Happy 3rd Birthday William

My sweet sweet William the Badger,

Recently, Daddy has been working on finishing part of the basement and you love to be right in his shadow. You know the names of all the tools he uses, have your own set of tools and are next to him following suit as he is working away. He is your role model and you want to be just like him. It is truly the sweetest.

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At 3-years old, your personality has definitely started to come out more. You are obsessed with all things green. You like TV characters that wear green clothes, will only eat off green plates and drink from green cups, you like green beans, granny-smith apples and broccoli–because they are green, always pick out green clothes if they are clean and just want everything green, green green.

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You also developed a love for spiderman. We’re not sure how this started, but we think it was because Daddy bought you a spiderman fishing pole last year. But you have 3 pairs of spiderman pajamas, asked for spiderman toys for your birthday and Christmas and even had a spiderman birthday cake. I’ll often eavesdrop on playing conversations you and Lexi have and you’ll pretend to be Peter Parker and it is so sweet to hear you play and sing the Spiderman song.

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Speaking of pajamas, you love them. You wear them all day almost everyday. If we go somewhere, we’ll make you change into clothes, but the moment you step foot in the house, you run upstairs and put your jammies back on. During baths, the new jammies you’re going to pick out to wear next is a frequent conversation.

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Lexi is your best friend, and you refer to her as sister. You two play so amazingly well together. You love to play legos together, Tsum Tsum or at the doll house/barbie dream house or Elsa palace. However, you always play with the ‘boy’ version of the toy. So you may have the dad, the brother, the dog, or will often just have spiderman interact with whatever doll/toy Lexi is playing with. You’ll often put all the stuffed animals together and blankets and set up things on the stairs or in the middle of the living room together.

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As good of a little brother you are, you are also an awesome big brother to baby Kate. When she is sad and crying, you randomly start singing songs to her. You love to make her laugh and would often ask to hold her when she was first born. I love to put on your baby voice and talk to her calling her Baby Tate or Tatelyn. IMG_9652 IMG_9650 IMG_8922 NXWF5222 IMG_8816 IMG_8381

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As much as you love to play with your sister, you may be a little more introverted as you like to play by yourself, even when other kids are around. You often choose to play with whatever looks the most fun to you regardless of what the other kids are doing/playing.

We potty trained you around 2.5 and it was a process. You still sit down while you go and you don’t always get your gun (as daddy likes to call it) down and we often find pee all over the floor and down the side of the toliet as it has leaked between the bowl and the lid. I think we need to teach you about the beauty of standing up, but I’m a little worried we’re still going to have messes, just on the walls instead of the floor.

At 2.5 we also stopped having you take naps. You were pretty challenging to get down and stay down, but the bigger issue was if you did nap, you would stay up until 11:00 or later. You still get pretty tired between 3 and 6 and if we’re in the car, you’ll often fall asleep. If you don’t fall asleep, those hours can be a bit challenging. I talked about this in your 2.5 year post, but you are a crazy sleeper and regularly fall asleep with a book on your face.

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Favorite toys: Trains (Thomas)  hot wheels cars, spiderman, Mickey camper, Donald Duck, Goofy (because he has a green hat), Diggers, Magnatiles, your tools. You also really like to watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and developed a strange obsession with The Beast from Beauty and the Beast. QAFP4591

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Favorite books: Bernstien Bears, Big Animals Book, Thomas, Digger Book, Goodnight Goodnight Construction site

Favorite Foods: love loves loves all treats and snacks. Ice cream, frosting (never eats the cake), candy, cheese its, chips, popsicles, chocolate milk, juice, fruit snacks, popcorn, cheese roll up, hot dogs, ketchup, mustard, salami, pickles, cheese, cantaloupe, honeydew (because it is green), berries, noddles, donuts, pancakes IMG_8306

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You like to eat meals less and would prefer to snack all day. I’ll leave your food on your plate and you’ll graze on it for hours taking a bit here and there. The only time you really finish something is if you want to eat a treat and need to finish your meal first.

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You weighed in at 32 lbs and XX inches tall. You’re in about the 50% for both. You seem to be a string bean and just started wearing 3T clothes but will still wear a lot of 2T clothes.

