Sunday, December 31, 2017

Parade of Christmas Clothes, 2017

I'm sure these yearly posts (2014, 2015, 2016) of Sesame's clothes are a snoozefest to most but I can't stop, won't stop until she protests. Even then I might not stop. Those who don't enjoy smocked dresses or curly hair need not continue reading.

I bought this snowman outfit from a blog friend two years ago and it was dress length. I'm pretty sure this was the last year it will fit her. 
I only bought two new Christmas outfits this year, one of which was this smocked tree outfit. It came with the cutest ruffly red pants that are too big and kept sliding off her bum, revealing to all the world that she still wears diapers. Apparently cute is more important to me than modesty because she wore it to church anyway. 
This is the other new outfit I bought. It's a real shame she wasn't more excited about it.
I think we might get one more Christmas out of my favorite red dress. I bought it when I was pregnant and didn't know the gender of the baby. It was too cute to pass up so I got it just in case I had a girl. I though the baby was a boy because I have no mother's intuition. I'm not one bit sorry I was wrong.
Trip down the Red Christmas Dress memory lane.
If I look at tiny bald Sesame I get too emotional about how fast she's growing. I'm going to go buy outfits for next year to cheer myself up. Long live retail therapy.

Friday, December 29, 2017

home for the holidays

Last Friday I was sitting my living room in New York enjoying my Christmas tree one last night. Tonight all my earthly belongings are on a moving truck on their way to Georgia. We're no longer occupants of the NY house and we can't get into the Georgia house until Monday. Much like Mary and Joseph, we are homeless travelers and there is no place for us to rest our heads.

That's not entirely true. Annabelle will always find a place to rest her head.
Last Saturday we said goodbye to our house. I cried buckets because I hate change and Annabelle comforted me with statements such as, "Why should we say goodbye to our house? That's silly." I can always count on her to be sympathetic! We left the house and started the drive to Massachusetts for Christmas. It was snowing and we didn't go over 45mph for hours. It took us 7 hours to reach the NY/MA line. Normally the whole trip takes 7-8 hours but it took over 11. Annabelle was so good. She listened to stories and watched more shows than I normally like but anything to survive. We made a pit stop at Chickfila at 9pm to burn off some energy. AB burned off energy. I wanted to fall asleep on the play area bench. 

Fast forward to Christmas Eve with all our relatives. I so love Christmas Eve next door. It's changed some over the years as people have died or joined the family but overall its the same. We always sing Christmas carols before opening gifts. It's a different order every year but Grandma insists we end with Silent Night. Baby Ivy helped her dad with the more difficult songs.
The next morning we opened gifts in our matching Christmas pajamas. Annabelle got a building set and woodworking bench from her grandparents. She's THRILLED to be doing woodworking like daddy.
I barely took pictures Christmas because I was hit with the plague and/or stress sickness and lost my voice thanks to a horrible cough. I try to live a life of generosity and so I shared the plague with those nearest and dearest to me. It's been the gift that keeps on giving.

This was Sesame's fourth Christmas in her red smocked dress. I plan on her wearing it until she's at least 18.
I hope your Christmas was full of joy and free of germs.

Monday, December 25, 2017

from us to you

I ordered two different cards this year because I couldn't decide on just one. Some people received both cards. Can you ever have too many Christmas cards? I think not.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

deck the halls 2017

We picked bells for our theme tree. 

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

midweek roundup

* Last night Michelle texted me this story. I was laughing so hard no sound was coming out. Stop reading this and go read that. It reminded me of a few weeks ago when we stopped by the grocery store after church. We divided to conquer the store and AB was assigned to me. We picked some flowers for Mrs. Jim's birthday and I had to talk her out of giving her a get well soon balloon. Mrs. Jim is getting old but she's still in fine health. We settled on a Frozen balloon instead. (When we brought it over, Mr. Jim looked at Elsa and said, "Well, isn't she a good looking gal.") We wandered the store looking for Christopher and Annabelle tried putting the box of cheerios in the cart of five other people. She kept walking up to random people and dropping the box on their food because she thought it was ours. I have never apologized more times during a grocery trip. When we walked up to Christopher's car I was surprised to hear music playing from inside. I knew the keys weren't in it so the radio couldn't be on. I opened the door for Annabelle and her car seat was gone. I saw weird trash in the door. I looked in the driver seat and saw a strange man. It wasn't our car. ABORT ABORT. FLEE THE SCENE. Slam the door and run. The guy didn't notice me when I confidently opened the door but I'm sure he heard the slam and saw the lady in high heels dragging a child away from his car. 

