Friday, December 31, 2010

Christmas #7- The Kuehl Christmas

This is the last Christmas recap. I know it's been a lot for some of you to read, but this blog is how I document our life, so years from now when I finally get around to scrapbooking the pages for the kids' albums, I can remember what happened. Christmas with the Kuehl side of the family was on Sunday. There were more games of Wits and Wagers and some rounds of cards. We had ham balls and chicken for lunch. Ian barely ate anything before he fell asleep in Grandma's bed. I guess all the Christmases and lack of a nap were finally catching up to him. Annaliese got a doll that giggles, and she laughed the minute she heard it. She also got a Sesame Street doctor's kit.

Giggle Baby

Sesame Doctor Kit

Apparently we should have given all her gifts to her in a gift bag, because she paid more attention to this one packaging than she did in all the other packages combined.

Finally, a package she's interested in

I don't know if she confused Uncle Brian with Darrin or not, but she liked to crawl and hang out with him, too.

Annaliese and Uncle Brian

Ian LOVED his truck, trailer, and riding lawn mower that he got. He also got a coloring book.
Ian's truck and hauler

He had the honor of giving Grandma her present- a money tree. She's got the fun job of getting all the money off of there and spending it as she wants.

Grandma's Money Tree

And finally, nearly 10 months after her birth, I remembered to get a 4-generation shot when they were all together.
Four Kuehl Generations

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas #5 & #6- Christmas Day

Christmas Day was spent with Darrin's family. For lunch we went to his aunt and uncle's house to join his extended family in a delicious meal. That was followed by the game "Guess what's in Santa's bag" and several rounds of the game "Wits and Wagers."

Wits and Wagers
Darrin and I aren't pictured because I was holding a sleeping Annaliese on the couch and Darrin was taking pictures.

After spending most of the afternoon there having fun and catching up, we headed back to Grandma and Grandpa's house for more presents and the annual family picture.
The Collins Clan

It was quite a transition from the first Christmas of the season to this one for Annaliese. She was actually interested in pulling the paper off the packages. That was until there were a few presents open, then all she wanted to do was crawl around and check everything out. Owen got a Leap Frog table like she has at home and all she wanted to do was play with it. Annaliese got a baby doll and stroller, singing cow, a toy that pops balls into the air, and a variety pack containing a little radio, keys, and a book.
Finally opening a present

Playing with Owen's toy

Ian opened a Buzz Lightyear snuggie, easel (this one to stay at Grandma & Grandpa's), Buzz puzzle, and Memory, but I don't think any of those, nor any previous present from the entire Christmas, compared to the Buzz wings he got. As soon as he saw what it was, we couldn't get them on him fast enough, and he left them on the entire night until it was time for bed. I can't wait to see them on him along with his Buzz costume from Halloween.

Buzz Wings

My Buzz Lightyear

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas #4- the Doerscher gang

On Christmas Eve Day, we joined my parents and my sister, along with her family, in a Christmas brunch followed by even more presents. Before Cara, Shawn, and Oliver arrived, Ian opened a present early- a snow shovel- and put it right to use. Otherwise, no one would have been able to get there.
Scoopin Snow

Little Oliver slept through almost the whole thing, but he stayed awake long enough to get a family picture.
The Doerscher Clan

Ian again passed out all the presents. Since the majority of the present were for Oliver, Annaliese, and himself, he could practically do it all by himself. He'd just look at the first letter on the package (he can identify I, A, and O) and then know who it was for.
Elf Ian

While visiting my grandparents for Thanksgiving, Ian had noticed their flag and asked for one for Christmas. He was excited to find one in his stocking. As for presents under the tree, they contained a toy drill set, Cars bean bag toss, Toy Story the movie, Toy Story Alien fishing, lots of clothes, and a toy shopping cart filled with groceries to share with Annaliese.
Ian and his Flag

Opening his tool kit

Annaliese also got lots of clothes, a baby doll, a toy that pops balls into the air, and formula (and I'm sure I'm forgetting some- all the Christmases are blending together at this point). She finally started to get into opening her presents, reaching out for the paper. Of course once she got the paper torn off, that's all she wanted to play with.
Helping open a present

Christmas #3- Our Christmas

Santa came to our house early. Because we were headed back to Iowa for the holidays, we woke up Thursday morning to open gifts before heading back. Instead of opening our presents right away, though, we had to get our picture in our new pajamas. Every year on our Christmas Eve, we get new pjs to open presents in the next morning.

Our Christmas 2010

Annaliese continued her indifference towards her gifts. Instead of diving into her stocking, she took off towards the camera. And after the stockings were emptied, she found Ian's granola bars from his stocking more fun than opening the gifts under the tree.

