Friday, December 26, 2008

A Homemade Christmas

I had another one of those moments on Tuesday of those moments where you step back to take a look at your life and wonder when did my life get here? I was standing at the kitchen counter fixing the same dinner my mom made every Christmas Eve my entire life with my kids bouncing off the wall from Christmas excitement in the living room and Spencer off to the store to run a last minute Christmas errand and I couldn't believe this was really my life. It was like a dream sequence or something. Am I really the adult in all of this? It doesn't seem possible. When did I start making all the Christmas preparations? And sending MY husband out to pick up whatever item it was that we still needed to make the holiday perfect?

I realize Tuesday is not actually Christmas Eve. Years Christmas's ago in fact...Spencer and I were both way too stubborn to take on the other's Christmas Eve traditions so we decided to scrap them both and start our own. But we both missed our family traditions and a few years ago (thanks to the tradition of an old college room mate) decided to start an Eve of Christmas Eve party. It's a great opportunity to combine the family traditions Spencer and I miss the most. Why we couldn't have done that for Christmas Eve that first Christmas together, I don't know, but it turns our Christmas into a three day celebration and we love it.

So on this Eve of Christmas Eve we have a casual candlelight...and stay up playing games and watching movies and eating snacks and we all sleep in the living room by the light of the Christmas tree. (Thanks Uncle Mike for providing our entertainment for the was more than obvious that your gifts were a game and a movie so we decided to open them early for this occasion...they were perfect.) As usual, Parker out lasted the entire family and stayed up way past his bedtime...making him tired enough to go to bed early on Christmas Eve (just an added bonus of our little party.) The night was perfect. Though I sometimes wonder how my life could got to this point so quickly, I love where it's at. My family is so fun.

I was so glad this night was so perfect. Reid has been running a fever ever since. The kind of fever with cold chills that makes you sleep day in and day out. We had to put him to bed two hours early on Christmas Eve. He missed out on all of Wednesday night's festivities and had to have help opening most of his presents on Christmas morning. I'm afraid Thursday was a bit of a let down. But it was nice after all the Christmas busy-ness to have a lazy day.

As is our tradition, the missionaries came over for a delicious Christmas breakfast of Spencer's crepes stuffed with fruit and cream. The elders were a lot of fun. I wish we could have kept them all day. But the poor guys were BOOKED!

Spencer's off work until after the New Year...just another perk of working for a university. And I am looking forward to some much needed down time...if down time even exists for a mother of three crazies.

And since I've been so out of the blogosphere lately...a little update in pictures:

We dined with Santa

Thanks to mom's little challenge, I found these at a Goodwill:

And transformed them into these:
We had friends over to build gingerbread houses
I made myself a dress (and hate the posed picture, but Spence took this when I wasn't looking and you can hardly see the dress but at least it's proof.)I dressed the crazies for church. None of them got new Christmas clothes this year, but it was as good as new. Well Parker's was new...just a year old. We had made a purchase at Janie and Jack after Christmas as we do every year....fully lined wool dress pants for little boys that normally cost $60 go on sale for $8-$15 every January. We had totally forgotten about this purchase and remembered it just in time for Christmas. But the other two had lovely Christmas hand-me-downs from Parker and since they've never been worn in Texas, it was almost as good as new.

Proof that their hair was fixed at one point (but no time for posed pictures before church.)

Crazy pictures after church.

I sold another handbag. I've had a slow start to this whole Etsy thing, but the good news is a purse was selected for a front page show case about two weeks ago. I was on a high for a few hours after that.
Spencer and I built a table/desk for the boys for Christmas (And check out those cans on mom put these together...tin cans and hardware connected to magnets...they boys have had so much fun making magnetic tin robots/ aliens for the past two days.)
A nice cubby hole for's definitely not without it's flaws but Spencer and I are pleased. We did this with no plans, very primitive tools and no trips back to the hardware store for more wood.

The self timer pictures as our MATCHING pj's and Reid sicker than a dog.

I made Reid's pj's with one short leg. He has this quirk that he can't handle jammies below his knee on his footless leg. Normally we just roll his pants...with another boy just a couple sizes behind him, I don't want to cut all his pj's, but since it was Christmas and the jammies were homemade, I thought he could have a special pair. He was so sick...these are the only two pictures I have of him were he's not laying down bundled in his blanket. Thank you children's Motrin for a few moments of on Christmas where Reid could perk up and enjoy it.

Parker enjoying all his presents at once.
The superhero accessories I've been working on.
I made Gray a puppy hat. He thought he was the greatest thing. He's not the kind to pull it off. He just toddled around barking at everyone and flapping his ears...all day.

And that's not the half of it. Could I have been any more busy? I doubt it.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Christmas to Remember

I pulled out my Kenny and Dolly Christmas album for the first time this season a couple days ago. I don't know why it took me so long to choose to listen to that one. I guess I forgot I had it.

That's the album that does it for me. We had it on a record. It took me back to a million Christmas's as a kid. No specific memories...just decorations and crackling fires and pleasant thoughts of my whole family together and being a kid. A carefree kid without the responsibilities of Christmas...nor did I even notice that Christmas takes huge efforts from parents to pull off.

Not that I mind the responsibilities of being a parent at Christmas...I enjoy the hustle and bustle that this season brings. In lots of ways, I prefer being a parent at Christmas. I love making magic happen for my crazy boys. It's just a completely different time or life...a time that once you leave, you can never go back. Thank goodness for the sounds and smells and photographs that can flood in so many memories of when Christmas was that magical for me.

This post seems to be taking a different turn than I expected.

