29 December 2008

Santa was here!

As evidenced by the abundance of gifts by the tree and the tell-tale nibbles from the little chocolate donut we left for him, the jolly guy made a generous stop on Woodfield. We're not sure if it was him or Allie the cat who enjoyed half the glass of milk...

Macauley got a red Razor scooter and helmet, a pet taxi with vet kit inside, a sleepy guinea pig, an Eye Clops magnifier toy, a robot grabber hand, a stocking full of candy and Sea Monkeys, and several books about the universe and outer space, something he's been asking about a lot lately. He did a unit on the subject at school, but I think it was just enough to get him really curious and not enough to answer all his questions. The books were a big hit with him.

Our humble Booker didn't ask for a thing, but he watched as we all opened presents and munched on some Honeybaked Ham for breakfast. Ryan got me a Kitchenaid stand mixer, some Yankee candles and the new Trivial Pursuit. I got him an Xbox 360, which came as no surprise to him since the night after we got it at Best Buy, Macauley kept telling Ryan, "Dad, we did NOT get you an Xbox 360." Then he'd look at me and wink and giggle like we were in on some big secret.

The dining room where no one dined

I do like the traditional red and green Christmas, too, so I did a more homespun look in the dining room, which I confess, I really wanted not for serving fabulous meals to friends and family but to decorate for the seasons with all my cute dishes and such.

I did a simple tree in here with little white ceramic salt cellers tied with red gingham ribbon and some red leaf covered ornaments and a red bird. I found the vintage tree topper not too long ago for a dollar.

I found a bunch of little trees at a flea market a month or two ago, and I just stuck those everywhere. I used the jute upholstery tape from JoAnn Fabrics everywhere, too. I love that stuff for some reason.

I found this old chalkware Santa in Billings a couple of summers ago and finally got it out. I also went on a doily buying kick when I went shopping with my friend Sarah a few weeks ago, so I spread those in here and there, too.

I don't really have any Christmas dishes, so I got out some plain teal and white Martha Stewart plates I have and made them work with some little ornaments I found at Target and my collection of old Christmas postcards. I found a set of 4 of the little Johnson Brothers plates (or coasters?) at STD and I'm happy I picked them up.

I put these vintage-looking glitter snowmen in the cabinet in the dining room. I found the red and white checked metal trays at Leola's a few weeks ago, too.

I've accumulated several little paper mache houses and churches over the last few years, and I thought the little vintage plastic Santa and sleigh looked like it was pulling through town.

I wrapped several gifts in gold and brown and put them under the tree in this room, most for Lane or my mom. So there are still no curtains or blinds (ordered the blinds today!) and no one actually ate in here, but it was ready if someone wanted to.

White (& Black & Silver) Christmas

Now that I am about ready to pack up all the holiday decor, I'm finally getting around to posting some pictures of the somewhat minimal decorating I did this year. A lot of our things were still in the attic at the old house (the contents of which Ryan and I moved over in a Uhaul weekend before last in the coldest weather we've had this year, I think--ick) so I got out what I could find and did the living room in black, white and silver. I hate that you can see an unpacked box through the sliding doors for two reasons--one is that I wish I didn't still have boxes to deal with and two, I really want curtains for this big expanse of glass (all in due time...). The tree has simple pearl ornaments tied with gingham ribbon, some round etched mirror ornaments and some mirror stars. I love the topper that I got on clearance last year or so, but it is always leaning to the side and about to fall off. I made the toile skirt.

I decorated the spindles with white lights, stars, silver and glitter ornaments, a glittery Merry Christmas and the pair of black velvet deer.

I love to wrap presents and I like to attach cute ornaments.

I just stuck little accents in with the normal stuff. I love this Wendy Addison glass glitter tree.

Also, finally got a bunch of my chippy mirrors up on the living room wall...some of my favorite pieces I have.

A couple of cloches and some trees and rhinestone snowflakes on a doily I recently purchased decorated the coffee table.

I spread a few black and white Christmas postcards and more glittery snowflakes in with my favorite dominoes and cameras and tarnished silver on the side table.

