Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Christmas 2009

We celebrated Christmas multiple time this year - first in Houston, just the 3 of us. Then, we went to Michigan. In January my parents came to Houston for a "3rd" Christmas (I'll post pictures of that later.) Lincoln will probably grow up thinking it's normal to celebrate several times, but as I adore Christmas time, I say the more times we celebrate, the better!! :) It was really fun to have a White Christmas up north, to be able to visit with both families, and enjoy our last holiday as a "family of 3" before our sweet baby is born.

Christmas in Houston

Before we left we did our own family Christmas at home as we've done the past few years. But instead of picking up dinner, or cooking (in the past we've done We went out to dinner, then came back to open gifts. Lincoln got a tool set (his favorite gift) some bath toys, a foam sword (Yes, I only bought one...being a girl, it did not occur to me to buy 2, so he could sword fight with someone. Andrew immediately caught this disparity, but since Christmas I have been unable to find another one. I'll keep looking :) The funniest part, however, was that a few weeks earlier Linc had seen "Spike Jr. Dinosaur" on display at Target and declared that he really wanted one. It walked, roared, laughed, etc. (He's been very into Dinos lately.) I then did something I swore I'd never do - I became that parent who tried to track down "the it toy" for Christmas. Of course, every store was sold out by this time. But on a 3rd round of calls (yes, I spent a whole day at work not billing, trying to find this silly dinosaur) I struck gold at a Toys R Us. They had one returned! So I leave work early to rush over there and buy it. I got caught in a freak rain storm and spent 1 1/2 hrs on the highway attempting to get home, due to traffic accidents. BUT STILL, I HAD TRIUMPHED. As I glowered in traffic I glanced at Spike and felt justified - Lincoln would be so excited! I couldn't wait for him to open it. So, imagine my surprise when Lincoln opened Spike, we got him out of the box and turned him on, and Lincoln burst into tears. He leapt into Andrew's lap yelling "no, no, no, scary. Put him back." Humph. As I write this entry (3 months later) Spike is still sitting on a shelf, barely played with.
Christmas in Michigan
We had a fun, busy trip up North. We spent time in Battle Creek and Grand Rapids, saw tons of family, and loved watching all the little cousins play together. We especially loved watching Linc interact with all of his cousins. (Lincoln thought Gaines was the coolest person on earth and also enjoyed playing with Ana, Maddux, Mya, Braylon, Riley, Carter, and Morgan.) They all kept us laughing! Linc and Ana both loved to dance, and turn on every single Hallmark Christmas toy that made noise in Grandma and Grampa's house (and they had the end of our visit, all the adults were a little sick and tired of hearing "Frosty the Snowman" or "Grandma got run over by a reindeer." But not the kiddos! The 110th time was just as hilarious as the 10th.) They loved playing with all of the toys down in the basement, and even tried their hand at baseball on the Wii (Gaines was old enough to begin to get it...Lincoln just liked to swing the controller around :) Andrew, Lincoln, Gaines, Ana, Shawna, Will, Steve and Brandon also went sledding. Lincoln thought the sledding part was fun, but didn't like falling in the snow. Gaines and Ana, however, were ALL OVER IT. They all looked so cute bundled up.

Here are some pictures that captured our trip -

The last Christmas morning just the three of us!

"GG" bought all the great-grandkids matching Christmas outfits...and we managed to get all of them in one photo (but not all looking at the camera, of course!) (Except Maeley, who was in Georgia with her other grandparents.)
And on the Leeser side (minus Maeley):
Love my "sista" Shawna!

Linc with his great grandpa Leeser (86):
Linc and Gaines - Best Buddies!
We love Uncle Brandon! (Next Christmas, Brandon will be deployed in Iraq, so it was especially good to be able to spend this holiday with him.)


