2010: Through The Blog

Post image for 2010 Recap Carnival
The lovely Jo-Lynne is once again hosting her annual blog recap carnival and I couldn't bear to miss out on the fun. Even though the new year is only a few hours away, I have not done much reflecting or goal setting yet in order to prepare for it like I normally do.
Maybe this recap will be something of a trigger for me.
Or at least it will be fun.
Let's take a peek shall we at 2010 through the eyes, er...I mean the first lines, of my first blog post for each month.
December: Not only is it December 1st (really? reeaallly? runs screaming and hides in corner), it's time again for What I Wore Wednesday.
This was one of my weekly fashion (and I use that term loosely) posts where I documented my outfits most days in an effort to hold myself accountable for getting dressed in something other than comfy pants and a t-shirt. It's been fun to participate in Lindsey's WIWW linky party at The Pleated Poppy each week.
November: You know those posts that flow together seamlessly with lots of clever asides and engaging narrative? This one won't be like that.
Oh look, a random blog post where I chatter on about avoiding packing up Halloween decorations, Scott throwing out his back from his week on the couch with pneumonia, birthday parties, wearing a skirt just because and salmon patties. Like I said, random.
October: Song names for blog titles. I am a fan.
Would you be surprised if I said this was another random blog post? No? Good. This one ranged from music, birthday party gifts for school friends, our dog's (Sadie) recovery from surgery and then I wrapped thing ups neatly with a cool hand jive video.
September: You are my candy girl...and you've got me wanting you...
So, um...yeah. This was the post where I declared my break-up with sugar. Again. And, well...it didn't quite take. Again.
August: Earlier this week we loaded up the car and took a mini road trip a few hours west to New Braunfels for a couple of days of ultimate water park fun at Schlitterbahn.
Sometimes I am quite good at getting with to the point (or at least having one) early in my blog posts. This post was a recap of our little summer getaway to the best water park ever.
July: It's a good thing she's kind of cute and usually pretty sweet because sometimes her too much-ness (combined with a healthy dose of mule headedness) can be exasperating.
What can I say? It was one of those days and it involved a too small ring, my daughter's too big finger and a Payless restroom.
June: One of my favorite birthdays (who am I kidding, they were all my favorite) was the year I received my very own Sears record player. Yes, an actual record player that used a needle to play music on a vinyl disc the size of a dinner plate sold in a colorful and informative cardboard sleeve.
This misty walk down memory lane, complete with Shaun Cassidy singing "Do-Run-Run-Run", was my segue into the recap of Annelise's dance recital weekend where there was a little too much fun in the sun, we all ended up scorched lobsters and the more emotional one of us had to wear a scratchy sequined dance costume. And don't forget the late night pancakes at IHOP.
May: It was just another ordinary Friday night. Supper out: two adults, one child, please.
This is the one where a crabby pants (not naming any names, but it might have been me) changed her tune thanks to a spontaneous family Cha Cha Cha Slide in the kitchen. I highly recommend it.
April: Annelise's class celebrated Easter a little early with a party on Thursday.
Again, directly to the point. And oh so clever and creative. Anyway. This post recapped our Easter festivities, of which mine were, um...not so festive.
March: Alliteration can easily get out of control, can't it? Please forgive me.
Another post chock full of randomness from minor decorating changes, nekkid Barbies, cross-dressing Build-A-Bears and other daily miscellany.
February: And pink pigs must be flying too because I have finally chosen my word for the year (cue marching band).
After much hemming, hawwing and inner turmoil, I finally chose my one little word to hopefully impact my life throughout 2010. My word was do. I think by June I could hear it mocking me.
January: I don't know about you, but my little brain is busily musing over the possibilities for this brand, spankin' new year.
You might think this post was a little reflective, maybe intentional or insightful about setting goals for the new year. Nah. I talked a lot about using the words "twenty-ten" instead of 2010 and then I slapped up a slide show of our day trip out to the country.
And there you have it. My 2010. Or twenty-ten.
Thanks for sharing my bloggy walk down memory lane (even without Shaun Cassidy) with me.
I can't wait to start blogging my 2011. Or twenty-eleven (nope, that just doesn't have the same catchy ring to it as twenty-ten).