The room feels really full with all this stuff in it, but it's been pretty. This is where Santa left Macauley's gifts and we had a good first Christmas morning in our new house here.

11 December 2008

Christmas Question Tag courtesy of Alysia B

The rules:

1. Post the rules on your blog.
2. Fill out the questions below
3. Tag 5-7 people at the end of your post.
4. Pass on the tag. Have FUN!!

1.Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?

Neither. It seems like I would like egg nog because I love egg custard, but don't think I do and I never drink anything hot.

2.Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?

Santa always left unwrapped gifts arranged around our stockings, placed on the floor somewhere in the living room the night before by my sisters and me. Santa could not wrap the play kitchen Macauley received one year, or the Ford F-150 Power Wheels he received the next. So we're carrying on the tradition of unwrapped surprises just waiting to be found.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?

For my house, it's white. But I enjoy seeing colorful lights in and on other houses.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?

I haven't but I would like to if I could find the real thing rather than fake.

5. When do you put your decorations up?

Usually I beginThanksgiving weekend and let the process evolve from there as I find new things to buy or get more energy.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?

I like all the pick-at, appetizer-type foods at all the holiday parties I attend or that we always have around the whole day.

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child:

We always had very warm and loving holidays, so I have several. I like remembering how my sisters and I would always sleep together in one room on Christmas Eve, even as we got older, then call my mom and dad (no cell phones then, just call the home number then hang up and let it ring then pick up again when they answer) to wake them up on Christmas morning so we all went in to see what Santa left at the same time. I also remember early one Christmas Day when I was in high school that a boy named Walter Bolinger that I went to school with but had never really interacted with called my house to ask me if I would "go with" him. My answer was no, but we all thought it was very sweet that he was thinking of me and the possibility of us being a couple on such an important, busy day.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?

Ryan and I have done this occasionally, but I don't think my family ever did growing up. We celebrate with Ryan's parents and other family on Christmas Eve (so we can spend Christmas Day with mine) so we open several gifts then.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?

This year I have 3 trees: one in my black/white living room that has only sparkly silver and white shabby chic type ornaments and lights with a black and white toile tree skirt I made. I put another up in the dining room and just hung some little salt wells (small little vessels with handles you could put at each place setting) with red gingham ribbon and some jute strung around. We put a little, somewhat pathetic tree in the window in Macauley's room. It has lights but no ornaments and looks really pretty from outside. We have a huge, 9 foot pre-lit tree that I usually decorate with all our sentimental and varied ornaments, but all that is still in the attic at my old house and I wasn't up for dragging it down this year.

12. Can you ice skate?

I have only tried once, on a date many years ago in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I was able to do it remedially then but I don't know how I would fare now.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?

I have received a lot of sweet things over the years, but most recently, a gift that meant a lot to me was one Ryan gave me a few weeks ago, the night I had to read some of my own writing in front of a big group of people at The Library Center. He called me at home that afternoon and asked me to go out to the garage to see if the water softener was making a weird noise (which I was kind of annoyed by) and when I opened the closet to check I was surprised to see a little wrapped box with a necklace I had shown him quite a while back inside. He said I didn't have to wear it to the reading, but I did. We have been under a lot of stress lately and that gesture was so much more than a good luck wish to me.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?

My mom's homemade sugar cookies. Super soft and simple and so good I can't eat just 1. Or just 5.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?

Taking turns opening one present at a time rather than all just diving in.

17. What tops your tree?

A way shabby cute rhinestone star that always looks about to topple off.

18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving?

I love giving gifts. I like shopping for gifts and wrapping them up super cute.

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song?

I know the words to most all Christmas songs, but I have come to dread/avoid the 24-hour Christmas music on the radio. My favorite, though, is "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." I love the sentiments expressed.

20. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum?

Yum-ish, but not something I seek out. I like the ones that are flavors other than peppermint.

21. What do you want for Christmas?

Some Black Uggs and a Martha Stewart green Kitchenaid Stand Mixer. And surprises!

