Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Christmas Fancy

On the afternoon of Christmas Eve, Meredith scheduled a special treat for the four girls.  We took a trip to Blo and the girls had their hair done.

Josie chose the "Holly Would" look.  The stylist washed her hair, blew it partly dry and then started in one some fabulous curls: 

Georgia chose the "Pillow Talk" look, but her "do" began the same way:

I couldn't resist a few photos of Josie mid-way through her style:

With all those pin curls, she looked like an old lady...

.... named Madge:

Oh Madge, I love your wash and set!

Eventually, Madge's pin curls were removed and Josie returned.

Her Stylist finger-combed the curls and gave Josie a bonus braid on the side:

Meanwhile, further back in the salon, Georgia was getting her own curls:

Her look involved less tight curls and more windswept waves.

Georgia's hair doesn't usually hold curls (or windswept waves) well, so I was impressed by her stylist's skills and hair gel.

The final results were adorable.

The girls loved the experience and the end product.

And I loved that it was mid-afternoon and they were all ready for Christmas Eve (no showers or blow dryers necessary).

If you find yourself in North Carolina, look up Blo and make yourself an appointment.  Theirs is a great concept and service.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas in North Carolina

We just got back from Christmas at Southern Sister's new house in  North Carolina.  

Our entire family made the trip including my parents, Elizabeth, Sean & Owen and my Aunt Elsie.

And we all drove.

Yep.  You read that correctly.  We drove to North Carolina from Massachusetts and it actually was quite fun.

That's not to say that I wasn't glad to see the door to my garage at the journey's end yesterday.

This was Owen's first real Christmas as last year he was only five months old and not very aware of the holiday.  We enjoyed watching him admire the decorations, open presents and endlessly climb the stairs.  The life of a toddler is so very busy.

On Christmas Eve, we all dressed up in our finery and had the annual photo call:

As always, Josie posed willingly and Henry and Georgia posed begrudgingly.

I forgot to pack Josie's party shoes and Henry didn't have dress socks or shoes that fit his enormous teenager feet, so he went without.  The good news is that with Henry in bare feet and me in sky high heels, it meant that I was once again taller than Henry - a detail I found quite pleasing.  (see first photo).

I also got some great shots of Southern Cousins, Avery (l) and Lily (r):

And a photo of my sister Meredith with her two teenagers:

Christmas morning was also great fun.  We don't get up as early as we used to (thank goodness), but the excitement of coming down the stairs and seeing the presents under the tree is just as great at 8am as it used to be at 6am.

Josie got a letter from Santa telling her that he put Santa Money in our bank account so that she could buy a bicycle when we got home (he explained that it's hard to bring a bicycle in his sleigh and also he knew how difficult it would be for us to bring a bicycle back home with us).

Santa is such a thoughtful guy.

Owen unwrapped his share of presents, too:

His favorite were a school bus and a train which spelled out "owen."

There were the usual joke gifts as well.  Henry got a knitted, woolly beard:

We had a marvelous time in NC (more posts to follow).  Meredith and John's new house is gorgeous and it was great to be able to see their new neighborhood and to spend time together as a family.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Fun Mom

In our old neighborhood, we had kids up the wazoo.  There were kids to the left, kids to the right, kids behind and kids across the street... all my children had to do was leave the house and it was instant playdate.  

And that was great - until the inevitable clash of personalities set in and quarrels and sharing issues arose (all the kids were in the 2-8 age range at the time).  Since I had a baby, a toddler and a kindergartener at the time, I was almost always outside with the kids and it was often up to me - the sole adult - to mediate fights, break up arguments and return stolen toys.

I was Mean Mommy of the Neighborhood.

And the sad thing was that turning into Mean Mommy happened so quickly and without my knowledge.  The other mothers were inside their homes and were unaware that their little precious was outside grabbing toys away from unsuspecting neighbor children.  It was up to me to create peace and try to soothe hurt feelings and in most cases, just the act of mediating caused more hurt feelings and anger.  

In every instance, one child thought I was great and the other thought I was evil.  And there wasn't much room for winning back the affection of the second group.  I was stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Our new neighborhood is child-free and in some ways the lack of children completely sucks.  Our children have to make phone calls in order to see their friends and the outside isn't guaranteed to come with built-in entertainment.

That's the bad news.  The good news is that we are able to limit our interactions to children who we actually LIKE and who are good sharers and well-behaved.  

And I get to be the Fun Mom now.  

How did I make the reversal?  

Ta Da!

That's right.  A baking play date.

