Sunday, January 10, 2010

Holidays at the Higgins' House

We had a great holiday. Memaw and Pawpaw came down for a visit over Thanksgiving. December was busy with lots of great Christmas activities and after Christmas, we traveled up North to WVA/VA, where Kai and Sierra saw snow for the first time (the first time they remember). Below are links to the highlights.

Thanksgiving/ Memaw & Pawpaw Visit

Santa Family Photo Shoot



WVA/VA Road Trip & Happy New Year                                                        Miscellaneous/ Holiday Activities



Thanksgiving/ Memaw & Pawpaw's Visit (back to top)

MeMaw and PawPaw came for a visit the week of Thanksgiving. They brought bunk beds (thanks to cousin Michelle) for Kai so we officially moved the kids into their "big kid rooms." Sierra's room has been set for a while but until Kai's bed got here, they had been sleeping in tents on the floor.

Pawpaw was feeling under the weather during the visit, but we did lots of fun things with MeMaw. The pictures below tell the story.


Kai and Sierra wrote a paper in Kindergarten about what they were
thankful for. They are below, along with a translation.

Translation (NOTE: Kylie is one of Kai's little girlfriends; reference to being green is referring to helping the environment.):

I am thankful for God. And I am thankful for Mom and Dad. And I am thankful for friends. I am thankful for Kylie. I am thankful for food because a lot of kids do not have food.

I am thankful for we have shots to keep us healthy. I am thankful I am green every day. I am thankful I am bigger than my sister.


Translation (NOTE: "dake fole," "thakfole," and "takfole" all mean "thankful"; "cidy" = city; "houme" = home; "hole famaliy" = whole family; "aramale" = we don't know what this word is supposed to be; "Oliveya" is Sierra's first grade friend at school ; "nexe stor" = next door):

I am dake fole for my mom. and I am for my Dad.

I am dake fole for are cidy.

I am takfole for my dog.

I am takfole for my houme.

I am am takfole for my famaliy.

I am thakfole for my aramale.

I am thakfole for my cat.

I am thakfole for my hole famaliy.

I am thakfole for my cat.

I am thakfole for my Oliveya.

I am thakfole for my cat from nexe stor.

I am thakfole for my famaliy.


We celebrated MeMaw's birthday a little early.


MeMaw liked her present (a new computer that didn't overheat all the time).


Kai's new room - Marvel comics.



Kai tried out top bunk first and then moved to the bottom (he thought the top was too hot). Sierra moved into the top bunk. They still prefer to stay together so they mostly stay in Kai's room.


"Yeah - we got it assembled."


We went to SeaWorld with Memaw. This is the underside of the stingray tank.


Kai and Sierra found a bubble inside the fish tank to put their heads through.


Daddy rode Journey to Atlantis with Kai and Sierra. It's nice that they're finally tall enough to ride most of the rides.


MeMaw can't pass up the water games.

"Yeah - we found the Shamu Santa."


"Thanks for our animals, MeMaw."


We love the crab ride.


"Ahh... it's tickling my tummy."


"I wonder who will win the prize."


We went down to visit the real Santa again this year. Kai and Sierra had their lists. We went early in the month so Santa had plenty of time to shop/build.


"I love my brother."



"Smile pretty."


"Aren't we the cutest thing you've ever seen?"


"I'm waiting on my dinner."


"Happy Thanksgiving."


"The buffet is ready."


We had a great Thanksgiving. In addition to MeMaw and PawPaw, we were joined by our friends Dick and Cathy as well as Dan and Karen. We had nice weather so we ate outside.

"Do we have seconds?"


"I wonder what the boys are talking about... football, golf???"


Pawpaw took Kai and Sierra fishing. They didn't catch much but had fun.

We decided to decorate for Christmas the weekend after Thanksgiving so MeMaw and PawPaw could participate.


Hot chocolate and tree trimming made for a fun night.


"How do you like this ornament?"


"We're all done."


We went to Busch Gardens Tampa for the day with MeMaw. Sierra can't pass up the opportunity to pose with any character.


Kai got to ride in the front of the Rhino Rampage ride.


We sat in the front row so we had a great view of all the animals.


There was one roller coaster that Kai and Sierra were big enough to ride. It was pretty intense but they liked it. Shortly after MeMaw took this picture, Daddy's hat blew off and was lost forever.


"What do you know - there are water games here too."


Daddy and Sierra are ready to cream someone.


"Watch out, you're going down."


"Here we come. You'd better watch out."


Sierra always likes riding the carousel.


We found more crazy characters. We're not sure what this one is.. maybe some sort of bird?


Here is Sierra and the frog.


We think this one is a praying mantis.


This was like the crab ride but much higher. We all lost our stomachs.


Yes - that's a real tiger in the background.


Yes - that's a real tiger above Kai and Sierra's heads.





Santa Family Photo Shoot (back to top)

Our visit with Santa is always fun. Kai and Sierra get a chance to tell Santa what they want for Christmas, but then we have a photo shoot (this is really Mom's fun). Below are are pictures from this year.


















