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Entries in life together (68)


I've Said It Before...I Can't Help It

I can't help it that she looks so cute when she's walking down the sidewalk in a hat with stegasaurus lumps on top...

Or that the blue in her hat and coat bring out her eyes in an amazing way...

Or that she has the sweetest cheeks...

Or that her nose is so adorable...

Or that she just stops and looks so precious that I have to capture the moment, the expression.  EVERY. SINGLE.  TIME.

She's getting so big, I can't believe it, and I want to remember each thing that she does...

from going down the slide all by herself to swinging on the big swings..."faster, faaasterrr!!"


I tried to get these two...

but they were pretty busy, and mostly running in the field afar off...

They are almost nine and seven.  She's headed that way.  It's fast, and everyone told me it would be so...just one of those true things.  Some days you wish it were faster!  But some days you want it to slow down. 

Today was a good day.


All I Want For Christmas Is a Photograph...

Maybe I'll just let these pictures speak for themselves...(probably I won't though...I always have something to say)

One is either missing...

not looking...

getting the heck out of dodge...


or any number of miscellaneous, non-picture-taking activities.

Feel free to name the following photo...I would love it.

"Uh...Where do I go for a picture?"


Can I blame it on the hot chocolate?!


"Oh, Christmas Tree, Oh, Christmas Tree"...WHERE ARE YOU?!

We set out on our quest to find the perfect Christmas tree for our family this year on Friday, December 11, 2009.  We had no idea all that this journey would hold for us, the adventures on which we would embark, the discoveries that we would make.

Well, it probably wasn't quite that dramatic, but it did take a little longer than any of us anticipated!  Here is our story, in pictures and a few words...

We began at Home Depot...and the kids were just as excited about the horses and carriages that were using the parking lot as a home base as they were about getting a Christmas tree.

Once we entered the tree yard, it was hard to tell what these trees were really like.  They were either wrapped up in twine, or lying down on their sides.

How about this one?

Well...maybe we'll look for one a little bigger than that!

Aaand of course someone has to go potty...any guesses as to who?

(Sorry about the blur...I was trying to figure out the best setting on which to take pictures since it was dark and had passed the camera over to Mike.  It's not his fault.)

We decided that we would check out Lowe's across the street.

So, on to place number two.  They have "Fresh-Cut Christmas Trees"...that's promising!

They were fine, but a little on the small side, so we decided to check out one more place that a friend had told us about.

It was very dark by now, and dinner time.  We were driving separately (I had already loaded the kids up in the van, and Mike drove into our driveway and said,"The truck makes sense for a Christmas tree."  So we drove two vehicles.) and when I pulled into the parking lot of this third location, Mike walked over to the car and I rolled down the window.  "You guys...this is the place we want to buy our tree!" he said.  He paused and then continued,"But it's closed."  I think we all groaned.  We decided to go out to eat dinner, then head home, and then try again in the morning.

It was actually after noon by the time we headed out.

This time we left all together.  This is what Eliana thought about riding in Daddy's truck.

It is a pretty sweet ride.

Our destination...a nursery, and we thought we had hit the jackpot.  What we discovered, however, was that we needed to actually hit the jackpot in order to buy a tree here.  The lowest price we saw was $199, and the highest we saw was $695.  They probably had trees higher than that, but we stopped looking.

Eliana was so sure that this little guy was coming home with her.   She said,"This mine!"  She says that a lot these days.  I tell you what, she has the two-year-old thing down pat!

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."

I couldn't resist.

All right.  We decided soon enough that this was not the place for us to get our tree.  We got back on the road without any real clue where we were headed, and told the kids to look for trees.  As we immediately passed several trees in yards and along the side of the road, you know, actually growing in their spots, Christian of course said,"Tree...tree...tree...tree...tree..."  We clarified.  "Christmas trees for sale."

Finally we saw a giant blown-up snowman (and when I say giant, think along the lines of Macy's Day Parade floats) next to a crane holding two fir trees up in the air.  I thought that looked like it might be a place where we could find some Christmas trees!  (Yes, that's me-Sherlock Holmes.)

This Christmas tree search was proving to be exhausting.

But we forged on.

Here was a beautiful tree...

Let's check the tag...

Well...that is a bit high for the Walkers. 

But wait!  What is that I hear?  Such heavenly music...and I see a ray of light shining down upon a lone tree...

The kids went running and yelling,"This is the perfect tree!  We found the perfect tree!"

We all checked it out, and it was a good looking tree and definitely less than $400.  Bonus!

The kids urged us to go tell the folks up at the front right away, before someone came and took our tree!  They were very worried about this.

But we were triumphant in claiming this perfect specimen of fir tree fit for Christmas ornaments and lights like no other tree we had seen!

And we drove it home, brought it inside, and began stringing the lights.  Eliana was beside herself!

The kids had a very good time putting lights on this tree, and once it was inside we were so glad that this was the one we ended up with.  It fits just right.  It's lovely.

And this child is just a goose.  That's all I have to say about her.

A goose.

It got a bit late, and so we'll have to finish decorating tomorrow.  I can't wait.  I love hanging ornaments, and it's so much fun to watch the kids have such a good time making the tree pretty, making it ours.


It's All About Order Around Here

Like...In order for some people in this house to settle down...

and in order for them to finally go to sleep...

they feel the need to be near mommy...

and in order for mommy to get the things done she needs to get done, for this night...


