12.31.2011

2011: A Look Back in Photos

So.
I made my first iMovie today.
And you can totally tell it's my first.
It's a little retrospective of 2011.
Through photos.
In amateur movie form.
It took me almost all ding-dang day (off and on, but still).
I wanted to post it much earlier in the day and not like an hour before 2012 bursts on the scene.
But here we are anyway.
There were many, um...technical difficulties.
And I could never figure out how to get music from our iTunes library so I had to make do.
Feel free to press mute.
And I gave up trying to add captions too.
Sorry about that.
I also feel I must confess that the first version weighed in at almost 19 minutes.
Nineteen. Minutes.
What the what?
Photos. I like them.
But I wheedled it waaay down to a much more manageable 5 minutes.
You are ever so welcome.
And I totally understand if you just can't bring yourself to watch the whole thing.
It's okay. We're still friends.
Thanks for stopping by my little corner of the internet from time to time and occasionally saying hi.
You are good people.

2011, you were a good year.
No offense to 2011, but here's to 2012 being even better.

12.30.2011

InstaFriday

It just dawned on me that this will be my last InstaFriday post of twenty-eleven.

Because I'm quick on the uptake like that.

And still find substituting twenty-eleven for 2011 highly annoying.

But might follow suit for 2012 just the same.

All of these photos were taken with my iPhone using the Hipstamatic app, which is always a favorite of mine because of the edgy randomness from all the lens/film choices. My current favorite combo is the Bettie lens with the Ina 35 film just in case anyone cares.
We still have our tree up and plan to enjoy it for a few more days.

Since we didn't go all out decorating this year I'm not feeling nearly as oppressed by Christmas decor as I have in the past as December rolls to a close, so I'm not in an all fire hurry to cast our tree to the curb.
There has been a lot of Lego assembly happening, which I love.

Annelise put The Night Bus together by herself and she and Scott worked on Hagrid's Hut together (she wanted NOTHING to do with that giganto spider Aragog). Next on deck is Hogwarts, which is a daunting task since it's an enormous set.
Monday night, on our way back from visiting Scott's family, we stopped at Gringo's for supper.

I almost always get the same thing, their tortilla soup with avocado. Love.

We can't seem to go three days without Tex-Mex.

Which is as it should be.
Our wreath of holiday happy.

In fact, it makes me so happy I leave it up most (if not all) of the year.

I need to find a better way to store past holiday cards. I used to include them in our scrapbook albums, but they take up a lot of space, and, well, I pretty much stopped scrapbooking. Now I just tie them with ribbon and set them aside. Maybe I should try punching holes and using a ring to make a flip booklet? What do y'all do with your old cards (especially the photo cards)?
In a crazy fit of following through with my ideas last week, I ordered a canvas of our family photo from our Christmas card, from Easy Canvas Prints. I thought it would take longer to arrive, so imagine my sheer delight when it showed up on our porch Wednesday afternoon. (!!)

Now it's happily hanging above our mantel in our family room.

I'm kind of in love.

I'm also trying to decide what to do around it, like maybe plates or a big letter or other photos.

I feel like it (the wall/mantel) needs something, but I'm not sure what.

Ideas?
This is happening again.

I'm hoping a scarf will eventually materialize.

I'll keep you posted.

I'm linking up with Jeannett again, be sure to pop over there for more InstaFriday fun.
life rearranged
Happy Friday, y'all!

12.27.2011

Christmas 2011: That's a Wrap

01 - 04: Annelise's Christmas program at school. They did a pseudo-play-musical hybrid that was cute, had catchy songs and was actually not boring. I am a fan of not boring.

05. Annelise could not put Diary of a Wimpy Kid down the afternoon she got it (from her class exchange). Santa brought her the recent Cabin Fever one and she has of course breezed right through it like butter. I'm glad she likes them but I think we'll stick with the library from now on.

06 - 08: The photos from our Christmas card. I'd show you the card but the Shutterfly embed thing is huge and annoying, so you'll just have to use your imagination.

