Family Alive

Brian, Kristine, Analise, and Josiah Toone

Archive for November, 2007

Teeter Tot 1

27th November 2007

analise and josiah on the teeter totter
Analise and Josiah on the Teeter Totter. Click the picture to watch a short video.

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We’re on our way to Christmas!!

26th November 2007

We started the Christmas season on Saturday here in our house. I made turkey chili with cornbread, and we enjoyed my delicious apple pie for dessert. Brian brought our Christmas tree up from the basement. Can I just say that the Christmas tree storage bag I bought last year was a GREAT idea?? In contrast to last year’s experience of shaking a mice nest from the tree in its cardboard box in the shed, this year all the pieces were neatly stacked together with their other color-coded branches, and it went together so easily! 

In contrast to last year’s sweet memories of a 2 1/2 year old Analise decorating, this year she was a HUGE help, handing Brian branches, sorting pieces into their color piles. (Sorry they’re not the greatest pictures, but they capture the moments!)

After the tree was up, Analise quickly determined we needed "presents", so she brought in a bunch of toys to keep under the tree.  Good thing… I won’t be able to put the wrapped ones under until Christmas eve, because she’ll never leave them alone!

She wanted to be a part of everything, including fluffing up the branches with me, and helping me put on the lights. When I told her to be careful, she said, "Look, Mommy, when I stand on the chair, I won’t fall because my legs don’t wobble!"

We lost track of Josiah for a bit, and found playing in the kitchen, having found the pre-tree decorating snack.

Brian’s parents joined us for dinner and the actual decorating. Analise again, enjoyed putting up all the ornaments, especially opening the ones that were stored in their little Hallmark boxes. She was SO EXCITED about all the Christmas decorations coming out!  She was determined that we were going to get ALL the decorations out of every box before she went to bed.  She pulled out the velvet ribbon, poinsettias, and garland for outside and carefully placed them all over the house.  It’s festive, specially the poinsettias sticking up from the blinds on the shutters:)  She was so cute. 

Josiah, on the other hand, was seriously into UN-decorating… that’s what these chubby little hands are actually doing 🙂

When he took the decorations off the tree, he’d either take them to another room in the house, leaving them there… decorating in his little way, I’m sure

…or use them to decorate Grandma.

Though last year the tree was heavy on the lower 5-6 branches thanks to Analise’s decorating and Josiah wasn’t a problem, this year I’ve had to make the lower branches the "child safe" ornaments, and move all Analise’s carefully placed ornaments higher up to safer places.  Now, if we can just keep him from pulling the tree over…

I’ll leave you with our one good ornament picture…

It’s going to be a fun Christmas with these 2 little sweeties!

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25th November 2007

smeyer fall 2007

Here’s a 10 minute video of a climb I did up Smeyer Road a couple weeks ago. Beautiful fall colors.

I’ll be posting more videos soon. Stay tuned!

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Analise’s Preschool Pow-wow Picnic

22nd November 2007

On Tuesday, Analise’s preschool had a pow-wow picnic. They had made pillowcase indian vests and feather headbands with their Indian names on them. Analise’s name was Little Fawn. I only stayed for the picnic, but after I left, they sat in a circle, played their Indian (oatmeal container) drums and danced the Turkey Tango. Fun!

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Josiah’s Thanksgiving Fun – cranberries!

22nd November 2007

I tell ya… he can entertain himself with anything! I got a cute video of him playing with them, too, and eating them. I loved running them through his fingers, rolling them across the floor, bouncing them, tossing them in the colander. He ate several, rolling them around in his mouth for a bit, before biting into them with a wrinkled face. After feeling it burst its tartness in his mouth, he’d reach in and pull it out, putting it back in the colander.

Love these chubby soft little fingerrs!

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What’s Cookin’… Apple Pie!

22nd November 2007

I love homemade apple pie. I learned to make it from scratch, courtesy of Lori Thompson and Betty Crocker, while in Nicaragua, and since then, I’ve been determined to make it myself. Today, I didn’t get it done in time for dinner. Bummer. But I made the dough yesterday, and finally had the time to peel, core and cut the apples and roll out the dough this afternoon. Since I didn’t have anyone to share it with over dinner, I thought I’d share it with you.

