Monday, December 31, 2012

Bring it on, 2013!

So, 2012 didn't end in a bang or overcome by zombie Apocalypse. The holidays had shuffled off, and brought the promises yet to come in a brand-new year. 

Stu, and I are planning on just kicking back, drinking our bubbly, chowing down on cocktail shrimps along with our home-made baked pizza on the fired-oven pan while watching Ryan Seacreast filling in large shoes of Dick Clark for New Year's celebrations on TV. We like the sound of just relaxing especially after so much traveling for Christmas. We are also in the midst of transiting Forrest to his crib. We really don't want to disturb his routine by taking him out somewhere. We are only a few days into crib switch from co-sleeping, and it has been a big change for all of us especially for this mama.

I admit that I cried a bit when we first moved Forrest into his own bedroom. It is hard to be pregnant for 9 months, then having our little guy co-sleep with us in our bedroom for 4 months, and to suddenly have him move down the hallway away from us. A piece of my heart is no longer right there by me. It is why I kind of knew that it is right time for Forrest to be in his own room because it is getting to the point where it is more for me than it is for him. It is getting progressively easier with passing night to have Forrest in the other room for both Forrest and myself.

With all of this happening, I sit back, and think of seven important lessons I have learned in 2012.

1) Time and experience heals pain. Pain, whether it is physical or emotional, is inevitable. Allow pain make you stronger, and learn from it. It is not necessarily a bad thing in a long run. I've learned a lot about myself through pain. Being in labor, and delivering my son is one of the hardest things I've gone through physically, and I am amazed at how my body can handle the pain. I've discovered a new respect for my body.

2) Life goes on. Really do enjoy your life as much as you can. Ever since having Forrest, I look at the kids in my family, and see how fast they've grown; it is a humbling reminder that everything won't stay the same forever, and it is good to enjoy them as it goes.

3) I can let go of people that don't belong in my life. I'm not obligated to keep them. They don't deserve a spot in my life just because. If they've earned that spot in the past, it doesn't mean they get to keep it forever. I deserve to have people in my life out of love, not obligation.

4) When you love who you are, and when you embrace your self-confidence, amazing things happen around you. Enuff said. It is pretty amazing thing to realize that people like you for liking yourself, and it freaks me out a little bit too, being a hermit that I am.

5) I've learned that being the main character in my own story is way better than just being a supporting one. I always put people first, and it was always about them, and rarely about me. Allowing my life to be about me and what I want? Best thing ever.

6) Speaking my truth, about my past experiences, my deafness, my entrance in motherhood, and dealing with life, it all has its purpose. A wonderful purpose of letting others know that they are not alone. Sharing my story is something I have lost the fear of doing.

7) I have learned that I need to listen to myself more often. I've always had a habit of letting others people's opinions have more weight than my own, and that is no way to live. I'm much happier when I listen to my heart telling me what to do. It is when your life has become more authentic.

What have you learned from the year 2012? 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Holiday Madness to Its End

Oooh boy! It has been awhile since I have last written a post. Thankfully, holiday madness has died down, and we are finally back home. After nearly two weeks of traveling and staying at other people's houses; I've come to a realization that there is really no place like home, and it is nice to be back home. 

Forrest had a great first Christmas with our family! He got plenty of clothes, toys, teething items, and hats!  Forrest was a champ in the car the whole time we traveled. It was really nice because it meant less stress! Forrest loved being with his cousins. He had biggest smile on his face every time he saw his kid cousins especially our niece. He loved her presence for some reason. It was fun, and sweet to witness that. Forrest got passed around, held a lot, and kissed by family members. He was sure spoiled.

I decided to take a break from technology while I was visiting our family. I barely texted, didn't really glance at Facebook, groups I'm part of, did not check my blog or read other blogs, and left my laptop behind. I did not really take any pictures. I simply stayed in the moment, and focused on what was going on at this very instance. 

Guess what? 

It turned out to be a really awesome idea.

