Life as we know told by Heather

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Christmas Morning

Christmas morning was early this year since we had to wake up the kids when Jason got home from work (so he could go to sleep).

The kids were very happy....

Santa left us a thank you note for the cookies.

Xander agreed to pose for a photo and he made us a wonderful gift at school.

Then we ate a breakfast of Gift of the Magi Muffins and scrambled eggs. This year we put candles in the muffins and blew them out for Jesus' birthday. It's a little easier to explain Christmas to the kids that way, they're not quite understanding much more than that right now.

Then I spent the rest of the morning putting together toys. :0)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Family Christmas - Part 2 - Christmas Eve

On Christmas Eve, my dad, step-mom and two step-brothers came over to celebrate Christmas.

We went to church, came home and ate dinner, opened gifts and played Wii.



The next Taylor Swift?
This picture of my dad makes me think of Kermit the Frog singing on his lily pad. Ha, ha.

End of the night...

Friday, December 26, 2008

My amazing husband!

Jason got me the best gift EVER this Christmas.

"It's just a dress," you say. And if you've ever seen me in any clothing that shows my upper body you've probably already realized it's not even the most flattering dress for my figure.

But it's not the dress itself that's the actual present, it's how it came to be.

You see, whenever we go on vacation I have issues buying myself souvenirs. I always try to get us a Christmas ornament because we put up a "travel tree" at Christmas, but other than that I tend to feel that the vacation itself is the treat and I really probably shouldn't spend the extra money on something I don't "need." In fact, last year when we went to The Outer Banks my mom had to practically drag me to the register at closing the night before we had to leave. And even then I couldn't decide if I really wanted what I was buying. Jason, on the other hand, buys himself whatever he wants because we're on vacation and we should do it right. Then we get home and I'm sad because Jason has a bunch of cool stuff and I don't.

So this year I made a conscious effort to get something for myself. In New Orleans I got a book, a pretty photo holder for all my trip pictures, and a fabulous fleur di lis shirt.

See my shopping bag?

In Newport I got three new belly button rings. (Not that much to choose from in Newport folks). In Florida, I wanted this dress.

I saw it at Downtown Disney the first day we were there. We were on the way out and the kids were at their breaking point. I told myself I'd try to come back before we left Florida and if it was still there I'd try it on. That way I had all week to see what else I might find in the meantime.

I never found anything else, so when we went back to Downtown Disney the night before we left I was excited to try it on. They had a small and a medium, and they both fit. They were also both defective. One had a busted seam and the other had something else wrong with it. I was devastated. For once I picked a souvenir and I couldn't have it. I actually cried. Then I went and bought a few other things just for the sake of buying them (although I do like them).

Unbeknownst to me, Jason had taken a photo of the tag on the dress and after we got home he spent a bunch of time online trying to find me another one just like it. When it was ordered I was given strict instructions not to look at the labels on the package if it arrived when he wasn't available to get it off the porch. Interestingly enough he didn't even spoil the surprise by accidentally giving me some kind of hint.

So, it's not the dress itself that is the gift, but that he knew how much I wanted it and made the effort to find it for me.

And in case he doesn't realize how much I appreciate it (since I tend to nag remind him here and there about other things he does that I don't like, such as using colorful vocabulary around the children), here's a list of other reasons I think he's incredible...

1. He remembers the anniversary of our first date (including the day of the week), what we ordered to eat and what I was wearing.

2. He didn't laugh at me last week when I was in our closet trying on the outfit mentioned above (5 pounds equals a lot of inches when you're only 5'1").

3. He thought I was sexy when I was pregnant and let me think I didn't have any stretch marks until I discovered them after I could see the bottom of my stomach again.

4. He changes diapers without being asked, just because it needs done.

5. He cleans bathrooms and washes dishes.

6. When he works 3rd shift he calls me at midnight to say "Happy (Insert Birthday/Holiday Here)" so he can be the first person to say it on the actual day.

