Monday, December 26, 2011

The Night Before Christmas

...and the next morning.
Christmas Eve was a day of questions in the Traylor house. Questions about Santa, how he would get into the house, what he might do while he was here, when he was coming, how the chimney worked. All sorts of questions. We explained things in the best way we could, by telling Lilly that Santa is magic. When that explanation led to more questions we gave up and admitted ignorance, explaining that no one really knows how Santa does it, that no one has ever seen him because he simply won't come if you are awake or out of bed.
This led to a quiet panic. Lilly, who usually is anti bed time, brushed her teeth, used the potty and climbed into bed without a word of argument. It was about that time that we realized that Bryan and I realized that we had forgotten to leave Santa some cookies. We got Lilly out of bed to make a plate for Santa. She seemed really uneasy about the whole thing, looking around like maybe he was already here, and putting the cookies and carrots on the plate without any nonsense. As soon as we set the plate down on the fireplace she was back in bed quick as could be. Then, a true Christmas miracle occurred: Lilly went to sleep without any requests for drinks, potty trips, stories, songs, band aids, etc. She even asked us to close her door so that she wouldn't accidentally see Santa.
Cookies for Santa and carrots for the reindeer.

Bryan and I were lucky enough to get some pictures after Santa came, but before the kids got up.
Jack and his new car and track.

Lilly loves to brush, comb and style hair. All hair other than her own, obviously.

Even though he got quite a few new toys Jack is still partial to his puppy.

Opening a present.

Jack may be the first Traylor ever to dunk a basketball...or even make a basket.
The best part of Christmas when your only one? The pile of trash.

Santa also visited Grandma and Papaw's house. He left a horse there for Lilly, Jack and Samantha. Clearly, Bryan doesn't trust Lilly to keep Jack from being bucked off.

Please note: Lilly received her very own camera for Christmas so there aren't many pictures of her as she preferred to be the one taking them. And, she rarely held still long enough for a picture.

Thanks to everyone who thought of my kids this year at Christmas. They are very fortunate for there are many, many people who love them and help to make their holidays and every other days special. And, for this, Bryan and I truly grateful.

Merry Christmas everyone. Until next year....

Friday, December 23, 2011

Polar Express

Last Thursday our little family did the Polar Express train ride. The train leaves from Binford Ave station and heads through Fishers and then onto The North Pole (aka Noblesville Town Center) to pick up Santa and Mrs. Claus. On the first leg of the trip everyone was served hot chocolate and cookies while we watched Christmas lights pass. And then, on way back Santa visited with each of the kids while the Mrs. led the car in Christmas carols and passed out a little gifts.
This was the best I could do at a group picture. The kids were more interested in looking out the windows and, in Lilly's case, visiting with her new friend across the aisle than they were in getting their pictures taken. Bryan lucked into taking this adorable picture of Jack looking out the window and is now convinced that he should quit his job and follow his true calling as a child photographer.

Lilly posed with Santa, but choked when he asked what she wanted for Christmas. Jack, on the other hand, panicked and froze with terror when Santa spoke to him.

The train was a great time, but would probably be more fun with a bigger group. Who wants to join us next year?

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

Last year Lilly went with my mom and dad to get their Christmas tree. They took her to a place that they had heard about from some friends, but had never been to before. They had a great time and decided to include Jack and I in the invitation this year. We all had so much fun that the kids and I brought Bryan back that weekend to pick out our Christmas tree.
Dull's Tree Farm is north of Zionsville and kind of a hike, but well worth the trip. Obviously, there are lots of trees to choose from, but there are also little Christmas shops, a wreath barn, a couple animals and a barn loft with slides, tunnels in the straw and big underground slide outside.
On our first visit with Mom and Dad Lilly worked up the courage to explore some of the tunnels in the straw maze. She was a little braver when we came back the second time and a nice brother and sister pair went with her.
Jack gets in on some sliding action with a little help from Papaw.

Walking in straw is harder than you might realize.

The tunnel to the slide.

And, of course Lilly's favorite of the tree farm was all of the friendly kitties. Although, the one that brought her a dead mouse as a gift led to a lot of questions on the ride home.

Return trip with Daddy. Proudly pulling the Traylor tree to the wrapping station.

After quite a bit of thought and assurance she decided to try the big underground slide with Daddy.

It is basically huge PVC pipe buried in a hill. Needless to say, they shot out of there like a rocket and Bryan was repeatedly shocked with static electricity.

Lilly's eyes were the size of saucers when they came out of the bottom of the slide. But, she immediately wanted to go again.

Decorating the tree. The ornaments are pretty much all in clumps and groups and most of them have been moved up out of Jack's reach. Nothing on the tree really matches and there is no rhyme or reason to the decorating. In short, it is our worst decorated tree ever...and we couldn't be more happy or proud. There was also a moment or two of confusion about the Christmas tree skirt, but we got it all straightened out in the end.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Morgan's Birthday...

This year, to celebrate Morgan's 15th birthday Bryan's entire family gathered together in Eastern Kentucky for a huge turkey dinner. There was turkey, dressing, broccoli casserole, mashed potatoes, gravy and several desserts among other things. All for Morgan's birthday...that just happened to be the same weekend as another holiday, Thanksgiving.
After dinner on Thursday Bryan's dad, a private pilot, took Bryan, Matthew, Lilly and Jack to see the new jet he has been flying. Grandma went along too, but I don't think she was too interested in the jet. Wes claims that he has invited her up to see the jet several times and she was never interested...until the grand kids were. Rumor has it that Wes is a very talented and reliable pilot, but I don't think I would trust his copilot. Bryan and Jack on the jet. Hope Lilly doesn't get too attached to this pillow.

