone was in bed when we arrived, so we crashed too. But, it was a short night! Lexi and Jenn's girls were up at 5:30, but managed to wait until 6:30 to wake the rest of us up. The next few hours are a blur.... the kids opened presents in record time. I think everyone got what they wanted... Jake and Tomas both got new Legos...the Star Wars "Imperial Star Destroyer"'s over 1,300 pieces and took Jake two and a half days to build! Lexi was happy with clothes, and Lizzy was happy with her new woof-woof backpack.
We did a kid swap on the way home... Lexi stayed at the Kerzman farm and we brought Nate home for a few days. He and Jake had a great time playing legos and flying his helicopter.
Now we are finally back to our normal routine. Brad and I both went to work today and the kids went to daycare. As fun as the Christmas chaos always is, I have to admit, I am kind of happy to be back to "normal". At least until Wednesday evening, when we ring in the new year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Making Memories

"This will be a memory."
That's what we told the kids as we sat outside the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis on Sunday, waiting for the Vikings game. We thought the game started at noon, so we left our hotel in Maple Grove at 9:30. There was not much traffic on the drive to downtown and we found a parking spot in the lot between the two one-way streets (the one where the cheerleaders park, Brad pointed out). It was all too good to be true. We paid $35 to park, got organized for the game (a family Christmas present, and the first-ever professional football game for the kids and me). We headed to the door where we had seen people going inside. The gates were closed. We walked to the next gate. That one was locked too. It was four degrees below zero, Lizzy was sleeping (wrapped safely inside a warm Vikings blanket) and Jake was pretty sure he was going to freeze to death. We were on the other side of the building before we ran into another person, who informed us that despite what our tickets said, the game was not at noon, but rather at 3:15. She sent us to the next gate, where a worker then sent us to the next door. No one could let us in the Dome..they were still doing security checks. The doors were set to open at 1:15. It was 10:15. So, we headed back to the van to regroup (after walking around the entire Metrodome, in subzero weather..we were not feeling like parents of the year!). We debated taking the light rail to the mall, but we weren't sure where to buy tickets. Nothing else was open. Thank goodness we had a full tank of gas, new DVD players, chocolate bars and sunflower seeds.
We spent the next two and a half hours in the van. Talk about family bonding. The big kids watched a movie. Lizzy climbed around the van, happy to be out of her carseat. Brad and I kicked ourselves for not double checking the game time.
Finally, at 12:45, we headed to the gates. Thirty minutes later, we were finally in the Dome. The looks on the kids' faces made the wait worth it. Jake was literally speechless when he first saw the field. We stood and soaked it all in for about ten minutes. A very nice grandfatherly usher told Jake all kinds of interesting facts about the building, the field, and the games he could someday play there.
The game did not end the way we had hoped (Vikings lost, 17-24) but it was so much fun! The kids loved every second of it. Jake watched most of the game through his binoculars. Lexi crossed her fingers, arms and toes, hoping the Vikes would squeak out a win. Lizzy made friends with the grandma beside us, stuck popcorn in her own nose, and then later sneezed it out. She fell asleep in the fourth quarter, and we waited for the crowds to thin before we left our seats.
Nearly a week later, the kids are still talking about the game, the wait, and the fun. Proving that this really *is* the stuff memories are made of.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Jake has caught the Christmas spirit. This morning he found a Santa hat, put it on his head, and told me..."this is what Santa looks like when he's surprised". Need I say more? Merry Christmas from Jake!
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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Who needs toys?

As Christmas draws closer, I am reminded of just how materialistic we get this time of year. The stores are crazy, people are crabby, and walking across the Target parking lot is only a good idea if you've got a death wish. Yet, in the midst of all this holiday craziness, I am brought back to the true meaning of Christmas, thanks to my baby girl.

Lizzy doesn't care about toys. I'll be honest..she doesn't have a lot of new toys (being the third child is tough) but she doesn't care. She is happiest when she is picking on her brother or sister, playing with the dogs, or even playing with a box.

The proof is in the pictures. I set an empty diaper box at the top of the stairs last night, hoping to remember to take it to the garbage before the garbage man came today. The box never made it outside.

