Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Leilani woke us all bright 'n early. Well, not too incredibly early, really, but she was unwrapping presents at 7 o'clock. Natalia slept through Leilani's unwrapping. Leilani loved her gifts, but her favorite was the snowglobe. She's been asking for one for a few months now, so when I saw a plastic, unbreakable snowglobe, I knew I had to get it for her. Of course, she thinks Santa brought it :). Leilani also got a LeapPad, it has a camera and everything, just like an iPad, so she's pretty excited about that!

Both girls got train sets: Leilani's is a battery operated My Little Pony one, and Natalia's is the Disney Baby train. The trains have gotten more play time than all the other toys combines. Natalia got a toy laptop instead of a LeapPad. They each got puzzles and books, lots of little things in their stockings and got each other some fantastic gifts - Leilani got Natalia a talking lunch basket and Natalia got Leilani a Backpack kit with Map, a bracelet and fake phone. Natalia got a shape sorter and Leialni got a Minnie Mouse dress-up doll. I got Jeremy a book on General Custer (his current obsession) and he got me the Harry Potter Complete 8-film Collection.

After gifts, I popped breakfast in the oven. I was so excited - sticky pecan rolls. But not everything that I make can be a homerun - it wasn't very sweet. I made the recipe exactly as it was written, but I think if I make it again, I'm going to tweak it. Dinner was a much better success - vegan roast with veggies, and garlic mashed potatoes. After dinner, Natalia took a nap and Leilani watched some movies. I steamed the Christmas Pudding. Once it was done steaming, we poured some brandy over it and lit it on fire. Leilani was so excited and Natalia was mesmerized by the flames. I pulled out the reindeer rootbeer I made last week. Just IBC rootbeer decorated to look like reindeer. Brown pipe cleaners twisted around the top for antlers, googly eyes and a poofy red ball for eyes and nose. Leilani was super excited, both to have soda and at the decoration :).

Last night, between movies and bed, we tracked Santa's progress and Leilani got a phone call from the big man himself. She was so excited! We also did every single action rhyme I know. Leilani and Natalia had a blast with it and we had to do most of them twice.

Hope you all had a fantastic Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve

Happy Christmas Eve!

Today we've had lots of fun - Leilani and Jeremy did some more cutting on the bed project, I did some cooking (yummy dinner, but more on that later)and we -hopefully - started some new Christmas Eve traditions.

Our dinner was one of our pre-vegan favorites, remade to be vegan, obviously. Scrambled tofu, biscuits and vegan sausage gravy and hashbrowns. I made the potatoes in the oven since I don't have enough frying pans and I needed my one for the tofu. I found the MOST amazing scrambled tofu recipe ever - everyone ate it up! Finally, a tofu recipe the whole family loves! Even Natalia chowed down on her plate full of food. I made the sausage this morning, then used the drippings for the base of the gravy. For the biscuits I used the "bisquick" I made a month or so ago. Leilani ate her entire plate, plus more potatoes. When I find a meal that the whole family will eat, I know I've found a winner.

After dinner, we watched some Super Why!, well, Leilani watched, I played on the computer and started dreaming about a vegetable garden. Then we went upstairs and I gave the girls a "Christmas Eve bath"....I put green food coloring in the water and some Johnson and Johnsons cold bath stuff in there so it gave it a sort of woodsy smell. Then I tossed all the characters from the Veggie Tales nativity play set and let the girls play in there for a while. Natalia screamed at first, but after I got in and held her, she calmed down and played for a good 15 minutes before I figured it was time for her to get out. Leilani stayed in for a bit longer.

We put out the magic reindeer dust Leilani made at school after they were done bathing and we were all dressed in our Christmas PJs. We also put the key and poem on the door so Santa can get in. We're going to spend the rest of the afternoon and evening watching Christmas movies and later we're going to make popcorn and hot chocolate and have some cookies, too.

Everyone, have a Happy Christmas!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Advent: Day 23

We pretty much just chilled all day. Jeremy did some more work on the bunk beds, I did some stitching on one of the stockings (I haven't forgotten about Natalia's birth record, I'm just taking a break and working on another project for the time being). Leilani started her needle craft today, she had enough fake money saved up for it, and I gave her a "Christmas discount" too. It took her almost all morning, but she got a whole row and a half done. She kept saying "I'm not good at this mommy" and I kept reminding her that I wasn't fast when I stated either, that we get better the more we do something.

