Friday, December 14, 2007

Finding the Joy in the Season

This is the reason I do it all - the crazy round of shopping, baking, cleaning and chaos that signifies Christmas - to enjoy the children making memories and creating traditions that will define Christmas for them forever. When you are a child you don't see all the work that goes into making your home a wonderland of holiday sights, smells, and sounds. Now that I'm a mom, well, I just have to say kudos to MY mom for creating such a warm, inviting atmosphere surrounding Christmas. This weekend we took a few moments out of our busy schedule to bake in the kitchen. The kids helped me make BonBon cookies from my vintage cookbook. They all donned aprons (even Ian) and had their special duties (most important of which was licking the beater and spatulas, LOL). The cookies themselves were delicious, but the togetherness was infinitely more sweet.

Friday, November 30, 2007

One Step Closer to Christmas

The trees are finally up! It's always so exhausting to pull the 19 bins out of the garage and begin the arduous process of changing out the everyday stuff for all the Christmas stuff. It makes me think maybe we've got too much Christmas stuff, but, nah, that's not possible, right? :-) We've got two trees again this year, one for the living room and one for the music room. Now, if I could just get that angel straight on the one...

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Bobbi Tagged Me

Apparently I've been tagged, thanks Bobbi :-P Now I am supposed to share seven things about myself that most people don't know. Okay, here goes.

1. I can't stay awake on a car trip. My mom tells me I've always been this way. I don't know if it's the warm, close quarters or the movement but it lulls me to sleep everytime. I know James knows this about me, LOL. The first half of our frequent trips to Oregon are pretty quiet, because I'm all but guaranteed to be asleep.

2. My least favorite chore is mopping the floors. Ugh, hate it, 'nuff said.

3. I sing along with my iPod or in the car when I don't think anyone is listening. At least I hope most people don't know this, LOL. My rendition of Unbreak My Heart is not pretty, I'm sure.

4. I get bored during concerts, recitals, and operas. As a musician, I feel awful for admitting it, but sometimes I can't stop glancing at my watch during an especially long piece. I love Beethoven, but sitting through a symphony that I'm not playing in can get dull, I admit it.

5. I love to write formally (like papers for school or whatnot) and I've been told that I'm good at it, but it seriously stresses me out! I'm a procrastinator, so that combines with the pressure and expectations to make me pretty unbearable a week or so before a deadline. But, once it's all done and over with, I love to read my own writing - does that make me egomaniacal? Maybe...

6. My favorite color changes all the time. For a long time it was yellow, and then it was cobalt blue, and I've always had a soft spot for any shade of green. I think I should adopt Allegra's response to the "what's your favorite color" question - rainbow.

7. I'd rather read a book than watch tv. I like tv well enough, but nothing beats snuggling under the down comforter and reading a great book. Speaking of books - I have quite the library, but I hate loaning my books out because I can't stand when the page corners get bent or the cover gets scuffed. :-)

Okay, so anyone reading this that hasn't been tagged, you are now "it", so please share seven things about yourself that people don't know.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year :-)

For normal people, the first of December, snow, or holiday music might signify the beginning of the Christmas season, but for me, it's the completion of the Festival of Trees tree. This is my third year of decorating a tree for James' company to be auctioned off for charity at the Festival of Trees. I start tossing around ideas for themes and decorations in December, finalize my plans in summer, and then pick out the tree and start shopping. By the end of October, I'm usually in panic mode about it. In November you might hear me asking why I put myself through this torture every year, LOL. Decorating day this year was Sunday, November 18th. James and I, along with James' branch manager, Tom, spent approximately 5.5 hours putting up and decorating this year's tree. The theme was A Royal Christmas - I utilized luxe ornaments and lavish materials in shades of purple, silver, and gold. The tree topper was the piece de resistance and took quite the ingenuity to get it installed securely. Now that it's up and I've had three days to recover, it's time to start thinking about next year's tree. Any ideas?

First Place Goes to...

I can't believe I finally figured out how to download video - I'm so excited, LOL. I knew there was a reason we bought the fancy new video camera. This is a little late, but so exciting I had to share. On November 3rd, Hero competed in the Sonatina Festival, a piano competition in which students of the same level play the same sonatina for a judge and the judge picks the two top performers and they play for another panel of judges in a formal recital that evening. Hero was one of the two chosen and absolutely nailed her performance. After months of helping her practice "Sonatina A La Court", we were so proud of her poise and composure. She won first place, and was most excited about earning a trophy, LOL. We hope that this is the start of a long string of recitals by all the kids.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

You Might Be From Wisconsin If...

