Share Your Christmas Fun Ideas

I'm ramping up for a month of fun in December. I'm excited to have a kid old enough to enjoy the holiday season and I want to play! I'm trying to come up with ideas of things to do and need your help!! Please share with me your favorite family Christmas ideas. Here are some categories to get you thinking:

Movies (TV specials)
Early gifts (decorations, toys)
Outings (that's the big one - stuff like temple square lights - what's out there that I've never heard of or haven't thought of in ten years?)

Thanks everyone!

Nativity Re-enactment 2008


That's Creative

The kids got creative for Halloween. They made a gingerbread "house", except that if it were to be a house, it would've been my project, so instead they made gingerbread cookies. After gobs of mess on the kitchen table, we moved upstairs and painted the tub with frosting.

What's the difference between a 3-yr-old and a 1-yr-old? About 2 pounds of mess.

We had our first snow of the season two days ago. Austin and Anthony went out to play and this is what they built.

Austin has beaten me to the punch - he wrote a book. His creativity also included writing it on post-it notes in green ink in some form of Swahili. But here's the interpretation... (if you compare this video to the one of Austin's tonsils, you'll notice his voice has changed. Less nasally and higher pitched.)

The full story is as follows. Look for it in stores near you:

Once There Was A Spider

Once upon a time there's an Austin and a mommy and there's a scary spider named Ruthie. And she scared mommy. And the spider walk walk walk to mommy. And the spider went up to mommy's head and the spider pulled mommy's hair out of her head. And mommy said, "Oh spider, spider. Where's my hair?" And the spider said, "It's right here in my hand." And my spider friends want their hairs. And mommy said, "Guys, I want my hair back! I want my hair back! I want my hair back!" And the spider said, "Ok. Ok, ok, ok." And the spider get the hair on mommy's head. And the spider get mommy's hair on her. And she drove. And the spider and mommy drive, drive to my house and the spider drive to my house too. And mommy and the spider drive the fastest. And Ruthie and Austin go to work at their office. The End.


Playing Together

Don't you love it when your kiddies play together? Austin and Ruthie recently discovered yet another game they both enjoy - WALL*E! Austin and Ruthie spent half and hour making trash in Austin's WALL*E box. Ruthie fed the trash in and Austin crushed it. This appealed both to a 1-year-old's love of putting objects into containers and a 3-year-old's love of imaginative play.



31... years ago (last month) Heidi J. was born.

My little clone was born 30 years later. Is she me, or what?

5... years ago (2 weeks ago) the J Fam began.

31... years ago (last week) Anthony J. was born.


My Tonsils Are In The Trashcan

Here's the whole tonsil history. Mid June, Austin started waking up 5-6 times a night crying, sounding like he'd just had a nightmare. We often laid down by him to comfort him back to sleep. That's when we noticed that his breathing often sounded like this:

In August Austin had his well-child check up where a very exhausted mother complained about his poor sleeping patterns to the doctor. He suggested it might be sleep apnea. We followed up with an ENT who said that his tonsils were definitely large and getting them out would significantly improve his breathing. (To help you decode this picture, his tongue is in the foreground and you can see the uvula almost dead center.)

We scheduled surgery for three weeks later. In the mean time, I did my best to prepare my little man. We checked out a handful of books from the library about hospitals (Froggy Goes to the Doctor, Franklin Goes to the Hospital are both highly recommended). When I saw this Halloween costume and doctor kit at the store, I couldn't resist getting it for him - in an attempt to create a positive association with all the paraphernalia. His cousins were very willing patients and nurses.

Austin did great at the hospital. He was very nonchalant about the whole thing. He was super excited to get his name bracelet, and quite content to watch TV while he waited. I can't help wondering just how much he remembered from being there almost exactly one year ago for ear tubes. (Which fell out just before his surgery and which dropped Austin's ear infection rate from 7 the previous year down to 0 last year). On the left, Austin 1 year ago for ear tubes. On the right, the recent tonsil surgery.

15 minutes before surgery, they gave Austin an oral tranquilizer, which basically made him drunk. It was hilarious to watch him try to sit up like his arms and legs were two sizes too long. We had to put the bed rails up to make sure he didn't fall off. Too bad I didn't get video of that.

The surgery went quick and one hour later we heard him crying as they carried him back down the hall to us. He cried loudly for about 20 minutes, then fell asleep in my arms. When he woke up an hour or so later he was groggy, but great. The next day he seemed almost back to his old self. He was a little more aggressive that first week, which I attribute to the pain killers making his head foggy so that he really didn't "know his own strength." And for 5 days his voice sounded like he'd been sucking helium. I tried to get some comparison video, but the helium sound is a little harder to hear on video. Video 1: The night before surgery, grandma came over to give Austin a Woody doll to take to the hospital with him. Video 2: A few days later.

Austin is now 6-weeks post-op and doing great. I'd throw in video of his breathing now, but he breathes silently now, so there'd be nothing to hear! I'm so glad we did the surgery. He breathes so beautifully now and he wakes up only once a night (sometimes zero). When you ask Austin what happened to his tonsils he reports, "The doctor threw them in the trash can."


Do You Dressup?

I think adults with trick-or-treat aged kids should take full advantage of the creative opportunity! I've discovered that I enjoy creating a theme around Austin's costume choices. (Ruthie should've been BullsEye to coordinate, but I had to dress her as a Baby Ruth candy bar while I still could!) Last night Debbie and I discussed that the reason we get into dressing up is all thanks to Tarl. Tarl's costume enthusiasm is contagious.

Do you dress up? What are you going to be? Or what would you be if you were cool like that?


Lost Comments - Ya, Yeah, Yea

I know when I have comments because I get an email telling me so. After changing over my blog I apparently messed up that setting. I just discovered I had comments tonight. What a glorious feeling to go from wondering, "where is everyone?" to realizing they were all there the whole time. Ya friends.

Ok, so does anyone know the proper use of Ya, yay, yeah and yea? I just throw them out at random. It's one of the big grammatical hurdles I've never mastered.

And if you're wondering how to switch over your blog (Rachel), just go to Settings -> Publishing. Then change the address to something like "portalj1". Then immediately create a brand new blog with the old address "portalj". Make the old one private and start publishing on the new one. Voila!


Ruthie and Finger Foods

Ruthie has taken the next step in finger foods: feeding other people. Lately she's finding more pleasure in stuffing other people's chompers than her own. Like most young families, Heidi brings to church a veritable stash of crackers, fruit snacks, goldfish, and anything else that will keep them busy during sacrament meeting. Today when she divvied out the bags of goldfish to Austin and Ruthie, Ruthie just sat in my lap, fished out a goldfish and stuffed it in my mouth, then fished out another, stuffed it in my mouth... It kept her entertained for a good 5 minutes.


Worst Hour of The Day

Announcements (blah, blah): I've wrapped up my third year of blogging. Yea me! In the interest of blogging security, I've moved all my old content to a private blog and am starting fresh. Anthony has decided to start being part of our little family journal by chiming in with witty comments - hint, hint.

Do you ever find yourself staring down the clock, urging on each minute, waiting for a better moment just around the next 'toc? When that time arrives for me, 4pm is most often the culprit. My blood sugar is low as I try to hold out till dinner, my kid fun ideas are used up, TV time is long past exceeded and the father of said kids isn't due home for 2 more hours. So I retreat into semi-coma mode. A child's bed becomes my cave as I hibernate the dreaded hour away with an occasional eye looking over at my (please be pleasant!) little ones. When the liberation of 5pm arrives, my second wind kicks in knowing the end-of-day process can begin.

What is your worst hour of the day and how do you deal with it?