24 December 2013

Big 5

Last night as I hugging Daphne before bed I told her, "This is my last night hugging you as a four year old!"

"It's OK, Mom," she said, "Someday Christian will be four and then you'll have another four year old to hug!"

Her thoughtfulness is one of the many things I love about her. 

birthday breakfast



measuring up

She asked weeks ago for a Frosty the Snowman cake where Frosty had a pipe and hat and scarf, so I've been plotting and planning, figuring out the best way to make this happen.  Decorating cakes isn't really my thing.  But we came up with a good plan and I was ready to move forward...until this afternoon when she decided she wanted to decorate her own cake.
licking beaters is good

stunning creation

She also cut and served the cake, waiting to be the last one with cake, as any good hostess would.  Like I said, thoughtful. 

I could say many more things, but really, if you read this blog or know her in real life, you already know.  (And right now I'm basically typing with my eyes closed because of extreme tiredness...)  So, I promise, future Daphne who is reading this blog, I have much I could say now and much I have said before. 

But most importantly, you are definitely the best Christmas present our family has ever gotten. 

23 December 2013

That's A Fun Tradition

Gingerbread houses are so cool.  They are also scary (for me) and I feel like they always collapse.  So a few years ago when I saw the idea to use sugar cones upside down and decorate them as Christmas trees, I knew it was right up our alley.  I think this is our second year doing this and we'll definitely keep it up for probably forever. 

Apparently when we decorate Christmas cookies some of us must wear as many layers as possible.

Another great thing to do the weekend before Christmas is catch some sort of horrible illness, like the plague, or whooping cough, or pneumonia, or maybe just the flu.  I don't know what it's been, but probably one of those things.  Everyone in the family got it except me because I'm so healthy and strong!  Until I wasn't.  Needless to say, it's been a very sad couple of days around here.  

18 December 2013

The Santa that Was

Here's Christian watching Daphne's little school Christmas program yesterday morning:

Here's Christian sneaking up front to hug Daphne at her little school Christmas program yesterday morning:

He is all about being on stage these days, apparently.  One thing I love about Daphne and Christian's relationship is that while she is the brave one with no inhibitions, and while he the more timid one, if he sees her go, he becomes brave and follows in her footsteps.  I love that she clears the path for him and that he trusts her enough to do what she does.  They are a good match. 

Like last night when we visited Santa.  (Yes!  He was there!)  He's pretty fascinated by Santa this year, but I know if he was by himself he never would have gone up to visit him.  But Daphne's not scared.  So he followed her and got his candy cane and now Santa is his hero.

He was not happy to stay and get a picture.  Once you get your candy cane it's not like you need anything more from the guy.

I think it was two Christmases ago that it was on the tip of my tongue to ask Daphne what she wanted for Christmas.  Then I caught myself because she did not know you can ask for gifts, and I figured I wouldn't encourage this train of thought in her.  So I didn't ask, and she has never been one to ask for specific gifts for her birthday or Christmas.  Two years ago Santa asked her what she wanted for Christmas and she asked for a candy cane, because she knew that's what he gives when you visit him.   This year she's super focused on wanting a yo-yo.  I don't know where she came up with that, and I'm afraid if she does get a yo-yo she'll be disappointed that she won't be able to make it go up and down as effortlessly as she seems to think she'll be able.

(Who am I to be doubting her skills??  I don't think that's what mothers are supposed to do.  But I can hardly work a yo-yo, so I guess I just expect that she, too, will struggle.)

(I made the mistake of showing her yo-yo clips on YouTube.  There are freakishly amazing yo-yo people on there...now her expectations for herself are EXTREMELY high.) 

Anyways, she told Santa last night that she wants a yo-yo.  So, appointed yo-yo buyer (Becca), you better be on your game, because this is the first thing she's ever told Santa that she wanted. 

***Update to the doughnut cutter story:  apparently after he went to Kitchen Kaboodle, David went to Macy's to see if they had doughnut cutters.  When he asked the employee about them, she, according to him, "opened her mouth and laughed like a wild hyena" because she thought he was kidding.  Who kids about doughnut cutters, I ask you?

