Monday, December 31, 2007

New Year's Eve Day

So far, I'm having one of those days where nothing is going the way I planned. And, that's okay. A and I were supposed to be working from home today, but R was sick all day yesterday and still had a teensy fever this morning, so we kept him home. So we're taking turns working and hanging with the boy, who of course made a miraculous recovery and is climbing the walls, jumping around, and screeching at the top of his lungs. Right now is my turn to work, but the flinging-flanging server I'm trying to access is so slow that I can't do what I need to. I really had to get this part of my work done today because I need to then focus on preparing for my employees' reviews. But I'm starting to get used to never getting anything done on time!

I felt so bad for R yesterday - he was so sad and achey and tired. (In the middle of the night, he woke up and asked me, "Mommy - is something wrong with me? I'm all sweaty!") But at the same time, it was really nice because he just wanted to cuddle and nap with me all day. How many chances will I get for that ever again? He didn't really even want to watch TV or play trains (that's how we knew how sick he was). In the middle of the day, we both fell asleep on the couch for a few hours. Later, A took my temperature just as a joke and we discovered that I had a fever, too. So I guess I needed the sleep just as much as R!

I'm not sure what's on tap for tonight. Last year, we got together with R's friend A and her parents but they may not want to be around the recently recovered sickies. A said he bought some champagne, though, so if I make it to midnight, we can celebrate. Or, maybe we'll celebrate at 9 pm with whatever city across the globe is actually welcoming 2008.

Happy New Year to all of you! I'm very excited for 2008 - it just feels like it's going to be a great year. New babies are coming for friends, we're having our all-family vacation in August to celebrate my mom's 60th birthday, and it's another year of discovery and fun with R and another year of walking with the Lord. I can't wait to see what else is in store for me! :-)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Merry Christmas!

We had such a wonderful Christmas weekend! It was a whirlwind of food and friends. On Monday, we visited my dad in the afternoon for a delicious lunch. On the way to his house, "The Little Drummer Boy" by Bing Crosby and David Bowie came on the radio. A and I love that version. When it got to the part, "I pray my wish will come true, for my child and your child, too," the tears welled up in my eyes. I was just overcome with love and thanks for my boys. They are the only presents I've ever needed or wanted.

After my dad's, we headed to Edaville Railroad to meet up with lots of our friends for the lights display, rides, and a train ride. It was magical! First up was the ferris wheel. Here are some views from atop the wheel:

When I wasn't clenching my jaw in fright because R was wriggling around in the seat, I was able to crack a smile for a nice family photo. :-)

I went on the Jolly Caterpillar ride with R. A took him on the space capsule and flying elephant rides.

The best part, of course, was the train ride. We managed to squeeze all 15 of us onto one car. R and his friend Z chatted together and had their faces pressed against the windows the whole time in absolute wonder at the lights. It was so sweet.

After a few more rides, we headed indoors to warm up and to try out the "cranberry" ball pit (the whole park is surrounded by cranberry bogs) and a walk-through maze.

This was our second year going to Edaville at Christmastime, although our first on Christmas Eve. It's definitely going to be a yearly tradition for us!

After several days of keeping R up late, we were blessed with a somewhat late morning on Christmas Day. R ended up in our bed and opened his eyes at 8am. He rolled over, gave me a huge smile and a sweet little kiss and said, "Mehwy Cwistmas!" And, once again, we could have just given him his stocking and he would have been completely happy. He loved the train ornaments we got him, and he hasn't parted with them since he opened them.

We really did make an effort to limit the number of presents this year, but we forgot to take into consideration the gifts from family and friends. R was a bit overwhelmed by it all, but he got really great gifts that are all things we can play with together as a family. Next year, I think we'll probably just get him one big gift and then if we're tempted to get anything else, we'll save them for his birthday.

I was very proud of how little waste we created, though. I was inpsired this year by another blogger who wrapped all of her family's gifts in pieces of fabric. I didn't have any fabric remnants around, so we used R's old baby blankets and some kitchen twine. It made me feel so good not to have a huge garbage bag of ripped-up paper to throw out afterwards.

One of our favorite gifts for R was an extension kit for the marble maze we got him for his birthday last year. I highly recommend these things. We have so much fun together with them - creating different maze designs, constructing it, and then feeding the marbles in and watching them go around and around. It's mesmerizing.

It was a lovely, mellow Christmas. I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas, too!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Snow and cold

It snowed AGAIN yesterday. What was predicted to be 1-2 inches and then changing to rain ended up being 6 inches (and no rain)! I'm starting to panic a little bit about the rest of the winter being like this. But R is in heaven. He helped me shovel, and we had SO much fun visiting his friend Z. Mostly they played trains inside, but once we convinced them to go outside, we all had a blast.

R will eat snow non-stop if we let him.

Z's mom and I built the snowman while the boys jumped off snow cliffs. I cannot remember the last time I made a snowman - it was probably in the 1970s! It was so much fun and the boys loved it. They found the sticks for the arms, begged Z's mom to get a carrot for his nose, and then were very excited to have their picture taken with their new, snowy friend.

