Sunday, November 29, 2009

And Then, The Tree

I love the holiday season. Truly, I do. Of course, I am so thankful for the reason there is even a Christmas season. However, I also just really love everything about the end of November and all of December. I love the decorations, the lights, cookies, holiday desserts, traditions, advent, candles, snow (when there is any), and I even love the busy stores. I might be a holiday season junky.

I don't overly decorate our house, or really decorate our house at all. But I love getting the Christmas tree. I love to get it the day or two after Thanksgiving so that we can have it up for as long as possible, mainly because I just think Christmas trees are beautiful. So it has become our tradition to get our tree Thanksgiving weekend. And, if possible, we love to cut down our own. Here are some pictures.

What's great about this place that we found up north of Andover is that there are short little hayrides with a wagon pulled by actual horses and...Santa Claus is there. Tryn has never visited Santa, mainly because the whole mall Santa thing in the cities is ridiculous. I don't want to stand in line for 20 minutes with the chance that the kids won't want to talk to Santa anyway/cry when they actually see him. Fortunately, Tryn marched right up to him like it was no big deal. He asked her what she wanted for Christmas and she told him she needs new glass slippers (as several of hers are broken). When he asked Berlin she copied Tryn, of course, and said that she wanted "slippies" too. It's my favorite that she calls them slippies.

It was fun. I learned something about Steve in the process as well. He is much pickier about what our tree looks like than I am. I would say, that compared to him, I am not really picky at all. So I have to give him the credit, he found our perfect tree. It's a good one. The only sad part of the day is that Berlin lost one of her cute gloves forever out in Christmas tree land. Bummer.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

All Sorts of Thanksgivingness

I made this for Thanksgiving

and this

both for the first time ever, and they were wonderful. I am normally not a pie person, cookies, ice cream, and chocolate are my weaknesses. However, I have had three pieces of this apple pie so far, and I will probably have one more. It is so wonderful. The cheese ball was pretty much a total miracle. I have never made anything close to resembling a cheese ball and can't remember the last time I actually ate one. And I forgot to look at a recipe before we went grocery shopping, so after we got home I researched cheese balls based only on ingredients that I already had. This one contained Worcestersire sauce, green chilies, and garlic. Sounds nasty, right? It was SO good. I can't believe it. Seriously, a miracle. I am not trying to say I am a good cook here. I am saying, "Oh my goodness!! I made something and it actually turned out!! Not only did it turn out, it was good. Good enough that I want to eat it again." That's all.

Here's Steve with his hand up a turkey bottom.

Actually, here he has his hand between the meat and the skin, working on putting the herb rub all over the turkey. Also, so yummy.

I felt a little bit like Rachel Ray or Martha Steward or some really great creative interior designer when I had the idea of doing this for place cards.

I wrote on Christmas tree balls with a silver sharpie, and voila! Cute little place cards to hang from the glasses. It also added a nice touch of color to the table.

Everyone chipped in, even Rollie, who helped peel potatoes.

And yes, those are mimosa ingredients on the counter, if you were wondering. And Tums and an iPhone.

This is my beautiful friend Cait

who made all sorts of dishes like creamed corn, green bean casserole (with frozen green beans, not canned, which makes all the difference in the world, kind of want to eat some more of it right now), and lemon-pear salad. Such yummy food!!

The girls, in their new holiday dresses (a.k.a. "party dresses", as Tryn called them when I got her dressed that morning) spent a lot of time taking advantage of our friend Stew.

They played catch and read books. Stew was a good sport about it, like I said, everyone pitched in.

This picture is here for one reason only.

Can you figure out why? Probably not. Well, see the reflection in the potato pot? Yup, the camera and headless body? That's me. The only picture of me from the entire day. Moving on.

Although this is the funniest picture of the day, this is, unfortunately, the last picture of the day.

By this point we were running around in a stressful totally calm and composed manner trying to get everything done and on the table. In the chaos I forgot to make the cranberry sauce and we forgot to bring out Cait's lemon-pear salad, which we still got to eat later during snack/seconds/dessert time. I also didn't get any pictures of our other guests, Dan, Sinead, and Gabi. Or Kevin, who came over for breakfast. Nor our friend Ryan, who stopped by after work to partake in snack/seconds/dessert time with us. Didn't take any pics of the table all set up so pretty, nor my absolute favorite Thanksgiving food - sweet potato pie. I am also not a sweet potato person. I don't dislike sweet potatoes, but I don't really like them either, they are just meh to me. Except when they are sweet potato pie. I can't wait for leftovers dinner (again!) tonight.

