buckets and buckets of snow

Thursday, December 30, 2010

yesterday's drive to the ski village was uneventful and full of amazing sights.

and then down came the snow. bucket loads of it. the drive home was definitely more interesting.


all i wanted was our cozy room, a bottle of wine, a pizza, and a movie. i'm a brat and i got my way. :)

by the time this trip is over, i'm going to be in fabulous shape. the wii is still kicking my butt. skiing is hard work. i'm not sure why there are no elevators here, but the extreme stair climbing (in boots) is doing good things for me and my legs. combine all of those with the altitude adjustment, and voila!

yesterday as i tromped through the blistering snow (i’m seriously not being dramatic), i started thinking about those hikers who got stranded on mt. hood a few years ago. after 10 minutes of weathering the elements, i decided that would totally suck. not my cup of tea at all - i will never attempt to climb a mountain.

but i love, love, love to ski. it's so quiet and peaceful and it's the perfect way for me to clear my mind...1000 tiny footsteps at a time.

our drive to ski this morning was a lot more interesting than yesterday, and i would stop every fifty feet to take pictures if i could be certain that nobody would honk at me or give me the finger.




there is this pretty little stream that follows us up the mountain every day. it's still running and all of its rocks are covered in snow...the branches that bridge across it are dusted with snow, too. no promises on one of those pictures, but i'm gonna try.

as a bonus on this morning's drive, we had an impromptu session of 'worse case scenario'.

'what if a rock fell on us?'

'what if a tree falls on us?'

'what if our car slides off the road?'

'what if a mountain fell on us?'

to all of these, i answered, 'we would call 911.'

'why is 911 strong and we aren't?' she asked innocently and sincerely.

why can 5 year olds pose such vexing questions on a regular basis?

needless to say, the girls are having an absolute blast. cee is like a puppy in the snow. every time we try to walk somewhere, she stops and drops into ‘snow angel’ position and starts flapping her wings, laughing hysterically the whole time. i’ll try to get a picture of this, but she’s quick. this smile doesn't do nearly enough justice to her feelings about being in the snow for a few days.


jay is kind of over the snow and would prefer to be curled up in front of a warm fire with some popcorn and a bowl of fruit. when i picked her up from ski school today, she was almost in tears because she was so tired. and cold. and her little cheeks were lobster red.

i feel just about as tired right now as she did then. my little ones are sawing logs, and i'm not far behind. good night!

we're here!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

what an awesome drive!! the view was breathtaking...and it really did put a dent in the number of times i heard 'are we there yet?' there were so many times i wanted to stop and snap pictures of the view, but i didn't.

they were so excited to finally see snow and to finally be to taos (which, they finally understand, is not dallas).


you won't believe what we found.

the.

coolest.

toy store.

ever.



the store is twirl. if i ever owned a store, this is what i'd want it to be. it's like the kids book store that meg ryan owned in 'you've got mail' except times ten and on crack.

the girls were in hog heaven.


it was a kid's fantasy land inside and out.


check out this fancy spinny orb thing that was in the play area (along with two play scapes, a handful of hula hoops, running ramps, murals, and giant christmas trees)...


after a 20 minute walk from our hotel around the plaza, i decided i could totally live here. in one part of the plaza, there was the toy store, a fabric store, a yarn shoppe, and a book store all within about 50 feet of each other. and a wine bar.

hello, heaven. nice to meet you.

they like it, too.


we are pooped. jay is already asleep and ce and i are close behind her.

more tomorrow.

guns up

Monday, December 27, 2010

we're headed to taos for a ski trip! lubbock was one of our stops, and it was perfect timing for the girls to stretch, run, laugh, and scream. we went to the tech campus and got some pictures that i *love*!!

they had 6 hours worth of 'sillies' to get out of their little systems...


i remember taking my picture by the horse when i was their age...and again many times as i grew up. i hope this is the first of many for them.


her guns are up and ready.


hers are, too.


they were so good on the drive...it was a super long time for them to be relatively calm, still, and seated. they started playing 'i spy a snowy mountain' just outside of brownwood - they're going to be in for a big surprise tomorrow when they see real snowy mountains! they also spied 'snow on the ground' just outside of lubbock...


my favorite question of the day (besides 'are we there yet?' and 'how much longer?') was, 'mom! what's that awful smell!?!?'

i just grinned.

i love the sights and scents of the south plains.

it's fun to visit, and i'm looking forward to more fun tomorrow.

peace and pastures...


