Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving

I'd hate to start off with this picture, but here goes. See anything different? My hair -- it's black! I did ask the hair dresser to get my hair back to its original color (whatever that may be), but I was not thinking black. Maybe it wouldn't be so shocking if I hadn't been nearly blond for the past few years. Will anyone at work even recognize me? By the way, she (the hair dresser) also noted that my hair is more than 20% gray. Isn't that a bit much for someone who has only been around the sun a mere 33 times????????


Here is Lulu showing off her new manicure. That is, if she would just stop biting her nails (where have I heard THAT before) then she could have nice and pretty real nails that don't fall off.


Luvs2Boat snagging a few calamata olives while his sisters aren't looking!


Fairy Grandmother, spending some quality time with Bro.


Yes, it was a most wonderful Thanksgiving indeed! Oddly enough, I did not over stuff my stomach with fall harvest this year. Don't know why. The food was delicious!!!!! I made my famous corn casserole and Aunt Mitzi's cranberry salad. (recipes in separate post -- coming soon). It was wonderful to visit with everyone and catch up on the goings-ons!

After dinner we did get to go outside and watch...


this beautiful sunset.


Lulu showed off her one-handed cartwheel.

video

At last count, I think that we had some 20+ family members at Grammy's house for our festive turkey feast. Just the way I like it!

While we were there, Bro discovered Gramm's rocking chair.

And he had a great time visiting with cousin J again. (I know that this isn't the best picture but it is extremely difficult to get a good picture of these fast-moving tots)




Remember that we were going to create a 'thankful tree' on Thanksgiving? We cut out leaf shapes and asked everyone to write one note of thanks on each leaf and attach it to the branch. It was a big hit. I haven't quite decided on how to preserve the leaves from this year. Any ideas?


We ought to give thanks for all fortune: if it is “good,” because is it good, if “bad” because it works in us patience, humility, and the contempt of this world and the hope of our eternal country.~ C. S. Lewis

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Mail

Knock, knock, knock.

What do I see at my door?


More Pollys!!!!!

Oh, you are wondering about the pot on the doorstep? That pot is leftover from this summer. The thing in the pot is a scarecrow that is leftover from Halloween. Yes, I know, we need a new 'welcome' mat.


Speaking of mail... you'll get a kick out of this one. In my neighborhood, we do not have mailboxes at every house. We have mail 'stations' at the end of every block. Thus, we don't really check our mail every single day. I checked the mail over the break. I guess it had been awhile. Whoops. The mailman must love us!




Friday, November 28, 2008

Pinkalicious



Hey - It's me - I'm still here.

So much for NaBloPoMo.

Anywho... carrying on... where did I leave off?

Oh, yes, Lulu and her scout troop went to see Pinkalicious at our local children's theater. The girls also got a backstage tour to complete their theater badge. Boy did we have a blast and Lulu and I kept staring at each other throughout the whole show because the main character (Pinkalicious) soooooooo reminded me of Lulu.


You see, Lulu loves the color pink and her teachers have been known to introduce her as 'pinky pie.' Yes, that's right! You see, Lulu came home from school one day and said that Mr G. introduced her to the Kindergarteners and instructed them to call her 'Pinky Pie' because she is always wearing pink. Not only that but if there is a day that she is NOT wearing pink, they are to ask her if anything is wrong because... Lulu always wears pink. Until I heard this, I had not realized that Lulu in fact has loads of pink clothes and probably wears pink every single day!

The girls were instructed to wear pink to Pinkalicious. I heard one of Lulu's friends gasp as Lulu approached in pink from head to toe: pink shoes, pink pants, pink shirt, and even a pink coat. Ahhhhhh! Maybe she has a mild case of pink-ititis!


Here they are, getting autographs after the show. If you ever have a chance to see Pinkalicious then I suggest that you go. It was a cute, fabulous show that was absolutely pink-tacular!