09 - 10: The annual Christmas Eve pickle search yielded a book (surprise!), The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, which was cute. We also did our last Jesse Tree advent, baked the world's yummiest gingersnap cookies along with the devil's pretzel crack bark, I decided to update photo frames & arrangements throughout the house, because projects like that are critical on Christmas Eve and not cray-cray at all (the mood struck and could not be ignored), and finished things up after our little elf went to bed with a late night wrapping fiesta while watching A Christmas Story. As you do.

11 - 12: Christmas morning dawned grey and rainy instead of bright but still early and the flurry of unwrapping began. We then feasted on bubble bread and piggies in a blanket before scrambling off to church. After church we enjoyed a yummy lunch at my dad and Peggy's house followed by lots of basketball and sports watching (Peggy's grandsons were there and Annelise was in heav. en). Unfortunately, in all the flurry, I did not take many pictures. Blerg.

13: Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

14 - 19: We spent the day after Christmas out in the country with Scott's sister, brother-in-law and brother which involved cuddling with two adorable dogs, the care and feeding of horses (Annelise & Aunt Karen), fire safety & adventuring (Annelise & Uncle Bill), duck feeding, movie watching, soccer (Uncle Ron, Uncle Bill, Scott and Annelise) kitten playing, eating (all of us) and the all important roasting of marshmallows & s'more consumption. Which are all the makings of a good day. I took a few pictures but never got any of everyone together. Blerg.

20: Is there anything better than sleeping late in your cozy new princess pajamas and then spending a handful of gloriously lazy hours putting together one of your three new Harry Potter Lego sets? I think not.

It's been a wonderful holiday.

Although I'm slightly confused as to what day it is.

And I can't tell you the last time I exercised.

And I've eaten waaaay too many gingersnaps and pretzel crack bits than can be good for one person to consume.

I have a huge zit on my chin to show for it.

But like I said, it's been a wonderful holiday.

How was yours?

12.23.2011

Because Nothing Says Festive Like Sequins

How many sequins does it take to cover a styrofoam ball?

A lot.
Like, a lot, a lot.

Especially if you are 43 and slightly OCD.

(Joan Collins called and wants her sequins back.)

However, if you are 8, you have a much shorter attention span and a much lower commitment to full sequin  coverage.

The good news is I did not bug her about this. No pressure, no sequin coverage expectations here. Gaps were A-OK. I was calm, cool and collected. A cucumber, that was me. Over the span of 2-3 hours and four holiday shows she managed to finish almost 3/4 of her styrofoam orb and professed plans to pin her final sequins in the morning.

I remember making styrofoam ornaments with my mom, except she was more ambitious than I am. She used velvet, felt, beads, pins and sequins to create little foam works of art..I remember her proudly hanging my woefully sequin deprived ball  every year next to her fancy creations.

I get it now.

Even though Annelise was only so-so excited about this last minute craft and at times intimidated by the sheer remaining styrofoam - sequin ratio, I'm glad we did this together. She asked me why we were making ornaments two days before Christmas, and while I had no reason for the tardiness except for that pesky pal procrastination, I told her I used to make styrofoam ornaments with my mom and I wanted us to do that too.

She seemed pleased by my answer.

And with a long-suffering sigh she poked a pin in another sequin.

12.22.2011

Holiday Sk8 Date

Tuesday night Annelise and I had a date at the skating rink. And by date I mean I took her there to meet three little friends from school and then sat there and watched her skate for 2.5 hours. I briefly considered donning a pair of skates myself but just could not find my inner 6th grade rollerskater for some reason.

I have a whole new respect for my dear granddaddy Archie for carting me (and sometimes my friend Robbie Ann) up to the roller rink and sitting there, waiting patiently in his Sears zip up retirement jumper, one or two times a week back in the day.

Tuesday night was dollar night and let me tell you, that word gets around.

Crowded. Is what it was.

$2 entry, she brought her own skates, and $1 pizza and $1 soda brought our grand total for the evening to a whopping $5.50 (I had a piece of cardboard pizza too and gave her .50 for a game, after which she spent her 11 tickets on pixie sticks and sweet tarts, score).

