Thursday, December 23, 2010

Smells of the Season

I tried to get away with not making cutout cookies this year.


I had plans to make other cookies, but not those. I mean, gosh, they’re so time-consuming. And messy. You roll out the dough onto a flour-covered mat, press, unveil, scoop, repeat. Plus, with counter-space being a rare commodity these days, I justified we’d go without. Instead, I’d fill our cookie trays with other favorites. Even with two busy 19-month olds, I’ve been able to use their sleep time to create three other kinds!

But when I asked my husband which cookies he’d like, those were the only ones he mentioned. So guess what’s in the oven right now?

You know what, though? I’m so glad I did!

Rolling out the dough brought back so many memories of Christmases past. My two sisters and I would roll up our pajama sleeves and sit at the kitchen table where my mom had prepped a great spread of flour, cookie cutters and dough. We’d play with the chilled dough, adding flour like a pro, and prepped our trays, picking out our favorite cookie cutters and puzzling them together so there was little waste. When we finished a tray, we’d proudly parade our masterpiece to the oven and Mom would excitedly lift the oven door open after admiring our work. We’d go back to our station and continue the process, each time becoming better and better at lifting the frail dough without it falling into a million pieces.

As we’d bake, we’d sample our work, laugh, tell stories and talk about how excited we were for Christmas. We peeked into the oven to see if each batch was ready, getting hints from our mom to know when they’re just perfect. We decorated each cookie with painstaking effort (and sometimes, put a few aside to save for ourselves.) It was the only time we could throw flour into our sister’s hair without getting in trouble! Looking back, I know why so many of my friends wanted to come to my house, especially around the holidays. “Maybe your mom would let us make cookies!” Gee, whose friend are you anyway? But those were memories specific to my house. My kitchen. My mom.

So Mom, as I pull my first tray of cutouts out of the oven – with a touch of brown on the bottom, just how they’re supposed to be – this one’s for you. (Well, you and Andy :) Thanks for teaching me how to create the smells and magic of home.

It is going to be a very Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Perspective in a Photo

And suddenly, nothing else seemed too important.
Jonathan and Benjamin, 19 months old

Terragnoli Twins

My cousin Amy brought her kids to the city for a photo shoot. Frankie and Gianna just turned four years old - aren't they adorable? It was cute to see them with MY twins. When Frankie got to the house, he asked his mom where the girl was. "Oh no," she answered. "Mindy has two boys." He looked puzzled and then asked, "Did she get rid of her girl?" ;) You may not be able to tell from the pictures, but it was FREEZING outside!

Friday, November 26, 2010

One Year Ago

Thanksgiving 2010
Andy, Ben, me and Jack

Thanksgiving 2009
Jack, Andy, me and Ben

Oh, my word. How much changes in a year!

The boys are walking. They're saying a few words. They're sleeping through the night and soothing themselves to sleep (for naps, too!) They're climbing on couches, running through hallways and building towers with blocks.

Yes, so much learning for one year.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy

I have been so wrapped up in life that I haven't updated my blog! Here are some snapshots of some of our most recent exploits in the past month or so.

Jack and Ben are now 18 months old and are learning like crazy! They say a few words (including more, uh oh, all done, this, ball, leaf and trees) and can make just about every animal sound imaginable. They are such a joy and I am so grateful that I am able to stay home with them.
Ben and Dad play with their new cell phones. Except Andy's is a Droid and Ben's is a calculator :)

Ben and Jack scroll through the photos on Daddy's new Droid.

Jack's got some pretty big shoes to fill.

Jack and Ben play in the sink while Mommy makes dinner. Those boys LOVE to play in the water!

Jack and Ben's newest favorite activity is playing with blocks. And of course, if one boy wants to go in the playpen, so does his brother. I got rid of the second playpen because they always seem to want to be in the same one!

Playful Jonathan

Ben enjoys finding the sticky side of his sticker (another favorite activity.)

Ben demonstrates how to blow his nose (except the sound you hear is coming from his mouth!)

Jack and Ben play with the water bowls while (again) Mommy makes dinner. They LOVE pouring the water from one container to another. Whenever they see a Tupperware cup now, they run to the sink and fuss until I fill it with water.

Ben made this tower all by himself! Love that face.

Jack (below) and Ben (in highchair) play peek-a-boo.

Ben and Jack do somersaults off the side of the couch. At least it's onto the cushions, right? They've just begun rolling onto the floor now. Yikes! That gives Mommy gray hairs!

Me and Andy with Jack (L) and Ben (R) on Halloween. Our little monkeys: "Monkey See" and "Monkey Do." We go bananas for our monkeys!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Visit with Family

My cousin Cristin came with her beautiful family to visit us this past weekend! I was thrilled they were able to make time in their busy schedule to visit. Harrison is two years old and little Gianna is five months old. Aren't they adorable? We had such a great time catching up!
Gianna - such a doll!
I loved the four of them in this shot: Cristin with Gianna and Harrison with Mary, his grandma :)
Most of our clan! Andy with our nephew, Matthew, Mom with Ben and Jack, Great-Grandpa Dave with Evan, me, Cristin and Gianna and Mary with Harrison (Joey was taking this photo for us!)
Matthew enjoyed playing with his cousins, too!
Harrison and Jack, almost exactly one year apart :)
Jack with his Nana
Cristin and Joey <3
Harrison loves his daddy! Can you tell?
Gianna and her grandma
Aunt Linda and Uncle Ian came to visit with us as well!
My dad had told Ian he looked like James Taylor, so he decided to ham it up to Matthew, singing, "How Sweet it is to Be Loved by You"

Cristin and I with our boys! It's just amazing how fast time goes. Seems like just yesterday we were little, having sleepovers and people thinking we were sisters! Love you, Cristin!