Preparations for Christmas are in full swing around here....the house is slowly but surely becoming "Christmasified"....Christmas songs are on the ipod, and are being played all day long. (Funny enough, my two year olds know how to start and stop the ipod and I had to read the directions four times to figure it out) I ALMOST have all our stockings monogrammed, and Cale keeps talking about what Santa is going to put in his "Christmas sock". Hayden has burst into tears several times, and informed me "I don't want Santa to come to my house." (If you think about it, it is a little creepy) We have bought and made gifts, and the wrapping has begun. All my holiday themed books from my teacher days (Thank you Scholastic Book Club bonus points!!) are in a basket by the fireplace, and we read them all day long. The babies' are SO fun to buy for, and we are trying hard to restrain ourselves. We want them to love this season for the right reason, and not think it's all about gifts, so we are cooking up a bunch of things to do (that hopefully will turn into traditions) that take the focus off of "stuff"....I feel a weight of responsibility that I convey to them the "right" message about things.....after all, they are two and are totally prepared for deep, existential conversation. (insert eye roll here) Anyway, during our prayers, we've been talking about boys and girls who don't have a home or family, and asking God to provide for them. Cale wanted to put money in the Salvation Army bucket after I told him that is what it is for. As a result of all this empathy training, Hayden is now going around telling people "You don't have a family." She came in the computer room this evening to tell me "Baby Livi doesn't have a family." Shawn told me this is a result of all my talk of homeless orphans. I think she is definitely listening to what I'm saying.....she's just not sure what to do with this new information. Hey, I'm on the right track. At least she remembered something I told her!! Some random factiods about our family this week:
-Baby Livi takes a paci! Yippee!! She can also roll over (she's done it ONCE after all) and can stand up on her chubby little legs if you hold her hands. She laughs, squeals, tracks things across the room, turns towards our voices, tries to throw herself out of her bouncy seat and carseat (she is both WIGGLY and a contortionist) and still doesn't sleep all that much. Life is good.
-Hayden moved from a twin bed with rails to a full sized bed with no rails last night. She CANNOT stay in the same place while sleeping, so we were scared to do away with the rails, but so far (one night) she has stayed in bed and not fallen out. She told me, "I am a big girl."
-Both the twins have started telling us they love us...FINALLY. Some return on my investment after two and a half years!! :) They sound so, so sweet when they say it.....and I know they say it more often because I act like I won the lottery every time they tell me. They probably just get a kick out of watching me act like a crazy person.
-Twins cannot keep their hands off Christmas decorations. This is going to be interesting....we are either going to have to replace breakable items, or only decorate the house from three feet and higher.
-Cale told Shawn today, "Zoolie did not obey me. He's going to get a hiney pop." Zoolie is his teddy bear, and you can tell what Shawn calls a spanking.
-We are running around like crazy making sure the door to our bedroom is closed all the time, so the babies can't get in and see their gifts. I'm not sure how we are going to manage this for another month, seeing as this morning Hayden came walking in the room while I was still in bed......luckily she wasn't really paying attention, and was shuffled quickly out the door.
-I have gone project crazy, and will post pics as soon as I take some.....and let me toot my own horn and tell you I made some cutey stuff that you're going to want to make, too!!
Seriously. This would have been MY WHOLE LIFE when I was a little girl. I WILL have one for my girls. How adorable is this?????
I am wondering how likely it is that I could hornswaggle my husband and father in on making one of these? My mom and I could handle all the insides of course, but I think I need a more capable person to operate a saw. I could try, but who wants a playhouse splattered in blood? Check out the whole post related to this adorable little house at: http://restyledhome.blogspot.com/2009/11/another-pretty-playhouse.html The pictures of the inside are even cuter!!!
My BFF Kelly helped this weekend with a little photo op for our Christmas cards....our great friend Brandi (an amazing photographer) took our pictures in September, but little Livi already looks so different....I wanted some updated pictures to use in our cards. Here are some of my favorites from our shoot....I took a bunch of new pictures of my kids, and Kelly was such a good sport about taking some of our nearly unmanageable gang of five, so that I could actually appear on the other side of the lens for a change! I realized one thing during this outing....It is next to impossible to get three children under the age of three to cooperate for picture taking! Once again, the twins managed to look like their cat got run over by a car....they look so morose in some of them! It cracks me up because they are the happiest, silliest kids you will ever meet....not that anyone on our Christmas card list will buy it.