Natalia "helped" me do my cooking and baking today - we made chickpea tomato soup and grilled cheese for lunch and a pecan pie for Christmas. Mostly, she just tried to grab everything and eat it or knock it over. Leilani "helped" Jeremy with the bed, which really means, climbed all over the wood, used the pencil to draw on the wood and ask questions. I think the way kids help is really kinda cute. And they're little for so short a time, I really am just trying to enjoy each minute.

Our gingerbread cookies from yesterday were a huge hit - we ate quite a few of them yesterday, so I hid them so we'll have enough for Christmas Eve. Natalia LOVES them, she ate an entire leg. More like gummed it, then it came drooling out of her mouth and kinda looked gross.

Leilani drew a lovely picture - a smiley face with ginormous eyes and the words "I see" printed above it. The only problem I have with this picture is its location - the bathroom wall is NOT the place for masterpieces to be drawn. Oh, and it's directly across from the toilet, so the picture WATCHES you.

Today's activity was reading the story of Jesus' birth. Yes, I know this is no where near His birthday, and originally not even close to a Christian holiday, but it is nice to remember His birth.

Tomorrow we're going to do our Christmas Eve box - new PJs all around, little stuffed animals for the girls, then we're gonna have popcorn, cookies, eggnog or hot chocolate and watch a movie together.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Advent: Day 22

Today, for our Advent project, we made gingerbread men. Our vegan recipe is super yummy and we went all traditional and used raisins for the decorations. I think Santa's going to be getting gingerbread cookies under the tree this year. Leilani had so much fun pouring the ingredients, sifting the dry ingredients and mixing them all together.

While we were mixing and measuring, Natalia was playing with Jeremy - she was in a serious daddy-mood this morning. He had to hold her constantly or she got M-A-D. It made me giggle - evil, I know - since he got to experience a bit of what I go through every day. I love Natalia, so don't get me wrong, but she just does NOT like to be anywhere but in someones arms. As a baby, she has that prerogative, I know, but that's why the floor doesn't get swept and dinner's not made - no using a knife while holding a baby! She finally settled on the floor and did some zombie-crawling, pulled a couple ornaments off the tree and then grabbed my leg.

After Natalia released him, Jeremy went out to the garage to get everything ready for his huge DIY project - this amazing bed. Leilani is beyond excited. He's going to be the girls' hero for years to come for making this thing. It's incredible.

Last night, our Christmas light hunting lasted maybe 20 minutes. Natalia fell asleep and Leilani was just done. We had bundled them up in their PJs and went out with high hopes. But alas, this area really doesn't do much in the way of Christmas lights. It was a rather sad showing, but Leilani did enjoy seeing the lights we saw. After we got back, Leilani had some cookies and watched a snowman movie that wound up scaring her, so we switched to Super Why. She finished the snowman movie this morning and wasn't nearly as scared - I think last night had something to do with being tired. Natalia stayed asleep after we got home, and then woke up a little after seven and didn't go back to sleep until 11:30 - used to be that was no problem, staying up that late, but I'm officially a mommy - I was ready for bed hours before she was. We danced, played with some puzzles, watched Elf, had some cookies and read some stories.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Advent: Days 20 & 21

I'm not much feeling like writing, but I want to put these two days down while they're still fresh, so I don't forget.

Friday we played Christmas Bingo - Leilani was super excited, she filled her entire card. Natalia mostly just tried to eat the cards.

Today's is going Christmas light hunting. We'll be heading out to do that in the next half hour or so.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Advent: Days 18 & 19

Yesterday our Advent package was paper snowflakes! I found some templates on Pinterest and the idea to use coffee filters. Since we don't drink coffee and my dad left a bunch, we only have a ton of coffee filters. Today's package was another book. Yesterday and today's packages kind of got jumbled into today, as all we did yesterday was open the package. Leilani and I made some snowflakes before she went to school, and while she was at school, I made a bunch more and hung them up above the TV. Leilani was enchanted when she got home from school.

