Saturday, December 24, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011


Pinterest has been my b*tch this holiday season.  Seriously, I have completed so many pinned projects!  I have added ornaments to my garlands.  I have helped fashion a popcorn turkey.  I have embroidered no less than seven framed handprints.  That's right.  Seven baby handprints embroidered in cotton and framed in silver.

I first showed you the handprint back in November, when I completed the first one.  And I had so much fun making it, I made six more (four of which are actually my niece's hand)!

 And since I hadn't done enough with handprints, I also pinned & did the following:

Handprint Reindeer:  Aren't they the cutest tree ornaments and gift tags??  Hubby agrees!  Which is why I made 18 of them!  My hands are covered in hot glue.  (and oops, I totally forgot to add hooves to the gift tag reindeer!)

Handprint Wreath: I led some coworkers during a holiday craft hour to make this one!  It's hanging most adorably on the door to our office area.









 Salt dough ornaments:  I invited four toddler friends and their moms to my house on Saturday to make these.  Because I'm insane.  Five toddlers from 19 months to 2 years?  It was a BLAST!  This dough was also really easy to work with.

And a handprint Christmas tree on salt dough:  I loved the original pin of the handprint on paper.  And I loved working with the salt dough.  So why not put them together to make one, fantastic craft?!  If you're interested, I had Laura dip her hand in fingerpaint, then press the painted hand into the uncooked salt dough.  The baking process did not alter the color in any way.  A spray can of shiny finish from Michael's added the lovely sheen. 


The best part of actually doing a pinned project, for me, is taking the original inspiration and making it my own.  Absolutely nothing I have created looks exactly like the picture I pinned.  And I love that!  I love taking little snippets of ideas and making it me.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The U/S Explains A Lot

You may have read in my previous post, that we had our BIG ultrasound this morning!  YAY!  Beyond the wonderfulness of hearing "It's a boy" from the tech, the blurred black and white images explained a lot about the discomfort I've been feeling:

Boy, oh boy!

Get ready!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Internet is Forever

Excuse me while I step onto my soapbox for a moment.

Have you seen any of those ads on TV promoting safe internet use for kids?  Like this one:

Think before you post.  It's really good advice.  The internet is forever.  Pictures are forever.  It's a scary world we're living in.  I'm not one to shy away. 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

It's a Wonderful Link-up

I love reading about everyone's favorite Christmas movie classics!  I agree with a lot of you on your top picks.  But I've noticed a few great movies going without mention (and some without quite enough mention for my taste)!  Here's a look at my top Christmas movies of all time.

Mickey's Christmas Carol

I watched this so much as a 2 1/2 year old, I actually said "Bah Humbug!" to Santa as I smiled and sat on his knee.  It's not Christmas until I watch Goofy fall down the stairs as Jacob Marley in Ebeneezer Scrooge's house.  I spent my childhood watching this on VHS taped from TV, complete with ancient Tide and Tropicana commercials.  It was a whole new experience watching it on the DVD I received for Christmas last year (with three extra bonus features!)

The Christmas Toy

Remember this Jim Henson classic?  I think it was on the same VHS taped from TV as my copy of Mickey's Christmas Carol.  I loved watching the toys come to life after the children left the room.  This fun family film is streaming on Netflix this holiday season! 

Miracle on 34th Street

I love these movies.  Both the original version with Natatlie Wood, and the newer version with Mara Wilson.  I can't pick which version I prefer.  Both are so perfectly magical!

I love how Santa proves he is real through the power of the United States Post Office and letters to Santa.  Santa is real!  I believe!

 Home Alone

The husband would be most displeased if I left this great classic off my list.  We were just talking about it the other night!  Holidays aside, Home Alone is a great movie!  The writing is fantastic.  The kid is cute.  The gags are hilarious.  It's the perfect family movie.  I remember seeing this one in theaters when it originally came out.  My family does not go to the movies with any great frequency - this was a big deal!  I will drop everything to watch this when it's on - commercials and all.

And because I have to...  Simply have to... For family reasons... So I'm not ostracized entirely... And left without presents on Christmas morning (er, Boxing Day for my side of the family)...

It's a Wonderful Life

Honestly?  I can't stand this movie.  It takes decades to watch, and for heavens sake George Bailey, you have a pretty darn great life!  You get to come home to Donna freaking Reed and that adorable little girl Zuzu every single night!  Wake up and smell your happiness!  Ugh.

But, I add it to this list in honor of my younger siblings.  T&T absolutely adore this movie.  My brother wouldn't officially "date" his wonderful girlfriend until she had seen this movie (in April, good thing he has it on DVD), and approved of it as a wonderful movie.  That girlfriend is a saint.

