Sunday, December 23, 2012

'Tis the Season

Since it is the most wonderful time of the year, we kicked off the season by getting our very first real Christmas tree!  We went to Butler's Orchard, where they provide the saw, rope, tree shaking, and netting.  It was super easy and fun to pick out the perfect one and chop it down ourselves.

I have wanted to get a real Christmas tree my whole life, but my parents always insisted on having an artificial one.  I'm so glad that Barry finally let me get a real one this year, and I love that we are starting all sorts of new traditions as a family.

Our decorated tree looks gorgeous in our living room and the ornaments from my childhood bring back so many wonderful memories.

There is one ornament in particular, a little house, that reminds me of my grandma's log house, where some of my happiest days took place.  I remember how my mom and my grandma made me feel like the most special and loved little girl in the world.  We played countless board games, swam in the lake, ran around the garden, and visited the lighthouse. It was nothing extravagant, but to me, the time that we spent there together was paradise.  I miss my mom more than ever this time of year, and I really appreciate all of the extra holiday cheer in my life right now.

My friend, R, recently hosted a holiday "jammy jamboree" for our little guys and gals.  They looked so cute and snuggly in their PJs that of course I had to take some pictures of them reveling in their festive fun.  (Let's be honest, when do I ever not have my camera attached to my arm?)

Ryan helped me bake sugar cookies and decorate them with icing and sprinkles.  I decorated this batch for a cookie exchange with our Wednesday playgroup, and then Ryan decorated more cookies with his friends at Friday playgroup.  From the sticky mess to the immense consumption of sugar, this activity was definitely a hit with most of the toddlers.

We visited the holiday lights display at Brookside Gardens with our friends, T, her hubby, and their little man.  Ryan was hesitant for literally one second before he quickly realized how much fun it is to run over, under, around, and through massive amounts of colored lights.  We also saw the holiday train display for about the billionth time, but this time was special because it was night time and daddy was with us.

Ryan has now fully grasped the concept of Santa Claus.  I try to encourage him to focus on the meanings behind Christmas and Hanukkah, rather than the presents, but Ryan has been constantly telling us about all of the toys that he "needs".  I neeeeed Lightning McQueen, mommy.  I feel like it is such a challenge at this age for him to appreciate the non-material things over the tangible ones, and I honestly hope that this will happen more naturally as he becomes more mature.

The other day, as soon as Ryan saw Santa at the mall, our (usually shy) boy walked over, crawled onto his lap, and rattled off his wish list.  Santa told him that his favorite cookies are chocolate chip and that his reindeer enjoy carrots.  Ryan has not stopped talking about Santa ever since, and regularly reminds me of what Santa and the reindeer like to eat.

I have always wanted to do a "discovery" box with Ryan, but this is the first time that I actually got a chance to put one together.  I found a bunch of holiday-themed trinkets that I thought might spark his interest, put them together in a little box, and gave Ryan the freedom to explore.

Ryan is very much into pretending right now, so he found many creative ways to play with the pieces.  He wanted nothing to do with the wreath with a bow on it, and placed it on top of my head saying, "bows for girls".  He had no problem wearing the necklaces though.  His favorite item was a wind-up Santa Claus.  I have never seen Ryan laugh as hard as he did when that little Santa wobbled across the floor.  The discovery box held Ryan's attention for an hour and cost me less than $6.  Totally worth it.


I changed up our Montessori work this week by including cranberries in the transferring activity.  Not long after starting his work,  Ryan decided to eat all of the cranberries.  I think that they taste extremely sour, but he loved them.  Of course, Lucky wanted some too.

Cousins and Second Generation Cousins

At our family's annual get-together at Aunt G's house yesterday, we took these pictures with my cousins and their families.  I love looking at all of the pictures that we have taken throughout the years and seeing the babies turn into big kids, and the new babies born.

I have remained close with my cousins C and N, who were also bridesmaids at my wedding. See the picture on the shelf behind our heads?  That is our late grandma, the one who lived in the log house.  I am so grateful for all of the members of our family, past and present, as they each hold a special place in my heart.


  1. All of these activities look like so much fun! And I love your emphasis on family during the holidays, it is so touching to hear your stories of your grandmother and mother. I know how much you must miss your mom but I know she is still so proud of everything you do! Also, I love Butler's Orchard and your adorable coat. We went there nearly every year I lived in MD and it is one of my favorite holiday/family memories so I love that it is becoming one of yours too. <3

  2. PS I'm sure Ryan will grow out of his "I need Lightning McQueen" about fifteen-twenty more years ha ha ha :)

  3. I love the pictures of Ryan doing the discovery Christmas box and the cranberries activity. It's cute seeing him in action to fit the story you told me yesterday! Of course, I love that Lucky is there watching everything also! It was great seeing you, Barry and Ryan yesterday! One of these days, I should just make a day trip and come spend the day with you and Ryan. It would either have to be on a weekend day or a day that school is closed since the boys are school-agers now.

  4. @Karen- Thanks for recommending Butler's Orchard, it was a wonderful experience! I hope that you and Rupert enjoyed your Christmas and that you got to relax and "hang out" with your family. Miss you tons!

    @Cindy- It was so great seeing you guys too! I would LOVE to get together sometime! Just let me know when you have a weekend free or when the boys have a day off from school. Are they off on Jan 21 for MLK Jr. day? Email me and lets plan! =)


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