January 2, 2012

Whoa, Momma! Lots to Catch Up On!

Hello, friends!  It has been a marvelous couple of weeks with extra family time, holiday giving, and home projects galore!  Even as I sit here to play catch up online, I have a tinge of guilt about all of the catch up in the house I'm not doing while I blog.  But I could use the break for a few minutes, so I thought I'd check in with my web friends!

Let's see...the most obvious starting place is Christmas.  Right?  We had a lovely holiday!  This was easily the most laid back and relaxed Christmas we've ever had (if you don't count the weeks before spent crafting like a mad woman for the whole hand-made holiday thing we tried out)!

Can you spot your gift?
 I crocheted gifts for just about everyone I gave to.  One friend got an embroidered gift, but that's just because I found the perfect idea for her and ran with it long before I ever sat down to work on Christmas gifts.  Now I'm thinking about a hand made Ayyam-i-Ha and I have such a fun idea for that!  But I won't share just yet.  All that crocheting kept me busy for quite some time.  The kids did hand made gifts too, and spent a lot of time talking amongst themselves about how good it is for the earth to make your gifts instead of having them made in a polluting factory and shipped here from China.  Ha!  That had not been my motivation at all, but I'm glad they were thinking in those terms!  I simply knew that there's nothing I could buy that the people in my life would actually want.  I figure with the gift of my time, at least they know they are loved enough for me to spend time (which is my most taxed resource!) on their gift. 

Joe made a comment that he was sure I wouldn't be putting as much time into his gift as I was everyone else's.  I'm pretty sure it was a smarty-pants remark on how much of my time was pouring into hand made gifts instead of into our usual chit chat and movie time.  And honestly, what in the world would I ever crochet that Joe would actually leave the house in?  Huh?  Yeah.  Nothing!  And in the past he has scoffed at the silly hand made gifts I have made him, so I wasn't even considering making him anything until he said that.  But his comment felt a little like a challenge.  I never pass up a challenge.  So instead of crocheting him some awful scarf that I know he'll never wear, I went for something totally ridiculous!  Something completely without function.  Ready?

 I crocheted him a Ninja Turtle!  This was the movie that defined his childhood and we recently sat down to watch it with our kids and realized that his childhood was...um...how shall I say it?  Flawed.  There was a ton of bad language.  There were kids smoking cigarettes.  You name it, it was in there.  So we turned off the movie half way through and he spent the next few days sulking about the things he was exposed to as a child.  But still, it was his childhood, and so he still loves those pizza eating little turtles!  So I decided to make a Ninja Turtle as a gift for his inner child.  One that doesn't hang out with kids who swear or smoke, and that he can play with the kids with.  And it took a whole lot longer than any scarf would have!

We did family gifts on Christmas Eve and Santa gifts on Christmas morning.  We skyped with my dad and his wife shortly after gift opening time.  That was the most chaotic skype session ever.  The kids just kept holding toys way too close to the camera and talking over each other.  There were no complete sentences or complete thoughts.  Just total show off mode.  I suppose since none of them have ever had the show and tell experience at school, this was their chance!

The favorite gifts of the year?  Well, Pa got them an arcade style (and size) air hockey table that takes up half the playroom.  Joe and I have woken up to the sounds of the air horns and cheering crowds more than a few mornings since we got it.  So that's been a big family hit!  And then there's the guitars the boys got.  They play them all the time and write the funniest songs about all kinds of oddball things.  It's been a little like living in a very out of tune musical!  And then there were the fishing poles!

My Paw Paw got them all fishing poles for Christmas and on Christmas day we went out to the reservoir for some casting practice.  I'm actually quite surprised at how good they are at casting already.  They've got Joe and I beat!  Several people came up to ask what they were fishing for before they realized that they just had cute little casting weights on their lines and no real hooks. 

After Christmas, Joe and I decided to remodel the closets on a whim!  When we moved into this house, we painted in a hurry (probably shouldn't have done that) and when it came to closets, we kinds of slacked and just roughly painted in far enough that you couldn't see the lines when the closet doors were closed.  Big mistake.  Those ugly roller lines in our closets have bugged us every day since.  And our house is an old house (a year older than me!) which means that it was built before the dawn of the super closets!  We each have one shorter than standard, reach-in closet.  So once we painted, we decided to build in some shelving and get a little more folding space inside.  Best 2 day project EVER!!!

