Saturday, December 20, 2008

There was cake. There were happy children. We all survived.

You know, I have to say that without the help of my mama friends, I could have never done it! Natalie over at The Cybyk Times became staff photographer. My sister ran photos occasionally, refills and hugs. My friend Michelle kept kids happy. Kim was on the wagon of friends that fed the kids as I was running back and forth. My friend Heather was just trying to keep track of her little one C-. He'll be two next month and he keeps that girl running! These woman helped to keep me sane and afloat. I love them dearly.

I admit that K-'s party started out slightly rough. Oh, the kids were great except for that pesky whiney yucky crap that K- was dishing out. I scooped her up, carried her to the bathroom and finally told her that I didn't want to send her home with her daddy so that I could have fun with her friends myself. It took just a hair longer, but she found herself adjusted and doing fine. Right before arriving, she had fallen asleep and Hubs was having a tough time waking her. He bonked her in the head with the door, again. He also bonked her in the head with the trampoline. We also know for a fact that she does a bit of a social anxiety bit when in a group of people. She is like me. She can get overwhelmed by things like that and just overloads. Oh, I don't find it excuseable, but I do try to work her through it. We did triumph over the yuck and had a great time. Just look!

I started the party by having the kids sit for a few while I read them the book, Tinkering Tink. Aunt Kristin bought that for K- as a part of her birthday gift. The kids wanted to have free feet, so they ditched their shoes and made themselves at home.

Look! Natalie got a great picture of the kids. You know, I'm not a big face posting mama. I have several reasons, but was thrilled that there was a photo of all the kids that I could legally post.

After K's birthday party, we cleaned up the hall (with help from friends-- thank you!) and trotted on home with the loot. I did a quick gift inventory list so that we can write thank you's, had some queso and chips and went to visit the neighbor's around the corner. He is a doctor and each year, he and his wife sit out in the bitterly cold (tonight it was 25 degrees, cold enough!) to greet all the neighborhood children. He is very realistically dressed as Santa and his wife as Mrs. Claus. Their home is like that of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. I'm sure that we're on back up power just to make those lights run! He is so attentive. He asked about where she lived (not in a predator kind of way), asked about how old she was, if she behaved and what she wished for. He was very happy to sit for photos with her and even his wife joined in. We've decided that we must send a thank you along. What a wonderful Christmas/Birthday treat!

After we stopped by Dr. Santa's house, we traveled onto Alliance where they have the Winter Wonderland Light Display. We go every year for Happy Home Day, but decided to move it up to K-'s birthday since we had the evening free. My mother-in-law joined us and enjoyed it very much.

Baby girl had a good day. She enjoyed getting to hang with her friends. For her, it's not the presents. Sure, she likes them but she is more than thrilled just to have people show up! Let's hope that she always stays that way!

Holy Cow! You're 5!

My big girl, you are 5 today. Can I tell you how every year that your birthday rolls around, my heart flutters a bit? It reminds us of that trip we took to pick you up. It reminds us of the anniversary of your arrival to our family. It reminds us of the anniversary of your adoption-- right on your very first birthday! How cool was that?! (Especially cool since it was hovering sub zero temps with a nasty snow storm!)

"Can I tell you sumpin? I like you. I love you to the sun, the moon, the stars and back." That's a lot of love, my friend. Daddy does, too. (You tell me this all the time, too.)

When you came to us, you were just a wee bit of a thing. You were 6 pounds 11 ounces and 19" long. That's not really big. Now? Well, you are 44" tall and about 46 pounds or so. You wear a 6x or 7/8 top because you are so long waisted. You are thinning out on your Buddha baby belly, but you still need a 6 for a hair bit of tummy space. You love leggins. You don't like "hard pants (jeans) because they aren't compie." Your foot. Sweet little thing, that foot is going to give you a tough road to go forever. You wear a size 11 1/2 right now, but you have a narrow foot, a narrow heel and a high arch. Finding shoes for you is no easy task. You will hate this more as you grow up. You have long brown hair. You want to grow it out like Rapunzel or Pocahontas. That's fine with Daddy and me. The deal is that as long as we can brush it and care for it. You don't like a lot of things in your hair. Mostly, you prefer "down hair." Occasionally, you'll want "small pigs, big pigs or horsey hair." That's pretty rare, though.

