Thursday, November 13, 2014


After a grand total of four days in our new home, we brought home Steffie! Back in early July, we lost our dear cat, Jordan. Jordan was 15 years old and was Sam's cat before there was Megan, Seren and Wyeth. The loss was hard on us all. The poor cat just couldn't make the car trip. Sam drove the cat, the fish and the guinea pig out to Michigan but Jordan died not 48 hours after arriving. It was so hard because he died at my in-laws home and we didn't get to say goodbye.

For a few weeks, we talked about what other sort of animal we could buy. Bunnies, ferrets, other small rodents all were tossed around.

But I knew at our core, we all just wanted a cat.

The search began on line! Sam went to the local Human Society to look for 'older' cats. And ideally, a cat that already was declawed. We wouldn't declaw an animal but many cats have been declawed. Since we JUST moved into a home, we didn't want a cat pulling on new furniture, etc.  For a few days, we read about kitties on line. And Sam and the kids went to visit the shelter to meet the furry faces.

I came the second time. We had narrowed the cats down to two contenders. Polly Toodle, who was a grey cat, an older cat, a quiet cat. And Steffie. Steffie had SUCH energy! It was ridiculous! She pounced out of her cage, rolled all over us and was extremely hard to handle. I took one look at Steffie and thought to my self, "OY VEY! No thanks!" I couldn't even hold her because she was rolling around and jumping and being a nut case!

Polly Toodle on the other hand? Such a calming presence. Such elegance. Such grace.

We agonized over the decision in the middle of the Humane Society. The doors were closing at 5 and at 4:55 we still didn't feel at peace. The four of us decided that we'd go with Polly Toodle. So we tell this to the society and Wyeth just bursts into tears. Big, ugly tears. "But if we get her, the cat won't PLAY."

He had a point.

We decided we all needed to be on the same page or we would just need to come back.

So we all agreed: Steffie would be our cat.

We got to pick her up the next day. And I have never been so happy with a cat! She is AWESOME. She is so personable! So fun! So talkative! In short, she rocks.

We found her here this week.
She also likes to Knit!

Thanks Steffie for making us smile!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


Seren is one of the most fidgety people I've ever lived with. Oh my god! That girl cannot sit still. Eating is a full body contact sport. She is a total trip. At age 8, there are still noodles in her hair. She is a total mess. And will often fall out of her chair.

But does she focus when reading!

She literally will sit on the couch for an hour or more on the weekends and just read. 

Today she said, "When I get into a book, I get like into it. Really deep. Ya know? Like today, I was still reading and someone tapped me on the shoulder. He said, 'Seren, we are done. We have to move on now.'"

I have no doubt she was totally clueless as to the fact that she needs to move on.

As she says, "she gets deep".

Smack Talk: 5 year old style

We have had times as of late with the kids fighting. I don't know if it just full day school, new school, tired parents, or the age. But oy! We are seeing aggressive behavior from Seren which worries me. And Wyeth just gets so MAD!  We are working hard at finding outlets. And redirecting. Just hard to see my kids get so pissed off at each other.

But Wyeth's smack talk the other day? Classic.


Monday, October 27, 2014

First Sleepover party

Seren successfully attended her first sleepover party this past weekend! What an amazing time for her! And the mother of the birthday girl asked me to stay to make sure everything was under control. So it was a great time for me too! (I left at 8:45!).  The girls were just a really great group of KIDS. Like the nice girls. And Seren was right there in the middle of them. Feeling confident in who she is.  (Until I started to leave for the night. Then? She was a little concerned. No one to tuck her in. But she did it- no calls on my cell in the middle of the night!)

It is happening! We are adjusting!
off she goes!

Silly girls!

Safety First!

Wyeth and Webbie. The two are still inseparable.  I would go to the ends of the earth for that little stuffed turtle. Webbie, due to his propensity to wander off with out our permission, does stay home more often than not. And he doesn't go to school. But every now and again, he does come along on important trips.

