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Sunday, December 16, 2012


I wrote about the fun we had while decorating our house for Christmas. Like I knew it would be, having two precious tinies to help make the house pretty was an amazing amount of fun. Seeing eyes light up just like the lights has pretty much changed my life.

Well, it took a couple of days to get the tree finished. Jason and I worked on it that first night, stringing the lights and putting all the "important" and breakable ornaments as far up on the tree as we could. We left down the kids' personal ornaments and a few that are shatter-proof or not sentimental. A few days later, they got to place their own special ornaments on the tree.

Katie placing her ornament from last year, a dancing giraffe.

This time last year, Katie had just started walking. Somehow, even though my baby was only a year old, I knew that a dancing giraffe was going to fit her personality perfectly. Yes, yes it does. 

Katie's ornament from 2010, her first Christmas, is a fairy. This one is special because Daddy was deployed for Christmas, but made a small pit-stop in Japan, and this ornament came from there.

Then of course, there's this special one. I've declared that many years from now when the babies move away from the House of Frederick, they can take their ornaments with them.. except these two. These two will never, ever leave my tree.

There was much, much more ornament placing merriment. Katie would point and say "Mommy! This one! Put it on this one!" 

And we were really just proud that Geebs didn't try to eat any. He played with the soft ones!

So for the millionth time, I will say how much more enjoyable Christmas is with these two. I could never have imagined that I would enjoy Christmas now more than I did when I was a kid.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Toddler's Understanding of Christmas

I always sort of thought that Christmas with babies would be so much more fun than Christmas in college, or Christmas as a newlywed. It just had to be, right? 


Decorating is especially more fun with a 2 year old. She's just so full of wonder! It isn't just like she's seeing a Christmas tree or a Nativity scene for the first time, she literally is seeing these things for the first time. At least in her mind she is since she can't remember any Christmas before now. She sees lights on a house and yells "Oooh, look! Lights! Lights on our house!", or "A tissmas tree! Mehhy Tissmas!", or "Orhhmants! Pretty!" 

Good gracious, they're cute.

The best part of this first Christmas that Katie actually understands isn't her pointing out lights, or her absolute wonder at our tree.  Nope, the best part has been explaining Baby Jesus to my two year old.  

We started with this book:

"A Star for Jesus", by Crystal Bowman. It's been a really big hit, in case you are looking for a toddler-friendly Christian Christmas book. It tells the story of the Christmas Star, the Wisemen, and the manger scene really simply.  The next one we got, "Jesus, Me, and My Christmas Tree" by the same author, explains what the ornaments on our trees mean, and how they help us to remember Baby Jesus.

We have a few more by the same author. "J is for Jesus" tells the story of the candy cane, for instance.

Katie is starting to understand. She knows that Jesus was a baby, and he was very, very special. So special, in fact, that she has now told me that Baby Jesus is her best friend. And last week while I was sewing baby blankets, she asked if I was making one for Baby Jesus. Also, Baby Jesus loves the sheep, because the sheep sleep beside Him. I suppose she thinks that if someone sleeps beside you, you must love them. Good assumption, kid..

There are bits she doesn't quite get yet. For instance, she doesn't understand why we can't see Baby Jesus in the mall just like we see Santa. (It's possible that she had a breakdown while leaving the mall a few days ago for that very reason...) The good news is, she understands that Baby Jesus is just as important as Santa, and in a two year old mind, that's progress. 

Frankly, it's much easier to get a two year old to understand about a fictional man who supposedly comes down the chimney to bring presents than to explain why a baby who was born 2,000 years ago is the reason for this entire holiday. 

Personally, I'm looking forward to teaching her for the rest of my life.

Three quarters of a year!

It's hard to believe that my little GusGus has been out in this world longer than he baked in my belly. The past nine months have been tough, I'm not going to lie.. But this little dude just makes everything better with that huge grin of his. People comment all the time that he's the "smiliest" baby they've ever seen. He's also the busiest baby ever, even according to his pediatrician.

So here are some things that make Garrett my little Geeby. He's so wonderfully himself, with his funny little personality.

He puts up with shopping trips.

He tries new foods all the time, and eagerly!

And usually, he likes them!

He wears hats without complaining.

And sometimes he leaves them on.

He likes the presents I make for him.

