Tuesday, December 23, 2008

ARTIC CHILL 2008!!!!

What a crazy couple weeks. Actually, I realize now its only been 1 1/2 weeks, but it seriously feels like at least 3 have gone by. So we came home from San Francisco to some snow on the ground (see highlights of that trip below. ARGH! I just realized that post got deleted accidentally. We went to San Francisco and had a blast. Maybe I'll REWRITE the post later. Ugh.)

Snow snow snow. We've had 12+ inches on the ground for many days now and expect more tonite & tomorrow. At first we kept very busy doing cozy things like making sugar cookies. Saben loved it and Annika was relatively unhelpful the day we rolled & cut them. She kept grabbing handfuls of dough and carrying them around.

It seemed like every time I moved a cookie to the baking sheet she had either made a mess of the rolled dough, stolen something off the table or gotten flour all over the floor. Partially my fault, I tried to include her by doing it on their little table in the kitchen where she could reach. I seriously underestimated my daughter, she was all over everything. Here's some of the stolen goods that she put in her toy kitchen. There was cookie dough in the measuring cup in the microwave.

Finally they were all baked and I wisely decided to frost & decorate them while she was napping. Saben did such a good job, we had some fun one-on-one time & they turned out great.

Last week I was also working hard at getting this picture finished for my Grandparents. I saw a sample at Treasury of Memories and was so excited to try making one. First time ever doing a scrapbooky canvas & I think it turned out great. Although I did learn some important lessons about being too wild and carefree with Modge Podge.

You may notice the big black square - that's a story unto itself. My brother and sister-in-law are currently in California awaiting the birth of the son they will adopt. The birth mom, is being induced as we speak (because she was due December 10th) and I check online every hour for the last 5 days to see if any new news is up on their blog. It is very exciting (my first nephew!) and nerve wracking. (if you're nervous now too, you can check here for updates & the whole story)

The heart in the righthand corner is in honor of my cousin's mom, Deanna. Her story is here in case you missed it.

Saben's Christmas program at preschool got cancelled because of the snow and I was so sad. Hopefully they'll do it for us later....I was really really looking forward to it. It kills me that I haven't gotten to see my son sing with a group in front of an audience yet. Watching little kids sing like that is one of my favorite things on earth.

On Friday, I decided to brave the roads and drive down to Mount Vernon to meet my Dad so he could take the picture to my Grandparents in Wenatchee. We met my Dad, then met up with a good friend for a McD's playdate with her kids. It was nice to get out of the house & relax while the kids burned some energy. On the way home, Saben suggested that all four of her boys come over to sleep in his room (Maverick could sleep with Annika in her crib) and Rachael could sleep in bed with Kyle & I.

The roads ended up being nearly dry & ice free, but unfortunately I had no idea that you are not really supposed to drive in 4-wheel drive on the freeway and managed to blow out our 4 wheel drive on the suburban on the way home. (and scare myself to death in the process) So now both cars are two wheel and we have no good way of getting around in the snow. Which could be a huge problem if we get another 4-6" on Christmas eve.

Our weekend was uneventful, we got lots of Christmas activities finished & tried to play in the snow, but Annika hadn't been cooperating since that first day that she had lots of fun. Every time we got her all bundled up and headed outside, she'd start crying after 10 minutes. We finally managed a walk downtown with her in the backpack, saben in the sled. It was so beautiful & nice to finally get some exercise after being cooped up all week.

Monday, my parents made it up here to celebrate my Dad's birthday. It was such a huge relief to have some distraction & get out of the house with my Mom w/o the kids. I finished up all the last minute Christmas shopping. Phew!

We had a really fun time playing in the snow because I figured out that Annika basically needs full time undivided attention when she is out there. Her mittens fall off every 2 minutes (I seriously contemplated hot gluing them to her hands) and she needs help up when she falls down. (at least once every 2 minutes. Usually the mittens fall off as she gets back up) She prefers to just walk on the compacted snow holding your hand or sledding on someone's lap. Luckily Grandma was around to help.