Safety first!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Overheard and Spirit Week

Wyeth continues to have funny things to say about his Kindergarten year. Every night he and his sister talk NON STOP about their days. I love it! I know these days won't last forever and one day I'll get the dreaded response of "fine" to my inquires about their days. They are a riot. He tells me who is a good listener. Who is not a good listener. Who went up to 'Blue' on their behavior chart and who had to go down to 'orange' or worse, 'red'! There is just so much to tell us- mostly about the playground and who he played with. He said that someone asked him to play Ninjas. But he didn't know how to play that. The other child suggested Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Wyeth didn't know how to play that either. So "we just decided to run around". He has little quips which just break me up. Mostly because of how he says them.

"I think Joe Prose is cute."

"Mom! The teacher was trying to spell Joe's name and got it all mixed up! She said there an 's'. There isn't an 's' in Joe! Then she said it ended with an 'h'! What!?"  I explained that she was probably spelling "Joseph". :)

He also is quite the rule enforcer. This won't serve him well in months and years to come. But he continues to find injustice and declare it as such. "They were being rude!" "He wasn't being fair!" Etc. etc.  He also noted, "Someone said that they could see my underwear. I just said to them that was inappropriate!"

He is practicing learning to tie his shoes daily. He got the trick of it learning the new way. The teacher must really be pushing this skill because even when he isn't wearing tie shoes, he practices.

Meanwhile Seren adores her teacher. So do I. I mean, she just LOVES this teacher. The teacher is a total goof- and we fit in so well. We are really really lucky to get her as a teacher! Seren seems to be thriving.

This week was Spirit Week at school. Monday was PJ day. Tuesday was silly hair day. Wednesday was farm day. Thursday was favorite sports team day and Friday was 'Blue and Gold Day'. (School colors).

They had a great time with all of the days but really really liked crazy hair day!

not a very happy farmer. :)

It is also freezing here. Well, not too cold. But today was the first day I had to use the ice scraper on my car to get the frost off!

Good thing we tried out the fireplace last weekend! Our first fire! LOVELY!

Monday, September 8, 2014


Both Seren and Wyeth have lockers this year! This is very exciting! But, thankfully, there is no  actual lock on them.

This is the conversation that happened between Wyeth and I the morning of his first day of kindergarten:

 "Mom! where do I put my lunch?"
Top shelf.
"Ok. Good. Where do I put my snack?"
Top shelf. Next to the lunch.
"Ok. That fit too. What about this water bottle?"
Top shelf. Just angle it.
"Ok. Good. Now I have this red folder. I'm supposed to put it in my cubby. Is this my cubby or my locker?"
This is your locker.
"Ok. What is my cubby? What does it look like?"
It is like a locker but there is no door. And it is smaller.
"Ok. Got it."

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Anticipating Change

The last year has been all about change. Or the possibility of change. Would we sell the house? When? For how much? Would we buy a new house? When? Which house? Where? How much do we want to spend on a house? What does a specific house mean regarding our family values?

And then once we got here, we still feel quite unsettled. Happy but unsettled. It takes TIME. It all does. It takes time to unpack. It takes time to decorate. It takes time to learn the house. And geez, it takes time to make new friends.

But we are doing it!

And all the while, the summer weeks, with their long, unstructured days, are slipping by. Last night at 9:15 I was shocked that the sun had gone down. For me, there is a great sadness that comes with the start of the school year. I both feel extremely excited for the kids and the new opportunities a new year holds and I feel a sense of loss. That they aren't little anymore. That the days of being 'home' are done with for another while. Did we do enough 'fun stuff' this summer? Enough ice cream? Enough time at the park? At the pool? On bikes? Did they grow and learn and laugh? Are they transitioning ok? Are they lonely in this new place?

We attended the new kid orientation which was awesome.  And the kids are excited! It also hit home that we are not the only 'new'  kids. Nope- far from it! There are a ton of new kids to the district.

Soon, in about 6 weeks, we'll be more settled. More will be painted. More will be decorated. A rhythm to our days will develop. And we'll have more friends.

