Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's - New Perspective

Here at Team McPherson, we don't really spend much time thinking about New Years. I've always been the kind of girl who was the first to crash out at a party, which means that even in our pre-Sora days, I would spend New Year's mentally calculating how close to midnight I could go to sleep without looking too lame. Now that we live in the middle of no where and have a daughter who really needs her beauty sleep, we are spending our evening at home as if it is a normal night. We also don't spend much time on resolutions. It seems like a concept doomed to fail: you wait all year doing "bad" things so that one day you can magically change things. Why not just do it when you think of it instead of planning for it so far in advance?

However, I have recently (in the past week or so) been reminded that I have a pretty great life and I haven't been stopping to smell the roses often enough. I begged Kyle to find a job to support me in the manner in which I wished to become accustomed to and so that I could stay home. After I had Sora and realized that staying at home could be a reality SOMEWHERE, it was all I could think of and what helped me get through working full time. Now that I have that amazing reality and now that it's become my "norm" for quite a while, I have realized that I am way more short and cranky with Sora than she deserves. I am taking our moments for granted, rather than soaking them in. So, while this isn't a New Year's Resolution, per say, it is a new year, and this happens to be my new resolution.

Here are some of our moments from the past few days.

Part of my misplaced stress is from watching a 17 mo. old boy 3 days a week. For some reason, that is really hard for me to relax and let life happen while he is here. It's hard to remember Sora at that age, just a year and a half ago, and remember what really is and isn't safe to let her do, rather than freak out at every minor detail. This will be the biggest area for me to work on my living in (and enjoying) the moment mentality. On Friday, the kids played with these water gel balls and had a great time. I've been busy in the past planning elaborate sensory bins and "projects" to entertain Sora when really, all it takes is a bowl full of water gel balls and some scissors and paper to keep her happy for an hour.

There still isn't enough snow to ski in on land, but amazingly, there is about an inch or so on the lake, which was just perfect for a morning ski today. Our first of the season! Sora loved the sled and I can't wait to find some more comfy shoes for our next ski outing later this weekend.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Day Excitement

 Most of these pictures speak for themselves. Enjoy a glimpse into our Christmas day.

 (mesmerized by the musical nativity)

 (mesmerized by the Lorax - the first time she watched this classic)

 (mesmerized by the iPod with Sarah)

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Eve Tradition

A few great things happened this Christmas weekend. Sora actually took a few minutes from being mommy's shadow and latched on to Kyle's boss, his wife, and their 24 year old daughter! On previous visits to their house, Sora was pretty timid, but this time, she spent more time on Sarah's lap than on mine.

Sora also got to make her first pasta with daddy. This is a new Christmas Eve tradition (and hopefully other times of the year as well). Kyle made a super yummy pasta dinner, and he taught Sora how to make the dough. She took her "work" very seriously, as you can see below.

She was pretty upset that Kyle didn't actually turn her dough into pasta, so next time, she'll need to have "real" ingredients and maybe she'll be making "real" pasta in no time!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Sora's Latest Obsession

Sora's first ice skating experience earlier this season was met with mixed reactions. She said she liked it, but only lasted a few minutes (less than 3 I think). Since then, she's gone 3 more times (in a week) and she's officially hooked! Luckily, we live on a frozen lake that is very smooth this year, so Sora can go skating almost every day! 

Kyle's Latest Obsession

Thanks to a very early Christmas gift (that wasn't intended to be opened early, but "accidentally" was), Kyle is now very very obsessed with home brewing. Check out his new blog: Krusty's Big Brews

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy Solstice

We decided to start a new family tradition and celebrated our first annual McPherson family Winter Solstice. It's a great excuse to spread out present season and focus on our tiny family.

We celebrated the sun and family by unplugging for the day. This included lights, phones, computers and most electronics (but not the heater or camera, thankfully). Sora and I made orange cinnamon rolls for breakfast and we all said good morning to the sun when it came up.
 We decorated a tree outside with food for the birds and squirrels and pretty sun and star decorations.

 Then we went for a walk to enjoy the beautiful day.
 Of course, a walk in on solstice wouldn't be complete without a quick ice skating session. Sora is now officially addicted and even skated a few feet on her own this time. Last time we went, it must have been too cold, because this time, she didn't want to leave!

 After our walk, we opened our presents to each other, and Sora helped me make cupcakes.
 Kyle made a yummy seasonal meal (salmon with pumpkin soup) which Sora devoured of course.
 Then, we added yellow frosting to the cupcakes and thanked the sun while blowing out the candles.

