December 23, 2011

Loading up the sleigh

Readers, it's time.  Time for me to say goodbye to Molly and Samantha as I pass them on to the capable hands of my nieces.


Time too, for you my friends, to breath a sigh of relief as this will be my last American girl post (until a new one finds her straggly way to me here in the land of misfit toys) for a while.


This means the holidays must be upon us, so with that I wish you all a Merry Christmas!! Happy everything else, too!!
 Get your lists finished up

 and a good night's sleep

'cuz Santa's on his way!

December 21, 2011

Christmas just might be effortlessly wonderful

I am always a little something or other this time of year.  Part of it is that Champ's third job always starts up around this time.  Most of it is because I struggle hard to balance family time with prepping for Christmas and find it difficult to be regularly "present". Do you? 

I strive to keep my Faith at the forefront of my mind these days leading up to Christmas, but even with daily treks into Nature to center me and a purposeful intent to keep the holiday buzz at bay, I still only get it right 30% of the time.  Thank goodness God is forgiving.  And understanding.  And all knowing...

            Ace knows how to chill out.  Why not me?

This past weekend while Champ worked, Bear asked to make a present for baby Jesus

and we made snowglobes for all our loved ones.

The Wise Men moved a little closer to the manger,

and as we settled in that night and a large majority of family members clamored for the warmth of the wood stove,

the peace of the season was finally upon me.  I had received one of the greatest gifts of Christmas somewhere between sun up and sun down and it had arrived effortlessly, through God's grace.

I felt relaxed, some of the Christmas check list was accomplished, the boys had my presence most of the day, and the Spirit of Christmas had never wavered even as each hour passed.  God was among us and it felt wonderful to welcome Him in.  May it happen again tomorrow, and the next day, and long after Christmas has faded in to winter.

December 16, 2011

2 months. 5 months.

Now Ace, I understand that maybe this picture wasn't set up to your liking.  Baby B is already a few months older than you, so to place him in front like that makes you seem very much like a peanut.

However, I really don't see how that's any reason to take a swing at him.  You knocked the poor boy's tongue out.

No, I don't care that he babbled put downs to you and called you a "Mama's boy" (he's one too, you know), you still should not have thrown that left hook.  Learn for next time.

(thanks for the pictures, J!  Can't wait til we meet again.  Ace will bring his boxing gloves...)

December 14, 2011

Cheap photo cards for the procrastinator OR planner!

This isn't a deal blog.  I'm not really a coupon cutting Mama and I go elsewhere to smarten up about coupon codes and frugalities on the Internet.


this my friends I discovered all by my little own self and it was too good not to share!!!

$1.99 for 10 or 20 photo cards (um, which set  are you gonna order.  Hmm...)  over at Vistaprint!!!  Yay!  Now you can get caught up on your Christmas cards, send out those baby announcements, or prepare for Valentine's Day (don't think I'd ever do that last one, but hey, you can go right ahead since these are so cheap).

Pick out a great photo and then follow this link from the magazine "Real Simple" to create inexpensive photo cards.  By changing the text and getting a little creative you could truly use this deal for something beyond the holidays.

I ordered some last night.  I got the original 20 and then was offered a steal of a deal for 10 more, so I went with it.  All told, my order came to $12.88 and I'll have the cards in time to mail for Christmas.

      (the tiniest of hints from our lighthouse adventure...)

I know there have been previous photo card deals on the Internet, I even took advantage of some, but it is days before Christmas and I am ready to focus on finalizing Christmas cards now.  Now that Ace is a bit older and we have our picture taken by this year's lighthouse (long story...), so thank you Vistaprint.  May Santa be very very good to you!

December 09, 2011

7 days

These past seven days, Bear has been busy in his workshop making gifts.  I had been calling it "Santa's Workshop", but Bear said Santa wasn't around to help, so we should just call it "workshop".  fine.

Ace and I were in charge of  overseeing his productivity, but really I was in charge because how much can that baby really keep an eye on when staring at my collarbone for most of the day?

         (no idea why I'm giving you a thumbs up, but hey- good job.)

These past seven days, three out of four of us have been sick with colds.  It's not been pretty.

These past seven days, my in laws arrived with food, affection and helping hands.  It was awesome.  

These past seven days, through sickness and visitors and adjusting to a new baby brother, I realized that not only does Bear look older, he's acting older. 

He's setting the table without being told.  He's putting on his boots by himself.  He hauls logs over to the wood stove and sweeps up crumbs with a dust pan.

He's making motor sounds for his dirt bikes and loudly flying his airplanes.  He meticulously dresses his Playmobil people and then launches in to the most imaginative play with them- including extensive conversations that make me giggle when I eavesdrop on him.

He understands now that the warm feeling in his heart is love and has announced that Trot is his best friend (Trot was delighted).

I had not meant for the post to go this way today. I am baffled by my wistfulness, but I look at these pictures, I recall how Bear catered to me when I was down for the count and it becomes clear that there's no denying it.... Bear is growing up.

No need to slow it down or lament his toddlerhood passing quickly by, but I ask you- how did I miss it?  They all warned me to watch; that he would grow before I knew it and to be vigilant.  I had my eyes on every blonde hair of his and monitored his shoe size like a hawk and yet somewhere between head and toe, my baby boy has begun to grow up.

December 07, 2011

Moveable Alphabet

I've never been a big fan of numbers,or Math (bleech), but words and language?  Now that's something I can get behind and it's something I tend to photograph way more often than any counting activity we might do around here.  Today, I'm actually going to use some of those random language arts photos!

 I keep a basket handy in our living room (great room?  With a high ceiling and wall to wall windows, I never know what to call it) complete with pre-reading supplies.  There are Bob booksa moveable alphabet box, some writing tools and sandpaper letters along with a book or two that Bear can confidently read retell.

A typical activity begins with us reading a "Bob book" and then focusing on a word from it, in this case "cat".  We play around with it's sounds and I help him pick the letters that represent these sounds out of the moveable alphabet box.

If we're feeling jumpy, we go on to match up and trace these letters with the sandpaper letters.  Sometimes, we develop rhyming words and I show him how to just replace the beginning sound.

Bear also use these letters to help guide him as he practices writing new words.

There is so very much that can be done with these materials!  I'm still discovering new uses for them that help to keep Bear interested and engaged in his learning.  

If you're curious for more, just Google "moveable alphabet" and have at it!

December 02, 2011

Stalked at the Thrift Shop

Yet another one of them found her way into my life.  She heard I do wonders with mangled, well-loved hair, so she apparently looked me up. 

I have her settled into a "Downy dunk" (do I sound like I know what I'm doing?  I don't.) and she seems happy enough.  Not this kind of happy...

but still, happy.

Funny enough, the whole household seems happier today.  I'll take it.  

Have I mentioned my time at the store has come to an end (boy that went fast!), and now I'm home with the boys?  You would think my blessed situation would keep me from whining a bit on certain TRYING days, but then I wouldn't be telling the truth, now would I?  And honestly, how interesting would my blog be then?  Exactly.

Enjoy your Friday! 

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