Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas: Christmas Eves

Our Christmas Eve-Eve festivities started when Greg's aunt Debbie and cousins, Meagan (and her boyfriend Chris) and Meredith. rolled in from Amarillo. They were greeted with drinks and a variety of smoked meats. Greg's dad has become quite the master of the smoker. After we were sufficiently stuffed and drinks were refilled, it was time for the big gift exchange. Its been going on for a while in Greg's family, all the cousins (all of us 'big kids,' not the little girls) bring a gift and we exchange it White Elephant style. I'm just going to go ahead and say that I walked away with the best gift, an awesome cheese board from one of my favorite brands, C. Wonder.

The next morning, Christmas Eve, we had a big mimosa brunch with the Amarillo cousins before they hit the road. The girls live in NYC and were headed back to the East Coast. We let the little girls play in their new princess dresses before it was time to get ready for church. Wouldn't you know that little Miss Kennedy decided to take her first power nap of the trip just as it was time to get ready. Like the old saying goes, you never wake a sleeping Kennedy, so I stayed home while everyone went to candlelight service. As it turned out she woke up shortly after they left and we hustled over to make church service. Amen.

We came home, decorated cookies for Santa and read stories to the girls. They were pretty excited for Santa and Kennedy went to bed talking about the choo-choo train she just knew he would bring her in the morning.

Me, Greg, Meagan, Meredith, Ross and Jennifer

The Gifts. 

The Best Gift. Who wants to come over for a smorgasbord of cheese and charcuterie?!

Greg showing off his portrait skills with a sketch of his dad on the MagnaDoodle. 

Oh, fair maiden. 

Grammyflash, Big Poppa and the girls at church. 

The Christmas Hunters.

Three Musketeers. 

The Hunters. Christmas 2012. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas: Dance Party

How many times did you hear Gangnam Style during your Christmas holiday? I've lost count. A few times a day, when the girls were getting a little restless/stir crazy, we would put on music and have a Dance Party. On the cookie decorating night, they were all hopped up on the sugars and demanded Gangnam Style (or the horsey dance) over and over again. This is one of Kennedy's favorites at home and I think she made it her cousins new favorite as well.

Kennedy has, as she calls them, Fancy Moves. And she was showing them off to her best ability. Lots of kicking and fist pumping. But she showed us something I had never seen before, her Dance Face. Some might call it the look of pure determination, while others may refer to it as classic sorority girl duck face.
Rapunzels ready to party. 

Dance Party started as a Jumping On The Couch Party. The kind of fun you can only have at your grandparent's house. 

 Blurry pics. And she lost her pants midway through the party. Its a pants-off dance-off.

Christmas: Cookies

On Christmas Eve, Julia and I made the sugar cookie dough, cut out the cookies and baked them in preparation for decorating. When we got back from church, we set out bowls of sprinkles and frosting and put aprons on each of the girls. They loved decorating the cookies and had an even better time sampling the frosting. I was busy snapping pictures and looked over to find Kennedy with her entire fist in her mouth. It was then that I realized I hadn't heard from her in a few minutes. She was, as quickly and quietly as possible, shoving as much frosting in her mouth as she could We decorated a ton and picked the favorites to leave for Santa.

Then the game of jumping from the ottoman to the couch started. And then Gangnam Style. And then the big sugar crash of 2012.
Cookie decorating. 

 Everyone took a turn frosting and adorning with sprinkles. 

Frost. Lick off cookie. Repeat.  

Running on 100% sugar. 

Cookies for Santa

Christmas: The Cousins

To say Kennedy had fun with her cousins, Julia and Natalie, would be an understatement. The girls were essentially inseparable from the time we picked them up at the airport until they left Midland. They had fun with dance parties, cookie decorating, playing princess and running around the house. Kennedy and Natalie are a little closer in age and we can tell they are going to be troublemakers when they get older. Julia is a little mommy and we can count on her to play nicely and take care of them when the adults are in the other room. We are so glad we got to spend four days with them and can't wait for the next time we can all get together.

Airport pick-up. 

Checking out the lights. 

Christmas manis. 
Watching movies and hanging out in their matching shirts. 

The girls at church.  

The 'real' Rapunzel(s)

Bedtime stories. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas. From Texas.

