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Sunday, December 30, 2007


Green Eggs and Ham, by Dr. Seuss (Please ignore the creepy stalker at the top of the screen.):

Sally's Christmas Miracle, by Charles Schulz (Unfortunately, the camera battery ran out in the middle of this one):

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Best gift ever.

Guess who finally has a remote?

Finally got a chance to try out the remote that Mark gave me for Christmas. In addition to self portraits, I can now easily take family portraits, action shots, covert photos of unsuspecting victims, er, I mean subjects - the possibilities are endless. And no more fooling with the self timer!

Oh, and it's much easier to take a decent photo of yourself when you're in control of the camera. I got this one on the first try. Everyone should have one recent photo of themselves that they like.

Don't quite have this pose thing down yet.

Or at least one that everyone can laugh at.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Santa came through.

This Christmas brought us more food, photos and toys than we know what to do with. I spent a good part of today just organizing the 200 plus photos that we took. I whittled it down to about a hundred fit to print. Then I picked around 25 to share online.

I won't elaborate on all the details of the holiday (As the majority of those who read this blog experienced it first hand.) I will instead let the photos do the talking.

Christmas Eve:

A wacky sports fanatic who crashed our Christmas Eve get together.Aunt Beth and cousin Noah on his first Christmas.A guy wearing a headlamp. Need I say more?Lauren and Grandma Pinky.

Christmas morning:

It's almost time, little one.Me, makeupless on Christmas morning.Presents under the tree.My Little Pony? I'm totally there!Lauren taking the gang in the Mystery Machine for a spin.

Christmas night:

Lauren trying on her new Crocs.Pap pap Bruno and his new pedometer.Aunt Phyllis shows off her collectible ornament.Uncle Craig seeking the Holy Grail

As always, more photos (with captions) can be seen on Flickr.

P.S. I asked Mike why he was wearing pink pajamas in the photo posted below. He explained that he was an early supporter of breast cancer awareness.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Ghosts of Christmas past.

For Noreen:

Little christmas mouse.

Does this little mouse look familiar? Your mom made it for me for Christmas sometime around 1980. She sent it all the way from Florida. I remember that my grandmother let me have it before Christmas, probably because I was wound up a little too much and only an early gift could placate me. She always had a place of honor in my bedroom, but now that I'm grown up, she stays in my kitchen (Which is probably more appropriate, since she is a kitchen mouse!). Your mom probably never knew how much this little mouse meant to me, but at least now you know.

Me, circa Christmas 1980.

I'm very lucky in that I have a lot of photos from Christmas as I was growing up. Here I am, circa 1980, at my house on Christmas Eve. The (fake) guitar was a gift from my grandparents, who no doubt felt pity on me because all I had to perform with previously was a badminton racket. I remember that I was practically driven insane (and probably drove others insane in the process) trying to figure out what this gift was as it sat wrapped under my grandparents' Christmas tree.

Here is Mark (left) and his brother Mike on Christmas morning sometime in the mid '70's. Unfortunately, Mark has no recollection of this Christmas, so all I can do is leave you wondering why Mike is wearing pink pajamas just like the kid in a Christmas Story.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Vacances de noel.

Christmas cabinet

Mark and I started Christmas vacation today. I don't have to go back to work until New Year's Eve; he goes back after New Year's Day. It's amazing how not having to deal with work for an extended period of time can vastly improve your mood.

Being that it was the first day of vacation, we took it easy for the most part. I did bake two batches of cookies and made some ornaments, but for me, that's a laid back day.

For lunch, we ordered some Chinese take out. Mark insists that we are the only patrons of our local Chinese restaurant. He points to the fact that they never take our name when we order. Then today, when he ordered plain rice with his meal instead of the usual fried, the woman who answers the phone asked him to confirm that he truly wanted plain rice. So maybe he's on to something.

Anyway, Lauren had already eaten her usual lunch of a peanut butter sandwich and cheesy poofs when she curiously spied my egg roll. I sat by in disbelief as she took it from me and started gnawing on it.

I was so excited, that I almost video taped the event. My child eating something as exotic as an egg roll. It staggers the imagination!

