Tuesday, December 27, 2011

O Christmas Tree

I was really excited about our Christmas tree this year. It started when Ethan was playing with an empty baby food jar. I realized that those things are fairly indestructible. Suddenly I was looking at the jar in a new way. With the label gone, it was really quite pretty. I decided to make some ornaments. I didn't have enough time to make all of my ideas, but I was happy with the way the ones I did make turned out.

I hope you like the pictures Terral took for me. I asked him to take them during the day because I love the way the sun looks through the glass. Also, we have LED lights, and the blue just kind of throws everything off. I need to get some white lights.

For the jar ornaments, I spray painted the lids, and then used jute twine and hot glue to decorate the jars. Next year I'd like to gather mini pine cones to put in some of the jars, and maybe do something with glitter or shredded sheet music. But this year I kept it pretty minimal.

I really like the snowflake ornaments. I made some extra for gifts to friends, and I filled them with candies.

I really like the look of this one with the red and white striped candy. I actually didn't hang any like this on the tree, but I had several of them on the piano.

For the bell garland, I got some copied sheet music and aged it with tea. Then I used a bell punch I got at a thrift store for $2 and punched out a bunch of bells, making sure to utilize the notes well. Then I sewed them all together on my sewing machine. I really like the way it looks, but it was kind of time consuming, and is rather fragile. Not the best thing with a babe around. On the up side, it cost next to nothing, and I can always make more.

My mom gave me these violin ornaments several years ago.  I only have three of them, but maybe someday I'll get some more. I love taking them out of the box every year and thinking of my mom, my years studying music, and all the times my family has supported me in that. Music means so much to me. There's a reason why Christmas Carols abound. What better medium could we have for praising our God?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas to All!

I still haven't mailed our Christmas letter yet.  Sigh.  Instead of further lamenting that fact, I will do the second best thing and post it up here and send out the hard copies for the New Year!  Incidentally, there's still time to get me your address if you want one. ;)

Happy Christmas to you all!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Nine, Ten, Eleven

Ethan is 11 months old.  Wow.  I try not to think about how close he is to being one now.  I've got incredible mommy guilt that I have been so horrible about recording his babyhood.  I've got the pictures, but I haven't written down all his cute little habits that he has had at every stage.  I feel bad about that.  I guess there's no going back, so here's a snapshot of him the past couple of months:

Ethan's first tooth finally broke through October 9th.  It was a doozy. He worked on it for months.  A week later, the second one peeked out. Sometime this month I bought a bell intending to use it for Family Home Evening, and he was instantly enamored.  He thinks ringing a bell is super exciting.  I think this is also about when he got into playing the piano and his recorder.  He'd done it before, but became more enthusiastic about it all.  I think it was also during this month he found the joy of kitchen cupboards.

Mama was Ethan's first word (sometime early summer), followed closely by Dada. During his tenth month a third word became firmly entrenched in his vocabulary.  "Uh-oh" is a very versatile word, in case you didn't know.  It can be used when you drop something, when you toot, or if you want to warn your parents you're about to do something you know you're not supposed to.  In the last case, it is sometimes helpful to repeat the first syllable several times to denote the severity of whatever you're about to do. This is also the month Ethan learned to hold a phone (as well as other random objects) up to his ear and say something close to "hello".  He learned that it's kind of fun to stick your finger up your nose, and yes, sometimes into your mouth afterward.  He got pretty good at walking with his car/walker in the upright position.

So far in his eleventh month, he has become fairly fearless in his climbing attempts.  He climbs into boxes (whether or not they are filled with books—that we got for free! Score!), climbs on people, any seat that is low enough, and recently tried to climb onto the filing cabinet next to the couch.
 He's been having fun finding hide-y-holes.

I've been having fun finding them too. :)

And this week he has finally decided that there might be something to this walking thing after all.  We're really excited about this!  He took his first multiple solo steps on October 16th.  We would catch him standing and even walking when he was excited about a toy or something, but he would always sit down the moment he realized what was going on.  Now we can get him to walk upon request, and he will try walking first instead of crawling if he's already standing.  He's walked quite frequently the past few days, and even distances as long as across the room (although our rooms are admittedly small), so I think it's safe to officially declare that we have a walker!

