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December, 2007:

Oh Christmas Tree

There is a Christmas tree decorating contest at the park in Hubby’s hometown, so we took the kids down there to check them out. There were a lot of fun ones! Please excuse the lack of quality in the photos . . . it’s difficult to get photos of lights with a point and shoot digital camera :-)

Schwans Tree

Ship Tree

Bee Movie Tree

Golf Lady Tree

Daycare Tree

Fire Car Tree

Tea Cup Tree

Happy Birthday Boo!

Dear Keira 

I can’t believe that 5 years ago today, you were born, right on your due date. Even though I’d scheduled a c-section for the day after your due date, you had plans of your own. While we were walking through the zoo with G’ma and G’pa, enjoying the beautiful Christmas lights, you decided it was time to make your entrance. You started slowly, about 10 minutes apart. By the time Big Brother was taking his ride on the carousel, me and another mother-to-be were enjoying contractions together – 5 minutes apart! I guess the hills at the zoo really do help! About 30 minutes later, when we finally made it to the gorillas, you were really ready to join the family. Contractions were 3 minutes apart. We decided it was time to take G’ma and G’pa and Big Brother home and head to the hospital. By the time we got there, contractions were around 2 minutes apart. However, you had plans of your own AGAIN and you would not come join us. So, after Dad and I hung out in the hospital room for 3 hours watching the Packers (yes, epidural was definitely working for me), we headed in for another c-section, this one much less eventful than the one I had with your Big Brother – and I thank you for that :-)

Here you are Boo!!!

Keira In Stocking 

They gave all of the babies born the week of Christmas a huge stocking . . . so we thought we’d have a little fun with it :-) You were, afterall, a wonderful Christmas present!

Your wonderful Daddy wrote this as an “E-mail Announcement” – your Dad’s a pretty clever guy :-)

Twas three days before Christmas, when all through the house,

Not a creature was stirring, Not even a mouse.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that the stork soon would be there.

Jason was nestled all snug in his bed,
While visions of Buzz Lightyear danced in his head;
Jodie in her kerchief and Dan in his cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap.

When across the bed there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Around the bed I flew like a flash,
Tore open the covers and began to dash.

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a stork delivering ten tiny toes.
Weighing 8 pounds 1 ounce so lively and dear
I knew in a moment it must be our Keira.

More rapid than eagles her coursers they came,
And she cried and shouted, and called them by name‑
“Now, Mom! Now, Dad! Now, Grandmas and Grandpas!
On, Taunya! On, Jason! On, Aunts and Uncles!”

“To the top of your feet! To the top of the wall!
Now Milk! Now Sleep! Come one and all!”

And then, in a twinkling, I heard from above
The prancing and crawling of our little love.

 

As I drew my head and was turning around,

In the door came Keira with a bound.
She was all bundled up from her head to her toe,

And from under all the layers you can hear a Ho Ho Ho. 

Her eyes – how they twinkled!
Her face how merry!
Her cheeks were like roses, her nose like a cherry!

Her droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow
And the hair on her head was as light as the snow!

She had a broad face and a little round belly
That shook when she cried like a bowl full of jelly.

She was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I cried when I saw her, in spite of myself.

A wink of her eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

She spoke not a word, but was a perfect little girl,
Drinking milk and taking in the world.

And laying her finger aside of her nose,
And giving a nod, home from the hospital she rode. 

He sprang to her SUV, to her team gave a whistle
And away they all flew like the dawn of a thistle.

But I heard her exclaim as she rode out of sight,
“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

Big Brother loved you right away and is a great big brother. He was so very interested in you at the hospital. And he was very careful not to touch your eyes – Ms. Kathie had taught him at daycare how important it was to be very gentle with you and not touch your eyes. Big Brother is the one who gave you the nickname Boo. He said that since I call him Buddy all the time, you needed a name that wasn’t your real name. So he chose Baby Boo. You both bonded right away when we brought you home. He couldn’t get enough of you. Apparently, all the excitement wore both of you out, so that not even Christmas Eve and presents could keep you guys awake!

Jason and Keira Sleep on Couch

This photo was actually published in Parents magazine :-)

From day 1, I knew that you were Noisy Grandma’s “hope come true” for me – you know “I hope you have a child JUST LIKE YOU!” Well, it certainly happened . . . you are strong-willed, smart, goofy, sweet, and cuddly. You even look exactly like me – you are definitely my little mini-me. Don’t believe me? Take a look at this . . .

Jodie and Keira Babies 

That’s you at 9 months and me at 7 months.

I can’t believe my little Boo is 5! 5 I say! My BABY is 5 years old! It’s just kind of weird. You’re such a wonderful little girl and I can’t wait to see you grow the next 5 years.

