7 Quick Takes: The holiday version

Well, it’s a new year, so here’s a blog post. 🙂 In all honesty though, I’m trying to be more intentional with my time (I don’t really waste a lot, my life is full enough!) and make sure I’m not using my time repetitively… if that makes sense. If it doesn’t, don’t worry and let’s look at the craziness the last month has brought us!  [Warning: this is going to be a very picture-focused post, so if you were hoping for some words of wisdom or several hundred words of me waxing eloquent… you’re not going to find it here.]

1. Thanksgiving (yes, we’re going back REALLY far here!)
This year, we spent Thanksgiving with Ryan’s family. Usually, we switch every other year, so we would have been with my family, but flight prices were RIDICULOUS. So, we elected to go visit them the day after Christmas for a little while when prices were much more reasonable and all of my siblings would be home.

A few pics from the day:

You’re going to see this outfit a lot… it’s one of his favorites. 
Hooray for a family shot!  🙂

Mark and his Aunt Marissa. 

2. St. Nicholas Day, getting the Christmas Tree, and seeing Santa

St. Nicholas knows Mark well — all this kid needs is a clementine. 🙂
‘I love these, but they’re so dang hard to open.’
Me: “Mark! Look at the trees!”
Mark: “Stick!”
Oh, he’s not his mother’s child AT ALL.  
Much to my chagrin, he likes to say ‘Cheese!’ when he gets his picture taken.  But, he almost is never looking at the camera. 
This was my view while we were carrying the tree to the truck.  It took him forever.  🙂
Mark could say Santa and liked pointing at him, but was not wild about sitting on his lap, hence my presence in this picture. 

3. The Grotto
To continue celebrating the season and preparing for Christmas, we went to the Grotto with Ryan’s family.  Mark LOVED the lights!

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4. Cookies!
My friend Lauren and I have a tradition of baking Christmas cookies the week or so before Christmas. They turned out pretty well, I think [disclaimer: there was one more red velvet crackle cookies that I forgot to include; sorry, Lauren!]:



Then, we decided to let the kiddos decorate some of the gingerbread cookies.They were very good at spreading sugar everywhere.  🙂 Mark, who almost never likes things sugary, went to TOWN on the frosting. And fed some of it to Ryan.

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5. Christmas with Ryan’s family

Before Christmas:

Learning how to be gentle with the tree. 
With lots of helpful phone calls with my mom, I made Mark this wall Christmas tree.  It’s been minorly successful in keeping him from the real tree, but he’s enjoyed it. 

Christmas morning at our house:

Sop everything!  It’s a picture of a MOM on Christmas morning.  🙂
We’re not usually “bike in the house” people, but whatever.  It’s Christmas.  🙂
Picture with Grandma and Grandpa in the early afternoon!
The kiddo had a cough and a slight fever when we opened presents in the evening, but this is after some Motrin and dinner when he rallied.  What a fun tunnel!

6. Christmas-ish with my family

Hooray for animals!
I’m not sure why, but I was very concerned with how he was handling this puppy dog. 
It snowed!  My mom took Mark outside and got some snow for him to play with in a bowl in the house.  He was very intrigued. 
the next day we played in the snow. 
Me: “Mark! I’ll help you may a snow angel!”
Mark: “Ehhhhhmmmm?!”
He uber did not care about the fact that his mittens were soaked in snow constantly. 
The sled was super great when it went fast. 
Snowmen! I didn’t make any of these. Ryan did the middle one and the one on the right. My mom did the one on the left. She’s had a little more practice. 🙂

7. New Year’s

And so it’s that time for resolutions. I don’t make very many of these because I have a hard time keeping them. But, I’ll throw these out there as the things that I want to work on this year:

1) To post more than once a month.
2) To make the bed every day (I’m SUPER bad at this).
3) To not get in a rut with my time — to spread out my activities more.
4) To pray on my own more often.

I know, not all of these are measurable, but it is what it is. Wish me luck!

If you’ve made it through all of this and you want more Quick Takes, go read more of them here.


Seven Quick Takes — Christmas!

The promised Christmas post!

1) We spent Christmas in Idaho with my family which was wonderful.  While I love living where we do and we are blessed to be around Teacher Man’s family, I do wish that my family was closer.  But, we do manage to head out there a couple of times a year and they come whenever they can (which, since the arrival of Little Man, has been more often than usual!), so I can’t complain too much.  It was wonderful to see my family; especially because my brother hadn’t seen Little Man since July!  Moral of the story: I love my family and I’m so glad that we got to see them.

2) Before we went to Idaho, we got to have Christmas with Teacher Man’s family.  It was really fun to see everyone so excited to celebrate with Little Man!  His grandparents got him a very cute elephant to ride on (it’s a little big for him right now, but he’ll grow into it soon enough!).  Adorable.

He has claimed it as his own by putting it in his mouth.

He has claimed it as his own by putting it in his mouth.

3) I got to bake when I was at my parents’ house!  I love baking, but since the arrival of Little Man and working and whatnot, I haven’t been able to bake as much as I would like.  I made these for Christmas morning and they were amazing!  Get the recipe from Joy the Baker here.


