Monthly Archives: November 2012

It’s starting to look like Christmas over here.

I decided that it would be nice to go ahead and get the decorations up. Last year we waited until after Finn’s birthday (December 3) because I didn’t want all the Christmas stuff out for his birthday, but we’re not having his party at our house this year so up went the décor.

We watched Elf and had a picnic on the living room floor.



Well, the kids watched Elf and had a picnic on the living room floor.

I’m not quite finished, but there’s enough to feel like we’re making progress and get the kids excited about Christmas. Although Mia did ask if we were having Christmas in the morning. When I said no, she said “but the tree is up.” Yeah, we’re going to need some kind of advent calendar to make it through the month.

Mia wanted to put popcorn garland on the tree because she had seen it in one of her books. I was all for it and thought it was a great idea.


Until I realized how stinkin’ long it takes to make. I have never done this before and just didn’t realize how time consuming it is. I think I was stringing popcorn and cranberries all afternoon…. I lost my helper soon after that picture, by the way.


But I do love how it looks. Good idea, Mia.


The tree – minus a star and a skirt because we don’t have either one. Those may have to be projects for after the party though. This tree is fairly new to us, although probably only my mom would wonder why that tree looks different than years past. We used to have a huge 9ft tree that was beautiful and so, so full. But it was one of those branch by branch assembly ones that took forever to put together and then forever to put the lights on [it literally took us all evening to do]. This one may not be as nice but the 5 minute assembly make it all worth it.  Maybe one year I’ll be able to have nice decorations, or heck even just normal ball ornaments spread out a little better instead of having to cluster all the breakable ones towards the top. [Because Finn + round, breakable, items = no bueno] Then again, it is fun to look at the bottom of the tree and see ornaments all bunched together because that’s how Mia likes it.

The kids got their trees up, too.


Mia always loves for the lights to go on her bed too.

And here’s Finn’s.


He’s having a really hard time looking at that ball and not being able to hold it. We get the kids an ornament every year and try to find something that is representative of their year (Mia’s was a chick-fil-a cow last year) and we could easily get him one just like it again this year (his party is a ball theme) but I’m thinking we’ll get him a car. Then he’ll really have a hard time staying away. I can here it now… cahhhh, bawwww, cahhhh, bawwww.

Christmas is so fun. Remind me of that later when I’m running around stressed out.


We made a quick road trip to spend Thanksgiving with family. It’s always fun to see the kids playing with their cousins. And play they did. Inside, outside, and they even had a birthday party!

Mia was so excited to dress up in a real princess dress.


Although it’s too bad that you can’t tell how excited she was…

Pretty sure she had that dress on 75% of the time.


Finn didn’t even care that he was the only boy at a Tangled party. As long as there’s cake, he doesn’t care. He makes a good Flynn Rider.


We made Birthday Girl Ruby a Rapunzel hair bow holder.



She did a great job modeling it.


There was lots of music…








[or problem-solving…Grandpa and I finally gave up on that train track…our building time was very disproportionate to the child’s attention span so we had to know when to throw in the towel – basically, when you look around and there aren’t any children left.]


…and relaxing.




Finn, hanging out with the guys.


Breakfast and cartoons at the hotel.


The weather was beautiful Thanksgiving Day, so we spent a good amount of time outside.

This just cracks me up…



  Finn was all about conquering every part of the play set:



Check out those facial expressions…Finn was crazy good on those things, considering his age. Kind of glad our play set doesn’t have them. Not sure I could handle him on them all the time.


Finn loves little brooms and spent a long time following Uncle Rich around “raking” leaves. So cute…




And then enjoying all that hard work



 It was a fun trip and now we’re home and getting ready to transition into Christmas mode. Mark and I are having date night in tonight, but first on the list is figuring out the December plan.  Maybe I should make some coffee before we have our meeting…pretty sure lining things out is going to make me tired, especially since we’re going to kick off the month with Finn’s party on the 1st.  Told you, we’re hitting the ground running in December. Hope you can keep up.

Finding the balance…

I can tell we’re entering the holiday season because with all the prep for birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, traveling, presents (many/most of which we’re trying to make ourselves), and a little bit of sickies thrown in (nothing major, just colds), I feel like I’m either running around feeling like I’m two steps behind where I should be or sitting down to make yet another list.

I’m trying to slow down, though. All those things above are great (except for the sickness, of course) and we’re going to try to do them all and have a great time doing them. However, we may not do every single item on the list for each one. I’ve decided that I’m marking a line in the sand and saying I’m not going over that (and into insanityville).

  • Finn will have a birthday party. It will be fine if I don’t do every single detail that I envision in my head. He’s a two year old boy. Pretty sure he’s not going to really care.
  • I wanted to do some great Thanksgiving-ish type crafts with the kids. Yeah, hasn’t happened. So maybe instead we still focus on thankfulness but lump it in as car material when we’re on the road. Meaningful and sanity-saving. This could be a good plan.
  • Christmas…oh, Christmas. I feel the tug every year. I feel the pull to do lots of fun stuff without getting sucked into the materialistic/busyness of it all. So, while we’ll still do the fun things like seeing the lights and decorating the tree and drinking hot chocolate and opening presents, we’re going to trim the list if we have to because we want to capture the wonder and the awesomeness of the meaning of Christmas and help the kids walk through Advent with a sense of anticipation. I’ve spent several weeks thinking through Advent and what types of things/activities we could do with the kids to make it meaningful but also fun. (If you have any ideas on that, let me know)

Yeah, so all good stuff. Also, all good lessons in balance and prioritizing and realizing that sometimes I have to just stop and enjoy.

Today, while Finn was taking a nap – usually prime time for me to be getting stuff done – Mia wanted to kick a ball around. So we did. For quite a while we stood near the door and took turns trying to score goals. I had a mountain of laundry to fold, but I got to spend some time just with Mia, hearing her giggle, and seeing how proud she was of herself. That doesn’t happen often enough, unfortunately. I’ve been feeling like she gets ignored quite a bit lately. We’re having to retrain Finn on sleeping (stinking big boy bed) so naps are a very time consuming part of my day where Mia kind of gets left to do her own thing. Mommy guilt has been pretty big because of that, but today was good. Yes, the laundry is still there but I can also still see her huge smile as she got some solid, individual attention today… It was good to spend time with her, scoop her up , put her on my lap and show her that no matter what, I choose her. Hopefully she’ll remember that…but I still have a lot of growing to do in that area, for sure.

So…here’s to a fun couple of weeks with a healthy balance of meaningful, purposeful, fun activities with a good dose of soccer games in the entryway.