Sunday, November 28, 2010


This weekend we had the chance to do some geocaching with our friends Elizabeth and Mark, who were visiting.  Geocaching, which is like treasure hunting with a GPS, is one of our favorite activities.  It gets us outside, takes us to new, unexplored areas, and gives us all a chance to sleuth around for a while.

This particular cache took us to the banks of Lake Zurich, hiking through the woods and down by the water.  It was a large cache, and Elizabeth found it underneath a piece of bark and a log.

Inside is always a log to sign and sometimes a few "treasures", but this time we also found a TravelBug...this one is a Music Bug.  We looked it up online, and this one's goal is to meet as many musicians as it can.  The last person had left it in the cache, and Elizabeth and Mark took it back to Minnesota to help it along its course.  It is so fun to play a tiny part in someone else's idea.

If you haven't geocached before, you really must check it out- you will be amazed that there is, undoubtedly, a geocache right in your neck of the woods!


Today marked the beginning of Advent.  This is one of my favorite times of the year, with traditions and family time around every turn.

This year we celebrated by hanging up our advent calendar.  Last year we made a replica of one I had growing up, which was just like the one my mother had growing up, so it is special and full of memories!  We also lit the first advent candle at dinner time.  It was both kids' baptism anniversaries, so we brought out their baptism candles and celebrated that as well.  Lots of candlelight to accompany our dinner!

Then we unpacked two special nativity set that I brought back from a nativity store in Oberammergau, Germany as a souvenir from a trip with my grandparents.  I LOVE this wooden set- one of my most prized possessions.  We also got out Matias and Violet's Little People set.  Matias knows he is not supposed to move my wooden figures, but that doesn't stop him from lining up his camels right next to mine.  He carried around the Baby Jesus for much of the evening, wrapping him up and telling him that his birthday was coming soon.

Matias' school has a "Happy Birthday Jesus" party for Christmas, and so far his focus has been on Baby Jesus, rather than Santa.  Undoubtedly the Santa excitement will grow as the big day approaches, but for now, we are happy to share his excitement about the pending birthday.

A blessed Advent to all!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Yarn Along

Joining Ginny at Small Things...

This week I have devoured Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids by Kim John Payne.  Sometimes you read a book that challenges you...your thoughts, your philosophy, your status quo.  This is not that book for me.  It is as if the author took my parenting philosophy and put it into words far more eloquent than I could have chosen.  A very validating read...I'm sure this book is not a stranger to many of you.

My big-head hat is coming along.  I really should learn to knit a top-down hat so the fit would not be such a mystery!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Concerts with Kids

We really enjoy local band concerts with Matias...he's been attending concerts for a long time, and has come to love them.  We will be looking for a high school holiday concert to attend this year.  We think local high school concerts are a great venue for kids because:

1) They are a great way to experience a concert in a kid-friendly, forgiving environment.
2) They are free or cheap, so if you have to leave early, nothing lost.
3) They are attended by parents who understand young children, and a band director, who is thrilled to see young kids being exposed to music. No snooty patrons who paid good money for the tickets!
4) The holiday music seems to be especially well suited for young kids.
5) It is neat for children to see other kids (even high schoolers) playing music...not just adults.

Tips that have worked for us:

1) We like evening concerts when Matias is a little sleepy...we bring his blankie and he snuggles in with us for the concert.
2) Counter-intuitive I know, but we do NOT bring snacks or books or toys.  When we do, Matias goes through them quickly and then wants more entertainment...when we don't, he seems to realize that the entertainment is the concert and is a better listener. 
3) We find that concerts mostly attended by adults are better than concerts for children, because there are not a ton of kids squirming around...instead, there are lots of adults who are demonstrating how to sit and enjoy the music quietly.
4) We resist the urge to sit near the exit and try to get a good seat up front where he can really see the action.
5) We talk about the instruments we will see before the concert, and the look for them during the concert.
6) We take take a deep breath and remember that the worst that can happen is an outburst followed by a quick exit.

Give it a concerts are a lot of fun!

Friday, November 12, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Beach time!

After weeks of passing around various ailments, it was time to blow out the cobwebs and get some fresh air.  We headed up to Forest Beach Park in Lake Forest...a gorgeous beach on Lake Michigan.  It is as close to Ocean as you get in these parts, only lacking the salty air.  Something about being on a deserted beach in our sweaters, watching Fall leaves swirl around on the sand, was exactly what we needed!

Monday, November 8, 2010


Few things are as fun as celebrating birthdays.  Time spent reflecting on the past years, looking towards future years, and figuring out just what would make the birthday person feel special right now.

For our three year old, that was a marching band party.  Music, instruments, a marching band cake, a marching band game, and best of all, his family, complete with beloved Aunts and Uncles (and surrogate Aunt and Uncle).  Someone once said that "there is a beauty in the natural arrogance of a child who knows he is loved," and it was in full force as Matias marched between family members, tying on blindfold and spinning them around for "pin the marching band hat on Uncle Hans", snuggling in laps, opening gifts and receiving them with big hugs.

Three was ushered in in style, and the memory of it will be enjoyed well past 4, 5 and beyond (as soon as Mommy gets around to adding a page to the Birthday Book!).

Happy Birthday Little Man!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Yarn Along

This week, I am reading The Midwife, by Jennifer Worth.  It is a fabulous, touching memoir of a midwife's life in the East End of London in the mid 20th century.  I have been on a midwife memoir kick recently...including Monique and the Mango Rains by Kris Holloway, Baby Catcher by Peggy Vincent, and A Midwife's Story by Penny Armstrong, midwife to an Amish community.  There is something about birth stories that seems to cross all cultures and times. 

The yarn will (hopefully) become an extra large hat for my big-headed husband.  I expect it may take more than one attempt, but I am up for the challenge!

Joining Ginny at Small Things...
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