Thursday, December 31, 2009

(Way Overdue) Christmas Recap

I'll admit it: I've been ignoring the blog.

Why, you ask?  2 words: Christmas.

Yes, I know that's one word, but if I say the other one, you won't let me explain this one!

So first...CHRISTMAS...
Christmas time was crazy this year.  I'm not sure why.  At first, I thought it was because I didn't get started until late.  Sure, that had something to do with it.  But I didn't bake that much.  And Shane did a good chunk of the shopping this year.  We didn't send out cards (maybe we'll shoot for Valentine's Day Cards...but don't hold your breath).  The only other reason I can think of is trying to get everything settled for Lindsay's wedding too.

We had the usual family events: Sam's party (my nephew asked a few years ago if they could host a Christmas party a week or two before Christmas...tradition's stuck) and then Christmas Eve here.  Nothing too fancy, just appetizer type food after church.  Kids all leave in their PJs. 

Christmas morning was great.  The kids all had their new matching PJs (tradition).

We thought we would brave everyone unwrapping presents together.  The "babies" didn't get it.  So...they went back behind the gate and one-at-a-time, joined us.  Before we knew it...CHAOS!

(Next year should be QUITE interesting.)

Following tradition...we headed over to Shane's parents for the rest of the afternoon and then up to CT for some time with my parents.

One of the highlights from our time in CT was building a snowman...out of the smallest patch of snow the triplets could find.  Somehow, we forgot jackets for them.  So we layered them up with whatever we could grab and sent them out.

Ava patiently patted snow onto the strangest looking snowman I've ever seen the snowman for a long time.  Even Cole and Eli got into it.

Almost a month later, my mom sent a picture of their creation...a little thin...but still standing!

Thankfully, it wasn't until the last day that Cole discovered he could climb into the drysink in the sunroom-converted-to-a-playroom.

We went with it and attempted (unsuccessfully) to get a picture of the three.

Which leads me to the second reason I've been a blog-slacker...
I got an iPhone for Christmas.
What?  You couldn't read that?  Oh well.  =)
Yes, I'm addicted.
No, I'm not giving up blogging.
Yes, I think the new-ness has worn off and I've started showing my laptop some love again.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Three Elves on a Shelf

(I realize this doesn't appear to be the safest of activities, but rest assured, parental supervision was right there for these pictures and immediately afterward, removed elves from this shelf!)

I suppose this is why one purchases an "Elf on the Shelf" with a pre-painted smile.  Apparently, our littlest Elf has some job satisfaction issues.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It's Beginning to Look a lot like...


I'm not sure why, but I got a slow start to feeling the Christmas cheer this year.  Maybe it's the three two-year old, busy-bodies that are constantly getting into things and trying my last ounce of patience these days.  Or maybe it's the fact that Thanksgiving was "late this year".  (Is that even true?  I hear people throw that excuse around and, honestly, I haven't a clue what it means, but I'm looking for any and every reason why I have procrastinated.)  Or maybe it's because we skipped the traditional "day-after-Thanksgiving-Mom-and-Amy-put-the-Christmas-decorations-up" activity in lieu of a trip to the Children's Museum.  Whatever the reason, it took awhile for me to jump-start my jolly this season.

Saturday, the tree went up.  Shane and the big kids got all bundled up, grabbed the ax, headed up north to the forest, searched for hours, chopped down the perfect tree, tied it to the horses and trecked back to civilization.  Or...they drove up to Home Depot and bought it sight unseen.  Yes, the tree was already bundled and they didn't care.  They picked it up, paid the $30, tied it to the roof and headed home...5 minutes away.  Sunday was nice and rainy, perfect for putting ornaments on the tree.  Shane made a fire and got all comfortable...until I informed him that decorating the tree was a FAMILY event...not a Mommy and me thing.  Despite a few attempts to escape, everyone (above the age of 2) participated.

Another holiday favorite is Gingerbread Houses.  Zoe and Ty managed not eat all the candy and actually saved some to decorate their houses.  Check it off the list: Done!

No...haven't started the baking yet.  I planned on making my cookie list on Monday.  So, I pulled out the recipe box and grabbed a pen and paper.  About 2 minutes later, I was distracted by someone or something and stepped away...for a second or two.  When I came back, the entire contents of my recipe box (which, by the way, contains recipes written by my Granny) were covering the floor of the kitchen and family room.  Entire.  Box.  So...I haven't exactly made the list yet, I'm still trying to FIND the cookie recipes.