Leilani's been a bit worried about how Santa's going to get in since we don't have a chimney, so I found a "Santa Key Poem", attached a bow and key to the card I wrote it out on, and Christmas Eve we're going to attach it to the door. We're also going to sprinkle the reindeer dust out that Leilani made at school a couple weeks ago. She's very excited about that.

We all have colds over here, so we have the humidifier going with the VapoSteam stuff in it, meds galore, and sniffles, coughs and watery eyes. Not much fun, but thank goodness for those boogie wipes. I always thought they were a waste of money and just some goofy thing, but they're the only thing Natalia doesn't scream at having wipe her nose. And I don't blame her, they feel at least a bajillion times better than kleenex!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Advent: Days 16 & 17

Yesterday just flew by - Leilani and I made the gingerbread house in the morning, followed by yesterday's advent package - paint-your-own ceramic mugs. Actually, that took up most of the day. We went over to some friends' from works house last night. Leilani and the little girl are now bff's.

This morning started off like any other school morning - getting lunch packed, getting all of us dressed and ready to go out the door. Until it came time to actually go out the door. Then I couldn't find the diaper bag (which has my keys). It wound up being locked in the car. Natalia was asleep when we got home last night, so I tried very carefully not to wake her (I didn't) so she could get unexhausted and not have an even later night. So it was a win on that front - not so much on the whole getting to school front. Leilani wound up staying home and we did some projects, made sticky pecan rolls and orange rolls (for Christmas and New Years Days respectively). Natalia had a lovely poo blowout - all the way up to her neck. This was the first bath she didn't like. The whole thing lasted 30 seconds - just long enough to get her cleaned up.

Our advent project today was making snow globes. Leilani made one and I made one for Natalia (since she's a bit young to be messing with glue and glitter and such). It was hard for Leilani to wait for the glue to dry. I can't believe how quickly December's going and that it's almost Christmas!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Advent: Day 15

Today we went up to Seattle. Leilani was super excited, Natalia not so much at the prospect of a long car ride. Fortunately, she fell asleep. We stopped at a little road side coffee shop and got coffees (Leilani got a chai tea, which she said upset her tummy. Which is weird because she usually LOVES chai tea!) Our first stop was at Whole Food - I haven't been to one is so incredibly long, it was awesome. We got some tempeh (which I can't find anywhere in our town), almond yogurt, rice cheese and lunch. Natalia ate off my plate - she had some curry paste/sauce off my "chik'n" salad, rice out of my dolmas, and yogurt. Leilani loved eating all her food (and some of mine and Jeremy's)...she had sesame marinated tofu, and some of Jeremy's chickpea salad. I love that my girlies love to eat so many different types of cuisines and flavors.

From there we went to the Children's Museum....Leilani said she didn't hate it, and didn't love it. She said she liked playing in the theater area, the market area and the rock climbing area. After that, we went up to the food court where a dance academy was doing a performance. It was acrodance, and Leilani said "that's what I want to do!" Fortunately the dance academy here in town specialized in acrodance.

While we were in the foodcourt, Leilani got some cotton candy and we found a little vegan cafe - they had puff pastry!!! I got a smoked yam tart, Jeremy got a tomato tart and we sort of split a roasted pumpkin dish. The next time we go up to Seattle, we're going to their actual restaurant.

When we got home, Leilani took a bath, then opened up the Advent package, which we'll have to do tomorrow. So tomorrow we'll be building a gingerbread house and our 16th day...should be nice and busy.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Advent: Day 14

Leilani woke up feeling so much better. She went to bed really early and all that sleep really helped (isn't sleep amazing). Anyway, I gave her some more meds and she went to school. She really didn't want to miss school.

Leilani opened the Advent package before school. She was a bit confused because it was two pine cones. I explained that when she got home from school, we'd spread peanut butter on them, roll them in bird seed and hang them up outside for our feathered friends. She was quite excited.