This was also the first year that Linc started to understand some Christmas traditions. We had not talked much about Santa, figuring that he was still a bit young to care. But boy were we wrong; apparently they talked A LOT about Santa at his school. On Christmas Eve, as he was going to bed, Lincoln asked "Santa will come because I've been a good boy? Will I get presents?" When we assured him that was correct he said "Good - because I want a reindeer." We tried to explain that Santa didn't leave reindeer under the tree, but he wasn't disuaded. He then declared that we should go to the North Pole to "visit the deer" like "Pooh and Piglet did." (A Winnie the Pooh Christmas special had aired recently, stoking this desire :)

"2nd Christmas" in Houston

In early January, Grandma and PJ came to visit and have Christmas with Lincoln. By this time, he was a pro opening gifts. He loved his Melissa and Doug puzzles, playdough set, and set of fake food and a knife that he could cut. (who knew that slicing wooden zucchinis and loaves of bread could be so exciting to a toddler? But it was!) It was a great visit. Mom and Dad were also very helpful getting the nursery ready for Lawson's arrival - but that will be another post!

Basketball shorts...

Lately, Lincoln has one outfit of choice - "basketball shorts" (any athletic shorts, similar to those his daddy wears) and a t-shirt. Regardless of the fact that it's cold outside, or that he's worn them every day for a week (yes, I wash them in between wearings...and have bought more pairs) and he seems to think that this is an appropriate outfit for any occassion. It's hilarious. Every day, he begs to wear them to school (he can't, since it's winter) and every day when I pick him up says "go home and put on basketball shorts, mom?" It's like his "home uniform." His latest favorite is a pair of black Nike mesh shorts, but they are a bit big...he looks like he's playing basketball in the hood, sagging the shorts to his calves.

Super hero fun - the latest clothing obsession

When my mom was here after Lawson's birth, she bought Lincoln a set of Superman pajamas (yep, the cute kind with the cape.) He went crazy over them - for a solid week, all that he wanted to wear. We had to pry them off of him to wash them. I caved and just let him wear them to the park, the mall, and on errands (you're only 2 once, right?) and it was pretty cute. My mom decided to buy him "a spare" and Lincoln chose Batman. (Keep in mind, I don't think he really understands who Batman or Superman really are; he's never seen the cartoons or movies...but the fact that they have a cape is all the info the boy needs.)

One day while my parents were in town, Linc decided that he wanted to wear his Superman pajamas to the park. Why not? You're only 2 once...

I have decided that I absolutely adore this age - there is nothing more precious than little boys!

Baking with Lincoln

Over the past few months, Lincoln has been so much fun in the kitchen. He LOVES to help bake (especially cupcakes and muffins.) His favorite part is to crack the eggs (this often leads to me fishing egg shell out of the muffin mix, but oh well) and to watch the Kitchen Aid mix it all together. He's a joy!

Halloween 2009

This year at Halloween, Lincoln cried a little less when he wore his costume. He was Curious George (yes, that's right - the little monkey that is supposedly always happy. No so much.)

We actually had 3 chances to wear the Halloween costume, and went 1 for 3.

The first was his parade and carnival at school. It did not go well. As his class rounded the corner in the parade we could tell that Lincoln was on the verge of soon as he saw us, he broke rank and ran straight for Andrew sobbing.

The second was trick or treating in our neighborhood. Linc actually got really into this - as soon as the first trick or treaters came to our door, he decided that maybe going to get his own candy was a good idea :) Andrew took him down one side of our block, and then I did the other. He was precious. When he would go to the door sometimes he would remember to say "Trick or Treat" - but other times he would say "Candy, please?" At least he always said "Thank you." It was fun.

