Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year, New You, New Me!

New Year's resolution time generally makes me roll my eyes a bit.  I've always been mildly irritated by the packed gym during the first few weeks of January and all the dumb weight loss advertisements everywhere.  However, I do usually try to do something positive with my life once Christmas is over.  It always starts with the invigorating feeling of getting the Christmas clutter put away.  Taking down the tree is a lot of work.  I used to rush like a madwoman during nap time but now Ben doesn't nap and Milo doesn't nap on a regular schedule yet so taking it down is going to be impossible unless I stay up until 1 a.m. one night.  However, it has to happen.  I think the poor tree has had enough cat and toddler harassment for one season. 

Last year after Christmas, after reading some fashion blogs on Pinterest, I decided to really get my closet under control.  My main inspiration was a woman who had four "capsule" wardrobes that only had 37 garments that she rotated each season.  No overstuffed drawers or smashed together hangers or towering piles of sweaters and jeans.  It sounded so refreshing.  Now, for me, 37 garments (this included her shoes but not pajamas, workout clothes and junky clothes for painting or housework)  is laughable but I did manage to weed two garbage bags of clothes out of there.  Most of the cuts were because of lack of wear due to ill fit.  It was hard but I was relentless and it was a pleasure to see many of my lightly worn but well liked garments being bought at my mom's group rummage sale in the spring.  And it's a good thing I passed them on because now, one year later, they would be even more ill fitting.

This year the closet is not my problem.  Since I spent most of the year pregnant I did not buy many clothes so, besides some disarray after removing maternity clothes, the closet is not that bad.  However, there are other areas of my life that need some New Year attention. 

1.  Weight loss:  OBVS! I just had a baby.  My THIRD baby since 2012.  P.S., all of those celebrities who say they lost weight from "chasing after their kids" are full of it!

2.  Getting the meal situation under control:  Guess what?  I don't like to cook.  I never have.  I grew up with a mom who is very good at cooking and has even stated that she enjoys it.  I wish I could say the same but I can't.  If I became a wealthy woman I might never prepare a meal again.  Cookies, yes.  Appetizers, yes. Meals, please NO!  Some nights I just LOATHE the thought of preparing supper.  I am the stay at home parent, so I take most of the responsibility for this but I think every parent faces this challenge because families where both parents work have to eat too and we all know that eating takeout or going to restaurants every day is a big waste of money and can turn a person into a Biggest Loser contestant in no time so of course food has to be prepared at home.  This means that I have to shop for food which used to be just boring but is now almost impossible unless I go by myself in the evening.  Just how I want to spend my minimal kid free time.  Then I have to plan to buy ingredients for meals which I always mess up because something is always forgotten.  Then comes the worst part...I have to handle raw meat.  I have matured a lot regarding this step because I think I made it through most of college without touching raw meat.  Now I grudgingly partition and freeze bulk chicken breasts like an old time farm wife who butchered them herself (I would faint) and I brown and season ground beef and sausage without even gagging.  It's easy!  But still, there are many nights where I am at a loss about what to cook and by the time it is prepared, eaten and cleaned I feel tension building up in my shoulders because toiling over the stove is just not for me. And by being a parent I have signed up for YEARS of it.  I could do ten loads of laundry every day and not mind at all and maybe kind of enjoy it (you can fold in front of the TV!) but cooking...ugh.  So, this year I need to head over to Pinterest, learn some new recipes (I am making one right now...Crock pot honey sesame chicken!) and figure out this freezer meal thing women are always talking about on Facebook so I don't dread supper time so much.

3. Keeping the kitchen counters clear:  I saw this meme on Facebook on a humorous parenting blog's page and I actually had to look closely to make sure someone didn't photograph our counter and turn it into an internet joke because I have those same blue headphones and Ben's Halloween treat bags from preschool did indeed hang around for way too lon:

 
This counter clutter problem is never ending and I am always so pleased with myself when I clear it and it's so nice to grudgingly prepare food on a wide and clear expanse of counter but within a few days it is worse than ever.  Help me! 
 
