Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Christmas Celebration with the Dustin's

The kids were nestled all snug in their beds... and were still even at 9am on Christmas morning!
But you know what? I was okay with that! I was able to sleep in a little bit!

After a long night of going through family traditions, like reading 'A Child's Christmas in Wales' and listening to Great Grandpa Dustin talk about his Christmas's, and then stuffing stockings, we were all a little tired. 

Every time a member is added to the family, Grandma gets out her sewing machine and makes them a stocking to fill for Christmas. It wasn't until the evening of the 23rd that I realized we didn't bring our stockings. I felt pretty bad, but since that was the only thing I forgot to bring along, I thought I did pretty good. Plus Em & Colin forgot theirs too! They used pillowcases, I used Trigger's stocking (Cameron's dog), Perry used his dad's stocking, and the boys used the bags our neighbors had given to them. Luckily it all worked out!
While last minute things were being finished up before the boys came up stairs, Kiki and I spent a few minutes taking pictures in front of her stocking. When Perry and his siblings were young, they used to run up the stairs to the master bedroom with pillowcases over their heads so they couldn't see what Santa brought them in the living room. Like tradition, the boys participated in this activity as well. They carefully walked up the stairs, as we giggled about the drool stains on JP's pillowcase. Hunter did fine when he got to the top of the stairs, but poor JP ate it on the last one.
 Once we were all in the master bedroom, coffee and pastries (and the usual Scandinavian Kringler) were brought in for a morning snack. Some how in all the commotion, Hunter managed to escape and got in a lot of trouble. While I comforted him, JP drank his hot chocolate, and even walked Hunter's over to him to cheer him up. Though it didn't work, we all thought it was SO sweet of him! Brotherly love!
 As soon as Hunter was able to start opening presents though, he was in a much better mood! Charlotte even tried to unwrap her presents by herself!
  Everyone had a fun time opening their stockings!
Guess who's excited about Jelly Beans?! Dad was super excited about the catapult in his stocking as well. He immediately wanted to assemble it, but luckily we were able to talk him out of it.
 Charlotte had quite the loot to open too! Lots of bibs, socks, and toys!
 When all the stocking presents were opened, Hunter and JP raced out to the living room to find the trampoline Santa brought them. They were so excited! After bouncing for a while, we took them outside to check on the Reindeer Dust (JP brought it home from preschool and made sure it was packed) they sprinkled outside the night before so Santa could find his way to the house. They were very concerned he wouldn't be able to find them since we weren't at home. Although they were disappointed the reindeer didn't eat the oats, they cheered up when I mentioned the reindeer peed in the snow (thanks dogs!) and dropped a few bells off the sleigh. 
 They could hardly contain themselves when it came time to open presents. I'm not sure who was more excited about this gift, Hunter, Aunt Em, or Dad?
 All the grandkids had a bunch of presents to open!
Instead of everyone grabbing presents out from under the tree, the Dustin's usually have a rotating "Santa" who wears a Santa hat. Unfortunately the hat was misplaced so these reindeer antlers were used instead.
JP was a kick to watch open presents. "What is Jim?!" "I don't know! I have to open it to find out! .... I got a box!!!" 
 And speaking of excited, Uncle Colin was excited to get these touchscreen compatible gloves for Christmas. And I was just excited he was here for Christmas since my camera lens took a dump on me and stopped autofocusing, he let me use one of his extras. THANK GOODNESS!
 And again we were so thankful for these bags from our neighbors because they help to corral the boys' toys and keep them separated. I've stashed them away for use next year!
 Charli enjoyed her first Christmas too. I think this little dolly from Nanny and Papa might just be her favorite toy though!
 Aunt Kile sent these cool glasses over with Aunt Bobby when she came to town and as soon as JP opened the present, he shouted, "Just like I've always wanted!!!" He was uncontrollably excited!
I was pretty excited about the new pair of footie pajamas Perry gave me. And then I had to explain why he calls them birth control jammies....
There was even more excitement when the boys were given sleds. They were super anxious to take them outside! (Be on the lookout for the sledding post coming soon!)
After all the presents were opened, and sledding was finished, we all sat down, at 8:45p for a nice prime rib dinner. Yumm! A wonderful Christmas filled with lots of memories!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Our First Time Ice Skating