Keira 5 Years Old

Happy Birthday Boo!

I LOVE YOU!

Christmas Hoopla

I FINALLY got around to the Hoopla :-) However, I can’t get to Andrea’s blog to find the rules . . . but from what I remember, you blog 12 random things about Christmas, you MUST pass it on to a particular person, and you CAN NOT use the dreaded “m” word in describing the post – sooooo, let the HOOPLA commence!

  1. I really miss that my kids don’t have elementary Christmas concerts like I did back in the day. They go to public school, so there are no holiday programs at all – boo hoo. But, I do remember mine and I LOVED them. When you would get all dolled up in your Christmas dress, leave the house at promptly 6:40 p.m., head to school, line up in perfect order, and walk in in a single file line with the rest of the school (500 kids K-12, so not a ton of us!). Then you’d sit in your little square on the stage bleachers and wait patiently for your turn to sing. If you were really lucky, like my class, you’d have a hearing impaired person in your class and you’d have volunteered to spend your recesses for the month before the program learning the songs in sign language. Then you’d get to walk down front to the risers with the rest of the signers while the others stood on the stage. And when you were finished signing the songs with your best hearing impaired friend and the other volunteers, everyone would clap and say that they didn’t know which person was hearing impaired. Then of course we got to go see SANTA – fun fun fun!!!
  2. I LOVED the weeks before Christmas when we got to spend any spare time in class folding every-single-page of a Reader’s Digest. And then, we got to spray paint it a lovely silver, add some gold wings and a head, and take it home for display right in the center of the kitchen table. Ahhhhh – good times, good times.
  3. One of my favorite all-time memories is going to my Gma and Gpa’s house on Christmas Eve. ALL of my cousins would be there . . . my mother grew up in a family of 7 children and everyone would be there with their kids. When we were little, we would play upstairs, sliding down the forever long and narrow set of stairs on our tummies. Now that I have children, I realize how LOUD we must have been, and how patient our parents were not to tell us to “knock it off!” a gazillion times 😉 Then, at promptly 7:30, we’d hear sleigh bells and everyone would push and shove to get down to the kitchen first, because SANTA was there! Everyone got a gift – and we all had to sit on Santa’s lap to get it. Grandpa always stood behind Santa with the hugest grin on his face – I will always remember that. After Santa, each of the families had to sit on the “davenport” to get a family photo taken. What fun! We always had so much fun and I will always remember how warm and cozy it was in that kitchen with EVERYONE there happy as can be.
  4. I LOVE the smell of fresh cut Christmas trees. No fakes, no trees from lots . . . fresh cut trees from the tree farm or the forest . . . mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
  5. Is anything better than watching your little ones in footy pajamas and bed head opening their gift from Santa on Christmas morning?
  6. Christmas Cookies – who doesn’t like Christmas cookies? I remember playing at my Aunt Patty’s house all the time as a child. Two of her kids were the same as me and my brother. She would spend an entire summer baking cookies and bars for Christmas! Every now and then we’d get brave and sneak downstairs and sneak a cookie or bar out of the freezer. But if you EVER got caught, the world would end . . . that was probably the only time the 4 of us worked together 😉 Otherwise it was Pat and Scott against me and Chad. Did you know that a Christmas cookie tastes much better in July when it’s forbidden than it does in December when anyone can grab one off of the plate?
  7. Snow – let it snow let it snow let it snow! I really don’t understand how people who live in warm climates get in to the Christmas spirit. Growing up in the upper midwest, we had cold and snow . . . that meant Christmas. If it’s not white, it’s tough for me to get in the mood.
  8. Ham . . . and turkey, and mashed potatoes, and green bean casserole, and salad, and orange fluff, and gravy, and pie, and bars, and drinks, and rolls . . . yummy yummy yummy . . . how can you NOT like Christmas dinner!
  9. Did you all get a Christmas sweater like I did as a child? We all got a brand spankin’ new sweater to wear to Christmas at Grandma’s house. And I’m tellin’ ya, these were some stylish clothing items!
  10. I always got a “unique” gift from Gma and Gpa for Christmas. All of the uncles got the same thing. All of the aunts got the same thing. All of my boy cousins got the same thing (there are 5 of them older than I am and 1 two weeks younger than I am). Then there’s me . . . I was the first granddaughter, and I got a unique gift, meaning one that wasn’t like 15 others under the tree. All of my girl cousins are younger than I am, and they would all get the same gift as well. I guess we all know who was Gma’s favorite 😉
  11. We always got WAY more than we ever needed to for Christmas gifts. I really honestly have no idea how my parents did it. But we always had tons of gifts under the tree and we never went without. My mom loves giving people things as much as I do . . . so that had to have played a huge part in our Christmas celebrations.
  12. Family – I have such a wonderful family, immediate and extended. My mom has 6 siblings, my dad had 3 siblings, and my stepdad has 10 siblings. We were always around tons of family and had so much fun. As an adult, I’m still so blessed to be able to be around family during the holidays. What my favorite thing to do now is to take the kids shopping to buy gifts for kids that are so much less fortunate than we are. I want my kids to understand how lucky they are to have such a loving family surrounding them and how lucky they are to have a house to live in and food to eat. To me, nothing says Christmas like giving to those in need and spending time with family.