I read 4 books in five days! Imagine that. Well, okay, I may have skimmed the first book (Insurgent by Veronica Roth), and enjoyed light reading of Furnace series by Alexander Gordon Smith. I admit that a part of reason why I liked reading the books by Alexander was because I liked British style of writing. I was thrilled to find out that there was more in the series, and that meant more books to read. I also started reading books by Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston. My brother got me hooked to this series.

Then to my great pleasure, my book, Rapture in Death (In Death Series) that I had ordered through Nook finally came through. It was a huge hassle. I had purchased that book on a gift card, and the gift card was not working properly. That caused my book to go into a lock-down mode. I had to go through a hassle of consumer service both online, and in person at the store to get my book to be "unlocked". To make a long story short, the book didn't unlock itself until about a week and half later. Oy. Nonetheless, once I got my book to work; I was pretty excited.

As you can see, I definitely love the genre of Urban Adventure Fantasy type of books. The Furnace series , The Divergent, and The Hunger Games are more geared for teenagers, and I am not ashamed to like them. In Death series is more focused for adults; here's the secret, J.D. Robb is actually Nora Roberts, believe it or not. And yes, In Death series is not gushy lame romance books that she normally writes. If you like action, strong female character, crime, then you will definitely like this. You won't be disappointed.

Feel free to check out any of books I mentioned above.

Anyway, the last time I read that much books was probably before I got pregnant. While I was pregnant, I didn't read much because I was busy preparing for Forrest's arrival, and I did not have much of attention span to really relax. It reminded me how much I had missed reading, and how thankful I am to have a lot of Barnes and Noble gift cards to purchase E-Books! 


I also learned how to play Domino. I really enjoyed it! It was finally nice to find a game that I was able to co-exist peacefully with Stu. Ha ha ha. Matter of fact, we liked it so much that we decided to buy a game of our own for our home.

Stu and I got a lot of lovely things from our family. We really loved what we got, and can't just pick one as our favorite. We were more happy to see that Forrest got so much nice things to enjoy, and use.

We also had a lot of delicious food. I probably gained five pounds from eating. No regrets here. Yummy.

I also met up with a dear friend of mine, and met her husband. It was a wonderful lunch.

It's amazing how much things you can accomplish, and enjoy when you put all technology stuff aside for awhile. Try that, and you may rediscover things you've forgotten about.

Now we are finally back home, and we have decided that we wanted to stay in for New Year's instead of going out. We have had enough of traveling, and going everywhere. We just really want to bunker down, and relax with just three of us.

I'm currently tackling down the monster of laundry (imagine that, 2 weeks worth of clothes to be washed), and Forrest is napping for who know how long, so I'm trying to finish this post as fast as possible in record time.

It's Deaf Thing post should be posted hopefully by early next week!

I hope your holiday was as wonderful.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

4 Months Old

Dear Forrest,

You are 4 months old today. You are growing like a weed. You are now in 16-17 pounds range. There are four notches in your car seat for seat belt adjustment. You are currently now sporting car seat from the third notch. Mama thinks that you might need a new car seat by your sixth month at latest because you are outgrowing it, not by weight, but by your height! When you do outgrow your car seat, then it is okay because it will be passed down to your little brother or sister a few years from now...probably within two years! Your little feet are barely about to bypass the edge of your car seat! You are one tall boy. 

You are still wearing size 2 in pampers Swaddlers. Mama is considering about switching to a different brand or at least in other label for Pampers, such as Cruisers because you are so active especially with kicking your legs! You are still having poop leaks from wearing your Swaddlers. Mama has found a solution how to get mustard yellow poop off your Onesies! The secret? Dawn dish soap. No kidding. It works. Mama isn't sure if it's a norm for breastfed babies to have such leaky poops, or if you need a different diaper brand....that's why Mama is going to experiment and find out what is right for you!

Edited to add: Huggies brand size 3 seems to work alright in containing your explosive poops, and unfortunately, it does appear to be irritating your little bum. So Huggies is officially out as well as Luvs. We're back to Pampers, and we will try going up to size 3 instead of 2. If that doesn't work then Mama will have to look into Crusin' Pampers. 

