Friday, December 30, 2011

Elements

Wood

Greenery

Babbling Brook

Bursts of Color. And Detail.

We both needed it.  A little adventure in the woods.  


It was a special time of just Burl and me being outside.  Burl, playing with sticks, climbing over logs.  Me, taking lots of pictures.  Enjoying the rawness of outside and of toddler curiosity.


I scored major points when I taught Burl to throw rocks into the water.  The bigger, the better.


An hour was all we needed.  Then, we went back home and the sky was showing off.


That landscape is the profile of my favorite city.  Chattanooga, you've got good elements.  
Burl and I enjoyed them.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Dress-Up

John and I played dress-up with our little doll today.  




Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Random Street Guy, A Song, And Fern

Today is my eighth anniversary with John.  We've had some good talks lately about our marriage.  I heard or read somewhere that there are a lot of good marriages out there, but great marriages are rare.  So, in these talks, we've taken the temperature of our marriage.  We talk about what is good and what we would like to change.  I'm sure it would be cool if I had the courage to share all of it, but I'm not.  I want to keep it for John and me right now.


There is one thing that I'll share.  It's a personal goal for myself.  It all started with a conversation I was having with John and some friends.  We were joking, but it got me thinking.  I was telling the story about some Starbucks thinking I was in high school, then a street guy telling me I fill out my jeans nicely.  I took both as compliments.  And we laughed that I believe random people, but don't listen when John tells me I'm beautiful everyday.  

Then I heard this song and some others about guys who hurt because their girls don't believe them that they are beautiful.


It really got me thinking.  One day I'm going to marvel at Fern-well, I already do.  I'm going to tell her that she is beautiful, and she might believe me.  She might write off my compliment because it's coming from her mom.  And that's going to hurt me.  I already think she is so adorable, and I can't imagine what it would feel like for her to tell me otherwise.


So, that all got me to thinking some more about John and me and our marriage.  When I don't accept his compliments and I don't let them in my heart, it's got to hurt him and me and our marriage.  My personal goal is to {1} hear the compliment and accept it and maybe down the road, {2} I'll start to believe it of myself.  

The first picture is a perfect example.  I was playing around with my new lens and John and I were trying to get a cute couple shot.  Every pose, I hated.  I changed clothes.  I didn't like any of them.  Finally, John said, "this all feels unnatural," to which I responded, "I don't know how to be natural right now."  That's when he grabbed me, hugged me, and I relaxed and smiled and got the shot that I was hoping for.

And this is all a lot for me to share and hitting "publish" is going to be scary, but I'm going to do it. Because, as women, I feel like we all have a hard time believing others when they give us a compliment.  Maybe we can all try to start to believe our spouses, our mates, our parents, our friends, and that random street guy.  I think things would be great if we did that.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Eve Mayhem

Our Christmas Eve involved, but was not limited to...

Playing with the candles at church

A bunch of neighbors who we call friends who we call neighbors that are like family

The teaspoon of cinnamon challenge

My brother's Ford Explosion becoming part of a crime scene.  Proof HERE.

Hope yours is festive as well!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Letter, 2011

I did it.  I got Crimmas cards mailed.  Well, not really cards, but Crimmas bundles.  

Family Picture + Closeup of Fern + Letter = Christmas bundle.


Each bundle was wrapped with a strip of burlap.  Ok, not real burlap.  Just some cool paper that looks like burlap.  I hope everyone who received these took a moment of silence to enjoy them.  Or, rather, a moment of silence to morn the loss of the quality time I gave up with the kids to make them.  Kidding.  Most of it was done while they were sleeping.  Or watching Sesame Street.  


After the moment passed, the burlap removed, this is what my friends and family got:

 the pictures and the letter:  



This year we are excited to announce that we had a baby girl.  Charlotte Fern Day was born on November 6, weighing in at 9 pounds, 12 ounces.  Once again, we had a baby too big for the diapers at the hospital, sending the nurses on a hunt for anything bigger than newborn.  All they could find were size 3 diapers.  True story.

With Fern here, we are learning the ropes of raising two children.  Learning the ropes is the nicer way of saying what we really call it-feeling the growing pains.  If we stayed home all the time, then things would be fine and normal.  However, we’re not the stay-at-home people. 

We like to go places, and that’s when the chaos starts.  That’s when we run around like crazy people, getting the four of us ready.  Excitement about going to a party turns into frantic scrambling to get us out the door.  Kind words are forgotten, sweet tones are tossed to the side.  Instead, we’re yelling back and forth to each other while getting both kids dressed and ourselves ready.  “Did you get Fern’s paci?” “Should we let Burl take his hammer to this?” “Flossing your teeth is a luxury that we don’t have time for!”

Please, don’t show concern.  We’ve got a plan.  We no longer see ourselves as a family.  Now, we’re a team, where the parents are the coaches and the children are the players.  It’s working well.  We’re operating on a man-on-man defense - one parent per child.  When we go places, we have a pep talk that looks something like a team huddling up and picking a play from the playbook.  Things go one of two ways:  Either chaos wins, we find ourselves in the midst of disaster, and we are in the car trading apologies -or- the planets align, we thrive, and we are ready on time with everyone dressed and happy.  When that happens, we hop in the car, smiling and high-fiving and scream out loud, “we doin’ it!”

And that’s what it’s all about for us this year: Celebrating the wins and learning from the losses.  We hope you do as well.  Merry Christmas and happy 2012! 

There it is.  Merry Crimmas, everyone!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Turbo

Last Friday I was convinced someone had slipped Burl an upper.  For real.  When John came home for lunch, he saw it too.  Burl was crazy.  Not bad.  Not out of control.  Just lots of energy.  John left for work with a "good luck" combined with it "thanks for playing with him" kind of encouragement.  Wowza.