So there you have it – my obviously totally random Christmas Hoopla :-) I’m going to tag only one person – Ami at Cup Runneth Over. She’s got such a beautiful family :-)

Do I Need To Put A Cooler Between You Two?!

We’re here! We made it to our first Christmas Extravaganza destination. After an hour at the airport and two hours in the air, the kiddos had the pleasure of a 2 1/2 hour van ride to get to Gma and Gpa’s house. I must say, my kids are great travellers . . . maybe it’s because they each took their first 14 hour road trip around the ripe old age of 2 months old. So they’re used to travelling, and they really do great. Anyway, they did great on this travel day as well . . . a photo journal of their ride in the van 😉

 

Stop touching me! Orrrr . . .

 Stop Touching Me!

 

I’ll hit you in the head with my water bottle!

Hit With Bottle

 

Jason – get in the picture! And let me tickle you!

K Tickle J

 

Travel Buddies

Travel Buddies

 

We also got to see this on the way. Of course it lost some of
its beauty through the van window :-)

Sunset

Wordless Wednesday – The power beam holding the ship is coupled to the main reactor in seven locations.

Jason With Light Saber

Christmas Meme

Regina posted this Christmas Meme, and since I’m travelling today, figured I’d throw it out there for your reading pleasure :-)

  1. Wrapping paper of gift bags? Wrapping paper

  2. Real or artificial tree? Real – gotta love the smell of fresh pine cut from the forest!

  3. When do you put your Christmas tree up? As soon after Turkey Day as we can get up to the mountains to cut one down.

  4. When do you take the tree down? The first weekend after January 1st.

  5. Like egg nog? Not unless it is heavily spiked

  6. Do you have a nativity scene? Nope

  7. Favorite gift received as a child? Hmmmm . . . I always got great stuff – can’t choose just one favorite gift.

  8. Hardest person to buy for? My Dad

  9. Easiest person to buy for? Either of my children

  10. Worst Christmas gift? Don’t think I’ve had one. I love Christmas and it’s always fun and awesome!

  11. Mail or e‑mail a Christmas card? Snail Mail, definitely

  12. Favorite Christmas movie? A Christmas Story – hands down!

  13. Favorite food to eat at Christmas? Any of my mom’s cookis/cakes/bars/treats

  14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Nope

  15. Favorite lights? Candy striped rope lights

  16. Favorite Christmas song? Traditional – Winter Wonderland; Romantic – When It Snows (Jim Brickman); Fun – It Must Have Been Ol’ Santa Claus (Harry Connick, Jr.); Kid – Rudolph

  17. Travel during Christmas or stay home? Depends on the year. Last year everyone came to visit us. This year, we’re travelling. Either is fine with me as long as we get to see family!

  18. Can you name Santa’s reindeer? Happy, Dopey, Bashful, Grumpy, Doc . . . oh wait, those aren’t reindeer.

  19. Angel or Star on tree top? Neither – rotating santa in sleigh being pulled by reindeer.

  20. Least favorite thing about this time of year? Grumpy people at the stores trying to get their stuff done. Get happy people! It’s Christmas! This should NOT be work or stressful.

  21. Which one person do you really want to see blessed this Christmas and why? Can’t pick just one. Everyone I know deserves to be blessed!

Random Recipe – Sweet and Salty Toffee

Pam over at Random Thoughts is hosting Random Recipe Friday! Head on over there if you want to play.

I don’t have a picture of the toffee, but it’s easy and yummy :-)

Sweet and Salty Toffee

Ingredients:

  • 2 sleeves saltine crackers
  • 1 bag chocolate chips
  • 1 C. butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 C. sugar

Directions:

  • Preheat Oven to 350 degrees. 
  • Line jelly roll pan with foil. Lay saltine crackers in a single layer on the foil.
  • Cook 1C. sugar and 1C. butter in pan on the stove until blended and thick.
  • Pour butter and sugar mixture evenly over crackers.
  • Bake at 350 for 15 minutes until carmelized and bubbly. Remove pan from oven and set aside.
  • Melt chocolate chips in microwave. Pour over crackers. Spread if necessary.
  • Let cool completely.
  • Break in to pieces.