Really, you've got to admit....we make some pretty decent looking humans! :) Livi is charming us all with her squealy, smily, happy, three month old chunkiness. She likes the bumbo, and even sat in it to "help" me make lunch the other day. (Don't worry, we were standing right next to her.....no babies falling off the counter in this house!) My life changed drastically yesterday when I finally went and bought batteries for the baby swing. This baby LOVES swingin'! She cooes at her reflection in the little mirror that is positioned above the swing, and loves to watch the little birdies go around in a circle. Which leaves me to wonder: What the heck is wrong with me that I didn't try this thing sooner?? She is a sleeping fool in that swing....and it allows me to get so much more done! It is such a vast difference from my first foray at parenting...all the baby items had batteries in them, ready to be used as soon as the twins came home from the hospital. With our third, she doesn't even get BATTERIES in her swing until three months, and the saddest thing is that the basket on the swing hangs a little caddy whompus because at some point a toddler hung on it, bending it to the side. No worries for Liv, though! She loves her crooked swing, and looking at the red berries I have in a vase on the mantel, and squealing all day! She's the happiest baby in the universe...as long as you're focusing all your attention on her!
Today my sweet husband turns 34 years old. I want his day to be special, since he doesn't get celebrated that much at all. Case in point, our four year anniversary was spent in the hospital, where he had to try and get comfortable on a blue vinyl chair while listening to me beg the nurse for more pain meds. Not exactly anyone's idea of a romantic anniversary celebration.
He is pretty amazing. If you don't know him, you are missing out. He is the best person I know, and MORE of everything than me. More patient, more loyal, more forgiving, more determined, more hardworking...he's kinder, nicer, smarter, funnier than anyone I know. He does the "right" thing, and not just because he knows it looks good to live that way, but because it was hardwired into him (even when he was a fetus) to make the right choice no matter what. He loves people when they don't deserve it, and is the same way about forgiveness. Lucky for me, because frankly, I'm a mess. I am emotional, irrational and have anger problems. I cry too much, I can be mean, and I pout.....the list goes on an on! I'm sure he has noticed all these faults of mine, but you wouldn't know it by the way he treats me. He still acts like I am the funniest, best, most wonderful person alive....and that humbles me. I'm not sure what I expected marriage to be like when I said "I do" four years ago. I was excited about having wedding showers and registering for new dishes and towels. I was excited to be able to change my name to match his, and to monogram that new name on the aforementioned new towels. I was excited to get to "play house" with him....but it's really so much more than that. I live with my friend. My very best friend, who thinks the same things are funny that I do....who I share so many inside jokes with, and have a language with that other people wouldn't even begin to understand...a language built on sixteen years of knowing each other. A language that is filled with words that aren't even words at all. Often times, we can say just one thing to each other, and we know EXACTLY what the other person is referencing or saying about a certain situation....When I give him "a look" across a room, he knows EXACTLY why I'm shooting the look. He knows if I am trying to get his attention, or if I'm annoyed about something, or find something funny. We are entertained, repulsed, convicted about all the same issues. I like that kind of comfort. The best thing about being with him, (other than the fact that he has more character and integrity in his little toenail than most people do in their whole being) is the fact that he Will. Never. Leave. I took this to be true when I married him, but I know now, with total certainty that he is going to stick with me for the long haul. Because that's the kind of person he is. And that is were I find the most comfort of all....because I know there is nothing more important to him than me and our three little ones. I know that if it came down to choosing his life or ours, he'd give his in a minute for us, no hesitation/no questions asked. My life is comfortable and easy, and it's because he makes it that way.....I never have to worry about anything, because he provides for us. I am a better person for knowing him. He makes me want to be a better mother, friend, wife.....I just hope I can continue to do whatever I did that made him want to marry me in the first place.