I am thankful for all our friends who came over to celebrate Thanksgiving with our little family this year. It was absolutely, completely, totally, and especially so much fun.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

T-day, 33 hours and counting

Goodness, it almost seems as if I have forgotten how to blog!! I was doing pretty well, then November hit. It's almost like November 1 comes and life feels automatically 5x's busier! This last weekend I was in Brainerd hosting a baby shower for my sister - who, as I have mentioned, is bringing my first niece into this world. I think I also mentioned that I was very excited about that, still am :)

But what has kept me even busier than the preparation for a baby shower is that Steve and I have been preparing for the holidays, especially Thanksgiving. See, Steve and I stay here for Thanksgiving. We don't go anywhere, see any family, and this is our choice. It started one year when I had to work the day before and the day after my boss literally would not give me either of those days off. Only a certain number of people could be gone at one time and I was one of the newest employees, stupid company. Ahem. Anyway, instead of driving 4 hours in one day just to go eat a meal with people, we decided to stay home and make our own Thanksgiving dinner. That year we made ham because we were too scared to make a turkey and we had a really great time. We decided staying home for Thanksgiving was fun and have done it almost every year since.

Two years ago I realized that a turkey did not cost $50, as I always thought it had, and decided to give it a shot. I figured if I ruined $10 and Steve, Tryn, and I were the only ones to suffer that it wouldn't be so bad. We also bought some ham for a backup. I had no idea how to cook a turkey, but this is why I love the internet. I typed in something really brilliant like "how to cook a turkey" into Google and was rewarded with hundreds of recipes. After reading maybe 10 I just picked one. Oh, it was so yummy. It turned out perfectly. It actually tasted so much better than I ever remember turkey tasting. I don't know if that is because we made it or because our recipe was just that good, but mmmmm. Delish. Steve and I have made it three times since with the same results, so I think there might be something to be said for the recipe.

Anyway, this is the first year that we are also having friends over for Thanksgiving and are hosting the big old turkey day like real adults! (Seriously, by the way, what is up with all the adult-ish-ness in my life lately?!) We are totally excited and just got back from our grocery-shopping-for-thanksgiving-day-trip. Ugh. It will be worth it though, and I, of course, will post pictures :)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I Love You

On Saturday Steve, the girls, and I were shopping. Steve and I were busy and distracted, on a mission I guess you could say. We were at Ikea and we each took a cart, one for each girl to sit in. I was pushing the cart with Berlin and every time we walked away from Steve and Tryn she would start to get worried, "Daddy? Daddy! Daddy?" until I would point Steve out to her and then she would, very relieved, say, "Ah-is!" (i.e. there he is).

There were times when we were also walking next to each other. During one of these times Berlin was trying to get Steve's attention, "Daddy. Daddy...Daddy. Daddy. Daddy." She persistently just kept repeating his name, and he was distracted, looking around, trying to manage the crowds of people with his cart. When he finally realized that she was trying to get his attention he asked her, "What Berli?"

"I uv oo!" She told him.

This was the first time she has ever said, "I love you," without coaching, prompting, or someone saying it to her first. Out of the blue, she just wanted to tell her daddy, "I love you." It was just about the sweetest thing ever.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Grownups

I had a little shock of reality last night. We went to some friends house for dinner. They have two little girls only months apart in age from our little girls. Our friends Justin and Rebecca (who live in our building) were also there with their daughter Addi who is two months older than Berlin. There were five little girls running around the house ranging in age from 18 months to 3 years old. They actually all got along famously and played really well together. At one point during the evening four of the five of them were decked out in princess attire - just about the cutest thing ever. I managed to get this one picture with my iPhone just before it died, but you can at least get the gist of things.

Aren't they all adorable?

The kick of reality came when I was sitting at the dinner table and was struck with the thought, "Shoot! I am a grownup!" We were having a deep discussion about being pro-life and pro-war and how one person can believe in both of those things at the same time. Then I realized that my parents used to sit around with their grownup friends and have very similar discussions. And it was always so boring! And they were always so grownup and I never really understood most of what they were talking about. And couldn't understand why in the world they would want to sit around and talk about things like that. And I realized, shoot, I am part of The Grownups now.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Oh, my heart

Tryn has always been a happy sleeper. What I mean by that is that once she learned how to put herself to sleep when she was three months old we have not had a problem with her going to sleep or waking up. We have always just laid her down and, without crying, she will go to sleep. Then, when she wakes up she will just talk to herself and play, completely happy, until we come to get her - no matter how long it takes us. She never starts crying for us to come and get her. She still does this, and will wake up from her afternoon naps and the only way we know she is awake is that we eventually will hear her playing with Sophie or her blankies.

