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Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category

(Jan 23 2013) Over a year ago I listed these gifts, and now I finally have the last photo I needed to share it.

Dec 23 2011

32. Snow falling behind window decals
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33. My Christmas baby, sleeping by the tree
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34. Flour patches stuck to the glass bowl.
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35. Sweet buttery cookie dough licked off fingers
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36. Fluffy white mittens and a dusting of white snowflakes against the cozy deep red backdrop of my favorite coat
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37. Perfect falling snow and snow-covered evergreens, 2 days before Christmas
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38. Festive front porch scene; red and green furnitire and falling snow
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39. big white smiles; boys laughing in the snow
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40. Playmates for my son
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41. Arms full of love (sleeping kids)
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We’re staying with my in-laws over the holidays because DH’s sister will be coming back for a visit. As a result my day is a little out of whack and I forgot about Quick Takes until now. (and I also forgot to watch the 2nd episode of Minor Revisions 😦 )

Friday Dec 14

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Little one laying beside me soundly sleeping
my 3 yr old cooperating for me to get a special photo of him when he says his prayers
running fast clearing obstacles in my house and feeling like I was flying
grace for the first time to immediately recognize and correct when I have wronged my children
watching at a distance (through the window) as my oldest asked for God’s help to behave better

Evergreen wreath and pomegranates deep red
tiny arils bursting with sweet juice
Marveling as the kids cleaned up their entire room in about 3 minutes all because I counted to 30
Extras hands making light work
Regaining order and cleanliness
All 3 of us together blessing a clean house

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All three of the boys watching tv on the couch together
Hands to fold, a heart to care and lips to lift the hurting up to God in prayer
A bunker for the Holy family and their animals, to hide them from the bad soldiers
Thank You Lord that tragedies like that have not come near to us, that unlike so many mothers, I still have with me all 3 of the children that I birthed.
That all my children are healthy, only suffering injuries that can be made all better by a kiss from mummy
DH’s kindness and generosity towards a friend.

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-the church turned into a theatre, an alternative to the media
-a deeply insightful movie that truly enriches my life for having watched it
-an empty chapel, Jesus there now, just for me
-being so near to the source of all love

The porch and yard lit up with coloured lights
Little one gazing up at me, great big eyes full round
Utter fascination and wonder at just one little element of God’s creation
A sleepy baby being very silly (falling over upside down etc on the couch)
Floppy joe – little baby walking with pjs too long
A new thing, something is changing, I can feel new grace in me, birthed out of the colds and my willingness to praise and stay close to God even in the suffering

Saturday Dec 15
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A packed theatre full of excited kids
The boys waiting patiently for their first movie in theatres
A heartwarming Christmas classic
Stepping out again to a fluffy snowfall

finding the fireplace both DH and I liked – on sale (now just to wait for more to come in)

A crafty girls’ night
Flower angels
Fancy glass mugs
Creamy hot chocolate with marshmallows
A sweet assortment of Christmas cookies
spending that last part of my baby’s birthday with him and his godmother and friends.

Sunday Dec 16
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A warm bowl of spicy chili full of flavor
green cabage leaf bowls
Creamy sweet chocolate pudding

Monday Dec 17
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A fireplace flickering on my kitchen counter
One last google search and finally finding another adorable camera bag for a fraction of the price of the real leather ones.
Children singing arms raised in praise
All of us here together

Tuesday Dec 18
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My oldest and the baby hiding under a table while my middle son takes their picture!
A piston cup race to Bethlehem – ‘We have to race to Bethlehem’
Boys watching as a truck tow the old trailer away
Watching them recreate the scene with a truck and a toy house
The sweetest words of faith – My oldest Tyler stomping around the livingroom, ‘I’m making footsteps so baby Jesus can find me.’
My soul/will waking up at last to cooperate with grace and finally get things done

