My DIY Christmas mantle

Last year, we spent the holidays in the UK, and it was magical and wonderful and fantastic and everything else positive (minus of course the last day when Miles barfed everywhere and I got to put one of those tiny washer/dryer combos to the test) (and why did I have to ruin that sentence with barf talk? Just Keeping It Real, folks.) but this year, we’re staying home. Which is fine, I guess (kicks the dirt sadly) but I reasoned if we were going to be in stinky old Louisiana for Christmas, I’d better decorate the house so we’d feel more festive.

So I turned my attention to the mantle. I started buying garlands to hang over it when they appeared at Michael’s last month. I dug out the boys’ stockings (though I still need to fix the one Ziggy chewed up two years ago.) But I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do on the mantle itself.

 

That’s freaking festive right there.

 

Then I remembered my mom’s Christmas village set that she didn’t really use anymore. But then I was reminded she’d asked me years ago if I wanted it, and I said no, and so she sent it to my sister. Okay, plan B.

I was perusing Facebook one day and came across a papercraft village that I could make with my Silhouette. Not too hard, and since it was mostly made of cardstock, cheap! (Just the way I like it.) I bought the templates and started cutting. And gluing. And folding. And after a few nights of watching movies over Thanksgiving break, it was done!

 

It doesn’t get much cuter than that.

 

If you plan to create your own cardstock village, I have some advice.

  • Use 80 lb cardstock. I made the bases with 110 lb and it didn’t’ cut as easily.
  • Get some strong, 1/4″ wide double sided tape like this. At first I used glue dots, and that was a disaster. The red backing on the tape makes it easy to see to remove.
  • The instructions on the 3dcuts.com website say to take waxed paper to the back of each window so the tea lights don’t show through. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Transparent Scotch tape worked perfectly and was much easier than cutting tiny squares of waxed paper. (Make sure it’s the foggy kind of tape, not the crystal clear kind.)
  • Okay, so my village looks more like it’s in a cloud than in snow. Whatever.
  • My little sign is the same size as the houses. But it’s cute so I don’t care.
  • Aren’t the trees great? They’re from the dollar spot at Target.

 

Awww, all lit up.

 

Wait, but that’s not all! The pièce de résistance is my autographed It’s a Wonderful Life poster.

Yes, that’s right! I said AUTOGRAPHED.

Thank you, 16-year-old self for being obsessed with Jimmy Stewart!

Next year, expect to see MORE GARLANDS and MORE TINY BUILDINGS! Wooooo!

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I’m goooooood

I was poking around my blog entries from December 2009, trying to find my favorite Santa picture (this one, in case you were wondering) and came across this post, where I predicted what the boys would be when they grow up.

Well, I mean, it’s not like they’re grown up or anything, but I was eerily right about what they want to be at this stage, anyway.

Linus

What I said then: I’m going to go with something like engineering or medicine.

Now, I’d say programmer or something scienceish.

Oliver

What I said then:  let’s say…tortured artist?

Sure enough, he wants to be an artist.

Miles

What I said then: I’m thinking….actor?

Need I say more?

Okay, I mean, I wasn’t exact, but pretty darn close considering they were two years old when I wrote that and not completely out of the blob stage.

Frosty the Slushman!

I was so sad when I woke up this morning and learned Baton Rouge was blanketed (I mean, relatively. This is Louisiana, after all.) in snow. I had thought briefly of bringing the boys to my mom’s last night so they could see it for the first time, but I figured if I did, it wouldn’t snow. (You’re welcome, residents of Baton Rouge.)

Here it’s been cold and drizzly, but I guess cold enough for a bit of slush to accumulate on my windshield, at least.

Introducing…

I made a slushman! #notquitesnow #betterthannothing

A post shared by Pam Kocke (@pyjammy) on

Frosty the Slushman! Isn’t he adorable? I’m a natural.

PS I’m not as sad now because apparently it snowed at school and they let the kids out to see it. It didn’t accumulate or anything, but I’ll take it!

PSS It’s not really the first time they’ve seen snow. Once they trucked in snow to City Park and we brought them. And it snowed once when they were babies, but they were at daycare, so no pics.

TEN

Well, the boys’ birthday has come and gone, and I think I’ve finally recovered from their party. But not quite enough yet to host another slumber party next year. We’ll see. I am guessing I’ll capitulate once again. Words of wisdom: Hosting slumber parties is like childbirth.

