30 December 2010

sharing the love this holiday vol. 3: how i am spending my january and an afternoon project

Old Sports Photos:  Our guest bathroom has sat in the same sad shade of builder's beige since the day we moved in.  I have been at a total loss when it comes to how to decorate this room in our house.  That is until I stumbled across this post and fell in love.

Crates:  This photo was awesome inspiration.  Then I followed the link under the photo, which led to another link, which lead to some serious excitement.  How easy would it be to take a couple of crates and create a shelf?  I am head over heels for this project, as long as Dan and I can secure it to the wall.  I think that my search for the perfect living room bookshelf is coming to an end!

Large Quote Frame:  There are many, many things I love about this room.  The biggest one being the large chalkboard painted frame propped up on the table in the corner.  Wouldn't something like this be great on the crate bookshelf?  I have been scouring Craigslist trying to find anything I could revamp, but so far no luck.

Yarn Wreath Tutorial:  Looking for an easy afternoon project?  At the beginning of December I came across this tutorial and using some scraps I had in my craft dresser and a straw wreath I found for $1.50 at Hobby Lobby I created a wreath for my door.  If you have slightly older kids this would be a great project for them.

If anyone knows where I might be able to find vintage yearbooks or a large framed mirror/picture, please leave a comment and let me know.

28 December 2010

how we spent our christmas vacation

This year we spent a white Christmas in Atlanta with my parents and sister.  It was fun and busy, like most trips to see each other seem to be.

There were lots of games of hide and go seek, where someone liked to give away her hiding spot:
Hide and Seek

A trip to visit and remember a fallen friend:

Piling in the car to see Shadrack's Christmas Wonderland:
Shadrack Christmas

Which also included first pony rides and feeding sheep (who tickled Mabry's hands with their tongues):
Pony Rides and Feeding Sheep

Betsy, Mabry and I even braved the spider jump.  (That would be my bottom featured in the lower picture.)  Mabry kept yelling at us to "hold the tungees!"  The girl knows how to follow orders.  At first she seemed to be scared and almost started crying when the men bounced her really high.  By the end she was having a blast and even started to trash talk that she was bouncing higher than me.
Tungee Jumping

There was gingerbread house construction, which included much internal debate on the perfect placement of candy by a certain 3-year-old.  Should it go on the roof or in her belly?
Gingerbread House

We even managed to sneak in a little photo shoot with my parents:
Photo Shoot

This one is my favorite:
Mom and Dad 2 copy

I also wanted to tell you a quick story about what a rotten Mama I am.  Christmas morning I was in charge of passing out all of the gifts to people, opening my gifts and assisting Mabry.  It was a little hectic to say the least.  Towards the end there were only adult presents left under the tree and Mabry was very disappointed.  She kept asking where the rest of her gifts were and I started to become aggravated and told her she shouldn't be selfish and that she had all the presents she was going to get.

Cut to an hour or so later.  Mabry is busy playing with the robot Santa (aka my parents) bought her while my sister and I sat on the couch and watched.  Then Betsy turned to me and made the observation that Mabry didn't really get very many toys this year.  

At this point I should tell you that Santa brings all the toys and Mama and Daddy are the ones who give clothing in our house.  

Suddenly my heart dropped.  I did a quick scan of Mabry's little toy pile and realized that every single one of Santa's presents (aka the ones from Dan and I---including the Candy Land game she had asked Santa for and had her heart set on) were still in a bag upstairs in the closet.  

So I went up and grabbed the bag and came back down to my Mom's room.  I showed her the bag and couldn't help but start to cry.  I mean what kind of Mama forgets to put the presents from Santa under the tree?  A really super crappy one, that's who.  I felt awful and I was so afraid that I was going to ruin the magic of Santa because of this mistake.

Thankfully everyone else kept a level head.  A quick note from Santa about how Mabry's love of hide and go seek had prompted him to hide some of her presents was drafted and hidden on the Christmas tree.  Then Dan discovered the note, showed Mabry and told her we must have missed that when we were opening gifts earlier.  She had fun searching for, finding and opening her gifts.  Of course, I still feel really guilty about the whole thing.

