Monday, January 7, 2013

The Mother of all Blog Posts

I have a few loyal readers (whom I love dearly) that have been on my case for weeks now because I haven't blogged in 46 days. I haven't actually kept track of how long it's been but apparently one of them has as she posted that little tidbit on my Facebook page today.  Tonight, I am bowing to peer pressure, putting aside my work on our upcoming Spring Retreat and ignoring my stitching so I can blog and they can get on with their lives.  I do apologize for the long absence, hopefully I can catch everyone up and then post on a more regular basis but I'm not going to promise anything since as I stated earlier, I've been working almost non-stop on plans for our retreat and that won't end for another 4 months.

So.  Where to start.  In the words of a famous song, let's start at the very beginning, it's a very good place to start lalala...only in this case we'll start back in the beginning of December.  Dan and I had decided that we wouldn't be hosting our annual Christmas Village Open House prior to Thanksgiving.  He didn't have the village ready and there were projects throughout the house that were only half done that needed finishing before Adam and his fiance arrived for Christmas.  It was decided the projects needed finishing more than we needed to finish the village.  And then folks started asking when the Open House was. When we realized that for some our Christmas Village had become a tradition we decided to do our best to get things finished.  But that meant working almost non-stop on house projects, village expansion and Christmas decorating.  That was the beginning of the no blog post period.  A lot had to get done and it had to get done in a short period of time.  One of the things that Dan had to take care of much to my dismay was the annual deployment of the Moose.  Or is it Mooses?  Some of you have read back and know about Dan, the moose and my mother.  I'm not going to rehash it again, this post is going to be long enough without me covering old ground.  If you aren't aware of the history, you can read all about it in this post.  This year, in addition to the one horned moose in the canoe I showed you before, he also found a lovely polka dotted moose.

 And, while my father was in the hospital and my mother was sitting by his bedside and away from home, my dear darling adorable husband took advantage of her absence and proceeded to deploy said dotted moose. In her Nativity Set.  On her China Hutch.  Right next to the table where she eats her breakfast every morning.  Due to Dad being in the hospital and mom spending all her time there it was actually a few days later, after Dad was allowed to come and they were eating dinner, that she first noticed out of the corner of her eye something that didn't belong.  I received a call shortly after.  And I got an earful.  The damn thing scared her half to death.  Took 10 years off her life. It was the eyes,  she could feel them staring at her. Gonna get even with that boy somehow.  Yada, yada, yada.  Then she went on to say how she called my sister first because she had to tell my  6 year old nephew Ben what a rotten dirty thing Dan had done.  Ben wanted his mom to take him to Grandma's house right away so he could check the place over because he was sure that Dan had left more than one moose but since he was sick his mom wouldn't allow it.    Mom wanted Dan to know that Ben was on to him and would be keeping an eye on things.  This did not deter Dan.  At.All.   His next deployment was an ornament.  Only this time he didn't put it at mom's.  Nope.  He hung it on the tree at Ben's house while Ben wasn't home.  When my sister mentioned that Dan had stopped by Ben's spidey senses went on alert and it took him no time at all to find that ornament. His first reaction of outrage was then followed by the desire to smash that moose to pieces.  His mom convinced him that since the ornament moose had a red nose it was in fact not a moose but a reindeer and therefore it should not be smashed.   As far as I know it survived the season intact.  Of course that wasn't the end of the story.  It continued when we went to my mom's for Christmas.  First she unwrapped the one-horned moose.  And then Ben and Grandma each got to open a gift that was supposedly from Santa.  Yeah right.  Santa Dan maybe.  I wish I had thought to take a picture of Ben as he opened his gift but I didn't.  Luckily my sister snapped this picture and shared it with me.

My mom and Ben with their slippers!
The really ironic part of this whole slipper thing was the gift Dan received from my mom before she opened her gift.  Slippers! Are these not the ugliest things you've ever seen?

We received a nice thank you note from Ben the other day.  He thanked Dan for the slippers and wrote how  nice and warm they kept his feet.  Not quite the reaction Dan was hoping for!

On the 15th of December we had a wonderful open house with about 30 people dropping by to see the village.  Dan managed to get it finished the night before and while some of the house projects did not get done, the most important ones did.

The guests looking for the hidden moose and lego gladiator

Eating snacks and visiting

Devin gave Kallie a new do!

Connie visiting with her new buddies

Our neighbors the Bertones

Once we had the open house under our belts it was time to get the Christmas shopping underway. Most of it was done online but those pesky stocking stuffers have to be searched out in person.  I was most proud of the handmade soaps I found on Etsy.  I bought Adam a Millennium Falcon soap from Star Wars.  He's been lusting for a certain Lego set of said Millennium Falcon and since it's selling for $3000.00 now he's going to have to continue to lust.  For Abby I found a fish in a bag soap.  Her latest Beta fish had died not too long before the holidays.   She has a terrible time keeping them alive.  It looks like a real goldfish in a bag like you bring home from the store.  I figure she can keep the bag in a bowl and it will look like she is just acclimating it to it's new surroundings.  For Amy, my resident Zombie apocalypse lover, I found Zombie repellent soap so she'll be safe if the Zombie's ever try to take over the world.  And for Marcia, Adams fiance, I found a beautiful snowflake soap.  Seems like every time she visits in the winter months we have the coldest weather of the season so I thought a snowflake was fitting.

Along with shopping, baking and cleaning the house I was also trying to get all the Christmas deadline framing done at the shop.