22. Do you attend an annual Christmas Party?

None regularly. But we always seem to have lots of festivities. Not enough to make it chaotic or hectic, though, which makes me glad.

23. Do you dress up on Christmas or wear PJs?

We dress comfy but you've got to be prepared and presentable for pictures.

24. Do you own a santa hat?

I do not.

25. Who do you normally spend Christmas with?

My husband, son, sisters and parents. The people I love the most...

I tag April Nord, Alicia Kelley, Joann of Sweet Finds and Andi Watterman (who I just noticed was my one and only "follower" on my blog--hello!) or anyone else who wants to.

10 December 2008


I am happy for a few reasons today...

One is that my office/craft room/studio at the new house is being painted out for me as we speak, so I will be moving into it this weekend, I hope. Which means I can get back to many of the creative pursuits that make me smile, including posting regularly to my blog. I have a bunch of pictures and stories and thoughts to record there, and I will be glad to get my own computer up and running so that posting to my blog will be as enjoyable and convenient as it was before. The painters (the brother and father of my dear friend Alicia) already painted the red dining room a beautiful shade of taupe for me. I think it is my favorite color I've ever used in all my houses.

Another reason I can rejoice today is that we finally got a contract to sell the old house! Such a relief. We are meeting our realtor this afternoon to sort through it all, but I think it is going to work out so that we will close at the first of the year and the buyers will be moving in on New Year's Day. I am glad to know they really, really love that cute little house and that we can let it go and move on where we are now. Upon hearing this news I called my friend Barb and announced, "Let the decorating commence!" Many of my purchases/projects for the new house were on hold until we had something going with the old one, so now I am excited to retrieve some of my favorite things I left at the old house to keep it looking nice and start pulling everything together.

We were also fortunate enough to be able to take Ryan's four employees and their families out for a great dinner at Nakato last night and gift them each with a generous Christmas bonus. Ryan really appreciates all they do and credits the succesful first year he's had owning the company to the hard work these people do. Driving home in the cold, slushy night, Macauley said from the backseat, "I love you, Mom. " Pause. "I love my life." I'm so glad we've been able to give him a good life, one with lots of love and laughter, a nice house, nice car, good food, etc. When we made it home, Ryan had run a bath for us both and Macauley hopped in and relished the warm water and said, "That was so nice of Daddy to do this so we could get warm. He just treats us with such niceness." I thought that was so sweet. I am looking for lots of more of these warm fuzzy vibes in our family now that we are relieved of some of our stress.

I hope to post some photos of the house and Macauley's 6th birthday this weekend. I love to blog because there are so many things I would otherwise forget if not for recording them in this format. Hope I haven't forgotten too much in the last few weeks...

12 November 2008

The fun stuff

I have an overwhelming to-do list of tasks around here, most of them organizational or cleaning related, and I try to do at least 1 a day. But I decided I needed to do a little something fun around the house last week, so I spent Friday morning (we were out of school!) arranging my Thanksgiving decor in my still red dining room. Earlier last week, during the last of the mild weather, I finished painting and distressing the $70 flea market dining set I got with my birthday money, and this weekend I recovered the formerly gold velvet chair seats with a brown linen I stumbled upon fortuitously at the Nixa Wal-Mart of all places. I am happy with how the set turned out, but I still want to paint the walls of the dining room a more neutral color and put up blinds and pretty cottage drapes. And put stuff on the walls and find a rustic pine sideboard or something. And a rug, and...But for now, with the table covered in simple burlap, set with my turkey plates, I walk through this room and smile. I filled a couple of my vintage turkey vases with some berries I cut out in my woods and dried overnight and I scattered the table with my old Thanksgiving postcards and some crocheted leaves I found at Tuesday Morning. There is not supposed to be a black cat on the table knocking over my cute stuff. I am afraid she will eat the berries and be poisoned. Or get cat hair all over everything, which is far more likely. I will try to take some other pictures of the table and post some close-ups. We will go to a fabulous Thanksgiving Day feast at Ryan's parents' house, so I don't know that I will have any visitors to enjoy the table I've set. It's mostly just for pretty and mostly just for me. But that's okay. Amidst the undone chaos of the rest of the house, I see this table as a shining beacon of potential, of where my beautiful but bare home is headed.

