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Friday, November 30, 2007

Quality Friday, Already?

This week flew by. It might have had a little something to do with just how long last week felt. It was a quiet, but quick week.

Highlights of the week included:

Sunday night date with my husband. The weekend had been draining. From a long break of school, to an extended week with T and M, we needed a night out on Sunday, even if it just meant dinner, some quick Christmas shopping and a cup of coffee. Wonderful to reconnect sometimes, isn't it?Surprising my mom and dad for an early morning visit on Wednesday. We brought over some of our delicious Christmas treats. H has been in a reading mood this week. Love hearing both my mom and dad read books to H.

A visit to my most favorite teacher ever Mr. Gehrke. Him and H shared some fruit snacks and that definitely spoke H's love language.Meeting Kim, for coffee. Discovering just how small of a world it is.

Having my patience tested repeatedly as this child went from angelic bundle of joy.... this. Yes, he has marker on his face. Sharpie marker to be more specific. This was not the first, nor the worst. His attitude and behavior was much improved after a trip to the doctor to find out he has a sinus infection. Poor dear.
Laughing with my babe as he hid under his crib. Christmas shopping. Though I just began on Sunday with an online order and a few quick errands. I am totally ready and in the mood. It's on our Friday agenda too. Counting myself lucky that this year I can still shop with H as he has no clue what I'm buying or why. Next year might be a different ballgame.

Finding this photo on my camera. Weeks old, but it captures the love H has for T and M. He watches them longingly out the window.
Happy Quality Friday!
*If you haven't already noticed, I did a new 100 Things, and actually I've continued making changes to it up until today. So even if you already took a look, check again, you might learn some new things.*

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Christmas Traditions #2

Saturday morning found Miss M, myself and M's mom, Lori busy baking holiday cookies and treats. (H was there too, but no pictures to commemorate.) We had a great time and made a lot of cookies.

M and her mom rolling out the dough. The baking girl. Don't you love her little get-up?
Roll out cookies waiting to be decorated!
Decorating cookies (and maybe nibbling a little bit too.) Lori and I. Maddy and Mom.
Ta-Da. Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies, Roll Out Sugar Cookies and my personal favorite, Fudge. Yum!

I have to tell you, this was a highlight of my weekend last weekend and got me even more excited about Christmas. It was fun to sit in the kitchen, listen to Christmas music, drinking Caribou cocoa that Lori brought with her and chat about our Christmas traditions and families.

*What are some of your Christmas traditions? I'll be sharing several of mine (and ours) from now through Christmas and would love to know some of yours too...*

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Overheard at the Red Box.

For those outside of Minnesota, we've got these nifty video rental automated boxes. (Kind of like an atm.) The Red Box.

We are frequent customers as it's inexpensive and very convenient.

Recently, this is the conversation I overheard taking place at the Red Box:

"Which way do I slide my card?..."

"Oh Ok." Watching the demonstration on the screen.

"Is your zip code the thing that comes before your phone number or the thing that comes after your address?" Asking this to no one in particular.

"Umm sorry to eavesdrop but it's the thing that comes after your address." I answer as I don't want to be standing there all evening.

"Oh, ok." Pulls drivers license out of wallet, looks at license and types in zip code.

I kid you not.

It is things like this that really make me wonder.

Note to self, make sure kids know their zip code prior to being of movie-renting age.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Christmas Traditions #1

The Macy's Display.

For the last several years, M and I have had the tradition of having a "date" day in the Lost City. (AKA Downtown Minneapolis, but appropriately nicknamed the lost city.)

We typically trek down and visit the Macy's display, have lunch at City Center, shop around and pick a brand new ornament for our tree before heading home.

This year was no different, except for she invited H to come along. So rather than being just her and I, it was the three of us and while I did enjoy myself and both of them did too, I think that next year we'll return to making it a special day just her and I. Perhaps we can have a family visit/trip so that the boys can see too, but there is something about that time I've been able to spend with her in the past that I missed this year.

Another blunder on my part was that we went on November 11th. (Remember I got in the holiday mood early this year.) It opened on the 10th and with M being in all-day school now, there isn't a ton of opportunity to go besides evening and weekend time.

Last year we went a few days prior to Thanksgiving too and enjoyed the no-wait and no-crowds, but November 11th was just a little too early for me. Not even all the stores were ready for Christmas yet and the City Center tree wasn't even up yet.

This year's display is The Nutcracker and as always was a great story that came to life through the auditorium.
H, had a hard time sitting in his stroller, he really, really wanted us to let him loose. We actually went through two times, once with him strapped in the stroller and another time with him holding my hand.
Now that M is reading more it was fun to hear her read some of the sections aloud, or if I read it and inadvertantly skipped a word, she was there to call me on my errors.

Cookie time. Another fun part of the tradition.
Notice anything missing?!? Old news that I hadn't been able to share yet. She's missing a front tooth.
Though their facial expressions may be misleading, we did all have a great time. After our time in Macy's, we shopped around downtown and of course found our perfect ornament before heading home.

*What are some of your Christmas traditions? I'll be sharing several of mine (and ours) from now through Christmas and would love to know some of yours too...*

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thanksgiving-Water Park Style.

