Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas Photos Gone Wrong

Oh my, we've had quite a morning at the Robert house, which is why this blog is so late.

We are fast approaching December, as you all know. In fact, today is the very last day of November. And so I've been wanting to knock out a few Christmas photos to arrange on a nice card to send out to friends and family this year. It shouldn't be a difficult thing to do. I mean. It really shouldn't. But I have a two year old and a one year old, can probably see where this is going.

I stayed up way too late last night making a "Merry Christmas" sign and arranging a little corner in our kitchen so that we could take a few pictures this morning. As usual, I had dreams in my head of the perfect set up and how cute I could get in at different angles to snap a few shots. That was all dependent on two toddlers sitting still in a box and actually looking at the camera and smiling. Heh. I'll just let you see for yourself how it went down.

Um. This is going to take a while. I took a lot of (bad) pictures. :) I didn't edit most of these at all, because let's face it. Most of these pictures will never actually grace the cover of a Christmas card, haha.

At first things weren't going too badly.  I had two kids actually sitting in the box that I had wrapped and covered in scrapbook paper. Now if only I could get them to look at the camera and smile. "Hey, girls! Say cheese!"

The whole looking and smiling thing never happened. And within about 30 seconds, Gracie simply couldn't stand it anymore. She had to get her hands on some of those tempting dots on the wall, so she attempted her great escape....

Like any other flustered mom would do, I picked up my kids and plopped them back into the box over and over again...I was getting desperate. I knew this was a no-go. I knew they were never going to comply. But I was really trying to earn my mommy scout badge for the day. I just wanted one, please Lord just one, good picture to use.

Instead, the kids began destroying the props. :D

The props I had stayed up until 2:30am making. 

I haven't been doing this mother thing for very long, but I have already learned one important lesson that has saved me a lot of headaches over the past year or so. Things rarely work out the way you want eventually it's time to stop getting frustrated and just start going with it. :) So I just snapped away while they wreaked havoc on our glad tidings.

No one was ever supposed to know my kids weren't wearing pants. Haha.

Mickey Mouse was calling. I had lost them completely. Christmas card shmistmas card. 

I have lots of other picture ideas, so we'll see what happens. Hopefully tonight they'll be in a better mood for posing. Oh, will I ever learn? :)

This wasn't the blog I was planning to share today, but that's life! Despite the fact that I didn't get the picture of my dreams, I still find most of these completely hilarious. And I'm sure when my children are grown and look back at these photos they will have too much fun making fun of their dear old mom. "Seriously? You stuck us in a box and put gnome hats on our heads. What did you expect?" Ah, I can hear it now. :)

There are about 100 more blooper shots hanging out in a iPhoto album as I type. So you never know. Maybe one of these pictures will sneak it's way onto the Christmas card after all. You might just have to wait to find out.  ;) Now I have a completely destroyed house to clean. Oy vey. Hope your day is less crazy than mine! Over and out.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

O Christmas Tree...

Hi, friends! If you're visiting from TDC you can scroll to the bottom to see the tree my two year old decorated. :) But it's cool if you read this whole fact, I encourage it!


We have been totally rockin' around the [proverbial] christmas tree for weeks now. I admit it. Well before the Thanksgiving turkey was served we busted out the Now That's What I Call Christmas iTunes playlist and we haven't looked back. (However, it should be known that we always reserve our festivious dance parties for when Eric is not around. I don't want to call my husband a grinch or anything...but when it comes to Christmas music...he's sort of a grinch.) And yes, I made a word up. It's cool. Shakespeare did it, too. (That one's for you, April!)

The girls and I find that no other activity on the planet is superior to blaring Christmas music and spinning on the kitchen floor until sugar plums dance around our dizzy little heads. I'm fairly certain that Evelyn knows each and every song that is playing by just the first resounding note. And Celine Dion's saucy rendition of Feliz Navidad puts a shimmy in Grace's shake that I didn't even know existed. Somewhere buried deep within her soul is a feisty senorita waiting to break free. I just know it.