4.  Keeping the top of the refrigerator clear:  Every cupboard in the house so full that they barely close so often excess items end up piled on top of the fridge along with whatever we want out of the kids' reach.  You might see a bag of chips, a container of cat treats, a bag of candy, a lego truck, containers of playdoh, and so much else up there at any time.  If my grandmothers saw it they would not be impressed.  I don't remember junk ever being piled on top of their refrigerators.  I hate the look of it myself but, regardless of the ways I have configured the pantry shelves and tried to organize, crap ends up being tossed up there.  Then you can't open the cupboard up there without knocking things down.  That cupboard up there holds napkins and paper dishes on one side and candy on the other.  Wait...on second thought, barricade the door!  See #1...
 
This leads to my major issue...
 
5.  Keeping even minimal order regarding toys and the kids' other junk:  Oh my word, it is bad around here.  Now that the baby gear is out the floor is generally impassible.  Daily, a child trips and falls and cries because there is rarely a clear path anywhere.  I have heard lots of rather smug advice about how kids should learn to pick up after themselves, toys should stay in their rooms, food should not leave the kitchen, and on and on.  I passingly joked in the preschool pick up line one morning last fall that the kids had destroyed my house and one mom was like "why?" She really didn't understand how that could happen. She has her preschooler and a second grader, both girls who apparently enjoy quiet play.  A much different combination than a double toddler tornado, that is for sure.  The truth is, getting a two year old and a three year old to pick up after themselves is quite challenging because they don't care about anything and their attention spans are minimal.  So, they might put away one activity, like crayons but before they are put away the other child is dumping something else out.  Also, I have a brain and in my past life I could produce a 40 page research paper in a day so it is not easy for me to spend ALL DAY on mind numbing tasks like being the toy pick up police.  I would be on their cases nonstop and anyway, I do believe that playing freely without constant parental intervention is pretty important for kids.  In addition, if I made that my priority I would have to give up everything else, such as this blog and the previously mentioned food preparation and the occasional days where I fix my hair beyond my usual disheveled "air dry beach waves" look. 
 
So, I make excuses but the mess really does bother me.  Yes, I would be (and have been) embarrassed by someone dropping by and seeing the house in its regular condition.  If my grandmothers saw it they would keel over dead and I am not joking.  I don't think women who raised kids when they did have any concept of the quantity of possessions that come along with children now and the way that we have to be with them ALL the time.  There are no neighborhood kids running around outside for them to join.  They are all at daycare or playing video games or else are not allowed outside because we moms who are home worry that someone will call the police and report us for child neglect if they see a child playing outside in their own yard without an adult watching. So it is much harder to focus on cleaning and housework because the kids are ALWAYS underfoot.
 
 I recently did a google search in a frustrated moment and found many blog posts by other moms about what organization tactics have worked for them and it feels like none of it would work here. (One woman locked all the toys in a closet in their basement and had the children "check out" one toy or play set at a time only twice a day.  Sounds like a lot of hassle and I don't have a spare closet for that!)  But I have to come up with something because being surrounded by chaos can really be a mental downer and it makes me feel like a bad parent sometimes and it is hard for me to focus on anything. 
 
Sigh, I wish it was only my closet that was bothering me right now!  But it's all first world problems, isn't it?  Oh, poor me, my kids have too many toys and my kitchen cupboards are too full!  Waaaaahhh!  The privileged life sure comes with it's own set of challenges...What will the new year hold for me and the family?  Magazine perfect storage solutions and new recipes prepared every week?  Me in my old size 8 jeans from 2011?  A pristine expanse atop the fridge?  I'll do my best...

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas 2015

Well, here we are on the other side of Christmas.  Well, any good church raised person knows that Christmas is not over but to society in general it is over.  The remnants of Christmas merchandise are in clearance aisles in stores looking rather depressing, the heartwarming commercials are gone from TV and I even have seen a few real Christmas trees pitched out on the curb already.  That is the saddest sight of the season in my opinion!  It all is over kind of fast for me.  This year I didn't even spend one relaxing evening watching a whole Christmas movie.  Not one movie!  Geez, this toddler and baby business is really time consuming and leaves little time for leisure. 

