Friday, December 31, 2010

A Clark Griswold Moment

Taking down Christmas decorations is NEVER as much fun as putting them up. I spent Monday and Tuesday boxing up all of all of the merriment and garland, Libby was super helpful in undecorating the tree, and we stacked up all the rubbermaid containers at the bottom of the stairs for Dusty to take up to the attic. Things were going too smoothly. I should have known...

Wednesday morning I woke up to the sound of my diligent husband taking all the boxes upstairs to our walk-in attic. We access this space from a door in Annie's bedroom (which will soon be little man's nursery). From inside the attic, there is also a ladder that leads to more "upper" attic space. That's where the Christmas deco goes. Over the summer, we had more ply-board laid for floor to create even more storage space. It's really well lit. We love having all this storage space. Can you see where I'm going with this story?

I went upstairs to help Dusty. I would scoot the boxes to the bottom of the ladder and he would carry them up and stack them in the upper level. The girls are always curious when we open the mysterious attic door off of Annie's room. They played in the hallway and kept walking in to check on our progress.

As I was pulling boxes into the attic I heard a crash. Not really all that loud, but I immediately envisioned my precious heirloom ornaments in a billion pieces.

Me: (angrily) WHAT was THAT?

Dusty: Ummm...oh no.

I hauled my seven months pregnant self up the ladder to see my husband sprawled among the boxes and pink insulation.

Dusty: I went through. My foot is stuck. GO TURN OFF THE CEILING FAN!

It wasn't until I went down and back into Annie's room that I fully understood.

First I saw this...

Then I looked up...

Imagine a grey New Balance shoe sticking through the smaller hole and a denim fanny showing through the larger one.

I stopped the fan and then stood up on the ottoman and started yanking his shoe off. He yelped in pain and told me to untie it first - oops. Once I got it off, he was able to pull his foot out of the broken drywall and pull himself up into the attic again. Turns out, the only thing that kept him from going completely through the ceiling was a 2 by 4 that his back fell on. Poor husband.

Once he assured me that he wasn't seriously hurt, the laughter began. I couldn't help it. Libby kept saying, "Daddy, what did you DO?" Annie started chirping, "Daddy uh-oh?". I have not laughed this hard in a long time. It took Dusty a few hours, but eventually he was able to join me.

It seems that the ply-board floor that was laid didn't extend in a certain spot.

Like this spot...

...and this one.

Happy New Year! "Sparky" and I are on our way out to celebrate!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Annie Turns 2!

We celebrated our Christmas baby last Saturday night! I can't believe that she is a big two year old now. Our sweet parents and siblings made the trek at this busy time of year to make Annie's birthday special. We went to dinner at Hunter's Pub in Hamilton, GA and then made the 10 minute drive to Calloway Gardens for the Fantasy in Lights display.

We really struggled with what to do for Annie's party this year. I was 31 weeks pregnant and with her birthday being a week before Christmas, I knew I couldn't pull off any elaborate celebration. We just knew we wanted to include our families and to take advantage of this fun time of year. While she is still little, we figured we could play on the Christmas theme before she wises up and insists that we separate the two occasions!

The Hunter's Pub is a RUSTIC steakhouse that was a very unconventional choice for a two year old's birthday party. For most of the photos I had to crop out the giant neon Michelob Light sign that hung on the wall :) We all enjoyed the food (deep fried lobster tails!) and time together, so any reservations I had about having my baby's birthday dinner here was gone by the end of the night. Fun was had by all!

Cousin Maggie and Libby

Thank you Grams and Poppa for Bitty Baby!

Love at first sight.

Aunties Emily and Lacy

After our yummy dinner, we sang happy birthday and Annie blew out her candle on her reindeer cupcake!

These were fun to make - I found the design idea for them HERE.

Birthday kisses

It was then time to head over to Calloway Gardens. The weather was chilly and felt oh so Christmas-y! We all boarded an open air " Jolly Trolley" and rode through the different scenes of light displays set to music. Between scenes, it is required to sing Christmas carols too!

Our only group shot - poor Grandaddy got cropped out!

It ended up being a late night, and by the time we headed to the car, the girls were completely wiped out. Dusty and I were so touched that both sides of our family would come together to celebrate Annie's day at a "destination birthday party". Even though we were only 45 minutes from Auburn, My parents and sister didn't get back to Atlanta until 12:30 am. Dusty's family had to be back in Hartselle for their church Christmas program the next morning so they had planned on driving back that night. They didn't get home until 1:30 am! It meant so much to us to have everyone together. It was a fun evening and a birthday that will be memorable for us!