You have your Daddy’s skin and tan like a brown potato with a glimpse of the sun. You also have the huge Sampson eyes that are extremely expressive. They get massive when you’re excited or proud and have eyelashes to make every girl envious. The one thing you did inherit from me are the colors of your pretty green eyes and will have speaks of blue sneak in there every once in awhile.

William, you are as sweet as cotton candy and are my snuggle bud. You curl up into my lap like a little ball of butter and love your family. We love you so much. Happy 3 little bud!!

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Love,

Mama

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Christmas 2017

Christmas 2017

Dear Lexi, William and Kate,

This was my favorite Christmas yet. It was so fun to celebrate and see all joy and excitement through your eyes.

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Usually, I’m super eager to get all the Christmas decorations up (well before Thanksgiving) and this year I just didn’t feel the rush. Life is pretty crazy with 3 little kids, throw in learning a new job and life is just hectic. I officially gave myself the pass to be low key and not feel like I need to do everything and be OK with that. The holiday season kicked off for us on Thanksgiving when Grammy B gave matching Santa Jammies to the three of you and Ivy and Claire. IMG_9304

Then the following week, Santa and Mrs. Clause visited mom’s work and you got to sit on his lap and take a picture. Lexi asked for Hatchimal Collectables and William talking Spiderman. They also had cookies to decorate, pictures to color and could meet Dancer and Blitzen.

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We eventually got the decorations out and Lexi and William LOVED helping set everything out and put ornaments up on the tree. Eventually, I replaced most of them so they were more dispersed throughout the tree (I’m OCD like that) but it was so fun to listen to Christmas music and see how you get into the spirit of the season.

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Our elf, Sparkle Minnie returned again this year and of course got into some mischief.

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Lexi and William had fun playing Santa and his reindeer

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Then, on December 15th, Lexi had her first school Christmas Concert. I cried. I just couldn’t handle all those sweet, young innocent voices up there. It just made my heart so happy.

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Then the following day, we headed over to Grammy and Papa’s to celebrate Christmas with the Bothwells. You kids were SO SO SO excited to see Claire and Ivy and give everyone the gifts we had picked out. It was a great relaxing afternoon/evening filled with lots of Papa Flashlight Tag, Ya-ba-da-ba-do’s, nummy food and laughter and matching spiderman jammies. IMG_9444 IMG_9456 IMG_9471 IMG_9467

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Later that week, Lexi had her Christmas dance recital, we decorated a gingerbread house, had snowman pancakes for breakfast on Christmas eve. We went to the Christmas Eve celebration at Open Door with the Sampsons (William feel asleep) before heading over to the Menter’s to celebrate with with the Tanseys.

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Then, on Christmas morning, you miraculously slept in until about 7:30 and were just giddy with excitement. We have you come straight into our room without getting a peak of the tree so we can all see it together.

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Opening presents was SO much fun. Kate was not having any of it and ended up back in bed around 8:00 and missed it all, but Lexi and William each took turns and were so excited for the gifts that each other received. William wanted to open and play with each toy as he opened it, which really extended the gift opening time while Lexi wanted to open as many presents as fast as she could.

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Couple of highlights include: William: Talking spiderman from Santa, Beatuy and the Beast Lego Kit, Digger Set, spiderman slippers, magnatiles, a sled, spiderman lego kit, Mickey’s garage, Mickey little people IMG_9582

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Lexi: Hatchimal collectables from Santa, Stephanie house lego kit, magnatiles, hot-loops, stain glass art kit, Minnie and Daisy Little People, Aqua Beads, Osmo Creative Kit for the iPad, pants, underwear, socks, puzzles

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Kate: backpack, some new spoons, sippy cups, bathtub toys IMG_9599

We spent the rest of the day lounging in our pajamas, eating snacks, playing with toys and putting together legos.

The following day, we hosted the Sampson’s for Christmas. We had some nummy food, laughed a lot and had fun exchanging gifts with each other.