First Halloween in the new 'hood

Wow. The residents of our new neighborhood really got into the Halloween spirit. Probably 85% of the houses had porch lights on and friendly neighbors passing out treats, and several had big bowls of candy on the steps with a sign to help ourselves. We had a bunch of trick-or-treaters early in the evening, including one little boy who, standing in our doorway taking in the surroundings, said, "Really nice place you've got here!" We went the self-serve bowl route, too, and headed out for our own rounds later. Macauley randomly chose to be Bumblebee from the Transformers, passing up the Dash costume we wanted him to get (he did, after all, spend the entire summer refusing to answer to his own name and wanting to be called Dash) because it was labeled "Mr. Incredible" and not specifically Dash, even though it could pass for either. Oh well. We plucked down the $29.99 at Target and called it good. He has become great friends with the adorable little blonde right next door, Miss Megan, here cleverly disguised as a beguiling genie. Most days our doorbell rings and we open the front door to that cute little face inquiring, "Can Macauley play?" She is just precious. We have, however, encouraged her to stop looting Booker's treat jar and eating his giant MilkBones. She just loves them for some reason and has eaten at least 2 of them. We don't want her parents to think we have no appropriate snacks and are feeding their daughter dog food...she just sneaks them!

Macauley and I did minimal Halloween decorating on the porch. I missed buying mums and corn stalks and by the time I was ready to do it only the scraggliest plants were left, so we just went with what I could find in my scattered decor: a mum Barb gave us a housewarming gift, a gaggle of pumpkins gathered at miscellaneous pre-holiday festivities, some plug-in jack-o-lanterns and a feather wreath I made last year. I can't believe that rag-tag carpet scrap being used as a pathetic welcome mat made the picture! I have since discarded that. My parents came up to spend the holiday with us, and they made the neighborhood loop with us, too. Macauley got so much candy that the plastic bag he was using to hold it all (I couldn't find his regular, more sturdy trick-or-treat gear) became so heavy the handles broke and poor Papa had to tote it around for him and approach the last half of the doors alongside Macauley. What a lucky boy to have so many people in his life who just adore him. Once we hit all the nearby houses, we loaded into the car to visit Uncle Paul and Aunt Debbie on Kimbrough, Aunt Amy on Fairway and a final stop at Andy's Frozen Custard for a treat for all of us. As we got in the car to leave the house, a small group of pre-teen boys came up the sidewalk to ring the doorbell. I called out to them that we were out of candy and heading out for the night, then as they walked away, Macauley rolled down the car window and shouted, "Actually, we have a bunch of candy inside on the kitchen counter! The door's unlocked! Go on in! Help yourselves!"

My dad turned 55 on the 30th of October so we celebrated his birthday on Saturday with lunch at La Fiesta with Lindsay and Tyson and then we took my dad shopping at a running store to spend the gift certificate Lindsay and I gave him. He ran the Bass Pro 10k that morning and got 3rd in his age group. He is inspiring to me. I wish I was in such good shape, and I hope when I am 55 I look and feel as great as he does. He helped us set up our new flat-screen TV and he and Tyson helped Ryan move our old clunker big screen from the garage up the stairs to our bonus room. Our movers measured and claimed it couldn't clear the turn in the stairway, but I think they were just tired after a long, long day of lugging all my heavy stuff around. Our neighborhood had a block party that Saturday evening and we went down for a little socializing after my parents headed home. Macauley got flames and skulls painted like tattoos all down his arms and had a blast running around with all the kids who live near us. There are so many! Moving here was such a great decision for Macauley. He is in his element.

