Christmas Eve

As I mentioned in the previous post, we have tons of pictures from our holiday. I've been taking my time going through them and have finally weeded out a few to show. This post will cover Christmas Eve Eve (or Tuesday, as some would call it) and Christmas Eve. We also had a gigantic snowstorm roll through at the beginning of the week, and thought it might be nice to document that as well.
The morning of the snowstorm Nora and I headed over to a Maine favorite- Reny's department store- and found this lovely snowsuit. We had been planning on buying one for quite a long time when this one presented itself to us; and really, what better time to buy one then in the midst of a nor'easter?
Nora and I bedded down inside our cozy apartment (Shane, being the fearless guy he was, had ventured south to do some Christmas errands). We played, napped, and watched Christmas movies. Snoopy (aka Charlie Brown Christmas) is Nora's favorite.
We also enjoyed our tree; it's still up at our apartment and within a day or two it will come down. We've had it up for long enough now that I don't feel so bad about throwing it out. Of course, the extra space it will free up isn't a bad thing, either.
The piglet ornament is from my house. When we were little we had the whole set of Winnie the Pooh ornaments, made from soft felt and perfect for small hands to discover on low branches of the tree. I think my Mom has divided them up, seeing as I only have one, but it was nice for Nora to be able to play with it this season.
This Oscar the Grouch ornament is a favorite of Shane's. He made it this year. Isn't he talented? (Just kidding. It was at least a couple of years ago that he constructed that ornament.)
Before heading to my parent's house for Christmas Eve, Nora did a little finger painting. I tried making homemade paint, and though it came out okay, it was very light and when it dried it cracked all over the place. Luckily, Santa brought Nora some new (real) finger paints.
Once we were at my parent's house, we had to take part in some outdoor play, what with all the new fallen snow. Shane had to jump off the porch, of course.

Nanny had bought new shovels for Nora and Kalen to 'play' with. Training them early, right Grampy?
Shane also had a new toy to play with- his new cross-country skis that he had bought with his Christmas money from his Mom. He spent a good portion of the afternoon skiing around and around my parent's field.
Finally, finally it was Christmas Eve! I scooted outside to catch this picture of the sunset:
before our big dinner of...
Christmas Eve sushi! A new tradition as of last year in our family, although if we're going to do it next year we're going to have to rethink how we order. We had a massively expensive amount of sushi. So much, in fact, that it was the only thing Shane ate for the next 36 hours.
I'm serious.
Ah, seaweed salad, how I love you.
I really wasn't kidding when I said we had a lot. This was one of three platters that we bought, along with seaweed salad, edamame and agedashi tofu for Hayley. For nine people. Yum. But yes, overkill.
After dinner it was time to open the traditional one present. This year the kids opened a present from Tara of...
Matching pajamas! Kalen and Wylie's actually match; Nora's are just super cute and the same style.
Of course, before we finished the night out Nora and Kalen had to do a little karate for Grampy.
Before bed the kids had one more important job to do- write to Santa! They spent a good amount of time writing important things to the big guy. Hopefully they got what they wanted- you'll find out in the next post!


A large Christmas post is on the way, but I'm taking my time going through the three hundred or so pictures we've taken over the last few days. Thankfully, I have Shane at home this week while he's on vacation, so I should be able to get quite a bit of work done. I'm also in the middle of designing my own web site, so I'll be sure to post the new link when I finally get it finished. For now, a picture for your enjoyment. Nora, my super smart little girl, loves to play hide and seek with me. Can anyone see where she's hiding?


A Special Treat

Christmas came a bit early for little Nora this past week when a giant package arrived from her grandma and grandpa in Ohio. If you know me, then you know I am completely against opening any gifts before Christmas, but the box was too big to fit under the tree, so I opened it to unpack the presents I knew were in it. Also inside, waiting for Nora, was an awesome caterpillar rocking toy.Nora was very excited. We don't have a lot of toys here at the apartment (no room!) so it was nice for something new to show up. I'm sure she'll have plenty to play with after Christmas, but this was a nice little treat. Now, every morning after we get up she heads into the living room for a little ride on her caterpillar. She's even gone so far as to offer her pacifier to it. (I swear I didn't tell her to do that, I promise!) I think they're going to be great friends.
Of course, the real star of the show was the packing material. Nora spent a significant amount of time sifting through the box and bringing me 'soup' (packing peanuts) in an empty yogurt cup.
Also included in our holiday package (I promise I didn't unwrap it- it came this way) was a cute Christmas dress. Nora thought the dress was okay. (I think it's adorable, for what it's worth!) What she really, really loved was the pair of underwear that came with it. Just this morning she was wandering around the apartment repeating some word and getting more and more frustrated as I didn't understand her. Finally, I figured out she was saying 'underwear' and we had to go on a search for these so she could wear them. (Over her clothes, of course. Isn't that how we all wear our underwear?)
LinkThank you so much for the big box of gifts, Grandma and Grandpa! We miss you!
On another note, Nora and I are now completely gluten-free. We've been going back and forth, and I won't give you all the gross details, but Nora's digestive system has never really seemed right. So finally, after trying out a few different diets and getting some blood work done (a terrifying process for me, not to mention how scary it was for Nora) we have decided to go the gluten-free route. Celiac disease runs in my family, so there is a pretty good chance that Nora could have it, although it is hard to diagnose when she is so young. For now, we'll just eat gluten-free, which really isn't too hard if you've had experience with it and already seems to have affected (effected? Someone tell me.) her digestive system.
Today I decided to try out a gluten-free bread mix that I picked up at the grocery store. I was very impressed with the results. For those of you who don't know, gluten-free bread does not usually look like this. It tastes great, too, which is really the most important thing.
Aren't those lovely bananas in the background? If I could just get myself in gear, I would make a (gluten-free) loaf of banana bread with them. Or let them rot on the counter. One or the other.
The inside of the loaf actually looks like 'regular' bread. This was very exciting for me. For Nora, too, in fact in this next picture she's grinning with joy over the texture of the loaf on the counter. I tell you, it doesn't take much to entertain this girl. Happy holidays, everyone!


