Thursday, December 27, 2007

Does this look familar to you?

One thick, fluffy roll of cotton. 5-6" in diameter. Flap folds over the top. Found usually with a posse of 5 buddies. Goes by the name, "Cottonelle". Aka, "T.P." as heard on the streets.

One male human. Blue eyes. Same last name as victim. May have cotton fibers left over on fingerprints. Will have guilty look on face when confronted. May claim he did not realize roll was left vacant. Suspect may be armed with excuses but is not considered dangerous.

Does this look familiar to you?

This speaks a thousand words without actually saying anything. First, it screams “touched by a male”, and I only know this fact because it is always of the male persuasion that leaves the untidy empty roll in our house. I have a good idea of which male probably disappeared into the shadows, but I can’t be 100% certain because there are two suspects living in our home. How hard of a task is this guys??

Secondly, women don’t leave untidy empty rolls on the holder. We know if we left it like that, we’d get called upon to rescue such male in the midst of a private moment anyway by tossing one to them. Or, it would be our luck that we would again be the next person to need the bathroom and the empty roll would still be there in silence. So, we change it, right then and there. And we even restock the extra rolls if their “extras” spot happens to be completely empty in the bathroom. You know, to make it easier on anyone who needs to reach for a new roll and replace it next time. We are thoughtful like that. Because we are women.

There is also a universal groan that comes from women around the world when they realize the roll is empty, and has not been replaced. It’s a sound that is a cross between the growl of a bear and the exhale of a yawn, followed by an eyeroll left over from teenage-hood. Mine sounds like that anyway. That huff and puff we do when we realize we’ve been left to forage for a new roll, says “How inconsiderate of you! How lazy of you!

Is there a gene missing in the male genetic makeup that accounts for the actions of such creatures? It doesn’t begin and end with the toilet paper roll either. Oh no. It goes hand in hand with the toilet seat being left up, the bar of soap smidge left behind in the shower, the few morsels of cereal hidden in the powdery substance at the bottom of a cereal box, the trash bag that might hold just one more thing, you get the picture.

I’m sure there is a list of “female factor” line items that could be addressed here. But since it’s my blog, and I’m writing about being the victim of the untidy empty toilet paper roll, there will be no lady bashing. And since I was alone without any male companions this afternoon, my huff and puff was not heard when I discovered such conditions. It was a nice parting gift don’t you think?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Baking Christmas Cookies

Yesterday was our cookie baking with my parents. This has been a tradition since Carter was born that we do together - we look forward to this every December!

Here are some photos of the day..... MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Here is Mom with the kids before we started the mess...
Dad with Carter
Mom and Carter decorating some cookies
Olivia and Mommy
Modeling her new headband
Olivia making her very first cookie - an angel!
Examining some dough on her finger - not quite sure about this!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

...oh, it must be God

Ring, Ring, Ring, Ring.......

Carter: "Mommy, the phone is ringing!"
Me: "I know, I can't get it right now I'm busy with Olivia"
Carter: "Can I answer it?"
Me: "no, not this time, they'll leave a message"
Carter: "can I push the message button then?"
Me: "When I'm done changing Olivia"

I'm done, so we go to the kitchen to see the phone glowing orange which indicates a message - and he wants to listen...

Me: "Ok Carter, remember which button to press?"
Carter: "yesssssss Mommmmmyyyyy" (imagine an eyeroll inserted here from Carter because apparently kids think their parents are so dumb already at the ripe old age of SIX)

Listening to silence as the caller didn't want to leave a message it appears...

Me: "Well, I guess no one was there."
Carter: "No, I think it must have been God...."
Me: "God? Why would it be God if there's nobody on the answering machine?
Carter: "Becaaaaauuuuse, we can't hear God, and we didn't hear anyone on the message!" (imagine an eyeroll inserted here from Carter yet again in frustration as if to say - DUH Mom!)