It is just anticipating the start of school and the end of summer that makes a lump develop in my throat. The years of being home are over! Full day kindergarten begins! And third grade too! Our children, ALL of our children, are gifts to us.  These little years, the ones where as parents, we play such a vital role, are slipping behind. I try to breathe, to take it all in. To smile during the spontaneous dance parties, the hugs, the snuggles, the imaginative play.  What a true gift!

And I'm excited for the kids- with their new school supplies- and their energy! I can't wait to meet their teachers tonight during the Open Houses. And I'll take the first day of school pictures like I always do. And I'll wave excitedly, giving thumbs up and smiles as they walk into their new schools. Just like I did last year when Seren started a new school.

But like so many others, I'll definitely be one of the ones driving away. Crying.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Great Question

After I tucked Wyeth in tonight he called me up.
What buddy?
I was just wondering about something. I have a question.
I mean why did it cost so much money to put your wedding dress in a box? It is just a dress, right?
Right. Good question!

(I did explain what it meant to 'preserve' the dress but he has an excellent point!)

Where do they come up with these things? We had not discussed the dress recently at all!

The Inventor

Wyeth loves to invent things. Lots of creations are coming out of his head these days. 'Nap' still lives on at our house. Most days for about 30-60 minutes the kids have to stay in their rooms for quiet time. We do this because we all need it. The kids, due to the ages they are, and the insanity that this summer has brought, tend to bicker and fight. Not all of the time. But enough that by 2 pm, we all need some quiet.

So quiet we get.

Seren reads. She reads a ton of books. She is happiest when she has her guinea pig on her chest and a good book in her hands. She got way into the Harry Potter series this summer. She read them with Sam but not has re-read vol 1, 2, and 3 several times. She speaks in a different language now. Most of it focused on Harry Potter. But she is happy.

Wyeth invents projects. Mostly with tape. And string. During our three weeks when we all stayed with my in-laws, both kids were working on a group project and Wyeth often noted it was a highlight.

Anyway, now we are in our new home and the inventing continues. Today he created a small house out of a used tissue box. "The roof is made out of a tissue. So it is very very fragile. but see? it has a nice deck and great windows."

I asked him to pose in front of the house that he and Seren made for Webby (complete with a slide entrance, door mat, 'welcome sign' and tv antennae), his house today, his rocket blaster that he made and his home made necklace.

Wyeth also just make me laugh with his questions. He continues to be incredibly touchy. He likes to talk while touching the listener. And he 100% believes that his stuffed turtle is real and has feelings. And I love that. And it won't last much longer.  I love that too.

Monday, August 4, 2014

First Impressions

We have moved to Chelsea, MI! A small town about 14 miles from Ann Arbor. And we adore it! I have too much to post about this move. But here are some first impressions of why I love our new area!

1) There are kids in the neighborhood. Lots of them! The trick is to find out when they play outside and go play!

2) I take a commuter bus to work. This makes me insanely happy! After a typical 40-45 minute commute one way for 8 years, to jump on a 20 minute bus that someone else drives? Brilliant! Plus, I get to carry a backpack and meet other commuters from my neighborhood. Score! And since there are only two busses in the morning and two at night, some bus commuters have known eachother for years! On the first day, two women exchanged muffins!

3) I am 1.1 miles away from a farmers market in town. We visited on Saturday. It wasn't booming but it existed! And they had live music and fabulous cookies. And corn! And fresh tomatoes!

4) Everyone is friendly. I can't get over it. It is the expectation to at least wave hello to our neighbors. And at least 5-6 have come by to welcome us to the state and the neighborhood. As two of them said, 'we are very neighborly here. I hope you feel welcome.'

5) I can walk to a co-op from my office. Two blocks away!

6) Chelsea is small but has one of everything. One CVS. One grocery store. I am so used to CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens, etc. But really? Do you NEED more than one?

7) My office is so different from my previous office. It is the same company. Same job. Same colleagues.  But instead of working with over 300 in the building, we have 45 here.  The kitchen is like a little home. There are forks, knives, spoons, plates. It just feels like home.

8) I can run to town from my home following little paths. I ran into town last night- 1.3 miles. Cake!