You've been a regular ole drooling machine these days! You drool, drool, and drool. You're chewing on everything you can lay your hands on. Your favorite chew toy is not any of the chewing toys, but your own hands! You are definitely beginning to teeth. You have your hard moments because your gums are bothering you, and that makes you feel grouchy. When you are in that mood, you would rather lay on Mama, and have a lazy day with her. You are slowly gaining a good bounty of teething toys! Mama is looking into getting you an Amber necklace to help with your drooling and pain. 

You are still co-sleeping with your parents. Alas, the change is coming. Because you are sleeping through the night with an occasional wake up calls at 3-4 am to nurse, your parents are slowly introducing you to your crib with hope of having you sleep in your crib by end of December after all the traveling!

Currently, you are sleeping on reclined Infant-to-Toddler rocker since you are battling a cold. Sometimes, you would rather not to sleep by yourself, but in Mama's arms. Mama gladly sacrificed a few nights of sleep holding you as you slept. Poor kid, you. Mama and Daddy often have to squeeze Saline Drops up your nose, which is something you don't like, and suck out the boogers. Baby Vapor is a wonderful asset, and helps you to breath as you go to sleep at the night. Mama is hoping you will feel better in time for Christmas!

The idea of transitioning you to the crib is definitely harder on Mama than it is on you. You are able to take naps in your cribs without much fuss. Just slap on some songs, and you are out like a light. You love your mobile above your crib, and can easily be entertained until you fall asleep. When you travel with your parents, you sleep in your playpen without any problem. When New Years rolls in, you are definitely heading to your own big boy bed, and start sleeping there!

You are still being exclusively breastfed. Breastfeeding continues to be one of the most challenging experience that Mama has to go through. Mama worries that she may not have enough supply to keep up with you since you are getting so big! Thankfully, one of the mamas from the mommy groups gave your Mama a tip how to make sure you are getting enough, and it does seem that you are getting enough. Even so, Mama drinks Mother Tea occasionally, and it seem to be doing the trick. Mama had to endure yet another clogged duct, which is painful, and not fun to deal with, but it is okay because she knows what to do this time. Fortunately, Mama managed to get through it just fine. You continue to grow and benefit so much from breast milk. It's amazing to see how fast you've been growing from it! Mama is hoping to be able to breastfeed you for at least 6 months, and Mama's goal is just to make through every month with you.

You have gained some control over your tongue. For awhile there, your tongue was sticking out like crazy! Now, it is safely tucked in your little mouth. You are starting to exhibit some curiosity toward Mama's food. You reach and try to grab at Mama's snacks. If you are cleared by Dr. Johnson for your 4-month check-up then you may start sampling pureed food! Mama can't wait to try out the Baby Bullet to make you food!

Mama has been looking into high chair for you. Perhaps you'll be getting a big boy chair when you are able to sit up without toppling over, and being able to start eating pureed food!

You absolutely love your Jumperoo that your Grand-Aunt Ro had gotten for you. You enjoy bouncing, standing, and leaning forward to grasp on things. You no longer need a box underneath your feet because you are able to touch the floor! You are such a tall kid! Your favorite is the little teal bird hanging from the bar. You reach for it, grab it, bring it toward your mouth, chew on it, then let it go. Repeat. You can easily do this for half hour before getting tired. Sometimes, you just like to hang your head down, and chew on the seat. You tend to get fussy, and whine for Mama or Daddy when you are done playing in it.

Because of your daily tummy time, you are a pro at holding up your neck, and you have rolled over once or twice already! You aren't a pro at rolling over quite yet, and don't do it every time you are on your tummy. You tend to rock your little body back and forth or flip on your side. It is really awesome to see you doing this. Mama and Daddy are looking forward to the day when you finally learn how to roll around! 

You have recently started sitting in your Bumbo chair! You love being in it. You giggle, smile, and coo when you get approval from your parents. You are able to sit on your parents' laps without needing support to your neck. You like to lean forward to grasp at things in front of you especially Mama's hair.

