Monday, December 31, 2007

snowing again!

Another snowy day at home... the snow came down all day long. December has been a banner month for snow fall in these parts. This makes me HAPPY.

I've been resorting to such antics as putting both kids in Reed's crib to wrestle where they are self contained. It allows me to get half the laundry folded or two dishes put away... genius!

signed, sealed, and delivered

We ARE, ladies and gentlemen, under contract on our Old Town house. (I've been withholding this news for 3 long days while we awaited all the offer/counter-offer/ counter-counter offer riffraff). That means we are moving to Hampden on Feb 22 (well, you know, if all goes according to plans, mortgages lining up, inspections clearing, blah blah). Please clear your schedules and save your boxes. I feel like I just stepped on a moving train.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sam's Birthday celebration #2

Our Carver friends had us for a birthday dinner for Sam (they're good like that) and the night was wonderfully chaotic with the 4 kids. Some highlights:
Reed loving his party-hat-self.

Everyone, there's a cute baby on the floor! Come check this out!

Ella is way into dress-up clothes. Skyler, not so much. Or so we thought. I think the pouty look works well with the flapper dress, albeit backwards and over her jeans.

Reed: "Listen. I need a little time alone with my ladies."

The true highlight of the evening, (not to downplay Suzanne's fajitas and cheesecake) was Sandi and Suzanne's request that we be baby Maya's Godparents. We are thrilled, touched, and honored. Oh little Maya, we have so much to tell you and show you.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Sam's birthday and Skyler sledding

We celebrated Sam's birthday (the big 3-9!) in two separate sittings. First cake and presents after lunch!
Skyler was a little excited about decorating a cake and presenting it to Daddy. I thought her design was a bit "busy" but hey, she thought it was BEAUTIFUL.

Next we had a big plate of sushi love after kids were asleep. YUM. We arranged the sushi on the sushi platter that Lisa (Sam's twin) made us years ago, and we toasted her on her birthday far, far away. She and Mashi were celebrating in Bali. To think, Sam and Lisa started right in the same womb!

Do you see a tiny resemblance between Sam and his dad?

To the sled hill! Skyler's first try sledding down hill was a true success. I thought she might be a bit timid (silly mommy) but she was wild and brave and giggly. Grandpa Joe came along to cheer us on and to dutifully record the event (you don't say!) so we could include it on the blog.

Ready to shovel the driveway with Daddy.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Vacation days

We got to spend the day with our friend Anna today while her dad was in surgery (all ended well). We took advantage of Bangor's indoor play gym and wore the kids out. Toward the end of the playtime, there were a lot of kids there, including, serendipitously, several other kids from Skyler and Anna's Sunday school class. Nothing makes parents happier than huge mats and padded blocks in a safe, enclosed area! Even so, I was aware of how easy 2 kids seems compared with 3.

Sam gave the girls a ride on the scooter...

because Skyler was a bit too wild for Anna.

Later on they "napped" in Skyler's bed together.

And made their best camera faces.

I am loving every minute of my extra time with my kiddos. Oh yeah, and my back feels so much better (I forgot to post that there was nothing fractured, just soft-tissue damage, and I start physical therapy tomorrow). I'm encouraged b/c I've done 3 runs this week with only minor soreness. This really is the best Christmas present. Now... if we could just sell our house!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

We will, all 6 Manharts under this roof, be in bed by 9 pm. That tells you about our full Christmas day. Sam and his folks arrived here well after midnight last night. They sat up chatting even later, and Skyler and Reed did not take this into consideration at 5:30 this morning. Here is Sam trying to hold them back from the living room until everyone was ready. I remember this time as absolute torture as a child, waiting for everyone to use the bathroom, walk the dog, make the coffee, and (my dad) SHAVE before they'd let us go downstairs. It's funny to be on the other end.

Her first glimpse at Santa's work.

Skyler, speechless?

Joe, operating on 4 hours of sleep, has plenty of energy for his grandchildren.

Amidst the post-present chaos. Notice Sam?