9) I adore our house! The space! The floors! The light! The AC! The closets! Oh, the closets! This is by far the biggest home I've ever lived in. I'm still anxious about how much it may cost to heat and cool it but it is so new compared to our old home. And I just love the light! Not bad for buying it sight unseen!

10) Every Thursday through the summer, Chelsea has 'Sights and Sounds' which brings in local musicians from all over the area. The kids love it and so do we! The kids were mesmerized by a female drumming circle.

It is all so much smaller, more accessible, friendlier and more intentional. I feel 'green' taking the bus as opposed to driving my gas guzzling Buick. My days feel more intentional. I feel like I can make smarter choices with my commute, my meals. It is a new start!

Now if we can just turn those friendly neighbors into new friends, we'd be all set!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Driving Skills

Wyeth to Mom this week, "Mom! Do you HAVE to drive a car when you are an adult?"
Me: Nope. You don't HAVE to. You can ride the bus. Or walk. Or take a cab.
Wyeth: Ok. I just don't think I have the skills to do that! I really don't want to do that. I think I just need Webbie because I keep thinking of the fact that I need to drive and that scares me."

He rolls over and falls asleep.

I'm glad for now, he too finds it frightening to think about him driving....

More soon! We moved! INSANE spring! Much to tell!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Process

Seren and I were doing the bedtime ritual two nights ago and she turns to me and says, "I'm not so sure I want to go through with the whole process."

What process?

"You know, the process of motherhood. It is kinda gross. I mean like when I was swimming around in your belly, I was probably looking up at your esophagus! That's gross."

--silence from me--

"And like then I had to come out your vagina! That is totally gross."

Ok, well parts of it are kinda gross. But you don't really have to decide now about being a mom.  Right?

"Right. But you know what else I was thinking? I was thinking about how weird it would be if I still nursed from you. And you still nursed from Grammy and Daddy still nursed from Grandma! I mean, poor DAD!! He would be SO dehydrated!"

--stunned look of 'what the hell are we talking about?' from me

"Mom! Grandma lives in Michigan! He would never get any milk! He would be SO dehydrated."

Oh, ok. Totally right. And yes, that would be TOTALLY weird.

-Seren age 7 going on 8

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Life in Knots

There is a back story which I don't have time to write. It involves home selling. Home offers and disappointments. Life is going well but is full of twists and turns these days. Which is why I had to giggle when Wyeth called me today.

"Mom! When you get home can you untie the knots in my yo-yo string?"

First thing, buddy. That's the first thing I'll do.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Ready for Summer

Today Wyeth called me and said, "Mom. I want to go to Cape Cod and snuggle with you. I just want to go to Cape Cod again and eat ice cream and snuggle. You know, get all snuggly."

I wore a new dress today. And after that snuggly comment he asks, "So, how is the dress?"

He is such a love bug.

Being five rocks.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Daily word

Wyeth called me today.

"If Seren and I were polar bears, we'd be on our own by now. The Momma only takes care of them for two and a half years. Then they just go off on thier own. And I don't know what the Daddy does. I don't think he does too much. Nope. So you'd be taking care of us more than the Daddy."

Life as a polar bear.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The buds

I love that these two fight but that they also snuggle.

May they always be buds!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

So proud

I like to think that all moms and dads are proud of their kids. There are times when we are a little too boastful. And it looks gross. And I too fall victim to that. And I think that we have to forgive ourselves for these moments. Parenting is hard work. Really hard work. And most of the time, you just feel like you are screwing it up. Yelling when you shouldn't. Criticizing when you shouldn't. So when we see stuff that may actually tell us we are kinda not 'effing it up ENTIRELY, we want to share. And for that reason, I'm forgiving myself in advance.

Because I'm so proud of my daughter!

This year has been a big one for us. The year of private school. And we are so freaking happy with the school. It is a real school. With passionate teachers, engaged parents and great kids. And it isn't as if this is an elite school for the rich. Trust me on that one. We are coming from all walks of life but are focusing on one thing: our kids' education.

