Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Oh What a Beautiful Baby...

Did you have a wonderful Christmas?  David and his family came over on Christmas Eve and I squeezed and pinched and kissed the baby until I was sure he'd scream at the sight of me for the rest of his life.  And as predicted I was headed for bed at 4am where I tossed & turned, trying to get comfortable until  the clock went off at 5:10am to start my day.  ARGH!

I'd seen a digital laser beam thermometer on Martha Stewart's show and thought I wanted it.  Well, I got it; all $90 of it!  So now I'm mortified and thinking I shouldn't keep it.  Will I really make candy?  I never have before.  If I keep it I'll have no choice, right?

Have you ever seen anything as sweet as this little guy?  I could just eat him with a spoon.
So as great as my gifts were this year, getting to play with Tiny Tot two days in a row was the best gift of all.

I'm sick with icky ears & throat, and of course my voice is gone, but at least I didn't start getting sick until the day after Christmas.  Merry Christmas to me.

Here's looking forward to New Year's.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Are you ready for Santa?  Really?  How'd you do that?  Every year I swear I'll do better and yet, every year at 4am on Christmas Eve I'm sitting in the middle of the living room floor wrapping gifts.  Forget ribbon.  It never happens.  Ever.

Remember I wanted to do something different this year with my cards?  Well I've done something different.  They're all stacked in a pile with mail.  Think junk mail and medical statements and Harbor Freight sale papers.  Not exactly what I had in mind.

I've been a busy bee in the kitchen for over a week now.  Yes, you heard me right...I did say kitchen.  I've now baked 32 loaves of pumpkin bread, half with pecans & half without.  And I've made 12 batches of Chex Party Mix.  Wish I could tell you I was done now, but alas, I'm only halfway done.

Every year I prepare gift baskets for the neighbors filled with miniature candy bars, pumpkin bread, party mix, a small potted plant, a pretty dish towel, and toys for the kids.  We were in Rocky Mount last Friday night and dined at Cracker Barrel where I found these tiny wind up toys that are retro chic.  There's a clown with a ball on his feet that jumps and spins around, flipping from his butt to his back, and my favorite, a tiny monkey clapping symbols together as he walks around.  Honestly, I'd like to keep them for myself instead of giving them away, but I won't.

There are also gift baskets to be prepared for my co-workers and hubby's co-workers and of course family & friends.  The list is never-ending.

My son and his family will come over on Christmas Eve and of course I don't want anything to keep me from squeezing tiny tot the entire time.  My new favorite thing:  put him down on the floor on his back and watch him immediately roll over and start belly crawling away from me.  He's just like David at that age:  refuses to get up on his hands & knees.  What's up with that?  David would belly crawl using his elbows to drag himself across the room.  From there he progressed to crawling on hands and toes, butt high in the air, never putting his knees down on the floor.  And then it was walking, moving from one piece of furniture to another.

Little Jackson will belly crawl away from me and at the last minute I grab his feet, drag him back, and flip him over on his back.  He laughs.  I laugh and squeeze him til I'm sure he's bruised, and he's flipped back over and begun the great escape again.  I could do it for the rest of my life, assuming I could keep him frozen in time at this age, which of course won't happen.

Shopping for a 9 month old at Christmas is no fun at all.  Sleepers, yawn.  Nerf balls in every shape and color, ...slightly less boring.  But I'll be honest with you...remember that photo of David sitting in my big yellow dump truck?  I found a truck by the same manufacturer, almost identical except that this one has oodles of buttons for different sounds.  Yes, I read the box and yes, I see it's for ages 3 and up.  I'm going to take out the batteries and squirrel it away til he's old enough to play with it.  Just like that rocking cow that's also stored away. 

Can you hear that hollering coming from Apex?  Yep.  Hubby says enough already; quit buying toys for the kid he's gonna be one day, and enjoy the kid he is today.  Gotcha.  Did you guys see that new toy...

For the first time in the 8 years we've owned this house our tree is (a) artificial and (b) in the first floor living room rather than the second floor family room.  I didn't put it there, trust me.  Nor did I wire on the extra strings of lights (they are fabulous), nor did I hang a single ornament.  (Well, to be honest I have gone back over it and moved one or two or twelve).  But other than that, and my armchair critique from the loveseat or the stove, I didn't do a thing.

Since we now have a TV the size of Baltimore permanently hung above the fireplace I had to tweak my mantle display.  Those 18" reindeer that are made of heavy steel coils that bounce and sway and bob and weave are now displayed on the new foyer table amidst ornaments, berries & elves.  My snowman collection isn't displayed, though there are about a dozen in the kitchen, hidden behind canisters of party mix and stacks of pumpkin bread loaves. 