Our Bed is under there somewhere!

I'm  not the kind of blogger that ever remembers to take before and after pictures, but I will show you the gigantic mess we made emptying out 2 closets on a whim.  Nice, huh?  That's closet doors, shelves, clothes, shoes, boxes, and a whole lot of other junk!  Needless to say, Joe and I slept in the kids' beds that night!

We had some friends over for dinner.  We went to some friends' homes for dinner.  We went to a party to meet my friend Gail's family in from London!  We ate a lot of food!  We did the basic holiday break over eating, over sleeping, jammies all day kind of thing.  It was good.

The Card Fairies, hard at work!

A few of their creations!
Hannah Jane had a friend over for a card making party!  This turned out to be a spectacular way to get her to actually sit down and make her thank you cards from the holidays!  I set up a paper station with stamps, markers, die cut letters, and cute patterned paper.  Then I set up my window pane dry erase organizer with a sample thank-you card with blanks for appropriate names and gifts.  In the bottom pane was a list of words they might need to know how to spell that related to the holiday or the gifts they received.   A little music, some cookies, and they were off making cards for a full 2 hours!  Hooray!  I think we're going to make this an annual event and maybe invite more friends next time because the usually mundane task of thank-you card writing was suddenly festive!  What they normally resist, they looked forward to!  Score!

The last few days have been weirdly sunny and snow free.  Lack of snow depresses me, but the kids love it because it means easier outdoor play.  So to make the most of our last sunny day on Joe's break, we drove down to the Salt Lake City Zoo!  It was a perfect day for the zoo and Joe never gets to do any of the fun stuff with us on account of being gainfully employed and all, so we enjoyed doing a schooly fun thing with dad along!

Today we got back on the school wagon.  Well, half back on the school wagon.  Hannah Jane's friend from across the street showed up around 1 asking to play.  Initially I said that they could play after the kids finished their school work, but that instantly felt cruel and unusual (and I needed to build a storage container, iron a week's worth of laundry, and blog, of course!) so I immediately yelled, "Go catch Madison before she crosses the street and have fun!"  Ahh...sigh of relief.  So glad I loosened up and let them run frolic in the sunshine rather than conjugate Latin and make their January calendars.  There will be time for that tomorrow.

But before they ran off to play, we did get an epic amount of school work done for one morning.  Over the break I hauled all of our school stuff back down to the school room (which has now been Hunter's bedroom, a school room, my craft room, a mess, and now a school room once more!) and so we made our way down this morning to begin our study of Colonial America.  I was so excited about being back in the school room for this!  Yesterday I snuck down and made a giant illustration on our cool round chalk board of a colonial family so that there would be something exciting linked to our new studies when the kids walked in.  They loved it! 

We started the History Pockets book for Colonial America, we did math, spelling, poetry, reading and grammar.  After lunch we headed out to the library to return our very overdue books (clearly I forgot EVERYTHING over the break!) only to find that it is closed today for New Year.  Silly me.  I didn't realize that when a holiday falls on the weekend, they still take the Monday off.  I should have known, but New Years seems like such an insignificant occasion.  It makes me wonder if Joe was supposed to have the day off today too and just didn't realize.  Oh well.  One more day with our books.  Which is good.  I had a movie checked out that I never got around to watching, so I watched it this afternoon while I built a giant piece of storage furniture for the playroom (to store the toys that used to occupy the space that the air hockey table has now taken over) and it was actually really great, so I'm glad I didn't turn it in unwatched!  I'll watch the last half here in a minute when I do everyone's ironing for the week!

Well, I think that about covers it!   hope you had a lovely holiday, however and whatever you were celebrating and with any luck, I'll be here a bit more regularly now that it's all said and done!  Happy New Year!


  1. We are semi-back into the swing of things after a long break, too. It feels nice to be "normal" again! Love the ninja turtle!

  2. Isn't it weird how when you grow up, you just kind of want to get back to a routine? And thanks. Joe liked it too! Yay!


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