Some people would rather have their kids walk later than sooner, but we figured it wouldn't make much difference as far as him getting into stuff.  He's been pulling himself up onto whatever he can grab for quite a while, and man, that kid has a reach!  We tried not to push him into something he wasn't ready for, but this is one milestone we've been quite excited for. :D

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


When I was in high school, I played in the orchestra for our community production of Handel's Messiah three years in a row.  It was a such a good experience, and it really instilled a love for the music in me.

The first time I attended Cedar's production, I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the performance.  It was by no means perfect, but it was really, really good!  I loved listening to it and feeling that special spirit.  Every year after that, I wished I could be a part of it, but never felt that I could make the time commitment.

This year was different—no school, no student teaching, an old-enough baby, and a supportive husband.  I finally got to do it!  I auditioned for a solo, and they asked me to sing "O Thou That Tellest Good Tidings to Zion". 

The first night the house was packed.  They had to turn away over a hundred people!  The second night was very full, but there were a few empty seats.  All my pictures are from the second night.

This is me, of course. . .
 with Maestro Sun
 with my friend Linda (who went to all the practices with me)
 with my lovin' hunny
 with my fellow soloist/friends from school

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Getting a Tree as a Family of Three

One of our favorite Christmas traditions is going out to get a tree.  Terral and I were really excited to take Ethan on his first tree hunt—well the first one that he could actually participate in.  I was 36 weeks pregnant with him last year when we searched for our tree on snowshoes.  Those weren't necessary this year, and we had wonderful weather for traipsing around in the snow.

Here's Ethan all bundled up and excited for his first sledding experience.

 Aunt Heather got to be pulled in a sled too. :)

Terral took Ethan on his first little hill.

 Once we started our search in earnest, it didn't take long for Ethan to fall asleep.  I'd probably fall asleep in a set-up like that too.

This was one of the trees we considered, but once I got up there we realized it was too big and wimpy.

Beautiful, no?  I love wintery wonderlands.

And this is Terral checking out the tree that came home with us.

Ethan still napping in his parked sled.  We got that sled for Christmas a couple years ago and haven't regretted the purchase once.  It's so useful and fun!

We forgot the saw, so we had to go back and get it.

Once we had the saw the tree was down in no time.

This is Terral getting the tree across the stream.

Erin and Corey with their tree.

I didn't get a picture of Heather and Chris with their tree, but at least I got one of them. :)

 And McKade and Macey already had their tree, but they came along anyway 'cause we always have such a good time.

Our little family lovin' the fresh outdoors!

On our way back we rode the sled behind the 4Runner.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Crochet Cable Ear Warmer

Like a lot of my crafts, this was inspired by the need for a gift. I wanted to make an ear warmer a little different than the ones I regularly do, and this is what I came up with. I was pretty excited to learn how to crochet a cable stitch. :)

So what do you think?  Is this something you would wear?  It could be any color, of course.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Ethan has been imitating us a lot more recently.  He likes to watch me cook in the kitchen, and now one of his favorite toys is a spoon and some sort of container.  He loves to stir the spoon in the pan/bowl/cup. He brushes my hair and his own.  He imitates sounds that we make, including sneezes.  He loves to "brush" his teeth.  And tonight, he made his first real sign for "all done"!  It was very exciting for me.  He had his own signals that he would use, but this is the first time he correctly used the one I showed him.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Why I Love My Husband, Part III

Late last night, in spite of the fact that I don't know when the last time either of us had a decent night's sleep, Terral patiently listened to me talk about something that's been worrying me.  He let me unload, comforted me, and gave me new perspective.  I felt much of the worry melt away as hopeful acceptance replaced it.  I still had something more to say, but in the middle of my sentence I suddenly couldn't remember what it was (which is highly unusual of me in such circumstances).  After a pause, I said, "I think Heavenly Father's giving me a stupor of thought so I can sleep."  Terral replied with, "That's why I sleep so well at night."

Who wouldn't love a man who could take you from worry to laughter?