Today I celebrate a boy I met sixteen years ago.....who; even THEN was kinder and more mature than other boys his age. A boy who met my GRANDPARENTS the first time he came to my house (how's that for pressure?)....someone who was never, EVER afraid to tell me how he felt. A boy who loved me for years and years, even though I didn't necessarily deserve it or love him back at the time. A boy who KNEW he always wanted to marry me, and waited patiently for me to figure out the same. He comforted me when my dog died, and when my dad was having a heart attack. Somewhere along the line, he turned into the man that I am married to today.....with the same kindness and conviction he had even as a teenager.....only multiplied by a billion today. He is the man who had a hysterical laughing fit during our wedding vows. He comforted me when I melted down over realizing I wasn't pregnant yet AGAIN, and reassured me that I would definitely become a mother someday. He laughed with me about things other people wouldn't find that funny at all. He thinks it is funny to ask loudly in the grocery store if I remembered to get my diahrrea medication. He is the person who cried with me when we heard our newborn babies cry for the first time. He held a trash can for me the night after we had our twins, and my pain was so horrible it made me barf. He is the person who never balks at helping out at home, no matter how many hours he has worked that day. He even laughed at me when I got mad and threw a remote control at him in the middle of an argument. (I told you I had issues.) He is the only person who knows the all consuming, crippling love I have for my children, because they are his too. He's not perfect....he whistles too much, his feet are entirely too cold, and he leaves papers all over the whole house. He can be a pest sometimes and he watches WAY too many "good games" on TV.....but I don't mind. He puts up with me after all, and for THAT he deserves some kind of award....
Happy, happy birthday to him! I hope that on this day, (and all the other ones too) he knows how much he is loved and needed!
Drumroll........and here is the first of my Christmas crafts! This project was E-A-S-Y and it turned out so cute! Want to make one? The tutorial I read said to use twine to tie the fabric to, but I used a string of Christmas lights instead. Found those (the shortest strand I could find-12ft.) at Target for all of 1.49. If you have fabric in Christmas colors laying around, you don't need to buy any...but I had a specific color combo I was looking for. (Red, cream, lime/olive green) I bought a yard of each of the fabrics...the most expensive one might have been 4.99....and all three were 30% off! I knew I was going to be cutting them all up, so I wasn't concerned with buying high quality designer fabrics...I just picked out three really pretty ones from Mecca. (Hobby Lobby)
You cut strips that are 2 inches wide and 6 inches long. Get your strips ready, and start knotting them to your light strand/twine!! Every three or four strips you can mash them down to make the garland more dense, fitting on as many strips as you can. I ended up using only 3/4 of the fabric yards, so I am going to make another (non-lit) garland for my dining room chandelier. How precious is this?? I'm thinking of all the other possibilities....pink, red and white fabric for Valentines, Red, white and blue for the fourth of July....I am LOVING garlands right now!! I'm trying to decide whether or not to make this one as well. (It's from http://creatingcupcakes.blogspot.com)
So I pretended to be annoyed that the Christmas stuff was up in stores before we could even get the pumpkins carved....but secretly I was already getting excited about the REAL holidays....mostly because I can't WAIT to see my kids really, REALLY enjoy this season...but also because I have pretty much gone off the deep end in the crafting department. It's basically my (almost) full time job that I don't get paid for. I knew it wasn't acceptable to start "Christmassing" until after Halloween (who made up that rule anyway?) so today I was out and about while visions of a perfectly decorated Christmas house danced in my head. I grabbed a few items I needed to start with a few projects. My new mantra is going to be "Don't start a new project until the one you already started is finished." Or something like that. Okay, maybe "Don't start a fourth project until the first three unfinished projects are done." Whatever. And I've got 'em. Unfinished projects, that is. Namely:
-Cale's baby quilt that is all cut out and half hand embroidered. I gave up trying to finish this one when he hit thirty pounds. What will I do with a half finished quilt for a boy baby? I guess try for another boy! Just kidding! (My husband is a regular reader of this blog, and I'm sure he won't finish reading this post, but scramble for a vasectomy after reading THAT line!)
-The girls' Christmas dresses. Cut out. Still need lining, and buttons. And maybe fabric flowers with some of the left over fabric.
-Tons, tons, tons of felt cut up and ready to make into felt food for the babies' Christmas presents. I'm not sure if any of you have seen the ADORABLE felt food available for purchase out in cyberspace, but it is TOO cute. It is also TOO expensive. And what is the good of having a fantasmagorical sewing machine if I can't make some stinkin' felt food?? So off I ventured to make my OWN, just as GOOD felt food for the babies' to play with.....and never finished. Now I know why people buy it. It's time consuming.