16 December 2013

Let's Talk Doughnuts for a Sec

I went into Kitchen Kaboodle today where I saw a doughnut cutter, and since I've been wanting one for forever I got it.  Yay!  No more cutting out doughnut circles with a table knife!

Later I showed David my purchase, so excited about it and everything, and he told me that HE went to Kitchen Kaboodle to buy a doughnut cutter for me for Christmas, but the employee told him that sorry, she just sold the last one to a lady who had been in recently.  That lady was me!!  Haha!   Poor David to have his excellent gift plan thwarted by me!

Random question:  how do you like to spell 'doughnut?'  The official way (doughnut) or the cheater way (donut)?  I know that's a hard question, so think about it carefully before you answer. 

Last night at church Christian did this:

During the singing he just marched himself up onto the stage and looked out at the crowd, giving us a wave every now and again.  I was laughing so hard I was crying because this is not like him at all.  He's not really one for crowds or being the center of attention.  David went and got him when he started inching toward the piano because I knew he wanted to start playing and that could've been disastrous.

He also stole other people's candles, and he was brave enough to 'sing' in the live nativity.

And David borrowed my sweater.

AND I have a headache because FYI, selling a house can be a wee bit stressful. 

13 December 2013

Apparently Friday the 13th Can Be a Bad Day

Daphne I were sitting on our red sofa this afternoon and she told me she wanted to pray.

"Dear Lord God, " she prayed, "Please let my mommy and my daddy and my brother and me all die at the same time.  And help us to have a good week.  Amen."


Creepiest, funniest prayer she's ever prayed.

The other day she was singing "Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, how beautiful are your branches."  That one line, over and over and over again.

Finally I said, "Hey Daph, it's actually 'how lovely are your branches."

"What Mom?  You think my singing's lovely?  Thanks!"

And on she went to sing that line a few thousand more times.

Obviously Christmas is going pretty well over here.

Today was our home inspection.  David was at work, and the kids and I and our dog had to be out of the house from 9-1.  After a little visit to Starbucks, our saintly neighbor took us in for the rest of the morning, even feeding the kids lunch.  So nice of her to help me bring my blood pressure down a few points because this morning at exactly 8:52 A.M. I ran downstairs real quick to find the laundry room full of water thanks to the floor drain backing up.  Yes, that is exactly what you want to see on inspection day!  While your husband is gone and you're trying to make breakfast and get kids ready to go all while keeping the house immaculate!

After we got home I ran down to my bedroom and stopped in my tracks at this strange table/box/toolkit set up within inches of where my head sleeps each night.  Then I realized it was the radon test.  Really?  There was no other spot in the entire basement to put it?  I'm not kidding when I say inches from my head.   I guess we're about to find out if I have radon poisoning, or whatever it is they call it. 

The plumber came this afternoon and found the drain issue was just a typical clog and he got it out no problem.  By the time David got home tonight I was so worn out I just sat on the couch staring at the wall for a good hour.  Maybe longer, I don't know.

And now I will soon get to go sleep real close to a radon box.  Apparently it clicks every hour as it makes its recordings.  I'm pretty excited about it. 
pretzel making a few nights ago.  not tonight because that would've been insane in the membrane.

12 December 2013

I'm Cold

Yesterday was the first time in my whole life that a weather-related cancellation/delay made me sad.  It was our last BSF meeting before Christmas, I made what felt like 100s of goodie bag (OK, 16) and then...freezing fog?   I've barely ever even heard of that.  Now I have to actually spring for postage to mail Christmas cards to all the BSF folks.  Can't believe it.

Our week has been quite full.  Saturday was the big Christmas concert downtown.  Check out the massive pipe organ:

Amazing, right?  It made the floor shake during Hallelujah Chorus.  Christian did not do well during the concert, in case you were wondering.  As soon as we walked onto to the stage I could hear him plain as day, "Mama! Dat's my mama! Mama come get me?  Mama hold me?  Waaaaaa!!!" So that was fun.

David has kept water poured on the back patio so the kids could have a skating rink. This picture is terrible, but the skating rink made for good toboggan-ing. 

The other night I walked outside and felt like it was kind of warm out, so I checked the temperature and it was 29.  I forgot to look the day they said it was supposed to be the coldest day since 1972, but I do know it's been too cold for me.  I also know that it was sad to notice a dramatic warm-up at 29.

