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Today we braved the shopping centre. For those of you in the US, that would be the Mall 🙂 Insanity! Trying to find parking was possibly the worst of it all. Thankfully it only took about 10 minutes and was a complete “right place/right time” situation. Good for us.

Why did we go to the mall? Well 1) we needed to get out of the house. The kids were going stir crazy and so were mom and dad. 2) We needed to pick up a birthday present. 3) We wanted to go to the Hallmark store to see if they had any new singing snowmen.

Sure enough we were able to find a new singing snowman and the girls were thrilled:

They also each selected new ornaments to add to the tree:

Now the odd bit, they are all dated 2010. That’s right, they put out ornaments from last year and a few from this year (from what I could tell). I’m concerned that the Tinkerbell may be the same now e purchased last year, however as we’ve not dug out those boxes, I suppose it really doesn’t matter. The snowman doesn’t have a date on him, yet doesn’t seem to be the one on the US Hallmark site. C’est la vie!

Now we’re really beginning to look quite festive around here.

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What to do when the kids are still so little? Have them help make paper chain garlands! The 10th day found me digging through our craft box for supplies:

~ Red and green construction paper
~ Safety scissors
~ Scotch tape or glue stick
~ Excited little kids

Bug was great at alternating the colors I needed. However not so great with the tape dispenser. LOTS of twisted tape. Muffin just wanted to run around with the paper, whatever makes her happy 🙂 We pulled in daddy mid-craftiness to cut up more strips of paper. We now have a beautiful chain hanging across our windows, above the tree in the living room.

Pictures added:

While catching up on blogs via Google Reader yesterday, I came across an idea I just love, an Activity Advent. After telling Jack about it, we agreed that we wanted to have our own activity advent with the girls this December, even if we are starting a few days late. So today we begin and I will try to post daily what our activities are.

Today found us heading over to Hanley’s at the Kinsale Roundabout to see what they had for festive decorations and to see a man about a live tree. We went into the main shop first and Bug immediately tried to mount a large polar bear that was in the window. Sorry, kiddo, not spending 400 euros on a fake polar bear for the play room. She and Muffin were were soon distracted by the lit trees and other ‘decorations! as she loves to declare. Of course they also tried to pick up every fragile item in the shop.

At the back of the shop we discovered aquariums and live fish! The girls spent 15 minutes exclaiming that they had found Nemo and pointing out which fish they wanted. It was quite a task to pull them away to head to the seasonal shop.

As we approached the seasonal shop we saw many live trees outside. Unfortunately the top half of most of them looked much like Charlie Brown’s tree. Thin and sparse. So inside we went to evaluate fake trees. We finally settled on a skinny, but full tree that we think will fit perfectly within our limited space in the living room. The kids then proceeded to try and take apart the store, along with every other child in the shop. Much excitement was had.

We left the shop with a few ornaments, Pooh for Muffin and Princesses for Bug, and some Winnie the Pooh lights that they can add to the tree.

Jack will actually pick up the tree tomorrow, when the kids are not running circles around us, and tree decorating will be our next activity!

I hope you enjoy following along with us during our 24 days of Christmas 🙂

XO,
~L

These are the sounds often heard around our house now with two mobile children. Muffin crawls like a champ now, pulls up to standing and wants to cruise so badly. Strike that. She wants to walk so badly. Watching hurricane Bug run around the house certainly pushes Muffin to her limits.

Muffin is 8 months old now and working on her second set of teeth. I think they are her canines or lateral incisors. Either way she’ll look like she has fangs. It’s been a miserable four days as a result. Fevers, fussiness, discontent, and then of course off and on jealousy from Bug since she is not getting as much attention as she is used to. Fun! The good news is that the teeth seem to be just about ready to poke through and the fussiness is toned down a bit.

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Halloween also came and went. Bug was super excited this year and spent much time yelling “Trick or Treat” and “Happy Halloween” at the most random of moments. Too cute. She was quite the princess as well, at least in costume:

She was busy playing chase and hiding:
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And with her panda bear sister who kind of looked like a puppy:
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Awww, panda!
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Now on to Thanksgiving and Christmas. I’m working on updating Amazon wish lists and getting all our ducks in a row. The next month may bring big news or no news. Time will tell, or rather a few weeks will. Much to potentially divulge when the time is right. Until then I leave you with creepy uncle Nick!

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Today marked 20 months for our little Bug, who really s not so little anymore. It also meant a trip to Circle S farm to select our pumpkins for carving. Soooooo much fun was had:

After selecting our pumpkins, showing them off to Andrea and Grandma Pat:
Look at our pumpkins!

Leading the way through the sunflower maze:
Happiness is wandering through a maze.

And discovering rabbits:
Hey mom, these are cool

Many more pictures on Flickr.