(moo)

'twas a very merry

Saturday, December 25, 2010

this may have been one of the best christmases ever. the girls totally racked up on goodies from santa. there is seriously nothing better than seeing your own kids so ecstatic and enchanted and dazzled.

their favorite gift was the new wii. as it turns out, that was also my mom’s favorite gift, and we can all proudly wag our fingers at her for the insane amount of competitive genes that have been passed down through two generations of women. i am going to be super sore tomorrow, but we’ll cross that bridge in about 12 hours.

during christmas eve lunch yesterday we did roses and thorns. everyone had a full bouquet of roses to share, and everyone’s thorn (including mine) was that jerry would be heading home.

i didn’t share my hugest thorn with anyone because i didn’t want to be the scrooge who ruined christmas. we had christmas at the girls’ dad’s house this year…it was our last christmas to have there. he’ll be moving out in a few weeks, and along with his departure go tons of memories. eight years' worth, to be precise.

that house holds the key to beginnings, endings, births, deaths, triumphs, tribulations, and celebrations to last us all a life time.

browning was with us (of course) and he seemed a little distraught at having us all together again. he wasn’t sure where to show his loyalty. every time i took him outside, he walked straight to my car as if to say, ‘seriously, humans? this is just too weird for me.’ doesn't he look pathetic and neglected?


i am sure that i, being a sentimental girl, am the only one who was thinking about the ‘lasts’ of the holiday season instead of focusing on the many blessings we all have, but i couldn’t help it. for some reason, the ‘end’ of that house seems very final and full of closure (which is a word i totally despise).

once that house is gone for good, there are no more pathetic, wayward heart strings to hang on to…this means it’s officially time to move on. and maybe that’s a good thing with the dawn of a new year. i think it’s time, don’t you?

today i am super thankful for all of the blessings this christmas brought to my family, friends, and to me. i am a lucky, lucky woman.

cee stayed with her dad tonight. and jay is with me because….well, let’s be honest. they needed a break from each other now that jerry’s headed back home to the north pole. i'm waiting for someone to invent a dangling carrot for every gift-bearing season, but it looks like i'll be twiddling my thumbs for another eleven months.

tomorrow we’ll be three again…and there’s a fantastic bowling tournament waiting for us!


i hope you and your families had a wonderful, blessed, and stellar christmas! until next time…

peace and perfect pot holders.


merry christmas to all, and to all...

a goodnight.

'tis the season

Thursday, December 23, 2010

today was full of holiday fun and elf-like mischief. i took the girls to see the nutcracker. they loved it and they were so good.

last summer i took them to see mama mia and our performance was sub par. jay didn't grasp the concept of a whisper, and during a very quiet, serious part, she got her fingers stuck underneath her booster seat and let out a screech that let the entire theater know her plight. yesterday was so much better!

we had ourselves a little lunch date before the ballet...


once we got to the concert hall, they were super excited...the kids in the cast were paraded through the mezzanine before the performance, so that made my girls pretty happy, too.


as we walked to our seats, i told them to use every single manner they've ever needed. i thought this covered all my bases. i forgot to tell them that since it was a ballet, there would be no talking or singing. but they figured it out easily.

jay said (whispered), 'oh, i get it - the music is their words.'

cee whispered, 'and the dancing is their feelings.'

during the applause at the end of the first act, cee said, 'clapping is like saying i love you. you just do it when it feels like the right time.'

