Friday, December 21, 2012

a bunch of stuff

So I have like ten posts in the draft phase. Really. My brain's exploding with Christmas cheer and happy baby photos. So let's sort of try to hit all the bases and as a bonus include a giant photo dump or two:

1. Thank you to all who have stopped by my Etsy shop this week (or forwarded on my name). The response has been awesome, and my most favorite thing has been the little messages that customers from around the world leave me when they purchase an item. It has literally restored my faith and belief in humanity. In the wake of something so completely awful, it's been completely fulfilling to see that good is still alive and strong. And winning.

I will continue to donate 100 percent of my proceeds to the United Way of Western Connecticut through December 23, 2012. You last minute Christmas shoppers, check out the printables. Print one of these babies out, slap 'em in a frame, and there you go. :) (The above print is by far my best selling print. And happens to be my favorite as well. I'm giving each of my girls one for Christmas for their rooms.)

2. We've done a truckload of Christmas activities this season. I want to do a complete review of all of them, but let me just say:

Trans-Siberian Orchestra: Red Neck Christmas on Steroids. I'm so glad we went in November because I think it would've sort of ruined the Christmas spirit in December. It's cool in it's light and fire display sort of way, but not my style. And not very reverent. Also I don't have a mullet. Which is actually a completely relevant point. 

Hale Centre Theatre's Christmas Carol: As always, this was beautiful. This year, we had front row seats, which made it even more amazing. If I had to choose one Christmas event to attend, this would be it. I cry like a baby every time and always leave feeling a little bit changed for the better and reminded of what's really important.

Zoo Lights at Hogle Zoo: So I've heard so many people poo-poo Zoo Lights and for that reason have never gone. But when my sister and mom came to town, we decided to give it a go. We happened to go on $3 off night (read: mass mayhem), but here's the thing: we loved it. Loved. So magical, so lovely. A week later, Jess and I took the girls again. Jess loved it and the girls were in twinkly heaven all over again. Seriously. (Although in these photos they look hilariously unamused. We die over their faces here because really, they LOVE ZOO LIGHTS.) Hogle Zoo does an awesome job in my opinion, and it's fun to see some of the Zoo animals snoozing (and a few nocturnal ones up and playing!).

Side note: It was SO FREEZING the night we went with Jess. I'm literally wearing an extra beanie (Lou's!) that was in the car. Trust me, it must've been freezing. I would never voluntarily wear a CAT on my head. Gag.

3. My sister is a saint. The Saturday they were here, we got a foot or so of snow. And the power was out. But don't you worry. Aunt Don Don built not one, but two snowmen with Annabelle. They were out in the frozen tundra land for a couple hours, and seriously. Look how cute they are - the snowmen and the girls. Love that Aunt Don Don.

4. Speaking of frozen tundra land. So most of my life, I've been hot. I'm just always sweating. When we figured out my thyroid, we realized that was a huge red flag that went unrecognized for a long time. Just recently, I switched my synthetic daily hormones to the name brand instead of generic to see if that might help regulate my thyroid (it's been yo-yoing along with my weight since I had Lou). Turns out, it made a GIANT difference. And guys HOW CAN YOU STAND BEING SO COLD ALL THE TIME? One day I said to Jess, "Is this how real people feel in the winter? Because I'M FREAKING DYING." So yeah, I feel ya. Winter is cold yo. I sleep in full blown sweats, hoodies, snow pants. What a cold world you've all been surviving in for so long.
5. Annabelle has taken to doing the dishes. SHE LOVES IT. Guys. Does she know that she'll be doing dishes for decades to come? I'm so not telling her. Sometimes having a daughter with OCD tendencies is AWESOME. She seriously does a bang up job. Granted, she's soaked from head to toe, along with my kitchen, but seriously. Love this kitchen helper. (P.S. Those counters won't live in this house much longer. Oh, the atrocity.)

Okay. "That's it" for now. I hope ya'll are having a lovely holiday season full of happy memories. :)

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

crafting for cause

First, I want to thank any of you that have ordered your Christmas cards through me. It has truly been my privilege. I have honestly loved creating happy products for people I love. And for strangers. It's been lovely to see something I made become real.
And now, for those of you haven't yet found the motivation to put together a Christmas card (like me! ha ha!), I've teamed up with Crafting For Cause to raise money for those affected by the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting (donations will go to the United Way of Western Connecticut). If you buy a Christmas card (or anything from my shop) through December 23, 2012, I'll donate 100% of my proceeds to their fund. (For more information, and to see other vendors participating, check it out here.)
I've been wishing and praying for a way to do something to make a difference. This might be a little thing, but it's something, and I'm so happy to be a part of it.
Anyhow, I hope there are a few of you out who are procrastinators like me! And please feel free to forward this blog post on. :) Merry Christmas all y'all!

Monday, December 17, 2012


The type of grief resting on our country right now is the kind that sits heavy. Like a cement blanket, immovable on your chest, sometimes making it difficult to breathe. Even being so far removed, the pain is tangible.

It's one of those things that we'll all get through even though we'll never really understand. But it's one of those things that will keep me awake at night from time to time for a long time, awake enough that I'll wander into each of my babies' rooms and stare at them for a while, maybe lay beside them and just breathe their smell in, Belle like her curly hair and Lou like baby lotion. Because she's still little enough to be slathered in it. And it's one of those things that will cause me no end of worry, no end of what ifs.

