As we near the end of our Christmas Chaos tour 2008 we came home to one final surprise waiting underneath our Christmas tree.
Meet our new babysitter for Lincoln!
I think he likes it.
Santa left a small sprinkling of gifts on the Christmas tree for Elaina and one big toy underneath the tree with Lincoln's name on it!
Sunday, December 28, 2008
As we near the end of our Christmas Chaos tour 2008 we came home to one final surprise waiting underneath our Christmas tree.
Handcrafted by Laura at 10:45 PM
Saturday, December 27, 2008
What's Christmas chaos without a birthday party thrown in for good measure? Just ask my brother and sister-in-law as their son, Colin turned 4 today. A Christmas baby who will forever give his parents a run for their money to see how cleverly they can maneuver a birthday party in the midst of this crazy time of year.
This year however, may have proven itself to be one of the best birthdays on record for my sweet nephew. (You know, out of the other 3 he's had;-)) It was an astonishing 65 degrees outside with a sky full of gorgeous sunshine and a special birthday surprise visitor who came knocking on his door. You can catch the video clip here. Greg and Kate never told Colin that we were tagging along with Grandma and Grandpa for his party. Judging from his reaction, I think that he was pretty happy to see his cousin Elaina. (i.e. - his biggest fan) Well that AND the awesome party that his parents rolled out for him. Kate did an amazing job perfecting every detail of a Spongebob Squarepants birthday theme party right down to serving seafood (because Spongebob lives under the sea!) and blue ice cream for their guests.
Even though my kids didn't quite fill their nap quotient for the day, the played nicely and happily and made for pleasant, little party guests. Happy children are key to me enjoying any part of my day. And we all had a great time. Want proof?
(thanks for allowing us to join you for such a great birthday party Greg, Kate and Colin!))
Lincoln doesn't have a clue who Spongebob is but I think they both like cheeseburgers. Colin, cake AND bunnies?? YES!
Handcrafted by Laura at 10:08 PM
Friday, December 26, 2008
The 26th of December! What a lovely day, December 26th. The day following Christmas has always been like a little reward for me. Christmas is still a lovely and fresh memory, you're still pouring over your new goodies from Santa and if you're lucky, there's a refrigerator full of delicious leftovers upon which you are now granted permission to graze upon. What's not to love? On top of that, if there isn't a giant ice storm in the town you're staying in, the day-after-Christmas shopping is great!
This was a great day of full blown laying around and I loved every minute of it. I took Elaina to see her first basketball game at my old high school gym in the evening. My friend happened to be one of the players in an alumni girl's game and I thought it would make an excellent opportunity to show my support for her while seeing how long Elaina would be able to sit still at a sporting event. I reached my conclusion after only 8 minutes. That was it. We sat down, greeted some friends around us, she ate a snack, she was thirsty, wanted to go to the bathroom and then wanted to go home. Okay. Good thing it was free admission.
Later in the evening, Eric and I joined some friends for a night on the town. Alright, we were with friends, we were at a bar and although we had a nice time visiting, it would really be a stretch to it was a "night on the town." If only you saw the town bar. That will just be one of those fun, little memories you tuck clear back in the corner of your mind. But hey, it's the company you keep, right?
Handcrafted by Laura at 9:30 PM
Thursday, December 25, 2008
We woke up in the morning to find that Santa was not only in our state, but had actually left presents underneath Grandma and Grandpa's Christmas tree! Of course, Lincoln was the first one awake in the house and could have cared less, but when Elaina caught wind of more presents, she was very interested to see what Santa had left for her. (thus being Christmas the Second)
By noon, we had made our way to my parents' house to celebrate Christmas the Third. We were fortunate that both kids napped before Greg, Kate and Colin arrived which often comes with a little more assurance that our kids will be able to handle themselves for the day without turning into raging monkeys who have gone without food for a week.
