christmas best

Grandma Christensen got all the grandchildren really cute Christmas outfits. We wanted to get a picture of the pile of babies, and we tried valiantly. Here is a few shots of how the little photo shoot went. (all but the bottom picture, I believe, were taken by my brother-in-law bruce)
  
lots of crying. 
 
Daisy was in love with this blanket. She's sit down, feel it, and lay down with huge grin on her face. Adorable.
 We got a few cute ones. These boys are so handsome!
 Daisy (or peg-leg daisy, as I call her) is so cute! She crawls with one leg tucked up behind her and was the happiest out of all the kids!
It was mostly like this: babies crawling away, crying, chewing, and accidentally hitting other babies. 

not pictured: all the adults acting like goofballs trying to get babies to laugh, stay or at least look at the camera.

better luck next time!

auditions

One of Sam's new favorite things is the piano! He'll love you for sitting him up to play. He goes crazy. Also, look at Sam's arm resting on Aunt Karren's leg.

cousins

We had so much fun during the Christmas break hanging out and meeting all our nieces and nephews. It was a full house for a few days when everyone's trips overlapped. It was unfortunate that all the babies ended up sick and there were some sad, sick babies. During the week we made gingerbread houses, had an exciting murder mystery party and ate great food. Come back soon, everyone!

christmas eve thoughts

This year Christmas came really fast and the month of December was full of a lot of things I wanted to do...but didn't quite get to. A few Christmas crafts or recipes or projects were tabled for next year while I probably spent a little too much time on other things. We spent time with friends and family and that is most important. I've been pretty good at letting things go that needed to go (like, uh, blog posts?) and be okay with them waiting for next year. But it still feels a little stressful to feel like I've been behind all month. But hey, Christmas came anyway, as it always does, and the important things are done. So, we're all moving on.

I felt much less prepared than usual this year and I'm definitely making a plan to start gathering presents like...next month. One bonus of waiting until the last week of shipping is that a lot of websites offer free shipping. Score! And thanks to Amazon prime, Dave's last present came tonight.

Tonight we put Sam's little stocking together and put his presents in box. The two times he's been presented with wrapped gifts he couldn't care less, so we're letting him do what he loves: pull out all the things. He probably still won't care. But I decided that being Santa (or a mom) at Christmas is really fun. I'm excited for the years to come.
We had a nice Christmas Eve dinner with Dave's family. Most his siblings were here and our friends Sara and Kyle came over and we had a nice dinner. I spent most of the day cooking/prepping for the dinner (ham, trifle, egg nog and peppermint patties (not finished) all from my favorite site (ya'll know what's coming, right? mel! #sorrynotsorry I only cook from her blog, basically. That egg nog, by the way, is a keeper. I put our rosemary tree to work and made little place cards (thanks, pinterest) and it was fun.

 (I just notice that google + added a nice sparkle to this photo. so, voila! enjoy.)

I think this Christmas may have been less sentimental for me than usual, but it is still special and, of course, exciting as Christmas always is. We are very grateful for our Savior and that we can celebrate His birth. His gift to us is more than we can ever hope to thank Him for. We wish you all a merry Christmas! Thanks for reading!

children's museum

 Time is going so fast! Our days are often filled with fun things but I get behind in uploading pictures. Last week we celebrated our friend Macie's first birthday. We went to the Children's museum and it was a lot of fun. It's mostly for older kids, but they had a few things for kids their age to do. The coolest part was this circular pit for them to hang out in. They loved it and they were totally contained. win-win.

He sticks his tongue out like this sometimes. It's hilarious.
 Sam loves drains, so he was loving this "toy"


christmas projects

We didn't get a tree this year because we thought it would be a constant battle with Sam, but it turns out he doesn't really care about Christmas trees that much. When I saw tiny trees for sale down the street from our apartment, I regretted a little not getting a 2 foot tree. I did buy a rosemary tree from Trader Joe's that sits on the table. We did string up some lights across our window and I think we are going to keep them all year. They are large sphere-shaped lights, so they don't scream Christmas (more like backyard patio or something). And since we don't have an overhead light in our living room, we really like the extra light. 