We had a standard whirlwind Christmas.  It went something like this:  pack, unpack, kids went sledding, cousins, church, presents, overstimulation meltdowns, really late bedtimes, presents, more overstimulation, skipped toddler meals after spoiling appetites with candy because no one was paying attention, more presents, more overstimulation, pack, unpack, Christmas light tour, more cousins, more presents, more fights over having to eat meals, coming home to a house trashed with toys we already have, total CHAOS.  It was fun though.  I miss being young and carefree at Christmas but creating the fun for your own kids is pretty special. 

I always find that I wish I took more pictures after Christmas.  Here are a few that I have. 
 
 
My parents were ushers at church on Christmas Eve.  I helped and the kids kind of did too.  We handed out the bulletins and candles and passed the offering plates.  I was able to fulfill an urge I have had since childhood.  In the entrance of the church are the ropes that ring the church bells.  No child would dare go near those ropes when I was a kid.  You did NOT mess with the ropes.  Well, my dad was told to ring the bells so I jumped at the chance.  Those bells are heavy.  It was harder than it looks!  But so, so satisfying.  The picture above is all of us in our church clothes. 

 
Ben got a Lego police station with a little jail cell.  I ordered this for him a week or two before Christmas after he kept talking about bad guys and jail and was always wanting me to conjure a jail out of legos or duplos for him. Oh, no problem!  I'll just invent a jail out of legos!  Give me the 30 seconds you think it should take!  Here you go! Done!  I think he picked up on it from kids at school and also a Lego cartoon on Netflix about policemen.  It has really held his interest since he opened it on Christmas Eve. 

 
Ben got his garbage truck!  Santa communicated with Nana and made sure he got what he asked for.
 
 
Tessa received this handmade doll bed from my grandma.  She sewed the blanket and pillow and a little mattress for it.  It's a bit small for a certain baby in the house!

 
Tessa's favorite things to play with still include "treasures" a.k.a handfuls of little choking hazards and other junk.  This was at my parents' house and is a mixture of beads, my brother's old micro machines and some Shopkins (the latest kid craze...look it up...it's really weird but right up Tessa's alley).  Not all of these came home with us but the Shopkins and some beads did.

 
This looks like quite a huge snowbank but it contains most of the snow from the farmyard piled in one spot.  I grew up playing on piles like this at home and at school.  All the kids in town loved to play on "the hill" where the city snowplow piled the snow from the city streets.  It might be flat in Eastern ND but fun is still had!  And actually, at the farm there is a real sledding hill since there is a creek bank in front of the house but this was more convenient.

 
This was on the way to the farm before Christmas.  We broke the elf touching rule because Ben was worried about him being scared.  So cute. 
 
 
This was taken on December 27th before we headed home.  That day is my dad's birthday so Milo Timothy took a quick picture with Grandpa Tim. 
 
I am already thinking ahead to the new year and trying to think of a way to get this house under control.  The kids got a lot of new toys.  The popular "right" thing to do around Christmas is donate a bunch of stuff to charity to make room for the new but when I think about what could go around here I realize that they really do play with all of their toys.  And, anyway, I think "charity", whatever cause you might choose, is probably a bit overwhelmed with second hand crap right now.  Between the fall rummage sales and Christmas donations I doubt anyone would want anything.  I tried in November to donate a bag of clothes and no one would take it because they didn't need. it.  We have that much excess in America.  Also, I don't know if others would agree, but I kind of feel like making a big show of bringing your kids to the homeless shelter or wherever and having them hand over toys is kind of smug.  It's like, "Oh, everyone, look at our privileged family, sharing our unwanted old junk with you because we are getting a bunch of better stuff!" and then feeling really good about yourself.  It seems more tactful just to send a check in the mail to the coordinator or do something anonymously. So, anyway, some sort of system is needed around here regarding toys but I don't know what.  Of course I sneakily throw away plastic kids meal junk and broken crayons when no one is watching sometimes but that's about all I am ready to part with right now. 
 