I love everything. I love Seren's school uniform. I love her teacher. I love the kids. I love that there is music, Spanish, art, science, computers, yoga, and chess. But mostly, I love that she is happy.

Seren is generally a happy kid. She works to go with it. And follow the rules and expectations. She is quiet in school. A book worm. And kid that kids enjoy. She has always liked school. But man, she is THRIVING. Last night was the School's Success Night. It was a chance to visit the school, see what they have been up to during the year, read their learning logs, read their homemade books, see their art. Seren was giddy- wanting us to see it all! Read it all! Look at it all! And we were happy, so happy, to oblige.

I went to bed happy and so grateful. The school has been a wonderful gift to us. I'm a proud Momma. It takes energy and courage to start new. And Seren has done it!

Seren next to the mural the school created. Her little avatar is immediately left of her.
 This is thier ceramic penguin.

Second grade images of what they will be when they grow up.

 Our future art teacher!

Self portrait from early September. Look at those teeth!!

Facebook Status Updates that make me smile

This got a great response:

Wyeth loves to sing. The other day he was singing some of Daft Punk's lyrics to himself in the backseat of the car. "She's up all night til the sun/I'm up all night to get some/she's up all night for good fun/I'm up all night to get lucky." At that point, I lowered the radio and interrupted the song to him to ask him what it meant to get "lucky." He thought about this for a bit and said "Like when you win a board game. They played all night and got lucky!" Ok, good. Just checking.

As did this:
This morning the doors to my car were frozen shut. I scraped the ice for a good 30 minutes before I could get into the car to turn it on and warm it up. At the end of today, I walked to my car in my office's parking lot. And again, I couldn't open the doors. I started to curse winter, my buick, the sky above...irritated I started to figure out how I could go back into the office building and borrow someone else's ice pick. I pulled on the doors once again, putting a little hip into it. Then I realized: maybe I should unlock the doors!

Sunday, February 2, 2014


I turned 37 on January 10th! It was a great day; friends called, Sam made a great dinner, I skyped with friends, yummy burgers, sushi the day before, home made cookies. Just a great day.

And for my birthday, I got a gift from the kids that was called 'surprise'. It was a home made ticket that said 'Surprise Family Adventure'. Included was: lunch, Sam, Wyeth and Seren. It also said that shirts and shoes were required. Hmm. All week I thought about what sort of day adventure we would have. And every time I wondered aloud, Sam and Seren would hope that Wyeth wouldn't ruin the surprise!

On January 19, a Sunday morning, we woke up early for my surprise adventure! The kids were so excited!  And so was I! As a self proclaimed control freak, I had to just hang out and see what happened. We went North instead of South on I-95 which in my mind meant New York City or New Hope. When we got to the New Hope exit, Sam pretended to turn towards the exit before pulling the steering wheel back on the road. We arrived in the parking lot of the train station to New York! I was very excited for a great day. But standing under a sign that said 'New York Train's' Wyeth couldn't understand how I figured it out.

He turned to his sister and said 'But that is ok! Mom doesn't know what we are going to do there, right, Sissy!"

Watching the kids get on the train and experience the train ride was a total highlight. They looked down the long track and jumped with excitement as the train- a basic NJ Transit- approached. We boarded the 8:30 am train. When we got on, they helped each other look out the window. And when another train passed our train and they heard the incredible 'whoosh' they both yelled in unison WOAH!!

When we finally arrived, we had a little bit of time to kill before the next adventure. So we roamed a bit and grabbed some coffee and pastries at a little coffee shop. I was in heaven. It was just perfect. At 11 am we finally went inside a museum I had never heard of before: the New York Historical Society Museum. They had a children's museum inside it complete with a story hour and treasure hunt. The kids enthusiastically enjoyed both. Then, as a special treat, they had live music. A wise guitar player performed classic hippie songs! I was in my element.

After the museum, we made our way across town taking the subway to Times Square. The kids tweaked their necks looking up at the huge buildings and lights. Another WOAH! It was simply fabulous! The people! The energy! The excitement!

