Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas countdown, day 19

This surprise just may be the hit of the year. To understand, though, let's get a little backstory.

Everyone knows the antlers and reindeer noses you can spot on cars here and there around town during the holidays. Trace has taken a serious liking to these automobile decorations. As in, a liking that nearly causes me a stroke every time he spies a reindeer themed car ... pointing, shouting, sheer delight.

Having realized his fascination with stuffed antlers on passenger windows and a big red nose on the grill wasn't waning during December, I told him if we came across a set, I'd just have to get it so HE could ride around in a reindeer car.

Well, he came across a set in package number 19. Everyone was thrilled with the contents, but Trace found it necessary to bust out in dance.

The Suburban reindeer is suited up and ready to take flight to preschool tomorrow morning, and Trace can't wait for the ride.

Christmas countdown, day 18

We were missing an unwrapper for package 18 ... wiped out from a stomach bug. And, the remainders were pretty wiped out themselves from traveling, celebrating and much unwrapping during the day's Christmas party.

They didn't wager to make any guesses, as the clue had them stumped. What they found inside was another addition to their holiday village scene. This time a school, to add its light to their little growing town.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas countdown, day 17

"Head, shoulders, knees and ???"

They were all over that clue.

And to their credit, they were accurate in guessing socks when they tore the paper away. Wrapped inside, they found socks of all kinds, including toe socks which are a new phenomenon in our house.

There will now be very warm toes around these parts sporting everything from holiday stripes to polar bears.

Christmas countdown, day 16

Imagine me saying bad things about blogger here. There were no photos for day 16, but instead video clips of everyone USING their gift.

The clips are funny, amusing and somewhat hard on the ears, but the world will never experience them as I can't get them to upload properly. Instead you are left to imagine Alena portraying Taylor Swift in singing "Last Christmas"; Alivia singing "Happy Birthday to You"; Alysse singing "We Wish You a Merry Christmas"; and Trace singing "Red Solo Cup" all in an elf-like voice.

Package number 16 contained four Merry-Okee microphones. The just is that you sing in the microphone and it's able to output your voice in elf version. They were a huge hit, and the fun was captured much more accurately in video format than photos. That is, if you can get your videos to load.

At any rate, the singing continues, and chances are the world is better for not having seen and heard our video footage.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas countdown, day 15

The guesses on this one were sketchy and random, except for Trace. The hint read "Every village needs one."

He was convinced it would be a monster truck. I suppose every village does, in fact, need a monster truck, especially in the world of a little boy.

While the village addition was an animal care building instead of anything with four-wheel drive, it was welcomed to the neighbor just the same.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas countdown, day 14

Today's surprise was a real treat. Something simple that will bring much entertainment ... small tablets of holiday pictures to paint. The kids have experience with these paint-right-on-the-page, all-you-need-is-Q-tips type of activities, and LOVE them.

Alivia, and her inner artist, was especially thrilled. I have no doubt she'll have no fewer than a dozen of these babies painted by dinner tomorrow night.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas countdown, day 13

For all her brain power and creative ideas, there are times when it all goes out the window with Alivia. Asked what she thought might be in the package tagged "sometimes you just need to laugh," her response was "something silly."

The term "Captain Obvious" comes to mind.

I suppose, though, her guess was most accurate once the singing, jigging Snoopy was on display. It most certainly is silly AND makes them laugh.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas countdown, day 12

In contrast to the (pajama) gift mom likes best, today was dad's turn. Although, the consensus building was weaker on the dad front.

Everyone had their own guess which made up the following list:

1. Quiet

2. Beer

3. Mustaches

4. Really loud talking/yelling

I suppose the package could have contained fake mustaches dad could wear while quietly sitting and drinking a beer and listening to his kids talk and yell really loudly. Okay, that comes a bit too close to home (although, his mustache is real).

Instead, they found four Steeler-themed Christmas tree ornaments and six mega-sized candy canes in exotic flavors like gingerbread and pomegranate.

They quickly got to work hanging the ornaments and calling dibs on the canes.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas countdown, day 11

With kids that love playing in dough and flour, and who can wield a rolling pin with the best of them, we'll have fun with today's gift.

Tucked inside were cookie cutters and candy decorations in holiday shapes.

And, in case we need some help, a cookbook with holiday cookie and candy recipes. With all this on hand, we're sure to whip up some great holiday treats.

Christmas countdown, day 10

When you know the day's plans are to head out for a holiday show and the package's hint is refers to going out for fun, everyone is a winner. The guesses came quick and easy with the little red envelope.