Our awesome card was designed by our dear friend Jill at Stamped Paper Co. And the pictures were taken by the talented Amy at AKA Photography

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Our Little Christmas

We had our little Hunter Family Christmas the night before we left for Midland. Friday night is pretty much always Pizza Night in our house, and Kennedy was really excited about it. While I was out during the day I picked up some Christmas cupcakes from Sprinkles. We could hardly keep Kennedy away from all the presents under the tree and she was really eager to help hand them out.

We let Kennedy go first, like we could even expect her to wait any longer! She would barely tear open the corner of the paper and scream, "ooh! look what I got!!" She was equally excited to help me and Greg open our gifts from each other (fun things from Zella and Lululemon for me and some schmancy new shoes for Greg). After presents were exchanged and paper was cleaned up, we cut up the cupcakes and enjoyed our sweet treats.

She went to bed with her baby polar bear and was very excited to leave for Christmas Vacation in the morning.

Trying to sneak peeks at her gifts. 

Giving Olive a special Christmas toy. And opening her new, fun toys. 

Sweet treats. 

Big Magna Doodle, stamp set and a "real" polar bear cub. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Mr. Mom

Last week I was hit hard by a nasty stomach bug. We all know what that means so we can just skip the details and assume I spent 30 hours holed up in our room (watching Sister Wives and Catfish marathons). Thankfully Greg had a flexible schedule at work and was able to assume the role of mom on Thursday and Friday.

First up was the school's Christmas party (technically, the Jesus Birthday Party...its a baptist school). I was really sad to miss this because I always love having the opportunity to get a glimpse into her little world at school. But Greg got her dressed, lunch packed and to school by 9. He got to attend the party and assist her in her Christmas craft. 

When it was pick-up time from school, I was still unable to resume my motherly responsibilities, so Greg picked her up and took her to work with him. I can't even imagine how excited she was about this, she loves going to Daddy's office! The trusty iPad and a coloring book kept her content while he finished up a little work. Greg doesn't have the compulsive need to document the day's happenings like I do, so you will just have to imagine her at the agency with him.

After work it was time to go to the Kidville Christmas party, which lucky for Greg, meant dinner was provided for him and Kennedy. By the time they got home it was already time for bath and bed.

Friday morning Greg took Kennedy to ballet, and then gymnastics, and I was finally feeling well enough to keep her for the afternoon. I ended up having to miss out on a fun party Friday night at Caroline's house, but am glad to be feeling much better! I know Kennedy loved having the daddy/daughter time with Greg. And the stomach bug left me a few pounds lighter, just in time for cookies and fudge next week in Midland.

Despite their serious faces, I know the girls had fun at the party!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Polar Express

As mentioned in the previous post, we had a full schedule of fun, Christmassy activities while Lainey was in town. I was most excited about our little trip out to Grapevine to ride on the Polar Express (technically, its called the North Pole Express). We have been reading the book to Kennedy at night and she really loves it. Plus she keeps saying Santa is bringing her a choo-choo train, so I knew she would have a great time.

Downtown Grapevine is a Must Visit during the Christmas season, I mean it is the Christmas Capital of Texas, after all. Kennedy was pumped when we got to the train depot. We dressed her in this (silly) little Christmas outfit and the weather was nice enough to go sans jacket. We waited in line for a few minutes before they ushered us into a big tent/holding area. They had a bunch of Christmas movies and music playing while we found our seats. After a short musical performance, we were called to board the train. As you walk through the "forest" they even had a snow machine. Kennedy was a little weirded out by the snow, but completely froze when she saw the train. It was almost too exciting. She was just completely still and her eyes were huge. Her 'thing' now when she gets shy, overwhelmed, overly excited is to whisper. So the whole time we were boarding I could hear faint words about a choo-choo train coming from her.

Once aboard the train, they led us in Christmas carols as we waited for Santa. I knew we were not even going to attempt a photo opp and I could sense her nervousness when he entered the train. Mrs. Claus came first to sort of warm up the kids, and Kennedy kept calling Santa, Mr. Claus. He handed out bells to all the children and she happily said thank you and good-bye from a safe distance. Once she had her bell, she buddied up with a little girl across the aisle and they danced and sung songs as we headed back to the station.

We stuck around the train depot to let her play and sample some hot chocolate. It felt odd to be drinking hot chocolate when it was 75 degrees outside! We had such a great time and I can see this becoming a part of our annual Christmas traditions.

On the Polar Express

Family Shot. 

Bye-bye choo-choo train!