Another activity the boys were SUPER excited to do was to go ice skating. I've always wanted to take them, but two little boys with one momma just sounded like a disaster! The day after Christmas we headed into town for open skate at the local rink and it wasn't too busy, which was super nice!
I was impressed as to how quickly Hunter became used to walking in his skates. In a few short moments after getting his skates on, he was wandering around. JP needed a little help, but before we left he was pacing around too. 
Aunt Em was so excited to take the boys skating! I have never seen these before, but the rink had these metal bars young skaters could push around to help them with their balance. In retrospect, a shorter red one (like to the left of Emilienne) might have worked better for at least JP, who would often slip and hit his face or chin on the blue bar.
He was a trooper regardless though! Both boys took multiple breaks to have hot chocolate. Who wouldn't break for hot chocolate though?!
 Hunter did amazing after he gained more confidence! Aunt Em, Uncle Colin, Perry and I all took turns holding the boys' hands while ice skating. At one point Hunter let go of Aunt Em and me and started running down the ice on the tips of his skates. I'm surprised he didn't immediately fall!
 JP did pretty good too! He had a few brave moments himself where he would either stop holding hands or let go of the bar he was pushing around. 
I think Hunter overly enjoyed holding hands with people because then he was "free" to swerve around with noodle legs, as well as jump over every line. 
When the boys started getting riskier, Uncle Colin found them a couple helmets to wear. Thank goodness! 
Also skating with us at the rink were Colin's parents, his brother and niece. I could tell little Adeline had a lot of fun too! Perry and I did our fair share of skating too! I hadn't been skating for about 6 years and was pretty wobbly myself...luckily I had plenty of opportunities to push kids around with the blue bars...! 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Charlotte's Christmas Pictures

I have seen SO many adorable baby Christmas pictures on Pinterest, not to mention the adorable photos of my nephew! Of course I had to capture a few of my little Charli babers. She was a little angel during the whole shoot! These are just the pictures I captured. Uncle Colin has a bunch of AWESOME ones on his camera I've yet to retrieve. 

 She is such a happy girl!
 I love how innocent she looks!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

All Aboard for the Trolley!

One of the activities that had been planned previous to our arrival was a trolley ride. After telling JP about the plans of the trolley ride, he became SUPER excited. (His favorite show is 'Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood' on PBS, which is the new version of 'Mr. Roger's Neighborhood.') He anxiously awaited all day Monday for the trolley ride and could hardly contain himself once we arrived! (And before I go any further, I'm horrible at night photos, so excuse the following blurriness etc of the photos in this post! And the auto-focus on my camera lens pooped out on me.)
 We had to stop the from climbing immediately on to the bus because, of course, mom wanted a picture. And since it was dark out, I couldn't tell it was a little blurry...
 Here's another one of the handful of family photos we have. 

 Once we all boarded, JP's excitement diminished and Hunter's grew. Go figure.  JP didn't like the bounciness of the trolley, but as we cruised around looking he started enjoying himself a little more, especially when we told him that's what school buses feel like!
 We drove around a little bit of Kalispell looking at the Christmas lights while enjoying hot chocolate and singing Christmas carols. Hunter shouted "This is awesome!" at least 10 times. We stopped at a dancing house and watched the light show there for a few minutes. I think we spent extra time there because quite a few homes that are normally lit up, were not the night we had our ride. A little disappointing, but still enjoyable!
 Each set of seats also came with a towel to wipe the windows of fog. I'm not sure that JP really looked at any of the Christmas lights as he was too busy being his and Hunter's window washer. 
We were delighted to have extra guests come along with us. Family friend Rachel got a little bit of her baby fix with Charli, and Uncle Colin's parents, and brother and daughter joined us as well. The more the merrier!