well, in true holiday fashion, as soon as halloween hits, we kind of get a little crazy busy. aaron's work schedule gets ramped up, and we "say good-bye" to him until christmas. meanwhile, i frantically try to finish up all my handmade gifts in time for christmas, which i've obviously failed at doing since i still have some to finish - 2 months later! fortunately, we break for school in december, otherwise i would be probably be curled up in a corner crying.
so, here's some highlights of the last 3 months. they were full but fun-filled (for the most part), and i don't think i'd have it any other way.
WARNING: this may be deemed as a lengthy post, so continue at your own risk! at least there are photos...
we didn't return to KEXP for their halloween trick-or-treating event like they had last year, because they didn't have it at all. but it worked out great, because we spent an awesome evening with friends trick-or-treating door to door. i spent a lot of time on emma's costume this year, which i'm pretty sure attributed to my lack of blogging, and set me back on my holiday crafting. but it was totally worth it, after seeing how happy she was with the result.
i spent much of november wrapping up term 1 with emma, and working on handmade goodies to send out to salty not sweet. i really need to do better with making things a little at a time each day, instead of waiting until the last minute to get a bunch of inventory done. i guess i haven't changed much in the procrastination department!
we had a lovely thanksgiving at home with some friends. the food was tasty, and the company was pretty great. i'm so thankful for the relationships we are building here, and love that friends can be family, and family can be friends, and we're all mushed up and sharing life together. it's a sweet thing.
december was spent in anticipation (advent) and in celebration (12 days of christmas). oh, and more crafting...and baking. i have to be honest here for a minute and say that it's often hard for me to be joyful during the christmas season, because i don't really see it as a time to be together like how many people and the media make it out to be. the kids and i probably see aaron the least during christmas time, because that's when he's the most busy (seriously...sometimes the kids won't see him for days, and i can count on one hand the number of nights we all get to share a meal together as a family in the days leading up to christmas). but that's where i think carrying out a lot of our annual christmas traditions have helped me not be such a christmas grinch. i do find joy when i'm reminded, thanks to our jesse tree, why christmas is worth rejoicing about. i do find joy and re-focus on what's important, thanks to our st. nicholas day celebration. i do find joy, even when i'm up to my eyeballs in cookies and dirty laundry (not in the same place), and realize that it's more than just about me.
sorry. i didn't mean to get sidetracked there. and now, back to that baking thing...one of our annual christmas traditions is to make personalized name cookies (and additional treats) for the people at aaron's work. we started this tradition back in cleveland, maybe 7 years ago, so this one's been going strong. while i'm not sure how excited people get over getting personalized name cookies, i know i have fun decorating them!
a couple of our favorite pre-christmas activities included our 2nd annual visit to winterfest at the seattle center, and new this year (well, i guess it would be last year) was an evening spent downtown experiencing the holiday hustle and bustle. and let me tell ya, it was hustling and bustling! but i do love being in the city. i just love the energy, liveliness and being in close proximity to so many cool things.
winterfest goes on for pretty much the whole month of december, and we go the first saturday in december, since that usually ends up being the last saturday aaron doesn't have to work until after christmas. they have performances scheduled at the seattle center armory, ice skating, and other winter-centric activities, but the highlight for our kids is always the winter village-complete with trains. we even did a short impromptu visit to the science center afterwards (perks of being a member).
and then the night downtown...that was totally last minute, and i'm so glad we decided to go! at first, i was a little worried that it was just going to be too busy, but it really wasn't that bad. i mean, it was busier than normal (which is to be expected), but things were so festive! plus it wasn't raining, so that definitely made the experience a little bit more enjoyable. i think we're going to try to add this on to our annual christmas tradition. the kids were in love with the winter village, and could have stayed there the whole time (thanks to coloring sheets and books). we missed the snow inside pacific place, but managed to stop in the sheraton for their annual gingerbread display. they were all very impressive!
we had a most wonderful, low-key christmas. it was nice to be able to stay home, re-connect with each other, and really savor the day.
of course december would not be complete without our 2nd annual 12 days of christmas activities/celebration. this year, i was a little more intentional about having something for each of the 12 days. not each day was necessarily carved in stone, but i did have a general idea of things we could do. some days were simple, like lunch with friends, a playground visit, or making gingerbread houses. other days, took a little more planning, like our annual trip to the bellevue botanical garden's light display, the monorail ride, aquarium day, and the pierogi party. but it was so fun to be able to extend the christmas celebration to 11 more days, and have the opportunity to learn more about what the 12 days of christmas was all about.
and now we are almost caught up! school started back up january, and we are getting into a pretty good groove. gibson learned to read (yeah, yeah!), and it is opening up a whole new world for him. much like his sister, we didn't really do much in the way pre-reading practice. once he figured out the sound(s) each letter makes, and that different letter sounds put together make words, it was like watching a lightbulb turn on over his head. such a sweet reward for this mama to see his face light up with excitement when he reads through his BOB books all by himself!
emma is still in ballet, and she just added a drama class for this quarter through a local homeschool group/co-op. wednesdays are now usually spent at the rec center, where emma takes her drama class, and the kids (and mama) get the opportunity to connect with other homeschoolers, play, craft, read...pretty much do a whole lot of stuff. it's a pretty sweet community, and we really look forward to it every week.
other january highlights: 1. we finally made it to snoqualmie falls. it was grey. it was kinda cold. but it was amazing! i will have to share details about that trip in another post. lots of fun that day (and yes, there is slight sarcasm involved in the word fun). 2. we visited the science center for the 41st annual model train show event. cash was in train heaven. there were model trains, a little thomas train you can control yourself, playmobil display, and LEGOS. oh, and i forgot to mention the people. so. many. people. i am so thankful for a membership on days like these. we got to skip the loooooong ticket line, and we could leave as soon as we were done with the train show without feeling bad that we didn't get our money's worth.
so that's been our sweet, magical life for the past 3 months, in a nutshell. i thought i would spare you the details about our week with the stomach bug, or the random fevers, coughs, boogers, meltdowns (not just kids), and all that stuff that no one really wants to read about. my goal is to post a little more often on here this year, but i don't know what "often" will look like as the year progresses.
if you've gotten this far, you deserve a treat! thanks for taking this quick little trip back in time with me. wishing you a new year filled with joy, laughter, love and new adventures!