Holiday Card Outtakes

December 18, 2012

I was hoping that we’d be able to get someone to snap a few pictures of Bill, Caelan and myself at Thanksgiving and that one of those pictures would turn out to be worthy of this year’s holiday card. Nothing elaborate or staged, just a snap shot of the 3 of us.

Well, taking pictures of a toddler usually results in this:


They move really fast! It’s nearly impossible to get a good picture. This is why I have 4 billion pictures of Caelan before he was mobile and FAR less since. Your best bet is to just start snapping away and hopefully you will end up with one or 2 useable photos.

We got some of these gems, which are actually really funny, but not great for a holiday card…



And finally, I found 2 pics that I thought would be great for our card (and a couple more that don’t include all 3 of us but were great shots anyway).

Merry Christmas (a little early!) from our family to yours!


[All of these photos were taken by my aunt, Nancy, or my sister-in-law, Jen. Thank you so much!!]


Meeting Santa

December 12, 2012

We didn’t take Caelan to meet Santa last year. He was only 6 months old and we just didn’t really think about doing it. But this year,  he’s old enough to learn who Santa is, be able to recognize him,  and even say his name (sort of). I was about to resign myself to waiting in line forever and paying a fortune for a single print of my kid probably crying or wiggling away, when I got a suggestion from an old friend of mine for another option.

She suggested this little farm museum that’s kind of out in the boonies, not too far from where we live. It was the kind of place with a series of paths connecting old buildings where people were dressed in period clothing, making their own candles, and baking bread on a hearth (one lady checked her iPhone, you know, for authenticity).

We paid $5 to get in and then walked over to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus in a cute little log cabin. I had my camera and knew I could take as many pictures as I wanted. There was no line. There was one family ahead of us, and when they left, we went in. Caelan put on his serious face and when Bill put him on Santa’s lap, he quickly wiggled free and ran back to Bill. He refused Mrs. Claus also, though he did accept a candy cane from her.

This is not quite the picture I had hoped for, but hey, this is how it happened this year and I love it. We’ll try again next year and see what Caelan thinks about them then!


Ornamental Variety

December 6, 2012

We were on the ball this year and got our tree put up on December 1st. During Caelan’s nap (wahoo, he took a nap!!) I put the ornaments on the tree. We have a small collection – only enough to fill a box slightly larger than a shoe box. This year, I just put them on the top half of the tree, leaving the bottom 3-4 feet clear. It seemed like that would be less stressful given that we have a toddler who likes “exploring”.

I kind of like the look of a tree with those colored glass ornaments, or one with ornaments of all one color (like silver)…everything looks nice and put together. But that’s not sentimental at all, so I prefer our collection of mismatched ornaments. I guess this is why some people have more than one tree, so they can do both. I think I saw an extra tree in our attic…maybe next year (don’t kill me, hon 🙂 )

Anyway, back to the “mismatched” ornaments! I took pictures of some of them and I really like the variety.

Some classic…



Some that reflect our interests…




John Elway (Caelan’s new BFF – just ask him, he’ll tell you)

And our pets…

Jake and Beaker

Jake and Beaker

Loki, our girl who died a few years back

Loki, our girl who died a few years back

Quite a few Simpson’s ones…

Bart Simpson

Bart Simpson

Some that are completely random…

From my sister's Girl Scout troop. Not sure how I ended up with this one!

From my sister’s Girl Scout troop. Not sure how I ended up with this one!

Some that are familiar…

This one was on our tree when I was growing up - always near the bottom because kids and cats couldn't hurt it.

This one was on our tree when I was growing up – always near the bottom because kids and cats couldn’t hurt it.

Some that are sentimental…

Our First Christmas 2008

Our First Christmas 2008

Caelan's First Christmas 2011

Caelan’s First Christmas 2011

And some that use The Force to keep our tree safe…

Obi Wan Kenobi

Obi Wan Kenobi

More Christmas Crafts

December 4, 2012

Seriously, more? I’ve now completed 3 in the past week and a half which is insane. Granted, none of them were super involved, but still.

The first one was my ribbon wreath which you can read about here.

For the next one, I saw a picture of my friend’s daughter playing with a felt Christmas tree. After asking my friend about it and taking a peek on Pinterest, I decided to go for it. The whole project cost me about $6 and took me less than an hour to complete. I cut triangles out of green felt and arranged them in a tree shape on my wall and attached them with painters tape (this is not the best method, so I may change that later on). Then I searched my kitchen for something to trace to make ornaments. I ended up with a star cookie cutter and a plastic jar of sprinkles. Many of the examples of felt trees that I saw had more elaborate ornaments – glitter, stripes, other embellishments. But I wanted to keep it simple. After all, as Bill pointed out, Caelan would just destroy it anyway.


And he does indeed enjoy ripping the ornaments off the tree and handing them to us with a super speedy “hepwitdat” (which means “help” or in this context “here, hold this” and he says it super fast for some reason). If we are not right there with him, he will collect all the ornaments and stuff them in the nearest shoe. True story.

He’s not much for putting the ornaments back on the tree. The felt ornaments do stick to the felt tree, but you have to gently place them on flatly, and well…Caelan’s more for crumpling them and then smashing them back against the tree. He can do it with a little guidance though.

For the next craft, I made stockings for our cats. May sound silly if you’re not a pet owner, but whatever. I just wanted them to be included. I found these stockings online at Party City and I thought they were cute and they were about the right size and definitely the right price.


