12:57 PM

"Don't forget to put the Yankees back in their package"

These were the words Emily uttered to me as she drifted off to near-sleep last night. "What Yankees?" you ask. By Yankees I believe she meant Hanky. You know, like a wipe-your-snot hanky. This was after I had supplied her with one to wipe her runniness. Her poor little snot-chute-thingy under her nose was all red. She was feeling OK otherwise, but we all know how annoying a runny rose can be. She is a trooper. She also wanted to be sure I knew that she "liked Yankees the best" as compared to tissues, and she questioned what these Yankees "are even made of actually?" This cute little exchange really reminded me of the joys of life, those everyday miracles that we often overlook in the daily grind. I am going to make an effort to be more mindful of these miracles...and with the new year coming up, this is the best time to start.

6:58 PM

Christmas was wonderful!

It really was. The kids loved the festivities...visiting with relatives, opening their presents, putting out cookies and milk for Santa. It rocked.

Emily's favorite presents were her American Girl Doll and clothes. Also, Andy made her a beautiful armoire for the clothes and it turned out really, really nice. She loved it.

Ethan got a bunch of trucks and a race car track. He loved opening his presents so much, at one point I actually saw him use his teeth to tear the wrapping paper on a particulaly difficult to open gift.

It was so wonderful to celebrate with our families. I loved getting together with Andy's side of the family. The cousins are all getting so big. They are growing into an adorable bunch of big kids. They all seemed to really love the gifts and had a great time together.

Christmas Day with my family was nice too. My grandparents were in town, and it really was great visiting with them. I wish they lived closer. I think everyone really loved the photobooks I made. Shutterfly rocks!

Right now, I am just enjoying this little break. The calm before the storm, if you will. My new job starts on Jan 2nd, so that will be an adjustment. I am glad I asked for a planner for Christmas. I am definitely going to need it!

6:17 PM

Whew!

This has been a super, super busy month. Which, of course, is my sorry excuse for not posting in forever, but it is true nonetheless. What have I been up to, you ask?

First and foremost, we have the Christmas preparations. We decided not to go "nuts" with buying this year, in an effort to bring back some old time charm a'la Little House on the Prairie. You know, making rather than buying, keeping things simple. In the process, I learned two valuable lessons:

1. As much as I yearn for a simpler life, a life free of TiVoed shows, long lines at the supermarket, and malls, I would not last a week in the Frontier days. Those women were tough.
2. If your aim is to keep things simple, and you are a bit obsessive about projects, just buy the damn presents. Sell your soul to the credit card companies and get it over with already!

So, what am I talking about, you ask? Well, we decided to make the following gifts for my loved ones:

1. Photo books for my parents, aunt, and grandparents
2. An armoire for Emily's dolls
3. Doll clothes for Emily
4. Six of those Cookie mix in a jar things for random recipients
5. Nine "I Spy" bags for each of the kiddos in the family
6. Seven personalized suitcases for those to whom eI am "Aunt Natalie"
7. Stained wooden cars and dinos for Ethan
8. A basket of random goodies for my grandparents
9. Cookies for neighbors and family
10. Candy for neighbors and family

I have to finish the I Spy Bags, cookies, and candy, but other than that, I am pretty well on track. I will post pics of all my creations in the ner future.

So what else is new? I have a new job, that's what! (Can you tell I have been reading an awful lot of Junie B. Jones?) I am the new "Instructional Coordinator" for a cyber charter school. My job will be to pester people, which I am pretty wonderful at, if I do say so myself. The best part is, I can pester them in my PJs since I get to work at home. WooHoo! I start January 2nd. Let the pestering begin!

Well that's about all I have to say for tonight....my sewing machine is calling me. More later!