I know, I know, Thanksgiving was 2 months ago. I'm in a blogging mood and I finished all of December and January so I figured I might as well go back a month. Who knows, maybe I'll go back farther!
We hosted Thanksgiving at our house for Brian's family. N2 helped me with the decorations several days prior. They made thankful pumpkins and paint swatch pumpkins. Here's a look.
I let N2 pick their colors of paint swatches. I think both of the above are Noah's because he generally picked red, yellow, green and blue whereas Natalie picked red, purple and brown. I don't have the pumpkins in front of me at the moment but they had some funny things that they were thankful for. They each created 2 pumpkins each. If I find the pumpkins (I think they are in Natalie's closet), I will post what they are thankful for-some were funny!
Here's my table.
We had TONS of food-mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, turkey, 2 pans of stuffing (one with alcohol, one without), rolls, jellied cranberry, cranberry sauce, asparagus and green beans. I think that's it. We had a TON of mashed potatoes left as well as turkey. Here are the rolls I made-I tried to make them look like pumpkins.
The kids played around and then Uncle Paul got out the video games and N2 had to play along!
We met up with our friends Ian and Jake at the Glenview Park District for their Noon Year's Eve party for younger kids. They had a craft room, snack room, game room and a gym with bouncy houses. You could go to any room that you wanted to in any order. At the end there was a balloon drop in the main lobby.
We started in the craft room where the kids made magic wands and bracelets. They really loved adding the stickers to their magic wands. After the kids finished decorated, staff taped crepe paper streamers to the back.
Then the kids wanted to go to the bouncy houses. We had to wait in line for about 10 minutes to do each bouncy house. It was a lot of waiting! Then we went to grab snacks and play games. The kids got little prizes after each game (can I tell you how tired I am of little tiny prizes that they don't really care about?)
These rooms were really crowded just like all the rooms were! After the games we still had 1/2 an hour so we went back to the bouncy house gym. We waited in line for one and then waited in line for the second bouncy house and when we were next (10-15 minutes before the balloon drop), they closed the bouncy house :( We then had to go wait in the lobby for the balloon drop. Not sure why they wanted a bunch of excited young kids sitting in the lobby for 10-15 minutes. N2 managed to move themselves to closer to the middle after all the kids stood up. You can just barely see their heads in this picture.
Finally they started the countdown and the balloons came down! N2 were very excited to get a balloon.
But then all the older kids started taking the balloons and popping them which N2 did NOT like. Noah put his hands over his ears and I swiftly moved in to remove them from the middle. We did manage to get each of them a balloon and get them out of the crowd of kids. The popping continued for several minutes. It was really awful. Guess I know I don't need to go back to one of these events soon!
Then we enjoyed a nice lunch at Egg Harbor Cafe with our friends (after a 20 minutes wait where I read books to the kids-this place was packed!). Natalie picked a large kids meal that had scrambled eggs, 2 slices of bacon, 2 sausages and 2 pancakes! She at all the meat and 1 pancake. Oh well. Then we stopped by to see mom and dad.
Later on New Year's Eve we let N2 stay up until 9. We watched a couple movies beforehand. Then Brian and I went to bed around 11 so no one saw in the new year!
Brian wanted to take N2 to Brookfield Zoo during the winter because he really likes going there. We decided to take them the Saturday after Christmas and invited Brian's family to go with us. There was supposed to be a high of 50! It was a beautiful day to be outside and see the animals. Surprisingly there weren't too many people there. People decided to come later in the day for the zoo lights that they do. Apparently it was packed and the parking lots were full! Glad we left at 3 when we did!
We saw pretty much all the animals at the zoo (minus several of the houses) and a lot of them really pretty active, like the wild dogs. The first thing they wanted to see were the giraffes but also wanted to see the bats. I was surprised they wanted to see the bats, but they were really interested in them. After seeing the giraffes we went to see the okapis (there was a male calf born earlier this year but none of the okapis were in the outer area for us to see them) and instead my kids were infatuated with the dwarf crocodile. Natalie got nose to nose with the crocodile (with glass in between). The crocodile had opened his eye and seemed to be keeping an eye on her but she wasn't afraid!
Then we went to see the bears and got to actually see the wolves. Natalie insisted that I take a picture of her with the wolf cub statue.