Mama is looking forward to bringing you down to her hometown, and spend pre-Christmas with her side of family, then heading up north to the Farm with Daddy to spend Christmas with his family. It will be a lot of fun! Mama isn't sure what is the plan for New Year's. It will probably be a low-keyed event at home. You'll be ringing in a New Year's by sleeping in your big boy bed!

Mama and Daddy are anxiously awaiting to see what will transpire during Month FOUR! 


Mama and Daddy

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Newton Tragedy

A tragedy occurred yesterday.

Can you imagine hearing that your child will never be coming home? To look at presents underneath the tree or the unwrapped gifts waiting for every night with the lighting of Menorah...never to be opened. Not ever to hold a tiny body against yours, breathing into the fresh child like smell on top of their heads, and to feel their little hearts beat against yours. To ring in a New Year's without ever seeing your child smile, laugh, or talk again? To look at your other children, nephews, nieces, and cousins, or family members, and tell them that their brother or sister or grandchild or cousin or niece or nephew is eternally gone. To bury your own child? 

No, I can't fathom the lives that were lost yesterday, and the grief that has bloomed through the community. This is yet another sobering reminder that a human life is fragile, and precious. Every day, we hear, and see deaths on the news all over the world. It affects everybody; rich or poor, straight or gay, black or white, and a devout and an atheist. 

For this to happen again is heartbreaking. Perhaps, this is time for us to reassess what is going on in our country, and take steps toward preventive care. 

My heart breaks for those who are affected by the tragedy. I am very sad for them. 

Last night, Stu, and I went to Oshkosh Light of Festival; we introduced Forrest to Santa Claus for the very first time, and there was a mixture of quiet sadness, and muted happiness. We looked upon our son, and silently thanked the stars for our little boy. A little voice inside me was unable to help, but weep for lost lives of those children, and the broken families. I picked up my son, and embraced his little squirmy body against mine. 

As sobering, and sad this news was, it served as a profound reminder to hold on to those people you love, and to tell them that you love them.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

My Reflection Of My Pregnancy

Feel free to click on the picture to enlarge it! 

Isn't this cool or what? I came across to a collage picture on my fellow friend blogger's page: Chasing Moonlight and Roses, and had to ask her how she made hers. Graciously, she shared the Link to creating collages with me, and it was really easy to use...very user-friendly even for amateurs like me. Anyway, I was excited to be able to capture my whole pregnancy, and watching my belly grow for over 9 months. A random fact: We are pregnant for 10 months...not 9 months. Crazy. 

I really, really loved being pregnant. Loved it. It was so much fun being pregnant, wearing cute maternity clothes, feeling my boy kick, and squirm inside, and watching my belly grow. I might jinx myself for my next pregnancy, but I'm going to say it anyway...I had very, very mild morning sickness. Just nausea. No vomiting. What I had to deal with was bad case of migraine headaches that pretty much rendered me useless in the evenings. It was probably the only downfall with my pregnancy. I felt good. I looked awesome for being pregnant. I had no complications despite my blood clotting issue, and low blood pressure. I had a really wonderful doctor that monitored me for that, and I was blessed to be able to have a wonderful birth experience. 

The best part of this experience was having Forrest at last. He was definitely worth the journey. I knew I wanted to be pregnant again, and hopefully end up with a girl next time. I would have done it again in a heartbeat. 

While I would love to be pregnant again, I also have a list of reasons why I do NOT want to be pregnant anytime soon, and it is enough to keep my baby fever at the bay. I want to be able to eat my food that I am unable to during my pregnancy. I want to have my glass of wine (which I am still patiently biding my time for since I am breastfeeding Forrest every 2-3 hours--not enough time to have alcohol to be out of my system for the next feeding). I love the freedom that I have with my body now. I can fit through narrow spaces! I can enjoy my non-maternity clothes. I look forward to the day when I can wear regular bras--so sick of my nursing bras! I have yet eaten Sushi and I want to soon! I love being able to eat raw cookie batter--I did the other day, and it was glorious. While it is so much fun to be a mom, it is tiring to take care of a baby on demand 24/7. 

