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Thursday, December 31, 2009


My Dee.

Well, it took 22 posts in one month, but I did it. That's an all time record - even when my blog was in it's infancy and I was brimming with enthusiasm, I never posted that much.

New Year's Eve / Day in my most un-favorite holiday. First, it marks the end of the holiday season. The fun is over, and the decorations will be coming down very soon. Second, it marks the beginning of what I consider the worst time of the year, the time between January and March when the days are cold and dark, and there isn't all that much going on. As I told my cousin Noreen once, the only entertainment in town at this point is the annual visit from the Harlem Globetrotters and the Monster Truck Show (Not that there's anything wrong with either of those. *wink*).

But most importantly, it's the unknown of what's to come in the new year. To me, the above photo of Daisy says it all. She'll be eleven years old in 2010, and while she hasn't slowed down too much just yet, I know those days are just around the corner. And that makes me incredibly sad.

Nonetheless, I suppose I should be happy to kiss 2009 goodbye. I wouldn't say it was a bad year, but more like, a pain in the ass. The leaky fish pond. The tree. Lauren's school phobia. I could go on, but why dwell on the negative?

I'm sure 2010 will be full of good things too.

My elephant.

Like silly little girls who make us smile.

My boo.

And dopey dogs that make us laugh.

So bring it on.

We give, we get.

Embroidered monogrammed ornaments.

As promised, I wanted to take time to share some special gifts that were given and received this Christmas. As Christmas approaches, I start to have grandiose visions of making homemade gifts for everyone. Then the reality of life settles in, and suddenly it's mid-December, and I haven't even started yet. I wanted to make these little monogrammed ornaments for all the females in my family, but in the end, I only cranked out two. The little faux bois frames are made by a British company, so I had to order them from an overseas Etsy seller. I could only get my hands on three, and the third one, well, was claimed by the Littlest Crafter:

Lauren's first embroidery project.

It's Lauren's first embroidery project. She designed the pattern and sewed it by herself (with a little help from Mommy). It's an elephant and a giraffe.

Pittsburgh Roadtrip tag album. Scenic Outlook.Our Favorite Photo. Cruisin' with the Fam.

As I've mentioned before, I LOVE making mini-albums. I had to make one for Noreen so she could remember her adventures with us.

Moo business cards.

MOO is a printing company that produces awesome business cards and stickers from your photographs. I've been dying to order some, but didn't really have a reason to do it. That is, until I noticed that our friend Dolores had business cards for her biscotti business. I know that she sells a lot of her tasty biscotti, so I thought that she could use some more. When I received them, I was really impressed with the quality. My only regret was that I didn't include more than one photo because you can have up to fifty different images per box.

Give basket from Phyllis.

Now for gifts that were given. My Aunt Phyllis gave us this gift basket filled with jams and other Christmas goodies. How adorable is that little hand mixer? She must have intuition (See below).


The "FRA-GEE-LAY" box from Mel C did not contain a leg lamp, but this framed print that she had specially made for us. Mark even hung it up already - that's really saying something!

Candy Apple Red 90th Anniversary edition Kitchenaid mixer.

I must have been a very good girl this year because Mark really outdid himself. I guess someone was actualy listening to my protests about the fact that I don't have a Kitchenaid mixer. I can't wait to get some attachments for it!

Tiffany's key.

I often dreamed about it, but I would have never guessed that I'd actually receive something TIFFANY'S!! I love Tiffany's blue. I think it's my new favorite color.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas 2009, Part III: Christmas Evening.


As per the current tradition, Christmas evening was held at our house. I thought for sure that my parents weren't going to make it, but they did. And they brought...OPERATION!

Vanna modeling the teapot.

Mel C. was there too. She served as her usual function of modeling Lauren's gifts.

Bunny socks!

Mel C. also served her function of honorary auntie by giving Lauren an item that Mommy refused to buy for her when we were out shopping a month ago. BUNNY SOCKS!


Here's Mark taking special care to present Mel C's gift to us. Get this - it's wrapped in vintage embroidered pillow cases. Be still my heart!!!


Here's a close-up. She even decorated it with vintage ornaments!


Look - it says FRA-GEE-LAY. Unfortunately, I can't show you what is inside because this is yet another gift that deserves special photos. Phyllis and Craig also gave me a specially packaged gift that will also require special photos.

Phyllis opening her gift.

Speaking of Aunt Phyllis, here she is opening our gift - an iHome. Hopefully, this will keep their iPod Touch good and charged.


Crazy Uncle Craig got a Panera gift card. Look at that pure Christmas joy on the man's face.

What's he making?

