Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Aftermath

Christmas Eve started out like this...

And this...

And there was a little of this...

Which eventually led to a whole lot of this...

And a few too many of these.

So we decided to start fresh the next day. Christmas morning started out looking like this...

And this.

But very quickly led to this...

And this...

And eventually this.  We may have a little work to do in the moderation department.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Feelin' The Love

Four score and seven years ago....oh wait, wrong speech.  Seven years ago today, I married my best friend. That moment marked the beginning of a wonderful journey.

We moved across the country to Idaho and bought our first house. The house in which we bought our first Christmas tree, put up our first lights, and began to create our own holiday traditions.

We became parents to the most amazing daughter, whose love makes us better parents, better partners, and better friends.

Our little adventure has not been without a cost.  Our journey to Idaho has meant we now have family and friends scattered in all corners of the globe.  Friends we once saw every Friday for cold beer and hot pizza now take months (or even years) to see again.  Family who used to live just up the street now take two time zones and three plane changes to see. 

But there is one time each year when we get to see them all.  Each December, opening the mailbox becomes more than just an exercise in picking up bills and thumbing through catalogs. It becomes our connection to the people who have touched our lives. Each December, we have watched people fall in love, seen children grow, and for just one small moment, been a part of the families we love and miss.

Thank you, for helping us stay connected and for reminding us that the world isn't such a big place after all.

Happy Holidays - May 2012 be full of wonderful adventures (and maybe a trip to Idaho)!

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Reason For The Season?

Yes, you read that correctly, I ended that statement with a question mark. David and I are not inherently religious people.  Spiritual might be a better word, as long as it doesn't involve attending church on a regular basis (although I did have perfect attendance in 6th grade Sunday School).  But when it comes to Christmas, we are ALL over it.  For the last seven years, we have put up a tree and hung our stockings.

But this year was the first year we put up a manger.  Since we met, we've argued every year about which type of figurines to buy.  I like the really simple ones and David liked the super traditional style. When we finally found these (thanks, Mom), we knew it was the perfect fit.  That is, until David put the set together.  As I came over to admire his work, I immediately realized something was terribly wrong. 

 You see, there was no Baby Jesus. 

In a panic, I called out to Morgan to see if she had swiped the little guy and shoved him in her purse or maybe put him down for a nap in the fridge.  She was adamant that she was not involved.  At this point, David assured me that Baby Jesus was safe and sound.  Apparently, Catholics often wait until midnight on Christmas Eve to place the baby in the manger.  This was a totally foreign concept to me, as the Baby Jesus I grew up was super glued to his little bed. 

So I innocently asked, "Just where are you keeping the baby until then?" -- Without hesitation, David slid open our end table.  Sure enough, there he was.  Needless to say, I was appalled. It's one thing to keep a Christmas tradition alive but a whole different story to keep Baby Jesus locked in a drawer. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

It's All About The Improv

As I was watching Morgan freestyle her Christmas moves in the living room this morning, I couldn't help but notice she actually had a little rhyme to her reason, a little wiggle to her jiggle, a little hokey to her pokey. Right up until we got about 58 seconds in...I am pretty sure the nose picking wasn't a part of her original choreography. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Elfity On The Shelfity

For those of you who do not have small children or have otherwise been living in seclusion, let me introduce you to Elf on the Shelf.  This creepy little guy has taken Christmas to a whole new level. No longer is it enough to tell our daughter that Santa will know what's up.  We have now infiltrated our house with a full on Christmas spy.

Part of the mystique behind elf on a shelf is that children cannot touch him.  If they do, he will lose his magic.  Instead, parents place him on a perch somewhere in the house under the guise that the elf is watching everything that goes on and will report back to Santa.  In theory, it's supposed to serve as a tool get your child to behave until Christmas morning. In practice, we're already having some mixed results.

It started when Nana and Grandpa stopped by to celebrate Nana's birthday (Happy, Happy, Mom!) - They read the cute little book to Morgan and talked to her about how the elf works. Morgan even got to name him.  I didn't want to end up with some random name like Shoelace or Bologna (I'm a control freak, I'll own it), so I gave her two lovely Italian names to choose from:  Mario or Luigi.  She picked Mario -- strong choice.

Once they finished reading, it was time to see just where Mario had set up camp for his first night in our house.  Being the good little Italian elf that he is, he took a spot on top of our wine rack -

That's Mario, way back there, already lurking.

But then, as usual, things got derailed.  Because we were excited to use Mario as leverage to get Morgan to follow the rules, we had already told her Mario would be reporting back to Santa on whether she ate her dinner and picked up her toys. Girlfriend decided that this was not sufficient and that Santa was going to need the whole story.  She ran to the bathroom and scurried back with her toothbrush.  Morgan then grabbed David by the back of the hair and swung his head in the direction of Mario.  "Dad, tell Mario I am brushing my teeth RIGHT now. Tell him that I am a listener and that he needs to tell Santa TONIGHT." 

Oh yeah, he's telling Santa...right after he takes two aspirin and puts some ice on that head injury.

Monday, December 5, 2011

When The Moon Hits Your Eye

I am pretty much a mutt.  I am part Irish, part Scottish, and maybe even a little Norwegian.  The closest thing my family ever got to celebrating holidays of our heritage was when my mom dyed all of our pancakes green on St. Patricks Day  (Don't worry, Mom, the tradition is alive and well.  Morgan will totally know her roots.) -

David, on the other hand, is 100% Italian.  So Italian that he actually knows which one of his relatives came over on a boat. So Italian that he actually had a grandmother who would squeeze his cheeks and yell out phrases in a language that he couldn't understand. So Italian that he thinks a major component of parenting includes teaching our daughter and her friends how to make their own pizza.

