Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Oh...Vegas Tree?

To say that Jason was a little surprised to find this in Cindy and Kerry's house would be an understatement.


He told everyone who would listen how, when he first saw this, he went from room to room looking for the "real" Christmas tree. This is what he wanted to do to the impostor:


(That's supposed to be an ax...I have limited skills when it comes to drawing pretend axes with photo software.) Instead, he simply referred to the tree as the "Vegas tree" every chance he got, and shook his head in disgust every time he looked at it.

[Not everyone shared his disdain for the tree. Josiah even mentioned it today, while we were taking down our tree, how EASY he thought it would be if we had the "Vegas tree." "We could be done in, like, FIVE MINUTES!" Because he's such a practical child...when he wants to be.]

And look! Cindy had plates and napkins that matched the tree! Alas, it only gave Jason something else to poke fun at. Can you tell he's her little brother? ;)


Speaking of plates...Here is Cindy's lovely table:


And, personally, even I wanted to sit at the children's table this year. See the peppermint lollipops across the swirly peppermint plates? And the centerpiece? And the snow globes for each child to take home? CUTE!

With all of the excitement, presents under the tree, cookies and candy waiting to be eaten, and simply being in another house (with a dog! who comes inside!), it was hard for Grace to settle down. But eventually, she went to sleep.

Let me tell ya...it was not a restful night. The right side of the picture is the head of the bed--she was upside down much of the night, which works fine if you're sleeping by yourself in a crib...otherwise, not so much. It even looks like her baby Emily had a rough night.

Although we did not awake fully rested, we woke later than we were expecting since the boys were busy playing Super Mario (again) after eating a nutritious breakfast of the candy that Santa left in their stockings. That's why they were so quiet.
Santa brought Grace a sweet little doll. Grace named her Miss Muffy, although no one knows why she picked that name. She is in love with this new pink baby, but Emily is still #1 in her heart.


Santa brought some water gel guns for the boys. We're gonna have to talk to Santa about that brilliant idea. Fortunately, the gel has already run out, and they never actually shot each other...that I know of.

Cindy handed out the presents in order by age--youngest to oldest. Jason repeatedly noted that, after Cara, he was the next oldest (with a difference of HOW MANY years??). He was also the one who fussed when Cindy went out of order.



Josiah opened layer after layer after layer (10 in all) of wrapping paper...



Don't worry, I'm not showing them all...but look! He's smiling through all of the unwrapping!

Ahhh! Worth the effort. An MP3 player! Whoo hoo!

I was on the ball and already had the battery fully charged (Whoo hoo! Rechargeable battery!) and loaded with music for him. This MP3 player has a built-in speaker and belt clip, so it became a tracking device for Josiah. We knew exactly where he was at all times...playing Super Mario Go-karts when he wasn't sneaking into the kitchen to get "supplies" (cookies) for him and Robert.
Is it just me, or does Robert seem more excited about a Webkinz otter

than he does about a digital camera?


Grace opened a box full of dress-up clothes, complete with "shoes wid pink ribbon on dem"--heels!! She wobbled and fell only once or twice the first day; now she can run with them on. It is entirely possible that she has already logged more time in heels than her mother has.


What do you think...future Red Hat lady? She wanted to wear her new red dress, plus some dress-up clothes, over the outfit she already had on.


Cara looks more and more like her mother Cindy every time we see her. She is growing up...beautifully.
Charlie and his girlfriend Jessica came for dinner. It was good to see them again, and Charlie was a good sport suffering through the teasing about his parachute (you know, the one I wasn't going to mention). You can see Bambi escaping from the children by perching behind Charlie's shoulder.



Christmas was full of time with family, laughter, good food, more laughter,


and the annual foosball tournament. Apparently it's a rule that the winner must strike the "Super Star" pose (think: Molly Shannon on SNL). Or maybe Cindy just gets a kick out of that...

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Overheard: Christmas Edition

Grace [bubbling over with excitement...until after 1:00 a.m.]: Dis is my furst Kissmas!