My parents also gave Lauren an Etch-a-Sketch. I think Pappy secretly wanted one of his own.

Pappy's Etch-a-sketch masterpiece.

Ah, that's pretty tricky!

Enjoying the digital frame.

My mom and dad got a kick out the digital frame that we gave them. I scanned some old photos from their younger days and interspersed them between recent photos of us.

Thus concludes another Christmas for the books. May it always be this merry!

Christmas 2009, Part II: Christmas Morning.

Christmas morning began at around 7:30 a.m. Not too early, considering that I probably got my parents up at around 5 a.m. or so. I'm sure those days are in our near future, as this was the year that Christmas really "clicked" for Lauren. After this year, I wonder if Halloween is still her favorite holiday (Although she did tell me that she thought Martha Stewart's Christmas show wasn't as good as her Halloween one.). I was hoping to sleep in until about 8:30 because by that time, the light in the family room would have been good enough for photos. Alas, it wasn't meant to be. A sinus attack woke me up, and Lauren must have heard me in the bathroom blowing my nose a gazillion times.

Anyway, after my sinus attack had abated, Lauren and I headed down the stairs. I had to stall her a bit, because Daddy was still upstairs getting dressed. This totally reminded me of when I was little, and I had to wait for my father to come downstairs before I could start opening presents. Those were the longest three minutes of my life.


Santa was very good to Lauren. The first thing she saw under the tree was what she wanted the most: a princess scooter.

Mommy elephant pouch.

It even has a pouch for Mommy Elephant. Santa is all about the details.

It's a pony!

Next up was what every little girl wants - a pony!

Pony for Christmas!

Santa knew that our township prohibits keeping farm animals, so he brought the next best thing: an animatronic pony.

Yummy carrot.

See, she can even eat a carrot!

In addition to the scooter and the pony, Santa also brought Lauren a new sticker book, Sorry! Sliders, Uno Moo, a carrying case for her Nintendo DS, and a Ringling Brothers Asian Elephants DS game.

Next, it was our turn.

Ooo...what could it be?

Hmm, I wonder what it could be...

I never had a red bra before!

Of course, I gave Mark an equally romantic gift:



In addition to the annual unmentionables, Mark also gave me two very special gifts, so special that they deserve special photos which I've been too lazy to take. Never fear - I will post them before year end!

Is this one for me?

Lastly, it was the pups turn. Marcus is not shown because he was not permitted to open his gift on his own, for fear he would eat the paper.

Marcus isn't getting this one.

Don't worry Daisy - we won't let Marcus take your toy!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas 2009, Part I: Christmas Eve.

Aunt Barb and Sean. Noah.Uncle Johnny. Steve and Sean.

I've been enjoying a little break from working, shopping, wrapping, baking, cooking, cleaning, and blogging. When it was all said and done, we had a really terrific Christmas. It was touch and go there for awhile, as all three of us had varying degrees of colds, and my parents both came down with the flu during Christmas week. But in the end, no one missed any Christmas fun.


As usual, I took an abundance of photos. I decided to let go this year, and just use the darn flash. Of course, Mark had to remind me on Christmas morning about how much better the photos would be if I used the speed light that I bought back in March (which has yet to be removed from the box), but by that time, it was a little too late to learn how to use it. I didn't even bother to edit any of these in Photoshop. I feel so liberated!

Christmas Eve was spent with Mark's family at my mom-in-law's home, with lots for food, folks and fun.

Noah's close call with the puppet.

Our nephew Noah had a close encounter with a puppet...

Wheel! Of! Fortune!

...but was later comforted by the warm glow of Wheel of Fortune.


Of course, there were lots of presents. Here's Lauren shredin' on her guitar from Uncle Mike.

You light up Mike Ross's life.

Speaking of Uncle Mike, this is the light up Penguin player that he received from us. There was much discussion about how he could prevent it from being stolen.

Did you ever notice that when someone gets an item of clothing, they instinctively hold it up to themselves? It's true...

Linda and her cardigan.

Like Aunt Linda with her Penn State cardigan...

Pinky and her pink Penguins shirt.

And Grandma Pinky with her pink Penguins shirt...

Mark and the neverending parade of shirts.

And Mark with yet another plaid shirt.

I'm too sexy for this giraffe.

Or even me, with a giraffe on my head.

Besides clothes, there were other fabulous gifts.

Wow, it's a Shamwow!

Wow, it's a ShamWOW!

Eat your heart out Bonanza.

Eat your heart out, Bonanza!

The Andritz Club.

Next up, Christmas morning at the Ross House! Did Santa come? The suspense is killing me!