Holiday Spirit

I can hardly believe it’s December but here we are.  Our mantel is filling up with gifts, holiday cards went out today, and our Countdown to Christmas Calendar (if you want to buy this, check out my website) is in full swing.

Jack tells me every day before he opens the next box, “I know what’s in there!”  But on the 5th day he was surprised to find not chocolate but a small gift of Gogos.  “Why are they goo goos [sic], mom?” he asked.  “I don’t know, son.  They are just funny little toys that you can play with.”

We are trying to take it easy on the spending for Christmas this year.  I think between the advent calendar and his stocking (not to mention the million gifts he gets from family), Jack will have plenty to open.  He told me what to put on his wish list (with my advice about what was an okay price) and has been asking every day if Santa will bring him this green alien:

Not to worry – Santa totally has this one in the bag (despite Amazon running out of stock!  Santa actually found a better price at Fisher-Price.com anyway!).

Other gifts include (yes, these are affiliate links):

If your kid is into flashlights but keeps killing the batteries, you seriously need to check out that Lego torch – they need to wind it up to re-energize it! Woot!

I’m looking forward to the holiday. I especially like the fact that we won’t be putting ourselves into debt to celebrate it.

Big Sale on Stampin’ Up! Craft Supplies

As many of you know, I became a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator a few months ago after a 4 year hiatus.  I am really excited about my return to working with this company – I love the art, the colors, and working with a company that loves their demonstrators and their customers.  They have done some amazing stuff during the time I was away and it just keeps getting better – including their latest deal:

Stampin’ Up!’s Online Spectacular sale starts today!  Receive 20-50% off select stamp sets, fabric, digital scrapbooking software, Big Shot/Sizzix accessories, home decor decals, and more when you buy online  November 22-30.  In addition, all orders over $150 will receive free shipping.  This is the perfect opportunity to purchase gifts for the holidays!  And let’s not forget about the best part of all – 50% off the Demonstrator Starter Kit (that’s $310 worth of products for only $87.50).

Shop now at Ewokmama’s online store to access this promotion (customers who select a demonstrator will qualify for stampin’ rewards/hostess benefits).

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Halloween with Bat Boy

Halloween was busy for us this year.  We ended up getting a ton of use out of Jack’s bat costume.  First we went to the Goblin Jamboree at the Bay Area Discovery Museum where Jack rode a pony for the first time, met up with chickens and rabbits and goats at the petting zoo, got his face painted, and experienced a kiddie version of a haunted house.

When we got home I did a little decorating around the house, including trying out these decals I got from Stampin’ Up! (yes, that is self-promotion right there – I am a demonstrator) and putting together these treat bags for Jack’s daycare buddies.

My employer invited all the employee parents to bring their kids in on October 28th so Jack got to pal around with me at work for a bit.  He had been begging to go to work with me instead of daycare each morning, so I was happy to finally be able to oblige him.  He was very excited, but he got over it pretty quickly and by the second hour he decided to hide under my desk.  He did leave me this drawing on my whiteboard (and asked me to write the names of each alien).

Halloween itself was pretty chill.  All of Jack’s parents got together to take him for a spin around the block.  I think Jack likes seeing the other kids in costume more than anything else – he was done with Trick-or-Treating after a block and a half or so.  He then said he wanted to go home and finish his dinner.  We handed out candy for a while and then Jack went to bed right on time.  It was surprisingly easy…how’s that for eerie?

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Christmas on the east coast

We had a wonderful Christmas.  I’m still trying to get back into the swing of things after being on the east coast for a week and we still have some celebrating to do with family and friends that we haven’t yet seen.  Our holiday has been quite spread out!

We flew to Maryland on the 16th to stay with my sister and her family.  Jack traveled wonderfully, which was a real blessing considering that our flight was moved 2 hours later and we nearly missed our connection.  Our entire day was full of travel!  Even so, we got lucky flying in when we did because the second night we were there, Maryland got a record-breaking 21″ of snow.  (Of course we had packed absolutely no snow gear.)

Before the snow hit, though, we got a fantastic visit in at the Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C.  David gets all the credit for this idea and man, did Jack love it!  He was having a horrible day but as soon as we set foot in the museum his face lit up and he was bursting with excitement.  He got to see command modules, satellites, and astronaut gear.  I think David and I both felt so much joy to be able to fulfill that dream for Jack.

We had a nice white Christmas when we opened presents and stockings on Saturday.  The big hit this year for Jack was a combination of a cape, mask, and blaster cuffs from SuperFlyKidz on Etsy with The Incredibles movie.  Jack spent a lot of time as Mr. Incredible over the past week.  My 11 month old niece Sabrina was absolutely delighted with the stacking cups we got for her.  Between the two kids and David’s happiness with the MASH shirt I found for him, I felt like a Master Gifter this year!

On Sunday we drove down to Virginia.  We stopped in Quantico for a quick visit with my longtime friend Daniella and her family.  I briefly got to hold her new baby, who is an absolute DOLL.  (Being around my niece and Daniella’s little guy didn’t help my recently found baby fever at all…)  Thanks to the traffic from drivers struggling to get through the snow-laden highways, we were only able to visit for a brief time.  Daniella fed us and we got to have a nice chat, which was both fun and relaxing after the craziness of the road.

After our visit to Quantico, we made our way down to David’s parents house in Williamsburg.  This was Jack’s and my first time meeting our new in-laws.  We all got along right off the bat and I immediately felt like Jack and I were part of the family.  Spending the holiday together seemed to make our little step-family even more official, as well.  Jack and I are so blessed!

The trip home was long but went fairly smoothly.  There was a marked difference in how Jack traveled this year as compared to last year – there was not a gigantic meltdown at the end of our trip (although there were many little ones throughout the week) and Jack followed directions pretty well while we went through the airport.  I’m counting that as my gift from him this year.  🙂

Nutcracker Ballet

Last week Jack and I went with my friend Rebecca to see the SF Ballet’s Nutcracker.  Thanks to my gig at Savvy Source I was able to get premium orchestra tickets on opening night, which was also Family Night.  Not only were we surrounded by families with young children, but Jack got a seat on the aisle so he could actually see the stage instead of having to stare at the back of someone’s head the whole show.  IMG_1391 

Family night was awesome!  We got there early and Jack got a plush reindeer and a nutcracker ornament for being one of the first 500 kids in the building.  There were three stations set up where the dancers were in costume posing for pictures with the kids.  We stood in line and got to take this photo with a wallflower (aka “princess” in Jack’s mind) and a Russian.  (Kinda funny story – when Jack saw the Chinese portion of the show after reading through the program, he said excitedly “I saw Chinese!” and insisted that the dancers name was “Chinese.”)

IMG_1390a 

Jack absolutely loved the first act and stayed focused the whole time.  The second act was a little more challenging as it was after his bedtime but he was no more noisy than most of the other kids in the audience.  He progressively asked more questions and got louder and there was one less-than-polite person in the audience who turned around to glare at Jack.  Other than that, though, the night went extremely well and we really enjoyed ourselves.  Jack told me he definitely wanted to go back next year!

For my part, I had so much fun seeing the ballet again and watching Jack’s reaction to it.  My grandmother took me to see this several times when I was a kid and I’ve always loved it.  I feel so lucky to be able to give Jack that experience, as well.