Berlin is different. I feel that the very best benefit to Trynica and Berlin sharing a room right now is that Tryn has taught Berlin a lot about being happy pre and post sleep. Every morning when the girls wake up together we never hear crying. We hear lots of playing and happiness. Because of Tryn. It is the longest time that the girls spend together during the day when we don't hear any screaming or fighting...maybe because Berlin is confined to her crib :). It's nice because we don't have to jump out of the bed the second they wake up.

However, when Berlin wakes up alone from her naps, she is not such a happy camper. She doesn't scream and cry, but she normally wakes up with a little maddness. Then she will just sit in her crib and pick someone to call for, "Mommy, mommy, mommy, MOMMY, mommy," or "Daddy, daddy, daddy...daddy, DADDY, daddy." Over and over again until someone will come and get her. Today was the first time that Berlin woke up and didn't call for me or Steve. Instead she called, "Tryn, Tryn, TRYN...Tryn, Tryn, Tryn."

It made my heart happy.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Typical Saturday Morning

What do we do on a typical Saturday morning in the Haines household? Play with toys, of course.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Those of you who are friends with Steve and me on Facebook might notice that we often update our statuses with funny things that our kids say. The girls, especially Trynica, often make us laugh with their funny ways of interpreting life. We like to pass that along, to make peoples days a little brighter at the expense of our kids. :)

Anyway, Tryn said two really funny things over the past couple of days that are too long to explain in an FB status, so here goes:

On Wednesday night the girls and I went upstairs to hangout with the ladies up there. We were at Justin and Rebecca house where the girls were having a grand time playing with Addi and all her toys. Well, bedtime came and so Rebecca started walking around picking up all the toys. Addi, being a typical almost two year old, grabbed a container full of toys and spilled them all over the just cleaned floor. After Rebecca expressed her frustration with Addi, Tryn hurried over and said, "I will help you clean them up."

Rebecca, in the appreciative sort of way of saying thank you, said to Tryn, "Oh, you don't have to do that!"

Tryn stood up, looked at the toys in her hand, and said, "Okay!" and threw them down and walked away.

Last night we were driving in the car on the way home from work and Tryn started talking about writing a letter to Santa. I had previously told her that if she would have to write Santa a letter to tell him what she wanted for Christmas. So in the car she turned to me and said, "Mom! I want to ask Santa for new glass slippers for Christmas, I think we should write him a letter...I think we should write him a letter "B"!"

Get it? Get it? She wanted to write him a letter from the alphabet!

Gosh, this kid is literal.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Oh, Just Some New Pictures

The other day it was a little nice and not raining, it feels like it rained every single day of October. I am sure it didn't, but it did. At least most of the time. So we played out side in the decent November weather.

The girls practiced doing summersaults in the yard. Berlin pretty much did this the entire time. Her legs never left the ground.

Tryn, however, is getting pretty good at kicking her legs. Even if they don't go over her head all the time, she at least gets the point and her feet actually leave the ground :)

I took just a couple fall leaf pictures, just 'cause. I don't generally, one can only have so many pictures of colorful leaves in a lifetime. But it was fun experimenting with different angles.

Then I tried taking a picture of both of the girls - which never works. I took about twenty where Berlin refused to look at me. She wanted to look at the leaves, sky, and airplanes. When I finally got Berlin to look at me AND smile all at the same time Tryn's coat had moved up to cover the bottom half of her face. It is so hard to get a cute picture of both of the girls both looking at the camera and both smiling at the same time.

This morning I am at home with the girls because Berlin has a nasty sounding cold that kept waking her up last night, so we decided not to bring her to the church childcare. And, since the girls are going to be at home all day, I let Berlin wear a bright pink outfit with princesses on it. We got it from our friend Paisley whose mom is not fond of her wearing items of clothing with characters on them. I feel the same way as Paisley's mom, especially about character clothing. The difference is that Paisley has not had an older sister teaching her to love princesses for pretty much her entire life and doesn't know the difference. Those of you who know me know that putting a bright pink princess outfit on for regular wear is not okay in my book of parenting rules, however, Berlin thinks I am the coolest mom ever today because of her outfit. Today I want to be the cool mom.