Christmas Countdown Out of Whack

Well, I’m terrible at updating the countdown this year. But we have done all sorts of fun things.

Day 11: Pick out ornament for the tree (2012 was Cat in the Hat, 2013 was Tow Mater, 2014 is Minnie Mouse) This was the first year that Miss Punky picked out the ornament herself. Its going to be a very Merry Minnie Christmas. Literally. She has asked for only two things from Santa. Minnie Bike and Light Up Shoes. I have the bike in the works (her godfather is painting an old bike we had) and the light up shoes I got for her are Minnie Mouse and the bows and hearts light up. She’s going to love them.

From her moms so far I have gotten her a zebra print Minnie Mouse bath robe, because she’s so dramatic about being cold when she comes out of the tub and dries off. The small walk to her room or down the stairs in just a towel brings on the jitters and shivers. Its pretty darn adorable. I also found the cutest Minnie Mouse duffel bag for traveling and it comes with a sleeping bag. So when we go visit my family, she will have her own bag to take! Just like a big girl.

So – Minnie Mouse is the theme of this year.

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Day 12:Angel Tree and Senior Tree at Walmart. Walmart always sponsors children for Christmas. Kim and I have been picking stars off the tree for several years. This is the first time Miss Punky picked her own star. A 6 year old girl who wanted a baby doll and stroller. Miss Punky picked out the baby doll and I added the cheapest stroller(cause we aren’t made of money) to give to the little girl. Our bank sponsors seniors. I always try to take one of those as well. Punky picked a Grammy instead of a Papa and we bought their wish list item of art supplies.

I always feel bad that the paper ornaments with all the senior citizens on it are not usually touched. In fact, when I went to put the gift in the their collect box, there was trash inside of it, but no gifts. When we went back to Walmart the end day of the collection, there were still the same amount of ornaments on the tree. No one ever thinks of the senior citizens – at least that’s the way it looks. It’s pretty sad.

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Day 13: Kim’s grandfather’s union always has a Christmas Party and he gathers all his grandkids and great grandkids together for chili and nachos at 9am. We adults are getting to be a little less steel stomached for it. But they have Santa and pictures and lots of great things for the kids to do. Its a nice time normally. I didn’t get to attend, because with this midnight shift, I have been sleeping in late. So, I’m not in the family picture with Santa. But! Miss Punky is sitting on Santa’s lap! How exciting is that development?!

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Kim, Mrs. Claus, Santa, Uncle Eric, Punky, and Aunt Ashley

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I very small portion of the very large Italian family that I married into. They are all the grandkids and great-grandkids and their parents.

Day 14: We colored plastic ornament balls with sharpies for our neighbors and their kids as well as her godparents. She had fun just scribbling and it really added character to the gifts.

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Day 15: We filled the ornaments with hot chocolate and then delivered them to their new owners. They are lucky they got any marshmallows though, because she kept putting them in her mouth, instead of in the ornament!

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So that’s what we have been up to so far. I have also mailed all my Santa Letters this year. I dropped them in the mailbox to be picked up yesterday, so they are on their way to all the kids on the list. 140 of them this year!

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We have 9 days til Christmas. This has been the most interactive holiday with Punky – the one where she has participated, started to fully understand that this is a holiday, and really gotten into the spirit. I can’t wait to keep on making traditions with her!

Midwest Annual Snowpocalypse Makes Me A Temporary (Insane) SAHM

So, this snow thing, the over-abundance of snow is becoming Mother Nature’s damn cruel joke every year. Right around the same time each year in fact. This will be the second year in a row that I’ve been snowed in for more than 2 days.

When the Snowpocalypse comes to town you would think that would be awesome. A couple days to just sit and relax and recharge. And then you remember, I’m a working mom for a reason. My sanity. Not to mention that a cooped up toddler is no fun on a normal day off, but when you have no choice but to do indoor activities because of the 10 inches of snow piling up in the yard, amusing your child becomes a job all on it’s own.

I have always said that SAHMs have their own set of challenges and I’m not one for those very reasons. I am glad that we have the ability to have one of each type of mom in the house and she’s not in daycare, but it also helps me recognize the differences both types of moms go through.

So, my exercise in being a temporary SAHM further re-inforces why I’m just not cut out to do it full-time. However, thanks to Pinterest, I had some ideas for keeping Punky entertained. How do parents without Pinterst do it? Oh, hell, what did we do before Pinterest? I know, moms have been entertaining kids for years without it, but I’m just not that creative on my own. That’s not where my creativity lies.

Oh. And what about the parents who don’t allow TV. How the hell do they function? I just don’t know.  Props to you.

Anyway, before the snow got too terrible yesterday, I took Punky outside for the first snow of her existence that she could actually play in. The first year, she was teeny tiny and I took her out only long enough to get a picture in the cute snowsuit and under a snow covered tree. This year, she got to wander in it, kick it up and experience the ‘1 glove wonder’ of mom tricks everywhere!

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I took some time yesterday to finish up Punky’s birthday party invitations and also the insert that will be going into them. I’m pretty darn proud of the insert. I used one of the snow pictures and manipulated it. (Clearly, this is where my creativity lies, LOL). I know I don’t frequently use her “given” name on the blog, but it’s a bit too time consuming to go back and edit it just for the showcase!

