Hey, now that I’m hanging around typing in my blogger window again, guess what? I found this picture post I started right after Christmas and never finished because I was exhausted and tired of thinking about Christmas. Still, it’s all here. I might as well put it on out there for you all to see now that the post-holiday fatigue is over…
I totally owe y’all a giant picture-dump post, and what a better time to document some of the happy goings-on around here than right after the big bang of holiday madness is complete. I just finished cooking, serving, and cleaning up after a dinner party of 15, and am sitting here on the couch, exhausted, next to my husband and feeling fine. But we’ll have to back up a bit to deal with a tiny portion of the photo backlog just downloaded from my camera.
Let’s see…some time during Thanksgiving week, my friend Liz who I used to work with back when I was pregnant with Julie came over and hung out with us for a morning. She brought two undecorated gingerbread houses that she had made from scratch and a pile of candies and royal icing for the girls to decorate them with.
Liz is pretty cool that way. I hadn’t seen her for like a year or so, and we had a lot of fun hanging out with her. The houses are still sitting on top of my refrigerator, and I’ll have to sneak them out to the trash in a few more days, but we loved them while they lasted. I miss working with Liz – she’s crafty and fun and really laid back. Probably one of the best co-workers I’ve ever had. The girls were fiercely independent in their decorating. They didn’t want much advice, and they certainly did not want me touching their creations.
Okay, that scene happened on some random weekend morning. We love lounging around in our jammies, and the girls are constantly climbing all over me. We are a snuggly bunch, and yes, there’s the basket of knitting sitting where it almost always sits on the couch. That’s the sample sweater currently overdue at the store. It’s done now, just waiting for me to finalize the pattern so I can deliver the whole mess at once. I think I’m going to scrape out a few hours while Joe is on vacation in the next few days to git ‘er done. And that means I’ll be able to finally put out the last installment of the knit-along for all you patient souls out there waiting for it. (Note: yes, this part really was written while I was still working on that last part of the spiral sweater pattern!)
The day we decorated the tree, Sophie found this pair of reindeer antlers in one of the boxes of decorations. She spent the next week walking around on all fours in her reindeer persona. Hilarity ensued.
We made cut-out sugar cookies. Julie has finally figured out the concept of cutting out cookies as close to each other as possible, while Sophie still thinks it’s best to stick her cutter right in the middle of the remaining available space.
The next day we spent a couple hours decorating them with royal icing and about five kinds of sprinkles. I could not believe how well the girls did with this activity. I’d been dreading it a bit, to be honest. But they stuck with it. They listened to my instructions, they really focused on what they were doing. Julie made some awesome-looking cookies, and Sophie – well, she was nothing if not enthusiastic. I had to keep stopping her from flooding the cookies with giant blobs of icing, but she was good about spreading it out and dumping sugar crystals on them. We had fun, and they were quite proud of their creations.
Sophie’s favorite color is purple, and unfortunately our purple icing came out a little dark, but that didn’t stop her from making some awesome purple reindeer, snowmen, stars, and everything else. Julie’s favorite is pink, but she used all of the colors at one point or another.
Yeah, more tackling mommy. Sophie’s been hanging out in dance clothes a lot lately, when she’s not in her jammies or required to wear regular clothes.
Last week we took Joe’s brother and his fiance out for fondue at the Melting Pot. It was the girls’ first time there, and they did pretty well. Sophie didn’t eat much until we got to the dessert course, and I didn’t push it because she was otherwise on best behavior. We made a nice group…
Sophie was reeeeally tired at this point, but she hung in there. The kid is in between growth spurts at the moment, and she’s refusing to eat a lot of regular foods. When we’re at home and it’s not a holiday or party, I make it simple – either eat what I’m serving, or don’t eat. I think she’s just not all that hungry, because she’ll simply not eat sometimes. It’s a little frustrating, but I know she’s not starving, and it’s not exactly like I’m serving her weird or non-delicious stuff. One of the nice things about second kids is that it’s a lot easier to take these little glitches as they come.
Man, I look really happy in that picture. I was really happy in that moment. I love fondue, and especially the dessert part. Then again, I’ve been having lots of really happy moments lately. Knock on wood, ’cause life is pretty good right now.
We’ve had quite a bit of snow this week, and it’s still snowing right now as I type. Yesterday, I thought the snow was going to be sticky enough for a snowman, but it was just a little too dry. Instead, the girls made snow angels and played in the yard while Joe and I cleared the paths.
And then we went sledding! We only lasted through a few runs, as the hill was steep and the children have short little legs. But it was another one of those honestly fun simple moments.
Sophie had fun too, even though she kept ending up with a face full of snow at the end of each run.
We had a quiet Christmas Eve last night, and that was just fine. I had prep work to do for the party today, and I was tired from my morning workout at the gym, the shoveling and sledding, and the pre-Christmas cooking. The girls did their best to fall asleep quickly so Santa could come, and Sophie woke up once around 2 a.m. to ask whether Santa had come yet.
By 7:30, they were both awake and downstairs gazing at their stockings.
Alright, and this is the point at which I petered out from sheer exhaustion. I guess I was writing this on Christmas night. What was I thinking? But yeah, Julie’s favorite present was this set of PowerPuff girl dolls. She’s a bit obsessed with the old show, long story on how that happened, but it comes down to she came across some old Powerpuff girls stuff I had around from when the show was popular before she was even born, and now she makes up her own stories about Bubbles, Blossom and Buttercup and talks about them all the time. You can see Sophie playing in the background with the new Legos Santa brought. We’ve had that Lego table since Julie was a baby, and Santa thoughtfully switched out the top from Duplo-sized to the smaller Lego size when he brought the new bricks.
Sophie hammed it up for me while I snapped a photo of some of the other loot that came in her stocking.
Oh, yeah. Julie got her first Barbie dolls this year, too. We did our best to find ones that looked the most like our girls and the least – well, my brother-in-law bought one for her, and I’d told him what my conditions were, and the way he described it later was “not too ho’d out”. Yeah, most Barbies do look a little bit like street walkers. We found one that was wearing scuba gear and he found one that was wearing a three musketeers costume.
Joe got a copy of DJ Hero, which he was thrilled with. I got him the special-edition DJ Shadow one, which made him squee like a little girl.
I got a bunch of great stuff, including new lap-swimming gear that I basically picked out for myself, plus some cool little surprises from Joe. He got me a doo-hickey that lets me use my MP3 player with the mini-van’s car stereo. Yay!
We had the extended family over Christmas night for dinner and gifts and games. I feel like I’ve finally gotten the game down for feeding the big group and fitting in the kitchen duties with the Christmas fun. I had a great time, and I think everyone else did too.
We changed up our gift-giving game a bit, to involve silly stunts every time someone opened a present. My MIL got stuck with one of the silliest, which was to put Pocky in your mouth Walrus-style and let us take her picture.
Yeah, we had to explain that the Pocky was supposed to point down, but I liked the upward-pointing picture better. You can see the laughter on Joe’s and Sarah’s faces in the background, and MIL was a very good sport about it. I’m not sure if she knows the whole internet was watching…
And that is the holiday picture-post, less than a month late for you!