Tag Archives: advent

‘Twas the Day Before Christmas…

Giant icicles hung from the home.

All the weimaraners were stirring,

Eager to roam.

Candles were lit, Silent Night sung.

And the last Advent card was finally un-hung.

A movie was watched, then kids tucked into bed,
Where they wiggled and giggled as legos danced in their heads.

Presents were scattered underneath the tree,

What could these gifts possibly be?

Tomorrow the children will come down to find
all of these presents with someone special in mind.
Paper will be ripped;
they’ll have quite a ball.
Now mama must sleep;
Merry Christmas to all!

School’s Out for Winter

Today was the last day of school before winter break. Which means parties!

Gus was super excited to go to school and see Lena. And, thanks to the kind kindergarten teachers who gave him an extra plate with a gingerbread man and decorations, he got to “decorate a cookie”, which to a 2 year old means devour all of the candy. 

Lena was so happy to see us. We got hugs and a big smile.

G was so fascinated with all of this party business. Particularly the food part.

Of course I wanted to take some time to visit Reed’s party too, but Gus was NOT leaving that candy. Lena’s teacher told me that she’d keep an eye on Gus for me, so that I could go see Reed. Their classes are right next door, but I was grateful to visit Reed’s class for a couple of minutes without an angry toddler in tow. Lena’s teacher is fantastic. And not just because she kept an eye on Gus. Or may be reading this blog post. She clearly is passionate about teaching kindergarten, and that is an awesome thing to see!

Anyways, Reed’s classroom. First grade parties are serious business, you guys. You fold dreidels and fortune tellers and make bird feeders and drink vegan eggnog. Stopping for your mom to take your picture is NOT on your to-do list.


I got to talk to some of Reed’s friends and help them fold dreidels. One girl, a friend of Reed’s from kindergarten, was very impressed that I knew her name already.

Both of the kids had fun, but they are also happy it’s break. Before I even had the car in the garage, Reed presented his winter break to-do list:

  1. Decorate Gingerbread cookies.
  2. Really, decorate gingerbread cookies.
  3. Decorating gingerbread cookies would be fun. With candy.
  4. Play with Andrei.
  5. Wait for Christmas.

My Winter Break to-do list:

  1. Cut both boys’ hair. Or, better idea: instruct Aaron to do that.
  2. Actually comb Lena’s hair.
  3. Get a handle on Reed’s chapped lips (we have a doctor’s appointment next week!).
  4. Learn how to say more than “I need to pee” and “French fries” in Russian. Just kidding. I know more than that. “Do you speak English?” is also burned in my memory.

I have convinced my children that they should learn Russian because Andrei speaks Russian and Andrei is cool. They watched Little Pim for awhile, and then I pulled out this talking alphabet book.

By the way, anyone know where I can get a new one of those? Gus spilled water on it a few years back and not all of the letters work now. 😦 The store I bought it from is now closed.

My kids normally pick out their own clothes, but L was running behind this morning, so I asked if I could pick it out for her. Yes! Christmas theme! The sweater is one of my favorites: mitten pockets that Reed wore back in 2010. My mom made the skirt last year. And the shoes, dug out for her Princess birthday, are currently her favorite.
Little brother photo-bombed! So much love.

Deck the Halls

This finally happened…

My poor husband, testing all of the lights. And finding that less than half of our lights worked.


They got to open their first presents of the season. Inside was their Christmas pajamas and a “movie ticket”. The back of the movie ticket explained that each ticket was good for one night of staying up late, for all 3 of them, a bowl of popcorn, and a Christmas movie of the ticket holder’s choice. Not valid on school nights. My mom had also sent them a Veggie Tales Christmas movie, so this was the perfect time to open that, too.








I have a love/hate relationship with the age 2. He is often completely delightful– talking in full sentences, asking for kisses, and wanting to cuddle. He tells me “I funny, mama. I funny.” And he is! I’ve told him that so many times that he’s started to say it himself. Then, other moments, he will be freaking out about something silly. Here’s a meltdown from yesterday.