Wednesday Dec 19
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Surprise of Familiar faces at mass
My oldest’s hands together like an angel, in imitation of one of our friends at church a few rows back
Knowing I was right where I belonged at Mass this morning, despite the freezing rain and snow.
Baby staring intently at Jesus in the monstrance through the glass door
A quiet morning visit with friends
Warm tea and falling snow
Sparkly pinecones
The kids with blankets on their heads imitating the characters from the nativity story
Baby hugging the baby doll close
Baby Jesus peeking out of the pocket
Mary and joseph receiving baby Jesus from the advent calendar
Adorable confusion about the true Christmas story (7: And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them… ‘ in the upper room!’ – Tyler)
Baby jesus in the exersaucer

The boys heads glued to the Christmas tree at the end of their bed, faces of wonder lit by the tiny lights
My oldest telling a story to the baby as we both waited for him to fall asleep
a special box with our name on it
A deep brown wood mantle with the perfect curves
Our family photo finally in its place of honor
flickering ‘firelight’
DH and I seeing our vision for a new living room come to life

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Thursday Dec 20

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Snow cross out my window
My living room tidy and organized
Watching baby discovering his prayer shelf

Mary, joseph and the animals walking on a cross to jesus
My 3 yr old joseph with a towel on his head watching the Nativity movie
Re-enacting the nativity story

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helping the kids decorate their own little tree
A quiet moment alone by the fireplace with Christmas hymns
Getting out the door for 2 weeks with EVERYTHING.
The sound of an old familiar voice, after a long absence
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Jan 6

–1–
This song line has really been on my mind this week, the imagery is just beautiful: ‘how many gods have poured out their hearts to romance a world that has torn all apart?’ Only one: Jesus.

As a result, this week God has felt closer somehow.

Not a whole lot else going on faith-wise, but I am still praying my daily offering etc each morning and I do feel that the spirit is helping me to be more patient, as I try to manage 3 kids by myself. It really helps that overall I’m less tired than when I was pregnant; otherwise I think I would seriously be insane by the time DH gets home from work each day…

I’ve also noticed that time seems to be going more slowly now that the baby is here and Christmas is over. I still usually have no idea what day it is but now I’m thinking ‘January must be half over by now’, instead of ‘where did December go, last time I checked it was the middle of November’. I guess I must be slowing down and enjoying things… From time to time I do remind myself that life is not an emergency.

–2–
Overall, I’ve actually found life easier now baby is out. I actually have MORE energy than when I was pregnant, both physically and mentally, despite my sleep being more interrupted now. I feel like I can cook more often than about 1 meal a week, it can be 6 or 7pm and I can actually get my kitchen tidied up. And if I want to try a brand new recipe or clean up the house etc, I don’t feel like I need to have the house to myself to be able to conceive myself actually doing it.

Still, I’ve also found that it can be very touch and go: one day the baby will sleep most of the morning, freeing me up to do stuff around the house while I am at my best. Other days it seems he settles down and wakes up crying 5 minutes later, and it gets to be 11am and we still haven’t had breakfast. Clearly the trick is to get him clean and full and settled back down early in the day, so I can have that morning stretch to do things.

–3–
Last weekend saw the end of this year’s Rise Up conference. I did not even consider going (even before I found out I had a baby due in mid december) because it was the other side of the country. This year they had a live webcasts of some of the talks etc and hundreds of people were tweeting quotes and things from the conference. It really made me feel like I was actually a little part of it.

Also, Rise Up has gotten so big, they’re holding 2 conferences next year, and one of them is going to be right here in our city! It will be the first time we get to host one. We are also hosting Impact this summer. Impact is the CCO summer mission, which means teams of CCO missionaries will be doing work in many of our local churches. I would love to do Impact sometime, but with 3 little kids, I doubt it would be any time soon, if ever; but being able to see what it’s all about and attend the CCO events (over the summer when normally there’s nothing!) is definitely the next best thing! This year is going to be pretty awesome here, and I can’t wait 😀

–4–
This year my brother went away to spend Christmas with his gf’s family in Ontario, so on Sunday we had part 2 of our family Christmas. While he was there he also proposed (it was already in the works) so this time it was dinner with my little brother and his fiancé :o.

