23 December 2009

Dec. 23: The wishlist

My grandmother had an address book with a picture of Santa on the front of it, onto which she glued a cotton ball. That was her Christmas wishlist book. Every year, her children, then eventually the grandkids, would write our Christmas lists in the book. As an adult, it was so neat to go back and see our childish handwriting evolve and the phases of our hearts' desires formed into Christmas lists, as well as Grammy's eternal list (Chantilly Lace and gloves). It was one of my favorite Christmas traditions.
This year I made a book for myself and the two sisters who have children. I decoupaged a picture of Santa (Grammy's was much more modern, but I couldn't find it) onto blank sketchbooks and then glued the requisite cotton ball to the front.
The kids made their lists immediately. Annalivia wrote hers and Daniel dictated his. Then we put it right in front of the tree where Santa can easily find it.

21 December 2009

Dec. 22: The manger

We went to see a living nativity last night. Truthfully, it was not the greatest. But, the kids got something from it. Afterwards, they made beeline for the manger to see what was inside.

Dec. 21: Shovelers

The snow prompted me to head outside to see if I could take any good kids-in-the-snow pics. The answer? No. No, you can't. Not when there is shoveling to be done.

20 December 2009

Dec. 20: Snowberries

It's snowing here! It's just in time for a few days of white before Christmas.

15 December 2009

This project would be easier...

...if I could find my flipping cable for my camera. I'm still taking photos for the December photo project, I just can't upload them yet. When I find it (at the bottom of my yarn bin? in the kids' room? next to the toaster?) I will make a bunch of back posts.

14 December 2009

Dec. 14: Going to work

Dennis brought home safety glasses from work for the kids the other day. Daniel wore his all evening and later came in with this get-up and told us he was "going to work." He's terribly busy and important there.

13 December 2009

Dec. 13: Mommy/ daughter day

Today, Annalivia and I went to church together after deeming the others too sick to participate. After church, I decided that today was a good day to spend with just her, so we came home and got the truck (which allows her to sit in the front by me) and when on a special Girls' Day. We went out to eat for lunch and had an AMAZING sandwich at a pub. Then we went to Goodwill and did Christmas shopping for her brother and sister. Then we went to WalMart and bought some new Christmas shoes for her. Finally, we ended up at the Messiah sing at the Episcopal cathedral in Peoria. The soprano and tenor soloists were wonderful, the orchestra was superb, the choruses were...fun, at least. We stayed for the first half, had some great thumbprint cookies, and came home. It was a lovely day. We were even wearing matching gold sparkly sweaters! :)

Anyone need a last minute Christmas photo card?

Last year, I thought I'd get into the Christmas photo card business, but I never got around to designing my own papers, etc. I do, however, have about five or six or so templates using free materials. If you'd like a free photo card you can take and have printed, I'd be honored to have my blog friends use one of these templates lest they sit around unused. Just send me a photo by next Wed, Dec. 16 and whether you'd like the card to be religious or secular, and any other verbage, along with whether you'd prefer a 4x6 or 5x7 and I'll get it to you asap. My email is mcclurestewart and it's a gmail dot com address.

12 December 2009

Dec. 12: 40 years old

Dennis turned 40 today. He spent this milestone day running errands, wiping noses, and dealing with fussy, sicky children. He only got a chocolate cake at the end of the day after bathing little ones. He didn't even get 40 candles. He did get 40 kisses, though. I won't say from whom...

11 December 2009

Dec. 11: Wrestlers

This child #3 had a challenge her older sister never had -- a big brother who likes to rassle. Little E is constantly being tugged, butted, jumped over, and prodded, etc. by this brother-of-hers. So far, he's being gentle and she is loving every moment, which is a good thing because she barely gets a moment's peace. Even when she's sitting on momma's lap.

09 December 2009

Dec. 9: O Antiphon

We've been lighting our Advent wreath at breakfast, then I read parts of Isaiah 9 and then we sing the first verse of O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. We were eating Cheerios on our first morning of lighting the wreath and I was teaching the kiddos the words to the hymn and Annalivia grabbed a Cheerio and said, "It's an 'O'! Like 'O Come, O Come!'" I, in my naivete, having not realized that anything can become TRADITION in the blink of an eye to a child, told the kids they could hold a Cheerio while we sang. So now, each and every time we sing, "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" there must be a Cheerio in hand. 'O' has taken on a new meaning this Advent.

07 December 2009

Dec. 7: First snow

We had our first snow last night. It was a light dusting that was gone from the pavement by noon.
See that circle in the ground? Annalivia drew a bunch of these in our yard today. She said, "This is where we're going to build our igloo tomorrow!"
Here's hoping we get more snow tonight!