In conclusion, here is a picture of one of my gifts from Justin...
 
 
Do you know what this is?  It is my leg in cat patterned leggings.  Oh YEAH!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Merry Christmas Everyone

Well, it's already December 23rd.  Already. As a child it was such a long day that was filled with anticipation for the arrival of cousins and the magic candlelight church service and presents that would be happening tomorrow on Christmas Eve.  As a lame adult with responsibilities, this day has come too soon but I am still excited for the upcoming celebration and I am filled with nostalgia.  I think tomorrow is the day that the Grand Forks newspaper publishes the traditional column by a certain woman in her 80's who is known for reviewing boring chain restaurants and writing letters to her sister in Arizona or somewhere.  The regular columns can be tedious but the Christmas one that they run every year is quite moving to me and it must be to plenty of other people too or they wouldn't publish it every year.  For those who don't read that paper, the column tells how the woman, although her parents are long dead and her childhood farm is only a memory that she hasn't visited for 40 years or something like that, still returns there in her memory on Christmas and remembers with clarity as though she were there.  This has extra meaning for me this year now that the home of my childhood where I will visit in my memories as the years go by is sitting in a field as a pile of rubble.  At least the surroundings of the farm are the same.  That's a lot more that many people get to keep of their childhood home. 

If I were going back in time to Christmas Eve I would recall the excitement when we saw our aunts and uncles cars coming down the gravel road and running out to help them carry food and presents or wrangling the dog so she didn't jump on the little kids and hearing my uncle and dad greeting each other with a deep and identical sounding "Merry Christmas" in the bass voices.  We would mess around and play a white elephant gift stealing game and then head to church where we would meet my grandparents and giggle about when the donkey is referred to as an "ass" in one of the verses of "Silent Night" and try not to start anyone's hair on fire with our candles.  I'm sure there were some close calls but it never happened.  Then we would go and have supper and then endure the longest kitchen cleaning ever before we could open presents from our grandparents and each other.  Usually everyone ended up hanging around late into the night until around midnight before they would pack up all the boxes and fight over who was taking what leftovers and head home.  I remember seeing the Big Dipper in the stars directly above the house late at night on Christmas Eve when I was a teenager  and at that time in it's nightly rotation it was pointing straight up so whenever I see it like that I always think of Christmas Eve.  I know that Jesus most likely wasn't actually born on Christmas and there are many theories and hints in the Bible about when it actually happened but it is still fun to imagine Mary and Joseph that night under those same ancient stars. 

The next morning I always woke up way too early and regardless of how early it was my brother, who's room was across from mine, was always up before me creeping around the house.  Actually, he probably woke me up.  Most of our present opening on Christmas morning happened before the sun was up and then the whole routine started again as my mom's family appeared in the distance on the gravel road.  What a bunch of chaos, wonderful chaos.  At least it was for a child.  I don't diminish the work my mom did in having two separate parties in 24 hours.   And, actually, until I was in high school and even college, some of these celebrations happened at my grandparents' houses but I will always associate Christmas Eve with the farm.  I feel like there is no place more "Christmasy" to be than a farm in winter on Christmas Eve.  Now I get to share it with my kids, although it will probably be a few more years before they feel the significance.  Now all they care about is fighting and screaming.  They are fighting over a cup with SpongeBob Squarepants on it right now.  Sigh. 

Well, anyway, Merry Christmas everyone. 

 

Monday, December 21, 2015

New Mom-mobile

I keep forgetting to include a major update in our lives...we got a new vehicle!  Specifically, it is my new vehicle/mom-mobile.  My former Ford Explorer did not fit three car seats across the back seat and, although it did have a third row, it was very challenging to get a kid strapped in back there.  I had been driving Justin's pickup since Milo came along and we decided the time had come.  I am now the driver of a Ford Expedition EL (for extra long). 
 
This one is not ours.  It is clearly a stock photo.  However, ours looks like this, including the beige trim.  It is a 2014 and was a rental in California in it's former life. 
 