at the end of act three, i realized that we have never gone over the fact that cat-calling is off limits at the ballet and i had to explain the difference between expressing yourself through clapping and expressing yourself through 'woo hoo!'


all in all, they were mesmerized and angelic. cee had a tooth that was driving her insane...this made our lunch date a little awkward and it made eating her intermission snack tricky. i can tell it's hurting her a lot and i'm sure she'll have that puppy out soon. this is what she looked like for 90% of the day.

when i was tucking jay in tonight, i asked her what her favorite part of our day was. she said, 'i just loved mother ginger and her little bon bons.'

christmas eve is on the horizon...bring it on!!!

peace and plié relevés.

you're welcome...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

...for this delicious little gem. i am beyond jealous of allie's sheer, breath taking genius.

for christmas this year, i give you:
the year kenny loggins ruined christmas.

peace and poise pads. :)

whoa

Monday, December 20, 2010

i have been playing fantasy football for three years now, and i have sucked at playing fantasy football for 2 1/2 of those years.

during my first season, i finished 9th out of 12 teams. my team name was 'hail merry' because i thought it sounded cute. i didn't know that 'cute' wasn't part of the deal.

during my 2nd year, i finished 11th out of 12 teams, and my team name was 'bye' because my friend jftb said that playing me was like having a bye week. sadly, she was right. and in all fairness, the 12th place finisher last year kind of quit playing after the 2nd week because she started grad school. therefore, bye was a pretty decent and appropriate name for my team.

this year?

different story.

entirely different. i'm actually winning! this week ends the semifinals of the playoffs and i'm going to the finals!!

aggghhh!!! this is so laughable to me that i am maybe more amused than excited. to think that sue sylvester is behind my winning season is hardly unrealistic.

it all came from this gem of a line (sue, to her cheerios):

this is what we call a total disaster ladies. i'm going to ask you to smell your armpits. that's the smell of failure and it's stinking up my office. i'm revoking your tanning privileges for the rest of the semester.


so yay me!!

and that's how sue c's it.

p.s. - wish me luck in 'bowl mania' - i will probably plunge face-first into the icy depths of humiliation for this little endeavor. and if i do, i'll feel right back at home helplessly navigating my way though the bizaaro world of football.

p.s.s. - peace :)

skinny rules

Saturday, December 18, 2010


1. feed him two pebbles in the morning and one pebble at dinner.

2. don't feed him at lunch.

3. NO FISH JOKES

4. don't yell or he gets scared and does not eat. then bye bye fish. (from starvation, i guess. also, for the record, i do yell at browning for eating miscellaneous things, but i am pretty sure i won't have any reason to fuss at skinny.)

5. don't stare, either.

6. don't put your finger in the bowl.

minus #3, i can do this.

a fish called skinny

guess what we got for christmas...

...the class pet, skinny the fish.

i found out thursday that he would be our charge for the next two weeks. it's a beta; i figured it couldn't be too difficult. skinny has been at our house for 17 hours, and he is pretty high maintenance as far as fish go.

actually, i think it's cee who's high maintenance. here's the skinny on the rules for skinny (she's making them up as we go):

1. you can't stare at him for too long. it makes him nervous.

2. no fingers in his water. this is a rule i'm comfy with.

3. no fish jokes. yup - you read it correctly. no fish jokes. we learned that one the hard way. cee almost cried when i said, 'gosh, skinny. you're so skinny. eat a burger.' she was equally unamused when i asked him if he wanted fish sticks for dinner. thus the implementation of skinny rule #3.

the girls are headed to waco today for christmas with their dad's family. they just asked who's going to take care of the fish. i said, 'me.' to which cee replied that she's going to need to make me a full list of how to take care of him.

i did take one precaution of my own...i put him in the piano room and i put chairs that block our four legged friend from getting into the piano room. he's been on a rampage lately of eating random things. it's all fun and games until your dog eats the class pet.

did i mention that jerry is having fun with the fish?



i took the girls on a little christmas date last night...they were all smiles, and i was too.