7. He stays home with the kids sometimes so I can get out by myself for awhile.

8. He sits on the couch and listens to me while I blather on about my latest disease-of-the-week.

9. He rubs my feet just because they're there.

10. He plays with the kids (I'm so bad at make believe).

11. He makes the best pancakes and chicken etouffee.

12. He secretly likes my hair long but will say his favorite style is whichever way is easiest for me to do.

13. He pretends to believe that it really takes an hour or more for my bathing routine when I'm sure he knows I just go really slow so I can be alone for awhile.

14. He didn't gloat when LSU beat Ohio State at the Sugar Bowl last January and still held my hand on Bourbon Street when I was wearing my bright red jersey (or maybe that was just a measure on his part to keep me safe?).

15. He likes this song by Brad Paisley that's all about it being worth it to wait on your woman.

Sittin' on a bench at West Town Mall
He sat down in his overalls and asked me
You waitin' on a woman
I nodded yeah and said how 'bout you
He said son since nineteen fifty-two I've been
Waitin' on a woman

When I picked her up for our first date
I told her I'd be there at eight
And she came down the stairs at eight-thirty
She said I'm sorry that I took so long
Didn't like a thing that I tried on
But let me tell you son she sure looked pretty
Yeah she'll take her time but I don't mind
Waitin' on a woman

He said the wedding took a year to plan
You talk about an anxious man, I was nervous
Waitin' on a woman
And then he nudged my arm like old men do
And said, I'll say this about the honeymoon, it was worth it
Waitin' on a woman

And I don't guess we've been anywhere
She hasn't made us late I swear
Sometimes she does it just 'cause she can do it
Boy it's just a fact of life
It'll be the same with your young wife
Might as well go on and get used to it
She'll take her time 'cause you don't mind
Waitin' on a woman

I've read somewhere statistics show
The man's always the first to go
And that makes sense 'cause I know she won't be ready
So when it finally comes my time
And I get to the other side
I'll find myself a bench, if they've got any
I hope she takes her time, 'cause I don't mind
Waitin' on a woman

Honey, take your time, cause I don't mind
Waitin' on a woman

Did I mention that he's amazing?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

All Aboard!

Last week my friend Liz told me about our town's 4th annual Model Train and Railroad Christmas Show. It was yesterday from 10 am - 2 pm at the Columbus-Cleveland-Northern Railroad Building (which I didn't know existed), so after lunch we bundled up the kids and went to check it out.

I guess they normally give short train rides, but it was too cold for that yesterday due to the amount of time it takes to load and unload, so we didn't get to do that. The kids didn't know about it anyway since we've never been before, so they didn't know the difference.

First you had to enter into a small building that had a model train set up encompassing the whole room. Jordis of course liked the pink train the best.

Then we walked through some shelving full of Lionel train parts to get to an even bigger train display.

After that we went outside to an Amtrak train car that had two smaller displays set up inside. The caboose was last. Inside the kids got a free Cheryl's cookie and a really nice conductor hat.

After the train exhibit we took the kids to the nursing home to drop off their paintings. They spent a long time working on them and ended up making 30 total. I was hoping to make more than that but their interest was waning. Xander wasn't much for visiting but Jordis happily passed out a few paintings to some residents who were in the common area watching Holiday Inn. The rest of the paintings will be given to residents who aren't able to leave for the holidays. They're going to put them at their place settings for the big holiday meal.

Now the kids are just waiting for Santa. Luckily the presents they got on Sunday are holding them over in the meantime.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Family Christmas - Part 1

Between work and travel commitments we always have a lot of coordinating to do, but somehow we always seem to manage to celebrate Christmas with our families. This year all the gatherings are at our house, so we have quite a busy week. Tonight we celebrated with Jason's family.

The kids have been excited since they got up today and were even hamming it up before church.

Xander was really excited about his racetrack.

Nanny Mo got Jordis some duck slippers, but don't you dare ask her to pose in them.

MawMaw and PawPaw are glad THEY aren't the ones assembling all of these toys.

We attempted a family picture but after 5 tries we gave up. Jason wasn't much better than the kids. It took us 10 pictures to get something decent.

Monique's boyfriend helped Jordis name her new dog. Meet Dolce. Her carrying case matches Jordis' dress, so they're ready to hit the streets of Los Angeles to see and be seen.