27 December 2010

sharing the love this holiday vol. 2: inspiration

This.Bedroom:  Is it wrong that I really want to buy Dan and I bunk beds and go with a whole orange airplane motif in our room now??  At the very least I do think I want to do something similar with the clipboards in Mabry's room.  Maybe girlie it up a bit by modge podging some fun fabric or scrapbook paper to them.  I think she would love that.

Pearl Harbor:  Amazing.  These pictures were found on an old Brownie camera that had been stored in a foot locker for 68 years.  If you don't go to any other link on this list, please make sure you check this one out.

Holiday Tags/Cards:  A free download to some of the cutest tags I have seen in a long time.

Capture the Magic:  I am going to be honest and say that I can't see myself spending any money for something like this.  I think if you are creative enough and know even the most basic photograph editing techniques, you could come up with something along the same lines for free.  But having said that, I think that the idea is really cute!

Owl Calendar:  This free download is awesome.  Some of those owls are just too sweet.  I already made a calendar up and plan to put it in Mabry's room.

23 December 2010

tuesday: the day i proved myself to be a huge nerd

Moon 12.20.2010 #3

327 years ago there was a lunar eclipse on the shortest day of the year.  It happened again in the early morning hours Tuesday.

I decided that I wanted to try and get my own photos of the event.

For a brief moment I even contemplated waking Mabry up so she could be a witness to the amazing occurrence.  Don't worry, four seconds later I quickly came to my senses and decided to let her sleep.

I went out Monday night and set up the tripod and fired off some test shots in preparation.

Moon 12.20.2010 #2

Then it was back inside to warm up and set my alarm for 2:30AM and to wait.  Dan was nice enough to volunteer to brave the cold with me so that I didn't have to be outside in the middle of the night by myself.  Instead of sleeping we got sucked into back to back episodes of Intervention.

Once 2:30 rolled around we got out of bed (some of us more eager than others), grabbed the camera and headed back outside.  First I walked out to the driveway, then to the street, then around to the back of the house.  The moon was gone.  As in hidden by some trees or clouds or who knows what.

Moon 12.20.2010

Talk about a major let down.  I heard something about another eclipse happening in February, so there is still hope to be had.

21 December 2010

sharing the love this holiday vol. 1: the food

For the next two weeks I am going to be sharing some of the many links I have been collecting in the bookmarks section of my computer over the last few months.  There were actually so many that I was able to break the link love posts into categories.

To start things off I wanted to share several recipes I have found.  Maybe give you a little bit of an inspiration for something new to try this holiday season.

Cinnamon Walnuts:  I love the German Roasted Nut stands that tend to pop up at the holidays.  The problem is I haven't come across one at all this year.  So I thought I would take a stab at making my own version.  This was a quick and simple recipe.  Mabry had a blast helping me and they tasted great.

Chocolate Mousse Crunch Cake:  I dare your mouth not to start watering as soon as you see that picture. This is one that we haven't made...yet.  I am on somewhat of a strict diet as of late.  I promised myself that if I stick to the diet until my sister's wedding this summer I can have a big old piece of this cake for breakfast the morning I get back from the wedding.

Mabry and Landyn decorating cookies #2

Vanilla Almond Sugar Cookie:  At the beginning of the month Mabry had L over for a little Christmas "party."  One of the things that I did to keep them entertained was give them a bunch of sprinkles to decorate sugar cookies.  The only problem is I didn't give myself enough time to make the dough and let it cool in the fridge/freezer before rolling it out and attacking it with cookie cutters.  Then I found this recipe, which doesn't call for any fridge/freezer time.  Oh and as an added bonus they taste heavenly and stay moist.  These are the only kind of sugar cookie I will ever make again.  Fantastic.  I found the cookie recipe through a link from this post where you can learn all kinds of tips for how to decorate cookies once you have baked them.

Smores Cupcakes:  Chocolate.  Check.  Marshmallows.  Check.  Cupcakes.  Check.  Getting to use a blowtorch.  Check.  Sounds perfect to me.  Ps.  My torch came in the mail the other day--a total steal with a great sale on Amazon and a gift card.  I can't wait to try it out.  Anyone else have a good torch recipe?