I used Paula Deen’s Perfect Pie Crust recipe and Betty Crocker’s Apple Pie recipe. I was afraid the pie crust wouldn’t hold together, but after patting it into a ball, flattening it into a thick disk, wrapping it in Saran and chilling it overnight, it rolled out really well.

Yum, apples…I even used organic:) Tossed with flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and a pinch of salt.

I have to say the crust crimping wasn’t the best, but I’ll work on that next time. But the leaf and acorn cut-outs looked good!

Golden out of the oven.

Yum. Too bad I had to enjoy it alone. Anyone want to come over for pie and ice cream? It was DELICIOUS!

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Happy Thanksgiving from the Toones!

22nd November 2007

Here’s a glimpse of our Thanksgiving…

The Martha Stewart pinecone turkey project (using one HUGE pinecone from the California redwood forest). Quick, easy and fun.

The Thanksgiving feast table at Brian’s parent’s house…
rolls, turkey, cranberry sauce from a can, sweet potato casserole, stuffing, mashed potatoes,
corn casserole, cranberry relish and green bean casserole (the last 3 were my contributions with links to the recipes).
Our pinecone turkeys joined the ceramic one 🙂

A sneak peek at our family Christmas card picture!
We’ve attempted it 3 times now, with a total of 12 pictures, but this one turned out the best.
Now, let’s see if I can get the cards in the mail before January… But if I don’t, at least you faithful readers can appreciate it!

Analise wore a pretty dress that Poppa Dale found at a University of Minnesota textile store. It looked so pretty on her!

Modeling by the Christmas tree next to our front door. No, I wouldn’t normally have Christmas trees up this early,
but she found it in the basement garage this week… (see below)

And insisted Brian bring it up for decorating with a couple ornaments she found digging around. Then she piled all her toys under it as presents:)
But just to set the record straight… she’s not going to be about the trees, decorations and presents, though I’m sure those are pretty exciting.

*EVERYTHING* is about Baby Jesus right now. We’re trading off being Mary, Joseph, shepherds and Baby Jesus.
Analise is wrapping "cloths" around Baby Jesus, and tucking him in (but really "her", because it’s usually her dolls Annie or Dora…
kind of disconcerting to ask where Baby Jesus is, and to hear her say, "She’s over here!")
I came home the other evening to find they’d arranged the chairs into a stable, with Dora playing the starring role.
Analise wanted to sleep in the stable, and she’d brought nearly all the toys, crayons and puzzle pieces she could find out to be gifts from the wise men.

Here’s another glimpse at a recent Nativity set up, with the Care Bear in the starring role, with Tigger, Strawberry Shortcake and the Veggie Tales squash looking on. Yes, the shoe is a perfect manger. …

She’s played with my cherished Willow Tree nativity set for a long time, and
it’s always a little internal battle for me to let her play with something that’s so fragile and means so much to me.
A couple weeks ago, I’d gotten a hand carved olive wood nativity set, very pretty and perfectly sized for her hands. Last night, I gave her the first of the Advent gifts I’d gotten, because, well, we can’t keep secrets around here:) No, really, I knew she’d enjoy it every day until Christmas, and probably until Easter. Oh, yes, and I’m hoping this one of her own will allow me to put mine on display for the holidays.

But today at Toones, Beverly gave her a Precious Moments nativity set to keep at their house. She was busy with that all afternoon.

Here’s everyone crowded into the stable. But the best part was when I overheard her saying the wise men had to go home because their Mommy needed them.
Two quick recommendations… we’ve recently just won "A Wowie Bozowie Christmas" featuring Boz the Bear and "The Very First Noel". Both are wonderful, but The Very First Noel is a beautifully animated sweet story, featuring the Wise Men’s trek to the Holy Child, narrated by Andy Griffith. Great music – Analise is already singing entire Christmas carols, awesome story, definitely a holiday tradition. (Both available together here, for only $19.99).