Elaina and Colin continue to be each other's biggest fan and were more than ready to see what gifties waited inside of all of that pretty wrapping paper. I mostly loved that both (older) kids shared their toys, were happy with what they received and didn't get their undies in a bunch over taking turns unwrapping. Lincoln was the exception as he (AGAIN) made himself completely unavailable for our gift exchange. He was more than content playing with his cars in the next room and getting into the Chex party mix that my mom had left out on the table. At 20 months, he is very much his own little person and he won't be persuaded to change his independent play time if it involves distracting his attention from rolling his cars around.
Elaina and Colin both received cameras which they used to document every square inch of our day together. Elaina had taken pictures of G & GH's floor, her pillow, the TV, her toys, the chairs, Daddy in his underpants, etc., etc.... you get my drift. One great feature of her new camera is that the "delete" button functions very nicely and easily.
So, didn't the kids just get through unwrapping a mile high mountain of Christmas gifts? (not really, but plenty enough) One might be inclined to think that they would be all consumed in playing with their new toys. Uh. No. It was the empty box that Grandma and Grandpa's new dishwasher came in. They had left it there just for the kids' visit which seemed to be the greatest gift of all. (I hope I have gift receipts; new toys, patooey! cardboard boxes, here we come!)
With one more full day and new location under our belt, Christmas day was grand and just downright enjoyable! Now, if I can only fold that cardboard box down flat enough to fit into my truck...
Handcrafted by Laura at 9:37 PM
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Since the ice storm in the western half of Ohio affected our travel plans, we enjoyed one more night in our own beds before embarking on our five day tour of Christmas Chaos 2008.
We arrived at Eric's parents' house before noon and while the kids napped peacefully at Grandma and Grandpa W's, Eric and I squeezed in a quick date to the mall sans kids for some last minute shopping. A little free time with my best husband was great, but I also found the perfect pair of winter boots that I've been longing for. And on sale! Woot!
Shortly after our return to the homestead, the Christmas party began to roll in. Eric's family gathered together for dinner and as the extended family began to go about their merry way with their bellies full, the adults finally conceded to the begging children to allow them to open gifts.
My little Lincoln was not amongst the begging children this year. In fact, we couldn't even keep in the same room long enough for him to open his own gifts. Lucky for him, he has a big sister who was more than willing to lend a hand in the unwrapping and then track him down to show him what great gifts he received.
Elaina with her boy cousins on the W. side. One of Santa's elves got left at their house by accident.
Handcrafted by Laura at 9:04 PM
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
I'm not exactly sure what did it. Maybe it was the Christmas music. Maybe it was exchanging gifts at work. Maybe it's the prospect of having 5 days off of work (in a row!) to spend with my family. Or maybe it's because Christmas is 2 short days away. Whatever it was and whatever it took, I think that I am finally in the Christmas spirit!!
After Thanksgiving fell so late in the year and my dear husband's time being consumed with hunting season, things have been moving so fast around here and just the thought of hauling of the Christmas stuff down from the attic and going through all of the hassle of decorating the tree and the house, well, it just seemed like a pain. Worse than that, I hated that I felt so scroogey about letting myself get in the Christmas spirit because of the hassle it took to get there! Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas, but Christmas can sometimes be a lot of work.
Lucky for us, Eric and I encouraged one another and brought down storage container after storage container and our house has looked like "Christmas" for almost 2 weeks already. And I love it! Once I started pulling one pretty, sparkly decoration out, one after another, my stingy-scrooge mood began to slip off of me and I am ready for full blown holiday hoopla!
As of this evening, Eric has all of the gifts wrapped, we had our bags packed and the truck filled and ready to roll on out to my in-laws for Christmas celebration #1. Just as we were getting ready to leave, my mother-in-law called to warn us of the icy conditions of the roadways in their area and that the weather predictions seem to be favoring tomorrow for a safer travel day. In any case, I would much rather be safe than in a hurry. So, here we are, kids tucked snuggly into their warm beds, my final blog for the length of time we will be away from home and all of us anxiously looking forward to all that Christmas has to offer us this year!
