Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Deck the Halls with Lemonade Spills

Falalalala...la la la laaaaah!

It was a change-from-one-pair-of-pajamas-and-into-another-because-you-know-you're-not-going-anywhere-anyway kind of day. After the bustle of a busy holiday weekend, these girls needed a recharge. Sometimes you need to hop on a magic carpet and travel through time to get you going, and sometimes you just need to relax and soak in the moment.

There's a reason I love decorating for the holidays. Once every shiny bauble has been hung and every animal in the nativity has found a home, it's so relaxing to just sit back and look at it all. Like a steamy cup of wassail, it warms you from the inside out and instantly puts you in the holiday mood. And today, I had a front row seat right on the couch to sit with my girls and drink it up. 

Alright, so it looks like we're going to need that magic carpet after all to take us back to where it all began last Saturday....


Somehow between snow on Thanksgiving and nasty, dreary rain today we managed to have a beautiful weekend. The bright sunlight woke me up early Saturday morning and I could not get back to sleep. After putting up our tree the night before, I was positively itching to "haul out the holly" and add some more Christmas touches here and there. 

So quiet as a church mouse, I tiptoed downstairs and began bringing up boxes of holiday goodies to play with. It really takes some creativity to decorate with a toddler in mind, but I think I managed to put out just enough in high up places to keep little hands from destroying things. We're doing good so far, at least! 

To dress up a Christmas wreath, just add a few ornaments!

I'm sure you know how to put ornaments on a wreath, but up until a few years ago I had no idea how people managed to make them look right. Then some friends at church taught me how. Just pop off the ornament toppers and put them directly on the wreath tips. Done! How could I not figure that one out??

I was really nervous about displaying the nativity this year with Evelyn around, but so far she's only managed to stretch her chubby little fingers far enough to snatch one tiny goat. I found him in her Mickey plane, so no worries. Mr. Goat is back safe and sound with baby Jesus. :)

There are no less than five Santa Clauses now hanging out with us around the house. All of them were given to us at some point or another, or I would probably have zero. I guess I collect them now. Haha.

I rarely get to light a candle anymore, so I thought I would make it count and triple our pleasure with big fat 3-wick. It looks like my pesky little dazzle beads found themselves a new home, too. ;)

And our countdown to Christmas is up and waiting for December 1st! Still loving how it turned out, and it was so easy to make!

So as the rain pounded on our windows today, we enjoyed sitting amongst the warm glowing lights of the tree and flickering candlelight. But as I sat admiring the glittery decorations an interesting thought popped into my head, as they often do in times such as these. And I began to smile as my eyes panned across the different living areas in our house. 

Soon, I wasn't getting the warm fuzzies from lights and bows. I began to see the little "decorations" that our family had left here and there; the evidences of things that said, "Hey...we live here and play here and love here." And before I knew it, I grabbed my camera; because, if it's worth taking pictures of a lifeless Christmas tree, then it's definitely worth remembering the little things that bring our home to life every single day. The heartbeat of our house can be found in so many places. It's in...

...abandoned baby dolls lying on the living room rug...

..... and tiny velcro sneakers on the bathroom floor - thrown off in anticipation from last night's splishy splashy bubble bath.

It's in sticky lemonade puddles from drippy sippy cups....

...and in lifting a glass dome to discover our family's obvious least favorite type of cookie - the only variety left. Sorry sugar cookies, we do like you, but you're sharing space with chocolate chip and peanut butter. That's some pretty stiff competition.

Everywhere I looked there were things that I'll never want to forget. Like the plunger lying out on our bedroom floor or the eyelash curler in the toybox...our Evie just loves to play the mismatch game. :) And while I will always love my Christmas decorations in an almost scary-crazy way, they'll never bring joy to our home like the people living in it. Though, I could do without the roving plungers. Ick. :D

So bring on the holly and the mistletoe! I'll string them with pleasure, for sure. And maybe someday down the road it will mean as much to Evie and Grace as it all does to me. But I'm fairly certain that as long as our girls are with us, alongside the garlands and ornaments, we will also deck our halls with sneakers and lemonade spills. I'll take that combination for as long as I can possibly keep it. 

Monday, November 29, 2010

Portable North Pole Fun!

Raise your hand if you believe in Santa Clause!! Woot! :) When you are a child with as big of an imagination as I had growing up, you don't care if certain things are real or not because you just want them to be real. For those of you who had Santa loving parents, you probably remember your fateful "last" Christmas. I distinctly remember asking my mom point-blank if there was a Santa Clause when I was eight years old. Yes, eight. I think I had really known for a while, but I just couldn't bring myself to seal the deal. And for years after that I would have dreams about spotting Santa and his sleigh, and I would literally wake up with an ache in my heart knowing the truth. Sigh. We can't be little forever, eh?