Obviously, they say “My First Christmas” on them, so that wouldn’t work. So I used some left over felt from Caelan’s tree and covered the top part of the stocking. Then I glued letters on to spell out their names. Super easy. Now I guess Santa will have to get them something!


Reflections, Caelan – Months 15-18

December 1, 2012

We have a full blown toddler now. A running, shrieking, giggling, tantrum-throwing, funny-face-making, I-love-you-saying toddler. He’s 18 months old now…a year and a half! We are getting closer to not counting his age in months anymore. I don’t know when that stops…

Just shy of 18 months old

So…least pleasant stuff first. Whoever coined the term “terrible 2’s” is a big fat lying liar. The terrible 2’s start WAY before their 2nd birthday, at least that has been the case in this house. Caelan started with mini-tantrums around 10 or 11 months, but since then, he has been perfecting them. By the time he’s 2 or 3, he should be a master :/ We have carried him over our shoulder literally kicking and screaming through a parking lot, he’s thrown food in restaurants, refused to hold our hands in the street, sobbed in the check out lane at the grocery store, and even kicked one of the little kids at his daycare. As obnoxious, frustrating, and sometimes embarrassing as those things are, I know they’re developmentally appropriate. Still testing those boundaries I suppose. And honestly, I wrote the first part of this paragraph a couple months ago and his behavior has been better since then. Though daycare often reports that he’s “acting like a 2 year old” and he even got sent to timeout for the first time last week, that only makes up a small fraction of his behavior. Most of the time, he really is very well behaved, sweet, and gentle. But he has his moments, like all toddlers I’m sure.

Sweet smile

When Caelan was almost 16 months old, we took away his last bottle, the bedtime one (it seems like forever ago!). It went surprisingly well. I’m very glad to be done with bottles!! An unanticipated side effect of dropping the bottle was that now Caelan sleeps with the seahorse not just for naps, but at bedtime too. Bill and I were both a little wary of Caelan becoming dependent on the seahorse to sleep, but on the other hand, most kids sleep with a stuffed animal and is it really such a big deal? We do have 2 just in case 🙂

Just when we finally got Caelan’s naps under control, he started refusing naps in the crib around 16 1/2 months. All the sudden he would just scream and scream if we put him in there. He did the same thing at my parents’ house and Bill’s parents’ house, but not usually at daycare. Only this past week have we had any success at all with getting him to nap in the crib. Around 17 months he started crying at bedtime too, but thankfully that only lasted a few days. I was really caught off guard by this fabled “18 month sleep regression” but (hopefully) it’s on its way out!

Just in the past couple of weeks, Caelan has really started to master eating with a fork and spoon. He asks for utensils and is pretty good with them, particularly the fork.

Eating with a fork

The total tooth count is up to 16. Between 15 1/2 and 16 1/2 months he cut all 4 canines. I think he was a little fussy because of it (they practically all came in at once), but it wasn’t too bad. Now I think we get a teething break since he has only 4 more baby teeth to go and those (the 2 year molars) aren’t due to start coming in for another 6 months or so. But I wouldn’t be surprised if they come in a little early – Caelan has always been on the early side with his teeth.

We still haven’t run into any serious separation anxiety (unless that’s what’s going on with his sleep). Sometimes he’ll cling to us for a minute or 2 when we arrive at a new place and he does usually take a little while to warm up, but then he’s very friendly. He waves hello and goodbye, he gives hugs and kisses and high-five’s, he blows kisses, and he is great with animals. He’s not too scared when a bigger dog licks his face and he loves to pet cats and smaller dogs. He still needs close supervision, but I’d say he’s gentle with them 75% of the time.

Cuddling with Jake

Caelan’s vocabulary has exploded in the past few months.  I was originally going to list all of his new words here in this post, but I quickly lost track! I stopped counting his words around 60 but that was more than a month ago and I’m sure he’s got 75+ by now. He knows the names of all his family members (though many are still pretty garbled), he knows his daycare teacher’s name and the names of several of the kids there, he knows plenty of Sesame Street characters by name, some foods, some colors, a couple letters, a handful of animals and animal sounds, 10-ish body parts, the names of his toys, and even what a pirate says (“ahhhhrr!”). “Outside” was his favorite word, but lately he says “Unca Day” (Uncle Dave) and “uh oh” incessantly. My favorite thing he’s learned to say is “I love you”. He’s even said it a couple of times unprompted which is fairly heart-melting.

Riding his bike and pointing at Mama

Around 16 1/2 months old, he said what I’m going to call his first sentence: “Ghee (Jake), get down!” Haha!! I love that he scolds our cat for jumping on things he shouldn’t. But other than that one time, and maybe one or two other times, he isn’t really stringing words together yet. But Bill and I continue to be fascinated watching Caelan learn. We’re stunned to hear him say a new word or demonstrate a new skill and we glow with pride like the silly parents we are.

Caelan continues to do really well at daycare. Sure, sometimes he gets sent to time out or acts like a 2-year-old, but he also has so much fun with the other kids. When I drop him off in the morning, the other kids yell “Caelan!” and run to greet him. The other day we asked Caelan who his best friend was and his face split into a wide grin and he named a little girl at daycare.

Now we are entering into Caelan’s SECOND holiday season! I am excited to see how much of Christmas he “gets” this year. We are planning to take him to meet Santa in the next couple weeks and I’m sure I will post something about how that goes down! In the meantime, here’s a comparison pic of Caelan from his first Thanksgiving last year and his second this year.

Thanksgiving 2011 (6 months) and 2012 (18 months)