Well, if he says it must be God....... (shrug) I have no argument!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Gingerbread house fun!

Yesterday began a weekend of being snowed in. We got a significant enough storm, that we stocked up on things to do at home, one of which included making our traditional gingerbread house. I'm no Martha Stewart, so there will be no homemade gingerbread recipes found in my tattered recipe book. Nope - we buy the pre-made kits. Comes with rock hard gingerbread forms (that taste disgusting by the way!), a bag of icing to use as glue (and tastes like it's intentions), a couple of small bags of candy to decorate with, and instructions that are pretty idiot proof. My kind of creation! I erected the house as Carter requested, then it was time for him to decorate.

It went sort of like this: One gumdrop here, another in his mouth. One gumball there, let's see how this one tastes. You get the picture. Just as it should be. No fun making a gingerbread house if you can't sample to goodies while you're working. All of that thinking and planning how you want it to look makes a boy need to refuel with sugar you know! Those brilliantly colored blobs of kid-crack do the job. The temptation can not be overcome, and children must sample all of the delights. Thankfully I know this in advance, so I wasn't having a fit while he ate the materials for our house. I love when the small stuff make a kid have a thrill. Oh, but I'm making up for it today, as he's eaten several parts of the house while there weren't any glaring eyes on him. And began bouncing off of every surface his feet and body touched today. So much for sniffing glue - he was eating it! Those sugar highs can really be something.....

Here's some pictures of our fun!

Click photos to enlarge

And so you can get an idea of what's being ingested every time he looks at it... the walkway gumdrops have disappeared. Snow and sprinkles, as well as the Christmas Tree gingerbread cookie, and lots of gumballs along the roof line. So funny.


Here's some cute pictures of Carter and Olivia playing together. She's starting to protest if a toy is taken away, and big brother is starting to get the feel of how to tease. Good times all around!

How cute is she? With her sock she loves to carry around with her everywhere. Some kids have a special blankie - she.has.a.sock. Yep, that's my child.

Oh, and here's a closeup of the only two teeth she has in her mouth. We lovingly call her our hamster. Looks just like a rodent right? If she only had the top two...

Are these not the biggest blueberries you've ever seen?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Birthday party planning....

January seems to be our lucky month for having a baby (no, we're not pregnant...). Both of the kids have birthdays next month - Olivia's is the 3rd and Carter's is the 18th. This means, that among all of the holiday hoopla we're trying to climb out from under, we have to plan a couple of parties. To wait until after Christmas would be too late - the 3rd of January comes pretty quickly. I suppose I should not complain, there are other days that could be more challenging - say, like December 25th - when one of my best girlfriends had her first baby last year. What a fantastic Christmas present for them! Yet, they will forever face the challenge of celebrating 2 major events on the same day.

There are some really cool things about being born on Christmas Day though. Besides, sharing your birthday with one of the most famous people of all time - Jesus, everyone is getting together on your birthday - noone ever forgets! And there will probably be double the gifts for quite a few years that the child can cash in on. How cool to have birthday presents wrapped in birthday wrapping paper - under the Christmas Tree! There are not many people that can claim that special day as their birthday - I believe that birth day was hand picked just for her, by Him. And I think it's pretty darn cool.

Now, back to January and my whining. We had our hearts set on having Carter's 7th birthday party at the "Carter's Toy Museum" that just opened here in our town. They have a small diner-style place to grab lunch, they have an ice cream parlor, the toy museum tour, and in the basement there are about 20+ coin operated toys for the kids to enjoy. And a carousel on the 3rd floor. Well, we went last weekend to check it out in person, and although I was really impressed, I think we'll have to save it for Olivia's birthday sometime. It was just too young of a place for a 7 year old's bday. More the speed for those under 5. Now the museum, that's for anyone older that can enjoy toys collected and played with older than the 1960's. Some really cool stuff to see!