And papa was around to keep big brother happy.

Which left me to shovel the front walk & build a snow fort for Saben (which I probably enjoyed more than he did). Yet another much needed chance to work up a little sweat.

Later in the evening, Saben was watching some videos on the computer (cars in the snow) and papa put on a video of a baby elephant playing in the snow. Saben goes "Does the elephant know how to make a snow angel?" So cute.

We finished off the evening with dinner & lots of naked running through the house. Uhhh...the kids were running naked I mean, that is their favorite pre-bedtime thing to do. Saben told the adults where to sit so that they could try to tickle him as he ran by. Annika also jumped for the first time! She also seems to love being naked and screamed like crazy when we put her jammies on.

I also managed to catch my first cold in THREE years. I never got colds when I was pregnant or nursing either child.

I will leave you with a picture of the rainbows Saben made for our Christmas tree. I probably won't save them, but thought they were adorable. (I have already laminated a couple glittery rocket ornaments he made & will keep those ones forever)

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Saben's new hobby is watching the news cover our snow storm so he can watch cars crashing into eachother. He talks about cars sliding on the ice all the time.

Saben, yesterday, completely out of nowhere: "Mommy, I want to have a party where no one wears clothes. Everyone can take their clothes off for my party"
Mommy: "why do you want them to take of their clothes Saben?"
Saben: "Because they are funny with no clothes"

If Annika was a boy, she'd be ready for her first haircut.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Merry Christmas

Snow Bliss

Saben's first snow angel. Last year we went sledding in the mountains a couple times and Saben started to warm up to the snow more. He was still sort of scared of it, especially sledding too fast. But this year he is an animal. He borrowed some snow pants from a buddy and has been rolling around "crashing" in the snow like mad. He is so cute, I can't believe how fun his enthusiasm is.

Saben LOVES throwing snowballs at us.

Annika's first time touching snow. This look is her classic "suprised" face. All these pictures are taken from the first 10 minutes of her coming out in the snow. She did technically see snow last year, but I don't count "first snow" until they can walk in it.

Annika loves the snow almost as much as her brother and way more than he did at this age. He used to be terrified of it.

What is that white stuff on my gloves?

I try to plan my garden to have nice shapes in the winter and it is so fun to see them highlighted in the snow.

Both kids loved the sled

Yesterday was pure bliss. There is nothing I love more than a lazy afternoon watching the snow fall. Except we weren't too lazy - we went out & played in the snow, made sugar cookies to decorate today, had yummy cuban black beans simmering in the oven all day and mommy got some Christmas crafting done while the kids napped.
Add in an evening snow walk/snowball fight with Daddy, Hot tubbing in the snow, Christmas lights/music and more steady snow this morning - I couldn't be happier. The only thing I miss is that our friends who live a couple blocks away drove to Oregon last night. Whenever it snows, we almost always hang out since we're "trapped" near home, but not this time I guess.
Today: Decorate cookies, more christmas music & cocoa, watch "The Grinch" with saben for the first time, wrap presents, more crafting. Bliss.

Friday, December 12, 2008

leaving on a jet plane or rocket ship?

Saben: Mommy, will there be fire and smoke coming out of the airplane?
Mommy: No, not the one we are going on. Some have fire, but not ours
S: Daddy said there was fire and smoke!
M: Really, he said that about the one we're going on?
S: Yes, he said the plane would have fire and smoke.
M: I don't know why he said that
S: Maybe he's not very smart mommy. Maybe he didn't know.

update: According to Kyle, this appears to be a case of the early morning "uh huhs" where you start agreeing with what saben says/asks without quite listening to every word once he hits question number 20 at 7:30am.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas Cards 2008

Every year, I put quite a bit of thought into our Christmas card picture. I have a few criteria for our picture:
1) Just the kids in the picture, not us
2) It's a special picture taken just for the card
3) The kid/kids are doing something mildly related to Christmas
4) You can really see the kids & what they look like this year

The first year, saben was sitting by a tiny snowman, the next year by a tiny tree, and last year they were dressed in red/white and wrapped in garland.

