November + December Recap – Low Key Holidays // Behind the Scenes

Hey all! Now that we’re skating on into February, I think I’ve got a minute to give you a short little November and December Recap. When I went through the photos, I ended up pulling a lot of them out, because as N gets older, I’m trying to be more mindful of what we share about her life on the internet. She doesn’t need to have her entire life broadcast everywhere, and so except to see a little less of her face, and I’ll probably keep her details even more vague for a while.

That said, we tried to keep the holidays really low key this year, and in the end, I’m really glad we did. N had some unexpected health issues in December, and we ended up spending quite a bit of time at the hospital and at doctor’s appointments. Now, nearly two months later, I’m so happy to say that she’s healthy and it looks like it was just a total one off thing, but I’m so glad we keep things pretty chill for the holidays and tried to focus on spending time together.

1.  N loves our piano. I’ve been playing piano for a long time, but I’m a true dabbler at it. I can play scales, read simple music, and plunk out a few tunes. In the past few months, H has started learning more, which has lead to N wanting to play quite a bit too. She had a blast, and I’m so glad that we are raising her with music in her life. I’m also glad that this piano (which we inherited from H’s family, and the brought over during their move from Germany) is electric and has a headphone jack. That may come in useful in later years. ;)

2. We had an early snow in November and N was so excited. Shadow was probably more excited, which is why I don’t have any photos of him, since he was running all over like a crazy pup. We thought it’d be the first of many many snow days, but it looks like it was one of the few we’ve had so far. I’ve got my fingers crossed for a bit more snow in February before spring comes along in March. [Let’s be honest: a March snowstorm is not unheard of here in Spokane, so I wouldn’t be surprised by that either.]

Music and Outdoor Fun with Toddlers in Spokane

3. My in laws hosted Thanksgiving this year and my job was to take care of dessert (as usual). I always make a pecan pie, even though I can’t stand the idea of a pie made of corn syrup and nuts. Why? Because H loves pecan pie. Mine is based off this Pioneer Woman recipe, but I’ve tweaked it quite a bit over the years so it’s not quite the same.

4. At the last minute, we decided to make a pumpkin pie as well (this one from Smitten Kitchen) and HOLY SMOKES. First off, I love any recipe that my toddler can help me with, and this one was pretty simple (she doesn’t stir on the stove yet, but she’s aces as mixing on the counter and helping add ingredients), and it uses heavy cream (a staple in our house) instead of sweetened condensed or evaporated milk. Second, it was possibly the best pumpkin pie I’ve ever had. Even my poor husband, who dislikes pumpkin pie, had a slice. Winner winner, this one got saved to our cooking binder.

Pecan Pie and Pumpkin Pie for Thanksgiving

5. N’s second birthday was in December and we celebrated it…in the ER. It was a really rough week, with us going to urgent care first and being told that she was fine, to ending up in the ER after a couple of rough days and nights. We are so so thankful for the amazing people at Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital, who let us snuggle her close during all the scary stuff and found out what was wrong with her.

6. Oh, and then we went back two days later to find out that she wasn’t getting worse, but had also caught a really nasty stomach bug (which she shared with me). She got her first ultrasound (and xray, and then a second ultrasound at a follow up.) and she did a pretty good job, but we were so so tired. And oh man, you guys, I’m so thankful for good insurance as we’ve been getting the bills for all these appointments. Ouch.

Taking your child to the ER if they're sick

7. We kept our Christmas decor pretty simple this year and stuck to a zillion lights and a tree that N was completely enthralled with. Thankfully, my mom passed down her collection of non-breakable ornaments and we used those on the bottom of the tree, and saved a few super precious ones for the top. Our pets have always been pretty good about the tree, although Lola (the cat) has been known to knock some of the stuffed ones off the tree when we’re not around!

8. A couple days after our trips to the ER, we were both feeling better and I bribed her with park time in exchange for a trip to the grocery store for provisions. The park was dead. Totally dead. No worries, we had a lot of fun until I dragged her to the store where she ate like three samples of zucchini (thanks, Trader Joe’s) and got a zillion stickers.

