OK - I have a new addiction... hopefully a helpful one though... I stayed up late into the night last night trying all of the games on our new Wii Fit. Since I know how I am with video/computer games (must beat the best score - even if it is my own and I just set it a minute ago!), I thought the Wii might be the perfect way to get me obsessed with exercise in the New Year. We'll see how it goes, but I look forward to deflating my "puffy" Mii character.
Well, the holiday craziness is mostly over, so I can finally catch up on some stuff! There is lots of organizing to be done for sure, and lots of pictures to upload, and lots of laundry to do, and lots of projects to start/finish, and I still have to finish my "Christmas" cards... and I have a few resolutions to make too!
The Dandilion has a new phrase... "I'm the Man" as best as we can tell. He says with lots of confidence and assertion - and a huge smile on his face. I think we all went back & forth with him, with us saying "Whose the man?"/"You're the man" and him "Ah Dah Mahn" for about 10 minutes while we were getting dinner ready. So funny!
Well we tried to give the Bills a boost by going to Western NY, decking the kids out in all of their Bills gear and gathering more Bills fans to watch the game. My sister's boyfriend & his family joined us for the game bringing the "fan count" to 10:1, but no such luck...
A trip home (hmm, I guess home is where I live now, so I mean a trip to where I grew up) usually means multiple visits with family. Today we had brunch with my dad's family. The kids behaved well, although I didn't get a good picture of them in their cute matching outfits :( Maybe my mom did.
With the highs come the lows, because after dinner our "one night" stomach bug got the other kid... poor Grandma & Grandpa were up with her most of the night as she was sleeping on the floor in their room.
Yup- after breakfast we headed out to the stores! The girls headed to JoAnn Etc for a little bargain hunting with our gift cards, then to the mall for lunch and ornament bargains at Hallmark. The guys hung out during the Dandilion's nap and then wet to lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings - they brought me home some too :)
After two Christmas mornings, the long drive yesterday afternoon, and the late night with the extended family, and the Dandilion not sleeping well in new surroundings - we were all pretty tired by this morning. Once again, we were up somewhere around 7:00 to "come down" to open presents. Grandma and Grandpa had made lots of special things for all of us... here are a few samples...
"Alison" (as in Alison Wonderland) - with a matching one for the doll
The Tumbleweed came in to get us around 6:45, but since the Dandilion wasn't up we told her we would have to wait... and wait she did, because when he did wake up around 7:00 we had a serious mess. Clearly he had gotten sick at some point in the night, but he didn't seem too bothered by it, so we did the laundry and disinfected the crib and then we were able to go see if Santa came... boy, he sure did.
I think this was the "Roller Coaster Christmas" - the kids both got roller coasters - and there were lots of ups & downs!
Christmas Eve was our first "celebration", the Tumbleweed put it. We got up around 7:00 all headed down for madness & mayhem. The Tumbleweed was truly into it and loved ripping open packages, and since the Dandilion didn't really "get" opening yet, she opened all of his too. We had a nice dinner (yesterday's ravioli with homemade sauce) and relaxed for the afternoon before we headed home. The kids weren't as sleepy as we had hoped and were awake when we got home. It delayed some of the prepping we needed to do for Santa's arrival, but it did make it possible for the Tumbleweed to set out cookies and chocolate milk (with a pink bendy straw) for Santa and for both kids to enjoy the bedtime stories together.
The Tumbleweed was able to help Papa make the ravioli for Christmas dinner. The process has truly simplified in the past 5 years and was much less time consuming (and easier for a kid to help). Dozens of cheese & meat raviolis were prepped and ready to go for Christmas Eve.
Despite the one hour snow delay, the Tumbleweed's class had their Holiday Party. It was pretty laid back, so we were actually able to see how the kids play together and which "centers" they enjoy in the classroom.