We then went to lunch at a trendy little dinner called Vinyl. .Oh it was GOOD. We were famished- eating lunch at 3 pm. We finished up, walked a few more blocks, took two more subways and took the 5 pm train home. One more surprise awaited us all: the train was a double decker! They were SO excited when it pulled up.

The best part of the day was that everyone was happy! And we were relaxed! No crying. No yelling. Just BEING. It felt so so good to just have a family day where the only objective was to have an adventure! Sam planned it perfectly: the train trip, the lovely museum that was age appropriate and fabulous, the subway maneuvers and the restaurant. Thanks Sam!!  It was an amazing day- not too cold, not too icy. Just a fabulous day spending time with those I love in one of the best cities in the world.

Happy 37th to me!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Five Years of Snuggling

Happy happy Birthday, Wyeth!

On December 3rd at 10:53 pm, you turned five years old. My head still spins that our little one is five.

You are one of the most passionate and stubborn people I know. You feel everything. Your feelings get hurt. People can be "so mean" and you often feel like a victim of your sisters' squabbles. Many things are "not fair!" and people "never do [nice things]". Whining is not uncommon. And most things need to be done "RIGHT NOW".

And of course when they can't be, you get upset. And the whole cycle can start again.

But then again, there are amazing things about having this much passion. You are enthuastic as well. And will say things like 'THIS IS THE BEST DAY EVER!' You also love on people. And love them deeply. Your hugs and kisses for all of us are the best.  And just yesterday you asked me to 'snuggle' on the couch.  I dropped everything I was doing and snuggled you tight. Your favorite part of our beach trip this year was that you got to 'snuggle with Mom on the beach'. It doesn't get much better than that.

You continue to be incredibly musical. You pick up music on the piano easily. And you love to listen to music. Recently we have spent much more time listening to the top 40. You will say things like 'do you hear that drum mom?' 'Dad do you hear the piano?' We will be curious to see if your musical skills will bloom. We hope so! To support that passion, Grandma and Grandaddy got you a huge drum set for your 5th birthday. You wanted them for over a year. And your reaction was to be totally overwhelmed by it. We all waited for a huge reaction of joy. But I don't think you knew what to do with yourself.

You continue to adore your sister. Geez. You two do fight and when you both have screaming matches, it is hard for me to not get frustrated. Seren loves to be 'right' and you get set in your ways as well!  It is a bad combination. That being said, your sister is your biggest ally and your strongest supporter. You feel better when she is around. And she does too. Together you guys take on the world. And we love to watch your relationship grow. It just doesn't get much better.

You are a physcial kid who responds very well to touch. You always have been. Our hugs, cuddles and hands comfort you. I love this aspect of you.

And you are beginning to read! In November,  you floored me while you were reading to me in Flushing over Thanksgiving. You were not just repeating back stories you read time and time again. You were actually sounding it all out. It is an amazing thing to sit back and watch! You are not as 'into' academics as your sister is. But when you focus and stop being humble about your academic pursuits, we enjoy watching you soar!

This past year you tried out basketball, soccer, gymnastics and of course three mornings a week at Breezy Point school.

You continue to bring us such joy. Your heart is so big and you just take it all in. You are friends with everyone and love life. Even when you are stubborn, you love life. We talk to you abou these 'episodes'. While less frequent than age 3, the tantrums do pop up. And we say to you ,"you know that we love you even when we are mad, right?" And you say, "I know. I love you even when I'm mad at you too."

Happy birthday Wyeth. Thank you for making us smile on a daily basis. Thank you for saying the most ridiculous things! We are so proud of you, Wyeth! Happy Birthday! We love you.

We started our celebration in Flushing where we had a joint celebratiion for you and Granddaddy. They bought you a cake. And we celebrated together!

On your actual birthday, we brought cupcakes to school! Then Grammy and Poppy came out to dinner with us to Red Robin. The waiters brought you an ice cream sundae! We went home and opened up presents. You were most excited about the remote control car! We hope to celebrate with your friends in the early Spring.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Back in the saddle

Today, after nearly two weeks off of school, work and routine, we rushed the kids through breakfast. Seren ate cereal while I brushed her long hair.  Her response to the morning was classic.