You are a pretty good little girl. You are a big helper and are good at cleaning up. You love to bake and help your daddy build things. You put your clothes down the laundry chute without being asked. You have chores and do them when I ask. Someday, they'll kick in automatically. In the past few days, you've been in a NO streak. It got you in trouble at school and at home just now, too. You've lost privileges and that's no fun. Soon enough you'll learn that the NO thing didn't work before and it ain't kicking it now, either.

You are having a Tinkerbell party. You have been telling people for months! I'm sad that your siblings aren't going to be there. We've talked about it and you understand now. We're honest with you about stuff. We tell you the truth, because we want you to always trust us. Sure, mommy and daddy don't always get to pass on sunshiny stuff, but we're as honest with you as we can be.

You are so caring. You run up and hug people and children all the time. We've had to tone this back a little. You've freaked a few kids out a bit. (I just told you to ask if it was okay.) A little girl was beating you up in school, but you didn't want to tell because you didn't "want to make her sad." I had to remind you that it isn't okay for people to hurt you. Friends have bad days and maybe C- was having a bad week, but that's still not okay.

You can color in the lines. You can do a great job. You are just worried that you are going to miss something and you scribble. You know all of your ABC's, can write your name in caps and lower case and have done a great job with your last name. We're working a bit harder on numbers, but just like the ABC's, it will all click.

You have so much energy. You can run in circles for hours and never tire. Your energy amazes people. So does your caring touch, your big smile, the one left dimple you have and those ever-changing green eyes.

Can you believe that you are going to go to Kindergarten next year? Oh baby, the places you'll go.

I love you. I love you so much that a mama can't even tell you. I love you so much that it makes me cry just to think about it.

Happy birthday, my big girl.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Ice pellets are falling from heaven!

You see the big red blob? Um, we're in the middle of that. Thank goodness that I held off on some final details for K-'s party! Seriously, I've got to go out regardless. I'll wait for a while to hopefully have the roads clear a bit. They haven't been doing such a hot job of snow clearing this season (salt shortage due to hurricanes, governor putting those funds to something else . . .), so it can get just a wee slickery around here. K-'s Little Gym was canceled for the day, so we're be hangin' close to the homefront.

And the party, you ask? We will be doing the Tinkerbell theme this year. I figured out that I need a few more table cloths and plates for adults. I already have the treat bags made. (They'll be getting sparkly Moon Sand, a Tinkerbell pencil, stickers and green and purple gum balls. I, in very Virgoian fashion, dug through the bulk candy bin at the store until I got the number of green and purple gum balls that I needed. I swear that those people probably talked about me when I left!) I picked the key up to the building yesterday, so I've got all that figured out. Our church has a recreation building that is available for members to rent with a love gift. It is nice with access to basketball hoops, soccer nets, all the balls that you'd need and frankly, it is a nice place to just have the kids run. Hubs will be borrowing the tug o' war rope from work again this year. K- has already asked! She is ready to go.

The weather has been all over the place and at least this gives a place were they can run their babyson leggins off and I can send them home good and tired. Parents love us for that. Also, with my house being just a hair over 1000 sq ft, the recreation building is much larger. I'm sure you could fit my house in their a few times, anyhow.

I was baking until at least 12:30 AM last night. A friend from Milwaukee had called to say that they may or may not be making it in for K-'s party and we were talking for a bit. (I still baked as I talked!) I was still wired from Festival Choir dress rehearsal and know that I was up until at least 1:30 AM. I'm making my way through the Gilmore Girls DVD library I have. I've watched them a billion times and like to watch them when I can't sleep.

I have more baking to do. I need to bake the Heath bar/Chocolate Chip/Chocolate Chunk cookies today. (I swear that I think that there are more candy bits in there than there is dough.) I might toss the thumbprints together. Oh, and I must deal with the brownies. My chocolate/chocolate cookies came out tasting good, but they are pancake flat. I'm still putting them into the Christmas cookie boxes anyway. They are baked. They are good. They still qualify.

The couch guy is coming between 3-5 PM, so we'll find out whether he thinks that we should score a new couch or not. It's a cliff hanger. I know that your every holiday plan hinges on whether the home of Bailey's Leaf will be getting a replacement of the biffed couch that received earlier in the month. Ah, we do bring excitement to the blogosphere!

