Snow Day!

I was skeptical that we'd see snow this year since its been such a mild winter so far, but! we finally got some snow and I couldn't be happier. The forecast called for snow overnight last night and continuing throughout the day so when I woke up and there was only a dusting, I thought our chances of a snow day were going to fall through. And then around noon I took Jake outside to play and the snow really started falling! His Tonka trucks were a major hit in the snow, especially the bulldozer that could clear a path for the other trucks. We ventured over to the playground for a few minutes but when Jake went down the slide, the snow shot up his pant legs so that was a good time to go inside for lunch.

After we all napped for a solid two hours, Deric and Jake headed back outside and stayed out until it was dark. Thank goodness Grandma found Jake some bibs and snowboots or that southern baby would never have lasted so long!


baby #2's time to shine

Now that I'm halfway through this pregnancy its about time we started documenting it like we did with Jake. Its nice to have the photos to compare with this pregnancy since everything else has seemed pretty different from carrying Jake. I'm pretty convinced I didn't start showing as soon with this baby as I did with Jake, which is why we got such a late start to the photos. (That and its majorly weird to be posing by myself for a photo, so I don't miss that!) Luckily Jake jumped in for a couple shots even though he wasn't feeling too photogenic.


Christmas travels

Last Christmas post and then we're embracing the new year! I've already rearranged and reorganized some spaces in the house. This motivation to start fresh is the only reason to love January;) That, and the chance of snow...

We started our travels in Port Hope with my family. Puzzles, knitting, games and lots of reading books made for a nice break from the normal routine. Unfortunately Deric got sick with something one day and we all experienced some wicked sinus issues thanks to this flip-flopping weather, but we still had a great time.

Once all the grandkids got in town, we broke out the graham crackers and candy and made gingerbread houses (or trains, castles and playgrounds..). Deric, Dad and I engineered the skeleton of Jake's train and then let him take over with candy decorating. Jake was very serious about placement of the candy; note that little tongue sticking out in concentration. And once he figured out the frosting was edible (and delicious), it got real.

After an incredible Christmas dinner (Dad's tenderloin makes that ten hour drive worth it), we opened stocking stuffers and played Minute to Win It games with the whole family. Celebrating Christmas with great-grandparents and everyone on down was pretty special.

After a few days in Michigan, we drove down to Deric's parents' house. J We spent one evening with all of Deric's aunts and uncles, cousins and their kids, then did another Christmas morning with the immediate family. Jake loved spending all day playing with his cousins, eating good food and even practicing his bowling skills one morning. After a week and a half spent traveling, we were all ready to get home but we still miss our families and were glad for the opportunity to squeeze both into one trip!


Christmas season recap

I'm obviously way behind in posting Christmas happenings but I'll get through it all eventually! This is a collection of odds + ends from the month of December, like...

Jake's first time decorating a tree, and he did it all by himself! He was so proud. All I assisted with was placement of ornaments so that the tree didn't topple over onto one side. Most of the ornaments were Deric's, given to him by his grandparents when he was a kid. Jake decorated his little tree before we got around to our big tree and he continually referred to the little tree as "Jake's tree" and the big one as "Mommy and Daddy's tree", even when I insisted that the big tree was his too. The ornament on top of the star just cracks me up!

I bought some Christmas books last year on clearance and this little pop-up nativity was in the back of one of the books. It obviously didn't stay set up for long but surprisingly we didn't lose any pieces!

The park near our library always decorates for Christmas. Last year when we visited it was bitterly cold, but this year it was almost warm enough to go without jackets. Jake was so excited to see the lights and run around the park. The candy canes lining the path were his favorite, and all month long he would point out every candy cane decoration he saw while driving or in stores. Candy canes and nutcrackers were a big hit!

Each year I've taken a picture of Jake in front of the Christmas tree and this year was nearly impossible to get a focused, un-blurry shot of that child! I tried three different nights and ended up with some decent ones. Sadly the best captures of his personality were blurry, but a few will be worth printing out for next year. After this year's marathon attempt, I'm already exhausted thinking about next year when I'll have to wrangle two kids in the photo!

First, all the blurry shots that are so cute but won't look great blown up to 8x10s...

And the three winners, this first one of which I'll print out to keep the tradition going.

Blurry or not, I love these pictures and the goofy personality showing through!


Christmas morning at home

Before I get too ahead of myself with January organizing + purging fever, I wanted to recap our Christmas(es). We celebrated at home two weeks ago before we left to see family for ten days. These last two Christmases when Jake has been old enough to get excited about gifts have been the best ones I can remember, although I'm not sure we'll ever top last year's train table. Christmas is definitely much more fun as a parent!

^before unwrapping began!

[Soon to come: a video of Jake walking in to see the kitchen, once I work out the kinks to get it uploaded!]

^stocking stuffers (not pictured: 800 count bag of Dum Dums that Deric bought for him!)

This year Jake's big gift was a play kitchen that we started building in August. Deric improvised with what lumber we already had and got the frame together and then it sat untouched all throughout my first trimester, until almost November. So go figure we were putting finishing touches on the kitchen until after midnight the night before. We still want to add a microwave to the top right corner but Jake doesn't know its missing, so there was no rush to finish that part. Maybe by his birthday in May we'll get that up. ;) To go with the kitchen, Jake received a stackable sandwich kit and he's been making us all kinds of strange sandwich concoctions lately. Most of the time though, all the ingredients end up in his little pot and pans as "soup". He's told me multiple times that you have to be careful around the stove since its hot so its good to know he's listening to me when we're in the real kitchen! He's also pretty taken with his little oven mitt and uses it to bring us tomatoes, oranges and what have you.

^"soup" ;)

A video of Jake working on his sandwich slicing skills:

Christmas morning: making sandwiches from Ashley Skinner on Vimeo.

Deric lucked out the day before we celebrated Christmas when he found this fire truck at the thrift store for a whopping $2! It almost stole the show from the kitchen, go figure.

Jake doesn't quite understand yet that after one gift there are usually more, so he's great about playing with each gift as it comes and enjoying it before even noticing other ones. We stretched the morning out as long as we could and I loved spending the morning all together completely uninterrupted and with no need to get other things done that day. It was nice to have some peace and quiet before we started our marathon road trip. ;) More Christmas to come!