Plan B: There's a new franchise that just opened up here in our Mall, called Ridemakerz. Have you ever heard of Build-A-Bear? Well, this is for boys what build-a-bear is for girls! Here, we will bring the boys to build a toy car of their own. They can customize it to their liking by choosing a style, a color, tires, rims, decals, license plate and special name for their car. They will build the car at the Ridemakerz "shop", and be able to take it home with them. The neat part too, is that at any time the boys would like to upgrade their cars' features (can even make it a remote-control car), they can bring it back to the "shop" and customize it further on their own. We will have cake etc. at the mall too and call it a day! Carter is really into the movie "CARS", so he wants a cake that is from the movie, and this place fits perfectly to the theme. It should have been Plan A from the start - but I just found out about it in our local newspaper, and I'm so glad! Looking forward to this!

Olivia - is turning *gulp* ONE! My gosh, seriously - where did this year go? It's been 6 years since we've been able to enjoy this baby stage with another child and it's been such a joy. She is so incredibly easy going and always happy, I could SO have 10 more if I was sure they'd all be this (dare I say...) easy! I'm sure I'll be chomping these words once she's more able to assert herself in the world (with a lovely sassy mouth she's sure to inherit from me, or learn how from her brother....) - but for now, pure bliss and we wouldn't trade it for anything. We'll have a family party here at home probably on Jan. 5th. I don't know much more than that, but I have a bullseye on the day, and that's something to start with right?

Here's a picture of her latest accomplishment - from bottle to SIPPY CUP!!!

click on photo to enlarge

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Winter fun! Pictures & Video Clip

Since there's not too much going on other than getting Christmas shopping done and fretting about Luminary Night that was supposed to happen in my neighborhood tonight (postponed because of rain), I thought I'd post some pictures of Carter enjoying our freshly fallen snow and a cute video of Olivia's new tricks!

As always, click photos to enlarge!

The view into the back yard trees looked so pretty after the snow fell...

Carter preparing to create his work of art...

Here we have the quintessential snow angel art! He couldn't wait to stamp one into the ground....


And before the rain began to wash it all away, we had to build our first snowman of 2007!


And here's my sweet Olivia - this video contains 2 parts - the first is her kissing the pictures in her favorite book. The second part of it is her showing off her new trick of shaking her head "No No" and giggling! Enjoy! Just an FYI, she's not said "Mama" yet (sure, she'll point to me if you ask her where Mama is), but she can already tell me "no"... what's up with that?

View this montage created at One True Media
Olivia kissing pictures 12/9/07

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Snow gear insanity!

Why is it that snow gear for children takes 11 hours to put on them for only 5 minutes of play time because they're too cold? Arrrrgh! And there is never any gear left in the store when you actually need to buy it...

So we had our first accumulative snowfall yesterday (3.5"), not too much, but just enough to need snow gear to play outside. I'm not usually a procrastinator, ok maybe sometimes, but I have good reasons. You know how swim suits, flip flops & pool toys start making it to the store shelves in February? - yeah, ridiculous to us Northerners - well snow gear starts getting into the stores before pumpkin seeds are even planted. Who's in charge at these dept. stores, of ordering for the seasons anyway? Whoever it is must be from the south - where those timelines actually make sense. That, or they're just idiots. (I don't sound bitter do I?)

So while parents are starting to think about what their plans for 4th of July are, the store stock boys are removing flip flops (which is usually around the time I start looking for some and they're gone), swimsuits, putting up Christmas decorations - and hanging snow gear. Mercy - who's thinking about snow any time other than the day before the first storm is to arrive - in December? Not me. Sure, I see the snow pants, the latest snow boot fashion, the cute hats and gloves I will need to stock up on. Somehow each year, pairs of gloves disappear in the abyss and join the secret "other sock" collection, and need to be replaced. But no, I'm searching for flip flops, not snow gear during that time.