Shakin' it with Celine. 

Teehee. :)

So because I had been living in a Christmas fog for quite a while, I was chomping at the bit to do one of my favorite kick-off the Christmas season activities on the day after Thanksgiving. Eric had to work on Friday, but the markets closed early, and so the plan was that he would get home and we would spend the afternoon and evening hauling out the holly. And like most of my Rockwell family fantasies those dreams were dashed when Eric walked through the door and said, "Oh my gosh. It's really nice outside. We should go for a walk."

If there is one thing I am willing to concede to, it's a family walk. And especially when it's the day after Thanksgiving and unseasonably warm outside. (It was a glorious day. I still don't regret it.)

When we finally strolled back through the door Eric could no longer put off what is surely his favorite job of the season. *Cough, cough. Sarcasm. Cough.* Seriously, I swear he's not a grump, but the longer we're married the more I realize that there's only enough room for one crazy cracker in every relationship...and holidays make us crazy crackers really crackalack, ifyouknowwhatimean.

So Eric set to the task of putting together all three parts of our pre-lit Christmas tree. The hardest job is finding all of the plug-ins for the lights to connect. Eric would have totally adored the tree I grew up with, which was colored coded and put together branch by branch by branch. And forget about pre-lit. What was that?? :)

Eric hard at work. And a rare peek at our un-slipcovered couches. The covers were in the wash, because of course the whole house needed to be spotless to welcome Big Bertha for the holidays. ;)

Evelyn is a big helper these days.

Last year Evie thought it was too funny to jump on daddy when he was under the tree, but this year....

...Gracie was all about it. Another torch passed.

I was in a great mood at the moment, so I offered to let Eric be completely done with his part of the chore and I fluffed to my little heart's content until it was time to dress the girlies in real clothes and head out to Friday night dinner with Eric's parents. 

And here's where I feel the need to insert a little extra information. Because I could tell you stories about how wonderful and perfect our day was, but it wouldn't be the truth, and really, what's the fun in that?

Once again Evelyn was having a particularly bad day that day. It's really hit or miss anymore which Evelyn I'm going to wake up to in the morning. And I can tell by the way she greets me what kind of day we're going to have. If it's a "good morning, mommy!" it's a good day. But if it's a "Ugh, I want some juice!" kind of scenario, then we're definitely headed for trouble. Let's put it this way...we were having a grunt for juice sort of Friday. 

Someone tell me again if "two year old" is actually code for "sixteen year old" because the highlight of my afternoon was when Evelyn got up from the lunch table, sat in the living room, and just glared at me. I had no clue what was going on, so I asked her, "Evelyn? What are you doing? You need to come finish your lunch." To which she replied, "No, I don't want to eat with you. I hate you." What the what? 

It was scene after scene of this bizarro kind of behavior all day long, topped off by a huge fit thrown in Country Kitchen that evening when we had to leave a box of toys behind to go home. Before going back to our quiet house and our waiting Christmas tree Eric needed to stop at the store, and I decided to have a little heart to heart with my daughter while we had a few minutes alone in the car.

There were still tears rolling down her cheeks from her traumatic toy leaving experience, and she sniffled as I tried to gently explain to her how she had a really bad day and didn't deserve special treatment after the way she had treated me. But I told her I was going to give her special love anyway. I told her that I loved her and that I would show her grace (the mercy kind, not the sister kind) if she promised to make the last two hours of the day before bedtime a good two hours. I promised that we could forget all of the bad stuff that had happened that day if she could turn it around and decide to obey. 

Evelyn looked intrigued. :) And when I threw in Christmas music and hot cocoa and tree decorating, she smiled and said, "Okay, mommy." They were the two sweetest words I had heard all day. So now I can show you these pictures with a smile on my face, because the memories that they hold in my heart are special. They are memories of a little girl trying her very best to please her mom and have fun. And we really did have a great rest of the day.

