Friday, December 29, 2006

Oh, almost forgot!

How could I forget this -- it's just too cute to pass by.

One of Rick's co-workers throws this awesome kid's craft party right before Christmas. Each room of the house has different crafts, and it's amazing and tons of fun.

Last year Zack was a little overwhelmed by it all, but this year was into it! He decorated his own Christmas cookies:

And he also made his own Christmas ornament:

I wish I had that kind of bravery to have that many kids over to do that many crafts, but I sure am glad these folks did -- although they're still probably cleaning glitter out of their carpet!

Merry Christmas (a little late!)

Well, I'm a few days late, but here's how we spent Christmas!

Amazingly, Zack went right to sleep on Christmas Eve and we all got up at a reasonable hour on Christmas morning. Zack was excited to see what showed up under the tree:

The first thing he saw was this big rug we got with roads and things on it for his car collection. He immediately had to go find a car to try it out.

Traditionally, we open our stocking first, and Zack got into that -- chocolate at the bottom, and neat little packages all wrapped up in the middle:

The older boys wrapped Rick's present in the sports page and duct tape:

Once all of the presents were opened, Rick, Colin, and Ryan descended like a hurricane on my office (where we had the tree). Poor Zack had no warning that they were going to dismantle EVERYTHING, including the tree, so he was beside himself. Never fear, Mom to the rescue -- we took the tree upstairs and put it in his bedroom!

My office was then painted that day, and the next day, the floor was put in. Zack and I took off for a while and went shopping, as the chaos in the house was more than I could stand. I was without a computer as well, yikes. Wednesday we left for Pennsylvania to visit Rick's parents and brother, and as always, we had a great time. We got home today, and the quarter-round still has to be put in the office, plus the furniture won't arrive until the 3rd, so I'm sitting in the middle of the room with my computer on a folding table (and the rest of the house is still a disaster!).

The best part of the holidays was the little things -- having dinner all together, playing board games, lots of laughing -- things that really don't need a holiday to have happen. I'm keeping that in mind as top of my list for New Year's Resolutions.... celebrate each day as if it were Christmas.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve

Happy Christmas Eve to you all!

Today was a normal day for the most part -- we started dismantling my office to start painting and ripping out the floors, so of course I can't find a thing. I actually made a fair amount of jewelry, and will be getting those photos fixed soon.

After dinner, I took Zack out to look at Christmas lights (both of us in our pajamas). I wish there were a house here that had really ROCKING lights, but there were a few that did ok! Zack thoroughly enjoyed it so that's all that counts.

We opened our one Christmas present, a Christmas tradition I started a while back -- the present we open on Christmas Eve is an ornament. Zack got a handcarved snowman and promptly had to get big-brother Ryan to pick him up so he could put it on his tree. I got the latest Swarovski snowflake (I collect those) but quickly found out that clear crystal just doesn't show up on a white tree!

Surprisingly, after counting down the days on the calendar, Zack passed out pretty quick when we put him to bed. Now, I have no idea how early he'll get up! I told Rick he has to keep him upstairs until we're all ready to go down, as one of his presents, a huge rug with roads on it for his cars, was too big to wrap and we have it spread out on the floor.

After Zack went to bed, Ryan, Colin, and I played Monopoly, by the real rules, and with no cheating (I'd never played but apparently, that was an important note from them, as I think it gets cut-throat between those guys!). I'd never really played it, just played AT it when I was a kid, and my sister and I never really understood the rules. This time was hilarious and a lot of fun, and I ended up winning just because I flew below the radar and didn't add too many houses to my properties too fast!

OH, it's 12:04, so MERRY CHRISTMAS to you all!!!!!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Christmas Presents!

Today I went to a bead show a couple of hours away from here -- it was nice to get a little time away as I've been running myself ragged the past couple of months. I didn't have any intention of spending much (inventory = taxes) but I found the most amazing strand of beads that I just had to have. They're also the most EXPENSIVE beads I've ever purchased, but soooo worth it.

Kyanite is a really neat stone -- it's natural in color, a blue silicate mineral with a vitreous, pearly luster. The color varies widely, and even the "cheaper" strands aren't that cheap. Anyway, this strand is HUGE, 16mm beads. Their shine and luster are terrific. They'll go into something special!

