Monday, December 31, 2012

Favorite Pictures of 2012

This is our second full year with a DSLR and we are still getting the hang of it.  Still we have learned enough to get some treasured images.  Here are my favorites from the year that was mostly a blur.

2012: A Blur

When the biggest event of a year - in this case the birth of a child - happens in the first three days of the new year, it pretty much guarantees the rest of the year will be a blur.  A large, wonderful, fantastic, exhausting blur.

Even if I didn't know in my bones, I can tell the first several months of the year were both a blur and a challenge.  Blogging here became almost non-existent.  I am thankful to read the little snippets of life I did manage to record, because oh man some amazing things happened.  We played in creeks, we visited fairs, we sang songs, we ate yummy and healthy food.

Milo confronted a lot of fears and I am proud of the silly and strong boy he is becoming.  He took his first steps of independence and started preschool.  While I still don't have many details of what he does there throughout the day, he loves it and is always eager to go.  He can write his name and draw recognizable pictures.  This year he has been challenged as a big brother and shown himself to be kind and loving (most of the time).  When I start to lose it and have moments of doubt, it is often Milo who brings me back around.  He'll use the words I give him so often:  Mommy, we are problem-solvers, we just need to try again, in this family we use love and respect for self and others.  I love him for those sweet-voiced pep talks.

Leo has been the kiddo with the most changes this year.  At this time last year he wasn't even his own person and now he certainly is.  He's my giggly, loving little cuddle bug.  He has learned to crawl and pull himself to stand.  He has endeared us all with his smiles and wild hair.

These two little people kept us busy this year.  Other projects simply took a backseat to raising our family.  Our garden started off promising, but languished mid-season.  House projects have been put on indefinite hiatus.  Chris was doing great with a workout routine in the mornings for a few months, but then the holidays hit.  I've snuck in yoga where I can and tried to train for a 5k.

Overall 2012 was just as I said: a blur.  Almost like a long awaited day where you look back and can't pinpoint actual moments, but you have an overall feeling for the day.  I can't recall the details, but recalling 2012 to me feels like a warm hug from my husband, a little boy's hand in mine, and a tiny body in my arms.  I'm not sure I need the particulars when I have those sensations.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Cold Walk

I had forgotten that, for me, having scraggly eyebrows is a cue to enter a deep depression.  Well, as deep of a depression as bushy eyebrows can be.  This morning I called my salon asking to be squeezed in for a haircut and eyebrow arch.  No go.  I begged for just the eyebrows.  30 minutes later I was walking up our snow covered street.  I was the first person to walk on the sidewalks.  Pure snow stretched in front of me and only my footprints were behind me.  It was quiet with just the sound of crunching snow keeping me company.  A cat had passed through before me and left the most perfect print.  

It was a magical morning.   Both the quiet and eyebrow shaping were much needed.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Calmer

Let's face it:  Christmas may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be stressful.

The stress, of course, isn't only for the grownups.  Kiddos feel it too.  Their routines are a little changed and they also pick up on the adult edginess.  With all the excitement of Christmas - seeing Santa, buying presents, decorating the tree, seeing twinkly lights - also comes a few moments of over stimulation    And that's not even considering the sometimes late nights.  Or the yummy treats.   Overstimulated kids are about as fun to be around as a lost Wise Man wandering through the desert.

To combat a little of this stress, today we made what I am calling the Christmas Calmer.  Basically it is a meditation jar with a Christmas theme.

Christmas Calmer Directions

  1. Gather materials.  You'll need a plastic bottle with the label removed, glitter and/or confetti and a hot glue gun.  If you want to make the jar move more slowly you'll also need clear glue (see step 5 for more ideas). 
  2. Head to the backyard and find a pine bough.  This is a good time to talk about evergreen trees and notice the difference in needles.  In just our backyard we found four different varieties of evergreens!
  3. Stuff the pine branch into the bottle.  
  4. Add a few teaspoons of glitter.  We also added star confetti for more sparkle and visual interest. 
  5. If adding glue add it now.  You'll need almost the whole bottle of glue to make it slow down.  You could alternately use glycerin or liquid soap.  I didn't have any of these things on hand, so we skipped this step.  
  6. Fill the bottle with water. 
  7. Use hot glue gun to secure the lid. 
  8. Hand to your child and let him know if he is ever feeling a little overwhelmed he can get his bottle, shake it and watch the glitter settle until he calms down.  
This has been a huge hit at our house.  Milo has been asking for his Christmas Calmer.  Leo loves watching the glitter, too.  Even I enjoy shaking it and just relaxing as I breathe and enjoy the season. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Leo - 11 Months

Sweet sweet boy at 11 months.
Leo or Beco, as Milo is now calling him, is charging straight ahead toward being 1 next month.  He is also frequently trying to charge headfirst down the basement stairs where we are constantly dragging him away from the tumble of doom.  He thinks this is quite funny.  He also thinks peek a boo is super duper funny.  If you happen to start a game of peek with him you had better set aside some time because it can go on for a bit.  His laughs and giggles and huge grins are the best part of the game - he really thinks we don't where he is for a bit.

In addition to his antics, Leo has also been a bit of a handful.  He does not appreciate being put down and will wail whenever that happens. His favorite place to be is holding onto Mommy's hair with his head wedged between my jaw and shoulder.  Daddy's arms are his next favorite place.  And after that it is back to either crying or pointing in awe at the Christmas lights.  I suspect this is either a normal developmental phase or a few other teeth are joining the six he already has.  So we are trying our best to grin and bare this time and as an added bonus we are getting an ongoing arm workout as we hold our almost 23 pound boy.

Leo enjoys to and can roll his tongue in crazy ways.

The day before Leo turned 11 months he was baptized at our church.  It was a lovely day - Leo mostly slept through Mass before the baptism and then was quite interested when the priest anointed him with oil.  He was less thrilled with the water being poured over his head and then he totally over the whole thing by the time pictures came around.  He did perk up quite a bit for the party afterwards as he entertained us all by enthusiastically eating his mac and cheese and celebration cake.  Overall it was a memorable day of love, family, friends and reaffirming our faith.