After some sledding and more snow eating, R was lured back inside by Z's incredible train layout and the promise of hot chocolate. After cocoa and snacks, the boys burned up their energy by jumping off the couch.

R's school got out early today for the holiday break, so A took him sledding with one of his classmates while I was home working. Tonight, we headed to the zoo to see their light display and ride some kiddie rides. First up was the all-important train. R loved it despite what he looks like in this picture. He was just so cold!

R and I rode the carousel together. He was getting really sad about how cold he was, so we decided to make funny faces every time we passed by Daddy.

A took R on the spinny tea-cup ride. Of course, R loved it and wanted to go on it again, but we decided to high-tail it back to the car to defrost and head home.

I think R was the coldest he's ever been. The poor guy was a little freaked out by how cold his toes were, especially the part where they hurt as they were warming back up again. Next year, we'll go on a warmer night.

This was our fourth year taking him to the zoo at Christmastime. The first three years he had his picture taken with Santa. And, as much as I don't want to emphasize Santa, I was kind of hoping for another Santa picture just so we could see the progression. We did stand in the picture line for a few minutes tonight, but then R decided he didn't want to see Santa. He wanted A to lift him up to see him, which he did, but then R was satisfied and requested that we move along. So we didn't push it. On the way home tonight, R said: "I really liked when I saw Santa and he didn't see me." But he said it in a very sweet, smiley way - almost like it was sort of magical and special for him.

Tomorrow, we're off to get R a badly needed haircut, then we're braving the mall. Ugh. I thought I was going to get through the season without entering a mall, but I have to get a few stocking stuffers for A and R. Hopefully we can get our butts into gear early enough to get a parking space closer than outer Mongolia. :-)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Today's Good Things (and then some pictures)

Today's Good Things
  • 7.5 hours of sleep!

  • An easy, happy drop-off for R at school

  • Checking email to find wonderful comments from my loving family!

  • Sunshine to melt some of the ice and snow

  • Working from home all day with A

  • A short line at the post office

This is the view of the snow from my kitchen window, as I mentioned yesterday (please disregard the mess in the sink! No comments unless you would like to buy us a dishwasher...):

Isn't that hilarious? (For those who've never been to my house, my kitchen window overlooks a little attached shed. So it's not THAT deep, but still!) We have close to two feet of snow on the ground now.

Here are some pics from a week ago when we decorated our tree. First, the bare tree (except for A's paper rocket at the top):

Then, R found the camera. He's getting pretty good at taking pictures (and yelling at us to "make funny faces!").

Another picture taken by R:

The finished product!

And, here's our gingerbread train. I had SO much fun with this. R saw the kit advertised in the King Arthur Flour catalog, and I couldn't resist. He lost interest after we stopped letting him eat the candy, but I wouldn't rest until we got every piece of candy on the thing.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

So tired

I haven't had much time to post this week. Work has been very stressful and is taking over my entire life again. A and I have been working a big project together (for work) for weeks now, and almost every night we're working until 1 or 2 a.m. Then, I get up at 7, take a shower while R sobs because I'm not paying attention to him, miss breakfast so I can catch the bus, arrive late to work anyway, work on the project all day while having to ignore the other two big parts of my job, come home, feed R, put him to bed, and start working again until the wee hours.

I'm feeling very burnt out. I have no time to talk to my family, barely even to leave comments on their blogs. (But at least we have those to stay in touch!) Our Christmas preparations are making me crazy, too, mostly because there is just no time to do anything. And, then we had two HUGE snowstorms (on Thursday and today). This morning I laughed out loud when I opened the kitchen blinds and could only see out of the top half of the window because the snow was piled up so high. Poor R was cooped up all day today in the house because the snow turned to rain, so it was a mess outside. BUT he did get to go sledding yesterday, which was fun.

Anyway, I know I'll get through it all and in another week, I'll have a couple of days off for Christmas, so that will be lovely. I just wanted to post and say where I've been.

Tonight I'm going to bed at 10:30 no matter what. I must get some good sleep!

Saturday, December 8, 2007


R quote of the day: While putting on his jammies, R looked down at his chest and announced, "I have my own boobs!"

Something momentous has happened: A and I have found a babysitter!!!! A's friend's daughter is 13 and has been interested in sitting for R for awhile, but she wanted to take a babysitting course first. She also worked with the little kids at her camp over the summer. But we started her off easy - she and her dad came to hang out with R this afternoon for a couple of hours while A and I did some Christmas shopping. R was waving goodbye to us before we even had our coats on, so he was FINE. They had a good time together. And, this angel sent from God is going to watch R again one night this week so A and I can go to our company's holiday party. After that, we're hoping to have her sit for us once a month so that A and I can start having regular dates of some sort. We are so excited! It's great, too, because she lives just a few blocks away from us, so her mom and dad are really close by if there was ever a problem.

