Thursday, December 30, 2010


To their benefit, I only said "Pick up your O's".  I didn't specify that they had to use their hands.

It's funny, and a little sad, too...Guy and Chase are basically at the same developmental level.  They like the same things.  They think almost the same way.  They laugh at the same stuff.  They do the same things to each other simply to be annoying.

I am in a love/hate relationship with this.  I love that they have this "twin" relationship right now- they are best buddies.  I hate that I can't stop fast forwarding my mind into the future and wonder what will happen when Guy grows up faster than Chase and passes him by.

I know- I KNOW- that Chase has (and will always have) the best brothers for him.  And another part of me (probably a bigger part) completely accepts and understands Chase as he is.  But the momma-make-it-all-better part of me will always be anticipating a time with Chase may feel left out.  I think that is the part about Ds that will never ever go away- just that little pang of "what-will-happen-if/when..." that will never be completely gone.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


My little Guy is big enough for Guyisms, now!!

Today he kept pointing at the kitchen counter and saying, "ah-hum? ah-hum?" I couldn't figure out what it was...until I realized that I had just gotten a piece of gum, and he was saying, "want some?   want some?"  Like, hello, rudeness!  You didn't even ask if I wanted any!

Also, when he wakes up in the morning, if he hears Chase downstairs he'll keep saying, "Hacey?  Hacey?" until he sees him.

Oh- and he likes candy.  Any kind. Also cookies.  He'll point to the M&Ms and say "nee-nee?"  (candy??) and just outright say, COOKIE! when he wants that.

That reminds me, I need to do an 18 month blog about him!  He hit a year and a half on Christmas day :)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


I feel like I am starting to get backed up in blog posts...and I have such a terrible memory that I start freaking out that I will want to look back on something, but not remember it, and then it will be lost forever.

I read an article in Reader's Digest last month (this month?  See what I mean?!?!?) about a woman with an awful memory and seriously, seriously, completely and immeasurably related to it.  I used to be able to memorize entire plays in high school.  Now I can't remember a grocery list.

Moving on.

I went santa shopping at IKEA with my girl, Tiffany, next door neighbor extraordinaire, and my other girl through Tiffany, April, on the Tuesday before Christmas.  It was a total, wonderful mom's night out...whirlwind shopping, quick dinner in the food section, and shopping without boundaries (ok, boundaries, but at least they were further out than normal, not-Christmas shopping).

It was just really lovely to spend an evening with friends shopping for loved ones (and me!).

The only downside was that we only had 2 hours to do ALL of IKEA.  Oh, another downside was that I caved and ate an entire plate of meatballs...and did NOT feel good later.  Total shock to my system.  Won't do that again.

Saturday, December 25, 2010


What's the old saying?  The one about girls always marrying their fathers?   I know it has some truth to it, but this is ridiculous.

Their outfits were unplanned.  The totally awesome pose was.

Oh, and they share a birthday.  Weird, right?  I know.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry merry Christmas Eve!!

Dude.  I am SO EXCITED for Christmas tomorrow.  I start to cry even now when I imagine the boys' faces when they open their presents.  I love, love, love that the magic is so real for them, especially Ian right now.

AND we are headed out to Elevation for Christmas eve worship service in an hour...I am absolutely looking forward to that, to kick off the celebration the right way, remembering the reason that we celebrate as we do.

AND it seems we are now pink eye and probably ear infection free.  Also pacifier-free, because Bryan is the baby whisperer and broke Guy of his nasty paci habit 2 days ago with relative ease.

Ack.  I love it all :)  

Hope all you internets are enjoying it as much as I am!  Merry almost Christmas!!

Oh, and if you were expecting a card in the mail to us, they will definitely be late.  As in, they are still on my counter without stamps late.  As are the packages for the nieces and nephews.  Sorry, guys.  

