Okay. I'm back.
The fourth day this year was the toy/game from Daddy and Mommy. We had a hard time coming up with what we wanted to give JW and MS. Two years out from visiting the States, I had nothing left stashed, and nothing available locally was wowing us. After several brainstorming sessions, though, we were pleased with what we came up with. And so were they, fortunately.
What I did have stashed was this Noah's ark set of lacing cards. ZL is getting the hang of them, although, I have to admit, they wowed MA more, and we had to fend her off of them so that he had our traditional three-day-exclusivity possession of his new gift (each child gets three days to play with a new toy without having to share; this is enforced more strictly with some things than others, depending on the nature of the gift and the child).
Another gift I pulled from the stash was a Melissa and Doug wooden food set complete with cutting board and (wooden) knife. The pieces of the food are velcro'd together, so that you can "cut" them with the knife. I wasn't totally sure that MA hadn't passed this stage yet. I mean, she's been wanting a more elaborate play kitchen, but this was "just" wooden food with a knife. Boy, was I wrong. This was the feel-good hit of the winter. She absolutely loved it. And has played with it consistently each day since she got it.
We stretched the definition of toy/game on this one, but we knew JW would be totally blessed by a season of Fetch With Ruff Ruffman, a show all three older kids enjoy (and, shhh, learn from). He was. And Mommy is blessed by all they're learning in the process.
A last-minute inspiration, I remembered that MS has been drooling over some of the downloadable games available on the Wii Shop Channel. Unfortunately, you can't buy printable gift certificates on-line. Fortunately, Daddy could easily make one. He was extremely please (even though he'd peaked and seen the certificate several days earlier in Daddy's satchel :-/) and has already bought one of the original Zelda games. (And, yes, I know that this is not the best picture of him. The other one was worse. :-P It was late, and we needed to get the kids in bed, so I don't think we were being very discerning about picture quality at this point.)
Now, I'm going to go sweep and wipe down the dining table. Any other moms out there ever get discouraged by the never-ending battle to keep the table clean?