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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Postin' Eve.

Well, we've come to the end of another year. And, if you haven't noticed, we're having a Post-A-Thon! This is the fourth one today.

What's this white stuff?

Thanks a lot snow! You're one week too late! Go buy yourself a watch, will ya?

I'm a little hesitant to share how I'm spending New Year's Eve. I'm concerned that it may forever alter your perception of me. That you may become uncomfortable by my reckless abandon.

Oh, what the hell. You only live once.

Drawer liner.

I'm lining my drawers with shelf paper. Please don't think bad of me - I'm to weak to resist the hedonism that is New Year's Eve.

And lastly, our New Year's message to all of you:

Christmas 2008, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (Christmas evening).

RC Lauren.

Our peeps came to visit us at home on Christmas night. Grandma Bruno and Pappy gave Lauren her very own remote control car. After she opened it, she immediately put it down, which led everyone to believe that she was abandoning it for other presents. In reality, she had run off to get her elephant so that he could take a ride.

Panera love.

We gave Uncle Craig a t-shirt so that he can publicly proclaim his love for Panera Bread.

Josie and the Pussycats Christmas

Hey, nobody told me that we would be filming the Josie and the Pussycats Christmas Special"!


Obligatory photo of Mark.

Santa Craig and me.

Finally - Uncle Craig gets something good for Christmas (Mel C - You know that if you had come over for Christmas that this would have been you.)!

Treasure the ta tas.

Aunt Phyllis admiring the latest in Breast Cancer Awareness apparel - a "Treasure the Ta-ta's" apron embroidered by yours truly.

Pappy 'n Me.

Lastly, here's Pappy with the best present that he ever got - me!

Oh McFun it is to ride in a one horse open sway.

We interrupt Christmas to bring you this special presentation of "Jingle Bells," as performed by Lauren.

(Note: Do not adjust your screen. This was recorded in the car at night, so there's really no video to see other than the blur of Christmas lights.)

Christmas 2008, Part II: Christmas morning.

Presents under the tree.

Can you believe that Christmas was almost a week ago? Man, does time fly. And I'm still writing about it.

Christmas morning is my absolute least favorite time to take photos. I insist on going flashless which produces horrible results. This is Lauren's fourth Christmas - you'd think I'd get with the program and just use the darn flash, but no. So here's the best of what I did capture.

Christmas morning scene.

The scene on Christmas morning. Lauren ran to the tree and immediately started opening presents. I had to teach the girl that Christmas has an order to be followed - stockings first, then presents. We don't want any riots here. Don't ask why she's wearing that backpack - maybe she thought she could use it to haul away her stash?


Ah, isn't Christmas the best?

After Lauren finished opening her presents from Santa (which included a tea set, a stuffed, handmade dinosaur, a tea set, a cash register, Tinkertoys and a Scooby Doo DVD set) It was our turn to check out our stuff.

Undies 'n me.

Oh, ho, ho! Look what that rascal Mark put in my stocking!

And what did I put in his stocking?

Mark 'n lint roller.

A lint roller. We are so not on the same page.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas 2008, Part I: Chrismas Eve.


We spent Christmas Eve at my in-laws.

Bonanza CD.

My brother-in-law Mike brought his Bonanza Christmas CD - yee haw, let's get this mutha started!


Ooo, look - there's cheesecake!

Beth and Noah.

Our nephew Noah wasn't sure if the pom-pom on his new hat was good or evil.


And there were so many presents, Lauren didn't know where to start.

Grandpa Ross.

Hey - there's only room for one paparazzo in this family.

Mike and leather jacket.

Mike received a new Penguins leather jacket, the equivalent of an official Red Ryder carbine action two-hundred shot range model air rifle with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time. Mike's reation: "It smells like leather!"

Grandma and Noah.

Noah showing Grandma Pinky the finer points of a beater.

Mark and evil baby.

At last, Christmas finally causes Mark to snap.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like...spring?