 We all slept in the living room by the fire, and we played games before bedtime.
It was a great day, and amazing how much family time you can pack in without any distractions!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

An Old Fashion Christmas

We braved the cold, wet weather recently to enjoy a good old fashioned Christmas at Heritage Hill State Park in Green Bay. We missed out on this last year, and I have to say it is now on our holiday to do list for ever (or until we move)! It was the coolest place with all kinds of fun "new" (and very old) traditions to add to our holidays.
 We saw many decorated trees. This one was the most modern. My favorite had dried orange and apple slices on it. We're decorating a tree outside on Solstice, and this is one of the "ornaments" that will be on our tree. Hopefully the deer and squirrels will enjoy them as much as I do.
 Kyle and I feel at home so far this winter with such Seattle weather. Kyle's boss was complaining the other day about the drizzle and fog while Kyle was thinking it was such a nice day out. It is starting to get colder though, so a good Midwestern winter is just around the corner.
 Sora couldn't be convinced to sit on this "good olde" Santa's lap any more than a more modern Santa. Kyle and I thought it was so cool that they portrayed him in this way, especially after we watched a fascinating documentary on the history of Santa recently. There was also a St. Nicholas which we avoided.
The park is filled with little buildings that have been moved from other areas of Green Bay to create a village, a farm, and a fort. We didn't get many indoors pictures, but there was circle dancing (which enthralled Sora), blacksmithing and printing (which enthralled Kyle), tours of old style "fancy" homes (which enthralled me) and a few different buildings baking Christmas dinner (which looked like a LOT of work). True to the era(s), most buildings didn't have any electricity, so they keep the park closed most of the winter. We'll be back on opening day in the spring!
That same evening, a nearby suburb was having their own Christmas celebration. We were too wet to pay for the horse wagon rides at the state park (which weren't covered), but were surprised to see these covered carriage rides being offered for free! Plus, we discovered a cloth diaper/babywearing store (which could be the only thing that could convince me to have more kids!).
 No trip is complete without some finger licking food shots.
 Or without a stop at Joann's to teach Sora the joy of shopping.

Inspired by our trip to Heritage Hill, we kept our tree very simple this year. There are 9 paper ball ornaments that I made along with a few other Maleah-made ornaments and the tree topper, paper garland and snowflakes made by Sora. Sora insisted on a "little tiny" tree this year. We actually love it and think we never want a big tree again!

Merry pre-Christmas celebrations to you too!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

First Official Christmas Party of the Season

 In our tiny town, one of the local bars sponsors a big Christmas party for kids. It's invite only, and somehow we were lucky enough to get a coveted spot! There were 95 kids invited, so I think it was a wide net considering there's like 400 people in town (and only kids 10 and under were invited).

Anyway, this is the closest that Sora has gotten to Santa yet and it was very exciting!
 She, of course, didn't talk to the poor guy, but not screaming or running was a big improvement. We've been talking up the whole "game" of Santa hoping that knowing it was just pretend would make it better, but I don't think it's working yet (she still thinks he's real, and she's still afraid of him).

Things at the party that were more exciting than Santa:
 Presents! I can't blame her. Each kid got a paper grocery bag full of presents. Sora's included this doll, gloves, a hat, a book, a small pillow, and a small bag of candy.

The little boy we babysit was there too, and since he's currently like Sora's best friend (sad, since he's only 16 mo. old, but she doesn't see that many kids consistently apparently), Sora was thrilled to play with him and his mom.

Hopefully we'll be back next year (and maybe Sora will even sit on Santa's lap)!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Winter Wonderland

While there isn't really snow yet here in Northeastern Wisconsin, it is very cold! This afternoon, we headed to a nearby community for their 4th Annual Winterfest. Last year, we tried to go but it was cancelled due to a blizzard (we missed the rescheduled event) - what a difference a year makes!

 Sora enjoyed the cow at the living nativity scene. It was very vocal.
 Maleah enjoyed skating with Sora. Sora's never skated before and Maleah loved skating as a kid. This was one of the things she was looking forward to about living in the Midwest.

Sora only lasted for a few minutes because it was bitterly cold and it was a little slippy for her (she only fell once, which was good). Although, when quizzed about her day, she said that skating was her favorite thing, so hopefully there will be more of this in our future this winter! Now if only Kyle could find skates that fit him, we could be a family of skaters.

 Sora enjoying listening to Christmas carols prior to the big Christmas tree lighting.

After the lighting, Santa arrived via lighted fire truck. Sora, as leery as always of strangers, refuses to get within a 10 foot radius of Santa. We've been trying the "playing" approach - trying to get Sora to buy into the fact that everyone is playing/pretending Santa, which will save us from the big "santa isn't real" discussion later, while still getting to play along with the "game" in the meantime. I thought this approach might entice her a little more to play the game and not be afraid of Santa, but that is not the case.
 Here we are discussing Santa and that it's okay if she doesn't want to "play the Santa game" right now. She does like to observe, so whenever she wasn't wolfing down the free food, she was checking on whatever Santa was doing.
 The lighted trees behind Kyle.
Kyle recently joined a Jimmy Buffet fan club, which operates similarly to the Lions club with slightly younger members (to clarify, Kyle is not necessarily a fan of Jimmy Buffet, but is a fan of meeting people who like to drink and live in our community). After our afternoon of fun, we headed to the annual Christmas party of the club for some extra socialization. Many of the members were also at this Winter Wonderland event, so it was fun to know people at a community event for once!

For some reason, Maleah had this ridiculous idea that when we moved to a town of 500, people would be so excited to meet us and be inviting us to things left and right. This is not at all the case, but at least we're slowly meeting more people and trying to create our own type of community away from "home".