Sunday, December 23, 2012

Advent 2012

The tragic events of last Friday have served as a poignant reminder to me that nothing in this life is guaranteed. I am so grateful for each moment of every day with my precious boys. Here is how we spent our days this Advent season.

On the first Sunday of Advent, I went (all by myself!) to a wreath-making workshop at the Oregon Ridge Nature Center, one of my favorite places in this area. I was the only one who made an advent wreath - I dug through the boxes of stuff they had there until I came upon exactly 4 candleholders. It was meant to be.

Jude and Felix helped me set out the gorgeous Nativity set that Dan's mom made for us. They love those camels.
We picked up these discarded branches and trunk pieces for free when we got our tree, and they smell amazing in the woodstove. (I took the boys by myself because Dan is working so hard to finish his dissertation we decided he couldn't spare the time to come with us this year.)
 Making ornaments...until today these were all we had on the tree!

The handmade stockings are another amazing gift from Dan's mom...
 Henry, of course, has been making all kinds of Christmas-related art.

 Chocolate Thumbprints, Henry's favorite cookie and a Christmas tradition around here...
Most of us have been sick for most of the month, Jude and Felix worst of all. They are still pretty snotty/coughing/low fevers on and off. We've made the best of it with lots of snuggle time in our bed watching Christmas movies.

The other big project this month besides the Christmas cards was preparing gifts to mail to family and friends. We finally sent them off on Friday!
 We made Gingerbread playdough on Thursday. The boys, of course, LOVED it. I tripled the recipe so we could send some to our friends.

 Gingerbread for sale...

On Friday we went to the B & O railroad museum. Henry wrote a letter to Santa, we saw the holiday train displays, and everyone made some pictures.

 We had a wonderfully relaxing pajama day today. Dan baked up a storm, and I made Peppermint Bark for the first time! I also finished Felix's owl ornament, and we finally put the ornaments on the tree. Now I need to make ornaments for Jude and Henry, and finish a few other things.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

the day after

Sometimes the day after a birthday is hard, but today was a good day! This morning, Jude, Felix and I ran a few errands. They both brought their hand kites with them everywhere (yay!). We went to two post offices to get Christmas stamps (the first one was out), dropped of some library books that were long overdue, and got two more thyme plants at the local nursery, because I had used up the one we had. (I am still loving my front porch herb garden and use it all the time in my cooking!) While there, I saw some Christmas ornaments and got an idea of one I could make for Felix...
I have noticed just in the past week or two that we have turned a corner with independent play - meaning, I don't have to supervise the boys' play all the time anymore! This is a huge milestone for me. I can be in the kitchen while they play upstairs in their is wonderful. This afternoon, all three of them were engaged for about an hour doing their own thing (well, I was helping Felix off and on a lot of that time, which is understandable). Felix was painting with glitter, Jude was building with Legos, and Henry was playing in his room. There were some thuds and bangs coming from upstairs that Felix and I were wondering about, and after a while, we went upstairs to check it out.
 Turns out he had turned their room into a restaurant! He loves this new kitchen - they all do!
Henry and Jude proceeded to serve me a number of delectable dishes.

I also completed a big project today - the Christmas cards! The past few years I have spent so many hours on these, and I decided to go simple this year and "mass produce" them - i.e. each one is the same design. I am really pleased with how they turned out.
 Cards are best addressed with a cupcake and a cup of tea. (Or a large glass of wine.)

In case you're wondering - yes, that is our address on the card. I send one to myself every year because I love to save them, and want to have the postmark on the card. I can't be the only one who does this, right?

I set out this little basket and paper tonight, hoping it will inspire some creativity tomorrow...we'll see!

Monday, December 10, 2012

My Baby is Two!

We had a wonderful celebration today.

On the table in the morning:
--Three pictures - one of me still pregnant with Felix and two of him as a newborn to help him understand the meaning of the day
--Birthday ring - something I've wanted for a while and decided to use some $ I received for my birthday to purchase recently.  I chose to use one symbol that is meaningful for each year of his life so far - a caterpillar for year one, and an owl for year two
--Birthday crown. He refused to wear it in the morning and I was concerned I would have to bribe him with birthday cake to get him to wear it, but he chose to put it on when we sat down to his birthday dinner and left it on all night!

The morning was uneventful - we all have a cold (me worst of all, thankfully), so I postponed our plans to go to the Children's Museum and we went to the grocery store instead. I made pizza for dinner, though I'm not sure whether he ate any of it.  He loved my "decorate your own cupcake" idea and during the whole time we sang "Happy Birthday" kept saying "off, off" (as in, take the candle off the cupcake so I can shake the sprinkles on!).

His gifts (from us and my parents):
--Handmade owl using vintage thrifted fabric
--A train with an engine
--The little kitchen from Etsy (I sold our red one on Craigslist so it was an "even trade" financially)
--Pretend food for the kitchen
--Airplane with peg people
--Mini rainbow stacker
--the book Owl Babies

By the way, this is the first birthday that we did not have any balloons. Balloons have always annoyed me - I find them overstimulating, the ribbons always get tangled, the boys fight over them, they're not reusable and are damaging to the I looked online for alternatives. I saw these hand kites on Etsy, and decided it would be easy enough (and more economical!) to make them myself. They loved them!

Possibly the sweetest part of the day - Felix said "Thank you" for the first time this morning, and said it again and again throughout the day, and after receiving each gift. Perfect timing to learn those words, I'd say!