Fried Pickles:  I know some of you in the north probably just gagged.  Trust me, when I first heard about them I couldn't imagine a more disgusting food.  I love me some pickles and so when an opportunity for me to try these came up, I had to at least sample.  Which led to me devouring an entire basket.  Dan has even grown to like them and we occasionally get them as an appetizer when we go out.  Fried pickles = yet another reason I love the south.  This is a recipe I just found and figure will make a good rainy day snack/activity for Mabry and I this January.

Mini Soft Pretzels:  I made these a couple of months back and they were great.  The only thing I wish I would have done is split the recipe in half or waited until we had a party to make them.  If I would have known pretzel making could be these easy, I wouldn't have waited so long to try it.

Two more recipes that I haven't made, but are on my wish list for 2011 include Pillow Cookies and Maple Butter Blondies (Dan's favorite dessert of all time from Applebees).

20 December 2010

christmas in the park & recommendations

Christmas in the Park 12.19.2010

Mabry has a real obsession with Christmas lights.  The local parks and rec department put together a Christmas in the Park program with a half mile path filled Christmas lights to walk through.  They also had a Christmas movie playing on a big screen and visits with Santa (but the line was too long).

Last night we took Mabry and while it was fun, it was also freezing.  Evidenced by Dan's red nose and Mabry's frozen stare:
Christmas in the Park 12.19.2010

Mabry liked having her photo taken with different things.  She thought it was "amazing" she could walk right up to these deer.  They moved their heads and I can't be sure, but I think she may have thought they were the real deal.

Christmas in the Park 12.19.2010

Look Mama, I'm on a roller coaster:
Christmas in the Park 12.19.2010

Christmas in the Park 12.19.2010

Christmas is just magical.  I wouldn't trade this time of year for anything.

While I am thinking about it,  I thought I would share some of the music, movies and books we have been enjoying this holiday season.

If you are looking for some good Christmas albums may I suggest:

Glee: The Music, Christmas Album
Kristin Chenowith: A Lovely Way to Spend Christmas
Straight No Chaser: Christmas Cheers
Straight No Chaser: Holiday Spirits

We have all of these on constant repeat around the house and in the car.

We have also been on a kick of watching a Christmas movie every night.  Unfortunately we are starting to run out of options.  It doesn't help that the majority of yesterday afternoon was spent on the couch watching several movies.  So far we have seen (thanks to our DVR and the $5 bin at Walmart):

Christmas with the Kranks ( so horrible I refuse to add a link)
The Santa Clause 3 
The Family Man
Die Hard
Die Hard 2
Dr. Suess's How the Grinch Stole Christmas (live action)
The Night They Saved Christmas (I love that the Santa in this one is played by one of the Honeymooners)

Each night we also try and read a Christmas story to Mabry.  Some of the favorites are:

How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Polar Express
Santa Claustrophobia
The Christmas Story
Petunia's Christmas
The Lump of Coal (a personal favorite and highly recommend)
A Charlie Brown Christmas

Now it is your turn.  Leave me some comments and let me know your recommendations on books, movies, music we just have to experience this holiday season.  We are always looking for something new and interesting.

18 December 2010

times do change...

My friend, Renee, had this posted on her blog today and I thought it was just too good not to share.

16 December 2010

mabry's top ten

Mabry has been doing so many things lately and I feel like if I don't record them somewhere I will end up forgetting.  Which is terrible, because I don't want to forget a single moment of her childhood. 

Anyhow, I thought I would compile and share a little list (and maybe a video or two) on here:

1.  Whenever we get into the car Mabry always wants to buckle herself in.  Once she has buckled up and I start the car she will exclaim, "Ready to go Captain Mama!"  

2.  Yesterday while running errands she saw a silo and became very excited that she had just seen "a spaceship."  Her imagination blows me away.  She told me she wants to be an astronaut when she grows up, but I have to ride to the moon with her.

3.  She knows all of her colors and can count to twenty without much assistance.  Her biggest hang up is trying to leave out the number 8.  We are hoping that by the time Christmas rolls around she will be counting to 25 like a pro.  (Each night we have her count each of the doors on the advent calendar until she gets to whatever night we are on.  If she does it right her reward is a candy cane Hershey kiss.)

4.  I am trying to teach her left and right.  So when I am in the car I usually tell her which way I am turning.  She is starting to really get the hang of it.  Sometimes instead of saying "left" or "right" when I ask her which way I am turning she will say "up" or "down" referencing which way I am pushing the turn signal.  

