Christmas in Gastonia

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Since December got off to such a rocky start, we decided we deserved a treat to kick off Christmas. The airline offered us an upgrade into first class on our flight out to North Carolina and while it still cost a pretty penny, we wanted to see how the other half lived. The answer? Ohhh sooo good. Our checked baggage was included in the upgrade and although there was absolutely no line at check-in or security, you bet your sweet bottom line we marched ourselves down the “priority” lanes anyways. Our original seats were not even together but now we were all together in one row. One big cushy row. Where the flight attendants constantly brought food and drinks. On real plates. And not only did we get off the plane right away, ALL of our bags showed up on the carousel first AND together. Many firsts on this trip.

First class all the way, baby

First class all the way, baby

The rest of the visit was fairly relaxing, especially for me since I had so many extra hands and babysitters available! Aunts, uncles, cousins, a Babcie and a Dziadzie were in full force and the kids were always covered. Maxon was reunited with the cuckoo clock (questionable time-telling by this particular bird though) and Cooper was in crawling heaven with the sheer square footage before him. And although the weather was a little bit cooler than in years past, we still got our outside playtime and hiking in.

Running out some energy at the playground Christmas morning

Running out some energy at the playground Christmas morning

Playing peekaboo with Aunt Jess

Playing peekaboo with Aunt Jess

At the end of a hike at McDowell Park

At the end of a hike at McDowell Park

Thanks to Babcie, we discovered that Maxon is in fact interested in arts and crafts… provided the arts and crafts are edible before and after cooking. With the help of all the cousins, they made reindeer cookies out of sugar cookies, chocolate chips, pretzels, and M&Ms all week long. Towards the end, Maxon didn’t even care about the finished product as long as he got to nibble on the accessories during production. It looks like I can stop pushing the paint and Play-Doh and focus on activities that require “cooking”!

Making reindeer cookies

Making reindeer cookies

We also discovered that Cooper is quickly losing interest in baby food and would much prefer the good stuff all the big people are eating. He was introduced to pancakes and beans and put away a ridiculous amount of spaghetti during the week. Unfortunately, all the “real” food didn’t make him sleep any better while we were there. I guess you can’t win them all!

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December Catch-Up

Sorry for the blog silence! December was an ongoing adventure of sickness, Christmas preparation, and travel that left us with only time to just live life and not to stop and reflect upon it. Cooper kicked off the month with a stomach bug that killed his appetite and then caused him to throw up any food and milk he managed to eat. Call it optimism, denial, or naivete, but it took us two days for us to catch on that it wasn’t a reaction to food. We spent 5 straight days of changing bedsheets that were thrown up on, multiple wardrobe changes due to leaky diapers and vomit, syringe-feeding Cooper in one-teaspoon increments, and carrying and soothing a miserable baby. Once the stomach bug work its way out of his system, Cooper went for the bonus round and got another ear infection. This kid’s immune system will be made of steel once he hits preschool.

And because we are gluttons for punishment and insist that Maxon have an amazing experience day after day, we forged ahead on our plans for a zoo visit in the middle of December, despite a bitterly cold sunless day and what we thought was an “off-day” for Cooper who was actually in the midst of his stomach bug. Surprisingly, both kids did amazingly well and lasted the entire day without much complaint. We finally got to appreciate the indoor exhibits this time around, which we parents considered “warming stations”.

It is currently 20 degrees out but this kid doesn't mind

It is currently 20 degrees out but this kid doesn’t mind

Some of the "warming stations" were smellier than others

Some of the “warming stations” were smellier than others

Captivated by the orangutan in captivity

Captivated by the orangutan in captivity

We're not saying there is some kind of resemblance.  But there really is.

We’re not saying there is some kind of resemblance. But there really is.

Hello hippo

Hello hippo

Even though we are not usually home for Christmas, and this year was no exception, it does not stop us from getting a real tree and spend a sentimental evening decorating the tree and the house for Christmas. This year, Maxon got to stay up a little later and help out! It was absolutely not efficient and seriously conflicted with my tendencies to have a very balanced-looking tree but Maxon had a blast.

Mom trying to maintain design control

Mom trying to maintain design control

Admiring their handiwork

Admiring their handiwork

Since we rarely celebrate any occasion on one single day, we started Christmas a little early and opened a few presents that the kids already received from some very on-time family members and friends.

Matching hats!

Matching hats!

Cooper got two presents: the truck and the torn paper. Loved them both!

Cooper got two presents: the truck and the torn paper. Loved them both!