Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Recap - 2009

Well, the craziness continues around the Erb household. 'Tis the season!

Last week, we had the Pryor family here for a holiday visit. It was way too short as always, but even getting to see them for a few hours is good for my soul. Natalie is just the most beautiful and stylish pregnant woman you can imagine. Emma and Preston played really well and had fun making cookies with us. Thanks for making the trip, Pryors! What a great day- we love you guys!

The Illsley Place kids holiday party took place on the 20th and it was a hit! We can't wait to make this part of our family's Christmastime tradition. The kids made crafts and decorated their own sugar cookies. While Preston got a little overzealous with the green sprinkles, he was super proud of his craft tree and loved when everyone gathered around the piano and sang carols. (Yes, we really did that. Our neighbors are serious about tradition, and apparently, singing carols is a long standing ritual for the kids party.) By the way, my girlfriends will get a kick out of the fact that the neighborhood association provides special "Illsley Place holiday song books" specially printed for this party.

Christmas Eve day was awesome! We had such a special day with just our family of 4. We made cut out cookies together, assembled some reindeer dust and spent lots of time snuggling in our PJs. Later that evening, we attended the children's mass at St. Johns, then opened our doors for a cookie buffet. If the next few years allow, we will definitely continue this tradition for our neighborhood friends because it was so much fun! We set out every kind of cookie that we baked in the previous days and loaded them into bags for our guests to take home and leave out for Santa that night.

Speaking of cookies for Santa, this was seriously the part of Christmas that Preston loved most. He thought it was amazing to leave him a note on our cute cookie plate with his cookies. Then when he came down to see the gifts on Christmas morning, he ran immediately to the plate, saying, "He ate my cookies! He ate them!"
Milk and cookies before bed on Christmas Eve:

Christmas morning took on a whole new meaning for us this year. We kept it low key, or tried to with one very excited two year old, and made some delicious omlets for breakfast while opening gifts. Kevin and I were not planning on exchanging gifts but he surprised me with a gorgeous and simple jade bracelet I've been wanting. (Way to go, Santa...Mrs. Clause was very pleased!) CeCe slept in longer than Preston so we went ahead and brought him down on his own. As you can see, he had a blast digging in to his presents!

Christmas Day at the Erbs- Preston checking out his gifts, playing with his cousins, CeCe snoozing on Grandma, and Grandpa's new snuggie. :)

In my ever-constant quest for quality family photos, I even tried to set both kids up in a chair at the end of the day to capture their darling coordinating outfits and catch some Christmas smiles. Preston's expression in the lasts photo has dashed all my pageant parent dreams, but also shows what a great time he had. They were both exhausted once we got home. Thanks once again to my wonderful inlaws for a fun family holiday!

I'll stop here before this turns into a novel, but I still need to recap our car fire. (Yes, I said car fire. The VW Passat is totaled and we are officially car shopping.) Along with uploading pics from the Roberts and Willig family Christmases, which I'll have to save for another post. Kevin took the entire week off of work, so for now, I gotta run and enjoy some time with my fam. :)

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday filled with peace and love. Thanks for Keeping Up With The Erbs this year, wishing you all the best in 2010!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Christmas is upon us and we are in full swing of holiday hoopla. The next week is proving to be just as busy and I feel like I've been in the kitchen a lot. (I'll share some good recipes in upcoming posts!)

I'm pleased to report that as of this past Thursday, I am officially done with our shopping. Waiting on a doll set to arrive from Land of Nod for Santa to bring CeCe, but once it's here, I'll be in gift wrap heaven! I've actually gotten a ton of shopping, baking and gift prep done in the evenings after the kids have gone to bed. They're both down consistently around 8 and CeCe is sleeping a good chunk of about 4 (sometimes more, but I don't want to jinx it!) hours without waking. Tonight, I even got some girl time with Kristin and Holli. We went to see The September Issue, which was so interesting and fun- I highly recommend it if you have a nearby theatre that features indie films. It was wonderful to get out on an average Thursday night with my favorite girls!

