sparkle eyed and bushy (reindeer) tailed

I got a 5-hour stretch of sleep last night!  My mega sleeper has been cluster feeding at night.  Like a clock:  10, 1, 4, 7.  She and I can both sleep while she feeds, but I still have to wake-up to bring her to my bed and to return her.  My REMs have been suffering.

It might have something to do with the fact that on a whim, I fed her real food at 8pm.  She slept through dinner and wasn't fussy, so there was no way to know that she was hungry.  However, she ate and ENTIRE JAR of ham!  She never eats that much!  It was her first meat too!

I'm also feeling much better about my Christmas receiving concerns (though I'm still hoping to hear about your experiences and thoughts).  My husband pointed out that I simply can't imagine a Christmas different from what I experienced as a child.  He told me how cool it was that Santa left presents for him at his grandparents' house.  HO HO HA! 

So, I'll simply ask the grandparents to allow Santa to give one or two of the bigger gifts they have!  AWESOME!  

And because I hate to leave you wishing for more tangents (oh, the wonder of my brain)... let me tell you that if you think you've ever seen someone's eyes sparkle... YOU HAVEN'T!  Last night, it was time for bed, but Hazel was having a little "I WANT TO WATCH CALLIOU" meltdown.  Super dad solved that problem-o by suggesting that they pretend to BE Calliou!  He told Hazel that she would be Caillou, he would be Grandpa (because Caillou and Grandpa sleep in a tent in one episode) and Heidi Rose would be little sister, Rosie.  OH MY GOODNESS!  She ran around the house saying, "Hadel be Caillou, Dadda Granpa.  Hadel be Caillou, Dadda Granpa".  Sparkle sparkle sparkle.  Hello imagination, so nice to play with you!


keeping the Christmas spirit

So, I'm stressed about Christmas.  Not over-the-top stressed, just stressed enough to make my hubby a little crazy as I constantly talk about... GIFT RECEIVING.

My kids are so lucky to have 3 sets of loving/doting/generous grandparents.  They really do a great job of checking in with us to buy things we like and/or the kids would like (since those two things are often different.  exhibits A-Z:  any toy that makes noise!).  So what could I possibly worry about?  I admit, it's RIDICULOUS!

With that disclaimer being said, here they are:

1.  Will my kids grow up feeling less excited for our family Christmas morning since we can't do as much?
2.  Will my kids appreciate their gifts?  I wish I could just give them one gift a day for a month (or three) instead of overloading them all at once.
3.  WHAT ABOUT SANTA?  What makes Santa's gifts exciting if, as they say, the best is yet to come?  We plan to "let" Santa give each girl one big gift and possibly a stocking.

Ho Ho Hum... I know I'm not alone in these concerns, ridiculous as they may be.  What are your thoughts?  How do you handle the Christmas receiving in your family?

*Note to my mom, smother-in-law & mother-in-law:  Thanks for always checking in with me about gifts.  You couldn't be more understanding and receptive to our concerns!  So, this post is by no means a complaint... just a young mama trying to sort out her feelings.  Love you!

*What about the true meaning of Christmas?  I feel like we've got that pretty well covered!  On Saint Nicholas Day, the girls will be boxing up their under-used toys to give to kids who will appreciate them.  We will also attend Christmas Eve church and be throwing a birthday party for Jesus on Christmas Day!


wicks and red jumpsuits

Yesterday was the first day of Advent.  A season of preparation and anticipation for Jesus' birth.  Each Sunday, the choir sings, "Keep your lamps trimmed and burning, the time is drawing nigh."   Such a perfect song to keep our perspective focused on the exciting reason for the season!  Here's the song on YouTube, but in all sincerity, my choir does it so much better... with more energy, excitement and definitely more soulful drumming!

Today I will hang my Advent calendar, place our nativity candle (that we use as our Advent candle) on our table to light daily during our family dinner, and best of all... this year I've made a 5 foot felt Christmas tree to hang on the wall!  Crazy?  Perhaps... but a nice compromise between a mama who wants her Christmas tree up all season and a woman that wants to stay sane and not spend the next 25+ days saving ornaments from toddler hands and pine needles from baby mouths!  I intend to spend my day making lots of felt ornaments that will self stick to the tree... perfect for unlimited toddler entertainment/ decorating.  If you'd like more insight/ ideas for Advent, HERE is a great article!  And whether you personally celebrate Advent or not, please give me two more minutes and watch this great video... the better you understand this season, the better you understand your neighbors :)

As for the red jumpsuit, well Hazel has begun to get Santa Claus fever and I can literally SEE the wheels turning as she begins to learn about Santa and presents :)  However, the real reason I'm thinking about a red jumpsuit is because I spent a few minutes checking some of my favorite online retailers (Gap & Old Navy) in hopes of finding fleece lined overalls (they don't.  they are saving me from myself.).  STYLISH!  I remember when they carried that article years and years ago and now that I'm a stay-at-home-mom/  babysitter... I TOTALLY get why Caillou's teacher wears a red jumpsuit (drat, can't find an image online for you.  Caillou is Hazel's favorite/ only TV show and his teacher wears a red jumpsuit everyday!  Gasp!  Ok, it's just a cartoon, but STILL!).