4) Little Man got to play with my siblings and they all loved it!


5) We all went in and got a GoPro for my brother, but we had all of these clues that he had to figure out and put together.  They consisted of random household objects that all started with the letters of GoPro.  It was hilarious trying to watch him put all of the stuff together.  But, he really loved his present.


6) We got to give Little Man his first time in the snow.  He was not as excited about it as we were.  If I have learned anything about my Little Man in the last eight months (EIGHT MONTHS?!), it’s that he doesn’t like cold things.  Like at all.

My youngest sister, while I love her, was not on her photographer game for this shot.

My youngest sister, while I love her, was not on her photographer game for this shot.

7) This face:


“Santa, oh Santa!”

I wasn’t sure how excited I would be to take Little Man to see Santa for the first time.  I mean, it’s not like he’s going to remember this and most kids cry the first time, right?

Teacher Man and I decided to do a family visit to Santa today when school got out (we figured a Thursday would be better than a Saturday).  There was NO LINE (which was amazing!), so we went right up to Santa.

I have to admit, there was a little bit of me that was like this:

I was just SO excited!

Little Man did a great job!  Of course, he didn’t have anything to say to Santa, but he did sit on his lap and even smiled!  No crying!  It was amazing and it was one of those times where I was reminded of the magic of Christmas for little kids.


Of course, he wasn’t staring at the camera.  But, he wasn’t crying!  Woohoo!

Five Favorites Vol 2: Christmas Books

After being inspired by Maggie’s post (here), I decided that I should share some of my favorite Christmas books (though, I promise to not copy hers!).  These are mostly kids books and stories, but I think anyone can find some joy in them (how can you not find joy in ALL children’s books?  But, I digress…).

1) The Night Before Christmas

I know, it’s super cliche, but it’s really a great Christmas book.  Non-religious, true, but I have wonderful memories of my dad reading it to all of us kids on Christmas Eve every year, a memory my sister pointed out that Little Man is going to get to enjoy for the first time!  Also, I love the illustrations in this version.  They are so quaint and delicate!

2) Merry Christmas Mom and Dad

This is just one of the cutest stories.  I remember reading it to my little brother and thinking about how hard he had to try to make the perfect present for everyone.

3) The Polar Express

My first few years of teaching, I would have the kids sit around me, like they did when they were little, and I read them this book.  While Christmas is first and foremost a religious holiday, there’s something to be said for the magic of this book (and the beautiful illustrations).  We all need a little more magic in our lives, don’t you think?

4) The Littlest Christmas Tree

I was always the kid that got a little sad watching “Charlie Brown’s Christmas” and how the little Christmas Tree that Charlie Brown had was so pitiful looking and really just wanted to be loved and decorated.  This is a similar story where the littlest tree finally goes to a home and the family sings “O Christmas Tree” around it.  Rings true for so many kids.

5) The First Christmas Night

Of course, the true, real meaning of Christmas, with beautiful illustrations.

Seven Quick Takes

Following my fellow bloggers, I have Seven Quick Takes for you for this week.

1) Yesterday was a crazy day.  Teacher Man and I were supposed to go to a retreat all the way across town with the rest of our staff, but when it snowed a little (and, really, people anywhere else in the country would have laughed at how little snow we got), the retreat was canceled.  It doesn’t snow here very often, so when it does the whole city pretty much shuts down and becomes a complete parking lot.  Because of this, I went from thinking that I was going to have to be away from Little Man all day to getting to spend pretty much the whole day with him!  Wonderful.

2) Today, I went to a baby shower for one of my friends/ coworkers.  It was lovely seeing everyone and the shower itself was a perfect blend of chatting and structure.  I loved seeing everyone and it was a pleasant reminder of all that is behind me as Little Man’s mother and all that is still yet to come.

3) Only two more weeks of school until Christmas break, and I’ll tell you that it cannot come soon enough.  I am so tired and trying to balance everything at home and at school is starting to take its toll on me.  I know that it’s nothing compared to what some people have to go through — single moms having to give up their kids all day long to work in a low-paying job — but it’s still hard.  I’m ready for a couple of weeks to just spend with family and to ready ourselves for Christmas.

4) Little Man had butternut squash for the first time today and he LOVED it.  It’s not surprising, considering that it’s one of my favorite foods and he received a few of my genes somewhere along the way.  🙂  It’s so fun to see him try a new food, and we’re very lucky that he’s liked everything he’s tried so far.

5) On Thursday night, Teacher Man and I went to one of the winter beer festivals in town.  While I hate missing bedtime with Little Man, I know that it’s good for Teacher Man and I to get out and just be a married couple every once in awhile.  It’s important for us to remember that before we’re Little Man’s parents, we’re husband and wife to each other.  I know that as we get older and we (God willing) have more children, that’s going to be difficult.  However, I hope that we can still make it a priority and get out every once in awhile.

6) I’m only about halfway done with my Christmas shopping and I have no idea what to get Teacher Man.  This is a Problem and I’m going to Solve It.  Just as soon as I have enough brain power to do so.

7) This face.  Oh my WORD.  🙂