My beauties. They stayed in these very pjs until bath time.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve

Because the Manharts, Grandma Lila and Grandpa Joe, did not make it last night from Michigan (their flight was canceled because of the big midwest storm), we had Christmas Eve with just the 4 of us. We actually had a really amazing day, and the Manharts are in-flight as I write, so Skyler and Reed will wake up tomorrow to find their grandparents AND Santa's goodies.

We finished up our holiday baking and packed all of the treats to be delivered to our friends. Sam had an early morning swim practice, so the kids and I trekked around Bangor delivering baked goods, singing Christmas music, and feeling profoundly happy.

Here are the kids in the Christmas outfits. (Reed wasn't quite tucked in yet.)
Look at my big girl!

We then went to the 4:00 service at St. John's which was so beautiful. The end of the service is Silent Night by candle light. I remember this so fondly on every Christmas Eve growing up, and it was always my dad's favorite moment. I happened to have my camera in my purse so I took these photos of Sam and Skyler and April and Anna, our friends, during the procession. It was lovely.

And on the way home, I thought: my family is all so far away. My mom is in Vienna. My sister Liesel is in Utah. My brother Chris is in Mexico. Lisa and Mashi, my sister and brother-in-law are in Bali. We're way up here in Maine. And we are all under the same full moon. Merry Christmas to everyone out there, far and wide.

"Santa" is busy assembling a wooden easel while the kids are deep asleep in their matching snowman pajamas. Life is good.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Who had more fun here?

We had two of Skyler's best buds and their mommies over today for some Christmas crafts: gingerbread houses and snowmen cupcakes. Last night at 10:30 when I was up making the gingerbread houses out of graham crackers, I realized that really, I have been waiting my whole life for this stuff. I was already having a bit too much fun.

There was a fair share of candy eating going on here. We tried to monitor the amounts at first and gradually started looking the other direction as the m&ms and marshmallows started to disappear quite rapidly. It felt sort of like a science experiment. What will really happen to them if they eat this much sugar?

We took a break from the crafts (and the sugar) for a while to look at our cute babies and let the girls run around. Here are Suzanne and Maya

Reed, locked away at a safe distance from the sugar table.

Sandi (of the 6-pack abs) and Maya

Next, we got them arranged to make the snowman cupcakes that Suzanne had organized. These involved a cupcake base and then two donut holes coated in melted frosting and dressed up like snowmen. Sounds easy, right?

The girls thought so.

Here is what they were supposed to look like.

Ta Da! Here is Skyler's!

And McKayla's!

Ella didn't even take time to get to know her snowman.

McKayla doesn't like to get her hands dirty. She tried this approach.

Once the kids were cleaned up and back in the playroom (jumping off the stairs onto the bed, wild with sugar) we moms decided to see if it was even possible to make snowmen as cute as the ones in the magazine. (We think they didn't follow their own directions and used spray paint or something instead of frosting). We had so much fun making our own snowmen. I challenged my friends to a competition for the cutest snowman. Oops. That's not exactly the Christmas spirit. Suzanne, Christine, and I (while Sandi monitored our sugar-insane children) got to work. It was pretty cut-throat. I think that what was actually happening was that all our type A personalities were frustrated at watching our children make a total mockery of the snowmen cupcakes that we had to get our hands in there and make things right. Here are some soundbites:
"HEY. Watch your arm. That's my snowman's hat you almost knocked off."
"Honey, I can't help you right now. Mommy is VERY BUSY."
"I have a strategy for smoothing out the frosting. But I'm not sharing it with you."

What do you think? Can you see a Martha Stewart cover here?

They let me keep all three snowmen for Skyler's house. I think I am a little in love with them. Suzanne asked me if I was going to take them with me to Target tonight. Not a bad idea.

I figured out what happens when a 3yr. old eats a pound of sugar. Skyler started to meltdown (understatement) as everyone was leaving. Pretty soon she was speaking in tongues and her head was spinning in circles. We wrangled her into pajamas, gave her some fruit and some milk, and she fell asleep on the couch almost in mid sentence. We carried her to bed at 6:30.