Happy Birthday, sweet Anne. It seems that it was just the other day that they brought you out of the hospital nursery the night you were born, asleep in a big red Christmas stocking! We love you so very much. You are such a fun addition to our family and you make every day very merry!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Lots of Christmas

Christmas is here! We enjoyed a day of blessings as we celebrated the birth of a King today! It truly was a wonderful time with family, yummy food, games, laughs and Christmas music. Now we are trying to put the house back together, find a place for all the new toys and goodies and watching through the window at our first WHITE CHRISTMAS here in Auburn!

The month of December seemed to go by so fast, but we were able to cram in as much Yuletide fun as we possibly could (between the 2 bouts of strep and endless runny noses!). Here are some of our Christmas adventures in a nutshell...

Downtown Auburn Christmas Parade

Story time with Mrs. Claus

Getting early Christmas presents...a new juicer from Dusty and a case of oranges from Papa and Grams! Mmmmmm....

Libby's preschool Christmas program

Daily visits from our elf, Dewey...

More "Pajama Days", as my girls call them, enjoying time at home snuggled up together :)

Working on the post from Annie's second birthday! Also will be back with pictures from Christmas Eve and this morning. I should be able to crank them out a little faster now that I HAVE A NEW LAPTOP!

Me and "MAC-y" are getting acquainted and I am learning to use iPhoto program. Loving it so far and should make my blogging easier and hopefully will keep me up to date!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I Love This Girl

I simply adore hanging out with my big girl. Her four year old perspective is precious...

We usually get a few hours of just the two of us now that she doesn't take naps regularly. Some days she plays or reads in her room, and some days we color or work in the kitchen together. Today, while Annie was napping, Libby crawled up next to me and handed me Dusty's tiny pocket Bible.

"Will you read to me about when Jesus was born?".

We began to read the account in Luke chapter 2. Libby was so proud when we got to verse 12. Her class had memorized it at preschool and then recited it during their Christmas program last week.

"And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped
in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger."

As I continued through the story of the birth of Jesus, I noticed that Libby kept pulling at the collar of her fleece "feet-y" pajamas and looking down them. After the third or fourth time, I finally asked her what she was doing. She explained...

"I'm checking to see if these words are getting written on my heart."

I melted. This precious child, while still so literal, wants to know the Word of God. I am humbled and encouraged to spend more time with her reading and helping her to memorize Scripture.

I am so thankful for moments like this and for the time that she and I get to spend together.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Cookie Mix in a Jar

We love to give and receive food gifts. This year's baked good gift is not exactly baked...yet. But they will be. By the recipient!

There are thousands of recipes for cookie mix in a jar (just Google it), but I found this one for chocolate chip oatmeal pecan cookies on Nestle's website. They were really fun to put together and reminded me of "sand art" that we used to make at day camp as kids.

I bought a case of quart canning jars at Kroger...

And grabbed the rest of the ingredients while I was there!

I lined 'em up in an assembly line during nap time...

...and compiled every measuring instrument in my kitchen.

The reviews from the site had suggested pressing down each layer before adding the next so that all the ingredients stay separate and compact. I used the bottom of a bud vase to "smoosh" down the flour, brown sugar, etc.

It also said that it helps to use the WIDE MOUTH jars as opposed to the standard ones. I can attest - I didn't even need to use a funnel.

Layering one by one.

What does it say about me that I completely enjoyed this repetitive task? Would I have made a good factory worker?

Cute, right?

Now the fun part - the ribbon and tags!

I chose shimmery wire ribbon at Hobby Lobby for 50% off and printed my tags on the computer. You could definitely go smaller on the tags, but those with poor eye sight like me will appreciate the size 12 font :)

Here's what they said:

Cookies in a Jar: Beat 1 stick of butter, 1 large egg and ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract until blended. Add jar of cookie mix and and mix well. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Makes 2 dozen cookies. Happy Baking!

So, my Christmas "baking" is done! The hardest part is finding a place to keep this case of filled jars until we give them out. They are heavy!

I would share what the final cost of each one turned out to be, but I think some recipients might also be blog readers. I'll just remind you that it's the thought that counts and that Mr. Garnett was very happy with my choice of gift idea this year!

We gave Libby's preschool teacher her Cookie Mix last week since she was leaving town:

Me: Libby, how did Ms. Jill like her gift?

Libby: Well, I don't think she was very excited about it.

Me: Oh, no! Why do you say that?

Libby: She didn't eat any of that stuff you put in that jar!