Wishing each of you a happy and warm Christmas and a great new year ahead filled with blessings and with love!
Handcrafted by Laura at 9:30 PM
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Whew, so there was my first, last and only contest ever to be posted on this blog. Pay it forward is a good idea in theory and a good idea if you have a large reading audience and a good idea if you don't host it exactly the week before Christmas and a good idea if you have readers who may not already be burned out from hosting more than their share already. Not such a good idea to host here.
The good news is that Tracy and HollyLynne have been selected as the grand prize winners of my Pay it Forward contests. Contest #1 and contest #2, respectively. I've decided not to put anyone else through the torture of a potential second contest, thus accounting for two winners from one contest. Sarcasm aside, I'm happy to be able to send out some pretties to these lovely ladies because Tracy and I have gotten to know one another through our blogs and I love following her life through her amazing photos and reading about her sweet girls. As for HollyLynne, she's already reaping what she sowed from her PIF contest in which I was on the receiving end of these stunners which are the current BFF's of my ear lobes. Aren't they beauties? She has an awesome collection of handmade jewelry available for purchase at her Etsy shop with an assortment of styles that will make you only wish that you were HollyLynne herself to have the luxury of having all of these pretties for yourself. Not to mention that the craftsmanship she puts into each piece is something to be admired.
So Tracy and HollyLynne, when you have a minute please send me your mailing information and I'll be happy to ship off some pretties to you!
Handcrafted by Laura at 12:52 PM
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Handcrafted by Laura at 8:58 PM
Friday, December 12, 2008
Yes, that sneaky Christmas holiday will be arriving right on schedule again this year in just 2 short weeks. Do you think that we've made time for a posed kid picture for Christmas cards? NO! Do we have our Christmas tree up and fully decorated yet to use a backdrop? NO! Can we afford to grovel to JCPenney and tell them that we should have ordered 80 overpriced Christmas photo cards of our lovely family portrait and kindly ask them to do a reprint into card format for no extra charge? NO! Do we have $100 to spend on Christmas cards this year? NO! Would we rather slap together a mostly unprepared family picture on a Christmas themed card stock, pay for overnight delivery and send it out to our most beloved friends and family? YES!! Check your mail.
The long and the short of the story is that since Thanksgiving fell so late in the month this year, December hit us square in our unsuspecting jaw thus causing panic and stress in our household. Well, for me, anyhow. Eric is a non-stresser. About anything. Ever. I digress. When we had planned our trip to Children's Wonderland with our parents, I already set about the mission of dressing the kids cute (how did I do?) and have them pose in front of one of the many gorgeous backdrops they had to offer. Still following? Yes, I said pose. A one and a three year-old. Ooh BOY! Any guesses on who stood still and who didn't? If you guessed that NEITHER child stood still within arms length of the other for longer than a second AND looked in the general direction of the camera: YOU WIN! (A Christmas card, maybe?)
It wasn't long before we reached the decision that in order to have a Christmas card photo taken this weekend (could not waiver) and to keep the kids still, we had to restrain, I mean, hold them. Alas, Eric and I got produced onto our Christmas picture as well. Not really as I planned because, hello... I would have put on a little more lipstick and taken care of a little less shine across the old, stressed Mom -face. Also... tha hair. **quiver** Not so good. BECAUSE I WASN'T SUPPOSED TO BE IN A PICTURE!
Here's what we were up against folks:
What did I miss? Did Lincoln tell his first joke because I'm seeing two heads swiveling in his general direction.
Elaina, you know I love you. And that's why I'm asking you not to cheese quite so hard. You're cute, we get it. Meh... I also wasn't entirely impressed with this Christmas background.
Okay, this background is much better. It looks all chilly and glistening doesn't it? Again, Elaina, still cute but how 'bout a little less leg and rump showing for a family picture. Nice lollipops Kids.
Handcrafted by Laura at 10:52 PM
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Earlier in the week, Santa Claus made a special visit to our town (again) to see all of the good little girls and boys. Prior to going to see him, I talked to Elaina about what Santa was going to look like, sound like and that it was okay for her to talk to him without being shy.