I grew up riding around in Expeditions.  My mom drove one of the first ones in our area back in 1997 and it seemed like people were in love with that thing everywhere we went. Now monster SUVs are everywhere I look but at the time they really weren't.  You saw the occasional Suburban but that's all I really remember.  Expeditions and their relatives were criticized as unnecessary gas guzzlers only owned by suburban sprawl soccer moms who had to have everything huge to keep up with the Joneses and but, in the words of my dad, "those people don't live here".  By "here", he meant a farm in North Dakota where it would take days for a snowplow to clear the gravel road to our house and where the same road would turn into an absolute river of rutted mud for weeks every spring.  And I can confirm that these beasts can plow through almost anything.  My new one climbs the icy hill leading to our cul de sac without a problem.  You wouldn't even know there was ice.  Last week there was about two feet of snow piled in front of the driveway from the snowplow and I drove right through it and didn't even feel a bump.   Back in the 90's it was definitely an improvement on the vans we had owned previously and their narrow little tires.  Now that I think about it, I drove our Expedition the day I took (and passed on the first try at the age of 14!) my driver's test. 
 
I can't believe I haven't even photographed my new vehicle yet!  I just don't have time for that nonsense!  That wasn't always the case, as you can see from this photo of me from 2004 when I got a new Ranger to replace my old Ranger.  I leased so I had a new one every two years. This was taken after my Grandparents' 50th Anniversary party and my parents drove the new one to me and took the old one home.

 
The general consensus would probably be that the young woman in this picture is cute enough and probably a silly and fun person but if I tried to pose with my vehicle now as a 32 year old mom of three it would look downright stupid so I will spare you.  If I was being authentic I would have to be manhandling my 40 lb. double stroller into the back or something.  By the way, that dress is still in my closet.  If I remember correctly it is bias cut which means there is a 100% chance that I would look like lumpy sausage if I tried to put it on now.  Maybe I will keep it around so Tessa can wear it as a Halloween costume some day. 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Updates from Crazytown

This post is nothing but some pictures from my phone and the stories behind them.  Don't worry, none of them are of me!  They are all of the kids and one is of Allan (you know you want it!).

 
This was taken in the store I love to hate a.k.a. Walmart.  Tessa and Milo and I were buying some weekly necessities and unnecessities (I don't think that's a word) including but not limited to Andes mint chocolate chips and hot dogs.  Tessa insisted on walking (ugh) and ended up choosing this canister of assorted sprinkles that was conveniently placed at her eye level.  She was so proud of them that I let her buy them. They are pink and blue baby themed so everyone in the family can look forward to some interesting cookies at Christmas.

 
Who can resist a cat who has contorted himself into a too small box?

 
It seems that Ben ha grown an inch overnight based on the way his 3T pants look.  I'm kind of embarrassed that he went out in public like this but it was just to the drop in day care at the Y which is a parade of "my mom gives up" fashion. There is usually at least one kid in the room wearing pajamas or a tattered Halloween costume so a boy in clown pants is hardly noticeable.

 
I included this picture because she's cute. 

 
Yesterday was my MOPs Christmas party and we had an ugly sweater theme.  I wore a 90's monstrosity that my mom bought from Casual Corner which is a long defunct store that was in the Columbia Mall in Grand Forks.  Milo wore this adorable shirt but ended up sleeping through the whole two hour party in his car seat so no one saw it anyway so now you all get to see it!

 
Winter has blown in and now it is cold like a normal December and not 63 degrees like last week so I started using this car seat cover.  He seems to like it. 

 
This is from a week or two ago.  Ben lined his cars up along the railing and I was impressed that he kind of put them in order of color.  I don't think he did it on purpose but it still looks pretty cool.  I love a nice color gradient.  I am a very type B  person who tries to get organized by making lists and then forgets about the list but I have managed to maintain a rainbow system of organizing the clothes hanging in my closet for several years.  Colors speak to me!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Fit Us for Heaven to Live With Thee There!

