Sunday, January 13, 2019

north for the winter

By the 4th of this month, we had 1,212 travel miles under our belt. Annabelle settled back with her snack like she's done this flight seven times before. 
When we arrived in Massachusetts, Annabelle shivered and said, "Mama, it's so shakey (chilly) here!" We've been in the south too long! As if her reaction to the completely normal winter weather wasn't proof enough, she used "y'all" in a sentence for the first time today. My attempts at northern indoctrination have not been strong enough. At least she likes snow.
Erika told us about a store "that sells plants and succulents." What an understatement. It was a lush garden created in an old warehouse. Plants were everywhere. Taxidermy animals were around every corner. There were shells, gemstones, rugs and decor. Everything had a hefty price tag. Annabelle walked in and immediately knocked over a squirrel. I thought we would be kicked out immediately.
"I give the bear kisses!"
AB and Ivy are better friends than ever. Each visit the age gap gets smaller and they play together more and more. We had a mini Aunt Camp and at one point Erika and I were in the living room drinking coffee and the little girls were upstairs playing by themselves. We didn't have anyone in diapers or on a 3-hour feeding schedule. It was wonderful.
Annabelle was happy to help, aka supervise and take over, as Ivy opened a gift. She confidently told Christopher, "I'm going to babysit Baby Ivy. I babysitted Brennyn so I know how to babysit Ivy."
I was able to see both Autumn and Ivy on this visit. Unfortunately, we didn't get to visit at the same time, but they were both willing to drive up to Mom's new house for short visits. Autumn and I had been planning a trip to Primark for weeks. When we arrived at the mall, Autumn drove around the parking lot repeating, "I don't know where the parking garage went! It was here last time I was here! How can a parking garage disappear?!" Because we were at the wrong mall, that's how. We intended to go to the Banks Mall but ended up at the Brooks Mall. I'm glad to report I was not the navigator so I was not the reason we were lost. 
Grandma's 91st birthday is Tuesday but we celebrated her today. I loved seeing all my relatives. Grandma collects snowglobes so Annabelle made her a plastic one. Naturally, AB helped unwrap it and gave a steady stream of comments about it. She also prepared a birthday song, birthday speech and birthday prayer for Grandma but she didn't have the time or audience to perform them yet. 
I hope I can be half the woman that Grandma is.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Sesame Says, Edition 4

I love how AB mispronounces words. Nativity became "activity." Penpals is now "pen paddles."

"Mom, what do you love best after God?"
"I love you and Daddy. What do you love best?"

"I love appetizers."
On a night she was having trouble sleeping.
"I know why I can't sleep! It's because I'm not a jew!"

"These cats are a serious ball of arms and legs!"

As she gets ready to go to swimming lessons.
"I can braveness and strength in my feet."

"Mama, how many is a dozen?"
"Twelve. So if you have a dozen apples you have twelve apples. If you have a dozen doughnuts you have twelve doughnuts."
"So, a dozen is thirteen?"


We're planning on doing foster care and Annabelle found out before we intended her to. She's had several questions.
"How do you get a foster care baby? Does a foster care lady or man or whatever it is, do they hand out babies or do you have to go to a factory for one?"
(If babies could be gotten at a factory, I'd be a frequent customer.)

Telling a story about how her friend offered to help her up the steps.
"I told her I didn't need help. I've been climbing stairs for YEARS!"


Monday, December 31, 2018

Seven things we should not take into the new year

It's that time again. Instead of listing out the best moments of my year, I'd like to discuss what should not be part of my world in 2019.

+. Using the letter V instead of ''very''. "It was v. good." "I'm v. cold." WRITE THE WHOLE WORD. It's not that hard!

+ The reappearance of shoulder pads in jackets. Kohl's had an entire section of shoulder pad jackets and it brought me back to some dark days of my youth.

+ All white homes and decor. Colors were made to be enjoyed! Add some color to your home instead of making it look like everything was dipped in bleach.

+ Taking videos while driving. This particularly applies to Instagram. It doesn't matter if you're recording while sitting at a red light. I guarantee you can wait another 10 minutes to share a link with the sweater you wore to the party yesterday.

+ Being sent an email confirming I unsubscribed after I went through the work to unsubscribe.

+ Let's simmer down with everything being mermaid-themed.

+ Being gluten free by choice. As someone who eats a 90% gf diet because I am genuinely allergic to wheat and rye, I feel qualified to speak on this. It's not cool. I don't know why anyone would WANT this lifestyle. Take advantage of all the wheat full opportunities you have. You only live once so you might as well eat that box of pasta. Don't get me started on dairy free by choice. Long live cheese!


Sunday, December 30, 2018

Tis the season, 2018

Here we are, two days before the new year and I'm just now getting around to blogging about Christmas. I've followed this same timeframe for the last 10 years so why mess with tradition now?

Mom and the twins arrived at our house the night before Christmas Eve. I treated them to a Hallmark movie that night because what says Christmas like a predictable love story and fake snow? 

