Thursday, December 26, 2013

Ivy the Elf


Yes, for the third year a little elf came to visit our family after Thanksgiving.     For the second year in a row we did the North Pole breakfast which was festive and fun.    The elf arrived and brought donuts, Pez, candy canes, and their 'Christmas' pjs!    Yes, Ace's were Hulk pjs but well he's green... and red and green are traditional Christmas colors.  ;)   He was thrilled.   It was a fun morning (though mommy was quite unhappy with picture quality, fooey!)



The kids again enjoyed the game of hide and seek - they are allowed to touch our elf and play with her throughout the day once both kids have found the elf in the secret spot and as long as she wasn't up high.   If she was up high - mom or dad had to get her down first!   Ace was quite frustrated some mornings because his sister had little desire to find the elf.  It didn't concern her in the least but he desperately wanted to get her before he left for school.   It caused some tension sometimes, but again they loved the elf and the hide and seek game that we make of it in our family. 

As December waged on Ivy the Elf got herself into lots of festive places and at time antics!    There were a few parental favorites and one request from a friend for where/how to hide the elf.    There were a few "phoning it in nights" (Ivy under tree skirt, Ivy in bucket of blocks)  and one night that must have been so lack-luster I didn't take a picture and I can't remember where she hid one night.    Overall not too shabby! I *do* have to pat myself on the back that while there were many nights it was right as I was going to bed I remembered to hide the elf every night and only once had to get out of bed to do it and the elf did move every night!  ;)


There were a couple of nights when the creativity bug got a hold of me and we spent a decent amount of time being *THOSE* parents that other people blog angrily about regarding elf mayhem.   Sorry folks.  :)   To be fair we were only those parents 25% of this holiday elf-hiding season.

My first wave of creativity came when I wanted Ivy to sail the seas, then I thought a battle scene would be fun and so it just evolved after that.   It probably did take 20 minutes, but let's be honest a good part of that was cleaning enough so that I would be willing to capture that space of my house on camera. 


And well we couldn't just let Ivy get away with charging attempting to take over the Pea's land...couch?  and so I wanted to build a jail out of tinker toys... but Ace had dispersed them amid the house and my best efforts to collect them from his room (and Mae's) before they went to bed was not enough to construct something with them alone and thus the Zoobs had to be brought out and the husband called in for some serious construction assistance - but I have to say the jail is still intact and in Ace's room... pretty sure the minion is still in it.  ;)


On another night as I was ready to just go to bed I was hunting for a good spot for the elf to hide and I was struck with inspiration for drawing on the chalkboard and so I went to work drafting up a drawing for Ivy to have been posed to draw.   There was also another good 5 minutes of shoving stuff away from the easel and if you panned the picture out - to the right would be a pile of crap that normally lives under the easel.  True story. 


We recently have been undergoing construction.  New floors, new paint, new fireplace, new mantle.   Our fireplace and mantle before was this ugly shabby chic brick.   Not shabby chic pretty - like shabby crap.   Like there once was tile stuck to it and it was ripped off.  Not pretty!  HOORAY for family that is good at stuff like this and was willing to do the job of building us a new mantle and tiling up the fireplace nicely for us!  Love it!    So I wanted to unveil the mantle in an excellent display of photos of Ivy.   Alas my excitement and all of my toner spectacular photos were upstaged and barely noticed because it snowed the night before and there Ivy sat all day with barely a notice.  


Finally for you fine readers I present to you this delightful elf!  My friend sent me a picture of another elf in a Christmas tree sitting on an ornament, someone (the same person that posed it, or maybe not)  had posted the ever so infamous Miley song lyrics along with it... my friend begged me to please do it!   Since I'm mildly obsessed (in the way that you can't stop looking at a car wreck) with Miley's utter train wreck of the last year of her innocence I couldn't resist and thus this fabulous (and carefully posed) shot was taken! 


Merry Christmas, Ivy!  Now off you go until next year and a new personality will be born! 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Black Friday 2013

First, I have to say that I was incredibly sad that my partner in crime for the last six years was under the weather and unable to go with us!   I can't say how disappointed I was to not be traipsing through the mall and various stores and inexplicable hours with V.   Now that said, my SIL had planned to join us so while we were missing a key player we certainly didn't lack in Black Friday (and Gray Thursday, hehe) fun!    