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Finished Project

I believe one of my New Year's goals last year was to finish a knitting project...and this morning, I DID!  Ian wanted to wear it in the house this morning:
 To be fair, I did finish this last winter, well, mostly.  But it wasn't until this morning that I actually worked the ends in and for-real finished it.

Outtakes from the modeling shoot:
Agh!  The flash hurts my eyes!
 Ian had a real problem keeping his eyes open...
 At one point, he tried to actually hold his forehead up so that his eyes would stayed open.
 This reminds me of some sort of commercial- Scarves are FUN!  You need one, too!
This lovely one shows off his injuries from falling off his bed the other day.  He has a bruise and a scrape and a little swelling below his left eye, and for some weird reason his other eye looks reddish in the corner.  I am hoping that doesn't mean that he has a brain bleed or pink eye or something.  He didn't pass out or anything, and he seems totally fine...and it happened 2 days ago, so I am assuming everything is ok.  I hope...?  I think I may be taking him in to see the ped today...
*edited to add, according to Dr. Tiffany next door, he probably has 2 black eyes from the bump on his forehead.  I am going to take him into the ped this afternoon anyway, just to give him a good once over, and also get Gavin his flu  booster (shhh- don't tell him), and to look in Gavin's ears to see if he has an ear infection or is just in general being a pain in the butt about going to bed.

Monday, December 20, 2010


All this occurred in the last two days:

1- DSAC holiday party:  Awesome.  Very warm, lovely to see lots of people in our Charlotte area DSAC family.  Santa came and the kids got a picture with him.  Ian deemed him not the real Santa because when he told him that he wanted a DS and a DS game, Santa told him that that was a lot of presents to ask for.  **edited to add that it SNOWED big fat flakes outside during the party!  Sooo magical!

2-Ian's piano recital:  So adorable.  I love that he is learning how to play.  I really need to be better about having him practice.  It is one of those things that gets pushed to the side- someone is sleeping, it's too late, blah blah blah.  It needs to be an every day event and it is more like a twice a week if we are lucky event.  He reads music and plays with both hands, and really has learned a lot in the year he has been taking lessons, but I know he could do so much more so much faster if I was on top of things.

Here is the video of him playing (which will probably only be watched by his grandparents, I understand :)

3- Outreach Appreciation Party at Elevation Church:  The Outreach group honored a handful of partners, and the DSAC was one of them.  They hosted a small, classy reception for everyone, and then gave gift bags to the partners...with giant checks in them.  We have an extra $15,000 from them to add to our programming budget for next year now.  How awesome is that?!

4- Church service Saturday night.

5- Dinner with 2 couples from our DSAC group at Bonefish.  I may or may not have had 3 glasses of white Sangria.  Needless to say, it was lovely.  I am always reminded that we would not know these people if not for Chase's extra chromosome.  Our conversations touch occasionally on Ds, but that is far from the only thing holding our friendship together.  I love that they are in our lives.
**Thank you to my mom who took the boys home and got them to bed while we partied!**

6- Made 7 dozen gingerbread men and hosted a cookie exchange for the birth-3 DSAC group at my house.  I successfully cleaned up my kitchen mess, showered, finished hanging my picture wall, and cleaned the rest of the house (downstairs...don't ask me about my bedroom and the pile of laundry in there) before everyone got here.  Christmas miracle, I tell you.  We had 13 people here, I I don't even know how many kids.  At one point, I watched Ian get taken DOWN on the trampoline by two girls.  He told me later that the only way he could get them to stop trying to get him was to make them cry.  Nice.  All the older kids were still talking to each other by the time they left and were making plans for their next play date, so I guess all was forgiven.

7- I made red sauce from scratch without a recipe and EVERYONE ate it.  Score!

8- We (mostly) remembered to put drops in Chase's ear during all of this.  He had an ear infection so bad that his eardrum ruptured on Friday at school.  This is so frustrating.  No symptoms, no fever, no tugging on the ear.  The only thing that he did was have a really fitful night of sleep around Wednesday, when he got up, oh, a million times, and I got really frustrated because he was refusing to settle down.  Poor guy was probably miserable and couldn't tell me about it.  Screw you, limited verbal skills.  I hate you.