There was even a skinny skating Santa.

Which wasn't disturbing at all.

But Annelise got to see her friends, skate to her heart's desire, jump in the bouncy house, eat junk food and stay up late, so I'd say she had a good time.

We might even go back before the holiday break is over.

In other news, it's cold, rainy and rather dreary again today. Scott is braving the elements and possible crazies to get a few errands & last minute shopping done. I always tell him he's a good man, Charlie Brown.

Annelise and I are still in our PJs.

And if you pop by later today there's a 99.8% chance you'd find us still in our PJs.

Because we're over-achievers like that.

Happy Thursday, y'all!

12.20.2011

Tuesday Morning Coffee {the 5 days before Christmas edition}

Good morning y'all!

Do you ever wake up and plan for a lazy day on purpose? I have a sneaky suspicion today, or at least the majority of it, will be a homebody's delight. PJs, coffee, crafts and holiday movies just might be filling our dance card today. And I'm not-so secretly dee-lighted by this plan.

Besides it's all rainy and grey and pitiful outside. Blech.

Yesterday morning we were surprisingly productive by getting up earlyish and heading out to Target first thing. The good news is there was hardly anyone else there, which was delightful, and we finished up our holiday shopping all by 10:00 am.

I think.
At least I'm pretty sure we're finished.

We then rewarded our efforts with an IHOP breakfast (after Annelise dropped two toys in their Toys for Tots box, which we'd been meaning to do forever and yesterday was the deadline).

Sidenote: Did you notice Annelise's smile in the above photo? She lost another top tooth at school on Friday (but she was thrilled because 1.) she's never lost one at school before and her friends have and b.) the office gave her one of those cute tooth shaped tooth holder thingies), so she now has a four tooth wide gap across the top. I love, love, love her gape-y smile!

We also mailed out our Christmas cards yesterday morning, which made me want to do a happy dance right there on the sidewalk in front of the post office (don't worry, I restrained my urge) and then stopped by the library on the way home which was the perfect ending to a perfect morning (read: no crowds, no traffic, no lines, no stress and pancakes and free books).
My feet are hiding the fact there are no wrapped presents under the tree yet.

Is that pitiful?

Sometimes, when we're on top of things (HA), we'll have wrapped gifts under the tree before Christmas Eve/Christmas morning, but obviously this is not one of those times. It is kind of fun though to see it suddenly go from empty and sad to spilling over in one one fell swoop of a wrapping frenzy.



























Last night we had big plans to meet up with our besties for dinner followed by a trip to a local park that's all over the top decorated with Christmas lights and such.

We all made it to dinner (food is a priority you know) but then bailed on the whole walking through the festive park thing.

The kids were having so much fun playing together and the grown-ups were having so much fun chatting no one was all that interested in traipsing through the park after all and the funny thing was, no one was even slightly disappointed.

Are we grinches or what?

In our defense, it had been raining and we were worried we'd get caught out in a sudden shower. And it was muggy and humid instead of crisp and cool.

Or maybe the kids just wanted to keep playing and the grown-ups wanted to keep chatting without having to hop on a shuttle bus and navigate through crowds of strangers and we all just wanted to hang out at our friends' lovely new home and nibble on sweet treats until 11:30 at night.

Whichever.

A merry, merry time was had by all just the same.

12.17.2011

InstaFriday {but on Saturday. Again.}

Here I am, late again, with this week's InstaFriday.

Oh well, as Doris Day sang, "Que Sara, Sara."
Last Sunday evening after church we went to another local church (gasp!) to walk through Bethlehem and then ended up at IHOP. As you do.

