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Sunday, December 26, 2010

merry christmas

a quick view of our happy day.....

yippee!!! a castle!!!

night night babies.

the castle is clearly the favorite

houses are for sleeping only, apparently.

we love the steelers

my own pillow pet!!

crazy hair mama

go play with your house....PLEEEEEEASE?

happy morning...and a day full of play.
Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas crafting - day 5

Happy Christmas Eve mommies! (And dadas, grandmas, grandpas, aunties and uncles!)

Dada is telling little man his nightly Iron Boy story, baby girl is asleep (since 5:30pm as she didn't have a nap...hope I don't regret this move when she wakes up at 3am! ugh.)

Anyway. Christmas expectations are hard on little guys. Mamas too. I feel like my child SHOULDN'T whine and scream about being allowed to only open two presents, one of which was pajamas (But they are so cute baba, with sweet little fold over feet! I DONT WANT CLOTHES. I WANT MORE TOYS!!!!!! YOU ARE RUINING MY DAY!!! Slams door.) Not cool behavior of course, but, I mean this is a perfectly understandable response. Why would mean old mom want you to open the pajamas when you know full well that there is a Buzz Lightyear from grandma under the tree. (You shake it and it talks, my kids found out.) I don't resent the reaction. Well, hours later I don't. At the time I was pretty darn angry. But we made up and snuggled watching a bit of holiday programming (Planet Earth - Caves episode. Some of those old school Christmas specials are kinda scary!)

And now bed. PHEW.

I hope it doesn't sound like my kid and I are at each other's throats all day. Like I said, there are a lot of expectations this time of year, a lot of anticipation and build up and all of that emotion has to go somewhere...the results of which can be unfortunate sometimes. The results can also be amazing.

Mama. Close your eyes and do this with your lips. (Puckers)

I obey and recieve the most SERIOUS of four-year-old boy kissses. Complete with arms flung around the neck in a hug.


I feel like the whole crafting-through-the-chaos this week has helped me see this. The ebbs and flows of our attitudes towards each other and the world at large, well, like the tide, I think its natural. I do need to work on so much however. But, its a work in progress, motherhood. One has to keep plugging away at it.

One also has to cross one's fingers, look heavenward and pray for a little relief, forgiveness, and patience and then look back down at those little faces with renewed energy and persepective.

I am blessed.

And, to finish out the week, the most laid back craft in the world was accomplished with ease (before the clothes-slamming-of-doors episode) - coloring a huge long strip of Ikea craft paper to make wrapping paper for our cousin Christmas (AKA Fake Christmas) on Monday.

Happy Christmas to all.


totally doing this regularly. how fun!

litte girl insists on chewing the wrapper off

its GREAT right Mom?

yes, it is GREAT.
(Santa on his sleigh and a Christmas tree
with presents, for those of you not familiar
with kid art)

our nice little packages
Oh, and I didn't mention not only did dada go out and replace my dear Blackerry this morning - with the latest model! - but he also brought home a gift he insisted I open today. A new camera!!! THREE CHEERS FOR DADA. And he is making a roast duck for Christmas dinner. Did I get lucky or what?

Merry Christmas from our little home to yours!
Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas crafting - day 4

PHEW. We made it through the week. DADA IS OFF FOR FIVE DAYS. YAAAAAAAY.

Blogging with glass of wine in my hand while he does bath duty. Good man, that dada.

It has been quite a week. Baby girl has decided to become a two year old all of a sudden. Complete with an increased level of sassiness, refusing to let us change her diaper - she did peepee on the potpot for a whole day this week! (hey its a start!) - and a general two year old attitude about her (opinionated on clothing! calling herself Jo-Jo to be silly! fighting with brother over Ipod music choices!)

It's truly insane.

And exhausting.

I am seriously exhausted.

But the crafting must go on. IT MUST.

(You realize don't you that the reason for this crafting quest was to give us something to do for the week? It's all about making it to Friday.)

So we did. We painted the dough ornaments. I restrained myself and only put up the tiniest objection to mister's color choices. (Really, do you need to use black and mix all the colors? It's just turning into grey!)