There are Barbie doll mermaids & twinkling fairies, bags of candy & wrapping paper, rolls of curling ribbon and boxes of Christmas cards, rolls of tape and at least 3 pair of scissors all over the table (and the chair seats & backs), but the decorative red tablecloth has been located and lost.  If it turns up I'll eventually clear off the table and put it on there, with a fabulous centerpiece right in the middle.

Surely before the baby arrives on Friday.  That's the goal.  Well, the goal is sooner, but I'm clever enough to know it won't happen until Friday.  A realist to the end.

Yesterday I had an email reminding me gently but firmly that my Stampaway submissions haven't been received.  Tick tock, there's a deadline you know.  So next week I'll be up in the studio, nose to the grindstone, creating fabulous art projects to dazzle everyone.  But first there are about 100 gifts scattered on the living room floor that have to be boxed and wrapped.

Merry Christmas to me, and to you of course.  Wishing you joy & laughter this holiday season, and hoping you'll come back to visit after the madness calms down a notch or two.

And before I forget, Santa came early this week in the form of new Droid phones.  I've finally figured out how to answer my phone which is more than I can say for someone who shall remain nameless.  Unfortunately I keep tapping the wrong contact name and once the phone dials and I hear it ringing I don't know how to make it stop short of powering off my phone.  Less than desirable results don't you know.  Gotta figure that out!  Sooner rather than later! So if I've inadvertently dialed you, I apologize.

If you call and I don't answer, not to worry.  I can't say I've figured out voicemail completely but I got in there once already and would bet I can do it again.  Don't have a clue about texting or checking (much less sending) email, so fuhgedaboudit!!

Listen for jingle bells and the laughter of children and enjoy the upcoming week.  The New Year will be here before you know it.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Still Here, Weary, but Well

Has cold weather arrived for you yet?  I heard a rumor that we were down in the 20's this morning.  Have mercy.  I might just have to pull out a coat this week, which is unheard of for me.

Did you overeat during Thanksgiving weekend?  Surely I wasn't the only one.  I've now cubed the last of the leftover turkey to add to a slow cooker of homemade vegetable soup this weekend.  Did I mention I don't eat vegetables and have never tasted vegetable soup?  Chicken noodle and chicken & rice are my only soups, but hubby will take care of it sooner or later.  My freezer drawers and big freezer are running over with vegetables from my mother's summer garden so it's time to take drastic measures.

Have Christmas cards begun to arrive at your house?  The first came from our investment broker, then one with the newspaper the other day from our carrier and now one from my little brother & his wife.  Guess that means it must be time to shop for cards because we all know I'm not going to make them.  Me, making cards.  Yeah, that's gonna happen.

I've always displayed them on the front door but this year I'm going for something different.  Perhaps on the foyer mirror like this, or on the bannister like the first photo.  Decisions, decisions.

Tomorrow both my husband and my son will celebrate birthdays.  And you know the rules...nothing Christmas is displayed until after the hoo hah of the big day.  It's a rule.  Doesn't mean I can't think about it...just means I can't act upon it.

No doubt you've wondered at least once in recent weeks what happened to me.  I've been a busy bee in the laboratory, um studio, designing class projects for CHA in January.  Once again I've been invited to teach classes as well as setting up a demo booth and filming some quick technique segments for a manufacturer.  Hard to call it "work" when it's so much fun to dig around for supplies and unexpected elements.  There are bits and pieces of paper items, corrugated white cardboard, balsa wood, inks & other colorants, plus adhesives, and dare I say it, glitter everywhere.  Particularly glitter everywhere, and you know I ban that product from my home, so drastic times are at hand.

No sneak peaks I'm afraid.  Top secret, hush-hush type work.  Once these are complete it's time to finalize my convention submissions.  Deadlines just slay me.

In the midst of all this creativity there are changes afoot in the studio.  Hubby hired a handyman to work on my empty house in Garner and the man rented it for his family.  Great for them but not my pocketbook since a few minor repairs were required as a result of the last tenant.  They were in need of a table & chairs so I'm loaning them the one I originally used there, which has been stacked high with all my purchases from the last 2 years.  If you've been in the studio you know the farm table I'm referring to...the one with piles on it and under it when you first enter the room.  Don't ask me where I'm moving those piles because I'm clueless, but the chairs are already gone and the table will be this weekend.  Yikes! 

I also did a little shopping recently for paper, but not just any paper.  I'm talking 750 sheets that measure 28" x 40" and another 750 sheets of heavier paper that measure 25" x 38".  And then there's the pile of chipboard that measures 25" x 35".  Can you tell when I'm cooking up new classes?  And of course you know one of my farm tables is completely covered with all that, so once again, storage ideas are much needed but slow to arrive.

Next time you visit the studio let's hope everything has found a new home, out of sight!  And in case you're wondering, no, I don't see a holiday open house in my future this year...at least not one that includes the second floor.  Although I'm just dying to show off my new wool rugs and the new furniture layout and drapes, so we'll see...