Guitar goddess.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. We sure did - in fact, when the last guest left our house on Christmas night, I turned to Mark and said, "That was a really nice Christmas." I'm still sorting through the approximately 175 photos. I haven't gotten to it sooner because I worked all day Friday, and then since yesterday was the first day all week that I didn't have any commitments to fulfill, I pretty much did absolutely nothing. Oh, then there was the fact that the temperature here was almost 70 degrees, so we spent part of the day outside. At one point, I actually felt hot wearing a long sleeved t-shirt! Lauren was in her glory and joyfully played on her swing set. Mark was really in his glory - he's practically finished painting our whole addition!

Painting the addition.

Besides all this, Mark and I stayed up until after 1 a.m. last night watching Battlestar Galactica. I honestly can't remember the last time I stayed up that late.

Oh, and then there's that Guitar Hero game that's been eating up our time. I gave it to Mark as a Christmas gift, but it's Lauren that seems to be destined to be our resident guitar goddess. See for yourself, although be aware that the video quality is crappy, (and yes, I know that I'm a total stage mother):

Thankfully, I'm on vacation until January 5th. During this time, I hope to accomplish some things around the house, including getting my Christmas photos in order. I'm planning on doing a three part post throughout the week to cover it all, so stay tuned...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

All about Eve.

Sparkly chandelier.

We're all here at home on my favorite day of the year. I think the anticipation of it all is even better than the actual day.

Spritz cookies.

I baked three batches of cookies, which along with the three that I baked on Sunday, comes to six batches. Since it's just the three of us, I don't go all out with baking like a lot of people do. In addition to my usual standbys of thumbprints and mini cheesecakes, this year I tried three new cookies - chocolate truffles (which I guess are technically candy), buckeye bars and spritz cookies. I purchased a second-hand cookie press from a co-worker, and let me to you, I've never had so much fun making cookies. I feel like a whole new world of baking possibilities has been opened to me.

Gift tags.

After baking cookies, we had Subway for lunch. Then I sat down and whipped up some gift tags. Afterward, I showered and put Lauren down for a nap, while Mark watched the holiday favorite, Platoon.

It was a full day.

Tonight we're going to my in-laws, and then tomorrow everyone comes to our house. I should have lots of photos to share over the coming days!

Monday, December 22, 2008

We've got talent.

Presents, baby.

I hope it's not too late to decorate the blog just a little. I've been meaning to do it for sometime, but didn't have the inspiration until recently. (Yes, Mel C - those are the free cookies from the landlord. I am a freak.).

Continuing to spend most of my time on Christmas preparations. Every night last week I spent wrapping. Usually it wouldn't take so long, but I had a little helper this year. She was very scissor happy, and I found my self utteirng the words "Don't run with scissors!" at least three times. I felt so unoriginal doing it, too.

Lauren has a unique talent in that her mind is like a steel trap - once something gets in there, it can never escape. Case in point - at one point when I was wrapping, Lauren disappeared momentarily. Suddenly, I heard the sound of several beads plinking as they bounced off the floor on the other side of the room. I knew immediately that Lauren had used her mad scissor skills to cut the bracelet she was wearing, freeing the beads to escape their captivity. As as started to crawl under the bed to retrieve a few particularly rogue beads, Lauren starts imploring that I have to put them in a bag - just like the bag that holds her peanut butter sandwich.

You see, it was approximately a year ago that I first heard the sound of plinking beads scattering everywhere. I made the mistake of letting Lauren play in my jewelery box. Somehow, she managed to break my favorite beaded necklace (While it only cost me $2 at an antique fair, it was worth so much more to me!). After I sadly gathered up the remains of my necklace, I placed them into a Ziplock bag.

And then the steel trap closed.

Package bling in action.

Oh look - someone with the initial "N" must have been nice this year!