Of Jane Austen and Knitting

I know this is completely ridiculous (really though, when has that ever stopped me?), but I'm writing this blog post because I'm tired of looking at the Christmas one below, it seems terribly outdated since Christmas is so four days ago and all. Not that I want to wish it away or that we didn't have a perfectly nice holiday, but I'm still tired of it just the same.
That said, I'm not ready to take down our tree or pack anything away just yet. I still enjoy plugging in the lights each morning and enjoying their twinkle all day long. We usually wait until after New Year's to dismantle everything and cart it all back to the attic. I'm sure I'll be glad when that job is finished, but thinking about the task itself is rather daunting and therefore easily procrastinated.
I've been on a Jane Austen binge lately, and I must say, it's been lovely. Last week I popped in Pride and Prejudice (the best version, the one with Colin) and settled in to knit while Annelise worked on needlepoint. Seven, I think, is not too early to introduce her to the goodness of Jane, at least that was my plan. She watched some, taking breaks occasionally for legos, snacks and rollerskating around the house.
I also watched an A&E version of Emma that I'd never seen before, which was much better than the Gwyneth Paltrow version, yet not quite as good as the Masterpiece Theater series that aired earlier this year and finally felt up to the task of reading the novel. I think the Gwyneth version spoiled Emma for me and led to me turning up my nose at the thought of ever liking that character.
I'm realizing I've been wrong, oh so very wrong.
I've also realized that my blogging could be easily compared to the character of Miss Bates, whom Miss Austen describes as being, "a great talker upon little matters."
I am also realizing that while I enjoy knitting, I may not be very good at it. Or maybe I just have not practiced enough. Or found my niche, IT, pattern yet. Something always seems to go wrong or get a bit off (remember my ruffle scarf last year?). I did finally finish my neckwarmer/pidge thing-a-ma-jig and one whole end of it is larger than the other, and I'm not positive, but I don't think it's supposed to have turned out that way. Sigh.
I have had some limited success with coffee cozies though.
At least the ones that fit on a to-go cup. I've had trouble finding the right pattern (without cables and fancy stitches that, while lovely, I don't quite know how to do yet) to fit a mug with a handle.
I think my problem is I want a project that is fairly quick to finish, because we all know I have craft ADHD, full of cuteness, not too complicated, and uses needles I already have. That's not asking too much is it?
Here's a quick peek at my latest attempt at something cute that I found on Ravelry:
I have high hopes that it will eventually materialize into a hip, cute, cowl scarf.
Stay tuned.


So This Was Christmas

As the lights on our tree twinkled and glowed we enjoyed what have become our Christmas Eve traditions. Annelise found a note in her last advent stocking asking her if the force was with her, and apparently it was because she got a small Stars Wars holographic puzzle as her last advent treat. She was quite giddy. Another tradition she looks forward to is searching for the glass pickle ornament hidden on our tree and getting to open a small present once she finds it. I know that searching for a pickle sounds somewhat random, and possibly eccentric, but I think it's a tradition that originated in Germany. This year, since she is all about working jigsaw puzzles lately (some might say obsessed), she got a puzzle of St. Basil's cathedral in Moscow.
Now I must take a moment and point out Annelise's pajama pants. Go ahead, take a gander at them. Who, I ask you, who in their right mind would decide to sew Christmas pajama pants on Christmas Eve afternoon?
Y'all knew I was a friend of the crazy.
But it was totally, totally worth it when she pulled them on right after her bath, flannel still warm from the dryer, and squealed loudly in pure unabashed delight and proclaimed me to be THE BEST MAMA EVER, and promptly sat down on the floor to assemble her Star Wars puzzle while singing "Deck the halls with houghs of holly, falalalalalalalala," on repeat at the top of her lungs for the following 15 minutes.
So, yes, it was worth it.
We then read our last Jesse Tree devotional (I love looking at the full branches and thinking about all that we read this past month of waiting), Annelise read The Christmas Story from one of her books and we also read The Night Before Christmas before setting out treats for Santa.
This year Santa got the softest, absolutely yummiest gingersnaps ever and easy peasy chocolate pretzels along with milk (covered with plastic wrap to keep the cats from snooping and possibly slurping).
Soon it was time to shuffle our exuberant elf off to bed, or at least try to. Because of a pesky cough and being filled to the brim with holiday excitement she didn't doze off until nearly midnight (thanks to a dose of Vicks Vap-O-Rub).
I prepped the dishes for our annual Christmas breakfast and then Scott and I finished off the eve evening watching The Christmas Story, which seemed to be playing on a never ending loop on TBS.
Much to our amazement, our little elf slept until after 9:00 Christmas morning (!!), and had barely stumbled downstairs to investigate the contents of her stocking before my dad and Peggy arrived. We quickly fortified ourselves with coffee and settled in to watch the flurry of wrapping paper ripping begin.
It never ceases to amaze me how days of shopping, an evening or two of wrapping can be dismantled in less than 10 minutes, but trust me, she can do it.
Sadie and our cats must now be on the constant look out for a remote controlled flying Star Wars Millennium Falcon and a Spiderman Web blaster, which shoots not only water but *actual* webs that look and feel eerily like Silly String.
After such a present opening flurry it was time to restore our energy with our traditional Christmas breakfast. This year along with the normal pigs in a blanket, baked oatmeal and crescent coffee cake fare we enjoyed what quickly became our new favorite breakfast treat. I made one large pan with sausage, eggs and hash browns, then put cheddar cheese on half and topped the other half with artichoke hearts, sun dried tomatoes and feta cheese. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but TOOT! TOOT!, it was GOOD.
The rest of the day was spent playing, lounging, playing some more, napping, nibbling, some concentrated Lego building, more playing and finished up with our traditional taco soup supper followed by another dash or two of playing before sending one thoroughly exhausted but thoroughly happy elf to bed.
I'd say Christmas 2010 was a roaring success.
I sincerely hope yours was too.