One of the funnest things about the season was Lexi starting to understand the true meaning. She spent a lot of time in school learning about Jesus and the story of his birth. Our elf brought has a little people manger set and some good books about the Christmas story that we really enjoyed reading.

Merry Christmas my little angles. I love you.

Love,

Mama

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Halloween 2017

I cringed when Lexi requested to be a princess for Halloween this year. My years of cute animal coordinated costumes were over and was so disappointed that I wouldn’t even get one year with all three of you in them.

As the weeks went on, Lexi was insistent on being a Princess, Repunzel to be exact and claimed she had been growing out her hair for a whole year for this. However, William had developed a very odd attachment to the Beast (and would often roar at people the way the Beast did when he was angry, from Beauty and the Beast)

I used this to my advantage and planted the seed that Lexi could be Bell, William could be Beast and Katelyn could be little Chip. They were thrilled with the idea and I was thrilled I could have them at least be coordinated–even if they weren’t in adorable animal outfits.

I bought Lexi’s because there is no way I could make a decent Bell costume. There weren’t any decent Beast costumes to buy so I pieced the outfit together and bought a Beast Hat. Then Daddy’s artist skills came in handy as he drew Kate’s Chip face on a onesie and I paired it with Lexi’s 1-year old Tutu.

It was pretty chilly out this year so we didn’t make it as far as last year, but the kids had a great time and LOVED all of the candy they got!!

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Love,

Mama

potty training round dos

William, where do I even begin this long journey with you?

Is it here? 

Potty training technically began with you back when you were still in daycare. Mrs. Essi would have you go and sit on the potty while the other kids went. You would always sit on the potty but never actually go.

Fast forward to the July and I thought things with Kate were going pretty well and you seemed to kind of understand it, let’s give it a shot. Especially while it was warm outside and if he had accidents outside, not that big of a deal. Day 1 was a hot mess with 10+ accidents but thought that’s how it was with Lexi too. Day 2 was another hot mess. Day 3 there was no progression made so we reverted back to diapers. I think I attempted this on two separate occasions.

Somewhere In between all of these attempts, you were trying to get to the bathroom sometimes but sometimes not so I knew you got the concept of it but thought you were just too lazy to actually care. You also started to refuse diapers at this point so I knew we really needed to buckle down. We broke out the sticker chart and I tried the drink lots of fluids, keep you on wood floors method, and this helped you learn the feeling of pee. You could feel it was coming but had a hard time getting to the bathroom, getting your pants down and getting yourself on the toilet. There were lots of accidents on the floor in the bathroom, but you got it.

The hard thing was pooping. You would poop your pants 5+ times a day. Not an entire load, but enough to make a mess. The hardest part was, you didn’t seem to care. You would just sit and play with it in your pants and act like nothing happened. There was no consistency in the time of day that you went and you didn’t seem to mind if you were around people or not. I tried to watch you like a hawk, but the moment I turned my back to make lunch or nurse Kate, you would have an accident. With all that said, you would poop on the potty, but it wasn’t anything sizable. You would push out these these tiny little rabbit turds and for a kid that would regularly poop 3-4 times a day, I knew there was more in there.

IMG_8997 We tried to bribe you with a spiderman toy, all the treats in the world, threaten diapers, gave you a little potty to sit on, I talked to every boy mama I know, sought advice on social media on two different occasions, read the book, oh Crap! Potty training and nothing seemed to resonate with you. After a month and a half of this, Daddy raised his hands and said, ‘That’s it, I’m done.’ He has to go back to diapers. I can’t clean up any more messes. After being without diapers for almost two months, I just knew we couldn’t do that to you. Initially, when I read the book Oh Crap! Potty Training, I thought you were already past some of the key stages as we had been at this for several weeks and you were doing a decent job with the pee situation. But desperate to figure out something that worked. I went back to the book and decided  to start from square one.

