Previous month:
November 2013
Next month:
January 2014


look at me ... two posts in two days! way to finish off '13, amiright?

i've gotten so removed from keeping track of the little things on here, and that seriously hinders my ability to have these stories on hand when i want to do something with them. (on that note: 2014 will be the year that i *finally* make that crafty room usable and get back to making some art. promise.) i need to be better about that. so without further ado, christmas:

first of all, it has to be said that i like the Getting Ready For Christmas part about as much as the actual holiday. i am always giddy when all the red and white and glitter and pine and glass balls make an appearance. nothing makes me happier. it makes every day a cheerful anticipation of what is about to take place. and christmas music is a constant - all day, every day, much to marc's delight (sarcasm). however, twinkle lights and shiny brites and the scent of the tree are as synonymous with holiday spirit as the sound of frank and bing and nat. in my opinion.

regardless of the work and time involved, coming downstairs in the morning to see the tree on and the icicles glittering fills me with warmth and happiness. it just does.

(for the record, steaming the curtains was on my to do list. it really was. just didn't happen.)


(there's your glimpse at the gallery wall. i'll tell you more about that in january. maybe.)


(blue ball jars. always.)




the best anticipation for this christmas, though, was that my family was coming up to spend it with us.

we made the hard decision this year that christmas break is just too difficult a time to travel. the kids don't have enough days off school to do everything we want to do (see both families, have a bit of a downtime break to recharge ourselves after the constant insanity of life), the weather can be dicey and unpredictable, and now that henry swims high school, he needs to be around for mandatory practices. and his coach schedules a travel meet the day after christmas each year (this year being the exception; he and his wife were gone for a wedding); since henry already swims varsity, i can't imagine that there will be a lot of understanding on the coach's part for the next four years when henry tells him he can't participate for two weeks right in the middle of the season. so, visiting family will now become a summer thing for the foreseeable future. and when my parents and sister said they would come up for the week of christmas? yeehaw!!

during the weeks after thanksgiving, becca and my mom and i talked and texted constantly about how much we were looking forward to being together, hanging out, relaxing, enjoying each other. luckily, their trip here was problem-free, and the next day, minnesota provided brand new snow, for our white christmas.

all the kids got suited up and headed out to the backyard with sleds.

all except nora. poor nora. she got as far as the boots, and was denied further access to the snow.


but the big kids had fun.





until a couple of runs in, when harper decided to be pissy that henry was being nicer and more patient to wyatt than he was with her (partially true; partially justified), and she decided to throw a fit.


the boys tried to reason with her, but ... has anything i've written about harper in the last nearly nine years led you to the conclusion that she can be reasoned with?


no. so, they kept having fun, and she eventually gave up and did her own thing.


speaking of doing her own thing, nora wasn't too bothered that she was missing the snow.


so, that was sunday. monday came, and we took henry to morning practice, then headed to our little downtown bakery to have a donut before heading back to the pool to watch him swim. turns out, the pool doors were locked behind the kids and we couldn't get in. so we missed morning practice. which in turn changed all of our plans for the day so that we could go watch his afternoon practice instead. it wasn't ... bad ... but it wasn't good, either. it was "unfortunate" ... let's say that. however, we had fun at the afternoon practice. instead of just a workout, the practice was a "fun meet" of silly races. unbeknownst to henry, we all made "go henry!!" signs, and every time it was his turn to swim, we held up those signs and cheered our hearts out. (it needs to be said that we were the only people in the bleachers. and the only people at the pool not swimming. we stood out a bit.) luckily, henry is a self-confident kid who borders on Mr Popular, so he took it in good stride, and none of his teammates gave him trouble.

and that was sunday.

monday was a blur of last-minute target runs, cooking, game-playing, etc., and christmas eve was more of the same. my mom, becca, and i ran to the grocery in the afternoon, only to discover that half the things on our list were gone. lots of on-the-fly change of plans. two hours later, we exited the store into a big, beautiful snowfall. we detoured on the way home to enjoy the lights and the time to just be quiet and together. once home, it was all about the christmas eve traditions: notes to santa, cookies and carrots left out, hanging stockings, reading "'twas the night before christmas."


amazingly enough, the kids all went to bed without issue, and slept without complaint.

until 7 a.m.

and then ...








and everyone was happy.

and for all the things that didn't go according to plan, we were still together. and it was still the most wonderful time of the year.


snowflake, 2013: the end

christmas has come and gone again. just like that. all the build up and anticipation, and then ... done.

i know people who get seasonal affective disorder, and i think i get post-christmas affective disorder. i've had the blahs since the 26th and cannot shake them.

oh well. january is almost here, the kids will soon be back at school, and life will resume normalcy.

however: let's finish up snowflake, shall we?

where did i leave off ... the 17th?

on the 17th, snowflake and gray kitty were perched in the bathroom window, enjoying the warm sunshine and the view.


on the 18th, she brought harper a special elf cookie straight from the north pole. which was perfect timing, because harper had an all-day field trip that day, and came home from school famished. that cookie was housed fairly efficiently within 10 minutes of her walking in the door.


on the 19th, snowflake and gray kitty were traversing the ropes course, strung up between the stairway lights.


on the 20th, snowflake had used elfin magic to build a train track, and she and gray kitty were going for a spin.


on the 21st, we found snowflake and gray kitty strung up in slinkies. we never did figure out if they were there on purpose, doing some cirque du soleil sunt, or if something had gone terribly wrong.


on the 22nd, snowflake tucked herself and gray kitty into the santa hat on top of the tree. yes, there was a santa hat on top of the tree. the star didn't fit.