Then December hits. Getting cold out. Starting to think about needing snow gear for the kids. Alas, some snow is predicted! Flurries! No need for gear in flurries - we'll wait for The Big One to be predicted. Not good. Do you know why it's not good? Because now the gear flies off the shelf as fast as bread and eggs before a storm (people must like to make french toast during a storm or something? It's always the first to go!). Once the gear is picked over, and inevitably your kids' sizes are gone, you are forced to drive all over town from store to store hoping you find said gear. Sometimes you're lucky - sometimes not so much. Sure, there's always L.L. Bean (great store!) if you want to spend $70 on snow pants, but I like to keep my recurring annual purchase under $20 if I can. That is not an unreasonable request, because they're usually on sale - and this causes the giant stampede of Mothers In Mass to suck up every thread they can get their hands on.

The real frustrating part of all this you ask? They do not restock. Nope, that's it folks. The gear was out since July - you should have purchased some then! They need to make room for flip flops and swim suits now.... thankfully, we 'geared up' before the mention of our season's First Snow. A day earlier. That, was close! More snow tonight - 1-2". Not much, but enough for the kids to need that snow gear - and we've got it! Imagine my evil laugh inserted here....

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

It's December - did you notice?

How did it get to be 5 days into December already? I feel like I blinked and then here we are. It's nice to have some things crossed off the To Do list though. On Saturday, I had my ornament exchange at my house with about 19 of us, indulging on much-too-fattening appetizers and much-too-easy to sip cocktails. We had a great time chatting the night away, laughing and telling stories. And we all ended the night with a fabulous ornament to add to our trees. I'm looking forward to this again next year and it was a great kick-off to the holiday season!

On Sunday, we were up and out of the house a little after 9:00 am to head south 2 hours for our winter family reunion. It's a fun day to spend time with everyone that we don't get to see very often. We have a Women's and Men's gift exchange there, and parents wrap a gift for each of their children to enjoy too. The weather was pouring rain though, so it took quite a while to drive home at the end of the day.

Monday was spent cleaning up from Saturday's party. Of course I rinsed all of my platters and glasses out after the party, but I was so tired that I went to bed right after everyone left, knowing we had to be up bright and early to head to the reunion. Needless to say, on Monday I had my work cut out for me!

Tuesday I got a lot of Christmas shopping done! YAY! What a nice feeling that is to start scratching things off of THAT list. The best part? I did it all online, sitting in my pajamas until noon and got FREE SHIPPING on all of it. No lines, no crowds, no far-away parking spots in the cold, no dragging kids along - and I could do it all with bed-head and a cup of tea in my hand! I love technology! Inevitably, I will have to show up at a mall and be annoyed, but that all goes away once you get home and it's time to wrap. I love to wrap! Not that I am super good at it or anything, I just like to do it. I love choosing wrapping paper and bows, and seeing the growing pile of presents before me of things that are going to make people smile. Carter is getting really excited about the festivities, and it's contagious!

This weekend, we're taking the kids to buy presents for a family that my Mothers and More group "adopted" for Christmas through our local fire department. Our assignment as a family, is to get Star Wars items for this family's 7 year old boy. Carter is eager to shop for toys and it is going to be a great opportunity to discuss the act of giving and helping others with him. He asks some hard questions though, so we'll have to be prepared with some good answers!

I'll leave you with this.... It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

First snowfall - Dec. 5, 2007

Friday, November 30, 2007

Day 30 - Toothfairy is fired

Before I get into my blog topic of today, I wanted to take a minute to say THANK YOU to everyone that made my blog a part of their day - or at least for a moment in their busy lives - during the month of November. It was a lot of fun to come here and have a place to vent, cheer or just plain blather about things. Thanks so much for the comments both public and private - I love hearing what you have to say and you make me laugh. It's fun to commiserate the mundane together! I'm not done blogging, I hope to continue regularly, so check back often. It's easy to "subscribe" to the blog and you can get an email alert when there's been an update. Thanks again for sticking with me! Now, on to business!


