Friday, December 30, 2011

Friday Five

1. The holiday decor is put away, and now our house looks so plain in contrast. I don't want to go nuts with tchotchkes, but we definitely need to accessorize around here.

2. Tomorrow is our first New Year's Eve here in Portland. We're not partying it up, which is not our style anyway, but we will get to catch up with some friends. I'm very much looking forward to it.

3. December has been an near-record dry month here, but the past few days are certainly making up for it. The rain coat I ordered from Lands End can't get here soon enough.

4. Brent is on vacation this week, and we had planned to take a daytrip to a local ski area so Em could experience her first snow. However, it's been raining on top of the snow, as well as something we'd never heard of, called "graupel." We'll hold off for a better weekend to check out.

5. Em has a rare but terrifying habit of bolting off in public. It's happened on our neighborhood walks, in the bookstore, at the craft store -- and while I'm always quick to catch her, it scares me to no end. I've started explaining stranger danger, and she's taken it to heart. "What could happen if you run away, Em?" "I could get hurt. Someone could take me. Mommy and Daddy would be very sad. I'd be sad, too." Ugh, it hurts me  to even have to think about it, but it's a very important part of this whole parenting gig.

So sad

Thursday, December 29, 2011

If we took a holiday, took some time to celebrate

Oh, Christmas 2011, I already miss your face.

Christmas Eve began with Buddy, our elf, bidding Em adieu. Despite my annoyance with the AEF, our family certainly enjoyed Buddy's little shenanigans. Admittedly, I got a little sad setting him up for his last day, but I think it was a sweet good-bye. (Em did, too, for what it's worth, and she's even inquired about his whereabouts a few time since his departure.)

IMAG1848

Buddy's good-bye note 

That night after we got our protesting kid to bed -- seriously, Santa was thiiiiis close to leaving coal in her stocking based on that evening alone -- Santa stopped by, with a buttload of gifts from Senior Santas (my in-laws), too.
Christmas 2011 

The evening I wrapped this Rapunzel doll shortly after I'd seen this one at Chelsey's daughter's party.
Scariest present 
Mine turned out much less heartwarming and much more gonna-smother-you-while-you-sleep.

Em didn't care, though.

She was happy to rip everything open.
Christmas 2011 

Her one gift request this year was a penguin, but she went back and forth between asking for a BIG penguin and a tiny penguin, so Santa brought her both.
Christmas 2011 

Santa also brought her two play dwellings, which she can't get enough of.
Christmas 2011 

She's also addicted to her new Don't Break The Ice game, or as Em calls it, the "bam-bam-bam game!" She also managed to kick every adults' butt in the game.
  Christmas 2011

Christmas 2011

Christmas 2011 

And even when she "lost," she exclaimed, "WE WON!"

Although Brent and I have been together for nearly 13 years, Christmas Day dinner was the first meal I'd ever made for my in-laws. I wanted to go all out, so I braved a turkey, scalloped potatoes, Brussels sprouts,  bread and pie. The bread and pie were premade, but still! I also tackled a mushroom pot pie especially for my brother-in-law. Brent, god bless him, suggested we place the finished pot pie under the broiler for a minute or two. I protested but finally gave in, only to have the pot pie pastry crust topping CATCH ON FIRE. I would've cried if I weren't too busy opening doors and windows and fanning our smoke detectors.

Brent was extra apologetic, and my brother-in-law even tasted and complimented the burnt crust that Brent had scraped off. Despite the drama, I think the dinner went well. I could've slapped some McNuggets on a plate with a side of ketchup and it would've still been great just because we were sharing it with our family.
Christmas 2011

Em might've enjoyed it a little more with McNuggest, actually, but we'll just say it was a case of exhausted-after-so-many-gifts-eeee-I-love-Christmas-so-much-itis.
Christmas 2011

Lest you think we forgot about the Hanukkah celebrations, here are three generations lighting the menorah. Em was particularly enamored by her grandfather's prayer skills. 
Hanukkah

Hope you all had a great holiday!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wordless{ish} Wednesday: Nap yoga

Can't knock it till I try it, I suppose.

Nap yoga 

  Linking up with The Paper Mama for Wordless{ish} Wednesday.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wordless{ish} Wednesday

I'm our resident Christmas expert, and Brent is in charge of Em's Hanukkah experience. Although this is technically Em's fourth Hanukkah, this is the first year that Brent is actively explaining its cultural significance to her. Well, as much as one can explain it to a 3-year-old.

Last night was the first of the eight-night celebration, so we lit the first candles on the menorah.
Em's first Hanukkah
Em, we're going to light the candles...

Em's first Hanukkah
FIRE!!! Ima just gonna stay over here, Daddy. 

Em's first Hanukkah
Light it up, but be careful not to set ablaze any of the million Christmas directions Mommy just *had* to have. 

 Em's first Hanukkah
There you have it! Oh, wait! There's more! 

How 'bout a little surprise to celebrate?
Em's first Hanukkah 
I'll close my eyes, Daddy!

Em's first Hanukkah 
A new book!

IMAG1823
Hey, even Buddy is getting into the spirit.

Happy Hanukkah, everyone!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Santa retrospective

Operation Visit Santa Without Freaking Out was a success!

Santa! 