on the 23rd, snowflake got a little "project runway"-ish and created a fashion forward look out of wrapping paper. she totally made it work.


and ... that's it. i failed to take a picture on the 24th. however, she was just sitting in harper's room, next to a gift that santa had told her she could bring to harper. the gift? harper's christmas eve jammies.

 really sweet, happy jammies with sunshine and rainbows.


and on the 25th, snowflake was gone. but under the tree, harper found a special gift just for her. from snowflake.


we'll see you again in 336 days, snowflake.

snowflake, days 12 - 16

oh, snowflake. i love that you bring a smile to my daughter's face. i hate that i have to think about you every night, when all i want to do is fall into bed.

i did this to myself, didn't i?

alrighty then.

day 12: thursday morning, we discovered snowflake had strung a bunting between the lights over the island and was using it as a trapeze of sorts. harper astutely wondered how snowflake's hat was staying on, with gray kitty holding on to it.


day 13: back story ... every christmas, my parents give marc and me a silver bell. my grandparents did it for them each year they were married, and mom & dad started the tradition with us and my sister and her husband the years we got married. i love my bells, but they take a lot of work each year to polish and figure out what to do with them. we're never home for the holidays anyway, so i haven't gotten them out in quite a few christmases. this year, we'll be home for a change, so out those bells came, they are now polished and shiny. i hung a birch branch over the couch in the tv room to hold them, and snowflake thought it the perfect spot to end up on friday.


day 14: saturday morning, we found snowflake and gray kitty had built themselves a marshmallow igloo.


day 15: on sunday, harper found snowflake and gray kitty in the pantry, holding a bowl full of elf kisses. when i asked her if she tried one, she said yes, and that they taste just like human kisses, but a little different. as one would expect.

day 16: it's monday again, which means slacker elf returns for a few days. today? snowflake and gray kitty are just chillin' in a bucket of birch logs, cedar, and twinkle lights. works for me.


the weekend was too crazy for me to be more creative today. a swim meet friday, swim meet saturday ...


(he's dropped his 50 free and 100 free times consistently every meet for the past few months. he's currently at :25.9 and :58.06 respectively. which will only mean something to you if you know about swimming. but he's doing a great job, and is swimming varsity again ... as an 8th grader.)

birthday party saturday, piano recital on sunday ...


(crazy anxiety/crying/whining/fit-throwing all day leading up to the recital. but then she sat down and did a great job. twerp.)

... plus everything else. too much. we're all so, so ready for a break. one more week ... eight more days of snowflake ... we can do this.

snowflake, days 6 - 11

oh, i am soooo on top of this.

day 6: like all good elves, snowflake loves her some sugar. and hid up to her neck in a big bowl of halloween candy. (yes, we still have halloween candy. technically, we still have some from last year, too. i should really just throw it out.)


day 7: snowflake and gray kitty opted to give harper a little geography lesson, by pointing out where on the globe snowflake calls "home."


day 8: saturday ... snowflake gets trickier on the weekends. she was in the basement, hiding amongst all of the christmas music boxes and snow globes in the hutch.


day 9: i finally managed to get some christmas up around the house. we decorated the tree at the last second possible on sunday night. but late saturday i put up the stockings, and harper got to see snowflake and gray kitty hanging around in hers when she woke up.


day 10: harper has been asking for weeks for this branch reindeer at the grocery store. i always told her no. well, guess who showed up, riding the reindeer, monday morning?


day 11: harper could not find snowflake this morning. at all. couldn't find her after school, either. i made her look and look. silly elf was in harp's room the whole time, snuggled up for a nap with saige, and gray kitty was chillin' in the basket with nutmeg. sometimes the most obvious place is the hardest to find.


soooo ... the elf is back.

and i almost forgot all about her.

december first ... we'd gotten home from indiana late on saturday evening after a whirlwind thanksgiving/grandma's 90th birthday celebration:


sunday morning, we all tried to get a little sleep ... except for harper, who was up and watching "my little pony" by 7:30. i went downstairs at 8:30 to have some coffee, putter around, and at 10:00 i realized that it was december 1st.


so i quickly did a little crafty sign, ran upstairs, grabbed the elf out of my underwear drawer (didn't want to have to scramble to find her, like last year), stuck it in harper's room (thankfully, her room is always super dark, and she doesn't turn on lights when she wakes up. so the idea that the elf was there all along and she just didn't see it was plausible.)

an hour later, i told her she needed to get dressed so we could eat lunch. at that point, she noticed the elf and squealed, "snowflake is back!!!!! wait ... was she in my room when i woke up? i didn't even see her!"

luckily, harper forgot it was december 1st, too.


monday morning, harp came down for breakfast and found snowflake and gray kitty swinging on the (still undecorated) christmas tree.


that evening, she grabbed some dolls and doll accessories and set up a Welcome Back, Snowflake tea party, complete with hot cocoa goldfish crackers and placecards. (placecards, people. how does she know what a placecard is?!)

so of course snowflake was in attendance on tuesday morning.


the party must have gotten a little crazy, because on wednesday, snowflake was under the weather and called in sick for the day.


thankfully, she was feeling much better this morning, and donned an ugly christmas sweater and was waiting for harper on the reindeer head outside of the kids' room, along with gray kitty.



(while we're at it, dear pinterest: thank you for having an abundance of elf on the shelf pins. you take all of the hassle and work out of having to be creative every day. if i have to come up with my own ideas only every fourth day or so? sweet. you're awesome. love, michele)