I am a Christmas music LOVER! Unless I'm listening to one of those easy listening radio stations that are overtaken by Christmas songs this time of year. From Thanksgiving on, I listen to nothing but Christmas music, but I just don't care for the cheesy songs played on those stations. Yet, my choice of Christmas music is more than embarrassing. I'd say the album I choose listen to most is Barry Manilow Christmas. But it's my Disney Christmas album that gets the most air time at our house. If I have to listen to Pluto bark "Oh Christmas Tree" one more time, I'll break the Cd. Probably not's the only song Gray can sing along to and watching him bark "Oh Christmas Tree" is about the cutest thing I've ever seen. Though it hardly makes the song more bearable.

We can't make it through the season without listening to Osmond Family Christmas or Amy Grant. I don't care a great deal for either, but they're both the kind that have so many memories attached. My Squirrel Nut Zippers Christmas Album was the one I thought was really cool in my college years so I enjoy those memories, too. And a couple years ago, Spencer and I purchased Bare Naked Ladies Christmas album so we wouldn't completely feel like old people in our Christmas music collection. Then I realized, that made us seem more like people who can't get past high school. BNL hasn't been cool for years. Yet I still enjoy them.

Thanks to Spencer's love for classical choral music, we have a fantastic collection of Cambridge Singers Christmas Cd's. Like a HUGE collection. How can one conductor come out with so many Christmas Cd's? Seriously? Yet they are all incredibly beautiful. Honestly...very moving. And the music that brings back the memories for Spencer is the old time stuff...Perry Como, Bing Crosby, Johnny Mathis.

The the real question it possible for Christmas albums to be cool? Or is everyone else's Christmas music collection equally embarrassing? I'm waiting for someone to list Kenny G as a favorite...that will assure me that someone has a more embarrassing love for Christmas music than I do. And what's the album that brings back those memories for you?

Friday, December 5, 2008

A Self-Timer Christmas

I just had to make time for a Flashback Friday. I have about a bazillion Christmas memories I'm dying to share. I hate to waste Fridays in December not sharing them. As it stands, I'll only squeeze in a couple memories.

We have a tradition on Christmas Eve of setting the self-timer on our camera and taking a picture of our whole family in our new Christmas Eve jammies in front of the Christmas tree. I'm not really sure how it started. Our first Christmas, we just wanted to document everything. Then the next year was our first Christmas in a house, then our first Christmas with a kid. And pretty soon it became a favorite tradition.

The dog likes to get in on the action...making for some pretty interesting and sometimes inappropriate shots. We ALWAYS end up laughing our heads off. So here it is...six years of self-timer Christmas memories.

Our shoe box for an apartment and a measly three-foot Christmas tree.

Just four weeks after we moved into our first house...hideous wallpaper and all.


Parker's first Christmas and the ice storm left us without power for 5 days so we spent Christmas in a hotel.


The dog was covering me in all my 8 months pregnant glory.

Spencer didn't quite make this shot, but it's always been a favorite of mine.
Take 2...and it includes Spencer.


Chief did make this shot (as usual), but it was a little inappropriate...luckily I could crop him out without cutting the rest of us.

And who knows what 2008 will bring...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Dear Blogosphere,

I miss you.



Seriously. Blogging is my favorite hobby. By far. My time has been severely limited lately and I just don't get in nearly as much blogging as I'd like. I get in a quick picture or update here and there, but no real writing. That's what three small crazies will do to a girl I guess. In all honestly, I think about blogging at least hourly...about things I'd like to write about, pictures I'd like to post, events that have gone unrecorded, questions to send out to the world wide web, and about what my friends are keeping themselves busy with. Blogging keeps me sane. I feel like I have too much going on in my head to not write it down. It's such a stress reliever. I could really use a dose of stress relief these days.

I tend to blog while Park is at school and the other two are napping. I volunteer in his class on Fridays so that is why I've been missing out on my favorite Friday Flashbacks. I've had some good ones planned that I totally missed out on. I could make up for it at night, but fall semester is wrapping up for Spencer and he tends to hog the computer at night these days. Plus he makes fun of my blogging addiction so I prefer to do it uninterrupted.

'M' was the letter of the week so we all got mustache's.

And nap times the rest of the week have been filled with all kinds of projects. My sewing machine has taken up permanent residence in my living room lately.

Parker's school in making a school quilt and I volunteered to make his class quilt square.

A friend hired me to make a few things for her sons big first birthday bash. So a little preview for you Terin... I'll probably write more about this on my other blog in the future. Her sons name is Jackson Cash and they call him Cash. Is that the cutest name you've ever heard?

I have Christmas pj's to make for the whole family. Pictures I'm sure to come.

And since the superhero capes were such a hit with the crazies last Christmas, I thought they needed matching superhero accessories this year.

The boys and I did sneak out for a visit with the big guy. Though you can't tell from the picture, all my boys were way past thrilled to see him. I've never had a Santa crier. That jolly old elf has not scared a single one of my kids. Gray makes that face when forced to sit on any ones lap. Even mine. He doesn't like being confined. He ran right up to him.

Santa's sleigh has to be pulled by motorcycle here in Texas.

And we of course got decorations up lickety split. This is the first year we've ever had a fire place. It looks so Christmas-y. And though I am not fond of my stockings, I love it.

I think the tree skirt is my favorite decoration I pull out of my box each year.

Anyway my cyber friends...I miss you. I hope to be back in full swing one day soon. Wishful thinking, I know. Until then a few generic comments...congratulations, your kids are adorable, what a great trip, you look fantastic, how did he fit that up his nose anyway?, and Happy Holidays!