Speaking of favorite girls, the Southwood Park moms just left after a fun, yet purely chaotic playdate. Violet, Caroline, Finn, Preston and CeCe...what a crew. We made a keepsake ornament of the kids' handprints and they turned out really well. The kids had a good time playing and the mommies had a good time sipping coffee, noshing on homemade goodies and chatting. I feel so incredibly lucky to be blessed with such great girlfriends. We all have a lot going on, and it was good to get together one last time before life gets too chaotic at the end of the year.
Here's how we made the ornaments:
The night before, I combined
4 cups flour
1.5 cups water
1 cup salt

Worked in some green food coloring and kneaded for 20 minutes. (That is probably the hardest part- kneading dough is an arm workout of which I was previously unaware.) You roll out the dough, press their little hands in, make a hole for the ribbon and then bake for 20 minutes at 325.


One other thing I have to suggest for Fort Wayners before I go is the AWS Fantasy of Lights! There are over 50 elaborate light displays set up at Franke Park and you drive through. Preston absolutely loved it and I got CeCe out of her carseat to ride on my lap. $5 a car- can't beat it- I highly recommend it if you have kids! I of course, didn't have my camera, or I'd post pics. So, until next time, these shots from the last week will have to do...

One of the three designs I ordered of our Christmas cards: (indecisive much?)

My happy boy:

CeCe in her bumbo:

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Catching our breath

What a crazy weekend we just had!

Friday we had the LaBov holiday party which included hosting our dear friends, Jeremy and Scott overnight. Judy watched the kids (thanks, Grandma!) and did a great job. In fact, after 6 of her own kids and 13 grandkids, she probably did better than we would have done on our own. ;) CeCe still is not big on taking a bottle of pumped milk, so she nursed for about 45 minutes once we got home. I had to start on Kevin's birthday cake for the next evening and make a breakfast casserole for our guests the next morning, so needless to say, it was a late night.

Saturday morning, we had a nice breakfast with our guests, then family pictures taken (sneak peak below!) at our home for our Christmas cards, then spent the day gearing up for hosting a big afternoon dinner for 8 adults, two wild toddler boys and 2 sweet baby girls. Yep, the Foley family drove up to Fort Wayne from Indy and joined us, along with my mom and Sherm here for a mostaccoli dinner followed by a delicious chocolate cake for Kevin's birthday. (If I do say so myself.)
I can't even begin to tell you how difficult it was to get a picture where all 4 of our eyes were open, were even remotely glancing in the camera's direction and had something resembling a smile on our faces. If you receive a Christmas card from us, you'll see what I mean. Regardless, it was still a great time and we now have three month pictures of CeCe that we can pair with 3 month pictures of Preston.

Sunday, we got up bright and early and loaded up both kids for a day trip to Elkhart. It was a fun and totally relaxed morning packing up the car with both babies as you can imagine. (<---sarcasm.) ha! Suffice it to say that our goal to leave the house was 9:00 am. But our actual departure time was 10:14 am. However, I have to say, IT WAS SO WORTH IT! What a great day at the Elcona Country Club annual Santa brunch. Great food, great time with Grammy and Grandpa Roberts and Kevin didn't even get a speeding ticket like last year. ....Oh yes, we did get pulled over, but luckily he got a merciful Columbia City cop and the guy couldn't have been nicer. Even said, "don't want to ruin your birthday, so I'll give you a warning." Much better than the blow hard Elkhart county brownie last year who DID give him a ticket on his 30th. CeCe - my "I'm so not a big fan of the car" drama queen slept right through it.
Once we got to the brunch, Preston eyed Santa and was a little nervous, but slowly warmed up throughout the morning.

He did give him a specific list:
1.Tractor Trailer. (The technical term for a semi truck.) But poor inept Santa thought he meant farm equipment and then asked if he wanted "some John Deere stuff."
2. Garbage Truck.
3. Fire Engine. Although he has several, I guess Santa will have to look for another. Which is unfortunate because Santa is quite busy these days and already has a good majority of his shopping done.
4. Thomas the Train stuff.

Monday was Kevin's birthday, so he had the day off work and we enjoyed a little family time followed by our first attempt to take both kids out to dinner just the two of us. It was a smashing success. And by "success," I actually mean "stressful evening of passing them back and forth and asking for boxes and the check immediately once our food came." Such is life with two kids. Happy belated birthday, Honey!