Thursday, December 25, 2008

From Our Home to Yours

Merry Christmas!


Sunday, December 21, 2008

I'm Not Hyperventilating...I'm Just Breathing Really Quick For Fun

Nothing in me can believe it's been five years since I brought home the best Christmas present ever.

That's teeny, tiny, newborn infant turns 5 today.

When did all this growing up happen?

She was always a little silly and wild.

Daily, she reminds me that parenting is the most humbling job.

And most rewarding.

And it makes me cry more than anything else in this world.

Do you know what I love about her?

She is the exact same today as she was the day she was born.

From her first smile, her first silly face, and her first tears...nothing is different.

I'm including a lot of profile pictures because her cheeks? They are edible.

It seems like years ago and yesterday that she got her big girl bed. And MY, she was excited.

Probably because she wasn't actually a big girl.

And here?

Do you see how that cheek just dangles from her face?


Another trait (inherited, unfortunately) that I love about Lilly is that she's a mess.

(That's not Sharpie on her teeth--just some black frosting from a soccer ball cake.)

When I pictured having a little girl, I thought it would be days of dress-up, twirling, and ballet.

Um, not so much.

It may be all of those things some day, but for now she's more into weapons and burping and coloring and playing waitress and reading and The Wizard of Oz and being my precious sidekick while Jackson is at school.

She's been growing up as I literally hold her hand, and yet I look back through pictures longing to return--just for a moment--to the days when she toddled around and spoke her first word (it was "hi").

The adventure, the spunk, and even the occasional seriousness are all parts of her that I love.

It is hard to pull off sophistication and thumb-sucking all at once.

But if there's one girl who can do's Lilly.

We've let her plan a full day of celebrating, so we're off to breakfast.

Did I mention that I love her to death?

I'm going to have my pancakes with a side of precious, 5 year-old cheeks.


Monday, December 15, 2008

Coming in Spring of '09

Do you remember these girls?

They recently rocked the house singing "Silent Night" at the preschool Christmas program. 

Truth be told, it was more of a lip sync, but the off-key, a capella version that Lilly practiced at home will be the one I etch in my memory.

Apparently the girls are on a spiritual high, because they recently informed me that they're starting a Bible Study.

I can only imagine it will be full of fantastic teaching, deep sharing, and lots of personal growth.

"So girls," I asked them, "What are you going to do at Bible study?"

{I pause, waiting for some profound spiritual truths to come rolling off their tongues.}

"We're going to pass around a sign-up."


"What are you signing up for?" 

I tilt my head and squint optimistically.


I readily admit that excellent food and a cute notebook add more to a good Bible study than they probably should.

Mostly, I'm hoping the girls go with a MOPS format and include a guest speaker who shares on topics like "Cheerful Room Clean Up," "You're FIVE--Start Sharing!!!!" and "Beyond Macaroni and Cheese."

For the record, our next Bible study leaders did not learn this from their mothers.

Oh, and here's the coveted "Silent Night" footage.

I am DEAD SERIOUS PEOPLE when I say that immediately after filming, she said, "Now will you let me do a silly version?"

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Tour Of Homes That Wasn't


I was all prepared to participate in BooMama's Christmas Home Tour, but I have realized I am lacking several key elements.

But still...did you see this guy in my wreath?

He is gorgeous. I have no idea what kind of bird he is, but I have ruled out cardinal and bluebird. 

And toucan.

(And flamingo.)

(I know more birds than I thought I did.)

But I find him to be very lovely in my Christmas wreath.

A home tour is best when the pictures are good. I have lighting and focusing and aiming issues, so pictures are not meant to be.

As if taking pictures on a regular day isn't hard enough, throw in a snowy day and some Christmas lights and my pictures look like I held the camera an inch away from a flourescent lightbulb--with the flash on for full effect--and clicked.

But just to be clear, I was trying.

Because I am all about mediocrity, here are a few high(low)lights.

My kitchen tree:

Sorry about the blinding, angelic light from the window.

Oh, and that's my old tree in the background (God rest her soul.)

Let me zoom in:

This is one of my favorite trees because all of the ornaments have to do with FOOD. 

And utensils. To make the food.

This SnowWoman (she is very empowered) and I are starting to become the same shape.

And how cute are these little baking cups I found at Hobby Lobby?!

I know, I swore my Christmas decorating budget was ZERO DOLLARS this year, but in a weak moment I found these cupcake papers.

It would have been irresponsible and reckless to leave them at Hobby Lobby, especially seeing as they were only 75 cents.

