You've already seen what Ethan can do on his bike — but check out what he's doing on his trike these days:
We built a platter for Santa, spread reindeer food in the back, and tucked the kids in bed. Greg and I breathed a collective sigh of relief, until….
this greeted us in the morning, right around 6 a.m.:
Yes. It really was like that. I remarked to Greg, 'Well, at least she waited until 6.' We made her go read until Ethan woke up — all of 5 minutes later.
The first big hit of the morning was Ethan's new bike, which he took to like a fish to water…
..and which was soon repurposed to retrieve an out-of-reach candy cane:
After the kids settled some, we had homemade bagels and coffee. Lots of strong, Zanzibar Blue Mountain coffee (Greg got me some for Christmas):
Once the bike wore off, Ethan turned to his new GeoTrax set, which took up most of the day. Even Vinnie got in on the action, freaking out about the train:
Laurel, on the other hand, spent most of the day in her room with her newly acquired Webkinz:
On the way home from our weekend celebration, Ethan grew restless with the drive and demanded to listen to No Phone. We already experienced this for about 20 minutes on the way down on Saturday morning, so we knew he would demand to hear it over and over. He's learned some of the lyrics, you see, and wants to show off his newfound confidence.
So we faded the stereo all the way to the rear and all the way over to the driver's side (the side where Ethan rides), set the track to repeat, and listened to the song over and over again.
But it was worth the 3 minutes and 51 seconds of peace. Repeated.
We traveled to the great southwest for the weekend to visit my family and enjoy some good food and good times.
Ethan quickly caught on to the spirit of the season:
Led, naturally, by his sister who is an old hat at this stuff:
Ethan rediscovered his love for corn on the cob, but only after complaining it was dirty and needed cleaning, and only after he wiped it clean with a napkin, and only after Grandma placed holders in the cob for him:
And we rounded it out by having our yearly children / grandchildren photo taken:
Last week we had our (first) big snow of the year. On Sunday we took the kids out in the back yard to play.
Ethan promptly fell, setting off the face-crumpling that I love so much. It makes me want to pinch his cheeks:
He recovered, and Greg took the kids out to try sledding with them. Laurel, staff in hand, looked on like a shepherdess watching her flock by night. Ethan was not a fan of sledding and demanded alternate accommodations (as he does frequently):
So Greg took him over to swing. That was the hit of the day:
It was bitterly cold, so Greg built a fire and we all gathered 'round:
I had another shot of the kids at the fire, but Vinnie ruined it in his own special way:
It was fun, but we were glad to get back inside. It was really really cold.
[background: Santa brought Laurel a fish last year for Christmas, which she named Ernest]
Greg: "You know, it's almost Ernest's birthday."
Laurel: "Yep. Christmas. I think we should call it Ernest-mas."
Saturday morning we headed out to a rural Christmas tree farm for our Christmas tree. We tried this place a few years ago when the pickings were too slim at Eckert's (our choice for all things which can grow on trees 'round here), and have been going to Meert ever since.
We love Meert. We love that dogs hang around there. We love that they have stoves they keep burning in the fields and at the main building so you can crowd around it for warmth. We love that we can get hot chocolate after tooling around looking for The Perfect Tree. We love that the people are so friendly. Most of all, we love it because it's become a tradition.
This year we decided to take the Malibu and stuff the tree in the trunk. In previous years we took the Murano. We either strapped the tree to the roof which required me to crane my neck all the way home to MAKE SURE IT DOESN'T MOVE (Greg's orders) or (last year) we stuffed the tree in the back of the Murano.
Ethan flatly refused to wear his hood or gloves, even though when we asked him if he was cold he nodded emphatically. It was probably 30 degrees out Saturday morning.
Whenever we find a tree, Greg must stand next to it so we can gauge its height next to his, lest we end up with a Griswold-esque monstrosity. Trees always look smaller in the field than in the house. Now don't get me wrong, there are plenty of Lampoon-worthy trees in the fields at Meert, but we chose to go with something smaller. It takes us forever to find the right tree because they're either too scrawny on one side, the needles are too brown, or they're too bushy at the base. Finally, in mock exasperation, I asked Greg how he would feel being rejected for any of those things.
Once home, we listened to the Elvis Christmas album and decorated as quickly as possible while Ethan napped. Whew. Now we can undo all of it again when Christmas is over.
Here are the photos — mouse over for the captions:
Welcome to the big 2-9, which is STILL 2-almost-3 years younger than I am. When are you going to catch up?
I hope you feel you've accomplished something and that you're happy in your place, even though things never turn out the way we think they will when we're young and stupid.
As far as I'm concerned, ye've done real good.
Here is the beginning of Greg in Photographic Revue: