Friday, December 30, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} A single photo -no words- depicting a moment from the past week. An ordinary, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor, and remember. Thanks to Soule Mama for the idea.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Lordy, Lordy

Earlier this month, I had the tenth fortieth birthday party of my dreams. While I am blessed with friends who can whip up an elegant soiree in their sleep, that wasn't at all what I had in mind. So we rented out the local roller rink, and time travelled back to the 1970s-80s. I couldn't squeeze into the vintage Jordache jeans I'd bought, but otherwise my outfit was my dream outfit from 1981: baseball tee with a glitter iron-on transfer (a saying my mother never would have allowed, for the record,) ribbon barrette, Love's Baby Soft perfume, press-on nails, Bonne Bell Lip Slime Gloss, and rainbow pompoms on my skates. Whether or not I was rocking Wonder Woman Underoos will remain my secret.

Mark rocked a glittery flame-throwing Jeep and an original PacMan trucker hat, and held my hand while we skated to the slow songs! My amazing family and friends (and even their kids) went all out with their outfits.

SuperJen made me the most radical, bitchin' cake EVER!

We did the Hokey Pokey, and we turned ourselves around, because that's what it's all about. We ate greasy cheese pizza, we did the limbo, we sported glow necklaces, we played skee-ball and whack-a-mole, we scored vinyl-topped CDs and rainbow bubble gum favors.

Nate's tee has a glittery Big Wheel. Awwww, yeah.

Take THAT, forty!

Daze of December

December was a pleasant daze of simple joys with our boy, friends, and family. It started with Santa on a firetruck (the Woodland Beach VFD toy drive.) Nate really didn't have too much knowledge of Santa Claus, but we figured he would enjoy the firetruck. We joined friends Steve and Suzanne and their boys Dylan and Deegan for the stop in their nearby beach neighborhood.

When the firetruck arrived, and Santa got out, I hung back with Nate to let all the excited older kids get to Santa first. After expressing concern about whether the "elves" were going to close the door, Nate looked up and said, surprised, "That's Santa Cwaus!" He didn't have many requests, but gave the big man a high five, and delighted when Santa let him ring the bell on the firetruck.

Next, we went to select our Christmas tree. Nate was a little disappointed that the real trees didn't "go round and round" like the artificial one he'd seen at Kmart, but he got over that quickly, and helped Daddy pick a good one.

After a photo op with Daddy:

Nate visited the two Santas at the place. He loved the huge papier-mâché Santa, but was a little more wary of the smaller one that sang and danced. Until we left, of course, after which that was all he could talk about.

Once the tree was set up, Nate enjoyed playing with his nativity set and reading Christmas books beneath it. These three were in heavy rotation:

We never actually achieved ornaments, but he was happy with lights. His keepsake ornament this year was (what else?) a donkey.

There was a mid-month intermission, in the form of a housesitting/petsitting gig at the beach. As always happens when we are there, Nate moves ahead by leaps and bounds in the space of a week or two. This time, he mastered the slide and climbing stairs and onto/off of beds without a spotter. He also enjoys the wonderland of toys there. Favorites this time were the train table, the "ice caper" (lightsaber), the "balances" (a weight/balance learning toy), and that perpetual favorite, "the jumps" (mini trampoline.)

Visitors joined us for Shannon's 40th birthday party (more on that later,) filling the big house with busy boy energy and holiday fun. 

There was the usual Nate silliness:

We also visited Homestead Gardens, so Nate could see the lights, the holiday train display, gorgeous trees, and Santa and his reindeer. We found some holiday napkins for Honey, and he charged toward the registers to buy them, only to be transfixed by a music box display. Eventually, the lights got him outside, where he insisted on going to every tree, naming them all by the color of the lights.

Finally, the holiday weekend arrived, and we headed over the river and through the woods to both grandmothers' houses. (Although Nate has hit a paternalistic streak, referring to "Daddy's house," "GrandDad's house," and "PopPop's house.) 

We went bright and early Christmas Eve morning to Happy and GrandDad's to visit with them and Granny and Papaw. Santa brought Nate a recycling truck, a huge wagon of MegaBlocks, a stuffed donkey in a bed, a light that cast "stars on the ceiwing," his own rolling suitcase (a HUGE hit,) a wooden stacker puzzle, and a rabbit family for the dollhouse. But it was hard to get him to focus on any of that, what with a washing machine to be watched and games of chase and peek-a-boo to be played.

While Nate napped, Wesley and Andrea helped Honey bake cookies.

The waiting is SOOO hard.

After Nate's nap, both boys enjoyed the grandparents...

Pondered the religious and secular aspects of the holiday...

and posed for pictures (or didn't and instead played chase) until bedtime:

After bedtime, Santa came.
Mama stayed home from church to get Nate to sleep and because a cold made singing impossible. But saying prayers, she asked God, "tomorrow, help us remember the reason for the day." Nate chimed in, "the baby asweep in the hay." Mama will remember that forever.

Christmas morning, the boys miraculously slept until about 7. Clad in matching jammies, they woke Honey and PopPop, who sent them to their room for a little while longer. With the help of some distractions and Cheerios, they weathered this amazingly well. Then the call came, and they headed downstairs to the tree.

Santa brought Nate a play kitchen. From Mama and Daddy: a handmade memory game, a slide whistle, and some other goodies. From Honey and PopPop: some winter gear and jammies for a future Christmas, and a cool sea life play set. From Andrea, Rick, and Wesley: a wooden train set with a bridge and windmill (goes round and round-genius.) He also enjoyed playing with Wesley's play blender and Honey's colored wineglasses. All between breaks to see the swing and washing machine, and pop bubble wrap.

It's the little things, indeed. We are so grateful to our boy for reminding us. And now, we can take a much-needed milk break before the new year. We hope your holiday brought you moments of peace and joy. But if not, there is always January.

Friday, December 16, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} A single photo -no words- depicting a moment from the past week. An ordinary, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor, and remember. Thanks to Soule Mama for the idea.

Friday, December 09, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} A single photo -no words- depicting a moment from the past week. An ordinary, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor, and remember. Thanks to Soule Mama for the idea.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Thanksgiving Weekend, as narrated by Nate

Sorry we're late in posting; we've been both busy and (at times) away from the internet.

We enjoyed Thanksgiving Day and the weekend after at the grandparents' houses. Unlike last year, when I didn't know what to expect, this year I was ready, especially for mashed potatoes and my 'little piece of (pumpkin) pie."

Truth be told, I had more than just a little piece of pie, but I earned it, since I helped Mom make two of them.

Mom tried to get a picture of me and Daddy in our "dressy" clothes, but we got kinda silly:

I woke up at the crack of dawn every day to play some of my favorite games at Honey and PopPop's. I got to swing in the basement, watch PopPop "make fire in the fireplace,"play the guitar, and watch a movie with Honey and Aunt Karin.

And, my most favorite: "battery." This is the coolest toy EVER. So what if it's marketed for cats? "Take the lid off, green lid, battery in the motor. Battery makes the motor go round and round and round. SEE it. Put the lid on. Put it on the flowah. Tail tickle you."

I also got to spend lots of time with Happy and GrandDad and Granny and Papaw. Happy's coolest toy is this red step stool. I figured out that I can carry it around to get to things. Things like the spice cabinet, "washing monchine," and Granny. Happy asked me what my favorite spice was. I told her, "herbes de provence." (She seemed surprised, maybe hers isn't in a cool jar like ours at home.)

I got to explore outside at Happy's house, too. Their driveway has great rocks, and around the corner of the house there are TWO fans.

I got to play silly games with Happy:

Talk man-to-man with Granddad:

and be doted on all around:

Bart, Tracy, and Sara came on Sunday. I was so excited to see Sara, especially.

And just like I thought, we had big fun, hiding in Happy's closet and doing bed gymnastics:

Sara also helped Mama peel potatoes, and trounced everyone at Uno. I know my colors, but can't read the numbers yet. Someday soon, I'll be in the game.

My family tops my list of things I'm thankful for, but I am also thankful for:

-walks to the "beach" to walk to the end of the pier and throw rocks in the water.

-freedom of artistic expression, even if it's only in the bathtub. "All the colors together make brown."

-jobs to do. In addition to helping Mama with cooking, I give Daddy lots of help with yardwork. There are leaves to rake, and a lawn to be mowed, even in the rain. It can get tiring.

-books and blanket forts. 'Nuff said.

There's just so much to be thankful for. Although Mama says I shouldn't end a sentence in a preposition.