Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Jack-o-Lanterns for Christmas!

This week, I did a better job documenting some of the fun and funny moments from our house this week.  To start off the fun and games, my husband and daughter decided to finally decorate the pumpkin that's been sitting around our kitchen for multiple weeks.

For the record, THIS TIME, it was actually early morning when she was wearing her jammies, hence the pictures in the only room without windows - the bathroom :)

As I may have mentioned, I've been training for a 5k.  So far, I'm running about 2.4 miles continuously, 0.7 left to add in!  It's been a bit of a trick to find the time to go out running with homeschooling and the shortening of the days, so I've opted for two shorter runs and one or two longer runs a week.  Little Bean goes with me on the shorter runs (lots of doubling back when she skip-walks!) and I do the longer ones on the weekend or during my husband's half-day every week. 

The first day I got Little Bean geared up for a jog, I thought she was so cute, I had to document the outfit.

The other cute look for the week was the high pony.  Getting ready for gymnastics this week, I was trying to get a hairstyle for her that wouldn't come out halfway through class.  I decided rather than the usual low pony I give her I would try a higher and tighter one.  The best part was her reaction, she thought she was quite the superstar and enjoyed looking at it in the mirror :)

Finally in our photo-documentary of the week a look at kind acts.  Every Advent, we prepare a bed for Jesus.  This year, we found a small shoebox (and have a baby doll waiting in the wings to play the part!) and covered it in construction paper.  Then I cut small pieces of yarn.  Every time a family member makes a sacrifice or performs a kind act for another family member or friend, a piece of the yarn is placed in the box.  The box is our manger and the yarn represents hay to soften baby Jesus' bed.  So every time a kind deed or sacrifice is made, the bed for Jesus becomes softer.  It's a simple reminder to prepare our hearts for the birth of Jesus during Advent. 

On Monday, we were setting out on a roadtrip to pick up my Christmas present (thank you craigslist!) and visit a friend who recently moved out of town.  I ran back inside to get one last thing and this is the sight I beheld upon my return to the car (where I had left her INSIDE, supposedly buckling up!).

Have a wonderful week.  We are looking forward to my husband's college graduation this weekend with much anticipation!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

She's Got the Look!

My husband and daughter are good about spending time together while I'm working this holiday season.  My husband has always been good about time with Little Bean, but with working evenings, they're both finding more daddy-daughter nights on the menu.  I tease my husband about getting into fights with our daughter.....they sometimes argue a little like siblings....the lot of an only child :)

In looking back at the week, I realized I hadn't taken any photos or documented any of our little projects.  I decided to plug in the camera memory card to see if there were any pictures I had forgotten on there.  The answer to that would be, no, there were no pictures I had forgotten and left on there.  However, my husband and daughter apparently had a jam session while I was away. 

Perhaps at this point I should take a moment to say something about her clothing (my husband and I called this the "muppet outfit" because it looked like she had muppet fur on her arms!).  Little Bean has a sense of style....she calls herself "a fashion and action girl".  She likes to layer and experiment with her clothing.  My mom has said on occasion that she's surprised I give her so much freedom in her outfit selection.....pretty sure that was a nice way of saying that Little Bean looked a little crazy that day (I'm sure she did!). 

We do give her a lot of lee-way in choosing her outfits.  If it's cold, your arms and legs should be covered (although she has "hot feet" and will fight you on the socks, as you can see from the pictures).  If it's church, the clothes must be nice (which doesn't prevent them from being layered strangely, just no play clothes allowed).  There are parameters, and Little Bean tends to find the strangest of looks within those parameters.  I will admit, if we're going somewhere I'm not up to taking her fashion-forward appearance, I do pick out the clothes....but for the most part, she's at liberty to "create an outfit" as she says. 

Most people get a kick out of her outfits, and I've gotten so used to her choices that I don't cringe anymore when I leave the house with her.  Although, when she wore the Halloween cape outside her winter coat to go into my work to go shopping, I did shake my head a little :) 

The weird clothing all comes down to a fundamental principle of our parenting.  There should be limits and guidelines to help make decisions (weather requirements, church requirements for clothing), but within those parameters, Little Bean needs to start making choices and decisions.  She needs to build up her ability to operate creatively and successfully inside guidelines, and to make choices and see their consequences directly (ie, I am the only one wearing a cape to the department store).  She's not embarrassed by her choices and likes her outfits, so I think it's also teaching her about individuality and reasonable self-expression.  She injures no one, follows the guidelines and finds a place where she can be uniquely herself.  All good lessons to learn.  That being said, if you see a red ponytail sticking out a baseball cap and a crazily dressed child, I might be somewhere with Little Bean :)