I made new stockings for us. I made us ome a few years ago, but it was time for a new set. They aren't super traditional, but I love them. Picking out the style and the fabric combination took longer than I care to admit (the story of anything I do), but I'm happy with how they turned out.
We (and when I say we I mean mostly Dave) made Sam a first Christmas ornament. I've seen a few around that are stamped metal ornaments, so I asked Dave if we could make something like that. He thought we could, so we ordered some pewter and got to work. It took Dave a few tries to get a mold that would work, but he figured it out and then textured it and stamped it. I colored in the letters with a black sharpie. I know, I know. My skillz are for hire. It was fun to try something new and have it turn out! 
 
I have one last little Christmas project I'm finishing up but other than that I'm concentrating on a few Christmas gifts I'm working on and am STILL working on Sam's quilt. Maybe I'll finish it by the time he graduates.

11

Eleven months! Sam's favorite thing this month is picking things up and putting them on top of other things. He also likes to pull the kitchen drawers open and pull things out/put them back in. He loves to watch the washer and loves to come crawling when he hears the dishwasher open. He also enjoys the car ramp at grandma's house. He is quite the busy explorer, though curiously has left grandma and grandpa's tree almost totally alone.

He's started to take a few steps and his balanced has improved greatly over the last month. He also loves when we go outside our apartment into the atrium because he can hear his voice echo. He's full of fun noises. He's also become really good at little fake cries and crumpling his face when he's being dramatic. He is just so fun and we can't believe he is almost a year!

on doing ALL THE ACTIVITIES!

I remember watching my nephew a few years ago and thinking "how does Shanna do it?" The thought of looking after, playing with and entertaining a child all day long seemed a daunting and impossible task. I think it was one of the things that scared me the most about having a baby.

The nice thing about parenthood is while the initial jump is huge, you are eased in at the same time. Newborns sleep a lot and need basically no entertainment or other care besides feeding and changing (this is obviously a generalization and not true for every baby).

The thought of Dave going back to work after we brought Sam home often brought me to tears. What would I do all day? But you know, I figured it out. I don't have to fill every minute of the day; there is nap time and lunch time and bath time and travel time and running errands and baby down time and really, only a small portion of the day is filled with time where I am actively playing or entertaining with him and where he want or need that. (or at least, that is my take on it)

I think it's different when you're babysitting and when it's your child. You know your child and what they can and can't do and feel comfortable letting them hang out alone. And one thing we want our children to be able to do is entertain themselves, and Sam is a pro at that. Sometimes I feel slightly bad (but not guilty) that we aren't doing all those structured activities that they list on the internet to do with your children and I keep thinking that I will look some up to do...but I'm not sure I will get to it just yet. He seems to be learning all his skillz just fine. Plus, filling a box with beans and letting him use his developing sensory blah blah blah just sounds like a bad idea to me. Maybe later, when he doesn't eat everything.

At the beginning of the year, I read this post on alphamom that I loved:

"In other words, babies are EASY. One day he’ll be a toddler and will demand constant chasing and supervision and will wake up every morning and ask for “Shoes? Car? Bye?” over and over because he wants to GO somewhere and DO something and you’ll long for the days when all he wanted was a cozy blanket on the floor with a prime view of the ceiling fan."

Sam is past being content lying on the floor, but he is content sometimes to sit in the corner and play with his books. And when he wants your attention, he will definitely let you know. So he isn't ever ignored (well...), but I do let him carry on when he's happy to hang out alone because, well, you know, I'd be kind of crazy not too. And sometimes I go to play or read with him and he grabs the book and turns his back to me like "I got this mom, thanks." oooooookay. I can't remember the last time he let me finish.

