It’s been exactly one month since our little guy joined us and it feels like he’s always been here. I’m not sure if it’s due to my short labor or just being a bit more savvy the second time around, but the recovery has been a breeze – can I get an amen for that?! Jason got ten days of leave to help us settle in and then it was back to work. In those ten days, he managed our entire household – grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry, Lena duty (a full time job in itself), plus still had time to change diapers and give me plenty of breaks for naps and showers. In other words, I hit the husband jackpot. I know no one is perfect but he comes pretty dang close. If only I could get him to stop singing 90’s R&B in a nasally, out-of-tune voice 😉
Wanting to make sure Lena didn’t feel forgotten, we were intentional about doing some special things with her in the days leading up to Christmas. All the kids at her preschool exchange Christmas cards so we thought it would be fun to make some candy cane reindeer. The Bacon Bit was a big helper handing me red noses and googly eyes – I didn’t have the courage to let her operate the glue gun so close to my fingers.
We also made these “pinecones” out of peanut butter and Nutella for a school fundraiser. The flyer sent home by her teachers asked for cakes but I am still struggling to figure out my fan-assisted oven so we stuck with the no bake option. And because they’re my favorite cookie, we did a quick batch of sugar cookies with some very cool sprinkles picked out by Daddy.
Finally, we put together a quick gift for her teachers to thank them for all their hard work this term. I have no idea how they do it – I’m not sure I would survive 35 hours a week with a bunch of preschoolers. Ikea had these cute tins for just a pound so we picked up one for each teacher and filled the smallest container with some holiday pretzel mix. I figured they had received a ton of candy and they could use the tins after they finished the snack inside.
We had originally planned to make a whole day at Elveden to pick out our Christmas tree but Aksel ended up making his appearance that weekend. So a couple weeks later, we attempted our first big family outing. Lena loved seeing the big dogs pulling sleighs topped with Christmas trees while I could not stop giggling at this trio of musical elves. They had used electrical tape to create pointy shoes and their face make up was really disturbing. Lena maintained a reasonable distance and avoided eye contact with them – I can’t really blame her. And since she loves all things carnival-related, she begged Jason to let her go on the bungee jump. He didn’t stand a chance.
Since Aksel was born overseas, we had to jump through a few hoops to get him registered as a US citizen. So we got his British birth certificate then made the trek to the US Embassy in London. It was a bit of a mad scramble to get all the paperwork together as we had just a few hours notice. I collected our passports, marriage certificate, tax forms, plus all the necessary application paperwork. We were able to submit his birth certificate, passport and social security forms all at once which helped. However, we also needed a passport photo so at the very last minute, we set up a little photoshoot before hopping in the car and heading to the city.
Not knowing how sleep deprived we would be, we decided to have a quiet Christmas Eve. The village church held their usual crib and christingle service and Lena went as an angel again. She was so excited to wear this vintage dress after I told her I had worn it as a little girl, too. It was originally worn by one of my mom’s cousins in Norway then passed on to my cousin Liv, on to me, and now to Lena.
Our little angel decided she didn’t want to sit for the short service and instead, kept trying to eat the candy off her christingle. Luckily, Aksel slept through it all and then we headed home to eat dinner and open a few presents.
Lena insisted on helping with dinner which resulted in Jason forgetting to make the potatoes. So dinner consisted of Swedish meatballs, gravy, brussel sprouts and biscuits. Lena was in a goofy mood, Aksel was fussy, Jason was sweaty so he stripped down to his tank top and my eye was trying to burst out of my face as Lena had infected me with a raging case of pink eye. This picture is not our most glamorous but it is definitely real life and makes me laugh hysterically. Makes for good memories, right?
We opened a few gifts and suckered the kids into posing for embarrassing photos. I am fairly confident that Aksel wanted to punch me for taking the antler photo and suspect this is a look I will see many times in the future. After watching some Christmas movies, I took the kids upstairs to bed while Jason got started on building Lena’s big Christmas gift. He was up until 2am and I could hear some grumbling and loud banging going on in the process. It ended up being all worth it the next morning, though, when we saw Lena’s happy face.