I didn't bother correcting her. :)

~~~~~

Grace [after finding out we would spend the night at her Aunt Cindy and Uncle Kerry's house]: Ya mean we gonna spend da night? Dat's a gate idea!!

Here she is pretending to sleep, in a bed that wouldn't even be hers:

~~~~~

Grace [trying to get Jessica to put her small Yorkie, Bambi, down so she could play with her]: Just put 'im down and let's see what happens!

Look at the puppy's eyes...I think that means "Leave me alone, scary children!"

~~~~~

Jessica: Cindy has the best laugh.

~~~~~

Cindy [opening the gift of a King of Queens DVD set]: I love me some Kevin James!

Jason: I don't think that sentence has ever been uttered before by anyone.

~~~~~

Robert and Josiah didn't say much...They were playing Super Mario for countless hours:



I won't mention anything (specific) about Charlie's parachute. But I really wanted to include something about Jason collapsing on the floor behind the sofa when he was overcome with laughter. Oh, well.



The drive back home...


Josiah [thirsty and offended after being offered some of my sweet tea]: Sweet tea?! I'm not a girl! I don't drink sweet tea!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A treat

I have been meaning to pass along this link to a few of you, so thought I would post it on the blog since I also meant to mention it to more of you. :)

I have not tried this recipe, but how can you go wrong with it? Let me know if you make them.

The woman who posted the recipe didn't give it a name...I'm not trying to be vague here. :)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Just a quick "Hello"

I am still knee-deep in laundry, unpacking, eating my sister-in-law's cake, and trying my best to get to bed before 1:00 a.m., but I wanted to share a couple of links with you.

My imaginary friend Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer wrote this.

My imaginary friend Melanie, a.k.a. Big Mama, wrote this.

Please read them! I hope you had a merry Christmas! And you can ask little Grace about those 1:00 a.m. nights I've had...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Joy to the World!



Joy to the world is not produced by consuming or purchasing or the things that we possess, nor is it found in their absence, or lack. Joy is a person, and that person is Jesus. He sowed tears of joy and sadness. He brings joy from our tears and fills our hearts with gladness at his coming. Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes in the morning. Joy to the world!



Please follow the link to read the article this quote is an excerpt from. Pastor John included portions as part of his sermon on Sunday.
Merry Christmas!

Twirly skirts!

Over the last couple of days, I took time to sew some little dress-up skirts for Grace as one of her Christmas presents. She already has one I made her, which she modeled on the blog--and in Wal-mart--when she looked like a strange little fairy (skirt over sweatpants, mittens hanging from her coat sleeves, lots of flitting around).




The first one I made this week was nearly as sheer as the one she already has, so I made another one that she will be encouraged to wear underneath. This was what I finished yesterday:





I used two too-large shirts that I had received through Freecycle, cut them to the size I needed, and used the bottom of the shirts as the bottom of the skirt so part of the job was already done. I cut the skirts as long as would fit Grace now as a long skirt, and used enough elastic to simultaneously fit her well now and fit her well when she's Josiah's size. They will fit her for a few years, if the skirts last that long.



I am still working on sewing some bean bags for Josiah and Grace--a set for each of them. Nothing like working on Christmas gifts up until the last minute...

Want to see what I made last year? A cute dog bed for Josiah's toys. Pure madness on my part.



I used some flag-patterned fabric I've had for a while, very worn (and very thin, easy to sew) maternity jeans, portions of Jason's khaki's that were unrepairable (for the back of the bottom portion, since the flag-patterned fabric is very thin). The denim portion is stuffed with the filling from an old, clean pillow that had been washed way too many times.

Once I got started, I wished that my sewing skills kept pace with my imagination a little better. And I wished that I could sew it on a machine instead of entirely by hand. And I wished that the pattern I had in my head was smaller. But it turned out beautifully.

Bet you've never seen a manatee or a walrus in a pet bed before. :)




On a more serious note, please head over here to read ideas about thoughtful gifts from Shannon's readers at Rocks in My Dryer. And bring a tissue. You will need it.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

To sleep, perchance to dream *

Each of my children have had trouble stay in his or her own bed and sleeping through the night. After dealing with this to various degrees for over 11 years, I am desparate to have my youngest sleep all night. Grace starts off in her own bed (still the crib), but ends up in ours sometime during the early morning hours, right when I'm a zombie and can't say anything but a sleepy "OK," because I'm delusional and believe at the moment that if only I let her get in bed with us, we would all sleep.

I figure we're making progress, though...Robert would have slept in our bed until he was at least 6 if we'd let him--maybe longer. (Don't tell him that I told you this!) And Josiah slept in our bed (or on a pallet on our floor) until he was 3. So it's gradually getting better, right?

Right?!

Grace recently said (repeatedly), "I don['t] like my kib" (translation: "I want to sleep with you") so I thought of making her something she could sleep with that she loves. She has a rainbow colored sundress that she loved in the summer and it's too small to fit her when it warms up again, so that became my project: I made the rainbow sundress into a rainbow pillow for her to sleep with.


I sewed along the arm holes and across the neckline, leaving the straps hanging out like loops. I took an old, clean pillow that I had previously taken out a good bit of the stuffin' to use in some other project, put the dress over it like a pillowcase, and sewed it closed with several darts at the hemline. I plan to go back and put some snaps or other closure to replace the darts, when I can find that sewing bag. Or, more likely, I'll cross that bridge when I am ready to wash the "pillowcase."

It is cute; it was quick and easy, even by hand; it doesn't ruin the dress in any way (rip out my stitches and it's ready to wear again); it has cute loops to hold onto while dragging it everywhere...and Grace could not care less about it.


But she is sleeping through the night in her "kib" most nights now! I promised her that she could have a bath every day if she slept in her crib "until it's light outside." She loves baths, and doesn't normally get one every day. Hey...whatever works.


The first morning after this promise, I happily reminded Grace, "You slept all night in your crib!" She looked up at me with big eyes and asked, "Do I get a baff?!" Then the second morning, she said, "Momma, I seep all night in my kib...Do I get anudder baff?"

And she will sleep with the rainbow pillow now. She doesn't completely ignore it like before. She even knows how to use it as a stalling tactic..."But, Momma, I need you ta get my rainbow pih-woh."

"And then get me da medicine to make my feet feel all better."


Um....yeah.