5.  I believe that Mabry thinks silence is a sin and it is her sole purpose in life to combat it at every cost.  The girl wakes up talking and remains that way the entire day.  She even talks in her sleep.  If you think I am exaggerating spend an afternoon with her.  Also, she has been known to break out into song when she thinks no one is looking.  

6.  At least twice a day she will come up to me and say, "I love you VERY much."  Those are the best moments of my day.  Sometimes she will also tell me, "You're my bestest Mama."

7.  Mabry speaks very clearly and we are constantly getting compliments on how well she talks from people as we are out and about.  To be fair, I think many of them think she is much younger than she is because she is really small.  She is still working on pronouncing some words, most things that start with an S give her a real problem.  I made videos last night of her talking and singing (I wish we could have gotten her to say creepy in the possessed way she usually does, but she didn't understand what I was asking her):

8.  I took her to ChickFilA on the way home from Pennsylvania last month and after we had settled at the table I told her to eat.  She responded with, "Let's talk about my options."  (For those who are curious her options were to eat or get a spanking.)

9.  Mabry is a master at trying to get her way.  If she wants something you have she will try and convince you to give it to her by telling you it is "for kids."  Even if the item in question is for instance a steak knife or hammer.  If she doesn't want to do something she will usually tell you "that's not a big idea" rather than  not a good idea.  If she wants you to carry her she will tell you her "knees hurt."  If she doesn't want to go somewhere she will tell you she is hungry, tired or that her Sheebus misses her.

10.  If you do something that causes you to apologize to her (we are constantly bumping into her because her favorite place to hang out and talk is right at our feet) she usually will tell you in the most sincere voice, "That's ok.  Not you fault."  

Dan and I are both so proud of what a sweet, funny, caring, smart and imaginative little girl Mabry is growing up to be.  

15 December 2010

your money god's way book review

While cleaning out the various drawers, shelves and other areas of the house this week I came across a book that I had forgotten all about.  With all the hub bub of Christmas shopping and end of the year travel and other expenses it is easy to get carried away.  

Reading this book over the last week was kind of like finding an oasis in the desert for me.

The book I am talking about is called Your Money God's Way by Amie Streater.  In the book Streater sets up the premise with seven myths that destroy Christian finances. These myths include: unrealistic and unbiblical beliefs about money, trying to be a savior, polluted theology, naivete, failure to give, denial and blaming God.

In most cases, we're our own worst enemies, [Streater] says.  Most of our financial stresses are self-created.  We need to break free from bad habits and bad thinking and learn how to make better choices if we want to walk in financial freedom.  

One of the biggest points she makes in the book is that even if you have screwed up your money in the past, there is a way to financial freedom.  All hope is not lost.  In the final chapter Streater outlines a way for you, the reader, to start your own path to financial freedom using Biblical principles and common sense.  The message is that there is nothing we can't do as long as we have God behind us.

I also appreciated Streater's honesty in her writing.  She shared stories of her own struggles with money.  She doesn't preach at the reader, instead she becomes somewhat of an equal.

I highly recommend this book!

13 December 2010

7 years

Loves 4.12.2010

I met Dan 11 years, 1 month and some odd number of days ago.  We were introduced through our friend, Nicole, while he was home from basic training and I was still in my senior year of high school.

Seven years ago today I married him.

Since then, we have managed a deployment to Iraq 20 days after the wedding while I moved in to a little apartment in Arkansas for school, a relocation to a house on post in Kentucky to officially move in together (5 months after the wedding!), dealing with all kinds of insane neighbors, buying our first house just outside of the post, surviving a year long Iraq deployment, relocating to Fort Lewis Washington, moving to a house in Tacoma, finding out we were pregnant, moving into a house on post in Washington, celebrating the birth of our daughter, relocating back to the east coast and buying a house just outside our newest duty station in North Carolina.

Which brings us to now.

If there is one thing that I have learned in this 7 year adventure, it's that home is not a place.

Home is wherever he is.

Happy Anniversary, Bub.

I love you.

11 December 2010

out live your life review

Out Live Your Life by Max Lucado  is a great journey through the book of Acts.  Told in a way that only Lucado (I am a huge fan) can do.  The stories in the book are easy to read, relevant to today and sometimes even infused with humor.