alright - we're off to grab some breakfast. happy saturday!

peace out.

humble beginnings

Thursday, December 16, 2010

i had a fabulous day. besides the fact that i am 28 hours away from christmas break, my kids were awesome today. mostly. i got so many love notes and treats and goodies and hugs - my christmas cup runneth over. my kids this year seriously rock.

after school, i went to a secret santa party where i learned that one of my nearest & dearest had been pampering me incessantly all week - oh what fun!! and that party was followed by more festivities. i am so lucky to work with such awesome people. besides working with them every day, there are some amazing people who i also get to call my friends.

life is good. i am blessed.

at the festivities, sweet jerry's name came up. someone asked where i thought he'd be hiding tonight. i'm happy to report that he's happily nestled all snug in a cozy basket of yarn.



someone else asked for more info on jerry, and when i got home, i got out our jerry memorabilia. this little guy has worked a number on us in just over a year. he's a powerful elf. he's got charisma. and mad skills.


i get out of school 'early' tomorrow. this means that i get to pick the girls up from school. they get to be 'car riders' instead of 'after-schoolers.' it's the first time i've been able to do that this year, and for some reason, it seems like the perfect way to kick off our christmas vacation.

i think a hot cocoa date to starbucks will definitely be in order. who knows what other fun we'll find.

finally, finally, finally...it feels like the holidays.

thanks, jerry, for bringing the christmas spirit back to my house and into my heart. let the celebrations begin!!!

an affair to remember

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

if you missed my last post, jay left jerry a note yesterday that (basically) said 'i love you jerry.'

magically and defying all logic, jerry wrote her back on the note '♥ u 2.'

jay's voice was just about 3 octaves higher than normal when she found this gem from him. my ears are still recovering, but my heart will never forget that moment.

cee was way less than impressed that jerry only wrote to jay (shocker) but pretended she was way over it and the concept of an elf writing a note was ridiculous.

every since they fell asleep, i've been thinking of ways that jerry could 'make it up' to cee...because that's what sick, twisted parents do instead of sleeping or grading papers.

fast forward to my jerry relocation ritual...when i picked him up, i discovered they'd both left him notes tonight.

my heart fluttered...it was seriously too sweet. okay, i'll share...

from jay: 'jerry, you are so nice and talented.' (talented: a word she's used no less than 5 times tonight...luckily one of those times had to do with me and my mothering skills)

jerry wrote back, 'u 2, j.'

from cee: 'from cee: i love you. do you love me?'

he wrote back, 'yes i ♥ u, c.'

thank you, elf lords, for helping solve tonight's dilema.

cee is trying so hard not to believe, and it just isn't working out for her. :)

again: thank you, elf lords.

i think this might be our last magical year with her....but she'll do an amazing job of keeping it going for jay (who will probably believe until she's 15).



be.

still.

my.

beating.

heart.

peace and pygmies...

oh, jerry

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

he is quite possibly the most loved elf. ever.

today i caught the sweetest moment on camera. we have moments like this all the time with jerry...gentle conversations, heart-felt 'good mornings' or tender wishes of 'have a good day, jerry. i love you.'

we have so much adoration for our little guy, but today takes the cake.


i caught jay in the midst of this little scene. she was singing 'this land is your land' and 'god bless america' to him. she opened the door to our china cabinet so he could breathe. and she showed him some of our christmas cards so he'd know our friends.

so super sweet.

they love jerry.

i love jerry.

i love my girls.

i love christmas.

9:20 pm update: and...my night just got better. i just went to "check" on jerry to make sure he was safe and sound. look at the sweet little love note that someone left for him...

the scary lady with the glowing eyes is actually a very special ornament given to me by an amazingly dear friend...she's the marshall fields ornament...she's just a little more shiny than her usual lovely self. next time she promises to powder before having her portrait made.

peace and pleasant surprises...

chopped

Friday, December 10, 2010

we're addicted. we watch it a lot. it has carried over to the girls...

cee: so, chef mommy, what have you prepared for us tonight?

me: freshly made pasta with a blend of butter and cheese.

cee: why thank you, chef. i have to say that your presentation is lovely.

me: you're too sweet, judge. i really appreciate that piece of information.

cee: of course.