From Our Nest to Yours

We wish you bountiful blessings, loads of laughter and many memory making moments.

P.S. Alliteration is annoyingly addictive.
P.P.S. Even on Christmas.


Festival of Lights

Just popped in to share few sights from our local (and free!) festival of lights last night...
All of which made for a very merry and bright night!


The Gingerbread Houses, They Hate Me

It all starts out innocent and fun.
The box is colorful and touts promises of ease, tugging at your heartstrings to give it one more chance for creative fun and delightful family memories.
Spirits are high as the icing tube is first snipped and begins to flow.
You (and I really mean me) don't even get rankled when sweet daughter announces that Daddy is a much better froster (technical term) than Mama.
But somewhere in the dark recesses of my brain I knew our fun would be short lived.
The gingerbread houses, they hate me.
We squeezed icing, we carefully built the frame, we artfully arranged the colorful candy. We smiled, we laughed, we nibbled. All was well.
For approximately 37 seconds.
We spent the next 20+ minutes trying to keep the roof from doing what gingerbread houses are evilly designed to do, which I am thoroughly convinced is slide down to the counter 8,264 times.
Daddy, the engineer type, tried to tell us what to do, but Annelise and I, the more free-spirited types kept trying to add candy and make it all cute and homey.
We soon realized we were doomed.
And we were all kind of over the whole thing.
I quickly snapped a picture of Annelise proudly (?) showing off our festive efforts...
And then we just let gravity take over.And possibly a small earthquake (not really sure what happened there).
And just think, we get to do it all over again next Christmas.
I can't wait.

(Of course we read the instructions after the disaster and saw where they clearly said to assemble the walls and let it sit for 15 minutes before decorating with candy. Oops.)


A Merry New Tradition

Along with our Jesse Tree advent devotionals and our little advent stockings for Annelise, we started another type of countdown to Christmas this year. I saw this idea on other blogs and decide to put my own spin on it. Y'all know how I am.
(Annelise's wagon team taking a break under our tree and one of our cats is also hiding under the tree, she likes to drink the water. I don't understand her.) (Oh, and pardon our bare tree stand, I know, re-bar is oh-so-festive.)
I loved the idea of Annelise opening up a different Christmas book for the 12 days before Christmas and the three of us reading it together each evening.
Except I only had 10 new books (maybe our collection can grow a little each year).
And I wrapped them up all fancy like in Jason Deli take-out bags instead of festive holiday papers and topped with bows.
You know what? Annelise doesn't mind that at all, it speeds up her overall ripping process and gets her to her new book much faster, so all is well.
Here's a peek at some of what we've been reading...and some pine needles...
So far my favorite has been The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey, Annelise's favorite is usually the one we just finished. Oh, did you notice I added a tree skirt? Well, it's not actually a skirt, it's two white pillow shams I found stashed in the linen closet upstairs artfully arranged over the re-bar.
Jason Deli bag wrapping and pillow sham re-purposing.
I am such a clever (lazy & cheap?) elf.