That’s it! I hope you enjoy. And remember to check out Random Thoughts to get some other wonderful Christmas recipes!

I Think She’s Excited

My 4 year old has her Holiday Program at school today. A couple weeks ago we bought her a cute little Christmas dress for the gazillion Christmas celebrations we’ll have with family in the next couple weeks. She’s such a girl and LOVES dresses. So naturally, she was crushed when I told her she couldn’t wear it to school on regular days. But Monday I told her she could wear it to school for her program – OMG you’d thought I told her she was going to have a baby sister (another thing she would LOVE to have). She’s been counting down the days ever since, and telling everyone she knows that she gets to wear her Christmas dress in “this many” days.

Well, today she came  bounding in to my room at 6:00 a.m. – fully dressed – headband and everything – and announced “I’m READY!”

Poor little thing got her balloon deflated when I informed her that while yes you do look beautiful, it is only 6:00 a.m. – not 7:00 a.m. so you need to go back to bed; you need a bath before school today; and you need to wear your jammies for breakfast so you don’t spill on your dress.

She was still all smiles, because by golly, TODAY she gets to wear her Christmas dress!

Wordless Wednesday – It Finally Snowed!

Frosty Tree Blue Sky

Infinite Wisdom

In the past 3 weeks, I’ve been witness/victim to numerous events that have greatly increased the amount of wisdom I hold in my little brain. Of course, I feel obligated to share this infinite wisdom with you all.

Did you know that a 7 year old can actually request to play Monopoly 150 times in any 21 day period? Did you know that if you’re really tired, a Monopoly game with a 7 year old can last until the next morning? Did you know that if you’re really sick of Monopoly, you can kick a 7 year old’s ass in approximately 13 minutes and 42 seconds? 

Did you know that a Jeep Grand Cherokee has a speed sensor? Yup, a speed sensor. And did you know that if this sensor were to say, stop working, your Jeep would also stop working? You see, this little sensor is what tells the Jeep when to shift. Without it, the Jeep has absolutely no idea how fast you are or are not going and will randomly shift, or not, just to drive you crazy.

Did you know that it takes 2 days and costs approximately $597.48 to replace a speed sensor?

Did you know that when you are the 2nd car in a line of 4 cars that are in a chain-reaction rear-ending accident, the damage done to your vehicle is around $2800? Did you know that the insurance company will make you fill out approximately 36 different forms to describe the accident before they will pay your chiropractor to fix your neck?

Did you know that even though the screen on your cell phone goes completely blank, said phone will still work?

Did you know that the cheapest phone you can buy when you walk in to a Verizon store costs $180? Unless, of course, you want to sign a 2 year contract – then the phone is free. And they don’t care that you’ve been a customer for the past 5 years and that you just renewed your contract 6 months ago and got that free phone which promptly broke so you started using your 4 year old phone because it still works. But they may be able to dig a refurbished phone out of the drawer and sell it to you for around $50 if you write the check directly to them. And hey, this refurbished phone might even come with the charger cord! What a deal!

Did you know that you can sneakily use the color printer at the office to print your letters from Santa when the perfect printer you own and love decides to break just when you need it most?

Did you know that you can make sugar cookie dough from scratch when King Soopers runs out of prepackaged sugar cookie dough the day that you volunteer to make 3 dozen cookies for your daughter’s winter festival?

Did you know that you just BARELY have to knock the canisters with the sugar and flour together to cause the flour canister to shatter and turn you in to a giant Pillsbury Dough Boy?

Did you know that it takes approximately 5 drops of regular Dawn dishwashing liquid to make your dishwasher suds out the top? Anyone seen the Brady Bunch? Ya – it was kinda like that – but the dishwasher instead of the washing machine.

Did you know that it takes a 7 year old approximately 30 seconds to recover from his amazement at the suds flowing out of the dishwasher and grab the phone to call Dad.

Did you know that even MAOMs can move at the speed of light when preventing son from calling Dad to tell him that Mom broke the dishwasher?

Did you know that you must run a dishwasher 3 times to rid said dishwasher of suds from regular Dawn dishwashing liquid?

Did you know that when a dishwasher is full of suds, the tops to Pampered Chef adjustable measuring spoons will float out of the silverware holder and land on the heating element? Did you know that the tops to Pampered Chef adjustable measuring spoons melt and warp when they land on a heating element in the dishwasher? Did you know that I no longer have Pampered Chef adjustable measuring spoons?

Did you know that simply pushing a plastic fork in to a soft taco from La Casita will cause the fork to snap in half?

Did you know that 7 year old boys with wonderful father’s as role models are very sensitive and will offer to help you scrub the kitchen floor because “You’ve had a rough day and should just go relax for a little while.”

“Wisdom is knowing what to do with what you know.” – J. Winter Smith