Until then, you will have to settle for my crazy, "what have we been up to the last month" picture post...chock full of 27 random pictures that aren't really related, but I am going to do my best to tie it all together.
Mike went to a movie with a friend tonight and all four of my children are in bed. One can only hope I get through this before Jack decides sleeping is overrated and he would rather help me.
So, here is goes....
Charlotte attended her first gymnastics party last month. I wasn't able to attend, but Mike said she had a blast. That and she loved wearing a leotard like her big sis.
Preschool pick-up as been rough lately. Charlotte loves school so much, she hates leaving. I often have to carry both Charlotte and Jack out to the car, with the former screaming her head off. Thankfully I have found a solution.... (see next picture)
Reeses peanut cups. Yep, I am that mom. I bribe her out of school with a treat. And it works. The first day, I brought it in and let her see it and carry it out to the car, all while telling her I would open it when she was buckled in her seat. Now, I don't even need to bring it in with me, but sometimes remind her it is waiting for her in the car. Most days she walks out nicely. My lower back and blood pressure have been helped by this solution. Carrying a 33-pound screaming toddler plus a 15-pound infant is no easy feat.
She loves holding Jack. She sits down on the floor, holds her arms out and says "Got you" whenever she wants to hold him. No idea where it came from, but she knows we know exactly what she means by it.
Meet "Swim." Our elf on the shelf. It seems as if everyone has an elf these days, and a question that often comes up is the name of your elf. Of course, I always have to explain the story behind our elf's name, as it isn't your typical "Sparkles" or "Elfy."
One night this past summer we were eating dinner, and one of the older kids asked Charlotte what her name was....Charlotte is usually the entertainment at our meals, and she knows this. She has developed such a sense of humor, and we all love the giggles she brings to our family meals. On this particular night, even though Charlotte knows what her name is, she thought she would be funny to answer "swim." The older two kids thought this was a riot, and belly laughed at the answer for a good ten minutes. They then went on to ask her what her favorite color is, how old is she, etc...and each time she answered "swim." This continued for weeks after, weeks turned into months, and now, still to this day, if you ask Charlotte her name, she will answer swim, and then laugh hysterically.
When our elf made his appearance this December, he held a note, that simply said "What is my name?" To which, upon reading, Will immediately answered, "Swim!"
This is Swim. Pesky little fella.
I have no good pictures from our Christmas tree hunt. It was cold. Really, freakin' cold...like zero degrees. The entire experience lasted all of ten minutes and wasn't real memorable. But, we did it.
Christmas tree decorating was much more enjoyable. In fact, Charlotte loved it this year. She has been putting ornaments on and taking ornaments off the tree for the past few weeks. And, if she can't get them to hang on the tree, she just tosses it in between the branches. While watering the tree last week I found about ten ornaments resting on a few branches about 2 feet off the ground.
Gluten-free cookie baking. We all stayed in our jammies all day one Sunday and baked a variety. Yum.
My Christmas shopping buddy. I welcomed the two mornings a week Charlotte was in school to get all the shopping done with just one kiddo in tow. A quick Jack update: he is developing quite the little personality, and we are all having a ton of fun with him. He loves to eat (growls at you if you are eating and he isn't), getting up fours and rocking back and forth and will probably be mobile soon. He still hates sleeping, and cries if I am in the room and not holding him, but it is still a definite improvement from his early months.
Due to some craziness going on at Aunt Kate's house, I recently had to take over the gluten-free muffin baking (Charlotte's favorite food). Even though I thought I followed the recipe and made them exactly like Aunt Kate, Charlotte refused to eat them. I tried for a week; she would smell them, lick them, take a small bite, and then give it to Sophie. In an effort to keep the dog's weight down, Kate said she would make a batch for us. We are grateful. Kate is probably going to have to make a batch of pumpkin muffins each week for the rest of her life.
I got a new phone. And a new phone case. I love it.
Christmas shopping with my girls for my boys. We split up every year; this is the first year the numbers have been even.
MaryAnn's birthday party was last week. For two months every year Katherine and MaryAnn are the same age...not anymore!
"Got you" with Tucker, though Tucker doesn't sit still quite as well as Jack.
The obligatory yearly Santa visit. Charlotte talked about ho-ho, and pointed at him, but when it was time to walk up to him, she dropped the ground and sat five feet away and watched. We didn't even try with Jack....I wasn't up for the "crying kid" Santa picture, so we stuck to the two who we knew wouldn't scream.
Boys in matching shirts. I love it, and love them. My twins born five years apart.
Visiting great-grandma last week.
We don't get to see our friend Max very often as he and Charlotte have preschool on opposite days, however, due to his Christmas break starting early we were able to have a playdate. Charlotte doesn't often play with kids her own age yet; she still is in the "parallel play" stage...however, this isn't true with Max. I love watching them, as they converse with each other, and she plays with him like I haven't seen her do with other kids before.
No real story behind this pic, she was waiting for her PT and found this horse to ride.
Watching Katherine and Will's Christmas concert.
One of Will's Christmas presents. He is going to love it.
Enjoying those cookies we made.
Will's school Christmas party.
Charlotte's Christmas present. She is going to love it. I can't wait. (And special thanks goes to my lovely husband who gave up three nights to put together this beast...73 steps later...)
I can't tell you how much I love these four. The Christmas season is so much fun through the eyes of children, and we are blessed to experience it with them.
We got home a few hours ago from visiting Mike's family up north for the weekend. Tomorrow, Christmas Eve, we are headed to Kate's to spend time with my family. Christmas Day we will be home, just our little fam, opening gifts, eating pancakes, and spending the day in our jammies while enjoying each other's company. Christmas pictures to come.
Merry Christmas to you all!