There aren't really words. But I want Connecticut to know that my heart aches for you. And my prayers are with you.

And I want my babies to know that I'm sorry for the world that lays ahead of them. But I want them to know and always remember that my heart is with them always and that inasmuch as I can, I will protect them and defend them and pray for them with every ounce that I am.

Friday, December 7, 2012

the most wonderful time of the year

So it's that time of year was diet restrictions are forgotten and health goals are the things we make in January. It's that time of year when all the best foods make their appearances. It's that time of year when my muffin top becomes a stylish accessory instead of unwelcome flab. As usual, I'm doing my part in consuming-consuming-consuming. Also, I've stopped running. It happened when we bought the house. I just haven't started again. You should see the size of my Reeses Trees thighs.

Anyhow. You should eat these:
 Silk Seasonal Nog
1. Silk Seasonal Nog: I mention it every year. This year I've purposely not mentioned it until now because every year it sells out. And I'm pretty sure it's because all five of you rush to the store and buy it all after reading about how delicious egg nog can be WITHOUT RAW EGGS.
2. UNREAL candy. Guys, they're seriously, for lack of a better word, unreal. Try the chocolate peanut butter cups. For you Trader Joe's aficionados, these taste like their peanut butter cups.  And if you've tried those, you know what I'm talking about. Unreal. Unlike Reeses. BETTER than Reeses. Probably because TJ and Unreal make them similarly, without preservatives and junk, as they call it. I'd like to say that I initially tried these for all their good healthy unjunk benefits. But actually I just tried them because I'm a sucker for new chocolate. I hate their price tag because they're ridiculous and I just keep buying them anyway. But guys. They're practically HEALTHY.
3. Classic Tomato Soup, from Mel's Kitchen Cafe. Okay, so I've mentioned this blog like six hundred times. And I pretty much consider her my BFF. Even though she doesn't know me from Adam. Creepy? Maybe. But I just really love her recipe blog. EVERYTHING is good. And so many things are either gluten free or easily adaptable. This tomato soup is so delish. I've made it several times in the last few weeks. Hint: I use half an onion. But if you're a fan of onion, you'll want to keep the whole thing. I just like onion to be more subtle. We usually serve with grilled cheese sandwiches or quesadillas. Oh, and it's really good the next day too. Just good.

So go forth and eat. Because January will be here all too soon. :)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

scenes from a move

Thanks to Veggie Tales, Blue's Clues, the Cheney Army, infrequent washings of my hair, Chick-Fil-A, and two air mattresses, we're in. Let me say that in other words: WE LIVE IN A HOUSE.
It's sometimes surreal, but we love it. It was perhaps the most chaotic week of our lives, but we survived. Let me lay it out for you:
Saturday, November 24: The paint is finished. It looks AHHHHHmazing. Later that day, the Cheney Army moves almost our entire apartment (save random junk, the kitchen, two air mattresses and the girls' beds) into the garage and tiled areas of our house. We (read: Jess) decided to do this last minute and we were literally throwing stuff in boxes the morning of the move. If you know me, you know this kind of chaos gives me ultra anxiety. I get acne just thinking about that day.
Monday, November 26: The carpet is installed. It too looks wonderful. We took a leap and chose a dark carpet. I couldn't love it more.
Tuesday-Thursday, November 27-29: We continue moving random bits of junk (seriously guys, JUNK, what is all this crap?) to the house. On Thursday, I take the girls to the house equipped with the Kindle and a mini DVD player. They allow technology to entertain - ah hem - educate them and I move everything that was stuck in the kitchen back down to the garage to make room for the appliances arriving the next day.
Friday, November 30: We (read: Jess) finishes moving EVERYTHING (save cleaning items) out of the apartment. He was a work horse. I made sure our children stayed alive. Lifting boxes? I'll pass. Later that day the appliances are installed. We sleep for the first time in OUR OWN HOUSE.
Saturday, December 1: Our Black Friday sectional is delivered. I spend five hours cleaning our apartment. Um yeah. I prefer to just block that out of my memory.
Sunday, December 2-current: We've been decorating for Christmas and unpacking and finding random bits of treasure in boxes. Like this lovely straw hat (from Annabelle's birthday party in July). And hanging curtains. Because the neighbors can see us everywhere. Except the hallway upstairs, which is where we do all our changing. It's kind of awesome. Like our own little changing room.
To say that this house is a blessing is a major understatement. I have waited for SO LONG to move. Until the right time, until everything was right. And this house, which we saw on a whim and threw in a ridiculously low ball bid, was seriously meant to be. It's a twin home, which isn't our ideal, but it doesn't seem to matter. It has the space we need. And it has views of the valley and the mountains. It's as though this house was made for us, and we couldn't be happier.

The girls can jump and dance and play without a thought. There are no downstairs neighbors ready to pounce (and seriously - our downstairs neighbors were awful). The girls are often getting lost in the deep corners of the rooms because, hey, there are rooms! I've found Belle asleep in the most random places, something she has never done in her life. Ever. And at night, even though we're still unpacking and their stuff isn't all located, they sleep. Soundly. Without blinds or curtains. Something Lou hasn't done for months. It's as though our souls have settled into home. There's a sort of peace that just rests about us, even amid the chaos.
It's such a beautiful relief to be here. I'm so grateful to have this holiday season with my family in my house. Happy holidays all.


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