Friday, December 30, 2011

2011: The Year in Review

A lot happened in 2011. It was the 10th anniversary of 9/11. And we finally found and killed Osama bin Laden. Natural disasters included a tornado in Joplin, MO and a tsunami in Japan. On a happier note, it was also a year for a royal wedding: Prince William and Kate Middleton. On a  more personal note, this year our babies turned 4 and 2, S mastered a balance bike, we took our first train ride, Baby R grew in leaps and bounds hitting all her milestones and then some - speaking in compound sentences already. DH enjoyed playing softball, season tickets to the T-Bones (our local minor league baseball team) and winning the fantasy football league. I started creative writing again, opened my Etsy shop: Jaborandi Grove, got cut to part-time at work and discovered Pinterest. That said, here's a look back at some of my favorite posts of the year:

Storage Wars at Home
The Proposal
Saturday Morning
The One Where Our 3-Year-Old Threw Up the Devil Horns
Non-Bloggers Just Don't Understand
Slow Down and Breathe (featured on Studio30 Plus)
Things I Like About Me
Lamentations of a Working Mother
Ten Years Ago Today, America Was Attacked
Morning, Baby R
Sleigh? Santa Drives a Minivan

Oh, and today is my little sister's birthday, so quick shout out to her!

And I'm not really following their directions, but I'm linking up with Four Plus An Angel & My Front Porch Swing. :)


And I'm also linking up with Natalie's Best of 2011.

Mommy of a Monster

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Blast From the Past:Peek-A-Boo

Source: via Alicia on Pinterest

This post was originally done in January of this year, and is being republished for your viewing pleasure.

It's funny how people in the same family remember the same events differently. Or in my case, how my sister, J, just doesn't remember them at all. It's really hard to enjoying reminiscing when 90% of our conversations go something like this:

M:  "Oh my gosh, J, you'll never guess who I ran into yesterday! So-and-so! Remember her? We both had a crush on you-know-who! Wasn't that hysterical? That time we took you to such-and-such a place was so much fun. We were so dorky! "

J: Pauses. "Um, no, I don't remember going there."

M: "Oh. Well, you remember her, though, right? The one with the really long blonde, curly hair and huge bangs?"

J: "That pretty much describes every one of the girls at school."

M: True. "Yeah, but so-and-so was tall and had that jean jacket?" Wait that doesn't really help. "She had a sister who was in cheerleading with you... what was her name...."

J: "You know I don't remember anything from our childhood."

J: Sigh. "I know."

So on Christmas Eve when we were filling the stockings and eating Santa's cookies, we started talking about one Christmas in particular that stuck with both of us. I was excited to relive those memories with her. It's rare for that kind of thing to happen, and I was shocked at the details she could conjure up. But I also understood why. That Christmas was different. It was the one year we peeked.

Our mom is from Manitoba, so we never took vacation per se; any traveling we did was to visit family. The trip to Mom's hometown is a 14-hour car ride, and we usually went in the summer to escape the sticky midwest heat, but occasionally made the trek twice a year and braved the bitter cold around Christmastime as well. Since dad was a mailman, he didn't get time off at Christmas, so when we started talking about this specific trip, he insisted we were mistaken. I imagine there were years we went before or after the holiday, but one year, my sister and I both agreed, we were definitely there on Christmas Eve.

We stayed at Grandma's house like we did with every visit until her stroke when I was in high school. The aunt and uncle who had cousins closest to our age were there, too. All nine of us kids slept in the basement. We, of course, stayed up as long as we could to try to catch Santa. I think I was 10 or so, and J would have been about 8, so we were of an age to be in on the secret that he wasn't real, but we played along knowing he wouldn't bring presents to those who thought he didn't exist. And we were sensitive to the presence of our younger cousins.

Inevitably, we all fell asleep. My sister remembered that one of our cousins set the alarm clock for 2 or 3am. Everyone got up and stealthily crept up the old stairs that had chips in the brown paint. We leaned against the worn railing and paneled walls to avoid the creaky spots. I remember it feeling like it took forever for all nine of us to get to the top. Whenever someone made a noise, we all froze and held our breath, afraid we'd get caught.

Finally, our anticipation having reached a fervor, we arrived at the kitchen and silently made our way across the linoleum floor, past the counter laden with Grandma's delicious baked goods and the curio containing tchotchkes. Our feet found the soft carpet of the living room that had yet to obtain updated furniture so it was like a time warp to the late '60's, early 70's. There were so many of us that the presents almost filled the room. Though it was dark, there was reflection from the snow to send enough moonlight through the big front window that we could see which presents belonged to each of us.

Oddly enough, though I'm the one with the better memory in general, I don't remember what presents we got that year. I think our cousins got Cabbage Patch kids, but maybe that was the year we got them. (That would have made it 1984 since '83 was the year of the craze, and our parents refused to succumb to the insanity.) Anyway, the specifics of that part of the night are lost on me. I had thought we just checked the stockings and big, unwrapped presents. J, though, distinctly remembers carefully unwrapping her gifts, a locket in particular.

