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Oh Happy Day!

What a day.  What an incredible, amazing, historical day.  

First, personal history.  Emily’s first snowstorm hit Charlotte and it was also the first the Jayden was really old enough to appreciate….they LOVED it.  Well, Emily kinda loved it, and then fell hand first in it, and hated it too. 🙂 it is so funny to me, miss Northern girl to see these children so amazed at the sight of snow.  I couldn’t put the camera down, they were ENTHRALLED.  Jayden took all day to learn the concept of a snowball, and I realized (as I tied the plastic bags over my children’s shoes) just how funny it is that in this house you have to search for anything the resembles boots, or looks like a warm hat.  I thought about the fact that my kiddos do not need to own a sled, and while I can not say that I do not love the weather down here, because I do, that thought made me a bit reflective.   I think we may need to find an ice rink in Charlotte to make me feel better.

But, of course, the snow today was just the icing on the cake.  Today was according to Jayden “Obama Day”!!!! WOW, I can not even describe the emotions I felt all day today.  I was (and am) so incredibly proud to be an American today.  Watching Barack Obama take his place as the next president of our country swelled me with Joy, and watching it with my children made me feel like there truly was a monumental moment in history that I could share with them.   I could go on and on, but in a nutshell, I was felt happiness, amazement, pride at this moment.  I was the cornball who took pictures of the clock on the VCR the moment that he became president.  I wept like a baby during his speech, I cried like a little girl at the benediction.   I laughed at the wardrobe choices (loved the hat Aretha, only you could have pulled that off!) and I crossed my fingers and prayed to something for his safety when he walked in the parade and I felt he was “exposed”.  I was scared this day would not come, I was cautious when it did.  Now that it is here, and done, I am happy, proud, and hopeful for our future.  One man can not change the course we are on, One man can not “fix” this nation….. but One man CAN inspire a nation to rebound.  One man CAN bring a country together, and help heal broken spirits.  THIS man, CAN and HAS done that today.  I am proud to be a mom, an American, and someone who voted in this, our most historical election.

now for some pictures of the day, since I am crying like a baby all over again.

First, the snow day……

that fall ended the love affair with the white cold stuff…..

Jayden’s first look–

after many attempts…… he got it, and gave it a try…..

and here are some shots of our “Obama Day”

this is during the speech, Jayden listened to the whole thing, I was so proud of how captivated he was!

all in all, a great day!! Happy Obama Day to all….. I am so glad Bush is out of office…. and so happy that the future is in front of us!

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Emily’s new Jewels….

just had to share some pictures of Emily showing off her new Amber teething necklace, this thing is supposed to excrete oils into the skin that have great anti-inflammatory properties, and be great for cutting teeth, and with her molars coming in, it is not a moment to soon to try this out!!

I also happen to think it brings out her eyes wonderfully……

what a little sweetie!

adding a little attitude to her pose….

close up of her jewels…..

you wanna know what the sweetest thing is?? she LOVES wearing a necklace.  She is such a girly girl…. yesterday she brought me a hair tie, and pointed to it, and said “this” and I put it in her hair and she IMMEDIATELY went to the mirror, smiled and giggled out loud…. it is really cute!

and this is just thought was funny, because this is the way Emily watches tv…… where did she pick this up??

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Sorry, I have been meaning to blog for a few days now, and I got busy:

What can you do…….

this is my all time favorite picture for this holiday season, I just love it.  I wish it were in better focus, but it is still my favorite shot.

I do not even know where to start about Christmas.  With everything that has been going on with Aaron, and his job, and money being as tight as it was, I did not think we were going to have a very large Christmas.  I could not have been more wrong.  My wonderful friends at CHARLOTTEMOMMIES.COM reached out to me, when I was too proud to admit that I wanted help, and a wonderful family adopted mine and truly taught me what they Christmas spirit is all about.  The family that wanted to give my children a wonderful Christmas has the biggest heart of pretty much any family I know.  This past year, they lost their youngest baby, a little girl named Paxton, to a rare and awful seizure disorder.  In her honor, they wanted to spend the money that they would have spent on Paxton, making another child’s Christmas special.  Emily and Paxton were only 19 days apart in age, and her story was one I followed very closely, and held very close to my heart.   Well, to put it very simply, they made our Christmas VERY special, and they will forever be in my heart.  The toys were awesome, Jayden and Emily LOVED everything, and had a BALL Christmas day.  Jayden is the kind of kid who wants to open say, 100 piece puzzle and then put it together and play with it for an hour until he is ready to open something else.  It LITERALLY took us until 7 pm to open all the presents.  It was a magical day, and I was so lucky to have been able to have it be so special for them.