Friday, November 21, 2008

Holiday Tradition -- Books

Because we are book lovers, we give Santa gives Lulu a new Christmas book every year. We really enjoy getting them out every winter and reading them throughout the holiday season. To make it a little more fun this year, we have decided to wrap each book. Every few days we are going to unwrap one of the books and read it aloud as we countdown to Christmas. Some of Lulu’s baby books no longer need a nightly reading, however, here are some of the books that she has in her current collection. A few of these were gifts from family members and some are not quite Christmas related, but all are very wonderful reads for the holiday season.

If you have not met Punchinello and his Wemmick friends then you are truly missing out on a great series. You are Special is our favorite Punchinello story and always makes Lulu feel very special indeed.





Every Christmas needs a reading of the Night Before Christmas. Mary Engelbreit's pictures are very fun and vibrant and we find something new in her pictures every year!


Needs no explanation...


I think that The Christmas Story was one of Lulu's first Christmas books. It is also the template for the family Nativity play each winter.




Beatrice's Goat is an account of a young girl's dream of attending school in her small Ugandan village which is fulfilled after her family is given an income-producing goat. Based on a true story about the work of Project Heifer. This book was given to Lulu along with a note saying that the giver had made a donation of a goat to the Heifer Project in Lulu's name. It was a precious gift that Lulu has not forgotten.


Thomas Kincade's Away in a Manger is sweet and solemn and a great bedtime read.




I think that Lulu and I would both agree that Mortimer's Christmas Manger might be our favorite Christmas book. Mortimer is adorable and his hunt for a place to rest his head is endearing. You will definitely fall in love with Mortimer after you read this book.


This post was greatly inspired by crafts with S and E who got her idea from savoring the details.




Thursday, November 20, 2008

E-bay

Dear e-bay,

Recently I “won” an item on your website. Is that kinda like going to the Gap and walking up the register, paying for an item, and then yelling out, “I WON” for all to hear? Did I really “win” or did I just pay more for the item than any other sucker out there? Probably the latter.

Either way, I am now the proud owner of these two “vintage” Polly items:



Do you shop on e-bay? I’m sure that e-bay would have made life much easier during the Cabbage Patch craze of my childhood! Sorry mom!

Today I am thankful for the internet for several very valid reasons:

1. I can shop for my daughter’s coveted Christmas gift while nursing my son – talk about killing two birds with one stone.

2. I can assess childhood illnesses and their remedies with the click of a button, saving me lots of gray hairs and several trips to the ER in the middle of the night.

3. I have reconnected with the dozens of college and high school friends with whom I had lost touch through the years.

4. I have saved lots of money on repair bills because the internet: taught me how to unclog a main house pipe/drain thingy, allowed me to troubleshoot and fix the furnace issue (no heat = very unhappy napmom), and taught me what was causing my washer to overflow. OK – I use the word “me” lightly here – really Dear Husband did all the work.

5. Now my family doesn’t have to eat spaghetti and cold cereal 365 days a year. We can enjoy this, and this, and this.

Being able to connect with strangers, friends, and family at a moment’s notice is very, very cool!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Progress

I have not fallen off the face of the earth. I have been desperately missing all of my virtual friends. Here is what we have been up to.

Bro was finally given some antibiotics for his sinus infection and then broke out into a rash all over his whole body – cute, very cute indeed. Thus, we learned that he is allergic to penicillin and he was given a new antibiotic.

I’ve been buying more Polly items on e-bay. It looks like it will be a very Polly Christmas.

Unfortunately/fortunately (depends on how you look at it) Girl Scout cookie season was extended for another month. We can now sell them UNTIL THE END OF DECEMBER! Lulu was shaking with glee when she heard this news. I doubt that she will sell the 1,000 boxes that she wants to sell, nonetheless, we are much closer to the 500 that she needs to sell to get an invite to the ice-cream social. Personally, I’d rather host an ice-cream party for her whole class than get out there and sell anymore cookies, much less in the dead of winter.