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My sister-in-law went into labor last night and had our newest nephew by C-Section. Mr. Archer was a most anticipated baby for our entire family and we are all excited to meet and cuddle the Littlest Avenger! And when I am able to announce the stats of this precious little baby, I will share the nursery print I created for them to hang in the nursery!

Today has been a stay inside day, because I’m pretty sure the snow may come up to Punky’s waist or chest, not sure, she’s kind of a short person. Of course, just as I type that, I’m now curious to see what would happen if I took her out there and covered her in snow!

Instead. we have found lots of things for Punky to do, but with her attention span so very small, it’s not really working to keep her entertained and preventing her from hanging on me (Mommy is really not interested in wearing the two year old, I wasn’t ever really much of an attachment parent to begin with!).

I’ve been trying to work on her ‘threading’ which apparently works out her fine motor skills. So yesterday I showed her how to thread beads on pipe cleaners. Today, we made “wonder dough” and stacked Apple Jacks on dry noodles.

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It was fun, until she thought she had to eat the dough. It’s really not edible, but it only took two ingredients and I happened to have both ingredients in the house.

The afternoon, before the nap we just laid her down for, ended with a Blow-pop covered face and a promise for possible playing outside in the snow. Luckily for me, she’s not yet 2 and probably won’t remember that promise when I am not feeling it later!

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Hey, by the way, if you haven’t taken the survey from my previous post, please do. You can find it here. (Moms and Dads!) I need 12 more responses before I can start my writing series on Hubpages, so I have an even 100. After I get the 100 responses, I am closing the survey and writing the results. I will keep you posted on that!

Hope everyone is staying warm and entertained on this Wednesday afternoon!

Day 24: The End of Our First Christmas Countdown

On this our last day before Christmas, I think it’s pretty awesome turn out. I love that we have something to remember her second Christmas by. Part of me feels like this is the first Christmas for her, she really was able to participate in all the fun activities and I had such a blast spending extra special time for her.

After work tonight, we headed on over to Kim’s grandpa’s house. It was a little empty without her grandmother there.

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But, in our true family style, there was still food, love, and laughter.

Punky sat at the table like a big girl and eat her dinner, sort of. She doesn’t really eat much of anything. If we can get her to eat anything but bread and pasta, we feel like we have won the lottery. If she puts meat in her mouth of any kind, well, then we are the best moms ever!

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When we got home after dinner, we gave Punky her Christmas Eve present, we have decided to incorporate Kim’s family tradition of getting pajamas for Christmas Eve. So she got to open her present under the Christmas tree lights.

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She got a new book, that we will be reading before bed tonight and a new little pajama set, which she was very excited to put on right away.

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I just love them! They were just too cute to pass up. Kim really likes moose, so this was a shout out to the warm winter pajamas before Christmas, but also to her mama’s favorite stuff.

We are definitely ready for Christmas tomorrow morning. I need to wrap the rest of the presents and stuff her stocking with some little toys and fun stuff.

Hope everyone else is going to have a great holiday season. No matter what you celebrate and no matter your reason for the season!

Day 18: Making Cookies With Mommy

So, let me preface this by saying, I’m not a baker and I don’t really cook. However, I really wanted one of our countdown days to incorporate a dear tradition from my childhood. One of my favorite memories, growing up, was going to my grandmother’s house and decorating cookies. Any way I wanted to! So, my brothers and sister would all gather around the table and smear icing and sprinkles all over the cookies.

I always told her I’d never get too old to decorate cookies. And, I meant it. I moved away and didn’t get to come back home for each year after I graduated, so I’m glad we got to start the tradition up again with Punky.

Again, I am not a baker, so making the dough from scratch, wasn’t going to happen. So, I got a package of pre-made dough – which is also very convenient after a long 8 hour day at work.

We laid out some wax paper and smooshed them into shapes with the cookie cutters.

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We put the cookies on a cookie sheet and put them in the oven. I swear I cooked them exactly as the instructions on the package said to cook them. After the 12 minute wait, I opened the oven to a cookie blob. All the cookies had grown into each other, deflated, and made a giant cookie in the pan.

Oh well, I was disappointed, but Kim made a good point, it doesn’t matter, it’s still going to taste good. So, while I wanted to help her decorate little candy canes and snowmen and the million stars she cut out, I suppose, for the toddler, a cookie blob was probably a better idea anyway.

We smeared some icing on the top, shook sprinkles on it and threw the candy ones on top.

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While I wanted everything to be perfect, it won’t always be. So, I suppose I need to lighten up a bit and let the fun be what it is. I know she enjoyed munching on the sprinkles and licking her icing covered fingers. Maybe next year, when the shapes may be more intriguing to her, I can figure out how I managed to lose all the shapes – but for now, it was a pretty sweet success.

Day 16: Afternoon Out on the Town with Mommy

This was a bit of a spur of the moment thing. We were supposed to just go to Walmart and get a star off the Angel tree and come home. We will still do that later, but well, I decided to take Miss Punky off to the mall. It’s the first time she’s really been since she’s been so mobile.

