Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas in Mt. Morris

Once we'd made it through the Christmas weekend, we hopped in the car and headed for Grandmother's house to stretch the holiday a little further. We had another terrific visit, with laughs and delicious desserts and Myrna bouncing off the walls. My grandma recorded a reading of The Night Before Christmas for Myrna on one of those electronic recordable story books. Myrna listened to it over and over while we were there, and continues to do so now that we are back home. She recites along with Grandma's voice now, and is well on her way to having the whole thing memorized.

Grandma also introduced Myrn to a Burkhalter holiday fixture: her reindeer Kenner, which friends had made for her some time ago. Myrna really wanted to ride on it, and probably wasn't too big to try, but only her new teddy bear was allowed climb onto Kenner's back.

We also drove down to Princeton, IL to meet the Gamages for pizza. This was the first time we'd seen them since Becky's wedding this summer, which Myrna remembers all too well. Myrn talked everyone's ears off, and the adults did some catching up too.

I'm sure Grandma's house is still recuperating from Myrna's very hands-on explorations, and we've come home with a couple more Myrna-vetted recipes. We had such a great time. It's so nice being only a car-trip away!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Myrna had her Christmas Pageant debut this year - as a beautiful angel. She was extremely excited for the chance to dress up, and took her role very seriously:

She referred to her other angels as her "flock of angels"

After the pageant (at the Gospel reading) the kids all took off their costumes and returned to the service - well all the kids except Myrna, as she continued to play the part of an angel. We finally got the costume off of her as we were leaving, convincing her that she should show off her new Christmas dress, that she so carefully picked out herself in Chicago (the key requirement of the Christmas dress, according to Myrna, was that it needed flowers).

We had a leisurely two days of opening presents on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Myrna is at the stage where she wants to play with each present before moving on to another. She was intent on getting her mother "a thousand nutcrackers" but settled on just the one:

If Santa really had his act together, he would have had the entire Nutcracker battle scene reenacted under the tree for Christmas Day, but that idea came a little too late for the elves to carve all the soldiers.

And what Christmas Day could be complete without some kicking of the new "outdoor" football? My parents bought the soccer ball when they were here at Thanksgiving for us to give to Myrna at Christmas. The only problem was that Myrna spied the ball shortly after they left, and has been asking about it since then....

Friday, December 23, 2011

All Smiles for Santa

Yesterday we took a train to the North Pole (known to most, as Chicago) to see Santa. Myrna was very excited, especially after Santa had called her on the phone and informed her that he liked ice cream sandwiches too. We've been seeing lots of pictures of kids crying on Santa's laps and Myrna remembered being scared last year - but this year was different.

More photos of our Chicago adventures are on the December Picasa page.

Friday, December 9, 2011

At Long Last...

In the morning, Myrna asks, "Is it snow today?" After lunch, she asks, "Can we play outside when it snows tonight?" Before bedtime, she asks, "Is it snowing yet?" This has been going on since around Thanksgiving.

And so Myrna was exceedingly pleased when she looked out the window this morning.

Just a light dusting, but fun all the same. We enjoyed it this morning til the tears started, and we had to rush Myrna inside for some warm lunch. Looks like most of it'll be gone by the end of the day, but I'm sure we're due for more soon.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Trees and Gingerbread Houses

We are in full Christmas decorating mode here. Saturday we ventured out to find that perfect tree (well, we didn't really venture out, but instead got as far as our local Home Depot). But finding a tree suitable to me is quite a challenge, as I'm a bit picky - not too bushy, must be taller than me, nice needles, etc. Myrna did her best to help, but she soon was distracted by the hot chocolate.

Then it was off to Target to get the necessities, like lights and a tree stand, two items that got thrown out when we left Seattle. It was way too easy to put up our tree (usually we can't get it straight or it doesn't quite look right and some bickering is involved). Myrna was really excited to decorate it (partly because she got to stand on a chair) - and frequently asks when we can decorate it some more.

You may notice the Nutcracker scene on the tree - we are in a full Nutcracker obsession over here. Myrna can't get enough of the Mouse King, and we've watched the American Ballet Theatre's rendition multiple times now (the one from 1977 starring Mikhail Baryshnikov).

Also on the weekend list was gingerbread house making. In elementary school I always missed the Christmas party in school (back when you could still have such a thing) in which we made gingerbread houses, as our trip off school to Santa's Breakfast seemed to always conflict. And the few times I tried to make one myself, they ended in a disaster. So I was really excited that there was going to be gingerbread house making on Sunday after church. I was even more excited when we arrived to see that all the houses had been assembled, and we were left with only the fun part - decorating. It certainly was hard for that end in a disaster.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Green Bay Thanksgiving

We broke our 5-year Thanksgiving drought this year - we missed the last 4 by living in Germany and Sweden (in case you have forgotten, Turkey day is not a worldwide celebration) and in 2006 Chris and I passed on trying to juggle various family dinners and spent the day by ourselves. So we had a little catch up to do. My parents were here in Valpo for Myrna's birthday and after the birthday celebrations we all drove up together to Green Bay for Thanksgiving with my grandfather and the Benos. We enjoyed many of our Green Bay favorites, like the fish fry dinner at Van Abel's and coffee at Luna. But mostly we had fun playing - as Myrna and Nick were still the best of buds.

We had a great Thanksgiving dinner over at Grandpa's, and since the Packers were still undefeated by the time dinner was served, we were all in great spirits.