Our Holiday Weekend- Part Deux

After our recent journey to the North Pole we took another trip, this time to the local tree farm. Shane and I had already put up our tree, but Mom, Dad and Hayley and Tara, Josh, Kalen and Wylie had yet to get theirs. We joined them, mostly because we hate missing the experience of the warm cider, donuts and sleigh rides with the family. The kids still weren't feeling great, but were troopers and hung on the whole time without too many breakdowns.
Shane found this wonderful specimen of a tree. It had a perfect cut-out for him to stick his head in; maybe we should have gone with that one.
You can't tell from this photo, but poor Wylie had a stomach virus and was occasionally throwing up. Like I said- troopers.
We found a stump of a tree that someone had carved into a rabbit head. It provided minutes of delightful entertainment.
As you can see, my husband is being his usual mature self by engaging in a duel with my mother and using her crutches, of course. Right.
Ah, and here is one of my favorites- Hayley and her boyfriend Evan. They've been dating for a few months. I thought it would be nice if they posed for a portrait with Wylie. Wouldn't that be a fun photo to send home to Evan's parents? Hehehe.
Nora spent a lot of time with Nanny that day. Wait, what am I talking about? Nora always spends a lot of time with Nanny. We're pretty sure she likes Nanny better than both her parents. Combined.
This might have been the highlight of the day for Nora. She is a huge fan of horses and as soon as she saw the two that pulled the wagon she was mesmerized.
Finally, a nice picture of the women of the (immediate) family along with the kids. More pictures to follow soon- we have internet now! Of course, we haven't actually tried it out yet because we've been away from home since Thursday and haven't bought the router yet, but it will certainly lead to more posting. I'm sure...


It's the holiday season...

Well folks, once again it's our favorite time of year. Nora and I are spending our days making lists, decorating our apartment and listening to Christmas music. I have a significant amount of work to do in order to be ready for the big day, but it's all the fun kind of work leading up to the 25th. We are finally feeling well enough to really enjoy the holidays after laying low for over a week with a bad case of, well, something. Nora is once again a ball of energy and you wouldn't know she had been sick if it weren't for the lingering cough.
(I might have asked Nora to go to the window and look for Santa Claus in the preceding picture...)
We went out to a tree farm owned by a friend of Shane's and picked out the perfect tree for our place- tall and skinny, just like my favorite husband.
Nora worked on a bit of artwork while we decorated the tree. Her new friends, the three wisemen, and Frosty watched over her.
Later I sent the two of them to bed so I could get some work done. As usual, I was called in to photograph some 'adorable' moment. Okay, so this time it actually was adorable.
A few days later we took a train ride to the North Pole! Who knew you could get there so quickly? Technology is way over my head these days. (By the way, those are real elves in the picture.)
Kalen wasn't feeling his best; in fact, just about everyone in our family either was just getting over an illness, feeling sick, or about to become sick. Quite fun.
Nora was sure to check Wylie over very carefully. I'm sure her face-to-face contact and sloppy kisses helped Wylie to feel better. Right.Finally, finally, the grand finale of our trip- the real deal! Santa came aboard the train and greeted every child, and gave each of them a gift of a bell off the reindeer's harness. (I'm assuming that's where it came from. You've all read the story, right?)
The next day dawned bright and (very) early, especially since we had stayed out late after getting back from the North Pole for a holiday party before returning to my parent's house. We had a lot to do, though, with Christmas tree-getting, sleigh-riding and an art show to visit. All that will come in the next post, though. For now, you just get a sneak peek of our second tree-searching/cutting down/hauling expedition.


A Rough Week

Well, I've popped in for a quick visit, but it won't last long. We're having a bit of a tough time here. The week started off with me feeling a little under the weather and ended with Nora having a full blown head cold/fever/cough. She still isn't feeling herself and has at least a low-grade fever most of the day. Right now we're headed home to rest and relax the next few days. We have nothing planned (that I remember) except for a lot of sewing on my part. Hopefully it will give the little munchkin a chance to recover. For now, here are a few pictures from a recent shoot with my sister and her family, and of course one of Nora to finish it up. Happy holidays everyone, and hopefully we'll be back soon in full Christmas spirit!