~~~~~

* Ever wonder how many phrases we commonly use came from Shakespeare? Well, OK, maybe not...but if you're curious, you can go here and check it out at The Phrase Finder.

The Christmas Pageant



Did I ever tell you the time that Robert was about 5 years old and sang with the children's choir at Christmas? He was standing next to a boy who was just a little older than he was and they just rubbed each other the wrong way--always had. I always had to keep them separate when I taught them in Sunday School. The children were singing a song and "rocking" baby Jesus in their arms...only Robert and the other boy were swinging their craddled arms very solidly into each other, in time to the music. This boy was a stockier kid than Robert, but Robert gave as good as he got. (Not something I'm proud of...I'm just sayin'...He wasn't innocently on the receiving end.) And, of course, they were right out in front, so the Christmas assault was in full view of everyone in the congregation.

Jason and I were slouched down in our seats--or maybe we were doubled over and trying really hard not to let anyone hear us laughing! (I can't say that we were successful.)

They were never placed next to each other during performances after that. I recently talked with the other boy's mom and (fortunately) we both laughed about this particular memory!

~~~~~

Our Christmas program Sunday night was not nearly as exciting as that particular Christmas (whew!). The music was absolutely beautiful and gave you goose bumps, and all of the children kept their hands--and elbows--to themselves during their songs. ;)
Josiah is the second blurry child on the left.

The adult choir:


Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Overheard: The Grace Edition

Grace, sitting next to two women she has just met for the first time at our Christmas celebration last weekend with my side of the family: "I gonna win!" (She was talking about winning with eating...finishing her meal before the women finished theirs. Can you tell she has two older brothers? Make that two highly competitive older brothers?)

Later that day, Grace was running around shouting gleefully at one of these women because the woman commented that Grace was such a big girl: "No, I little! I little!"

She's really good at making first impressions.