Her Mama was taking a nap – so I thought, what better way to keep the house semi-quiet (I forgot to turn off the TV, so it didn’t work) than to get the toddler out of the house. The weather is pretty decent today and it was a nice little outing for just the two of us.

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I got her dressed first, in one of her many Christmas shirts. This one says, “Is it too late to be Good?” While I was getting myself ready, I looked over and she’s just chilling by the front door. When I pulled up the pictures to pick which ones to share, I noticed that she got the door with some chalk. Easy to clean up and according to Kim its been there for a bit. I never noticed!

Anyway, we went to the mall and wandered about. We went down to the play area first, because I wasn’t really sure where the Santa set was. One of my really great mom friends works over there and I was looking for her. While Punky played, I texted her to see where she was hiding Santa in the huge ass mall.

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While we waited for the return text, Punky saw the giant carousel and decided she must ride on it.

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I tried to put her on a horse first, but with all other horse like rides, she wasn’t having it. So we settled for nice little carriage seat for her to be buckled into, all nice and comfy.

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After our ride, we found out that my friend wasn’t working today, but she called ahead and told them to give me a photo package of my choice. How thoughtful she is! I’m so glad that while I didn’t really get much out of the mom’s group I was apart of, I met some really sweet ladies, like this one!

We  made our way to the Santa set, but Santa was taking a break. Instead of trying to wrangle the kid while we waited for 15 minutes for Santa to return, we took a short ride up the escalator to Build-a-Bear. Totally spur of the moment. But, what’s an outing with Mommy without a little money spent.

She picked out her ‘pony’ and we went to get it stuffed. I had to practically put her foot on the peddle the whole time, but we got it stuffed.

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We washed the pony and made a birth certificate and paid for it. No clothes or shoes were needed, she’s not even two. But, I am thinking this may need to be a tradition for Punky and I every year. I really enjoyed watching her pick out her toy and make it and then not let it go.

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We finally made it back to get a picture with Santa.

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She did well, but she did have a death grip on the pony. On the way out, we stopped for a Dora cookie for the road and Mommy needed a drink. We headed out to the car and she was content to hold onto her pony the whole way home.

It was one of the few times she fell asleep in the car. I hated to wake her!

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She’s currently sleeping off her fun filled afternoon and I am relaxing my feet! I think an afternoon with Mommy will have to be on the books for years to come! 🙂

Day 12: Coloring Christmas Cards for Family

I woke up with a migraine today and called out sick to work. I’m still not feeling great, in that, my head still has a dull throb to it.

I stayed home with Punky and spent time hanging out quietly around the house. This afternoon, we opened her envelope for the day and it had a little tattoo inside and the idea for coloring Christmas Cards to send to our family members.

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It was the first time that she didn’t eat the crayons. Of course, the longer she was coloring the more she had to fight the urge to eat the crayons. She did eat a few of the tips off of them.

After a nap, we got up and started to set up the Christmas tree. I have been meaning to set it up for some time, so we finally got it put it. Punky did a lot of helping us with the putting it together. She was kind of fascinated with the branches.

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She got to put the star on the top of the tree as well.

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After getting the lights on, we found that some of the ornaments from last year were broken, so we figured we needed to get some more. Punky and I went out to Walmart for more. She picked out some cute purple ornaments, shatterproof, of course.

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She came home with a new baby. Typical of a shopping trip with Punky.

When we got home, she helped me put the ornaments on the tree, which really just consisted of her shoving the ornaments in between the branches and letting them fall to the floor. Shatterproof! Thank goodness.

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When the tree was put up, we wrapped her up in the left over garland. She marched and danced around the living room with garland falling to her feet.

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While I had a headache most of the day and my eyes and sinuses seem to be bothering me, I had a decent time with my little monster today!

Day 6: Planting Candy Canes with Mommy

I had to work late tonight. I had stay later than I even expected helping a customer get their medication before the weekend. I was really looking forward to today’s event, so I started it right away!

Day 6 started out with opening the envelope. It had little chocolate snowmen balls to eat. She has become such a chocoholic.

I got her all set up and got her set up with her mini plant pot and some crayons. They are ‘my first crayons’ for toddlers specifically. This was a learning experience for the two of us. She is learning to color and I learned that she didn’t try to eat the crayons this time!

We might be able to color for real now! Let’s hope!

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She had a nice time picking out the colors and making a few little scribbles and marks. She really enjoyed coloring on the inside of the pot the best.

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She looks so focused right! So, once she got tired of coloring and got ready to move on to the next step of planting the candy canes. I just think this idea is the cutest thing and I am sure that as she gets bigger she will really love doing this every year.

What did we do without Pinterest, I mean seriously?!

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Next we put some snowflake confetti in the pot. She had a little fun dropping the plastic snowflakes into the planting pot. I think she really just liked to hear the sound as it was dropped into it.

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Next, we took some ‘elf seeds’ and pushed them in the snowflakes and shook the pot around. She sprinkled a little blue glitter on the top to ‘water’ it and we will wait until the morning for the candy cane to sprout!