I have a talent too. I have the uncanny ability to pick out obscure actors from any television and movie show. For example, when we recently caught the tail end of Eleventh Hour, I spotted a familiar face. I started pointing to the television and exclaiming, "Ohmygosh - that's the guy from The Mummy! The guy that dresses in black and rides around the desert telling everyone that Imhotep is going to destroy us all! He looks so different, but YES THAT'S HIM! (I get very excited when this happens.). Then I immediately have to look up the actor in IMDb to prove that I'm right.

Last week, when Mark and I were watching Heroes (which, by the way, has become so bad that it's almost painful to watch), I had another yet another spotting. In one scene, a Japanese women was speaking to her son. As soon as I heard her voice, I knew who it was. I turned to Mark and said, "Do you know who that is? That's the girl from The Karate Kid Part 2! You know, with the tea ceremony and the Bone Dance and stuff? Yes - she's older now, but THAT IS HER!"

Mark just sat there and stared at me, completely unenthused by my revelation. "See," I said to him, "I could be a Hero too - this is my secret power."

And to that he replied, "Yes, you'd be called 'The Identifier.'"

Monday, December 15, 2008

Chipmunk christmas.

Christmas chipmunk.

I should be filling out Christmas cards right now, but there's still plenty of time to procrastinate about that. We picked out a tree yesterday at Lowes, just in time apparently, as there were only around 12 left to choose from. In fact, just two weeks before Christmas, and all their holiday merchandise was practically gone, because they had already marked it down 50% off. A definite sign of our failing economy. Anyway, Mark and I chuckled because we settled on the very first tree that we saw. For $20, why be picky? As we were leaving the store, three more couples were stuffing trees in their cars, so we weren't the only ones non-deterred from the slim pickings.

We've added a few new decorations to this year's tree:

We have this wily little chipmunk that, if you're lucky, you can catch a glimpse of as he scurries over our patio. You'll have to take my word for it that he looks just like this (I think this is actual size too!). The nice lady at Pottery Barn added the acorn that he's holding.

Glass acorn.

And speaking of acorns, I spotted this glass acorn on the counter as I was purchasing the chipmunk. It's so sparkly - I wish I could afford a whole tree full of them! But I can enjoy one just as well.

Bubble light.

I think that white lights are more aesthetically pleasing, but every couple of years, I like to give the multi-color lights a chance. These are actually the same lights that were on my family's Christmas tree as I was growing up. I inherited them, along with all the ornaments, a few years ago when my parents moved. One of my favorite Christmas things in the world is these bubble lights. They are around thirty years old, but they still can bubble with the best of them. I used to just love to sit by the tree and watch them do their thing. It's so fun to have them on our tree this year - makes me feel all Christmasy inside just looking at them.

Lastly, Jason Castro (Remember him?) just released his version of White Christmas on Amazon. The first few lines that I listened to sound sort of weepy, but hey, it's free Christmas music! Additionally, he looks ridiculous in that photo on the download page - I could have came up with something a little less goofy than that.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

You say it's your birthday.

Birthday boy.

It's his birthday too.

Grandpap and Noah.

..And his birthday too.

Noah - almost 19 months.

It isn't his birthday, but he'll be celebrating his 19 month birthday next weekend.

Obama card.

Even President Elect Obama loves birthdays. Maybe he'll make December 13 a federal holiday.

The little tree that grew.

As for this tree, we don't know when his birthday is, but we always marvel at how much he's grown since Mark planted him.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

New additions.

Martha Stewart Advent Calendar Cottage

As tempting as it always is, I'm trying not to reinvent the wheel with this year's Christmas decorations. But it doesn't hurt to add a couple of new things, now does it?

Martha Stewart Advent Calendar Cottage

I made this paper cottage from a kit from Martha Stewart Crafts. It's an advent calendar that has little numbered doors on the roof to open each day before Christmas. I first spotted it on eBay this summer while searching for something completely unrelated. I knew that I had to have it, so I put it on my watch list to be purchased at a later time.

