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Christmas

back at it again

It’s Monday! Look at me I’m actually writing. We are still off from school and now that the holidays are over I’ve been gleefully organizing and putting my house back in order. It still looks like a bomb went off, but it’s mostly the regular play bomb. Not much of it is the influx of stuff that nobody knows where it goes bomb. Progress people!

We had a good Christmas. We did not do near the things we usually do. No looking at major light displays, we walked the neighborhood throughout the month instead. We didn’t get to baking cookies, but that also means we didn’t eat as many! I didn’t get all the decoration out and put up, but now I have less to put away.

We didn’t do shoe boxes or volunteering this month, which I was pretty sad about. However, we did still take the kids to buy presents for people other than themselves. It has been encouraging for me to see them learn to think about the person they are buying for as they get older. It started with buying the toy they wanted and reluctantly giving it to the other person, admittedly, we still do have some of that going on. Then we moved to buying the toy they wanted, but it’s the color the other person likes! This year there was some genuine thinking of other people going on. The older ones particularly were actually buying things they noticed another person needed or had expressed a desire to have. It was encouraging for me. Especially since we did not do any of the many opportunities to give as a family that are around during the season. We will go back to volunteering next month. Learning to give is better taught as a year long lesson anyway.

Now that the holidays are done, it’s back to the grind. We are due to renew all our medical checks and back ground checks and finger prints and the like for the adoption. It’s already been a year since we were doing all that. Then it’s back to grant applications and tax season! Yippie!! Where is that sarcasm font when you need it?

But lets have some fun first. Play a game with me!

What were the top three gifts you gave and got this year?

I’ll go first.

Top three gifts I gave:

  1. The apron for my little baker
  2. The calendar of funny photos for Caroline
  3. The Skyrim soundtrack for Bycemaster

Top three gifts I got:

  1. My new running shoes
  2. My fancy new metallic and watercolor pencils for my secret garden coloring book
  3. This shirt from Bycemaster (as he is fully bearded up once again!)women_s-once-you-get-go-beard-tank-top---black

Tag you’re it!

merry christmas

The Christmas season is officially over for this Byce family this year. It was an amazingly unstressful and even enjoyable Christmas season as far as these busy seasons go. Our house now looks  like an Apple commercial what with the two iPhones, iPod and now an iTouch (kids) and iPad (Neil) all we need now is the macbook air…anybody? But to counter all the screen time the big kids also got bikes and Jacob got a push/ride car. It was really fun watching the kids this year, I have a feeling it’s only going to get better.

A few highlights.

My mom LOVED the picture calendar we got her and her jewelry box, double win. I’ve never been so gratified with what we got her, our notoriously difficult to buy for person. Totally worth the time spent in creation.

Skyped in my sister for another year. Remember that part in the big ball ride at Epcot, where the grandparents are this holographic image on a screen for a kid’s birthday? Yeah every time we skype her in for an event, I feel like I’m on that ride. It’s the world of tomorrow. It just amazes me how the kids are so natural with it. Jena opens a present from Titi and the first things she does is bring it up to ‘Titi’ and show her what she got. Heck we forgot to do that half the time. Jacob was warming right up by the end of the event and kept coming up to the netbook to ‘chat.’ It was nice to have her there.

Grant managed to get a present that scares his sister at just about every Christmas this year, he finds this hilarious. Those in proximity of the ensuing screaming…not so much. I was getting flashes of my future with every ensuing scream.

I think my favorite gifts of the kids’, not that I’m playing with them…or anything…like that…really. Yeah, so my favorites are the interactive map of the United States for Grant and Jena and Jena’s dress up hanbok from Korea. I love that when Grant was playing with the map this morning he kept hitting all the states over and over and then looked up and said to me, but where’s Africa mommy? And watching Jena prance around in her hanbok and tiara and princess shoes was too fun. I was always Korea when we would do any sort of dance representing nations in my dance group, it’s really neat to see my daughter in the same type of outfit I wore.

I loved all my presents this year, but I think the best of all was the news that we have a renter, 100% official, lease signed. He will be moving in on the 22nd of January, which means we will be moved out 28days or less.

Merry Christmas to me.

snow beast

I got these jammies at our work clothing exchange when I was pregnant with Jacob. I thought they were cute and they were free, so double win! Plus I thought it would be nice for Jacob to have some of his own clothes (he ended up with almost a whole new wardrobe in every size anyway, but I didn’t know that yet).

Anyway, the first time we put them on him I saw the little bear on his butt and read snow beast. We all thought that was hilarious. Every time he wears them we all call him our little snow beat and he growls/screams accordingly.

Of course I later realized it actually says snow bear, whoops.

black friday at toys r us

So I went to toys r us on black Friday. I was actually blogging while I stood in the horrendously long line, you were going to get live blogging people! But my battery died, so sad for you. I still feel inclined to blog on my phone now though, so this should be interesting, double sad for you. Wait don’t leave!

I’m still not sure what possessed me to try black Friday at an actual store. I’ve done it online, do most of our Christmas shopping online anyway. But last night, while it was still technically thanksgiving (not it’s so early it still feels like the day before, but 9 something or other PM thanksgiving day), found my sister in law and me a couple thousand deep in a line that started at toys r us, waiting for the doors to open at 10 o’clock.

As we were walking with the throngs of people to add ourselves to the end of the line, I posted a typoed status update intended to say I was not sure if I was up for what I’d just got myself into. I didn’t know the half of it yet.

Not to long after we got there, 10 o’clock came and we assumed they opened the doors, we were wrapped around too many buildings to actually see it happen. We started moving forward and not even half way there, the line stopped. Apparently the store was filled, already.

We stood in line for almost two more hours. Oh but we did move again in those two hours, twice! Maybe even 10 yards one of time, ok maybe that’s a stretch.

SPOILER ALERT, we never made it into the store.We were still a couple hundred people from the store when we left. If more than half the line didn’t leave the way we did, I’d estimate we had another two hours before we could start shopping.

We walked outside the line to see the front of the store before we left. They had cops maintaining the peace and the entire front entrance was barricaded by store employees, including a guy standing in the automatic doors to make sure no one snuck in. Crazy.

It wasn’t until the next morning, when Neil came home from the morning sales, that I realized we probably would have been in line another hour to get out of the store as well. Very happy we left, also happy we went.

Next time, if there is a next time, I will have a full battery on my phone. Mercifully I was not alone in the cold.

As my sister in law laughingly said when we got home, it was a bonding experience. So true, and next year, we can find a new way to bond.

decorating the tree

We put up the tree this weekend. I am amazed at how fun it was. I’d forgotten, since I’d ‘grown up,’ how much fun things can be when you aren’t under pressure to do them. I feel like instituting a new tradition around here, Christmas in November. So far we’re off to a good start on the holidays!

The big kids helped me decorate the tree. Jena was putting every ornament on the same branch, but Grant, our resident decorator, was really getting into it.

Tonight when I got home he informed he had continued to decorate the tree today.

This is what I found.

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