Monday, December 31, 2012

What the Most Successful People Do on the Weekend: Book Review

You already know I'm a huge fan of Laura Vanderkam's books on time management. I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of her new e-book, What the Most Successful People Do on the Weekend: A Short Guide to Making the Most of Your Days Off.

It was a short, easy, and useful book, which I read on my smartphone over the course of a few sessions nursing BabyM.  Don't be put off by the title - this isn't about becoming a CEO and aspiring to some crazy life where you sleep in 15 minute chunks to maximize your working time.

It's got an interesting premise - in order to have a relaxing weekend, you have to put some effort into planning things. I would have disagreed with this before kids, but now with an infant and a preschooler, it's imperative that we structure our (weekend) days. (Right now, technically every day is a weekend for us, until  T's preschool starts again.) When we don't, it seems that we waste time and/or get on each others' nerves, and before we know it, we're in the thick of the dinner-bedtime routine and another day has passed without much to show for it.

Vanderkam calls these activities "meaningless somethings" which captures it spot-on - halfheartedly doing laundry or dishes, the endless stream of putting things away and preparing/cleaning up meals, or grabbing some empty Internet time while the baby sleeps or the preschooler is playing by herself.

The book has lots of great suggestions for planning a weekend that's both fun and productive. One thing we do already is planning a few "anchor events" for each weekend. Our family threshold for feeling overscheduled is pretty low, so we typically have 1-2 events planned for a weekend, but others could plan something for all the mornings, afternoons and evenings from Friday night through Sunday night and still have plenty of time to do the other things that *need* to get done.

One tip I really want to try is having dedicated time for planning the week ahead. I used to do this pre-kids but got out of the habit with our new crazy schedule.  I think it would be awesome to do this with TJ, or also with T, just like we did with our Holiday Fun List.

Vanderkam's writing itself is great - clean and efficient, while still making what could be a very dry topic interesting.  She interviews a wide range of people for real-life examples and all are relatable in *some* way.

When I read particularly good fiction, I often highlight quotes that I love. I don't expect to do this with a non-fiction book, so I was totally caught by surprise reading the last chapter.  Rather than giving more concrete tips and suggestions, it focuses on the fact that our weekends are finite, our children are only little once, and how holidays should be filled with memory-making activities.

This part made me tear up a little: "September brings a melancholy sense of time passing, as my oldest child is off to kindergarten, the three-year-old starts preschool, and even the baby turns daily into a little girl who laughs and stumbles toward her first steps. In the photos from last Labor Day she was simply a very round belly. Now we've gotten to know the sweet, toddling child once contained in that roundness."  Sniff.  Lovely.

I wholeheartedly recommend this book, and the price is right at only $3 - less than one Starbucks drink. It's short enough that you can read it before the first weekend in 2013.  Let me know what you think!  Enjoy, and happy weekends to you!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

One Little Word 2013

Both my friend Laura and scrapbooking guru Ali Edwards posted their themes/One Little Word for 2013, so I thought I should write about mine.

 Usually these things come to me when I'm not actively thinking about them. For 2012 mine was REDUCE. And while the main event in 2012 did not fit with the theme (adding a new family member), I was true to this in other ways:

  •  Got rid of all of our unused knives and the space-hogging knife block
  •  Went through kitchen, kid clothes and toys and donated a bunch of stuff we don't need 
  •  Started to purge craft supplies I won't use 
  • Took a hard look at priorities and how I spend my time
Most of these are works in progress that I will continue in 2013. One thing I didn't get to at all was weight loss, since I was pregnant in most of 2012. But I know what I need to do, and that's the big thing I want to tackle in 2013 since I'm not getting any younger.

So the word I've chosen for 2013 is MINDFULNESS.  

I know it sounds hippy-dippy, but I really need to focus on my priorities, rather than just mindlessly surfing the web or eating what happens to be on the kitchen counter, to name just a few examples. I want my life and my career to be meaningful, and not just "float" or "survive" to the next day.  Time has sped up 100x since I had T in 2009 - she's changing so quickly. And don't even talk to me about how my tiny newborn is a huge 15-lb 3 month old already!

