First, here is a before/after shot.
It may not look like much here....but that is because when we were wrapping, we were smart and wrapped some things together....for example - we wrapped three monster trucks in one package. (Santa's elves were very busy this year and they couldn't do as much as they normally do!!!)
So we get through the CHAOS of unwrapping gifts. Not only that but my family decided to do a "video conference" with my brother and my sister (at my mom/dad's house) ... so we had my computer running the whole time so they could see us unwrapping our presents and we could watch them unwrapping theirs in Wisconsin. Technology is amazing. I have to say I thought the WebCam was going to be cheesy ... but it was REALLY very cool!!! I haven't seen my nephew since he was a baby and he's 3 ... so I got to see him which was so fun and my niece I have never met I got to see .... plus....my sister's kids...Kiersten, Samantha and Dawson, I haven't seen in at least 4 years....all are SOOOO big now....and I couldn't believe it! Anyway, that was a fun thing for me this year and it meant a lot to see them all on a holiday I haven't spent at "home" in a long time.
The Fisher Price kid's digital camera. He LOVES taking photos with it - he is even sleeping with it tonight (I actually got him to STAY IN HIS ROOM tonight by threatening to take it away ... YAY!!!) :) <-- Smile!!!
The girls favorite toys are (and I don't have pictures yet - I'll post some tomorrow) are these Princess shoes - there is like 8 pairs plus these tiaras (very cool) and shopping carts. Not to mention the huge kitchen that has real-sounding microwave and oven and stove (yes, it takes 12 - and I'm not joking - 12 - batteries). They love the play food and have been making us "ice cream cones" and "pizzas" all day.
However....they (all three of them) were AWFULLY cranky today. First they were up late yesterday. We went to a 7:00 service at church and didn't get home until almost 9:00 - which is way past their bedtime. And then they were up pretty early. Little miss Avery does not stay in her crib anymore (we have to convert their cribs this coming weekend into BEDS....UGH!!!!!) so she wakes up and then either wakes her sister up by poking her arms into Addie's crib, or ...she has actually learned how to climb up and INTO Addie's crib. (MORE ON THAT LATER!!) Anyway, they hardly napped today and with all the new toys...I think they were just in meltdown-overload until they finally couldn't fight it any longer....Avery fell asleep on her floor, Addie in her bed, and Zach with an open book, his camera, and a car in his arms.
Collectively they also LOVED this toy that my friend from Chicago, Lori, sent them ... it's one of those view finder projector things - THANK GOD FOR YOU LORI is ALL WE HAVE TO SAY!!! First, we told them they had to wait until it got dark to try it Well the SECOND (and I mean second) it was dark, they ran upstairs begging for us to do the slide show. THEY LOVED IT! Sam moved the projector around the walls of the room and all three of them screeched with laughter as they chased butterflies, and spongebob, and the Backyardigan characters around. We were laughing so hard. Very cute. It was probably the only 30 minutes of the day where NONE of them were being fussy at ALL.
So my excitement of the day started when we were almost done opening gifts...I had already opened most of mine and I had gotten a new laptop bag - which was the one thing on my list because I'm using my "Merchants Terminal" laptop bag and as much as I love my company, they didn't have "girls in mind when they designed this thing! I like to have pens, my files, stapler, a calculator --- all that kind of stuff because I'm back and forth to DC so often. Anyway - because of all the stuff we got for our 5 kids this year, we had a pretty strict limit on what we were going to spend on each other. Sam knew I wanted GPS (because I'm forever getting lost) but it's really not a "necessity" because ....well, I should just learn to read map (for Heaven's sake, I'm the Director of Logistics for a Transportation company!!) Anyway, halfway through present-opening, he hands me this card, and on the inside it reads:
Head Northeast to a closet, not a typical one; to a place where lately a lot of work has been done.
I started to the bathroom - though I didn't necessarily associate that with a "closet" because as many of you have know - that's been my "special project" I've been working on remodeling it with Sam's help. (((I'm just in the last stages of refinishing the cabinets.))). Anyway, in the "water closet" as it turns out, there is another card. It reads:
Continue Northeast where even more work is done; a place where we sometimes also like to have fun. Searching, playing, watching and answering the phone; it's a place where Merchants Terminal calls on one of their own.
So of course, I head up to my office. There I find another card/clue..... and it reads:
Now head due west on your final present quest; some might say what comes last is best. This is a place where a few toys call home as they circle the island to find new land to roam.
Now I head to Zach's room.....his train table has "SODOR Island" and in the drawer is 4th card .. which says:
Travel southeast, finally a place to find your gift. An area to season, bake, saute and sift. A tool to find your way, a place to be, but more importantly find your way back home to me. ALSO NOTE: INSIDE THIS CARD he has also picked out the get out of jail free card from Monopoly and added a note which reads - this might come in handy in February. Verrrrrry FUNNY, Sam! :)
So of course I head into the kitchen .... and he does the hot/cold until I find......... GPS? NOPE. A Virgina map. With a bow around it. Very funny joke, right? Well of course he could see the disappointment because he tells me to keep going, and we continue on the hot/cold, until I find my REAL present.....and it's GPS! WOOOHOOOO!!!!!! And not only is it GPS, but it's also MP3 player! That was so awesome!!!!!
Anyway, aside from the kids being in complete meltdown most of the day (lol), we really had a nice time just being together. We ate, napped, played ... (didn't work) .... can't ask for much more than that.
Here's a couple other pictures from the night before - we went to a candlelight Church service at our neighbors Church, which was so nice. The kids did so well in the church nursery we got to enjoy the entire service without being paged once. We really felt in the Christmas spirit after leaving there - between the sermon and the "classic" Christmas carols - both in English and in Latin - it was wonderful. (Our neighbors both sing in the choir and Jen, if you're reading this - I can absolutely tell you love to sing. You smiled the whole time.)
So now back to Avery. She does not want to stay in her crib. She climbs in/out. She's very disruptive to Addison who just wants to SLEEP, poor thing. I walked in there earlier today, Avery was sitting behind Addie with her arms around her (she was in her own crib when we left her) and you could tell that she was trying to soothe Addie - but all Addie wanted to do was sleep. So.............we are going to have to break down and turn their cribs into beds. DARN IT! :) I was hoping to wait awhile longer.
Anyway, I think that's all my news/photos for now. We'll have more, but it's 11:00, and I'm really just WIPED OUT.
I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas, and that Santa was as good to you all as he was to my family!