So as much as I grumble about watching this bore-fest every year... it wouldn't really be Christmas Eve without a plate full of Chinese take-out and a dose of Jimmy Stewart.  It's no Mickey's Christmas Carol, but it is Christmas. 
Holiday Movie Mania Linkup

Merry Christmas to all, and to all happy movie watching!  Thanks to It's Blogworthy and My Crazy Busy Life for this wonderful link-up!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Unwelcome Tenants

Bang! Bang!

Keep it down in there! I'm trying to sleep!

I feel like the cranky old neighbor in a duplex, yelling at the kids next door to turn down the music.  But, I settle back into bed, pull the covers up under my chin, clutch the soft feather pillow against my cheek.  I wait for the noise to start again...

Nibble! Scratch! Crinkle! Rustle!

Insert a string of expletives. 

I've been swearing a lot lately. 

Friday, December 16, 2011


All of a sudden, our house has been filled with intelligible chatter.  Not just a word here, another word there.  Not just two words strung together in the semblance of a sentance.  Real, actual sentances with humor and inflection. 

I am loving it!  My best moments of every day are the conversations I have with Laura.  She is smart, witty and observant, and I fall asleep chuckling over her words. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Bumps in the Night

It's a cool, clear December night.  Nate and I are at a dinner party, chatting with friends and eating sweet, delicious ham like it was going out of style.  Suddenly,


I pause, fork hovering above another tender morsel of pink ham.  Did anyone else notice that?  Guess it was just me.  I lift the forkful of ham to my mouth.  I savor the flavor.

Bump! Bump!

Ok, that was definitely something.  I'm not crazy.  That was a bump in the night. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

How Much?

I thought I was d.o.n.e. shopping for Laura for Christmas.  She's not-quite-two, has no concept of Christmas or presents, and is still mildly afraid of Santa.  I didn't think we needed to hurl too much in her direction, in the way of presents.

Add to that Laura's four aunts and five uncles.
Add to that Laura's second birthday one month after Christmas.
Add to that our small, cramped house, that currently has most of her toys hidden (and unmissed) in the basement.

Monday, December 12, 2011

56w 3d

Fifty-six weeks and three days.

That's how long I have made it threw pregnancy without puking.


We won Christmas this weekend.  We did it all, and it was all wonderful.  My mom was in town, and boy did we take advantage of all the holiday events going on! 

We visited Symphony of Lights at Merriweather Post Pavilion!  We visited Miracle on 34th Street in Hamden!  We baked!  We partied!  We saw the train garden!  But best of all...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Pinned it... and did it!

I saw this pin ages ago, and thought what a great way to spruce up my garlands!  Because the garlands I have used the past 6 Christmases in our dining room windows?Need some sprucing.

So I found a huge packag

Friday, December 9, 2011

Happy Friday!

Received by email this afternoon:
The final totals are in for the Toys for Tots campaign held over the past two days at Union Station.  The collection drive netted over 2,100 toys and $37,500 in monetary donations.  On behalf of the Marine Corps, we thank you for your generosity!

What a Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Laura Captured

I'm sure you've seen these pictures floating around the blogosphere.  These Little Waves and Mama Wants This have started a wonderful link: capturing memories of our children through photography and words.  How could I not participate?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Toys For Tots

I look forward to this day every year.  I get a quick email in my inbox a week ahead of time.  A quick note to let me know to get ready.  I look forward to this email, and make grand plans.  This year, I am going to go all out!  Most years, I forget my original plans in the hustle and bustle of everyday.  A quick cash donation, whatever I have in my wallet.  A trip to the ATM and a bagel to make change.  Even if I forget my original plans, I am still pleased to help. 

I look forward to this day every year:  the day the Marines will be at Union Station, collecting toys for children in need. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Nearly 16 Weeks

I was far better about keeping a "journal" of my pregnancy the last go 'round.  I think that makes sense.  Back then, I only had a job, husband, house and masters degree classes to worry about.  Plus, it was my first pregnancy with all the excitement that goes along with the first... anything. 

This go 'round, I have my job, husband, house and nearly two-year-old to worry about.  And a nearly two-year-old takes up a whole lot more worry than a few silly classes.  A whole lot more.  But it's awesome, because she's also far more amusing than my classes ever were.  And she sings and cah-yers way better. 