We still haven't reached the part that I'm nervous about, where he can walk and talk and tell me what he wants, repeatedly. (crawling and wordless whining is the warm-up act, I guess) When he knows how to actually play with things in a way other than throwing, eating or clapping. But perhaps I will be surprised to find that it isn't as hard as I thought it would be and it will be fun. They only constantly want your attention for a few years in their whole life, right? All kids are different and I'm sure a few of you with older kids are rolling your eyes at my naivete, but hey, I am a first-timer.
  
some days look like this:

concentration

Sam started doing this thing where he sticks his tongue out while he's...basically doing anything. Needless to say, it is adorable. He's cruising around the furniture, taking his toys and putting them on top of things or in drawers and bins (this is my theory on where his ball went) and sticking his tongue out in concentration.

Between this look and his lopsided grin of seven teeth, he's killing us.

japanese gardens II


On Veteran's day, the Japanese gardens had a free day, so we join a friend and walked around. It was a nice fall day and the colors were beautiful. Sam is a lot bigger than the last time we went and he had fun with Macie. They are so fun to watch together, always grabbing faces and toys. Macie is a month older than Sam and it's fun to see what is just around the corner for Sam (a sense of what is "his" and when it is stolen, apparently :))

ps -aren't her boots the cutest?

ten


 Ten months and this kid is much too busy to be laying around taking pictures, thankyouverymuch. Two people didn't help. Almost all of the shots were of him whipping around to crawl away. Oh well!

Sam loves all the same things as usual, but he pulls himself up on everything, loves wheels (stroller, toy cars), and changing his diaper or clothes is a huge joke. He will give you maybe 10-20 seconds and then he's trying to escape. Sometimes giving him something to look at or chew on helps, but not always. Payback for him being so content on his back for 7 months.

He also gets chasing and will crawl away from you shrieking and also chase you a bit. He is also getting quite the head of hair, it's just practically invisible. Still not to the part where we get a full nights sleep every night, but what is a little more of that?

We were looking through pictures of him from earlier this year and I can't believe how big he is now. I remember during those first few months I wished he'd never get bigger and never change And now we can't imagine him being that little baby he used to be and we love watching him explore and try new things and get bigger.

halloween

 I feel like this looks like some sort of hostage situation. What is boba fett doing with an ewok?

Cutest ewok ever, right?

lists and resolutions

Sometimes I feel like my life is just one big list of things I can't find. Currently,

chapstick, always my chapstick
my water bottle lid. Sam was playing with it last I saw it and I don't know where it is now.
sam's favorite [our favorite] ball. he had it two Saturdays ago and now it's missing.

Our apartment is like 600 square feet. I do not know how so many things can be hiding, practically in plain sight.

We finally finished painting the extra space above our baseboards and now hopefully we can get everything back to where it belongs. October felt like we were moving in, everything in piles all over. I took a break from sewing and projects last month, and that was probably good. I finally finished the top of Sam's quilt I've been working on (on and off--mostly off) since MAY. Hopefully that will finish up quickly.

I was always neutral towards daylight savings until now. And not even because I have a baby. (I do finally get what all that complaining is about though). Mostly, I hate it now because it's 5:00 and dark. I don't remember this from year to year, I guess. I do not like it.

I have one more new year's resolution I want to tackle; I still have two months and that's totally enough time to master calligraphy, right? ha. I'm just wanting to order my supplies (they are hard to find locally, I've found) and watch a few videos in the online class I signed up for. And maybe I'll address our Christmas cards or something and call it good.

Any resolutions you're going to try and sneak in? Or completed?

zoo day

We received a free zoo ticket during the summer and it expires today. Of course I saved it until the very last minute and of course I had to use it. I mean, heaven forbid we let a free $12 go to "waste". What is it about us that causes anything free to become something we "earned" and if we don't use it, would be a waste? It isn't!

(see also: two free bowling passes I carried in my wallet for OVER A YEAR before giving up going because, surprise, the day they expired, the lanes were packed)

Anyway, yes, we "earned" the ticket by reading to Sam, an activity we would have done anyway. And yet if we didn't use it, I almost was thinking about all the other prizes I could have picked instead. Hmm, how old am I?

