And the Ornaments Too!













We got our live tree at just the perfect time this year. Picked it up Saturday morning without incident, including my first attempt at strapping it to a car (thanks bungee cords!) and set it up just in time to head to the third almost-annual ornament swap with my knitting group. I made the needle-felted winter scene and took home the snowman head, which went perfectly with my non-breakable/no-hooks-needed theme for this year's tree. Once again, I was super impressed with all the ornament makings (though I still can't get my brain around how the pom-pom ones work).  Our timing was also perfect since we got about a foot of snow the next day. We did make a first attempt at sledding with Little Miss C, and while the snow was tasty, the cold and snowsuit and the dog in her face was all a little too much and big tears were shed about .05 seconds after that last shot was taken.  Good thing there's a cozy warm house and pretty lighted tree to return to.

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The Stockings Were Hung





This weekend, I put up all our decorations (indoor and outdoors) with the exception of the live tree. Since last year, my Christmas decoration stash significantly expanded when my family shipped out all the decorations I still had at my mother's house, which amounted to a rather large plastic tub of ornaments and my collection of about a dozen Christmas-themed music boxes. We also bought a silver tinsel tree at the after-holiday sales, because I have always wanted a silver tinsel tree. And since it's the first question people ask when I tell them we have a silver tinsel tree, no I did not get the lighter spinner to go with it.

Of all my decorations however, there are two there are most precious to me. First is my pair of German Nutcrackers. The soldier I received as a gift as a young ballet-loving girl. I loved it so much that I saved up my money to buy another nutcracker (Herr Drosselmeyer), a year later at a little shop in Eureka, CA we stopped at each year when we visited my great-grandmother for Thanksgiving. It was the biggest purchase I made as a young child and I remember it vividly.

The second, and far more precious, is the needlepoint stocking my grandmother made me.  My grandmother had a tradition of making everyone in the family some kind of needlework stocking. They are detailed and specially chosen and very beautiful. Every spouse and new grandchild or great-grandchild got one - not right away, as they are terrifically labor intensive and finding the right one could take time, but sooner or later, there it was, given with a lot of love and no great fanfare. When my grandmother passed away in 2009, my Aunt took over stocking-making duties for her own grandchildren and in-laws; and while my mother offered to take up the task, I knew I would want to make Little Miss Cleaver's myself.

So for the past 7 months or so, whenever Miss Cleaver takes an extended nap in my lap, I've been plugging away on her stocking. Though I learned how to cross-stitch at a young age, and distinctly remember cross-stitching bookmarks in the pews at church as a young child, I can't say it's my favorite craft. For me, it tends to fall somewhere between soothing and the world's most tedious form of coloring in the lines. But the thought of her hanging it up with anticipation every year makes every stitch and tangled thread worth it.

I'm maybe a third of the way through the pattern at this point, and I certainly know that I won't be done in time for this year (nor will LMC miss it), it feels good to be working on it at this time of year and knowing that I'm carrying on this tradition.

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Contractors, Chaos, Colds, and Christmas

IMGP6111 Untitled



Yes, I just made a spreadsheet for my holiday baking



Back when I first started blogging, I made a promise to myself that I'd never apologize for my blogging, particularly for not blogging for a while. Because as we all know, life happens and sometimes that gets in the way of the best intentions of a twice-weekly posting schedule.

That said, every since this summer there seems to have been a lot of LIFE happening and this past month has been no exception.

Since Thanksgiving, the Cleaver household has experienced a total of the following:

  • 1 holiday dinner hosted;
  • 2 full days of holiday baking and a pair of second-degree burns;
  • 2 1/2 hours in a semi-frozen field shooting photos for an upcoming design collaboration;
  • 3 knitted items finished being finished at 11:30pm the evening prior to said photo shoot;
  • 3 weeks of contractors installing, among other things, insulation in our attic and a new ceiling in our living room;
  • 4 colds (2 for me and 2 for the mister, and maybe even one for the dog!);
  • Watched Skyfall, The Hobbit, Les Mis, and a handful of Harry Potter films; and
  • 17 boxes of stuff from my mother's house in California arrived and were sorted and stored.

Mr. Cleaver and I had both agreed that we would just get through all of this and enjoy our Christmas to the fullest extent possible. We had a great time with Mr. Cleaver's family on Christmas Eve and Christmas.

Now that we've had a few days to breathe (and a grateful snow day home from work for me) - we at the Cleaver camp are turning our attentions to that next most important of projects: preparing for the Wee Baby Cleaver!

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Oh Christmas Tree!


Because we usually travel every other Christmas, Mr. Cleaver and I look forward to the non-travel years because it means we can get a Christmas tree. Growing up, my family always did cut-your-own, so we try to find a local place to pick our tree. Last Sunday we headed to The Old Farm in Cape Elizabeth and got around to hanging the ornaments last night, so without further adieu, our Christmas Tree adventure:







Hanging ornaments b&w

Snowman and Rudolph


All gussied up

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Our First Christmas Tree Adventure


The day was cold and bright.


We followed our guide to our chosen tree in Field 2.



We claim our prize


I take the first cut


Mr. Cleaver takes a couple swipes of the saw.


The tree is free, though not free of ice!


The tree is thawed. A lot of ice is removed.


We decorate.



Ornaments are hung.


We enjoy!

Our first Christmas tree together!

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