Last year was tough with both kids, but I pulled of decent expressions on both their faces and was quite pleased with the results. Maybe you can't even see the garland, but at least Annika was wearing her Christmas dress.

This year I finally threw in the towel. I am out of time and have orchestrated two carefully planned photo shoots, to no avail. At least they make for a funny blog post.

First idea: "I know! I'll have them eat candy canes! They'll be so happy, hold still and the candy canes are christmasy!"

hmm. This one is the best shot of the group, especially if you like seeing festive red candy cane drool . And I wasn't happy you couldn't really see Saben. And no smiles. boo. It only goes downhill from here.

Even with candy canes, the kids move around so much I was practically yelling the entire time for Saben to "Stay next to Annika! Get over there! Go stand next to her, I know she's moving, follow her!" Poor guy.

Then there were the chewing faces. I didn't realize Saben would chomp down his entire cane with the focus of a beaver gnawing logs to prevent his home from washing away in a flash flood.

Apparently candy canes don't make my children smile. Silly me. By now Annika had it all over her white sweater too and I'd forgotten to bring baby wipes.
A smile at last! Sweet.
Outing number two. Sunny day and I had been daydreaming about how cute it would be to get the kids dressed up a little and go take pictures out in the mossy woods I love. I carefully fed Annika, picked a time when she wasn't tired and headed out with a bag filled with crackers, more candy canes (for emergency only this time) and crackers.
Once again, I got one decent shot. See how cute of an idea it was? Especially if I zoomed in just a little more, Saben didn't look quite so goofy and they were actually in focus? This one was taken with my broken flash, (it's only 1/2 broken, it sort of flashes...a tiny bit) which I then turned off, thinking they would be better. Wrong-o

Right after I took the first picture, Annika burst into tears for no apparent reason and did not stop crying the entire time unless she was running down the muddy trail in her pretty dress with Saben. So I whipped out the candy canes, already knowing their dangers, but desperate....

Even with the candy cane, she cried and cried. And my camera decided it was much to dark to take any pictures that were not at excruciatingly slow shutter speeds.

Sigh. Ever heard a mom freaking out at her kids all alone in the middle of the woods? I hope not, it wasn't pretty. (mostly me just asking annika why she was crying in occaisionally angry tones)

I actually don't think Annika likes these woods. Every time I take her there, she is generally unhappy for no apparent reason. We've had several bad hikes/walks here where she cried and I had no idea why. As long as she was on the trail, she would run, fall in the mud, be happy. But if we stopped walking to try and pose by a stump or if I dared venture off trail, she started crying.
So this year, we will use a picture we took in November, one that is not festive, but shows both kids and is funny. Oh well.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


I love how kids run just for the sheer fun of it. Why don't we do that?

Monday, December 08, 2008


Today, Annika ate a spoonful of salsa from Taco Lobo. Actually several spoonfuls and it was a mix of the hottest & medium one. She loved it and had it running down her chin. Interestingly, they were obviously tomato based and she generally does not like tomato sauces.

Both of my kids enjoy spicy foods. I just let them sample spicy things at around 1year of age and waited to see there reaction. Neither one has ever reacted adversely and Annika especially seems to love spice. She also enjoys the spicy pickled carrots at Taco Lobo & Casa Que Pasa.

When Saben was younger, I would buy him cheese quesadillas at Taco Bell and request "no creamy jalapeno sauce". He heard me saying that and started going "Mommy! I want the sauce" insistently enough that I finally let him try it. He has insisted on it ever since and Annika now eats it with no problems. In fact, it is the ONLY quesadilla either of them will eat.