Of course, that doesn't account for the other $30(ish) dollars I spent that day, but it's not everyday you can just wander into a giant, outdated, ugly, disorganized store WITHOUT BAR CODES on their merchandise, wait in long lines, ingest fumes from China and walk out feeling wonderful.

Miraculous, really.

For those of you (and there are plenty, if my email inbox is any indication) who feel I am permanently harming my children without a main Christmas tree, rest assured we are decked out in other rooms.

I don't think I ever posted the photos of the kids' Christmas trees.

It is a little underwhelming, but know that Jackson and Lilly beam with satisfaction when they lead friends upstairs to show off their masterpieces.

Jackson went with a football theme:

And Lilly was having some light issues.

Um, yeah.

The bottom half of the ol' pre-lit, pink feather tree is OUT.

Clearly she compensated for lack of lights with some heavy ornamentation.

That concludes the Christmas Tour of Homes that I'm not even linking to BooMama because of SHAME.

Pure and simple shame.

I will do better next year.

Twelve foot slim, pre-lit, Hudson Fir, here I come.

Or you know, 8-foot ficus, here I come.


Friday, December 12, 2008

O !@#!$^& Tannenbaum

Apparently, Brad did not get the memo regarding appropriate and inappropriate times for photography.

Can I get a shout out for the Christmas 2003 pajama bottoms with horizontal candy cane stripes, YO!

I was sacked out from all the Christmas tree calamity and Lilly was merely held hostage.

Brad loves capturing "candid" moments when I am not prepared to be photographed for the blog.

And you may not believe this, but he asked to do a guest post today.

Brad wanted to make sure that everyone in the blogosphere knows that the Ghetto/Homemade/Rubbermaid Tree Stand was NOT in any way to be blamed for Tree Collapse '08.

Y'all, I can blog about The Man's boxer underwear being held together by unraveling elastic without denting his ego, but to inadvertently question the craftsmanship of a DIY project is out of bounds.

For those of you that haven't seen the man in motion, just know that his middle name is "overkill."

By way of example...earlier this year I asked (demanded) for Brad to construct some shelves for the One Million Miscellaneous Items we store in the basement.

I was just looking for him to throw together some boards to keep my precious home decor items and his precious youth soccer trophies from being trampled by The Mob.

Personally, I would've used hot glue and paint and the shelves would've been CUTE.

Instead, My Main Toolman constructed shelves of such outstanding quality that they will surely outlast the foundation of this house (which isn't meant as a backhanded compliment, seeing as the builder had to re-pour it a few times.)

To any brave soul willing to ask about shelf construction, Brad gazes into his eyes and lovingly holds his hand, while guiding him to his basement shelving masterpiece where he proceeds to demonstrate that these shelves are strong enough to hold a 170 (COUGH COUGH) pound man.

{Edited to add: Brad wants y'all to know that EACH SHELF can hold a grown big ol' adult. Not the whole thing.}


So just to set the record was NOT the tree stand engineer's fault.

{I can feel Brad's breath on me as I type this and make sure he is blameless.}

It was the weight of my excessive front-side only ornamentation, coupled with a Dino Tree and bendy-bolt stand that caused the problem.

And now I am scarring my kids with "Rockin' Around the Ficus Tree."

Charlie Brown would be proud.

And my kids will be in counseling for years anyway.


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Love Me Some Garland

Y'all, I am an unashamed Nester Stalker.

I'm not kidding. She tells me how to decorate my house and I obediently do it, dragging all my friends with me. It's a sickness.

If she told me Street Art/Graffiti from the Fresh Prince Era was fashionable, I'd be in the spray paint aisle of Home Depot right this very minute.

Good thing today is show-and-tell so my garland schwag can get some bloggy love.

Previously, I was a first-degree offender of using anorexic garland. And NO ONE confronted me. Oh, the shame.

Well this year, I listened to the Nester, shopped my very own basement, and came up with this:

In case you are wondering, this lush, voluptuous beauty consists of 3 regular ol' skinny green garlands, a red (non-P.O.O.P.I.E.) berry garland, and a feather boa.

Not to mention a few strings of lights, feathers, ferns, and some other foresty-looking greenery from the basement.

I found the boa in the dress-up section at Jo-Ann's awhile back. It had been hanging out in a wreath this fall, but she was happy to join the garland gang in the name of decking my halls.

Do you know what I just love about my steroid-usin' garland?

Those 3-D curly-cues that kind of stick out and look like they might attack if you get too close.

If I was a designer with any street cred whatsoever, I would say that it gives it depth and movement and interest.

But I am more of a cookie-dough eater than anything.

Now, against my better judgment, I am going to show you my mantel.

