Thursday, December 29, 2011

O Christmas Tree

I loved our little Christmas tree this year. In fact, it was my most favorite tree we've ever had. It was small and unassuming, but so perfect and lovely. It drank water every day, dropped very few needles and stood proudly in our living room for nearly 4 weeks without any trouble. Normally by the end of the season I am so eager to get our tree out of the house that it's down on the 26th. But not this year. I could hardly bear to part with it! It just fit perfectly into our home and when I took it down today, my heart felt a little twinge of sadness. Seems silly to even type that, but it's true!

Thanks for being so wonderful, little tree.

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I was terrible about picture-taking over Christmas this year. I did get a few photos of the days' events, but I'm hoping some family members got more than I managed and will kindly share them with me!

Here's Gus opening his stocking at Ama & Papa's house on Christmas Eve:

Max checks out some new Pokemon cards:

Jack excitedly took his new shoes over to Ama:

Gus got his own set of real knives (meant for kids, but really cut) and a cook book. A definite highlight.

Sofie and Gus played "Santa" for the adults and passed out all our gifts. They were incredibly serious the entire time and kept meeting together with hushed whispers, coming up with distribution plans. It was adorable.

Sofie & Papa cuddled up to look at Ama's new photo calendar featuring all the grandkids:

I attempted, fairly unsuccessfully, to get a photo of the boys in their Christmas jammies:


Christmas morning started early at our house, about 6am. In fact, I think we were pretty much done opening presents by 7 or 7:30!

Gus put his new knives to work, cutting biscuits for Monkey Bread:

Jack helped by collecting all the pieces into a bag filled with cinnamon and sugar:

They worked so hard and so well together:

Sadly, I used the wrong kind of pan and all of the glaze for the bread leaked down into my oven and started a fire! Thankfully my mom had given us a fire extinguisher for Christmas many years ago (and I'm certain I rolled my eyes over it. Um, thanks Mom!) and we were able to put the fire out with very little damage to the kitchen. After that I seriously did not take another photo all day. I think I was just kind of in shock and dismay and couldn't quite get myself together enough.

Even though there are no photos, we had an absolutely wonderful time at Mark's sister's home in Pouslbo, where we spent the day chatting over coffee, enjoying a delicious meal and opening many presents. Their home is always so warm and welcoming and I feel so grateful to be invited in to it year after year.

As a side note, I did contact Pillsbury to suggest they make it explicitly clear on their recipe not to use a tube pan with a removable bottom. I heard back very quickly and they wanted to make certain that my oven was fine, our family was fine and, though they didn't actually ask, that we had no plans to sue them. I assured them that I only wanted to inform them in order to prevent what happened to me from happening to someone else. They're sending me some coupons. Who knows, maybe I'll use them to make Monkey Bread.
Or maybe not.
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Saturday, December 24, 2011

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care...

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Kaetzel Pretzels

Mark has decided that our family "thing" is going to be making pretzels.
Here's the boys working hard to make a batch for Christmas Eve:

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Friday, December 23, 2011

Jack's Birthday

Last year we had to cancel Jack's 1st birthday party due to the stomach flu. This year, we decided to give him a 2nd "1st" birthday party and guess what? Yep, the flu took us down again and the party was canceled. Thankfully we were able to reschedule it and give Jack a proper party.

Here's Jack on his actual birthday. That look on his face says, "A bike? For me?" Yes indeed, Jack is now the proud owner of a balance bike--a bike with no pedals so that kids can learn to scoot along on 2 wheels and focus on balancing before worrying about pedaling. He's still a bit nervous on it, but I imagine come summertime he'll be keeping up with his brothers, no problem.

Let's put this thing together:

Next present...

A Pillow Pet!

He couldn't be happier!

Every nap and sleep since then has been on his beloved doggy pillow.