I have yet slept through the night...mind you, Forrest does sleep from 9 pm to 6 am with an occasional midnight snack, but I wake up at random times to check on Forrest to make sure he's okay, and I can't sleep just quite yet. Teething is a demon. I hate it when Forrest is not feeling well, and wish I can take away his pain. Diapers is expensive. Clothes too. I would like to have Forrest to be nearly done wearing diapers by the time I have my second kid. I want to go out on a date with my girlfriends or my husband, and feel completely secure leaving Forrest behind for a few hours at time. I have a few weddings to attend, and want to be able to fit in my bridesmaid dresses or cute outfits. I want to dance without feeling tired, or awkward. Face it, a baby is expensive! We want to get a bigger place before we start seriously considering to have a second kid. Our current place is just too small for a growing family like ours. Just thinking about trying to go shopping with a toddler, and a crying baby in the cart scares me at this moment. I'm not ready for that just yet! *winks* 

Most importantly of all, I want to be able to enjoy Forrest for a bit while. I look forward to watching him grow into a young little boy, and as selfish as it is, I want him all to myself. I'm not quite ready to share a part of myself to other little person just yet....

Stu and I already know that we would love to have two more. We have our heart set on having 3 kids. Why? Two is not quite enough. We both come from big families, and we know what it is like to grow up with at least 2 siblings in the household. Good memories, I tell you. Four is way too much...unless if we have twins for our last pregnancy. Then lord help us all. 

Because of our age, we are looking to having a second one within a year and half or two. I know for fact that I want to be completely done before I am 35 years old. I will have absolutely no energy for babies after that, and I want to be able to enjoy my kids as they grow older. And the idea of me being 60, and having a teenager scares me. Ha ha ha! I know for fact that my mom is already pressing for a second grandchild! I think she enjoys being a grandma...A LOT. 

We also know that for the second pregnancy, since it won't be our last one; we want the sex to be a surprise, and not find out until delivery. I've been convinced by some mommies, who have gone team green, and they were glad they waited until birth to find out. Then I convinced Stu to go Team Green for our second pregnancy, and he was surprisingly okay with it! 

Do I have a preference for the next baby's gender? A part of me would love to have a girl. Then again, I would also love to have a boy, and give Forrest a brother. Perhaps, it will be very different if it is my last pregnancy, and I don't end up getting a girl. It's my honest answer for you. As for now, I'd be happy with either one of them. I think it's easier for me to accept if I end up with another boy second time around because it won't be our last run. 

We also plan on being more prudent with timing. Our first pregnancy was very blessed. I got pregnant fairly quick, and sustained my pregnancy. While it was a huge relief to know that we both had no pressing issues that may have affected us to get pregnant, it was also a pain because I had Forrest at end of the summer, and that meant Stu was gone quite a lot for coaching, and teaching. I had no idea how we survived the first three months with Forrest. But we did. Thankfully. Because of this, we learned our lesson. Never have a baby at end of the summer! *winks*

I do hope that our second time around will be as blessed as the first one. I do have some worries about getting older, having difficulties with getting pregnant, and balancing motherhood with a toddler plus a newborn. I think this is normal worry though!

Do I plan to blog my second pregnancy? You bet! It may be tricky to find time, and energy, but it will be done. I am fortunate to have a really supportive and hand on husband and family. :)

It's the Deaf thing posts, and general blogging may be a bit behind in the next two weeks seeing that the holidays are coming up, but I promise to keep you guys updated, and posted!! Just be patient if you notice a decrease in my postings, okay? :) 


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Magic of Christmas

Recently, I mentioned about having Santa Claus in our household, and incorporating the magic of Christmas for Forrest then ultimately, having to break the news to Forrest that the actual person of Santa Claus is not real. Some parents are vehemently against lying to their children about Santa Claus therefore, they do not incorporate Santa Claus in their lives. Some parents believe that religion takes precedent over Christmas stories. There is no right or wrong way to celebrate or not celebrate Christmas for every family out there. 