Things I need to tackle: 
  • Spending time "Internetting" vs. doing what I really love, like crafting, seeing friends IRL or improving my photography
  • Making actual plans with our family (our Holiday Fun List was a success) and friends
  • Setting concrete goals for the year and posting them conspicuously
  • Buy only what we really need and what gives us genuine happiness (stop buying random Target crap and eating out because the fridge is empty)
  • Eat food that fuels my body and makes me feel good
  • Exercise just a little, and work up to a lot, in a way that also makes me feel good
Piece of cake, right?  Have you thought about your goals for 2013?  Got a One Little Word you'd like to share? How did you do in 2012?

your OLW will probably be deeper :)

I made some necklaces and keychains handstamped with a word for friends who did this with me in 2012. I'm up for doing this again in sterling silver, nickel silver, golden brass or copper. Let me know what you have in mind or contact me through the 'email' link on the blog.  This year, I'm also setting aside time to make one for myself.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

And if you ever saw it: December Daily-ish 2012

So there's this *thing* among scrapbookers called December Daily, which originated with Ali Edwards.  Typically, you take a photo-a-day and make a mini scrapbook album to document the days leading up to Christmas.

As I mentioned before, photo-a-day projects stress me out, because inevitably, it's 11pm, I haven't taken any photos, and I end up with one of a napping dog or maybe my shoe.  So I knew my December "Daily" was not going to be traditional.

My holiday season starts on Thanksgiving weekend and goes through New Year's Day, so I'd want my album to include those things too. Since I am weak-willed, I bought Studio Calico's VERY expensive December Daily Kit which included everything: album, page protectors, tons of embellishments, paper, etc. Of course, this didn't stop me from buying MORE stuff because "it would be perfect for my December Daily".

I quickly decided on a color scheme - aqua and red (how trendy!) and downloaded some super-cute printable daily journaling cards from Hello Forever. I've been faithfully recording something for each day, including our Book Advent selections.

But I just COULD NOT get started on the album itself. First, I wanted to finish my 30 Days of Thankful album. Also, I had so much stuff for the album that it became overwhelming and I started to feel guilty about my craft supply overload. And part of it was just that we are so darn busy with two little kids and MAKING the memories that I didn't have much time or energy to sit down and figure out how to document them.

But now that Christmas is over, I am feeling a little more relaxed and able to focus on what I want for the album. Last week I took a couple of hours to visit my friend J for a "crafternoon". It gave me the time and space to go through all my supplies and decide what I was really going to use for this project. I also sat down with my trusty notebook and planned out some of the pages and pictures. My title is going to be "Home 4 the Holidays" because we're now a family of 4 (people) and this holiday season was all about staying close to home and starting our family traditions.

Home 4 the Holidays - the spine.
Last night I finally got crafty. I faced my fear of "messing up" the beautiful cream cloth-covered album, and decorated the spine of the book with gorgeous red seam binding, a fabulous Martha Stewart Office bookplate, and some of those awesome Studio Calico wood veneer shapes.  I still need to print a small label for the bookplate, but otherwise, the spine is done.  (Gotta start somewhere, right?)   And please forgive the less-than-perfect photos. I'm trying to use my new DSLR for these, and the depth of field + page protectors is giving me a real challenge.

I had all my journaling cards complete through Dec 26th, so I mounted those on patterned paper with a stripe of washi tape on top, to provide some uniformity across the album. Each page still has a lot of empty space, so they need more embellishment.  I completed the first seven pages and called it a night at 1am.

Here's a little slide show of the pages I've done so far. Click on any photo to view a larger version.

 If you're on a mobile device or it's not working on your computer, you can also view my gallery.

Obviously, I've just gotten started, but this was a huge step for me.  Now I know what I need to do next, instead of just flailing around trying to get going. Tonight I'll start printing photos, which are the real "meat" of the album.

I know all the serious scrapbooking folks are done with their December Daily albums, but I'm trying to remember that it's not a race. The process of putting it together is so fun for me, and I'll share more over the next few weeks.  My goal is to have it done by the time we take down the Christmas tree in early January.