For the record, I love spice and especially ever since I had annika, I crave it all the time. I especially craved it when I was nursing her for some reason and its never gone away, even now that she is weaned. Speaking of never going away, I also still have that line you get on your belly the last month or so of pregnancy. I can't believe its still there. Sorry, that was random.

Saturday, December 06, 2008


Somehow, I ended up with a $5 roll of SEE THROUGH red wrapping paper from Target. Because the sign said $1.99 (it was in the wrong location) and there was no possible way to tell it was clear celophane stuff until you unrolled it.

And there was definitely no indication on the label, I read it five times once I realized the roll was completely worthless. What on earth do you do with clear wrapping paper? I suppose you could wrap a cookie plate, or some other non suprise item, but seriously....heads should roll over this.

Friday, December 05, 2008

As of this morning, annika is completely obsessed with balls and Saben is mothering his stuffed penguin BoBo.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Christmas Season 2008

Sorry for that lapse into lunacy (see post below), I am back and ready to be more normal. (unless you count this weekends book club party where I will be dressing up like a vampire in honor our chosen book) I know its not terribly nice to laugh at people who are trying to be deep, passionate and philosophical... but I really couldn't help it.

This is the part of the post where I would insert lots of cute pictures of our family cutting down our Christmas tree. Unfortunately, I pulled the camera out of its case at the tree farm and the battery was completely dead. Which is probably a good thing because it was POURING rain and having a camera to snap thousands of pictures would have just delayed us and made the kids even wetter.

If only I had checked the camera the day before when we made our first attempt at getting a tree. That day we caved as rain thundered down on our car and made the difficult decision to turn back despite weeks (hours?) of preparation for the journey.

The silver lining of this very rainy cloud was that 1) we found an awesome tree farm finally -Alpine Meadows and 2) we saved lots of money on our tree this year.

Its so funny what makes you love a tree farm. I couldn't put my finger on what I disliked about ones we'd been to previously until we visited Alpine Meadows. It was a gorgeous setting, but most importantly (apparently) it had a cute weathered wood barn and a weathered wood shed to go into to purchase your tree.

And finally it struck me - I hate those big huge metal outbuildings that were at all the other places we have gone. Growing up, our tree farm of choice just had a small shack to buy your tree. Every place we've gone lately has had huge metal sheds everywhere and despite the lights dangled from them enticingly, I find them incredibly ugly and unquaint. So if you prefer weathered wood to corrugated metal, I suggest you try Alpine Meadows.

When we arrived, we also discovered that in addition to our camera being dead and the rain pouring down, the place also only accepted cash. I had a meager supply in my wallet, enough for a douglas, but not a grand fir. So we went with the douglas and also had our 8 foot tree measured at 5 feet because the guy thought we were broke and said he'd give us a deal when he saw us counting our pennies. He was also probably impressed that we dragged our kids out in the pouring rain. So our tree cost less than $20 and I love it just as much as those fancy grand firs.

Then the decorating. (this is where I'd have more cute pictures if I hadn't dropped our camera and broken the flash a couple months ago)

We had a full house for our tree decorating party, the four of us, plus THREE Comcast cable installers! It was so merry and joyous to have them there peppering kyle with technical questions as he helped Annika hang breakable ornaments. And so we officially ended nearly 4 years of being tv free. (except for 3 canadian channels we got on our antenna. but we never watched those.)

Annika loved decorating the tree and was especially smitten with her "baby's first christmas" ornament that is a small white stuffed teddy bear - just like the one in her crib she's attached to.

Saben liked to hang breakable things. I guess mom hovering and saying things like "don't you dare drop that glass ball, it will shatter and send shards right into your eyeball and you'll never see anything again!" really got his adrenaline pumping.

It has been such incredible fun this year, (despite the few setbacks and some sarcasm) to celebrate the holidays with Saben. He has apparently reached the perfect holiday age and is ecstatic about everything we do - tree cutting, hanging lights, decorating, elf hunting....And buys anything I tell him about Santa still.

I love it all.