I was going to do a separate post about walking though Bethlehem, but quickly realized that might never happen, so I'll just tuck it in here. Y'all don't mind, do you? Good.
It's a great living history type of experience where you get a hands-on glimpse into bible times at the time of Jesus' birth. As you wait outside there are townspeople, dancers, shepherds, soldiers, and even a wise man or two, or three, to see and talk with. Once inside you weave your way through the marketplace where you see tradespeople model their craft, from bakers, scribes, weavers, to potters, rope makers, carpenters, an apothecary and the like. Annelise really enjoyed sampling not only the food but molding a small clay bowl, twisting rope and drilling and hacking at wood. After making your way through the market you end up at a modest stable where you meet Joseph, Mary and the baby Jesus, which was of course the perfect ending to our visit.
Just me and my Chucks.

Just because.
Making treats for Annelise's class party.

Unfortunately I left the first batch in the oven too long and actually baked the kisses instead of gently melting them. Opps!

It kind of hurt my heart to toss an entire tray of ruined pretzel kisses into the trash. Especially since I had spent the previous sweet forever unwrapping said kisses.
Thanks to Pinterest I was able to cute up Annelise's gifts for her two teachers.

Inside each cup was a Starbucks gift card tucked into a Vera Bradley ID/card holder thingie.

I thought the to-go cup packaging was a neat idea, simple and cute (and free).

Even if I never make 1/8 of the crafty or food-y things I've pinned on Pinterest it feels good to know the ideas are there whenever the mood strikes. If ever.
I am happy to report that Annelise's class party yesterday went well. Surprisingly well. Which is refreshing. First they had their book exchange, sitting in a boys circle and a girls circle, listening to me read Twas the Night Before Christmas and passing books on the word *and*. Annelise was beyond thrilled with the book she received and completely forgot her sense of injustice that she gave two books and only received one, so that's good. After fortifying themselves on an array of snackage we herded them down to the science lab for the Gingerbread House Building Extravaganza 2011.

Oh my.

It was a little bit crazy and a whole lot of messy, but no one cried (though one little boy was this close to losing it when he couldn't figure out how to make his graham crackers fit one certain area) and 23 boys and girls managed to create holiday dream home masterpieces dripping with all sorts and forms of colorful sugar.

And memories.

Which are most important.

Happy weekend, y'all!

life rearranged

12.15.2011

Thursday. As In 10 Days Before Christmas.

I feel the need (for speed).
(Negative Ghost Rider, the landing pattern is full.)
Maverick buzzes the tower anyway.
Oh Tom, Tom, what has happened to you?

Okay, really...I feel the need to unclutter my brain a bit and what better place to do that than my blog complete with random holiday photos that have nothing to do with this post?

Monday afternoon after school and with approximately 1.5 hours remaining of usable light, my people and I got ourselves together for a little photo shoot for our Christmas cards. Some of you may be clicking away right now because you can't handle the fact that we were just then doing something about our cards at a shameful two weeks before Christmas, and I totally get how disappointed you are in me, but I hope we can still be friends.

The thing is, in the early fall, when one might start to think about taking pictures for one's card, here in Texas it's still a sauna. I can't even contemplate getting ourselves all together and posed and then watch while we all melt into a cranky puddle of sweat while looking cheery. Not gonna happen.

This year we thought of using a photo of Annelise from earlier this fall that we already had for our card and came this close to clicking place order, but I just couldn't do it.
Not because I didn't like the photo, I did. Not because I didn't like the idea of the caption, I did. But I always enjoy seeing the whole family on the Christmas cards we receive. I totally get why you might not want to be in a photo you're sending out to oodles of your family and friends (hey, I'm right there with you!) but I think it's important to include at least one photo of the whole family if possible. 

Thankfully, we found a suitable spot close by and managed to get a few keepers before my people declared mutiny on me. No tears were shed and no one yelled, but there may have been a few clenched teeth pronouncements made. I consider that minor collateral damage for the greater good. 

It was rather hilarious (and pitiful) that we had to spend a good 10 minutes trying to attach my camera to the tripod. I guess I need to use it more, huh? It was also a little challenging to find a good yet not distracting background, arrange ourselves into semi-flattering poses without sitting on the damp ground (who forgot the blanket? was it me?), where our height differences wouldn't look weird (steps are always helpful with this problem, but there weren't any) and I could hide the remote (at least somewhat). Since we were short on time (and patience) we didn't try lots of poses or backgrounds but it still worked out fine. I think. 