Once we got there, Elaina was much more excited about the treats from the cookie table and didn't realize how soon our turn with Santa was coming. She told Lincoln that he could go first. Polite isn't she? And so, Lincoln did. While he wasn't terribly impressed, he never turned his head to see exactly who was holding him. He would be okay as long as he kept looking the other way. Lincoln, my man of few words, really didn't ask Santa for anything more than when he could go back to his mom, which he made clear by his repeated "Ehhhh!" plea in a desperate tone. While I was decending my son onto Santa's lap, I had a brief request of my own for Santa Claus to fulfill. I pulled a little "magic" from the lining of my jacket, straight into Santa's furry, red suit. Since it was more than obvious that Elaina wasn't going to have anything to do with coming within 5 feet of Santa, I asked that he give her a magic elf, straight from the North Pole. Can you believe how lucky Elaina was to have her very own elf come and live with her?
In all actuality, Aunt Kate and Uncle Greg were the original "gifters" of the elf and I decided that the best time to help create some Christmas magic for Elaina would be straight from the big guy himself. Of course then, it was my turn to harp on how lucky she was because none of the other kids got elves from Santa and that she already came named "Roseanna" because Rose is her middle name and Santa already knew that. (Fact: the elf really did come pre-named and ironically-to me anyhow- my grandma's name was Anna Rose; fitting that "Roseanna" would come to be a part of our family:->)So more about the elf later, here are pictures of everything I have ever wanted for Christmas. Signed, sealed, paid for and delivered! I couldn't decide which picture was my favorite, so you get them all.
**While I'm at it: You can double click on any of these pictures to make them larger and just tell me if it's just in my head, or is the resemblance between Eric and our kids unbelievable? Hello miracle and thank you God. Beautiful pairing you've done here.
Handcrafted by Laura at 10:49 PM
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
On Sunday, we celebrated Eric's grandmother's 90th birthday by surprising her with a party. This was the primary reason we made a second weekend trip (in a row) to be out of town. Seeing the reaction on her face and just knowing how much she enjoyed having all of her family there, showing how much we all care for her, made our trip so worthwhile.
Lucky for her that she had so much help when it came time to blow out her candles. Check out who is front and center just waiting for her piece. Why, it's Picky Pickerson, the cake eater!
The kids had so much fun and were actually on pretty good behavior which totally eases my stress level and lets me enjoy the occasion too. This just proves that the day will eventually come when all of our plans don't have to revolve around our kids' napping schedule. What a happy, little world that will be.
Handcrafted by Laura at 10:00 PM
Monday, December 08, 2008
Lincoln had a bad-baby night our first night staying with Eric's parents. He has a very specific internal clock which doesn't allow for much wiggle room on his particular, little schedule. He likes to eat the minute his butt hits the highchair, he MUST be fed dinner promptly at 6 p.m and his bedtime window is only open between 8:00 and 8:30 p.m. Any deviation from what he wants will surely be grounds for a baby-retaliation.
We missed the bedtime window and said child was fussing and fitting his ever-loving head off from 3:30 to 5:00 a.m. Lawrdy, Child! Sleep already! Aside from this being a major pain the arse, we all needed to rest for the big day we had ahead of us. It was Children's Wonderland day!
Eric's parents, my parents, Eric's sis, BIL and nephew had all made plans to take the kids to a children's magical wonderland of vivid animation and holiday showcases. This indoor, seasonal display has been around since the time our parents were kids and I remember going there when I was in grade school. I was so excited to share the magic and lights with my kids and with both sets of grandparents joining us.
The unfortunate part about the day was that the weather began to turn wicked cold and snowy, rendering the roadways sheets of ice. My anxiety and stress level reached an all time, panic-button-high during our almost one hour drive to get there on the slick roads as we passed accidents almost every 5 miles. I could have thrown up by the time we finally got there. Safely of course, but I was more than rattled.
