Friday, December 31, 2010

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Decorating Christmas Cookies

I'd meant to help Anthony decorate Christmas cookies before the holiday, but like so many other things... Well, we're still on Christmas vacation and its still the Christmas season so we invited the Donahues over to decorate cookies.

Like many projects with kids, this was about the process, rather than the end result. The process was generally enjoyed, except for Anthony's discovery that a spoonful of non-pareils was not as yummy as he'd expected. My favorite part of the process was watching the kids glop on icing, scrape it off with their fingers and then lap it up.

I have no interest in eating ANY of these cookies!

By the way, my technique for handling the icing worked very well. I made a bunch of pastry bags 1/4 full of royal icing in a variety of colors. I twisted the top very tight and fastened them with rubber bands. I just snipped off the tip and we were good to go. It worked SO much better than using ziploc bags like we did last year.
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Chalkboards are so much fun!

Anthony is really loving his new easel. We haven't really tried out any features beyond the chalkboard yet. That alone is keeping him plenty busy.
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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Three Piece Band

And they were loud!

Grandpa Vince gave Anthony the wooden percussion instruments pictured for Christmas when he was one. I had told him that Anthony would like a set of instruments. Donna saw them and told Vince that I couldn't possibly want something like that! He was right, they were EXACTLY what I wanted. They're noisy but a lot of fun.
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Coyote Point Museum

We have the whole week off for Christmas holiday and have been having a nice vacation here at home. Today we went up to the Coyote Point Museum to explore their new "Tinker Toy"exhibit. Anthony enjoyed all the exhibits where you used gears and levers to move balls through mazes, but he most enjoyed constructing bizarre structures out of purple PVC pipe.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Hatching an Egg

The weather for Grandma and Grandpa's visit was much nicer than we expected, so we took advantage of a sunny day to take an excursion to Rancho San Antonio. Daddy showed off his model airplanes and tried out a streamer Grandpa made for him. Then we took a walk to the farm.

As usual, the chickens were Anthony's favorites. After watching them for awhile, he climbed up onto a stump to sit on his own eggs.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

New Bike

Anthony gave his new bike a try this afternoon. He's still getting the hang of it, but I think its going to be a hit! Robert also has a bike without pedals and the boys rode them together to the park. Robert was quite sweet--Anthony fell and was a little stunned. Robert immediately fell over too and then the boys had a good laugh about it.
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Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

For the first year EVER, we celebrated Christmas at home. Bob and I realized that it was time for our family to create our own traditions. We were quite thankful that Grandpa and Grandma were able to come and celebrate with us.

Christmas morning started a bit early. It wasn't because of excitement about presents, but rather about the power outage on Christmas Eve. Mama forget to reset Anthony's clock and when he woke up at 5 am it was yellow and he INSISTED that it was time to get up. Well, normally yellow does mean its waking up time, but its not supposed to be yellow at that hour!

Santa and Anthony's relatives were INCREDIBLY generous this year and it took most of the day to work through presents. The highlight above all else was an umbrella with a parrot handle, JUST like Mary Poppins. He pretty much won't put the thing down, including taking it to bed with him.

Other great presents include a push bike (no pedals, no training wheels), membership to the Discovery Museum, an easel and a pile of books. Anthony took an instant liking to "Blueberries for Sal", which I remember fondly from my own childhood.
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Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Rockettes

Today after church we took Anthony to see the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular. Boy was it amazing. Anthony generally enjoyed the show, though he did get one long time out during the Santa Claus number for trying to use his voice to fill the auditorium. A big no-no.

We really lucked out with our seats--I bought the cheap tickets and we ended up with an obstructed view, so I complained VERY NICELY at the ticket counter. Next thing I knew we were on an elevated platform on the floor level, front and center, close to the best seats in the house!

I definitely liked the precision dance numbers the best, my favorite was "The Twelve Days of Christmas". Bob's favorite was the bus tour of New York, the set was spectacular. I'm not sure what Anthony's favorite part was, but he did spend a little time kicking his legs around and waving his arms like the dancers.

I did a minor screw up, though, and we didn't get any photos, too bad. (For a lot of extra money we could have gotten photos with the actual dancers, but that's way out of our budget.)
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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Shortest Train Ride Ever

Today we took Anthony on what must have been the shortest train ride ever. We rode from Mountain View to Sunnyvale, one stop south. I wanted to go to their Farmer's Market as we can't go to ours tomorrow. Its at the Caltrain station and I figured, hey let's go for a train ride. Anthony was fascinated by the train and well entertained for the five minute ride.

The market itself held a real treat. They had an a capella quartet dressed in Victorian clothing caroling. The group sang very nicely and Anthony really enjoyed watching them.

