Old Year, New Year.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

On the last day of the year, we set off to explore nature in our neighborhood.  Big Sister filled her backpack with a magnifying glass, binoculars, and guides to local birds and plants.

Little Brother put on his Batman getup.

I'd been waiting for ages to break out this fun nature scavenger hunt game I purchased from blynkenandnod on Etsy.  I'm not sure if she's selling these anymore, but you could easily make something similar.  It's a set of cards with objects that can often be found on a playground, in a park, or on a neighborhood nature walk.  The cards look like this:

Photo courtesy of blynkenandnod.

I gave each kid a set of cards with items for them to find.  In no time, Little Brother (with a bit of help from his sister) had found several items.  Pinecone, dry leaf, bark -- check!

We walked to the creek, as the sun started going down.  Big Sister found many of the items on her list there.  Beautiful weed, jagged edge leaf -- check!

We soon found ourselves hiking in the dark.  A night hike is quite an exciting way to greet the new year!

Sticks, snails -- check!

When finished off the evening with sparklers at our neighbors' house.  Do you remember your first experience with sparklers?  Such an amazing thing for a kid.

As we welcomed 2012, we each took stock of the past year with a Year in Review questionnaire from Three Little Monkeys Studio

favorite food:  macaroni and cheese
favorite activity:  cuddling with Silky
greatest lesson learned in 2011:  how to read
hardest thing of 2011:  how to write with my hand
best thing of 2011:  I got a new Silky.
thing to practice more in 2012:  being an acrobat
looking forward to in 2012:  doing things fun

favorite food:  guacamole
favorite activity:  hot fire gun and battling bad guys
greatest lesson learned in 2011:  battling bad guys
hardest thing of 2011:  battling bad guys
best thing of 2011:  I like to battle bad guys.
thing to practice more in 2012:  battling bad guys
looking forward to in 2012:  battling bad guys

favorite food:  pizza
favorite activity:  traveling with family
favorite book:  O'Connor's Causes of Action
greatest lesson learned in 2011:  Keep it simple.
hardest thing of 2011:  time management
best thing of 2011:  Christmas
thing to practice more in 2012:  time management
looking forward to in 2012:  watching personalities of kids develop

favorite food:  enchiladas (with margaritas!)
favorite activity:  sewing after a fun day with family and couch-time talking and laughing with Mr. Great
favorite book:  my Google reader full of awesome blogs
greatest lesson learned in 2011:  Taking care of myself is part of taking care of my family.
hardest thing of 2011:  making time for everything I want and need to do
best thing of 2011:  watching kids grow and develop
thing to practice more in 2012:  stress management, making peace with chaos and noise
looking forward to in 2012:  family adventures

Hope your 2012 is off to a great start!

Catching up.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Where have I been?  What have I been doing?  I feel like each day is packed full, yet I've done very little sewing or crafting.  I haven't been reading or exercising or cooking fabulous meals.  I guess I've been putting all of my energy into playing Batman and Robin, snuggling sick kiddos, helping Big Sister practice her handwriting, figuring out how Daisy Scouts earn petals/badges, reading aloud from The Doll People series (we're on the third book now; they're totally fun!), and dreaming up fun family adventures for 2012.  I can't complain.

We did do some crafting back in December.  We worked on a paper button garland, courtesy of a great kit from Paper Source.  We now have a local Paper Source store, which makes Big Sister and me very happy.  Maybe we'll tackle one of the Valentine garland kits next.

We also worked on felt trees, courtesy of a kit from our Christmas elves, Sparkle and Nicky.

We had some photos taken with the new cousin.


Photos courtesy of Beverly Barrett Photography.

Then, of course, there was Christmas.  

Christmas was so crazy that I only managed a few photos, and they're not exactly winning shots.  We put out food for Santa's reindeer on Christmas Eve, as suggested by Sparkle and Nicky.

It worked!  Santa came!

Big Sister and I surprised Mr. Great with a fun gift.  I found the idea for reindeer beer on Pinterest (oh how I love that site!).  How can you not smile at reindeer beer?

We had a parade with the new drum and cymbals that Santa brought.

And we celebrated a birthday.  Little brother turned three!

Yes, he only has one candle and it's in a Clementine.  We thought, foolishly, that Little Brother would enjoy separating his birthday celebration from the Christmas celebration.  He asked me every day for a week why we didn't have cake.  Next year, and every year after, we will eat cake on Christmas.  Maybe we should start a new tradition -- birthday cake for breakfast!

My Babies.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

They're getting so big.  They're very busy.  Life is loud and chaotic.  We try to savor each moment, but they pass so quickly.  

Big Sister is textbook Type A, first-born child.  She's focused and intense, stubborn, passionate.  She knows what she wants, and she won't stop until she gets it.  She has vision and vivid imagination, and she expects the world to conform.  She's creative and inventive.  When she does something, she wants to do it very well.  If she doesn't immediately excel, she's not sure she wants to do it at all.  She's reserved, but also very expressive.  She's sensitive.  She's playful and silly.  Those of you who know me well will probably think I'm writing about myself.  I see a lot of myself in Big Sister's personality.  I see a lot of Mr. Great in her face.

We're all still getting to know Little Brother's personality, which emerges more and more each day. We've known from the beginning that he'd be funny, and he is.  Maybe even a bit of a prankster.  He's cheerful and animated.  Unquestionably good-natured.  I often feel like I'm watching a cartoon when I'm with him.  His grandma lovingly refers to him a wind-up doll.   I'm not sure I've ever referred to anyone but Santa Claus or an elf as merry or jolly, but I think Little Brother is both merry and jolly.  But he's also determined and has a bit of a temper that flares up when things don't go his way.  Even then, he recovers quickly and is usually back to smiling within minutes.  He's full of sound effects and loves to save the world.

We're looking forward to watching these two develop in 2012, both as individuals and in their relationships with each other.  They teach each other a lot, and Mr. Great and I learn from them every day.

My resolutions for 2012 are simple.  Enjoy my family.  Laugh.  Smile.  Be silly.  Play.

Photos courtesy of Shutterfly Kisses Photography.  Please do not use any of photos from this blog for any purpose without my permission.  My children are my greatest creations of all, and my most treasured, and I don't want anything creepy to happen to them.