Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The one without a catchy title

Twas the week after Christmas and all through the house, 
there must be mouse creatures stirring 
cause there are crumbs everywhere.
Crumbs....and messes...and new toys....
and gift bags still full of loot... 
and stuff. 

Christmas was wonderful here...despite all the things I let go this year, like:
- the quest for the perfect gift for each and every person.  It really is the thought that counts, not the year long pursuit for the best gift ever.  I mean - how would I even top that every year?
- The ridiculous goal to have everything cleaned, prepped, assembled, set and ready to go by 9am Christmas eve morning so I could leisurely get ready the rest of the day.  Of course I was cleaning the bathroom 3 minutes before leaving for church - cause that's how I roll.  
- The inane idea that I would serve a Martha Stewart perfect meal on Christmas Day when I don't serve it any other day of the year!  Heck, at noon on Christmas day I decided to ditch peeling, boiling and mashing fresh potatoes  in favor of reheating the leftover scalloped potatoes from the night before.  They were homemade 24 hours earlier - why the heck couldn't I re-serve them?
As I said, Christmas was still wonderful.  No...it was better.  Because we focused on the people, and the joy and the fun. We experienced simplicity and ease on Christmas eve, first attending the 3:30 service at our church as we do each year, and then home to host Paulo's dad, brother and wife for a yummy ham supper and then watching Thomas tear into his presents from all of them.  It was all very pleasant (that word is so underutitlized. Then we put cookies our for santa - our first year. 


Christmas morning was loud, chaotic, fast, and fun.  And we have only ONE child people!  My folks came over early to watch Thomas open his gifts so there was just the 5 of us, but it was still a bevvy of activity .  Thomas had a blast ripping through all the paper and bags to get to his gifts - and ours too.  And the one gift Daddy and I hoped to be the biggest hit was - Rocket and the kids from Little Einsteins.  He loved it!
 (Little did Thomas know how cost effective and green his favorite gift was!  Brand new, Rocket and the gang cost $299.00!!  Yes you read that right!   But Paulo, with all his patience and determination to get a deal, scoured ebay to find one and for $50 we got not one but TWO!  The seller had twins (Oh my word, how did she afford two rockets?).  So we have rocket and a back-up!!)

Paulo is a very generous gift giver, typically going way overboard.  With the house this year we agreed to keep it small and for the first time ever, he stuck to the deal, for which I am grateful.  I love the gifts he gave me - fewer did not at all mean less.  I got some much desired items for the kitchen, which I'm saving until we are settled in the new house and my new fabulous, custom designed and built kitchen.

Much as I miss Christmas day with the whole extended family, I loved the small quiet day with just us five while watching Thomas develop full-on toy A.D.D.  (3 minutes with one toy, then moved on to the next for another 3 minutes, then on to the next).  We all spent the day in our pajamas and just relaxed.  They say Christmas is for kids and we enjoyed letting that be so.

And we've spent the past 3 days housebound as well from the big blizzard that hit the Northeast.  While we didn't get as much snow as we wanted, we got enough, and then lots of ice.  And the wind if just finally dying down after 48 straight hours of gusting.  We lost power for just 6 hours and enjoyed the coziness of a fire in the fireplace.
Now I'm trying to relish this week after Christmas. Even though I don't work outside the home, this week still feels like a vacation week to me.  Maybe it always will.  So I'm taking a vacation this week.  No trying to keep on top of the house being clean and organized (although I think my husband would appreciate some clean laundry).  No fussing about schedules and routines.  And no thinking about all the work I have to do to take down Christmas and get this house packed up.

I HATE the post-Christmas let down.  Actually, I usually avoid it by keeping Christmas up around here until the end of January.  Not this year though.  This year we have something huge and wonderful and amazing to look forward to - our new house!!  (which I have new pics to post soon!)

I hope you get a little taste of vacation this week and the post-Christmas blues don't hit too hard.  Happy New Year all!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Its FINALLY beginning to look, and feel, a lot like Christmas

I am a complete sap for all things Christmas. 
I've been listening to Christmas music for weeks now.  
My shopping has been done for a while. My cards were done and mailed in good time. 

Now, now...before you judge me, 
there is a method to my seeming madness.

