Sunday, December 31, 2006 - HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

We had a busy, fun holiday season. Kai and Sierra were much more into Santa this year. All month, they kept saying "Santa coming soon," "I love presents," and "Merry Christmas." Actually this has remained Sierra's main greetings even now (we hear "Merry Christmas" in lieu of Hello).

During the month, we enjoyed the festivities at Disney, went to the "Breakfast with Santa" at the zoo, and of course much Christmas preparation (making cookies for Santa, decorating a gingerbread house, decorating the tree, touring the neighborhood for Christmas lights etc.). One of the biggest highlights was seeing Santa. We waited patiently in line for more than an hour. Kai and Sierra did great (mom remembered to bring snacks, juice and toys for the wait).

We talked in line about what they would ask Santa for. Here are their responses:

  • Kai: he thought for a minute then definitively stated "a choo choo," paused, then said "and a pig" (he likes reading the 3 little pigs). This was his same answer the entire month up until Christmas
  • Sierra: after grinning from ear to ear at the idea of making a choice (which she loves), she stated "crabs that eat grapes." Then after thinking a little more, she said "ice cream and.... grapes." "Ice cream" was her answer the rest of the month.

Kai actually told Santa about the choo choo, Sierra was more concerned with his beard and clothes. After our family photo shoot with Santa, he gave Kai and Sierra a little toy (it was a little clown popup doll, on a stick). Sierra was very excited and wanted mom to take the cellophane off. Once off, she proceeded to lick it and immediately got upset, stating "no, ice cream, ice cream!" She's obviously a little too young to realize that when you ask Santa for something, he doesn't bring it until Christmas Day. Mom and Dad explained to her that she got a toy and Santa gave us a little money for some ice cream in the food court (since he couldn't keep ice cream cold where he was). She was appreciative.

Christmas day was fun. Daddy took the kids through the kitchen where they saw the empty cookie plate and milk glass Santa left. Once Kai saw them, he bolted to the Christmas tree. Sierra was a little more subdued but still excited to see what Santa had left.

After Christmas we went back home to visit everyone. In a week's timeframe, we were in Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia, and back to Virginia. It was a busy week, but Kai and Sierra were troopers and we were able to visit with everyone (and Kai/Sierra collected a few more gifts which they enjoyed ... since Sierra "loves presents" - one of her favorite sayings.

Here are some pictures from our holidays...

Our Christmas card this year.



Family shot with Santa Claus. One day, we'll get everyone looking in the same direction at the same time.

Say cheese.. our third Christmas with Mama and Daddy.


"I love your beard."


"Hmmm, I would like...."


"I just really like your white beard.. what's it made of?"


"Cool, he reads too!"


"Ok, I've got it. I would like a choo-choo."


"I love Santa Claus" (in Kazakhstan, he's called Grandfather Frost).


"Maybe I'll just hang out here until you give me my choo-choo and pig."





Christmas with Tigger.


"I love Chip and Dale."


"Mommy, can we take them home?" (Santa brought Kai and Sierra a stuffed Chip and Dale for Christmas.)


"The ladies love me... even Sleeping Beauty."


Thanks to Kathy and Bill for the Santa Mickey hat.


The Disney girls (Kerrigan and Sierra)!


The Osburn family lights were a big hit.



Kai concentrating on how the lights blink off and on to the music. (He gets "serious face" when he's grooving to the music.)


Kai and Daddy enjoying the fireworks (Kai thought he was making them go off by banging his fist in the air).


Our Kazakhstan nesting dolls (Grandfather Frost and Snowgirl).


Mommy and Sierra playing dolls (Sierra has to recite the two rules for playing with the "special dolls" before playing: 1) "don't put in the mouth" and 2) "don't throw")

"Look, I put it together by myself."


A team effort to assemble the train.


Kai decorating the tree.


Sierra helping Daddy hang one high up.


"Hey, there is one under here with my name."


Ready to haul away my gifts.


Sierra climbed in the shopping cart and wanted Kai to push her.. it was fun until it toppled over and she fell out.. game over.


