Merry Christmas!

Welcome to any family and friends visiting our blog for the first time (and to those of you who are regulars). We hope you all have a wonderful holiday season!

Here are the answers to the Christmas Letter Word mix-up we sent out:

1. LEGOS. Caleb really loves playing with legos, and has even gotten interested in the Lego video games. His favorite is Lego Star Wars, but he also enjoys Lego Batman.

2. COPYING CALEB. Noah is under the impression that he is a very big boy and should be able to do everything that Caleb does. Noah also thinks he is the boss. I know this because he told me so--the other night I reminded him, "Noah you are not the boss, don't tell Caleb what to do," and Noah responded with, "Yes, I am the boss." Ahh, to be two again.

3. CARS. At the beginning of the year, we had our Ford Windstar and Buick Regal Custom. The Buick had no air conditioning, while the Ford's locks were annoyingly broken. Then we had the opportunity to buy a Chevy Uplander at a great deal, so we took it, leaving us with 3 cars. We never intended to keep all 3...but the year got away from us. Yet another example of my procrastination paying off--a Ford dealership in town was recently running another Cash for Clunkers, and after some heavy negotiating, took our Ford and Buick in exchange for a Mitsubishi Montero. And it only cost us 70 bucks in registration fees.

4. PLAYING PIANO. Mark accompanies for church services almost every other week, it seems. So much that if it were a rich church I would be whining that they are taking advantage of him (because he's volunteering). However, we go to a small country church who needs the volunteers, and I'm sure the 8:30 crowd enjoys the music. Caleb, Noah, and I never make it to the 8:30 service, so we only get to hear Mark play...well, every NIGHT because he has to practice so often! :-) But we are very, very glad that Grandma Viv's piano gets so much use, and I think hearing Mark play sparks an interest in the boys. Caleb will start taking lessons as soon as he has completed the Kindermusik curriculum...he is currently learning to read music and play a glockenspiel.

5. CHICAGO. Yes, last summer we took a trip to Chicago with my family. It was short but sweet--we saw many museums, but most of them enjoyable for all involved. The highlight of the trip was supposed to be seeing Sue the T-Rex skeleton (we were going so Caleb could see a real T-Rex skeleton) but Caleb ended up enjoying the Lego Store more than any museum (actually we all had a really great time at the Lego Store). We all enjoyed wandering around Navy Pier, and agreed that we must "do Chicago" again sometime.

6. KINDERGARTEN. For those of you that might not know, Caleb started Kindergarten this past August. It took a while but he seems to be adjusting, though he still comes home kinda worn out and he would rather not ride the bus because the other kids are noisy. He loves music class and art, and his favorite regular subject seems to be math (though I suspect it will be science as he gets older). He's getting really good at both math and pre-reading, and can even read many words all by himself. Noah, of course, is already begging to go to Kindergarten. I would mention to him that he must be potty trained to go to school, but Noah is already well on his way to wearing underwear and I don't want to mislead him.

7. FELIX. Our older kitty, Felix, was ten years old and he got very sick the week before I had to leave for a conference in Denver. Instead of dwelling on how he died, let me tell you about how he lived. Felix was 10 years old, and he spent his ten years chasing monstrous wolf spiders, chasing his tail on top of the toilet tank (which then resulted in falling and flushing the toilet, once), turning gray after hanging out in the fireplace, flipping over for a rub whenever ANYONE petted his backside, hiding from his female feline housemates (though he grew quite close to both of them once they accepted him), and in general being a really good house cat. We rescued him from the humane society after they found him trying to stay warm inside a pop machine. They named him Fizzy; we renamed him Felix. We'll miss him and though we may someday get a new kitty, he is irreplaceable.

8. OCTAGON. Noah surprises us with new words everyday, and his teachers at childcare are very, very good at what they do. He's not only got all the regular shapes completely learned, but he's moving on to the harder ones like octagon, pentagon, and hexagon. My favorite word that he can say is onomatopeoia. You know, I never took Omega 3 supplements with Caleb in pregnancy, but I did with Noah...and well, I think they worked. He's just scary smart, and I think someday he will launch a takeover of the household and actually BE the boss.

9. LAPTOPS. Yes, we are geeks, and we have too many pieces of technology in our home. However, we both actually needed new computers this year, insofar as anyone needs a computer. Earlier this year, Mark's laptop just quit. Kaput. So we got him a new one. Then this fall my desktop was becoming increasingly moody. It freezes up all the time, and then there was one time where it just would not start up--which sent me into a panic because all my pictures are on that computer (and yes, they still are...when would I have time to back them up? Don't worry, it IS on my post-Christmas To Do List). So, on Black Friday my adorable husband got up at 3 or 4am (I don't know which, because I wasn't awake!) to go to Staples and buy me a new laptop that was on sale. Except he didn't get the ticket for it, and long story short, the laptop he DID reserve didn't get reserved...so we had to go to Best Buy and buy something similar for a similar price. We still need to write a note to Staples letting them know of our frustration with them and how we ended up shopping somewhere else. The good news is that I have a lovely new laptop that has a bigger screen than Mark's, and a fingerprint scanner! I love technology!

10. CHILD CARE. Noah started a new child care this year...that makes his total up to three. However, I think we've settled on the care he'll have until he's home with me or in school. He first was at a home child care run by a good friend who is just wonderful with kids. Then he got too old for her care (she only goes to 18 months), so he started at the childcare where Caleb was at the time. Then we moved Caleb to a new child care, as we thought it would improve his behavior (it most certainly did), and when there was an opening for Noah this year we moved him to the new care as well. We LOVE his new child care...the director is fabulous and has been working with kids for a long time, and all the teachers are so good at what they do. They definitely earn the title of teacher, and since I'm a former child care worker, I know quality when I experience it. Ivy League is the real deal, and worth it's weight in gold.

Hope you enjoyed our game, have a very Merry Christmas, remember the reason for the season, and have save travels and a Happy New Year!

Mark, Kathie, Caleb, and Noah

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