Christmas recap


  Favorite things about the holidays, in no particular order. Family.  So much family.  Loud get togethers with kids running around.  There's always someone around, someone laughing, someone talking.  Being surrounded by family is the most amazing feeling in the world. Food.  Oh all the food.  Christmas eve dinner at our house with my favorite (super easy) slow cooker pot roast, mashed potatoes, veggies and gravy.  Christmas morning breakfast tradition that I've stolen from Jon's mom with quiche, cinnamon buns, and croissants.  Christmas day lunch at grandma's with potato pirogis, baklava, kielbasa, shrimp mold, and so much more.  I'm drooling just thinking about it.  On top of the traditional meals, Jon's mom packs her fridge with all of our favorites and her pantry with Peanut's favorites. Traveling.  I know that there are a lot of times that I'd rather complain about traveling but I actually love the holiday travel.  2 hours in the car with my husband while the kids are asleep and no distractions - no cell phones, no TV.  We talk and sing and flirt and talk and talk.  We stop at our favorite places and get coffees to go.  It's relaxing, unwinding. Presents.  I, like many, absolutely love the act of opening presents.  But what I love even more is watching my children and those I love open their presents.  The excitement as they rip through the paper.  The surprise on their faces when it's something that rises above their expectations.  The love as they … [Read more...]

Teaching about “giving”

addi makes cookies

It seems that every year we seem to do a lot of the same things over and over, naturally forming our own traditions.  Leading up to Christmas, we go out to see the Fantasy of Lights, a local Christmas lights display that you drive through and the money goes to support Good Will.  We get our tree from a local Christmas Tree farm, making sure to support local businesses (except that one year that Jon broke his neck and we had to buy our tree at Home Depot).  And we bake Christmas cookies to give to our amazing neighbors.  All of it has a big element of fun.  But it also helps to teach our little ones that Christmas is about giving. … [Read more...]

Winterberry Farm and holiday traditions


When we were kids, my parents had a few traditions around the holidays.  We decorated a tree.  We always spent the night at grandma's.  My uncle was always Santa Claus (well, Father Frost, but same difference).  New Year's eve was our holiday and we did it as a family.  When we moved to the US, new traditions emerged.  We got our "Christmas tree" on Christmas eve because we didn't celebrate until New Year's and, hey, why not get a free tree?  Along with a tree on Christmas Eve, our family traditions included getting in a fight over decorating the tree and opening all our gifts before midnight.  You see, my personality rings completely true to those of my family - we're passionate, impatient, and opinionated.  Throw 4 of us into one room and the sparks are hard to miss.  We love one another endlessly. When Jon and I started a family of our own (with two pups in tow), we didn't really have any traditions.  We went along with whatever everyone else was doing - Christmas at Gigi's?  Sure.  New Year's out with my folks?  We're in.  We were always game for sleeping on a floors, the couch, or whatever else was around.  We had no ties to our "home" and we were both happy to be with our family for the holidays. When we had our first baby, our traditions started to evolve.  We love watching our kids walk down the hallway on Christmas morning.  We always wrap gifts last minute :)  We still try to spend as much time with family as possible - Christmas afternoon at grandma's and New … [Read more...]



A little Halloween picture post for you guys - I'd totally write a whole post about how I trick or treated until I was way past the acceptable age because I thought Halloween was like the greatest holiday ever (remember, I moved to the US when I was 12 and there was no Halloween in Russia), but we're on day 1 of potty training and the nap situation is questionable today. Annual Daycare party.   Dorothy, the Lion, and Toto A ferocious Lion. And of course, the 3 Musketeers. And if you're curious Halloween 2011 Halloween 2012 … [Read more...]

2 year old’s love for chocolate

"Oh no!  Mommy! Oh no! Oh NO! Mommy!!!" I was driving home from daycare after picking Peanut up on Thursday before Easter weekend.  Apparently the kids must have had some kind of an Easter egg hunt at their school because my two year old was possessively holding on to a small brown bag with 4 pieces of candy in it (she counted).  It was a challenge to even get her in the car seat without letting her tiny little grip release from the brown bag containing her hard-earned candy (something she almost never gets at home), much less ask her to put them down for 3 seconds while mommy buckles her in. After some covert moves on my part I finally had her in the car seat and buckled in tight without ever removing this precious paper bag from her little hands.  All the while Peanut continuously checked the bag and inventoried all her candy.  Every 30 or so seconds I would hear, "one....two.....thee....foh..." as she counted that all 4 pieces were intact.  I giggled a bit to myself. We continually talked about the candy and how she could only have the chocolates after dinner and she may not remove them from her bag while she is in the car seat (I'm terrified of her chocking in the back seat without being able to help her). On our way home (it's about a 5 minute drive) I heard a sudden panic in Peanut's voice. "Oh no!  Oh No!!! Mommy! Mommy! Oh no!!!" I pulled in to the driveway and turned around to make sure that nothing happened. Apparently Peanut's bag had folded in … [Read more...]