After dropping Leilani off, Natalia and I went shopping. It took an hour, but I got everything on my list (YES! I remembered it!) except the two things Super Wal-Mart didn't have - dates and currants to make the Christmas Pudding. I hate WalMart, I really do, but the price is right and it's mostly a one-stop shop. I had to get Natalia a highchair, the kind that you put on a dining chair, since we could never find the missing part to Leilani's old highchair. Natalia seemed to enjoy sitting in there with her food.
Leilani loved it too, because they could eat a snack side by side.
I love it because now Natalia can actually feed herself, do painting, etc and be contained.

Our Advent project got derailed. I cannot find the bird see ANYWHERE. But I bought some plaster ornaments for Leilani to paint and wrap for her teachers. She's quite excited and can't wait for Monday to take them in. So even though it wasn't our original project, she's still having fun.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Advent: Day 13

We finally got our truck back, so I could drop Leilani off and I'll pick her up this afternoon. I'm really quite excited to be doing that again :). When I picked Leilani up, she looked miserable. If she's not feeling better by morning, she's probably going to have to miss tomorrow. Her nose is running like crazy. We went to Wal-Mart to get the milk for our hot cocoa (it's National Hot Cocoa Day!) and Leilani fell asleep on the ten minute car ride to the store.

After dropping Leilani off, Natalia and I came home and Natalia took a nap (I watched How I Met Your Mother and worked out our Holiday menus and a corresponding shopping list). After Natalia woke, we went to the library, came home, read and watched some Backyardigans. Natalia loves the colors and music. I think they're super cute and like the songs.

Our Advent package today had a book - A Charlie Brown Christmas. As I was reading it, Natalia crawled! She wanted the book, so did an actual crawl to get to it! I rewarded her by letting her have the book when I finished reading it. It's a board book, she she can't really destroy it *grin*.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Advent: Day 12

Leilani had to ride the bus again today. She looked so tiny climbimg on to the bus. Fortubately she seems to enjoy riding it. Natalia and I snuggled and played all day. Well, except for when Natalia napped. Pretty much, it was just a lazy day

Leilani's Advent thing today was writing a letter to Santa. I can't get the scanner to work, but hopefully later I'll be able to add it

She wrote:
Dear Santa,
I made presents. We have magic dust for your reindeer. I love you. From Leilani
And drew him a picture of a reindeer. It's really cute, and hopefully I'll be able to get it up soon :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Advent: Day 11. AKA The Weirdest Day Ever

Today, I did the strangest thing I've ever done. I put my little girl on the bus. It wasn't my choice, I just had no other options. I spent the whole time with my stomach in knots. "What if there's an accident? What if she's bullied?" When 8:30 rolled around and I knew she was in class and I hadn't gotten a phone call, I relaxed for 2 minutes. Then I started worrying about her getting on the right bus after school. Needless to say, it was a rather long day.

Before getting on the bus, Leilani opened todays Advent package. Christmas jokes! Some of them she didn't understand because of the cultural difference (the jokes are from a British blog) So when I asked her "What's an ig?" the answer ("An Eskimos house without a loo") didn't make any sense until I explained what a loo is. Then she giggled. A couple others that made her laugh were
"Why does Santa like to wear bells? Because he love a good bell-y laugh"
"Knock knock. Who's there? Snow. Snow who? Snow use, I'v forgotten my name again"
"What do snowmen eat for breakfast? Ice Krispies"
"What goes 'oh, oh, oh'? Santa walking backwards"
"What do monkeys sing at Christmas? Jungle Bells"
and last of our morning jokes
"Knock knock. Who's there? Mary. Mary who? Mary Christmas"

I heard her singing "jungle bells" as she was getting ready for school, so I think she really liked that one. *grin*

While Leilani was at school, Natalia and I watched Star Wars 4, 5, and 6. Well, more like had them on while we napped, cleaned and baked. We cleaned and vacuumed the living room, cleaned the kitchen, made no-bake chocolate-peanut butter-oatmeal cookies and enough cheezee sauce for three different meals.