(awkward pause)

cee: can i tell you that your pasta has a very crunchy texture, which i appreciate?

me: yes, of course, and thank you. my daughters prefer a crunchy pasta to al dente, so i'm just in the habit of undercooking my noodles.

cee: i like it. no, i don't like it...i love it. you've made a great text to text connection to my taste buds.

me: that's what i was going for. i'm glad you appreciate my contribution to you palette.

jay: do we get to sleep on a palette tonight?

cee: we're playing chopped, jay! stop it!!!

jay: oh. sorry. but do we get to sleep on a palette tonight?

me: be nice.

cee: why? i am criticizing your food and they are never nice.

me: no, i mean be nice to your sister. and why are you going to be mean to my pasta?

jay: what?

cee: why? she's never nice to me.

jay: mom, cee said i'm never nice to her.

cee: nuh -uh.

me: yuh-huh. judges, did you like my dish?

cee: oh, so as i was saying, your pasta is crunchy and moist and it just makes my mouth happy.

jay: then smile.

cee: i am.

jay: it's fake. like the fake picture smile.

cee: m.y.o.b., jay.

jay: mom, what does m.y.o.b. spell?

me: cee, really?

cee: mind. your. own. business.

jay: mom, cee's being mean to me.

cee: no i'm not.

me: you're both chopped. go to jail.
............................................

'jail' is our new term for time out. even though i feel really bad saying 'go to jail,' they respond to it so much better than 'go to your room.'

am i raising future convicts? should i be advertising college instead of jail?

does advertising 'jail' make it more of a future option for them?

i surely hope not...that isn't my goal.

but good gravy, what else am i supposed to do?

somehow, saying 'fine. go to college,' sounds way less punative than 'fine. go to jail.'

or is it just me?

all i know is that there will be no dessert tonight, and they've both been chopped.

peace and pastries.

and sweet dreams...

a little bit country, a little bit rock-n-roll

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

all day i have been craving mac and cheese. it was a weird day, and comfort food was on my radar by about 7:42 this morning. it wasn't until i went to the store that i realized i was craving the pioneer woman's fancy macaroni.

it's mac and cheese with a side of rock-n-roll.

if you haven't had this, you need to. your life is not actually complete until you've sampled the goodness of this dish. check it out:



it has bacon, onions, and a gravy-like mixture. all mixed together. isn't that like the holy trifecta? and lots of cheese....gruyere, fontina, and parmagiana reggiano...

and goat cheese.

i'm not even kidding you. i don't joke about goat cheese.

i followed the recipe to a tee. but i got a little side tracked while my pasta was cooking because i was talking to a friend.

my pasta over-cooked just a smidge. i knew the recipe would be worthless with mushy pasta. especially when the recipe calls for almost-cooked pasta. i utilized my resources.


oh yeah. kraft saves the day. i just bought a four-pack of the cheesiest for cee. i'll have to replinish my stock tomorrow, but it was so worth it.

i wish i could take a picture of the finished deliciousness, but my camera is currently on loan. i have needed it three times in the last 24 hours. i will get it back soon.

but here's what it is supposed to look like when it's done.



mine looks almost like that, with skinny kraft macaronis instead of delicate elbows.

the taste, though, is simply divine.

peace and pasta...

photos courtesy of kraft and the pioneer woman....

and then there was one.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

dear browning,

please don't eat the other gingerbread house, okay?


i know numbers aren't a big deal to you, but you are eleven in human years. in dog years, that's about seventy-seven. you're no spring chicken. and apparently, you are not the first lab to tackle this endeavor. you are way too old to hoist yourself onto our furniture to attack our culinary creations. we don't want to see you with a broken hip or anything like that.

