Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 Recap

Found this idea over at Rachel's and wanted to see how mine would turn out!

The first sentence from the first entry of each month for 2007:

01/01/07: So many times I say that and I wonder what I really mean. (talk about a way to set off the year, maybe The Secret really is onto something from all I've heard about it)

02/01/07: We woke up this morning to Shawners in Brando's sleeping spot with legs and arms spread out.

03/01/07: Austin has an event called first thursday (yes, with no capitals) every first Thursday of the month on South Congress aka SoCo where all the local artists and musicians get together and display their wares and talents.

04/01/07: My parents had a business trip in Houston last week so we drove out Wednesday evening to have dinner with them and play at the Downtown Aquarium.

05/01/07: Next year plan Justinbustin's birthday party at the end of May when five million events are not going on.

06/02/07: Sitting here after a full day of a leadership meeting this morning, a baby shower later in the morning until the early afternoon, taking flowers to a friend who's Dad died last week (I bawled when I found out, I can't imagine her pain right now) in the afternoon, a full three hours at the pool later in the afternoon, studying for an hour and a half in the evening and finally crashing at home with a twelve pack of beer and a bottle of wine - neither of which we've cracked open yet.

07/01/07: Holy crap!

08/06/07: And that's why it's called Six Flags, Shawners says.

09/03/07: Wow we've had an awesome weekend!

10/02/07: Over the past several weeks something really really wonderful has come out of all this misery and financial hardship.

11/09/07: So we just found out though we fly out Saturday, Brando can't come out until Tuesday so he will miss two days of Disneyland : ( .

12/04/07: Tonight the boys and I put up Christmas decorations all over the house.

Oh my gosh that was so much fun to go back and see all those posts! You should try it, and then link back to it in my comments so I can go read it : ) !

Friday, December 28, 2007

Oh the Deals, the Steals, the *Stars* in my Eyes!


After Christmas shopping is a shopper's heaven. At least MY kind of shopper's heaven. Last night while doodling around online I discovered Bath and Body Works is having a $3 Signature Body Cream sale. Yay! I went and stocked up on body lotion for others... and for me. Then I discovered their 75% off section and scored this year's birthday gifts for the year for all my girlies for under thirty-five TOTAL. I actually texted Brando, "Agh! Get me out of here. So much good stuff I normally could never buy!" I just looked online and they only have the items I bought listed as half off. I'm so excited!!! Wheeee!!!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Our Embarrassingly Large Amount of Credit Card Debt

Originally posted Monday, November 13, 2006.

Inspired by Courtney.

Credit card debt $20,000.

Okay due to popular demand (ha) I’m taking off the house and car debt. We still want to get rid of the car debt but credit card debt was the start of this. I’m putting a link to this in my sidebar because I don’t know how to just put it in there. The point of this is to help motivate us into getting rid of it! Well we’re working on it before this, but this might be a good accountability tool.

Update May 2008: Somehow between the time I posted this and the time we actually started paying off our debt, our debt grew to $43k. Since then we have sold our rental house in Marble Falls and paid off half that so we are back down to our $20k debt. Not sure if that's an accomplishment or not, but it certainly has helped our bottom line: we are down from $3000/month over our heads to only $350/month over our heads (oh and both those totals do include the car debt so that is a $10k difference).

Update August 2010: We have been blessed beyond belief and our debt is gone. I cannot wait to start saving at some point in the future. In the meantime, we are hoping to just resist the temptation to use our credit cards, with some pretty darn big motivation not to.

Where to Easily Find Fun New Blog Reads

There are so many times I sit down to read blogs when I have a free moment and it turns out none of my regular blog reads have the same free moment! I'm always searching for ways to find new blogs to read in these moments which give me the opportune time to invest my precious blog reading time into a potential new read. I thought I'd list the most recent ways I've found along with tried and true ways I've found in the past.

One of the most FUN and productive ways I found was Twenty Something Bloggers. I've been looking for a way to find other twenty year old bloggers. Others who are in our stage of life and soul searching the exact same way so many of us are. Twenty Something Bloggers is the PERFECT place to find such like-minded people who have their own unique and fascinating path of life!

Some of my favorite newfound reads from 20Somethings include: Lava Rocks / Il Mare: a girl who loves to travel - a girl after my own heart, Acquired Taste: super organized poster, loves wine and shoes, need I say anything more?, Gooseberried: hilarious, satirical, sarcastic, Simple and Loveable: a brainy computer tech girl who just finished up her degree after a few years of it being almost done, and The Verbal Toilet Bowl: in the middle of working on her medical degree.