The challenge Lucado makes to readers is to stop being mediocre and start changing the world.  An overwhelming challenge until you break it down.  Lucado tells us that even though we can't reach out to everyone, we can reach out to someone.  With each person we reach out to we have the opportunity to change the world.

"None of us can help everyone. But all of us can help someone. And when we help them, we serve Jesus." 

This book makes you stop and think about what you are doing with your life.  I know it did for me.  

One thing I highly recommend this book for would be a Bible study.  Working through a chapter a week.  There are even study questions provided in the book that you could use for further discussion.  

This is a great book and would make a great gift for someone this holiday season.  

07 December 2010

how i spent my weekend or how technology kicked my butt

Over the weekend I was working on my computer when a message popped up saying that I needed to do a firmware update on my external hard drive.  No big deal.  Just a couple of clicks and the download started and then the updates were installed.

That is until I went to open a file on the drive to work on something and the computer didn't even recognize that the hard drive was attached.

Queue ominous music here....

I should stop right here and make a confession.  I don't usually store anything on my actual computer.   Instead I have made the choice to store every photo and video of the last three years (if you are doing the math that would be Mabry's entire life), all of the work I have done for my company (including legal forms, logos, etc.),  all of the design work I have done in the last year for the radiology company, my music collection (which is rather large) and some other crucial things on the external drive.

Why would I do something like that?

Because I am stupid.

So you can understand why I broke out into a cold sweat and tears started forming in the corners of my eyes when the hard drive went all I'm-not-talking-to-you-and-you-can't-make-me to the computer.

I called the company that made the external drive to ask them about it and the tech basically said, "Yeah, we have had this problem with several people.  Basically your hard drive has locked itself and there is nothing you are going to be able to do."

Excuse me while I
a. throw up
b. start figuring out ways to pay for the therapy Mabry will need to help her work through her issues of "My parents didn't love me for the first three years of my life because there are no photos of me until late 2010."
c. question why they would even allow this update if SEVERAL PEOPLE HAVE HAD THE SAME PROBLEM?!

Don't even get me started about the work stuff and my entire library of Tom Petty music lovingly collected over the years.

I did the only thing I could do at that moment.  I burst into tears and begged the poor man on the other end of the line to GET MY FILES BACK FOR ME.  So he put me on hold for what seemed like an eternity.  When he came back he explained that what he was about to advise me to do wasn't a guarantee and in no way was this endorsed by the company, but there were customers who had called in with this solution after their drives locked up.

The long and short of it was I had to track down a Windows based computer (thanks Amber and Steven!) and hook up the external drive to that and redownload the firmware only this time do the Windows version instead of the Mac and then after it was all done pray that when I plugged it back into my own computer it would magically be unlocked and I would have access again.

Y'all it was a true Christmas miracle.  Also, one of the most tense hours of my life.  But it worked!

So for the last few days I have been burning back ups of EVERYTHING onto discs and transferring files onto my computer and also creating another back up with another external hard drive that Apple had sent us back when I was having all my computer problems this fall.

Dear Technology Gods if you happen to be reading this, I assure you: LESSON LEARNED.

While I am busy with all the computer stuff I have also been cleaning out and organizing my bookmarked websites.  So be looking for a massive Link Love post coming soon.  I can't believe how many things I have been saving to share.

In the meantime, those of you with small children I wanted to pass along this fun website: Portable North Pole  where you can take just a few minutes to create and customize a video from Santa for your children.  I made one for Mabry earlier and can't wait to show her when she gets up from her nap.

06 December 2010

where fred comes to town

I am sure that many of you have heard of Elf on the Shelf.  I think I was first introduced to the elf two Christmas seasons ago.  I loved the idea, but felt like Mabry was too young to start the tradition until now.

For those of you that don't know the Elf on the Shelf story it goes something like this:  Santa sends an elf to your house during the holidays and the elf watches over the children of the house making sure they are good.  Each night the elf flies back to Santa to report in and then comes back to the house hiding in a different spot for them to find him/her in the morning.  The only rule the children must follow is that they aren't allowed to touch the elf (so that the elf doesn't lose their Christmas magic).  The elf also has a rule, no talking to the children.  All of this is explained in the cute hardcover story book that comes with your elf.