Our Advent is going well.  In some ways I feel like we're keeping on pace and focusing on the true meaning of Christmas, but in others I feel like I'm dropping the ball a bit.  For example I CANNOT find the tea light holders that we painted pink and purple last year as our Advent wreath.  However, Little Bean and I are getting some quality Christmas/Advent lessons in.  We've started a lesson each day for Advent.  For those of you that haven't started, there's a great website called Holy Heroes - if you haven't found something to do with the kids yet for Advent, I highly recommend checking out this site.  Little Bean loves the daily videos, especially the Jesse Tree story one, since the kids act some scenes out in costume!  We're also working on ornaments, using the ideas from Catholic Culture. (This guide mostly lines up with the Holy Heroes daily emails/videos, except Holy Heroes takes Sundays off, so you have to do an extra ornament sometime during the week.)  It's my goal for the week to get a green fleece tree cut out of the extra fabric in the attic so we can hang all the ornaments we've gotten done.....finishing by the 24th counts, right?  :) 

Through it all though, we're keeping it pretty low key.  I'm not going to tear the attic to pieces looking for the Advent wreath (although I will do a better job Spring cleaning and organizing so it isn't lost next year!).  I'm not going to shop every spare minute I have (nearly every present we plan to purchase is already purchased and about half are already wrapped and under the tree! - Santa still has a bit of wrapping, but nothing too serious).  I will spend time talking about the meaning of Christmas and the season of Advent with Little Bean and I will enjoy the beautiful tree we decorated as a family and placing the baby Jesus in our stunning Bethlehem wood nativity scene on Christmas morning.  I will make heartfelt gifts to show my appreciation for others, but not so many that I'm a wreck the week before Christmas.  Finally, I will enjoy seeing Christmas through my daughter's eyes.  Waking up on the Feast of St. Nicholas to her shouts of "St. Nicholas CAME!!!!" was worth the few minutes it took to line up shoes and fill them with goodies.  This is going to be a wonderful Christmas because even with working through the holidays, I will make the small things count and focus on the big picture. 

Praying that you all have a blessed and peaceful Advent :)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

 One of the best things about our homeschool association is the great field trips.

Last month we headed off to an animal shelter to learn about pet care and how to help animals in our community.

This month, we headed to a Christmas festival.  It was a lot of fun and there were tons of Christmas trees to get us in the holiday spirit.

This tree was a couple stories in the air, completely made of stuffed animals. 
On the way to the North Pole

Excited to see all the neat stuff!

Yarn spinning live Christmas scene

The train has a gondola going up the mountain!

A farmer Christmas

Where's ET, I mean, Little Bean?

Hanging with the Reindeer

Posing with the train

Look Santa!  I'm taking good care of your pals!!

Posing with the cakes

Tasty holidays!

Fits right in at the North Pole :)
After the Christmas festival, we headed to see family for Thanksgiving.  It was exciting to see family, and even got to see my husband's cousin take her first steps (she'll be 1 next week)!

Little Bean and her second cousin hanging out

Her royal highness viewing her subjects

A chilly, chilly walk!

Trying to get a family photo....

Opening early birthday presents

Fergus taking us for a walk!

Star Wars Legos!

The audience continues....

Family photo take 2.....

Up to no good....

The final family photo!

Cousins getting crazy!

....and crazier!
A pre-Thanksgiving snack

The subjects basking in the glow...


When we went visiting family, we brought a jello and cream dessert.  As we packed up to head to the store (it's cold now and trips take some preparation!) Little Bean told me she wanted to bring her wallet and buy something.  I told her she could buy a treat with her allowance money, but she wanted to buy "something important".  So, she bought the jello for the dessert.  She was so proud of herself, she handled the money at the register and even got her own receipt.  She thought I was a ridiculous to take a picture of it and refused to be in the photo, but I told her it was a milestone!

Little Bean's first purchase!

Once we were back and at our place again following Thanksgiving, the deep cleaning and decorating began.

The space is clear

The boxes are down from the attic
Cracking open a new tree

It's taped together quite well

Almost free...
The star on top!

At last, a finished tree!
And to finish off a look back at our week with something truly ridiculous.......

Making a list for Santa

My husband often teases me about being lax with Little Bean.  I'm strict about manners and treating others with kindness and that sort of venue, but when it comes to some things, I just don't see the point in there being a rule.  This picture captures one of these instances.  It's a sturdy table, she helped clean it off and she's not damaging it by writing on the table.....therefore, if she decides that laying across the table makes the Santa list easier to write, I really have no problem with husband will just continue to look at me like I've got a screw loose :)