* It so seldom happens, but occasionally I get tired. Kidding. I'm tired almost every day. I was saying "I'm pooped" but Annabelle is too much of a parrot and she walked around saying it. I'd rather not rush to the potty talk days. Several weeks ago I was rocking AB before bed and 'I'm pooped' almost slipped out. I have NO clue why this phrase came out instead but I said, "I'm snoop dogged." WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN. I couldn't tell you one thing about Snoop Dogg but now his name comes out of my mouth several times a week. It's become the new family phrase for when we're tired. 

* Last Christmas we lost the baby Jesus from our Little People nativity. I found another set at the consignment shop and as these things go we immediately found the missing Jesus under the couch. There may be no room for him in the inn but there's always room under my couch for more toys. Now we have double everything. The two Marys and two Josephs are being run over by all the wise men and huge herd of camels. The two Jesuses are vying for the prime stop under the angel. As if two Jesuses wasn't enough, AB changed the name of her Bitty Baby from Violet to Jesus. When she was supposed to be napping she called down for me to find baby Jesus and bring him to her. I guess the more Jesus we have around the better.

* I have one million and eight things to do between now and when we leave on Saturday. Instead of packing I spent some quality time painting penguins on Annabelle's handprint. Procrastinator 4 lyfe.
I try to do a hand/footprint craft for every holiday or season. Look at her little mistletoes from her first Christmas. She likes to tell me how she's almost four but I plug my ears and LA LA LA NOT LISTENING.  
* I don't care that the snow is as high as the ordering box. I will still get my medium iced coffee!
* Time for bed. I'm very snoop dogged.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Christmas happenings

I've been too busy packing, organizing, list making, crying and house hunting to blog much lately. Not to mention that my phone, computer and car all died within a 24 hour time period. I've been busy doing adult things which is much less enjoyable than I anticipated when I was 12. I have seventy Christmas things I want to do before we leave and I'm determined to do it all. It's very important to me that we have as normal a Christmas as possible, even with all the crazy. 

We went to a Christmas party at the library and saw our fourth Santa of the year. Sesame is normally very observant but she hasn't noticed they all look different and that two of them were less than stellar. She told me she brought her sled and reindeer but she had to leave them in the car "to charge." There was craft making, cookie eating and face painting. Annabelle loves any event with face painting so she was thrilled to become a mini Rudolph.
For the last three years we've visited the Christmas Cottage. It's so charming I want to live there all December.
We went with our Christmas jammies this year, partly because they're cute and partly because they didn't require ironing. She told him she wants a marble track and cars. She previously told me she wants luggage so evidently she has multiple lists. 
I didn't think we'd get to do our North Pole breakfast but we squeezed it in. I used my fancy dollar store china plates and found some fuzzy decorations to use as snowballs. We had bacon and pancakes in the shape of snowflakes, gingerbread men and stockings. When AB first saw it she said, "Wow, Mommy! It's perfect!" A few minutes later she walked through and said, "It doesn't really look like the North Pole in here." Such a temperamental audience. 
The weather cooperated nicely. 
After breakfast we went to Seneca Falls, the inspiration for the town of Bedford Falls from It's a Wonderful Life which is only my favorite Christmas movie of all time. Had I been born several decades earlier I would have had a poster of Jimmy Stewart up on my wall and dreamed of marrying him. Although to be honest I don't see why I can't have a poster him on my current bedroom wall. Surely Christopher wouldn't mind.
"George Bailey, I'll love you til the day I die."
By sheer coincidence, earlier in the week we saw the actress who plays Zuzu in the movie at a children's museum. I drilled it into AB's head that she played the little girl in the Christmas movie I watch every year. I assumed it was falling on deaf ears but when we were in the Bedford Falls museum she yelled out, "That lady is from your favorite show, Mama!" My job here is done. I have raised her well.
God smiled upon us and sent us multiple feet of snow. The females of the family could not be more thrilled. The male of the family is not as enthusiastic.
The very short trip from the top of the hill to the bottom gives her the thrill of a lifetime.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

