Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mantle 2010

Being pregnant (and working hard to keep it a secret from my mom) kept me away from the majority of the holiday link-up parties around ye ol’ blogosphere last year.  So, although I decorated for the 2009 holidays, y’all didn’t get a chance to see much of it.

This year, there are no secret pregnancies, so, yea!  I can share photos with the world Mom!

First on the docket is the 2010 Mantle Party, hosted by Layla via The Lettered Cottage.

The entries will blow you away, and load you up with inspiration if you have yet to decorate your mantle.  Be sure to head over there if you have an hour or ten to spend on blog-hopping.  (If time doesn’t allow that luxury, just look at my pictures!)

It’s taken several years, but last year, we were able to complete our Willow Tree nativity.  It took me a while to come up with a “backdrop” of sorts, since our mantel is so long, and the wall above it so high and narrow.  Glittered rattan stars from Old Time Pottery above the manger, and natural pinecones from my mom’s home in Florida flanking each end, finally gave me the look I wanted.

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Our family stockings hang, for now, in front of the (wood-burning-which-is-why-we-don’t-use-it-with-little-ones) fireplace and chimney.  It works, since we don’t actually fill them (since we spend Christmas elsewhere), but if ever we are home for Christmas morning, I think the stockings might move to the open staircase banister…

(And, yes, I know I need to have Erin’s stocking embroidered.  I’ll get right on that…)

thanksgiving 2010 022

One of my favorite things about our mantel/fireplace is how I’ve dressed up the firebox, since we don’t use it.  It’s nothing complicated –  a sampler from my grandma, a few more pinecones, everyday glassware with extra bulbs and ornaments, and some jute-wrapped vases I had lying around.   I think the sparkle, though, adds so much to what would otherwise be a drab spot.

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Last year, I even had some candles in amongst the jars, creating a great spot for some photo ops:

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And finally, just a $5 Kroger bloom in a usually-has-a-hosta-in-it pot, set with a stocking holder we aren’t using this year, and that’s it!

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It’s nothing extraordinary, but it reflects me and my tastes and I love sitting in the room looking at it.  Since our two trees are in other rooms of the house, the mantle has solo holiday-inspiring duty for the living room.

Speaking of the trees…..you’ll see those soon enough!


In addition to Layla’s party today, Rhoda (SouthernHospitalityblog.com) is hosting a “Christmas Vignette” linky party on December 2nd; Kate (CentsationalGirl.com) is hosting a “Christmas Craft” linky party on December 7th; and Sarah (ThriftyDecorChick.com) will wrap up the Holiday Home event by hosting a “Christmas Tree” linky party on December 9th.

I don’t know that I can participate in the craft one….unless I count the bag-filler-stuffed-pickle-jars adorning my end tables…..I’ll have to think about that one.  But as for the other two, count me in!  See you at the party, Interpeeps!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Full circle

So, I’ve been away from the blog for about 3 weeks.  Which I’m pretty sure is as long as I’ve ever gone between posts in the three-plus years I’ve been writing.  I’d had grand plans of coming back with some great post, which would not only explain my absence, but also draw you back into reading with my wonderful, witty writing.


That’s not gonna happen.

Instead, I’m going to merely share with y’all an email I received last night from my dear friend Sara.

But before I do, here is the back story.

Back in June, I wrote a whiny post about my disappointment in Erin’s hemangioma.  At just a few weeks old, it looked like this:

hemangioma edit 
It’s grown a little bit:

4 mos eyes
But for the most part, I don’t even notice it any more….though I’d say, on average, at least once a week, I am questioned about it by someone.

One of those someone’s is dear Zeke, who is quite smitten with our Miss Erin:

zeke erin 001

Anyways, Zeke was just here visiting us (with his family, too), so some quality time with his bride-to-be prompted the thought process that led to the conversation that facilitated this email from Zeke’s mommy:

So Zeke walks up to me in the kitchen to get his bowl of popcorn.

His shirt is off & I see a giant hicky (hickey?) on his left bicep.

I say, "Zeke! Where did you get that bruise?!" not realizing what it was at first. He looks at me like a deer in headlights. Then I realize that it was the perfect location to be a self-induced suck mark. I ask him, "Honey, why did you do that to yourself?"

His response? "Because I wanted to have a bruise mark like Erin."

Sooooo...I told him that it was NOT a bruise mark, but a birthmark & God gave Erin that special mark while she was still in your belly and that God & I don't approve of sucking on oneself.

Sweet goodness, the conversations I have to have with that child.

And to think, just a few months ago, I was wishing her mark away.  Now, it’s just a part of her – a part that identifies her to others.  I love it about her now.  As do others who know her.  I hope she will carry it confidently as she grows.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Family pictures 2010

We are so blessed to have a wonderful photographer built into one of our dearest friendships.


Not only is Jessi a great friend who loves my children like her own, she is a very talented photographer.  And she bravely undertook our family photo session this year.  I say brave, because we requested she do not only our family, but Doug and Sara’s brood, too.

So, that’s 9 people, with 5 children ranging in ages 6 months to 5 years.  That’s brave, people.  (Or insane, but let’s go with brave.)

I couldn’t be happier with the results:

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just a thursday 038 just a thursday 034 just a thursday 058

Thank you, Jessi, for your willingness to tackle all of us, and for your amazing talent!

Friday, November 19, 2010

An early celebration

One was so intermingled with our move from Ohio to Tennessee, it didn’t really have the emotional sucker punch that society usually insinuates.

santa cake 
Two didn’t really phase me, either.


But three?

vegas and 3 bday party 075

Yeah, three was a doozy that no one warned me about.