We did start a new tradition this year.  To some of you, it may not be so new: The Elf on the Shelf!

The kids love looking for "Jingle" every morning.  I tried to push for "Ferdi" as a name (that's our Nanny's fiance's name) but Ty thought I was making fun of him.  So we settled on "Jingle".  The only problem is...the kids don't believe in Santa.  So the novelty of Jingle telling Santa who's behaving and who's not...not working so well!

Only 9 more shopping days to go, Ladies and Gentlemen.  I better get going...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Glutton for Punishment

Saturdays, I love 'em!  They're my "sleeping in days".  Technically, Shane and I "take turns". But I'm sure if you ask him, it's not really "turns" as much as "Amy sleeps in".  Po-tay-toes/Po-taah-toes.  Even when he does "get up"...he sleeps on the couch.  Anyway...that's not the point.  The point is: Saturdays are great!  ESPECIALLY in the winter.  What's better then staying all cozy under the down comforter for a little bit longer...undisturbed?  Nothing!

So why did I decide to do the Franklin Lakes Reindeer Run on Saturday?  I'm a glutton for punishment, apparently!

Last year, Cool Shannon* and I ran it to kick off our prep for the Half Marathon in May.  This year, we're just another year dumber and thought it would be fun.

* For those who are not aware of the orgin of Cool Shannon's name...I'll explain another time.  She's a friend of mine.

Since neither of us were exactly "gung ho" to run it this year, we didn't register online...we decided to go early on Saturday and register at the door.  It was 34 degrees and cloudy when we left.

Pre-race...doesn't Cool Shannon (L) already look cold?
That's her daughter Emily (R) we dragged her along too!

After getting our numbers and shoe chips, we went to Starbuck's...breakfast of champions, my friends!

My goal wasn't really to "race" as much as it was to FINISH.  About a month ago, I rolled my ankle pretty bad while I was out on a run.  Not. Fun.  I've never (that I can remember) been in that much pain from an injury.  I sat on the side of the road for 15 minutes and begged God not to let me pass out.  So, here we are, about a month later, and it's still not 100%.  All braced up, my goal was to 1) finish, 2) not re-injure my ankle, and 3) not run slower than 10 minute miles.

Mission accomplished!

I came in at 29:27.  About 9:30/mile.  Without hurting myself!  Woo Hoo!

LOVE these girls (L to R: Kayla, Emily and Erin...all of which are 12-14)! They have so much energy and are fun to run with.  They all finished in about 27+.  Way to go, girls!

Even afterwards...Cool Shannon still looks cold!

Who's up for the run next year???

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Keeping me on my toes

Eli sure knows how to keep me on my toes...

...and keep Mr. Clean's Magic Eraser in business!

This is part of what I found when I came down from getting dressed yesterday morning.  I was seriously out of the room for all of 5 minutes.  Eli pushed a chair up to the counter, climbed up, and found my sharpies on the top shelf of the upper cabinets.  He then proceeded to draw a mural in the mudroom.  I calmly grabbed my Magic Eraser and scrubbed the marks off the hardwood floor, the tile, the cabinets, and the server.  I attempted to clean the wainscoting in the hall, but it didn't come off right away and I didn't feel like getting I left it.  I suppose it's nothing a fresh coat of paint won't cover.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Children's Museum

It's not news anymore (since I'm posting this in January 2010 and we went way back in November 2009), but I thought you might like a little taste of our time at the Children's Museum of NJ. 

It was the day after Thanksgiving...usually reserved for leaf raking, soup making and Christmas decorations.  For some reason, maybe the new, ultra-powerful leaf-blower that Shane "had to have", the yard was leaf-free before the sun went down.  As a matter of fact, it was cleared by lunch...before my mom and I got to the Christmas stuff.  Rather than relax, read the paper, or nap, we decided to pack up the whole gang and head out to the museum.

We got there with only an hour and a half to enjoy it (they were closing early for some reason), but a good time was had by all:

Shane had a good time admiring the exhibits too:

But by far, the biggest hit for Ava was the sand...

...she found it everywhere and played in it FOREVER...

I'm not sure we'll be going back, $10/kid is a bit much for the experience.  But it wore the gang out, that's what's important.  Also note: all the children were bathed and "disinfected" upon the return home.  Shane even went as far as washing down the kids' hands and faces before we drove out of the parking lot!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Knights

I love Thanksgiving.  Good food.  Good family.  Good football.  Great traditions!