He gives the best cuddles.

And the best kisses. Lots of them!

He lets me dress him up in funny outfits.

He's really inquisitive.

Really, really inquisitive.

He's also artsy!

And an actor.

He's a trooper when Mommy wants a million pictures.

He's a really fun little dude.

Who really loves his big sister!

And his Daddy.

And most importantly, his Mommy.

(Who obviously loves him a ton, because she posted this picture of herself.. Yikes.)

This little dude has changed our lives so much. We couldn't be more grateful for the past 9 months of crazy! 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Elf Antics

Every morning, Katie wakes up and yells "Mommy! Where's Twinkle?? Whas he doin?" and we go running through the house until we come across that silly little elf.  So here are some pictures of what Twinkle has been up to in the Frederick house.

On Katie's first day back to school after the Thanksgiving Holiday, Twinkle left her a note that he wrote with her crayons.

"Mommy! What's up there? It's TWINKLE!!"

That next night was a really busy one for Twinkle. After he flew to see Santa, he had to come back here and get to work on his new project. It's a felt Christmas tree that the kids can hang on the wall to decorate.. and undecorate.. and decorate.. That elf is a crafy little dude!

The next morning, Twinkle was hanging out in the bathroom with some cookies. He wants to bake, apparently

The next morning, we woke up to find that, evidently, Twinkle wanted to have an Art Party.  He brought a wood snowman mask for Katie to paint, a waterpaint picture for Garrett to play with, and lots of other art supplies. These babies had a blast!

Twinkle hasn't brought presents every morning. Some mornings he isn't doing anything special at all.. he's just hanging out by Katie's Christmas tree, or sitting on a picture frame. We've been having so much fun with Twinkle, and I can't wait to share more!

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Elf on the Shelf

Man, you just can't go anywhere without hearing about this darn elf these days. All we hear about is who among our friends is doing an elf, what they're doing with him, what mischeif the elf is getting into, what presents he brought.. Etc, etc, etc, blah, blah, blickety blah.
Oh wait. That isn't my gig at all. Sorry friends, I am a self-proclaimed Elf on the Shelf lover. Our Elf is named Twinkle, and this is how we met him.
First, Mimi read to Katie a story about the Elf on the Shelf, and how he came to be. In the story, Katie learned that her Elf will watch over her all day, then fly back and report to Santa every night whether she was a good girl or not. She also learned that she must never touch him.
Katie is a very studious little girl, so she took her time reading all about the Elf. When she went to bed that night, she asked if an Elf could come stay with her for a little while. I told her it was up to Santa, but maybe it would happen since she's pretty much been a good girl all year long.
Sure enough, we all woke up to a very special North Pole 2012 breakfast, brought by Twinkle himself! He brought letters for both the kids, as well as a pair of Christmas jammies for both. Christmas jammies are a pretty big deal around here, so it was awesome that Twinkle got them early!

So once Twinkle got everything arranged, and gave me the dish on what he wanted the kids to have for breakfast, he took to his little perch and prepared to watch.

The kids were going to indulge in some North Pole donuts (powdered donuts) and some North Pole glacier hot cocoa. Those are actually snowmen floating around in that hot chocolate, but don't tell Katie!

So Katie and Garrett came in and found the table at Mimi's house all decorated with Christmas things! There were jammies, and hats, and snowflakes, and presents!

And then, she looked up! And there he was, her very own elf!

Geeby wasn't quite as impressed, but that's cool. Twinkle brought him presents, anyway.

Twinkle also brought a note to both Katie and Garrett, to let them know what was going on, just in case they forgot.

So then it was time for powdered donuts and hot chocolate! Oh wait. Nope. Katie didn't like either, so she had cheese, crackers, and milk instead.

Seriously? What kid doesn't want powdered donuts and hot chocolate??

Poor Geeby just sat there like "Oatmeal?! She gets sugary sweetness and I get oatmeal?! I'd rather eat my fist!"

It was a really fun breakfast. Katie was so excited about Twinkle that she ran back into the kitchen every few minutes just to look at him. She kept saying "Twinkle and his hossey!" You know, because he was riding a snowflake like a horse.. Ha! I feel like making those kinds of connections has to be further proof that she's a genius, but maybe not.

Tune in tomorrow for some pictures of what Twinkle has been up to this week!