“I’ll Be Home For Christmas…”

This year we only had to travel a little over an hour up the road to be with our families for Christmas. Can I just say how awesome that was. It definitely beats 15 hours in the car with a toddler and dog and paying for gas, food, and hotel.

Although tons of photos were not taken (bummer), a few were, and I thought I would share some of those with you.

Santa definitely found Harrison.

Reading Christmas cards from our stocking. It's an annual tradition to open stocking gifts first.

Tractor!

Truman didn't get left out. He also made out with another toy and some homemade dog treats.

Harrison trying on his new cape. It came with a mask, too, but he's not so sure about that yet.

Waiting for the next gift.

Getting help opening my gift from Harrison.

We had a great Christmas celebrating with family and friends. I realized after the holidays had come and gone that we did not take nearly enough photos, and while many pictures were taken of Harrison, we need to do a better job of getting photos of our entire family and other relatives.

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Christmas Cheer

With a lot more space in our new house, and Harrison being a year older (i.e., very into Christmas), I decided we needed to do some more decorating around the house. It’s hard not to get excited this time of year; especially, when you have a child, about putting up a tree, hanging lights inside and out, and adding little signs that Christmas is coming in every room. You can read about our new Christmas tradition here.

In addition to my usual slew of Christmas decorations (see last year’s post here), I changed some things up and added some other decorations. Some of it was out of necessity (more rooms) and some because it’s nice to change it up. I did run into a few problems. For example, we didn’t have room in our last dining room to have to leaf in our table, so 4 place settings was enough. Now, we have the table leaf in, and I don’t have anything to go  in 2 extra spots.

Other changes were much welcome. We decided to go back to a real tree this year. We’ve had a fake tree for the past several years because we lived in North Carolina and always came home for over a week (i.e., the tree would get really dry, and we were really worried it would be a fire hazard). This year, we enjoyed taking Harrison to a tree lot to pick out a nice 7 1/2 – footer to put in the living room. I must say, I love the look and smell of it. We donated our other tree to my brother and his fiancée this Christmas.

With another living space upstairs, I had another room to decorate. That’s where we hung Harrison’s ornament bags, and I made a light decoration to hang around the big window. This was my inspiration:

I just used leftover scrapbook paper I had from several years ago and made mine Christmas-themed. Here’s how they look upstairs: No picture, because even though I wrote this draft before Christmas, I didn’t take pictures and then we took decorations down. 

Unfortunately, we don’t have a front porch on this house, so that meant no lighted-garland on the porch railing. David did hang some around the door and put some lights on the bushes. I’m hoping to score some deals right after Christmas on lights so we can buy some more for next year. All in all, I think it looks good, though.

So, what have you been doing to bring Christmas cheer to your house (if you celebrate)?

We’ve also been DIY’ing some Christmas gifts around here. I’ll post on that later. 

Image for paper cup lights found here

Feeling a bit ornamental

Okay, so maybe that was a stretch (“ornamental” instead of  “sentimental”). I’m trying to get creative with the titles, but maybe it’s not working out. I wanted to post about the holiday season over here at the Bunge household since most none of our family will be able to personally view our house or smell the goodies baking. The creative and decorative juices were flowing this year, folks.  I used everything from recycled San Pellegrino bottles leftover from Harrison’s birthday party (you know for those babies with an acquired taste for water) and seasonal beer bottles,  to pine cones and blankets. Multifunctional was the name of the game, and so was budget. So, while I had a gift card to Michael’s left over from my birthday in July, I still got great deals on what I did buy thanks to holiday sales and coupons. The biggest splurge was the blanket-turned-Christmas tree skirt ($20) that I bought from Target. More about that later. We’ll start at the front door and work our way around and through the house.

Love is in the air…

Today is Valentine’s Day, and it was wonderful. It may sound cheesy, but it’s always better celebrating a holiday (Hallmark-created or not) with a new addition. I will even make a big deal about Harrison’s first St. Patrick’s Day. Deal with it :)!
It all began with some mommy-baby bonding time before I embarked on making buttermilk waffles with blueberry sauce and real whipped cream. Yummy :p. I even indulged in some caffeinated hazelnut coffee. Woo-hoo! The waffles with some bacon was delightful.
After breakfast and some family time, Mommy had to go finish some shopping. I found the cutest baby laptop from Sassy that has a mirror for a screen and color buttons. The power button changes modes to rhyme, play musical notes, or say the colors in English or Spanish. Textures, sound, fine motor skills…therapist likey :). Yes, it’s more appropriate for a few months from now, but Mommy and Daddy can operate it for Harrison now, and it’s never too early to expose him to color names. Plus, we can do some hand-over-hand manipulation.
We opened Harrison’s cards and gifts from family and us this afternoon. Only a baby would get so much on Valentine’s Day. He got some great books from both grandparents, as well as a cute outfit (babies always need more clothes). Harrison also got to see and talk to both sets of grandparents. He broke his vow of silence with Grandpa and Grandma Keith and did some talking.
David made a delicious dinner of Steak Diane with braised Belgian endive. For dessert we had organic yellow cake with dark chocolate ganache and fresh berries. Harrison helped us out by taking a good nap (which is rare at this time, lately).
It was the best Valentine’s so far, and we know it will only get better now that we have our little man to celebrate with. There’s nothing like celebrating your love for your family.