The Tooth fairy is fired. She's been slacking on the job, and forgot to fly her way into sweet Carter's room last night and snatch his tooth from under his pillow. Luckily, this is not his very first tooth, it's his '#6' as he calls it. Nonetheless, I woke to a very disgruntled little boy this morning at 6:15, informing me that the Tooth fairy did not come yet. It took mere seconds to come up with an explanation - I was on my toes, and lucked out! Yesterday, he was walking around with his new possession and I kept reminding him that his tooth matched the color of the carpet, and we'd never find it if he dropped it. Well, he dropped it. Thankfully, we found it quickly. But after that, we put it into a ziplock baggie. Well, that is not how the tooth fairy likes it. She likes it in a neat little envelope, addressed to her (she can read, you know) and what number tooth it is. I quickly explained that we will have to put the tooth in an envelope tonight, instead of the baggie. Whew... close one. He bought it hook, line and sinker!

So, tonight the tooth fairy has been put on notice. Let's see if she can remember to drop some cash. I think this one deserves a little more than the usual request. All the other teeth (except #1, that got a toy) were exchanged with one quarter, one nickel, one dime and one penny. That's what Carter said the Tooth fairy needed to leave him. She got off pretty darn easily didn't she! I think a crisp dollar bill is in order for this one and it's tardiness. A little something for his wallet. He is saving up to buy something from a vending machine. Yes, a vending machine. Forget the candy aisle, this kid wants to put his money in a machine, press some numbers and see a nice sugary drink or some Doritos come flying out of the bottom. Do you know when we ask him what his favorite part of a road trip is (to Boston or Florida), he tells us it's when we go to a Rest Area. The ones with the vending machines. Geez, who needs to spend alot on a vacation when you can just take a short trip to the nearest Rest Area! That is my least favorite stop during a trip. I'm not a fan of the public restroom. But hey, if there's a treat to be had there, then it's worth it right?

Anyway, I'm sure it's not the first time the Tooth fairy has been a day late. I will have to have some creative excuses in my back pocket in case this happens again. At least Santa won't forget the kid.... at least I hope!

View this montage created at One True Media
Carter 11/30/07

Click the video to watch....

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Day 29 - Video & 3 hour naps

Yes, I know. I'm a slacker. I seem to have slid down the slippery slope of not blogging very much over the past week. I have excuses - good ones, but I won't bore you with them. You're probably still yawning from my last post about my refrigerator contents....

Before I forget another day, I thought I would give you a snipet of Olivia this afternoon watching me clean up the kitchen. She loves music and was moving and grooving to the Christmas music - that was of course until I got the camera out to record. But we have a little bit - enjoy!

Oh, and here is how I got SO MUCH done today! Gotta love 3 hour naps! Yep, right in the carseat the whole time too...

Below is the short video clip of Olivia.... click to view!
View this montage created at One True Media
Olivia 11/29/07

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Day 27 - What's in YOUR fridge?

Here we have a photo of the outside of my refrigerator. It actually has looked alot more cluttered with papers from school - but since there were no papers from last week, we have no clutter. Perfect time for a photo!

What do we have? Left side, red paper is a list of Carter's spelling words for the month. Below that, is his report card from a few weeks ago. On the right, we have a note pad with a Halloween ghost for my constant lists. Pictures of my nieces and nephew in Colorado, and a picture of the 5 grandkids together. Below that is the school lunch menu for the month of November.

Click photo to enlarge

Inside needs to be checked for trash day tomorrow... I think I cleaned it out pretty well last week though, but there are always stragglers hanging out in containers.

click photo to enlarge

On the left door, we have typical condiments. An assortment of items from top to bottom include: A-1 steak sauce, terriyaki marinade, minced garlic, salad dressing, pickles, strawberry jam, maraschino cherries, creamer, ketchup & horseradish sauce.