I had never really believed in Santa Claus, yet I enjoyed the magic of Christmas. I loved waking up on Christmas morning, and running to our tree to see presents underneath the tree! It was magical how the presents had showed up underneath the tree. I was in second or third grade when I caught Mom putting gifts underneath the tree. I was not very disappointed about lack of existence of Santa Claus. My family had never emphasized much on Santa Claus, but they certainly promoted us to participate in the magic of Christmas. 

My family practiced the tradition of St. Nick and the filling of our stockings on the night of December 5th. Growing up, I loved this tradition, and as a child; I admit, it was all about gifts, but when I grew older, I came to embrace the idea of St. Nick's. 

For my family, we do want to incorporate Santa Claus, and have fun with it. While an actual living person that would be named Santa Claus does not exist, the concept of Santa Claus is based on a legend of Saint Nick, and he actually did exist. You can Google the legend of St. Nick online if you are curious. 

The idea I came to embrace was the meaning behind Christmas. I loved reading the books on Legend of St. Nick, and how he gave gifts to the poor. I loved the festive feeling that we get during Christmas season. People were usually nicer during this time of the year. The advent calendars, hot chocolate mugs with marshmallows  snow, smell of pine trees, crispness in the air, Christmas music and movies playing endlessly everywhere put me in a jolly mood. It was never really about getting. It was more about the giving. 

I knew that I wanted to pass this down to my son. 

Starting with Santa Claus. 

I plan on passing down the tradition of St. Nick's and the filling of stockings. I am going to read the Legend of St. Nick's to Forrest. It will be in all good fun. I am eager to have him learn about the meaning of Christmas. 

When it comes to time for Forrest to no longer believe in the jolly, white-bearded, fat man named Santa Claus; it is okay to no longer believe in the living person, and we plan on gently explaining to him that the actual Santa Claus does not exist today, and was once a man named St. Nick's. The reason why Santa Claus continues today is to continually remind ourselves what giving does to all of us. It is the magic that we should continue believing in. 

To me, that is not laying down elaborate lies to hurt our children one day when they learn that Santa Claus does not exist because in a very true, real sense, Santa Claus is real, and thrives on the magic of kindness, love, and faith. 

To lay out a plate of freshly baked cookies with a glass milk for Santa Claus to nibble on, tracking powdered hoof prints of Reindeer all over the driveway, and writing letters to Santa are a part of magic. It is wonderful to capture wonder in our children's eyes. It will become their memories that they will always cherish. To promote joy, and magic in our household is a must. One day, our children, all grown-up, will pass this down to their children, and share with us how much they had loved having this in their childhood. 

I know I most certainly did. 


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Passing Down Tidbits of my Childhood To My Son

I have been scouring for ASL DVDs for Forrest. There are several out there on Amazon, Harris Communication, and sites for the Deaf. I really want Forrest to be exposed to ASL. It is when it occurred to me that I wanted to find one very specific DVD called Sign Me a Story with Linda Bove

I grew up with this. I used to own the VHS. Oh my gosh, as a little girl, I absolutely LOVED this. I was enthralled by actors signing while playing out stories. Just loved it. I was not sure what happened to the VHS. It disappeared. 

Anyway, I thought of this recently, and knew I wanted one for Forrest. How cool was that--to share my childhood tidbits with him. I scoured online, with a help of a dear friend, and we were unable to find this copy on DVD. It seemed that it was only on limited few VHS out there. I did find the video on you-tube. I was excited to be able to at least view it again. 

Brings back the memories. 

I'm debating if I should purchase this on VHS then hopefully convert it to DVD somehow??

What are your childhood favorites or memories that you want to share with or pass down to your child?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

It's finally December!

We had a really great weekend despite me getting sick with a cold...thanks to Stu for bringing it home! *winks* 

Stu, Forrest, and I accompanied Bobbie, my mother-in-law, Spencer (brother-in-law), & Wally (his adorable girlfriend) to attend Dickens of Christmas at Ripon. I made sure that Forrest was completely bundled up in his little reindeer suit to ensure that he stayed warm. Sure enough, he stayed warm. Dickens of Christmas was slowing down when we arrived, and it was a good thing that we beat the bulk of the crowd. It was enjoyable to walk around in a nippy winter air, all bundled up in our winter clothes, and getting into Christmas spirit. Bobbie took a picture of us family, and I had to laugh my butt off. See why?

