Our little not-so-spiky Spiky guy is still happy as ever. Even with a cold. He still hasn’t been sufficiently motivated to roll regularly, or crawl, but he can now clap :), sometimes when asked. And who can resist a cute little smiling face?
expressions

I’ve always admired prettily frosted cupcakes and believed it to be beyond my capabilities. In the past when I’ve made cupcakes and frosted them, I would just apply it with a butter knife and call it good. For Dan’s birthday this year, I didn’t get around to making the 4-layer coconut cake I have always made for him as his birthday cake since we’ve been married. Instead, I wimped out and made coconut cupcakes instead, but decided to learn how to make them look fancy. Apparently, all it takes is a decorator tip and a semi-steady hand. Viola:
cupcakes

Another thing I’ve been wanting to try for a few years now and never got around to is the making of macarons. Through lots of online perusing, it always sounds like a finicky task. I should not have tried the first time running on little sleep, post-midnight, etc. But I’ve sampled and they taste like they’re supposed to, even if their appearance leaves a little to be desired.
macarons

Will have to try again, hopefully with more success :), but I would like to try my hand at making these meyer lemon and sour-cream donuts too in the near future. Oh, what should I do (other than not undertaking either and getting some much needed sleep)?

Currently on a quest to find a recipe for these soft, chewy cheese buns we had at a Brazilian steakhouse. Dan doesn’t seem to recall them, but I really liked them and would like to know how to make them for myself. I found a quick and easy recipe and followed it to the T, but after sampling them I think I should have tried it with Parmesan cheese instead as lots of alternate recipes seem to specify Parmesan cheese (instead of the queso fresco that this particular recipe suggested). I think I might have to have Dan and I go back and eat there again so I can refresh my memory regarding the taste and texture of those buns, just in case they were actually cheese puffs.
Next time, I’ll have to take a picture. And once I find a recipe I like, I’ll be sure to share that information :).

I just finished weaving in the ends and had a coworker help me kitchener stitch the armpits together. So what was originally intended for Chops (knitting aspect finished October of 2010, and only now wearable?!) is now brand-new for Spiky:
sweater
Guess I should get cracking on the larger sized one. Especially since Chops was complaining about how she wants/wanted that one and I showed her the WIP :).

Spiky seems to be getting his teeth in sooner than Chops did (at a little over six months versus about nine months). He has the start of two already! Here’s one of two teeth (and yes, he wasn’t terribly pleased with having his mouth poked and prodded at):
tooth

Guess that’s the end of those toothless grins!

I’m still getting accustomed to writing “2012” as the year, ten days into this “new” year. And though a little on the late side, I thought I should Cliff-notes last year as a way to bid it farewell.
In the very first post of 2011, we alluded to the fact that we would soon be a family of four. What we didn’t know was the sheer amount of changes that would take place before that time. I switched jobs, we finalized on the purchase of a house, we packed and moved, finished remodeling our old house, put it on the market, and sold our old house. Summer sort of came and with that, our son. I took maternity leave and Dan took a decent-length paternity leave (really grateful for the time he took off from work). Chops became fully potty-trained (naps, bedtimes and all) sometime during the summer. Dan changed teams, and then changed teams again. I went back to work, Spiky started daycare, schedules are mostly adjusted to. Kind of a big year for us! I feel like I/we need to come up for some air …
Some things I am hoping for in myself in 2012 include: being more intentional with my relationships (be a better friend, and also to take more initiative in making new friends); focusing on trust and joy instead of stress, control, and “bitterness”; creating time for creativity (music/crafts) and exercise.
Some things I am hoping for in our family in 2012 include: time and ability (you know … kids) to go on family trips; becoming an even more cohesive family; becoming a family that is a refuge/sanctuary for each person who makes up the family as well as for those we each interact with (I particularly like this combined definition of refuge – “any place, person, action, or thing that offers protection, help, comfort, or relief”).
God, please, please watch over us and bless us all in this new year!