After SIL's power nap we headed out around 10:30 - music cranked, seat warmers on, gas filled up - we were on the way to Target!    We got a pretty decent haul - I had one tote with me and filled it to the brim, got several movies, a few gifts, and a lot of fun - we got in line that literally was wrapping in and out of the outer aisles of one half of the store.  It was great fun, met some fun people in line,  we sang happy birthday at midnight and we were only in line there for about an hour and unlike when I went in 2011 the line was constantly moving.    SIL stepped out of line and got us Starbucks while I maintained our place and it was grand ol' fun!  :)    

Next stop was the mall and a great adventure getting many presents taken care of at the Disney Store!  We found a parking spot right away and headed into the mall!  We had to wait in line for about 20 minutes in order to get into the store (or at least it felt that long, it was nearing 1am)  The line wasn't quite as long as Target but for a store that's like 1/6th the size it was still impressive.   We headed home and were in bed by 2:30. 


We slept until around 7:30 and were up and out the door again by 7:50 for the next store - in which we spent 3 hours there and knocked out several more presents and purchases!   It was great and so much fun to go out with SIL!    

Upon returning home I commenced my sad face and pleas to persuade the husband to get out the Christmas tree - which for the most part didn't take too much effort - he loves me! ;)      We got the tree out, got all the lights on it, and then each of the kids grabbed an ornament and put on the first two ornaments of the tree while we captured the moment.  :)  And so begins the wonderful Christmas Season!!



Thanksgiving

Another great year with the family!   Auntie and Uncle Kai came to our house late on Wednesday night and were here for the whole weekend,  the kids love them, we love them, it was great!    The kids woke up at the same time that Uncle Kai and Loving Husband did, which was around 6am so they could head out for our church's mud bowl, so while we tried to keep them contained a while longer the morning began early!   


Since I was up nearly three hours before the parade I decided to get a head start on some of the kitchen prep while my co-chef was off playing football.   Breakfast supplies seemed so normal and boring so I put together some pumpkin bread to kick off the morning.   Next up before the parade I blended together the herb butter that was going to need to smother the turkey.    Kai and I had spent the last couple of weeks collaborating on a menu that we would enjoy cooking and exploring.  


The Chefs of 2013
We went with a southern theme to our dinner and our menu was as followed:  Herb Roasted Turkey,   Corn Bread Stuffing,   Green Beans baked with oil and garlic, Sweet Potatoes soufflĂ©, Mac & Cheese with ham, Cranberry Relish (a family staple from Grum), Butternut, Apple,  and Cranberry Bake,  and then for dessert Gran brought her pumpkin pie and Kai found a delicious recipe that was entitled Is It Really Better Than Sex? Cake -  we substituted the pineapple for mangos and around 10:30am our cooking began.  For the chefs and the other two folks that were corralling the kids, I put together some Boozy Berries and we enjoyed some mimosas while we cooked.   We moved a small tv into the kitchen so that I could watch some football while we cooked as well.  We had a good time and moved quite efficiently with all the various steps that the dishes required.  Sometime around 3pm I realized that I had yet to even break to go to the bathroom!   



Prior to getting started cooking we enjoyed watching the Macy's Day Parade and the kids played with Auntie.   It was a great day and the meal with tasty and oh so many leftovers were around.    Dinner was an hour later than we had planned and we began plating the meal around 5pm.   Less than 20 minutes later, with no nap from the little miss, Mae asked to go to bed.  It was so sweet and so I cuddled her up and toted her off to bed.   





Dinner was wrapping up by the time we got back so I had a few more bites of food and then dove straight into desserts and they were delicious!    Yes, I had 2 helpings of that cake and we ate it throughout the weekend - so yummy!    Then of course the silliness ensued with the family as it often
does around the table. :) 

After we got Ace into bed and said goodnight to the grandparents we sat around chatting for a while before 9pm rolled around and Loving Husband headed off to bed at 9pm... and Auntie headed downstairs to take a power nap before we began our late night shopping!   Thus leaving, somehow, Kai and myself who had spent nearly seven hours in the kitchen cooking the meal to then clean it up.   Halfway thru clean up we acknowledged this injustice and declared that in 2014 the siblings would be cooking the meal and we would wrangle the kids and then post their bedtime we'd leave the siblings to clean the meal up and he and I would go out (as we find sleeping at 9pm laughable, sorry fam.)  ;-) 


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Project 365 - November

There is much to blog about!  Thanksgiving, Black Friday, the start of the new Christmas Season!  Much to come!  However, I thought I'd give you an update on my first month complete on my Project 365.    So far so good! 

There were a couple of days I didn't pick up my big camera and didn't  intentionally take a shot with the project in mind, leading me to use a cell phone shot that was the best option at the time.  There were days that I used my cell phone for the macro features and love those shots! Here and here those can be found.  I am really enjoying looking at things differently!   My favorite picture if I am forced to choose was probably this one as this project was what caused me to push to do the mini-shoot and to have fun with a surprisingly willing participant!

If you haven't hopped over to that page you can do that here.    If you'd prefer to wait I'll attempt to keep these collages coming each month - although 30(ish) pictures gets a little tight, so to see them in all their full sized glory go to the other page and you can always do that by clicking the button at the top labeled '365'!