What projects are you tackling now that Christmas is over?

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Awesome Christmas Crafts from Target

Target is not usually on my list of places to buy craft supplies, unless they're specifically for T. But recently, Target got some nice papercrafting and scrapbooking supplies so I always cruise through that aisle.

There was a really cute 'Merry Christmas' banner kit by American Crafts, which I figured would be an easy one for my monthly "Banner Year" project.  I realized quickly that the whole banner would be WAY too long for our mantel, so I decided to just use the 'MERRY' portion. I also wanted to use my pretty supplies to embellish it, since it was a very simple kit.  (Click on photos to see a larger version.)

It was really fun to put together and the kit components were high quality.  I added some doilies, wood veneer trees colored with ink, sequins and brads (love shiny stuff!), rockin' Martha Stewart glitter glue, glitter twine, and of course, some washi tape.  The snowflakes and buttons are from my Studio Calico December Daily album kit.  The individual banner shapes are quite small - around 4x6"- so it works perfectly on our mantel with the two stockings.

The second Target craft this month was a decorate-your-own-snowman kit I bought for T. It's actually labeled for age 6 and up, probably because of the tiny stickers. The kit was only $5 and contains everything you need to make *20* snowmen.

It's given T hours of enjoyment and we still have snowmen left to make.  It's not terribly fancy - everything is made of craft foam and there are sticky eyes, buttons, arms, noses, mouths, scarves, hats, and letters.  Even TJ joined in the fun and made a few!

This is some serious crafting.

I made the one on the left.

We'll probably string them together as a banner, which T insists should be in her room, and hopefully next year she'll let me hang it in our house somewhere, because these guys are super cute.

I love Target, especially with unexpected cool crafty finds like these.  We may go back after Christmas and snag a few more of the craft kits for next year - there was a cute Christmas tree one like the snowmen, and I'd like to see what American Crafts holiday stuff goes on sale as well!

Monday, December 17, 2012

And now a word from our sponsors

I occasionally get a request through BlogHer to write a sponsored post. I try to make it personal and relevant because you don't come here to read ad copy. Plus, I'm really not a marketing type.

But this post is about skincare, which I do have interest in. I had the typical icky skin as a teenager - thanks to hormones, I'd always get these HUGE ugly pimples at inopportune times. You know, the kind that makes a girl want to hide in her house for a week or two. A very nice dermatologist told me the arsenal of creams and scrubs I was using was doing me NO favors and pointed me to a very simple cleanser and instructed me to use a moisturizer with sunscreen in it.

Fortunately that craziness cleared up in my late 20s, and now I've got the opposite problem as I approach 40 - my skin leans towards dry now, especially in the winter. So I'm pretty careful and sparing about what I use on my skin. I don't wear much makeup, and not every day. I clean it off at night before bed. I remember to moisturize before bed (but I'm still not high maintenance!).

DDF is onto the ancient secrets
of Indian grandmothers
So far things look ok, probably because we don't get much sun here in Seattle, but I know as time goes on, I'll need to spend a little time on skincare if I want it to stay healthy. I haven't settled on a daily cleanser or moisturizer that I absolutely love, so I was pretty stoked to get the opportunity for this sponsored post.

DDF Skincare is offering a special coupon to try their products. Buy one, get the second half off, and free shipping on your order through Jan 31. Use code DDFSKIN when you checkout.

What's cool is that they have a very detailed online skin consultation on their site so you can get an idea of what you might need. You can also check out their products in person - our local Macy's and Sephora stores have them. Their site is easy to navigate, and even has an option to do a live consultation about your skin online.  How cool is that? I love technology.

Anyway, if you try it out, or have used DDF in the past, let me know what you think!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Dairy-free Ginger Snaps - Virtual Cookie Exchange

My friend Di hosts an annual "virtual cookie exchange" with a bunch of bloggers. She was awesome enough to include me even though I'm not a food blogger. I do enjoy baking occasionally as a project with T.

