December 27, 2009

Christmas 2009

Christmas this year was delightful. It was the epitome of low key, as it has been for years now since my Aunt Lea and Grandma H passed away. I can certainly see how a big, chaotic, family Christmas would be fun (we did it for years with my dad's side of the family when I was young), but truthfully I cherish the quiet, laid back Christmases we've had the past decade or so.

This year was a lot more fun than last year. Audia is obviously older and much more aware of what's going on. She also now sleeps in a crib, which means Mommy and Daddy got to enjoy their Christmas eve past 7 PM. LOL.
Dinner on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were fantastic, as per usual. And of course the cookies, pie, and fudge were delicious as well!
Helping Pappy cook dinner on Christmas Eve

Audia got all kinds of fun presents this year. It's always been a tradition in my family to open gifts from the family on Christmas Eve and save Christmas morning for presents from Santa. Audia woke up Christmas morning to (among other things) a shopping cart and Elmo Live, which is a fully animatronic Elmo doll. She LOVES him. He sings songs, tells jokes and stories, and blows kisses. She carries him around with her everywhere!

Audia's not so sure about those Santa Bears....

Grandma helping Audia open her new clock toy

Playing with her new bus

Checking out her new Mega Blocks

Family Portrait

Giving Elmo a hug

I was kind of worried about overdoing it with the toys, but I have totally come around. Audia loves them all, and did not have any sort of melt down regardless of the plethora of shiny new things to play with. Thank goodness!

Of course Chris and I got all kinds of nice gifts as well. My bigger gifts were three studio lights, complete with stands, reflectors, and umbrellas. Pretty cool! I am excited to put them to use!

It was a very very White Christmas this year; it started snowing the evening of the 23rd and didn't stop for close to 72 hours. As you can see by the photo below, the snow banks at the street are up to Chris' waist. He's 6 foot 6 inches tall, so that's nothing to scoff at!

Not only did the snow make for a beautiful Christmas, but it is going to make for some very fun Snow Bocce Ball! Now if only we could find some waterproof mittens in Audia's size......we have a couple of pairs of fleece ones, but they don't do much in protecting her from the snow!

December 19, 2009

Smarty Pants and Coffee Cozys

Audia's been talking up a storm these days. It truly amazes me how quickly she picks up on things. Last week in the bathroom she pointed at my curling iron (which she hasn't seen in months) and said "hot!" The only thing I can figure is that I must have, at some point, told her that my mom's curling iron (which she sees every night on the counter when she takes her bath) is hot. Hot has now become her word for everything that she's not supposed to touch. Just this past week she's started saying two syllable words and phrases. She says "Hot dog" and "Santa" (which comes out more like "Ahn-ta"), and a few times I've gotten her to repeat "I love you" ("I lom ooh"). She says "Pehs" for "please", "Fake" for "flake" and "Hahs" for "house." It seems like every day she's picked up a new word and learned how to use it. It blows my mind! She is definitely a smarty pants!

She's been really great with the Christmas tree, which we put up last weekend. We have a gaggle of child-friendly ornaments from when I was a kid, which we've put around the bottom third of the tree. She walks up to it and points at each one, wanting us to tell her what they all are. She also regularly points at the lights on the tree and says "hot" :-)
She also loves Christmas music. Everytime I put in a CD, she runs over to me and says "up! up!" I pick her up, and she then starts bouncing and giggling in my arms; her way of enticing me to dance her around the room to the music. Whenever a song stops, she signs 'more'. She really is such a happy, joyous kid. And such a joy to be around!

We are really looking forward to Christmas this year, in spite of our financial limitations. This year will be Audia's first "real" Christmas in my opinion; She was only 3 months old last year, so she didn't really know what was going on. I can't wait to see her open all of her presents!

I've been continuing my knitting frenzy, and have had a lot of fun creating a pattern for coffee cozies the past couple of weeks. I've gotten pretty good at making them, and am considering opening a shop on Etsy to sell some of them. What do you think?

December 6, 2009

Crafty Christmas

So, I've been in a very hands-on, do-it-myself, crafty mood the past few months. Partially because we're trying to be frugal, and partially because I am so much happier, and feel so much more balanced, when I have a project to work on; something in which I can see and measure progress. I think it is important to stay creative in life, especially if you have a desire to create. It keeps the mind active, the soul awake, and the hands busy. Plus, if you get good enough at a specific craft, you can make some great gifts for family and friends :-)

Below are just a sample of my more recent creations.

December 5, 2009

Santa, Turkey, Family, and Life as a Single Mom

The week of Turkey Day, N and I took Audia and A to have their photo taken with Santa. We did this last year, and hopefully it will be a tradition for years to come. It was quite the spectacle; A started screaming as soon as N put her in Santa's lap, and Audia sat there, looking at A as if to say "what is the problem?" We got a great photo (note the sarcasm), which I'm sure we will hear about when the girls are older :-)

We had a very nice Thanksgiving here at the C/H/C-B house (yes, we have three last names living under one roof. Legally, we actually have four. Ah, the complications of strong, independent women being married to understanding, forward-thinking men!)
Chris' parents drove up from Illinois to join in the fun and spend some quality time with the most adorable, sweet, and all around entertaining granddaughter on the face of the planet. Audia seemed to thoroughly enjoy herself, and we were all pleasantly suprised that she did not have any sort of meltdown despite staying up 2+ hours past her bedtime. The food was, of course, DELISH! Smoked turkey, wild mushroom dressing, cauliflower soufflé, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, mashed taters and turkey gravy, crescent rolls, pecan pie, and pumpkin pie....all made from scratch. No canned soups or boxed taters for this family. 'Twas fantabulous. My cousin and his family stopped by for dessert; it was really nice to see them. When I was younger, we used to get together with all the cousins on my dad's side of the family pretty regularly, but as time has gone on and people have moved out of MN, we've seen less and less of them. Quite sad, really.

Black Friday was spent avoiding shopping venues of any sort. We went with Chris' parents to the Como Zoo and Conservatory. Audia loved it even more this time than last time; now that she's a pro walker, she got to walk almost the entire time, and had so much fun picking up leaves off the walkway and handing them to Chris. She is proving to be quite a good picker-upper; she puts laundry in the hamper without being asked to, and puts garbage in the garbage also. She even likes helping put her toys away; that is until she gets distracted by a toy and forgets that we're cleaning up :-)

On Tuesday, Chris left for Illinois again to work for his dad. He'll be gone until a week from yesterday....11 days total, which feels like FOREVER! But things have been going well so far; Audia's maturity level allows for a much easier time for me than the first couple times Chris went out there. She's overall much more independent, and listens a lot better when I ask her not to do something. It also helps that I have such great friends out here, all offering to break up the monotony by meeting up for coffee, lunch, dinner, and drinks. It certainly is nice to have such a large group of cool people to hang out with!! :-) XOXO to every one of you.

Well, Christmas is just around the corner, so I've been crafting up a storm lately. I'll post some photos of said crafts here in a day or two....nothing too amazing, but all things that make me happy. You know what they say about idle hands!