The good news is our order is already on its way (hooray for Shutterfly 2-day shipping and a coupon code) so our cards just might make it to their recipients by Christmas. Whew!
And speaking of cards, I'm starting to wonder if we've been crossed off of lists (what?) or if everyone is running late like us or maybe not sending cards this year or something. I love checking the mail this time of year but this year seems to be, um...slim pickin's. At least so far.

And still speaking of cards (because I can't let it go) if I've sent you (and I mean you, my dear bloggy friends) a card in the past, don't give up on me, they'll be on their way to you soon. If you're a new bloggy friend and would like to exchange Christmas cards (wouldn't that be fun? yes!) let me know in the comments or email, m'mkay?
Things are slowly getting crossed off our to-do lists, but more likely than not they're just getting carried over to the next day.

Procrastinator.

Is what I am.
Teacher gifts. Check.

School Christmas program tonight.

Dance Christmas party this afternoon. (Iffy, heavy on the if)

Class party tomorrow.

Chocolate pretzel turtles made. Later today.

Book for class book exchange. Check.

Wrapping book. Not checked. Yet.

And speaking of a class book exchange, I'm really excited about it. The girls are trading *girl* books, boys trading *boy* books while listening to The Night Before Christmas (and passing when they hear "and"), which should be fun. The guidelines were not to spend more than $10, so we (and by that I guess I mean me) decided on two paperbacks, Ramona Quimby, Age 8 and a Christmas-y Magic Tree House that way a variety of reading levels/topics are covered and we were still under $10. Well. Annelise is all up in arms about giving two books and suggested giving one to her class library and exchanging the other (don't let her fool you for a moment, she's thinking she'll only get one in return, which she might). There may be drama tomorrow.

In fact I'm girding up my loins in anticipation of party drama.
Along with the book exchange there will be a craft.

And not just any craft.

Twenty-three 7 & 8 year olds will be making gingerbread houses all at the same time tomorrow.

I haven't been sleeping well.
I'll let you know how it goes.

That is, of course, if I survive.

12.14.2011

What I Wore Wednesday

hello wednesday.
hello my wiww friends.

this week's edition is short and almost to the point (have y'all met me?)
dress: target
grey sweater: downeast basics
jeans: old navy
mustard statement necklace: allora handmade
frye jane boots: zappos

i love the look of wearing a short dress over skinny jeans. for one thing it makes me feel like i'm 8 or 9 and it's 1978 again (dresses over pants was big, and then there's Maude) and for another thing it stretches my wardrobe options a bit further, which is always good (not that i'd ever, ever, ever wear that short of a dress without jeans or leggings anyway).
law.

did i tell you i'm in red hot love with my boots? like i'd wear them every single day if it weren't for this texas yo-yo weather (we're back to warm, sigh). i love their rugged kind of quirky look, their semi-slouchiness, their suede-y feel (is it weird to pet boots? no?) and even their stacked heel--and i am usually not a heel loving gal. y'all may get sick of seeing them and listening to me sing their praises, but if any of y'all are boot lovers i have i feeling y'all will understand.

my next boot challenge to myself is to wear fun tights--maybe patterned--(??) with a dress and boots. i also want to try boot socks, they look so cute (on others) when i spy them peeking out over the top.

i'm linking up again with lindsey and nina for fashion accountability and inspiration.
pleated poppy

Momma Go Round

happy wednesday, y'all!

12.13.2011

12 on the 12th: December

01. the morning sunrise through our shutters.
02. morning joe. self-explanatory.
03. morning quiet time.
04. merry & bright.
05. lego star wars advent check-in first thing in the morning (apparently this is mandatory).
06. breakfast.
07. lunch assembly. i realized i always, always, always spread the peanut butter first. i might freak if i had to do jelly first. what about you?
08. three looooong overdue miles. who keeps forgetting to train for that pesky half in early march? is it me?
09. quick target trip for craft supplies (read: candy & graham crackers) for second grade's class party later this week. who thought making gingerbread houses with numerous small children would be fun? was it me? hold me.
10. waiting. car line.
11. wrapping up our highly amateur photo shoot for our christmas card. annelise's face says it all, no more, mama, no more. yes, we're always late like this with our cards. you?
12. snuggled up on the couch catching up with our jesse tree devotionals.

thanks for taking a peek at our twelfth. how was yours?

i'm linking up with amy, pop over there for more 12 on the 12th fun.

