Sunday, December 26, 2010

Yes, dreams can come true!

"I'm dreaming of a white Christmas!"  Bing Crosby croons his yuletide tune and for us North Carolinians, white Christmas is just a pipe dream.  There hasn't been one since 1969!  And yet, yesterday afternoon it started to snow, and snowed all night and even this morning!  Leaving us with a beautiful winter wonderland.  Daddy still had to go to work, they were feeding the fantastic guys at Duke Power, but as the Village is closed for lunch and dinner today, he should be home soon.  But when the Go Outside and Play request came, Mommy answered the call!  Here are some photos I took as we went on a winter tromp!

Remember the first snow pic like this


St. Francis looks like the Pope!

Standing under the tree it looked like coral

A visit down at Grandma's


Cold!

Snow angels, he got up and made a smiley face where his head had been.
Said it was a snow clown!

What goes up...

must...

come down!

A little self portrait action, after sledding


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Hot chocolate time!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

"Dash away, dash away, dash away all!"

While feeding the reindeer last night, Brant surprised us by reciting the last line of Twas the Night Before Christmas.   It seems he's been listening to his bear that recites it as well, given by Pam a few years ago.

And so dawns Christmas morning....early, early, as in not barely midnight, we hear a small voice call, "Mommy, did Santa come yet?"  Daddy answered the call and when Brant heard that he hadn't come yet, he went right back to sleep...sweet boy.  Daddy and I both woke up at our regular school time, fully expecting Brant to be awake before us.  But he slept until 7:45, and then waited semi-patiently for Grandma to come.
Littely and Brant waiting for Grandma to come

Now that's a lot of presents!

Santa brought a Phillies wallet! Brant has been asking for one for forever!

We opened presents until almost 10:00, pausing to play with toys, get another cup of coffee, answer calls, whatever happened, happened!  Santa was VERY good to Brant, leaving all he asked for, and more.  Brant received a drum pad, wallet, Lincoln Logs, Red Rover game and Quirkle.  He also brought a Cars bath set, harmonica and kazoo.  And then, in a very special letter from Santa, Brant was told that a special present was left outside on his playset.  We all rushed out to see and there, magically put up by elves last night, was a brand new tire swing!

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The crumbs

A test swing

Wearing his new Lowe's apron he got with goggles and a hammer from Mommy and Daddy

Go Phillies!

Around noon today, it started to snow!  The winter storm that was iffy has come to fruition and we are supposed to get 3-6 inches.  We shall see, as weather is never as predictable as people like to believe.

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Just in case you are curious as to other gifts received, Mom got a family photo collage from us, a new calendar and tickets to Celtic Women at DPAC, Brant got Phillies corn hole boards, a new Elon hat, 2 sets of Polo jammies and a dog bone tool.  I got a gift certificate for new Danskos, 2 sets of jammies (from mom and the boys) and Brantley pulled a fast one and got me Spanish plates and bowls.  Brant got a lot more toys from Mom and Dad, which will make their appearance in other blogs, I'm sure.

Brantley's Phillies cornhole boards

So, in the immortal words of Santa, "Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"
A Christmas day fire

Christmas Eve crazies

.Christmas Eve dawned fairly early, with a pounce and a holler, "IT'S CHRISTMAS EVE!"   Brant opened his final drawer on the Advent Train and promptly started asking to open a present.  We've allowed him to open gifts from Aunts and Uncles, as well as other gifts that might have been sent to him, on Christmas Eve, because it actually gets overwhelming on Christmas morning.  But...he has to wait until the evening, and trust me, to him, it seemed like FOREVER!

So, we set out to keep him busy!  We started by playing Santa for our neighbors.  We loaded Brant's wagon up with Brant and the baskets for our neighbors...and off we went.  While he was not the happiest to be going along (he wanted to go to Grandma's) we wanted him to know that Christmas was about giving too.

After delivering presents, we fed our feathered friends.  We've been wanting to make bird feeders out of pine cones and peanut butter and I decided...today was the day!  It lasted all of 10 minutes, but we've enjoyed watching the birds eat from them!
Brant had fun making this, he jammed the cones down in the bucket of birdseed...who wouldn't have fun doing that!

Our new feeder and pine cones...I think it looks like a cuckoo clock!


A quick nap, some playtime at Grandma's, dinner and a bath, the family settled to open some gifts!  Brant had great fun seeing what was sent from Japan and Aunt Carol and Uncle Jim.  And this year, the Joyce Family sent him some gifts as well!  

Sitting under the Christmas tree, almost forgotten, was Brant's bag of reindeer food!   We ran outside to sprinkle it around and Brant really did sprinkle it.  A little by the flag pole, in the ditch, by the flower bed, in the bird bath, by the satellite dish and around Mickey.  Wherever the reindeer landed, they would have a 
snack!
A quick pic with Mommy before spreading the food
                                       
He was running so fast we barely got photos

Thinking where to spread it next

Another pic with Mickey.  Do you remember the first one?  

We didn't go as all out with our lights this year...I don't know where the time went!