In the main compartment we have from top to bottom: Grammy's Surprise dessert, mayo, individual applesauces, half & half, eggs, Carter's lunchbox, Yo-Baby organic yogurt for Olivia, Yoplait yogurt for Carter, Dannon fit & lite yogurt, & 2 jugs of Lemonade flavored Gatorade. In the cheese drawer, we have Kraft cheese slices, shredded Mexican blend, Pedialyte, package of flour tortillas & some hot dogs. The drink holders have diet coke, pepsi and diet ginger ale. Below is a 1/2 full bottle of Strawberry Marguerita mix (mmmm!) and some guacamole that probably needs to be thrown out.

The drawers contain: Red delicious apples, red seedless grapes and Honeycrisp apples. Veggies are onions, carrots, broccoli and celery in the other drawer.

The right side of the fridge contains: butter, 1% milk, Nesquik chocolate syrup & Hersey's strawberry syrup. Lemon juice, misc. marinades and a bottle of champagne.

There ya have it...a literal peek inside our lives!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Day 25 & 26 - Taking a picture, dessert, mums!

Well I didn't make it to posting yesterday. I have to tell you, it has been difficult to get back into the groove after everyone has been sick here. Thinking of something to post about has been last on my To Do list the past few days as I'm sure you can understand. I have four days left of NaBloPoMo though and I'm looking forward to it. Today's post will be long to cover both of my days! :)

We tried to get a picture of the kids for our Christmas Card this year. I have to laugh because although it may seem like a pretty painless thing to do, especially in your own home, it is very far from it. First, choosing what the kids should wear. I want it to be casual, yet have a touch of holiday colors. So we went with a red sweater for Carter and I had a cute santa-ish top for Olivia. Ok, one down. Next, the decision is where to pose. Shall we sit in front of the tree? Fireplace? Couch? Next to each other? Holding hands? On ones lap? Let's just take all of the above and pray we capture some sane moments.

So we started out in front of the tree. Get the kids nestled into an antique rocking chair that once belonged to my Mom and her brothers as children. Christmas tree is glowing perfectly, kids look cute in their clothes, everyone's happy right? Wrong. Let's see, should I start describing how Olivia was more interested in squirming herself around backwards to look at the lights and ornaments that she could get her hands on, or tell you about her constant slipping off of Carter's lap because she's arching her back in frustration? How about once we settled into this pose I can tell you about the annoying amounts of times we had to keep saying, "Olivia look over here! Olivia! Coochie (freakin') coo! Carter, stop looking at the football game! Carter just look at the camera and smile while we get Olivia to look at us. No, not that kind of hard cheesy smile, a regular smile!" Ok, do you get the scene set-up here?

Meanwhile, Tom's hovering behind me with a stuffed animal and feeling the need to reitterate how much this isn't working. Men are so helpful sometimes. So, we graduate from the rocker in front of the tree, to sitting on the floor in front of the fireplace. Olivia can't grab the tree. She can't squirm and fall onto the floor because we're already on the floor. Good start right? Wrong. There may not be a tree close by now, but there's a poinsettia plant that looks just as attractive to a 10 month old! After trying all the tricks mentioned above that were performed in front of the tree, we snap a few more pictures and pray to all that's Holy for ONE to come out!

So this season, when you get a photo of family or friends in a Christmas card, think of all the tricks they may have had to try just to get you that one picture. Or better yet, find yourself a couple of constantly moving objects and try to pose them at just the right moment. You'll see. You'd rather stick pins in your eyes!

Don't you love digital pictures - you can delete and review instantly. I won't post a picture of the final cut, but here are a couple of out takes from our adventures. These did not make the cut!

Remember: You can click the photos to enlarge your view!

Olivia! Look over here!

Crap! Forgot the flash - and they were both looking! Argh!


And these are just cute individual ones!


I made my Grammy's Surprise dessert this weekend, along with my turkey and stuffing that I didn't get to do last week becuase The Sickbay was full.