this is what happens when I wish for something interesting to blog about

I finally have everything in our house the way I want it which can only mean one thing- we're moving again.

We weren't supposed to move for three more years but last week Christopher's company said JUST KIDDING! You have to move next month! Say so long to your plans of a fun Christmas season and get packing! Hurry up, there's no time to spare!

Let me tell you how I feel about this recent development.

I am not a fan.

It took almost a year and a half to feel like this was home. For a long time it just felt like a place I lived. In the last six months I've put a lot more effort into getting established here. I signed us up for events in the community. I started volunteering in the nursery at church. I went to the church ladies retreat. I started inviting people for playdates instead of waiting for them to invite me. It was a lot of work for my introvert self but it helped it feel more like home here. I finally got to that spot only to be told it's time to pick up and go again. I have seven thousand and twelve reasons I don't want to go. I have pregnant friends whose babies I need to meet. I already planned my garden for next year. We got our patio at the end of the summer and barely got to use it. I love my house and don't want to leave it. It's small and creaky but cozy and perfect. Annabelle's room is everything I wanted my little girl's room to be. I'm almost insulted that someone else will be living here. They won't know not to lock the bathroom door because you might get stuck in there. They won't know that the dining room and master bedroom don't hold heat well but the upstairs bathroom is always warm and a good place to hang out when you're cold.

We're going to miss our landlords so much. They are the sweetest people. Annabelle's face lights up when Big Mr. Jim comes over. They do the yardwork and take great pride in things being pristine so in the spring and summer they're over often. We always go out to chat and catch up. Mrs. Jim has babysat for me a few times. Their grandchildren are grown and they really treat AB like she's part of their family. They treat all of us like family. When we told Little Jim the bad news he went and told his mom. She called me and said, "Jimmy told me the news and I just can't believe it. I was so upset last night I couldn't sleep and had to take a sleeping pill." A few months ago Little Mr. Jim had trees cut down in the Hundred Acre Woods. Tigger's tree stump house somehow got mixed up with the branches that were hauled away. The Jims know how much Annabelle loves Tigger's house so they went through the dumpster with the wood and rescued it. We were visiting with Mrs. Jim tonight and she said Little Mr. Jim planted bulbs around Tigger's house as a springtime surprise. I almost can't think about it without crying.

I've cried several times since last week. I went from planning our Christmas time activities to being told overnight that we have to leave. Sometimes it occurs to me that maybe I'm being overly dramatic about this but so be it. I've never been one to like change, especially when I haven't had any say in it. We're moving to Georgia where it's approximately 156 degrees with close to zero percent chance of a good snow. It's snowing now and it's like a little gift from God that we get to play in it before we move.

On the bright side, I do enjoy decorating new homes. We might end up with a kitchen that seats more that three people and maybe I'll have a spot for flowers. We're flying down tomorrow (weather permitting) to go house hunting. If it goes well we'll end up with a lovely new home. If it doesn't I'll use the packing boxes and make us a box home.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

little memories, november 2017

* Several months ago Christopher mentioned being a little concerned that Annabelle didn't seem to use her imagination. Fast forward to now and she has two imaginary friends named Goldbug and Garby. They're very small, have their own car seats and frequently eat meals with us. They came to Dollywood but thankfully I didn't have to worry about keeping track of them. She asked me to make a leaf car so she could drive them to town. I think her imagination is just fine.
* I LOVE jokes. I have a folder of photos on my phone dedicated to all the best jokes. I am the prime audience for all the dad joke videos on youtube. I was laying on my bed last week not folding laundry (professional procrastinator, party of one) watching said videos and sending them to the twins. I was cracking myself up. It takes so little to entertain me.
I've been telling this gem to everyone who will listen.

