Maddie Rae Gotcha Day

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Favorite Things

Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, I can officially begin my favorite holiday celebration. Well, I guess I've begun it already by decorating my house, listening to Christmas music, and completing almost ALL of my Christmas shopping. It's time to deck the halls, folks. In honor of the season officially beginning, I'm posting a few of my favorite things about this time of year.

Favorite Christmas Movie: Christmas Vacation

Jon and I never ever ever get tired of this movie. It's just as hilarious every time, and I can't wait to watch it (although we already watched it in June). Close runners-up are Christmas Story ("You'll shoot yer eye out, kid."), Elf ("...and when we're done, we'll snuggle."), and White Christmas ("Sisters...sisters...").
Favorite Christmas Movie Quote: Christmas Vacation "What can I say, Audrey? It's Christmas, and we're all in misery."

Admit it. We've all been there. My favorite usage of the quote was the Christmas when Jonah was 1 and Jack was 3. We travelled to Chicago to see all of my extended family. After a 7 hour drive, we were ushered into an older house that had somehow come under the care of my aunt. The house was built in the 50's, the beds were bought in the 50's, and the indoor temperature was in the 50's. I spent the first night lying in the middle of a sunken bed with Jonah, who was frozen into an ice pop, listening to the train (which was 50 yards away) sounding like it was coming straight into the house to join us every 15 minutes. And there you have it: the perfect set up for my mom to say, "What can I say, Retts? It's Christmas, and we're all in misery."

Favorite Christmas Decoration: My new white vintage mod Christmas Mantel. Ta Da.
Favorite Christmas Gift: Waking up to find a DOG under the, hiding in the bathroom. We begged Santa for a dog for years. I don't think a Christmas ever went by without a heartfelt letter from me about how I would be the most responsible dog owner to ever grace the earth. Santa wasn't a dog lover though, and it took him until I was 17 and about to move out to finally grant my wish. Unfortunately the gifted dog was a psycho Westie with a thing for toes, fingers, and my brother's face. But the rush on Christmas morning created by that little terror was memorable.

Favorite Christmas Traditions: Church on Christmas Eve, Instant Breakfast casserole on Christmas morning, driving around looking at the lights, and cutting down the Christmas tree.

Favorite Christmas Cookie: My gramma's sugar cookies. Yum.

Favorite Memorable Christmas: Christmas 1998. I think I'll dedicate an entire post to this one in honor of our 10 year wedding anniversary coming up on December 19. I'll give you a little teaser: Honeymoon in Gaylord, Michigan. (I know. The words "honeymoon" and "Michigan" should never be used in the same sentence, but they will be in this upcoming trip down memory lane...)

So there you have some of my favorite things about the season. Now, do share...what are your favorites?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Time for a cat

If you're just tuning in and you missed all the mouse drama from a few months ago, allow me to recap. We rented our house out for 4 years while we were living in Hong Kong. Upon returning home, we were greeted by a revolting scene. Mouse poop in ever crack, crevice, and shelf in the kitchen. We practically had to wade through the mouse poop and dead mice under all the cabinets and appliances. In a moment of desperation the NIGHT BEFORE the movers were arriving with all of our stuff, we ripped out the entire rodent infested kitchen with much screaming, cursing, and hiding of our noses and mouths under our shirts.

Fast forward to today. Our kitchen is gleaming. I am a vigilante when it comes to crumbs in the house. I leave no crevice unturned in my OCD cleaning. You see, I have a fear. What if I open a cabinet and *gasp* hear scurrying. If it happened once, it could happen again. Right? But it ain't happening. Oh no. We've seen no bugs. No droppings. No "activity." Until today.

The exterminator came for his routine check-up, and I proudly announced that we haven't seen a thing. Everything must be critter free. "Well, mice are REALLY bad on this street," he assures me.

Up he comes from the basement with a bag. A bag with a mouse. A MOUSE. In my HOUSE. My gleaming, crumb-free safe zone. He did offer me some encouragement in the form of, "Well, he did look like he'd been there a while....maybe a month. And it was just in the basement. You'll KNOW if there's one upstairs. Just call me if you need me." He's going on speed-dial ASAP.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Christmas Mantel Inspiration

The boys and I have had the weekend to ourselves since Jon and Maddie Rae went to his parent's house early. We have been getting our Christmas on, but I have been a bit stumped.

First issue: we don't have that many Christmas decorations. We've only lived in our "own" house 3 years out of our entire marriage. The other years have been spent in apartments, other people's houses housesitting, and overseas. Thus my dilemna. I want my house to look fab for the holidays, but I have nothing to make it look that way.
Second issue: The Christmas decorations we do have are a mishmash of styles, ugliness, and gifts left over from my teaching days. Blah.
Third issue: Red and green is not really jiving in my wythe blue living room.
I turned to my favorite design tool for some inspiration: Flickr. I heart Flickr. It's a great place for designer wannabes like me to show off their houses, and you can always get great ideas.
Mission: Christmas Mantels.

Isn't this little elf cute? And I like the little whimsy touch he adds.

Oooh. Love this. Love the white milk glass vases. Love the white snowflakes. I'm feelin' inspired.

Love the white tree, but I know Jon won't let me go that far. But oh, it would look SO good!

I see a theme emerging here: white. Love this white village with the blue walls. Hmmmm....

Flickr isn't all inspiration. There are plenty of photos like this one which inspire what NOT to do (or what my mantel will look like if I use what I have).

Now that I'm feelin' the inspiration, I'm off to shop. Stay tuned for my Christmas Mantel Unveiling.