Does anyone know where the verse I the title is from?  It is from the third verse of "Away in a Manger".   Since my early piano playing days I have always enjoyed playing Christmas music from a hymnal the most and I love the more obscure verses if all the well known songs.  Often, they contain the real meaning of Christmas.  I thought "Away in a Manger" was a perfect song to be played at Milo's Baptism, which was held this weekend.  Justin wished to have it at Hoff Lutheran Church, which was the church of his family where his dad attended in his youth and where his dad and many other relatives are buried.  The church is located in a sparsely populated area of Northeastern North Dakota and they were glad to have us there. 
 

The old church was beautiful and familiar in the way that most of the old churches of my youth are.  I think I read a story awhile back about how the same wood craftsman build the alters in most of the churches in Eastern ND and this one certainly looks like the others I have seen.  When Tessa saw it she said "castle!" and it did look very regal in there.  You can't see it but the domed ceiling above us is painted gold. 

 
 We were glad to have Milo's sponsors and the rest of our families with us that day even though it was quite an excursion to get there and the service was at 9:00 a.m. 

Milo was the perfect baby that day.  He is the first of the kids not to soil multiple garments on the day of his baptism and he kept his little suit perfectly white.  He wore the same outfit that Justin wore for his baptism and it is a good thing the service was when it was because the snap barely met at the bottom!  He's getting big fast! 

 
The other kids were...OK...I have to defend them by pointing out that we had barely slept since Thursday due to an early football game on Saturday and Tessa having a quick and violent stomach virus on Thursday night and all day on Friday (so much vomit!) but it didn't make the day any easier.  They were very civilized during church but afterwards Tessa hit a wall and utilized every toddler fit throwing mechanism in the book. These included the full body floor fling, the pterodactyl scream and the superman plank.  My ears are still ringing.
 
 
She looks innocent doesn't she? It's the evolutionary cuteness defense mechanism that babies of all species use to make it to adulthood!

 
Milo with his Great Grandma Irene.

 
We all enjoyed his cake.  
 
It was a nice day and I'm glad we did the Baptism at Hoff and that Milo can be part of the history of that place.  Hoff, like countless churches similar churches whose distant steeples can be seen as you drive around the countryside, has a dwindling congregation.  It is kept operational by members who care enough about it to clean and maintain it and make it possible for services and events to happen.  I get a feeling of sadness for places.  When I was in there I imagined the years of important events and routine Sunday services that happened here.  I'm sure there were weddings and confirmations where every pew was full and the glow of candles on Christmas Eve when pews full of excited kids fidgeted and waited to open gifts with their cousins later.  I could almost hear the women talking and laughing in the basement kitchen.  Just like the church I attended growing up feels so familiar and comforting when I walk through the doors, this church holds those feelings for so many people and now those days are mostly gone and there is nothing to be done about it. 

 
I hope Hoff remains indefinitely.  It is clear that someone cares about it very much because it was very well maintained. 

 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Visitng Santa and Other Christmas Magic

The Christmas buildup has started, although the pretty white snow has turned into a brown Christmas and today it is currently 63 degrees.  Yeah for real.  I thought it was about 55 and I just looked at my weather app and it says 63.  Maybe we will go outside and play with sidewalk chalk when Tessa wakes up.  Or not, since it will probably be dark out already.  These temperatures don't feel very Christmas-y but I guess it's good.  The longer the dead of winter stays away, the better. 

I have been trying to do fun and festive things with the kids but, to my dismay, they only want to watch Paw Patrol and Curious George and I haven't been able to get them interested in many Christmas movies.  We have been reading Christmas books but they just want to read the same one over and over (Little Blue Truck's Christmas, if you are interested...it has a light up Christmas tree at the end!) Also, we took a trip to the mall for our annual Santa visit two nights ago.  Ben was really excited and Tessa thought she was until...


In their defense, we got there right after Santa left for his break and we had to kill time around the mall for 45 minutes.  For me on my own this would be a dream come true.  Oh, please, don't make me meander around the mall!  NO!  One summer when I was in college I was messing around the mall in the morning before work and bad weather was brewing and I ended up locked in the mall for a short time because of an imminent threat of a tornado.  There is no place I would rather be in that situation! 
 