Having  opened the gifts, we all claimed a spot in the living room (Brant in his new chair) and watched National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.
Presents from Carol and Jim, the dog is named "Littley" and moves like a real dog.
Don't know why B looks sad, just caught the photo when he wasn't smiling!

Trying out the new chair...as I took the picture he was saying, "Look my pirate ship jammies are in the ocean!"
The chair has an ocean print.

Fixing milk and cookies...he cut out and decorated them by himself

Putting out Santa's magic key

Soon Brant was getting dozey, so we put out Santa's magic key, milk and cookies.  Climbing into my lap, Brant fell asleep, with "visions of sugar plums dancing in his head"

Twas Two Nights Before Christmas

Twas two nights before Christmas and all through the O'Day home, the whole family was stirring,  even Daddy had come!

A nice lady too this while we were waiting for the train...we all look like Rudolf,
AND Frosty, since we have so many layers on!


We have spent the last few days baking and cooking and wrapping and playing!  We've had time to go to the park, make homemade oatmeal creme pies and just be together. While at times, the hype of Christmas has tried to overtake us, we have tried to keep it as calm as possible for little Brant.   Although he had one request...dinner at Blue Ribbon, then a visit to Christmas at the (City) Park.   So, we went!

The Carolers, serenading us as we wait in line for the train!

Brant didn't want to feed the camel, and in his defense, they were right beside a HUGE bull.

On the carousel...

It was so cold, Brant didn't want ANY photos taken.
We later teased him to stick his tongue to the post,
but he saw Christmas Story this year and knows better! 

All lit up for Christmas

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Thumbs up for eclipses, cookies and Christmas!

It's so fun to see what Brant's next "thing" is.  We've gone from learning to snap fingers, silly faces and now...thumbs up!  This is a new development, first noticed on Monday night.  These pictures have all been taken since! 

I love this one!

Getting the thumb positioned correctly for the "thumbs up for cookies" shot!

Posing with Grandma at the Park

Thumbs up for Grammy snuggles!
As everyone knows, the total lunar eclipse was visible here early Tuesday morning.  We had planned on waking up Brant to see it, as it was quite the milestone, coinciding with Winter Solstice, but the weather pulled a fast one.  Daddy and I got up to check it out, but about 10 minutes after getting up (at 2:30 a.m.), the clouds rolled in.  The moon has been amazing this week though, and I couldn't resist snapping a few photos.  It makes me wish for a camera equipped for these kind of shots.
The view from our patio

About 10 minutes from total eclipse...and the last clear shot.  Never got to see
totality.

We've all been a bit cabin feverish, as the weather has been very cold for us Southerners.  So today (and yesterday even though it was FREEZING!) we made sure to get to the park, to run off some cookie energy, full moon and Christmas excitement craziness!  Today was great fun, as we were joined by Grandma, AND when we pulled up, 3 of the girls from Brant's class was there, later to be joined by a 4th.   But before leaving we had to check out the partially frozen pond and some of the lights and Christmas displays.
No, I do not normally allow Brant to climb in Christmas displays,
but there were already muddy footprints there!


Flying with Rudolph

Brant's yummy cookies for Santa.  We've had strict orders to NOT EAT any of them!
And so, this brings us to the Christmas countdown of 3.  The excitement is growing, the presents are piling and we are enjoying being home for the holidays.  It's our first Christmas just us and Mom, so it feels a bit odd not having family around.  But we've got lots planned and some fun day trips, not to mention a visit by the Jolly Old Elf, Himself!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

All aboard the Santa Train!

The North Carolina Museum of Transportation in Spencer is one of our favorite places to go as a family.  I used to go there with Mom and Dad and now we get to take Brant.  If you've never been there, it's worth the jaunt.

This year, we got the email that announced the Santa Train!  So we bought tickets and yesterday was the big day!  Arriving early, we had the place to ourselves, literally, there was only one other car in the lot. So we headed down to the roundhouse to see some trains.  There, we had a great surprise, as they were pulling the engine out of the roundhouse and onto the turntable.  It was the engine that was going to pull our train!

Mommy was so excited, as she LOVES this Southern engine

Soon it was time to head back to Barber Junction station to catch the train.  Along the way, however, Brant had a colossal wipeout on the concrete, and took a chunk out of his tender little chin!
Look at the boo boo on his chin!  We had to put an "engineer" band-aid on it.
We thought it might have needed a stich, but it finally stopped bleeding.
So sad.


So we started with a few tears, then the mellowness that follows a boo boo, but he soon perked up!  Santa arrived by fire truck and the train became "THE Santa Train!"


We hopped on board and found our seat (picked especially by Brant) and settled in to enjoy the ride.  After a bit, the conductor came through and punched our tickets, then other "engineers" brought each child an orange and candy cane, the traditional treat railroaders gave to children long ago.
The O'Day family on the train!

Looking out at the shops as we pass by

Playing with his orange

Before long....it was the big man himself!  Refusing to sit by himself, we at least got a photo with Santa!
The jolly man entering the car

First official picture with Santa, squashed with Mommy in the train seat

So, the train ride was soon over, and as we walked through the museum, it started to snow!  What a great time for our family!
Hopping off the train with Daddy

The snow falls at Barber Junction