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I knew you understood that you were going to the bathroom so we skipped step 1 and went to step 2. I sent Daddy out of the house with the two girls so I had no excuses to be distracted by anything. I set my phone out of sight, promised myself not to do ANY housework, got you naked and started to pump you with apple juice. We sat and played trains and cars and the first time you started to poop, you didn’t even notice but I saw it and we ran to the bathroom. The laxative from all the apple juice helped it be more than a tiny little turd. We went back to playing and the next time, it started to come out, you noticed it and said, ‘I feel the poopy’ so we ran to the bathroom and you went. This happened two more times that day and it was the thing you needed to get you over the hump. You had a couple of more accidents, but you finally stated to poop regularly and could identify the feeling of needing to go.

In hindsight, it felt like such an easy thing to do once I really focused and sent Daddy out of the house with the distractions and wish I would have done that from the beginning. We could have reduced a whole lot of stress and messy clean-ups. But none-the-less, you are now pooping and peeing on the toilet 80% of the time. The other 20% happens on the floor in the bathroom as you just can’t get everything down fast enough. BUT considering you’re two and a half and most boys don’t do this until 3, I’m going to give you that grace 🙂

Love,

Mama

William 2 and a half

To my one and only silly Badger,

It happened shortly after your little sister was born. Lexi had been teasing you and calling you ‘Bood sculpture’ and you were not a fan and would regularly yell at her ‘I not Bood Sculpture!’. One day, Daddy responses by saying, ‘Well what should we call you?’ and you said ‘Daddy!’. Daddy responded, ‘No, I’m daddy. Should we call you Bill?’ ‘No’ you stomped. ‘Should we call you Gary?’ you stomped ‘No’ again and ‘Daddy ask, well what should we call you?’ and with your eyebrows furrowed, arms crossed and as serious and straight-faced as humanly possible, you responded, ‘BADGER!’ And so it began, your nickname as Badger. You even told the nurses at the doctor’s office that you’re name was Badger.

I feel like this story represents everything that life is like with you at 2 and a half. You’re silly and serious and stubborn and comedic and creative and sweet and just full of life.

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About two months ago, you added ‘Big Brother’ to your list of life accomplishments and so far have been playing your role spot on! You love your little Beatle and are very gentle with her, but prefer to spend your time with, big ‘Sis-tar’ as you like to call her, AKA Lexi.

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The two of you play so well together. She has taught you all about the world of ‘imaginative play’ as you regularly talk out loud what your ‘characters’ are doing and the conversations they have with one another. Your characters range from the ‘little people farm animals, to the princesses, to the frozen dolls to squinkies to cars/trucks to the doll house people to your Tsum Tsum’s. You love to play the ‘boys’. You and Lexi will sit downstairs at the doll house and play for over an hour together.

With that said, you LOVE to play with cars and trucks and trains. You’ve always loved to lay down and play and you still love to do this–especially with the truck and boat (you love to back it up or sit on it and pretend to drive. You call it the Trailblazer and often ask where it is.

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Over the summer, you’ve also gotten really good at riding your Strider bike. You regularly pick up your feet and glide down the driveway and scoot all the way down to the stop sign and back and just really enjoy riding your bike! You love to be outside running around, playing on the swing set, playing in the pool or at the watertable or going for walks!

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At 2.5 years old, you know all of your colors and are VERY particular about them. Blue and Green are your favorites and you request/demand that you use those colors for your plates or bowls. We’ll be walking down the stairs in the morning and you’ll request, ‘Mommy, please have a green bowl?’ I usually abide by your requests, but occasionally I’ll say no as I’ve already poured the milk and you fall apart into a tantrum on the floor and have been known to take the food and throw it. Terrible Twos I tell ya!

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You’ve also become very keen of ‘The Beast’ from Beauty and the Beast. You ask daily to watch, The Beast and get giddy when you see him. You’ve also been known to roar at people (mainly Lexi) when she does something you don’t like as that is what the Beast does. You have a Beast little people character and a squinky and love to play them or put them in your boat and drive them around.