We decided to add a little twist to the tradition in an effort to make it our own.  Dan and I took the book and hid it out by the front door during Mabry's nap the day we decided to decorate the house.  While we were putting up the tree and hanging the stockings that evening we kept telling her that we could hear sleigh bells and that Santa was probably starting to send his scout elves out to watch over boys and girls.  The elves don't show up until the house is all decorated and ready for Christmas we explained to her.


Once we had the tree and everything set up, Dan snuck outside and rang the doorbell.  Mabry almost had a heart attack trying to get the door open.  When she found the book she was thrilled.  So we all sat on the couch and read the story.  The first year that your elf comes to your house you get to name him/her.  Mabry picked the name Fred.  Perhaps after Fred Claus?

We used the story to reinforce the rules of no touching and to name Fred.  We also told Mabry that Fred would be bringing candy cane kisses from Santa to fill up our advent house when he came.

The next morning the kisses were in the advent house and Fred popped up in our spare stocking hanging by the mantel.  Oh. My. Goodness.  Mabry was excited to see him.


Day two he showed up on the chimney of the advent house.  Mabry spent a good portion of the day running into the living room to make sure he was still there.  When we had to run an errand she told me she was worried that Fred would miss her.  Since then Fred has also popped up in the kitchen, hanging on one of the curtain tie backs and even way up high balanced on a picture frame in the living room.

Fred is smart and tends to pop up in places just out of Mabry's reach.

So far so good.  She hasn't tried to touch him.  Though, she did ask twice if she could the first day because she wanted to be sure he "wasn't just a doll" (she is my child through and through--which is a story for another day).  Fred has also been witness to the start of a few tantrums, which were quickly ended when Mabry was reminded that Santa would hear about her fits.

Thank goodness for Fred.  This December he might just bring me the best gift of all--my sanity.

05 December 2010

little secret

Every Sunday I look forward to checking the PostSecret website.  If you aren't familiar with the project, please check out this link.  I own several of the PostSecret books and even went to one of Frank Warren's  meet and greet book signings in Portland, OR when Dan and I were stationed on the west coast.

Anyhow, last Sunday I was really excited when I saw this secret:

While I didn't write it (obviously I am not 47-years-old) I may of well had.  It is nice to know I am not the only grown adult who hops into bed as quick as possible each night for fear of monsters under the bed.

03 December 2010

it's beginning to look a lot like christmas


Mabry and I waited for Dan to come home from his training before decorating the house for Christmas this year.


I love Christmas time and I love to decorate.  However, I do have a fairly strict policy.  There are exactly three tubs in our garage and one cupboard in the kitchen that house all Christmas decor, including the tree and outside stuff.  If it can't fit in the tub we don't have it.

Dan has an aversion to cluttered up garages and if we have too many decorations going on in the house my OCD kicks it into hyperdrive.  The policy is there for the sanity of us all.


The saddest tablescape in all the land:  I wasn't sure how to decorate this dresser in the dining room this year.  I have since added a black runner with snowflakes that I bought on clearance last year from Target to beef it up a little:


I picked these little vintage signs up in Lancaster, PA at an Amish shop this fall.  They added a little something to the dresser:




The fun part about getting ready for Christmas this year was that Mabry understood what was going on and was EXCITED! She even put up a jingle bell tree in her room this year:


While decidedly low key compared to many people out there, we love our little cozy Christmas tree and decorations.  There is just something magical about an evening that involves a hot cup of cocoa, a warm blanket, a Christmas movie and twinkling lights on the tree.



In other news there is still a little bit of time if you want to order your Christmas cards through Ridgemeade.  Remember if you live out of state, you can send me the photo(s) you would like to use and I can edit them and put them on the card of your choice.  All shipping is next day delivery as long as I have time to submit the order before 2pm.  If you are interested in placing an order please contact me ASAP.

01 December 2010

where mabry meets the man in red

Whew, I know many of you probably missed us around here, but it felt good to take a little unannounced blogging break.  For the first time in months I actually feel caught up and dare I even say like I can breathe a little.

Also, Dan has been gone for the last three weeks (but is back now...12 pounds lighter...but back!) and single parenting over the holidays while traveling literally up and down the east coast doesn't leave much time for the blog.