The highlight of the day, though, was later in the afternoon after her nap. She now very much calls me “mommy”, and it’s 50/50 if she calls Jack “mama” or “dada”, yet yesterday, while hanging out on the floor watching TV she very much staked her claim to us. She came over, sat between us and said “Hi mama! Hi dada!”. It was really freakin’ adorable. Then today I was being lazy, laying on the floor and Jack came over to give me a hug. She came tearing over form across the room, gave us a giant hug and then yelled” Mama! Dada! I love you!” and gave us the biggest hugs and smiles. I completely teared up. She halfway signs I love you, but this was a true attempt at getting it out and telling us how she felt. It was awesome. Admittedly it wasn’t crystal clear, it was probably more “I wuv you”, but you get the idea.

So 20 months was a big, fun day. I’ll be out of town for 21 months (in Brussels), but I’m sure she’ll do something crazy since last time I was overseas (a year ago, same time frame) she figured out how to climb the stairs.

Caitlin had her first official meeting of Santa Claus yesterday. I say “official” as she did see him briefly in the mall a few weeks ago, but we did not stop for pictures. This time she sat on his lap. Proof:

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Everyone was very impressed that she did not cry or freak out. They clearly do not know Caitlin. She does awesome around people she does not know, Santa included. She even received a little gift… a learning puppy that talks, sings songs and is generally noisy. You can imagine Jack’s joy over another toy that makes sounds 😉

And of course, this past week also marked 10 months. Obligatory picture with her most favorite stuffed bear:

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I suspect she will be 6 feet tall by the age of two.

All in all, life is rolling along and she is more amazing every day. The number of sounds and noises she makes these days is hysterical. I think she almost has her own language. The open mouthed kisses crack me up too as do the “Ewok” noises she makes that accompany them. Did I mention that Jack has moved from calling her a Wookie to calling her an Ewok? At least Ewoks are cuter.

Just a few more weeks until Christmas. I seriously can’t wait. It will take her all day to open her presents (she isn’t sure what to do with them yet of course), but I’m cool with that.

And I leave you with this, just taken right now as I type this blog… she is completely crashed out:

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This morning we celebrated St Nick’s Day. Check out Wikipedia for more info.

Caitlin’s little gift was on old skool Fisher Price rotary phone. They have one at day care in Infant II and they mentioned that she absolutely loves it. So we got her one for home to play with too. Now she has two cell phones and a rotary phone. Bug is well connected.

Pictures on Flickr of course. They’re private so be sure to add me as a contact if you want to see them.

We’re also having what I would say s our first real snow today. It’s started off with wet snow and turned into cold icy snow, which means the roads are a disaster. It’s not much snow, maybe will be two inches total by the time it is done, but the roads are nasty and incredibly icy. Good excuse to stay in and not do much 🙂 Or maybe we should get off our butts and get the Christmas decorations out… maybe.

Bug is napping, so I am off to knit!

Hope you all had a fun one!

Halloween '08

I had this brilliant idea a week ago that I wanted to build gingerbread houses this year. I swear up and down I’ve never built one before. Nick seems to think we did once as kids. Perhaps I was missing that day. Regardless, yesterday we ensued on said adventure. Nick, Andrea and I walked through the winter storm to the grocery store to pick up the needed items. I’m not joking, it was snow/ice rain, but the store is a 5 minute walk away 🙂

The amount of candy picked out was ridiculous, but needed. As was the beer for those that could partake. The only problem we ran into is that there was no powdered sugar to be found anywhere. Completely sold out. Apparently I wasn’t the only one with this grand idea over the weekend. So rather than making frosting we bought frosting praying it would work out the same.

So back at the homestead the gingerbread was ready to go. We cut cardboard and covered it in aluminum foil as our base and began. Assembling the walls was initially tricky until a light bulb went off and I started covering the base in frosting to stick the walls into for extra support. Genius! And so we continued on the adventure.

All was seemingly going well until I got to the roof. One piece was longer than the other and on barely stretched to meet both ends of the house. I condensed the house a little and cut the long piece to fit. All still going as planned. I had four walls and a roof! Then I had the grand idea to cover the roof in M&Ms for a tiled affect. One side down and it looked awesome. Then I moved to the other side… but the roof was caving in! I thought I could work with it, but disaster soon struck. I grabbed the roof and had it in my hands, covered in frosting, while we looked for support. Straws! I put beams across the top of the house and laid the roof back down. Voila! On with the decorating.

Did I mention that while this was going on we were cooking strombli, garlic toast and egg rolls to snack on? The kitchen was a very busy place.

As we continued on snacking and decorating I noticed the front of my house kind of leaned in. What can I say, my house was more a shack than a mansion anyway. I also noticed the gel decorating stuff seemed to be sliding down the front of my little gingerbread man. Rather than three red buttons he looked like he was bleeding. Oops! What can one do? So here are the end results from yesterday… but be sure to read on, this fiasco is not done yet:

(Click on the pictures to see larger images on Flickr)
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Yay! Pretty gingerbread houses. That was at 5pm. And that’s what they looked like when I went to bed at 10am. However this is what my house looked like at 6:30 this morning…

DISASTER STRUCK!!!!

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*sigh*

I don’t know if it was the gale force winds outside sneaking in, a mischievous cat or just the laws of physics. What I do know is that my gingerbread house is now slightly flatter and the market value has probably declined. Think I could sell her as a fixer-upper?

The End.