One of the things on our Holiday Fun List was to make and decorate Christmas cookies. Originally my plan was to make these awesome sugar cookies.  But when I woke up this morning I just wasn't feeling it - the whole "process" of making the dough, chilling it, rolling, cutting, making royal icing, and only THEN doing the fun decorating was more than we could do in a day.

So I turned to a recipe that has not failed me yet. I discovered it when looking for dairy-free cookies due to T's allergy. You'd never guess they don't have butter in them, and it's super easy to mix and make.  With minimal effort they look really nice, and we made them more festive by rolling them in colored natural sugar sprinkles.

As per the comments on the recipe online, we made a few changes so I've included the recipe below.

Mama's Ginger Snaps (adapted from Elaine at, makes about 3 dozen)

1c packed brown sugar
3/4c canola oil
1/4c blackstrap molasses
1 large organic egg
2c all purpose flour
2tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cloves
2.5 tsp ground cinnamon
2.5 tsp ground ginger
various sugars (colored and white) for decoration

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. In stand mixer bowl, mix brown sugar, oil, molasses, and egg until the sugar is dissolved.
3. In separate large bowl, mix flour, baking soda, salt, cloves, ginger and cinnamon. Pour this into the molasses mixture.
4. Mix with the stand mixer until well-combined. The dough will look shiny and feel sticky.  
5. Cool mixer bowl with dough in fridge for about 30 minutes (or 15 minutes in the freezer) to make it easier to work with.
6. Using your fingers, make 1 inch balls and dip the tops into colored sugar.  Place them on an ungreased cookie sheet with 3-4 inches between each one (they spread out).

7.  Bake 11 minutes in preheated oven - they'll be a little soft when they come out.
8. Transfer to wire racks after a minute or two to cool further.

These are easy to make, but also easy to overcook. You may have to adjust based on your own oven, but it's better to undercook them as they'll get firmer when they cool. 

It's a great recipe to make with older toddlers - at age 3, T was able to dip the dough balls in the sugar and hand them to me to put on the cookie sheet without squishing them too much.  She also dumped all the ingredients into the bowls after I measured them out, and stirred the dry ingredients together.

if you look closely,
you'll see a dog nose next to the cookie.

They look very festive with the colored sugar. I wish we had done more with mixed colors - those look pretty cool, too. This recipe is definitely a keeper!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Christmas presents for a 3 year old

Since T doesn't read my blog (yet), I figured I'd share what we got her for Christmas.  I did this last year, too. I am pleased to say my shopping is 95% DONE.  Woot.

I read about someone else's family gift-giving tradition and loved it so we're trying it out this year.  

Each person gets four presents:
  • Something they want
  • Something they need
  • Something to eat
  • Something to read
This works nicely for TJ and me, because we're often at a loss for what to get each other. Most things we want, we just buy. This way TJ can also get some things for the girls on his own, since last year it was just me buying random things and signing them "Love, Mama and Daddy" (and also some from Peanut and Spike). 

However, I do love to shop, so T is going to end up with more than four gifts.  A lot of them are little things, because she got (and uses) the big stuff already - Kettler tricycle, play kitchen, Balance Bike.

Here's what she's getting this year:

Pure Fun Trampoline - T's friend E has a similar one at her house and T enjoyed bouncing on it. It's compact and can be used indoors, which is great given our crappy weather. This is the "something she needs" because our girl will sit and read books or draw all day long. We need to gently nudge her to be more active.

Hello Kitty Science Class - I know, this is totally girly and pink, which I usually hate. But T LOVES Hello Kitty. And the fact that it's a science class play set makes me feel marginally better about it. Incidentally, they had it at Kohl's for twice the price on Amazon. Not sure what that's all about. Thanks to my trusty smartphone, I ordered it on Amazon while standing in Kohl's trying to understand why it was $17. Definitely in the "something she wants" category, as is everything with Hello Kitty on it.

This super cute beaded necklace from J. Crew's kids' line. The color is called "neon azalea" and it matches her glasses exactly. I probably could have made something similar, but didn't have time to track down beads and ribbon in these exact colors.  I'm not crazy about expensive jewelry on little kids, but this is plastic and ribbon and the price was right. And I know T will *love* it. It also comes in a nice shiny silver box.

