Friday, December 26, 2008

Snuggle Bells

The past couple days have been filled with many joyful sounds during our family Christmas celebration. My favorite thus far is the many renditions of "Jingle Bells" that Ethan has been singing around the house. This one, I believe, he calls "Snuggle Bells: A Christmas Musical Medley"

We also heard a great RockBand performance of "ABC's" with Ethan as the lead singer...(btw, can you tell he has a cold?)

And, finally, endless hours of holiday music produced many wild living room dance parties. (Warning: The following video contains nudity and may be inappropriate for some viewers)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Where has the time gone?

I have to say, I haven't been so good at keeping up with this blog lately.  I know we have been crazy busy this month. We've done so much, yet I still find it difficult to write about anything. Does this qualify as "writer's block" even if I'm not actually a writer? Anyway,thanks to the inspiring blogs of my dear friends, I've decided to just start typing and see what comes out...

I guess I'll start with Thanksgiving. We spent the holiday down here in FL with our friends,  The Gloriosos, who live in our neighborhood. I was excited for the invite, I was worried that it wouldn't feel like Thanksgiving with just the four of us. They have 2 girls who love Ethan and Salla so the kids had a blast and I got to relax and have some adult company (besides my husband of course!) 

That weekend got exciting as my sister, her family, and her in-laws passed through during their move from Baton Rouge, LA to Tallahassee, FL. We had a full house and Ethan and cousin Joey got to have a little slumber party in his bunk beds (the top bunk is officially "Joey's bed"). The next morning we, the Stegmaier clan, left early to begin our funfilled trip to Disney World! I think I was the most excited out of everyone. Unfortunately, the stormy Sunday after Thanksgiving (and the Sunday after a Florida v Florida State game) was not the best day to drive. A trip that was supposed to take 7 hours took almost 10! And the kids didn't sleep a wink (surprise surprise...) Needless to say we were tired when we arrived, but we tried to stay upbeat, we were in the happiest place on earth! Seth's sister flew in from NY to meet us and we all enjoyed a late dinner at Downtown Disney. Monday we spent the entire day at Magic Kingdom. The kids loved the Tea Cups, Dumbo, Small World and all the other classic Fantasy Land rides. 

Ethan was waiting for weeks to ride Big Thunder Mountain railroad, and with the help of Fast Passes, he got to ride it 3 times. What a big boy. He also thoroughly enjoyed Splash Mountain, which has a crazy drop at the end. We decided not to take a mid-day break and see if Salla would sleep in the stroller (pipe dreams!) so she went her second day in a row without a nap. I was doing my best not to obsess about it and we were able to manage her grumpiness late in the day pretty well. It was so great to have Aunt Liane with us, having an extra adult made our lives so much easier! night we ate pizza at the hotel and after the kids went to bed, Liane offered to stay behind while Seth and I went out. We ended up going back to Magic Kingdom to ride some big rides we didn't make it on earlier. We shared cotton candy, rode rides and got to see Cinderella's Castle all lit up with icicles. Like I said, it was SO great to have Aunt Liane with us!! Tuesday we hit up Animal Kingdom. We started off with the "It's Tough to be  a Bug" 3D show which TERRIFIED the kids. We were scrambling out of that theater within 5 mins of the show starting. I felt so bad and just prayed they weren't too scared to try anything else. We found some low key rides, Salla found some goats to pet (she's an animal fanatic) and Ethan got to ride a train (he's a train fanatic). We were doing great until lunchtime when the adults were getting too grumpy and couldn't seem to make a decision on where or when to eat. After a lot of grumbling, we picked Chinese. Salla got to feed some ducks and we all felt a little better. We then headed over the the new roller coaster "Everest" which involves changing tracks, moving backwards, and an encounter with a Yeti. It was AWESOME, but thank God Ethan was too short because I think we would have had to leave the park after that.  Salla finally gave in to a nap, which was great except she fell asleep in my arms and woke up when I put her in the stroller. So I held her on a bench for 45 min while the rest of the clan rode some more rides.By this point, the adults were REALLY grumpy, we thought ice cream might help, but the incompetence behind the counter just made it worse. We skipped the infamouse Lion King and Nemo shows and made our way out of the park, all wondering how we could be so grouchy at the happiest place on earth, and we soon came to the conclusion that 2 park days in a row is too much with little ones.  We recovered, had a nice dinner out and left for our trip home the next morning. It was really nice to be back!

We had about a week to recover from Disney and get some things done before we left on our next road trip to Cincinnati, OH.We stopped in Atlanta for 2 night to stay with my high school friend Kelly and her family. They have a boy and girl the same ages as Ethan and Salla so we knew it would be a great time.The kids played great together, the adults got to play Trivial Pursuit and we ate delicious homemade pizzas. We had a blast and wished we could have spent more time there.From Atlanta, we drove another 8 hours to Cincinnati. In the Smokey Mnts it was snowing a bit so we let the kids out for a couple minutes to catch snowflakes on their tongues. We had a very smooth drive and the kids did GREAT!Cincinnati was great fun. Seth's grandmother and many many Aunts, Uncles and Cousins still live there (his Mom is one of 9 kids!). Everyone got together at the house we were staying at and it was really the first time I've gotten to sit down with that part of his family. Everyone was so warm and welcoming, and I could tell the kids really felt comfortable there. On Sunday, Seth and his brother, sister, and a bunch of cousins went to the Redskins v Bengals game (where Seth proceeded to get so intoxicated that he had to be removed from the stadium before the end of the first half! But that's neither here nor there...).Seth's Aunt Connie and my sister-in-law Katie and I took the kids to an incredible Children's museum that we didn't want to leave. It was so interactive and perfect for toddlers and preschoolers, Ethan has mentioned it everyday since. We drove back home Monday. It took us 12 hours to get from Cincinnati to Pace, FL and it rained ALL THE WAY. I was amazed. We were SOOOOO happy to be home and the kids enjoyed being back in their own space.

Two days later, Seth's parents flew in for Christmas. They have been a treat to have around and I am in shock at how easy going and receptive Salla has been to them. On the way back from the airport, Salla already said "Pap Pap" and "Grandma". She doesn't even say "Daddy" yet!

Friday I took Salla to the doctor because she was getting grumpy, not sleeping well and hold her ear. Sure enough, she has another ear infection. The doctor mentioned tubes as something to consider since she's had 3. Uggh, I don't even want to think about it...

That brings us to today! Salla is feeling better, took a 2 hour nap and slept 12 hours last night (that's like a marathon for her...) We took them to the Zoo tonight for "Zoo Lights". The whole zoo was lit up, there was music and the train was pretty fun in the dark. 

I'm finally feeling like I can catch my breath and just relax as people come to us for Christmas. 

I guess that's it in a (kind long) nutshell. Thanks for reading my posts, inspiring me to write, and for being my friends even through the miles. Happy holidays and have a safe and warm Christmas with the ones you love!!