Really though we achieved this fairly well. Little miss loved it. Her hair was bright red by the end. (What happened to her head? Dada asked in alarm tonight. Paint. Oh, right)

Little man also painted his Santa. Bright blue. The whole thing, even the face. With dabs of black and green.

But, I say, isn't Santa usually red? How will people know its Santa? (I am terrible, I know)



Of course. Silly me.

I had my doubts about the ornaments but they turned out surprisingly well. We coated the paint with glitter glue and strung ribbons through a few.

A few pics below. None of the process however as my PHONE HAS DIED. NOOOOOOO. I came downstairs to find baby dear chewing on it, drool running down her chin. Soaked. Poor little phone won't even turn on. A noble life it led.

Tomorrow, to finish out our quest (and to kill time) I think we will make some homemade wrapping paper.

And then? Feasting! (DADA COOKING!) Family fun! Presents! I am as excited for my kids to experience Christmas Day as they are excited for it. Perhaps more.

Ok. I can hear bathtime coming to an end.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas crafting - day 3

Day three of crafting. Day three of pajama pants. I seriously need to get out of the house. Luckily our auntie is coming over tomorrow for some shopping excursions. PHEW.

Moving right along…

Dough ornaments were a success today! Although I definitely lost my patience once or twice.

Picture me, salt and flour in hand, calling to the children.

COME, my children. LET US CRAFT.

To which they ignore me, in favor of making chess playing pieces out of Lego blocks and/or pushing random buttons on the I-Pod to play music (including De La Soul. Dada would be so proud)

Eventually I move from cajoling to threatening. Its EITHER CRAFT TIME OR NAPTIME. YOU CHOOSE.

(Yes, I did in fact say that, ridiculous no?)

They finally see the light and come to be crafty with me. (FINE MOM. FINE)

We mix flour and gobs of salt, each getting a turn to stir.

(This is where I lost my patience. Little man tried to stir and flung the dough all around the – newly washed – kitchen floor. Why would I wash the floor prior to a flour-y craft? Good question. Because little miss helped me wash dishes which of course means her dumping copious amounts of water onto the floor.

Copious. Did you catch that? Look, ma, a grown up word! Aren’t you proud?

Am I still writing in parentheses? Good grief.)

For those of you considering this with your own youngsters the recipe and directions were found here and was pretty easy - 1 part water, 1 part salt, 2 parts flour.

I then did the good mommy thing and stepped away. Letting the chil’ens mash and knead the dough and then, gently guiding, helped them roll out the dough. (I say that tongue in cheek because it is very hard for perfectionist mama to step back and let children roll and press out dough shapes without intervention.)

Little man then – adorably – asked to be able to make figures with the leftover dough. A Santa Claus complete with beard, hat and open sack with tiny toys spilling out including a dragon, a ball, and a Harry Potter play figure. (CUTE, right?)

And then, he took the rest of the dough and made Mary, Joseph and a staff for Joseph’s hand. I was commissioned the baby Jesus figure, which I was told looked very nice. Why thank you kind sir.

And then they baked for two hours. And another hour after that. I think they are done.

Tomorrow is painting. I am trying not to be scared.

poking with a straw to create a hole for ribbons

little man's navity figures

Santa and mama's lopsided angel
Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas crafting - day 2

Today, I had in mind to make salt dough ornaments, like I remember doing as a child. However, upon investigation this morning I discovered we didn’t have nearly enough salt for the recipe.

Instead I was thinking these sweet little bird ornaments. I was envisioning cutting out the shapes, letting the kids color them, and stringing them up with ribbon.

That is not, however, what happened.

I decided to remain flexible.

Instead what did we make?

Glad you asked.

Dragons. That is right. Christmas dragons. You know, like Rudolph the Red-nosed Dragon, Frosty the Snowdragon? Of course. Silly me.

As soon as we woke up little man started coloring. Markers were out before I was out of my bathrobe.

dragons created by the dragon master, little man.
oh, and the scribbles in the center are by little miss
"my good job" as she called it...
Dragons. All about the dragons. He made several and then I suggest the Christmas bird ornaments.


