Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry Christmas!

We got home from our Christmas Adventure and decided that although it was only 3:30 in the afternoon, it was not too early to get comfy in our Christmas jammies. We relaxed for a while and then put out the Christmas Eve spread.

We stuffed ourselves with all sorts of goodies then started our traditional Christmas Eve program. Watching the kids faces glow by the light of the angel chimes is always my favorite part.

We all took turns reading this year and Caleb was great at manning the CD player--we sing the Christmas hymns while we read the story of Jesus' birth.

The girls took turns hanging the nativity ornaments on the tree.

We always watch the Little Drummer Boy as a finale before heading off to bed.
The kids came bounding into our room at 8:00 a.m., which for them is early. There's nothing quite like Christmas morning excitement.

Santa was good to all of us again this year.

Natalie got this playhouse to color. She and Emma played in it all day and she wanted to sleep in it, too.

Caleb picked this hula hoop for Alyssa. She's really good--we're not sure where she gets it because neither Jon nor I can make it even once around.

Santa brought Alyssa the Shawn Johnson Wii game she wanted and Jon and I got her a pogo stick. She'd never tried a pogo stick before but by the end of the day, she and Linsey had bounced a chunk of the plastic on the bottom of the stick right off! Their record was 200 consecutive jumps!

Caleb got NFL-opoly from Santa. He was thrilled! He was equally as excited by this gift from Grandma and Grandpa Hatch:

He also got the SEC conference helmets he'd been desperately wanting. The look on his face when he opened them prompted Jon to say, "Oh Caleb, that face is priceless!"

Alyssa got a bag of art supplies from Grandma and Grandpa Seely. It was so big, she could fit in it!

Jon was slightly disappointed that this box did not contain a Bose home theater system. I'm not sure he's going to ever convince me to buy it. It was just a new backpack. And it's really more for the present-opening experience because he soon went to the computer and ordered the one he really wanted.

Jon was really thoughtful of me, however and got me a new pair of Uggs that I really love.

The kids had enough toys and games to keep them busy the whole day through. But our celebrations were not quite complete until we sat down together for a nice Christmas dinner.

The kids eat like birds, barely picking at all the food, but just like all of the Christmas festivities, it's the feeling of celebrating in a special way together that I hope stays in their memories forever!

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Hatch Family Christmas Adventure

The kids knew we'd planned a surprise that involved packing a suitcase but they didn't know what. I presented them with an envelope full of step-by-step directions for a fun family adventure.

First, were these introductory instructions:

It's a Hatch Family Christmas Adventure!
This is going to be fun! Everyone needs to do their part to make it a peaceful and fun adventure. There is no complaining, whining or fighting allowed. Enjoy the experience and always, ALWAYS be grateful along the way! There will be lots of walking outside so make sure you have good shoes on and a warm coat. Now let's go!

I made each of them raise their right arm to the square and repeat after me: "I (insert name) promise not to complain, whine or fight and I will always be grateful for everything that Mom and Dad have planned for me."
With that, we were ready for instruction #1: Drive to Seattle and pick up Dad.

Dad was waiting outside his office and once he got in the car, we could read #2: Find the Westin hotel and park the car. (Interesting bit of family trivia: In 1985 (not totally sure of that date), Mom sang for President Reagan, who was the president of the United States, at the Westin hotel.)

We got a great room on the 39th floor.
The kids enjoyed the view and then got out the map to follow direction #3: Walk to 5th Avenue pizza for lunch. We stopped for a picture in front of a great gingerbread house in the hotel lobby.

#4: Find the Sheraton Hotel on Sixth and Union and go inside to see the gingerbread display. We didn't anticipate this long line, but we made the best of it. After all, we'd all sworn to avoid any kind of complaining.

There were several elaborate houses like this houseboat:

The tree house was the favorite of most. Hard to believe it's almost entirely edible.

Natalie preferred this alien-themed creation.

#5: Find the Fairmont Hotel on 4th and University. It's a really fancy hotel. Go inside and find the Teddy Bear Suite.

Jon and Caleb checked to see if they were on Santa's list. Neither found their name...

But we did find the Teddy Bear Suite. Such elaborate and festive fun.

This is some hotel. So beautiful.

This room looked like something out of Beauty and the Beast and just begged for some ballroom dancing.

#6: Go see Dad's office. It's on 2nd and Union.

We hadn't been in the building since Jon's return to the job. His cube needs some work. I told the girls to get drawing some pictures to help him decorate.

#7: Walk to City Kitchens. This is Mom's favorite store and she needs to make a quick stop to buy a candy thermometer. (I thought we might get some rule-breaking complaining at this point but everyone remained true to the oath they'd sworn.)

#8: Walk across the street and ride the carousel.

#9: Cross the street to get a drink and a treat at Starbucks. Mom wants a gingerbread steamer for sure!

#10: Go back to the hotel for some swimming!

#11: After all the swimming we must be hungry! Let's go to Gordon Biersch for dinner. It's at the Pacific Place (our hotel room came with a $100 dollar gift card to Pacific Place) and they have lots of yummy food with everyone's favorites.

(We stopped in a toy store on the way.)

#12: Now let's go to Barnes and Noble and pick out a new book.

#13: Time for bed in our hotel room. How exciting! Open the present.

What was inside? Christmas pajamas one day earlier than usual.

Natalie has always loved "feet jammies." She did, however, announce in the morning that she was a "hot muffin, no, a burnt muffin" in her pajamas. "Seriously," she added, "I had sweat coming down my back and on my forehead."

#14: (the next morning) Get dressed up for fun. First we need to go to breakfast!

Caleb thought seriously about breaking the oath (which oath was designed primarily for him and his Asperger's ways) when it came to dressing up. Sunday clothes are only for Sunday in his rigid mind. Thankfully, he worked through his reluctance.

#15: Now for the final surprise...we've got tickets to the Nutcracker! It's the best one around. Let's go to the Seattle Center, enjoy the show and then we'll head home to begin our Christmas Eve celebration.

Awesome, awesome show! A fabulous finale to our Christmas adventure.

Friday, December 17, 2010

'Tis the Season

'Tis the season for cleaning out the closets before all the new Christmas stuff moves in.

Off to Goodwill!

'Tis the season for Christmas cards, shopping, and teacher, coach and visiting teaching gifts.

'Tis the season for adorable kindergarten singing programs. You think all the wildly-waving, camera-wielding parents look silly until you realize you're one of them!

Funny how proud you can feel as your five-year-old belts out Rudolph and rings her jingle bell.
'Tis the season for friends and family.

And 'tis the season for my annual--meaning, every single Christmas--bout with laryngitis. Why does it have to be at Christmas? I want to be able to sing Rudolph, too! You just don't realize how much you want and need your voice until it's gone. And mine is really gone.

It really is the most wonderful time of the year. Now Santa, can you please bring me my voice for Christmas?