So that was my present to myself!

Rick bought my present today -- an complete room of office furniture. It's antiqued white and cherry. This is the desk, but it will have a hutch on the top, and then there's the bookcases and all the rest that go with it. We're painting the walls of the office periwinkle blue and the guys are putting in the laminate floors next week. Major overhaul!

My gift to Rick is actually a gift for all of us. For the past two years we've talked about getting a kayak, ever since we got hooked on it when visiting friends in Florida. Something always came up -- we just never seemed to get around to getting one. So today I went in and ordered a tandam kayak, so all three of us can go out.

So, the kayak and one of the paddles is on order -- I was able to walk out with the other paddle. The shop owner gave me a photo of the kayak to wrap up to put under the tree, but I couldn't figure out how or where I'd hide a nearly 8' paddle! And of course I stink at keeping surprises secret. I ended up knocking on our front door, and when Rick opened it, I'm standing there with this paddle. He is all confused, what the heck do I have a paddle for, and I say, "You'll need that for THIS!" and hand him the photo. Very cool reaction followed!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Some Pretty Christmas Decorations

I love these! I started collecting Jim Shore's work -- take a look at his web site,

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Check out the new jewelry I just uploaded tonight ---

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Play Date with Trains

Sorry I haven't been posting anything with substance lately -- with the holidays coming, I am just stretched for time. Tonight was the first night I was able to see the bottom of my beading table, in fact!

My friend Mina and her two munchkins came to play with Zack. Our dining room is in the process of being converted to an exercise/play room (and we're remodeling my office, as well as the entry way, much fun, much mess). We moved Zack's Thomas the Tank Engine train table into storage as he wasn't playing with it anymore, but still had the huge tote full of track and trains. The kids, completely without adult help, built the coolest train track:

It was only partially built when I took this photo. They even ignored the chocolate chip cookie pops I made them for their snack, they were so engrossed!

Zack is out of preschool for the time being, too, and is home with me ALL the time now. We're going to enroll in a more established one that will better challenge him this fall (with any luck at all -- the two we're looking at are really popular). Zack is such a smart, inquisitive little guy, and he needs a better learning environment. Til then, I'm going to have to figure out how to keep him busy! Today we made paper chains for his Christmas tree and painted, and did a lot of reading, and we went to the gym where he got to go nuts on the new play gym they have -- that thing is HUGE!

Oh, books! Just finished The Doctor's Wife. It was interesting, but a tough read emotionally. I'm now reading Amish Confidential, which is equally tough. I got through Chapter Four while riding the bike at the gym today and had to stop because I was a little nauseated, and not from riding that bike! The only thing that comforted me was knowing that Chris Burkholder's experience isn't the norm. At least I hope not.

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Saturday, December 09, 2006

Children and Shopping

This is just too funny (especially in this heavy shopping season) not to post. If you have kids, this sign would certainly put the fear of God in you:

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Monday, December 04, 2006

Hey Ya! Charlie Brown Style

"Hey Ya!" is a catchy tune that was almost impossible to avoid on the radio for a while -- and some guys took that song and played it over the top of Charlie Brown -- FUNNY! I remember as kids we used to turn the sound off on the TV and then play records (yikes, yep, records) and sometimes the result was stinking hilarious.

(I particularly love Sherman in this video, the kid in the yellow shirt -- I knew a guy who danced like that -- he'd just hang out in the corner of the dance floor and groove by himself!)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Oh Christmas Tree

Zack decided ages ago that he wanted a WHITE Christmas tree this year.

We have no idea where he got that idea, but for weeks he's been talking about a white tree with blue ornaments. Last night, we put it together (three cheers for pre-lit trees, what a BREEZE that was!). Then I put hooks on all the blue ornaments and Zack happily decorated.

Trouble is, he's short, and tended to favor putting all the ornaments on the same branch!

But he was so pleased with the result -- I only helped him a little with the higher branches.

He kept coming back into the room saying, "It's so beautiful!". And that is what Christmas is about.