Leilani made it on the right bus, and is safe, sound and in one piece. Unfortunately, the truck isn't done and won't be until sometime tomorrow, so she's riding the bus again tomorrow. She's pretty excited, I'm not, but I'm glad that Thursday we'll be back to normal.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Advent: Day 10. AKA The Day From Hell

I woke up wth a migraine, for the fifth day in a row. But, after a tall glass of chocolate soy milk and some tylenol (I don't dare take anything harder since I'm nursing), the headache seemed to be subsiding. Then, on the way to school, things took a turn for the worse. The truck started behaving badly. I had the pedal FLOORED and barely made thirty miles-per-hour. Once we got to school, I was afraid to turn the engine off, but Leilani needed me to take her in, and I was hoping that if I turned it off, it would work better after I turned it back on. Only, it didn't turn back on. So I called Jeremy. He got there after what felt like FOREVER! We ran to the auto-part store but they didn't have the part at that moment, but would have it by ten. I took Jeremy back to school for the Kindergarten Dads and Donuts.

While Jeremy and Leilani did crafts and had donuts, I ran to Wal-Mart to get some shopping done, then back to school to pick Jeremy up and go back to the auto-part store. I dropped him back off at school, came home and thought he'd get the truck fixed, go back to work and I'd hang out at home, make some seitan and cutlets, take a nap with Natalia and play with her. But it wasn't in the stars today. I barely got the seitan mixed when Jeremy called and said I needed to come back to pick him up again. We made two more runs to the auto-part store, then the trucks alarm went off and we couldn't get it to stop. Jeremy told me the other key fob had the button for the alarm, and could I run back home and get it? So I did, only it wasn't the right fob (in my defense, it was the only fob in the drawer). We called the insurance and went to a mechanic to see if they could fix the truck. The insurance paid for a tow truck, so we went back to school to tell them we were going to have the truck towed and that the truck would be there some time today. Then, we went back home. We turned on to the street and got a call saying that the tow truck was already there. By this time, it was a little after 2:00, so I decided we ought to just stay at school, since we'd had zero luck with trying to go anywhere else all day. But the tow truck needed us to follow her. We got to the mechanics and I dropped Jeremy off, because if I left right then, I'd get back to the school just in time to pick Leilani up. I was there with just minutes to spare.

Leilani decided that she didn't want to see me, so hid around the corner. The school counselor went and talked to her, and she came out. I told her we needed to go pick up daddy and told her all about the tow truck. She was in as bad a mood as I was, so it wasn't a particularly fun ride to get Jeremy. After we picked him up, we went home and I had to bake the seitan, and figure out a new dinner. I'd been planning on using the seitan, but since I was gone all day, I couldn't get it baked. So, today's dinner will be for tomorrow. Fortunately I had some Shepherd's Pie frozen that I could pull out and throw in the microwave and have dinner ready in 15 minutes. Of course, we blew a fuse or something, and now thde microwave isn't working.

After dinner, Leilani opened our Advent package. Homemade green finger paint to make handprint trees. Leilani's response was hilarious "Oh wow! It's green....stuff." But she and Natalia had fun putting their hands in the funny feeling paint and making Christmas trees.

The day may have gone horribly wrong, but it's ending nicely. If only this headache would go away. And tomorrow's going to be the strangest day of my life - Leilani's going to have to ride the bus because I won't have a car.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Advent: Day 9

Leilani is loving school again. I cannot tell you how happy that makes me. The kindergarten workbook I bought her is her new favorite thing to do, even over watching movies! She's been doing math, social studies, science and writing all day. And she's having a blast! We finished the Magic School Bus chapter book today. Leilani loved learning about the Solar System - as we taked about the Voyager space probe, I told her that her cousin A, G and L's great-grandpa worked on the Voyuager's systems and that it just left our solar system the other day. She promptly declared that she wants to build one. I told her she can do anything she wants to, if she puts her mind to it :) She also read me two stories today!

Our Advent project today was making salt dough handprint ornaments. Natalia wasn't very cooperative, but we managed to get both girls' handprints. I was going to dry them in the oven, but changed my mind and we're letting them air dry - that way we don't have to turn the oven on and can save on electricty *smile*.

I finally got a decent night's sleep last night, and my three-day headache seems to be subsiding. Finally. I'd almost forgotten what no headache feels like.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Advent: Day 8

Today, we had an indoor snowball fight. There was a picture circulating on Pinterest, and if you follow the link, it's to buy this indoor snowball fight bucket. So, instead, I scrounged up a bucket, found some old, mismatched socks that I stuffed full of stuffing, and - waalaa! - our own indoor snowball fight, for free. Leilani liked getting to actually throw stuff in the living room, but I think she had more fun disassembling the sockballs when she was done throwing them.