Fun Fact for is you who try to sell your house by owner like us:  you will probably get zillions of calls from realtors who want to sell your house for you.  Because according to some of the not-so-tactful agents, people who do FSBO are dumb.  One guy even told us we definitely needed his help because the holidays are a terrible time to sell a house.  Well, I don't really know what he's talking about, because the week of Thanksgiving and the first week of December were the busiest weeks we've had yet.  Then a couple called last Wednesday morning, came to look at our place Wednesday night, and signed papers to put in an offer at 6AM Thursday morning.  Apparently they really liked the place.

Now, you know how it goes.  Inspection period is here and maybe we'll find out our foundation is crumbling and the house is about to come down...and that's not good.  So although we're packing like maniacs, we're not really celebrating until closing day comes and goes.  If you see us homeless on a street corner mid-January, you'll know it's because everything went well and inside our freezing faces we are really happy.  Except not Daphne because she never wants to leave this house.  She told me she's going to live with the new people and be their family and we can come visit her sometimes.  It will be sad to leave her, but whatever.  We gotta give her what she wants. 

In between packing we try to fit in a Christmas movie or two.  Actually, exactly two:  Elf and Frosty the Snowman.  We are SO BEHIND!  We like to watch the Santa Clause trilogy (the ones with Tim Allen) and we own all the classic cartoons.  I like Family Man.  And Little Women.

We need a pause button on December. 

07 December 2013

More Snow Please!

Apparently David's ability to predict winter weather is spot on.  It's not even officially winter yet (or as Daph has taken to call it, Winter Solstice) and we already got a small bit of snow. 

When Daphne woke up yesterday and I told her to look out the window, well, I wish you could have seen her face.  "My wish for snow came true!" she exclaimed.  She's been checking the calendar every day, asking to count down to when it will snow, and since such thing is impossible to do I'm glad she got a little bit of something to help tide her over. 

She wanted to go play right away but I made her eat breakfast first.  Even Christian was pretty excited to "go outside, play snow?" Probably feeding off of Daphne's excitement.  They ate breakfast standing up so they could keep their eyes on what was going on outside. 

She stayed outside for at least an hour, and as soon as she came back in wanted to go back out.   Poor little Christian does not own proper winter clothing (not even a coat!  What is wrong with me as a mother?) nor does he have gloves, so he got chilly quickly.  He went in and out a few times, based on which neighbors were out to play with us.  

This morning David is off to Salem to run in some kind of race.  They got a lot more snow than we did, but apparently the race people are having a really big bonfire to help prevent frostbite in the runners.  The kids and I are not going to the race.  We would freeze and die.

We spent the rest of the day snug inside with the woodstove going, tree lights on, Christmas music playing, Christmas treats in the oven, and a big tent set up in the living room.  Is there really a better way to enjoy a snow day?

04 December 2013

This Tree Won't Be Winning Any Beauty Awards

Let me tell you about how Christian was a little terror while we decorated our Christmas tree.  David recorded a lot of it with the video camera because his stomping around and crying was so funny.  While Daphne was belting out Christmas tunes and proclaiming how decorating the tree is the most wonderful activity she's ever done, Christian was throwing his basketball and other toys at the tree, stealing ornaments and shaking the tree as hard as he could.

We had to put most of the ball ornaments really high because those are his favorite to try to steal and/or break.   This year our tree is a little top heavy with circular ornaments, and bottom-right heavy with all the ornaments the kids put on because that's where they put all theirs...I would say this is the most interestingly decorated tree we've ever had. 

It will be a good memory, I guess.

I bought two new Christmas books for the kids this year.  I didn't want to give them on Christmas because then it's too late to enjoy them for this season, so I ended up wrapping them and giving them last night.  I think we inadvertently started a new tradition of getting a new book the night we decorate the tree.  Christmas jammies with new books by the tree is a really sweet way to end the evening.

(Daphne got to open Llama Llama Holiday Drama and Christian opened Christmas Angels.) 

02 December 2013

Tree Hunting With No Rain! Yay!

It seems like we're the last people on the entire planet to get our Christmas tree.  We're so late this year with it being December 2nd already.  