you are extremely lucky that we first thought it was jay's house that you consumed. this gave me and cee and chance to devise a plan to distract her while we cleaned up your latest destruction and hid all of the evidence. we figured she'd never notice that a house was missing.

however, later when we decided to tell her, she informed us that she'd eaten all of the gumdrops off of cee's roof over the course of the last two nights. this is how we learned that you'd actually eaten cee's house, and she was not very happy with you at all. neither was i. jay said she hoped we'd learned our lesson about cover-ups.

have i told you about jerry the tiny elf? he reports back to santa every night, and tonight i am quite certain that you'll be placed on the naughty list for your antics today. there's a good chance that i will be on the naughty list with you for being an accomplice to the aftermath of your mess. let's try to stay off of that for the rest of our lives, okay? i don't want santa to be mad for too long. jay was pretty forgiving, but we won't always be so lucky.

thanks, dawg.

love ya -

me.

(child + yarn) / chair = huge mess

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

thing two found herself in the midst of a conundrum tonight.

i hate to spoil the ending, but the yarn won.

i don't know how things went from good to ugly, but when we got home, she was working on winding a skein of yarn into a ball for me to knit. i always ball my yarn before knitting so i can make sure there aren't any pesky knots.

one minute i saw her happily winding. i went to my room and when i came back, i found this.


with a side order of this.


i asked what happened and she said, 'the yarn got a big nasty tangle and it won't come out.'

i feel like there must have been more, but i can't be sure. i asked her to put the chair back on the floor and try to solve the problem.

she did.


the yarn wouldn't budge.

she tried, i tried.

she cried, i sighed.




in the end, it took scissors to solve the problem.

little miss is not a happy camper right now. the agony of defeat is breaking my heart.

we ended up with a cute little ball of yarn that won't really amount to much from a knitting standpoint, but there will always be lots of memories in this little woolen mound. :)


of course had she not been so tired, none of this would have been a big deal tonight. whoever said kindergarten was easy...lied.


sweet dreams, little love. peace and purls...

the ten days of christmas

Sunday, November 28, 2010

(disclaimer: this is jay's version)

on the tenth day of christmas, my true love gave to me:

ten delicious punk-in pies...

nine sock monkeys...

eight silly munchkins...

seven thousand grades...

six million birds...

five golden rings...

four stocking ladies...

three christmas trees...

two loving families...

and a partridge in our pantry.



our tree is up, our stockings have been hung, and we are now kicked back with a movie in and a fire brewing.

i *love* this time of year for so many different reasons. right now is one of those reasons.

peace and partridge-free pantries...

good things come in small packages...

Saturday, November 27, 2010

...elf-sized packages in my case.

jerry...

is...

back.


remember him?

our elf on a shelf?


it was just like saint nick knew we were in desperate need of a behavior carrot (as in dangling), and lo and behold, jerry showed up this morning.

i don't remember our entire list of rules from last year, but i am 99.9% sure that touching the elf was strictly off limits.

the girls completely disregarded that rule today in their sheer excitement to see him and welcome him back home. it was absolutely adorable.

jay said to him (while petting his head/hat), 'jerry! how have you been? did you have a safe trip? how was your thanksgiving? did you know i'm in kindergarten?'

cee spoke just as sweetly to him (while nuzzling him like a baby), 'hi, little guy. i can't believe you actually came back! are you hungry? we have pie. and look at my teeth! aren't they big?'

i am sick. i am a wheezy, coughing disaster. having jerry back was a huge highlight in my day. meeting a dear friend for lunch was another highlight. and now i need to go to bed. you know why?

because tomorrow is our day to deck the halls!! jerry is here. the pumpkins have been carefully gathered and put away. our house is barren of holiday decor with the exception of jerry and his tiny little self. on my shelf.

bring on the jingle bells!! i promised the girls our house would look like christmas threw up on it this year...i've got lots of work to do.

peace, sugar plum fairies, and fa la la la las...

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