Teamsugar is SO much fun, and always has tons of reading material on fashion, food, beautyfitness, and almost anything else girlie you can imagine. There's a way to blog in teamsugar, but I wish there was an option to put in your blog url in plain visible site. I've found a couple regular posters there that I enjoy reading, but not so much in the way of personal blogs. One fun new personal read I just picked up from there is Fashion Toast: this girl has some major style and is extremely capable of pulling together outfits from completely random and fun sources.

Yvestown is the perfect place to find all blogs artsy and crafty in a girlie kind of way. I've found numerous blogs that are incredibly pretty to read through her. Some of my favorites are: Anknel and Burblets: she crafts beautiful and gorgeous crafts of all kinds, Happy Loves Rosie and her hubby Fredsworld: her and her hubby have way too much fun decorating their house, the result being lots of pretty pictures to look at, and Little Doll Face: Little Doll Face and her boyfriend are absolutely adorable, as is everything she thinks of to post about.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

My Christmas Present to Myself

My skin has had the hell beat out of it this summer. I've been stressed out so I have been breaking out like mad, then I don't leave it alone. The combination has wreaked havoc on my skin.  On top of that I've had no money so my face has had absolutely no products used on it and (gasp!) body soap to wash with. With my Christmas money I decided to give myself a little present: a skincare routine. With help from S, I found some things from my favorite skincare line, Dr. Hauschka, including a cleansing creme, clarifying toner, facial steam bath, revitalizing mask, and eye creme, that will hopefully get my skin on the mend.

Now that I've gone from one drastic side of using nothing to another of using everything, I'm curious. What do you use for your face routine, or do you have one?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Oooh Christmas!


It's the most wonderful day of the year! So it has been today. Woke up this morning to the boys bringing in their stockings and opening them on our bed. Brando and I opened ours afterwards - mine was filled with underwear as it is every year (because I never buy underwear for myself and Brando picks out the cutest ones), only this time each pair had jewelry wrapped up in it! I made out with tons of fun new jewelry! Oh, yes, and Santa brought us each a ticket to see Water Horse this afternoon.
Our tree was so flooded with presents this year we didn't even bring out the batch from Brando and I for the boys until this morning and decided to pace the opening for the day. So after stockings and a few presents we had our french crepes with blackberry jam, fresh blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, powdered sugar and whipped creme for breakfast. Then opened a few more presents, got dressed to go and see Water Horse (which was FABULOUS, but INTENSE for a kids' movie - I walked away feeling a little stressed from all the intensity!). After the movie we came home and opened a few more presents and stuck the brown sugar ham in the oven. Which was a total fire hazard (don't try this at home) because we then changed clothes real quick to go take photos on top of the cliffs near the 360 bridge. We took both of our cars and loaded Brownie up in one of them so she could get in on the family photos.
After our photo shoot with a gorgeous view we were more than ready for Christmas dinner. We got home and the boys opened more gifts while we put the garnet yam souffle in the oven and put the french green beans in the steamer. Brando and I finally sat down to open some of our presents and watch the boys (finally) open the rest of their presents. I made out with a gorgeous nightie from Free People, cash, Ferrero Rocher's (my FAVORITE), Williams-Sonoma Peppermint Bark, two pairs of beautiful dangly earrings, and a gorgeous diamond necklace form Stephan's. Totally made out like a bandit this year! Brando got a gorgeous brand new Canon camera, a digital photo frame (you're right Courtney, TOTALLY fun gift! Unfortunately I wasn't the one who got it for him), a set of handblown shot glasses from me, a dress shirt, and a few ties.

Christmas dinner was absolutely delicious with sparkling apple cider and hawaiian sweet bread. Now I must run and help with the mass clean up of new toys and putting of little children to bed!

Merry Merry Christmas!

The lights are shining on the Christmas tree, the chocolate chip cookies are set out for Santa with a glass of milk and a note handwritten from Justinbustin that says "Merry Christmas Santa Claus From: J, S, R, B, & Brownie" and a snowman drawn by Shawners, the stockings are  hung on the column between our living room and dining room, the boys are sound asleep in their beds, hoping to wake up to see Santa, who is coming soon. Justinbustin says, "Wouldn't that be cool if we saw Santa?" Shawners replies, "That would be SO cool. We could sit on his lap!"