Next year we'll have to establish a new location for eating our tree-finding sustenance.  The little doughnut place in Gresham where we've been going will be too far out of the way.

I think our tree farm will be able to stay the same, which is good because the owners remember us each year and we really enjoy going there.

This year Daphne told us all that she was in charge of our tree hunting.  First thing she made us do was a little hand-pile-cheer thing.  Then she told us we were supposed to go our separate ways and each look for trees all by ourselves.  She was really bossy about it all.

Mostly, though, there was a lot of screaming and chasing each other through the trees, leaving me as the only one who was doing what I was supposed to be doing.  Then when I found the perfect tree Daphne was mad because SHE was supposed to find the perfect tree, but really, the trees she was picking out were kind of hideous.  Not that I would ever tell her that.  One of her major disqualifiers was if the tree was wet we couldn't get it, and no amount of explaining that it rained yesterday and so 99.9% of the trees were wet would convince her that actually a wet tree was kind of expected.

We're going to have to squeeze getting our tree up after naps and before David leaves for BSF.  Hopefully that's enough time because we can't do it tomorrow night or Wednesday night and it seems a crying shame to have a tree just waiting for us in the dark and cold garage for so many days.

Happy tree hunting to you all!  Even though I'm sure you already have yours. 

01 December 2013

Sunday is a Fun Day (For Some People)

This sweet little boy sliding into a pile of leaves is the same boy who had an 18-wipe dirty diaper today.  That is a wipe P.R. for our family.  So proud.

Sundays are a bit different around here now that they are work days for David.  I wish there was a manual with direct specifications for when you need to take your toddler out of the Sunday morning church service.  Are car/motorcycle/choo-choo noises too much?  What about a loud "What's dat?" when the offering plate goes by?  Hollering "All done! Go bye-bye?" mid-way through the service?  Loud grunting noises while filling a diaper?

Whatever he does in church, it appears to exhaust him because so far this afternoon he's been napping for 2 hours and 45 minutes.  Almost makes a stressful Sunday morning worth it. 

30 November 2013

Well, That Was...Interesting

The last time we went to the tree lighting downtown was years and years ago, long before kids were in the picture.  So yesterday morning I said to David, "We should go tonight!" and he said "OK!" 

We're still living relatively close to downtown for this one last Christmas, and the kids are big enough to walk by themselves, appreciate the tree, and not fall completely apart if we get home a tad past bedtime.  It seemed like a good year to go.

We took MAX down, which of course was Christian's favorite part.  Except at every stop we made he would pound on the window and yell about how he wanted to move again.  That wasn't at all weird.  Daph sat by herself because she is just too cool for school (and us).

Downtown was crowded and crazy but the kids didn't mind.  We finally found a place to stand and Christian became a little upset about being surrounded by 1000s of legs.  He just wanted to get back on the train.

But he was enthralled by the actual tree lighting.  It really was beautiful, and he didn't take his eyes off of it, no matter where we walked and how he had to twist his neck.

Afterward is when things got a little tricky.  We stopped into Ben and Jerry's for a little snack, and if you've ever been into that downtown one you know it's matchbox tiny.  Then fill it with tree-lighting crowds and figure if there's some sort of emergency everyone's just going to be stuck in there, unable to move.  The kids were being loopy, dancing in line even though we were trying to keep them calm.  Daphne finally took a big tumble backwards and hit the back of her head on the wall.  She fussed a bit and then all was fine.  Except for a few minutes later when we noticed a streak of red on her nose.  (Did she get a nose bleed from hitting the back of her head?  Weird.)  And then Christian's hands were covered in red.  And then the floor.  And the wall.  And what?  Then we noticed the back of Daphne's blonde hair getting redder by the second.  Apparently she'd cut her head pretty badly and now the tiny Ben and Jerry's full of people was starting to look like a crime scene.  It was gross and, I'll admit, embarrassing. 

Fortunately most people there were in good spirits from such a fun event. (I'm sure it would be different if we were trying to buy half price socks at 5AM or something. I have a feeling that crowd wouldn't have been quite as accommodating.)  Now I'm not quite sure what to do about her poor head.  Blonde hair shows blood really well, but cleaning it out has proved difficult.  Maybe she'll just wear a hat for a few days.