So, what's going on in your neck o' the woods today? Anything fun?

Have a great ice-free day!
Edited to add: We have friends who are literally snowed in, in Milwaukee. My sister-in-law and her family are in Chicago attempting to make it about an hour north of Milwaukee.
Our friends won't be making it for K-'s birthday and both girls are sad about it. It was the first birthday since they relocated to Milwaukee that the kids would have been able to celebrate either one of their birthdays together. I'm sad for them. My sister's kids have the stomach funk, which might knock them out of the running for the party tomorrow. K-'s sibs aren't coming because they are out of town or visiting their other parental unit. We have another child with Christmas choir dress rehearsal. My nephews are with their mom, so my brother doesn't have them and has to work anyhow. K- will have a small group tomorrow instead of the 18 + that we initially expected, but we'll have a great time!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday: American Girl Wardrobe Box

My in-law's bought K- an American Girl doll for Easter this year. It was very generous of them, as K- would have probably gotten the Target Our Generation knock off from us when the time did come. So we have the Little K- doll, as K- has named the doll after herself since it is the doll that is supposed to look like her anyhow. (K-'s doll has green eyes, but the only one I could find like her online had brown eyes.) We also have accessories and clothing. We needed a better way to keep track of Little K-'s stuff. So for K- and my two nieces, I made them American Girl Wardrobe Boxes for Christmas.

I purchased three extra large raw wood trunks from the Flower Factory. They were about $6.80 each. I did an acrylic staining to the boxes (one each of pink, purple and green) with the 50 cent acrylic craft paint that I purchased from Pat Catan's. I decorated the front with some printed canvas type material that I traded a friend for. I know that she purchased it at Joann Fabrics on the clearance. The larger rectangle I left print side up. The smaller rectangle that I personalized with round type stickers was just the printed material reversed. I fringed the edges before I glued all of it down. I continued to decorate the front of the box with the pre-painted wood cut-outs that I scored at Walmart for 47 cents each and the clearance rack rhinestones that I purchased this summer. (Ignore the sticks. Just keeping K-'s name private.)

I also glued the rhinestones on top of the screws on the big ole latch on the side.
On the inside, I lined the back of the box with the print material. I used Aleene's Clear glue to adhere the fabric and all of the other items to the box. Hubs cut some shelves for me from particle board that we already had. I glued the tight fitting shelves in with little side slats. These flat little sticks came from Walmart craft department for 77 cents. (A big pack.) I used Tite Bond glue that we already had. It does not dry clear. I did not know. Oh well. I electric stapled the elastic in for both the accessory box and the hair brush. I had some Sticko's stickers that I used to decorate above the hairbrush. It was a blank spot. It needed something. They were 99 cents at Pat Catan's.
I purchased little clear accessory boxes to tuck into the depth of the lid. I found these boxes at Walmart in the fabric department for $1.97 each. They'll be perfect for holding little hair accessories, socks and the bracelets and necklaces that I made for the dolls.

A little personalization on the back.

In the end, I figure that each box cost me about $11.50. That's a bargain! I admit that I used a lot of things that I already had on hand. I checked the American Girl website and their trunks start at $75.00. They are absolutely beautiful wardrobes, but none that I could afford. Making a handcrafted gift for my little girl meant a whole lot more to me. I hope that she enjoys it as much as I do!
Next week: I'm on a bit of a bloggy break. I'll be back after Christmas!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tales from the Trenches

This week's Tales is going to be a lovefest on my bosses (no they don't read so I'm not trying for points here). Do you know what they do for us this time of year? They bring in their massage therapist, Paul. We get scheduled for 10 minute seated massages and for 10 minutes, the retail world is a much better place.

I love Paul. Oh, not in a marital or cheating love kind of way. Hubs is understanding and appreciative of my love for Paul. I've been at the gallery for 8 Christmas' now and Paul has been the light at the end of the retail year tunnel. I'll come home with a smile on my face and Hubs will say, "You saw Paul today, didn't you?" Yup.

God bless Paul and his ability to fix things. He has fixed migraines, back pains, aching hands, tender tootsies and is presently working on the residual gunk left over from ye ole smooshing o' the vehicle from way back in March. I didn't get whip lash to the neck, but I did get it to the shoulder. Paul is trying to fix that. I told him that I should have come to see him sooner. I really wanted to.