Aside from the gut wrenching anxiety of traveling, the kids loved the winter wonderland and we all had nice time making memories together.
Here are some of the highlights of our day:
And now you know where Santa keeps his reindeer... they were all waiting to play "reindeer games" with Rudolph.Eric's parents with the one and only grandchild that would hold still for longer than a hot second. My parents with the happy, sticky-lollipop-face child.My Elaina, what long legs you have! What's wrong with your brother's head?
Handcrafted by Laura at 10:15 PM
There has been too much going on lately with the W family. (That's us.) Things are well with all of us, but we need to find a way to shift our lives into low gear. Every day, I tell myself that "next week won't be so busy, just get through this week." And do you want to know what happens then? The "busy" doesn't cease.
Last week, I was embarrassingly light on the blog front. One evening was spent with Elaina at the library for story time and then a special, "surprise" visit from Santa. Elaina enjoyed the Christmas stories sitting front row with the other kids and she liked the paper crafted reindeer that we made together but when it came to the big, jolly fat guy himself, she cowered behind me, not wanting Santa to see her. Lincoln had a case of the yellies and it seemed much more sensible to leave him home for some Daddy time.
(The reindeer head is made of a tracing of Elaina's booted foot and the antlers from tracing her hands.)(She glued on the eyes and mouth and even decorated eyelashes for her girl-reindeer.)
This past weekend, we were headed out of town for the second trip in a row to visit our parents. I worked my tail off on Wednesday and Thursday night trying to get all of the laundry done, bags unpacked from Thanksgiving weekend, bags packed for the upcoming weekend and everything put away to avoid a giant mess-collide upon return from another weekend away. Eric picked me up from work on Friday and away we went. Let the busy begin. Oh, and I had a birthday too.
Handcrafted by Laura at 11:12 AM
Woe is me for I don't know where to begin.
I don't know where to begin catching up on my blogging that has taken a back seat in my life.
I don't have a clue how I am going to find time to squeeze just 2 more hours of work (at home) into my day and maintain the inadequate 6 that I am currently getting by on.
I'm desperately ashamed that it's December 8 already and I still have half of my Fall themed decorations hanging in my house and the other half recklessly packed away.
I'm teetering in my mind if I'll go out and drag all of our Christmas stuff down from the attic to decorate for the next 30 days, or if I'll do a very minimalistic Christmas theme at our house.
I don't know when I'll find time to get a Christmas card together and mailed out, Christmas presents wrapped and what in the world am I going to buy for the remaining 3 people on my shopping list.
I don't know who honestly cares at this point to read all of my pointless rambling since it only seems whiney and pathetic and that I could seriously benefit from either a stiff drink, anti-depressants or some crack.
(okay, maybe not crack, because I wouldn't have time to find a dealer, but a glass of wine and a day off would do me wonders!)
*** And now, we'll return to our regularly scheduled happy family stories and cancel any future program notes of self-pity and grumbling.
Handcrafted by Laura at 10:54 AM
Friday, December 05, 2008
Hi my name is Laura and I'm truly pathetic for taking almost a week to find time to post pictures. Based upon the evidence I am to present, wouldn't you agree that there is no excuse for not sharing these sooner?
God does this boy melt my heart!! Oh, my handsome boy!
Is it just me, or is anyone else having trouble figuring out whose body parts belong with which kid? It's a tangled mess of kids.
Handcrafted by Laura at 12:11 AM
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Here I am!
I just know that you were on the edge of your seat just waiting for my return, right?
Since I hardly know where to start to sum up what has been our previous week, I may as well just jump in feet first.
The first part of last week, Eric was in West Virginia and the kids and I actually had a pretty easy time together from Saturday to Wednesday. On Wednesday afternoon (before Thanksgiving) I decided to leave work early and bust my tail to pack our bags and head to my parents' house a day early. After running like a maniac gathering everything we would need for 4 days away from home (and I still forgot stuff!), I was finally ready to pick the kids up from the sitter's house and get on the road. However, in all of my planning, I happened to discover that I had a 100 pound problem that I seemed to have overlooked. Keegan. How in the world was I going to get his furry, hind end into my truck? Up until only a few years ago, he would have himself positioned in the truck bed with even the slightest hint that we were going on a trip. As the years have caught up with him, he has since grown heavier, more arthritic and is now mostly blind.