9-I forgot to mention that Bryan passed his kidney stone.  Not really my accomplishment, but we are all happy for him and look forward to having him back to normal.  (Is this a gift-giving occassion?  I feel like I should give him one of those 'push-presents'..?)

And now, we are back to Monday.  I have all of my Christmas cards to send out (ok, I have to address them and stamp them, too.)  They very well may be New Year's cards at this point.  I also have the presents for my nieces and nephews to send out still (Happy New Year's, again).  There is wrapping that needs to happen soon, and some last minute gifts to shop for and finish making.  My brother will be here soon, hopefully to help with the cookie eating, which I have been taking on mostly by myself.  Busy times, these!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I can see... (Ian's school project)

Ian made a rainbow book at school.  Each page is about a different color, and he cut out different pictures from magazines to illustrate each color.

For example, here is the page for orange:
I love his spelling of "soup"...SOOP.  Also "letters"=  LEDRZ.

But, by far, the best page and reflection on my parenting is the one for RED:
Yes.  My son cut out a picture of an alcoholic beverage and labeled it "WIN".  
I can see a red GLAS UV WIN.

I bet Ms. Brown thought that was a real hoot.  :)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Flip Side

Lest you think it is all unicorns and rainbows here...this is the note I got in Chase's agenda today:

Chase had a very hard time today.  He would not clean up the Legos that he dumped, he pushed the teacher assistant in the room, and then when he had to sit on the time out turtle, he spit all over the floor.  He was not the best Chase he could be.  :(

I know.

What the hell is a time out turtle?

Seriously, though.  How embarrassing is it to get the Note of Shame home?  I hate it.  I also hate that I feel pretty helpless as to what to do with this information.  I talked to him about it.  He said he was sorry (after I prompted him to say it).  He probably has no idea what I am talking about.  I mean, not to discount his level of understanding or anything, but when he is home, at least 2 hours after the fact, I just don't think he remembers about all that, or understands what I am talking about when I ask him if he spit at school (or pushed a teacher, for that matter).  So do I put him in time out here?  If I do, will he know why I am doing it?

I am glad that they told me what went down.  I just don't know the parenting rule on what to do about it.

*sigh*  I think perhaps that the homemade Christmas gifts are just not going to cut it after this episode.  Especially that poor TA.  If I could, I would spring for hot stone massages and a $100 gift card to Barnes and Noble.  These ladies deserve some R&R.

T Double E Double R Double I Double F Double I Double C...

Ian is officially Terrific.  We got to go to the monthly Terrific kids breakfast at the end of November to find out exactly how Terrific he was in school :)

His teacher wrote:
Ian is a wonderful young man.  He shows responsibility by completing his work neatly.  Ian is always willing to help his classmates and does it with respect.  He is a great role model for others by following the rules and procedures at Waxhaw.  I am very proud of you.  You're a great wolf!

Love this kid!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Report Cards (Belated)

I keep forgetting to post the boys' report card results for the 2nd marking period.

Proficient early emergent reader
Proficient early emergent writer
Math- Proficient in Number Operation, Geometry, Data Analysis (haven't covered measurement or algebra...I expect the quadratic formula to come home any time now.)
S's in Science and Social Studies and all special areas
S's in listening, speaking, work habits, character, motor skills.

Ian is doing great.  He is an excellent listener, gets his work completed, and is very kind to others.  I am trying to get him to "speed" up!  :)

Yay!  So proud of my little man.  He is doing great.  I love the kind comment.  Makes me happy that not only is he on his best behavior, but he is also taking time to be nice.  The speed up comment cracks me up a little.  Yes, he can be a little molasses-y.  She said at our last conference that she was using the timer method with him- that he isn't messing around, just taking his sweeeeet time.