After the party, I had to head home to wait for the UPS man to bring the final holiday package. Fortunately he came around 3:00, so we were able to get to the inlaws before dinner :)
Santa was in Millbury tonight! He was scouting the route on the top of a fire truck. We were a bit confused at first, hearing sirens and all. When we realized it Santa was right in front of our house! We got up from our dinner to look out the window.
About 10 mintues later we heard the sirens again! Santa had turned around and come back down the street - this time we carried the kids outside to wave.
Just goes to show you - you never know when he is watching!
The Tumbleweed says to me just before dinner, "Mommy, we didn't go anywhere today." Pretty unusual for us, but the snow has us changing plans every few hours. I think we have about 12 inches right now, and 5"-8" coming in tomorrow.
The Tumbleweed had fun playing in the snow - making snow angels and then "snow fairies", catching snowflakes in her mouth, and playing on the slide.
I finally got my Department 56 North Pole Village display up on the mantle. I really love how perfect it looks on our mantle (of course I did think of that when we designed the mantle).
It had taken me so long to get to it this year I had been debating about putting it up at all (and I am still deciding if I am putting up the family room tree). At this point, I don't think anyone else will see it but us, since all of out parties & playgroups have already passed. Although last year I left it up until February...
It looks like we are going to have a White Christmas! We are snowed in watching the white stuff fall. I think there is about 6-8 inches right now, which isn't too bad when you are home doing Christmas-y things.
This morning I ran around like crazy trying to get everything done before the storm rolled in... which was supposed to be around lunchtime. They canceled the afterschool program at the Tumbleweed's school, which I had specifically signed up for today so I could get all of my errands done. So we left early and did a few before school, and then I did the "secret stuff" after I dropped her off. We came home at noon and settled in for the night.
I still have lots of projects to do, so I hope my head cold doesn't hold me back too much.
The Dandilion loves to count. He points at things (randomly) and says his numbers. He usually counts to five and then goes back to two and repeats, but a few times he has continued on... "Va, Too, Fee, Fo, Fi, Sih, Seweh, Eht, Non, Teh". At first I thought it was a fluke, but he did it while video chatting with my mom, so I have a witness (other than the people who live here).
Apparently 10 isn't high enough for the Tumbleweed because every time he gets to ten she says "Now can you say E-le-ven?"
Woo-hoo! I don't have to read e-mail in the cold basement anymore! My computer is fixed and back on my desk, which I completely cleaned off yesterday. I can't remember the last time I did that, but it is nice to have room on my desk to open a book next to my computer!
Now, to catch up on downloading pictures, e-mail, blogging, and other stuff I couldn't do without my computer!
All of us enjoyed a good night's sleep in our own beds last night. After 3 nights of the kids waking throughout the night while we were displaced, we were thrilled that the kids slept really well last night. Both kids slept so soundly I had to check on them periodically.
Everything is getting back to normal after the ice storm. We still have to clean out more of the refrigerator and toss some of the things that got wet in the basement flood, but otherwise we are getting back to life as we know it - on the go all the time, hosting playgroups, and preparing for Christmas...
The Tumbleweed had her first holiday concert this morning... very cute. She was so excited about it, but deep down I was hoping it was canceled. With all of the weather problems, that was possible - and it would have made life a bit easier. But that was not the case, so we had to drive two hours to get there, since we spent last night at the inlaws due to the power outage. On the way we stopped at Target to get some festive clothes, since all of hers were in the dirty laundry at home.
Once we were at the nursing home, she happily danced around the room to get out some of her energy. Then the teachers rounded them up, painted whiskers on their faces and stuck little red dots on their nose, assembled them in rows, handed out jingle bells, and got them to sing. They did great.
I had planned to post a nice wedding photo here... but no computer = no pictures. (Note to self - add picture later and pretend like power outage & computer failure did not happen)
Yeah - it wasn't quite the anniversary we had planned... if you had asked me a week ago what we were doing I would have answered, "We are taking the kids to my in-laws and spending two nights in a nice quiet hotel by ourselves"... if you had asked me three days ago I would have said, "My mother-in-law is coming over to watch the kids for a night while we get away for a good night's sleep"...