She didn’t have any photos of her ring to show other people yet, and I didn’t need an excuse; I was happy to take some for her.
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I also love the green yarn against the red sweater with the Christmas tree in the background. It makes for a perfect holiday photo 😀

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–5–
On Friday we finally had another play date with the CCO mom. It had been over a year, although she and our kids were getting to see each other each week since September at the Monday morning alpha course.

Her little girls are right around my little’s boys’ ages, and they are just so sweet together 🙂

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checking out the trains

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and the kitchen
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The baby slept through the whole thing, so none of them got the chance to hold him.
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–6–
This week I finally tried out my crock pot for the first time. I got it back in July but I didn’t have space on the counter back then, and by the time I made room it was getting late in the pregnancy and I was too tired to try a new recipe etc.

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Back in the fall I went to CCO’s 3rd progressive supper, and the main meal was pulled pork, done in a crock pot. It was delicious and something I knew DH would eat. At a [arty someone else brought pulled pork so I was excited to try it but it just wasn’t the same. I asked for the recipe for the first one, and the secret is cooking the pork in rootbeer. Yum. I also think it’s best if you don’t shred the meat up too fine, otherwise it goes kind of pasty.

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So, on Wednesday morning I settled baby, then got to work. All day I peeked in on my pork as it cooked for 6 hours. After that you shred it and add bbq sauce and cook for one more hour. I threw some carrots in a pot for a veggie and we had a hot tasty meal (about an hour after DH got home). I was later getting it on than planned and late getting the carrots chopped etc because it was a bit of an afterthought. However, the potential is there for us to have a hot meal ready WHEN DH gets home…

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The verdict: I thought it was delicious, DH said it was good, then asked if he was allowed a 3rd helping. My 3 year old ate two whole pulled pork burgers and the 2 year old seemed to like it as well. I was also able to freeze what I hope is 2 meals’ worth, so even though pork tenderloin is expensive, I think we got our money’s worth. It’s a hit, and I will definitely be making it again!
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–7–
After he’d spent a week in diapers at Nanny’s, I put my 2 year old back in ‘no pants’ so he could get back into the swing of going to the potty etc. I expected regression both with being at Nanny’s and also with the new baby etc. Unfortunately he’d regressed a bit further than just ‘no pants’ and we had a few accidents before he started to get a handle on it and tell me etc…

Both kids learned to climb onto the potty at Nanny’s using a footstool, and after we were home again I noticed the 2 year old climbing up on the footstool like his big brother does at home, so I let him, pleasantly surprised that he could do it here too, as I thought the toilet here was too high. Since then I’ve been letting him go ahead of me so he can learn to go by himself, instead of always taking him to pee. This week I let him try underpants again, because he really liked the car pants that his brother gets to wear. He did great for over a day then had one accident so I took the pants away, and he continued to pee on the floor for the rest of the day. I was ready to pull my hair out, but it seemed the underpants provided the added motivation, every time he was excited to put them on, and he’d wave his finger saying ‘ no pee, no poo’. Clearly, he knows what to do.

So, we’re keeping him in underpants, though it will be training pants for church, and hopefully he’ll be caught up with his brother soon.

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Fascinating!

One Christmas Carol that has often baffled people, is the 12 days of Christmas? Just what in the world do leaping lords, French hens, swimming swans, and especially the partridge who won’t come out of the pear tree have to do with Christmas?

Here’s one explanation:
From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism so…ng for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.
-The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus.
-Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.
-Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.-
-The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.
-The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.
-The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.
-Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit–Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.
-The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.
-Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit–Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.
-The ten lords a-leaping were the ten commandments.
-The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.
-The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles’ Creed.