So, I think last night was fun?  I don't if I want to do it again anytime soon, at least not with little kids.  Maybe next year we'll just watch it on TV.  I'm sure there would be less chance of blood.

**I just checked her head this morning...her wound is like 3 inches long!!  Poor little thing.  No wonder there was so much blood.  

29 November 2013


Poor David had to work yesterday.  The kids and I were going to trek down to Albany for the day, but then we decided to stay home and cook a full Thanksgiving meal here, hoping David would be able to come home for dinner and be able to pretend a little like it was a holiday.  Sadly for him, work was so busy all day that he only got to run home and jump out of the car long enough for us to throw to-go plates in his trunk as he sped off again.

But, my parents came up to keep us company at home, our fridge is stuffed with leftovers, and I woke up so early this morning that I could be out shopping since my parents are still here and could act as babysitters...but it's warm here on the sofa and cold outside.  It's been a good holiday.

I think I really like staying home for holidays.  I like it so much I just imagine that's what everyone likes the best.  Hosting is a lot of work, but since I get to stay home I don't mind it at all.  Is that how everyone feels?  That it's the most fun to have the holidays at their own house?  So does that mean if we all just did what we wanted no one would ever leave their houses and hang out with other people?  Or do some people prefer to leave their house and let someone else host?  Such a big loaded question for this Black Friday. 
an Indian girl and a regular boy; why didn't I make him a pilgrim hat?

football with papa

Over David's weekend we got all the Christmas stuff out so that today we can start decorating.  I admit it, I don't like seeing Christmas stuff before Thanksgiving.  Does that make me Grinchy?  David did turn the lights on on the playhouse before Thanksgiving, but I think that was OK because it's in the backyard and no one could really see.  Not even me if I didn't look out the back windows.  Last night Daphne went to sleep with her blinds open so that she could stare at the lights until she fell asleep because she has a perfect view of them from her bumble bed.  I have a feeling that is how every night of December will be. 

We had two people look at our house this week and one more is scheduled.  I didn't realize this time of year would be so busy with house hunters.  I figured things might slow down.  Our house was too big for those first two couples (too big...so funny), but we aren't too worried yet.  Selling in January or February would be nice.  Packing and cleaning during Christmas, not so much. 

21 November 2013

Things That Have Been Going on Recently

I did a terrible thing. 

I found a show on Netflix (Emily Owens MD) and watched it even though I knew it had been canceled after only one season.  I fell in LOVE with this show (seriously, funny and cute) and figured I had at least 20-22 episodes to take in before I had to experience the cliff hanger ending I knew would never resolve.  Then the worst happened: it ended at episode 13, way before I was mentally prepared for it, and now I have to live the rest of my life not knowing what was supposed to happen next!!!  Is there anything worse than being in this type of predicament??  (Don't answer that.)

random photo from a pumpkin patch last month

Need a super fun and festive Christmas event to attend?  Here ya go! 

My weekly choir practices this fall have really piqued Daphne's curiosity.  She had no idea what a choir was, so I found a YouTube link to the King's College Choir for her to watch and consequently she spent 30 minutes in rapt attention to their performance.  Now she wants to be in a choir for children.  She's pretty excited about attending this concert on Dec 7th; hopefully Christian is planning on being excited about it, too.  7-9 P.M. are definitely his prime hours as far as good behavior goes. 

Speaking of Christian, he said the funniest thing last week.  I told him it was time to go to BSF and he said "I sick.  I stay home."  How did a barely two-year-old come up with that?

This morning it was 26 degrees when David and I got up at 5:30.  Here's what David had to say about that, "Since it's this cold this early in the year, I think we're going to have lots of snow this winter.  I think the Farmer's Almanac is right."

So there you go.  Lots of snow coming our way.  

11 November 2013

Slices of Life, Vol XI

Brought to you by the one and only Daphne Faith:

"I need a little tractor for me with a trailer so I can pull bananas and stuff."

"Did you cut up my paper that I painted?  I didn't want you to do that!  I will miss it!"

"Will your hair turn white when you get old?"
Me:  "I don't know, probably."
"But I like your hair the way it is!!"
 (And then she started crying.)