Adam and Marcia arrived for Christmas on the 23rd.  It was a trip that was not without it's problems but they got here safely and that is what matters.  It's not easy being away from your family during the Holidays and I wanted to make sure Marcia had a good time while she was here.  One of Adams favorite things are the cookie press cookies we always have at Christmas.  He enjoys decorating them and giving Amy a bad time about how she decorates them so I didn't even bake them until the day before he arrived so he could  share the activity with Marcia.  Abby came over before she had to go to work and the 4 kids had a good time making a mess creating their masterpieces.

Abby got creative

Which meant Adam had to get creative

Which led to Amy getting creative

One of the other activities we used to enjoy before the kids got "too old" was painting the ceramic ornaments you can buy at places like Hobby Lobby and Michaels.  Here's an example of the kids earliest works of art.

L-R: Adam, Abby and Amy

And here is a conversation the kids had on Facebook when Amy posted this picture on her timeline.

Adam:  i am the greatest
Amy:  mom says she and dad touched yours up, which is why it looks so good.
Adam: Bull
Me:  Sorry son but I did touch it up.  after you went to bed.
Abby:  Mine is actually pretty good.
Abby:  I had no help.
Adam:  Whatever, mine is the best.
Amy: False Yellow bear don't care.

Now you know why I still call them kids.

Dan decided to revive the tradition this year so Marcia would have a painted ornament on the kids tree.

the kids tree

After church on Christmas Eve we enjoyed some Tortilla Soup before I gave the kids their Christmas Eve gift to open.  To make it a bit more interesting, I set a timer for 5 minutes and they had to wear oven mitts while trying to open their gift.  If they didn't do it before the timer went off they had to wait till the next morning.   Adam was up first.  It was a bit of a challenge for the boy.  He almost didn't get his present!

Amy was next.  She learned from Adam's mistakes and was done in a little over a minute.

Marcia wasn't challenged at all.  She had that package open in seconds.

Amy relaxing in her new jammies

Adam enjoying his Ninja Turtle pants

Christmas morning we had breakfast and then opened presents.

Dan got a bobblehead in his likeness from Adam

My new computer from Adam

My new computer desk that Dan bought at the thrift store and painted /distressed

And in the afternoon we headed over to my folks. I sorta forgot to take pictures while I was there but I did get this one of Adam helping my dad with the tablet he received for Christmas.  You can sure see the family resemblance here! 

We were back home by 8p.m. and everyone headed to bed fairly early, worn out from all the fun.
Adam and Marcia headed home on the 27th.  Adam came down with the stomach flu during the flight.  Not a good time for anyone.  I hope they enjoyed Christmas though. It was a very special one for me and I think it will be one that stands out in my mind for years to come.

And with the holidays over I started working in earnest on our Spring Retreat.  I've spent hours over the last 2 weeks researching various aspects of the retreat experience.  And hours shopping, looking for all the pieces parts that will be needed for the project, trying to get the best price possible so I can keep the costs down as much as I can.  It's a lot of work but I enjoy doing it.   I think I've got a handle on it now which is a good thing since I have to send out the announcement next week!  

So as you can see, I've been a bit busy and what little free time I have had I used to squeeze some stitching in.  Not much got done and I haven't taken any pics so that will have to wait till the next time. It's late and I'm tired and this is already so long that no one is going to read the whole thing.  Except for those people, and you know who you are, who had better be ready to take a quiz on the content the next time I see you!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas like I did and I hope that the New Year will be a good one for all!

Take care till next time!




Melody said...

I read it all. And in some parts I laughed til I cried. And now I've decided that I want to be a part of your family, lol. What fun! Looks like everyone had a great time :)

mbroider said...

uh-huh, i read the whole thing. But no quiz please:)

Happy New Year!!

Maggee said...

I enjoyed reading it all the way through, Julie. It was so very nice of you to share your family with us. It looked like great fun was had by all! That's a great thing! Thanks for sharing with us. Look forward to a stitchy post next. Hugs!

wausie said...

Thanks Julie...I can now put the Ivory soap away until next time. What great memories for your whole family.

santadeb said...

Great Post and worth the wait, you are way too busy and make things very special for your family, that is what matters...

Marcia said...

It was a very nice Christmas and all of thoose traditions will surely be carried on for years to come. One thing- Everytime Adam gets out of the shower he asks me if he smells like the Millennium Falcon! Too funny!

Rachel S-H said...

What a wonderful holiday season!

Carole said...

Wonderful blog, Julie, and wonderful Christmas traditions. Love the oven mitt idea.

Now that you have made all of us complaining about updates to you blog happy, get back to retreat stuff!


Connie N said...

I'll take the quiz Julie! Cuz if I know you there must be a prize involved-hahaha!

Doreen said...

I also read the entire post - quiz away!

I love the idea of opening Christmas Eve gifts with oven mitts - I think I'll try that this year since the whole family will be together.

Thanks for FINALLY updating this (because you've had so much free time, don't you know)! :-)

See you soon!


MommyDearest said...

Marcia, Exactly was does a Millennium Falcon smell like? LOL!!
Great update, as always Julie! Open house was terrific, as always, Fun times at Christmas for your family...makes me wish I had come over!! Cookie decorating, oven mitt opening, ornament painting(false yellow bear don't care!!) Mooses everywhere...and lovely gifts for all...and to all a good night!!

Catherine said...

Phew! I am tired from all that you have been doing! I loved the updated moose escapades!!

Anonymous said...

Love your Christmas Eve oven mit opening presents idea! Nice post, how joyful to have the family all together for the holidays.