31 Dec 2010

The Christmas Story

I had been really aggravated this year whenever I watched any of Jayce's little kid shows and saw the way that they dealt with Christmas. I know that kid's shows have agendas as well as everything else does, but I got so annoyed that every mention of Christmas was sandwiched between discussions of Hanukkah and Kwanza. Furthermore, any mention of Christmas dealt with Santa, which I'm not opposed to, but I guess I just expected a nativity scene to show up somewhere. I guess this just goes to show how naiive I am, or perhaps that I just didn't know what to expect.


So when Chris and I were out Christmas shopping, I made sure to get a book to read with Jayce that had some explanation about Jesus' birth. That night, Jayce and I read it a few times before bed, and I was surprised at his response.


The first page has a picture of a family all gathered around a Christmas tree opening gifts, and it says

"Do you know why we give gifts at Christmas? We give presents because it is Jesus' birthday."

Jayce stopped me and said,

"No Mom, not Jesus' birthday. Kids' birthday. Kids open presents." and he pointed to the kids opening gifts on the page.

I have to say that I was really surprised by this! It was totally logical (which I loved), and I was really proud of him for not just immediately accepting what the book said. But I wasn't really prepared for him immediately telling me no on the first page of the Christmas story. I explained to him that Jesus' birthday is different than other birthdays, and that on Jesus' birthday everyone gets to open presents because we're all celebrating his birth.

There were no more outbursts until the end of the book, where it said, "We give gifts at Christmas because we love Jesus."

I paused, and asked Jayce, "Do you love Jesus?"

He replied, "Oh yes! I looove trucks. I looove horsies."

There's my 2 year old.

The following night when we read the book and I asked him if he loved Jesus, he said, "I love Mom and baby."

I told Chris about this and he informed me that when they pray together they always pray for mom and the baby. Sweet!

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30 Dec 2010

Favorite Projects of 2010

It seems like everywhere I look this week people are listing out their favorite projects of 2010.  We are doing something like that this week on LTC, except we are listing our favorite projects by our co-contributors, which is something that we decided to do months ago.  Anyway, as I was scrolling around the blog looking for links to my co-contributors posts, I was reminded of just how busy I've been.  Doing a project a week, and photographing it, writing a tutorial and posting it online is quite a bit of work and I am feeling a bit proud of all of these little items.  So I decided I will do my list of favorites on here.


Family Blocks. I loved these for decoration, learning and stacking.  We were just playing with them last week and I picked up one, asked Jayce who the family member went with and he knew.  I'm so glad that one of my goals of these blocks has been accomplished.



Welcome Blocks.  These thrift store blocks sat in my room for months and then in a few days underwent this fun transformation.  They were only in my etsy shop for a few days and were my first sale, and were also the first thing that Chris ever came home from work, noticed on his own, and said, "Did you make that?  That's cool."  So they will always have a special place in my heart.



Does LTC count?  It should.  Many hours of thinking, planning, and emailing went into it's launch on March 1st.


If not than a quick second is my Book Page Egg Wreath. I was thrilled when Jen from Tatertots & Jello had me do a guest post for her and I did a little dance around my kitchen before whipping this baby up.  It turned out even better than it was in my head and I've kept it out all year round.



Vintage Clock Face.  I couldn't believe that I pulled off something so Pottery Barn-looking and was crazy over this.  The woman who bought it from me used it for her newborn daughter's birth announcement, with the baby's torso and legs as the arms of the clock, and it was SO cute.



I went crazy with Valspar's Mediterranean spray paint and did this Lamp Re-Vamp and Express Necklace Knockoff.  Don't make me pick between them.




Distressed Blue Chair.  This was my first dumpster-rescued item, first attempt at painting furniture, and first distressed painting treatment.  I am still happy with the results even though so many firsts in one place can be risky.



Barn Wood Branches Wall Art.  This idea was in my head for months before I could get it all together and I was so pleased with it.  I loved the wood, loved the paint colors, the stencil and the result.



Chalkboard Desk Re-Do.  I smile EVERY time I see this little desk.  I love all of the little details, particularly that Jayce uses it regularly.



Potato Stamped Fall Pumpkins.  This is one of those projects that I thought of one morning and was completely finished with by the next afternoon.  I loved them, and the simple stitches on mom's sewing machine are what made me realize that sewing isn't nearly as bad as I'd built it up to be in my head.



All of my time and energy (spare and not) went into growing this little bean.  First trimester fatigue is a crazy!  Justin set me up perfectly to tell him about pregnancy when he asked me, "So is there anything that you've been working on recently that you're really excited about?"  Yes, a baby!


But if we're going for handmade things, I also did this beautiful Painted Mirror.  But I made Chris do the spray painting part.



Pizza Shop for Jayce.  I love it even more now that I've seen just how much he loves it.  It was worth every bit of hand and machine stitched effort.



My Chalkboard Christmas Card Display.  This frame finally made it out of the garage and into the house, I'm just wondering what took me so long.  The cards will come down but the frame won't.



I'm linking these to Rhoda's party and the CSI Project.