This was the tree, decorated, after Santa visited…… (I put the trampoline down under the tree, and stacked the presents on it….)

I got up at the CRACK of dawn to get everything out and arranged…….this is a close up of the tree and the bounty…..

Here were Santa’s stockings…… the kids would have been happy with just these from the way they reacted…. it was hilarious.

“Socks mom, I got MORE socks!!!!!” this would be how my kid reacts to socks in his stockings…..

I also put out more snow on the patio before they got to see it, but the picture was not as great….. so just use your imagination….

I got some cute shots of Emily dressed in her Santa hat-

Some of the favorite toys of the day were a remote control car, that makes Jayden CRACK up every time it hits anything….. a basketball hoop and ball that he is desperately trying to master, this cool red bounce ball that he is prone to taking all over the living room and falling off of, multiple puzzles that he LOVES, some great books, Thomas gear that he adores, and what I call “Brain games”, things that let him learn, which really he is all about.  His cousin sent him some really cool linking blocks (thanks Maddie) and so much more it would be too long to list……

Emily, cares about ONE toy, and one toy ONLY.  Santa (aka: Paxton’s family) gave her a little pink fairy ride on toy, and I swear if you removed ALL other toys from the house, and that was the ONLY thing to play with in this whole house, she would be PERFECTLY happy.  There is a little button on the front, and it sings “In a magic fairy land, where fairies play all day…..” I SWEAR to you, it has been pressed more then 100 times since Christmas morning…… I kid you not, the kid is OBSESSED.  we may have to “lose” the batteries one of these days, but for now, she is too happy for me to care…… 

And then there was the Kitchen…….. the Kitchen was a HUGE hit, they LOVED it!!! Thanks Nanny and Granddad for sending that down!!!

I LOVE them using imaginative play, and Santa brought them a tea set, which went with the kitchen perfectly…… Emily also got a VERY nice tea set from Nanny, but that is going to be saved for tea parties 😉  The kitchen is the perfect size, and it fit just right.  Mooma sent some awesome utensils and the kids just loved playing with it…..

here is Jayden taking orders….

So, that was the bulk of our Christmas story, it really was an incredible day, I thought a lot about what Christmas means, and next year we are going to adopt a family, and make someone else’s day, as special as it was made for us.  Thank you to our family, our friends, and CHARLOTTEMOMMIES.COM.  Everyone is VERY grateful for all that we got.  

To learn more about Paxton, her family, and their story, click HERE . 

Merry Christmas to all, I hope everyone’s day was as filled with happiness and joy as ours was!

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We WON!!

the Patio of the month contest that is!!

Our Apartment complex held an apartment of the month contest and the prize was $50 BUCKS!!! there were no specific “rules” just that creativity and imagination would be factors.  So I thought up an idea that we could use the four corners of our patio to be four different “parts” of Christmas.  Four different scenes.  

First there was the north pole.  There was a sign above the lamp that said “North Pole” and the letter hanging on the post was addressed to Santa, and sent from Jayden.  My picture of this after dark did not do it justice but lit up the mailbox looked really sweet.

The second corner was “Santa’s workshop”:

Which also had our little elf in the corner on the day of the judging (Friday)…..

The third corner was supposed to be “Santa’s lap” kinda like the next thing you get to do after mailing the letter to the north pole etc…. 

For the Judging we sat Jayden in the Chair with a Santa hat on, but again, I was too busy to snap a picture so I will have to get him to go sit back out there and snap another shot.  It was just our regular chair with some greenery and snow……

and then in the fourth corner was our tree.  

Last year it was rather cramped in the living room with the tree in there, and the dog and baby were SURE to bother it again this year, so we figured that since it has been in the high 60’s most days, and hasn’t gotten that cold at all, we would keep the tree outside this year, and Christmas morning would be like our own special magical adventure……. that, and the whole Santa breaks into your house thing never sat well with me, and since we are void of a chimney, I thought this would be a more logical leap for our little brainiac Jayden to make sense of……. I think the concept that the big guy leave presents on your porch make a lot more sense then anything we ever heard as a kid…..lol….. maybe this will become a tradition??

