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Mason, Rylan, and Elli,
It's a new year! I feel like I need to write to all 3 of you since you all seem to be changing so fast; I can't write to just one of you or else I'll be way behind. But I'll try to be brief. This month was a whirlwind of holiday celebrations. The Awana leaders' Christmas party was at the beginning of the month, and you got to play while Mommy and Daddy had tons of food and played games. You also went to a Christmas party with Daddy that morning, while Mommy was at Awanastravaganza; I heard that you fed each other cake and basically ended up in a sugar coma on the way home. Awana was canceled because of sickness the last scheduled week this month, so we ended up having a long break from that, and we'll start again in January. We visited the Stuarts Draft Santa and Mrs. Claus one Saturday afternoon before Christmas. Mason, you were a little nervous at first, but then you were happy to sit with him. You told him that you wanted a remote control monster truck. Rylan, you told him you wanted cake and pie for Christmas. Elli, you just sat sweetly on his lap. Mommy and Daddy were happy to have some hot chocolate and treats from the Claus family.
One weekend we went to Pennsylvania to have a big Christmas meal with the whole family, thanks to Mr. Carbaugh. You boys had fun running around with Dawson after the meal. We had our lifegroup Christmas party the next day, which also included lots of food and games- where you tried to sneak as much food as possible, Rylan.
We had a Christmas party with your friends like we did a few years ago. You decorated ice cream cones to look like Christmas trees, and we did a tiny gift exchange. You loved playing with everyone.
We also had three different cookie making days this year at Nonni's. Two of them were back to back for the regular cookie-making tradition with all day baking. The third one was for the sugar cookies that you boys actually made with her (including adding ingredients, rolling out the dough, picking cookie cutters, cutting out the shapes, and later decorating). Mason you were very good at piping on the icing, and Rylan, you were surprisingly attentive and helpful during all of it too.
Grandma and Pap decided to celebrate Christmas with us in Virginia this year, so they spent the Thursday night before Christmas at our house and then hung out with us on Friday before going home that night. We went to Tailgate, opened presents, and enjoyed spending time together.
The next day was Christmas Eve, when Mommy and Elli did some last minute Christmas shopping during nap time. Then everyone got dressed so we could go to church for the candlelight service. After that we went to Nonni's to have a lot of good food and to open presents. Uncle Levi, Aunt Hilary, and Baby Carson came over at the end so that we could exchange gifts with them too.
Christmas day was a whirlwind, and Mommy finally came down with the cold that all the boys in the house already had. We struggled getting up early, since everyone was so tired, but Mommy and Daddy got up early enough to eat breakfast and open presents while the rest of you slept. We finally woke y'all up and got you dressed so that you could open your presents before we needed to leave for church. We tried, but we still weren't quite on time. From church, we went to Nonni and Poppy's to Skype with Aunt Heidi, Uncle Ian, and the kids. Then we went to Aunt Michele and Uncle Wesley's house to eat our traditional, delicious Christmas meal. Mommy and Daddy teamed up with Jill to play Fish Bowl against "the old people....but the two of us being sick did not do impressive things for our score. Rylan, you felt pretty sick on Christmas day, and you even laid down on your own before nap time- which is unusual for you. Naptime came after that back at Nonni and Poppy's, while Mommy and Poppy tried to watch the Steelers game on a phone as we simultaneously FaceTimed with Uncle Tony and Janelle. After your short naps, you finally got to open your presents from Nonni and Poppy. Rylan, you were a little too sick to fully enjoy it, but you still liked it (and were obsessed with one of Mason's presents that you couldn't have). That night, we were all ready for bed, but it was a good day for everyone, sickness aside.
Some of the new things to enter our home since Christmas are new stuffed animals, light-up boots with motorcycles and monster trucks on them, new books, a stuffed animal hammock, a giant slinky (the biggest I've ever seen), new trucks/helicopters/tractor trailers/etc., a couple games, new clothes, and your new riding toy.....a Jaguar. Yeah. It picks up radio stations and everything. It's pretty cool, and I think you two will have a lot of fun riding that for a long time. I think Elli will look good in it when she gets bigger too.
Since Christmas, Mommy and Rylan got a little more sick before starting to get better. Elli is starting to join the sick club now too with pink eye, and Daddy is possibly getting sick again. We sound like a super fun house, huh? But unless you have fevers, you boys don't seem very bothered by sickness. So we've still been enjoying all your new things and playing your new games together. We finished out 2016 with our yearly Spades party at Nonni and Poppy's house. Elli, you got passed around throughout the night; Mason and Rylan, you did a pretty good job of playing with toys and cars and not sneaking too many sweets.
Mason, you went to the dentist for your first real check up, and thanks to the sweet hygienist, you did great! You got to sit on my lap the whole time while you held Mr. Thirsty. You also went with the Cubbies to sing at a nursing home again this year. I got to watch you, and I was so proud of you as you gave presents to the residents and told them Merry Christmas. You went back to the same nursing home a couple weeks later with Daddy, so you could help him deliver a present that they collected at UPS for some residents that didn't have family to celebrate with. You have a really tender, sweet heart. You get upset if Daddy leaves for work and you didn't get to tell him goodbye. You've started to be scared at bedtime again recently, but hopefully we're keeping that under control. You have become very in-charge with Rylan, and I have to remind you sometimes that you're not the boss of him. Usually it's more helpful than mean, when you're giving him instructions, so that's good! You're good at building things with blocks, and you pick up on games really quickly, as long as they interest you.
Rylan, you are continuing to surprise me with how much you're growing up. Thankfully you still sound like a really little boy though, and you still pronounce your r's like w's (don't worry, we will encourage you to get it right; Mason used to do it too.) You are still scared of trains when you hear them in person at home, but you still love to play with toy ones. You love for me to sing Three Loud Trucks, Eenie Meenie Minie Moe (truck version), and Rumble Rumble Monster Max before bed, and usually you ask for me to sing them "in a silly voice." You like to sleep on your belly but with your knees tucked underneath you; then you ask us to make you comfy cozy by laying blankets on top of you. You like to sing the Cubbies song, and it's very cute. You still use your mean voice when you're trying to make a point, and when we tell you not to use that voice, you correct it into this super sweet high-pitched voice.
Elli, you turned 3 months old this month, and in just a week from now, you'll be 4 months! As cliche as it sounds, I can't believe how fast you're turning from a newborn into a big-girl baby. You've already passed the age where random people are surprised by how new you are; but they are still constantly surprised by how much hair you have. It is thinning out some in the back, and I'm wondering if you're going to go through a hair-loss stage like Rylan did in a month or two. You talk to us more now in your sweet baby goo-goo ga-ga language. You still usually eat one time during the night, but you're not very disruptive. You smile at your brothers a lot, and they love that. Rylan actually woke you up this morning while you were peacefully sleeping, because he said he wanted you to smile at him. You're happier in the morning than you are in the evening. You're now starting to hold and grab onto things, which is super cute if you're holding a doll or stuffed animal of any sort.
Here are some quotes from you two big guys this month:
Well, that's a wrap! Here's to 2017, kids. I love you!!