Friday, March 27, 2009

A Step Backwards

Here's your first Throwback Thursday... (that has actually become a "Forgot About This Friday"... Let's head all the way back to Christmas 2008.

The year of our second ever artificial tree - this lovely one purchased from Costco and prelit! OOoooh...Aahhhhh... We've been using "live" trees for the previous four Christmases, and shopping for just the right real looking fake tree. This one was almost in budget and real enough looking for me.

Here's our little Cowboy tree in the kitchen. We put up 5 trees this year. What we lacked in fundage we made up for in decor.

Because I have the kids gifts each wrapped in their own paper (and I don't tell them whose is whose) I only have to tag the gifts to the adults. This drastically cuts down on the shaking, and saves money on tags!
There's so much I haven't told you all about... I didn't tell you about how wonderful our Christmas was... How I went to a great class that my friend Sally put together and several more of my friends and I made really cute Advent Calendars. I had intended to fill the little boxes with various activities we could complete as a family, but never got to that part. I just filled them with candy, which was easier and probably cheaper in the long run.

I didn't tell you about my Gift Wrapping Party (AKA - sneaky way to get your friends to help wrap your stuff...)
I didn't tell you about the Women In Touch dinner at church and the exciting light blue and red peppermint tablescapes...
...which we (my friend Lisa and I and our many helpful friends) repeated at the Homeschool Mom's Christmas dinner / social and stepped up a bit with a "baking" theme in addition to the peppermints.

This is my Perfect Friend, gloating as she literally skipped away with the lovely picture frame I'd ended up with in the gift exchange game. Bwah ha haa...she probably thought this photo wouldn't be remembered. Thankfully, I've cropped it so that you can't see what appeared to be inappropriate sign language. At the original viewing I didn't notice it, but she was kind enough to point it out for me. (I must now confess - she (re) gifted me with the frame - which was really three frames chained together - I tried to tell her at the time that her kids would have had to be pretty small and three to a photo to all fit in there...)
I didn't tell you about getting those perfect holiday card photos that completely misrepresent my children's characters. And you can stop pouting now... you weren't removed from the card list... I just didn't send them. I did do better than past years, though. This year I didn't buy as many cards (to not use) or print as many photos (to not use), and actually got some of them signed and addressed! (just not mailed...) What? You're not proud of me??? Oh well. I can live with that. I've managed to do so for the past four years. There are people out there that still may not know we've moved to Texas yet...I didn't tell you about making matching snowman PJ's for my three kiddos... and when I say "I made them" what I mean is, "I cut them out and handed the pieces to my mom a' la assembly line and she sewed them together".
I didn't tell you that Zachary tripped in his bedroom on Christmas Eve and ran his face into his brother's bag of knitting supplies (including needles) that poked into his cheek requiring mom to apply butterfly sutures.

You also missed my lovely Christmas dinner table (the new tree added to our collection that my husband never did mention...) and this reaction of Jacob when I told him no texting AT the table. (Forgot to mention the floor NEXT TO the table...) That's not a cell phone, by the way... it's just a "texter" that he can text back and forth to his brother that has the twin unit.
Previously, they had been "texting" each other (WebKid 2 Fsh Boy) during (homeschool) classes via white paper and stubby pencil shuttled back and forth across their desks, urging each other to "fnsh math quik and letz play"

You even missed Zachary's joy (seen here) as he received the first of three $25 Bass Pro Shops gift cards. What a nightmare... It was a rough couple of months trying to get him to spend them wisely. I finally got to the point where I just wanted them SPENT so he didn't hound me to use them every time we were within 50 miles of the store...

And how could you stand to miss this?? Michaela said this was the best gift she's ever gotten. No... Not an American Girl (at about $100 each plus the wardrobe that out prices my own) but rather a "Madame Alexander" for $25 at Costco. When she wondered what to name her Zachary pointed out that she was already named, "duh... Madame Alexander...".
The one thing that made this Christmas very special was having my Gramma (82 next week) with us since just before Thanksgiving. I can't remember the last time I had Christmas with her. Sadly - she can't either since that horrible disease of Alzheimer's has taken some of our best memories from her.
One slightly amusing thing did happen though. I was sitting next to Gramma when she opened her stocking of goodies, then watched as she (in an obsessive compulsive sort of way) repacked her stocking...
And then a few minutes later - opened it all up again.

