Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Sunny California

I wish our Christmas break was another month!  We left at 1am on Wednesday night / Thursday morning the week before Christmas and started the drive to Arizona.  We got there just in time for lunch and naps on Thursday. Honestly, the kids did really well all things considered, but Alexa was awake from 3-5am, and they both obviously woke up earlier than normal.  We stayed with Grandma and Grandpa Swingle until Saturday morning, and it was great to have some one-on-one time with them.  Grandma shared neat family stories with us, Grandpa loved watching TV with Alexa, and we absolutely loved the visit and time to relax in sunny AZ.  We even took the kids swimming in their neighborhood pool.  And a random 80 year-old man offered Kyle his golf cart as we were walking by so that he could take Alexa on a ride down the road.  And then gave Alexa a granola bar.

We got to California by dinner on Saturday and began our second Christmas.  The Swingle Christmas Eve tradition consists of going to Balboa Park in San Diego to see Santa and play tag.  Balboa Park is honestly one of my top 10 favorite places in the U.S.  It's beautiful there.  Santa told us that he's been coming every Christmas Eve for the last 22 years as a free service to San Diego because he used to come when he was a little boy.

We were in charge of breakfast Christmas morning, so we made Sweeny Eggnog, Crepes (Danish Pancakes), Scones, and Mountain Man breakfast casserole.  Delicious, and it made me miss the Sweeny gang.

Marmie and Grandpa Swingle gave the kids two of the coolest gifts.  First, Grandpa made (handcarved, built, etc.) a wooden grasshopper toy that hops as you pull it around the room.  I think it's so cool to have a toy built by him for the kids to play with.  Then, they recorded them reading a book.  As you turn the pages, they read each one to you.  Super neat for the kids to have throughout the year when they're far from Marmie and Grandpa.

I LOVE this nativity scene in their front yard.  Someday we will have one.

The rest of the week was spent playing games, swimming, going to the beach, going to a fun Natural History Museum in San Diego, and lots of Grandma and Grandpa time.  Kyle and Dad even tiled the kitchen back splash--doesn't it look nice?!

It was great to see Richy and Megan and play with their kids.  Cody was napping when we took this picture.

Tyler LOVED the sand.  He laughed and kicked his legs, grabbed it and covered his legs completely, and went an entire 10 minutes without trying to eat it.  After he tried it once, though, he just wanted more. 

We came home to cold weather.  Kyle left his water bottle in the car thinking he would just take it to work the next morning.  It was frozen solid when he went to work.  Oh, and our patio froze as well--look closely and you can see Kyle's sledge hammer beneath the ice.

Christmas time is here

Alexa is really big into the alphabet right now, and she loves all of the "letter J's!" everywhere because of the candy canes.  She is constantly pointing them out to me, and then tells me what sound the letter 'J' makes.  She and Tyler helped me set up the Christmas decorations while Kyle worked the weekend after Thanksgiving (it's becoming an annual tradition that I set it up that weekend while he's working long hours), and she thought it was the best thing in the world.  We turned on the Chipmunks Christmas on Pandora and had a blast.  Her favorite book to read these last few weeks is "Graham Cracker" (Nutcracker).  It doesn't matter how many times I correct her, I'm wrong.

We celebrated Christmas on the 18th before we left for California.  Alexa's big present was a toy kitchen, which was a hit for both kids.  Alexa keeps making me cute meals and bringing them to me, and Tyler absolutely loves chewing on all of the hard plastic food.

Tyler got three more teeth in December--the top two the first week of December, and another on the bottom just this week.  He also loves to clap, drink by himself from a sippy cup, and now says "All done" in sign language.  He is also adorable at repeating us.  Hope was holding him and flying and every time she said "whoo hoo!," Tyler would smile and say "whooooo."  His latest thing this past week is standing up on his own (no support).  He already loves sprinting while holding our hands (seriously, he b lines it across the room), but this is a new development.

I need my puppy.

Roxy licking Tyler's finger through the gate.

Sweet 97 year-old Grandma Sweeny asked to hold Tyler and proceeded to play with his car by running it on his tummy and legs and making car noises.  He ate it up and it melted my heart.  I. Love. Her.  And I'm so glad that we get to make these memories with her and our kids.

He sucks his thumb with the same fist that grabs a hold of his blanket. Love that cute boy.

We had friends over for games on New Year's Eve and Kyle and I were on the same team for Taboo.  I was trying to get him to say "donate blood" and so I explained that it is something he did in the mornings to earn extra money before class (he donated plasma), to which he responded "working the corner."  ?!?!?! We all laughed very hard and pressed a little harder about exactly when it was that he worked the corner and to see how successful he was.

We have had lots of fun playing in the snow this month, even Roxy as you'll see in this video below.

Playing in the snow, at night, Cinderella dress over her clothes, big boots, and a big puffy coat.  Life is good.

I can hear the sound coming out of Tyler just by looking at this picture.

Too cool for Target.