Christmas craftiness

I went a little nuts making ornaments this year. I blame Pinterest, taunting me with all its “easy” tutorials and perfectly composed photographs.

We have boxes full of ornaments for the tree, so it’s not like we need more shiny, dangly things, but I just couldn’t resist. I bought far too many crafting supplies, got hooked on scrapbook paper (so. much. cute), and only burned myself with the glue gun once.

The results speak for themselves:

This year’s binge also gave me ideas for gifts for next year, and gave Ellie and I something fun and creative to do together; definitely worth the money and time spent.

Gallery

Christmas!

What a perfect day. Quiet time with family, the excitement of opening gifts, fun playing with new toys, yummy cookies and food — we really couldn’t ask for more.

Gallery

Santa’s Village

It’s been three years since our first trip to Santa’s Village in the mountainous winter wonderland that is upstate New Hampshire, and when Ellie asked to go for her birthday this year, the timing was right. The theme park caters to the younger set, and both kids are in the target age range, so we headed for the hills.

 

The first time, Gwen was just shy of four months old, and spent most of the trip sleeping in her stroller. Ellie was the hyperactive-yet-still-cautious three-year-old, who didn’t quite get what was going on, but still had fun running around in a sugar-fueled, Christmas-themed nirvana. Also, what I remember of the trip to and from the park (about 3-5 hours from our old house) was that it was mis-er-a-ble, with multiple stops for diaper changes, feedings, lots of screaming, and restless whining (and that was just the kids.)

I notice I didn’t write about that part in my first entry…

This time the roles were different. Gwen was more tentative and too impatient to wait in lines, so one of us wandered with her, while the other joined Ellie for rides and activities. The trip was longer (7 hours, including potty breaks) but much less frantic thanks to the joy of iPads and Kindles and the increased attention span that comes with age. There was a fair amount of frustrated juggling, nagging, whining, and overstimulation on all our parts, but hey, that’s inevitable.

It snowed the night we arrived, which left a picture-perfect dusting of clean white on everything the next morning. It made winter look charming and beautiful, rather than something to be shoveled through and griped about, and that’s saying something, considering our winter started a month early this year.

We stayed at a little motel that’s directly across from the park, and that made for a good experience; not fancy, but the owners were sweet and the place itself was kid-friendly and clean. We also found an adorable old-country-diner-style restaurant that serves breakfast all day; seriously good eats that all of us enjoyed, even the five-year-old aka Miss Picky.

And the park itself was just as fun as we remembered. Ellie especially enjoyed meeting Santa (“He knew it was my birthday, Mama!”) and getting her birthday present of choice from the gift shop (a Frozen-themed friendship jewelry set and tin).

Gwen, well…Gwen just enjoyed the change of scenery. This is the same child who walked into a rest area restroom we stopped at on the way and exclaimed, “Wow, dis is amazing!” She was equally excited about the many different gas stations we encountered, the motel room, and the cheapo toy in her McDonald’s Happy Meal. Three year olds!

As for us, I think we both enjoyed the knowledge that

Digging my way out from under the snow…

…to write something for once!

Halloween was a bit of a non-event this year; I decided not to pretend to be Mother of the Year (who am I fooling, anyway?) and bought costumes for the kids rather than trying to home-ec it. Ellie wanted to be a ballerina, making it easy on us, since we knew she’d be starting ballet lessons and needed the gear. Gwen wanted to be a witch, so I went to Target and found a costume that was cute, relatively inexpensive, and should last through many dress-up play sessions long after the Halloween candy is gone.

The actual trick-or-treating was even more low-key; we hit up a grand total of six houses before the kids lost interest, then went to an old friend’s Halloween party, which proved more fun (for both adults and kids) than wandering the streets in pursuit of buckets of sugar. Halloween: Accomplished.

Ellie started ballet lessons last month, and so begins the phase of parenthood where we shuffle kids to and fro for various activities. She was pretty discouraged after her first lesson — she takes after her mama and doesn’t like to do anything she’s not perfect at — but after her second lesson seemed to settle in, plus she has a bunch of friends from school in the class. I don’t know how we’re going to keep up with her social life.

We rung in the first of November with a massive winter storm that knocked out the power and dumped 21 inches of heavy, wet snow on the ground. It’s not unusual for us to have snow before Halloween, but two feet is a local record. I haven’t recovered from last winter yet, so having fall cut short is not my idea of a good time. At least the kids were thrilled.

I’ve kept myself busy with writing…but not the book. I considered doing NaNoWriMo this month, but given everything else that’s going on decided against it. I don’t need another book right now. I need to finish the series I started, and stop getting distracted by vignettes and short stories. Although now I have this idea in my head for a Walking Dead/X-Files crossover fic…

Speaking of zombies, I’ve been walking more lately, thanks to the treadmill, The Walking Dead on Netflix, and Fitbit’s new Weekly Challenges feature. One of my coworkers started a work-week challenge, so I’m keeping a closer eye on my step count. Also, I’m a teensy bit competitive. And now I really want to set up the treadmill with a desk or shelf of some kind so I can walk while I work.

We’ve been mostly sitter-less for the last couple weeks, so my patience has been worn to a fine thread. I love my children, I really do, but I think a date night is in order very soon.