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The day before the feasting

21st November 2007

Quiet gray day here. We’re going to play at some friends’ house this morning, and I’ve got an apple pie to make. I *LOVE* making apple pies, though I don’t do it often enough (4th of July and Thanksgiving). I like to make the pie crust from scratch, and between that and peeling all the apples, it takes some time, but I’ll get to it this afternoon. Tomorrow, I’ve got to make the green bean casserole (this cheesy recipe is yummy – though I didn’t use the Velveeta) and the corn pudding

We’re also going to make a couple of these Martha Stewart pinecone turkeys for the table. They look pretty easy, and I think Analise will have fun making them. Happy day before Thanksgiving….

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Just the moments of life

19th November 2007

There’s so much I should be blogging about. We’re getting a huge photo backlog with the new camera, so of course, there are plenty I should be sharing. I’ve got lots of deep thoughts on lots of things I’d love to put together into eloquent, thought-provoking, tender, poignant posts. But really… if I get caught up on that, I’ll hardly ever get anything posted. My life is pulled in too many directions right now, and I’m lucky to finish an email without getting pulled away. But I’ve got to start just putting the moments of life to the keyboard, because they are too sweet to forget.

So here you’ll find some random memories of my sweeties. They’re growing so fast.

Every night I go in to make sure Analise is covered. I’m nearly brought to tears at how big she looks in her bed. Just 6 months ago we moved her out of her crib into the big-girl bed. She was still flopping all over the bed, thank goodness for the railing we installed. I imagined that she’d never stay on a pillow, sleeping in one direction all night, and that we’d probably use the railing until she was 10! But these days, she wants to be tucked under her quilt, head on the pillow, with a book to read by the soft light we leave on, with some CD playing. I’ll check on her a couple hours later, and usually find her still tucked under the covers, curled up, looking so big in her bed. Not at all the toddler she was just months ago. She’s growing into a little girl… BIG girl!.. in so many ways.

Yes, we’re still having the terrible-2’s moments carried over into the 3’s. I bragged about her having reached the Age of Reason in August, but we had a regression, back to tantrums, impatience, and lots of whining. Not sure what caused it, but it’s been frustrating. This week, though, she’s been very good, and it’s so encouraging.

She talks all the time. All kinds of random chatter, always a question. Her mind is always working. Her preschool teacher is amazed at how much she talks, and she’s always laughing about things Analise has said. As are we:)

Josiah’s quite a strong-willed little boy. He’s still full of trouble, always into something. He knows what he wants, and he’s determined to get it, no matter what he has to climb to get there. He’s also very sweet and snuggly at moments, coming up to my leg while I’m at the kitchen sink or sitting at the computer, and laying his head down, wrapping his little arms around my leg. It usually lasts less than 10 seconds, but it’s so sweet. It just melts me.

He still uses a pacifier to sleep, which is fine by me. He knows to toss it in the crib when I get him up from his nap or pick up him in the morning. He loves to have more than one to fall asleep with. In fact, tonight, there was only one in his crib, which he giggled and put into his mouth. I left him for a moment to find the other one that had gotten misplaced during the day. When I brought it to him, he was already curled up against the end of the crib, on his chest with his knees up under him, butt in the air, holding onto his blanket. I put the pacifier next to his hand, and he rolled over, found it, and started giggling excitedly, before switching the one in his mouth to the fresh one. So cute. He goes to bed so well… he knows when it’s time (btw 6:30 and 7pm) and naptime. He likes to curl up in his crib, and I’m so happy that I can just put him in and know he’ll be asleep by himself quickly.

Ok, enough mom thoughts. Maybe I’ll come back in a few with some pics…

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On more tender mom link…

15th November 2007

This is from one of my favorite bloggers, Notes from the Trenches. She also posts regular posts at The Parenting Post, where she shared this poignant letter to her newly teenage firstborn. This tender paragraph tugged at my heart…

It is such a cliche to say that time has passed in the blink of an eye,
but it is true. Of course when I was going through those toddler and
preschool years with you I thought they would never end. But now
sometimes, just for a brief minute, I wish you were still three,
hanging off my leg, and thinking that I had all the answers for all the
questions in the world.

Yep, that’s where I’m at these days. Analise chattered a mile-a-minute yesterday, full of questions, comments, and stories. She wanted to know about everything. It is amazing how she thinks I’m the source of all information. I wonder how long this will last?

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