Umm. Okay?

So I google dragon images (CAUTION: many many questionable images come up when googling dragons) and I sketch one out and then cut it out on cardboard and he tells me what I am doing wrong.


Of course he does, what was I thinking.

And then markers don’t cut it. (YOU CAN STILL SEE THE CHEERIOS ON THE CARBOARD MOM) So I laboriously cut out green paper to cover the dragon.


Okay. Both sides.

We then insert the flapping wings.


And little man colors in eyes and scales and fire in the mouth.

I make exactly one and a half Christmas birds and abandon the idea. That shit ain’t going on my tree.

yes, we are wearing steelers jerseys today...

While we produced exactly NOTHING worth posting about or hanging on the tree I would call it success. I didn’t lose my cool. He didn’t run away yelling at me.

Apparently one CAN craft with children, as long as one is prepared to spend 30 minutes making exactly one Christmas dragon and trashing one’s living room in the process. It would appear the key to crafting with children then is … to let the children do the crafting.

Still gonna try for the salt dough ornaments though, maybe tomorrow.

Stay tuned...

Ack. Is it Friday yet?
Monday, December 20, 2010

five days of crafting. day 1

So. Day 1 of Christmas crafting.

I think I failed.

Little man woke up with a hacking cough this morning. Dada is taking a much deserved evening out. The whole day was looming ahead of me…

So I am thinking, what is simpler, and more fun, than cutting out some snowflakes to hang on the window. We can do that! Right?

I get out the wrapping paper after little miss goes to sleep. (I was thinking maybe the key to crafting with kids without losing one’s patience is having ONE kid to contend with at a time.)

I show little man how to fold and the various cuts you can do.

We are TOTALLY succeeding with this craft.


YAAAAAAY. Says mama inside.

Oh, but then. I was overly confident I suppose, a downfall of mine.

Little miss wakes up from her nap.

Little man still wants TO CUT MORE. MORE MAMA MORE.

And baby girl wants in on the action too.

Then, all H-E-DOUBLE HOCKEYSTICK breaks lose when I suggest that I be the one to hang the snowflakes on the window. NOOOOOOO MEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!! (Why is it a big deal to have him do it himself? I ask myself this very question as I type. I have no idea. The lamp was in the way? I could’ve moved it. I don’t know but isn’t it SO frustrating when your kid makes a big deal out of something that doesn’t seem like it should be a big deal??)

Aw, come ON. We were SO close to achieving this in peace. He clambers up on the furniture, dangling precariously next to the antique lamp. I say you do this one I do that one.


And then he kicks his little leg into missy’s mouth and starts wailing. And she starts wailing. And I yell.


I lost it. He ran to his room.

Utter fail.

No, but not utter fail.

He came back, imploring me to “be nice. Like dada.” (ouch.) “can’t we just have a nice day?” We say sorry. We cut out more snowflakes. He got to hang the ones in his room (why didn’t I think of this before?) “Let’s make the WHOLE HOUSE beautiful!” he says, sniffling and hacking.

I feel like an evil ogre.

The day proceeds as such. They are now watching Harry Potter. After watching Dino Dan. More TV than I have allowed in ages. He pestered and pestered to watch it. I say, don’t bother me for five minutes, PLEEEEEEEASE? I am like begging God for patience at this point. I call dada, pick a fight and hang up the phone, definitely taking my frustration at self out on the world. Finally I relent. This is after he says things to me like “dada is nicer than you.” And “I am not going to stop asking until you give me what I want.” And “if you let me watch it I will leave you alone and you can have calm and peace and be alone.” (literally word for word. I was like, really? You promise?? DEAL.)

And here we are.

Snow swirling. Mama typing. Kids watching too much TV. Eh. Oh well.

There is always tomorrow.

crafting with children

So, I am a crafty person. I love doing nifty little projects to spruce up my house, or dress my kids, or make someone a present.