The Christmas Kangaroo at the zoo (Breakfast with Santa)


Sierra enjoyed the violins

We decorated treats for the elephants after breakfast.


Kai and Sierra got to see Santa again (Kai was upset after this visit... 2nd time he's seen Santa and still no choo choo).


The "Reindeer in Training" Llama. Of course Sierra wanted to "hold him" but settled for feeding him some leaves.


"We love gingerbread houses!" Kai and Sierra "on the sugar."

Family photo by Marty at Censeo's Christmas luncheon - again we're 75% there on looking in the same direction.


Baking Santa's cookies.


We're ready to go for Christmas morning (we had to work to get a cookie on the plate that didn't have a bite already taken out of it.).


Santa came!!!!!



Wow - he remembered to bring the choo-choo and ice cream.


Santa brought Sierra two kinds of ice cream (a pint of the real stuff and some toy ice cream - he probably wasn't sure which kind she wanted). He also brought her a Dora Backpack and the grapes she asked for. She thought the container of ice cream was too cold so she went for the toy stuff.

Kai got a Thomas the Train Big Loader (choo-choo). Coincidently, Daddy got a big loader from Santa when he was little too. Kai also got his pig and a Diego Rescue Pack backpack.



Playing Christmas morning.

Sierra decked out in her Dora backpack, slippers and hat.


"Mmmmm, egg nog is awesome."




We made it to MeMaw and PawPaw's house. Kai and Sierra were very excited to see them at the airport. They got out of the strollers and ran to them.


"Yeah... more presents...I love presents."


"Cool, Yawya and I got new underpants." (Kai calls Sierra "Yawya.")


Memaw helping Kai with his new bubble bath.


"Throw me again Uncle Ken."


"Hey mister... I'm going to poke you with this thing I found upstairs."


MeMaw, West and Colt (before they left to go to Japan with the Navy).


"It's Clay's turn to haul me around."


"Y M C A.."


"Bud, have you had some of that crab dip? It's awesome."


MaMaw helping console Sierra out of trouble. So much for timeout...


Picture with Colt before his 3 yr tour of duty to Japan.


Picture with West before his 3 yr tour of duty to Japan.


Sierra's favorite party foods are the pickles and olives.. she's going to turn into one.


Pawpaw and Memaw took us bowling. They had this cool rack so Kai and Sierra could roll their balls right down the middle.


We lucked out... the smallest bowling shoe they make is a 6 toddler, which is Sierra's size.


100 and 74, not too bad for their first bowling game.


"High five ... right down the middle"


Playing ball with our cousin Michelle.


Making sand angels at the beach (Nags Head)


Hunter and Kai building a castle.



Visiting the massive Christmas light display in Kill Devil Hills, NC (it was on the Today Show last year with Al Roker).


Peek-a-boo boys.


"I see you... you're big "


Sierra signing Hunter's birthday card at his 6th birthday party. She's quite handy with the pen.


Sponge Bob is going down.


Hey Bud, look at my candy (a gift from Jonathan/Melissa and family)





Carly reading her Nemo story to Kai and Sierra.


Storytime with Uncle Mike.


Grandma gave Kai and Sierra a cool turtle that shines stars on the ceiling (Kai has commandeered it though.. he sleeps with it every night).



"What do you want for breakfast, Mick?"


Kai and Grandma.


Kai at the new elementary school park (down the street from Grandma's house)


It didn't snow, but it was cold and we got to play outside. This is the old school park equipment (seemed to be as much fun as the new stuff).


The Higgins' parade.


A rock angel (she made a "mulch angel" at another park).



Daddy was on the other side saying "blah, blah" which they thought was hysterical...


"Grandma, can I take Mick home?"


"Bye, Grandma"



Ready for take off.


Sierra waving to MeMaw and PawPaw from the airplane as we were taking off (they parked near the runway so they could see us go past - they even called to coordinate which side of the plane we should sit on).


Up, Up and Away.


We're home. Kai was our bellman.


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