Monday, March 31, 2014

Ruble Christmas

After Christmas, we headed to North Carolina to get together with the Rubles. With two new babies (Eli and Rachel) joining the mix this year, we now number 17!

Grandpa and Grandma with all their grand kids (and almost everyone is looking at the camera!)

Waiting for the bell to ring Christmas morning so they can run up the stairs and find their stockings

Not sure which is cuter--Eli's new hat, or the little face under the hat!

This boy is in train heaven!

It's never too early to learn your states--especially with family and friends spread across the country!

 The medium-sized kids hold the babies. Lauren always wants to hold Jojo, who at 2.5, isn't interested anymore. I think she's happy to have the next round of babies to hold!

 Love how Thomas is making Rachel laugh here!

Babies and their mamas enjoying the mild temperatures outside. While snow is lovely for Christmas, with a house full of 17 people, we don't mind temperatures in the 50s in North Carolina in December--it's wonderful to get outside and run around and pretend it's spring!

Look at those big eyes!

Cousins and buds, though Aidan spent much of the holiday wrestling with Thomas. With two much bigger brothers, he's better at fighting back than Jojo is.

Possibly the best part of Christmas--the kids set up at the dining room table and play with their new toys (often Legos). Wonderful to see gifts in action!

All this playtime is tiring! Time for naps.

The boys especially love the foos ball table. There's a loose tournament every year.

Most of the kids by the pool table (except Eli, who was already in bed).

Grandma reading bedtime stories

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Swenson Christmas

We spent Christmas Eve and Day in Mequon this year. 
Here's our family of four, dressed up for church.

The boys with Grammy and Buppa

Continuing a Ruble tradition; reading 'Twas the Night Before Christmas (on the night before Christmas)

The boys put out carrots, cookies, and milk for Santa and the reindeer. 

James arrived very late that night and was the first to check out what was left and eat the remaining bits!

Santa came!

Putting baby Jesus in the manger

The three cousins in their matching pjs (courtesy of Grammy)

A bird's eye view of gift opening

Love this picture of Pat and James

Pat and Ed continued their tradition of making each other gifts. This year Ed made Pat a floating coozy for mini kegs at Pearl Lake

And Pat made Ed a personalized set of cornhole boards

Setting up TJ's Matchbox car track

After all the present opening, there was one last surprise--Santa had found a few presents at the bottom of the bag and came back to give them to the three boys. Lucky them--they got to see Santa in person on Christmas Day!

Santa and the boys

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Snow fun in Milwaukee

Our snow fun continued in Milwaukee using the toboggan and plastic snowmobile Jenn and I grew up sledding on.

Sled rides through the yard

Grammy demonstrates how to use the shovel/sleds

Jojo going down the hill penguin-style (no sled necessary...he got this idea from his brother)

Two boys getting sled rides

Grammy and Buppa and the grandkids--great photo!

Jojo in a snow fort dug under the patio furniture

James tries out his new sled inside first

Thomas wants in on the fun

Not one to be outdone, Jojo takes a ride too!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Christmas begins

Before we left on the grand tour for Christmas, gave the boys each their present from us.

TJ's gift: a portable DVD player for the car

Jojo's gift: a big boy bike (no training wheels!)

Here he is trying it out:

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The start of sledding season

We had no idea how much use these sleds would get over the winter! The boys (aka us) used Christmas money from Uncle Tucker and Aunt Katie to buy some new sleds after last year's cracked.

Sledding with Miss Nancy. Look how you can see the grass through the snow. This was December. In January the snow was over the knee!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Getting in the holiday spirit

Christmas carols played pretty much non-stop at our house this December (the kids' doing, though I love them too--I just would have chosen a little more variety rather than the same CD/several songs over and over again). The kids both memorized and sang along with all of their favorites. This is definitely TJ's favorite:

This year's visit with Santa: a success! Both boys were excited to see him, and we visited him at D&R Sports, so no line!

Thomas' reindeer from the preschool Christmas party--a bread and honey (instead of peanut butter) Rudolph.