After about three bites, she gave up and handed it back to me (I guess it was at about this point that she made it to the vegetable filling.). I then told her that I was very proud of her for trying a new food and that she's getting to be a big girl because she's eats big girl food.

She replied, "But I'm already a big girl!"

I stand corrected.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Bring on the presents.

A bit o' tree.

Okay, it's not the true meaning of Christmas, but you have to admit that it sure is fun to get stuff.

The first gifts of the season have arrived. Mark received a $50 gift card for Target and a keychain flash hard drive from his boss. My boss sent us Omaha Steaks. We got a package of 16 burgers, 8 bacon wrapped steaks, 8 hotdogs, 8 stuffed potatoes, and sing-it-with-me-'cause-you-knew-it-was-coming -- a partridge in a pear tree! Since we have a very small freezer, we were worried for a second that we weren't going to be able to fit it all (Call the neighbors, the Ross's are having a winter barbecue!), but we somehow managed to find make room by relocating our value pack of Pillsbury buttermilk waffles.

My crew gave me a wonderful gift box filled with the most amazing smelling bath and body stuff. And his may prove to be the best gift of all. You see, after I put on the Pink Buttercream Frosting lotion, Mark got a whiff and declared, "I'm going to eat you up!"

Oh, dear.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Someone's on Santa's good list.

Party in Santa's pants.

These are for those crazy kids that report to me at work. The adorable treat holders came from the Current catalog. The gift cards came from Giant Eagle (Of course.). If you're going to give the classic low-effort gift, you might as well package it in a snazzy way.

Lauren is in the living room watching "A Charlie Brown Christmas" for the umpteenth time. She is snacking on these new Garden Harvest veggie crackers. She has said "This good!", there she goes again, eight times. They supposedly contain half a serving of veggies per serving of crackers so props to you, Nabisco!

In other news, Mark and I are both battling colds. Lauren has been dubbed "The Carrier" because every time she's around someone who is ill, she doesn't get sick, but we do. My father had a cold last week so Lauren successfully transferred the plague from one township to another. Pretty impressive, huh?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

If you blinked, you would have missed it.

Christmas world.

Yesterday, we had a nice snow storm with just enough accumulation to make everything look pretty and white. Then overnight, rain came through, so when we woke up, all of it was gone. Word has it that we're supposed to get more snow tonight though. I can't remember the last time that we had a white Christmas here, so I'm not getting my hopes up that our yard will look like this:

Winter shed.

Spending most of the weekend on Christmas preparations. I was lamenting the amount of gifts that need to be wrapped when it dawned on me that about half haven't even arrived yet. Eep. In fact, I was greeted this afternoon by a surprise visitor - a mail carrier. Seems that the packages at our post office are piling up so much that they have to deliver some on Sunday. Anyway, I'm proud of myself for really staying up top of this year's holiday tasks and not procrastinating. If all goes to plan, we won't be out on Christmas Eve looking for gift cards or staying up past midnight wrapping gifts.

And on that note, I better hop to it!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Christmas morning practice run.

Christmas morning practice run.

No, not really. Today is Mark's birthday! He is still on the good side of thirty, so I won't make any cracks about his age.

I had this evening all planned. With Lauren's help, I wrapped his presents Tuesday (Note to self - Toddlers and Scotch tape do not mix. Good thing I purchased a 4 pack!). Yesterday, when I came home from work, I baked him a cake (Pineapple Upside Down - to quote Lauren, "This is good, Mommy!"). Tonight, I was going to cook dinner and have everything prepared by the time he and Lauren arrived home.

But we all know that nothing falls into place that easily. On this of all days, I come home to find that Daisy has a tummy ache and as a result has left several "presents" of her own throughout our kitchen, leaving various stains on the hard wood floor. A half an hour later, I have the mess cleaned up in time for Mark and Lauren's arrival, but didn't have time to so much put a pot on to boil. Later, poor Mark spent most of the evening sanding the floor in order to get the stains out.

And people say that birthdays are overrated.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Trying to be nice, but naughty just the same.