Now that we are officially in December, I thought I would start back in the best possible way by sharing Mabry Santa photos with everyone.

So far Mabes has managed to meet up with the jolly fat man three times.

Tea and Cookies with Santa #11

The first was at my parents church while we were in Georgia.  One of the members of the church looks just like Santa year round.  Every year he dresses up and does cookies and toy requests with all the kids.
Tea and Cookies with Santa #3

Tea and Cookies with Santa #6

Sidenote: I bought Mabry's Christmas dress from Old Navy for $10 off their clearance racks. I am a sucker for the color red and tulle.  If they had made it in my size you bet I would have snapped it right up.

The second Santa Mabry saw was at the Bass Pro Shop on Thanksgiving Day.  We stopped in 15 minutes before the store was due to close to pick up a dehydrator for my Dad on our way to have dinner with friends.  So while he and Mom were off shopping I took Mabry over to Santa's Wonderland.  

We almost missed seeing Santa because the elf running the show decided that Mabry and I (who were the last people in line) were just too much and pulled the rope to cut off the line right in front of us.


I could understand if there were more people in line behind us.  Or even if we had come running up after they had already closed down the line.  But seriously we had been standing there and Mabry had already caught a glimpse of Santa.  Thank goodness the woman right ahead of us had a kid out in the parking lot she was waiting on and so she let us cut ahead of her.  

I love all the real beards.  They really know how to grow a beard in Georgia I guess!

The last Santa was by far the worse Santa I have ever come across.  I had to run to Walmart a few days ago to make a return and this guy was sitting slumped in a chair right by the customer service desk.  Mabry of course got all excited when she saw him, but he didn't perk up or smile or anything until a worker scooped her up and plopped her in his lap for a free photo.


This guy kept calling her "Maybelle" and asked if she wanted to kiss his cheek.  Um, no creepy old man my kid doesn't want to kiss your cheek.  Thankfully she told him just that as I was grabbing her off his lap and hauling her away.  The only reason we even got the photo is because a worker saw us as we were leaving the store and handed it to me as I passed.

Ps.  I know that it is a horrible photo.  I just took a picture of the picture with my camera rather than scanning it because today is my lazy day.  Also, this is the day that I realized leaving summer clothing and shoes out where Mabry can select them (now that she dresses herself and it is winter) was a bad idea and packed them away.

We have promised her one more visit.  She wants to introduce her Daddy to Santa she says.  Plus she wants to reaffirm for a fourth time that he knows she really wants a robot.   

28 November 2010

because i am taking a five minute break from cleaning the house

Have you read more than 6 of these books? The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here.  Instructions: Copy this. Bold those books you've read in their entirety. Italicize the ones you started but didn't finish or read only an excerpt.
1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible 
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte 
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller 
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare 
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien 
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot 
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell 
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy 
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy 
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens 
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma-Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen 
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dus
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett 
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Inferno – Dante 
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome 
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray 
80 Possession - AS Byatt 
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens 
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro 
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry- fav book ever
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyto
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery 
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare 
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

23 November 2010

the sleepover


After our afternoon at Babyland General, Gloria and the girls decided to follow us back to my Mom's house and have a sleepover.  I can just imagine how my Dad must have felt when he walked in the door that night and saw five females.  Oh the estrogen overload.

We were all glad that they decided to stay.  It gave Gloria and I a chance to visit.  Mabry and Elayna played like it was their J.O.B. and of course Mom and I loved taking turns passing Miss Cora back and forth.

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When it got late we let the girls watch a movie on the portable DVD player and then it was time for bed.  Gloria and I were both shocked that they fell asleep with very little fuss.  Mabry handled her first real sleepover so well.  I guess she is just buttering me up for when she is 10-years-old and wants five little friends to come spend the night and not sleep until dawn.


In the morning the girls mass consumed scrambled eggs and made silly faces any time a camera was put in their face.


Sweet Cora didn't get the memo about only silly expressions during photo taking, thank goodness.

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It was so cute watching Elayna with "Tura" as she calls the baby.  Elayna makes a very sweet big sister.

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Mabry has asked about her friends several times since they left Friday afternoon.  Hopefully we will be able to find a way to get together and let the girls play and visit more often.

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