Who knows, but the “special” decorations and toys etc… are not going to be placed under or on the tree until the crack of dawn on Christmas morning….. we do not want to assume that anything would happen to them if left out now, but you never know and that is the LAST thing I want to deal with this year.

so, for now, all the ornaments on the tree are replaceable, and non-sentimental, and the “scenes” were taken in after we won, but I do think it is a very cute idea, and I think that Christmas morning will be really special this way!

More Christmas pictures are still to come, I will get them up tomorrow I think, I hope these tided you over!

here are a few more shots of the patio as the lights went down….. I think the one above is still the best shot, but these were interesting as I played with shutter speeds and what-not.

The pictures didn’t really get the “whole” picture, but hey one of these days I will have a fish angle lens right??

This was at about 5:40 (20 min after sunset)

this is about 4 min later…….

So, we got fifty bucks out of this deal, and thanks to my friend Shannon who donated the lights and reindeer and helped me with this, we only really spent about $10 bucks TOTAL for this, and that is a gross profit of $40!! Can’t beat that when it comes with this much Christmas sprit attached.  Jayden took one look, gasped and said “WOW mommy, that is BEAUTIFUL!!!!” and then proceed to BEG us to let him eat dinner out on the patio, which we all did.  Great for the spirit, great for the wallet, Happy holidays all!!

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We took the kids to see Santa this weekend, and had a blast, thought I would share some pics….

First we met Rudolf

Then Frosty

I tried to get a cute Christmas shot of the two kids together, but they were in less then good moods 😦 they made it through the adventure, but you can tell from this picture that they really wanted to be home napping……. 

Then we saw the Big Guy himself:

Emily was trying to pretend that she was shy, and REFUSED to look at the camera.  It was VERY cute, and I tried as I might to get her to face forward, but it was to no avail…..

Then Jayden got some one on one time with Mr. Clause, and got to tell him all his wishes…….

and after his visit, he signed his name on the list of good children all by himself….

Then it was Emily’s turn to meet Rudolf…… 

and after kissing him (seriously the sweetest thing I have EVER seen)..

Emily decided to try out her position on the nice list and be a naughty girl….. she got the look of sweet devil in her eyes, and ripped off Rudolf’s nose.  I cracked up, I couldn’t help it, I apologized to the man, but we left with his bright red nose hanging off his snout, and tears of laughter silently running down my face.  Emily is such a little trouble maker, but she is SOOOO cute when she does it that it is nearly impossible to be mad at her…….

So, that was our trip to the north pole (aka: Black lion) this year, it was a lot of fun, and just thought you would all get a kick out of the photos.

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Yes We Can……

this is Jayden’s new catch phrase.  He yells it in the grocery store, he hollers it at the park.  He screams it at his father when asked to do something.  It is really really funny, and kind of hilarious when he says it in public.  

but that is not what this post is about.  I am thinking about Jayden because he has been on my mind a lot lately.  He is going through a lot of changes, and experimenting with new boundaries, and sometimes, it is all I can do to keep my temper in check when dealing with him…. but the point is, most days l love that little boy so much that I can hardly stand it.  No, I should amend that.  ALL days I love that child more then I can stand, but some days, and some moments in those days seem to be almost unbearable with how much you can love something else in this world.  

Pride is a big part of it.  Jayden makes me SO proud to be his mom.  He makes me so proud that I actually FEEL my chest swell when he does something amazing and the thought that *I* (we) MADE that…… well, it is really not a feeling I can properly express in words. 

So, that is it.  Just had to give my favorite son his props.  He made me a mom, he fulfilled my greatest dreams, and he continues to amaze me every day.

this is unrelated, but this is a video of Jayden reading his mail, and let me just tell you, he LOVES getting mail.

so enjoy– and Dad, this is especially for you 😉

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Thanksgiving 2008

I suppose Thanksgiving for me this year really started on Wednesday…. I made the pies then, and my family arrived and the “holiday” just seemed to be in the air.

I got a picture of my apple pie in the making, but people gobbled it up so fast after served, that I only got the “before” pic…. the after picture never got snapped.