What did we really do? Well, we spent last night at my inlaws with the kids, as the house has no electricity (heat,water,etc). The two of us took a trip back to the house to check on things... still no power, but the water in the basement had receeded a bit. We turned off all of the water so the pipes wouldn't freeze and grabbed a few forgotten items and headed back for another night at the inlaws. We did manage to have our traditional anniversary Hawaiian Pizza for dinner.
When we started having Hawaiian pizza for our anniversary it seemed like a nice tradition to start... In Cambridge (1st & 2nd anniversaries) we had numerous places that made Hawaiian pizzas, so it was an easy way to celebrate a weeknight anniversary (Then we would go out on a convenient night). When we moved here (3rd anniversary), we had to find someplace that had Hawaiian pizzas on the menu - not an easy task, but we managed. Last year (our 4th) we had a blizzard roll in at 1pm. I knew it was coming, so I got all of the ingredients to make a Hawaiian pizza at home since I knew we weren't going out to pick one up. So I guess it was no surprise that for our 5th we were displaced by an ice storm the day before and again had to search for someplce to get a Hawaiian Pizza. I am not sure what to expect for our 6th!
That's what it sounds like at our house today. The snapping, crackling and popping sounds are coming from the trees covered in ice from last night's ice storm. We are hopeful that no more trees will come down with tonight's winds, that the pipes won't freeze with the cold temperatures, and the power will come back on soon so the sump pump can pump the water out of the basement.
I hope to get back to my "December Daily" posts and be able to post pictures again soon... but we'll see. My computer was supposed to go in to be fixed this morning but with the ice storm we didn't take it in :( Until it is fixed - the pictures will remain on my camera.
Anyway, this storm brought back some childhood memories of the Ice Storm of 1991...
~No power (and heat) for a week ... also no school ~Playing games at the neighbor's house because they had a wood burning stove and we only had electric baseboard heat ~Moving our mattresses onto the floor of my parent's bedroom to share light & heat ~The cool photos my mom took of everything covered in ice
Tonight I was able to get out for a holiday party without the kids! It was nice to have civilized conversation with some wonderful ladies. It is amazing how much you can talk about when you aren't constantly getting interrupted!
I am slowly plugging along at getting all of my holiday decorations out. Tonight I got the kitchen decorations out. This year I put out the baking ornament display in the window, the reindeer ornaments on the chandelier, the holiday towels on the oven handle, and a few holiday scented candles around the room - my current favorite scents are "Holiday Sparkle" by Colonial Candle and "Christmas Eve" by Yankee Candle.
The Tumbleweed was SO excited tonight and came running in from the kitchen to show me how she could count to 100. A few little mix-ups here and there, and almost stopping at 96 to go potty, but she did it.
She had wanted to learn how to count to 60 earlier in the week after asking "Mommy, how long is a minute?" and getting the answer "as long as it takes to count to 60". We had worked on it a couple of times and she was starting to really get the hang of it this afternoon. So tonight as she was showing Daddy how she could count to 60, he told her how to go all the way to 100. Boy did she think that was neat!
She followed that with "Mommy, how many is a zillion?"
This morning we had our first holiday party of the season - the Annual MOMS Club Holiday Party. We all had a great morning celebrating with our friends! It is fun to look back at the past year's parties to see how much the kids have grown...
Pouty Snowman - 2006 Two kids - 2007 My little artist & my little climber- 2008 (too busy to be photographed together!)
