it seems like we're slowly returning to normal around here after the holiday and birthday season at our house. i hesitate to say this because i know that 'normal' is about to change again with the addition of a new baby. so maybe instead we're just enjoying the last bit of time we have as a family of four while i make endless lists of things to do, to bake, to buy, to organize before baby. i know that really none of these things will matter and as long as i manage to wash the newborn clothes we have, and buy a few packs of diapers we'll be fine, but i can't stop thinking about all of the things i should do now before this baby comes to make our lives easier. most of them revolve around food: freezer dinners, lists of easy to make dinners, frozen breakfast cookies, and a freezer stocked with some bison and frozen fruit. honestly, smoothies and coffee are my food essentials and i could easily survive off of those and peanut butter sandwiches, but having kids makes me feel like i should provide them with a bit more throughout the day. there's something about ending the evening with a hot, home cooked meal (even if it was prepared a month in advance) that makes me feel like i've accomplished something. and so i keep making lists of things i need to cook and freeze.
there are endless things that i want to organize: the garage, the storage area in our basement, all of the kids toys and books that seem to multiply at an alarming rate. i cleaned out our toy situation before christmas and it doesn't even seem like we have that much but they seem to be experts at getting out every toy we possibly own, especially the ones with a million pieces, and relocating all of the pieces throughout the house. at the end of the day the legos haven't actually been used but i can find them in four different rooms of the house. avery is getting just slightly better about actually cleaning up after herself. she won't do it without a lot of prompting and whining but she is actually capable of putting toys back where they go. ellie is actually fantastic at this. she would make a great engineer someday because the kid loves order and cannot move onto something else until her original mess is picked up. quiet time and bedtime don't happen until everything is back in its place and often when i call her to lunch or dinner she'll tell me "in a minute, i have to put back" and then she'll actually clean up and put things away. i love it.
i feel like i should mention that we had a great christmas. i always have dreamy expectations of the holiday: my kids thoughtfully, and slowly unwrapping presents and then playing with them for hours while charlie and i drink endless cups of hot coffee, and then later sitting down to a delicious candlelit dinner that lasts more than 15 minutes. but honestly it was pretty great. the kids have loads of thoughtful family members who manage to ship gifts out to them in time for the holiday (a skill i have yet to master unless it involves ordering something directly from amazon prime) and had lots to open in addition to the gifts we got them. i actually managed to stuff stockings this year, which were filled with fairly practical things and the kids 'big' gifts from us were a big hit and they have really enjoyed them. the theme of this years christmas was definitely frozen, and they now have dolls, blankets, toys, and books that are filled with the world of elsa and anna. after opening presents we made french toast, which everyone enjoyed and the kids did spend a lot of time playing with their new presents. we made a turkey, mashed potatoes, and green beans for dinner and did light a candle although i'm pretty sure ellie didn't even sit down at the table that night and took zero bites of the dinner i worked so hard to make. we also got to FaceTime with almost everyone back east that day, which was nice for the kids and us! being super pregnant i definitely enjoyed the low key christmas and i would actually really like to make it a tradition to not travel anywhere on christmas day, but instead to just enjoy the company of our family and some good food, too.