12.10.2011

InstaFriday (er...Saturday)

Here's a mini window into my week via my iPhone photos and my fave photo app, Instagram.
Based on the fact there are only four photos and two of them involve the TV, I can't say we've had the most riveting week.

We have had a fantastic week of cold weather, like for several days in a row (in Texas, this is a big deal, trust me) and I have been l-o-v-i-n-g it (even though it's made me a bit more hermit-esque than usual).

After a yummy supper of homemade chili (which of course turned into Frito Pie because chili without cheese and Fritos would be wrong), we settled in to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas, which is always a favorite.
For some reason we always crack up when Linus says, "Lights, please" right before he launches into a speech about the true meaning of Christmas. He's such a serious little guy with a blanket.

The next night I made crock-pot chicken and dumplings which at the time my people raved about but then refused to eat them again for leftovers. Their behavior makes me question their original chicken & dumpling enthusiasm.

I guess that tangent has nothing to do with this post, I just needed to share I suppose.
One morning after taking Annelise to school Scott and I decided to make a schlumpy shopping trip on the way home ( a schlumpy shopping trip involves being basically dressed but unshowered and certainly not looking cute).

To our pleasant surprise the Dollar Tree was open (!!) and I was able to get the ribbon I'd been meaning to buy for over a week. For $1.00.

I have plenty of ideas but they often die a slow death in my brain before I actually follow through with my plan. If I have the supplies, great, if not, well, that's the craft kiss of death.

ANYway, I had saved the lower branches from Frasier in order to make a hopefully cute and free door swag thingie. I even thought about shopping for a monogram letter and spray paint, but Hobby Lobby at this time of year makes me break out in hives covered with boils, so the Dollar Tree came to the rescue. Long tangent short(er), I tied the branches together and hung them on our back door and for two days they drove me cray-cray because they shed needles every time we opened the door and were so thick (wide?) we had a hard time getting through the door without feeling like we'd gone through a forest. Now monster swag is hanging on the other door (we have french doors), still not looking particularly cute, but still almost free.

I realize that story has nothing to do with the cup of coffee in the above photo. I'm getting there, I promise.

I think ALL stores should open before 9:00, at least at this time of year. I hate that lost window of peaceful shopping opportunity between school drop off and store openage. 

At least Scott and I got to kill time inside Starbucks (hot chocolate for him, coffee w/cream for me) (along with an old-fashioned doughnut for him and lemon pound cake for me) (I have no idea why we're feeling so, um, pufftastic) before browsing the delightful aisles of Barnes and Noble, otherwise known as Nirvana.

I was schlumpy, but still sported some lipstick as evidenced in above photo.
Scott and I had a semi-spontaneous lunch date yesterday to an Indian restaurant we'd been meaning to check out for over a year. We were worried about what to order, since our Indian food knowledge is quite limited and based only on buffets where you can try lots of different things.

Imagine how pleased we were to discover this place has a weekday buffet too. Score! (And ordering ignorance lives on.)

I promise I was much more excited than I looked in the photo. I find myself resorting to the semi-smile or the squinty-smile of late in an effort to lessen The Puff Face. And yes, I realize we were about to indulge in an Indian buffet full of rich and mysterious foods and had had treats at Starbucks the day before. What? I'm sure the two are not related at all.

Denial. It's where I thrive.
After school Annelise asked for hot chocolate and to watch The Muppet Movie, the original one, circa 1979, which warmed my heart. I think we need more Muppets, don't you? We only watched about half, and she's seen it before, but it was fun just the same. I'm so happy there's a resurgence in Muppet Mania thanks to the new movie, which we haven't seen yet, but plan to soon (ish).