~~~~~

Grace, while we were riding around one evening looking at Christmas lights: "But I don't wanna ride 'round lookin' at da lights! I wanna go in a house with lots of FOOD!"

~~~~~

Grace, singing what she heard in a Christmas song: "Cinnamon is going to town! Cinnamon is going to town!"

She has since been corrected, but not before I was able to capture her version on video.


videoAdd Video

And "Jingle Bells." When she's done singing, she's done and runs it all together.


video

~~~~~

Last night, Grace was pretending to talk on the phone, and I asked her who she was talking to. She answered me, "May-ree," and then continued on with her pretend conversation..."Sooo, how's da baby?" (Baby Jesus, that is.)

"Away in a Manger," girly-girl style, with lots and lots of head-tilting and, unfortunately, not a lot of volume as she sings that "The little Lord Jesus did lay down his sweet head":

video

Merry Christmas!

Overheard: The December Edition

Josiah: Did you hear me singing in the bathroom?! I was singing and brushing my teeth at the same time!

Me: Then you weren't brushing very well.

Josiah [with that all-knowing look on his face]: Oh, I know how to brush and sing at the same time. You brush where you aren't moving very much.

???

His strange technique (plus our vigilance) must pay off--he got a very good report from the dentist this month!

~~~~~

Grace [mad at me]: Well, I'm not playing any games with you anymore!

~~~~~

Grace [stalling at bedtime]: But, Momma, I need some medicine to make muh feet feel better...da kind dat tastes beary good. It's pink and has a gull [girl] playin' wid a ball on it.

Now she has allergy medicine bottles memorized?

~~~~~

Grace [mad about being put to bed without getting the medicine she requested...to make her feet feel better]: Then I take my socks off!

Me [unconcerned]: OK. Take off your socks.

Grace [now shocked and appalled at the suggestion]: But my toes will get beary cold!

~~~~~

Robert [completing a grammar assignment that required him to write an interrogatory sentence]: Why do I have to do this boring grammar stuff?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Santa's little helper

Grace...or, rather, Ganma has been helping me wrap Christmas presents.

And by "helping," I mean she is trying to take over the whole operation.

She started by carrying some empty boxes and wrapping paper to our Christmas present wrapping station, which we call the living room floor.


There she retained total control over the wrapping paper and tape. See her outfit? Pink dress, pink socks, and red sweatpants. She misses all of her pretty summer dresses, so she's been taking avantage of the warmer temps we've had over the last week.


"If you want Ganma to hand you the tape, you say, 'Ganma, puh-lease hand me da tape now.'"



"Whoo hoo! I even get to put tape on the presents!"


Merry Christmas, y'all!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

It's not easy being the Tooth Fairy

Sigh...The poor Tooth Fairy has to deal with so much these days. It's just not like it was when I was a kid and children were content to get $.25 or even less in exchange for each lost tooth. Nowadays, the Tooth Fairy is apt to run into notes such as these...at least in my house:


(Name removed to protect the greedy child's identity. And, yes, he does know that the words he used were not numbers or single letters, and that he should spell them out correctly. He also knows the correct usage of "a" vs. "an." I guess it's all to be "cool"...or maybe he thinks the Tooth Fairy is not the Grammar Fairy, so he figured it didn't matter. But if he knew that this was making it onto the blog, he would care. And not about the grammatical errors. So...um...please don't mention this to him!)

Not surprisingly, the child's tooth remains untouched by the Tooth Fairy. I don't blame her...Why risk it?

P.S. Thank you to everyone who voted for me in the Christmas tree decorating contest! I appreciate your votes! :) And congratulations to Lori Downs (#24 in the contest listing), who won by a landslide! :)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Please vote for me!

Voting has begun for the Christmas tree decorating contest! We've just been running around too much the last few days for me to post anything about it. :)

I surprised even myself by getting the Christmas tree up last week. (You can see our tree here.) I'm usually a put-it-off-as-long-as-possible kind of gal, since the younger one(s) are usually so bent on destroying exploring every inch of the tree. I was hoping that Grace would be my little policewoman and prevent anyone from even thinking about touching any ornaments...she's really good at that kind of thing all on her own. She seems to have in mind that her brothers need a lot of help to stay out of trouble. I wonder why?

Grace is not policing the Christmas tree, however. She's more like the ringleader of the destruction exploration team. Oh, I joke. Seriously, she has been the best-behaved two year old we've ever had near our tree.