Life without technology

I found my camera cord so I can get back to posting a few pictures! We went for about a month without Internet or TV (other than a couple of fuzzy channels), but we found ways to fill the time. We kind of taught Macauley to play Uno, but every time I thought he'd finally grasped the concept of playing a card that matches in number or color to the one previously played, he would throw down a completely disconnected card, and then another and then another. Still, though, he has managed to win 10 games to my 2. One evening, he asked to draw a tattoo on my arm with his washable markers and he went for a full sleeve. More than I was anticipating, but how sweet: "I love you." and a drawing of the 2 of us. I think it is so cute that he uses a (usually oversized) period after most of what he writes now, something he learned at school and explained to me one day not too long ago. He also made use of 1 of the many emptied boxes by turning it into a theatre of sorts, stuffing the box with pillows, several stuffed animals, his Cabbage Patch Kid and his portable DVD player. Oh, and a big bowl of popcorn. Now we have a computer up and running and over 200 channels on 4 TVs around the house, but I think Macauley would still prefer to play with a cardboard box or draw on my arm. Or dominate (with loads of my assistance) at Uno.

We've had our share of exhaustion and tension around here, with the move and not having sold our old house and just lots of adjustments. Macauley and I argued pretty intensely a few days ago (about exactly what I can't even remember now) and after the dust settled and we were in the kitchen kind of doing our own things, Macauley said fairly matter-of-factly but mostly kindly: "Mom, when you get mad at me, my love for you--it's still a LOT--but when you get mad at me my love for you goes down just a little." He gestured just how much with a pinch of his little fingers. "But then, when we're not mad anymore, it goes back up!" Heartwrenching. The next night we were reading books in his bed and out of the blue he said, "Mom, when we get mad at each other, my love for you really doesn't go down. It stays up. It stays A LOT. I love you, Mom." My eyes well up just to think of it again. I hate that I let myself get upset with him like I do, usually after a long day of work and over something that later is rather inconsequential. But we've learned to kiss and make up. And every day I vow to be better than I was the day before. Sometimes I am successful. I love that kid. Period.

05 November 2008

Hello! Anyone still out there?

After almost a month, we are finally connected to the Internet at our new house! And while I am generally opposed to posts without pictures, this brief note will have to suffice to say that we are alive and semi-well and thankfully back in touch with the world. This move has been so, so complicated and just might have cured me of my moving fever permanently. We are having our fourth attempt at getting satellite TV this Friday (we got an awesome 50" plasma to mount above our fireplace since DirecTV wouldn't connect our HD without one). The house is livable but there are still boxes and almost no decorations up. I don't know why, maybe it's because of work or maybe it's all too overwhelming, or maybe it's because some of my stuff is still at the old house so it's staged, but I just haven't gotten any major inspiration on my decorating of the new house. But it will come. I do love the house and the neighborhood is just the best. We couldn't believe how many people fixed up their houses and were out trick-or-treating or passing out candy Halloween night. Macauley loves his school and has 3 kids from his class who live just up the street. Every day we have to negotiate after school play schedules and there is constantly someone over at our house. We discovered this great trail in the woods behind our house that we've been walking on weekend mornings and sometimes after school. The trail follows a little creek and it's all so pretty and woodsy you forget you're in the middle of town. We can let Booker off his leash on the trail and he is one happy dog when we do. I don't know if you've ever seen a dog smile, but if you have, you know what I mean when I say he has that happy dog look the whole walk. Even our cat, Maya Angelou, walked the entire distance with us one morning. So we are mostly taking little baby steps here and there to getting the house in order. I have tried to do at least one "task" each day, sometimes small and others bigger (and this is all in addition to the 100 everyday, routine tasks that must be done), but I just try to check one thing off the seemingly endless to-do list each day. I have gone back to the old house to check on things a couple of times, and it makes me sad, even though I am totally where I want to be. It's such a cute house, all empty. We hired a new realtor a couple of weeks ago, and she thinks she has a buyer who plans to write a contract next week or so (when his divorce is final). So there is hope. We are ready to close that chapter and throw ourselves into this new one. I still walk through this house and think, "I live here? I live here!" I love pulling up to the house at the end of the day. I feel so lucky. And now we have Internet and can get our computers and offices set up again and I can get back to blogging. I've missed it. And there have been many bloggable moments over this last month that I'm afraid I have forgotten or will forget entirely. Oh well. You do what you can do, I suppose. Macauley and I are out of school this Friday, so he gets to go to Arkansas to spend the weekend with my parents. I will meet my mom tomorrow for her to take him. I am looking forward to a quiet weekend with Ryan. I may not even make him do a bunch of stuff around the house. Maybe.