Nothing says Fun Mom more than letting kids bake and eat some cookies.  In this case, we used a mix that Gordy's mom brought for Thanksgiving.

Josie and her fabulous friend, E, opened that tin and got to work.

 Both of these girls are the products are co-op nursery schools and are therefore excellent measurers, mixers and instruction followers.

This is a huge bonus when trying to be Fun Mom.  It's hard to stay Fun when there is a mess being made or when sugar is flying around your kitchen.

Since this recipe only consisted of a few added ingredients, the "making" of the cookies really concentrated on the rolling of dough into balls.

Which is like play dough and therefore, very fun.

The instructions called for enormous cookies, and that is what we made.

I let the girls do their own rolling and their own cookie shaping.  These were well-massaged cookies.

The only thing I didn't really allow was dough tasting as Fun Mom is not the mom who sends a food poisoned child home.

Luckily this fact did not turn me back into Mean Mom.

The cookies (which were the size of dessert plates) were wonderful.

Fun Mom let them both eat two and we made up a plate for E to take home.

I'm enjoying my new role and I haven't missed my old one even a little bit.  

Maybe I should have sent the girls around to our myriad senior citizen neighbors with Thank You For Not Having Young Children cookie plates.  

Maybe the next time!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas Eve, everyone!  Sorry for the blog silence - we've been gathering and visiting and all sorts of family-ing.  The only -ing I haven't been doing is blogging and for that, I apologize.  

What I have been doing is getting my fill of this sweet little boy.

and I've been enjoying following him around, listening to his fabulous babble and watching him move items from one surface to another.

On todays agenda:  a cousin soccer game in a local park, the girls are going to a Style Bar to get their hair done, and an obscene amount of cookies are going to be eaten by me.

It's Christmas and healthy eating is not allowed.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Making of Block Bobby

Josie has been working on a school project for the last week.  Her assignment was to make a musical instrument that could play both high and low notes and both loud and soft sounds.

Georgia did this same assignment in third grade and she made a water flute out of glass bottles.  Josie wanted to do something completely different, so she spent some time on the internet researching homemade musical instruments.

The model that caught Josie's eye was a homemade thumb piano and it looked relatively easy to make.

We used a block from our toy collection, popsicle sticks and bobby pins (cut in half).

Josie started out by gluing two popsicle sticks together and then gluing the result onto the block.

Once all that glue had dried, Josie placed the bobby pins along the popsicle sticks and arranged them in order of long to short.  

These were held in place with tape.

The last step was glue another popsicle stick on top:

The last step before the decorating began, I mean.

Josie used colorful duct tape and glittery star stickers.

Josie's thumb piano (which she named Block Bobby) works pretty well.

She put on a concert for Henry and I yesterday afternoon.  You have to put pressure on the top of each bobby pin before you strike the "key" but the instrument definitely fulfills all the projects requirements and it looks better than it photographed.  

Josie was very proud of her instrument and went off to school today with her head held high and her block bobby (or bobby block as she wrote on the side) carefully wrapped in a bag.

I used to dread projects like this when Henry had to do them.  The first time through, projects seem overwhelming and time consuming, but by the time your third child reaches project age, there's no time to worry or over-think an assignment.  

And I'm happy to report that with the exception of cutting the bobby pins and holding down the popsicle sticks while they dried, Josie did the entire project herself.  

And that's pretty good work, I'd say!  

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Report From The Desk Of The Chairgirl

One week ago, when it was becoming glaringly obvious that the old Chairwoman of our House Decorations Committee (me) was too old and lazy to fulfill her role, Josie nominated herself as a replacement.

And I quickly took her up on her offer.

Josie supervised the hanging of the outside lights:

And she unpacked all the holiday ornaments, trolls and trinkets:

And she posed for pictures which will no doubt be included in next month's Committee Newsletter.

Josie also accompanied her father to the tree lot and chose for our family the widest tree you ever did see.

I had asked for a small, skinny tree, but Josie over-ruled me - the choice of the tree is the Chairgirl's prerogative.

Later that night (while I was at a hockey rink with Henry), Josie, Georgia and Gordy decorated the tree.

And the next morning, I recreated the event so that I could have photos that weren't dark, blurry and full of shadows.

I rather like our plump tree.

It's pleasantly pear-shape and reminds me of my childhood dog, a bottom-heavy cairn terrier named Norman.

I'm also pleased with our new Chairgirl.  The holiday decorations are beautiful this year.  

When she comes back up for re-election, I plan to vote yes!

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