However. And it’s a big however. Crafting with my children is another matter. It’s so bah humbug of me but oh my gosh crafting with young children is like the ultimate test of patience and endurance for a mama.

When little man was around 2 and started showing an interest in scissors and glue and such I started in on the crafty attempts with him. Then we got one of those kit things with all of the pieces needed to make a ladybug out of a paper plate for his birthday. This is when I first discovered the horrors of crafting with children. He wanted to put the feelers on the stomach, the dots on the head instead of the wings, and cover the whole thing with the glitter meant for the butterfly. And I am all “NO YOU CANT DO IT LIKE THAT, YOU HAVE TO FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS.” Which is ridiculous to say to a 2 year old, obviously.

Since that delightful experience I have tried to do mainly free form projects (once a bunch of loops of colored paper turned into a city, another time we made jumping frogs and birds, then of course coloring and playdoh and such etc.) if there are no directions mama can’t get all perfectionist-y on her poor kids, you know?

But then the other day two things got me to feeling guilty and attempt projects again. One was a cute little snowman made out of tube socks (like this one) that my children admired at a friend’s house the other day. I was like, cute! She said, oh my son made that in preschool years ago. (My, not-sending-my-kid-to-preschool guilt rears its head so I am like oh. I could totally do that. And I will. Dammit.) Second, I was reading a lovely blog where the non-TV watching, all wood toy playing, crafty family took apple slices and popcorn and dried fruit and made popcorn strings to take outside and decorate trees as a Christmas treat for the forest animals. Amazingly cute, right?

So first, I pop some popcorn, butter some for the kids, and leave the rest for our strings. I pull out the dried blueberries from the dried fruit mix we get at Costco (NO ONE eats the blueberries), get a needle and thread, pop on a DVD for the kids. Christmas fun in the making, right?


First off, little man’s interest waned after approximately 4 popcorn pieces. Little miss was only interested in eating the popcorn. Then she dumped it on the floor. The mama stabbed her finger. And got pissed off. Three strands of popcorn later I unceremoniously throw some on the bushes outside while the children watch from the window. (Did I mention it was like 2 degrees outside? So, no frolicking in the forest for my babes. I was also wearing only yoga pants and a sweater when I went out, stepped into a 3 foot drift and got snow all down my boot. My calves were cold for two hours after. The kids thought it was hilarious.) One strand now adorns the kitchen window. Tied up with bits of fabric it’s actually really cute and sweet as a Christmas decoration.

Okay. So after this I am like. NO DARNIT. My children WILL craft. They WILL ENGAGE. And so, a mere hour later I gather tube socks, glue, yarn, bits of fabric and buttons to the table. Oh and children too. (HA HA) Come ON! ITS GONNA BE SO DARN FUN!

Now as a set up to this, it was Friday, after a long tiring week, I was home alone with the kids for the night as dada was working late and I was tired, and grumpy, and it was dinner time but as the kids had been eating popcorn all afternoon so I figured we do the craft then some hot dogs or something then whisk them off to bed.

So I take the sock, dump in some rice as the base, then some stuffing (totally pulled from a throw pillow with a hole in it) and tie it into three sections. Next an old red sock gets cut up, into a hat shape, and sewn onto the head to cover the end of the sock.

This is about when the kids start falling apart.

MY HUG SNOWMAN! Says baby girl.

I WANT TO DO IT MYSELF. Says little man.



So. I give up.

Baby girl hugs the sock with the half sewn on hat (SNOWMAN, nice! MY HUG!)

Little man glues buttons on (Why does it look like a pig? he asks.)

Mama goes and pours herself a glass of wine. Have fun kids!

Upon collecting myself, prying the half sewn snowman from baby girl’s hands, sewing the gluey buttons in place, and shooing the children away in order to put in pipe cleaners for arms and make a really fetching little snow baby out of a tiny baby tube sock, I relinquish the creations to the children.

They promptly hug them and/or throw them across the room (SUPER SNOWMAN!) as bits fall off. (MAMA FIX IT!)

And then mama sits and stares at facebook for a good 20 minutes (with glass of wine in hand.)