He also was chosen for the Terrific Kid Award for November.  More to come on that...where did I put those pictures!?!

Chase IEP Progress Report:
PT:  Chase has made exceptional progress with his functional mobility due to the activities embedded in his daily routine- going to the playground, etc.  He has met benchmarks 3 and 4.  Endurance is very appropriate with activities and pace on line continues to require occasional cues but this has improved also.

SLP:  Chase has shown progress in Speech-Language Therapy.  His overall attention has increased and requires less cues to complete an activity.  Chase continues to follow simple one step commandes, hoever requires prompting when the command  increases in complxity.  His expressive and receptive vocabulary continues to increase with new words/pictures/objects introduced during structured activities.  Keep up the great work, Chase!

OT:  Chase is displaying improved grasping skills.  He will engage in a thumb-finger grasp though struggles with precision.  We continue to work on manipulation of classroom objects and age appropriate toys.  He is a great kid!

Academic Skills:  Chase continues to be a joy within our classroom.  He responds well in small group and one on one interaction, as well as participates within large group activities with minimal adult support.  When Chase engages, he is able to match and point to 4+ colors, but labels most colors "purple".  He will repeat the colors when labeled by the teacher.  He is labeling star, circle, square, and rectangle, but will sometimes avoid answering questions during interactions or refuse to complete a task required of him.  He continues to demonstrate an understanding of 1, 1 more, two, while working with an adult in a small group.  We continue to work with a support with visual, verbal, and auditory cues to help him anticipate and follow our classroom routine.

My favorite comments, by far, are the ones from his teacher regarding his academic skills.  I'm pretty sure the honeymoon is over, don't you think?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Ian and Chase things to remember:

1- How Chase emptied my basket of laundry to fold, piled it all up, and then romped around in it like it was a freshly raked pile of fall leaves.

2- How Ian says, "Aye" when he is frustrated or working hard on something.  He sounds like a little Irishman.

Isn't it Ironic?

...that Gavin is wearing this shirt:

And is doing this:

Instead of napping?

Dontcha think?

Shutterfly Christmas Card!

Ok!  I did it!  I searched and searched and dropped and cropped and rearranged things and finally ended up with the perfect card this year:

But I can't figure out a way to link it to here.  So you will just have to take my word for it!

Really, though, Shutterfly had tons of great options and was easy to use.  I went through and pulled up only the templates for 3 or more photos (because it is impossible to get ONE shot of all of them, right?).  I played around with a couple of designs, and then finally settled on one.

Now they are on their way here...and all I have to do is address them.  That should only take, like, 4 weeks or so.  I have plenty of time before Christmas, right?



Thank you, Shutterfly!  You rock!!

PS- I also made an awesome photo book, too!  Also easy and turned out great!  Love it!  Love Shutterfly!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Princess and the Pea

We have a little fairy tale going on here.  Gavin piles up a BUNCH of blankets, stuffed animals, milk cups, etc, then tries to sit on top of it all. 

And if he can't, then he cries.


I just learned how to make a photo collage on Picasa!

Monday, December 6, 2010


Chances are, it is safe to tell Ian your secrets:

Ian:  Mom?  Do you know what Gaga is getting you for your birthday?
Me:  No, I don't!  She didn't tell me!
Ian:  Well, I know.
Me:  Ian, what is Gaga getting me for my birthday?
Ian:  I can't tell you, because then it wouldn't be a surprise.  Plus, I forgot.  So I will not tell you AND I forgot what it was already.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Why we are late for everything...all the time...

It's because my kids do stuff like this when I am trying to get them dressed and ready and out the door:

Although, looking back at this movie, it is hard to blame him when his father isn't wearing pants, either.

Snitch- the first few days...

This Elf on the Shelf thing is entirely too much fun.  It is like the Leprechaun mischief spread out over 25 days.

So far, Snitch (his name, although Ian has yet to find this out) has been relatively calm...just watching the kids from atop the TV or on the refrigerator.  He actually climbed into our Christmas tree last night, and Ian found him nestled in the branches next to the Christmas pickle.