05 October 2008

On the move

We are planning to move to our new house this coming weekend, so I have spent almost every free minute packing up. We've tried to take a few carloads over each night and several this weekend (including a bunch of junk from the garage--the worst to deal with) but won't make the big move until Saturday. I am getting a U-Haul Friday night for us to load as many boxes and as much small stuff as we can, then we are hiring movers for the big stuff Saturday morning. I am so looking forward to getting settled.

Macauley is enjoying the chaos and has found a number of imaginative uses for all the boxes around. He did this drawing Friday night...I can't remember what all he told me about it, but I do know that's me next to the house, in a swimsuit with little trees and people on it.

30 September 2008

She's ours! She's finally ours!

We closed on the new house this afternoon! And while I am still incredibly stressed that we haven't sold our current home, I am so, so excited and thrilled that my dream house is ours! I spent most of the evening there meeting with the various people who will help us with all the loose ends and finishing touches, and I walked through this house in disbelief that I get to live there. We plan to move next weekend, the 11th. I better get packing!

I love the front porch and can't wait to put up a porch swing on that far end. The hooks are even already there.

The front door opens into this entry hall. The door has an old-fashioned doorknob, and the entire house is done with period details but also the most modern conveniences and all energy-efficient, green construction.

Straight through the entry is the living room (where Ryan is) . The door on the left is a little powder room.

There is a study to the left of the front door (no picture yet) and then the red dining room is on the right. I do love red but I want to paint this room a more neutral taupe so I can decorate for the seasons with all my cute stuff.

I have always wanted a butler's pantry, and there is one with hutches on either side of this passage into the kitchen. There is also another built-in hutch in the dining room to the right of the butler's pantry door.

This is the view from the living room into the beautiful all-white kitchen. Love it.

Another thing I have always wanted: a farmhouse sink. See, I told you this was my dream house!

The living room has a pellet stove and built-in cabinetry. Also wired for a flat-screen TV above the fireplace which may not be the most decorative but will be way cool if we ever get one. The big chunky thing in the middle of the room is a cross-section of the walls. The house is made of concrete, surrounded by foam and is built to withstand an F3 tornado! What am I going to do with that big chunk of wall?

Leaded glass windows!

These sliding doors off the living room open into a screened porch with a gas fireplace, and that opens onto a back deck overlooking the backyard and the woods.

There is another small screened porch off the master bedroom. Not sure what I want to do with it yet.

The master bath is super vintage-looking. Macauley said the first thing he wants me to do when we move in is use the tub, which is at this point not even hooked up (one of those loose ends I mentioned). I bought some big glass knobs for the drawers.

This is Macauley's room...a really good size with a window seat both in the room and in the closet, too. He wants to put his toy kitchen in the huge closet and call it his apartment.

This loft with built-in desk is upstairs and there is also a huge bonus room above the garage that doesn't have carpet yet but will be a great media room and playroom.

The builder just put in so much detail. Absolutely beautiful...I get to live here! Unbelievable!

28 September 2008

Big, big bird

Macauley came home from an afternoon with Lindsay and Tyson on Friday (I was getting my hair done) with this little (not) number. He called and asked if he could have a Tweety Bird out of Tyson's garage and I said okay. They pulled up to my hair place with this Tweety taking up an entire seat in the car. My dad came to visit Friday night and took Macauley back to Rogers with him on Saturday so Macauley could help winterize the bathrooms at the camp. What a thrill to ShopVac all the water out of 20 some toilets. Ryan and I have enjoyed a quiet day today but both missed our little bubby as soon as he left.


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