Rockin' Around the (Pink) Christmas Tree

What happens when six lovely ladies who share an affection for all things pink, all things silly (AKA flamingos) and all things Philippians 4:8 get together for their annual Pink Christmas extravaganza?
Well, I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.
What happens at Pink Christmas, stays at Pink Christmas.
Just kidding.
Sort of.
Here are some pictures though from our delicious lunch at Robyn's house.
Kim and Lyndsey
Lacie (who graciously drove down from her home to the north, a little like Santa) and Robyn
Heather (and her sweet nephew she was taking care of while her sister was in Amsterdam, yes, I said Amsterdam--can you tell I was a little jealous?) and Lacie
Oh and look, there they are again but I popped into the frame too.
After our festive and yummtastic lunch...
I apparently stopped taking pictures.
Later that day we all met up again, this time with our whole families, for supper at Cici's Pizza and then trooped over to our local high school for their holiday choir concert, which was delightful. Then we sent the littles and hubbies home and retreated back to Robyn's for coffee, some chit and some chat, giggles, a pink gift exchange, more giggles, more chit chat and even some yummy s'mores (made of course with PINK marshmallows) around or possibly after midnight, followed by more giggles and more of the chit and the chat (are you sensing a pattern?).
I don't think the day could have been more perfect.
Or more pink.


Of Gumdrops & Playlists

On a whim four years ago Annelise and I decided to be crafty for approximately thirty minutes and make gumdrop trees and now it's one of our holiday must-dos. This year I bought the supplies earlier in December but we hadn't sat down together to break toothpicks, impale gumdrops and poke styrofoam cones until last night. Even though she asked me numerous times,"Canwemakethegumdroptreesnowwhen,ohwhen,areweevergoingtomakethem?"she ended up only halfheartedly filling hers which surprised me. Can you tell which one is hers?
On another, but still holiday related note, I must share with you some of the festive music that has been playing around here. The other day, while digging around for some of our favorite holiday movies I found our stash of Christmas CDs and looked through them like I had stumbled upon ancient artifacts or something since we rarely listen to CDs any more (unless we're in the car). We're all about iTunes and playlists now I suppose.
So anyway, back to my current holiday faves...
I kept hearing about Dave Barnes this year and once I listened to a snippet of his A Very Merry Christmas album there was no turning back. So, so fun.

I feel rather torn about my next fave because even though I broke up with Glee earlier this year I do still enjoy their music yet I feel guilty (hypocrite much?) admitting that. Anyway, I did download their Christmas album and yes, I do like it. Annelise LOVES their version of The Grinch song.
I bought the delightful Hotel Cafe Presents Winter Songs a couple of years ago and it's still a favorite.
And, finally, don't forget about the awesomeness otherwise known as Pandora.com. My two current go-to holiday stations are Dean Martin (Holiday Mix) and Six Pence None the Richer (Holiday Mix).
So go ahead and check these out.
Trust me, you'll thank me later.
Hurry though, it's the weekend before Christmas (faints dead away).

What holiday tunes are playing around your house? (I'm always up for adding to my festive musical rotation, so please share!) Do you have an annual holiday craft you make with your littles?


