Monday, December 6, 2010

Another thing on the Christmas "To Do" List

Christmas Cards! While our family pictures were taken in August, we have yet to order our Christmas cards! So, those of you on our list, don't take offense to a late-ish card. But don't worry. Shutterfly to the rescue! (This is a total Tate-ism. Everything "to the rescue")

We recently ordered some photo books from Shutterfly--a few for stocking stuffers and one for Lance's grandma. She was so thrilled with the pictures and I was thrilled with the quality and the price. We're going to order another one for my mom since she was ogling over one we had here at the house. They are definitely a big stocking stuffer hit over here. Check them out here

Calendars are also a big stocking stuffer hit. What grandparent doesn't want yet another way to show off their grandkids? Check them out here

So, we'll be looking through the cards at Shutterfly. Does anything here catch your eye?

A few friends of ours always have creative or hilarious Christmas cards. Do any of you have any great holiday card ideas? There is a certain family I'm really hoping will sport matching Hanna Andersson jammies! And another that, while I don't think you're actually trying to be funny, I always get a giggle out of the entire family (mom, dad, 4 kids) all sporting Santa hats. Ours are always more traditional, but I'm hoping one year I can do something really funny. Because with everything else on your plate during the holidays, a little laughter might be all you need.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

First Snow

I suppose I can't complain. The snow held off until December first and, other than moving back to Charlotte (where it is 66 and sunny, I might add), I can't ask for a whole lot more. And while I must say the start of snow kind of fills me with dread, there's something spectacular about Rowan and Tate waking up to the snow, Rowan exclaiming "Mommy, look outside! It's SNOW! I LOVE SNOW!" giddy with anticipation of playing, throwing snowballs, drinking hot chocolate.

So after school, what was there to do but suit up and make the most of it. Snowballs, snowmen, snow for a snack. The kids loved every minute of it. Until the minute that Tate decided to take off his socks and boots and jump on the yet-to-be dismantled trampoline. It quickly got too cold. But it was nothing that a yummy lunch couldn't cure. Rowan and Tate certainly make winter much more enjoyable.

Friends, Family and Farewell

After the weekend in the mountains, we stopped in Charlotte (for all of 3 hours) to see Trang and Mike and the kids and then went to visit Lance's grandma. While she didn't get out of bed, she was in great spirits--laughing, loving the kids, talking to everyone. She really seemed happier than I'd seen her in a while. We were pretty sure it would be the last time we would see her and we were so happy to spend time with her whille she wasn't in pain--happy, laughing, hanging up pictures the kids' drew for her. Had we known she would die today--just over a week later, I don't think we would have done anything differently (except remembered to take a picture--but it's okay, we have plenty of those).

While it's never easy to say goodbye, Grandma Liz was ready to go. She lived on her own until just a few months ago, her husband died almost 30 years ago, her friends died over the years, too. Given our past few years, it seems almost miraculous that people can live a full, long life and die at a time almost of their choosing. So we are thankful that we had so many full years with her, that she left this earth when she was ready to go and that we got to see her one more time.

Freakin' Weekend

Several years ago, while we were still living in Charlotte, Heather and Mike rented a house in the mountains for the weekend and we came up to hang out. The next year, we did it again, this time with Andrea and David, who were also in NC. Leading up to the weekend, Mike called us and played the very-popular-that-year "Freakin' Weekend" song by R. Kelly, thus starting an all-too-fun game of calling each other immediately upon hearing the song and playing the song on voice mail. The latter of the two Freakin' Weekends may or may not have included one or more of the party drinking way too much and reapting "I'm like, so what, I'm drunk" continually. Somehow, after that year, though, despite the fun, the Freakin' Weekend seemed to die as quickly as it started.

Until this year. It just so happened that we were planning a trip to go see Lance's grandma, Andrea and David had the weekend off, Heather and Mike are always up for a road trip and David's dad and Kitty were out of town, leaving the mountain house open. So, somehow, with 2 weeks notice, we all ended up (kids' included!) in Hendersonville together. While it wasn't exactly like the previous Freakin' Weekends, we did send the kids to bed at 6:30 one night and had a great dinner, we sipped wine, we stayed up way too late. The kids got to hang out with the kids of some of our best friends. We will certainly be doing this again.

5 Days

If I spent 5 days here, it would look something like this: Drive to and from school and music class, go to the library, play outside, read some books, make dinner, hope family eats dinner, clean up. Rinse. Repeat.

5 days in New York City, though, kidfree I must add? Completely different. Staying at a swanky hotel sipping spendy drinks at the bar (The ONLY perk of Lance's insane travel schedule this year)? Check. Taking in 2 shows (In the Heights--superb--and Elf--okay)? Check. Eating delicious food (no cleaning up, cutting up or worrying about what children will eat at the Venezuelan restaurant)? Check. Watching the marathon, shopping, Letterman, Tom's Restaurant (we couldn't resist Seinfeld's fave diner), Statue of Liberty, a photo op with Meredith at the Today Show, trekking around town with friends, staying out way too late? Check, check, check. The trip was wonderful.

Here on the homefront, all I can say is, well, everyone survived. The kids were happy. My mom was exhausted. My favorite piece of furniture (the rustic green trunk) is broken past the point of repair, my mom forgot what time Rowan's school ended and took a guess--she was a full 30 minutes late, the kids ate S'mores for breakfast. But, they had fun, too. They went to the Children's Museum, the library, the mall. They made happy memories and I think my mom might even be up for it again--maybe not right away--but eventually. It was good for all of us.