But then it all comes back full circle the day we become parents ourselves. The holidays are suddenly magical once again, and we get to do all of the fun little things our parents did for us once upon a time. Today, I'm talking to all of the next generation "Santa parents" out there...because we have to stick together when it comes to fostering our fun little secret. 

So have your children ever received a letter from Santa Clause? Ever sat on the jolly guy's lap? Or maybe even gotten a phone call from Old St. Nick? Ah, we Santa-fied parents know how to perpetuate our littles' fantasies, don't we? This week our girls will be getting a very special visit from some North Pole friends, a tradition started by my mom when I was itty bitty. (More on that this Thursday!)

But have your children ever gotten a totally personal video message from Santa straight from his workshop? Impossible, you say? Oh, no. Not impossible. Our dear friend Mr. Clause has gone portable in the past few years, and thanks to a very AWESOME website, your kids can get a super special surprise this holiday season!

It's called Portable North Pole, and with a little bit of information from you, Santa Clause will be talking to YOUR child live and in color right on your computer screen. Have your kids been naughty or nice? What do they want for Christmas? Just click the links provided and answer a few questions about your kiddo, and the website will do the rest. It's free and fun for all! There are also opportunities for you to upload photos in certain places, and my advice is to do it. Trust me, it's way better and much more personal. I also recommend skipping the "Toddler" option in the beginning and choosing "Children" regardless of your child's age. You'll get a much more detailed message that way!

To see a preview of this neat little video, check out the special message Santa sent to our daughter Evelyn. Evie is only 17 months old, and she was entranced...way more than last year, that's for sure. :) (Everyone's video will be a little different based on the options that you choose.)

To create a personalized message for your child, click here:

Have fun, and please let me know if you try it out! Ohhh...You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, I'm telling you why.... :)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Lights, Camera, Action!

O Christmas Tree 
A play in three very short Acts

Cast of Characters
Eric "The Dad" Robert: A good-natured man who who humors his wife. Anti-fluffer. 
Adrien "The Mom" Robert: Slightly Christmas-crazy and determined to make memories - like it or not.
Evelyn Lily Robert: A rather feisty little girl with an affinity for all things stinker. Way too cute. Uses adorable smile to worm her way out of trouble. 
Grace Violet Robert: Short, quiet, sleepy. Generally well-tempered and a little confused as to how she ended up in this crazy family. 

Act I: The Preparation
A coffee pot sits gurgling in the corner while the family gathers around a box of decorations. Christmas music is softly playing in the background. Eric is assembling the tree grumbling something about "fluffing" while the three girls sit back and giggle.  

Eric: Grumble grumble fluffing grumble grumble....
Adrien: What was that, dear?
Eric: Nothing. Just saying I love you.
Adrien: Oh yes, that is what I thought you said. 
Eric's Brain: If I complain enough maybe she'll fluff this dang tree all by herself.

Clinking glass sounds somewhere from stage left. Adrien's mommy radar is on the alert.

Adrien: Um, where's Evelyn?

Evelyn: (to herself) Oh, wow...wowy wow wooow....

Adrien realizes that the priceless ornaments she and Eric have been collecting for years are at the mercy of her 17 month old daughter.

Adrien: (rushing towards Evelyn) Oh, no, honey those are for later.

Too late.

Adrien: And that's why we buy cheap stuff. Evelyn, why don't you go help your dad put up the tree?

Adrien picks up the broken peices while Evelyn butters up her daddy.

Act II: Decorating the Tree

Evelyn opens the act by attempting to strangle herself with Christmas beads. Daddy rescues her from a terrible fate...

Eric: Evie, what the heck are you doing?

...while little sister Gracie waits patiently to get the show on the road.

Gracie: What is wrong with these people?

The family finally gets their act together and begins to trim the tree. Evelyn surprises everyone by actually hanging an ornament - her first one ever. 

Adrien: She's a genius, a genius I tell you.
Eric: Her acceptance letter to Harvard should be arriving shortly. 

Eric sips his speciality brew, while Adrien hums happily as all of the beads, bows, and ornaments are placed on every bough. 

Evelyn calls intermission to butter up her daddy some more. 

And just as things are wrapping up...

Eric: Adrien, thanks for having traditions for our family
Adrien: (smiling from behind the tree) Oh. You're welcome.

Act III: The Finished Product

Adrien: I think it's beautiful.
Eric: It sure is.
Evelyn: Oh, yes. Indubitably. 
Gracie: Snore.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Confession Friday 11-26!

I confess that I am so not preparing a blog today, because... HELLO...it's Thanksgiving. But I will shamelessly share some pictures of my kids from this wonderful day!

I confess that I had no idea Eric and I were holding hands when we took this picture. *Sigh* We're even subconsciously in love. :) I confess that it took me five tries to spell subconsciously. I confess that even when I tell you that I'm not going to be making my normal confessions I obviously can't seem to help myself. 