Who cares about the stocking, I want the camera

Enthralled with Ian's Granola Bar

Ian, however, was very surprised to open his stocking and find Chick from the movie Cars inside. He hadn't even asked for it and Santa brought it. He even gave it a quick hug, which unfortunately the camera didn't capture.
Loving his stocking stuffer

While opening his gift from Santa, Ian exclaimed, "Hey! This is for Annaliese!" We encouraged him to look inside, and he was sure glad he did. Inside he found his yellow ambulance and a rescue helicopter.

But after all the presents were open, it was Annaliese who first played with the helicopter while Ian and Darrin looked through is Cars Seek & Find book.
Enjoying the presents

When finished, it was on to play with the helicopter until it was time to head to Iowa.
Ian and his Helicopter

The post is lacking pictures of Darrin and I, but he did a good job. He bought me a new laptop, and I gave him (and myself) an XBOX 360, as well as Fable 2 and Red Dead Redemption. Annaliese ended up getting stacking rings, books, a pink tea set, and a VTech helicopter. In addition to his ambulance, helicopter, Cars book, and Chick, Ian got a Buzz flashlight and books for his Leap Pad.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas #2- the "Friends" Christmas

I didn't forget Christmas #1- it happened at Thanksgiving, and you can catch up here if you need to. On Tuesday, Dec. 21, we had our second Christmas with our Omaha friends: Sara, Marlena, Noah, and Walter. After a soup super, we opened presents. Ian enthusiastically took on the role of passing out presents, piling them all up in front of us. In the past, Ian's opened each present, and then in turn wanted that present open to play with; we practically had to bribe him to open the next one. Not this year. This year with our friends he just torn into one, put it to the side, and wanted to open the next. It took a bit of convincing for him to wait until everyone else had chances to open some before he could open his next. Annaliese didn't care one bit about presents. We tried to get her to pull the paper, but she was more interested in just crawling around to everyone and playing with the already-opened gifts.

Darrin got to open the first gift, a flash for our camera, and what a difference it made in our pictures.

Elf Ian passing out presents
Pre-flash Elf Ian passing out presents

Annaliese's first present
Annaliese opening her first present- a "2010" ornament.

Ian reading "Mater and the Ghost Light" from Sara.

Sara and Annaliese
Between Annaliese and Walter, Sara's lap and arms were busy helping us out!

Annaliese celebrates

Annaliese and Walter- sizing each other up
Annaliese and Walter size each other up. A few seconds later, she attacked his face. Guess we know who won that showdown.

The string led to the easel.
Ian getting ready to open his big present. The string attached led to his present in the garage.

Ian's Gift
And hiding in the garage was this easel made by Noah. As soon as we got inside, Ian went straight to work playing school with us.

Annaliese's gift
Ian wasn't the only one to get a homemade gift. Annaliese got a baby bed made by Noah. Marlena made a sheet, two tiny pillows and a quilt that matches the one she made Annaliese for her baptism.

Thanks Marlena, Noah, Walter, and Sara for some fabulous Christmas gifts and memories!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Santa's Message for Ian

If you have little kids and you've never been to the website Portable North Pole you need to check it out. After providing just a few details and/or pictures of your child, a video will play with a special message just for him/her.

We did one for Ian and he watched it tonight. He was so stoic while watching it. I was expecting lots of smiles or a look of awe, but he just silently stared at it. As of now, I can't directly post the video on my blog, but you can view it by clicking HERE.

For my dad

Last time I talked to Dad, he couldn't believe that we hadn't needed to pull out the snow blower yet this year. Well, Dad, at 10:55 this morning, this is what our backyard looked like:

Granted, the fact that the highs yesterday were mid-40s and the sun shined helped melt the thin layer of snow we had covering our grass. And our front yard is still pretty covered, but it also doesn't get much sun shine. Now, if it would just wait to snow again until we're safely back in Iowa for the holidays, that would be great.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Life Since Thanksgiving

Life since Thanksgiving has been chaotic. It has been a time filled with sickness (hence no posts). Amongst the four of us we've had the flu, viral diarrhea, ear infection, severe colds, and lost voice. As this weekend comes to a close, we're all just trying to rest up and be healthy for the holiday season.

Since Thanksgiving, Ian has performed in two Christmas performances. I'm pretty sure he preferred the show at preschool over the one at church. It was a bit long waiting for the older kids to do all their lines, so Ian took a seat during part of it. He and Zach, who's four days older than Ian, were the only three-year-olds, so I think everyone just let it slide. We thought it was great that he didn't cry. He actually missed the part where he sings the most because he had to go to the restroom. He sang the whole time during his preschool program, though I swear I caught him a few times making eyes at the girl next to him.

Preschool Christmas Program

Bored during church program

We also saw Santa. Ian was very impatient in line, but we thankfully averted a public tantrum. He was very serious during his time with Santa. Annaliese, however, didn't want anything to do with him. She started screaming instantly, and we never got a picture with both Ian and Santa looking at the camera.

