Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas 2011

We kicked off the holiday season by unveiling the advent calendar and welcoming our Elf on a Shelf, who Kaden named, "Dave."

We also made several visits to Santa. Each visit Kaden asked for only one thing, a street sweeper. Where does he come up with these things? This sent Santa's helpers on a somewhat frantic search...you wouldn't believe how difficult it was to fulfill this request. In the days leading up to Christmas, we took in the lights decorating the streets of San Diego and the local Christmas parade.

Christmas Eve, our dear friends invited us to their home for a traditional Mexican holiday dinner. The homemade tamales were the big hit amongst the adults, but Kaden most enjoyed his first sip of Pelligrino - he giggled as the bubbles tickled his mouth and throat - and his first taste of Pomegranate seeds. After dinner, the kiddos got into their P.J.s ("Cozies" as Kaden calls them), opened their gifts to one another, and anxiously awaited Santa's arrival.

A little taste of ice cream before bedtime.

Christmas morning was overwhelming for Kaden. Even with all the discussions leading up to the big day, Kaden wasn't quite prepared for all the festivity. Upon waking and coming out to the family room, he first noticed that the cookies we left for Santa were gone. He was quite upset about this. I'm not sure what he expected to happen, but we explained more than a few times (again) that Santa eats the cookies when he brings the toys. He kept returning to the empty plate saying, "Oh no, Santa cookies gone." I think he thought they'd be waiting for him to enjoy as a breakfast treat.

The biggest hits of Christmas morning were the gigantic crane truck given by Uncle Paul (Kaden calls it his "Bruder Truck"), the filled Pez dispenser he found in his stocking (compliments of Pop and to the aggravation of Mom), the street sweeper (of course), and a ukulele (just like the one he uses at music class).

Santa delivered - a blue street sweeper!!

Looking back, Kaden got way too many presents. Or, maybe it just seemed that way as he played with each gift for a good thirty minutes before moving on the the next one. It took so long that we broke for both breakfast and lunch.

What do you think? Our 2012 Christmas card, maybe?

We completed our Christmas celebration with a big family dinner at the Grant's house. It was extra special this year as all three of the cousins were together. They are all so close in age and, this year, were at the stage that they had a blast playing with one another. They were great about sharing their new toys, but they had the best time running around outside or rolling around on the floor. Makes you realize that they don't need much; they recognize and thrive in the sheer joy of life, family, and togetherness.

All in all, the magic of Christmas was alive and well on Bonair Street.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Fall Fun

Visiting the pumpkin patch the first day it opened

New boots - Watching our oven get repaired (post-Thanksgiving) - Driving the train

My pumpkin amongst the giant pumpkins at Bates Nut Farm

Once again, we made the trek out to Bates Nut Farm to pick out our pumpkins. Unlike last year, when it was cold, overcast, and a bit drizzly, this year was beautifully sunny and hot, hot, hot. Kaden was intent on picking out his own pumpkin - he searched high and low until he found one that he liked. I asked him what kind of pumpkin he wanted and his only criteria was that it be "big." However, there must have been some other magical element because there were lots of big ones that didn't pass muster. Kaden's favorite part of the excursion - the hay ride pulled by an extremely large tractor, of course!

We were joined this year by our friends, the Willoughbys. Sweet Brooke always wants to hold Kaden's hand, but he's usually not into it. I guess the pumpkin patch brings out the romantic in all of us.

We've spent several days at the beach this fall. Kaden likes to re-enact one of his favorite books, We're Going On a Bear Hunt.

The highlight of this fall was a visit from Uncle Sean and his friend, Julie, over the Thanksgiving holiday. We packed the long weekend with all sorts of San Diego adventures including hiking Torrey Pines and kayaking at La Jolla Shores. Kaden made sure there was plenty of snuggle time with his new BFF, Julie, though. He was a bit smitten! He was also infatuated with our little turkey pumpkin. He fed it several times a day and each time we left the house he'd say, "Bye-bye, Turkey" and when we returned, "Back, Turkey. Miss you, Turkey." I have a feeling he's going to have as tough of a time saying good-bye to Turkey as he did with Uncle Sean and Julie.

The end of Sean and Julie's visit brought the beginning of winter. We got the Christmas season off to a good start by visiting the Hotel del Coronado and admiring all the decorations. Kaden asked to have his photo taken with each of the Dr. Seuss characters.

In the middle photo Kevin told Kaden to hold his head still - he took it literally.

We also went to see the Holiday of Lights in Del Mar. I think Kaden's favorite part was helping drive the car around the track. Everyone enjoyed the beach themes - elves playing beach volleyball, Mrs. Claus surfing, and the seashore scene pictured above. Not quite the winter wonderland Kevin and I remember from childhood.

Like us, Sea World believes that it is difficult to get in the Christmas spirit without a little bit of that wonderful white stuff. So, through the magic of technology, Sea World brought Snow World to San Diego (notice the lady in shorts in the background of the last photo). Last year, in Park City, Kaden wasn't a fan of the cold stuff but this year he really seemed to like it. Hopefully, when we visit St. Louis later this winter, he'll get to see some real snow..but not enough to cause travel delays or prevent us from seeing all our friends! As pretty as it is when it falls, we don't miss the mess it leaves behind!