So far, so good - Leilani's been brushing her teeth, keeping her playroom clean, making her bed, putting her dishes in the sink, doing her homework and being kind for three days straight now. All to earn some fake dollars to buy real stuff with. She already knows what she's saving for - a needlepoint kit I got for her. Initially, I was going to put the kit in her stocking, but I thought she might appreciate it more if she had to work for it. She's bound and determined to get it, so she's cleaning her playroom as I type this. Fingers crossed that I found the secret to helping her learn to take responsibility, clean up after herself and learn about money all at the same time.

And one last thing - I LOVE her going to school! I could kiss her teachers (not literally, but I'm pretty excited here) - Leilani read me an entire little story. She sounded it all out, and read it to me. Super short, but the main thing is - SHE DID IT BY HERSELF!!!! I'm so proud, I'm going to share the whole story with you, and you can pretend she's reading it aloud to you *grin*

Dan and Jan
Dan ran.
Jan ran.
Dan ran fast.
Jan ran as fast as Dan
Dad can see Dan and Jan.

My little baby's learning! It makes me so happy, and reinforces that I made the right decision in putting her in school!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Advent: Day 7

Today was another accidental-sleep-in day. Oops. But after a rushed get-out-the-door, we made it in time. I have to stop this sleeping in on accident. I looked at the clock at 6:30, and the next thing I knew, it was 7:20. So I either need to get up earlier, or get everything ready the night before so I'm not running around like crazy.

After we dropped Leilani off, Natalia and I went to get some milk. Leilani has started taking an individual sized thing of chocolate soy milk every day, and dirnking most of it, so who am I to stop her from drinking some milk?

When we got home, we did some cleaning, cooking, vacuuming, cuddling, reading and playing. Natalia scooted backwards across the floor and sat up - under the tree! She looked so cute, sitting there, trying to grab the ornaments.
Then Natalia took a nap and I did some cross-stitching. I'm *still* working on Natalia's birth record, but doing just a little bit a day, I'm actually seeing some progress. And I have our Christmas stockings on their way, so I'm just adding to my project pile.

Leilani was so incredibly excited when I picked her up today - she got the sharing bag! She's supposed to bring in something to show the other kids, write down some clues and keep what's in the bag a secret, then have every one guess what's inside. She's been talking about the sharing bag since her first day, so this is huge to her. She's taking Mater, so we're going to work up some clues to write down.

Once we were home, Leilani opened today's Advent package - homemade red and green playdough. Natalia wasn't too sure what to do with it, so left it on the floor between her legs, leaned over and bit it. Needless to say, her playdough playtime was over. Her face was priceless, kind of like "feels weird and tastes disgusting!" Leilani on the other hand, flattened it out and put her footprints in them. Then she was done and had her snack.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Advent: Day 6

We all accidentally slept in this morning - we had around 30 minutes to get ready to go, and Leilani can take that long just to eat! We did get out on time, and got Leilani to school in good time. Natalia and I came straight home, had some breakfast, cuddled and then Natalia took a nap.

I came up with a payment system for Leilani to do chores - everyday she does her chores, she gets a fake dollar, and I have small toys and things she can "buy" with her "money". I put all the little odds 'n ends in a drawer and now she can start to learn the how work = money = getting things. Also known as the value of a dollar. I'm quite hopeful that this will motivate her and get her excited. As soon as I explained the system to her, she put her dishes in the sink and ran off to brush her teeth again, make her bed and make sure her play room was all cleaned. Of course, she got a bit sidetracked by the legos,(yesterday she made the Great Wall of China, and today I heard her say she's making the Eiffel Tower) but I'm still hopefull. After all, it's only 4, still time for her to play *grin*

Today our Advent package contained a book: I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown. Leilani was so excited, she wanted me to read it twice! We're also reading a Magic School Bus chapter book. And, when I went to the library yesterday, I picked up a few books she can help me read.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Advent: Day 5

Today was late start Wednesday. I usually try to do a special breakfast, but this morning, instead, we made more cake batter fudge. On a whim, when I saw an empty ice cube tray, I decided to use it to harden the fudge in and then I wouldn't have to do any cutting and would have even portions - it worked great! You can just pop them out like ice cubes, and there aren't any more uneven pieces *grin* I also made some bread dough for dinner tonight.