He wanted Lena’s toy horse, but when I handed it to him, he’d throw it down the stairs again. Then, yell and scream at me to get it for him.

This is how Lena did her homework today. In a tiara. Of course.

We are still at it with the advent calendar. Apparently I messed up the days, though, and today’s was a random act of kindness! Fortunately, it was an easy one.


Our town has an “Old Fashioned” Christmas parade. It is entirely horse drawn. So fun! We’ve never gone before, and I’m so glad we went, even though it was the coldest day ever for the parade.


As much as I enjoyed the parade, my absolute favorite part was Gus’s reaction to seeing the horses. “MOOOO!” “Those are horses, buddy. Cows say ‘mooo’. Horses say ‘neigh!'” “MOOO!”

There’s a video here, but apparently WordPress doesn’t allow you to embed Instagram videos.

Gus was done by the end of the parade, but Reed, Lena and I still had a lot to accomplish!

We dropped Aaron and Gus off at home, then we headed to R&L’s school’s Holiday Shop. I have fond memories of doing this myself as a kid. You feel so grown up to be shopping without an adult!

I made them modest lists, hoping that they wouldn’t exceed the amount that the school gives them for the shop. I didn’t include myself on the lists. But, sweet Lena and her “Elf”, a girl who was probably in high school, got me something anyways (and still stayed within budget!). I can’t wait to see what it is and it’s so sweet that they thought to do that.

Next up was our random act of kindness for the day. Feeding the empty parking meters downtown to prevent someone from getting a ticket!
Reed insisted on bringing some of his own change to help and even let Lena put some of it in.

Today is Aaron’s birthday and by this point, Gus was taking a nap. So, to give Aaron some kid-free time, I took Reed and Lena to lunch and grocery shopping. Burgers, fries and giant ice cream sandwiches = happy kids.
(She insisted that I take a picture of her smiling like that!)

We celebrated Aaron’s birthday pretty simply. A dinner of his choice, the kids made him cards and I got him a much-needed pair of hiking boots.

Cheating at Advent

Today is my Imperfect Friday. First, I must confess. I cheated at our Advent calendar. I wanted to know what we would be doing today for a “random act of kindness”, so I peeked at the card. Taking the dogs out for a walk and picking up trash on our walk. NO! Not when it’s 20 degrees outside! So… I changed it. And changed and rearranged several more of the random acts of kindness cards. I cheated. Oh well.

My second confession for this Friday is that Gus didn’t get out of pajamas all day. He changed from one pair of pajamas to another! These photos were taken from 3:15-6pm.

Judge me. I don’t care.

At least his pajamas are cute?


And my final confession– Reed still has incredibly chapped lips. And, I photoshopped it to make it less embarrassing. He has medicated lip balm that he is supposed to apply throughout the day and he puts Vaseline on at night, but we don’t seem to be getting anywhere.

Bokehs and Sprinkles

Occasionally, I will have my camera sitting on the dining room table. It’s a dangerous spot, so I don’t leave it there often. But, tonight, I was sitting there, with Gus next to me eating a snack, my camera in between us. He loves to touch the buttons and feel the different textures. He pressed down on the shutter and click! He cheered. So, I let him do it again and again, moving the camera a bit to try to capture him.


We worked a bit on potty training tonight. We’re in no rush, but when he’s interested, he can go sit for awhile. I sit with him and we have great conversation. Over and over I heard “Mama, I funny. I funny, mama.”

Lena’s turn to do the Advent calendar tonight.

Day 5. She’s 5. For 3 more days!

After the kids went to bed, I needed to get out of the house. Aaron has been working some odd hours, but our lovely babysitter came to my rescue. And off I went.

It was even colder today. We got a dusting of snow last night and it was around 20 degrees when I went out. I wanted to walk from one end of downtown to the other, but I only made it so far before my hands were too cold to even really press the shutter. I don’t usually drink hot beverages, but I needed something.

Hello, lovely little coffee shop. With a barista who believes that whipped cream and sprinkles can’t be beat.

I don’t like hot chocolate. But this… this was really good.

Oh, and the reason why I came downtown… to see all the Christmas lights!