Me and my little elf. 

The train push toys were a big highlight of the experience. 

Photo Opp. 

Our special bell for story time. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

The New Museum

While Lainey was in town we kept a pretty packed agenda. We always say, 'next trip we are going to relax at the house.' And then the next trip comes and we find ourselves going from ballet, to the museum, to lunch and to Grapevine to ride trains. All in one day.

Saturday morning after the Santa Ballet Disaster, we drove downtown to the new Perot Museum of Nature and Science. Greg and I were eager to check it out and were excited to use our new family membership (an early Christmas gift). The museum is huge and they encourage you to start at the top and work your way down. Since the Children's Museum is on the bottom, and the most outspoken member of our group is 2, we decided to start there.

I think Kennedy could have played there all day long and is already asking to go back. They have a lot of fun pretend-play type areas set up: farmers market, campgrounds, downtown Dallas, a flower stand, etc. It was not very crowded and she got to move from activity to activity as she pleased. There is a water feature (turned off, thank goodness) and a sand box (she doesn't need to know that exists yet) so we made it out of there clean and dry.

We did get through a handful of exhibits and she loved seeing the dinosaur and astronomy exhibits. I could tell everyone was starting to get a little hungry so we decided to save the other exhibits for a different day. The museum cafe was packed, so we walked across the street to El Fenix for a super-average Mexican food lunch. There is still so much more to explore and I can't wait to go back again and again!

Kennedy and Lainey. 

Exploring the Downtown Dallas climbing area. 

Got a shopping list and a tote, time to buy some fresh foodies. 

About as close to camping as we will probably get. 

Picking flowers and setting up a display. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Favorite Things

Last week my friend Caroline hosted a happy hour gift exchange and the theme was Favorite Things. Everyone was asked to bring a Favorite Thing, unwrapped and three of the same thing. When everyone arrived at the party they put their name on three slips of paper and dropped them into the hat. One at a time, each person introduced their Favorite Thing and picked three names from the hat, passing out their gift to those guests. At the end of the party, everyone left with three fun gifts.

All the ladies also brought a salty or sweet treat to share and Caroline had some sparkly Christmas cocktails. The kids were there as well and had a great time playing on the patio, pulling every toy out of the playroom and dancing on the coffee table. They all played so nicely together and the mommies got to enjoy their treats and gifts.

As for my favorite thing, I brought Benefit they're real! mascara and left with two pair of Nothing Bundt Cakes and a Thermos water bottle. It was so much fun...maybe we should do an exchange like this more often.

Good eats and treats. 

Party kids. 

Favorite Things (l to r): Bath and Body Works lotion and candle, Sugar lip balm, Benefit mascara, OPI nail polish, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Cupcake wine, Burts Bees lip balm, Trader Joe's wine, Thermos water bottle. 

Happy ladies at happy hour. 

Foiled By Santa

On Saturday morning we went to the Y for Cookies with Santa and Kennedy's Christmas ballet performance. I knew we would be avoiding Santa like the plague, but figured we could get in, do the dance, have a cookie and leave with out having to get too close to the man in red. The little girls have been working on their dance for the past few weeks, and given the hilarity of the shoulder shrugging at Halloween, I was dying to see what they had in store for Christmas. We got her dressed in a fuzzy snowflake dress and ballet shoes and she sat still while I curled her hair. She was excited to be dressed like a Winter Fairy (we're really into Tinkerbell). Greg, my mom and I had great seats and Kennedy was beyond excited to see us in the front. She kept pointing and yelling, "there's my mommy! my daddy is here!" 

She went from smiles to frowns in seconds at the announcement that Santa would be there for the performance. For some reason, the woman behind the mic decided it would be a good idea to bring out Santa for all the 2 and 3 years olds to dance in front of. Has she ever been around 2 year olds? They were all terrified. At the mere mention of Santa, panic filled the room. When she saw him round the corner she bailed on the whole thing and ran to my mom. The show pretty much derailed and more little girls were crying than not. We stayed to watch her little friends and have a cookie, but Kennedy did not want to stand by herself knowing Santa was roaming freely in the building. I don't think this will be our year for a Smiling On Santa's Lap Picture. 

Pointing out her fan club. 
Whaaaat? Did you say Santa? 
No. No. No. 

Enjoying a cookie while keeping her eye on Santa behind her. 

Lainey, the Winter Fairy and Mommy.