Frankly, I couldn't agree more.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Apple Does Not Fall Far

I am prefacing this post with the following disclaimer:  My husband is vehemently opposed to me posting the picture below.  For some strange reason, he thinks the picture is unflattering.  I don't know what his beef is - I didn't catch any plumber's crack or toe jam...although you may be able to see a little belly button lint if you squint really hard. 

The point of this post is really much more about those funny moments as a parent when you can't help but appreciate how much your child resembles each of you.  Last month, I asked David to put Morgan down for her nap.  This process usually takes about 5 minutes.  When he hadn't returned 30 minutes later, I started to wonder what the hell happened.  I slowly cracked open the door and discovered two little sleeping beauties, one in her bed and one crashed out on the floor.  I thought about leaving him there, but then I realized his snoring had the potential to not only wake Morgan up, but scar her for life.

Not two weeks later, Morgan randomly started falling out of bed every night.  I found her under her window, next to her dresser and even behind her door.  Then one night, I discovered her sprawled out on the floor like some crime scene photo, looking just like David.  There are so many ways that I am glad Morgan takes after her dad...I'm just not sure this is one of them. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Let's Talk Turkey

I thought long and hard about posting about how grateful I am for everything in my life...then I decided that would be predictable and boring and that it would be much more fun to keep it real. Maybe a little too real.

Despite our best efforts, our Thanksgiving dinner was slightly botched.  We had all agreed that we would try to simplify things this year and go out to supper dinner.  We made reservations for noon and got all gussied up.  My dad even put on his fancy jeans.  Unfortunately, when we got to the restaurant, we discovered that someone had mistakenly given our table away.  Our rowdy group of 15 was now going to be seated at three different tables, which would not only prevent us from having any meaningful conversations but would also keep us from being our obnoxious selves -- boo.

Then I remembered a friend of mine likes to take pictures of her family eating at every major life event. Because we didn't have a lot going on with our group, I decided to give it a whirl. I started with my mom, who was totally lame. Rather than looking awkward or unflattering, she looked like some sort of Cool Whip model:

So I moved on to the boys...they did not disappoint.  The fact that several of them didn't actually know I was taking their picture is irrelevant.  They were all clearly enjoying some dried out turkey and one of them was even eating his muffin wrapper.  Toddlers rock.

By then I was feeling a little guilty. Here we were, gathered at this special time, trying to enjoy each other's company, and all I want to do was capture people at their worst. So I redeemed myself. I got a few cute pictures of my aunt and uncle, as well as a sweet photo of my cousin and her fiance. Unfortunately, their newborn was asleep and I had recently suffered from a case of the black lung, so there was no baby fix for me. Also boo.

I was, however, able to snap a few pics of the big kids, especially my niece, who is actually asking for her two front teeth this year (don't judge me, I love that song). 

In the true holiday spirit, I thought I should at least try to get a shot of my brother smiling.  Joke's on me, apparently he just looks like that.

Happy Belated Turkey Day -- I hope you got your eat on...cuz you know we did! 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Minding Our Manners

David and I don't really fight.  Don't get me wrong, we can bicker like nobody's business, but we're not the couple you're going to see on the news for distubring the peace.  I've never locked him out of the house and he's never threatened to have me committed.  It's a beautiful, harmonious relationship...either that, or he just lets me win because arguing with me is exhausting and he would rather spend his time eating a sandwich.

Regardless, we got into a bit of a tiff on Saturday morning as we were headed out to run errands.  This was complicated by the fact that our daughter is like a real person now.  She regularly takes sides in our discussions and is quick to tell either of us if we're being rude or need to apologize.  I would be okay with her participation, except she usually sides with David - not cool.

While we were arguing in the car on Saturday, I realized that Morgan was hanging on our every word.  Her eyes were wide open and she kept looking back and forth between us like she was watching some sort of bizarre ping pong game.  David and I needed to shut it down.  However, I was not AT ALL going to take responsibility for him being crabby with me (Remember what I said about sandwiches?  Without them, he's like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde). David, on the other hand, was just as committed to being right.  But we're good parents, and we need to set a good example.  Hence, the following:

Me: I'm sorry we fought in the car. (Notice I am not admitting fault)

David:  Yeah, I'm sorry, too.  And I'm sorry you were such a jerk. (Notice David has now apologized for me being mean to him)

Me:  And I'm sorry you were hungry and cranky and took it out on me. (Notice I am on to him and am not about to concede)

David: Yeah, I am hungry. (Notice me still winning...every time.)

Poor guy doesn't stand a chance.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Pancake Pride

As are most toddlers, Morgan is OBSESSED with her name.  She points out letters wherever we go and assumes that any word that starts with an "M" is going to end in "organ" -- Not surprisingly, she's usually wrong.  As a special treat last Sunday, David decided to rock her little world.  Not only was she getting pancakes, but the whole plate was going to be dedicated to her.  

Her reaction did not disappoint.  She was shocked, she was awed, she was ecstatic.  In fact, Morgan was so pleased that it took her nearly 20 minutes just to decide which one to eat first.  When I tried to get in on the action, she was only willing to share with me after biting the leg off her "R" -- as a result, her name briefly resembled the word "Mupgan"  (or yeah, she'd also taken a taste of her "O") --  Let's just hope she doesn't ask for the whole alphabet next week -- we haven't got that much time or batter. Plus, David needs to start making those pancakes in cursive...

Don't let that smile fool you.  Get too close to those pancakes and she WILL take off a finger.