-Along the same line....felt playhouse. Three sides cut out, and only three fourths of one side decorated. We'll see if that one gets done before Christmas. Big, BIG project.
-Organizing my pantry.....putting baking supplies into airtight, matching glass containers. The perfectitude of this mental picture makes me salivate. Really. I LOVE organization....which might entertain you if you've ever been to my house! Add the idea of LABELS and I am half catatonic.
PLUS, I decided that I need to copy all our family home movies from mini DVs to DVDs before I am knee deep in tiny videotapes. Or before something tragic happens and I (gasp) lose them. Ugh. Thinking about that project makes me get sweaty armpits. Not as fun as crafting.
So with all this junk to do, I started new projects. I guess the new mantra hasn't kicked in yet. I am making a cutey fabric garland for above the fireplace for Christmas, and when I'm done I'll show ya! It is so stinkin' adorable, and easy peasy to make. I am also hand embroidering a cute pillow for the girls' room. That one is taking awhile, but I am working on while me and the hubs watch TV at night. Which means I miss everything that isn't actually said out loud on my TV shows. Oh well.
The babies mostly cooperated during our outing today. I told them they could take ONE, you heard me, ONE item in the car when we left. Cale chose a yellow race car, and Sissy chose a sandwich bag filled with dirty socks. Whatever. She kept calling it her "snack"...how's that for thinking outside the box? They were a hoot all day....Cale told me in Ross (LOUDLY)..."Mommy, I have to poop in Ross. It costs fifty dollars to change my diaper." I'm not sure what THAT one is about, but everything is about fifty dollars today. I was thinking to myself that I should be charging HIM fifty dollars every time I change one of HIS diapers. Hayden cried when she realized that she had to go home with me and couldn't go with Mimi today...and said she had to go to Mimi's to play her guitar. There is no guitar at Mimi's so I'm not sure what she's talking about, but you have to admire her attempt at negotiation. She has some work to do in that department.
So off I am to finish my cute garland!
Ah...the weeks and weeks of buildup, of planning, of decorating.....and it's all over! Shawn said he had "Post Halloween Depression" which isn't really a joke coming from him since this is by far his favorite holiday. In true Shawn form, he wore a "non-costume" that consisted of a weird moustache, wig, and a fat gut...keeping with his tradition of basically just dressing up as a creep on Halloween. I was too busy getting stuff ready for my kids to concoct a costume this year...I wore vampire teeth, but the little ones didn't like that so I was pretty much costume-less. All of my fun and enjoyment was multiplied a billion times over compared to every other Halloween of the past...and it's all because my kids are old enough to get it! I thought I would get to pick their costumes for at least one more year, but NO...they knew for the past month that they wanted to go as Spiderman and Tinkerbell. Neither are terribly original, but they were excited so what the hey...Cale loved the muscles sewn into his costume, and Hayden was excited that she got to wear fairy dust (sparkly powder) and lip gloss. Livi went as herself, dressed in Halloween leggings. Our weekend consisted of hanging out with friends and family, eating entirely too much junk, skipping naps, going to bed too late and generally misbehaving because of the lack of sleep. The babies loved having their friends over on Friday, and on Saturday we took them to trick or treat with Logan. They had NO fear of trick or treating...walked right up and rang doorbells, held out their bags, said "Thank You" and "Happy Halloween"....they even attempted some small talk with the home owners. We hit about twenty houses, which was WAY more than I thought we would handle....now there is an overflowing basket of candy in my kitchen that is going to stare at me for a week, calling my name. Hopefully Shawn will eat most of it....Today was the last day of anything Halloween related...we headed to Target to the Halloween aisle (along with about four thousand other people) and picked up lots of cute stuff...goodies for next year's Halloween treat bags, some decorations and a few cute Halloween outfits for the girls to wear next year. We were with Shawn's family, and his grandma spoiled us by paying for everything ONCE AGAIN. I hate to let her do it, but she insists, and we do appreciate it! Now the Halloween pick up and put away begins and my Christmas planning starts....