(time to wrap up my tangents:)  I encourage you to join me on this rainy 1st day of hunting (if you live in rural PA... this day is an actual HOLIDAY!) and pull out a few (or all) of your holiday decorations... and keep those lamps trimmed and burning... the time is drawing nigh!



It's 7am... are you snuggled in your bed or just returning home after a morning of sales?  Me, it's my morning to get up with the girls.

As usual, I use this time to allow a little TV watching for Hazel as I drink my coffee and plug-in to my favorite websites.  Oh internet, you really help this stay-at-home mom survive!

I've never ever ever shopped on Black Friday before.  That's not about to change, but somehow my fingers have a mind of their own this morning... luckily, they're just curious and haven't memorized my credit card numbers!  The first website I went to:  store.apple.com .  Shameless :)  Yesterday, I saw/ played with an iPad... for the first time EVER!  Crazy, I know!  I've been hearing about those gizmos for over a year and slowly they seem to be more and more popular, but I had never seen one, nor did I understand their allure.  Until yesterday!  WOW!  They're $50 off today...

How about you?  Do you shop on Black Friday?  I intend to use this gorgeous day for family time and crafting time... if I can control these fingers....


makin me smile and feelin grateful

It's 6:30 am and I've been awake for way too long.  Little Heidi-loo-who seems to be quite the morning person. And yet, despite losing a precious hour or so of sleep, watching her wiggle on the floor, practicing her crawling moves (though they are not coordinated enough yet to help her move very far), play with her toys, and make silly baby noises, how can I be anything but happy?

Yesterday I made one of my quickest craft projects yet.  A simple burlap pennant banner that says "give thanks".

I'm oh-so-tempted to write/start a thankfulness post 'cause it is that time of year.  Many of the bloggers I read have done this and each time they mention something so simple that it makes me smile and my heart fill with gratitude.

However, I'm not composing a list because that's kind of what my entire blog is to me, a place to record the moments I'm most thankful for.

Soon Hazel will wake up with a massive case of bedhead.  I may or may not attempt to control it before 3 of our littlest friends arrive to spend the day with us.  My day will be nonstop action with diapers, tears (not my own...hopefully), snacks, toy mayhem, songs, activities, s.l.o.w. walks through the woods, forced naps (not my own... bummer), and lots of hugs and cuddles.

It's certainly not the life I imagined nor the life that required enormous sums of money to give my brain lots of wrinkles, but it's the life I've chosen, the life I love and certainly, the life I am grateful for.

Since I still haven't fixed my old laptop and therefore can't share my own pictures, take a moment to enjoy this sweet song.  My mom, the music teacher, bought this childrens' book a few years ago and despite the teasing she endures from her son-in-law, she plays this song for us every year as we all gather round to look at the beautiful illustrations.  A beautiful reminder that life is a gift... complete with it's snags, pains and warts.


Toadally Tutus (gift idea for a girly girl)

A sweet gal I know from my Oregon days has started a new business, TOADALLY TUTUS.  She is a crafter to the nth degree.  Where does she finds time to make so many crafts, refinish furniture, start businesses, decorate her house to magazine-level-eye-candiness and still do all the things a SAHM (stay at home mom) needs to do?  I'm humbled... and glad to know such an inspirational mama (which is something that can only truly be said by a SAHM who bought pink tulling 6 months ago to make a tutu and never did)!  (incidentally:  she is one who made my flower baby/toddler sling that EVERYONE compliments me on!)

Her newest venture is making adorable tutus and for every one she sells, she donates one to a children's hospital in time for Christmas!  WOW!  She'll custom make your tutu to any colors you can imagine.  I know one Oregon baby who would LOVE a purple tutu...  (just in case any Koskereaders need a Christmas idea for Hazelnut.  While you're shopping, check out those awesome Cowgirl Canteens!).

picture taken from Toadally Tutus
*Dop!  I forgot to add the link yesterday!  Here's the site:  http://toadallytutus.blogspot.com/


life's ups and downs

My sister just discussed how sometimes life is a breeze... and sometimes life is a STORM.  I've been feeling that this week.

I have a lot of wonderful acquaintances and a few very wonderful close friends.  My husband recently had to reassure some loved ones that I enjoy my time with them, but after 24-hours... I begin to get the itch for solitude.   My sister can fill every hour of the day with visits/chats/activities with friends.  I cannot.