Yes, it's true that Thanksgiving '07 was spent at Grand Rios Water Park. We went Wednesday night and came home Friday.

While Thanksgiving has been celebrated in many different places and ways for me, including Jonkoping, Sweden one year, Athens, Greece the next, celebrating at a water park is close to the top of the list.

We went to the water park with my parents, both my older sister and her family, my little sister and her boyfriend and my uncle Richard. And hands down, we did of course have a blast. This was my mom's idea so that no one would have to worry about the cooking or the clean up and we could all be together for more than just one big meal.

Here's the honorary photos of the swimming. We did spend a lot of time at the pool and the indoor maze. The kids had a great time.

And we did of course have Thanksgiving dinner. All 14 of us! It was a very good dinner with way too much food but most of us still had room for pie. YUM!

Grandpa, H and Grandma. Just pretend the girl with the bangs in her eyes is not in the picture. Please.
Waiting to eat.
Adrianne (my little sister) and her boyfriend Joe. The kids fell in love with him.
The family.
Apparently Joe missed the first photo so we did it again. Family Take 2.

I hope that you all had nice Thanksgivings with your families and that you took the time to count your blessings. I know that I take far too much for granted every single day. I'm so thankful for so many things but sometimes I get caught up in life, and this world and forget my true purpose and the way I want my life to speak.

Thanks mom and dad for a great couple days at the water park. We had a great time and made wonderful memories. You're the best!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Just One More Thing To Be Thankful For.

While picking up hampers for laundry today I stumbled across something in T's bedroom. Not so unusual, as I typically stumble across things in both kids bedrooms that you'd never imagine but today, when I saw this, I couldn't stop smiling and had to share.

I can only imagine that he planned for it to read: "Dear Dad and Samara, We love both you and Samara. We will always love you and there will be nothing that you can do....that will make us stop loving you."

It made me smile and gives me again new appreciation that sometimes the things we say DO click.

Just one more thing I'm thankful for this Thanksgiving. The love I get for no reason at all and even when I don't deserve it. Thank you, T.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Holiday Home Tour 2007.

I love Christmas. I broke my own rules this year and got all our decorations out and set up over a week ago now. We've had Christmas music playing, candles burning and of course the tree lit and shining through the windows.

I love the warmth our home oozes during the holidays. It is my hope that it's a welcoming place and that our love of Christmas shines through not just our home but by our attitudes about the season. There is a reason for this season that is much more than Christmas trees, lights and presents. Each year we are working at making sure that the kids get the meaning and this year my word and goal for the season is 'giving'. More on that later.

For now, I'd like to give you the first annual holiday home tour. I'll be sharing our entry, living, dining room and kitchen, the rest of the house is still pretty normal and not much to share. Meaning, same old stuff, not Christmas-y.
(most all of the photos should enlarge when clicked on.) This is exactly what you see when you enter our home.
Look to your right and next to the door leading to the garage hangs T and M's school bags and coats.
And across from that is H's hook. Brand new this year.

You're standing at the top of the stairs looking towards the front door. Oooh.

Turn around and look at the living room. By the way, because my husband is always keeping me honest, I want you to know that our living room only looks like this (all toys put away, no backpacks, papers, books or magazines out) for about 10 minutes a day unless all the children are sleeping. It's true.
Not Christmas-y but do you see their cute pictures from last spring.
My homemade advent calendar hangs directly above a very special desk. This desk my grandmother got from an old-Catholic school over 50 years ago. My dad used it, my sisters and I used it and now it sits in our living room. It's just H's size and he's loving it. The red box has different items each season, currently there are felt ornaments that can be played with.
Dining room.
Again not Christmas-y, but here's my china and crystal. The blue picture framed inside is from our trip to Greece and in front of it sits my wedding bouquet.

This picture of the Lords Supper used to be my mom's dad (my grandpa), then it hung in my dad's office and now it hangs above our dining room table.

Snowden and our new nativity. I bought that at an after Christmas sale at The Baby Collection. The kids love this more age appropriate nativity. We have another, older nativity that we've moved up high that we keep up year round now, but this one is much better for kids. My kitchen. I'm bummed, neither of these pictures enlarge. Sorry.
Here are the stockings. No Santa here, just St. Nick who will visit on December 5th this year. Our Christmas card holders are in place, awaiting the first cards of the season.
This is one of my favorite parts of our house. The kids art and projects and then fun, candid photos. On the shelf above are glasses with each of our initials. Thank you Anthropologie. (I bought those this summer and still haven't decided if they should stay empty or if I should fill them with things like sand, beads...) We also have alot of P's around our house though you only see a couple. P is for POSTUMA!
In case you've ever wondered this is my work space. On the left is my first published piece as a freelancer and on the right is me and my husband. Take a good look at the book I'm reading, author Karon Goodman sent that my way for a December review. Stay tuned. Is it too early to say the season is here?!?

So, you're invited now:
It's the First Annual Holiday Home Tour.

Here's your instructions:

#1 Get your home all decked out for the holidays.
#2 Take pictures as though you're giving a tour.
#3 Post them on your blog. (And if you feel so led, link back here.)

Ready, get set, GO! Can't wait to see your holiday spaces!