Simple Christmas Decor and Outdoor Fun in the Snow

9. H had a work party that happened after hours at the Carousel, which was basically N’s idea of a dream come true. Since we first rode the Carousel last spring, N has been asking for a return trip. She rode it over and over and over with each of us until we dragged her out for dinner and then bedtime.

10. We have the world’s most patient dog and I really just needed to share that with you. Shadow is a saint, and he will put up with so much insanity. But then when she’s done giving him pretties, he shakes them off and gives me sad faces. Love you, puppy!

Holiday trip Spokane Carousel

11. One of our family holiday traditions is that we have a class Bavarian breakfast on Christmas morning. Well, the German Deli in town (Alpine Deli, it’s amazing) is no longer able to get the same pretzels that they’ve been getting for the past few years. So, instead of sourcing them from another bakery or whatever, I decided to make them from scratch. Which includes using lye (a “very nasty” chemical) to get the crunch. I used a couple different recipes, and while they still need some work, I was pretty impressed. I made three rounds of them over the holidays before tossing out my lye solution and seeing this photo has me itching to make them again.

12. All the heavy eating of the holidays makes me crave my favorite simple foods, like fried rice. It’s my favorite of all the ‘clean out the fridge’ meals and it only takes a few minutes to whip up so I can even make a single serving for lunch.

Baking German Pretzels from Scratch and eating Fried Rice

13. This year, we had a fancy Davenport Hotel brunch with our in laws while they were visiting in December and now N insists that the Davenport is their house. Haha! When we arrived, N climbed up on this chair and then proceeded to point out every tree in the lobby, which saying hello to everyone who looked by. This is the second time we’ve taken N to the Davenport for a Sunday brunch, and both times the staff have been amazing. Brunch buffets are a great place to take a toddler, because there is going to always be something they like. I can’t remember what she ate this time, except that she stole all my strawberries (the usual) and last time we went, they had this adorable smoothie shooter and she drank like 5 of them. Pro tip: snag a dessert plate for your kiddo or bring one from home if your kiddo can’t handle actual silverware and plates. We’ve done both things.

14. Found this little art while wandering downtown and it made me smile. Love this city we live in!

Sunday Brunch at the Davenport during Christmas

15. Every year we exchange an ornament, and this year I lost my freaking mind and decided to design and make a custom cross stitched ornament. Here’s the first part I did, in November.

16. I then procrastinated (because I can only work when everyone is busy elsewhere) and had to rush to finish it. And somehow only have this one, kinda crappy, photo that I snapped. It’s a suitcase with flags for each of the countries we visited (Czechia, Germany, and Austria), as well as a pineapple for our new state of Hawaii. This will be a one of a kind thing because it was hard and tedious and I’m not doing it again.

Custom designed Cross stich for travelers

17. Winter walks and I love how pretty our neighborhood is. South Perry District, I’m so glad we live here.

South Perry District in Winter

18. Half of N’s Christmas gifts this year helped get her outside, and her two faves are from small shops! She’s rocking a Skida hat that is her new favorite, even over her fave wool beanie from Everlane. These pajamas are made from merino wool, so super soft, and N wants to wear them 24/7. I’m already planning to buy another pair from Simply Merino. And these gloves she insisted we pick up in Germany are huge but she loves singing us baby shark while wearing them. [Socks are smartwool, boots are Kamik]

19. We closed out the year with a trip to the hospital for some follow up lab work, and she did such a good job even if it was hard for both of us to handle. All these hospital appointments were hard, but we’re down to just one follow up and I’m so thankful my boo is healthy again! I have a lot of respect for families with chronically ill kids, because it is hard to watch your babies go through hard stuff and not be able to make it better. Lastly, a huge thank you to all the wonderful people at Sacred Heart. N had to get her first blood draw, and the techs let her stay in the sling so I could comfort her, and were so gentle with her afterwards.

Winter gear for outdoors with toddlers and making hospital visits easier

Whew! And that was that. A (somewhat forced) low key holidays and too many doctors visits and we’re head on into the tornado twos.

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