The third "costume opportunity" occurred the next night at our church's Family Fest. It, too, did not go well. Linc was totally over Halloweedn - he refused to wear his monkey mask (so he looked like a monk in a brown jumpsuit) and refused to smile or play games, and instead just held out his candy bucket and frowning until people gave him candy. He kept asking to "go home now" and informed everyone at the carnival that "he was sad." So he and I left early. Maybe next year!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Thanksgiving 2009

Western Carribean Cruise

Ports of Call: Ft. Lauderdale, Grand Caymen, Cozumel, Roatan, Bahamas

For Thanksgiving we took a Carribean cruise with my parents and Barrett and Tiffany. We had a great time! The ship left out of Ft. Lauderdale, and stopped in Roatan, Cozumel, Grand Caymen, and the Bahamas. We had a great time at dinner every night with the whole family together. (Lincoln actually did very well, sitting through a formal dinner most nights. My mom brought a whole bag of toys and "surprises" that he always looked forward to.)
We went on Princess Lines, and the ship was wonderful. There were several restaurants (the steakhouse restaurant was great, and Lincoln especially enjoyed the pizza and ice cream parlor--I think he had pizza at least once everyday). Another fun feature was "movies under the stars" which they showed on a huge TV screen up on the top deck. (Sports and movies were also on during the day, but the ambience was better at night!) Linc enjoyed swimming and playing in the kids' club. I went to the spa one day for a wonderful pregnancy massage, and Andrew enjoyed some training programs offered at the fitness center.
Linc thought sitting out on the balcony was "very very cool" because "maybe we could see whales or fish" (his words) my knowledge he saw no whales, but he did see some dolphins one afternoon.

Some pictures from dinner:

I mean, seriously, who doesn't love a little boy in a tie?! It was a struggle getting him to wear it, but he looked so darn cute.

Linc really loved his bunk in our cabin. We thought he'd never go to sleep!

Thankfully, we wore him out most days :)

Grand Caymen was probably our favorite stop because of the gorgeous water. (Although I keep asking myself-WHY do we seem to take beach vacations when I'm pregnant?? Must be because maternity swim suits are so awesome....)

Anyway, our family joined a sailboat charter and went snorkeling and swam with the stingrays. (We were all a little surprised by the size of the stingrays! I know I was expecting small stingrays - maybe the size of a dinner plate...not stingrays that were 4 or 5 feet across.) Lincoln loved the boat ride, and liked the stingrays (as long as he didn't actually have to touch them :) Once we got back to the island Barrett and Tiffany bought him a stuffed stingray ("Stingy") which he loved and carried around for the rest of the trip. (Stingy also made several trips to "show and tell" once we got back from the cruise and is, as I type this, sitting on Linc's bed along with all his other stuffed animals.)


In Cozumel, the weather started off nice, but turned into a torential downpour. My parents, Linc and I had visited a museum, and were headed to go shopping when the storm hit; we ended up just heading back to the dock and having lunch. We were luckier than Barrett, Tiffany, and Andrew, who were on a dune buggy / snorkeling excursion. They FROZE and spent much of the day taking shelter in a little beach bar.

In Roatan, Honduras we hired a private driver and guide who took us around the island. We stopped and did a little (forced) souvenir shopping and then went to a farm that had monkeys you could pet, parrots that would sit on your arm, etc. It was entertaining. (To everyone's amazement, my mom actually let a parrot land on her arm--if you know her, you know she absolutely detests birds.)

After visiting the "wildlife" we went to a beach club. The water was absolutely gorgeous! (Unfortunately we spent most of our time there sitting in the restaurant waiting on our lunch order, but we did get a chance to swim for about half an hour.) Linc enjoyed playing in the sand, and it was actually the only "beach" time we got on the cruise since our stop in the Bahamas was canceled due to weather.

This photo was worth the whole trip!

At the beach club

Some of my favorite memories of the trip:

--Linc dancing along to a calypso band by the pool, to the delight of the band members (who came and danced with him) and the hundreds of people on the pool deck below, watching.

--Andrew and I got some time to just relax together, thanks to my parents who watched Lincoln for a few nights on the trip!

--Nightly dinners with my wonderful family!

--Lots of time to just relax and read!
It was a wonderful trip.