Your language and vocabulary have gotten pretty good! Saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ is second nature to you and you don’t even think about it. My heart just melts when you request, ‘Mommy, please get me some milk,’ and then so politely respond, ‘Thanks Mommy’. You do a great job using your pronouns correctly of, ‘I, me, you, mine etc…’ You don’t pronounce your ‘C’s or ‘Ks’ and will replace them with ‘T’s. My favorite of this is ‘Baby Tate’ You also have a hard time with the letter ‘G’ when it is in the middle or end of a word like Bag, it often sounds like ‘Bade’ IMG_8469

We’re working on the concepts of rewards and consequences. I’m not sure if you don’t get it, or just can’t articulate it, but whenever we talk about why you got a time out, you just respond ‘Why’ or when I ask you why you did something you put your head down and shamefully say ‘Tause–AKA Cause’.

You love to be a work helper and always have a hammer, screwdriver or drill at the ready. You love to inspect the way things work and are put together. You’ll examine things like hinges or swivels on chairs and ask ‘Whacha doing Daddy?’ over and over and over again.

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Just before Baby Tate was born, we pulled you and Lexi out of daycare to be home with Mommy while on maternity leave and then Daddy when mommy goes back to work. You’ve adjusted really well and love to be home every day.

Most days, you still nap, but if we have something going on you are able to skip a nap and not be a complete hot mess. However, you seem to have inherited mine and your daddy’s night owl tendencies as you’ll stay awake in your bed until 10:30 or 11 if you’ve taken a good nap. You’ll be put to bed around 8:00-8:30 but lie in your bed and look at books, play with a little toy or just talk to yourself and almost never come out of your bed. You almost never sleep on your pillow or have a blanket cover you up. You sleep sideways, backwards, at the end of the bed and usually have a book opened next to or on you. You also transitioned out of your crib and into a bunk bed in May and share a room with Lexi. This has really streamlined the bedtime routine as you read books together and go down at the same time. It has also eliminated the daily requests for Daddy or I to snuggle with you and Lexi every night. I think having each other in the room makes you both more at ease.

William, you are the sweetest little boy with a heart of gold. Your big green eyes, assortment of expressions, innocent and polite little voice just kill me and I can’t get enough of you. I can’t wait to see how much you grow and learn over the next 6 months.

Love, Mama

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Last Day of Daycare

Lexi And William,

You just finished your last day of daycare and your hormonal mom is a tid bit emotional, very similar to your first day, but for very different reasons.

Growing up, I always had a negative connotation of daycare. Most of my cousins and my friends grew up with stay at home moms and the kids that did go to daycare weren’t always the most well-behaved. I’m sure there were other reasons for this, but I had always made the connection that it was because they went to daycare (I know, not very logical!)

So when the time came for you to both go to daycare I really struggled. Lexi was 2.5 and very shy, timid and reserved and I was so worried about her feeling abandoned and lost and not being able to make friends. William was 4 months and was just sad he wasn’t going to get to bond with Daddy in the same way Lexi did.

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My fears about Lexi were spot on. She experienced all of those things and would scream and cry every morning before leaving. There was bribery and me trying to distract her on the ride there (airplanes in the sky, the tunnel, trains, and lots of listening to twinkle twinkle) to help make the situation better. I set up playdates outside of school so she could become more comfortable with friends in her class. After many talks with the teachers, we figured out she really struggled in the transition moments–going from group time to activity time or to lunch time and pinned it down to her not knowing what to do in those moments and probably feeling lost and confused. As a result, every night we reviewed our day from the beloved daily connect app to look at all the fun she had and review what her schedule looked like each day. We also talked about it every morning on the ride in to help her learn what to expect at each moment throughout the day. In general, I felt like it was a pretty tough transition and took several months.

However, after that transition, some amazing things started to happen. Lexi started to recognize her name and then she could spell it and then she could write it. She started to make friends on her own and discovered her love for art projects. Her confidence grew, she learned how to tell stories, participated in group time, talked to people she didn’t know and learned about complex things for a 4-year-old like symmetry, ecosystems and the world’s wonders. And William, your time spent there was different, but it will impact you in different ways. You know how to stand up for yourself and don’t let other kids push your around. You’re independent and insist on doing everything yourself as that is really what the teachers encourage. You can put your pants/shorts/shoes on and off by yourself, do really really well drinking from cups and using adult silverware and kicking and throwing balls.