Grueling experience, however, the resulting snow family is really cute. And the kids play with them daily.

The whole experience made me resolve two things. 1) to never again attempt a project at dinner time and 2) to try again, with the utmost patience, to do fun Christmas crafts this week. We aren’t going anywhere. We are expecting more snow. So. FIVE DAYS OF CRAFTS. Let’s call it penance for my bad attitude with the snowmen.

Wish me luck.
Friday, December 17, 2010


....sometimes I sneak a pack or two of fruit snacks....without offering any to the kids...

Hmmm. High fructose corn syrup......
Thursday, December 16, 2010

making wool mittens

So. Again with the old sweater crafty-ness. I am about to start digging in my closet (better yet, dada's closet) for more. I am running out of sweaters to cut up!

I made this adorable hood for little miss, by simply cutting off the hood from a hoodie sweater and lining it with fleece and making ties at the right place from edging from the sweater. Genius! Why didn't I think of this before!

So then I wanted to make matching mitties. I went in vain to many stores (everything from REI to the Dollar Store) looking for mittens less than $20 that would actually STAY ON and that had longer cuffs to avoid snow up the sleeve issues. Why does no one make these? And who pays $30 for mittens?? For a toddler???


The solution? Make some.

These are the mittens I really coveted. SO NICE. I like how the thumb is a little pocket, like a hand puppet. Easy for little fingers (that hate being covered.)

I found a few online articles about it but, per my norm,  decided to just wing it. I ended up cutting out a few pieces over and over before I got it just right but I am really happy with how they turned out. And they match the hood! And her coat! The geeky 12-year-old in me (who used to match socks and hair ties and earrings) loves that.

Here are some step by step photos:

three pieces to complete the mitten, rather than just cutting
out a hand shape i am making a seperate pocket for the thumb,
like a hand puppet

totally didnt get it right.

piecing together to see the final look, now the pieces are cut big enough

first sew the thumb seam, as i did above when the
pieces were the wrong size, then sew the big hand
part on - remember, right sides always facing!

the mitten turned right side out

i made a duplicate out of fleece for a lining

slip inside the other mitten, inside out (seams facing out so they
are away from your hand)

adding on a cuff
finished mitten! the cuffs can be folded up or down
to cover the wrist more, or even pulled over a shirt
sleeve! YAY.

little miss is pleased.
"open and shut them, open and shut..."

I think I am gonna make more. Maybe for little man who ALWAYS ends up with a cold wrist covered in snow. OOH, with a lightning bolt like his hat (see with the matchy-matchy thing? I can't help it)

And now, I must get off this computer. It's 4pm and little girl WILL NOT NAP. AAAAAAAAAHHH.

Time for some Planet Earth DVDs and a cup of tea....
Tuesday, December 14, 2010

dear santa

Okay. So I already posted today. But as I was typing up that last post my kid was next to me drawing a picture to send to Santa. I dictated the letter on the back of the picture. It was too adorable not to share.

Seriously. My four-year-old is hilarious (when he is not maddening)

(Again for the auntie/grandma types)

The front of the picture has drawings of a knight figure and a Hot Wheels car and a picture of King Peter from Narnia (?)

The back says:

Dear Santa Claus:
These are the three presents I want. Really, can you just do what I want? Put it in your bag. From God's birthday. I have been really really good. Doing this and that and this and that and getting in my bed and doing what my mama said and I do what they tell me except sometimes I don't, but mostly I do. So. Let's celebrate the day, dear Santa.
Love, Jack
For his sister he drew a picture of a ladybug pillow pet (which he got for her) a baby doll and a dollhouse.

And here is what he wrote for her letter:

Dear Santa:
I wish Ayla had a really fun Christmas. I need you to really please give her the presents for Jesus birthday. She has been really good. So come at midnight and give her presents, like I drawed for her. I wish you could come today. Love, Jack (for Ayla)
Awesome, no?

Here are some pictures of cookie decorating bonanza today.

Happy T'is the Season to be Jolly.

anybody want a cookie? seriously. anyone?
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