Saturday, December 14, 2013

Painting!

I know I've told you we did some painting before, but recently we tried it again and it was a smashing success! 

I was doing some watercolor for some etsy tags (that I put on the orders I send) and Nikolai reeeeallly wanted to help, so we got out the fingerpaints and a brush and let him go at it. 


He had never used a bristle brush before (just a sponge brush) but his control was really good!





Look at that face up there.  That is an artist in embryo. 


I always have to remind myself that my child is capable of far more focus and carefulness than I give him credit. He had a really fun time and was trying very hard not to make a mess.  Thanks for being our little artist, buddy!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Caaaaaaaake

You guys, I found an amazing cake recipe.  It's a pumpkin cake with cream cheese filling and a chocolate ganache frosting.....oh boy.  It's really something :D  

It's so good, I've made it twice in the last two weeks! (once for a get-together with some of Jesse's law school friends, and most recently for a church Christmas party)

Behold:





Mmmmm.  I want to make it again just looking at it. Anyways, here's the link in case anyone needs to get their pumpkin cake on! Link

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Zombie Toddler

The other day, we stayed after church for choir so by the time we got home it was 1:30--aka Niko's nap time! He ate a cheese sandwich and ketchup (a family tradition!) for lunch but then fell asleep in his chair, his face still covered in ketchup.


Unfortunately, the bad lighting of our apartment and the ketchup on his face made him look a little like a zombie in this picture ;)  But it was really cute to see him just fall asleep in his chair! It almost makes me want to keep him up long enough for him to fall asleep random places all the time....except for the tantrums that would come before ;)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Kindlefest 2013

Last year we went to a German Christmas market in Salt Lake and since we had so much fun, we decided to go to one again this year. Luckily, there's lots of German Christmas market lovers here in Ann Arbor because we found one here too! 

One thing we learned though: That night also happens to coincide with "Midnight Madness," a night all of the downtown shops stay open later for holiday shopping, which meant the traffic was INSANE. We drove around for an HOUR trying to find somewhere to park, culminating in a 25 minute wait to get inside a nearly full parking garage.  So next year, we'll just take the bus and walk a little farther, cause seriously, that was crazy.

But the market was terrific! 


There were all kinds of lovely sellers of art, ornaments and gifts, food and warm drinks that unfortunately I forgot to photograph :( But here's a blurry photo of the lovely lights and a canopy over  the booths!


We didn't buy much (handmade art can be expensive!) but we did indulge in some Stollen, a lovely fruitcake with icing on the outside. Mmmm!


 It was well below freezing that night and Nikolai was in the baby carrier (a good idea because it was SO crowded!) so in the interest of not freezing him to pieces we only stayed for an hour--but we had a really great time!


Awkward family selfie. You know you love it. 

Oh, we found ourselves a really cute ornament for only $3! We bought an ornament at the Weihnachtsmarkt last year too so I think it's going to be a tradition from now on :D


Isn't it lovely? (Ba-dum-POW!) There were others that said "peace" "hope" "joy" etc, but I really wanted the reminder that this season is about love! Jesus Christ came down to earth because of God's love for us, and we should follow His example and love others as well (John 13:35).  I'm going to try and remember to be more loving and here's a start:

I love you! Thank you for coming here and reading my ramblings.  Thanks for caring, or for bothering to stop by every once in awhile. It means a lot to me and I love you for it! Merry Christmas!



Sunday, December 8, 2013

Letters/Drawing


Nikolai is starting to be interested in letters!  For awhile he called them all "Two!" but lately they're all Js or Os.  
Anyways, back before NaNo when I had a lot of time, I sewed him this little alphabet chart with pockets for pictures of words, and last week we sat down with his alphabet blocks and did some matching!  

He actually wasn't too bad--if we pointed to a small area he could actually match them pretty well! 



Anyways, it was really, really cute, and we were so pleased that he's already interested in letters! (Can you tell he's the child of bibliophiles?!)

Another new Niko-ism is his interest in coloring! 

Well, I should qualify that statement.  He's not actually interested in coloring books, but lately he'll ask us to draw something (by "ask" I mean he goes "rawr!" so we'll draw a tiger or dinosaur, or "choo choo" so we'll draw a train) and THEN he'll be interested in coloring it! 


It's actually become a really sweet thing that Jesse and Niko do in the evenings, and I always really like looking over to see them drawing together. 


Also, aren't Jesse's little sketched dinosaurs awesome?!  (I didn't bother to include photos of mine...they are not very impressive ;D)

Thanks for wanting to draw with us, Nikolai!



Saturday, December 7, 2013

Silly Niko/Sweet Niko

In this week's edition of silly niko/sweet niko: 

A jam faced boy:


A little boy who loves balloons and magical heating vents:

video

And a little boy who missed his nap (due to a dr's appt during his normal nap) who fell asleep next to me on the couch, then fell over when I got up:


Ack! So cute!! I've always thought other people's kids looked sooooo cute when they fell asleep random places but thought Niko would never get that tired without me noticing, but he did! And it was adorable.  He also stayed asleep while I took him upstairs, showed Jesse how cute/asleep he was, changed his diaper, put him in footie pjs, and put him in bed.  That kid was OUT!