We are on the heels of a trip to Disney where Lulu will cheer in the Disney parade. Yeah! And, speaking of cheering, the football players made it to the playoffs so her squad will be cheering them on at real college football stadium next weekend.

It really starts to feel like Christmas when the Governor announces his holiday open house dates. Here’s a picture from last year’s gala (okay, well not really a gala, but gala sounds better than bunch of people standing/freezing in line waiting for free cider and cookies so we’ll stick with gala). That is the Lieutenant Governor on my left and the Governor on my right. I have a picture around here somewhere with just the Governor, thanks to some editing by Grand Matriarch, but I can’t find it right now. I’ll post it when I find it because she did a great job of recreating the tree to make it look like there were two in the pic and not three. Speaking of three, I was very pregnant at the 2007 gala and that is little Bro right there in my belly! Hi Bro!


Oh – and I updated my profile pic too!

Is anyone else as surprised as I am to realize that Thanksgiving is next week.? If you don't know what you are going to bring to the family get-together, might I suggest Mim's roast pumpkin and couscous salad. It looks mighty delicious! I'm not quite sure what capsicum is but I am sure that any fall harvest vegetables will suffice.

Ta Ta For Now!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sick Baby

To be honest, we are pretty much miserable right now because Bro is still sick. As you know, he has been congested since he got his flu shot and he has not been the same baby since. He started running a fever a few days ago. Last night Tylenol was not bringing him any relief and, after a 3 am run to the drug store, Motrin was not helping either. He sat in my arms and s-c-r-e-a-m-e-d for hours last night.

We went to see his pediatrician this morning, of course. She was surprised to see that his ears were NOT infected. She said that at this point it is safe to assume that he probably has a sinus infection. Thus we were prescribed a magic potion some antibiotics. He did take two naps today (which means that I got two naps today), thank goodness, and is sleeping now (which means that I will be off to bed soon).


Before I go I need to say a couple of things...


1. Last night I was thankful for ear thermometers -- a must have for every mom. (His temp was 101.8 if you are wondering.)



2. Today I am thankful for antibiotics.


3. These sticky thermometers are not anything to write home about; the sticker did not stick very well and the temperature was very inaccurate (even factoring in that it was taken under the arm).



Here's hoping for a better day tomorrow.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Commissioned Watercolor Portrait GIVEAWAY!!!!

Commissioned Watercolor Portrait GIVEAWAY!!!!

E-bay and a Sick Baby

Two other things happened/are happening in my life.

First, Lulu bid on her first e-bay item. You see, she loves the 'vintage' Polly Pocket dolls. Thanks to one very special aunt (who snagged a bunch of sets when Lulu was young) she has several sets now. Unfortunately, you can't find the sets in the stores anymore. Lulu has been asking for more sets for years. She has her sets situated in her room, like a village. And, she plays with the every single day -- without fail. We bid on and won this house complete with furniture...


as well as these people to go with it.

It was quite fun to have her sit on my lap as we bid for the item. There were only 9 minutes left to bid on the item when we found it. You could feel the tension in the air. "Oh mommy, oh mommy," she was saying as she was shaking, "I want that sooooooo bad." "Ok, but we can't bid until the last minute," was my calming reply. Once we got down to like 45 seconds then we bid on the item and won. She was so excited! What am I teaching my child?

I told her that it is a Christmas present and that she can't play with the set until Christmas. She told me that I'd better hide the set very well because if she finds it then she is going to play with it. Unlike the Guitar Hero, we are actually going to keep this item hidden until Christmas.

Second, Bro is very sick and officially has his first fever. He got his flu shot at his last doctor's visit, took a nap, woke up sick, and has been sick ever since. It's a light fever, but it is a fever nonetheless. Here he is enjoying his new table (pre-fever).


Here is a video of Bro checking out his table for the first time.

video

Quick update

Are you on facebook? Do you love the facebook status updates? Here is a glimpse of my last few hectic days – facebook style.

Napmom bought a table toy for Bro at the used bit store for $8.50 instead of the regular retail price of $39.97. And, it came WITH the batteries.