Christmas (back to top)

Kai and Sierra are at such a fun age for Christmas. They were VERY excited leading up to the day. It was a big Christmas for us because Kai and Sierra both got "live animals." Sierra had been so sad about losing our Leroy back in July, so we decided to get her a new kitten and Kai got a fish for his room. It was a challenge to coordinate the effort so it would be a surprise Christmas morning and we needed to take the kitten with us on our road trip.

We went to church on Christmas Eve, then to Kathy/Bill's house for dinner (and to exchange presents). We then came home and put out our luminaries. The house looked pretty all lit up. Our tradition is to open one present Christmas Eve. Kai and Sierra chose to open the presents they gave to each other.

We read "Twas the Night Before Christmas" before bed.

Christmas morning was fun! Our morning started with Dad going outside to jingle the sleigh bells near the kid's window to wake them up (we got up a little before they were allowed to come out). Dad asked "I heard sleigh bells and it woke me up... must have been Santa" .. Kai an Sierra declare... "No it wasn't him... we went to the bathroom earlier and peeked out the door and saw the presents, so it must have been someone else :)" More pictures and stories are below.

Jim did a great job with our outside lights.

The kids had fun putting together the luminaries.


"Yeah - we're done. It's time to go open a present."


It was a great team effort!


Our Santa was having issues this holiday. He stayed in a sitting position instead of standing like he was supposed to.


"I wonder what it is!"


"Yeah - a nerf gun!




"I love my gift."


"Watch out... it's going to get loud."


Santa - cookies, check! Reindeer - carrots and celery, check!


"Yeah - they came!"


After Kai and Sierra went to bed, we introduced Forrest and Leroy #2 to make sure everyone was getting along by Christmas day.


"Forrest, get your baby!"


Forrest and Leroy quickly became good friends.


Santa gave Sierra her top 3 things: an art stand, the UP movie and the UP characters.


Santa also brought Kai the Bakugan gauntlet, Maxus Dragus and Maxus Helois he wanted (plus a few other Bakugan things).


We made sure to clear the firewood from the fireplace before we went to bed. The kids were relieved that Santa was able to get in.




"Holy Moly!"


"Check out my stocking stuff!"




"You're going down!"


"Thanks Mom and Dad... I love my Bolt!"


"I think we got them all!"


After opening all the presents, we had a scavenger hunt for the final gifts from Mom and Dad.


It was a team effort to find the treasures.


Kai's scavenger hunt led to a new fish aquarium (for his room). He named the fish Kai.


Sierra's scavenger hunt led to Leroy #2.


Leroy #2 is a winner. Sierra hauls him around like she did Leroy #1 and he's very tolerant.


Leroy was very low key Christmas Day. He relaxed under the tree.



Dick and Cathy came over for Christmas dinner. Sierra had fun playing air hockey with him.


Anytime we couldn't find Sierra, she was in the closet with Leroy #2 (just like she used to do with Leroy #1). She made him a bed in a box and she stayed in his cat bed.


"Dinner is almost ready!"


"Cathy, check out my art stand."


Kai and Sierra had their own little table for dinner.


This was our 2009 holiday card.



WVA/VA Road Trip & Happy New Year (back to top)

We left bright and early the day after Christmas for our road trip up North. We were packed with two kids, the dog and new kitty. Our first day, we drove 8 hours to Aunt Nancy's house. We started off with Leroy #2 in the cat carrier but after he continued to cry, we let him out. He and Forrest were both great travelers. They slept in our laps the entire trip.

On day two as we drove further North, we finally saw snow! Kai and Sierra haven't seen snow since Kazakhstan (which they don't remember). So for them, this was their "first snow!"


We stopped at a truck stop for our first snow ball fight!



Leroy rode in Daddy's lap most of the time.


Kai played his new Connect Four hand held game on the way up.


"Oohh... Leroy is sleeping in my lap."


"Where are you guys going? Don't stay in the restroom too long."


"Smile Carly - Mom is taking another picture."


"Ok - now we do the crazy face."


Carly and Dougie posed for a picture... so cute.


"Watch out Dad, here comes another one!"


"Who should I throw this at?"


"Grandma, what did you get for us?"


Grandma Nancy and Sierra are reading one of her new books.



A week before we got to WVA, they had a blizzard (20 inches). Most of the snow had melted but there was enough left for us to play in. We went out our first night for a snowball fight. Dad had as much fun as Kai and Sierra.


"These are icy."


"Oh yeah - you're going to get it!"




Sierra found a big one.


Kai had a blast. It was all he thought it would be.


Daddy pummels Kai in the back. If you look close, you can see the snow ball before impact on Kai's back.


Forrest had her warm coat on too. She's not used to the cold weather.


Our first day in WVA, it got to 25 degrees... brrr.


Because of the blizzard, the stores were all sold out of sleighs, so Dad found a wreath case. We used the lid. It worked perfect (for the kids).



The base of the wreath holder didn't work so well.


"This is awesome!"


"Here I come!"


Daddy gave Sierra a push down the hill.


Sierra bit the dust.


"I love the snow!"