Insensitive parents that we are, in 2007, Jim and I welcomed Seth into the world dangerously close to the present-infested, celebration-overloaded Christmas holiday, so we knew that this year – the first year that he really understood the wonderment of his own birthday celebration – we wanted to make sure to pick a day for him that a) would be separate from the grandparent plethora of holiday gifts, and b) early enough in the season that his best buddies (and their families) would be able to attend (rather than already have every available date filled with holiday gatherings.


We had Seth’s third birthday party a whole month before he actually turned three, and it was a great success.

The best part of the celebration was that Doug and Sara and their brood traveled from Ohio to spend the weekend with us.  And Sara brought her to-die-for caramel corn for the party favors (thank you, SJ!).
 vegas and 3 bday party 069

I learned several things, in this, my first child’s-birthday-party-throwing endeavor.

  1. A three year old has a lot of friends.  I mean, really.  Each person invited to his party is a very big part of Seth’s life (and ours, too, and we love him/her).  However, seven or eight “besties,” in our case, come with at least one sibling, and since I’m of the “more is merrier” mindest, both parents, too.  Which made for a LOT of people, both big and small, in my house.  Probably not going to do that again. ;)
  2. I’m not Betty Crocker when it come to baking, and I’m certainly not Martha Stewart when it comes to prettying up said baked goods.   I decided to make my favorite cake recipe into cupcakes…which was fine, except that the “icing” for said cake is cool-whip based…..and that doesn’t hold up well unrefrigerated.  So, yea.  I had “frosting” falling off these cupcakes like molten lava.

    No matter, apparently, as I was repeatedly told that they were yummy, and they disappeared pretty fast.  But still.  Next year?  I’m totally getting a sheet cake from Publix.

I have to give major props to Seth for being so great with all his new presents.  I mean, really.  A three year old hasn’t pull from a pretty deep reserve of selflessness to not go completely “THAT’S MINE!!!!!” at his own birthday party, and Seth did great.  He thanked how friends (or, their mommies, as the case may be), and even allowed his besties/frenemies Hayden, Gage, and Tabitha to look at (and in some cases, even touch!) his new toys.

People say that babies born close to the holidays get the raw end of the deal when it comes to celebration.  Um, no.  Not in this house.  In addition to his November party, Seth will also get a celebration with us on his actual birthday, and most likely, again in Florida before Christmas.

Thankfully, amid all the material trappings, Seth seems to be maintaining his sweet spirit, and I can only hope any birthday parties to come were as fun and rewarding as this one!

(That said….I’m thinking his next party will be when he’s…….I dunno, eight, maybe?  These things are a lot of work!)

Happy early birthday, buddy.  Work or not, you’re worth it, and I love you!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Let me give you a tip

Maybe you already know this.  Maybe I should have known, but I didn’t.

So, in the interest of saving you, reader, some effort, planning, eventual disappointment, and mayhaps even a last-minute dash to the grocery store for a substitute fruit for your next MOPS meeting/potluck/get together/baby shower/whathaveyou…

There is no point in freezing watermelon when it is in season, thinking that when the cold days of fall and winter descend, you’ll be oh-so-happy to have a small taste of summer goodness still at your fingertips.  You won’t, trust me.

Because you can’t freeze and then thaw watermelon and expect it to remain firm.  It won’t.  It will, however, be the exact opposite of firm.  Which, in this case, is slime.

And that just doesn’t cut the mustard in the “lovely fruit platter presentation” category.


Watermelon in the trash at the curb; me, off to Kroger for a nice bunch of fresh – not frozen – grapes and berries.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Ready or not…

….here we come, Gramma!

ready to go 005 
Maybe I shouldn’t have packed his suitcase on Monday, since we aren’t taking him to Gramma’s until Friday.  He has been telling me, “let’s go, Mom,” and, literally, throwing his suitcase down the stairs for four days now.

Notwithstanding the dents in the stairwell, I’m glad he is excited about his trip to Gramma and Grandpa’s house.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Am I crazy?

erin jim compare

  Do y’all see it, too?  I know my mother-in-law does, and I know that this isn’t an ideal comparison shot, but truly…you see it right?  She IS her daddy’s girl…

Monday, November 1, 2010

Git ‘er done…???

Okay, Interpeeps.  Supposedly, I have at least 128 people “following” my blog.  Between them, my mom, and Sara, somebody should be able to help me answer the question hanging over my head this week.

How does a stay-at-home mom juggle getting stuff done, while still being present for/engaging with/tending to her children?

Point in case:  I have four days to prepare my family for 10 days away from home.  Suitcases need to be packed for four people, for time spent in a variety of climates, for a variety of functions.  Not just clothes, but baby paraphernalia/breast milk/favorite toys.  Meals need to be planned/prepped/executed for the week that will both nourish and deplete the perishables in the pantry/fridge.  Laundry, too.  Erin’s well-baby check-up on Wednesday (and did I mention she is not-so-well?  Poor lil’ miss is sick).  That’s just the list off the top of my head.

All the while, I feel like I’m neglecting my littles.  Seth is asking for Diego, [Imagination] Movers, and Backyard[igans] in turn, which to me = too much Playhouse Disney and Nick Jr.  Erin, bless her heart, is plopped in the exersaucer or onto the playmat, snot and all, while I “chore.”

It all needs to get done, but I want time to  love on my kids, too.  Seth is getting old enough to recognize where he falls on the priority chart, and I want him to know he is at the tip-top. It wasn’t so much of an issue when there was only one underfoot, and he was content to “help” with the chores…but now.

I'm on the TO Do list

Advice?  Tips?  C’mon, people.  Blogger lets you leave a comment for a reason.  Talk to me!