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28 Dec 2010

Christmas #1: Our Christmas

Since we traveled to Louisville for Christmas this year, we decided to do our family Christmas a week early.  It was so so fun.  Even though Jayce knew what was going on last year, this year was infinitely more exciting.


We started Jayce off with his pizza shop and it was a hit!  I knew he would like it but he LOVED it!  He immediately put on his apron and started assembling pizzas for us.  Actually, any time that he plays with his pizza stuff he demands to have his "pizza shirt" put on first, which is pretty sweet.


We let him play with the pizza shop for about 10 minutes or so before we had to "make" him move on to the next present.


He/we received this fun collection of classic Christmas movies.  We thought it would be a good way to pass some time on our Christmas drives to and from Louisville, and, who am I kidding, we kind of got it for us.  :)  We love those old Christmas movies and have been trying to catch them all on TV to watch as a family as much as possible.


We got Jayce his first big electric train set and he was thrilled!  One of the things that made this year so fun for us was how excited and animated he was about everything.  When he ripped the paper off of this he yelled, "Choo choo dad, choo choo!!"  When he opened his movie, he said "Wooooooooooow" in a loud drawn out whisper.  Hilarious, every time!


He obviously wanted his train set to be set up immediately so that he could play with it, and we were happy to oblige.  (Notice he's still wearing his pizza shop apron.)  He got the hang of the remote and loading the train really quickly and watched it over and over.


I only had 2 things that I wanted to get Jayce for Christmas this year, his train and a little helicopter.  (We saw Santa at Walmart one day, and when prompted Jayce told Santa that he wanted a helicopter.  We had never talked to Jayce one way or the other about Santa, so he was oblivious to the whole, "Ask Santa for something and he brings it to your house" thing.  But I still thought that since he only requested one thing, we could oblige pretty easily.)


That said, when we were out shopping, Chris saw this and really wanted to get it for Jayce.  He told me, "This can just be from dad," so I let him.  Check out this picture, who is more excited about this gift?


Yep, a little nerf gun.  If you're thinking that he is too young for something like this, you're right, by about 4 years.  So this present from dad, can only be played with with dad.  It is pretty cool though.  And as soon as Jayce is holding it, he juts out his little tough guy chin.  I think this helps with aim, and in general in being a tough guy.


When they are playing the darts can be found stuck to the TV, walls, the ceiling and occasionally bouncing off of mom...and then dad.  It was a pretty good gift.


I gave Chris a canvas wrapped photo of New College, the school where he studied in Edinburgh.  I took this picture when we were there in May and I knew he'd love something like this for his office.  (I actually got this through a free 8x10 canvas offer that I shared on Lemon Tree, but the promotion is actually still going on, so if you're interested, check it out here.)  I had showed it to Chris a few weeks ago because I wanted to talk about it on LTC and I knew he'd see it on there, but I had re-possessed it until Christmas, so he was happy to get it back.


We were only home for 1 day after opening presents and before we left for Louisville, and on that day Jayce just constantly ran between playing with his pizza shop, his train set and his helicopter.  I've always been a big gift giver, but being a parent makes the whole thing so much more rewarding.  I don't know who was more excited for Jayce to open and play with his presents, him or us!  And since there were no pictures of me opening my presents, I demanded a random Jayce and mom picture as evidence that I did actually take part in all of these festivities. :)




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17 Dec 2010

Christmas Spirit

Yesterday Jayce and I started off on the wrong foot.  The night before, I was completely exhausted for some reason at about 8, but didn't go to bed as early as I should have and woke up just as tired as when I had gone to bed.  Not a good way to start the day.  Also, Jayce woke up about an hour earlier than usual that morning, so needless to say, he was whinier and I had less patience than usual.  Naptime couldn't come soon enough.

When he woke up I was determined to have a better afternoon.  I put on some Christmas music and we each had a Christmas cookie, complete with icing and sprinkles.  This helped.

Then I asked if he would like to help me wrap some presents, and he was ecstatic.  I had been wrapping up an etsy order that morning and he was all over me, so I figured that giving him some tape, boxes and brightly colored paper might help.  It did.


I gave Jayce one piece of tape at a time, and he excitedly danced around me and the present until I had the paper pinned down, and would direct him as to where to stick the tape.  It rarely made it to where it was supposed to, often stuck to random spots on the paper with no edges to hold down in sight.  Eventually I started holding the paper down and telling him to put the tape between my fingers, and this helped him to get it in the right general area.  I soon realized that we didn't have any labels, so I got some chunky foam Christmas stamps that I got for $.25 last year, a few stamp pads and some mailing labels and set Jayce up to make us some labels.


This was a very good task for him.  He did a great job, I was actually really impressed!  I had to restrain myself from trying to jump in and help him space out the designs or colors, but it was an easy enough task, and periodically he would call out, "Look Mom!  Snowpakes!!" which was highly entertaining.


I then would write down who the gift was for on one of the labels, and he would go slap it on the present.  (Literally.  Actually he kept slapping the presents for a while after that.)  He then picked up each wrapped present and delivered it to the bottom of the tree.