 He's on top of the fridge in this photo...but actually I just wanted to document my kitchen while it is clean and pretty :)
 And you can't see him in the tree, but isn't it beautiful?  I mean, aside from the cockeyed star, which I have given up all hope of getting it to stay on straight.  Just turn your head slightly to the right when you look at it.  There.  Perfect, no?

BUT tonight.  Oh, tonight.

Snitch has gotten a little bored around our house.  And I found him in the loo...and he forgot to flush.  Oh, and he TP-ed the bathroom.  I cannot WAIT for Ian to wake up tomorrow.

Have you been in the Cloud?

Bryan here. I have been laid up all weekend so started looking for a place to move into, well, move my files into anyway. :)   I put together some information and thought I would share with the world.  Don't worrie, Laurie will be back to blogging soon!

I have done a lot of research into cloud storage recently for two reasons: 1.) I experienced my first hard drive failure (which we got very lucky and did not lose the 30 Gigs of family photos) and 2.) I am a treasurer of a non profit with no physical location so we needed to find a way to store and share our documents.

Cloud storage is just a fancy way of saying online storage. The cloud comes into play because your data again is not just backed up onto one hard drive. It is in many places up in the cloud. One computer failing somewhere will not mean the end of your data.  Cloud storage is also very nice now because it is mostly automated! Just select a couple of folders you want to always have backed up and any changes you make to those folder will automatically be saved in your "cloud".

I am going to include links that contain referral codes in them. Most of the services reviewed give 10 to 50% bonuses to the amount of space you get when you are referred as apposed to visiting their sites directly. You can visit the sites directly but you probably will not get the space I am listing below. Ok, ready?

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, Linux (via Wine), iPhone, Android + more
5.5Gb with Free Account
40Gb $4.99/month (30 day free trial)
70Gb $9.99/month (30 day free trial)
110Gb $14.99/month (30 day free trial)
Referral Bonus: 500Mb/free account, 10Gb/paid Account, No Max! (if you invite a friend you earn additional free storage space)
Whats Different: While Linux is not natively supported there is a work around. Can easily stream videos & music, does a real nice job with photo albums, can post to Facebook with a click. Also sharing is awesome!  You can post public links (think Rapid Share) except others do not need an account nor are there download limits or wait times.  You can share files & folders with and without passwords with others. Great to use in a small business environment!  Web based file manipulation is also a nice bonus. Can email files in to be backed up. You also can get email reports to file and folder activity that is shared.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, Linux, iPhone, Android + more
2.25Gb with Free Account
50Gb $9.99/month 
100Gb $19.99/month 
Referral Bonus: 250Mb/free account, 8Gb Max
Whats different: One of the most common of the group. Has a Linux client. Can share links with people to share specific files with people. 10Gb/day or 250Gb/day for paid account limit for public file downloads.

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, Linux (beta), iPhone, iPad
3.5Gb with Free Account
200Gb 49€/year
Referral Bonus: 500Mb/free account (no max listed)
Whats different: Not USA based, but USA supported. Can install on 10 computers with personal account. Can share a file, it basically uploads and emails end user with link to file. 

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, Linux
3Gb with Free Account
100Gb $10/month
Referral Bonus: 1Gb per referral (3Gb max bonus for free accounts, 20Gb max bonus for paid accounts)!
Whats different: Files are compressed before being uploaded and are uploaded encrypted. This saves you both bandwidth making your transfers quicker and allowing you to save more data within your plan. You can also share files & folders with exactly who you want to. 

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, Linux (ibackup - no free accounts)
5Gb with Free Account (1 computer limit)
150Gb $4.95/month (1 computer limit)
500Gb $14.95/month (5 computer limit)
Referral Bonus: No signup bonuses. Affiliate program, 25% of revenue from referred accounts
Whats different: 2 clicks to start backing up the most common files. Supports backing up mapped and external hard drives as well. Web access to files. iDrive can also keep up to 30 versions of a file for you. 