We had a wonderful evening eating Dutch Pancakes with wild blueberry preserves and drinking hot apple cider mixed with wine with my sister's family at her house before we exchanged Christmas gifts. We played the game where one person gets a present and then picks the next present to open. Shawners was so cute as he took over the role of facilitator. As soon as someone would open their gift he would say, "Pick another one!"

GFF's post reminded me that normally I get matching family pajamas for everyone, or at the very least pj's. This year it slipped by me. That's okay, the boys and Brando have newish pajamas and next year I will once again get pajamas. I continued the tradition of getting each of them an ornament to symbolize something they did that was important to them this year, though. This year their most memorable ornaments are for Justinbustin a Yo Ho Ho Mickey Mouse pirate ornament (because he loved the Pirates of the Carribbbean ride) from Disneyland and for Shawners a Stitch ornament that flips from Nice to Naughty (because he loved talking to Stitch about his birthday) from Disneyland as well.

Tomorrow I am making french crepes in the morning and traditional brown sugar ham, french green beans, and sweet potatoes for Christmas dinner. We'll be opening presents throughout the day to break it up and enjoy each one.

Wishing you all a wonderful, merry Christmas with your loved ones and all your favorite memories!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Fun Week

This week has been full of fun playdates and catching up on my social life! Monday Justinbustin had a friend over, Tuesday the kids and I went to IKEA with a friend of mine - we dropped them off in the kid care and had an hour of kid free shopping where I got some fun stuff, Wednesday Shawners had his first playdate ever (SO cute!), Thursday Shawner's classmate had a Spiderman/Star Wars party (not a birthday party, just a... party) where all the little kids dressed up as a Star Wars guy or Spiderman guy (Shawners went as Spiderman). His classmate's older sister asked the older siblings to help make sandwiches for the homeless, after the party we drove around to different people on street corners and handed out brown bag lunches. Then later in the day I met up with Kels at Target and we shopped for Christmas gifts, then went to Starbucks for coffee and to exchange Christmas gifts before she takes off for the holidays. Today I chilled with my girlfriend, Li, who I haven't seen in forEVER - she's a teacher and had her first day of Christmas break today before she took off to go visit family tonight. We had lunch together, shopped at the mall, ran errands, and exchanged Christmas gifts (Bath and Body Works Brown Sugar & Fig body spray, Tuberose Body Wash, Choxie chocolate, and Liplicious Pink Grapefruit lip plumper for me! so fun!). What a fun day with her and SO needed! This evening the boys and I, a friend of Justinbustin's, and a friend of mine went to the Austin Trail of Lights. SO much fun spinning under the huge lighted Christmas tree. I couldn't do it more than once or I felt sick. Until I figured out I could hold onto Shawner's hands and spin and we would sort of balance each other out. So then I conned my friend into holding hands with me and spinning and we ended up balancing each other out. I must've started a trend because we weren't the only ones spinning that way when we stopped. The trail of lights itself was eh. There was a lot of wooden figures and statues and not so much Christmas lights. But the kettle korn and Christmas tree and company made it so much fun! It was neat seeing all the different displays. I've loved the social part of this week so much, and on top of that the RELAXing part of this week! It almost feels like when my kids were little and we were home together all the time, only better. Much better.
Eeeee!! I just got an invitation to hang out tomorrow night with the same friend I went to the Trail of Lights with tonight.
Some of my sweet gifts from Li and her sis:

Friday, December 21, 2007


Last night SUCKED. Talked to Brando on the phone, he misunderstood me, hung up on me, and sent me a series of NASTY texts. He was working that night so I took the kids down to hang out with my sister and a friend. We put the kids in sleeping bags watching Underdog and left them with her hubby and took off to the Palmer Events center for a christmas event until midnight. Got back and the kids were still up, so I laid down with them for an hour before I realized there was no way I was going to get any sleep in that house. So I packed the kids up and came home at 2am. Fun times. I argued all the way home with Brando on the phone as he'd just got home from his second job. I ended up calling my sister just before I got home and telling her we were going to kill each other. She told me it didn't have to be all or nothing and that I didn't have to solve every problem today. That was nice to hear. I got home and ignored him, doing the things I would normally do if I was home alone. And he apologizes!! Well today is better. I'm off to hang out with one of my girlies before she takes off for Christmas vacation!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Depression Recipes