She saw a 'no smoking' sign at the MAX stop and asked what it meant. 
I tried to explain, "Have you ever seen someone with little things like sticks in their mouths with smoke coming out?"
She answered, "I've only seen Daddy do that."  

We were in the car, Daphne's favorite place for some non-stop chatter.
Me: "Hey Daph, how about you stop talking for awhile?"
Her:  "But I want to talk!  Can I talk?"
Me:  "OK, but I'm done answering for a little while so you'll have to just talk to yourself."
Without missing a beat she turned to Christian,
"Christian, what do you want to do tonight?  Do you want to go to sleep and then wake up and we can change minds?"

"I want to be a grandma when I grow up."

"If I could have a little vacuum I could clean up the whole city."

First time going to work (court) with Daddy; she said it was pretty boring:

Working hard on something:

01 November 2013

Treats and More

A few months ago Daphne told me she wanted to dress up as Iron Man for trick-or-treat.

I said, "what about Iron Girl?  We could put a little skirt on your outfit and you could be Iron Girl!"

Apparently that was the lamest idea ever.  "Iron Man is not a girl," she said, "And I'm going to be Iron Man."

I asked what she thought Christian should be and she didn't even hesitate: "He can be Baby Thor."

Thus our costume ideas were born.  I sat her down on Pinterest to look at some DIY Iron Man costumes, because I think it's so fun to get creative and try to make what we're wearing.  Buying them is so boring (and also really easy, which is definitely a strong point to consider).  But none of the homemade costumes had anything on what Iron Man is supposed to look like, so I opened the purse strings and bought her an outfit.  Fortunately it was on sale and I had another discount to add, so yay for still getting to be cheap.

Christian's outfit was super easy.  I went to Salvation Army on half price day (at 9PM on the 30th...because why not wait until the last possible second?) and got a red shirt to cut into a cape and a grey shirt to cut circles for his chest.  It cost $2.  I made his hammer out of toilet paper rolls and duct tape.  I didn't spend time making a helmet thing because I knew he wouldn't keep it on and I'm all about not being a time-waster (haha, yeah right).
some character from Narnia and two superheroes

I don't know how your neighborhoods are for Halloween, but ours is really nice with lots of little kids and their parents walking around having fun and lots of neighbors with lights on.  The first house we went to Christian walked himself right into their living room, because typically when you visit someone you go into their house.  Fortunately we have nice neighbors who just gently coaxed him back out to the porch.  It didn't take him long to understand if you stay on the porch and hold up your bucket you get a treat.  SO FUN.

We were only out for maybe half an hour, because we're not really in it for tons of candy and the little kids get tired easily.  We also had pizza at our house and gave out fruit snacks to people to came to our door.  (Daphne would say, "Here!  You can have two!").  I just love the warmth and friendliness that comes out on this night.  The sense of community is heart-warming.

For reals, though, satan's got no hold on this holiday in our house.  In fact, neighbors opening their doors and loving each other?  Kinda reeks of Jesus, if you ask me.  

(I'm a little curious to read the book Redeeming Halloween, which shares the research of church historian Phillip Schaff on the roots of All Saints Day and All Hallow's Eve.  Has anyone read it?)

(Also, I loved this blog post and skimming through people's thoughts in the comments.)

(And just in case you're worried about our heathen status for going trick-or-treating on Halloween, we also get a tree at Christmas and do eggs at Easter.  So yeah, we like to bring out the pagan in all the holidays, because we're cool like that.  Haha.  Although according to that book, the trick-or-treating tradition comes from All Saints Day, not just Samhain?  So apparently we only like to be pagans at Christmas and Easter?  Excellent.)

(OK, one more random side-note:  I've been thinking the last day or two about the giving aspect of trick-or-treat over the receiving aspect.  Like, make it more of us opening our doors and giving out to our community as opposed to going out and being the ones who take?   What's the best way for our family to share Jesus on Halloween?  I know hiding and pretending it doesn't exist isn't our personal family calling...but I don't know.  I don't want my kids getting selfish about wanting candy.  Hmm; food for my thoughts.  Or candy for my thoughts.  Whatever.)