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1. The heartburn has been pretty bad lately, and as a result I’m usually not that interested in food… add on how tired I’ve been feeling and I’m not eating a whole lot these days… sigh. Yogurt is the one thing that seems to help. I have a big tub of vanilla yogurt in the fridge, and I made some fruit parfaits, with the fruit still frozen the way they make them at McDonalds. I dreamt about them last night, and woke up in the night starving and now am craving one. I want them to thaw a little, but still mostly be frozen, because that’s how I remember them.

2. It’s hard to believe I could be giving birth in less than a week… It’s been 9 Months in the making, but it still doesn’t seem real: I’ve been pregnant so long I can’t really get my head around the thought of not being pregnant!

That said, it may still be more than a week, argh, as I found out on wed that the ultrasound due date is actually Dec 21, which IMO is NOT okay. THAT is too close to Christmas! They haven’t actually changed my due date though, because it’s less than 10 days difference (but 7 is still pretty close to 10…). I certainly don’t want to have to wait that long, I would be very happy to go tonight or over the weekend. There is something I want to do the morning of my due date (the 14th), and DH’s adult work xmas party at the Dinner Theatre is the 17th. I would be perfectly happy to go there WITH a tiny baby, but I really don’t want to have to miss it.

I have always gone right around my due date, and with my little guy the ultrasound did change the date, but he still came 4 days before the new projected one, so I would expect baby to come anytime from about the 12th – 18th.

The plan when I go home from the hospital is to spend a week (or more or less) at my in-laws house where I will have help while I rest and recover and adjust to the new little one. If the baby doesn’t come by the 21st, it would probably be easier to just stay home and maybe DMIL can come over here… Regardless and UNLESS I’m ACTUALLY IN THE HOSPITAL GIVING BIRTH, we WILL be at home Christmas eve night and Christmas morning to celebrate our first Christmas in our new house!

3. Because baby could be here anytime, I made plans to get together with my best friend as soon as possible, to get a photo of the two of us while we were both still pregnant. I found some little bibs at my mom’s house for us to hold to help set the scene.

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4. Luckily, baby didn’t come as early as last Sunday… First we had booked DH’s work kids party, then I wanted the kids to be in the Church nativity, which was also the same day. Lastly, a few days before we found out that the little girl across the street was having her b-day party that Sunday as well, and we were just able to squeeze that in between the other 2 things.

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Even though I was so sick I stayed home from church the 1st Sunday of advent, I still took the kids for their rehearsal because especially as they’d missed a few already, they needed all the practice they could get. When it came to the actual show they still weren’t perfect, both left the stage several times and my 3 year old the frog even showed up on stage with a big silver star on his tummy at one point…. I snuck over to the side to take a photo, then took it back off him.

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It was all worth it though, look how cute they were!

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All grandparents were in attendance to watch the adorableness. One doting fan wrote: “Yesterday afternoon I got to watch a Christmas Nativity Pageant with a parade of animals around the Christ Child, including the most adorable little frog and turtle you ever saw (aka my two grandsons). One touch I especially liked, was at the end, instead of the usual Santa Claus, in came St. Nicholas himself, with mitre and crosier and red chausible and gave a little talk about his life so long ago, before handing out candy canes.”

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I too really liked that surprise touch, and my 3 year old was the first one over to him!
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We were able to drop in at the birthday party for about 30 minutes, just long enough to snack a bit and watch her open her presents. Then we went to DH’s work party. Everybody was still swimming so it wasn’t too hard for me to sneak their presents into Santa’s sack for later! The parents buy the presents for the kids and each one has a $25 limit, reimbursed by the company etc. So I picked some little wooden trains for the kids, the other 2 engines from the Misty Island movie. Too bad Ferdinand is nowhere to be seen :S Both kids were very happy with their surprises.

