Winter Break Is….

The boys have been on winter break for a little over a week now. The break seems extra long this year because we have so much time together after Christmas. It’s a much needed time we have together and a good break from the normal daily routine. We aren’t going on any vacations or even doing a whole lot out of the house. So what is winter break for the Smith fam?

Winter break is ….cold!

We try to bundle up and get outside. Three little boys have too much energy to be contained inside the house. They make little courses to ride on their bikes on our street. Sometimes they’ll put on boots and coats and go dig in the dirt in the backyard. They hit tennis balls around the yard. Soon we’ll get all the baseball gear out again…spring (and little league) will be here before we know it! I think their favorite is bike riding. We’ve ridden bikes in the pouring rain and even in the hail. They’ll ride until their little fingers are frozen. But getting bundled up and out into the cold is an important part of winter break.

Winter Break is….noisy!

It seems that I can never escape the noise these days. Feet thumping and running around. Voices shouting phrases like “activate creature powers!” and “ninjago!”. Music blasting from boomboxes. Screaming and crying…it’s not all flowers and rainbows around here. Nerf guns shooting. The extremely loud tones of the floor piano we got Caleb for Christmas. It’s all very noisy around here. Sometimes after the boys go to bed and I get a couple of hours to myself I just sit and revel in the silence for awhile. Not all noises are bad. Elias has been practicing piano a lot this break. His newest task is a little piece called “Atacama Desert.” He plays it over and over again and has improved quite a bit in the last week and a half or so. He’s gotten to the point where I can’t actually sight read his pieces perfectly anymore…at least at the tempo they’re supposed to go. It’s fun hearing him progress and have fun with it. Notice his characteristic backward shirt in the picture below.

Another fun noise around here is laughter. Simon and Caleb love grabbing on to Nathan’s legs when he is home and holding on for dear life. Here they are hugging Daddy as he is trying to help prepare their dinner. Laughter is fun…but it’s loud.

Winter Break is….special treats!

The boys have gotten a lot of special treats this winter break. For example, Elias fell in love with the Hawaiian Sun juices when we visited Maui earlier this fall. We told him they weren’t sold on the mainland (because we thought they weren’t) so that he had to enjoy them while it lasted back in November. Baba came to the rescue, however, and found them (for quite a pretty penny) and Uwajimaya. So when we finished church early yesterday due to no children’s choir and no coffee hour, we headed to Uwajimaya for a special treat. Elias was thrilled to be reunited with his favorite (pineapple orange) and try a new flavor to boot!

Another example is today with the luncheable saga. I had to take all three boys with me to Winco to do our grocery shopping…a task a normally avoid like the plague. Even during the summer I would attempt to time the grocery shopping while the older boys were at a camp or something! But, we really needed groceries and I can’t leave anyone home so to Winco I went dragging the little ones along. Really I’m making the story more dramatic because the boys were awesome at the store (this time). Simon was my list manager and was able to read most of the items himself. (Yay Imlay Kindergarten!) Caleb didn’t complain even once at having to sit in the front of the cart instead of the big part (we needed too much). Elias helped retrieve items from shelves and make decisions about purchases. They did get me with the luncheables, though. I’ve never actually purchased them before, and I never intended to. It’s not because I think we’re too good for them…I just never really liked them…they’re kind of gross. I’ve tried to tell the boys this over the years, but I guess seeing too many of their peers with them has been a powerful persuader. The boys really wanted to try the luncheables and since it was winter break and they deserved a treat….and also because I sometimes think the best way to convince them is to let them see for themselves…I caved. I texted Nathan something to the effect of…”stab me now I just bought the boys luncheables.” My gamble paid off. Caleb wouldn’t eat more than one bit, and Elias decided they weren’t tasty either. The only one who enjoyed it was Simon. Most likely, I won’t have to buy them again for a long time if ever!

Winter Break Is….Pajama Days!

I have to admit that most days of winter break the boys have remained in their pajamas for much of the day. I love the leisurely mornings when the boys play happily together and there is nothing important pressing on our time except to just be together. Here is Caleb painting in his pajamas:

Painting is something the boys love. Look at the range of styles we get to enjoy in our house:

All of Caleb’s paintings are completely black, and all of Simon’s have as many colors as he can fit.

Winter Break is…Chess!

Here’s a tip: If you want to get on Elias’ good side, talk to him about chess. I think he’s always got at least one little strand of thought running continuously on chess these days. He started playing a few months ago, and has gotten quite good for his age with a lot of practice. He can beat me…but that’s not saying much since I’ve only played a few games in my life and have never studied any strategy. He does well against Nathan, and plays games against other people online in which he wins some and loses some. Simon humors him and plays like a good little brother should do.

Elias has no mercy and takes pieces left and right. Simon’s no slouch, though, and takes many of his own. I don’t think Simon has ever beaten Elias, but has forced many stalemates.

Elias still gets excited every time he gets a checkmate, and wants me to come look. Since I had the camera out anyway, I took a picture to please him.

Winter Break is…New Year’s Eve Balloon Battles!

This evening before we put Caleb to bed the boys had a balloon battle. I’m not really sure what the rules of balloon battle are, and there seemed to be some disagreement amongst the ranks as to said rules as well. However, much fun was still had.

Now Caleb is fast asleep, and we are allowing the older two to make an attempt at staying up until midnight. This is the first time we’ve allowed this special privilege, and there has been much excitement about it all week. Currently Nathan is downstairs playing Mario with the boys. Video games late a night? What? The only problem with telling your kids that they can attempt to stay up until midnight is that you have to try as well…something Nathan and I have not done since we had Elias eight years ago. So…wish us luck…and a Happy New Year!

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