We went to a Christmas Eve service this year. I didn't go to church the night before Christmas until I was married but I think it's a beautiful new tradition. We planned to attend a service I thought was at 5:30 but found out at 4:50 was really at 5 o'clock. Since we ended up with a few extra minutes I had Aaron take a family picture of us. I love Aaron but he is not a skilled photographer. He points the camera in the general direction of the subjects and pushes the button. It was a horrible angle and I looked awful. I hadn't tried on my outfit before that night and thought I looked awful but I didn't have any other options so I had to wear it. I have been so self-conscious lately about how I look. I took one look at the picture and started to cry. And cry and cry. I wanted to be thinner. I wanted the rest of the family to be here. I was having a third Christmas without a new baby. It was a straw that broke the camels back situation. This is just the holly, jolly Christmas recap you came here for! 
 I pulled myself together and we got to the service with a few minutes to spare. 

My dainty daughter hiccuped and coughed through the entire holy service. A lady on the end of the row in front of us heard the commotion and all my shushing (the whole church did) and passed us a box of mints. This was the first year Annabelle paid attention to the candlelit portion of the service and needless to say she had a million questions. How would it be lit? Would the whole church burn down? Could she take the candle home? Would I have a candle too? Did we have to share candles? Would it be hot? Could she hold it? Who was going to lit it? Would it hurt when it was lit? 
This was the fifth year in a row AB wore this dress. I'll make her wear it until college.
Growing up we always did the same thing for Christmas. We went to one uncle's for Christmas Eve and a different relatives house for Christmas Day. I felt almost lost trying to decide how to make our own traditions. One tradition I carried over was making artichoke dip. It isn't a holiday without hot dip! After the service, we ate, played games and played music together. Aaron played the keyboard, Christopher played the drums and Annabelle passed out instruments for the music basket for the rest of us. I don't want to boast. But I'm a mean tambourine shaker. It was so fun.

For Christmas, Annabelle made Christopher a little book about their Saturday morning tradition. Almost every week they go to Daddy, Daughter Breakfasts while I sleep in. It's a tradition we all enjoy. She wrote the pictures and told me what to write on each page. Look how she's looking at him! It melts my heart.
One page in the book was stickers that reminded her of him. "I think Daddy needs a bear sticker because we're a bear family. And a soda sticker! Are there any library stickers? But Dad doesn't go to the library because he reads books we already have and read them on his phone and the couch and, yeah. I think a movie sticker is good too. Can we buy some stickers for me too?"
Last year Annabelle started asking for a marble track. For whatever reason we didn't give her one last year so I wanted to be sure we did it this year. We also got her a bike. We have a large yard but much much for her to do outside. We don't have a place for her to do chalk and no paved driveway for her to drive the tricycle. She can ride this bike on the dirt patches and, bonus points, stick her babies in the little seat in the back and take them for a ride.
For Christmas dinner, I planned on making our traditional four-course Italian meal. Turns out it's easier when there are seven aunts around to help. I made antipasto, chicken soup, and ravioli and saved the roast beef for another night. I use only the finest family heirloom dishes. 
Just kidding. They're from Dollar Tree.

I hope your Christmas was full of joy and cookies and free of tears. I ate more cookies than should be allowed but Christmas comes only once a year so I live it up while I can.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

(barely) decked halls, 2018

I almost gave up on Christmas decorating this year. More accurately, I decided it might be easier to skip on by Christmas entirely. 

I ADORE Christmas. I always have. Last year, my cozy New York house was a new high in Christmas decor. I loved how everything looked. It was glowing, sparkling, and smelled with happiness. 

Back in the glory days of my favorite house.
This year I had boxes of Christmas decorations, fake trees, bags for Goodwill, Amazon boxes and laundry lined up behind the couch in the living room. I couldn't find half the things I wanted. I couldn't get any of it under control. I can't make heads or tails of decorating in this house on a good day, let alone December. I don't have a mantle or even stairs to hang stockings on. Things literally fall off the walls. I'm a perfectionist by nature and it always gets worse around holidays. Everywhere I looked on blogs or Instagram I saw perfectly done houses and mine felt like a wreck. Not many people here put up lights so yet another tradition (driving through neighborhoods while drinking hot chocolate) was falling apart. So I gave up for a few days. I didn't have the energy or the desire to do much of anything. Eventually, I pulled myself on by my bootstraps because stuff had to be done and I want to give my family a nice Christmas. I'm not in love with how things turned out, but I'm so glad I made myself do it.

For our theme tree this year we chose to make an Amelia Bedelia tree. We combined the two trees we saw in her books- one with pompoms and lots of round ornaments, and the other that had a mirror on top with a sign that said "see the star" underneath. Our first mirror broke and I didn't make a long enough pompom garland so it's a bit wonky, but Amelia Bedelia herself is the definition of wonky. 
Our regular tree has more ornaments every year. I read an article about a woman who has 400 trees and we might have her beat in a few years if we keep collecting ornaments at this rate. One of my favorite things to do this time of year is sit near the tree in the living room with all the other lights off. It's so peaceful.
 I got the little houses on sale at a thrift store for 75 cents each. Don't say I'm not a big spender!
I love creative little salt and pepper shakers. Christopher gave me these penguins a few years ago.
I bought this set as a Christmas gift to myself. I don't care about cars but I love red and green pickups at Christmastime. Sadly, the cats are no respecters of my beloved items and they broke the truck this morning.
Speaking of Linus George and Lucille Barbara, they've figured out how to climb the Christmas tree. They were not part of my original theme.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

season's snapshots

Cinnamon playdough and cookie cutter gifts for her school friends.
Linus and Lucy, always on high alert under the tree.
Sesame had been asking for an elf all season and my aunt mailed her one as a surprise.
She loves it.
All ready for her first school Christmas concert!