I found that it was much more challenging to complete than it looked. The directions were very brief, reading something to the effect of, "Fold on the lines, glue together're done!" As a result, it's poorly executed in a couple of spots, but at least it stands on its own.

Vintage table cloth.

I bought this vintage table cloth for $10 at an antique fair a couple of years ago, but I never actually put on a table until this year. When I unfolded it, I found that it was in pristine condition. Our table is oblong, so it's tough to find vintage linens fit, so I think that I'll buy a cheap red table cloth to lay underneath it. That way, when we eat I can remove it in order to keep it pristine.

Christmas apothecary jars.

Here's a close-up of the apothecary jars on the table. This photo was actually taken last year. When I went to fill the jars this year, I decided to refer to this photo and found that I never uploaded it. The Santa and snowmen are vintage figural light bulbs that I salvaged from my grandparents' basement, like, fifteen years ago. I was a visionary, I tell ya!

We still haven't put up a tree yet. I'm thinking about going the easy route and putting up our white tree rather than going out and buying a real one. The white tree has a lot of character, but nothing compares to evergreen.

Edited to add: I forgot to mention in the the midst of all this decorating that the baby Jesus came to no harm, which has to bode well for me. On the other hand, since it's seven years bad luck when you break a mirror, I fear that I may be in for an even longer term punishment for breaking the baby Jesus.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas craftiness.

Making some package bling.

Well, once again I let the blog go a week without an update. This time, I have a couple of excuses. First, I've been spending what little free time I have working on some Christmas related crafts (more on that later). Second, Lauren had a nightmare a couple of weeks ago that has caused her to revert back to her old sleeping habits (something about Daisy's tail coming through her window - WTH?). She won't go to sleep without someone at the very least on the same floor as her and has been waking several times a night. Mark and I are thrilled.

Lauren, an expert at beading.

I've always enjoyed wrapping presents and putting a little extra into decorating them, but during the last couple of years I've been slacking off. Since I don't have anything new decorating wise on this year's agenda, I'd thought I'd put some effort back into wrapping. Some of this year's packages are going to have a little bling involving seed beads and wire. One night, I had this crazy idea that Lauren could help me. I thought that there would be no way that she would have the hand eye coordination to string those teeny tiny seed beads on wire, but not only did she have the coordination, she also had the concentration to sit and string beads with me for a full hour. She's well on her way to being a good crafty citizen!

Another area that I've been slacking on is making my own Christmas cards. I made my first cards in 2003. Up until Lauren was born, these featured our pets. I even made cards the year of Lauren's first Christmas, but the year after that I went the photo card route. Last year, I technically made cards. Although since they were from a kit, I don't feel like that it counts.

Santa circles.

This year, I am designing and making cards from scratch. This year, we are going 3 freakin' D. This year, is the year that my sanity will be questioned, oh yes. Six cards down, only about 24 to go!

And since I have a nice stockpile of photos to share, I will try to post a couple of updates this week to make up for last week's void.

Monday, December 1, 2008

You can never have enough ornaments.

You can never have enough ornaments.

This weekend, we decorated for Christmas. Well, everything but the tree and exterior decorations. It took most the of day on Saturday, and after we were finished, I thought, "Gee, I'm a little early with this, aren't I?" But then again, I don't know what the coming weeks are going to bring, so it's better to do it now when I can relax and enjoy it.


Lauren helped. Just look at that concentration!

Grandma Gert.

On Sunday, we went to visit Grandma Gert. She continues to amaze because she continues to just be herself. When I asked her how her Thanksgiving dinner was, she exclaimed, "Thanksgiving was THE BEST EVER!!!" Since she had me convinced that the nursing home provided her with this stupendous meal complete with all the trimmings, I, of course, reacted positively to this news. I had forgotten that Grandma really knows how to sell it, because in fact, Thanksgiving was the exact opposite of THE BEST EVER, and she proceeded to tell us about how the turkey slices were so thin that she could see through them. A master of sarcasm, that Grandma.