Monday, December 20, 2010

Down Through the Chimney...

Saturday night we met up with friends at the Howell Residence for the Annual Winterhaven Trek. As usual, we had a huge feast of delicious food before we set out to see the Christmas lights. I'd like to wish a BAH HUMBUG! to Tucson Electric Power for pulling the plug (quite literally) on funding for the residents to put on such a great community event. Many of the houses weren't quite as decked out as they used to be. But we enjoyed ourselves nonetheless.

The kids were excited to put on their hats and mittens, but the temperature was fairly mild. We even worked up a little sweat. Unlike years passed, we could still feel all our fingers and toes and there was definitely no real "need" for hot cocoa at the end.

One of the first houses had real snow machines, much to everyone's delight.

Maddie and Hailey had recently returned from visiting family in Montana and they got to play in mountains of snow while they were there. But that didn't squash their excitement to catch "Tucson" snowflakes on their tongues.

The moon was also shining bright.

The 12 days of Christmas house...this one always makes me chuckle. Thanks, Winterhaven residents, for bringing a little holiday spirit to the desert!

Sunday we were invited to an afternoon get-together at our friend Sue's. The kids were enjoying hot chocolate by the pool (yeah...I know...that's just wrong!) when Santa appeared from around the corner.

He had gifts for all the kids. Apparently, despite recent behavior that might suggest otherwise, Knox managed to avoid the naughty list.

He was a little curious about the man in red, but definitely not scared.

Santa was a jolly fellow, as to be expected, and patiently posed for lots of pictures. He even let one little guy tug on his beard, to prove it was real.

Here's to you and yours on this wonderous holiday. Merry Christmas!


The Contessa Family

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Santa's Little Helper

It really is the most perfect tree! I thought that Knox would be able to help decorate this year, but as soon as I opened the tub of decorations he started ripping them out as fast as he could. So, we just put the lights on and waited until he went to bed to finish.

He is definitely a very good helper at UN-decorating, however. It is hard to scold him when he innocently runs to you, holding out a shiny treasure that he's plucked from the tree. So far we've been pretty unsuccessful in stopping him from taking the ornaments off, but we have managed to get him to put them back afterwards, at least. He's also snuck in a few toys amongst the branches.

Boys will be boys!

He was also thrilled to get a box from Great Grandma & Great Grandpa in the mail. We don't know what is inside, yet, but he quickly figured out that he can use it to better reach other things that he isn't supposed to touch.

Possibly the most heart-warming moment was when he lovingly placed Grandma Clark's elf on the sled to pull him across the floor. She would be so proud of this little munchkin.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Butterfly Magic!

This morning, after a great breakfast at Bobo's, we visited the Tucson Botanical Gardens. Neither Ib nor I had been there before. Each "winter" they host Butterfly Magic.

All sorts of tropical butterflies are shipped in from all over the world. They arrive still in the crysalis and hatch at the Gardens. Then they are released into the climate controlled greenhouse.

Because none of the butterflies are native to this country, it is very important that they don't escape from the greenhouse. The volunteers told us that if a butterfly does escape, they must either catch it or kill it.

Once the exhibit ends the butterflies are shipped from Tucson to Denver, to a year-round butterfly exhibit.

Ever since I got my first camera I have been trying to take pictures of butterflies. So today was especially exciting for me. But, when the Garden volunteer brought in a box of newly "hatched" butterflies, you can imagine my reaction when he asked if I would like to hold one.

This particular butterfly was from Austrailia. And, they told us, it was one of the only species that you could differentiate between males and females...because the males are green.

His feet were sort of "sticky" and it felt funny crawling on my fingers. But when he started up my arm and got to my neck it was definitely a little creepy. Nevertheless, I was in awe of these fascinating little creatures.

Knox thought they were pretty neat, too!

We could have spent a lot more time, both with the butterflies and in the rest of the Gardens, but the cozy greenhouse was perfectly nap inducing. Poor Knox zonked out and we decided to call it a day. But we think this place will be on our to-do list again, soon!

O Tannenbaum

My husband is a liar. But, since he confessed to lying, I guess that doesn't make him a very good liar. Anyway, he told me that he needed to drive the Toyota to work on Saturday to help haul new computers to the hospital.

The truth of the matter was that he was out playing Santa after work...and he brought home a perfect, and wonderfully fragrant, Christmas tree for us.

Santa's Little Helper wanted very much to help put it in the stand.

And to help trim the branches. And to help water the tree...

We gave it overnight to let the branches open up and will decorate it this evening, or sometime this week. Any guesses on how long before the decorations go missing?

Can't Beet It

Awhile back, I had a craving for beets. So I bought a can at the store. I took one bite and, disappointedly, realized that what I was really after was actually pickled beets...just like my grandma used to make.

So then I got to thinking about my childhood...and how much my sister loved beets when she was a baby. Always trying to make sure Knox gets his 5 servings of fruits & veggies every day, I wondered if he would like them. So yesterday we tried some for lunch.

You should have seen the twinkle in his eyes after he took that first bite.

Let's just say that by the time dinner was over, the can of beets was gone. I think we've got a new winner in the veggie department!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Back in the Saddle

We didn't fall off the is just taking awhile to get back into the swing of things after our East Coast vacation.

It was a glorious 10 days! We departed sunny Tucson and landed in the Steel City on September 29th. I questioned my parenting skills as I fed Knox a drive-thru dinner of Chicken McNuggets and fries as we traveled I-79 North to Corry.

It's always good to be home.

Knox and Grammy practiced walking.

Knox spent some quality time with Grampy.

And he adores his Auntie Am.

He had a First Birthday...

...complete with a Dairy Queen cake!
Auntie Am & Uncle Matt tied the knot in a beautiful ceremony.

And Knox looked quite dapper in his sweater vest. He had no shortage of dance partners at the reception.

Then we bade Pennsylvania goodbye and our adventures took us to New Hampshire, where Grandma Maria picked us up at the Manchester airport.

She hung a swing for Knox in the apple tree, which he LOVED!

He and Grandma Maria had lots of fun! She had so many great toys for him to play with and had stocked up on his favorite foods. She also made him the fantastic USA quilt for his first birthday. She and I made her famous eclairs and looked through old photo albums. We spent some wonderful time together!

Knox and Grandpa Vernon played ball. And, in the evenings, Ib and his dad watched some concert DVD's together.

Knox got to meet his Great-Grandma Gael.

We took an overnight trip to Vermont to see Ib's oldest friend, Jason. He made sure Knox had a giant bowl of strawberries for breakfast.

We got to play in the leaves. New England was beautiful and it was so nice to spend time with family! It seemed like all too soon we were headed back to Arizona.

But the adventures didn't stop! Knox started walking a few days after we got home. We went to the pumpkin farm with the Rawn family. We took a tractor-pulled wagon ride out to the field where Knox sat on some pumpkins and ate some dirt. And he pet a donkey, a goat and an alpaca at the petting zoo. He played on the giant haystacks with Maddie and Hailey, and chewed on a piece of hay just like Grampy does.

We went to a Halloween cook-out and he was the best dressed chicken there.

Maybe next year we'll let him trick or treat, so he actually gets the pay off from wearing a silly costume.

Miss Jeriann made him a little Halloween goodie bag with socks, a book, some bubbles, a car and other cool stuff. And she made little ghosts from tracings of his feet: His first art project! She's the best!

It has been a busy month since we've been home, and there is no sign of things slowing down any time soon!