In the past week, Burl has been switched to Turbo.  I have no theories behind it.  No ideas what changed.  But this boy is wild.  



Active. Busy. Wild.  Some of the words to describe him.  
Not bad.  Not disobedient.  Not at all.


He's just busy. Wild. Active.  Those are the words that we say over and over and over.


So, until his nap everyday, I let him do his thing.  
Wanna drag out your basket of toys? Sure.
Wanna dump the box of pipe cleaners out? No prob.
Wanna tilt the table? Just for the picture.


Wanna fill up the metal bowl with wooden blocks and dump them on your head?  Go for it.


Fern and I will just observe...


...and try and keep ourselves out of harm's way.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Cookie Exchange Packaging, 2011

At what point do we learn that not everyone wants the same things?  It wasn't until recently that I learned that not everyone wanted to be a stay-at-home-mom.  Not everyone loves babies.  In high school, I LOVED babysitting.  So much so that I would tell the parents to pay me less than what they normally paid babysitters.  I couldn't take all that money to do something I would have done for free.  Gosh-I just love kids.  Always have, probably always will.


Another thing that I love that not everyone does is paper and wrapping stuff and making packaging cute.  I love doing it.  So when people act all shocked that my cookie exchange gets into the packaging as much as the cookies, I am shocked right back?  Like, "what, who wouldn't want to hand make something cute and pretty?"


We all have things we like that others don't get and that's ok and cool and makes the world go 'round.  

What made my world go round?  When my mom called and said, "ok, I finished my cookie exchange bags.  Do you want me to bring one by so you can see it?" I got all excited.  I loved her aqua bag, green leaf, and rolled flower.  It's not very Crimmas-sy, but it's so cute.

She got the rolled flower idea from my lamp, and I...  


...got my cookie exchange box idea from her bag.  See, world-going-round.


We both agreed that there are no brown flowers out there, and we both agreed that we didn't care.  We made them anyways.  And that is what I call fun.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Season

There is something about putting up a Christmas tree that makes John and I starved for parties.  We really enjoy having people over for dinners, parties, casual drop-ins, quick hellos, and anything else all throughout the year.  But, put a Christmas tree in our living room and play some Christmas music and we go into overdrive.  


John wants to make Christmas cookies.
I host a cookie exchange every year.  
We always talk about a holiday party, but end up having several small dinner parties.


Instead of being overwhelmed by all the stuff we have going on, we are fueled by the magic of the season.  Yes, there's magic.  We can feel it.  And we become lean, mean, entertaining machines.  Quick preparations that leave the windows steamy are followed by immediate clean-up, and there we are again:  We settle into our routine.  


Almost every time, about 45 minutes before people are to arrive, panic knocks at my door.  It floods my mind with all the things that are yet to be done before our guests arrive.  It asks me why I'm having people over in the first place? 

Sometimes, I let panic come in.  John can sense it.  He steps in to remind me that my friends don't care if it's all done or not.  They just want to hang out.  And I remember that he's soooo right.


Other times, most times, I kick panic to the curb.  You ain't wanted here.
I prioritize.  I get it done.  I accomplish.


And with 15 minutes to spare, I'm walking around lighting candles, setting the music, and feeling jolly.  So jolly, that I might just be able to forgo the matches and just use my glow.


The magic is back.  John and I are fueled by the fun.
4 days, 3 small parties.  No problem.  We got this.


And you might see the picture below and think wow, "they must be pretty toasted."  You would be right.  We're toasted on Crimmas cheer, folks.  We give into the laughter and embrace it.  We laugh so hard that we don't know what made us laugh in the first place.


Cookie Exchange 20-1-1?  Success.  We got our cookie on.


I'm pretty sure that Christmas is not about parties or entertaining or friends.  But, it is about love.  Love coming down to earth.  For us, parties and entertaining and friends help us feel that love, know that love, and enjoy that love. 

Dig it.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Kisses?

Burl's still learning how to kiss:




Sunday, December 18, 2011

This Week's Menu

Well, we received our last meal last week.  For the past several weeks since Fern was born, our community has been bringing us three meals a week.  It's been wonderful.  Like a free vacation.  Even though I love cooking dinner for my family, it was great to have dinner show up-no preparations, no cleanup, just enjoying.  Perfect!

This week, I'm back on.  In the saddle again.  Bull by the horns.  I'm cooking.



Cookie Exchange (
standards lowered)
French Dip and salad
Spaghetti

Potato Corn Chowder

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Decorations, 2011

Like I said, with our newborn daughter, this year's holiday decorations are a little on the minimalist side.  

Pictures + Greenery = Free and Easy is the name of my game this year.  Why not take what's laying around and make it festive. Here is what we got, please, hold the applause til the end:


What can't be experienced here is the smell of the tree.  If I could, then I would make this picture scratch and sniff and everyone could scratch their computer screens and take in the smell of Christmas.  Props to you, motha-nature.  You done good.


This window frame below gets changed out often.  

wreath + holiday picture {taped} + manger scene + clippings + votive candle = just enough.
Oh, how I love to grab what I can from the clippings bin.  There are clippings of Christmas cheer  throughout my house.  More for us to smell and way cheaper than flowers.


All those Christmas cards?  I strung them up in my dining room.  I absolutely LOVE Christmas cards!  Besides the fact that they're mail, pictures, pretty paper, I love having recent pictures of all my friends.  This year, I decided to let each one show.  Everyday, I get to add a few more.  


And they're ya go.  A tour of my very few, very minimal, Christmas decorations.  

Now you can applaud.
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