Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Always, Happy Everything!

Hope everyone is enjoying spending time with their loved ones this holiday season.  All the best for the coming year.

We've been thoroughly enjoying our first Christmas with The Bean and I will post more of an update later this week when things have quieted down a little!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

2011 Holiday Craft Exchange

Last year when I saw An Offering of Love's Holiday Craft Exchange, I thought it was such a nice idea, but hesitated too long to join in.  This year when S posted about it again, I signed up right away!  I worried about what to make, but think in the end that I came up with something nice.  I can't wait to see it on our recipient's tree!

And today our parcel arrived!  I was very surprised... I didn't know Canada Post made deliveries on the weekend. 

We were sent some beautiful beeswax candles surrounded by Hershey's kisses and a gorgeous photo card of S, R, and their three sweet girls. 

Thank you S! 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Merry Christmas to Me?

Each year at Christmas and at the end of the school year the parents in my class have all chipped in to get me a mall gift certificate.  It is an awesome gift as it allows me to buy things that I usually really need like shoes or clothes for work. 

Last summer I put off buying anything with my gift certificate, and I'm pretty sure in a few days I'll be getting another, which should give me enough to pick up something that I could reasonably argue that I need, but is also something that I really WANT. 

That something is a new digital camera. 

My old camera is really starting to show signs of wear.  Not surprising since it is a number of years old and in the past eleven months I have taken what I am sure amounts to thousands of photos of The Bean. 

So, I'm thinking a digital SLR.  A Canon or a Nikon.  I've heard the Canon Rebel is a nice model, but which version?  Is the standard lens fine, or should I also think about getting a second lens? 

I know a lot of you are photo junkies like me, so for those of you with DSLRs, which models do you have and what features of those models do you like or dislike? 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Mid-December Blur

I had quite grand ambitions posting each day throughout December.  But then there were report cards to write... and post-report card burn-out... and Christmas shopping to be done... and holiday cards to send... and on and on.  All that to say, I haven't been around quite as much as I had hoped.

December is off to a good start though.  I am very excited about the holidays this year.  I know The Bean is really too young to understand most of what is going on, but I hope that he still enjoys seeing friends and family and feels some of the peace, joy and wonder that make this season so special. 

We've got a reasonably busy schedule from now until the new year, and the new year will bring a whole new level of business when Jen starts back to work.  I will try to keep updating though, even if it is only with brief posts.

So, an early Happy Holidays to all, from The Bean & Co.

Not the way we signed cards to our family, just edited for blog purposes.

P.S. Shutterfly is awesome!  We were not only able to create our cards on their site, but have them address, stamp and send them all for us! 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Eleven Months Old!

Today The Bean is eleven months old!

-Our active boy is down off his tiptoes, but still isn't walking on his own. He cruises around the furniture and uses his lawnmower a lot and has also started pushing other (non-walker) toys around.  His steering could use some improvement!

-Surprisingly, for an apartment-dwelling boy, he has become quite adept at climbing stairs.  As long as he's in non-skidding socks he's able to climb to our third floor apartment with very little assistance!

-On a related note, it has become a lot more challenging to have him in the stroller for longer periods of time as he really wants to be up and about.  

-He now does a ton of "actions."  He'll shake his head, stick out his tongue, drum on just about anything, shake a toy when we say "shake, shake, shake", throw up his arms when we say "yay!", dance when he hears music and is almost waving. 

-He's also become quite a little chatter box.  He babbles away and will mimic noises.  When someone is laughing he'll join right in.  This makes Mama laugh even more and we often end up rolling on the floor with tears in our eyes from laughing so hard.  

-He continues to be a good eater and is becoming increasingly interested in exploring his food.  He's starting to feed himself a lot more finger foods, but Mama and Mommy are still in charge when it comes to cereals and yogurts and the like.

-His newest finger foods include freeze dried fruit and chickpeas.  He seems to be enjoying eggs more now that Mommy makes them with onion and garlic for him.  He's also started drinking cow's milk.  Oh, and he had his first bite of a cookie.  YUM!

-He is very observant and any time we change something around the apartment (like when we put up Christmas decorations) or go somewhere new he is wide-eyed checking things out. 

-His favourite toys this month are his nesting cups (which he likes to pretend to drink from) and his jingle bells which he loves to "shake, shake, shake!"  He also still love his lambskin rug. 