After seeing the penguins and having lunch we went to the reptile house. Noah was so interested and had to find every animal in every cage. I was amazed at how much time we spent in that house! After that, the kids found the mural with cutouts for their heads. They wanted pictures in every hole! Here are both my kids as vicious bears!
Natalie was wearing her new panda sweatshirt from Grandma and Grandpa Weidner today. I had to take some pictures because she was so cute!
There were lots of animal babies this year at the zoo (many adddax calves, 2 giraffes, baby gorilla, snow leopard cub, dolphin calves, 2 sloth bear cubs and more that I don't remember). We got to see the giraffes, gorilla, and snow leopard.
I saw something that I don't normally see at the zoo. I saw the sloth awake and moving his head!
It was such a fun day at the zoo! Beautiful weather and active animals makes a great combination!
The first day of winter break, we met up with Grandma and Grandpa Dueber at the Botanic Gardens to see the trains. We started out the morning by looking at the greenhouses. Natalie really loved the tropic greenhouse where the bananas were. We had to go back there several times. After being bundled up for the cold weather, the tropic greenhouse was quite hot and muggy!
N2 weren't as interested in the trains this year as they previous had been. They were really interested in doing the scavenger hunt and only wanted to find those items. I had to drag them back to look at the trains. Maybe we need to only see them every other year. We saw the trains this summer and they loved looking at everything so maybe this was just too much.
I still enjoyed the trains and see all the different buildings and the new additions made this year. After looking at the trains we went to make bird feeders and paper snowflakes. Then we enjoyed lunch at California Pizza Kitchen. It was a fun morning!
I fell behind with my Christmas posts. I got 2 done! On Christmas Eve we celebrated with Brian's side of the family. We had dinner of yummy appetizers (there was tons of food!). We made a recipe that we hadn't tried before and it was De-licious! I also made 2 chess pies for dessert-one chocolate peppermint and one plain for Mary Kay's birthday. Everyone wanted the chocolate peppermint! After the kids opened their presents, we put on Brave for them to watch (which they got for Christmas) and then the adults socialized and we did our gift exchange. Here are some pictures from the night.
What's in the big bags from Uncle Dan and Aunt Rachel? Bean bag chairs for their rooms!
Natalie and Noah got Brave, Monster's University, Feed the Woozle (which we have played many times already), Spin Art, Legos, Spirograph, bean bag chairs, and clothes. In our adult gift exchange I got Nativity Scenes and Brian got striped dress socks. Dan got IPA beer. Lisa got candles/wax melts. Paul got math books. Rachel got things to keep a new mother sane.
I know it's not December but here's some random pictures from December.
Here are N2 with their elf pancakes that Peanut made them on the last day he was here.
Here is Natalie on the plasmacar which was their Christmas present. This thing is used constantly in our house and they go round and round! You put your feet up like Natalie is doing and then turn the steering wheel back and forth and that makes the car go. N2 generally put their feet on the ground and push the car to make it go faster.
Here is Noah after he used the face paint crayons. He made himself into a clown he said.
Brian was leaning against the counter reading the newspaper one morning and Noah thought it was a great tunnel to crawl through.
Natalie really wanted me to take her picture with her lego creations. You'll notice in many of these pictures that my kids are wearing pjs. Well, during break we often wore pjs unless we were going out.
We have gotten quite a bit of snow this year and many of it came over winter break so that I didn't have to drive in it! We have been stuck in our house for a long time due to the snow and cold. Over New Year's we got about 14-16 inches of snow. It fell from about 2-3 pm New Year's Eve until Thursday morning some time. Brian has taken N2 out several times to play in the snow. They like to help Brian shovel (Brian didn't have gas and the add in for his snow blower so he's been shoveling). Natalie has really enjoyed using her snow tube that she got for her last birthday but didn't get to use because we didn't have enough snow! She really likes sledding. I only went out once to take pictures and I got recruited to help Natalie with sledding. She can't get in the tube without it sliding backwards. I also had to push her so that she got better distance. When they sled down our hill, they have to create the path so each time they go further. Natalie also liked to go around eating snow every chance she got. I had to remind her to eat snow from undisturbed places.
I also really liked the icicles on our neighbor's house. The one that is long touches the ground now and has a huge base on the ground now. When we went out one day, we found icicles all over our neighborhood. N2 were disappointed we don't have any icicles.