I wish I could say that the afternoon was as ideal as that first 45 minutes after naptime, but it wasn't.  By the 2nd present he was getting bored and started randomly sticking the tape to other things.  By the 3rd present, he didn't even want to put the sticker on it or take it to the tree anymore.


It was a good start though.  And certainly better than the morning.



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15 Dec 2010

Baby Fun Facts

I'm so happy and relieved to finally be able to talk about Baby #2! I'm 14 weeks along, so we have known for a little bit now, but haven't been saying much about it to anyone.

I have a jumble of information that I could share, as you do after sitting on a fun secret like this for over 2 months, so I think I'll turn to the numbered list as a means of organization.

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1.) Here is our little darling at 8 weeks along, our first sonogram. The sonogram lady said, "Look you can see his little arm and leg buds. He looks like a little teddy graham!" I loved this comment. A teddy graham seems more charming than the shrimp-type of comparisons that normally come with a baby at this stage.


2.) Here is Jayce at our first sonogram with him. I was 13 weeks along at the time, slightly further than I had thought. It's so crazy to me that in just over a month little babies go from looking like sweet little teddy grahams to looking like sweet little babies! Jayce was wiggling like crazy and we could even see his fingers and toes already. Amazing.


3.) Our due date is June 14, a summer baby! Yay for not having to take the baby out during flu season, but boo for being heavily pregnant during the hottest time of the year. Oh well, I'll take it.

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4.) We waited to tell most of our family members until we saw them in person, which was when I was 9 and 10 weeks along. In Scotland we spread all of our news on the phone and online, so it was nice to be able to tell people and see their faces. Like with these 3 below.


5.) I had been dying to tell my mom and sister, mostly because I felt like I was lying to them every time that I talked to them.

Mom: "So, how have you been doing?"

Me, in my head: "Sick. Really sick. And tired. But good." But out loud I said: "Good. Busy, but fine."

Chelsea: "You never write on your family blog anymore! I check it every day and...(etc, etc, guilt trip.)"

Me, in my head: "I will kill you for this later Chelsea." But instead I said, "I know. I've been meaning to, but I've been really busy, and kind of tired."


6.) Jayce has been a little gem for the most part. We told him about the baby, but we don't really talk about it a lot yet. The other day he surprised me though. He had just said something about Mom, Dad, Jayce and the baby, and he came over to me and said, "I love baby." I asked Chris if he had talked to him about how we love the baby or told him to say that and he hadn't. He's a little sweetie and I can't wait to see him as a big brother.


7.) I had thought that I was being very coy and slick by keeping myself dressed in loose and draped clothing, scarves and sweaters. However, around 8 weeks one of my friends started having people at church ask her EVERY WEEK if I was expecting, because, as they would say, "She normally is just so slim and I've noticed that now she has a bit of a bulge." Geez people!! Leave a girl and her "bulge" alone! That said, it is a relief now to not feel like I constantly need to be dressing in the loosest clothing that I can find, especially when it's so cold and I really want something that's a little more snuggly and warm.


8.) Will we find out the gender? Yes.

With Jayce we didn't find out until we were 32 weeks along, and we had both been thinking that it was a girl all along. When the sonogram lady said "boy" we were both kind of stunned, and it took a few days to wrap our heads around it and bond with the idea of having a little boy. Chris and I realized that since we both have little sisters, we had been thinking all along, "Yeah, it's a little girl, we know how to handle girls," but we didn't know much about boys. I spent the next few weeks talking to my friends who had little boys trying to get mentally prepared, and we were ready. It was a fun part of prepping for the baby I think, and we'll do it again, though thank goodness we'll find out sooner this time.

Additionally, and this is a minor point, I'm looking forward to planning a nursery since I didn't really get to do that with Jayce, and I want to know ahead of time which direction to go with the colors.


You'll be hearing lots more about our new little one, but I think that's all for now, otherwise I might never publish this post. :)

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3 Dec 2010



In the last few months Jayce has started pretending a lot. In the above picture, he is a bunny rabbit in a cage, obviously.

He often is a Jayce kitty, crawling around on the floor, meowing and speaking in a high "kitty" voice. This transformation often occurs when we're trying to get him to do something, like come eat dinner.

"Jayce, come here and get in your seat so we can eat."

As he crumbles to the floor, "No Mom, I a Jayce kitty. Meow, meow."

I often find myself saying things like, "Jayce, don't forget, kitties go down the stairs feet first." It sounds a little funny when it comes out, but it works.

He is often a lion, or a dinosaur. If he is a lion, then he demands that we all be lions, chasing after one another from room to room. But this is only when dad is home. Apparently you can only play "lions" as a trio.

The other day, he was sitting in his chair while I fixed him a sandwich. I glanced up at some of the high pitched "pretend" talking, to see him holding his 2 index fingers up like they were talking to one another.

"A doin', man?" one finger said to the other.

"I go over there." it said.

"No no, a not nice! Sit down right there!"

"I sorry."

He then glanced up and saw me watching him, smiled guiltily and stopped playing. I wanted to ask what the first finger had gotten in trouble over, but I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have told me. I'm loving this new imagination phase. I know it will only get better.

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