Hope you had a fabulous Thanksgiving! And, alright, I'll confess that I'm terribly jealous of all of you Black Friday shoppers out there! Eric doesn't even get the whole day off. Boo! But I also confess that I'm SUPER excited to be putting up our tree this evening. :D Stay tuned....

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

From our family to yours....

Have a blessed day with the ones that you love, and remember to give thanks to the giver of all good things. :)

Today, I'm thanking the Lord for:

* A country where I am free to be me.
* A warm place to lay my head at night.
* A full stomach, and the promise of His everlasting provision.
* Wonderful, supportive friends and family.
* Two healthy, beautiful baby girls.
* An awesome, funny, hard working, good lookin' husband.
* My salvation in Christ, who loves me more deeply, knows me better, and looks out for me in greater ways than any human being ever could. 
*Aaand...pumpkin pie. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Ghost of Christmas Tree Past

Well, thanks to our SUPER cable provider, this one's coming 'atcha a little later than usual. And because of their AWESOME service, I get to sit here all morning wondering when the cable guy is going to show up to not fix our problem again. (I perform this ritual at least once a month for those of you who are new around here. This is seriously the second time since Grace has been home that I'm wasting a day waiting on the cable man.) But never mind, we have things to discuss.

So I didn't get to ALL of the cleaning that I would've liked to yesterday; Evelyn and Grace decided to play tag-team on the nap times. Oh I just love days like that. But I did get a few things done, like cleaning out our kitchen drawers and...duh duh-duh duuuuuh: (that's a big intro sound if you didn't catch that)

...clearing out a space for Big Bertha! Aka: our Christmas tree. Despite not having my closet cleaned, I've decided our tree is going up on Friday or bust! So neener, neener. (That's me, sticking out my tongue at my past-self who said no tree until all of the cleaning was done.) Let's get real...I have a 17 month old and a one month old. Some things just don't get done when you'd like them to.

Okay, and yes, I did take pictures of my crazified kitchen drawers. But I wasn't able to snap the "afters." Is it really fair if I show you the "befores" without proving that they no longer look that way? No, it's not. But i'll show you, anyway. Just know that a stack of papers and magazines nearly two feet high came out of these things. Don't believe me? Well, shoot, I don't have a picture to prove it. But it's true.


I especially love that last one. Dum dums and WD-40. Nice. And sprinkled on the bottom was a ton of spilled lifesavers and thumbtacks. It's like the wicked witch in Hansel and Gretel: Let me lure you in with tasty treats, and then I will hurt you. Hurt you, I say. 

So I'm counting effort and intent on this one to give myself permission to bring out the sparklies and shinies on Friday. I'm full of made up words today. :) And I thought I would share with you a couple of pictures of our tree's past to really get my decorating juices flowing.

The {official, totally rad} History of the Robert Family Christmas Tree:

Eric and I purchased our first (and only) Christmas tree before we were even married. Well before. Several years before. I guess I should say that Eric purchased it, because I've always had a hard working man who knew from very early on that his girl liked traditional stuff, so when I came up with the idea on a whim one night..."Can we pleeease go buy a Christmas tree?"... Eric "the great" generously obliged. 

We journeyed to a magical land of tools and lumber (Home Depot) and chose our 7.5 foot pre-lit beauty. We loaded it into Eric's old Blazer and brought it back to his parent's house where we would set it up for the next couple of years. Each year we would buy a few more coordinating ornaments to fill out the tree, and the idea was that by the time we were married we would have a beautiful Christmas tree to set up at our first place. I present to you, our first "married" Christmas Tree:

I realize you can barely see anything here, but you get the gist. Our very large tree engulfed our entire living area in our first apartment, and I swear it made the room five degrees warmer than the rest of the place when it was turned on, haha. But I didn't care. It was our tree and I loved it.

Then last year we had moved from the city and back to our hometown where we had a bit more room. Here was our tree on Christmas Eve. 

And here's our baby Evelyn already causing mischief. One morning while folding laundry I heard a little tinkle tinkle, and turned around to find my five month old baby shaking the entire Christmas tree!

Unfortunately, I don't think there will be an issue with keeping Evelyn away from the ornaments this year...I know there will be an issue, and I'm already dreading that part. I'll be finding ornaments e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e.

And now I'm realizing that we haven't been in the same place twice for Christmas since we've been married. Ole Bertha will come out of hiding this year and find herself in a brand new home once again. Who knows where we'll be this time next year. I'd like to say that there won't be a move again between now and then, but you never know with us! We may be here next Christmas, or we may be half-way around the world for all I know.

What I do know is that in two days her home will be right here:

And I can't wait!

P.S The cable guy came right in the middle of typing this. Hehe. Whoops! Sorry, cable guy. It's nothing personal. 


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