We were all giddy with the adrenaline of doing something forbidden and the joy of discovering which of our wishes had come true.  Shushing each other and prodding everyone to finish re-wrapping gifts, we snuck back to the basement. It was tough to settle down and get back to sleep, but we eventually did.

Christmas morning we got up and joined our parents. I don't know how our cousins felt, but J and I were incredibly disappointed. It was such a let down to already know what we'd gotten. We all put on a fake smile and tried to be excited, but J remembers being unable to convince our parents that she was as thrilled with the locket as she should have been and giving us away. I don't think we were in trouble really, but even if we had been punished, it wouldn't have mattered. That disappointment was the best instrument in teaching us not to peek. We never did it again.

Merry Christmas, 2011!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Baby Bullets: 5th Edition

  • S told Auntie E that she wanted to play with her but she wasn't available then, and they would need to reschedule.
  • S was "reading" her Action Bible to Baby R.
  • The girls are making gifts for their aunts and uncles for Christmas, and when S asked why there were 8 of them, I told her who each one was for. And then she said, "And we need one for Judy." Judy was her daycare provider from two years ago who we keep in touch with. "And one for Miss Joy." Our most recent provider who we had to leave in September when my job situation got messy. Such a sweetheart!
  • S was talking about the pictures hanging up in her room and she said, "I certainly want to keep that one."
  • Baby R - how old are you? I four! No sissy is four. You're two. Oh! How old are you? I four!
  • We went to Lowe's for the Build and Grow clinic and were insane enough to take two friends of the girls with us. Yes that's 2 adults, 2 four-year-olds and 2 two-year olds. It actually went really well. Mostly because S did her entire project by herself! She read the picture directions, put all the pieces together correctly, hammered all the nails in. I kept telling her I'd help her, but she wanted to do it herself. And she did. I was really impressed.
  • I got Harry & David cocoas at my Bunko gift exchange, and S wanted to have some.  I told her maybe for a special occasion. A few days later she mentioned she could have some of the cocoa on our next trip to St. Louis to visit Aunt J and Uncle K. Perplexed, I said it might be easier to make it at home. She said, "But you said I could have it on a special vacation!"
  • Lately when Baby R has been "talking" on her phone, she's been calling Aunt D. But it's not just that she calls her, it's that she "has to" call her. It's very important.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Yep, Still Alive... Barely

So sorry for the absence. It started out with me just being a slacker. But it ended up that all of us girls got the stomach flu. :( Thankfully I had the worst of it, and luckily we are all better now before Christmas. I have some cute stories to share - Elf hiding places, S misunderstanding me because I used an unfamiliar word, etc. - so I hope to post a couple of times before Christmas, but due to being under the weather, I'm WAY behind on everything. So much to do, so little time. Will catch up soon!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Memories Captured

I find that the best photos of the girls occur when the set is the least favorable. As in this image of them sitting on the desk with messy cubbies behind them. If I were to have put them in front of a blank wall or a backdrop of some sort, I could have taken 100 shots and not one would have them both looking at the camera with their eyes open and smiling (though Baby R was at the end of hers here). But that's why it works well for the memories captured project because the words cover up a fair amount of the junk (and the Elf in the background which is why they were on the desk to begin with). Please link up with Galit and Alison and check out everyone's pics!

Dear Santa

S's list for Santa this year, verbatim:

- Another Memory game [we have 2 already] that's easy-peasy for Baby R

- Another elf because I love elves

- Books we don't have to take back to the library [which makes us sound nearly barren of books, yet we easily have over 100 between her bookshelf, Baby R's bookshelf and the shelf in the playroom]

- My own, OWN TV [you are your father's child]

- A TV for Baby R's room [so, sooo your father's child]

- A special library book light for Mommy that Mommy doesn't have to take back [I'm a bit perplexed by this one, as I have a book light that I've never had to return...]

Then you signed your name, and it was really well done. So you signed it again. Then I asked if you wanted to write your last name since you worked on that at school last week. So you did. But now when I look at it, all I can think of is Rosanne Rosanne-a-danna from SNL because of the repetition of your first name.

My sweet girl. You are so precious. You may have asked for your own TV in your room, but half the things on your list are things for others. I love you.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Storage Wars at Home

I heard the water turn off, then the shower door click open in the master bath upstairs.

"What did you do with the clothes you were folding last night?"he yelled.

"I put them away," I called back, mischievously, from the living room couch where I was playing with the girls.

"Where?" he groused.

"Somewhere I thought would be more convenient for me," I smiled.

I went to the kitchen cupboard to the right of the sink and picked up a pair of Fruit of the Looms that lay between the pint glasses. The pint glasses that until two weeks ago - a day or two before Thanksgiving, mind you - had been in the cupboard to the left of the sink. At that time, plates had been in this cupboard. Where they belonged. Where they made sense. Until he switched them because the plate cupboard was "too crowded."

On the stairs to our bedroom, I thought, "He thinks he can mess with me," and almost laughed.

He was in the closet putting on a shirt, and trying to look mad at me but failing. If the girls weren't wide awake downstairs, I might have attacked his half-naked body right there. Another time.

When I handed the underwear to him, he asked, "So where did you put them?"

"Oh, downstairs somewhere," I teased. "Think of them as your own little Elf on the Shelf."
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