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If you consider it a sport to gather your food by drilling through 18 inches of ice and sitting there all day hoping that the food will swim by, you might live in Wisconsin.

If your local Dairy Queen and A&W are closed from November through March, you might live in Wisconsin.

If someone in a store offers you assistance, and they don't work there, you might live in Wisconsin.

If you may not have actually eaten it, but you have heard of Lutefisk, you might live in Wisconsin.

If you have worn shorts and a parka at the same time, you might live in Wisconsin.

If you have either a pet or a child named "Brett", you might live in Wisconsin.

If your town has an equal number of bars and churches, you might live in Wisconsin (for sure).

If you have had a lengthy telephone conversation with someone who dialed a wrong number, you might live in Wisconsin.

If you know how to say Oconomowoc, Waukesha , Menominee, Kaukauna, and Manitowoc, you might live in Wisconsin.

Your idea of a traffic jam is ten cars waiting to pass a tractor on the highway.

"Vacation" means going up north past Hwy 8 (Tomahawk) for the weekend.

You measure distance in hours.

You know several people who have hit deer more than once.

You often switch from "heat" to "A/C" in the same day and back again.

Your whole family wears Packer Green to church on Sunday.

You can drive 65 mph through 2 feet of snow during a raging blizzard, without flinching.

You see people wearing camouflage and/or blaze orange at social events - including weddings.

You install security lights on your house and garage and leave both unlocked.

You think of the major food groups as beer, fish, and venison.

You carry jumper cables in your car and your girlfriend knows how to use them.

There are 7 empty cars with their engines running in the parking lot at Mill's Fleet Farm at any given time.

You design your kid's Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit.

Driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow.

You refer to the Packers as "we."

You know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter and road construction.

You can identify a southern or eastern accent.

You have no problem pronouncing Lac Du Flambeau. :)

You consider Minneapolis exotic.

You know how to polka.

Your idea of creative landscaping is a statue of a deer next to your blue spruce.

You were unaware that there is a legal drinking age.

Down South to you means Illinois.

A brat is something you eat.

Your neighbor throws a party to celebrate his new pole barn.

You go out to fish fry every Friday.

Your Memorial Day picnic was moved indoors due to frost.

You have more miles on your snow blower than your car.

You find 0 degrees "a little chilly."

You actually understand these jokes, and you forward them to all your Wisconsin friends and family.

~Jeff Foxworthy on Wisconsin

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Seeing My Child in a New Way

Wow, well, I expected it to happen sometime, but not this soon. You know, that moment when you see your child as a unique person, fully functioning apart from you. Yesterday was Observation Day at the girls' ballet lessons, and I was blown away! Allegra was adorable and so little-girl cute, just as I expected, but Hero was so grown-up. She was polished, confident and in command of her self. She was doing things with ease that I didn't (and couldn't) teach her. Mostly I was so proud, but there was a tiny tinge of sadness there too. My firstborn is growing up!

Monday, November 12, 2007

James the Carpenter

Okay, it doesn't sound like a big deal, but I'm so happy. I have an eBay room in my garage, LOL! James and his dad walled off the third bay of our garage so I could store all my stuff in there free from cats and garage ickiness. I can't wait to get everything in there and organized. There's one thing you can't be with six people in a family, and that is disorganized. Piles of sorted clothing climbing four feet into the air, baskets full of supplies, and loads of laundry are no longer the bleak face of my office. And the kids can have their playroom back as well. Actually I don't think they were all that bothered by the chaos - they just used the baskets to secure their multidinous forts. But I feel refreshed and recharged at least, although James has sworn that if any serious remodeling needs to go on in our house, he will hire a professional :-)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


Halloween was stressful this year between managing three different class parties, finding an open Saturday to make the long trek to the pumpkin patch, carving six pumpkins, and getting everyone into their costumes (thank goodness the costumes had already been bought during our August Disney World trip). I was up on October 30th til 11pm making and frosting Halloween-themed sugar cookies (Dad's recipe, of course!). Hero was Jasmine, Allegra was Aurora (Sleeping Beauty), Ian was Captain Hook (and you better call him that when he's in costume, or he'll correct you, LOL), and Colin was Mickey Mouse.

The Start of It All

As I am a computer fanatic, I think its about time I start a blog. The inspiration for this blog came from my friend (thanks Bobbi!) and I thought it would be a great way to archive the daily life in our crazy household of six as well as share it with our friends and family, especially those who live far away (shout out to Wisconsin, LOL). Check in frequently for my random but always witty posts and pictures. Please share your comments and help me get this blog rocking!