Hello Kitty Pez dispenser.  T saw one of these at a craft store and thought it was the coolest thing ever. She has a MAJOR sweet tooth and sadly, has a couple of cavities already, so we restrict sugar as much as we can. But it's Christmas, and this fills in the 'something to eat' part.  Plus she'll dig the dispenser long after the candy is gone.  Just to balance it out, I'll also put a clementine in her stocking and ask her to eat that before she eats any candy. Because we're sneaky like that.

On the "something she needs" front, I bought her some clothes from the Gap and Old Navy. She's been growing like crazy and is now over 3 feet and close to 40 lbs. Size 3T is WAY too small, 4T fits just barely, so most things I buy for her now are size 5, which is big, but likely not for long. She really likes cats for some reason (probably because we don't have any, and did I mention Hello Kitty?!) so I figured this kitty with glasses T shirt would be a big hit.  I wish it wasn't pink (story of my life).

I saw this cute Kikkerland owl keychain at Target and grabbed him on impulse. T loves owls and anything little and cute that she can play "pretend" with. I expect he'll be a big hit, though TJ may do surgery on him to remove the hooting sound. (TJ has a tendency to operate on squeaky and noisy toys in this house because they disrupt his chi.)

For "something to read", the last two books in our Book Advent are new. For Christmas Eve, we'll be reading Olive the Other Reindeer.
What's not to love about a dog who thinks he's a reindeer? But the book I'm really excited about is the one for Christmas Day, called Me...Jane.  It's a book about Jane Goodall as a little girl. A librarian friend of mine told me that little kids don't quite "get" that Jane in the story grew up to be a famous scientist, but I'm cool with that.  Just the idea of a female character as a scientist-to-be in a kids' book rocks my world.

There's one more gift I'm excited about, but it's a joint gift for TJ and T together, so I can't write about it yet.

We didn't buy T a ton of stuff this year, nor did we buy her anything really expensive, and I'm ok with that. We noticed on her birthday that T gets overwhelmed by too many gifts. I'm sure that'll change as she gets older, but for now, we may space out some of the gifts and open some on Christmas Eve.

I'm curious to see how she'll react. She is starting to understand that she'll get presents at Christmas, but I don't think she has a sense of anticipation just yet. Maybe next year.

Happy Holidays to you, and hope your shopping is done, or close!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Project Life: What Holidays? Edition

Now that we're in December and so close to Christmas, I have to figure out how to continue Project Life along with the December-not-so-Daily album I'm also working on. The December album is supposed to capture all of our holiday activities, but it's hard to separate those from our regular "life".  

But I tried to do just that, so this week, I bring you the "Saving Ourselves for December Daily" edition of our life. All evidence of holiday preparations has been studiously avoided here. (Which means I should really get working on that holiday album!)

This time I grabbed the Studio Calico kit closest to me - November's Penny Loafers. I am ashamed to say I hadn't even unpacked it from the mailing box. Sigh. But maybe a clean, well-organized craft room is a sign of someone who isn't spending time actually crafting. Yeah, that's what I'll tell myself.

Doing these spreads with a kit makes it so much faster, as well as giving it a more cohesive look as I've mentioned before. This time I forced myself to use only what came in the kit, and to pick only 2 patterned papers.  I LOVED the sequins and the Crate Paper vellum stitched garland. I have crappy photos of my layouts again since it gets dark at 4pm here.  (Click for a larger version and sorry again for the weird reflections.)

Nov 26 - Dec 9: Being silly at home and candy at Westlake Center

Nov 26 - Dec 9: BabyM's 2 mo appointment, Mama Day at preschool, more silliness

This time I also tried to remember to write about things I didn't have photographic evidence for, like lunches with friends. I also felt like getting a little crafty so I did some stamping and used my AMAZING Martha Stewart Glitter Glue and Ranger Liquid Pearls on the title card because I love sparkle and don't use those things enough!