Because I have an idea.

A crazy, wonderful idea. 

That the Christmas season should be enjoyed.

GASP!! NO!

YES!  Isn't that such a wonderful thought?

Not so original maybe, but certainly novel these days.

So in order to make that happen
because yes, I do have some control - 
I plan, I organize, I do things early.

So I now have time for the fun and traditions.

Like decorating the house and the tree. 

Baking.


Wrapping..
which I do while indulging in my favorite Christmas movies:

 
Even going to the mall.  
But my mall excursion is just for fun...and escalator rides.  
(because let's face it - that's what a 3yr old boy wants to do) 

And best of all, 
spending time visiting with family, friends, and loved ones. 

That's how we do Christmas here.  
Its such a special season, for so many reasons, 
including the early beginnings of  Paulo's and my relationship 12 years ago, 
and then his sweet, wonderful, surprise proposal 9 years ago.  
Those memories are just the cherry on top of it all.

And now with an active, curious boy, 
we'll make brand new precious memories.


So I wish you and your family a merry Christmas season.  
Give yourself a gift - an early gift.  
Do something, just ONE thing that you LOVE to do.  
Forget the money, the time, the logistics.  
Make it happen...FOR YOU.

Merry Merry.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Scrooge

I know you are all wondering where my multitude of christmas themed posts are ...being that I'm a Christmas crazy!  I promise I'll post soon.  We've been doing major work on our computer to get it to run right, thus I've not been able to upload my photos.  But soon! 

Hope you are having a merry merry season.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Like mother, like son

I loved this book as a child.


To be honest though, I had completely forgotten about it.

Until... I happened upon it at the library last week. 

And now Thomas loves it!  We read it at least 5x a day, and we haven't had a book in a while that warrants that many readings in a day.  It warms my heart that he is drawn to something from my own childhood.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

the TRUE test for A.D.D.

Here's how to determine if you are A.D.D.  Combine the following:

  • packing all your belongings in boxes for a move
  • taking down all the boxes of decorations from the attic to put up Christmas
  • deciding what is being donated and put all that in boxes
  • and, oh yea - doing all your daily routines to keep the house and life in order.

I literally cannot get from one simple task to the next without getting completely off track!

Sadly, we've determined we just cannot get the new house completed and moved into before Christmas. I've come to terms with the new time table.  Believe me, it took me a while to be okay with it.  There are positives though:

  • We can decorate now for one last Christmas season of memory-making moments in our old house.  
  • I can breath easier and actually enjoy the month of December.  
  • I can pack at a much more manageable pace (hence the breathing easier)
  • Finally, since January is usually such a let down and the house seems so empty after taking down all the holiday cheer, at least now we'll have something wonderful to look forward to!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Well color me happy!!!


The walls are painted!  And yes, I cried. 

THUMPER - Living/Dining/Hall 
 

CAVERN MOSS - Kitchen


SAILOR BOY - Sunroom


GOTHIC AMETHYST - Master Bedroom


EVENING HUSH - Thomas' room


WHIPPIT - Office/Guest Room

All the ceilings, closets, pantry, and basement stairwell 
are now crisp, clean white...as well as all the window and door trim!  

And just for another something pretty -
here's the new light at the front door.
PS - we got this on sale for $15.87!! Isn't it purdy? 

Progress people!

Friday, November 26, 2010

New traditions

Thanksgiving has been tough for me the past several years.  I've been holding onto the memories and traditions of all the thanksgivings growing up - my childhood home; my mom's cooking; aunts, uncles, cousins and friends all gathered together.

But my childhood home has been sold.

My parents are in Florida.

My cousins and I have our own homes and families now.

Thanksgiving just hasn't been the same.

Nor will it ever be.

Life moves on.   

And you cannot make new traditions, or give old ones new life if you don't open yourself up to let them in.

So this year I decided to really make a concerted effort to focus on new traditions and new memories.

For MY family. 

Yesterday morning, we put on our sweats, hats and gloves and went to the neighborhood park to play soccer - just the 3 of us.  Typically I power walk with my ipod on Thanksgiving morning - I truly enjoy that hour alone.  But I really wanted us to have family exercise disguised as an activity - and it was just plain fun!  For an hour, in the cold, we ran around the field, chased the ball, took shots on goals, and laughed and laughed and laughed!  Thomas LOVES to play soccer, and of course Paulo does too.  (I'm so glad that was the one sport I played and really liked since it seems it will be a big part of my life)

After our soccer game, we walked over to my father-in-law's house to say good morning, have a quick cup of coffee and visit.  Then we headed back home, and warmed up with coffee and pumpkin bread while watching the parade.  The Macy's day parade is a MUST for me - and thanks to DVR the parade was on our schedule - gotta love DVR.  (Next to the iPod I think its the BEST invention - my shows, when I want, and the ability to skip commercials.  But I digress.)

Thanksgiving dinner was at Paulo's brother and sister-in-laws house.  It was delicious meal and a very relaxing  afternoon with the combined families.

We capped the day off with the town bonfire - SO AWESOME!  The fire is lit at 7pm and lots of people in town come to hang out.  Its a great time to catch up with neighbors and friends, and Thomas got to run around with kids - he loves that  We were home in our jammies by 8:15pm - our bellies full and our bodies tired.  We all slept like babies last night.

Paulo and I both feel like we have finally created our own thanksgiving day...

one that is worthy of making an annual tradition. 
 
 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Why I blog


"Maybe the reason we all love stories is because 
we are - each one of us - 
in a story right now 
 John Eldridge

And that, in a nutshell, is why I blog. 

To tell MY story.  

OUR story
 


People who know me know I love to make scrapbooks.  I've been doing it since I was in high school.  My scrapbooks have evolved over the years - from cutting up photos with scissors and using a glue stick, to using fancy cutting tools and matching embellishments on my pages. 

I like think of my blog as another type of scrapbook.

A scrapbook of us...by us...for us.  

But I also love being part of something bigger.  Let's face it - we all want to be a part of something bigger.

And I love being part of this blogging community. 

I've connected with women from all over the world (yes, really).  When I say "connected" - I mean through their words, stories, and pictures.  I've cried with ANGIE, and I've laughed til I cried with COURTNEY.  I've had the priviledge of praying with ADRIENNE, and enjoyed treats and ideas from KENDRA.  I even have the joy of keeping up with treasured family and friends who I don't get see in person as often as I like, but do get to "see" online, like AMY and JILL.

I've learned from and more importantly, have been inspired by all these women and countless more, through their personal challenges and triumphs, and I am honored to be included in their journeys, if only in spirit.

Many sites advise to "define your bloggy purpose" - and there's a set of guidelines to help you do just that.  For now, I guess I'd have to say that my blog purpose is MY STORY - whatever chapter of life I happen to be on that day. Cooking, decorating, stressing, praying, learning, playing, glorifying God - that's what my scrapbooks are about, and that is what my blog is about. 

And I thank you readers, whoever you are, wherever you are.  Thank you for reading along in our life.  We are honored to have you share our story.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Are you ready for some football?






PHEW - that was a BIG game.  I need to rest now Mama. 






Tuesday, November 16, 2010

One step forward, two steps back

Aaaah, the house renovation.  I told you I wouldn't complain, but boy was I stupid!  I really had no idea how huge this would be.  Don't get me wrong - E.V.E.R.Y day there is so much progress, but every day there is also so much more to still get done in order to move in.  And my husband is working so tirelessly.  I'm so proud of him.  I will say that over and over and over again.

There's good news, bad news, good news.

GOOD NEWS - We're getting central air.

BAD NEWS - ...because we have to get a whole new heating system.  The boiler went ka-put. We knew it was old, but had really hoped we could get another year or two out of it.  Based on many factors, we've decided to put in a forced hot air system rather than replace the boiler. Thankfully, this all happened before all the major work was finished because the fitting and cutting for the new system will make quite a mess. 

GOOD NEWS - the plaster is just about all done!  We thought the development of the heating system issue would really set us back a week or so, but my brilliant husband figured out how we he could press on and so we did.  Finally - some good update pics to share.