I have to say though (to pat myself on the back) that both my father, AND my husband said it was hands down the best pie I had ever made, that was awesome!  I made 2 pumpkin ones too, which were my first attempt, and I was happy with them, but not THRILLED.  I think I will work on that recipe for next year.

so, Thursday starts with me trying to get my hands between the skin of my “young fresh brined turkey” to separate the fascia and spread my stick of softened butter mixed with sage UNDER the skin to make the moistest bird possible……I also tried the “bag” method for the first time ever (which is cooking it in a cooking bag made for turkeys..) and I have to say, it turned out JUST the way I wanted.

that turkey, along with the side dishes that were a group effort of my mom, my sister, and myself, I really think ALL the dishes we made were a great success….. I know this is going to sound snooty, and it is not meant to be, but I was SO proud that we could make an almost ALL organic meal this year!! YAY!! I tried really really hard to buy local, and even things like the butter, and the pumpkin, and apples etc… were local and organic.  I TOTALLY noticed a taste difference, but what is more, is I felt like I was helping support the kind of food I want to support on the most food oriented day of the year.  It made me feel really good!

We had a wonderful dinner all told, and Jayden and Emily LOVED being with family.  He loves both of his sets of grandparents SO much, and being able to see them both in the same month was like a gold mine for him.

We borrowed a table from our leasing office, and the chairs from our neighbor, and I think it looked pretty good:

I even asked Aaron to go get our “good” china out of storage, and even though we have not even opened it since our wedding, it REALLY made me feel like I was holding a formal holiday, I was really happy to get to FINALLY use it!

I really had forgotten how beautiful it was….

I think one of the coolest parts of my whole day was getting to SKYPE my sister lisa in BRAZIL!! She has been doing adventure, semester abroad traveling for I think 3 months now?? it seems like it may be longer then that, I think she left in August?? anyway, it has been a REALLY long time, and I had not spoken to her since she left… then thanksgiving morning, my other sister Katie, (who was here) saw that she was online (thanks facebook!!) and we turned skype on, and got to chat with her for almost a hour!! It was the next best thing to having her here, and although we really wished she was home, it was almost cooler that she could be in another country, and still in my living room……

so that was a great way to begin the day, and then…….we ate…….

this was my homemade bread

and the turkey (which I do not think the picture give’s justice too)….

and here is the whole spread….

clockwise: Katie, Keenan, Emily (hidden), Aaron, Aram, Tina, Jayden (hidden)

this was everyone getting ready to dig in, Keenan who is my sister’s boyfriend is blocking Emily in this shot, I will get to her in a second, and Jayden was sitting behind Mooma (my mom)….. 

so, here is Emily getting ready to BINGE.

so after the meal, (which Emily was none to happy about) it was time for silliness….. first it was mooma…

then Poopa….

and then my sister Katie, laughing at our parents being silly…..

this would be the scene that ensues when one tries to get my father to pose “properly” for a photo….

thanks for trying Katie!

the day wrapped up with the children getting their fill of loving family 

all in all, a really great time, I loved doing Thanksgiving here in Charlotte.  Last year, it was Boston Market in the hospital 2 days after giving birth, the year before that it was traveling with a small baby to the deep cold of the north (just kidding ya’ll) and the year before that, well, I have mommy brain and can’t remember that far back, so lets just say that I *THINK* this is the first real “holiday” I have “hosted” here in NC, and I really liked being able to do so.

So what else is new?……

well, today was a really good day (or at least it ended well) I got this new point and shoot camera a few months ago, and I really loved it, but about a month ago, I was taking a picture with it, and this spider web pattern of broken pixels showed up on the LCD.  I was completely devastated, and I will admit a little pissed too, partly that it busted, and partly because I did not buy the protection plan that would have allowed me to get it fixed for free…..

Anyway, the point to all this, is that on black friday I stopped into Wolf Camera thinking that I would price out a few things to put on my wish list, and I kinda complained about what had happened.  And they said THEY WOULD FIX IT!!!! I had already called another one of their stores, and they had essentially told me that I was out of luck.  Well, I also brought up the fact that a tripod that I had bought from them needed a replacement part, and they said when I brought the camera back, I could bring that in too, and they would take a look.

Well, I went tonight… and they not only fully REPLACED my camera (even without a receipt) they also REPLACED my TRIPOD!!!!! That tripod was FOUR years old! I am so happy! 

I am so happy that in a world that is basically 100% anti customer these days (or at least it seems) there was a company that wanted to do right by the customer, and in this case it was ME! and that rules, and totally made my day.

So, that is about it for now….. Emily is almost full time walking, Jayden has learned almost all the countries of Europe and proudly corrects me about their location when he is quizzing me….. and I am more tired then I think I have been in a month.

I think I need a vacation from my holiday…… I will write more soon!

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