It is almost Christmas. I, for one, am excited 🙂 — I get the whole week off and am looking forward to that. It’s going to be somewhat busy though with Christmas, family, attempting to coordinate time with friends, and hosting a birthday party.
This year, instead of baking cookies as holiday from-the-kitchen presents, I tried my hand at candy-making. I was nervous about this as I have tried marshmallow making before yielding unspectacular results (edible, but impossible to remove from pan, hence no good for sharing) as well as making caramel sauce (overcooked it the first time and wound up with essentially hard candy). Surprisingly to me, it was all mostly a success … except the first try at the caramel candy making (which also wound up toffee-like, in part due to error in the recipe I was using). I made:

Christmas Candies
We also took the kids to have pictures taken with Santa. We didn’t do it last year, but this time’s is definitely an improvement (in some ways) over the one from two years ago (for Chops) — Spiky didn’t really have an opinion just yet but might oppose next year. Here are the kiddos with Santa:
picture with santa
… and for the first time in a few years, we actually put up our Christmas tree. Chops really enjoys the lights. We also have a full set of stockings thanks to Dan’s aunt who went through the trouble of making us all matching personalized stockings. It all looks so pretty (if only I knew how to get a better photo of it …):
christmas tree
Hope everyone has a relaxing time celebrating Christmas with their families! Most likely last post until the next year … wow, 2011 passed by rather quickly!

Like this (from back in February):
O+S Jump Rope Dress

I’m relieved to say that I have finally finished it. Just in time for Christmas, and possibly photos with Santa:
Chops in Dress

I am also relieved that Chops appears to like it. Might have something to do with the buttons on it :).

While we tend to be thankful for things such as health, family, friends, etc. in the general sense, here are a few specifics that we’re thankful for this year:

  • Jobs. Dan is continuing to enjoy his job and has switched teams within the company. The new team seems to be treating him well and he seems to be enjoying working with the (sort of) new group of people, so that’s great! As I mentioned earlier on in the year, we’re also extremely grateful for my current job. I love the company that I now work for and the group of people I get to work with as well.
  • Home. We moved into a new-to-us house earlier this year. We thank God for blessing us with a wonderful house, and also for being able to smoothly sell our old house. The timing was a little stressful, but we’re thankful that we were able to get that all taken care of before the arrival of our son.
  • Family. Although we have yet to meet him, we’re thankful for the birth of our first nephew. We’re also very thankful for the birth of our own son two months after the arrival of our nephew. God has blessed us in giving Chops a heart of caring, sharing, and protecting in regards to her younger brother — more grateful than words can express! Spiky (though his hair no longer stands straight up, so we might have to find a proper, applicable nickname — Chops recommended D-Bop Chops the other day, but that’s a bit confusing) has been a very easygoing baby and has transitioned to being away from me during work hours easily.
  • Community. Our new neighbors have been pretty friendly and welcoming. We’re getting to know more people at church and are in a fellowship group that we enjoy (and learning about parenting right now).

We had Thanksgiving with my side of the family this year at our house. Due to oversight on my part when I was putting together the grocery order on AmazonFresh, we didn’t have any mashed potatoes. Regardless, we still had plenty of food: a 13lb turkey, stuffing, harvest soup (I should have lightened up on the ginger, but otherwise good), asparagus, yams and apples, pumpkin pie, and pecan pie. The best part — leftovers (and the chance to have mashed potatoes if we manage a trip to the grocery store in the near future)!
Here’s a picture of the food:
turkey dinner 2011
… a picture of the people (minus Spiky and me):
family
and then a picture of just Spiky and me:
me + son
Hope everyone had an enjoyable Thanksgiving Day!!

Inevitably, we will all die. I know — what a happy thought. I was thinking of people I’ve known more than just in-passing who have already died for whatever reason: all four of my grandparents, some of Dan’s grandparents, friend’s parent(s), classmates, a coworker, and most recently the husband of my piano teacher growing up. What are they remembered by? I think at the very root of it, the example they set for others in their life.
So … I want to be a good example. That’s what I was thinking the other night. I want to be a good example to my kids; so they can believe and know what it means to be wise, to be selfless, to serve others and be generous. I also want to be a good example to others; to always have a positive attitude, to be open to advice, to be willing to happily go the extra mile. I want to be a good example in deeds as well as attitude/thoughts — I want to be a good example in my heart as well as outwardly that people can see and want to emulate.