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Not only did you both thrive, I loved having you be so close to me throughout the day. Being able to nurse William instead of pump was a Godsend. I loved the lunch dates I had with Lexi. As maddening as it was some days, majority of the time, I loved spending 2 extra hours with you in our car rides. You would tell me about your days, what made you happy and sad, what you learned about or the books you read and would often play games like ‘I spy’ and ‘Is this a truth or a lie?’

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The teachers you had were so amazing and dedicated. They did such a great job of pairing up personalities to have one teacher that is a little more firm and lays the law down with another who is a little more affectionate to play to the different things you need throughout the day.

Overall, I’ve realized that daycare can be an amazing thing and you have both learned and developed in ways that you never would have at home and am so grateful for the wonderful experience we all had.

Onto out next phase which I’m sure will bring equally amazing opportunities

Love,

Mama

Christmas 2016

Dear Lexi and Bood,

Merry Christmas my sweet little kiddies. Every year Christmas gets a little more fun as you both ‘get it’ a little more each year. It is also fun to start to create traditions that you will both look forward to each year.

Usually, I’m super excited to get the house decorated for Christmas and usually can’t wait until Thanksgiving and this year was no exception. We had our first snow the weekend before Thanksgiving and that prompted the decor to come out of the boxes. I held off on the tree until after Thanksgiving but you both had so much fun ‘helping’ me put up the decorations.

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We also started listening to Christmas music on the radio to and from school, which you both thought was pretty awesome. Favorite songs are Jingle Bells, Rudolph, Frosty and Winter Wonderland as well as Away in a Manager and O Holy Night because those are Grammy and Papa’s favorites.

We read many Christmas books that sparked lots of very good questions like ‘Why does Santa come down the Chimney? Why doesn’t he walk through the front door? How do Reindeer Fly? What is a manger? Why didn’t they go to the hospital? How come we don’t eat cake on Christmas if we’re celebrating Jesus’ birthday? How do elves make the presents? Why are elves little? Very inquisitive little mind you have there Lexi bug!

Our Elf on the Shelf returned this year and we named her Sparkle Minnie. You really got into her and always found her right away in the morning.

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Santa came to daycare and you both reluctantly sat on his lap. Lexi was very insistant that she wasn’t going to but would stand next to him, but I think the teachers and kids at school convinced her otherwise. William didn’t like it, but sat long enough for a picture, but did proceed to talk about it for several weeks after ‘Santa’s lap’. You wrote an email to Santa and asked him for Legos and then asked him for Shopkins when you sat on his lap.

IMG_7699 You also did some cookie baking with Grandma and Auntie Sheila. I was supposed to join you but got snowplowed into the driveway and you were done by the time I got there.

Lexi also had her first Dance reicitel and did 2 ballet songs and 3 tap song! It was so cute to watch her perform!! You look kind of angry here, but I promise, you really did like it!

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As far as actual Christmas celebrations go, we went over to Grammy and Papa’s on Christmas Eve to have some snacks, watch the Vikings/Packers game and open presents. You both looked adorable in your little Christmas outfits and loved opening gifts. After that, we headed over to my Aunt Jean’s house to celebrate with Grammy’s extended family. You had a great time playing with your cousins McKenna and Natalie! We topped the day off with a church service. Considering it was 9:00, and an action packed day, you both did great! Lexi got to hold her own candle and loved singing the Christmas carols. William loved the people watching and singing and being with Papa. Christmas day we have our annual tradition of staying home together as a family all day. You both woke up around 7:30 am. We headed downstairs and saw that Santa had stopped. Lexi wanted to open presents as fast as she could. William wanted to open and play with every present before opening another. Santa brought William some power tools, a workbench and some Legos and brought Lexi two Lego sets and Shopkins. We spent the rest of the day lounging around in pajamas, taking naps and playing with all of our fun new toys. IMG_7744

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Finally, on the 26th, we celebrate with Daddy’s family. Everyone came over to our house and brought some yummy appetizers. We hung out, enjoyed each other’s company and opened presents. You were both spoiled with so many wonderful gifts by so many people that love you.

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It was another wonderful Christmas season.

Love,

Mama