Well I can tell when my depression started this year by my reviews on Allrecipes. My usage of allrecipes is akin to a religion and I review everything religiously (mostly for my benefit so I can find the darn recipe later and remember how I made it). I've read before that when you're depressed you stop enjoying what you normally do. I always thought that was bull because sometimes I would feel SO depressed but still enjoy everything I normally do! Then this summer I completely lost the joy of cooking. Hated it, frankly. And decorating. And being a mom. Well some of that is starting to come back now that our financial situation is starting to right itself (okay, fine, we're righting it). I'm starting to enjoy cooking again (still working on the other stuff) and just entered my first allrecipe review since January. The longest I'd gone between reviews before that was 3 months at most, and only because I was probably too busy or enjoying my favorite magazine Bon Appetit. Which means I was depressed for at least six months before realizing it and two or three months after. Thank goodness I am on the road to recovery now. Once I realized it was actually a sickness and not ME, I realized there was things that could be done to come out of it - or go see a doctor if I needed to. Fortunately my sister is incredibly encouraging and supportive and between her and her mother-in-law supporting me and me telling Brando that I really need his support right now, I am healing. Doesn't mean I'm all better each day, but most days I am better.

Rough Day

Woke up this morning knowing I had to throw the house together before Shawners had a little friend over. Got to about half an hour before he was to arrive. Things were in order and I was just about to blow dry my hair. Enter Brownie sh*t all over my living room. The thing is I KNEW she had to go, I was just getting dressed to take her out. I'm not exaggerating when I say I cried for the next forty-five minutes while I cleaned it up. I hate dogs. Okay, I don't hate dogs, but I hate the stress they create.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Stockings are hung by the chimney with care

Or on shelf pegs in the boys room. Whatever. Santa's coming in the front door this year. According to Shawners he is!

We had a lazy day today. Woke up late and went out for lunch. Then drove through the new Hill Country Galleria and enjoyed the non-existent Christmas crowds due to it's out of town location. We stopped to check out the toy shoppe and watch Enchantment at the theatre. Out to dinner and back home where we unpacked presents shipped from Opa & Gma Terry and put them under the tree, which is now well flooded with presents.

(my) Kid in a toy store
Playing in the toy store (that was a good deal for that table)
The Hill Country Galleria (I wish I had gotten a picture of the front of my super cute outfit without the jacket!)
Our Christmas tree this year decorated (mostly) by the boys!! Didn't they do fabulous?!

Another fabulous Christmas light spot near our house: the Twas' the Night Before Christmas street. You can see the signs spread throughout that each hold a part of the poem to read.

8 days til' Christmas!

Friday, December 14, 2007


Why is it any time we decide to go do something it's sold out? Or why is it I always find out about something just before it happens? And why is it I feel like I "just" missed the deadline or just missed the point that I could do anything? Why is it that when I miss out on the 'group activities' I feel like I am creating an empty shell of memories for my children? Cub scouts has fallen by the wayside for Justinbustin this year and he can never recapture those memories. I am so disappointed in myself for not following through on that.

Thus was the rabbit trail leading to this... Sometimes I feel like I am single mothering it around here. Brando keeps telling me I don't "need" to work, I don't "need" to work (this is his response to my venting about frustration about not being able to keep the house together while doing my own school, working, and homeschooling the boys), but if I don't work he's gone more and more and more and more. What kind of life and what kind of memories is that for our boys, never mind me? It hurts so much every time he tells me I don't need to work, it feels like a slap across the face, because it feels like he's saying he doesn't want to be with us. I don't know if you've ever heard of the book the Five Love Languages. It describes how each of us has a different way of feeling loved and giving love. My way of feeling loved is quality time. When I don't get that my world crumbles. For someone to say they would rather be away from me all the time, rather than us both making the money while we're away from each other any way and the kids are in school, cuts me to the core. When I vent about not being able to keep the house together all I want to hear is an, "I understand." and maybe a helping hand the few seconds he's home when I'm in the middle of doing something any way, not a "You're being selfish and only thinking of yourself by working, after all you don't need to work."  I thought I found hope, but maybe hopelessness has captured me.

Can you tell I am home today?

Justinbustin has a 103 fever. He's been laying down all morning saying his stomach hurts, but I didn't realize he had a fever. He had one Wednesday and threw up all night, but Thursday he was fine and went to his Christmas party at school. So today when he said his stomach hurt I didn't imagine he could have a fever again. Turns out he does. Now he's dosed up with Motrin, pedialyte popsicles, and a lukewarm bath. Prayerfully that helps. Otherwise it's to the emergency room we go.