Gracie had fallen asleep on the car ride home, and Eric had show prep for the radio the next morning, so it was just me and Evelyn left to do all of the tree decorating. 

I didn't give Evie any directions at all. She seemed to know what was going on without my help. :)

That would be the tree topper, haha. But I wasn't about the stir the pot at this point. The carolers were crooning, the mood was light, and I was getting a kick out of Evelyn's exclamations of "I just love Kwissmiss!"

And Gracie just snoozed away....

If you look closely you'll notice that I was trying to sneak a few ornaments up at the top when Evelyn wasn't looking, haha.

But the vast majority of them found a home in Bessie's bottom right hand corner. 

Nice, eh? :)

Admiring her handy work.

And now it's time for a little game. Try to guess what Evie is eating as she gazes at the Christmas tree.

Is it:
a) An old candy cane from last year
b) An apple half the size of her head
c) Fried chicken swiped from a take out box

The answer after a word from our sponsors:

Is your tree blindingly bright? Are you getting a tan from all of those twinkling bulbs?

Solve all of your problems with "Glare-Be-Gone!" One pair of glasses for all of your light gazing needs!

What a goof. :)

And the answer is....

c) Fried chicken swiped from a take out box!

I lasted a lot longer than I thought with all of those ornaments and bows smushed down at the bottom of the tree, and I only started rearranging after the girls were tucked in bed, fast asleep. Score five mommy points for me! We sat down and shared a big cup of cocoa, Grace woke up from her slumber, and we watched Christmas tv beneath the glow of our twinkling tannebaum. :) 

Sometimes you have a bad day. Sometimes other people are snarky and mean for no apparent reason. Sometimes you just want to throw in the towel and sulk. But in every situation there is always the ability to stop, breathe, and turn it around. Even if there are only two hours left in the day. If you are kind to those who persecute you, and if you choose to have a good attitude on purpose, it can change your entire course. And it can change the course of those who are mean, too. It is very hard to show grace, but I've always found it to be totally worth it. :)

So is there anyone out there who doesn't have their tree up yet? I couldn't wait a day longer! I always enjoy the calming experience of hanging ornaments on every bough and deciding where every sparkly bauble will rest for the season. And I can't help but think I have at least one little holiday lover in the making right by my side. *Sigh* I love it!

Hope you have a great day! Cheers!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Weekend

....she was the only one awake in the quiet house at that hour of the night, but there was something pulling her, calling her forward into the darkness that she simply couldn't explain. A very strange noise, a faint sort of humming, was echoing from a mysterious glowing box in the living room. As she crept closer and closer her fingers began to tingle, and a small voice seemed to whisper, "Where have you been?"

With trembling hands she lifted the lid of the box to reveal a brilliantly blinding light, and at once she knew that she had been here before. It wasn't all a dream.

A wave of relief washed over her, and smiling, she placed the humming box on her lap and set her fingers on the keyboard....


Baha. Hello, friends. :) Long time, no type! ^^

It's been a sparse two weeks, what with blogcations and holidays and the like. I'm pretty sure that this time last year I would have had a seizure if I went so long without blogging. ;) What would my past-self think of my present-self? Tisk, tisk. But we're back, and what a weekend we had.

Let's see...we ate lots of food, we watched Christmas movies, we ate some more food, we decorated the house, we ate leftover food, we went stocking stuffer shopping...and we ended the weekend with more food. I'm sure many of you have very similar stories to tell. And can I tell you a little secret? I could use some more of that food right this second.

Since way too much happened this weekend there's just no way to plop it all here in one shebang, so I thought a little Thanksgiving recap was in order for today. We had a lovely two day celebration with both sides of our family, and it was fantastic to gather with our loved ones and chill out for a while.

On Thanksgiving Day we gathered with the Robert family for a proper Thanksgiving feast. I had my camera out for about three seconds total all day, but I managed to capture a little mischief in the making. :)

Evelyn and cousin Austin spent the first half of the day swiping food from the hors devours table, which I found to be quite funny if I do say so myself.