Brad put Lizzy in the box, to keep her entertained while Lexi did her math homework. Lizzy thought she was the funniest kid in the world, and actually cried when I took her out of the box! Needless to say, I did not have the heart to throw the box, Lizzy's new favorite toy, out with the rest of the garbage this morning.
So I leave you with these thoughts: enjoy this Christmas with child-like enthusiasm. Don't get so wrapped up in what's inside the packages that you miss the true meaning of Christmas!

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Future Pop Stars

Whatever ideas you had about what my big kids might be when they grow up, you're about to change your mind. Yes, Lexi may appear to be the quiet, shy one, but once you watch this video, you will have a different idea. And yes, Jake is always a clown, and this video just reinforces that. And no, for the record, I do NOT approve of how my nine year old is shaking her hips! Keep in mind, this was shot on Friday night...the beginning of a very long weekend of being snowed in. So if you think they're goofy here, imagine what they were like by this morning!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Jake's Christmas Wishes

Being on tv is no big deal for my kids...they don't get excited anymore. Apparently the same is true when it comes to being on the radio. For the second year in a row, Jake was chosen to be on KidSpeak with Phil Parker. I should tell you that KFYR radio and KFYR-TV are completely separate now, so he is not chosen because he's my kid. Well, maybe he is. Phil said he got a kick out of Jake, and it was refreshing to hear a kid ask for something other than video games for Christmas. As we listened, Brad and I worried this converstation might go to a bad place, but Phil was in charge of the conversation, and suggested ears over another body part. Just listen..and it will make sense!

And for the record, we ARE going to a football game...we picked the Vikings and will be at the December 21st game in Minneapolis. We are so is our family Christmas present (sorry, no Wii or big screen tv this year!). And.. don't everyone run out and buy Jake books.. I got it covered!

Finally, thanks to Pauly for getting this clip to work! I've been trying for weeks... and it took him a few minutes. It's good to have smart friends!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Fashion Diva

This is going to be embarassing for Lexi, but in a few years, it will be much more embarassing for I'm going to post these pictures for that reason. I hope Lexi will understand!

Lizzy's newest thing is dressing herself. She actually does amazing well, considering she's only 19 months old. You'll remember a few weeks ago she would wear only bikinis. Well, now we've gotten more in sync with the season, and these warm fuzzy pj's with feet are a new favorite. But a couple of nights ago, she took it one step further. Lizzy added a sock, and two pairs of panties. Now, I must tell you, the panties and the sock were all clean..they were sitting on top of Lexi's pile of laundry to put away. Lizzy absolutely loves to put on her sister's underwear, and apparently, the more the better. Lexi caught of glimpse of this outfit and quickly scolded her sister.."that's getting a little personal Lizzy". But she did not make her take them off. I think she knew that would just result in a fight, and she also knew eventually Lizzy would tire of the outfit and take it off.

She did eventually ditch the clothes..and went to bed in only a diaper. But it sure was fun capturing the moment! I love how she looks so proud of herself! Someone commented that it looks like a superhero outfit. Now THAT'S a scary thought... "Underwear Girl to the rescue!"

Finally, here's Lizzy's first attempts at shooting video (complete with Monday Night Football in the background!). I'm sure KFYR will be calling to hire her...

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Miss Basketball

I finally faced reality and retired from city league basketball this year. I'm glad I did. Lexi has caught basketball fever, and it is so fun watching her get excited about the game I love so much!
After six weeks of parks and rec ball she was asked to play on a traveling team. She and eight other fourth grade girls from three different Bismarck schools have formed the team called "Explosion". They've played in one tournament so far...and got blown away the first two games, but came back to win their third game by two points in the final seconds of the game! It was so exciting, and so nervewracking! I got a glimpse into what the future holds for me, as a nervous mom in the bleachers! Lexi is by far the tallest girl on the floor, and by the third game she was also one of the most agressive. No one scored on her.. she dominated the paint and got just about every rebound!

Explosion will play in a tournament in Mandan this weekend, three games in two days. When Lexi realized her games might interfere with Girl Scouts, she quickly decided to skip Scouts, not basketball. I was so proud! Then, on Sunday I offered to fix her hair for church and she informed me she could do it herself, because she "doesn't really care" what she looks like. I asked what happened to my little girl who used to love dresses, hair pretties and everything girly. She looked at me, and bluntly said "I'd rather be playing basketball." Now, I know she could just be kissing up because Christmas is coming, but if she keeps it up..she might just get everything on her Christmas list!