We love you Niko!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Christmas is coming! Christmas is coming!

Two days after Thanksgiving, we decorated for Christmas! I must say, it's really nice to have all our decorations out :D 

First, one of my friends had the awesome idea to write a Christmas hymn/song on each link of a Christmas chain, and then to sing one each day until Christmas! 



Here, we hung it up next to our stockings:


We hung up our advent calendar too, and between the singing and scripture reading and candy eating (I might have gone a little overboard with advent calendar candy this year...;D) we're feeling very Christmas-y!


We set up the tree too:







Yay!  Our tree is small (perfect for our small apartment) but we really like it.  And bonus: Nikolai hasn't broken any ornaments yet! YAY!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Sitting Niko

Our little boy has taken to sitting in things lately.  


But sometimes, he can't get out! 


(then he usually yells until I come help him)

But the other day, I found him like this:


(that's our crock-pot)



So stuck! So silly!





Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Thanksgivin'

And we're back! I finished NaNo last weekend (see the post after this!) but then Niko and I promptly got sick so I haven't had a chance to post. But we're finally feeling better-ish today so in the interest of catching up, I'm writing a bunch of posts that will post over the next few days. 

So! Last week we celebrated Thanksgiving with a couple we know from church.  We split up duties for the meal (they tackled the turkey--hallelujah!) and created a really lovely meal!

I tried my hand at pies: 


I have to say that my apple pie is made from homemade crust and home-canned pie filling, which I feel makes up a little bit for its slightly unsightly appearance ;) Oh, and I made a pumpkin pie too!


Chopped taters for mashed potatoes:


And then, in the interest of full disclosure....
My mother in law makes this awesome sweetpotatoes+cranberries+struesel+marshmallow concoction that I really love, so I made it this year!  The only problem came when the recipe told me to put the pan under the broiler to "brown" the marshmallows. Well, it told me to put it in there for FIVE minutes which I knew was heinous, so I set the timer for 2....but after 1.5 minutes I went in to take a nibble at a roll and smelled smoke! I pulled the pan out of the oven to this sight:


The marshmallow lava actually looked really cool--it had a great texture to it and I actually really wanted to take some cool close-up shots of it, but I had an idea and didn't want to wait to see if it would work.  Carefully, I stuck a spatula under that whole mess and luckily it was so solid that the whole mess just lifted right off! I scraped off what was left of the marshmallow residue underneath (it didn't look burnt but I wanted to be safe) and put new marshmallows on and put it in the regular oven this time:


Ta-da! And it didn't taste burnt at all.  Recipe saved! ;D

So here's what some of the spread looked like when we got to our friends' house! (I made the green bean casserole, rolls, potatoes, sweet potatoes and pie) 


Yummy!!!


Alas, poor sweet Niko was starting to come down with a terrible cold, so he spent most of the afternoon curled up on the couch, watching Daniel Tiger: 


But despite his illness, it turned out to be a really nice Holiday!

NaNoWriMo: I did it!

I finished National Novel Writing Month--and right on schedule! This is the page I was greeted with when I submitted my 50,000+ word story:


And here's my lovely stats page, complete with little purple "winner" bar:


Yay! 

But I'm actually not finished with the story--I've got the end of the story to write out yet, so I'll keep working on that the next few weeks, albeit it at a less break-neck pace (the house has to get tidied sometime after all!).  When I'm done with that, I'll take a little break and then go back and read the whole thing (something I haven't done at all yet) and see if I hate it or if it's worth editing. I do have a lot of anxiety that my characters are flat and uninteresting and that the whole story is boring, but I'm laying all that aside until I finish it.  Either way, I am really proud and astonished that I even had 50,000 words in me to write, and that I did it in 30 days! 

On a more serious note, I'm a person that often has a hard time believing in myself, or worrying that there are things I might not capable of.  But I'm beginning to realize that doing things like this, and running a half marathon, like I did last year--definitively hard things--helps me realize that I am a person that can do hard things. A lot of times I look at my life and try to total it all up, but I always have these qualifiers: I'm a college grad (but I didn't work after college), I'm a stay at home mom (but having a toddler is really hard for me and sometimes staying at home makes me bonkers), I'm an etsy store owner (but I just do little silly stuff and don't earn much), etc--and sometimes the list feels lacking.  I love my life, I do--but it doesn't always seem AMAZING, or special, and sometimes I worry that means I'm not a special person. 

But regardless of whether those little qualifiers matter (when I'm feeling optimistic I know they don't), doing hard things reminds me that I am a capable person.  I might not know what I want to do with 100% of my life, but I'll figure it out eventually, because I am strong and I can do difficult things, like running 13.1 miles and writing 50,000 words in a month. 

So while I may not end up liking the novel I wrote this month (and it very well may never see the light of day), it was a good experience for me all the same, and I'm glad I did it.