So at nearly 16 weeks, how am I feeling?  Compared to last time, really rough.  No, I still have not thrown up.  I am morbidly afraid of throwing up.  So that just means that at 16 weeks, well into the second trimester, I am still pretty queasy a lot of the time.  And I still have a TON of really aggravating food aversions.  I'm actually not sure what I eat on a weekly basis.  I think it involves a lot of melty cheese.  Sigh.

At nearly 16 weeks, my back is already really sore.  I am quite positive the nearly two-year-old has something to do with this.  I've been trying to let her walk on her own more, to save on the lifting.  But I actually really love carrying her places.  It's faster, for one (and I am not the most patient of people), but it also gives us some really great whisper gossip time.  So the back is a real pain... in the back.  I have already started adding pillows to the bed, and this helps.  But still - ouchy!

At nearly 16 weeks, I am on my fourth round of antibiotics.  Because I have tested positive for Group B, twice.  A yeast infection, twice.  Bacterial vaginosis, twice.  That last one?  Don't google it.  Trust me.  Just believe that it is incredibly uncomfortable.  And awful.  And really awful to have twice.  Really, REALLY glad that one seems to have cleared up.  So are all the crazy antibiotics to blame for my continued queasiness? 

At nearly 16 weeks, I go back and forth on an hourly basis between "OMG I'm so excited to see Laura as a big sister!" and "OMG I am so not ready to have two children!"  But mostly, I tend toward the former.  I really am so excited to share a baby brother or sister with Laura.  She swaddles her dolls and animals every night.  She rocks and sings them to sleep.  She feeds them her sippy cups.  She's so very, very attentive.

At nearly 16 weeks, I am ready to find out what "flavor" I'm carrying.  Two more weeks to wait!  Is it a boy?  Would that explain all the horribleness of this pregnancy compared to the cake walk Laura was?  Is it another girl, and I'm just reacting completely differently?  Laura tells me it's a boy.  But at nearly two-years-old, I'm not sure I trust her knowledge of the sexes to know one way or the other.

At nearly 16 weeks, I am rocking the maternity clothes.  Exclusively.  I am reusing a bunch from last go 'round, and have also purchased some new stuff.  It's just comfier.  I think I might actually be smaller than the last time (for now), but I definitely have a noticeable baby belly no matter what I wear.  I have been really committed to going to the gym in the past few weeks, with 30 minutes of aerobic exercise and a weight/stretch regimen put together by my favorite trainer at the gym.  I really credit this (and the no eating) for the superb weight control.  I also credit this with finding some relief for the back pain.  Lesson: when in doubt, go work out!

So it's been rougher.  And completely different.  And only slightly similar.  I'm still waiting to feel better.  Nate is still waiting, too.  Because pregnancy isn't just rough on the wife!  I know it'll get better, and harder, and better again.  I also know I can't wait to meet the little person at the other end.  Two more weeks... 24 more weeks...

Monday, December 5, 2011

Sunday Confession... on a Monday

In the craziness of decorating my house for the holidays this weekend, I didn't have a chance to post on Sunday Confessions.  Which I really wanted to this week. 

I have something to confess.  I am going to whisper it.  Because it's a little silly.  Since I spent so much money on it.

(I miss Blogger.  I want to go back.)

Am I missing something about the wonders of WordPress?  Have I not clicked on the correct button to take me to the wonderland of blogging?  Because right now, I feel like I've actually lost readers.  I feel like I actually can't control how my posts look online.  I feel like I actually have no control over my content or design.

I thought I was ready for WordPress.  I thought I was completely frustrated with Blogger, and ready for something... more.  Something that everyone tells me would give me more control.  I must not have received the owner's manual, because I have no clue what I'm doing here.

Someone, please help!  Or let me know how to go back to Blogger!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Christmas Survey

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?  Both!  At the same time!  I love making hot chocolate (Swiss Miss, of course), and adding a little egg nog to top it off.  Try it – it’s delicious! 

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?  Santa presents are unwrapped.  That man does not have enough time to wrap and label presents for every child!  He's a visual guy, and all about the delivery!

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?  Both on the tree, colored on the house.  I grew up with white on the house, but colored fits our family (and style of home) so  much better!

4. Do you hang mistletoe?  Nope.  I don't need excuses to kiss my hubby!

5. When do you put your decorations up?  Growing up, it was the day after Thanksgiving, and not a moment too soon.  But since my family is usually on the road for Thanksgiving, we wait till the minute we are home and able.