Because it was the middle of the afternoon on a weekday, none of my neighbors were home to lend a hand and I was most certainly not holding up all of my plans of leaving this day because of my dog. And then it dawned on me. I carried our oversized ottoman outside, guided his front paws on top and then his rear end and then heaved his happy self into the truck. Victory was mine!
Our trip to my parents' house was lovely and uneventful and we were all happy to start our mini vacation together. Since my brother and sister-in-law have other turkey day obligations, we have taken to a new tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving day by feasting on crab leg. As my mom quoted weeks prior, "What's Thanksgiving without crab leg?" And so we did. Thursday was also plentiful in the napping and slothing department too. Do we know how to enjoy a holiday or what?
Now let me tell you about black Friday shopping! Another tradition that we have fine tuned in our own custom way is having my on site baby sitter's (Grandparents) watch my kids on black Friday while I get up before the crack of dawn to have my hiney in the stores collecting deals. I scour the sale ads the night before like it's my job; prioritizing, labeling and mapping my route for optimal efficiency and maneuverability. I was in my first store (under the influence of a tall cappuccino) just a little past 5 a.m. and when I finally thought that I may have just run out of stores to shop, the time was quickly approaching 2:00 p.m. I had to add the numbers a couple times to really make myself believe that I had been shopping for 9 hours! The best part is that everyone was happy, rested and fed by the time I returned home. No harm, no foul. A lovely day and great deals!
Saturday finally brought Thanksgiving day for my family in the way of Greg, Kate and Colin. (And a bounce house.)(We'll get to that.) Colin was the first in the door upon their arrival and the minute Elaina laid eyes on her cousin, she ran across the room with outstretched arms that flung around his little body like he just had jumped out of the television set off of one of her favorite shows. In her mind, Colin is an idol. Like rock-star-idol in the life of a 3 year-old.
The kids played so nicely and happily together and while we were stalling time, waiting for dinner, we sent our wild monkeys out to the garage to bounce in the bounce house that Greg and Kate had brought along and loaning out to us. Lincoln was so excited and eager to jump but he had just jammed a giant serving of cheese and crackers into his mouth and hadn't yet finished the whole chewing-swallowing process. As he was about to squirm out of my arms, I finally coaxed him into spitting out his mutilation into the trash can so that he could get on with his business of bouncing. They had the best time ever!
Saturday and Sunday were lovely and leisurely and the times that I could have spent blogging or doing something the least bit productive, I spent sleeping or watching T.V. Two of the things I love to do but never seem to find enough time in the day to do them. I've heard that you can't "make up" lack of sleep, but over the course of the weekend, I tried my best to disprove that theory. I beg to differ and if you want, I could keep on re-testing that for a truly accurate conclusion. But only if you insist that I keep trying.
So there you have it, Thanksgiving 2008.
Highlights: bouncing, shopping, Lincoln liking shrimp, Mommy enjoying extra sleep and Elaina calling my brother "Aunt Craig!" <--- (loved that part!)
I can't wait until we get to do all of this again in another year!
Handcrafted by Laura at 10:17 PM
Monday, December 01, 2008
ooohh, it's been almost an entire week since I've made time to sit my happy, little butt down for a quick mind-spill and wanna know something else? I can't even make time tonight to recap our fabulous and LONG Thanksgiving weekend to do it justice. So, is everyone free tomorrow evening? Say about 10:00? I'll be here then doing my best to let the kid pictures flood my page and tell you how many consecutive hours I can spend shopping on Black Friday. Sound good? Good. See you then!
(yes, it's been one of those days!)
Handcrafted by Laura at 10:24 PM