One of the things I've noticed is that I need to *see* my crafty stash or I won't use it. So I leave my stamps and ink, glitter glue and liquid pearls, and my pre-cut journaling cards all within sight and reach on my craft table. That way when I need a little *something* and I'm not sure what I'm looking for, I can quickly survey what I've got and actually use it. It also saves time and keeps me from getting sidetracked as I poke through my stash and find long-forgotten pretties. 

Since there are only 22 days left in the year, I'm going to do one last 2-page spread for the rest of December, which will also give me time to focus on my December-no-pressure-holiday album.  I'm already looking forward to Project Life 2013! Anyone else contemplating doing it next year?

Friday, December 07, 2012

It's good to be home for the holidays

I got the idea of making a "holiday fun list" from my friend Laura who does this with her kids in the summer and winter. At first I thought it seemed a little too structured and project-managementy and not very fun, frankly.

But 2 months into my maternity leave, I realize we do need that structure. With TJ home all the time, our days are largely the same, and we find them slipping away in a haze of feeding everyone, getting the girls to nap, and next thing you know, it's 6pm and time to start dinner and the bedtime routine. Not to mention it gets dark here around 3:30 so the days seem really short. T is in preschool four mornings a week, so we're constrained to three days for Big Fun Stuff.

So on Thanksgiving weekend, we sat down and made a list of the fun things we're going to do this holiday season. I'm pleased to report we've done 7 or 8 of them already (in RED below)!

The 2012 Creath Family Holiday Fun List:
  • Make and eat pancakes at home
  • Go to the Rumble Slide park
  • Go downtown to look at the decorations
  • See the holiday Kindermusik show at Benaroya Hall
  • Visit Leavenworth
  • Take a weekend trip to San Juan Islands or Vancouver (maybe in January)
  • Make and eat apple pie oatmeal
  • Be jolly
  • See snow
  • Make, decorate and eat Christmas cookies
  • Make, decorate and NOT eat Christmas ornaments
  • Make a Santa Claus ornament
  • Do Christmas snowman craft (Target kit)
  • Invite people over for an Open House
  • Dance
  • Take puppies to the dog park
  • Ride the B bus (Trillian's idea.  This is just a shuttle between transit centers.  She's 3.)
  • Drink milk (Trillian says this is what BabyM wants to do)
  • Listen to Christmas music
  • Put up our Christmas tree
  • Eat ham and pie for Christmas dinner (do you sense a theme?)
  • Book Advent countdown
  • Send out real holiday cards
  • Make real Belgian waffles at home
While I still struggle with the urge to just do things to check them off the list, it's been fun to deliberately incorporate more holiday fun items into our lives. Before kids, we only halfheartedly celebrate holidays. I've posted the list on our fridge so we can see what we want to do next.

What about you? Do you make a list?

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Project Life: November 2012, Thanksgiving Edition

I'm so close to completing Project Life for 2012 and I'm so excited!  Even more so that it's still FUN to put the pages together each time.

For this layout, I used the Noel Mignon November 2012 kit. I bought a single one to see what a different kit was like.  (I already subscribe to Studio Calico.) This one was a bit too "themed" for my liking - very fall and Thanksgiving-ish, but perfect for this spread in Project Life. I also used a few of the cards from the We R Memory Keepers line at Target - the 4x6 list of T's favorite things, and the little cards with the banners and Meridian's schedule matched nicely with the NM kit.  I've finally figured out that I prefer to use all cream-based papers or all white-based, instead of mixing the two.

Apologies in advance for the photos being a bit wonky.  I got done with this spread very late so had to take them under incandescent light. I'm also learning how to use Adobe Lightroom, and am still getting used to the editing tools.

Nov 12-25, 2012: Thanksgiving, Crossroads Mall, Portage Bay Cafe

Closeup of "baby schedule" card ;)

Nov 12-25: Babies, friends, and food.

Not much craftiness this week - a sequin, a brad and a sticker.

I printed fewer photos than usual this time, because I had put a lot of this month's photos in my 30 Days of Thankful album and didn't want to use duplicates.  So I had to come up with some "filler" cards, and I just wasn't feeling as crafty this week.