Here is an action shot of Daddy getting pummeled.


"Duck - here comes another one!"


The lid worked pretty good the first day.


Sierra stayed with Leroy in Mick's cage most of the time at Grandmas. She wanted him all to herself.


Occasionally, someone else got to hold Leroy.


We lucked out and got to see snow flurries.


Aunt Allison and Uncle Mike went to dinner with us one night.


Kai wanted to take a snow flake back for science. After he realized it wouldn't make it, he wanted a picture.

We decided to do a little science experiment. We put some water in a bag and put it out on Grandma's porch. Kai made observation notes while we waited for it to freeze. This night, it went down to 17 degrees and was frozen solid.


Day#2 was only 20 degrees.

We decided to go sledding again one last time before heading to Virginia.


With the snow flurries we got, the kids were able to make snow angels.


Daddy tried sledding on day#2 and our makeshift sled broke, so the kids decided to sled like penguins.


We saw some suspicious foot prints in the snow that we couldn't identify.


The footprints were about 5 feet apart and each foot print was about 14 - 15" long. We couldn't think of any animal that would have made them, so we concluded it must have been a Yeti.


With no sled, Dad gave Kai a push down the hill.


They slid pretty good down the hill on their bellies and backs.


We took one last picture with Grandma before hitting the road again (for another 5 hours to Memaw and PawPaw's house).


Our first night in town, Aunt Bunny had a get together so we could see the boys (all 4 were finally in town again at the same time). West was in from Seattle, WA.



Seth and Bunny.


We got to see Aunt Sue too. Here she is with Uncle Jeffrey and Sierra.


Jim and Seth.


"Uncle Jeffrey, put me down."


Uncle Ken and Aunt Bunny.


"I love Aunt Bunny."


Bunny and Clay.


That's a nice smile.


"Aunt Sue and PawPaw, smile pretty."


Aunt Kit and Forrest.


Aunt Sue and Amanda.


Kai and Sierra with Pawpaw.


Hunter and Kai.


Colt and Marina.


West, Amanda, Seth, Clay, and Colt.


Pawpaw, Jim and Jeffrey.


MeMaw with Forrest.


Bunny and Jim.


Kai and Sierra love playing with their cousin, Hunter.



Hunter had this great game where he pilled up all his stuffed animals at the bottom of the stairs. Everyone got a chance to take a leap into the pile.


Kai came in for a crash landing.


Cousin Joshua was a great jungle gym.


He let Kai and Sierra climb all over him.


Afterwards, they chilled out on the floor for a movie.


Uncle Pat decided to join in the fun.


"Hanging out watching Alvin and the chipmunks."


We got to play with Cousin Torri for a little while too.


Sierra and Michelle.


New Year's Eve was exciting. We played games at Uncle Jeffrey's/Aunt Kit's.


"I love my Daddy."


Sierra was mastering the Wii.


Her facial expressions were priceless.


They really liked the bowling game.


It was good practice for the real bowling we did on New Year's Day.


"10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1... Happy New Year"




We all rang in the New Year with sparkling grape juice.


"It's going to be a good year."


"Happy New Year, Hunter."


Kai got his first strike of the day.


"It's going slow but it will get there eventually."


"Which ball will get there fastest, Cousin Amanda's or Sierra's?"


"Here goes another one."


Sierra and Amanda.


Kai and Amanda.


Kai gave it some umpf.


Bunny and Amanda came bowling with us.


MeMaw got a strike.


Uncle Jeffrey got a strike too, but wouldn't do the full pose for the picture.


PawPaw came and read his book.


Jim had Forrest cracking up playing with Thomas the Train.


We did one last set of pictures the night before we left.


We missed Hunter's birthday by one day, so we had an early birthday cake with him.


Hunter turned the big #9 on January 3rd.


We took our picture with Bud (Kai and Sierra's Great, Great Grandfather).


Jeffrey, Carla, Bud, and MeMaw.


Bud and the Great Grandkids.



Miscellaneous/ Holiday Activities (back to top)

In addition to all the fun described above, we had lots of other miscellaneous adventures (see below).


Sierra didn't know it but when we took her to the SPCA, she was picking out her new Christmas kitty.


Here is Leroy#2 the day Sierra picked him out (we picked him up the next day and hid him for a week).


We played with Rob, Barbara and Grace for the afternoon.


We all went ice skating for the first time. It took some getting used to but we had fun.



"Look Mom - I'm doing it!"



"Look at me."


We had lots of falls but got back up and kept trying.


Surprisingly, Mom didn't fall, but had horrid back pains the next day.


Happy girls.


The kid's ice slide was a blast.


"This thing goes fast."




"How many times can we do this?"

"Hold on tight."

Sierra got to go to the Magic game with Dad.


Sierra enjoyed herself, but mainly because she saw "Stuff" the mascot throughout.


Daddy gave in and bought her a Stuff doll.


They left the game a little early and took a rickshaw to the car.


This is Kai and Sierra's Kindergarten class.


<< Previous Post   Next Post >>



  A Jim & Carla Creation - 2004