"Oh man, are we back to the rushing thing again?"

Yup. The rushing thing begins again. And wearing pants. And shoes. All of it.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Snow day!

Around five inches of the fluffy stuff, freezing temps, and blue skies.  Happy.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Christmas in Hershey!

Hershey Park is about 2 hours away from us. I hadn't visited the park since I was in middle school in a band concert! But every year they run these adds about Christmas at Hershey! This year my parents generously treated us to a night at the hotel and two days at the park! And we had a blast!

We left Saturday morning and make it to the part with very little snow. But then it started to really come down. And it was amazing! We dressed the kids up in their snowpants and went to the park! They enjoyed ride after ride as the parents looked on and laughed.

We got to see Santa's reindeer, ride the train, go "ice skating" on a plastic surface, and ride the rides. All in heavy falling snow!

My parents got us adjoining hotel rooms which was fabulous! The lodge itself was very beautiful and PACKED with families! It was just PACKED with little kids!

After a short rest, we went out to dinner and tried to see the infamous "Sweet lights". It was so snowy that half way through, they started to unplug the lights due to hazardous road conditions. We were really disappointed as it was touted as truly a spectacular event. Oh well. At least we got home safely. The snow continued to fall.

I really enjoyed myself! I had no idea what to expect but spending time with my parents and being part of such a magical place was really a special treat! The  hotel also served cookies and milk- and my god, the cookie was worth the 4 hours in the car! SOO good. The snow hampered us a bit but just added to the magic!

Christmas 2013

Please forgive me in advance for my sentimentality; I adore Christmas. And this year was no different.

I just felt so blessed this holiday season. Not the whole time. I stressed out the week before Christmas pretty hard core. But when Christmas morning showed up, I felt a deep sense of gratitude and peace. It was a really big blessing.

Leading up to the holiday season was truly filled with awesome small moments that I really treasure.

** Seren's holiday concert was everything it was supposed to be- off tune kids, flashy dresses and parents with too many cameras. Seren was thrilled to be performing. She commented several times that at her old school, you had to be a 4th grader to perform and at her new school, Kindergarten students were on stage! She was in her element on stage- happy, confident and singing with her whole body. I loved watching her perform and I got a bit emotional watching her- this new school? She is thriving. It was a bit of a rough time in October and part of November but man, she made the transition. And she just beamed from the stage. That was fabulous.

** Beck, the Elf visited again. He adds a certain special magic to the entire season. Our Beck just moves. He doesn't "do" anything. And twice, he forgot to move. The best part is that Seren and Wyeth explain the 'why'. They continue to be creative, imaginative children. Beck was a huge hit. And every morning, as she hugged me good morning, she would look around for Beck.

** The Christmas lists were great! This year we didn't see the Big Guy as much as we usually do. Part of me was relieved; it gets harder to explain how Santa can be at the tree farm, the mall, the Living History farm we visit, etc., etc. But we didn't see him much at all! Due to the timing of the holiday this year, we rarely saw him. Pangs of guilt around this issue plagued me. And the kids didn't have any lists until the 22nd of December! Sam and I fretted about this the entire month because the kids just kept saying "Santa knows what I'd like!" And since we didn't visit Santa (our usual visit was cancelled due to snow), we couldn't then ask the kids "What did you ask Santa for?"  But they just loved the season. And the last Saturday before Christmas, I came upstairs at 7:30 and they were making the lists! And they were the best lists ever! Wyeth wanted a truck, a camera, a kite, legos and a "waterproof webbie". Webbie, as you may remember, is his beloved turtle. Wyeth spoke at  length about this request. He wanted Webbie to be able to go swimming with him, into the bathtub with him and to Sesame Place! Seren said to him, "But Wyeth, if you ask for a water proof Webbie, he won't be the same Webbie. He won't be the Webbie you know."  Together they decided to ask Santa for "two pairs of swimming suits for a stuffed turtle." Problem solved!  (Sam and I joked we should get Webbie a ziplock bag!)  Seren's list was to get an American Girl Doll, to get toys for her guinea pig and to get magic. Specifically, as she noted, she'd like to 1) live forever and 2) turn into an animal and back again.  HA! Not much Santa can do about those items!  Santa and the grandparents delivered pretty well on the others.