Napmom has Bro’s cold.

Napmom lost her ID on the way to work today and found it again.

Napmom can’t decide what to do about grad school: Communications or Library Sciences?

Napmom made two different versions of peach cobbler and both turned out more like peach soup than peach cobbler.

Napmom is frustrated that Dear Husband doesn’t share the computer in the evenings – the nerve of him. ;-)

Napmom is looking forward to dinner with Fairy Grandmother and Luvs2Boat.

Nap will be back soon!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I lost

Remember that it is National Blog Post month? Remember that I was going to blog everyday this month? I didn't. I didn't because I didn't blog yesterday. I didn't blog yesterday because there was not time to blog. You see, we are in the height of Girl Scout cookie season (as you ALL know) and cheer season. Thus, I started my day of like this:

Yes, this was my exact view from my seat... the view of the Girl Scout cookies that were overlooking the grocery store parking lot. And, here is little Lulu making her "booth" just perfect.
Several hours later we were off to do this:
Then she begged me to get out and do this again:


Cookies from sun up to sun down with a little bit of cheer thrown in the middle.
As if to make matters worse, the National Blog Post website sent a 'survey' to my e-mail address. They want to know if I am still blogging or if I lost the battle already. What do I tell them? Oh the agony of defeat!

The good news is that we Lulu sold more than 400 boxes of cookies to date. That is a far cry from her goal of 1,000, but it is enough to get the Girl Scout tote prize that she has been hoping for.

Gotta run - Bro is calling for me!





Friday, November 7, 2008

Dear driver,

To the driver who was stopped in the middle of the road last night,

Yes, I realized (just in the nick of time) that you had stopped and that you had stopped (in the middle of the road) so that another driver could pass in front of you so that he could get to the library. However, this was a bad move on your part for several reasons: (1) this is a very busy section of road with people coming from the daycare center (at the church), people bypassing the major road by taking this shortcut, people getting home after work, people coming in and out of the community on the other side of the library, and so on, (2) it was dark outside and there were lights flashing everywhere, (3) I had one million people behind me who had just come through a stop light and were ALSO NOT expecting YOU to be stopped in the middle of the road – no turn signal – nothing – just plain stopped in the middle of the road. Did I mention that it had been drizzling that day and the roads, albeit mostly dry, were still probably slick?

Thank you, thank you for NOT being an aggressive driver and for caring about the person who was trying to access the library. However, in the future, you needn’t worry about the library customer. That person can wait until there is a legitimate break in traffic or, better yet, go to the traffic light (located right next to the library) and wait for the light to signal a clear and very safe path for him to use to get to the library.

Sincerely,
napmom

p.s. I nearly rear-ended you, which would have been my fault, technically, but you should not have been stopped in the middle of THAT particular road, at THAT particular time of day, under THOSE particular circumstances. Use common sense.

p.p.s. For those of you who were running on the side of the road (in the dark) last night, please put on some reflective gear (or run on the sidewalk - there's a concept). You may be able to see me in my green bean car but I can’t see you and you scare the bee-jeebus out of me when you run on the road like that!!

If you who are wondering what I wrote down on my ‘thank you leaf’ last night, it read, “napmom is thankful for car brakes.”

Thursday, November 6, 2008

What are you thankful for?



Lulu and I saw this Thankful Tree in a recent Family Fun magazine. We decided that we will bring a similar branch tree and accompanying cards leaves to our family Thanksgiving this year as an activity.

Napmom (that’s me) decided to take it a step further and to turn the month of November into a thankful month for our family. Last night Lulu and I used these leaves as templates to trace and cut leaves from red/green/brown paper. Then, during dinner each of us wrote down one thing that we were thankful for on a leaf. It has been raining so we have not had a chance to find the perfect branch/tree. When we do, we will hang our leaves of thanks on our tree.

What are you thankful for this year? Does you family have any festive Thanksgiving traditions that you look forward to each year? Please share - so that I don't feel like I'm talking to myself!