The Party

We had five boys come over (so 8 total) and thank goodness my friends Teresa and Jenn (one of the boys’ moms) stayed to help for the evening. After eating pizza, we walked down the levee in the fog to see the bonfire. There were tons of people there, but fortunately, the side we were on wasn’t crowded. Between the fog and the crowds, I was a little nervous. But each adult was assigned a triplet and a friend or two, so it worked out fine.

We saw people doing weird things with fire (not sure what to call them) and then the bonfire was lit! It was cool. The kids enjoyed it. And it killed some time.

My favorite picture of the fire:

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After we got back to the house, we had cake (that I made!) and sang three times, as usual.

I’d also bought some canvases and pastels from Michael’s and they got to make artwork, which killed about, oh, 7 minutes. They were all too excited about playing on the Switch.

I went to sleep at around midnight but the boys didn’t. Well, two of them did. But the rest informed me they were going to stay up all night long. I rolled my eyes at this, but sure enough, when I was woken by the patter of little feet at 4am, I knew the other parents were going to hate me.

(Well, I mean, surely they expected this?) (No one was mad in the end.)

I groggily got up at around 7, and there were a few passed out boys here and there. Apparently, mine napped for about an hour in the middle of the night at various points, so I think only one kid truly stayed up all night (he conked out on the sofa in the morning.)

I went to get donuts for the kids, and the parents started coming to pick them up around 9. And then the boys napped off and on throughout the afternoon. There was a trip to Target late in the day to spend the gift cards that were burning holes in their pockets.

The Big Day

Monday was their actual birthday and the poor kids had to go to school. I drove them, though, so they didn’t have to suffer through a bus ride.

But first! They got to open presents from Grandee and Larry and Kiki. Those were the big gifts. Miles got the drawing tablet he coveted, the promise of a custom sweatshirt (he wanted to use the tablet to draw a design for it), and a pogo stick. (Fun!) Linus got a drone and Mario Odyssey for the Switch. Oliver got a controller for the Switch, some fancy markers, a kite, and a book on drawing. A good haul!

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I spent the day trying to work, but mostly failing when I realized that I didn’t have a decent gift for Oliver. (I ran to the store to get something, whew.) George and I picked them up from school later that day, took them to guitar lessons, and then went and had a nice dinner.

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Afterwards, they got to open their gifts from us (Linus got a Pokemon game and Ticket to Ride, Oliver got some drawing supplies (including a drawing mannequin that Ziggy promptly ate), Miles got fancy colored pencils and the sweatshirt I accidentally already mentioned.)

All in all, a great but exhausting birthday. They loved all their gifts, which was gratifying. Now just to figure out what to get them for Christmas…

A decade of Miles

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My sweet baby boy. I sometimes call him “baby brother,” which drives him nuts. He was the tiniest at birth, so I’m pretty sure he never got mixed up with the others. (Can’t say the same about those two…) I mean, not that he was particularly tiny, but half a pound difference when you’re four pounds is significant enough.

Miles at age 10:
– wants to be an actor. Or an artist.
– plays guitar, hates to practice.
– still runs laps around downstairs.
– adores his cousins.
– loves ramen.
– is extremely ticklish
– hates when I travel for work.
– hates doing homework, but even more hates not doing it.
– loves to draw.

A decade of Oliver

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Oliver, born second. A bit competitive, I guess that started when he was born second, even though he was supposed to be the last out. He is a perfectionist, and hates doing something if he can’t do it right. He always make the most worried faces (that furrowed brow is his look) but he’s probably the most chill of the trio.

He was the first to dye his hair way back when. Because he wanted to stand out from his brothers? Or because he was obsessed with a YouTube star with blue hair? Either way, he doesn’t worry a heck of a whole lot what other people think.

Oliver at age 10:

  • still won’t eat vegetables.
  • hates ramen.
  • loves to draw.
  • wants to be an artist when he grows up.
  • makes silly faces.
  • favorite colors are purple and teal
  • is no longer scared of dogs.

A decade of Linus

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In fact, it’s become increasingly clear over the course of the years that Linus is a tiny George. He would rather be alone, and he definitely marches to the beat of his own drummer. While his brothers currently spend their free time drawing, he is mostly uninterested. Even when they were little, that was the dynamic of the three. Linus and Oliver & Miles.

Linus at age 10:

  • wants to be an animator. Or maybe a coder.
  • great at math (and all other school subjects, actually)
  • has the cheesiest cheeseball grin ever.
  • loves ramen.
  • hates having his photo taken.
  • loves spending time alone.
  • hates when I travel for work.
  • is obsessed with Naruto (graphic novels.)
  • loves his dog.