Inside, proving everyone correct, were tickets to the Cincinnati Children's Theatre's Holiday Follies matinee. The show was a great chance to go downtown, see some holiday sights and enjoy a show featuring dancing reindeer, an underwater swimming Santa and a ballerina hippo.

All dressed up for the performance, the kids loved the show and each had their favorite part. Trace was still talking about a jack in the box a day later.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas countdown, day 9

Because we need just a little more crazy in our lives. Today's package contained snowmen and Santa hats with accompanying red gloves.

See what I mean about needing a little more crazy? Seriously, they were a hit, and already garnered compliments as Alivia wore hers THROUGH Target during a quick errand.

We now have four smiley, funny, warm heads. (And see the crazy again?)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas countdown, day 8

(Also known as the day we find out which one
- or none - of our four children know their mother well.)

Alivia (reading the hint tag on the package): "Christmas Countdown 2011 - Mom likes this one best."

Alivia: "Cookies."

Alena: "Cookies."

Alysse: "Help."

Trace: "Cookies."

For the record, and future reference for my lovelies, cookies are NOT my favorite. I'd take a brownie, slice of cheesecake or jazzed up cup of Starbucks coffee over a cookie any day of the week. I think they were projecting their favorites as mine. And, dear, sweet Alysse, I do in fact LOVE help. An empty dishwasher is well worth my spent 50 cents.

They quickly learned my favorite countdown gift is one that contains holiday pajamas. Tucking flannel sheets around a little snuggler dressed in snowflake (or Santa-hat-wearing dinosaur) jammies warms a mom's heart.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Christmas countdown, day 7

When you are the only one of four who accurately guesses what's inside the package, accusations start flying. After reading "Holidays are for fun," Alivia dubbed the gift "slippers" while everyone else had varying suggestions.

When the wrapping paper stopped flying and four pair of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer slippers were discovered, the interrogations started and words like "peeking" were thrown around. After a legitimate alibi was established, the fun started.

Slippers with light-up noses are definitely cause for a full-on photo shoot, as we photographed every pairing of kids and slippers imaginable (including, just eight Rudolphs lined up side-by-side). Yes, they had fun.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas countdown, day 6

There are days when the hint makes guessing easy - "sweets for the sweets," for example. There are others when the hint opens up bizarre notions - "to decorate every room" had Trace grinning from ear to ear thinking it might be Fatheads (as if he has an inch of wall space left in his room for more Fatheads).

When the crazy takes over, though, what's found inside is usually a welcomed treat. If asked, Trace wouldn't trade what was unwrapped for Fatheads. He took great interest in the surprise, oversaw its installation and offered to demonstrate.

No need to thank me for stopping his illustration when I did.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas countdown, day 5

With a hint promising another time-related gift, package number five will be a favorite for a long time. The more careful unwrappers that took charge found a lovely to look at, lovely to listen to holiday clock.

Sparkling in the Christmas lights around our house, the clock plays one of six holiday songs upon each hour. It has the uncanny ability to quiet our house at the top of the hour so little ears can listen. We're now consulting the instruction manual to see if there's a setting for chime songs each quarter hour.

Christmas countdown, day 4

To accompany the ceramic train station under our tree, package number four contained a set of lighted building figurines. A church, fire station, house and shop help grow the kids' holiday street scene.

Thorough packaging kept all structures in tact despite the unwrapping strategy of the dynamic duo.

Christmas countdown, day 3

They had this one right from the start. "Sweets for our sweets" ... and the chorus rang out candy. The specifics, though, couldn't be determined until the paper was removed.

Holiday M&Ms are the candy pinnacle in these parts. Spiking bowls of popcorn during movie nights, M&Ms are an added bonus. Their new bag should last through our holiday showings. "A Christmas Carol" anyone?

Christmas countdown, day 2

Countdown gift number two quickly turned from simply opening a rather sizeable rectangular box ...

to a scene stolen from a Lifetime Movie Network movie featuring a bridal sale of some sort. Hanger pulling, taggled tags and shouts of dress sizes ensued. Everyone but Trace was trying to get their hands on a festive, plaid holiday dress, complete with velvet shrug. (Lucky for him, he was the only one interested in black cords and a red sweater.)

Once size sorting wrapped up, a fashion show got underway. Sunday morning's church service provided all the compliments and twirling (by the pastor, nonetheless) they desired. Now they're filling up their holiday calendars with other dress-wearing opportunities.

Christmas countdown, day 1

The hint for the first advent gift of 2011 was that the giftees needed an official time keeper. Fighting the paper-ripping urge, they all quickly guessed a clock or stop watch.

What they found inside was a tree ornament that counts down the days, hours and minutes until the big day. So, now they are off ... only 23 days, 7 hours and 16 minutes to go. They only wish they could speed up time.