I felt my Nana with me as I made each layer. For some reason, I especially felt close to her while cutting the cherries - she used to let me do that growing up - and we'd cut one, and eat one, cut one and eat one! Always hoping there'd be enough left in the jar to cover the dessert.

Here is a picture, and the recipe!

Grammy's (Banana Split) Surprise
1 box Nilla wafer cookies
1 stick butter, melted
1 15 oz can crushed pineapple, drained
2 bananas
1 lg. (3 oz) package of chocolate Instant jello pudding
1 12-oz carton of Cool Whip
1 jar marachino cherries
nuts, optional

Crush cookies in food processor until crumbs. Pour in melted butter and mix well. Press into a 9 x 13 dish. Make pudding according to box directions. Pour it over crumbs. Slice bananas over pudding, then add crushed pineapple, then spread cool whip over top. Slice cherries and arrange over cool whip. Sprinkle with nuts. Enjoy!


I had to take a picture of my fall Mums yesterday that were still bursting with color and appear to be smuggling steroids somewhere in the soil! Take note of how lush and green it is here in Indiana still. It looks like I could have leprachauns playing in the yard and you'd never find them!

And they didn't make it much longer after a good frost and harsh rain overnight... so sad.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Day 24 - #1 sellers, Christmas Tree

Some exciting news we got when Carter picked up his Boy Scout popcorn - our Pack 358 sold the most popcorn in the NATION! $96,000 worth of the stuff! Carter individually sold just under $500, and that was pretty exciting. But this total is awesome! Anyway, just had to give a 'shout out' to Pack 358 in Zionsville! Now we just need to find the time to deliver it!

So yesterday I mentioned in my blog about Tom getting the Door Buster bargain pre-lit Christmas tree on Black Friday. I have something to say about that. EVERYONE NEEDS TO GET A PRE-LIT CHRISTMAS TREE!!! Oh my - talk about as easy as 1-2-3 - we looked at each other and couldn't believe we've waited this long to jump on this sensation. It took all of about 2 minutes to set it up, and then another 5 to adjust the branches how I liked them. Tom and I think we heard a gospel choir sing, "Hallelujah"... THAT'S how fast and easy this was.

Ours is a beautiful Bristol Pine with 1400 tips and 1000 lights. 500 are multi colored, and 500 are white. It also has 7 different settings you can choose from to display your light action. Ours, of course doesn't deviate much from tradition - the lights are staying solid. Carter didn't like the blinkers, the slow fade to black, the patterns etc. Oh no - Santa, he said, would not like it the other ways. My little creature of habit. So, solid lights will stay. No motion, and no unpredictability going to happen with this tree! He did agree to liking the colored lights though - we put on all white lights on our old tree, so this multi-colored light thing is a new addition.

We spent the afternoon decorating the tree and putting up some more decorations around the house. Tom finished the lights outside and things are almost completed. Of course you know how that goes with decorating for a season, you make the biggest mess first (at least I do!) while taking other stuff down and getting out all your tubs and boxes filled with glee. So my house looks like a bomb went off inside it - things amuck here and there, dining room tabled filled with 'stuff' I'm not putting out this year (and need to repack) because of Olivia's curiosity and inability to resist putting any object in her mouth. I have greenery pieces sprinkled all over my carpet, glitter here and there and just overall clutter and chaos that comes before you can enjoy it all. By the end of the weekend, I hope to have things straightened out, the dust swept under the rug and be dreaming of a white Christmas.

Here's a few pictures of some favorite ornaments hanging on our tree...

Here's the decorated tree and mantle...

Carter's first ornament. Given to him from my grandparents. It's the first one he wants to hang every year.

Boston Lobster ornament given to Carter from my parents when they lived there.

Cute star ornament with Carter's school picture on it from last year.

Tom's Colts ornament - no need to explain.

A cupcake ornament that Carter picked out as Olivia's first ornament...

A couple of my Christopher Radko ornaments - hard to choose a favorite so I'll share these 2...