Sidebar addition

If you'll direct your eyes to your right, you will see a new fancy addition to my sidebar. This site is the new project of Stephanie over at NiHaoYa'll, and it is a cool site that educates and advocates for special needs adoptions from China. Stephanie is an amazing advocate for special needs adoptions, and she has 4 biological kids and 4 Chinese kids that they adopted through the special needs program. Personally, I think TLC should add their family to the Dugger, Jon and Kate plus 8, and Little People in a Big World line up.

I was going to add the "Followers" box to my sidebar as well until I realized that I only have one follower. My sister. I think I'll leave that one off for now.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Drugged dummy

There's a funny thing that my body does. I'm not really sure why or what the chemistry of it all means, but for whatever reason drugs stay in my system for a loooooooooong time. I've always been a one Benedryl only in an emergency kind of a gal because if I take any more than that, I'm liable to be stuck to my bed the next morning unable to function. I've had a sinus infection for a couple weeks now, and last night I did the forbidden. I took night time cold medicine.

I slept great, and I even woke up on time. That's where the trouble began. I stumbled into the shower feeling a little groggy, and couldn't figure out why the shower was so cold. I kept turning the cold down, down, down, until I finally concluded that Jon must have taken an hour long shower before me and used up the entire water heater tank. It's 25 degrees out, and I'm pretty sure my water was not much warmer. I scrambled through it ready to chew Jon out for his extravagance, when I realized my drug induced folly. Instead of turning the cold down, I had turned it all the way up to full blast. Oops.

Must have been a fluke right? Wrong. It didn't stop there. I went to pick up my niece for Mom's Day Out and spent a good 5 minutes frantically running through the house looking for her lunch box which I had "just had in my hands and must have set down somewhere" before looking down and realizing I still had it in my hands. It was at that point that Raegan, my sister, decided that she better do the driving for our Mom's Day Out excursions.

She drove, and we were all good until we got to the mall. I opened the door to get Max and exclaimed, "RAEGAN! You didn't have his carseat seatbelted into the CAR!"
"Um, Retta, his seat is snapped into the car seat base [you total moron]."

And the real kicker. We're sitting at lunch in the food court, and I peek into Raegan's Gymboree bag and notice that she picked up gift boxes for the Christmas pj's we purchased for all the kids. "Oh, what a good idea! You got gift boxes. Why didn't I think of that?"
"Retta, don't you remember we had a conversation about the gift boxes in the store? The lady asked us if we wanted them."
"Nooo. She must have just asked you because I didn't hear any of that."
We run into Gymboree on the way out for my coveted gift boxes. I peek into Raegan's bag to see her gift boxes, only to realize it is actually MY bag and MY gift boxes.

From now on, I'm layin' off the cold meds.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The truth about school lunch

I have often wondered why Jack and Jonah come home with half their lunch uneaten most days, or why they are STARVING after school and on the brink of perishing from lack of nourishment (according to them). Yesterday I attended the school Thanksgiving "feast," and now I have a much more accurate view of what's happening to all that lunch food I so lovingly pack every morning.

1. Lunch was served at 10:30 AM for the kindergarteners. That's right folks. Lunch at 10:30.

2. Cafeteria food is just as appetizing now as it was when I was in school, and stuffing molded into a ball from an ice cream scooper does not get eaten by these kids either.

3. The teachers leave the kids under the care of the lunch ladies, who serve the food and dismiss the tables. Everything in between is a free for all.

4. Second grade boys spend more time talking about how hilarious is was that day when Jack's gogurt exploded all over them, singing songs that they've made up, asking what order of best friend's they fall under, and talking about their various scars and injuries than they do eating.

5. Second grade boys also think it's really funny to do things like drink their green bean juice with a straw, eat their ice cream and mash potatoes with their fingers, and decorate their faces with the whip cream from their cake.

6. Kindergarteners think that eating is a show and whoever can do it funniest and loudest is the winner.

7. School cafeterias smell the same no matter what decade, state, or school.

8. Fake burping is really funny. Real burping is downright hilarious.

9. All those fruits and vegetables packed or bought? Yeah, those are goin' straight in the trash.

10. Oh wait, there's a trash can? I just stuff it all back into my lunch box and take it home for good ole mom.

Friday, November 14, 2008

A good read

I just happened upon this really cool blog, and I thought I would share it with you. It's written by a husband and wife who are living in China working at a foster home. In honor of Adoption Awareness month, and because adoption is never too far from my mind or heart, I recommend reading this post. Have some tissues handy!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Have a drink and some candy

I realize that I am way late on the whole trick or treat blog wagon, but I did want to document my kid's reaction to their first real American Halloween experience. We did trick or treat in Hong Kong, but only one street in our compound participated. What resulted from that small fact was 2000 trick or treaters all on one tiny block. It was madness, but it was fun. Because of that, Jack's reaction to American trick or treat was "Where are all the PEOPLE?!"
Jonah's reaction was a simple, "I LOVE Halloween!" every time his bag would be filled up. He couldn't quite believe his luck. "You mean all I have to do is say trick or treat and they give me free candy?!" This coming from the kid who thinks junk is a food group. Maddie Rae had a similar disbelief to her reaction. I took the stroller thinking that there was no way she would be able to keep up with the boys. Boy was I wrong. The girl ran her way through two solid hours of candy begging. By the end she couldn't even lift her bag, but that did not deter her a bit. She would hand it to me in between houses, then hoist it up when it was time for more candy. The first few houses she turned around to me in disbelief crying "MAMA! MAMA! MAMA!" while showing me her bag. Gotta love this American tradition!

Jonah, show us your face!

And this was before the sugar (except for Jonah who already has something going on in there).
And to change threads completely, here is the kid's lemonade stand from Saturday. We live 3 blocks from a major University football stadium, and it was game day. Time to make some money. They earned $6.50 and got several tips (probably because they looked at people like they had 3 heads when asked if they could make change. Most people just said, oh never mind, keep the dollar. Nice sales tactic.)