Thursday, January 2, 2014

Christmas (December 22-29)

We finally polished off our advent calendars this week and celebrated Christmas.  Liam had been anticipating it for weeks and it did not fail to live up to his high expectations, luckily.  The only thing missing from Liam's Christmas was snow.  After listening to Christmas songs for weeks he was convinced it was going to snow in San Francisco for Christmas.  He couldn't understand why that did not happen.

Unfortunately, we also had to leave town unexpectedly right after Christmas to attend my grandfather's funeral in Minnesota.  The upside was that Liam and Brenna got to play in snow for the first time and we all got to spend some time with my family.

December 22:  We headed out for a typical morning "diventure" but this time, we let Brenna take Liam's three wheel scooter (he has a 2 wheel one now that he loves).  She didn't really ride it, but she was so happy to push it as she walked.

The many faces of donut-induced happiness.  It turned out it was the last day the donut shop was going to be open for the year, so we were thankful to get one more donut run in for 2013. 


Then we headed to the playground nearby to play in the sun.  

Brenna was feeling grumpy and tired. 

Drumming on the sculptures.

We met up with Friend Sue for brunch at the diner.  And they supplied Brenna and Liam with Christmas coloring pages and crayons.  Score!

That evening, we headed to the zoo for Zoo Lights.  It was cold, for San Francisco, and crowded.  But we all had fun seeing Santa, playing on the new playground, seeing reindeer and snow, and checking out the lights.

Liam was pretty happy to get a high five from this giraffe, too.  Brenna refused to go near it (scary!).

December 23:  We decided to check out the snow and reindeer at the California Academy of Sciences, or the "Butterfly Museum" as Liam calls it, since they have free flying butterflies. 

We got there nice and early, before the play room even opened up so we were in line to be in the first group to play in the playroom. 

Brenna was in better spirits and did a lot of independent playing. 

Brian and Liam worked on Legos together for a while.

Then we went outside to see the reindeer and eat lunch.  Another fun pre-Christmas outing.

December 24:  We were home alone for the holidays, so we decided to try and head out on Christmas eve and make some traditions.  We went to Union Square to see the big Christmas tree.  Brenna was not impressed. 

Then we went to the St. Francis hotel to see this giant sugar display.

We stopped for a snack and a run to get some cash so we could get balloon animals from a balloon lady set up in Union Square.

Then to Macy's so Liam could remind Santa what he wanted Santa to bring him that night.  Again, Brenna was not impressed.  We also picked out ornaments at Macy's and put them up on our tree when we got home.

We had Christmas even dinner in our dining room (we always just eat at our kitchen island). 

And then the kids got to each open one present. 

This year, both kids did some unwrapping. 

Although Brenna needed some help and encouragement.

Brenna got a doll stroller.  But the only toy she was willing to put in it was her beloved "cat cat".  She got really mad and frustrated with the stroller when we wouldn't let her climb into it.  Gift fail.

Liam got a garbage truck with two garbage cans and a side arm.  He kept running and jumping around saying, "I got a garbage truck!!!".  Total opposite reaction to Brenna (no surprise).

She, of course, wanted to play with it too.

Then we had German chocolate cake (made by Brian) and watched Christmas movies.

Before bed, we made put out a plate with cake for Santa and food for the reindeers (oats and sprinkles).  Think Brenna tasted some green sprinkles?

The beloved garbage truck came up to bed, of course.

We got the kids in their coordinating Christmas jammies and read stories before bed.

And sometime before morning, Santa came!

December 25:  Santa brought Liam a red three-piece drum set.  Like he'd asked for.  He was so thrilled.  And luckily for us, he's pretty noise sensitive so he plays it rather quietly.  And sings along to one of his favorite songs (Peaches) while he plays.  So cute. 

Brenna got a tricycle with a handle, since she's not quite ready to pedal herself yet.  Now she can go out on rides with Liam.  She was pretty happy with it.

Good job Santa!


There were tons of toys for the kids.  Too many really.  Next year we're going to be more restrained about it.  Or that's what I say now (and said last year). 

They got a new bin with new dress up clothes, too.  And we all had fun playing around with those. 

This may have been Brenna's favorite toy, a set of flowers you can put together.  Liam likes it, too.

And the drums were definitely Liam's favorite.  And the garbage truck.

It took most of the day, but we eventually got everything opened up and played with.

Merry Christmas!  And many thanks to so many for such great presents!

December 26:  The day after Christmas, we were still enjoying all the new toys. 

Liam and Brenna both liked playing with this science set that Liam got. 

Unfortunately, my grandfather passed away in the night, so we got the kids away from all their new toys to go out and get winter gear for a trip to the midwest.  After that, we went out for lunch.  While waiting for our food, some chasing commenced.

December 27:  It was a day of travel, from San Francisco to Caledonia, Minnesota, by way of Chicago and LaCrosse, Wisconsin.  We had "dinner" at O'Hare. 

And waited patiently for our second plane to board.

Liam was so excited about the snow.  We had a hard time getting him to sleep the night before because he wanted so badly to play in the snow.  And it did not disappoint.

So cute to see our little California kids all bundled up in the cold. 

While Liam threw snow balls with Opa ...

Brian and I took Brenna into the barn to look for cats. 

The cat was pretty good at dodging her. 

Later, everyone went on the hunt for cats, including Baxter, my cousin's puppy. 

Brenna even let Opa lead her towards the cats just outside the barn.

This cat made friends with both Liam and Brenna, rubbing against their legs and letting them pet her.  They were so thrilled.

The cats quickly got tired of the pets though, and went back under the barn.

Liam had so much fun in the snow, that he didn't want to ride in the tractor.  So, Brian went for a ride instead.

Toddlers in snow gear are the cutest.

December 29:  It was colder, so the kids spent more time indoors.  They both had a lot of fun playing with Cocoa, Uncle Burton and Aunt Joyce's dog.

The Christmas take-along tool boxes came in really handy for this trip.  But, as you may be able to tell, Brenna wasn't feeling very good. 

Liam, on the other hand, was being a nut and having a blast.