Normally after our children turn 1, we don't do presents at birthday parties, but since Jack didn't get a 1st birthday party, we made an exception. He excitedly opened all his gifts, including this outfit from Mom-Mom and Grandad:

He then promptly took each and every present straight over to his Auntie Amy:

Present after present went right to her:

Veggie Tales Pirate Ship...right to Amy:

La La Loopsy Pirate doll, yep...right to her as well. It was so funny!

After presents we had mini cupcakes and milk, Jack's favorite thing. Jack was a bit nervous about blowing out the candles, so Mom & Gus filled in for him:

He certainly wasn't nervous about eating it though:

Mmmm...milk. Nothing better than that.

And to end the!

Eating pizza on the couch with your cousin? Yep, it's good to be 2.

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Friday, December 9, 2011

Being Marin

Dear Marin,
You're here! I can't believe it! We've been waiting for what seems like forever to get the news of your arrival. Imagine my surprise when your dad called me tonight to tell me your name. I am so very honored to share a name with you, little one. Your mom and dad are two of the most wonderful, amazing people I know. What a blessed little girl you are to have the honor of being raised by these two.

Since we share a name, I feel like I should impart some sort of wisdom to you, so here it goes. The origins of our name are a little sketchy. My dad told me it came from a French poet, but no poem has ever been shown to me to confirm that this is true. I do know that our name means "of the sea" in French, so perhaps our French heritage is true after all. For a long time I thought I was named after the Seattle Mariners since they were "born" the same year I was, but my parents insist this isn't the case.

Over the years you'll have all kinds of people call you all kinds of things. A name like Marin isn't all that common and people have all sorts of trouble figuring out how to say it. The three most common mistakes are as follows:
1. Pronouncing it with an 'ah' sound, as in 'Mahrin'. This is probably the one I get the most.
2. If you encounter people familiar in anyway with the Bay Area, they'll want to pronounce it maRIN, as in Marin County.
3. Sometimes when people are reading or writing your name, their brains will insert a 't' in between the 'r' and 'i', changing your name and your gender with one little consonant. 9th grade year book? Yeah, I'm Martin Johnson.
My best advice about all of these? Don't be afraid to correct people when they get it wrong. Too many times I've let my desire not to embarrass or offend someone stop me from correcting them when they mispronounce our name. I'm #1 to a few people at my son's school. I'm #2 to my next door neighbor. I'm even #3 to a handyman we've employed a couple times on every estimate he writes for us. Take it from me, it's way easier correcting someone up front than having to manage all your different names!

A couple good references for helping people remember how to say your name:
Tell them it's like Karen, but with an 'M'. This is what my mom always told me to say, which naturally drove me crazy. I should have listened to her advice. Trust me, your mom knows best!

If you move to Seattle (fingers crossed!), remember that baseball team I talked about earlier? That's another one to use. It's like Mariners without the ers.

No matter what, be proud of who you are. God made you and He loves you and you are an amazing little girl.
You are Marin.


Monday, December 5, 2011

Bah Humbug!

There isn't much that can dampen my spirits during the holidays. But the stomach flu? Well, yeah...that'll do it. Poor Gus and Jack came down with a bug over the weekend. It's the one thing about this time of year that I really dread. Last year we had to cancel Jack's 1st birthday party. Guess what's coming up this weekend? That's right, Jack's 2nd "1st" birthday party. I am praying that Max, Mark and I stay healthy and we don't have to cancel yet again!

Here's the scene from our house this morning:

This is Gus' "No really, Mom, I'm okay" smile. Not very believable, is it?

Jack says, "We gotta stick together, Brother"

Do you love Jack's hair? It's the result of throwing up, taking a bath and then sleeping on wet hair. Still love it? I have to admit, I still do.

See how Jack's pointing at me? Yeah, I should have taken that as a message, as in "Hey Mom, I'm about to throw up all over you." But I didn't and well, you get the picture.

I've had better days, I'll admit. Cleaner, less disgusting days, certainly. But through it all my holiday spirit hasn't been broken. So to the stomach flu I say "Bah Humbug!"
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