Mister Rogers's Neighboorhood Trolley

Last evening, my company hosted a holiday party at the Carnegie Children's Museum. Lauren got to do lots of cool things, like control Mister Rodgers's trolley, drive a car, and pretend that she's holding a press conference.

Madame President in training.

I, on the other hand, was attacked by an alligator.

Gator attack.

But probably the most memorable part of the evening was the goodie bag. When we arrived at the museum, the woman who greeted us instructed us to stop at the front desk before we left. Near the end of the party, Lauren was beginning to get fussy, so we wanted to make a hasty retreat. We stopped by the front desk like we were instructed, but there was no one there.

I noticed that behind the desk were bags. I went around and started to inspect them. Each one were labeled with the child's gender and age. I helped myself to a 2-4 year old female bag and off we went.

As we drove home, I started inspecting the contents of the bag. It was like we had the best night of trick-or-treating. Several full sized candy bars. Bags of potato chips. Christmas themed stickers and pens. A really cute stuffed puppy.

Goodie bag of doom.

Then, the label on the bag caught my eye. I hadn't noticed before, but it had a last name on it.

Someone else's last name.


For those keeping track, so far this holiday season, I've:

--Broken the baby Jesus.
--Sent someone a blank Christmas card.
--Took some child's goodie bag.

Santa is so not bringing me anything for Christmas this year.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Christmas card crisis.

Christmas cards.

So I have my stack of cards all assembled, stuffed in their envelopes, and ready to go to the post office. I then notice that have two assembled cards left over, which is more than I expected to have. I count the cards to see if I missed anyone.
According to my math:

I have 20 cards in envelopes.

I printed 21 inserts with our holiday greeting that gets attached inside the card.

I have 2 cards left over, each with a greeting attached inside the card.

This can mean only one thing. Someone is going to receive a blank card.

How embarrassing.

My first inclination was to rip open all of the cards and start over, but Mark stopped the madness by pointing out that whoever receives the blank one will know who it's from by our return address.

Still, I feel like I've committed an extreme breech of etiquette. If the person who receives the blank card is reading this, I promise that I will personally sign it the next time I see you!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Wednesday mailbag.

Vintage ice skates box.

A lot of packages have been arriving at our house lately. I do approximately 90% of our Christmas shopping online, so almost every day we're tripping over packages to get into the door.

Today's package contained a vintage pair of ice skates. These are meant for decoration, but they are my size in case I want to try them out. I've always wanted to learn how to ice skate. I know how to roller skate, but I've never been on ice skates. I definitely planning to take Lauren ice skating when she gets older.

For Felice - I'm sorry to say that we didn't take any photos of the train display. My point-and-shoot camera takes lousy low light photos. BUT! Since Mark read your comment, he wants to go back and take photos with our "good" camera. So you may get your wish after all. Anyway, glad you are enjoying the blog - please e-mail me (melissannross(at) your mailing address and I will send you a Christmas card!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Actually, this title only applies to our house. It's looked a lot like Christmas everywhere else since, like, October.

This weekend, we took the Christmas decorations out of storage. Unlike last year, my sinuses are holding up well under the barrage of mold and must (Although this was the year that I managed to break the baby Jesus. Don't worry, Phyllis - Mark Superglued him back together.). Everything but the tree and the outdoor lights are up. I think that we're going to get a real tree this year. That excursion will hopefully occur later this week.

I also finished designing this year's Christmas cards. I'm on the fence as to whether or not I like them. I'm going the handmade route this year, which I expect will cause me to drown myself in eggnog.

In terms of Christmas activities, this weekend we checked another one off our list. Mark and I have lived in this town for seven years, and each year we miss the All Saints Church Christmas train display. We vowed that this, THIS was going to be the year we would finally see it.

Was it worth the anticipation? Sort of. It's a little smaller than the display at the Penn Hills Municipal Building which was a holiday tradition growing up. But the guys running the trains at All Saints made up for any shortcomings with their enthusiasm. Each of them took the time to talk with us (and give Lauren candy), eagerly telling us about how they were planning an even better display for next year. All in all, it very sweet. We highly recommend it.