I'm linking up again with Jeannett, pop over to her place for more InstaFriday fun!
life rearranged
Happy weekend, y'all!

12.07.2011

This Christmas Season

in the wee hours of the morning i tip-toe out toward the kitchen (because that's where the coffee lives) while the rest of the house snores.
even the cats.
along the way i plug in the lights on our christmas tree, catching a whiff of the glorious scent as i do.
coffee in hand, i settle into the chair closest to the tree with my bible in my lap in an effort to return to what really matters this season (and always).
the sun is still hiding and the lights on the tree are glowing.
it's a perfect way to start my day.
why do i forget that?
why do i willfully choose to do otherwise?
sometimes in the morning, sometimes in the evening--and even sometimes doubling up and reading in the car on the way to school because we started late this year--we're trying to focus on what's most important.
our jesse tree devotionals.
for advent.
i love the simple bare branches surrounded by pinecones, all from our yard and free, waiting to be filled with paper ornaments, that tell of Christ's coming.
and some of them even have glitter.
of course annelise is slightly more eager to open a window in this advent each day.
and that's okay.
there's room for Jesus and star wars i suppose.

this christmas season i'm choosing the simple and not the frou-frou (notthattheresanythingwrongwiththat).
one tree instead of many.
not a lot (okay, hardly any) of holiday decor throughout the house as in years past.
and you know what?
it's fine.
perfectly fine.
(in fact, my people haven't really noticed).

this christmas season i'm choosing not to compare myself to the way others celebrate or decorate.
and believe me, that one's a doozy because of television, blogs, pinterest and the like.

this christmas season i'm sure we'll do lots of fun things--we may even do crafts (!!) -- but none of those things are set in stone and are certainly not essential to our overall holiday enjoyment.

this christmas season i'm choosing the calm over the cray-cray.
(fingers crossed, of course)

how about you?

12.03.2011

InstaFriday (on Saturday)

Hi y'all.
I finally, finally, finally gathered my courage to wear my cowboy boots with a dress.

On Thanksgiving no less.

But then forgot to take a picture of the whole ensemble.

Part of me felt cute and sassy and the other part was slightly insecure.
After three partial days, three trips to Walgreens for new lights (buy one, get one half off), a banged up pinky finger and a scary tumble that thankfully only resulted in a splinter, albeit a thick, nasty splinter, Scott finished hanging our Christmas lights on our house.

Clark Griswald would be proud.
This little Frasier Fir came home with us the other night.

We were in and out in under 30 minutes.

It was a Christmas miracle.

And thanks to my dad for letting us borrow his truck we won't be finding pine needles in the back of our SUV in late July.
After rearranging our furniture (which I'm actually thrilled about the new set-up, change is good), finagling with lights (Scott's department), and stressing about leaning to the left (maybe Frasier is a liberal?) and pine needles (me), Frasier happily joined us in our family room.

I love, love, love the stark simpleness of just the tree and white lights.

(But we decorated it Friday evening after eating Chick-Fil-A on TV trays while watching Elf.)

(We love Elf.)
Annelise was beside herself with glee when she found her advent calendar after a super duper quick round of the hot or cold game game (truth be told, we didn't hide it very well).

What? Who's to say Lego Star Wars characters didn't celebrate the birth of Jesus?

But we're so doing our Jesse Tree advent too.

And maybe the little stocking advent too (note to self: buy treats ASAP).

That is, once Scott gets the rest of the boxes down from the attic.
Maybe, just maybe, this guy was one of the wisemen on Tatooine?

No?

I'm linking up with Jeannett, pop over there for more InstaFriday fun (even on Saturday, or whateverday).
life rearranged

12.02.2011

Spreading More Sunshine {One Act of Kindness at a Time}

November 2011 will go down in my personal history books (you know, my blog) as being one of the best months ever. Normally November gets a 3 or 4 star rating from me anyway because my birthday fell on the 22nd and Thanksgiving and all its trimmings came along right after. 