Happy December, everyone!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

88!

 
Tonight on the eve of what would have been my grandma's 88th birthday I sit reflecting on time gone by.    In the last decade I've lots many loved ones.  It seems like she's been gone so long but when I do the math it's only been 4.5 years.  My grandpa has been gone for eight.  My dad, nearly eight years as well.  Time is so tricky like that.  I miss them.  But today I miss my Grum a lot.    I wish all of my lost loved ones could be here to know their (great) grandkids.    Enjoy the technology that gives us the option to seem so much closer even though we're miles apart.   To share more time.

I reflect tonight on many things, mostly happy. To dwell on sadness of the absence would be to drowned the memories of happiness and so I press on to reflect on those happy times - and there were many.    My mom reminded me the other day of  Grandma's game with my brother and I of 'Hide the Slipper'  Grum would sit in her chair and then we would go hide one (or both!) of her house slippers (think 80-riffic slip on plastic sole, terry cloth slippers, which she'd wear through and buy several more pairs throughout my entire life)  upon us returning to her chair in the living room she would begin to guess where we hid it.  :)  Eventually she'd get it right and we'd go hide it again!  All the while she didn't have to move at all.   Genius! 
 
Grandma, rocking "selfie" pics before they were cool!
Swinging and singing were two of my favorite things to do at Grum's.  Also eating those Gerber 'hot dogs' that were baby food ones - I know I ate those way beyond being a baby.   I also usually had gum and apple juice whenever I was there.   Grum always had the same bread - it was brown (at least that was all my take away was when I was a kid.) At my house we always ate the white bread, but I would eat the brown bread at Grum's, because that's what she had.  She'd make Swedish Pancakes every time I stayed over - and I used to crawl out of the room, sneaking to surprise them, to no one's surprise - ever.  ;)
 
 
Grum knew how to laugh at herself and her laugh was infectious.   I can still hear it.  Somehow we got this bow tradition to be a regular thing for the last several Christmases of her life.  Silly, but fun.  :)   Why not? ;)
 

Grum loved to cook - she cooked nearly every meal.  She knew her dishes and she knew how to make many things.   She made a mean German Chocolate Cake, yummy!     She also was a good sport when the list was past around for the church pot luck and by the time it had gotten to her someone - every time - would have signed her up for Grandma Jello!
 

I think the one thing I am most sad to have lost is time to talk to her more about Jesus.   She became a Christian 'late in the game' when she was 30 and she latched on to study His word with great fervor and zeal.   She wore through several Bibles in the 53 years of her walk with Christ on this earth.    We buried her with 'the' Bible that she had worn out the most.   We couldn't decide who should have it - so to dust it went.  :)   We all kept a few pages from it though where she had written and underlined and reunderlined some important passages to her.    I would have loved to now that I am older to have time to sit down and talk to her. 
 
 
Grum was so happy when she learned that she was going to be a great grandma.  It was the last Christmas I spent with her was when we announced we were pregnant with Ace.    I still recall when we found out he was a boy the first thing out of her mouth was "That's ok, the next one will be a girl."    She was right!  Mae has her spunk for sure, mixed with my facial expressions and BOTH of our stubbornness... oh boy watch out.   Perhaps you do share more than Grum's middle name sweet girl!
 
So much happiness and life that we shared.   I was at her house several days a week, swinging, laughing, playing, doing puzzles, playing games,  singing to Jesus, and occasionally making cookies or learning how to cook something as I grew older.   Grum's was my first sleepover, the first place I had gum, the first place I had coffee, many lessons were instilled to me there, many memories were made, laughs were had.    While I wish she were here to celebrate being 88!  I know that her time didn't run out here, she had just finally waited long enough to go home.   Happy Birthday, Grum!  I miss you.
 
 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Halloween 2013

I'm a little late to posting, but the kids had another great Halloween!    This year we had another Superhero and this time Captain America was chosen! Mae early on chose to be a Purple Princess and as mommy hunted for a perfect little dress for her - I came up with nothing, so I made her outfit.   Piece of elastic and 4 rolls of tulle in various purples and some black and a ribbon to hold it onto her shoulders and the dress was born.   Toss on some of her regular purple clothes for layers, a little feather hair accessory and a crown and the Purple Princess was ready to go!   The kids had no issues this year in the understanding of how this whole Trick or Treat thing works and had a great time going with their friends again this year.  They even scored full sized candy bars at two different houses.   Mommy that night ate one and my little girl the next day found the evidence and was MAD.  Man did I ever get a sneer out of her!  She's so silly and sweet... and easily offended!  It was another great year of fun and silliness! 



 




Checking out their haul

Yum!
Guess I should have hidden the evidence!