Compatibility: Windows, iPhone, Android, BB 
5Gb with Free Account (25mb file size limit)
25Gb $9.99/month (1Gb file size limit)
50Gb $19.99/month (1Gb file size limit)
Referral Bonus: None found
Whats different: Personal accounts severly limited in features, Business accounts have $15/month/user fees. Google apps integration. Stats and tracking of files. 

Compatibility: Windows, Mac, Linux, Solaris
Free backup to another local computer
$54/year for 1 computer, unlimited space
$100/year for all family computers, unlimited space
Referral Bonus: None found
Whats different: Crashplan also uses smart compression to upload your files. When a file changes it only updates the changed part. If you do not need online backup, it can automate backing up to another local computer or external hard drive that is on site. Transfers are also done encrypted. Bandwidth is throttled to watch your activity, putting your computer to work when you are not working on it. 

Compatibility: Windows, Mac
Referral Bonus: No referral bonus (Affiliate Program managed by Commission Junction)
Whats different: Unlimited backup space! Access to files via internet. Cannot share files/folders. - very similar to Carbonite,  $54.45/year or $4.95/month options - $2/month for 5Gb - $3/month 5Gb free then $.15/Gb (rackspace cloud files) - 2Gb Free only, 2 computers only - 2Gb Free. 20Gb for 2.99/month. Windows install in beta - 1Gb free. Interesting option to trade storage on you machine for storage on other machines. Have an extra 100Gb disk on all the time? Use it to earn 100Gb of storage on the cloud.

In the end I favor SugarSync because of the advanced sharing options and plans available. While a linux client is not directly available, using Wine seems to work fine.If you are going to try them out go for one of their upgraded plans for free for 30 days. I would do AT LEAST the size of your photos folder!   Side note: Flickr, Picasaweb, and similar sites do not store your photos in their original size. If you do lose your originals, you are now limited to just the smaller versions that they kept for you.

if you want to share a folder with family members or friends that were on that vacation with you, SugarSync makes it incredible easy to share just that folder with people.  You need to try them out!

Get it here:

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Friday/Saturday Happenings

I am on single parent duty this weekend.  Bryan is recovering from a little bit of the snip snips, if you catch my drift.

So last night the boys and I ate dinner in front of a movie (Ponyo- the most bizarre movie ever, but the kids really seem to like it.  That, or they were beyond tired, close to comatose.)

This morning Ian woke up before the crack of dawn because he wanted to see if his Elf on the Shelf had moved during the night.  Agh.  Shame on me for reminding him about that just before he fell asleep last night.  He had, though, and Ian was beside himself excited about all the possibilities of where he was, how he moved, and what he told Santa.  More to come about that because he is freaking adorable and this is the best age EVER for Christmas.

We spent today over at my parents' house.  My mom watched the kids while I spent a WHOLE HOUR by myself browsing through a huge consignment store.  Love.  I found a singing talking Elmo that was new in a box for $10...that will help feed the Elmo-mania that is happening here.  I don't really know whether to give it to Chase or Gavin...or both?  I sense some fighting coming on.

After that, my mom and I bundled up the boys, a la The Christmas Story, and took them out to the lot where my dad was working with a backhoe to clear the stumps out of the ground.  Ian went pure boy on me and spent the next 2 hours riding around on it with his Papa.  The rest of us hung out until we were too tired and cold to stand it anymore. 

 Gavin looked like he had flippers when he had his mittens on.
Look!  Throwing rocks is fun when it is cold, too!
 In NC, there is no minimum age to operate a backhoe.

I drove home while the snow flurries blew around us, two sleeping boys in their seats, and Christmas carols playing.

My parents brought Ian home later, stayed for lasagna, and made gingerbread cookies with the kids.  Well, Ian actually helped this year, rolling out the dough, cutting them out, and decorating.  Gavin mostly ate all the raw dough he could scavenge, and Chase climbed all over the couch with my dad and ignored everyone (he even REFUSED a cookie!  Whose kid is this?!?).

