He then showed us a number of yoga poses that Aunt Lauren had taught him including the popular move, "down dog."
When Auntie Caolan, Uncle Paul, and Jane came to visit, Martin wasted no time opening his studio and giving Jane a quick crash course.
We also took a trip downtown to the library, river walk, and eventually had lunch before returning home to nap.
We have a pretty strict practice of not starting Christmas music, movies, or decorating until after Thanksgiving. However, this year was special with friends visiting and a sudden cold snap. We decided to have our first fire of the season and play Elf for the kids. Even though it was a little premature it was nice to spend a portion of the forced holiday with old friends.
Uncle Paul entertained with many read books which all the kids enjoyed immensely.
When the kids were napping Paul finally got around to putting down a bass track to a song we initially recorded in 1998. Our band, Spruce Avenue Jam was known as "the earliest band in rock" because the only studio time we could get was at 6:00 AM. However, our struggle to complete this album has taken the better part of twenty years. Now we are one step closer to getting this one in the bag.
Look for it available for free download sometime in 2020.
Martin and Elliott were both battling ear infections leading up to the visit. Elliott had mostly kicked his and had almost finished his antibiotics before Martin developed a fever and screamed himself to sleep one night. We took him to the doctor where we had to wait 45 minutes alone in the room waiting for the doctor. The boys could not have been better behaved. Martin played with toys and Elliott read a book the entire time. I think they dealt with the wait more maturely than Jen and I did.
After a few days off Caolan, Paul, and Jane returned and Josie had a reprise of some sweet Uncle Paul snuggles which she really enjoyed during the visit.
We took the kids to the newly reopened children's museum where they had a blast and Caolan played with Josie in the baby area. We took turns trying to manage three easily-distracted toddlers throughout the establishment.
Sadly, after and on-and-off week, it had to come to an end and we had to say goodbye. While we used to see each other all the time our visits these days are few and far between. Usually they are also short so it was great to be able to spend numerous days with some great friends. We're really looking forward to the next time we can do this again.
The boys have been agitating for more reading time at night so Jen cleverly rigged up these Christmas lights on their beds so they could read by them. This has bought us a little more sanity at night for bedtime and you cannot put a cost on that.
Josephine continues to try new foods. The other day she tried her first carrots.
She did not like them.
After her first bite she began to search out an exit route.
The other day I took Martin Christmas shopping for Elliott and Josephine, a concept that was sort of lost on him. It was his first time in a toy store and he handled it better than I'd expected, but still ended up just giving the mask he'd picked out for Elliott as soon as he got home.
Jen had better luck with Elliott but he still blurted out what he'd gotten Martin for Christmas the second he walked in the door.
The boys agreed to help me, once again, hang the Christmas lights. With the biggest November snowstorm to hit Chicago in 120 years we had to act fast. I foolishly hung lights across the top of the house and set up Santa and Frosty which Elliott alternately hugged and proclaimed his love for and dismembered.
Toddlers have a tough time expressing love.
Jen made a huge batch of dumplings. Martin talked a lot about how they were just meatballs in a wrapper as his toddler brain tried to process what this new food was.
During the messy snowstorm we took the kids to the mall for a harrowing photo shoot. We were reminded why we haven't done this in a while. The kids were great and well behaved but they reached their limit quickly and the photo shoot lasted far longer than we'd hoped so we ended up racing home to try to have a late dinner with three children who were at the end of their rope and one baby who didn't really care either way.
Each year the photo shoot gets easier. This year we had two 3-year-olds, a 2-year-old, and a 7-month-old. Next year it will be two 4-year-olds, a 3-year-old, an 18-month-old, and a 11-month-old.
It doesn't sound it but that should be easier.