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5. DH’s birthday was on Saturday, he too joined the ranks of being a 1/4 of a century old. He was the first real recipient of a proper breakfast in bed, complete with a tray and a bit of decoration (I insisted on the tray if there was going to be toast eaten in the bed). Then he drove to the valley to pick up his best friend for the day, and took the kids for the drive. While they were gone I set up the kids’ nativity and put back their prayer table in the sunroom.
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He got a favorite meal for lunch, Chinese take-out and then he put up our artificial tree. After lunch he went out with friends go karting then he and his friend rigged up the last of the outdoor Christmas lights for me 🙂 He picked what he wanted for dinner and we all sat down to eat together, and finished off with delicious chocolate mousse cake from Superstore, a happy medium between an expensive ice cream cake and a simple McCain deep and delicious cake.

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I also let the kids each pick a present for daddy. It was going to be from the dollar store, but in the end they each picked something from the candy bars in the grocery check out line. I helped them wrap them etc in the afternoon and they gave them to daddy when he came back home. My 3 year old even mostly wrapped his present himself! He knew to fold the paper around etc, but I had to help with the tape..
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6. Check out the Christmas in my house! I think my nesting instinct has manifested itself in Christmas decorating this year… I still have yet to set up my new nativity set or to finish the archway and tree, but it’s definitely starting to feel more festive in here 🙂
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7. Speaking of Christmas Decor, check out some of the stunning red and white decorations on this blog:
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Pinecone garland (I love this, but would want fake cranberries instead of toadstools (and kids that wouldn’t destroy it…) )
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A complete holiday bedroom ❤
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Fancy butter dish
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1. Faith Notes

-I read a bit more of 1000 gifts. A few nights last week I read a chapter, and earlier this week the kids slept in and I got the chance to type up my notes and process my thoughts etc. “If our fall was the non-eucharisteo, the ingratitude, then salvation must be intimately related to eucharisteo, the giving of thanks.” I want to slow down, take the time to give thanks, return the world to God, reverse the fall.

I have had a little more success this week being in the moment again, but it’s not coming easily and I’m still forgetting most of the time. Reflecting on ‘being in the moment’ and what it was like when I slipped into it during the kids’ bedtime routine the other night, I realized that right now I am content if I achieve that moment of grace; I smile and then I move on. I don’t stay in the grace, I don’t relish the moment, milking it for all it’s worth, drawing me closer to God. It’s like I hit that little grace ‘high’ and then move on, I’ve got to start STAYING in the moment.

-Way back at the beginning of the year I took Jen up on her saint calculator and recieved St Valentine. I only prayed about it once, but I’ve noticed a lot of growth in that area. Interestingly, the overwhelming majority of Focus on the Family programs I’ve listened to this year have been related to some aspect of marriage. This has been the year I/we work on our marriage. First there was all the relationship advice in the psyc book when I tutored back in the winter, stressing the importance of finsing quality time together etc to still be friends… Then there were several broadcasts related to handling conflicts, which I know neither of us do very well, and while we’re still not very good at it, I find they are going mroe smoothly as we have to actually talk everything out, and I don’t want to stop talknig until I feel it has been resolved. And once I feel it’s over, it’s easy to forgive.

This week a new area has come to my attention, apologizing. I realize I’m really bad at this. I insist on simple proper apologies from DH all the time, but I can hardly think of the last time I myself apologized properly for something, especially with DH. Most of the time, it’s because I don’t think I was wrong, but a very interesting truth from the broadcast showed me that maybe that doesn’t always have to matter: Apologizing is awknowledging that my behavior hasd hurt the relatonship. It’s not even neccessarily apoloizing for the beahvior itself, which may or may not have been wrong, but rather for the hurt that it ended up causing. I think it will take me a little while to really get this through my head, but I know it is good for me. I don’t think of myself as proud in the worldly sense, but when I’m convinced that I’m right and he’s wrong, it’s another story.