One of the few times I actually make the time to do a puzzle is at Christmas time. I have always loved puzzles, and now the Tumbleweed does too. All of my holiday puzzles are 500-1000 pieces, so the two of us are working on one together. Fortunately, I have a roll-away puzzle mat from my grandmother that makes it possible to tuck the puzzle away during the daytime because this is going to take us a while!
aka Peanut Blossoms. The Tumbleweed was thrilled to see the first Christmas cookies of the season sitting on the counter, exclaiming "Can I have a Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie?". She got a small sampling before I swept them off to my first cookie swap of the season.
The Dandilion almost executed the perfect plot to sneak down to "Santa's Storage" this afternoon.
The Tumbleweed had just come in from helping put up the outdoor lights, but I was still outside talking to the Eagle. I had let her up the stairs and left the gate open knowing that the gate was still up in the family room keeping the Dandilion in. I closed the front door to keep the heat in while I stepped outside to discuss dinner. A few short minutes later, I see through the door that the Dandilion on the landing.
I panic. How did he get to the landing? Did he fall? I run in and catch him, just as he is turning to go down the rest of the stairs to the basement on his belly. Phew. He has been learning about stairs over the past few months, but I am not close to trusting him on them. It seems as though he knows more than I thought.
So, now that the Tumbleweed can "un-babyproof" the house by herself, I have to double check everything. It's always something, isn't it?
The Tumbleweed and the Eagle set out to decorate the house this afternoon. After a lengthy trip to Home Depot they returned with numerous strands of multicolored LED icicle lights and three lighted trees to brighten up the neighborhood.
Today I made 12 cards for my scrapbooking Book Club card swap. It didn't take long, but I don't think I will be planning to make all of my cards any time soon.
Actually, I am terrible at sending out holiday cards. I think the last time I sent out a card & Christmas letter to all of my friends was 2002. Since 2005 when I've ordered holiday portraits, I've ordered enough to send to everyone... and most of them are still sitting in the envelope. I have enough boxes of holiday cards to send at least 3 to everyone I know. I even have a few boxes of New Years' cards from the year I thought I would send cards out "just a little bit late". My apologies to everyone who should have received cards from us in the past. I hope to get my act together this year.
I am still searching for a method to get my cards out. Most of the time I get hung up on the addressing, rather searching for addresses. Yes, my organizational skills are not what they used to be. I used to have an address book sitting next to my computer, on my clean desk, where I would record new addresses as they came in e-mails or on envelopes. Not so much now. These days, I go searching for a pile of last years Christmas cards and hope I saved the envelopes... or I just wait until someone sends me a card and copy the return address. Not really an efficient way to operate for sure.
So here are my 2008 Christmas Card Goals:
1- Make list of people to send cards to - 12/8 2- Search for addresses & make a master list - 12/9-12/10 3- Address envelopes - 12/11-12/12 4- Sign & put photos in cards - 12/14 5- Send cards to people who I have addresses for - 12/15 6- Send additional cards as people mail us cards (and remember to write down address on master list) - until 12/22 7- Computerize master list - by 1/31/09!
Today we went to the local pottery painting studio to make some holiday keepsakes. The kids had lots of fun painting - but it was a little nerve-wracking having such fragile things all around us! I know this trip will be even more fun as they get older.
Today the kids took some toys for the Toys for Tots bin at GLC. The Tumbleweed was at school, but the Dandilion helped me put them all in the boxes ... and then several of the kids in the class took them out. They're too little to understand.
I finally had a chance to sort through some of the bags and boxes of Christmas presents hidden (not so well) in the basement. It seems like there is more for the Tumbleweed than the Dandilion. I don't think he'll notice, but I think that I will save some things for the Tumbleweed's birthday anyway.
I still haven't quite decided which things are from "Santa" and which are from us, so I didn't want to wrap too much, but I really wanted to put a few presents under the newly decorated tree. I wrapped 6 things for each kid.
The Tumbleweed is finally old enough to do an advent calendar this year. She knows all of the numbers on the calendar, but gets stuck a little on the difference between 12 and 21. Other than numbers she is learning patience - as waiting all day to open the little door for the day is quite difficult, as is not being able to open all of the doors at once!
