half a year! it's hard to believe. the kid is a true ball of smiles, he squishy and cuddly and has baby babbling down pat. i see crawling in his very near future. with all of that said, he's actually napping right now so i'm ditching the computer to get a few things done. 

happy half-birthday, tucker blue!
we had a bit of fun with our christmas card this year, as you can see. the actual picture-taking happened during a 30-minute pause in what was 2 full days of rain. we got lucky! having spent so much time at fort baker this fall taking the kids to their "messy art" classes at the discovery museum, it was only natural we ended up planning our christmas photos using the bay bridge as a backdrop. fort baker is truly gorgeous any time of year! the vintage sled was a little something we had laying around for just the right occasion. i'm glad we ended up hanging on to it. the kids thought it was might fun to play on, with or without the actual snow. 
a very merry christmas from our home to yours! thanks for stopping by. cheers!
our elves have been up to a whole lot of fun this month, with only a little bit of mischief mixed in. a little bit of mischief is good, i think. keeps the kiddos on their toes. take, for instance, the elf writing their names across their foreheads while they slept. i think perhaps the elf meant to write backwards, in hopes that they could read their names when they looked in the mirror? something went wrong there. hmmm. in any event, it made for an awfully cute morning. not to mention that they refused to wash it off before going out yesterday. people get a kick out of my kids, that's for sure. 

if you are looking for last minute elf-on-the-shelf ideas, this is a good one. other favorites have been setting out a tray of homemade cloud dough (we subbed olive oil for baby oil and it turned out fine), hanging up new decorations in the house (or the kids own artwork), and anything involving copious amounts of paint, glitter, glue, etc. i found a great mini muffin pan at the thrift store that is fantastic for setting out art supplies (69 cents!). cover a table in paper and let the kids have at it!
i for one will be sad to see the elves packed away when the holidays are over. they are just too much fun!
i have spent the last few days in complete duality of emotion. the preparation, the excitement of the coming holiday. we have gifts under the tree, lights twinkling, a fire burning daily to warm our home. we've made cookies and we've done projects and we've gone out at night to take in the beauty of all the season has to offer. and i'm doing my best to be completely in tune, drinking in each moment, doing my part to make memories that i hope lucy and hudson will carry with them into their own adulthoods. watching with adoration at the littlest in our family, this being his first christmas season. still, the sweet perfection of these days has been dulled, as i am quietly grieving for so many families who are suffering through a haunting pain that i cannot even imagine. 

i have steered clear of newspapers and television and even the internet. i have looked at my children in times of my own momentary frustration, and have stopped in my tracks, because i have my children, three of them, and not only are there here, they are, in this moment, healthy and thriving. and that's a gift for which i am unspeakably grateful. 
i hope your holiday preparations find you thankful, quietly merry, and reminded of how irreplaceable each day truly is. my heart goes out to those who are suffering. 
this past sunday consisted of temps in the mid-sixties and a trip to the snow. well, this wasn't just any snow. this was california bay area parking lot snow and let me tell you, it was wild. wild is a nice way of saying mayhem or as lucy put it, "a friggen' zoo." no idea where she learned to talk like that. really.  
do you see that? is that not complete insanity? i mean, my family is in there somewhere! having sort-of-fun! in dirty, hard-packed, snow imported from who-knows-where! oh my goodness. we coastal californians will take our winter wonderland any way we can get it, i guess. 

to be clear, i'm not putting down the event. not in the least. there was an elf making ballon animals, there was a wish-granting snow queen, there were free cookies and cider. there was hot wheel racing. there were ponies. and if anything, this less-than-picture-perfect heap of cold stuff sparked our interest in taking a trip to tahoe later in the season, to see and play in the real deal. but most importantly, the kids had a good time (well, there were free candy canes). but oh my goodness. that place was packed. 
to clear our heads, we high-tailed it out of there and headed to the beach on a whim. a gorgeous day that allowed for unimpeded views of the city, plus all of marin. and nary a crowd to be found. lesson learned: sand over snow when the sun is shining. 

too bad "i'm dreaming of a brown, gritty christmas" doesn't have such a nice ring...
have you heard of the elf-on-the-shelf? this is our first year doing it (in the past having done a more traditional advent) and we are having so much fun! the basic idea is that you've got your little elf, and he keeps watch on you during the day, reporting back to santa while you're sleeping. when he gets back from the north pole, he's got nothing to do because you're sleeping, so he gets up to a little mischief in the house. though i have to say, our elves are more nice than naughty--leading by example, right?

so, meet apples, sparkle and... the name of tucker's elf currently escapes me. lucy named it so it's probably something like doily or buttercup. anyway. so far this talented trio have mixed up a batch of pumpkin doughnut batter (flour everywhere!!!). the following night, each elf stitched up a pair of christmas pajama bottoms (they are messy little tailors, let me tell you). 

last night the elves pulled out all of the train track that we own, and set it up throughout the entire living room. in lucy's words it was "amazing." i simply did not believe my eyes. ;) wow, we have a whole lotta train track... "it goes around the couch!!!" 

the kids have been into bed for hours now, already the elves have done their work for tomorrow. they've papered the top of the dining table, and have sprinkled out a new set of crayon rocks. unfortunately for me they've got paper running all through the house and have made a mess of the tape. sigh. those mischievous little elves! 

seriously though, is there nothing better than the total acceptance that kids have of crazy stories and ideas? i love spinning tales for the kids so this is right up my alley. and i love that it's allowing for a more experience-driven advent rather than gift-y. there are plenty of gifts to come on christmas day, and though i do have a few things tucked away as elf gifts, they are more activity-based (like the crayons) or handmade, (like the pants). 

i hope to share more of our elf-on-the-shelf escapades, so stay tuned!