Our Advent package today had a clear ornament, a marker, and some glitter. We put the glitter into the ornament, and used the marker to write the year and some of the highlights from the past year on to the ornament. It was kind of a hodge-podge of ideas I saw on Pinterest and growing up. Leilani had a blast helping me remember big events.

Our "short list" of things we did:

Niagara Falls
Cleveland Zoo
Columbus Zoo
Cleveland Aquarium
Natalia was born
Marine Week Cleveland

After Natalia and I dropped Leilani off at school, we went to pay the water bill, then to Wal-Mart to get some allergy meds and warm clothes for Natalia. She only had one pair of warm pants that fit her, and two sweaters. Now, however, she has 4 warm outfits, 2 sweatpants, 2 new sweaters, house shoes, and fuzzy snow boots. I got Leilani a new sweater, too, so she and Natalia could have matching black sweaters with unicorns and hearts on them; and they now have matching house shoes. Leilani was pretty excited to see that when she got home. Natalia and I also went to the library and put lots of Magic School Bus books and movies on order. They're Leilani's new favorite things, and I like that they're teaching her science :)

Today in class, Leilani made the December calender with the school schedule.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Advent: Day 4

Naturally, Leilani wanted to sleep in today. I had to wake her to get her ready for school, and despite the somewhat rocky start, she still got a green card for good behaviour. She did have a slight meltdown, though, as I was picking her up. She cme out with tears streaming down her face, and through her sobs, it took me a while to figure out what she was tring to say. Apparently, the other kids got holiday pencils and she didn't. I asked her if she wanted to talk to the school counselor and tell her what had happened (since she had witnessed the whole meltdown and wanted to help) so Leilani told her and then got to choose a pencil. All was better and we headed home.

Leilani was super excited to open todays Advent package - it was the VeggieTales Nativity Playset. She and Natalia played together for a while, the we read some and danced to Big Band Christmas music. I think Leilani's favorite part was spinning around, and Natalia's seemed to be me boucing around with her. It was a lovely afternoon. After dinner we watched Beauty and the Beast, The Enchanted Christmas Tomorrow's "Late Start Wedsnesday" so I'm going to figure out something fun for breakfast, and Leilani wants to make some fudge so it's ready to eat when she gets home from school.


So I'm feeling a bit depressed at the moment, and I have no idea why. Well, maybe I have a tiny idea. It might have something to do with the holidays and family and all that. Don't get me wronge, I love my girls, my husband, my life, I think it's just this time of year. I've been so excited for Christmas and this whole season, and now I feel a bit letdown. I can't shake this "blue-ness"...and I don't want it to pull anybody else down. Leilani's so excited, she wants to open presents right now, go through her stocking, do all the Advent activities at this very moment. And Natalia looks so cute, smiling, babbling, trying to crawl, learning so much, it's fun watching her and interacting with her. And me, I just want to curl up in a ball and cry, I don't know what to do. I'm taking vitamins and supplements, I'm eating healthy, I'm just not sure what's wrong. It may just be a case of the holiday blues.

