Thursday, December 29, 2016

Other Christmas Pics

A few other pictures from our Christmas vacation.

Boy Howdy saw this hat at Target on our trip, and just HAD to have it. Yeah, he only really wore it that one day, maybe the next before it was discarded.
SIDE NOTE TWO MONTHS LATER: I put this hat in the costume box, Boy Howdy found it and adamantly told me this was NOT a costume, this was a Christmas item and should be stored away for the year with all the other Christmas boxes.

I sure hope that Aunt KK enjoyed the kids as much as they loved her. Cheeks especially fell in love with her Auntie.

They also LOVED on their Grandma and Grandpa. Every day Grandma Marler had a new game and book that miraculously appeared in her magic suitcase. The kids excitedly checked her luggage periodically throughout each day to see if new presents arrived.

Grandma and Grandpa Marler played each of the new games and read each of the new books on demand. The kids were in absolute heaven.

The kids also enjoyed having willing lego building playmates. I'm pretty sure Matthew and his brothers enjoyed it too. 
 And then there was playing with Christmas presents. Matthew loved showing Boy Howdy one of his own favorite science tools, and I may have gotten some fun out of Cheeks' presents - a Pogo type Unicorn that squeaks when you jump.

And then there was that one time that Mother and Father Marler got extra generous and bought me a game cabinet from IKEA. We kind of needed it, our coat closet was beginning to be precariously dangerous.

We loved having Matthew's family in town for the holidays. Hopefully we can have more opportunities to have them here again.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Portland Children's Museum

For Christmas I got the kids and I a membership to the Children's Museum in Portland. With Mother Marler in town, we knew we had to go. And because we had Mother Marler with us we got so many cute pictures that I am going to share.
P.S. I love seeing Matthew in so many of them helping them with his children.

Brushing the Alligator's teeth.

The water room

 Construction room

Veterinary clinic 

Scaling that treacherous wall

Building with pipes and blocks

The theater room. Adorable elephant Cheeks sang us an entertaining rendition of Twinkle Twinkle.

 The transportation room (bus, cars and trains)

 The clay room.

The large lite brite. Cheeks was determined to make sure that every hole was filled with a color rod.

I'm glad we got this membership. It will be good to have a new place to frequent.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Tillamook Cheese Factory Fieldtrip

A couple days after Christmas, we all made our way out to the Tillamook Cheese Factory. Mother Marler, a huge cheese fan, has never made the mecca and we needed to remedy that unfortunate fact.

Oh yeah, we posed for all the appropriate photo opportunities.

Including the cow and farmer. Matthew even indulged me. What a sweetheart considering how much he didn't want to do it.

 They wouldn't let us get on the cow, but that didn't mean we couldn't pose the children in front of it anyway.

Yay for free cheese samples!!

We also had to have lunch (with ice cream). It was a pretty crowded there so we had to wait a while for our food. Boy Howdy started getting pretty creative with our table number.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve - 2016

We were so excited to have Matthew's family (minus sister Megan and her husband Colin) here with us for Christmas. It's been a long time since we've been with them for any holiday, and to have them leave Hawaii for Christmas for the first time since they moved to the island over 15 years ago, made us feel very loved.
Matthew's tradition is to have the the fancy dinner on Christmas Eve. Fine fine. We can accommodate that. It didn't occur to me, until about 5 minutes until dinner that the size of our group actually merited trying to make things look pretty. This is not my natural go to, especially since get togethers with my family end up with multiple tables and sofas, and paper products. But with only 8 adults that fit at my table, I realized our spread was going to look pretty lame for our beautiful Christmas dinner. Thankfully SIL Marie was quick to help me in my moment of need and between the two of us, we gathered curtains and other sundry items from around the house to put together a respectable table.

Dinner was lovely, made even more wonderful when I made assignments for food and everyone happily did their share to make the dinner completely yummy.

After dinner we repaired to the living room for my family's tradition of the nativity and one opened present. Even though only the Babes dressed up for the reenactment, it was still very precious. Cheeks immediately decided she wanted to be Mary and Boy Howdy, despite his previous year's objections, just as quickly opted for Shepherd. We got them arranged in my scarfs, gathered all their animals to witness the sacred event and made a makeshift manger in which to put the Christ child (complete with purple headband). Mary was so tender with her baby and Shepherd Boy Howdy took good care of his little sheep.
Matthew read the nativity story from our illustrated version of the New Testament and afterwards we let the kids open the presents they had picked out for each other. Growing up, my parents did this to ensure our gratitude for our presents from our siblings didn't get lost in the hubbub of Christmas morning. It is a tradition that will live on in our home as well.

The kids LOVED their presents from each other and I loved the joy they shared with each aspect of the exchange. These babies went to bed very happy.