Thursday, December 30, 2010

We Wish You a Merry Christmas

Christmas has come and gone. You wouldn't know it around here at this point. Everything is still up awaiting removal; how to find the time to do it is what I ask myself. Little by little, it'll get done. We had a great Christmas this year. Kind of a Christmas "light" really. Heavy on activities and light on presents. The kids didn't seem to mind. The older two will probably remember the experiences more than the toys anyway. But the toys they did get sure are fun!

Grandma celebrated with us early and that was exciting as always. The kids loved the presents from her, and it was a good way to ease into the gift giving of Christmastime. Grandpa was thoughtful to send children's books (that I love) and gift cards, which we opened Christmas Eve. Granny and Granddad were so generous this year, giving the kids Pillow Pets and a play tool bench, among other gifts. Boy, I tell you, those Pillow Pets were a hit! Santa also brought each kid a gift and filled the stockings too. How nice of him. Wink, wink.

We were fortunate to speak on the phone with Granny and Granddad a few times on Christmas day and to see them on the webcam (and they us) for gift opening. No one could have known it would be Granddad's last Christmas. What a blessing to have shared it across the miles.

So here are a few pictures from our Christmas days...



This is Jolly. Our Elf on the Shelf (there's a whole back story you can look up on the internet). I was desperate three days into winter break and looking for a quick fix to all the squabbles going on between my three unruly ones. Well, Jolly didn't really pull his weight. Perhaps we got him too late in the season? Next year, I expect Jolly to deliver and give me the sweet children I deserve through the usual tactic of striking fear in them of being placed on the Naughty List. Go, Jolly, Go!



We built a gingerbread house.


Ours looks exactly like the one in the picture, doesn't it? It's uncanny! (Food stylists, we are not.)


We made cookies for Santa and set out milk too, plus a carrot for the reindeer. (Sammy thought the carrot was a weapon. I didn't include any of those shots.)





Saying "Merry Christmas" maybe? Sammy is a ringer for Billy Idol in this shot, don't you think?


Lucy also wrote a very nice letter for Santa, drew pictures, and made and wrapped a few presents for him. If you click on the photo you can see what she wrote.


Here's the very large and fun card Lucy made at school for us.


Santa came!


Stockings full too.


Paul hanging out with Stimpy.


They are ready for Christmas to begin!


Annabel was quick to note that Santa had left a few bites for them. Mmmmm.





A Zhu Zhu pet!


Kids helping Daddy open one of his presents.


Beyond thrilled about the Pillow Pets and talking to Granny and Granddad on the phone about it.











Pulling Christmas crackers after dinner.


Wearing our crowns.


Our fabulous reader Lucy took charge of reading all the Christmas cracker jokes.


Tool bench and more Zhu Zhu pet fun!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Paul's Dad


This morning Paul's dad passed away. He was a wonderful man who will be dearly missed. We are thankful that we got to see him and Granny via webcam for part of Christmas dinner and for some gift opening. The kids love interacting with their grandparents in England. Please keep Paul and his family in your thoughts.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Weekend in San Francisco

For the very first time we took a trip to San Francisco to see the City during the holidays. Our friends have done it a few times with their kids, and we thought it was such a great idea that we'd try it now that Sammy is old enough to travel a bit more easily. It was action packed, and the photos will show all that you can fit in in just two days. It was a merry trip to celebrate the best Christmas we've had yet!

We took BART into the City. Lucy and Annabel were super excited: Lucy's second ride and Annabel's first. We will be riding again soon I think.


The hotel's gingerbread village had a kid-operated cable car.


At the Union Square Christmas tree, a white fir from Mount Shasta.


All of us!


Paul and Sammy with the Grinch.


The girls and I went ice skating on the square.


It was a little rainy. Well, a lot rainy but we still had a great time.


Sammy hung out with Daddy. Sam kept asking for the Grinch. I think they were stalking him a bit because of Sammy's fascination.


Paul and Sammy


We took a break before dinner to lounge on the comfy beds.


Lambie as hat.


Union Square at night.


Beautiful!


The next day waiting to ride the cable car.





Lunch at the Rainforest Cafe at Fisherman's Wharf (unplanned but really fun!).


It's like dining in an amusement park ride, complete with animals and lots of jungle noises, which Sammy thought were a tad loud by the looks of it.


On a pier.


Sea lions


Dancing on the pier.




And singing too.


Sammy and me. Alcatraz in the bay behind us.


Sammy's favorite: flying!




Santa visit at Boudin Bakery's Wharf restaurant. He was the best Santa!


Cable car ride back over the hill.


Our one souvenir, a sourdough candy cane.