Not like it looks great, but it does look better live(!) than in photos. The pictures don't really give any reference to the space of the room.


I am not a perfectionist, so why start now.

I know the edges of my garland are a little bit sickly and weak, but they've had some ugly interaction with small children, so they will wait till next year to pack on the pounds.

Lastly, here is my new (old) Christmas tree.

Do not even ask.


Monday, December 08, 2008

Keepin' It Real(ly Disastrous)

Do you ever have moments when things are so messy that instead of freaking out and cleaning, you just take pictures and then post them so that the rest of the world will feel better about their situation?

Before I go on, I'd just like to wonder aloud why builders do not include NFL-caliber LOCKER ROOMS in houses?

I need about 300 square feet of cubbies, showers, gear-storage, and shopping bag holders between the garage and the rest of the house.

This next photo might seem harmless:

Until you realize that those are panties on the table with day-old eggs.

I have no words.
I like to think of our current status as "inventory."

We are simply displaying every single thing we own just to remind ourselves that we still own it.

Either that or the cleaning lady has been at Starbucks and the mall instead of cleaning her home.


Or maybe she's been living out of her car.


Saturday, December 06, 2008

Houston, We Have a Problem

I am not sure words could add anything to these pictures.

I mean, it's not like I need to mention that the tree stand isn't intended to levitate three feet in the air.
No, we don't have pets and the kids didn't wrestle it over.

We heard such a clatter in the middle of the night and our 30 year-old just plain gave out.

Brace yourself, this is about the most pathetic sight I've seen this Christmas:

I don't know what's worse...the snowman painfully perched on his side or the gigantic hole in the left side of the tree.

Or the upside-down plastic bin we were using as a tree stand.

Or the window mistreatment we were using as a tree skirt.

Or the microscopic crushed glass I will be digging out of my carpet for the rest of my life.

Or that our Christmas tree has capsized TWICE IN A WEEK and I have nothing left in me to replace it.

I am just glad to have my laptop back.

I think.


Wednesday, December 03, 2008

In Which I Blog About Everyone's Underwear but Mine

No, I didn't forget about the tree pictures, but my computer is in the shop.

I dropped it off at the Apple Store's "Quick Drop," which is actually NOT quick, but closer to 48 hours.

Needless to say, without my computer for so long, I am breathing into a brown paper sack to keep from hyperventilating.

I didn't know that "Quick Drop" was code for "Two Days Without My Vital Organs" until after I handed it over.

When I heard "Quick Drop," my plan was to scoot over to Anthropologie and Williams-Sonoma, then swing back by to pick it up.

Not so much.

(And just to spite me, Williams-Sonoma didn't even have any Peppermint Bark samples. Whatever.)

Oh well, I am back on my loud-as-a-jet PC, with the screen so far away that I can barely see it.

And I never realized that I spent most of my time reading/typing/researching very important Christmas gifts and "news" from the kitchen island.

While chained to the old ghetto Dell all by my lonesome, I feel like I'm on Survivor's Exile Island while everyone else is ringing sleigh bells and making yuletide gay in the family room.

As for the advent update, yesterday we hid all of our Christmas books and the kids searched the house for them, then we cozied up for a nice read.

A friend completely outdid me and WRAPPED her Christmas books. How great is that?

We didn't talk numbers, but I hid 33 books and that would be a heck of a lot of wrapping for dog-eared books with missing pages. But I still think it's mighty fun for the Young Present Openers.

Today was our day to get out the nativity sets and start to pose the characters in unlikely scenarios (why do the kids insist on putting everyone on the roof?)

I really think every home in America should own a Little People Nativity Set, because they are so dang cute and my kids STILL love it.

The kids also like putting M&M's and Hot Tamales in the feeding trough for the donkey and a few mechanics who wandered over from the Racin' Ramps Garage.

Our other grown-up nativity set was a wedding present. Isn't that a great idea?

(I am taking donations for the Willow Tree set in case you just won big in Vegas.)

Do you know what Advent Fabulousness takes place tomorrow?

Underwear day!

I am including Brad this year because it has been brought to my attention that his boxers look more like tennis skirts than a true pair of shorts.

(And the "World's Greatest Dad 2004" pair are looking more like a consolation prize than a Father's Day gift.)

Here's my little undies jingle that I printed out for Jackson and Lilly's advent calendar clue (one year I got really delirious and made up rhymes for each day):

"Under" your clothes you wear this pair,
Look under your tree, they will be there!

For everyone's comfort, I will not be including pictures.

And yes, OF COURSE, Lilly's have the days of the week on them.

(Brad's do not.)