6. What is your favorite Christmas dish?  Breakfast Casserole on Christmas morning is up there!  I never enjoyed the goose my father cooked for dinner, but everything else was always delicious.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child?  So many!  We always had the happiest Christmases.  I think one of my most poignant memories was visiting my great-grandmother for the last time, Christmas afternoon 1995.  I played Christmas carols on her gorgeous Steinway baby grand piano while she laid in the hospital bed across the room.  She had trouble speaking at that point, but I knew she loved hearing her beloved piano one last time.  She died the next day, at age 98.  Not my favorite memory, but certainly one I keep close to my heart.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?  What truth?  That he definitely exists?  Because he does.  Santa is very real.  He is in the hearts of every one of us, inspiring us to give.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?  I wish!  But we do always have Chinese on Christmas Eve, so I get to open a fortune cookie?

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?  Our tree is a loving hodge podge of ornaments.  We have glass, sterling silver, wood, handmade in preschool... it's fantastic!

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it?  Love it!  Till it turns slushy and brown.  But I never dread it!

12. Can you ice skate?  I wish I could.  I could probably make it around the rink once or twice, but it wouldn't be pretty!

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?  Sophia Tutu, my rocking horse, at age 2 was pretty fantastic.  I also loved (finally) getting a Samantha doll after years of begging.  Getting contacts for Christmas in 9th grade was amazing too!  Opening the white box Nate handed to me and seeing diamond earrings... I swoon.

14. What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you?  Being with loved one - family and friends.  Sharing the happiness of the season.  Dressing up with smiles and laughter for holiday parties.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?  Christmas cookies!  I always looked forward to rolling them out with my dad, pressing the cookie cutters into the dough, sneaking bites of the dough, smelling the cookies bake...

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?  Baking cookies!  No, wait!  Making gingerbread houses!  No, wait!  Chinese food on Christmas Eve!  No, wait!  Watching Christmas movies with my family!

17. What tops your tree?   A cheesy star for now.  Someday, I'll find something I like better, but it works in the meantime.

18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving?  Receiving.  Partly because I am a little greedy, but also because I love to see what the giver thought I would enjoy the most.  I love giving too, but not as much as receiving!

19. Candy Canes: Yuck or Yum?  Yum for two bites, and then I get sticky and bored.

20. Favorite Christmas show?  Mickey's A Christmas Carol!  I have watched it so many times, from age2 on up.  I got it on DVD last year!  I also love Miracle on 34th Street - both versions.

21. Saddest Christmas Song?  I don't understand the point of sad Christmas songs.  Like, what's the point of “Christmas Shoes” where the kid buys the shoes for his mom and she dies.  How is that’s Christmas-y?  It does nothing for me!  Give me traditional Church Christmas carols any day! 

22. What is your favorite Christmas song?  I love the traditional carols.  "I Saw Three Ships" or "The Holly and the Ivy" or "I Heard the Bells" or "Past Three o'Clock" or "Ding Dong Merrily on High" or... well, the list goes on!!

What are your Christmas Favorites? Link a post with your answers below!

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Away in a Manger

So um.  I'm not very religious or anything.  I was born and raised Catholic, married Catholic, had Laura baptized Catholic, and we even go to church two or three times a year.  But I'm not so much up on all the info on teaching my child about the church and our beliefs (which are fairly loose 0n my part).  This hadn't been an issue until I decided Laura needed to know about Christmas.

Christmas is lights! and trees! and presents! and reindeer! and cheesy movies! and ornaments! and SANTA! and Ho!Ho!Ho!  and egg nog! and candy canes! and crafts! and parties! and a little baby born two thousand years ago??

Those things are easy to explain.  Santa is a big man who watches you all year and then asks you to sit on his lap for a good laugh.  Not creepy in the least (and for the record, I freaking LOVE Santa.  I'm a huge believer).  Egg nog and candy canes are tasty.  Lights are oooh so pretty.

But the harder part to explain (for me at least): Baby Jesus.  Laura is in the parroting phase of toddlerhood.  She heard someone curse "Jesus!" in the store the other, and immediately repeated the word, testing the letters and syllables on her tongue.  So I started telling her about Baby Jesus who was born in a manger with the angels and the wise men and the shepherds.  She likes babies, so she was all about that.  But trying to explain why we celebrate the birth of one particular baby, born two thousand years ago?  Not as easy.

So now I have a 22 month old wandering around babbling to herself, and randomly talking about Baby Jesus Ho!Ho!Ho!  I should probably break out the crèche brush up on my bible stories, and buy a board book or two about Baby Jesus so I can get this story straight.

How have you taught your children about Baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the Inn, manger, lowing cattle, shepherds, star, angels and wise men?  Is 22 months too young to understand?