(see also: 3/4 prizes we got for completing a reading level were for us. Sam did get a book out of it, but we got frozen yogurt, two philharmonic tickets and a zoo ticket. I guess Sam did get to eat some of the fruit that I topped my frozen yogurt with.  Then again, we were the ones actually doing the reading...so it only makes sense. we are the best parents ever, guys)

Anyway, I'd thought about going last week and we almost went on Saturday but didn't...so this week left me four days. And I was going! Wednesday was the day. We woke up to a nice 39 degrees and I was wondering what I was thinking. But come on, activity!!

I knew it was going to be a good day when Sam actually woke up from his nap not crying. I don't know what it is, but most days he wakes up sad from his naps. He usually cheers right up when you get him out of his crib, but I miss the days when he'd wake up babbling to himself. Anyway, we bundled up and headed out.

I forget that 50 degrees here is actually quite balmy. The sun was shining and it was actually a really nice fall day. I was really glad we made it to the zoo. I have never been, and it was a way to scope it out for next summer, when Sam will probably like it.

This time around, I couldn't tell if he actually noticed any animals. We saw sea lions doing summersaults, monkeys climbing around, lions that stared right into your soul and baby elephants playing/fighting and I just couldn't tell what Sam was really taking in. He liked all the other babies that were there, though.

I felt like a terrible person because I would point at the animal and try to get Sam to look. I didn't mean to actually be pointing and gawking (not really) at the animals, but sheesh, Sam! Look!

So anyway. An hour and a half was almost enough time to see the whole zoo without reading or lingering too much. A perfect adventure for the afternoon, and I look forward to going back with Sam next year when he actually knows what animals are.

Sometimes he looks so tortured in the stroller. I swear he was really smiling before and after this picture. Also, look at that arm propped up behind his head. he is too cute.



totally pulling it off

 
Sam went to his first birthday party last month. It had a mustache theme and was really fun for the kids and the grownups. He tolerated this for about 3 seconds (see Dave holding his hands down) but we thought it was pretty funny.

the benches take portland, III

My parents and little sister came into town a week and a half ago. It was great to see them again and we always love having them in town! We ate a lot of great food (ice cream, donuts, delicious lunches from new/old favorites), had fun hanging out and my dad was super awesome and helped Dave install our floor (along with Dave's dad and brother). We also celebrated my dad's birthday with my new go-to lemon pie. Man, all we ever do is eat?

Sam loved all the people to play with and I think grandma and grandpa were happy too. :) Based on my lack of blogging last week and the week before...it takes us a while to recover from family in town!



nine

I'm a little late with these pictures this month. I couldn't find his onesie anywhere (downside of wanting to use to same onesie each month!)  and it was stained anyway. You'd think I'd just quit while I was ahead, but no. And at nine months, I think it officially turns into a two person job to get him to lay on his back and smile at you. (And by the time we are done with these pictures we'll have saved up for a camera that may be able to catch a non-blurry photo of him.) Most of the 20 minutes I spent trying to get a decent picture went like this:
 
 toys helped. 
 
 

(see our new floors? more on that later)

nine months! Sam is crawling everywhere and loves to walk around with help. He will spend twenty minutes playing catch/fetch with himself: he'll throw a toy and go get it, growl, and then throw it again. It's so funny. But when he's done, he'll crawl over to you and drop into cobra pose and just whine at you. He can also spend twenty minutes playing with his books while singing/talking to himself. He started clapping too, which is adorable. And since his favorite activity in the entire world is patty-cake, it's appropriate.

We know he is getting older because he is getting more of an attitude. yikes!  These past few weeks we have discovered in a non-scientific but also very scientific study that his sleep sack is the key to sleeping well at night. He may finally be getting to the sleep-all-night part of life which...YAY. AND FINALLY. AND THANK GOODNESS.

If you have food around him and you aren't giving him some or giving him some fast enough, he will growl at you and he means it. He can polish off a banana in 3 minutes or less and has almost perfected his little finger thumb grasp. He thinks water bottles/cups are hilarious and loves to drink out of them, even if he ends up choking 70% of the time.

And that's all I can think of for now. He's just a fun little baby.

happy friday!