Monday, December 26, 2011

Our Christmas

Christmas baby
Nicky and Olivia
We really looked forward to Christmas this year because Andrew was able to understand pretty well the whole concept of visiting with family, Santa, and of course, presents. Also, it was our first Christmas as a family of four and we got to show off how big Olivia has gotten, so that was fun too. The plan was the same as the last few years, get going first thing Christmas Eve to spend the day at Nicky and Ken's house and drive back home so we could have a low key Christmas Day at home. It started out with Olivia sleeping a full 8 hours on Friday night and going back to sleep for a couple more hours after a quick feeding. I fed her again before we hit the road and like the wonderful, magic, sleeping baby she is, she slept the whole way there. Andrew ate his breakfast on the road and did a good job entertaining himself in the backseat.

Papa John, Maga Suzi, and Olivia
Olivia with Great Grandma and Great Grandpa
We got to the Bingham's late morning and the first thing Andrew wanted were Uncle Ken's monster trucks. He'd actually been asking about them all week as soon as I started telling him we would be going there. (I'm always impressed at the things Andrew remembers as the last time we were there was over the summer.) After a little while, Dad and Susan arrived to spend some time together and exchange presents. They were very good and didn't bring a boatload of toys this year, but gave some thoughtful and fun gifts. Andrew had a great time playing with Papa John and Olivia showed off in the new Christmas gear they gave her. They headed out after a couple of hours and part two began with Mom and John aka Uncle Bubba, and Amy. I'd have to say its a toss-up between Uncle Bubba, Papa John, and Papa (Andy) for who is Andrew's favorite play buddy. He always has a blast with each of them, and Christmas Eve was no exception.

Fist bump with Santa
Open my M & M's!
After Grandma, Grandpa, and Aunt Lisa arrived, it was time for a visit from Santa. Unfortunately, seeing Santa in person was a little scary for Andrew who did not want to get too close, except for when Santa was opening his M & M's. Olivia was having a fussy moment and wasn't too happy about seeing Santa either. Maybe next year!

Santa and Mom
Opening presents with Uncle Bubba
Having mysteriously gone missing while Santa was visiting, John reappeared and we started on the rest of the presents, 97% of which were for Andrew and Olivia. Andrew took a seat with Uncle Bubba and they opened all his presents together while I opened Olivia's. I didn't even see most of what Andrew got because Olivia had so many of her own presents to open! Obviously, these children are very loved (not that presents = love, but you could see how much fun everyone had picking out gifts and seeing them be opened). We were jonied by Ken's family and eventually dinner was ready (a great meal prepared mostly by Nicky with contributions by others). It had gotten pretty late, so once dinner was finished we packed up and hit the road. Thankfully Olivia slept the whole way home and Andrew slept most of the way and fell back sleep fast when we got home.

Christmas Day was a day to be in jammies all day and relax. We woke up around 8:30 - when Andrew got up, of course. Ann Marie arrived a little while later to have our celebration together. We made some breakfast and then it was time for more presents! Ann Marie (Mimi) got some good cuddle time in with Olivia while Andrew played with his new camera and truck. She had to go home after awhile for more celebrations and we continued our lazy day. Papa (Carl's dad, Andy) arrived after nap to join us for dinner. Andrew had fun showing him his new toys (only a few...I'm going to be rationing them out to keep things slightly sane). We gave Andrew his last few presents from us, he was really getting the hang of opening now, and had some more play time before getting ready for bed.

All in all, we had a great Christmas this year. Time spent with family and being fortunate enough to give and receive gifts, what more can you ask for! We're getting back in the swing of things today, although Andrew has asked "where's Santa?" and "more presents?". It will probably take a few days of explaining that we have to wait till next year for Santa to visit and bring presents again.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Moments to remember

It's only Tuesday and already we've had a few moments this week that I want to be sure to remember. Unfortunately I didn't get pictures or video because these were spontaneous little vignettes, but the stories are funny/cute on their own.

The first one was yesterday in the morning. Andrew is getting quite good with the potty so we try to give him plenty of opportunities to go. When he got up, instead of just changing his diaper I said let's go sit on the potty. Well, he decided his Special Agent Oso doll needed to work on potty training too. So Oso joined us in the bathroom and Andrew positioned him on the little potty then got on his potty seat on the big toilet. After successfully doing his business. Andrew got down and picked Oso up off the potty, checked out Oso's bottom, and told Oso "good job!".

Then in the afternoon, Andrew was playing nicely with his crayons, coloring and then pretending they were treats and offering some to me too. This treat sharing went on for some time. The crayons were still out when I had to change Olivia's diaper. We came back out to the living room a few minutes later to find Andrew hiding under the dining table eating a crayon! I'm not sure whether he was hiding under there because he knew he wasn't supposed to be eating crayons (we've had that discussion many times) or if he was imagining a secret fort or something that I could never imagine. Regardless, I got a kick out of it!

Today was another "caught in the act" moment when I was again in the other room for a few minutes tending to Olivia. It was very quiet and when I walked into the kitchen, I saw that the dogs' water bowls were empty and there were two rags on the floor. Andrew was also there with the mop, cleaning up the mess. He said, "Mommy, I'm cleaning." I reminded him that we don't play with the dog bowls and thanked him for cleaning up the mess.

One other cute thing from today was during yet another diaper change for Olivia. Andrew brought his step stool over and said, "I can change her." He really did try to help, but isn't quite capable just yet :)
getting the diaper ready

In addition to these fun memories from the last two days, I have some new fun Andrew quotes to share. Like most two year olds, you never know what is going to come out of his mouth!
"That sounds great!"
"I'll have a caramel mocha. That'll be it."
"This is my beer."
"(enter name here) can help us."
"What's wrong, Olivia?" (not funny, just cute that he cares when his baby sister is crying!)
"Great job, Mommy!"
"I'm so proud of you!"
"It's on Facebook"
"That's for grown ups"

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Easy Cheesy Crock Pot Chicken

For dinner yesterday, I ended up using items I had on hand to make a tasty cheesy crock pot chicken and it turned out great! The best part is there are few ingredients needed and you can easily adapt the recipe to your tastes. Here's what I did:

Easy Cheesy Crock Pot Chicken

2 lbs chicken breasts (mine was still partially frozen)
1 can cream of chicken soup (use reduced fat and low sodium for a healthier version)
2 cups cubed Velveeta (use less cheese or lower fat Velveeta for healthier version)
3 tbsp minced garlic (more or less to taste)
1/2 tsp ground mustard
Salt and pepper

Rice or noodles (I used egg noodles)


Place chicken in crock pot and season with salt and pepper. Add minced garlic and ground mustard. Pour in undiluted soup and cheese cubes. Set crock pot to high or low depending on how long you have until dinner time. After cheese is melted, stir contents of crock pot. Pull chicken apart with forks about an hour before eating.

Prepare rice or noodles and pour chicken and cheese over to serve. Serve with salad or veggies.

This was a really simple meal and tasted very good! It's not super healthy, but not bad either. As mentioned above, you can choose lower fat and lower sodium versions of some ingredients. You can also serve with brown rice or whole grain pasta for added fiber.