I think I'm more like my Grandma Orris.  She passed away when I was 13-ish, and I remember her as a fun, kind, gentle woman.  She was, but I've also learned that she tended towards the loner and had very few close friends.  In high school, I thought that was a horrible way to be.  I wanted my friends around me constantly (especially if they were male).  By my 20's, I began turning down social offers in order to get to bed early.  Kinda lame, but true to myself.  I even went to bed early on my 21st birthday in order to be chipper for my morning yoga class!

This week I've been thinking a lot about my friends.  I love them so dearly.

This weekend I am so excited to celebrate the engagement of two very dear friends.  In fact, I'm so excited about their engagement, that I'm celebrating with them on Saturday at a big party AND on Sunday with an intimate dinner at my house.  Ty, the bridegroom,  has grown up with me.  6 days a week from Kindergarten to 12th grade (school and church).  Feel kinda bad for him don't you?  Now our friendship has evolved...err.. maybe not... word on the street is that I can be a bit bratty (or HILARIOUS) when I tease him.  We share many of the same interests and without my permission, he fell in love with one of my Lutherlyn friends, Amanda.  WORLDS COLLIDED and I had nothing to do with it!  I am so happy for them!

This week I get to spend time with my Thanksgiving family.  Not biological family, but family just the same.  The adults stay with my parents and their daughter stays with me.  She and I have spent almost every Thanksgiving together whispering secrets into the wee hours of the night.  This year will be much the same, except with real grown-up problems, pain and tears.  However, no matter what horrible things we face in life, we will face them together and we will still find time for laughter (and over eating) simply because we love spending time together.

Sometimes life throws curve balls, but through it all we are blessed with our friends.  The sisters and brothers we were not born with, but that we've chosen to share our lives with.


the season of WHY

After a jam-packed, fun and family filled weekend away... we are back in our nest!  I'm tickled pink to mention that my computer problems are almost solved... still have to get a new power cord for my old computer so I still can't post Heidi's 7-month photo.  Last night Jake and I were wide-eyed shocked to encounter THE RETURN OF THE CRASH.  What's that you ask?  That's what happens after a certain toddler spends the weekend visiting with relatives and then suddenly finds herself back to normal life.  Wow.  Apparently, 7-month olds aren't immune to the CRASH either.  Wow.

Speaking of a certain golden haired toddler, her language grows exponentially every week.  A few months ago I noticed that she wasn't talking as much as other kids her age.  I wasn't concerned, but it was noticeable.  However, now she is way more verbal than most toddlers.  She speaks in complex sentences that amaze us with their complex thinking and understanding.  Mostly it's the "why" question that surprises me.  I didn't realize this would happen at such a young age.  She cocks her head, furrows her brows, pauses at each word while carefully creating her sentences.  Currently I am being frequently interrupted as she asks WHY she can't color with crayon on various surfaces.  "Because crayons are just for paper."

I'm thankful for a nice weekend away... and now I'm thankful to be home (where just this morning we saw 50+ turkeys out our window!).


What a very pretty hat!

Last night Hazel spent the night with her Grandma Orris ("Llama").  This morning Jake left for his new part-time job at 7am (I have the greatest hubby on the planet!).  What did Heidi and I do?  We SLEPT... 'cause that's what we do best!  She is DEFINITELY my daughter :)

Now I am sitting at my parents house, drinking their coffee and waiting for my Pop Tart to POP (they have OREO pop tarts!  No wonder Hazel wants to live here!).  Guess what we're watching on TV?

MARY POPPINS!  I had completely forgotten how my sister and I would race to quote "What a very pretty hat" at exactly the right time at the beginning of the movie when they nanny left.  Wonder what other gems I'll rediscover?  Just wish my dad was here to watch it with us... it is his favorite movie (didn't see that one coming, did ya?)

p.s. my computer is still broken so I won't be around much!



Our laptop power cord has died and so we are truly offline!  Currently I'm using my father's swanky laptop.  It runs so smoothly and quickly... wonder if he's senile enough not to notice if I try to switch him laptops?  I mean, they are both black and have buttons (the computers, not my father)!  HA!  Speaking of senile, I'm thrilled to publicly announce that my dad officially retired on Tuesday!

Wow!  Can't believe my parents are old enough to be retired.  In true old person form, they're planning a roadtrip to Florida this winter :)  Ok, they're not old and they'll most likely spend their vacation biking, hiking, exploring, and sipping!  Regardless, this time of leisure is well deserved!  I'm so happy for them!

My dad kicked off his retirement with a major surgery on Tuesday.  That guy can party!  Now we're praying for a speedy recovery and a dozen (plus) healthy years to enjoy their retirement together.

While I'm powerless to make my dad feel better right now, I do have 2 secret weapons that bring him joy.  Off to make some Get Well cards with the cutest Candy Stripers in town (wait... or is it Candy Strippers?  I'm trying to refer to the young people who bring cheer to people in the hospital... not some girl named "Candy" who takes her clothes off!)