* AB loves to see "the faces" on my phone. We've spend many minutes entertaining ourselves with the many filters. 

* When we were watching The Crown I casually mentioned that I needed a crown. Look what appeared in my mailbox a few weeks later.
I haven't worn it out of the house yet but I plan on bringing it to Prince Harry's wedding. Do I think Meghan Markle is ANYWHERE near the level of Katherine Middleton? No. Does that mean I won't be obsessed with all the details of the royal wedding? Also no. You know who would be shocked by the upcoming nuptials? John Adam, Thomas Jefferson and everyone who fought to separate us from England. They dedicated their lives to the cause only for an American girl to marry an heir (albeit sixth in line) to the British throne. She is literally sleeping with the enemy. Their wedding is set to be held in May and I am already preparing myself for the festivities. I'll be wearing my crown because while Meghan is marrying a prince and I'm not, we're both Americans and therefore have the right to wear a crown whenever we so choose. God bless America.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

dollywood days

Sometimes I wonder if the saying "a rolling stone gathers no moss" was written in reference to us and our inability to stay home and not live out of suitcases. Our most recent trip found us visiting Dollywood in our former home state of Tennessee. Christopher's parents were so kind to plan a family trip there for a few days last week. We did so many things that it would take several thousand words and 148 pictures to recap so I'll stick to some highlights. 

Except for the occasion fussing Annabelle is almost always a good flyer. She did even better than normal this trip. She did all four flights without watching any shows on the ipad. She colored, looked at books and took naps. She read the plane safety manual on each flight. It's important to be prepared in the event of an emergency water landing. 
On Thanksgiving morning we went to an exotic bird sanctuary. I've never seen so many beautiful birds in one place. We got to hold and feed several of them. Once AB got over her fear of holding them she loved it. I saw a sign that said some of their birds are for sale. I would have taken one in a heartbeat but I knew that at $2,995 Christopher would say it was too expensive of a souvenir. 
Annabelle was a little hesitant about the rides at first but how quickly that changed when she got on the Lucky Ducky ride with the fearless Sadie and Emory. She wore the Lucky Ducky, Piggy Parade and Busy Bees rides over and over. She wasn't a fan of the elephant ride that went in the air but there's always next year. She was perfectly happy with all the kiddie rides. 
 Look who we happened upon! Normally AB is shy around characters but she was still riding the high from the Piggy Parade. She marched right up to him and gave a huge smile. (I'm sorry this is turning into the Annabelle show. I don't see that changing anytime soon since I do nothing but hang out with her.)
I've never visited Dollywood at any other time but I'm here to say Christmas is The Time to go. The lights and decorations were beautiful. It was so festive.
We went to two lovely Christmas shows. They were a combination of fun and Christmas spirit and we all loved them. 
Santa appeared the day after Thanksgiving. I've never seen a better Santa. He looked the part, had a beautiful suit and was so kind. He asked all the children if they knew about Baby Jesus and made sure they all knew the holiday isn't only about Santa. We saw him again the next night and since there were no other children in line Sesame got to talk to him as much as she wanted. They talked about her friends, how reindeer fly (he said God makes them fly) and her nativity toy. She talked and talked. He asked her about the smocked nativity on her dress and she chose that moment to clam up. Everything in me was hoping (and audibly hinting) she'd give an eloquent answer and make him think I'm a good mom. All she did was stick her fingers in her mouth and mumble something about Paw Patrol. It was a humbling moment for me.
Annabelle loves all her cousins but she especially enjoyed spending time with Emmy. They're so close in age and I love that they're becoming little buddies.
Since we were there at Thanksgiving it's only right to mention a few things we're thankful for. Christopher is thankful for his health, I'm thankful for a good nights rest and good cheddar cheese and AB is thankful for her light up shoes. Judging by what she told Santa I'd say she's also thankful for Paw Patrol.