And, now for something completely different: I discovered a new way to get R to eat more vegetables. One night, I was kidding around with him and told him to open his mouth. Then I tried to toss in a tiny piece of broccoli. I missed a few times, hitting him in the cheek, nose, and chin while he laughed hysterically, and then I got it in and he gobbled it up and asked me to do it again. (I tried to make the pieces small enough that he wouldn't choke on them if I accidentally got it down his throat.) This method has worked for a week now, and R has even grabbed and eaten huge broccoli florets in between the ones I toss in. Woohoo! I'm sure he'll catch onto me soon, though.

Enjoy your Saturday night!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Cuteness and clutter

Quotes from R this week:

After seeing our town's Christmas lights display: "It's so beautiful, it makes me cry! Boohooohoo!" (with fake crying noises)

After seeing a crazy Christmas display at one house that had at least 10 different huge blow-up poofy thingies (snowmen, Snoopy, Santas, etc.): "I'm so excited that I can't express!"

When I got up to take a shower this morning: "Don't go, Mommy! I'll be so lonely!"

R and I had a nice day yesterday together. We played trains, went to the Museum of Science and the library, and then came home to decorate our mini Christmas trees (I have three). R was really into it, which made me so happy. I let him have one of the trees for his room, and he put all the teeny tiny ornaments on it all by himself.

Also, this week - R started putting his clothes (including his socks) on by himself! He was SO proud to show us. And, we of course were very, very proud as well. :-)

This weekend we'll be getting our Christmas tree (and decorating it), assembling our gingerbread train kit, baking cookies, and checking out more Christmas lights. Yay!

I can't remember if I've asked this before ... what do you do with your kids' drawings/paintings/etc.? Piles of R's artwork have completely taken over every surface of my office, my office closet, the kitchen, the living room, etc. I don't know what to do with it all! I've framed some of our favorite pieces and hung them up at home and at work. Do I start throwing it out? I haven't been able to bring myself to do that yet. How do you store it all?

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Making traditions

Now that R is a little older, I'm trying to create some Christmastime traditions. I'm not very original - most of what I've come up with is from my own childhood.

Advent. I couldn't find what I wanted at the crafts store to make an Advent wreath, so I bought two pine swag candleholders (each holds two candles) and the traditional Advent candles (three purple, one pink) to improvise. I have several Advent calendars from years past, including a Playmobil one that my mom sent for R last year. It's really cool because each day on the calendar has a little cardboard box that holds a tiny piece of a Christmas play set. (I'll take pictures tomorrow...) I filled all the boxes tonight after R went to bed. I have a huge "Christmas Treasures" leather-bound book that has all kinds of readings and carols in it - scripture, selections from all kinds of different Christmas stories (like "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens). We had the same one at my house growing up and read from it every night for Advent.

So, tonight after dinner, we lit one of the Advent candles and I read the Christmas story from the chapter of Luke while A wrestled a squirming, yelling, laughing R. Then, A and I sang "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" while R simultaneously sang "Charlie on the MTA." R did take an interest in opening the #1 window on one of my Advent calendars. Then, he blew out the candle and asked me, "Are we all done?" He actually seemed sad it was over. So, maybe tomorrow night he'll listen a little more. :-)

Excursions. During the month of December, we're going to try to do the following three activities (two of these we've already been doing for a couple of years now):

  • The Zoo - The zoo near us has a special "ZooLights" event where they light up the grounds with lights, and you can have your picture taken with Santa. It's nice to walk around to see the animals and the lights, and the Santa pictures are very inexpensive (especially compared to the ones with the mall Santa!). We don't really talk about or encourage Santa belief at our house, but the pictures are cute and R seems more interested in riding the little train at the zoo than anything else anyway.

  • Edaville Railroad - This is R's idea of paradise: kiddie rides, Christmas lights, fireworks, and a ride on an old-fashioned steam train. We went last year just before Christmas, and R was so full of awe and wonder that it brought tears to my eyes. So we'll definitely be doing this again, and we'll probably be going with a couple of his friends to make it even more special.

  • Lasalette Shrine - We're hoping to do this this year, even though I haven't actually been in EONS. My mom and stepdad took me a very long time ago, and I remember really loving it (10 aces of Christmas lights!). I hope R will enjoy it.

That's what I've got for now, besides driving around to look at lights at night, decorating the tree and house together, opening one gift on Christmas Eve, and having a special breakfast on Christmas Day.

R is a little young this year, but next year I'm hoping to get the whole family involved in some kind of volunteer/service project. There was an opportunity to do something through my work this year, but I just can't imagine us being very helpful with R running around like a crazy boy.

We're really trying to tone down the presents this year. A and I agreed to get R only two large gifts and then some stocking stuffers. It's really hard not to go crazy and buy tons of things, but so far we're sticking to our plan. And, I don't think R will even notice. I don't want Christmas to be about a giant present-opening orgy. I'm really hoping that these activities we've planned will become traditions and that they'll be what R treasures about this time of year later in his life. My mom did this for me and my sisters when we were growing up, and it's that that makes me break down and cry every time I hear certain Christmas carols. My mom made Christmas so special. I miss you, Mom! But I've got you with me in my heart as I try to pass on these things to my little R.

Happy Saturday night!