In line she went back and forth between excitement and fear, but when her turn came, she was happy to see him. She was giddy about the coloring book he gave her, and I was pleased with the Gymboree coupon he gave me as it was a Santa sponsor. 

This visit was particularly exciting since multiple attempts last year did not pan out. She refused to get anywhere near the big guy, and would only watch from afar.
"Nope, Mommy. NO SANTA." 

The year before, when she had little concept of fear, went great. 
"Hey, Santa!" 

At a wee 2 1/2 months old, she could do nothing but sit there, looking stylish in her post-nap haze.
  Em's first Santa visit

Seeing all these visits together, it blows my mind how much she changes from year to year. Our baby is now a full-fledged little girl! 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Wordless{ish} Wednesday

Buddy, our elf on the shelf, has been busy.

Buddy takes public transportation 
Waiting for the bus 

  Chillin' on the mantel 
Enjoying our decor

  Stuck in snacks 
Stuck in the snacks
  
Beauty salon 
The Buddy, I mean, Beauty Salon

  Gone fishin' 
Gone fishin' 

  Elf donuts 
Buddy's elf donuts and milk for breakfast

 "My name is Buddy" 
Yo Buddy Buddy!

 Ninja school 
Ninja in training

Linking up with The Paper Mama for Wordless{ish} Wednesday

Belated Friday Five

Oh, hey, internets! Didn't mean to take a bloggy break, but I did, so there. How about a very belated Friday Five? We'll call it Tuesday...Twive

1. It feels like I have half a dozen or so unfinished craft projects, some of which I'm excited to share once they're done. Others? Probably best left unsaid.

2. Santa gave me my Christmas gift early, so I'm the proud new owner of a Keurig single-cup coffeemaker. I've had fun trying out traditional coffees, as well as hot apple cider and hot cocoa. I'll be picking up one of those reusable-with-your-own-grinds filters, too, but in the meantime I'm enjoying the little cups I have at the moment.

3. Holiday shopping for Em is dangerous. I'm scared to see how much loot I've picked up, and we still haven't figured out a "big" gift for her, which I know is not necessary but still something I'd like to do. We started off with a bike, but seeing as how it's regularly in the 30s here and will continue to get colder, it seems cruel to give her something she can't really use for a few months. Then we thought about a playhouse, which we could use here indoors until it's warm enough to put it outside. However, Senior Santas (aka my in-laws') got her a fun, cardboard, color-it-in house, so we might hold off on a more deluxe playhouse a while longer. Now I'm thinking about an upgraded dollhouse. Decisions, decisions.

4. Naptime revamping in the house. Em used to nap from 1-3, but then her bedtime protests started to go on for HOURS. However, on days she didn't nap, she'd go to bed just fine, no stalling. We're playing around with a shorter nap, which I stealthily get her to take on the couch. That way when it comes time to wake her up after an hour, I can simply get up and walk loudly or slyly bump her. This leads her to think that she's waking up on own, instead of getting pissed at me when I go to wake her up from her peaceful slumber in her bedroom. And she doesn't protest at bedtime. I'd like to think I'm winning some sort of mind-control parenting game, but I'm sure I'm the sucker in this situation.

5. Fuzzy socks! I can't get enough of the fuzzy socks this season! They keep me cozy and no need to hassle with slippers as I get on and off the couch. Groundbreaking stuff here, right?

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Wordless{ish} Wednesday

IMAG1638-1 
New "pretty dress" 

picplz_upload 
TJ's gingerbread man 

  Squirrel! 
Squirrel! 

  IMAG1595 
Driving

    Sweet talkin' Ken 
Barbie, stay far away from this one. There's a reason he's on clearance!

  Watchin' TV 
Favorite lounge spot 

  Hopscotch with the neighbors 
Hopscotch 

  Buddy's rough night 
Buddy's rough night

Linking up with The Paper Mama for Wordless{ish} Wednesday

Monday, December 05, 2011

On Dancer, On Prancer

The other day I lined the inside large window in our living room with some twinkle-light garland. The sun was about to set, so it was dark enough to notice the lights but light enough to still see outside.

Brent and Em headed to the store, so I decided to burn a few calories with the Dance Central game on our Xbox Kinect.

After a few songs I noticed out of the corner of my eye that one of our neighbor girls and her dad were making their way up the sidewalk to admire the lights in the window. The lights in the window I was dancing in front of, mind you.

What I thought I looked like as I was dancing:

What I suddenly realized I actually looked like:

Awkward, to say the least, but I had to get to that next level, yo!

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Oh Em Tree

I was excited when Brent proclaimed that this year we'd have our first real, live tree for Christmas. The last time I had a real tree was my sophomore year of college, and I adore them.

We picked up a 7-foot tree at a nearby lot tonight and set it up in our living room. After Brent and I finalized the strands of lights, we let Em loose on the ornaments.

By the third ornament Brent and I both realized that Em didn't understand the concept of spreading the cheer around the tree. So we decided to just see where she went with it.

Trimming the tree

"Here?"

Brent gave her a boost to top the tree with our star.
Star topper

Em was pleased with the outcome and exclaimed, "TA DA!"
Ta da! 

I'd love to leave it the way it is, but the ornaments are already starting to roll off from the weight on the branches. 
Bottom heavy
It really is a thing of beauty, though.