Meeting Santa

Annaliese had her nine-month birthday and doctor's check-up. She was 28.5 inches tall and 20 pounds 8 ounces. We've moved her up to the convertible car seat, because she only had .5 inches to go before she would meet the height limit. I was concerned at her appointment with the fact she wasn't interested in standing, but that all changed when we got home and Darrin hauled out the leap frog table that we had for Ian. She may have leaned on it a lot in the beginning, but she's doing pretty good with it now. It's so cute when the music plays, because she'll bop her head around and dance with it. She's also crawling like crazy and can get pretty much anywhere

Standings 'tall'

So Big!


Ian's imagination runs wild now and it's so cute listening and watching him. He wears his Buzz costume and pretends Eeyore is Bullseye (the horse in the movie Toy Story), galloping with him around the room. Darrin also rolled him up in a quilt, saying he was a hot dog, but Ian turned it into being inside Santa's sack instead. He also just loves to help around the house, helping me tonight work on Christmas presents for his teachers.

Buzz and "Bullseye"

My Little "Hot Dog"

Sewing Christmas presents

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving weekend in pictures

It was a busy weekend, and I could write a blog post for each day, but this coming week is going to be extremely busy, too, so one post with lots of pictures will just have to do. One thing I learned while uploading and editing these is I need to have a steadier hand when shooting without flash/not on auto.

Thanksgiving spread
We had a DELICIOUS dinner at Brian and Jodi's house (they make the best turkey ever). Annaliese had her first bites of turkey and loved them, as well as the squash and mashed potatoes. The cranberry sauce, apple salad, and rolls were a hit with Ian (whose head is below the camera).

Isn't it cold outside?
After lunch, Ian decided to burn some calories, and not even the frigid temps could keep him indoors. He had fun running around in the backyard and trying to get the dogs to play with him.

We weren't able to stay too long at Brian and Jodi's because we had to get to Davenport for Christmas at Great Billie's. And what's Christmas at Great Billie's without an appearance by Santa.

What's in there, Santa?
Ian got to help open the bag and pass out the presents.

Who are you?!
Annaliese sat on Santa's lap for the first time and wasn't quite sure what to think.

And that wasn't even all of them!
As always, Santa Clause and Great Billie went a little overboard with all the presents. Ian couldn't wait to open them up and Annaliese didn't know what in the world to think.

His favorite gift
Ian's favorite gift was this Buzz Lightyear. It wasn't out of his reach most of the weekend. We even had to write IAN on the bottom of his foot like Andy does in the movies.

Her favorite gifts
Annaliese didn't wait very patiently to open her book. The hat couldn't have been better timed. Darrin and I had just talked about that morning how we really needed to get a hat for her.

The next day we went to visit my grandparents in Davenport. We ate a scrumptious lunch and the kids had a great time playing on the floor and with all the vehicles.

He loves trains
Ian absolutely loved playing with this train set (imagine that). He eventually added two more cars to it as well. My aunt told stories of how it never stayed together and they had to tie it with twist ties for Ian just like they did when they were kids.

Playing with Great Grandpa
He had fun teasing Great Grandpa by ramming his chair with the tractor, too.

Fun times with grandpa
Annaliese crawled all over the place and loved pushing the trucks around on the floor as well, or playing with Ian's ball.

Look at those teeth!
And look at all her teeth! Her first one on the top is just starting to come through as well.

How is that comfortable?
After a long day of playing trains, trucks, and bear cave with Grandpa Dave, Ian fell asleep within 5 minutes of leaving the house. How this is comfortable I have no idea. Luckily this trip wasn't very far and he figured out how to sleep more comfortably for the drive back to Omaha.

We came back from Davenport yesterday and spent the day trying to re-acclimate ourselves. Today was all about decorating for Christmas.

Decorating the tree
Ian helped with the decorating even more this year, though we had to teach him about placement on the tree. Otherwise all the ornaments would have been in one large clump.

Getting some help with the angel
He got to put the angel on the top of the tree.

Didn't get placed on the tree this year
Here's the one ornament that we didn't put up on the tree this year...

Wearing "Santa's boots."
For some reason, he' thinks the stockings are Santa's boots, and we let him, because it's so darn cute when he wears them. He remembered doing this last year, too. His memory is amazing. He was asking us about certain ornaments before we even had the box out of the basement, and was able to set up other decorations all around the house without being told where they go.

It was a long weekend
All the weekend fun, plus the middle-of-the-night sickness we dealt with last night, tuckered the poor guy out and he fell asleep in Darrin's arms by 6:30 tonight. He never woke up as Darrin carried him to bed, either, which is even more amazing.