Fun stuff.  I love this season.  I will love it even more when Bryan is healed and can join us on our weekend adventures again :)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Carolina Christmas

This year, the Charlotte Motor Speedway is home to A Carolina Christmas, which is one of the largest drive through light displays in the country.  We got to visit it as special VIP's on opening night, where we watched them give away a ton of money to the Speedway Children's Charities (like Levine's Children's Hospital, where Chase spent his first month of life), and were privy to seeing Santa arrive directly from the North Pole...on a zip line...wrapped in LED lights.  The kids loved it :)

We walked through the village of Bethlehem, saw the live nativity scene (where Chase tried to scale the wall and actually join Jesus, Mary, and Joseph...), and collected all the hay we could handle while Chase dragged his hands on the ground in protest to being put into the stroller...*sigh*  No pictures of that one, because, well, I had my hands full.

We then went to the garages, where there was a display of over thirty beautifully decorated trees and some awesome race cars, Santa's workshop (where Ian and a helper elf built a cool wooden race car and garage!), and visited Santa (the real one!!).  I know he was real, because my 3 boys, you know, the ones who are afraid of the pretend Santas?  Those boys all went up on their own volition and talked to St Nicholas himself.  And CHASE led the charge.  Believe it.  Then, when we were done, Chase spent the next 5 minutes waving and saying goodbye to him from afar.

Again, no great pictures...of course.  But I offer you these poorly taken ones.
The real Santa:
 He told Ian he would see what he could do about a DS.
 Guy was unsure until he saw that the man with the beard was giving out candy canes.

Handy Ian

Chase may or may not have been extremely tired at this point, as evidenced in his choice to lay underneath the work bench and his refusal to come out unless I dragged him by his armpits.

 The Christmas trees were a big hit. 
 And we managed to look at them and even touch with our gentle hands (most of the time)...
 ...and got out of there without breaking a single ornament!  The snow underneath the trees...well that is another story...

We stopped at the carnival outside, where Ian rode the giant slide- that is him with the demon eyes and sheer terror painted on his face- (and I thankfully did not have to go on it!) 
 and the teacups with the Larsen girls (again, thankful.)

We visited the ice skating rink next- would have loved to skate with Ian, but it wasn't really possible to do with all 3 of them...and the Speedway people frown on tying your small children up to the nearest post while you go off and do the fun stuff without them.

BUT we ALL partook in the marshmallow pits!  They had giant bonfires going outside, and little packages of s'mores fixings to make.  Ian was so adorable roasting his marshmallow that News Channel 36 came over, put a spotlight on him, and filmed him.  Then they interviewed me; I sounded like a total dork, and they put it on the 11 o'clock news, and you can view it here.  Awesome.
 Hey!  Why does he have a marshmallow and I don't?
 Deer in the headlights meets delicious confection:
We rounded out the evening with a quiet moment to listen to an awesome chorus singing "The First Noel" and a bouncy version of "Jingle Bells"- both of which Chase attempted to sing along to.  (And Ian did, too, though he'd never admit it.)

After all was said and done, I had three very very tired boys who stayed awake just long enough to make the drive around the entire Speedway track to look at the awesome light displays.  Chase kept pointing to them and saying, "Oh!  Oh!!  Lights!"  like he was surprised every time there was a new display around each corner.  I tried to take some photos...again, they are terrible.  But I took them without driving off the road, so I am quite proud of that.

Oh.  And then I got lost on the way home, drove for an hour and ended up BACK at the dang Speedway, drove around some more, ended up at a McDonald's in a shady part of town...drove around some MORE, ended up in the same place that I thought I was lost in before, but it ended up actually being the right way home, and then- finally- made it home, transferred the boys to bed, and dreams of sugar plum fairies danced in my head...or something like that :)