I had a few cards in my stash that I added a bit of journaling and kit stickers to, and then I thought it might be nice to capture a little bit about what the girls are like right now.  With BabyM, it's all about the eating and sleeping, so I wrote up her "schedule" (such as it is). I'm sure it'll be amusing when she's a teenager.

For T, I wrote about her current favorite things - book, movie, parent (always Daddy!).  I wrote these up from my own observation, so I'm sure she'd disagree with my choices. She's 3 and tends to disagree with most things. Sigh.

I'm also totally stoked that all the pages for the year will fit into one 2.5" binder.  Other people have had to split their year into 2 albums, which just doesn't seem ok to me. I know, I'm weird.

Only 3 more layouts to go for the year!  Woot!

Linked up with The Mom Creative for Project Life Tuesday.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

2012 Creath Family Holiday Letter: All Is Calm

Happy December!  I can't believe it's time for our yearly holiday letter already. This year's letter will be short and sweet since I have been blogging regularly - I can just give you links to the big stuff.

(c) Kristi Lloyd Photography, Oct 2012

2012 was an exciting year for us!  The biggest news was the birth of Meridian Rayna in October.  But I'll start from the beginning.

In January, we had a big snowstorm, which is pretty unusual for Seattle. Trillian played in the snow for the first time.  She wasn't so sure she liked it.  

February was when we found out I was pregnant with BabyM. This was both exciting and scary, since we were used to being a family of 3.  Well, 5, when you count Peanut and Spike, who are now 10 and 12 and doing well.

In March, TJ took the extremely bold step of quitting his job to enjoy some time off and work on his own projects. We've absolutely LOVED having him at home and it's fantastic that we don't have to squeeze in family fun outings onto the weekends.  The Children's Museum is nice and empty on weekdays!  Trillian also started preschool in March, saying goodbye to the excellent daycare she attended since she was 13 months old.

April was super-exciting, because my life-long dream of visiting Ireland came true. We spent 3 lovely weeks in Kenmare, and traveled mostly in the south, though we did spend a couple of days in Dublin.  We definitely want to go back. I got sick while we were there (virus + pregnancy) so I didn't get to do as much, but TJ and Trillian had a few exciting daddy-daughter field trips.

In May, TJ and I celebrated being married for 7 years with a trip to the zoo with our favorite little person.  We also found out that BabyM was a girl!  Hooray for sisters!

I celebrated my thirty-mumble birthday in June. TJ and I went to dinner at Canlis, our favorite restaurant which is where we got married in 2005.  TJ also went to a track day with his motorcycle, to take advantage of the short riding season.

Summer came to Seattle in July, and it was short, but lovely as always.  At the end of the month, Trillian and I took a girls' roadtrip to Portland, OR for the weekend, and had a GREAT time.  She still talks about it. Next time she says we should take TJ and Baby Sister, too.

In August, we celebrated my dad's 70th birthday at a local restaurant.  TJ's Aunt Jane and Uncle Rick were in town so we met up with them for breakfast at our favorite cafe.

Trillian's birthday was in September, and all the grandparents, plus her great-Granny and Aunt Robin were in town for the party. She also started her new Spanish immersion preschool. She's learning so much! I spent September willing BabyM to stay inside until October, so T could have her own "birthday month".  

BabyM cooperated, and was born via C-section at her scheduled appointment on October 1 like a good girl. She spent her first few days refusing to sleep anywhere but in someone's arms, so TJ was awesome and slept sitting up so that we could get a little sleep.  We had a 0th birthday party for her at home, which Trillian helped plan.

We spent the rest of October and November mostly at home getting used to being a family of four. Trillian went trick or treating for the first time, and both girls went dressed as ladybugs.

My parents went back to Savannah in mid-November and we miss them! BabyM isn't on a regular schedule but sleeps and eats well so I've even had time to be crafty.  Thanksgiving was low-key but nice.

December will be full of Fun Holiday Activities from the list we made together. We're staying home for the holidays so it'll be nice and mellow, just the way we like it.

For an even more detailed summary of what we did all year, you can read through my Project Life posts.  I'm very proud to have kept up this scrapbook project all year, and I'm on track to complete it this month!

We wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Best Wishes for the New Year! May your days be merry and bright!

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