Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Happy Birthday to my oldest daughter. Today she turns 16.

The THOUGHT was to blow up all of these balloons (thank you Brian because I actually hate balloons) and then have her open her bedroom door in the morning and fall all over her.  BUT if you do this, you shouldn't use crummy scotch tape. I was worried about peeling paint off the walls (which is crazy because I'm about to repaint them anyway).  What she actually woke up to was a lot of balloons lying on the floor outside her door instead.  

Her friend took her to breakfast before school, and then as a family we got together tonight. She opened presents,  and cards.....

and then we had a non-traditional pizza dinner. Since it was her birthday, Big Al chose to eat sushi.  

We topped it off with cheesecake factory cheesecake (thank you Sam's Club for having some version of it).

 And then finished off the family evening by Skyping with my niece Cate in Edinburgh, Scotland. We can't wait to see her in December with one semester of college behind her.
Big Al then headed out to youth group where one of her friends made her a cake, and she hung out for awhile.  This weekend she goes on a retreat with them, so she had to go get the info.....

I'm very proud of the person she is becoming.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Easing into the holidays

Thanksgiving and Christmas are the bookend holidays for my favorite time of year.  I love the focusing in on family, and traditions - even more so than the rest of the year.

Of course Thanksgiving is all about our family getting together, but the rest of the weekend is spent pulling out the boxes, and beginning to think about how we can spend the time together. 

Black Friday is not a crazed experience for me generally. The younger 2 girls and I spent the evening getting ready to see our little cousin (4 years old) CJ, perform in her first Nutcracker with the local ballet.  Last year she sat through it with us, but this year she was a cherubim.
She is the second to last one in the video.  She came out in line from the back curtain, looped around and exited through the front curtain..... twice.  She was PUMPED! Cheesie and Blondie were very excited for her.

Thankfully Aunt Amy remembered the flowers, and let my girls give them to CJ. Afterwards we all went out to IHOP.
Saturday, T-rex and I got the America tree up in the dining room.  This is our 2nd tree in the house on which we hang our onaments from historical places, or patriotic themes.  We may actually have to find a bigger tree soon because this one is filling up. Our big tree still needs ornaments, but has the lights (thank you Brian).

Cheesie has apparently always wanted to make a gingerbread house..... which is not my kind of "thing."  I pictured this sugar laden cookie sitting on a sideboard with ants crawling all over it.  One of my friends has assured me that it isn't a problem, so I bought a kit for her to try out.
Don't let the happy face fool you.  She thought she had the cookie parts all put together and then moved a can holding it up and disaster struck. Both sidewalls collapsed, broke into pieces, and the tears flowed for awhile.  Thank goodness I could fix everything with frosting. Once we let it sit for awhile she was ready to finish it. 
Another accomplisment for the weekend was all of the outside lights are now strung on the bushes or trees.
Brian worked for a long time, with the help of Blondie and Cheesie to get them in front of the house, and up our Bradford pear tree.
It also included the garland around the front door. 
Coming up this week:  SOMEONE'S 16th birthday, and a church retreat for her, and hopefully more working on ceilings and Christmas ornaments. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Today our family got together (minus my brother-in-law Chad, brother Colin, and his girlfriend Charley).  Back row- Brian, T-Rex, Natalie, Me, Christy holding my nephew Super S, Cheesie, Big Al, and Blondie. I'm noticing my mom didn't include any of the ones with her in them..... hmmmmmmmm.

Cheesie has a bad habit of blinking..... a lot! I don't think she looks too worried about it though.

We also got to have my honorary fifth daughter "I" with us today.  She will always be part of our family.

Big Al and "I" have been friends since 2nd grade. Brian and I are actually her guardians.

From all of us, we wish you a fantastic Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 2, 2012


Tuesday, Cheesie had a fever at school, so Wednesday we had to keep her home.  She was definitely feeling better, but I had to grab a substitute while I could, and make sure she wasn't going to share her bug with anyone else.  Which left me Wednesday to clean the heck out of the house (sorely needed because we've been working on renovating a couple of things). 
So I hastily decorated for Halloween, and put on a snacky spread for the family, friends, and teens who would be with us that evening. 
Cheesie dressed as an Olympic gymnast (although the sequins I sewed all over her leotard were covered up with a jacket), and Blondie was a prisoner.  Cousin CJ came with us and was a "butterfly princess,"  as well as another family of friends.  T-Rex did end up going out (she was waffling) with our neighbor for awhile, while Big Al had a bunch of friends over to watch scary movies, and hang out around the firepit.  It was a busy day, but thankfully not too cold to walk around and have a little fun.