2. Last Friday night after the kids spent the day at Nanny’s she offered to keep them for the night. We didn’t need much convincing. We had a quiet evening in just the two of us, but my favorite part was Sat morning. We both got up when we were ready (and not before), made pancakes and were just able to hang out without the kids interrupting us. Then he set off to get plastic for the windows and I had some quiet to write etc. We were doing our own thing, but still together (once he came back) and without kids to disrupt us. I’m all for this continuing… DMIL says she wants the kids to spend nights there so they’re more used to it for when the baby comes etc…

3. DMIL and I went tone of the local Christmas craft fairs last Saturday. That evening was 2 for one admission, I’d much rather pay $3.50 than $7! I wondered if it might get me into the Christmas spirit, but I don’t remember hearing Christmas music and it just didn’t quite do it. Still, we had a nice time just the two of us, walking around to the different displays. It’s so much nicer to go with someone, to be able to share the cute things you see, and discuss purchases etc.

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I always love this vendor’s display, her creations are just beautiful, espeically with all the lgihts. I picked up a little snow baby from her to decorate my seasonal shelf in the kitchen. It’s adorable, flopped on it’s back in the snow. Perfect with a little baby due in december!
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I also got this really neat kitchen gadget that minces garlic, ginger, nuts, even turns carrots into baby food with ease. And it’s soo easy to clean too. I’d stopped mincing garlic because I find the press to be too time consuming to use and clean, and have been simply trying to chop it as small as I could, and as a result, using it less. I’m very happy with this little thing.
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We each had a delicious cupcake from one of the vendors. I chose a root beer float one, I loved how it was decorated with the little pop bottle and the straw! And DH ate my root beer sucker so I was happy to find a delicious replacement. The actual cupcake had been drizzled with root beer both the cake and the icing, so it had a nice strong flavor. It was very yummy 🙂
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It wasn’t quite as good as last year, they didn’t have as many vendors since the entire back arena was set up as the guy show: a place for the men while their siginficant others shopped the crafts. I joked that DMIL and I walked through the guy show (just to see what they had) about as fast as DH would go through the crafts… and that if we were both there doing our own thing, that he would actually spend mroe time going through the guy stuff than I would going through the crafts. They had everything to amuse him, fancy cars with steros etc, remote control cars, 2 video game couches… I think he would have been sufficiently occupied.

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4. Speaking of Christmas, I’m still anxiously awaiting the first real snowfall.
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I don’t mean more than a proper dusting, but the minute I see big fluffy flakes in the air and on the ground my brain instantly switches from fall to Christmas mode and I’m ready to have all my advent cds and books and start decorating the house and doing other Christmas related tasks. I really haven’t started any of these things yet (thoguh I feel ready to retire our fall clothes) and while I think regardless of snow when advent starts I can be ready, I hope that isn’t too late to get everything done! With a baby coming mid December, I’ve got to get things done early this year!

Update: 8:15am, It’s SNOWING! 😀

5. Last night one of my good friends came over for a short visit. I haven’t seen her in months (we’ve both been busy with buying houses etc) and it was great to get to catch up a bit. The kids sort of monopolized her for a while, insisting she read story after story but after they went to bed we sat on the couch and just talked. It was so nice to get to just have some quality girl time, I don’t seem to get it very often! Both os us were getting tired, but also didn’t want it to end, I remember after 9:30 we were both yawning but we still kept talking!
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6. Over the last few weeks my little guy has started putting 2 and 3 words together. He’s making his own little sentences already, and it’s so cute. He’s also taken to calling himself baby. I had been thinknig of him as baby and calling him that for months, but stopped back in the summer, knowing he was really getting too big to be called a baby, as well that there would soon be a much younger baby replacement. Around the time I stopped calling him abby, his brother started, and now he calls himself baby too. He also knows it’s baby in my tummy, but still sees himself as a baby too. Some fo the adorablenss these 2 developments have caused: ‘uh oh, baby fall’ and ‘baby more food’. Aw.

7. I enjoy creative flavors in my pancakes, but this guy takes pancake creativity to a whole new level! You any of the pictures to see more of his Saturday morning creations!

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Decorating Fun

Dec 22 10:30am

I had this great idea last night, and took the photos this morning… Enjoy!

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Merry Christmas!

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