One of Evie's absolute most favorite things to do at the moment is to take people's orders and play waitress, so she found the perfect excuse to load up plates of random stuff and take them into the living room for grandpa and others to sample. The girl was on cloud 9, and I'm pretty sure grandpa ate a lot of cauliflower that day. :)

The little ones had fun playing all day long. Since Grandma Robert used to sell Discovery Toys, her house is full of fun and educational things for the kids to do. The toys at Grandma and Grandpa's are the same ones that Eric and his siblings played with when they were only knee-high, so I often hear a lot of "Hey, I remember that!" when the boxes are brought out. I'm a nostalgic nut job, so this pretty much tickles my funny bone in ways I cannot even describe. For the vast majority of the day the little ones were building block towers and playing with wooden trains and loading the animals two-by-two onto Noah's Ark. It made me smile. :)

I wish I had gotten a picture of the table when it was fully set, because it was gorgeous as usual! But I had to show this one, because I thought it was so cute that Grandma Robert had special plates for the kiddos this year. :)

And when it came time to eat...Grace conked out on the need for tryptophan for mama's little girl! When it's nap time, it's nap time. That meant that we only had one child to wrestle between the two of us, and that's always good news during a meal, haha. And what a wonderful meal it was!

It was a great day, ended by a nice visit with my parents at their house before everyone dispersed to sleep, shop, or whatever they were doing for the evening. I myself bought one single item for Black Friday. Online. In my PJ's. Go me.

On Saturday it was time to get up and start the festivities all over again! This time we were celebrating Thanksgiving with my side of the family. And even though our numbers are smaller these days, my family still wins for noise level and general mayhem. :) I don't know what it is, but my kids get to my parent's house and run around like wild people. What is it in the atmosphere there that facilitates the fun? I don't know. Mom, what do you pump through your air vents?

My mother prepared an absolutely scrumptious feast for the family to enjoy. And she did it all by herself. I swear I asked what I could do, and she had everything done, so there was nothing I could do! There was turkey and ham, two kinds of salad, two kinds of dressing, green bean casserole, home made cranberry sauce, two kinds of rolls, regular green beans, real mashed potatoes, and gravy to cover it all in.... Superwoman, I'm telling you. I ended my gorging with some cherry pie that Eric claims was the best cherry pie he had ever eaten. I wasn't arguing.

Another holiday come and gone. We woke up on Sunday morning and ate Thanksgiving leftovers for breakfast. You might think that sounds gross. It's not. It was just as yummy at 9:00 am, trust me.

In other news, our home found a new signature fragrance this weekend which is sweet and yummy and comes from a little pool of wax emanating from an electric warmer. Unfortunately I cannot divulge exactly which fragrance it is until I can stalk every Wal-Mart in the bi-state area and take the entire stock of fragrance which cannot be named off of their hands. But I'm telling you, it's good, and once my closets are busting at the seams with this junk I might just have to tell you what it is.

And that was just a sampling of our holiday weekend. :) Now begins the countdown to the bazillion Christmas gatherings we have on the lineup this year. I'm just a little excited for all the fun! Oh, and I can't forget to mention one of the things I am most thankful for right this very second - new life! Life, what a wonderful thing to celebrate. Congratulations to our friends the Scutari's in welcoming baby girl Zoe into the world yesterday! Hooray! We are so happy for you guys!

And good luck to Meagan who is scheduled to have Carson today!! Can't wait to hear updates, and we're praying for a smooth delivery. :) Babies, babies everywhere. I love it!

Edited: I just published this blog and saw on Facebook that Meagan had her precious baby already! I'm so excited for you, girly!! What a blessing that you waited so long for. I'm sure you're convinced he was well worth the wait. :D

Yes, I am thankful for life, I am thankful for friends and family to share life with, and I'm thankful for yummy food...the life sustainer. I hope you all had a fabulous Thanksgiving! Next up: "Haul out the holly! Put up the tree before my spirits fall again...." See ya tomorrow!


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