To my bosses that don't read this but as I told them yesterday, thank you for Paul! Thank you for thinking of us!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Boo Mama's 2008 Christmas Tour of Homes


Why hello! Welcome! Drive on up. Feel free to park behind me. We're not going anywhere this evening, because we are expecting company. You are the first to have arrived.

Come on up. Peer into the window. Don't worry. We're all dressed. We were expecting you.
Ah, give that door a good hearty knock. We have an inoperable door bell (by choice), so you'll have to knock hard, please.
Hey! Glad that you are here. So, you want to take a look around? Let us show our tree to you. There she is. Hubs fixed the lights at the top. (The top quarter of the tree went out last weekend.) I didn't exactly get to fix the top back to the way I had it. No time! But, enjoy it anyhow. See if you can find the pickle!
Let me show you some of our favorite ornaments. I'll start with my girls. We have K-'s first Christmas ornament and Bailey's ornament is off to the left. I bought the metal flying pregnant mama with a tip that I received that Christmas season that I was pregnant. This is an ornament that my oldest and dearest friend gave to me when K- arrived. Had to put this one in there. Hubs fishes. We have many fishing ornaments on our tree. K- made this one. Of course, we have many handmade K- ornaments on our tree, but I picked this one. So simple but so darned cute!Here is our nativity. It lives under the tree. K- moves the pieces all around. This is how she has it arranged right now. Hubs has his Department 56 Dickens Village. He sets it up every year. This year the cat decided to jump up and try to look out the window. She took out one of the turtle doves on the clock tower. He was sad. So is the gentleman pulling the canal boat.Have you sent us a card? Well, certainly you have! Look on the wall above the couch and you'll find it hanging there!
Kick back and watch the people skate around the pond. They'll do it for hours and never tire. I would at least get winded. Not them. They must do Pilates or something when I'm not watching them.
When you are finished with the skaters, feel free to turn Santa's Workshop on. The little people inside are hard at work. They'll even play a tune for you.I have a love for Rudolph, specifically the doll. Hubs has bought me many of the Rudolph figures over the years, so I decided to share a few with you. Don't get too excited when you look behind them and see the bottom photo stamp of the Boston Marathon. I didn't run it. In fact, I don't run unless I'm on fire and even then I hear you aren't supposed to. Nah. Hubs ran his sister in for the last 3 miles or so. They kind of frown on running bandit and we were surprised that he managed to cross the finish line with her. Those are the feet that you see. They are not mine. I was happy for them though.

By the way, there isn't some evil silver bird getting ready to peck Dolly to death. That's just a pewter sculpture I have. Unfortunately, the flamingo sculpture looks like it is ready to take out Rudolph and his whole Island of Misfit Toys. Sorry about that!You haven't seen a chimney for Santa to come down? No worry! We have a Santa key. See? We hang it on the outside door for Santa. That's his magical key to get in. It only works for Santa.
Let's take a walk down the hall, shall we? We have our stockings hung by the coat closet with care in hopes that Saint Nicholas soon will be there. Yes, there are only three humans in the house, but Smudge (our Maine Coon cat) and Spike (our Green Iguana) have stockings, too.
Why don't we take a spin through K-'s room? She has her own little nativity on the top of her bed. Even the snowman snow globe is adoring Him.
We have a tree on the top of her dresser. We have two of them. One is in the bathroom, but we'll skip that. K- is in there right now. But in case you wondered, they were made by Sunapple and Company in Columbus. It is a great organization giving quality employment to those with developmental disabilities. Passionworks Studios in Athens OH is another great studio employing the same fine folks. Give 'em a look-see if you have time.
I should bring you to the kitchen to see all of the hard work that K- and her daddy were up to. See, last night I started on our gingerbread/graham cracker house. I was a bit over zealous, ignored common sense engineering and my house collapsed. It looked like a Katrina victim. Hubs took the helm, did a bit of wall and roof reinforcement and came up with this:
He and K- worked hard on decorating. Just look at those handies. She couldn't help but to "lick the frosting off" so look at that face!
Before you leave, feel free to take a cookie. We have gingerbread and lemon drop on the rack cooling.
Thanks for coming by! Do stop by again!