Yep, there you go. Our little guy was completely taken off guard by his grandma's camera flash! Funniest thing I have seen in a long while. I'm going to totally show this to his girlfriend one day, and embarrass Forrest. 

Now, here's a nice one of us family: 

On Saturday, while Stu was gone at his football banquet luncheon; I busied myself by creating our Russ Family Advent Calendar, and it turned out really awesome. I could not have been any more thrilled about how it had turned out. The best part was? Stu, and Forrest, in his own way, helped out with it. So it had pieces of family's touch to this. 

Advent Calendar Tutorial

I picked a bunch of festive looking sheets from scrapbook aisle at Hobby Lobby.
I measured the canvas and determined that 4x3 inches were going to work the best.
I ended up tracing squares on the back of each sheet.

After I completed cutting squares (pictured above this one),
I folded the edges and the bottom to create a pocket.
I used Tacky glue to make the edges and the bottom to stick together.
I left them to dry for about half hour. Then I used a Bronze Sharpie
to create numbers for the dates. I forgot to take a picture of that part, sorry!

I purchased about a foot of Burlap Fabric (kind of tough type of fabric).
I wanted a rustic look instead of it being ivory. I dyed the fabric with tea  and let it
soak in the pot of tea for about 2 hours to achieve that aged look. Here's tutorial to how
tea-stain fabrics! After it being completely dry from hanging, I measured it to fit the 11x14 canvas,
and cut it to fit.
Stu wanted to step in and help once he got home from the banquet. He took over and stapled the fabric onto the canvas. Sure thing, buddy!  We used the black school stapler instead of regular small stapler becausethe small regular stapler won't work at all. It doesn't have same power as the large black stapler does! 

You don't have to be fancy with the trimming.
It will be hidden from the view anyway!
Just make sure the fabric is fully secure.

Ta-Da. Now it's ready for the next step! 

You can buy 25 little tags at any craft store!
I wanted to achieve that aged look. Once again, I used
tea-staining process: Tutorial.

After it drying completely, Stu and I tied twine cords to the tags, and Forrest
might have drooled on some tags....and Layla chewed off an edge of a tag. We remedied that by
cutting off the chewed edge.... 

I used fine Sharpie marker and

scribbled an activity for each day! 
The end result! Our Advent calendar!
 I was so geeked with how it had turned out! The tags can be purchased again next year and recreated with different activities as Forrest grows older. That way, we can find appropriate activities for his age. And eventually  when we give Forrest a sibling or two; we can continue to edit, and change activities for the years yet to come. 

I am really excited to be starting some new and old traditions, carried on over from our families and our childhoods, for Forrest and our little family! 

I was in such crafting mood....that I ended up creating two more items:

Forrest's footprint from when he was 2 months old.
I used flour and salt then baked it at 300 degrees for 1 hour.
Then I just forgot about it until today. I decided to use bronze Sharpie and filled
in the print. It turned out really great!

My mom gave me this kit to create an ornament.
I tried to take Forrest's handprint, but he was not having any of it!
I ended up using his little foot to create a footprint. I filled in the
footprint with silver Sharpie marker to see the details better, and
dated it! 

Yes, it has been a really lovely weekend. Stu is away at a Packers football game with his coach buddies and colleagues. So it is just Forrest and me today. I am a lot better than I was yesterday with my cold. Nonetheless, I'm going to fire up my gas stove, and make a home-made Chicken soup! A perfect remedy for a cold, I tell you. Then either two things will happen or maybe both will happen, depending on how my little guy feels once he wakes up from his nap; we will decorate the house with Christmas stuff, or watch a Christmas movie that I bought for Forrest (Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and Santa Claus is coming to Town). If Forrest is too cranky, then Christmas decorations can wait until tomorrow, and we'll just bunker down to watch one of those movies I mentioned previously! 

I'm so excited that it's December! Are you?