When Abby and I got back to the house from our "exposition" (lol), her daddy was already home (working on all that pesky end-of-the-year paperwork that comes with running a business). Abby crashed in her crib shortly afterwards, and Chris gave me the rest of the afternoon off. I came home to discover that everyone was working busily on all their handcrafted Christmas gifts.
Now, I've made handcrafted Christmas gifts before, and I know personally that they're a gift of love - the love I must feel to be crazy enough to attempt to make something homemade, and the love ther giftee shows by accepting said homemade present with grace. :) And someday I do hope to do a mostly, if not entirely handmade Christmas. I did make one handmade gift this year - a crocheted wool hat for my dad which turned out PERFECTLY and of which I am very proud. :) But this year I didn't even attempt the stress which is handcrafting gifts. Maybe next year. :)
I did feel a little "left out in the cold" when it came to the flurry of activity around me, though, so I decided today would be the perfect day to do some holiday baking. I made five recipes - fruit and nut drops, chocolate-covered coconut buttons, almond bark, spiced nuts, and fruit squares. Everything but the fruit squares turned out beautifully - the fruit squares might still, but I didn't realize the recipe called for refrigerating them overnight, so the jury is still out. I have to say, they smell delicious!
One big plate of goodies is going to my mechanic/car dealer, who sold me my truck several years back and have kept it humming along ever since. I love these guys - they do good work, keep the prices low, and treat me nicely. :) Also, my truck needs to go in the shop next week and I want them to have really positive feelings towards me. :) I divided up some for my guyfriends, and what's left is going to Chris and Natalie.
I promise I will hunt down all the recipes I used, plus pictures - took them already, but they're on my phone in the other room and I'm too lazy to go get them, lol, now that my sugar rush is fading - hopefully tomorrow afternoon or evening.
Tomorrow I have TWO kiddies to play with - my Abster, of course, and her little cousin, Nate, who needs a sitter for the day. I have no idea how this is going to play out, but I think it's going to be fun! :) I have a craft all ready for them, plus there's always our favorite activities of coloring, play-doh, reading, and singing.
Abby was talking up a storm today - she's now using full sentences and adds new words to her vocab every day. Today we picked up Maggie and did some errands and she told me very clearly that she wanted to go "shopping at Target." Why I don't know, but that's where she wanted to go! :) Then she said she wanted to go to the pet store and see Nemo and Dory, the mice, the kitties , and the turtles. When we got there they had a pack of ferrets where the chinchilla normally is, and she looked at me very puzzled and said as clearly as could be, "Where the chinchilla?" To illustrate how far and fast she's come in the last few weeks, just two weeks ago we went to the pet store and she wanted to go see the chinchilla, which she conveyed by emphatically patting her chin (yes, it took me a little while to figure it out, too!).
I LOVELOVELOVE that she can communicate with me now about her wants and desires, and what strikes her as funny, or worries her, or makes her sad... but with this new ability is also coming some teaching about what's polite to say and what's not. She seems to get this concept, she'll sometimes say something and then ask, "Nice?" to see what I think. When I do need to make some input, it's usually pretty mild. I'll usually say, "That's not very polite, Abby," and she'll nod and say, "Oh, SOWEE!" and then wait to see what I think would be a better way of expressing herself. I totally love it.
Last week she got into the habit for a few days of saying "Stop that!" to me. Very loudly. In public. With the perfect inflections of an adult scolding a child. The first few times it happened, I chalked it up to her learning to assert her wishes, and told her several times that it would be more polite to say "Stop that please." The same day we were out in town, and she was in the shopping cart, and she suddenly decided that she didn't like me pushing the shopping cart (i.e. touching it). She waited until we were in a crowd of mommies and then said rather loudly "STOP THAT!!!... please." Of course everyone immediately turned to see what I was doing to the poor kid, so I quickly hurried us away. :)
The one we're working on this week is "No thank you." She has the "No!" part down pat (lol) but she's actually doing really well on the rest. Today we asked her several times if she wanted something - a bite of tortilla, more milk, a crayon - and she responded "NO!" as if we'd asked her if she'd like to be dangled by her toes. The first two times I told her, "That's not very polite - can you say 'no thank you'?" and she repeated quickly, "No, thank you." The last time, I just said "Can you please be polite?" and she quickly responded "No thank you!" Success. :)
Here's a rather neat blog post (not mine) talking about kids acquiring language and learning to use it. Which, to be honest, probably won't interest anyone except parents and nannies. :)