And that's an order!


(Obviously, I showed them who's boss...)

(In case anyone is worried...I did move Eliana to bed-like, a real bed-shortly after this.)

(Why, yes!  I would be honored to accept a nomination for Mother-of-the-Year!  Thank you, and what a nice surprise!)


Lows and Highs (Some Sugar Induced...)

You know how it return from vacation and have to face the regularly scheduled program.  There is the early morning rush to get to school the next day (after a very late night), there are at least three mountains of laundry to conquer, there is a refrigerator to restock.  On top of all that, there are NO cousins to entertain your children, there are NO mothers-in-law (or mothers, depending on where you've been!) to cook the meals, there are NO sisters-in-law with which to laugh, and share stupid stories, and run around pulling off crazy shenanigans like getting all six of the younger cousins to a portrait studio just hours before your flight since that is the last chance you have to do it on this particular trip and you forgot until today.  (We thought we had already said our goodbyes the day before, and so they were wild.  I'm sure the photographer closed the studio once we left so she could go home and take a shower.  She had to work for her money during that shoot...)

Grandma also let them help her decorate the Christmas tree and then made cookies the day we left...we squeezed in a lot before heading to the airport.  It was a lot of fun, but on the heels of such good times quickly follows...


This week has been a long one, and not entirely awful, but definitely hard.  It's hard to go from sunny Florida to...

snowy Dallas!  The morning after we got home, we were greeted with a little snowfall.  It was very pretty, really, but so cold outside!  Even though we only live a few houses down from Christian's school, Mike drove us over that morning.

**Fast forward through the week-lots of laundry, a run to the grocery store, crock-pot cooking**

Christian had a little boy over this afternoon, which was a spontaneous thing...he was supposed to come over just before we left for our trip, but Michaela had a fever, so we postponed the playdate.  Today during the class stitching the two boys asked their respective mothers if they could,"Please, please, please have a playdate?!?!?!"  I told her that it was fine if her little man came home with me for a bit after school, and so it was arranged.

Later I took the girls to a craft store in order to get some more thread for the stitching and some yarn for a project Michaela had in mind.  Whilst walking down the aisle a little cake pan caught my eye and suddenly I was given a vision of what to do this afternoon with those boys.  The pan was a mini-cake pan, with Christmas trees and gingerbread men and it seemed like the perfect idea to bake the little cakes and let the boys decorate them.  Michaela, too.  Not that they would decorate Michaela, but that Michaela would also decorate the cakes.

Aren't you glad I clarify these things?

We got to the cash register only to notice that we had the wrapper for the yarn, but no yarn.  Eliana had apparently left it behind somewhere in the store.  Since I had the bar code, I was able to go ahead and pay for everything and then go look for the yarn.  This is my life...I am the master of efficiency.

When we got home I got the cake batter ready. 

I went and picked the guys up from school, and they played for a bit while I finished baking.  Once the cakes were done, they decorated to their hearts' content.  When they were done the conversation went something like this (regarding the gingerbread men):

Christian (pointing to all the red parts):  This is the blood.  (I guess he had been wounded.)

Christian's friend:  Mine has lots of blood!  (I suppose he, too, had been injured.)

Michaela:  There is no blood on mine.  (He was missing a leg, though, since she had daintily eaten that part.)

Ah, no gender related stereotypical behavior going on here.  Uh-uh, no way.  And then right after they finished decorating the boys took off, shooting their finger-guns at all the bad guys, and sneaking around looking like they were doing something very bad (I never found out what).  Michaela went back to cutting out snowflakes and decorating those with glitter glue.  

Speaking of glitter glue, we had to give Eliana a lesson on how glitter glue is not the same thing as decorative icing, since both were on the table in similar tubes, yet only one is edible. (Well, according to some.  The glue might taste better than the decorative icing.  I didn't do a full-blown experiment, though, so I have no definitive answer as far as the debate might go.)  She's a quick study, so everything was all right.  

Before all of the decorating started, Eliana taught me a lesson as well.  I should never underestimate a toddler's ability to reach all manner of heights when highly motivated.  I was at the oven and heard her say,"It's a boy!"  No one was giving birth in my kitchen so I smartly assumed that she had discovered the gingerbread men cakes.  (Just call me Sherlock, folks.)


She told me she was eating the boy.  "She's a man-eater!  Watch out or she'll chew you up..."  Just a little heads up for all the young fellas out there. 

While she was eating her cake I mixed up some frosting for the big kids.

Then they came running.  It was fun (for the most part!).  Christian and Michaela quarrelled about I-don't-know-what.  I'm sure that Christian's friend thought he had gone to the nut-house, between their arguing and my sweeping up the crumbs constantly (they were sticking on my socks...yuck).  He quietly decorated his cakes, glancing at the two of them every now and then. 

Once Christian's friend went home, we set about hanging up some snowflakes that Michaela and Christian had made since our real snow was long gone.

This is what Christian took...

and this is what Michaela took...

It's so fun to see the pictures they take.  Except when they're better than mine.

And now I have the biggest mess you ever saw in my kitchen to clean up.  Who knew that making mini-cakes made such a massive disaster?  I think I need to write someone about that...Wilton, maybe?  Mini-cakes should lead to mini-disasters.  Who's with me?!