She seemed to like it a little better the second time.

My favorite saga of Christmas was Jacob and the gift at the top of his list. He wrote me a note letting me know that even though it was going to be "Christmas Lite" at our house, the one gift he wanted above all others, going as far as to tell me if he could have nothing else, what he wanted really, really, really bad was the Webkinz Blue Trigger Fish. I figured for $10 I could swing it.
One thing I like to do is disguise the gifts within the packaging - I never want a CD to look like a CD or a Webkinz to look like a Webkinz. The poor kid was so sure he was getting that Trigger Fish that every "Webkinz size box" he saw he could hardly wait to tear in to. I do admit... I did wrap more than a few Webkinz sized boxes for him... I'm mean like that.
During my gift wrapping party my Grateful Friend had the idea of squishing the little plush guy into a wrapping paper tube. To throw him off further, I added some peppermint candies (wonder where those came from...) to either end of the tube for the rattling effect.
When we were down to the very last gift to be opened he was more than a little dissappointed. You can see it on his face here... He KNOWS there's no Trigger Fish in this strange sounding package.

It took him a bit of effort to actually get it open and after dumping the candies out of either end, he can tell there's still something inside. He's just barely able to brush it with his fingertips and finally catches a little glimmer of Trigger Fish hide. He's renewed in his quest to get the darn thing open, but doesn't want to give away his excitement and tries to stifle his grin...

FINALLY, he's able to free his scaly (in a strangely furry way) little friend and the smile is completely restored. This was my favorite moment of the day.
Now whenever I need a REAL smile instead of the plastic ones he usually gives me for photos these days, I ask him to remember opening his Trigger Fish.

Even though we really scaled back on the gift buying budget, (the trick is little, inexpensive gifts in big boxes, wrapped in paper I purchased last year after Christmas - I'm set for next year too) we had a very festive time and it was one of the most, if not THE most relaxed Christmas I've ever had. Gifts were all wrapped early - even the stockings were stuffed the day before. I learned to just let some of the detail things go and the holiday was still so enjoyable. I had my act together enough that I was up (after actually having SLEPT for several hours!) completely dressed and able to get photos of the stockings leaned by the chimney with care before the kids even got up.
And did I mention that I wasn't SICK at ALL this year??? Usually, I'm deathly ill right through Christmas - but I was taking my immunity booster from Melaleuca (which I continue to take every few days) and NONE OF US has been sick in a very long, long, time. *Knocking on wood, rubbing the cat backwards, crossing my fingers, toes and eyes. Probably shouldn't have mentioned it...
Less than 9 months and we get to do it all again! I've started shopping already :0) You?
Merry Spring!


  1. Your Christmas was beautiful..and I remember that new tree it really looked real and very pretty.

    Btw~thanks for the ammo (pix)it's motivation to stay away from any/all drive-thrus and keep me from munching all day long..

    Great post!

  2. What beautiful holiday photos! It's only late March! I'm impressed you got them posted so soon!

    Your Sista from Anudda Mudda

  3. Loved seeing these pictures - thanks for making me green that I don't live closer!

  4. Your tree really was beautiful!!

    I loved this post. Sorta nostalgic (how nostalgic can I be since it was only three months ago?) feeling. I"m thrilled he was totally fooled by how the fish was wrapped. How sick am I?

    You really have a gift for decorating.

  5. I loved your tree and the gift wrapping party was a blast. Since you were with me you know I already have most of my Christmas shopping done as well as all their birthdays'. Clearance isle at Wal-Mart rocked this year!!!!
    This throwback idea is a great one!!!
    Hugs, :) Heather S.

  6. It's hard to think of Christmas with the new spring buds popping out everywhere. But then that photo of me is You are right, I thought (hoped) it had disappeared forever. But I am glad you got Christmas on your blog. Great job! Lisa~

  7. It all looks gorgeous! What great memories you made!


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