Saturday, January 29, 2011

Belated Christmas Recap

I am still so behind on blogging! Before we are officially in February I thought it might be a good idea to finally post about Christmas!

As events go, this Christmas was just about the same as last year, but the excitement level was through the roof this year!

One thing we like to do during the Christmas season is go see the light display at McCormick Ranch Railroad Park. We had talked about having a play date there sometime with Benny's little girlfriend Maddie, so we thought it would be fun to invite their family to come along with us (Maddie's dad couldn't come so her mom brought a friend along to help out). The night we went turned out to be the opening night of the light display, so the lines were unbelievably long. But the kids sufficiently entertained each other so the hour long wait just flew by. Here we are ready to go!

The kids loved the train ride and the lights, and when we got off the train, they loved to dance to the live music and ride the carousel.

When the big day finally rolled around the boys could hardly stand it! We spent Christmas Eve morning visiting my Grandma. We don't get to see her very often, and it is always a treat for her to see the little ones. Although it can sometimes be a challenge to have the boys over there, they did a great job, so afterward we rewarded them with lunch at McDonalds. After a quick nap, we were ready to keep rolling with the Christmas festivities! We went to church, and again the boys were superstars. Joshua was even clapping and singing along with the Christmas carols. After church we headed out to Grandma and Grandpa B's to celebrate with that branch of the family tree. It is always so fun to get all of the cousins together and watch them all enjoy their new toys!

We can usually count on the kids completely wearing themselves out at Grandma and Grandpa's house, but not this year! They were completely wired the whole way home, talking about the fun they had, and that Santa was on his way. But even though they were so awake, they got in bed at lightning speed when we got home. In fact, Joshua even tucked Ben in before he jumped into this bed. It was too funny. They both went to sleep without a peep. Benny woke up at about 7:00 and so we went in to get Joshua up. It was like the kid was on a springboard! He was waiting so patiently for us to come get him, but was definitely ready to go! We spent the morning opening our gifts and stockings, and just having a lot of fun together.

Grandpa and Grandma Maple and Auntie Andrea came over for breakfast. We had a nice time visiting and sharing more gifts. The rest of the day was spent hanging out, playing with new toys.

This Christmas, I decided to go on strike and declared that I would NOT be making Christmas dinner. So we went and had a wonderful family dinner at Bucca di Beppo, and was it ever good! I'm sold on going out for Christmas dinner! :) After dinner we carried on our Christmas night tradition of driving around looking at Christmas lights, and enjoyed some Christmas cookies and cocoa along our way. It was the perfect end to the perfect day.

The next day Christmas continued when we all gathered at my parents house for dinner. The kids all love getting together and pretty much entertain themselves, giving the adults some nice chatting time as well. My mom made a delicious prime rib with all the fixings and we all ate and drank and were very merry! :)

It was such a great time, and THIS time, they were sufficiently spent.

It really was the best Christmas ever!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Vigilanty Santa Photographer

I don't really think of myself as "cheap", but definitely thrifty. I have this way of sort of rating the importance of the things I can spend my money on, and there are just some things I won't pay for. For instance, the Chandler Mall has a train that drives around the ground floor of the mall. For me to take my kids on this train would cost us nearly $10... To ride a train....around the mall. I would much rather take that $10 and say, buy a DVD that we could all enjoy over and over. It just seems to make more economic sense to me. My kids have come to accept this about me and have stopped asking for certain things after I've made it clear that Mommy doesn't spend money on that.

With that being said, I have always loved to get a picture of my kids with Santa. It is just one of those things that marks the holidays for me. So when the kids balked at seeing Santa when we went to the Polar Express, I asked them if they wanted to go see Santa at the mall, and they told me they did. So one Monday night we loaded everyone up and went to go see Santa at the Chandler Mall.

For the last couple of years there has been a sign that asks you to please refrain from using personal cameras, in an effort to get you to purchase their "professional" photos. However, purchasing WAY overpriced pictures of Santa does not rate very high on my importance meter, and I just simply refuse to do so. I have always asked politely if I could take my own picture and have never been refused.... until this year. The not-so-nice photographer informed me in a not-so-nice way that taking pictures of my child with Santa is prohibited and if I wanted a picture I was going to have to purchase it. So, I checked out the prices and almost fell over. It's one thing to charge $5 for a photo in a paper frame. That I would have been all for. But the prices were astronomical! I'm talking $23 for 3 small photos, and if you wanted a digital copy of the photo (which is all anyone is really interested in these days) it would cost upwards of $40!!! I just looked at her and laughed. No way, Jose! I was so mad that this company is turning the fun of Christmas in to a disgusting racket. I felt I had to make my little statement right then and there. Out came my camera and a picture I took of Josh on Santa's lap, not even coming close to trying to be sneaky about it. The girl looked so annoyed I thought she might sick a mall cop on me and have me kicked out of there! It's not a good picture and was taken more on principal than to get any kind of decent picture. I guess our days of getting pictures with Santa at the mall are over. I knew the day would come, but that somehow doesn't make me feel any better about it. Bah humbug!