This evening was my company's Christmas party at Il Fornaio. I was a little skeptical that that kids were invited, but it was made clear to me that Anthony was expected to attend. Let's just say that it was the type of kid friendly party thrown by people who don't really remember what kids are like. Now, each kid did get a present, after the four course dinner. Yes, a four course dinner. Anthony ate: lollipops, candy canes and mints as an appetizer as I desperately tried to keep him entertained, five bites of pasta for his first course, half of his fruit bowl for his salad course, and french fries for his entree, ignoring his chicken entirely. Not suprisingly, he completely rejected the gelato that was served for dessert. Oh yeah, dinner wasn't served until after 7 pm. We cut out at 9:15, and that was about as early as I could comfortably manage.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Preschool Christmas Program

Today was the Christmas Program at Anthony's preschool. Before they started, the director got up and said she wasn't really sure if anyone was going to sing as they hadn't had much practice time; she doesn't believe in preparing for Christmas before Thanksgiving.

As a parent, I find that there are times that I am truly beaming with pride. There are other times that I laugh and say, "That's my boy and I love him." There was a little bit of that going on today. He started off strong, belting out "This Little Light of Mine." Then somewhere in the middle there were some songs he didn't know as well so he started making goofy faces at the audience. He got back into it for the finale of Jingle Bells and "We WISH you a Merry Christmas".

(When you watch the video, Anthony is the red shirt in the 2nd row, seated in a chair. The video is precious, not for the actual video but for the sound of eighty-something preschoolers singing with enthusiasm.)

After the program was over we went to his classroom for snacktime and a visit from a very special guest. It was funny watching two kids debate who it was going to be. Tommy was VERY insistent it would be Santa Claus. Sofia wasn't sure, she knew Santa didn't come until Christmas. Well, Tommy was right and he came and brought every child a toy.

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Daycare Christmas Party

Last night was Kathleen's Christmas party at daycare. As usual, she put on a really nice party. Santa came and brought presents for ALL the kids, including siblings of her current kids and a bunch of her "alumni" kids always come back to celebrate, too. Santa brought Anthony an ImagiNext Space Station and he got a Diego Dinosaur Explorer set from Sophia in the gift exchange. (He gave Antonia a Fisher Price Xylophone.)

I tried to make fudge to bring to the potluck dinner but it got grainy (weather?) so I threw out all three pounds of it. It was very disappointing. I made gingerbread men instead, following a new recipe. I just decorated them with a little bit of white royal icing and they were BEAUTIFUL. I'm going to have to do that again, as it was relatively easy in the grand scheme of things. They were also quite tasty.
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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Its Party Time

Last night was our first party of the Christmas season. We joined a few other neighbor's at the Donahue's house for a visit by Santa Claus, courtesy of MV Parks and Recreation followed by a potluck dinner.

Anthony enjoyed his visit with Santa. He climbed up on his lap and told the old man exactly what he wanted for Christmas. Suprisingly, he did NOT ask for a candy cane, which he'd been talking about for quite some time. (I think he didn't understand that Santa brings more than candy canes.) He asked for a bike; Mama may have coached him some.

We'll see what happens come Christmas!
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Monday, December 6, 2010

Los Charros for Dinner

We love Friday night dinners at Los Charros because they have a full mariachi band playing. Anthony was fascinated by the man playing the guitarron, he couldn't take his eyes off him.

Before our dinner arrived, Anthony spent some time practicing cutting his chips with a knife and fork. He was quite proficient despite holding his butter knife upside down.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Cutting down our Christmas Tree

Today we drove out to Patchen Christmas Tree Farm to cut down and bring home our very own Christmas tree. The nice men gave us a saw and we tromped around the hillside until we found the perfect tree, a Noble Fir that was almost 9 feet tall. Anthony yelled "timber" as Daddy cut it down and we hauled it off to the car. We did discover one slight problem when we got home, it was too tall for our living room! Fortunately Daddy had a saw and was able to trim the tree to fit.

I really liked Patchen. It was only a 30 minute drive from the house, they served hot cider and Santa Claus was even giving out candy canes.

The quote of the day came as we were looking at trees: "But I want a tree INSIDE the house like Claire and Robert!"

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Songs with a Twist

I love hearing Anthony sing, what he lacks in skill he makes up with in enthusiasm.

Tonight while he was supposed to be falling asleep, I was treated to a version of Jingle Bells:
"Jingle bells, jingle bells, batmanmobile (something uninteligible) wheel"
Obviously, I know he's singing the childhood parody of Jingle Bells, but he was still a bit off.

Sunday during lunch:
"A mungus whale, a mungus whale, a mungus whale..." The same line over and over again.
Bob and I puzzled that one for awhile when I thought to ask, "Is it a humongous whale?" Anthony confirmed my guess and continued on singing about the "mungus whale", occasionally adding in a second line.

The Christmas program is a week from Tuesday. I still don't know what he's going to be singing, as he hasn't shared with me. He pretty much sang all the songs at the Halloween pageant, so I assume he'll be singing like a pro on stage.
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