Friday, December 30, 2011

The North Pole - A New Tradition

 When I was growing up we had a special cabinet door.  No not the kind where little Indians came to life.  That was at my friends house. The inside of this door was marked with years of growth.  It's where my siblings and I recorded our height.  I'm not sure how often we would mark our changes, but I always loved it.  I would stand with my back straight, trying desperately to make myself a little taller while my mom or dad measured me.  My parents still live in the same house, so it's a fun walk down memory lane to go over there and open that cabinet.  The markings a reminder of my childhood.

I knew I'd want to do something similar when I had kids, but I also knew I probably wouldn't stay in the same house.  I had to think outside the box here.  For months I wondered what I could use.  Or if I should just rip off an existing door in my house when I eventually move.

As Christmas approached I had an idea.  The North Pole!  Don't act confused, you totally know what I'm talking about.

I loved the challenge of turing this idea into a reality!

We went to Home Depot, looking for a large wooden something-or-other that we could use as the pole.    And we found nothing.  While walking down the aisles I saw little PVC pipes, calling out to me!  We found a huge pipe, and had a grumpy employee cut it to 6 feet 6 inches.  I told him cheerily "we're using this to make the north pole!!"  He faked a smile and walked away.  But his poo poo attitude didn't alter my excitement.

Next came the red and white spray paint.  White went on first.  And it stood in our garage drying for several hours.  I'm sure our neighbors walked by wondering about my new stripper pole.

Next, I taped three inch painters tape spaced three inches apart.  That sucked.  Talk about time consuming.  After that, we sprayed red and peeled off the tape.

Our red and white striped pole stood in our house for weeks (and I never took a picture of it in this stage).  We didn't know how to make legs, and decided we didn't care for a while.

Finally we agreed on using L brackets, and we went to the basement one night to get the legs attached.

Nate drilled and I screwed the screws.  It was a mess and we had a baby grabbing everything she could grab.  But we did it!  Our north pole had legs!  

Sometime in the middle of the painting and arguing discussing how to attach legs, I made this little sign.  I found it blank at Hobby Lobby, my BFF, and wrote on it with a gold pen.  I also attached a giant gold ball to a coupling at the top.

I haven't explained how this could be like my cabinet have I?  Well, I decided that each Christmas Eve we would measure our kids on the back side of the Pummel Pole!  And when we move we can take this ridiculously large pole with us.  And our kids can get excited every year to see how much they've grown. 

I love traditions.  Don't you?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A Very Merry Christmas Indeed

It wasn't her first Christmas...but it was.  Last year, she was one week old on Christmas day.  We had just brought her home on the 23rd, and were completely exhausted.  More exhausted than a pregnant woman competing in an Iron Man without any limbs exhausted.  Last year we grabbed our infant, sat down by the tree for ten minutes.  We didn't talk.  The we got back in bed.  No gifts, no meals, no sucking a candy cane until it's a weapon.  It kinda sucked.

This year was much better!  We we able to fully celebrate Jesus' birthday!

On Christmas Eve Nate's parents came over and lavished a few gifty's on our girl.  She didn't care, but I did!

 My favorite gift was her Raggedy Ann doll.  I desperately tried to get her to hug the doll, but all she wanted to do was pull her hair and lick her face.  I understand that R.A. is lick-able honey, but maybe she just wants a hug.

That evening we went to one of many Christmas Eve services at church.  And so did thousands of other people.  There were no seats left and we had to sit in "overflow".  I was a bit bummed because they had some awesome music and I only got to see it on TV in the classroom we were in.  But I got over it, chatted with my friend we sat with, and listened to the message.  It was a good one too!

Christmas Eve dress.  She's being goofy here.

Christmas Day came quickly.  Our little one did a great job looking cute and eating wrapping paper.

I didn't let her touch any gifts under the tree until that morning.  She was confused by this.  Why did you tell me "no" yesterday and today it's okay.  I'm just making sure she's listening!

She tasted all gifts before opening them.  She must have inherited this trait from my dad.  He still licks and smells everything before opening.  I like that about him.  I wrapped most of hers in tissue paper so she could open them on her own.  