39 Clues book review

Scholastic publishing company has come out with a new book series for the tween and pre-tween (if there really is such a thing) group. The premise of the fantasy, adventure book series is that there are 39 clues hidden around the world. The clues reveal a powerful secret of the Cahill family and the family member who is able to follow the clues to the end will “be the richest and most powerful person in history” even more power than anyone in the Cahill family whose members include: Mozart, Benjamin Franklin, and Steven Spielberg (just to name a few).

The first book of the series, Maze of Bones, was front-and-center at all of the recent book fairs and has caused quite the stir amongst the local fifth graders for sure. Since Lulu has been in the midst of finishing The Secret Order of the Gumm Street Girls she has not yet started 39 Clues: Maze of Bones. I couldn’t resist finding what the buzz was all about so I did read and finish Maze of Bones on my own.

My initial take on the book was very good. It was a quick read with a fun, adventurous plot. In the book, there are many members of the Cahill family searching for the 39 clues, including Amy and Dan the favored grandchildren of Grace Cahill, whose death prompted the release of the 39 clues. I like that there are historical (following clues about Benjamin Franklin) and cultural lessons (trip to Paris, France) in the book without feeling like you are reading an encyclopedia. The adventure aspect feels like an Indiana Jones movie plot, which young readers should enjoy.

My only disappointment was that I dedicated the time and energy to read the first book and the adventure was very exciting, but at the end all I came away with was clue #2. Of course the author needs a reason for me to buy book #2, but I would have liked a bit more of a prize than just another clue.

Interestingly, the book series corresponds with a real-life treasure hunt with clues throughout the book, an online experience, and a within group of trading cards. We have started the web quest and we have a group of trading cards, but have not opened them yet.

Overall a very good book. Lulu raced through Gumm Street Girls this week so that she can start 39 Clues tonight. Gumm Street Girls was probably her most favorite book ever. We’ll see if 39 Clues was worth the wait.

You can check out the official 39 Clues website here.
You can buy your copy on Amazon here or browse reader reviews here.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

blogger election result posts

As I was falling asleep last night, I wondered what the world would be like when I woke up today. I was also curious about the bloggers' perspectives on the election results, whichever they may be. Until now, the bloggers, whose posts I read, have been relatively silent about their political choice for President. I was very surprised to wake up this morning and find these posts waiting in my reader inbox.

Some responses were long, some poetic, and some were wordless, nonetheless, I got a kick out of sifting through them all. Truly, they were silent... and then there was this:

Vintage Thirty
matt, liz and madeline
Pink of Perfection
ms. mindless or here for her fashion review for the evening
coco & kelley
bad mom
kottke.org could hardly hold in the excitement
I thought that Nautical by Nature was going to be nonpartisan, until I scrolled down a bit farther.
Whiskey in My Sippy Cup's wordless Wednesday post
Derfward Manor was wordless as well

Sincerely,
Thankful for the freedom to vote

Rock the Vote

Thanks to everyone who rocked the vote yesterday.

To be fair to everyone in the house, we started election day with some bipartisan (see the red and blue) sticky buns.



Bro finished off the night by falling asleep in this onesie (a baby shower gift from my coworkers).




Today I am grateful for the freedom to vote.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

What to do with a leftover halloween costume?

You might not be able to tell, but it took the love and dedication of 2 (almost 3) people to complete this iPod costume. Now that the season is over, I cannot bear to throw it away, burn it, or store it for my grandkids. One of my neighbors told me that she had a homemade costume for her son that she sold on e-bay, the following halloween, for $71. What a great idea!

For me, I will be storing this box/iPod until next September when I will advertise it on e-bay to one lucky bidder. Lots of love went into making this costume special. I hope that its new owner loves it as much as we have.

For Sale: One iPod costume. The iPod is made from a cardboard box that has been hot-glued together. The color comes from strong paper that is pink/purple in color. The paper has been attached via hot glue or permanent, scotch, double-sided tape.