We've hosted Thanksgiving for over 10 years, now.  It started way back in the townhouse when Mom and Dad lived in Illinois and would come east for the weekend.  Then we had our house, and "kids", and the guest list grew...and grew.  This year, we had 10 adults, 8 kids, and a dog.  Not bad considering 5 of those kids were mine!

Along the lines of tradition, Mom and Dad (Christgau) came down on Wednesday to help "prepare" for the day.  Zoe and I hung the "Thanksgiving Poster" for guests to write what their thankful for.  And Granddad took Zoe and Ty into Manhattan to visit his brother and sister and their families on Thanksgiving morning.  (That's always a huge hit with the kids.  They love the city and think they're so cool when they get to walk around and see the big buildings.)

(I love that the posters are getting less and less "doodley".  Sure, there are still 5 and 7 year olds that draw a few Spidermans and "Crazy Guys", but still...)

Nana and PopPop Higby had a special surprise for the big grand-boys this year.  PopPop had been working on swords for the boys for QUITE some time.  The boys were very excited.  But he and Nana added to the gift when they presented the swords to the boys on Thanksgiving.

First, Sam, Ty and Noah had to line up and stand still while they were given some helmets.

Then, PopPop began to read...

Be it known that on this day, Thanksgiving Day, November 26th in the year of our LORD Two Thousand and Nine that Sirs Samuel Michael Higby, Noah David Higby and Ty Douglas Higby are Knighted as Defenders of the Faith in the Kingdom of God under the Lordship of our LORD Jesus Christ, given great power through the life of the Holy Spirit within them.

Take these helmets, which represent the salvation which our LORD God has provided for us through His one and only Son, and these shields of faith by with which you are able to extinguish every sort of trick the enemy of our souls will hurl at you...

...and these swords, which represent the living Word of God.  Use them wisely, to protect yourselves and the ones you love.

Be strong in your LORD, and in His mighty power.  Stand your ground.  Stand firm with the armor and weapon the LORD gave.  Be strong and very courages.  Be careful to obey all the law the LORD your God has given you; do not turn from it to the right or the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.  Do not let the Word of God depart from your mouth: think abou it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything it tells you.  Then you wil be prosperous and successful.  Be strong and courageous. Don not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.  He will never leave you or turn is back on you.

Sammy, Noah and Ty - you are hereby entrusted as defenders of our faith on this most happy day of Two Thousand and Nine.

The boys LOVED their Knighthood.  I wish I had video'ed the knight-hood.  Ty gasped and "ooooh'ed" and "aaaaaaaaaah'ed".  His smile was bigger than I'd seen in quite some time (if ever).  He thought this was the best thing...ever!  We didn't see the boys most of the day.  The treehouse became Zoe's castle and they spent the afternoon defending her from innumerable dragons and "bad guys".

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Chapel

Despite all the efforts of the flu and strep throat, the 2nd graders at ECES were able to pull off enough practice time to put together a wonderful Thanksgiving Chapel on Tuesday.  For awhile there, we thought it was going to be a "review" chapel to be held AFTER Thanksgiving, since a good chunk of each of the classes were out sick.  But tradition won and the school and parents were entertained with a great presentation of the Thanksgiving story.

Little Miss Zoe did a great job with her line...
"It is November 9, 1620 when the Pilgrims land at Cape Cod, Massachusetts."
Hmmmm...interesting...I always thought they landed at Plymouth Rock...

Thank you, Miss Hulsebos!  You did a great job on your first chapel!  Thanks for helping our kids do their best.

Monday, November 23, 2009

NICU Reunion 2009

Has it really been a month since we went to the NICU reunion?
It was waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back on October 25th!
That's not because it wasn't fun!
Once a year, The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, where the triplets were born, has a reunion for any of the babies that had to stay there.  Last year, was our first year attending. It was fun, but our gang was a bit young and couldn't fully enjoy it.  PLUS, our main nurse, Cathy, wasn't there.
This year, the "babies" were so into it!


(Eli wasn't a big fan...)

Snacks (and even their first ever CapriSuns)...

and Pumpkin Coloring...

Halloween Costumes were optional.  And it was so fun to see some of the "sets".  These were my favorites:

In case you can't read their cartoon bubbles, they say: "I'm a Mac..." and "I'm a PC..."  So creative!  We, however, went subtle with the Rock, Paper, Scissors shirts (thanks Pam!)

And of course...before we left...we got to see Nurse Cathy!

She remembered each triplet...and knew their names.  We laughed about how she pegged their personalities from the start!  It was so good to spend some time with her and letting her know how well the babies have done.

A good great time was had by all!