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: