Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Wii've Got Good News and Bad News

GOOD NEWS: Grandma and Grandpa Smith got us a Wii for Christmas.

BAD NEWS: My kids make me share it.

GOOD NEWS: Playing doesn't make me sore any more.

BAD NEWS: I have tendinitis in my wrists and it's really acting up. (Yet I can't seem to quit.)

GOOD NEWS: I can see that at some point in the future it's new-ness will wear off and I won't spend the kids entire nap time playing Wii. (Especially when Parker's back in school during nap time and I can have it all to myself.)

BAD NEWS: Until then, blogging will likely be sparse.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

So how 'bout Christmas, huh?

. visits with Santa . lots of stories . late nights . Christmas carols . Wild Lights at the zoo . mailing packages . receiving packages . primary nativity . letters to Santa . presents . presents . presents . gingerbread houses . camping under the tree . the real tree . white elephants . decorations . city tree lighting ceremony . choir concerts . hot cocoa . parties . fancy table settings . traditions . friends . Skype-ing with family . white chocolate Oreos . too many treats . Christmas crafting . Luke 2 . new clothes . window shopping . real shopping . building snowmen . searching for hidden presents . crepes for breakfast . Sunday drives to look at lights . cookies for Santa . no school . treats for neighbors . new jammies . excited kids . inquisitve kids . cute kids . last minute errands . Christmas magic .

...Until next year....

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

Baby It's Cold Outside

Nap time is usually Katie time around here. But today, while Parker is on winter break, my Katie time was bombarded by snowballs. Park and I spent some quality time in what's left of the weekend's snow. And man, oh man, that kid is cute.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow gave a luster of midday to objects below.

Picture from the 2004's major ice storm...and my most recent white Christmas.

What is it about a white Christmas? I don't even like the snow every other day of the year. I didn't grow up with white Christmas's in Southern California (excluding the year that Tim Hellerud toilet papered us on Christmas for this very reason.)

But seriously, nothing says Merry Christmas like a blanket of white covering your landscape. I've really only experienced a few. There was the year of the five day power outage. As beautiful as that ice storm was, that was not a pleasant Christmas memory.

I think back to my first married Christmas. The night before Spencer and I stayed up putting together a desk we had bought. Since the shoe box apartment we lived in didn't have enough space for the desk AND it's garbage, we had to carry out it's packaging to the dumpster in the wee hours of the morning. And what to our wondering eyes did appear? A fresh covering of snow that sparkled in the streetlights and brightened up the dark night.

It was breathtaking. Exciting. My first White Christmas. And at that moment...it was magical.

The magic disappeared a few hours later when we woke up at 4am because we couldn't stand the excitement any longer. What proceeded was a two hour fight about how to pass out and open Christmas presents. (Spencer is not a fighter at all...which makes this whole memory even more funny to me.)

The weather in Ohio is fickle. And we really don't get much snow before January. It's been years since I've had a white Christmas. And I'm pining for one. Good news is...it's still in the forecast.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas

Christmas is now close enough to check the 10-day forecast.

10-Day Forecast

Dec 16
Dec 17
Partly Cloudy
Dec 18
Dec 19
Few Snow Showers
Dec 20
Partly Cloudy
Dec 21
Few Snow Showers
Dec 22
Dec 23
Partly Cloudy
Dec 24
Snow Shower
Dec 25
Snow Shower
Last Updated Dec 16 12:05 p.m. ET

Here's hoping.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Out of the Mouth of Babes: Christmas Edition

Parker: Santa probably has helpers that speak Spanish for when he visits a different universe.

I regularly catch Grayden reading Christmas books to himself. Every time it includes the line, "Dash away, dash away, dash away all!" I love hearing my two year old yell this out.

Reid: When it's Christmas, I'm not gonna pout, cry or hit people.

When singing a Christmas song at church....The chorus was Hosanna! Hosanna! But Parker sang it, "Oh Santa! Oh Santa!" (The rest of the song was about the nativity.)

We took the kids to see Santa and kept asking if they want to sit on Santa's lap. And after we asked them if they had fun sitting on Santa's lap. For a few days, Grayden thought that Santa's name was 'Santa's Lap.' We'd see a picture of him and Gray would point out...there's Santa's Lap. We cleared that up.

All my crazies sing Jingle Bells: Oh MUCH fun it is to ride...

Parker: Do you know what my favorite word is? St. Nick. It's my favorite word and my favorite Christmas thing.

Gray doesn't have any memories of past Christmases. (Which is really fun...it's like he's experiencing it all for the first time and is ultra excited about EVERYTHING!) But despite no memory of Christmas, when we pulled out Christmas decorations, the only thing he could identify was baby Jesus. He recognized Him immediately. Small kids are like that. And it's really sweet.

Parker after reading The Night Before Christmas: There's gonna be sugar plums in my head tonight!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Turn the Christmas Music On (or off)

Per Amanda's request:

Top five favorite Christmas songs (right...like I could narrow this down to five):

1. Winter Weather- Squirrel Nut Zippers. This is the song I CRAVE listening to when the weather gets cold and Christmas is in the air. It is the first cd I want to pull out when the Christmas music comes out from a year of hiding.

2. God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman / We Three Kings - Bare Naked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan. There are actually quite a few songs on this album that I LOVE (and some that I really don't care for).

3. Still, Still, Still - Cambridge Singers. Though the Cambridge Singers are my fave, other artists can be just as moving when performing this song. The You Tube clips just aren't cutting it for me....you can hear a little clip of it here.

4. Sleigh Ride. Just about any version instrumental or vocal. Fun. Upbeat. Classic.

5. Santa Baby-Eartha Kitt. Don't hate me. It reminds me of my mom and a winter ski trip to Utah one year. It kinda became our Christmas theme song.

Honorable Mention: With Bells On - Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers. Confession... I love the whole album. We had it on vinyl as a kid and I can't help but love it.

My list may be a little nontraditional...but I love the classics too: Winter Wonderland, Let it Snow, Jingle Bells. And hymns: Angels We Have Heard on High, Silent Night, Joy to the World. And seriously MANY, MANY, MANY more. I've left some great ones off my list. I'm a lover of Christmas music.

As for the worst:

1. Oh Holy Night. I know, I know. You're in an uproar. I know it has potential to be a beautiful song. But it's so cliche. At least once a year I hear someone attempt this song who thinks they're good enough to pull it off and really can't. Most people have no business even trying to sing this one. You have to have an incredible range and amazing talent to sustain some of those notes. Singers butcher it all the time and they've ruined it for me.

2. Last Christmas. I gave you my heart but the very next day, you gave it away. This year, to save me from tears, I'll give it to some one Special. Enough said. (Ok...not enough. Jeanine, do you remember Cyrus singing this is geometry class? This song always reminds me of him...that is it's only redeeming quality.)

3. Christmas Shoes and EVERY OTHER MODERN COUNTRY CHRISTMAS SONG... Country singers can sing Christmas songs, that's fine. I just hate when country singers go though and tell a whole sappy story in song.

4. Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer. And anything similar.

5. Frosty the Snowman. Hate the song. Hate the movie even more.

Also, I hate Little Drummer Boy, Feliz Navidad, the First Noel (for no good reason) and pretty much anything sung (or barked) by a cartoon. Once again...many more.

Now that I've offended some of you by bashing your faves, what do you love? And what moves you to change the station? Post it on your blog...I'd really love to know.

Monday, December 7, 2009

NOTE: This is not intended to offend

Spencer and I make a sincere effort to help our kids grow up without prejudices. We talk about all people the same...people are just people. Right? We don't point out skin color and especially don't label people by their skin color.

When we color, I color just as many Asian kids and Indian kids and Latino kids and black kids as I do white kids. I don't want my kids thinking I prefer white kids (besides my own of course). My kids do the same when they color. I don't think it would even occur to Parker to draw a group of people who were all white. Reid, though quite the budding artist, still takes a lot of creative liberties...his people are green and purple and blue as well.

Columbus is a pretty diverse place. Parker's school included. He doesn't have any "black" friends or "white" friends. His friends are tan, light brown, peach, brown, or apricot. In fear of him possibly offending someone, I tried to explain to him that African Americans are generally referred to as "Black." He freaked..."but they don't look black." Then I said that we would be considered white..."but I'm apricot!"

It may have been beneficial to explain this to my kids earlier on.

Parker asked the other day if he could have corn rows. He gets a little jealous of the beads at the end of his friends hair.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Hear Me Roar

I like to think about myself as a bit of a feminist. Though I choose to stay home with my kids, I don't feel anchored to it or to any other female gender roles. But I have to admit that I never pictured myself hanging Christmas lights on my roof. Maybe I'm more traditional than I think I am.

This is the first time we've decided to hang outdoor lights. Not that we haven't thought about it, but finances or laziness always seem to get in the way. Our kids are growing up and deserve some outdoor light merriment. This is the year of the lights for the Smith's.

I picked up some lights on Black Friday in hopes to get them up over the weekend. The weekend came and went like most weekends do. Busy, busy, busy. No outdoor lights hung. I didn't want to wait until Spencer was home next weekend. Three weeks of Christmas lights hardly makes it worth the effort.

So despite my male gender role expectations of Spencer climbing the ladder and attaching lights to the roof, I pulled the ladder out and attached them myself. I am woman, hear me roar.

I'd post a picture of me feat, but if you saw the small size of our house, the minimal strands of lights used and how close our roof is to the ground, you may not think I'm as awesome as I'm trying to make you think I am. So if you stop by, please don't laugh. Just congratulate me.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Work in Progress

I finished painting the living room...finally.

Unfortunately one project inevitably leads to another. Taking the old, flimsy, ugly, drooping curtain rods down required new curtain rods. Immediately. Our front window is pretty big. One hundred and twenty inch curtain rods cost a pretty penny. At JoAnn for example, they cost $120. And those were ugly and segmented. Anything solid and high fashion was out of the question.

Spencer and I wanted kind of an industrial look. So we headed to the hardware store and came up with these ourselves, using electrical conduit for the rod....12 ft for $1.47. AHHHH. That's more like it.

...now we're in desperate need of new drapes...