6 days - giving and not getting caught up in the material

Christmas is 6 days away. 6! We're ready. The decorations are out, cards sent, the gifts are bought and wrapped, music being played, I have some cookies in the freezer, and more coming this weekend, the meals are decided on, and plans have been made. Yet it still surprises me and freaks me out a little that it is so damn soon. How did it arrive so quickly, and with it the New Year just a week later?!

I love Christmas. It is one of my favorite holidays of the year. I love the big special meal, the extra time off of work and the time spent with family. I love picking the perfect gift for family. And yes, I do love opening a pretty package on Christmas morning, wondering what's inside.

As much as I have moved away from gifts and buying and consuming this year, it is still just so ingrained. I think we did pretty well for ourselves this year. I asked mostly for an experience gift, tickets to Wanderlust (in VT), which I have been dying to go to for ages. As well as the lodging to go with. And yes, some yoga clothes to make it through the experience clothed! Trav asked for, amongst other things, a gift card/tickets to see movies and for an activity he/we could do with Gwen. For Gwen most of the presents from us are ones she will enjoy, but which have a practical edge: boots to get her through the rest of the winter, more fleecy PJs, since she's outgrown more of her PJs then I anticipated a month or so ago.

Still when I looked at those precious few packages under the tree, with even fewer frivolities, I had a pang of guilt about it. Which is silly. Especially now that we've added packages from Trav's parents and his brother and SIL. That tree is looking MUCH fuller (and much more toy laden). And that doesn't even include the gifts my parents and brother will bring with them, nor a few special, much requested gifts from Santa.

We spend a lot of time emphasizing to Gwen the other aspects of the Christmas season, and what is really important. Family, generosity, giving back, and appreciating. But even with all my work on not consuming this year, and changing my mindset, its amazing how ingrained it really is. I'm still working in these moments to walking the walk, and talking the talk; which I will continue to work on until it becomes second nature and I don't even have to think about it anymore.

I don't think I could ever do a completely "nothing new" Christmas, but I'm going to keep working on getting closer. In the meantime, I'm going to stop with the guilt and just appreciate how blessed Gwen is (and we all are) by our friends and family.


little big milestones

Wearing her new robe, from Miss Tally.
This past weekend was full of good stuff: movies with a coworker/friend on Friday night (Mockingjay - loved it!), cookie baking (sugar, peanut butter blossoms, chocolate covered cherry cookies, and coconut thumbprints) and Christmas gift exchanging with Ro, Pat, and the girls on Sunday (pretty new tumblers! pj pants! super hero clothes! movie tickets! - they know us so well). All of that was so wonderful, and I have not a picture of any of it, since I was so busy enjoying.

But right now I want to talk about Saturday. Again, no pictures... but I have to commemorate one of Gwen's little big milestones. My girl got her first hair trim, and she was so brave! It was her choice, and she wanted to do it to make brushing easier and keep her hair healthier, but "I love my long hair Mama, I don't want it short!" So we only took off about an inch to even it out and get rid of the slightly broken ends.

She was nervous. Despite reassurances that it was easy and fast, and having seen me get my hair done, I think she was afraid it would hurt. On the way up Gwen told me, quite seriously, that she would get her hair trimmed today, but that was it, "one time only." Cindy is amazing though, and had her brushed, trimmed, and out of the chair in about 6 minutes! Gwen was amazed at how easy it was and told me that she would get her hair trimmed anytime.  :-)   I told her that she didn't need to go everytime Mama went, but that she could definitely do it on a semi-regular (every few months) basis. She agreed, "I'll get my hair trimmed anytime you say I need to."

Oh my brave, sweet girl.

I wish I had taken pictures, but I did save a cut lock for saving in a baby book.

So at 4 years, 10 months, my baby girl finally got her first hair cut. My baby girl's baby hair!
Check that one off the list.


nearing the end: a surrogacy update

I'm 34 weeks now. I cannot even believe how quickly this pregnancy is going. Maybe because for me its as much about the journey as the result, or because I'm chasing around a 4 year old, or because this time of year always seems to run at turbo speed! No matter the reason, it blows my mind to know I only have a month or a little more to go.

I had a prenatal appointment today. At 34 weeks I've gained 21 lbs, putting me at 140. My BP is great, my belly is measuring spot on, and everything is going well. The little one is head down (good boy!), and will hopefully stay that way at this point.

I'm still actively doing yoga and I'm sure that is helping with my sleep and with keeping me feeling generally good. I noticed that when I missed 2 weeks because of work/life craziness, that I felt infinitely more pregnant and uncomfortable then I had prior (or then I do now, thankfully). So I'm going to keep this up as long as possible!

Gwen continues to enjoy feeling the baby move and loves my big belly. We read the surrogacy book sometimes before bed.

I've scheduled all my appointments for the rest of the pregnancy. I go back in 2 weeks, then every week after that until I deliver. The parents and I are working out final details for labor, delivery, and the immediate postpartum period. So many things to consider, so very different then if it were my own. But we're getting everything ironed out.

And I guess that's where we stand at 8 months!


cold weather warm ups: santa and sesame place

Monday again, and only a bit over 2 weeks until Christmas! We finally broke out the Christmas decorations this weekend, and while we're not done with them, we at least have a very good start.

This weekend was cold, but we managed to have fun. Saturday i joined Trav and Gwen for their monthly Home Depot project since it was a special one for the holidays.

She sat on his lap twice and was so excited to tell him what she wanted.  :-) 
We watched White Christmas that afternoon, and Gwen loves it as much as I do!

Sunday we used a groupon to head to Sesame Place for their Very Furry Christmas. After some initial fears, Gwen was just as daring with the rides as last time. The rollercoaster was her favorite, and any ride that spun was spent yelling "faster Daddy, faster!!"

She absolutely loved seeing the characters too, and was much braver about saying Hi to them and giving them hugs this time.

It was definitely cold, but we had a great time anyway, and weren't really bothered by the weather too much until the sun went down. It was nice to spend some extended time outside, since that definitely falls off with the cold weather.

We grabbed a pizza on the way home and got our tired girl in bed a little early.

Now we're on to another busy week!