After opening gifts at home we went to my parents house where the camera didn't come out once.  Andrey was doted upon all day long (my mom always volunteers to change poopy diapers, bless her heart).  We ate fantastic meals, played games, walked in the beautiful snow, and lounged around like a bunch of hibernating woodchucks.  Did you know woodchucks and groundhogs are the same thing?

It was the most low key Christmas I'd had in years.  It was snowy and peaceful.  And I got to enjoy it with the ones I love most.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Our Girl's First Birthday

I started mentally and physically preparing for this day months ago.  My dining room table was covered in crafts and hot glue.  My mind was racing with ideas.  I was so excited for my little girl to turn one.  And I was sad too.  She's a toddler now.  Technically.  But she's still a baby.  

My baby.

The outfit was a big deal for me.  It needed to be just right.  I made her a tutu, ironed on a "1" to her shirt, found polka dotted leg warmers, pink shoes, and a shiny silver bow for her head!  It was awesome if I do say so myself.

You'll see my poor photography decision in the next few shots.  A large vase full of flowers was behind her head.  She looks like she's wearing a girly version of Julius Caesar's crown.

We hardly got any pictures of the three of us.  We had around 50 people show up (including kids) so it was madness!

I loved to see her crawling around in the tutu.  Cutest little buns ever!

We sang happy birthday, blew out a candle and handed her a pumpkin spice cupcake.

She went for it.  No fear of textures or messes here.

As she ate a little, and played a lot, she deposited frosting on Nate's sleeve and the plant.

"What is this stuff?"

After people left, we opened gifts and lit her birthday candle.  We will burn it every year on her birthday (well, until she's 18...).

Andrey was a trooper all day. No tears, no fuss, lots of hands on her.  She ended the night by playing with her wrapping paper and bags, and her new purse!  We are so thankful to everyone who came to celebrate our little girl with us!

Now that year one is done, I can look back and see how much we've been through.  And I can say it's all been worth it.  She is everything I hoped for and more.  She's silly, curious, feisty, cuddly, smart (I can say that now can't I?), beautiful and my dream come true.  I look forward to many more birthday celebrations with my little girl.

Happy birthday, Andrey Grace!

I love you!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Ho Ho No?

Santa isn't real!  There, I said it.

Saint Nicholas, however,  is real and he's who we based Santa Claus on. He was a man who received a large sum of money from his parents and distributed it to the poor.  Saint Nick was know for his kindness and often anonymous generosity, and children began to hope they'd receive gifts from him.  He died in December and people celebrated his benevolence each year, until it became a traditional part of Christmas.

That's nice isn't it?

I wonder though, should I teach my kids the truth?  Or should I go along with the "lie"?  Am I, the trusted parent, supposed to tell my kids an old man goes around the whole world delivering gifts, in ONE NIGHT?  WTFrack.  And when my sweet little one asks why he doesn't deliver gifts to the starving kids, do I say, "because they don't have a fireplace, honey"?  I know there is joy and anticipation, excitement and wonder around the myth of Santa for kids.  But what's lost because of it?  Can I teach my kids the truth about Christmas, all the while urging them to believe the fanciful life of Santa?  I'm beginning to think I can't.

I knew some kids whose parents told them the truth about Santa from the get-go and let's be honest, they were weird kids.  I don't want weird kids.  I do, however, want kids who can enjoy the snowmen, stories about elves, stockings hung by the fireplace - and know those things are secondary to Christ.

Christmas is about Christ, no matter what the media tells you.  It's a Christian holiday, celebrating the birth of Jesus.  Shouldn't I use it as an opportunity to teach my kids about all He has already given them?

What will you do?  Ho Ho Ho - or - Ho Ho No?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


I'm not feeling wordy right now.  So I'll keep the words to a minimum.  Nate would like it if I did that when he got home from work, but it will never happen.

Some recent pictures of my favorite little girl.

Emptying the contents of her toy basket.

Her new goofy face.  She does this a lot and giggles!

Standing is a definite favorite thing.

She's holding my lens cap in all of these.


Daddy's slipper is just a little too big.

But it sure does taste nice.

Waiting for dad to bring in the Christmas tree (thanks Audrey)!

The tree is "no touch" - and she listens very well!  Seriously.  She's great!

Trying to reach the Christmas animals.

I love the ear flaps on this hat.  Adorable!!
That's all for now!