So why is this particular November getting the full 5 star rating? Because of my birthday challenge and The Happy Day Project. Practicing random and more intentional acts of kindness has been such a blessing to me (and my family) along with blessing others with happy little surprises here and there. Almost every day I'd think about what I (or we) could do for someone and then look forward to carrying that task out. If I didn't *do* an act of kindness for a few days, I realized I was crabby. I bet doing something for someone else would have zapped that crabappleness right out of me in a jiffy!

You can read about my first acts of kindness for my birthday challenge here and here. My goal was to complete at least 43 acts of kindness by my birthday (11.22). Here's what's been happening lately...
14. Returned two stray shopping carts to the corrals along with my own at Target.
15. Dropped off two dozen do-nuts (still piping hot and smelling sooo good) to our local police station (this was also a Happy Day Project task). We planned to take one dozen to our fire department and one to the police, but the fire station didn't answer their doorbell so the police ended up with both.
16. Became sponsors for Nayeli, an 8 year old girl living in Ecuador, through Compassion International. This is something we've talked about doing for the last year or more and just never did it (ugh!), but finally sat down together and Annelise played a large role in the decision process. It was hard to still see so many faces of children that need sponsors and wish we could sponsor several more. We'll see. Maybe we can.

17. Held the door for an elderly lady at the post office who was walking with a cane.

18. Annelise put quarters in the candy machines at Dollar Tree.
19. Packed a shoebox for Samaritan's Purse & Operation Christmas Child and Annelise took it to school (this is something her school does every year, love that).

20. Checked her class shoebox donations for her teacher by making sure each had shipping $, appropriate items and were evenly filled.

21. Left a Snickers bar in our mailbox with a note for our mail person. 
22. Paid for the lady's order (got off easy, she just had a large Diet Coke) behind me in the McDonald's drive-thru when I stopped for my morning coffee (cream no sugar).

23. Baked pumpkin bars for the PTF dessert giveaway at Annelise's school.

24. Helped with Annelise's 2nd grade class Thanksgiving party. Yes, I am so counting that. I was sweat.ing.

25. Assembled blessing bags with my bestest girlfriends.
26. Took dog and cat food to a local animal shelter.
27. Left two boxes of K-cups in the teacher workroom at Annelise's school. In all honesty, they were not my favorite flavors, so I was happy to pass them along and maybe someone else will like them.

28. Offered to take a couple's photo at the Grassy Knoll during my birthday extravaganza.

29. Put extra coins in the meter in front of the Texas Theater (also part of my birthday stalking).

30. Held the bathroom door for a mom wrangling with a stroller and three children at The American Girl store (birthday trip again).

31. Scott and Annelise dropped change into the Salvation Army bucket while shopping at Fry's.

And then I sort of fizzled out.

With only 12 more acts of kindness to go.

I know!

And here's where I stomp my feet and pout and whine a little and feel like a failure for not finishing my acts of kindness by my birthday. And then for not finishing them before the end of November. And then considered completely giving up, throwing in the towel, dropping the ball, waving the white flag, insert your favorite fizzle out metaphor here, and just slip myself on into some comfy sackcloth and ashes.

I even dragged my feet on posting this recap-failure update because, well, it's not so cheery to talk about  fizzling out--on an act of kindness challenge of all things

But then I changed my mind. So I didn't complete 43 acts of kindness by my 43rd birthday (or even by the end of November).

As the prolific singer Pink says, "So What?"

I'm still a rockstar...

And I will finish. I WILL. Eventually.

But I would LOVE to hear about your acts of kindness!! Whether you did one or ten or fifty, whether they were simple or elaborate, whether they cost money or were free, I'm sure they were fabulous. I'd love to hear how you felt afterwards (or during) too. You can share your experiences in the comments, through email or if you want to write a post at your own blog feel free to leave a link in the comments so we can find you. I can't wait to hear what y'all have been up to!

Plus I may need to borrow shamelessly steal some of your ideas so I can finish my 12.

So start talking.
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