Aaaah, Geo Trax. They had to be put up tonight. He doesn't know there are more on the way.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Zoo Lights

Last Sunday night we took our annual trip to see the Christmas lights at the zoo. We usually don't go this close to Christmas, but it's been so cold and we've all been sick since Thanksgiving. It was in the 50's last Sunday night so we figured it would probably be the warmest day to go, plus Jason was on his day off so we wouldn't have to rush out of there. Apparently everyone else had the same idea. Even though it was a Sunday and people had work and school the next day. And it was raining.

I've never seen the zoo parking lot so crowded. Ever. Seriously.

Of course Xander doesn't ever care about the lights, he's fixated on the animals, so he was ticked off as soon as we got there because it was too dark to see most of them. He wouldn't let us take his picture. But Jordis happily obliged.

We were going to go see the trains when we discovered that they had moved the train display. It used to be in one big room, all in one area, so you could get in line and walk by the whole thing. This year it's in a building half the size and split into sections. There was no room for wagons or strollers. Once you got up to a display you couldn't get out because of the people milling around. Can you say fire hazard? So we saw one or two sections before we couldn't take it anymore and tried to get out. Even that was an adventure and Jason almost had to get rude with these women who were standing in the exit chatting and drinking coffee.

After this incident, along with a few others on our walk to the petting zoo, I turned into my dad and came up with the following list:

1. Don't let your 1-year-old who appears to have just learned how to walk try to do so. This is not the time or the place.
2. Don't let your pre-K'er, who isn't as tall as the stroller handle, push your toddler around the zoo, in the dark, in a stroller.
3. Don't walk 5 and 6 people across, so that you take up the whole path, and then stare at people coming the other way like they're in your way as they try to squeeze by you.
4. Don't walk in the middle if you are slow. I don't care what the reason're browsing, old, handicapped, injured, whatever. It should be like the freeway....if you are slow, for ANY reason, whether out of your control or by choice, stay to the right.

Oddly enough (and I can't believe I'm going to admit to this - since I thought it was weird when my dad said it at the mall back when I was in high school), things would go much more smoothly if people treated public areas like the freeway, but on foot. Stay to the right if you're meandering, leave the left for those in a hurry or people needing to pass. Turn off when you get to where you need to go.

But alas, people don't think that way. We did eventually make it to the petting zoo after jumping out of the way of a few people and trying not to run over a few others (old, slow, in the middle).

Was too muddy to get to the reindeer and the kids were whining about this and that, so we left. It was an easy choice since we have a membership and can go back whenever we want. I think next time we'll go on the coldest day of the year if it means we can avoid the crazies.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Tag, I'm it!

Lisa says I should answer these questions, so why not?

Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?I like both of these drinks, but egg nog does not like me, so hot chocolate is my choice most often. Especially with my mom's homemade mix. And her homemade marshmallows. Or marshmallow creme. Or store-bought marshmallows. I really like marshmallow.

Does Santa wrap presents or set them under the tree?Everything is always wrapped. I get my wrapping paper after Christmas for the following year. And since I was precocious as a child and had to know why Santa had the same paper as my parents, and how his handwriting on the tags was the same as my mom's, I had to be prepared. Now I try to make sure each of the kids' gifts from Santa is in specific paper. The paper always has Santas on it, and they each get a different style. That way we know who got what, and no handwriting is involved.

Colored Lights on tree or white?
I have white lights on two of my trees and colored on a 3rd.

When do you put your decorations up?
usually the weekend after Thanksgiving, but I got a little behind this year. Had trouble finding lights on a white cord to go on our new white tree.

What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?
When I was a kid my mom used to make homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast. Now I look forward to the pee wees Jason's parents make. And I love my eggnog fruit salad.

Favorite Holiday memory as a child?
My aunt used to live on a farm in Radnor and we would go there on Christmas Eve. I loved her old house and spending time with everyone because that was the only time I usually got to see my cousins.

When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
I still harrass my cousin Carol about this but she's the one that told me. I'm an only child so probably would have believed forever. I said something one Christmas about Santa and she said, "you don't really still believe in him, do you?" Of course I said that I didn't, but then I asked my mom. And once the truth set in I realized that the Easter bunny and the tooth fairy were probably not real either. I was really sad.

Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
No, but my mom used to let me when I lived at home.

How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
Used to be that all the ornaments went on one tree. This year I got a white tree that I'm going to go out and buy ornaments for after Christmas so I can get the fancy ones at a good price. Then I took all of my regular ornamnets and put the ones that were the most red and green on the white tree. I let the kids use the rest to put on a tree for them in the toy room. I put all of Jason's police ornaments on our 3 foot tree and then our tabletop tree has all of our travel ornaments on it. We try to get an ornament every time we go out of town.

Can you ice skate?
Yes, I LOVE ice skating. I actually took lessons. I haven't been since I had kids though so not sure how I'd be now.

Do you remember your favorite gift?
I've had lots of favorites.

What's the most important thing about the holidays for you?
being with family and teaching my kids what it's all about

What is your favorite holiday dessert?
I like all kinds. I love to just sit in front of a tray of Christmas cookies. I also like pie. My grandma used to make homemade coconut cream and chocolate cream pies so I like to try to make a homemade coconut cream pie every year.

What is your favorite tradition?
We don't really have any per se. With having 3 sets of families and working around everyone's work schedules we don't always do the same thing every year.

Do you prefer giving or receiving?
I love to give presents. I'd give more if I had more money.

What is your favorite Christmas song?
I like a bunch and most of them aren't secular. Some of my favorites are Happy Christmas by John Lennon, 2000 Miles by the Pretenders, Someday at Christmas by Stevie Wonder and Baby It's Cold Outside by Dean Martin

Candy canes Yum or Yuck?
I like the little ones. A little goes a long way.

Ever recycled a Christmas present?I don't think so.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Buster loves Mellie

Buster is our dog (MY dog when he's in trouble) and Mellie is my friend. Just so everyone knows.

I used to work with Mellie at WCOL and she's a friend like no other. She can be both small town Kentucky and sophisticated business woman all in the same day. She is a ton of fun, fiercely loyal, and incredibly thoughtful. Now that she lives over an hour away we don't see each other like we used to, but she always makes sure to keep in touch with cards for every occasion and random gifts for no reason.

Mel's a big animal advocate and understands that Buster just isn't getting the attention he did before the kids came along. He used to be the dog I took on car rides just because I knew he liked it. He had a sweater. I dressed him up for Christmas. He ate his fair share of lettuce (he LOVES lettuce). Now he's getting old and a little lonely.

But Mellie remembers him at Christmas and yesterday he got a package in the mail. Mind you, it was wrapped prettier than most Christmas gifts I've seen given to humans. It even included a card with pictures of all of Buster's doggie friends visiting Santa. Upon closer inspection I realized that Mellie was even the Santa. I'm telling you, she goes all out.

The kids got a huge kick out of this and wanted to help open the present. Once it was open Buster was really interested. It was a box of homemade dog treats, cut out into Christmas shapes. I let the kids give him one even though they wanted to give him the whole box.

So on behalf of Buster, thanks Mel for thinking of him as only you can. He totally feels the love.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Picture Perfect

So I was seriously sweating the arrival of Xander's school pictures. I had to go to school the day they were taken because the order form never made it home. They apparently sent them home the week we were in Florida, but didn't save one for Xander. I found out the DAY before pictures were to be taken, leaving me one option: go to school the same day pictures were to be taken.

Xander warned me ahead of time that he wasn't going to say cheese. Not doing it. Never ever. Yadda, yadda. I ran down to the gym to drop off my form and Xander's class was on the way in for pictures. He was so excited to see me and was willing to cooperate, so they let him go first. He had a great little smile going when the lady decided to adjust his head, and then it was all over. He was done. Over it. Refused to smile. Finally they let someone else go and he ran away. I tried to go talk to him but thought I might be making it worse, so I left and told him I'd be super proud of him if he changed his mind when it was his turn again.

He came home that day with a sticker and said it was because he said cheese. I wanted to believe him, but was curious as to whose opinion it was that he actually smiled for the camera. Then today, he came home with this:

I'm so excited I can't stand it! I might have to get a new picture frame to celebrate.