Five for Friday

After not blogging for three days (gasp!) I can't stop myself from a quick (gasp!) random post this morning.
1. After a Tuesday morning meeting with the dentist (and leaving feeling rather delinquent because I still haven't gotten the two crowns he said I needed last Christmas) and then grabbing a quick lunch with Scott all other plans, errands, to-dos came to a screeching halt when Annelise's school called.
It seems she had been complaining of a headache and when they took her temperature she had a fever of 101.2. Of course I scurried right over to pick her up and she was looking rather pitiful. Maybe it's all in my head (highly possible) but the way the lady in the office kept saying Annelise had said her had was bothering her since that morning made me think she thought I had purposefully sent her to school sick. As if! Annelise hadn't said anything about not feeling well that morning and said it started after she was at school. The really mature part of me wanted to call the school later and have Annelise explain. But of course I didn't.
2. Annelise ended up hunkering down and hanging out on the couch for the better part of the next two days. No other symptoms ever materialized, which I guess is a good thing, but her fever lasted until Wednesday night. We obeyed the 24-hour fever-free rule and hung out at home for most of Thursday too but then HAD to run errands to get things ready for her class Christmas party which is after their lunch today. So, in a nutshell (maybe seasonal chestnut?), our Christmas break from school will be almost three weeks instead of two.
3. So everything that I was going to do earlier in the week to prepare for her party ended up having to be done yesterday. Now I know, and y'all do too, that I am a procrastinator down to my DNA and there was a chance I would have ended up waiting to the last minute anyway, but I like to think I would have done a few things early. Needless to say I was highly irritable yesterday and throwing spontaneous pity parties (sometimes just in my head, others were on full display) over having too much to do in a such short period of time.
4. But guess what? Everything is ready to go! And I'm okay! And I didn't harm anyone in the process!
Here's my incredibly brilliant (no, no, not really) plan for the party (Mrs. B. said it was completely up to us, the moms, and no one else had an idea, so there you go):
*After their lunch, 12 overly excited first graders will partake of numerous sweets, treats and holiday snacks in their classroom.
*I'll wrangle the sugared up kidlets to the floor to listen to me read Jan Brett's Gingerbread Baby.
*Then we'll call 2-3 kids at a time to the table to decorate, wait for it, gingerbread cookies.
I used this easy recipe for the cookies, last night, starting at 9:00 and finishing somewhere around midnight. I'll save you the drama but I will tell you that not one of the little ginger dudes look exactly alike and I really don't care to ever see a gingerbread man again.
*They'll also make a foamie gingerbread friend (which Scott was kind enough organize into individual baggies while I wrestled with gingerbread dough. Thanks, babe!)
*And, as if all of that isn't fantastic enough, they'll play BINGO too.
All within 45 minutes.
Hold me.
5. In between my gingerbread escapades I finished up Annelise's gifts for her teachers, because, really, what fun is it do things in a timely manner anyway?
Mrs. B. is getting a purple felt posy pin and the pink one is for Mrs. M. (Annelise chose the colors).
and...a little something pretty for their purses (sticking with the color theme) with a little surprise tucked inside.
I hope they like them!
Yikes! I just glanced at the clock and realized I've gotta hit the showers and get ready for the party, so I better wrap (hahaha...get it? I am dangerously witty, I know) this up.

Happy Friday my festive friends!


What You Won't See On Our Christmas Card This Year

Some people, y'all know the ones, plan for their family Christmas card early. Many begin planning their family photo in late summer or early fall, others take photos throughout the year so they have several good ones to choose from for a collage.
Don't tell, but I secretly hate them.
A little.
Then there are those people that wait until, oh say, 12 days before Christmas to even think about it.
In case you weren't sure, I fall in the latter group, otherwise known as Christmas card losers.
This weekend I put my loser foot down and announced to my people that we were taking a family photo no matter what.
Even if it's 47 degrees. Even if it's the windiest day ever. Even if it's midday and the sun is harsh and unforgiving. Even if there's a sign warning you to be on the lookout for snakes. Even if I drop my camera (thankfully from not too high and it seems to be okay). Even if smiles get worn out somewhere around shutter snap #117.
Here are some outtakes from our adventure:
In my mind I saw us posing on the ground with the pond behind us, but the sun and the wind won that round.
The pier looked promising since it offered some shade, but OH MY GOODNESS, THE WIND. And there was that pesky snake warning. We had to laugh off our fears and bring out the silly.
Or maybe Annelise was trying to choke me. I'm not sure.
The ones where we were all smiling were blurry. And wind blown.
It was so cold Annelise and Scott entertained themselves by shocking each other and then overreacting. Good times.
Some poses might have made the cut if we weren't so trashed by the wind. And if I wasn't holding the remote clicker so high.Aww...I like this one though. Just sayin'.
Every stop we made had plenty of silly, crazy shots to help the little one make it through the photographic torture.
There were also promises of hot chocolate as soon as we were successful.
But by that time though our little person was all done with the smiling. We persevered a while longer. Wait...we're blurry. And awkward. And my scarf is trying to eat Annelise.
Just a few more? (Cue moans) How 'bout just one more? (Cue more groans and sighs) No? Seriously?
I think a Christmas photo mutiny was in the works.
I think this one says it all.
She might need an extra big hot chocolate to recover from this ordeal.
And maybe a polar bear cookie.
We retreated to the nearest Starbucks, with ratty wind-blown hair, runny noses, red cheeks, all just this side of cranky with fingers crossed that we managed to capture at least one fairly decent family photo.
Could someone please remind me of this experience next year, say somewhere in mid-October at the latest, so I won't do this again?
Thanks ever so much.

Are you a Christmas card early bird or a loser like me? (No judgment) Do you try to get a family photo or just the littles for your card?
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