I hate printers

I hate printers with a passion. My old one was hated. But this new printer I REALLY hate. The damn thing has six, count 'em one-two-three-four-five-six, ink cartridges. I mean, c'mon, who REALLY has six freakin' ink cartridges. It's been out of commission because of guess-what lack of ink and the kids and I missed a school day,  our school day relies on being able to print out materials and the days worth of school. It doesn't want to print when it's out of one because God forbid we should use other ink until the one which is out gets replaced. The "health of the printer could be damaged" if that was the case or so the little screen tells me. So we got the black ink it wanted. Before the black it was yellow ink it wanted. Now it's out of another kind of ink. Light magenta this time. Fortunately it still has barely enough to keep printing for the moment.

On top of that now it has a paper jam. Whereby I ripped the paper out of the place you can lift up to replace the ink because silly me forgot you can also take the back out and rip the paper out that way. I miss my old less-hated printer. If this one worked even TWICE in a row without some low ink or otherwise mishap requiring me to press the "OK I know you're a moron printer, you're fixed, now PRINT" button on it every single time, it would actually be kind of nice. It's a copier, a fax machine, a scanner, AND it prints, after above said requirements.

How I Can Tell my Neighbors Got a New Dog

(besides the incessant barking) Their wooden-look blinds on their French doors are destroyed at the bottom. I almost laughed at the irony of getting a new dog in these apartments means having that particular part of your apartment destroyed, no matter what else is in your house. I'm sure there's a pulled up carpet corner or edge in there somewhere too. Welcome to dog-ownership in these apartments.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A connection?

Looking back through old pictures I noticed my house went from disaster area to beautiful retreat and my personal style followed the same pattern. I feel a mess as far as any sort of style goes lately - maybe it's because my house is so out of order right now? I WISH SO BAD I could kick the kids out into a backyard so they could STOP DESTROYING my house for two damn seconds. That would give me the motivation I need to get back into decorating and keeping my house. Every time I get one area done, another explodes. By the time I make the entire round the area I first started with has already exploded.

As I speak my child is banging his skateboard against the chest my brother handbuilt for us. "Go outside and PLAY child! ...On the sidewalk that has a bush and a fence two feet from it on one side and three story high apartments on the other side, with infrequent patches of grass covered in dog poop... Oh never mind, I feel sorry for you, just stay and play inside with your skateboard and dent my refrigerator and handbuilt chest and see if you can mark up the wood floors while you're at it. Then when you're bored with that pull out your Legos and cover the floor of your bedroom with them. While you're at it see if you can draw a bunch of sweet pictures that I adore and in the meantime cover my entire living room, kitchen island, and dining room with little pieces of cut up paper, pencils, and more paper. Then next time you want to play, just pile it on top of what you've already done, as it'll be two seconds any way from whatever you were just playing with before." See what I mean?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Huge weight lifted off my shoulders

My second math class is finished. Finisio. Done. Nada. Zip. No more. For this one, any way. I took my final Monday night and immediately felt a HUGE weight lifted off my shoulders. Maybe I will start to get some of my social life back in the next few weeks with the kids and I both on break from school. If you haven't noticed I haven't had much of a social life in the past four months. Thank God for out of town visitors (A and Laura : ), our trip to Disneyland, birthday parties (where I soak up the socialization with other moms), peers, and people who come over at 11pm on Friday nights and stay til' 3am. BUT I've made dinner plans for this Friday night with a good couple friend of ours, and even though Brando ended up having to work, we're still going to find some fun Christmas event to go to and make a night out of it. So excited!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Decorating the Christmas Tree

While watching Daddy up on the step stool lighting the top of the tree Shawners says, "You could be a Grandpa when you're up that high". Mommy asks, "Because Grandpa's are that tall?" Shawners confirmed this could be the case.

I'm so proud of myself tonight~! The boys decorated the Christmas tree without me getting irritated even once! Normally they help decorate the tree, but usually there will be a point when I don't WANT all the ornaments bunched into one spot, or I don't WANT each ornament at the very end of the branches, and I let it be known. Well tonight I determined I wouldn't get irritated. Brandon must've taken a clue too because he gave up his normal tradition of putting on the lights to Justinbustin, who did a beautiful job. Both the boys and I (and Brando a little - he helped with the ornaments that were his when he was a kid) decorated the tree, with the boys doing the majority. There was once or twice I started to let them know where that ornament would go perfect, and when they balked, I told myself - does it really matter where that specific ornament goes. And you know what? They did an absolutely beautiful job. Each ornament is perfectly spaced all over and inside the tree. The lights are dispersed throughout lighting up different ornaments just right. It's the most perfect tree we've ever had. And I haven't even put the normal color coordinated ornaments on it that I normally do. I just might skip that this year.