06 December 2009

Dec. 6: Angelic...ish

The kids were in a program Sunday night at church. Considering that it started about an hour before their bedtimes and they had no naps and had arisen VERY early in the morning, I thought my children were...not terrible. I was thankful that there were about 25 other kids in the same situation. The directors of the program deserve some sort of saint status.

This one DID NOT want to get pigtails in her hair; she wanted to have curly hair. The child's hair is slippery, thick and straight. It does not curl. After explaining this to her approximately 5000 times, she reluctantly agreed to pigtails, then changed her mind about three minutes before we walked out the door. She kept saying, "I look RIDICULOUS!" She didn't. But she took her pigtails out sometime between her entrance and the appearance of the children's choir at the end of the second act.

This boy only wore his halo for the first four minutes of the program. And he was so tired that he ended up sitting on the floor behind a cloud during the last song and doing the motions to Away in the Manger, though the choir wasn't singing that particular song at the time.

And this child squawked through the play, bounced around and banged her mouth on the pew several times and sobbed, and was generally disruptive. I took her to the back of the church with the other mothers with little ones and she tried to crawl out of my arms to grab the 7-month old beside us. She sure looks cute here, though.

After the program we had cake in the all-purpose room of the church and Daniel and Annalivia and the other 25 kids who had not had naps ran approximately 3 miles in laps around the outside of the room. I think there was a tacet agreement among the parents to not enforce the no-running-in-church thing because all of us seemed pretty grateful that our children, who were now past their bedtimes were, at least, not at our tables, sobbing.

When we got home, the kiddos went straight to bed, and, not surprisingly, the older two were asleep almost immediately. And when I went to check on them later, they sure looked angelic.

05 December 2009

Dec.5: Soundtrack to these days

My absolute favorite Christmas album ever. If nothing else would do it for me, Kiri Te Kanawa singing Mozart's Laudate Dominum puts me in a grateful, thankful, oh-my-goodness-the-mystery-of-it-all! Christmas mood every. single. time.

04 December 2009

Dec. 4: Playdough

Annalivia received some playdough for Christmas from one of her teachers at church. She was excited to use it and split it with Daniel so they could both play, which they did for about two hours non-stop. They absolutely loved it.
It was the first time I've ever let them use playdough. And it may be the last. Little bits of dried yellow stuff were everywhere. I swear I vacuumed the floor five times one day.

03 December 2009

December 3: Tea

One of the delights of living in a big drafty house is that one always has an excuse to drink a cup of tea. I really enjoy different kinds of tea, but I admit that I am loyal to my first love -- Constant Comment. I discovered it in junior high. Back then I used a lot of honey in it. Now I use a little teeny bit of agave nectar. I love the fragrance and the way the hint of sweetness brings out the orange and spices. Lovely.
The children like my tea-drinking habits and not only because hot tea means that there is usually warm water available for hot chocolate. Sometimes they take breaks from playing to come over and bury their noses in my cup of Constant Comment. And they like to carry my tea bags to the garbage and squish them between their fingers so that the scent is released again. Yesterday, Daniel kept coming over to me to smell my tea so often that I asked if he wanted the rest of it. He enjoyed every last drop.
My other favorite tea is one I never have on hand -- peppermint with honey. My grandmother sometimes grew peppermint behind the garage when I was a child and occasionally she'd make some into tea for us. Or when we'd go for a hike with my father in the local woods, we'd find wild peppermint and bring it back to her. And I remember my friend, Becky, bringing one of those bladder canteens full of hot peppermint tea to a church outing when we were in 7th grade. I think we felt very grown-up and it had something to do with the tea.
I keep thinking I need to branch out and try different kinds of tea. Hence, my cupboard is full of tea boxes with one or two bags missing as I attempt to love them. But I always return to my default. Do you have a favorite tea you'd recommend?

02 December 2009

December 2: Breakfast

A candle lit...O Come, O Come Emmanuel...Isaiah 9... hot oatmeal in bowls...cheerios in hand and on the floor...

01 December 2009

December 1: Gifting

As I think I've mentioned before, one of the things I truly love and appreciate about my family is that handmade gifts are encouraged and treasured. Christmas is not really about The Getting for us. We've realized along the way that The Giving is the real joy and it really is so much fun to think about what to give to loved ones, especially when creating presents from scratch. I think about the things that have been made for us -- baby blankets and ornaments and clothing and jewelry -- all of these handmade treasures always top items that are purchased. So I'm working hard today on handmade gifts. It's such fun work!

December Photo Project
If you'd like to see more photos in the December photo project, start here.