Costume front includes: Removable iPod screen that can be (carefully) personalized to your own tastes. Turn dial made of black paper.

Costume back: Is gray in color and includes a slightly contrasting gray apple logo and 'iPod' text.

Accessories: Earphones made of rope and styrofoam have been attached.

Costume interior: This iPod costume includes pockets ONLY on the inside where small speakers can be placed. When attached to an actual iPod, the speakers will play music, giving the appearance that this iPod can play music as well. This was the best part of the costume. Please note: the costume includes the pockets ONLY. You need to purchase speakers on your own.

The costume was custom built for a 5th grade girl, to her exact specifications. It has normal wear and tear, but not much at all. She was the hit of her school, her after-school center, and the whole neighborhood. I hope that you will enjoy this as much as we have!

I was reminded of childhood days playing Super Mario when I saw these matching Toads at Lulu's school. I hope that these costumes make their way to a new home next year as well!


For those of you who were wondering how to get all of those feathers on a baby chick costume...

now you know! It wasn't easy. Imagine feathers everywhere!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Compromise


Election day is coming. Dear husband and I are not of the same political party. This poster just about sums up the current situation in my house.

You can view this poster and other demotivators at Despair, Inc. Take a break and go there now. You are bound to find something that you need at work, at home, or at school. At the very least, the demotivators make for great conversation.


Sunday, November 2, 2008

National Blog Post Month

(thanks to Mim for the pic)


Unbeknownst to me, November is National Blog Post Month. The goal is for bloggers to host their own personal blog post marathons by posting at least one blog everyday. Looking back at my previous post history, I average about one post a day, although some days have more than one post. If you've been blogging, go over to official National Blog Post Month website and register your blog. Also, let me know if you are participating and I will be sure to check your blog this month and leave words of encouragement.

For now, I am off to make a meal for our neighbors who had their baby. This meal is WAY overdue, but DH was sick, and then Bro was sick, and then I was sick and so now the time has come. The meal is Paula Dean's chicken divan. It's delicious!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

iPod and a Big Bird relative

Happy day after Halloween! Hope you are all recovering from your sugar highs! (Cute cookies provided by a friend's mom.)

The day started out with a visit to Lulu’s school for her class party. Her iPod was the hit of the party. She could not wear her costume while they ate lunch, like the rest of her classmates did. However, she did get to sit it up on the ledge and play her music for all to enjoy!

Have you ever seen such a cute iPod?



Later we were joined by Jim Cramer, I mean Daddy Warbucks.

Seriously - do the two look exactly alike or what? (See actual Jim Cramer pic below.)

And then Grandmommy stopped by. Look at the expression on her face when she saw Daddy Warbucks’ new look.


I absolutely had to get a picture of this character eating… pizza. I just thought that it was so funny.


Bro got a chance to play in the Fall leaves.


We had a visit by Big Bird and he left this gift at the front door. Don't ask me why I tortured my son this way. I couldn't resist.


I do wish that I had a picture of him smiling, but would you smile if you were wearing this?


All in all, it was a fabulous day. I was most excited that Lulu’s costume was so popular. She was the only iPod in her school and in our neighborhood and all of the neighbors loved her costume. Best of all, it really played music. Worst of all, I had to listen to Ashely Tisdale’s “Head Strong” song 300 times yesterday.

We enjoyed a potluck dinner on the front driveway, with our neighbors, and topped of the night with the friends/neighbors just hanging out, drinking, and sharing stories around our fire pit. A few drinks, laughs, and fireworks later, everyone went to bed.

I can’t leave today without saying a few special thank yous. Thanks to Fairy Grandmother and Dear Husband for the hours/weeks of work that you spent making Lulu’s costume. She loved it and her special costume made her feel great!

Can’t wait to do it again next year!


Did you leave your candy out for the Halloween Fairy?


Coming soon! Don't throw away those homemade costumes. I'll share a great idea on what to do with them for next year.