Since I managed to get the tree up early this year, I thought I would enter this Christmas tree decorating contest just for fun! Please go here, scroll all the way down to the comment box all the way down at the bottom of the page, and vote for me (#28) by leaving a comment. The information you enter for your name will be displayed with your comment (so you can use first name only, initials, an alias...) but your email address will not be shown.

Will you tell your friends and family to vote for me, too...pretty please?

You can vote once a day through December 16th. Thank you! I think that's the end of my shameless begging. :)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A rainbow!

When we had a brief downpour this afternoon, I went outside to tell the boys to stop playing basketball in the rain (ahem) and saw a rainbow beyond where they were playing. They were so busy being goofy they hadn't noticed. :)


The colors were light at first, with not all of the colors visible, then the rainbow's colors intensified briefly before fading away.



Bible Quiz

This morning, two of the kids had an impromptu Bible quiz over cereal bowls.

#1: OK, where was Daniel put?

#2: In the lions' cave.

#1: Hmmm..."cave" is OK. The Bible calls it the lions' den, but I'll take "cave." Now, was Daniel goofy, a fun guy to play with, or someone who prayed to God?

#2: Prayed to God.

#1: Right! Now, was Daniel a young man or an old man when he was in the lions' den?

#2: Old man.

#1: Right! Why didn't the lions eat Daniel?

#2: 'Cause their mouths were shut.

#1: Who shut their mouths?

#2: The angel.

This was Josiah quizzing Grace! He told her the story of Daniel in the lions' den yesterday (probably several times, knowing Josiah) and was reviewing it with her this morning!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Oh, Christmas tree!

*Update: Please read the section at the bottom of this post! If you like my tree, please consider going here to vote for me (#28) in an online Christmas tree decorating contest. Thank you!*

Welcome to my home! This is the first time I have participated in BooMama's Christmas Tour of Homes, and I am so excited! This is the earliest I've ever gotten my Christmas tree up, and I can't tell you how much my children and husband appreciate it. Plus, I have the added bonus of not hearing, "Soooo...Have you thought about putting the tree up?" every other day.

The first (and easiest) of the Christmas decorations to go up was the wreath, with the beautiful bow given to me last year by my friend Brenda:



I brought out the nativity scene my parents gave us...I think it was the Christmas I was pregnant with Robert. No broken pieces...yet...despite the persistent efforts of Robert and Josiah.


The tree was decorated with a lot of help from the younger two. :) I tend to want to put every ornament we have on the tree, but I left many in the boxes this year. I just ran out of steam.


Do any of you group your ornaments in any way, or is it just me? I did this unintentionally for several years...now I don't fight it and do it on purpose. :) Certain ones have a magnetic pull towards other certain ones.



Anyone care to guess how old the Santa in the green suit is? Or the Santa in the hot air balloon (whose face you can't see very well)? My mom made the red Christmas tree and the pink ball ornaments, probably when I was a toddler. Somehow most of the pins and beads stayed in all of these years, despite my persistent efforts as a child.


Here is the Georgia section:


Here are our three White House ornaments as well as the Olympics ornament my mom bought in 1996 when the Olympics came to Athens.



The Olympic flame "flickers" and there is a small button at the back that, when pressed, plays the theme of the Olympics. This has been a kid favorite for all of the years we've had it on our tree. Josiah currently holds the fascination with this ornament, and plays it "for Grace." Guess how many times I hear that little tune every day? And, no, we don't have connections to the White House. You can find these beautiful ornaments on eBay. :)

My aunt painted the Santa (in the 1980s?), and my mom painted the cute little dalmation in 1974. (I had a dalmation named Lady at the time.) The Holly Hobby ornament is from my elementary school days.



The angel that tops the tree:



Isn't it beautiful?

Awww...






Just for fun...OK, not just for fun--I really would like to win and receive a Zune MP3 player. ;) I am participating in a Christmas tree decorating contest! Please vote for me! :) Tell your friends to vote for me! :) You can click on the new button on my sidebar or the link above for more information about the contest. Voting starts on Saturday, December 13th, and runs until Friday, December 16th. You can vote once daily through Friday. Thank you so much!

* You have to vote over there within the comments section, not here at my blog. Thanks again! And I apologize for all of the shameless begging! :)
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