After the big turkey dinner Morgan's birthday celebrations continued on Friday night at Gattiland, a pizza buffet for kids with games and prizes. Think Chuck E Cheese only nicer and with better food and games.

Morgan's cake.

Morgan was kind enough to share her birthday with Lilly. Lilly got to help blow out candles, make a wish and open gifts.

Morgan was pretty excited about all of the new clothes that she got for her birthday, but you could tell that Lilly felt sorry for her because she didn't get any toys at all.

Clearly, Jack was upset about the lack of toys too.

Jack love his first ride on a carousel. He was clapping and waving at Lilly and everyone standing around watching. When the ride would end he would point to the place where you put the money in and grunt. With two parents, two grandparents, an aunt and a couple of cousins there was obviously a stampede to put more money in and start the ride again.

Morgan, a most gracious birthday girl, used her prize tickets to purchase a princess crown for herself and Lilly. Something about Lilly in her crown, pearl necklace and assorted other jewelry, riding a monster truck in Eastern Kentucky just stuck me as funny.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Girls' Day

One of Lilly's best friends, Avery, turned four on the 14th of this month. To help her celebrate Lilly and I thought it would be fun to paint some pottery together. Tania, Avery's mother, and I decided to add brunch and make it a hole Girls' Day Event.
Here are the girls at brunch. They each ordered a pancake and a scrambled egg. They each ate exactly half of a pancake and half of a scrambled egg. Next time we'll know. At least Tania knew to bring coloring activity sheets. Here are the girls displaying their work.
After the long and drawn out process of choosing which piece of pottery to paint the Lilly and Avery picked their colors (which actually only took a few seconds) and then got to work painting.

Avery really concentrating on her castle bank.

As her second piece Lilly chose to paint a very nontraditional rainbow on her rainbow bank.

The unfinished finished products before firing. Avery's are the castle and the horse. Lilly has the butterfly box and rainbow bank.

So proud of their work.

I picked the pottery up a week later and we tried to get a picture of the girls displaying their works of art. This was pretty much the best we got. They mostly just wanted to play with Avery's toys during the pottery drop off and photo shoot.

So, we just put the pottery on the dining room table a take a picture. That worked a lot better. Pictures are substantially easier to take when there are no children in them. But, nowhere near as cute or funny.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Cowboy Birthday

Like all good birthdays, we celebrated Jack's 1st for exactly one week. David Jack Traylor turned one on Thursday, November 10, 2011. But, we got a jump on the party the weekend before. Bryan's parents, sadly, had to miss the party so they decided to come up the weekend before and make a mini birthday party. It was great. It gave Jack a chance to practice opening presents...although Lilly had to give him a brief lesson. Very excited about his new blocks.

The next day we went on a walk at Starkey Park and threw some rocks in Eagle Creek.

Now that he is a year old Jack has graduated to the backpack carrier.

Lilly chose not to walk the entire time.

Walking makes Jack very sleepy. Even though he didn't do any walking.

Later that night Jack got to blow out a candle on the Traylor's traditional first birthday cake: A lamb covered in coconut. Bryan's Nana has used the same recipe and mold to make a lamb cake for everyone in the family's first birthday since anyone can remember and she reins to Jo when Lilly was a year old.

On Jack's actual birthday I planned a nice dinner that I thought he'd enjoy, bought a little cake at the grocery store and had everything ready for our little party. However, due to a glitch in communication and planning Jack and I had to take Lilly to gymnastics at 5pm. That made it almost impossible to follow the plan. So instead, on the way home from the gym we stopped at the house, picked Bryan up and headed to El Rodeo. Jack was just as happy with his birthday beans as he would have been with beef stroganoff. We stopped by Target for some last minute party supplies and then headed home for cake.

Jack did exactly what he was supposed to do with his cake. We sang and Lilly helped blow out the candle.

Then, Jack smooched his little hand into his cake, rubbed it all over his high chair tray,

and his face.

At this point Jack was all warmed up and ready for his Cowboy Birthday Party! Or so we thought. The party started at 3pm. I planned Jack's nap accordingly, but somehow at around 2:15 he was cranky and sleepy. I put him in his bed and he rested for about a half an hour and woke up ready to party just in the nick of time.

Jack and Grandma inspecting the balloons.

The cake....and Jack's little smash cake.

David Jack and Grandpa David.

Just walking around in his cowboy shirt.

Playing with the girls.

Gifts for Jack. He even opened a couple.

Goody bags for the kiddos.

Jack was not as enthusiastic about this cake as he was the first one. In fact, after we sang to him he looked around and immediately started crying.

Finally eating a little bit of his cake.

Jack opening his gifts. Bryan did not have this crazy look on his face during the entire gift opening time, but this is the only picture of Jack actually helping open a present. Bryan and I along with some of the other kids had to open most of them.

This drum filled with assorted musical instruments was that gift. It was very popular with all of the kids, and almost none of the adults.

I was at the party too...and helped open some gifts.

Jack's favorite thing to play with was, of course, this little plastic piece that was part of the packaging for one of his new toys.

Cute little face.

Dylan is eyeing Jack's new Little Red Rocket ride on toy that Bryan and I got for him. I'm sure D will get a turn. Kristy and Samantha.

As the party died down the kids decided that they were hungry for more than just party snacks. So, I served up some good old fashioned peanut butter and jelly, veggie straws and cottage cheese. Clearly, Georgie takes his meals pretty seriously.

Thank you everyone for helping us to celebrate Jack's first birthday! And, a special thanks to Tania for taking all of the pictures.

Happy Birthday Jack! We love you.