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Before first haircut – looks really red here!IMG_2649


And after. Sorry for the lack of action shots – he was too squirmy during the haircut. I had to help keep him still.IMG_0461


Christmas Day:













Cold weather:





With Uncle Ivan:



Blurry, but still cute:



Calvin loves his bike:



Daddy’s little helpers:



Playing with pots and pans:



Learning to drive:



Calvin made all the Christmas ornaments again this year:





With excellent results:







The holidays are fast approaching. We took the boys to get some photos taken for a Christmas card/baby announcement. Henrik was not exactly thrilled with the experience:

But we did get a few cute shots. This is my favorite:

Since Calvin has destructive tendencies these days, we didn’t do a big tree and get out our nice ornaments. We’re using our little fake tree this year, and had Calvin make all the decorations with a little help from me and Nana. He did a great job!

Henrik went to the doctor on Tuesday. He weighed in at 11 lbs 1 oz, and is now 22 inches long, so he’s grown quite a bit. He made the jump from 50th percentile weight at birth to 75th percentile now, so his doctor is very happy. He’s still a pretty mellow, easy baby, for which we are grateful. He’s pretty noisy though – he makes lots of grunting noises, like a little pig. It cracks us up!

Calvin is a lot of fun these days, even as he gets more challenging. He’s got a bunch of his favorite books memorized, and recites them throughout the day. His current favorite and the one we hear most often is The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. Here’s a little bit of it (you might need to turn up the volume for this one):

“Waterlemon” and “comacheache” are two of my current favorite words that Calvin says. So dang cute!

Eric and his Uncle Scott got the subfloor done for the addition on the house. We have an inspection tomorrow and then the framers can get started. It’s good to see some progress!

The larger room on the right will be the new master bedroom. Our current bedroom will be Henrik’s room. On the left is a smaller room that we will use as an office/guest room. The two rooms will be connected by a hallway, and outside the hallway between the two rooms will be a deck. There’s a lot that still has to be done, but we’ve seen some significant progress. Having Eric’s mom here for several weeks to help out with the kids allowed Eric to spend more time working on the house and he accomplished a lot, in spite of some weather delays. And Uncle Scott has been a huge help the past couple of weekends – we owe him big!

We did all of our Christmas shopping online, so that’s done, and the Christmas cards are going out tomorrow. It always feels like an accomplishment to get a card out at this time of year, but this year it feels monumental! Everything takes longer these days, but the fact that we’re getting our cards in the mail before Christmas makes me feel like we’re managing pretty well.

My sister and her family are coming for a visit the week after Christmas, so we have a lot to look forward to before the end of the year. Calvin has a little bit more of a clue about Christmas this year, although the greed hasn’t set in yet, so it should be a fun holiday. I’ll try to blog between now and then, but in case I don’t, we wish you all a very wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Today I put away all the Christmas stuff. A few years ago I got my act together, got rid of a bunch of holiday crap that I was storing and not using, and organized the rest. Now every year around Christmas I think to myself “I wish the rest of my life was as well-organized as my Christmas stuff.” It used to take me all day to take everything off the tree and put it all away. This morning I woke up, read the paper, had breakfast, went for a nice long walk in my neighborhood, then started taking down the decorations and putting them away. By lunchtime I was done.

Christmas boxesMy system is pretty simple. Everything is stored in clearly marked boxes, which go in the attic during the off-season. I mark all 4 sides of each box, so I don’t have to worry about which way they get stored. I try to store stuff that gets used at the same time in the same box, e.g. all the stuff that goes on the tree before the ornaments is in one box (lights, ribbon, garland, tree topper). The ornaments are together in 2 boxes. I have one box with the other decorations that go out every year (advent calendar, clothespin garland that I hang Christmas cards from, wreath). I have one box that never came down from the attic this year because we sold our piano which was our mantel-substitute. I knew I didn’t have a place for the items that used to go on the piano, and they were all in one box, so that was one box fewer to pull down from the attic.

Although I am a total sucker for organizational tools – special bins, boxes, folders, etc. – I have to confess that I’ve never really found them to make much of a difference, with the exception of the Christmas stuff. Christmas lightsI use a box with cardboard inserts to wrap the lights around. It works great! The lights are never tangled and are easy to put up and take down. Since I only use 3 strands of lights I took out the extra cardboard inserts and use the rest of the box for garland, etc. I also use special ornament boxes with dividers to keep my ornaments separated and safe. This year I had too many ornaments to fit on my tree. The ones that didn’t make the cut are stored in a separate box. These are ornaments I still like, but if they don’t make the cut again next year they’ll be given away, and it’ll be easy to do because they’re already separated and marked. Simple!

In the grand scheme of things, the Christmas stuff might not be very important, but it gives me hope that I might someday achieve this level of organization in the other areas of my life and home, and that would just be so awesome!

Christmas tree

Originally uploaded by genesister

December is here, the holidays are upon us. I spent Saturday getting my tree decorated. Usually Eric helps with getting the ornaments down from the attic and setting up the tree in the house, and I do the decorating, but after he got the tree in the stand he was waylaid by a nasty flu bug and went back to bed. I managed to get the tree in the house by myself and dropped stuff down the attic ladder because I was too impatient to wait for him to feel well enough to help me. I managed not to break anything, and finished the decorating, and now I have the whole month to enjoy it. In spite of all the chaos and craziness, I love Christmas!