I wrote all that yesterday (12/3). Today (12/4), after a nearly sleepless night thinking about it all, I think I understand better what's been going on inside me. I want the cozy feelings of my childhood, when I was little and thought te world was a fnatastic place, that my parents had only my best interests at heart, that my parent's love would last through the ages, and that my family was strong and indestructable. Time has taught me differently. My mom controlled nearly every aspect of our lives, manipulated us into becoming who she wanted us to be instead of allowing us to blossom into who we were, forged me into her best friend and made me her sole confidant. No daughter should have to know the things about their mom that I know about mine. I'm sad that my once apparently strong family is now splintered - my parents are divorced; my youngest brother, sister and mom haven't talked to me in what feels like ages (and at this point, because of how they've become, I've asked them to not have anything to do with my family, but that's a whole different post); my dad is remarried; and right now, I just feel kind of alone. I'm in a new city and don't know anyone; because growing up the only option for schooling was homeschooling, I'm feeling like a failure because I enrolled my daughter in school since homeschooling wasn't working. Instead of feeling like I've made a fantastic choice for our family, I'm feeling like I'm not good enough. I know that's my mom's voice from my childhood, telling me I'm "selling out". I mean, growing up, we were supposed to be so convicted about homeschooling that we were willing to die for it. How ridiculous is that? I mean, if you're dead, then you've got absolutely zero influence over your kids, you can't teach them what's important to you, what you believe, so that they can know and make their own decisions, instead, you'd just be gone. Seems legit to me. So maybe, these last few sentences have been me convincing myself (again) that I know I made the right decision about Leilani's schooling. Then there are other things I probably shouldn't blog about, but I just don't know what to do. I have no one here to talk to....Jeremy and I talk about it, sure, but I need a girl friend, someone I can meet for coffee, cry with, all that stuff. Something I've actually never had because, growing up, family was supposed to be IT. Family was supposed to be each others' best friends, and we were trained to never open up to anyone besides mom, dad, or siblings. Growing up, I always wanted a friend, someone besides my mom, but if I said that, all hell would break lose, so I kept my mouth shut. I wanted to go to school, but whenever I mentioned it, I got the same type of response, so I quit saying that after a couple years. I don't know, I know it doesn't help that I'm exhausted from lack of sleep. All this stuff, combined with the fact that Natalia's not night-weaned, has me sort of "zombie-fied" (new word, how do you like that? lol), and I know that's contributing to my mood. I just can't seem to shake it.

Anyway, I'm going to go lay back down with Natalia (we were sort of napping when the inspiration to write hit) and see if I can't grab some zzzz's and improve my mood. This post isn't supposed to be a pity party or cry for sympathy, just a way for me to get my feelings written down, and maybe start making some sense of them.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Advent: Day 3

This morning, before school, Leilani opened the third envelope - inside was a recipe for cake batter fudge. Leilani couldn't wait to get home to make it. Leilani didn't even want her usual after-school snack, but just wanted to immediately make the fudge. It was a super easy recipe (and something I found on, where else, Pinterest) If you want to check it out or try it for yourself, here's the direct link to the recipe. Leilani had a blast, but no patience waiting for it to chill. Once the fudge was cooling, I threw a couple spaghetti squashes in the oven for dinner. I'm trying a new recipe I found on Food Network's website.

Besides her excitement for making fudge, Leilani wanted to do extra schoolwork/homework, so I pulled out the workbook I bought for her and she went to town. We read a couple chapters of Charlotte's Web and then watched the movie from Netflix - Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. I have no idea how we got hooked back onto MM, but we did and both Leilani and Natalia love him.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Advent: Day 2

We tried a new church today, besides being rather far away, it just didn't feel right. When we got home, I made tofu filets - kinda like fish, sorta, and fries. So we had vegan fish 'n chips - I've been wanting fries because I just got some malt vinegar, and that's one of my guilty pleasures *grin*. After dinner, we did our second Advent activity - brownies! Chocolate Surprise Brownies, to be exact. The big surprise is that it's made with black beans - not that you'd know it. They taste fantastic and are one of our favorites. Even my dad, who kinda scoffs at being vegan, LOVES these brownies. It's another stay-at-home-and-be-cozy-and-warm kind of day, so after the brownies get out, I'm going to have a big ol' glass of soymilk and a brownie. YUM!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Advent: Day 1

Today, after finishing up Leilani's homework and reading some books, Leilani pulled out the folder with the number one on it. It was a recipe for cake mix sugar cookies, which we read through, then made. Leilani had a blast mixing the sprinkles in, them the wet ingredients. While the dough chilled in the refrigerator, Leilani colored, then she and Jeremy put the decorations up outside. I put Natalia in the Moby and took pictures. After dinner, we rolled out and cut the cookie dough. The cookies turned out really cute and taste just like sugar cookies. I didn't get any pictures of the cookies, but some of the decorations. *smiles* A nice day mostly relaxing at home with a lot of family time.

The last picture is of our Advent Activity Bucket