-His favourite books are touch and feel ones, Biscuit Visits the Petting Zoo has not left his bookshelf all month. 

-His favourite spots around the apartment are the full-length mirror in Mom and Mama's room, the bookshelf and the end tables. 

-He is starting to hear the word "No!" a lot more.  It seems like he understands because he will stop and look, but he doesn't always listen! 

-He's sometimes only been going down for one nap during the day and has been waking more at night.  We're hoping that this is just a phase, as he seems to do better with two naps and we do better with more sleep overnight. 

-He had his first illness this past month.  A high fever and then, when that let up, a rash.  Our pediatrician said it was Roseola.  Shannon called that one! 

-He celebrated his first U.S. Thanksgiving this November at his Nan and Pap's house.  On the same trip he also visited Santa for the first time.  Our social boy didn't seem to be the least bit phased by the big guy. 

-Thanks to our advent books, The Bean has been learning to rip open wrapping paper.  He's getting pretty good! Bring on Christmas!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Advent Activities PDF!

So, when thinking about ways to celebrate advent I came across many ideas that included the idea of an activity to do each day.  Only the activities weren't always included.  So Jen and I decided to make a list of advent activities.  We ultimately went with the book-a-day advent calendar because we felt that The Bean was too young to enjoy many of the activities we came up with, but we thought others might enjoy the list.  I'm not really a computer whiz, so there's a funny row of blank cards at the end of the first page, but it should be easy enough for anyone who wants to print this list just to cut away that row. Oh yeah, we also tried to include more activities than are needed for an advent calendar, so that if you chose to use this list for advent, you could pick and choose the activities that suited you and your family best.


Advent Activities PDF

Monday, December 5, 2011

To Tree or Not to Tree?

There was some debate whether or not we should decorate for Christmas this year, and if so, what decorating should entail. 

The biggest decision was about the tree.  With an active eleven month old and a small-ish space, we just didn't know if it made sense to put up a tree.  In the end, Jen ended up making the decision --she put up the tree while I was at work.  I was happy to come home and see it twinkling with multi-coloured lights.  It does feel more like Christmas with a tree up. 

Over the weekend we hung ornaments on the tree.  This year we opted only to put our non-breakable ornaments on.  We also put up our stockings and displayed our Santas (one from each year that we have lived together).  Our delicious pine scented candle is out on the buffet and there are also some lights in the window.  I would still like to hang up a bunting that holds Christmas cards, but I need to get some of those removable hook things to do that, so maybe this weekend.

We could definitely do more, but for our space and the point we are at in our lives right now, this feels like enough. 

I'll try to update with photos later in the week.

What do you do in terms of decorating for the holiday?

Friday, December 2, 2011


Growing up, advent wasn't really a big deal in our house.  Most years we got a chocolate advent calendar, which we enjoyed, but after being sucked into the vortex that is Pinterest, I though maybe we could step it up a notch for The Bean.

Here are some of the lovely ideas I found:

However, this year we decided to go a different direction.  We spent Wednesday night wrapping 24 winter and Christmas books (that we  already owned) for The Bean.  We tied a ribbon around each one with a numbered tag on it and put them into a basket.  Every night at bedtime we plan on opening that day's book and reading it to The Bean as one of his bedtime stories. 

This may not be the tradition that we end up following each year, but it's one that I think is nice for this year. 

Oh, and The Bean's Oma brought over a chocolate advent calendar for him.  He's still a little young for chocolate, but his Mama doesn't mind. ;) 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Holiday Traditions

This year will be our first Christmas as a family of three (or four, counting the cat) and I've been thinking a good bit about what kind of holiday traditions would be nice to have.

The Christmas season has always been such a special time of year to me, in large part, because of the many special memories I have of it.  Going out to chop a tree down, and decorating said tree.  Playing out in the snow until we were soaked to the skin and then coming in for a drink of hot chocolate in front of the fire place.  Putting our shoes out for St. Nicholas.  Baking dozens and dozens of cookies to take to our neighbours.  Some of these things were annual "events" others happened more organically. 

What traditions stand out in your memories of the holiday season?  What new traditions, if any, have you started with your family or would you like to start once you have children?

I'm planning on spending some time this month blogging about traditions, both old and new, that we're thinking of holding with our family of three (or four, counting the cat).