Anyway, by the time we were able to see Santa the kids, especially Tessa, were getting out of sorts and it didn't help that the indoor play area is right next to the Santa set.  She just wanted to play and go down the slide instead of waiting in line so she was worked up into fit throwing mode.  And who do you think she was reaching for in the picture?  Me, of course.  I don't know what Ben's deal was.  He was very excited to see Santa.  I think kids get a bit intimidated sometimes when they are in his presence!  My favorite child in this photo though is Milo.  Babies are so cute. 
 
Once they were off the lap both kids managed to tell Santa what they wanted.  Tessa said "Paw Patrol presents" and Ben said a garbage truck which was not the answer he had rehearsed.  He also was planning to ask for Paw Patrol something or another but the kid in front of us in line was talking about wanting a garbage truck so I think he copied him.  We didn't get him a garbage truck so I am waiting to see if it comes up again before going and buying one.  I guess it is probably the only kind of truck and vehicle he doesn't have...
 
I forgot to share some of my Christmas d├ęcor in the previous post.  Mainly, I forgot about this cat pillow. 

 
This is a hokey 90's era homemade pillow that my grandma made for the granddaughters when we were kids.  As a typical 90's country household with several good sewers in the family and a culture of craft fairs and bazaars in the area these types of items were plentiful when I was growing up.  A few months ago when we were preparing to demolish the old place most of these items went in the bonfire or to the big fundraising rummage sale in town but I spared this one.  Of course I did...it's a pillow with cats in Santa hats!  And two of the cats look like Allan and the other one looks like Rascal, my beloved childhood pet!
 
How cute are these?  I love finding these little frames every Christmas and hanging them on the tree.  I'm the kids will like seeing their baby ornaments as they get older and help decorate.

 
What a cute assortment of babies to hang on the tree! 
 
I received this rug as a gift last year and I was pleasantly surprised to find it with the Christmas decorations this year with the tags still and on and ready to use.  I like the bold colors and it kind of makes me want to replace the faded lemon printed run that usually is in this spot. 

 
I guess Tessa likes it too! 
 
Finally, I have to share my favorite of the Elf on the Shelf antics this year.  So far, anyway.  OK, I mean ever.  I don't think I will top this one!
 
 
After the Santa adventure I was inspired to take some Christmas pajama pictures in front of the tree. Yeah, I know.  I probably could have saved that for another night but the pictures turned out cute actually.  
 








 
That ornament has Ben's handprint on it.


 
What are you worried about?





 
 

Monday, December 7, 2015

Milo at 2 Months Old

I couldn't believe it last night when we were eating supper and I realized that it had been two months since that strange night I went into labor.  As of 1:18 this morning, Milo is now two months old.  I think that means he's not a newborn anymore!  What a nostalgia inducing thought...although it's been a few weeks since they've been worn anyway it's time to accept that the newborn clothes need to be packed up and actually the three month clothes are getting small.  Sigh. 
 
People always ask if he's a "good baby" and of course no baby should be called "bad" but he really is good.  He sleeps all night and he has not yet destroyed an outfit from a diaper-splosion.  He kind of just goes with the flow through all the chaos that surrounds him. 
 
Here is a picture of him I just took before I went to get the computer. 
 
 
He has started showing lots of different facial expressions and he is getting "talkative" with the baby sounds.  It's pretty cute.  These are the days when the newborn fog lifts and the real fun starts. 
 
Here are a few recent pictures from my phone that show some of his cute faces. 



 
That Duplo creation there is what Ben and Tessa call a "cake".  They love to make cakes with the big flat pieces.  Milo didn't really care for his cake I guess! 

 
"Hello, Mother..."
 
I took the next few pictures last night.  I wanted to capture how he his starting to fill out (and lengthen out of) his clothes. 
 

 
Smiley boy!

 
These baby days sure are fleeting.  I was able to return to the gym today because he is now old enough for the drop in care.  I made it quick and he slept the whole time so I feel better about that now.  Hopefully we can make a new routine and get out of the house more now.  He has his two month appointment on Wednesday so it will be fun to see how much he has grown.