 NEW CEILINGS AND LIGHTS


NEW PANTRY

KITCHEN - NEW CEILING AND SOFFET

PASS THROUGH WINDOW


And just for fun - some pics of Thomas enjoying the new yard.  We are also enjoying the new yard because it is FENCED IN!!  We feel so much safer with Thomas running around. (and before you email me - NO, he is never out in the yard alone, but you know how quickly a toddler can out-run you when he' making a break for it!)



Saturday, November 13, 2010

Oh no you didn't!

Oh yes we did!

We did it.

We have become

official

proud 

members

of

MINI-VAN NATION!!


Can you even stand it???  Paulo says he's never felt sexier!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Kitchen updates

A lot has been happening at the house.  Big, important stuff - plumbing, framing, electrical.  But not real post and picture worthy - well, unless you want to see all my new plugs and recessed lights. boring

I can tell you one exciting thing.  While trying to install a new plug in the kitchen, Paulo discovered that the wall he was working on was actually a false wall.  It's the wall behind the floor to ceiling cabinets on the right hand side of this picture here



Paulo tore down the false wall to find 1.5 more feet.  Soooo, after lots of measuring and discussing, we've decided it makes more sense to build a walk in pantry in this space instead of putting cabinets back in.  Yes you read that right -  WALK IN PANTRY!!!!  I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am - first tons of cabinets in the kitchen itself, and now a walk in pantry!!  You have to understand, our current home is SO lacking in storage.  Not just in the kitchen, but throughout the entire house.  When we looked at this house and discovered both a coat closet AND a linen closet, I was giddy.  To now be adding a full pantry, I'm over the moon!

We also decided to cut a "pass through" window from the dining room into the kitchen.  We did this to allow more light into the kitchen, but also to give a more open feel between the 2 rooms.  Now from the kitchen, through this window, I can see into the living and dining rooms and the den.  Here are the before and afters.

 BEFORE view from dining room
 BEFORE view from kitchen
 AFTER view from dining room - or actually "during"
AFTER view from kitchen (again - "during")

Plasterers are due in this weekend - I'll post more pics once they are done.  That should really show progress.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Whirlwind

The month of October could be considered a dry run for the holiday season in terms of shopping and celebrations.  We have 4 October birthdays in this family, and Halloween.  My parents also head south in October, so that's one more family dinner in the month. This year I cooked Thanksgiving dinner for us all.  And yes - that is when I started listening to Christmas music.  Our tradition has always been holiday music can start Thanksgiving night - and since it was our Thanksgiving, the carols began! (like I needed a reason - ha!) 

Of course, this year we have added the big renovation project that is now in full swing over at the new house.  At the moment, it looks like things are getting worse rather than better.  For example, here is the before pic of the kitchen.


 And here is the kitchen now. 



YIKES! 

All I can say is this house is going to exceed my wildest dreams when all is done.  We have decided to do a little more than originally planned.  I know - I'm the ONLY who didn't understand that ALWAYS happens when you do a reno - more, better, and custom!  But more on the house later.

For now, here is a smattering of random thoughts and pics from our whirlwind October:

Thomas birthday party was wonderful.  We had the family, which this year included our cousins Carrie and McKenzie - we were so excited to have them join us.  Thomas is in love with monster trucks, so we had a monster truck cake made for his special day.  In Thomas' very own words "it was ....AWESOME!"


Halloween was fun, despite a very sickly boy.  He has a raging cold, but did we keep him home?  Of course not.  There was candy out there for the getting!!  The carousel in town had a party, and then we went 'trick or treating' to just a few houses.  He got a kick out of everything.


I ask you - have you ever seen a cuter monkey?

In the midst of all this craziness, Paulo worked 67 hours last week - in just 5 days.  YES, I'm telling the honest truth here. And yes, that is actually legal - go figure.  He is the steward for his shop and it was contract negotiations last week.  UGH.  But - halleluiah - no strike, they got a contract, and they have jobs for the next 4 years.  Praise God!

AND...yes, the is more...AND, we have to buy a new car right now (don't ask - really).  So that has been going on for a few weeks and I think we finally have a deal. 

Phew - that was our whirlwind month, and we haven't even hit the holidays. 
Or finished the new house.
Or packed the old house.
Or moved. 

Gee - maybe I should be doing something else right now.  Bye!