There is one thing I must point out... Shawners likes to put ornaments at the very bottom of the tree where they are no longer in the tree but are suspended in air beneath the tree. So we have a "Shawners line" at the bottom of our tree, that is absolutely precious and enchanting all at the same time.

PS My previous post about Christmas decorations was about around the house decorations. After I reread it I realized it sounded like it was about Christmas decorations on my tree!! It wasn't! This is about the tree... hehe

Saturday, December 08, 2007

thanks katie!

After reading Katie's post on hairdryers I went on a googling spree on the Sedu hairdryer. I ended up finding a website with tons of positive reviews for the Sedu and how it makes frizzy hair turn back into healthy, silky, and shiny hair and started to feel hope for my frizzed out, can't-recognize-my-natural-color-anymore 'cause it's so burnt and split ended hair. Now I know what's on my Christmas wish list.

Many of the reviewers for the Sedu seemed to use their Sedu on the medium setting, so when I went to blow dry my hair with my regular blowdryer today I used the medium setting as I once used to back when I was patient with my hair. I have been using the high heat setting for a good three months now, once I figured out how quickly it dried my hair. It didn't even occur to me how much it was damaging my hair in the meantime. I actually didn't even realize it was due to the hairdryer until today - I thought it was all the straightening I do! Fortunately after using even my regular hairdryer once on the medium setting, my hair is almost recognizable again as the shiny sleek, smooth, pretty color it once was. Yay! Yay for reviews for high end hairdryers that I will have someday and yay for discovering medium heat settings on not so high end hairdryers that at least don't burn my hair and split the ends.

This is why I never talk on the phone during the day

I have done nothing this morning but yap. Yesterday I skipped the boys' homeschool work to study for my math final coming up on Monday. Today I was going to try and make it up while Brando is working and so we don't have to do it next week. Instead I spent the last three hours on the phone. With a friend who really needed it, so I'm not sad for her sake, but dang if I can't get anything done while I am on the phone! That's not entirely true as I did paint my toenails and later made and serve lunch, but not any of the things I really needed to get done today. I.e. my explosion of a house so when my hubbers IS home this weekend we can actually enjoy it, and the homeschool work. Thanks to my sister's recommendation my voicemail now says, "If you're hearing this message I am either homeschooling my children or working for my sister's company. Please leave a message and I will call you on my lunch break." That was after hearing me vent that my other sister and mil take it personally when I don't answer the phone. That's helped during the week, but man I wish I had more time to talk with those who are in crisis mode right now. I just feel like every ounce is taken out of me already, I squeeze anymore out and I have nothing left for what (still) needs to be done.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Christmas Snowfall

Tonight the boys and I put up Christmas decorations all over the house. Let it Snow, Winter Wonderland, Silver and Gold, and Rudolph the red-nosed Reindeer playing in the background. The tiny Christmas tree decorated with Department 59 red, green, and gold glass balls with Monkey hooking the ornaments on the tree and Ducky hanging them with Mommy counting off the branches, "1, 2, 3, 4, 5" to decide where we might hang the next one. Christmas town square with the the tiny church, city hall, fire station, court house, and lighthouse, that the boys arranged solely on their own with only the elevation provided by Mommy. A picture of Monkey as a one year old sitting in Santa's lap with his red shirt, khaki pants, and tiny feet in red socks, framed in a wooden frame with bright red mittens hanging off hooks strung across the top. The frame Ducky created last year at Home Depot with Christmas stickers covering inch and a picture of Grandma and him in the left frame, and a picture of Oma and him in the right frame. All three of the Santa fairies: the velvet blue robe Santa fairy with shiny gold stars and gilded gold wings clutching a toy soldier for the next child he visits, the winter white Santa fairy with threaded gold ringing his shiny gold bell announcing Christmas to all, the not so Santa fairy straight and tall straight from the deep woods with his fur lined deep red coat and fresh Christmas pine needle wreath to hang on his winter cabin door. Nutcrackers lined up ready to crack nuts, or look fierce enough to make anyone believe they could. Advent calendars filled with chocolate surprises, each day with a different chocolate as delightful as snow on Christmas morning to a little one's eyes. While the boys are asleep, setting up a Christmas village in the boys' room: the tiny toy shop, the carousel gift shop, and the collectible stamp store to surprise them when they wake up in the morning. I love Christmas. My favorite part is the boys' delight that they get to help Mommy "make Christmas".

Music inspires me to blog.
Tonight it's The Music Box by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.


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