The Dandilion was playing in the family room this evening and climbed on the couch to get one of the portable phones. He didn't seem to be pushing buttons, so I let him keep it for a bit and this is what transpired...
Mommy: "Who is on the phone, buddy?" Dandilion (proudly): "Gmmpa" (new word)
He walks around behind the couch with the phone to his ear and I can hear him saying "heo" (Hello) a few times, followed by:
Dandilion: "Gmma" ... "Gmma"...."Heo" (another new word)
Then he brings the phone to me and says "Gmma?" Mommy: "Sorry buddy, Grandma and Grandpa aren't on the phone right now."
So cute! I am glad he is finally feeling better. I love the new word stage :)
When I dug out the decorations I found the very heavy box with the kids' holiday books. Boy we have managed to accumulate a lot of books in 4 years! Both kids enjoyed the book with the attached piano for a while, but then the Dandilion saw the Dora book and that was all he wanted.
Every year I have the same problem --- I get the tree mostly decorated but get stuck because I have new ornaments (and even a few old ones) that have no hooks. And I can't find the hooks in my 15 boxes (?!?) of Christmas decorations. Last year I had to buy hooks, so they had to be somewhere!
Tonight was no different - I thought I was nearly done - only a few ornaments left to hang - and the hooks were nowhere to be found. After about a half hour searching through bins in the cold, dark part of the basement - I found them! The ornaments are hung, the garland is added and the bows are tied ... the living room tree is complete (and behind a gate)!
I have lots of memories of Christmas as a little kid regarding the Christmas Tree --- some years we cut one down, others we bought pre-cut, a couple years we even took one from our back yard. Often they had snow on them and had to sit in the garage for several days to melt. Then my dad would bring them in the front door stand it up and cut the strings off. The girls would decorate while listening to The Beach Boys Christmas record and a few others (which we would set up in the record player to play concecutively by dropping the next record when one had finished). Then for the rest of the holiday season my sister and I would take turns watering the tree or vacuuming the needles.
These will not be my kids' memories... first, we don't have a record player and second, we don't put up a real tree. With all of our allergies, the Eagle and I decided a long time ago that investing in an artificial tree made the most sense. We weren't home enough to water it, we were both allergic to things associated with pine trees and one $75 tree would last us longer than getting one for $60 every year (the cost of a tree in New Jersey in 2001). I am glad we decided to do it, because we still have that tree and it still looks good!
I also liked that this morning, when the Tumbleweed learned that it was December, and said "Can we put up our Christmas Tree today?" I could answer "yes". And that is just what we did... I got the top started while she was at school, and she helped with the bottom when she got home. It doesn't have lights or ornaments yet, but I am sure it will soon.
She is so excited about Christmas this year. It is going to be a fun month!
So it was a good thing that I sent the Eagle out for diapers the night before Thanksgiving --- I had forgotten to pack any to take to my inlaws house and only had about 5 from the diaper bag. Five diapers might have lasted through an average day, but why chance it I thought... That was a good thought as the Dandilion started going diapers and clothes like they were going out of style. On Thanksgiving the Eagle had to go out and get Pedialyte and Diaper Rash cream for the poor little guy who couldn't even handle eating toast. Friday, I talked to a nurse at the doctor's office and she said "it sounds like he has Rotavirus", to which I responded "wasn't he vaccinated for that?" (This is one new vaccination that the Tumbleweed didn't get). Apparently, the vaccination helps it be less severe and for less time and there is nothing they can do for it unless he gets too dehydrated... So with a new stack of diapers and constant laundry, we are on the 5th day of "bananas, rice, applesauce and toast" and no relief is in sight. Poor kid.
I am a stay-at-home mother of two active kids (8 and 5.5). In between their playgroups & activities, I do my best to record memories of milestones and daily life with photographs and scrapbooks.
Please leave a comment to let me know you were here!