** Snow in December- Enough said. It was awesome!

** Caroling in Fallingston. A local community has a community wide sing that we participate in each year. This year, snow was falling. It was so beautiful! We all hold candles, sing some Christmas songs and then walk to the library for cookies, tea and hot chocolate. Score!

**Making home made cookies. Every year since Seren could walk (2007), we have made homemade cookies and delivered them to our neighbors. It is usually a highlight for me. And this year was no exception. Making the cookies took some time and much patience. And we had to deliver them much later in the evening then I had wanted. But this year Seren decided she'd like to sing as we did it. So for each house, we rang the doorbell and performed two verses of "we wish you a merry Christmas". Two of our neighbors got tears in their eyes. At the end of each interaction Seren would yell "I hope Santa brings you lots of presents!" It is such a simple expression of gratitude for neighbors; a total high for me. Just great!

** The Living Nativity was fun! We visited the Living Nativity the Monday before Christmas. It is so odd- basically a local church hires in a camel and many other farm animals. It is pretty awesome. The donkey takes a big poop and Wyeth says "well, that donkey pooping wasn't in the real story." Then they complained about the smell and he says, the sage that he is, "it is the smell of real life."

**The Christmas Eve pageant. We have 'flirted' with Church for a long time. We go. Then we don't go. We go. Then we don't go. Which I've written about. We attended the evening UU pageant at our local church on Christmas eve. Seren and Wyeth both got to be in the Christmas story. Seren was a giraffe (they included lots of 'other' animals in the story) and Wyeth got to be a star. Under duress. At the end of the story he said to Seren "I'm out of here. I'm done with this!"

**The saying goodbye to Beck, the writing of the notes, the excitement. The entire crescendo of the season comes the night before Christmas. The lists, the singing, the songs, the cookies, the gift buying, the craft making....the excitement every year is both thrilled and exhausting. This year, as he always does, Santa came by on the firetruck. Sam had cooked us an amazing Australian meal that was had devoured earlier. We opened our huge gifts from grandma and granddaddy via Skype. We had gone to church. And written the notes of love to Santa. And we had said our sad goodbyes to Beck. Seren got a little teary but reasoned, "Well,he most likely will love to live with Santa again." And then he showed up on the firetruck! Usually we hear the sirens for hours. And we have to run out several times to 'check' as it gets close. This year, we anticipated the he'd be around in another 20 minutes when it sounded kinda loud! Sam checked and then yelled "This is it!" The mad dash to the door left Wyeth crumbled in a heap as we all bumped into eachother. We all gave up on shoes and ran out the door to jump and wave at Santa. And it was awesome. I didn't cry this year. But I loved it. I was very much present in that moment. And it feels so good.

** The kids fell asleep by 9. And this year, since Santa was bringing any live animals, Sam and I were relatively calm and excited. Seren woke up at 12. And then at 12:15 and then again at 12:45 to see if Santa came. She finally woke up at 7:15 and we had to wake up Wyeth on Christmas morning. Again. We all came in and he just laid there. We were whispering, "Good morning! It is Christmas!" No movement. Then Seren says, "Mom and Dad said Santa came!" His eyes popped open and he said "He did?"

Man, it was a total blast. I loved it! The kids loved it! We were blessed with health this year! And we stuck to our budget which meant it wasn't overdone. It felt awesome! The kids each had favorite gifts. Wyeth's were legos, his camera (quamera) from Grammy and Poppy, his bruder truck and this Perplexus ball that frustrates the hell out of him but he enjoys. Seren loved the American Girl doll, Ivy, from her grandmom and granddad, the carrying case for her dolls and her guinea pig toys.

We are blessed by goodhealth and love. Christmas is a time to tell others that we love them; it felt great to be able to share the spirit of Christmas the entire season.