Sunday, November 30, 2008

Deconstructing and Reconstructing

While many of you are putting up your Christmas trees and holiday decorations, we are instead tearing our basement up! Remember last May when we had torrential downpours, tornadoes, simply terrible weather here in the Midwest and the resulting flood in our basement? Yes, it is a distant unhappy memory for me too. But finally, tomorrow we are having drain tile and a sump pump installed. So, we (and by we I mean Mr. Tennis, Connor and me) are cutting 2' feet of drywall, insulation and whatever else is there around the whole front and one side wall of the basement. It's a much larger job than imagined! I'm assisting by carting drywall pieces to the trash, sweeping the floor, pulling up carpet -- the easier jobs! Yes, there goes the rest of the carpet that had not been destroyed by the flooding. OY!! Cboo had no idea what he was getting himself into when he volunteered to assist. Maddy and I moved toys and other items to the dining room -- my neat, uncluttered dining room is no more. After the drain tile and sump pump are put in, we need to have someone come in and re-insulate and drywall. The project just gets bigger and bigger as we will also need to have tile installed on the floor -- no more carpet -- not gonna do that again! Fun times people, fun times indeed! :)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Turkeyday Recap

Even though the title suggests otherwise, we had ham instead of turkey this year. We do like turkey, but Philip and Catherine were headed to her parents later in the day for turkey, so we decided to have ham instead. We had a bit of an eclectic menu including the ham, cheese potatoes, coleslaw salad, fruit salad, ham and cheese quiche, dinner rolls, veggie tray, pumpkin pie and an incredibly yummy chocolate and vanilla marble cake (cheesecake). Amazing that I pulled it off, but everything was ready at the same time -- I love it when a plan comes together like that! Also had a delightful white wine (white goes with ham, right??) Really, I think it goes with anything to tell the truth, don't you?? :)

Ooops -- did I have too much wine? I forgot to take my apron off for the picture!

Before dinner, Maddy challenged the guys to a series of checkers games to determine who is the reigning checkers champion. Can you guess who it is?? Yes, it's Maddy. She beat Philip and Connor in a number of matches very easily.

Later, Maddy and I carried on an old Thanksgiving tradition -- we went to the movies!! We saw Bolt -- a very good movie. Ok, I admit I snoozed a teensy bit during the movie. Actually I missed a key part, but still enjoyed the movie and could answer most of M's questions afterwards.

I ordered this darling "milkmaid frock" for Maddy after seeing it on another blog. Isn't it adorable? And look how excited she is below hearing that we are going to see Bolt!

And now the long weekend, some shopping and some holiday craftwork begins.

Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Early Edition

Here we go with the Thankful Thursday and Flashback Friday- The Early Edition -- all rolled into one post! We have so very much to be thankful for this year.

  • Of course, number one on my list is my dear Hub and incredibly sweet children. You are all absolutely the best!

  • For my parents, Rickster's Mom and our brothers and sisters and their families. Such a wonderful group -- I'm sure we'd all be friends, even if we weren't related.

  • For our good health. There have been a couple blips on the screen in years past, so I am so thankful that we are all feeling good and strong and happy this Thanksgiving. Let's keep it up and stay out of hospitals!

  • For our jobs and all of wonderful co-workers. Work would not be half as fun without you. I know, I know -- you're asking . . . work is fun??? Yeah, sometimes it can be.

  • For all of our friends, far and wide, in real life and in the bloggy world.

Happy Thanksgiving!

And the Flashback Friday photo is from our 2005 holiday photo card.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Weekend Update - Leaves are Falling!

Hey -- news alert -- leaves are falling!! That is definitely better news than snow falling! Last Sunday when the Rickster was out of town, I mowed the lawn in order to pick up leaves. It usually takes me about 15 minutes to mow the front lawn. It took over an hour because I had to empty the bag thingy about 15 times. But, the lawn looked so lovely when I was finished and I do like a nice-looking lawn. Well , guess what . . . the neighbor's tree finally started losing its leaves and my lovely lawn was covered with way MORE leaves than last weekend! Leaves were at least 2-3 inches thick! At least Mr. Tennis was home to assist and we used one of those bag things that basically sucks up the leaves -- way faster than mowing.

Isn't this fun -- watch me toss the leaves that Mom just raked into a big pile!

All the neighbors were putting up their holiday lights and decorations today. How are they all so organized?? Usually, we wait until it is bitterly cold and then quick throw some lights out and hope it looks ok. Our street is a little bit like Chevy Chase's -- everyone (and I mean everyone -- even the little old ladies) puts lights up for the holidays. The Rickster and the guy across the street get especially competitive some years and add new things and more lights weekly. It is crazy ... but fun! And, I'm planning on copying some of the really clever holiday ideas from other bloggers -- you know who you are, right? Will update on that at a later date.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Coronation Revisited or The Ball - Part Deux

Remember when we went to the "big event" in Omaha in October? Guess what . . . we had some family photos taken there. I mean really, how could I resist?? We were all so dressed up and that rarely happens, and . . . surprise, surprise, the event organizers had photographers right there ready to snap as many photos as you wanted! No doubt, a Mom somewhere in the organization knew that other Moms (moi included) would want some some concrete evidence of how good everyone (guys especially) can look if they just focus, get some spiffy duds and take some time to clean up a bit, right?! Love the family shot above (from left Philip, Connor, Rick) and in front (Catherine - Philip's wife- and me) and this one of me and Connor. When did he get so tall anyway??

But, it's obvious, isn't it -- someone is missing from the photos. And little Miss M would not be happy to see photos that she was not a part of --as it is, when she sees an old family photo from when the boys were young, she gets a very sad look on her little face and says, "Where was I? Why wasn't I in the picture?" So, I figured out a way to keep my little princess happy AND get to wear my dress again! Since she is a girl that likes to get dressed up, she and I put on our fancy dresses (yes, I dragged that damn Spanx out again!) and had our photos taken together.

Can I just say while I love all the photos, the ones of Maddy and me together just totally made my day! It's like a dream -- a wonderful, happy dream to have her in our family! I know I am totally gushing here, but she is such a sweet girl. She really made our family complete!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Weekend (Sat) Update

So, how was your Saturday?? Ours was fairly busy, but uneventful if you know what I mean. Mr. Tennis was out of town, so M and I were on our own. I pictured myself getting all kinds of things accomplished, including some cleaning, laundry, decorating, raking leaves, mowing the lawn, reading, a variety of household projects, etc. But . . . I didn't get all that much done really.

Mad and I shopped a little bit. She used her own money to buy a little stuffed pug dog that barks. Yes, another stuffed animal -- they are taking over the house!

I did manage to get some stuff thrown out and the dining room cleaned up a bit. Rumor has it that Thanksgiving isn't too far off -- must get the table cleared so people can eat! However, the dining room still has paint, paint brushes, plastic drop cloths in it from the kitchen painting project that continues into week 4 or 5, but who's counting!

And I did get a little craft project done -- yay me!! I put some ribbon trim on a couple of lampshades that were incredibly blah and boring-looking. Before you think I am so clever, wait --I actually had to call my Mom to figure out the double-sided tape! I am not kidding you -- it was a little trickier than it sounds! :) Wow -- what an exciting day -- maybe I"ll have even more to report from Sunday!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Flashback - Photo Christmas Cards!

As I get ready to do this year's card, I thought it would be fun to look at some old ones. This one is from 2003 -- the first year Maddy was home for Christmas. She was just about to have her 2nd birthday -- what a sweet little round face, eh!! :) My oldest son (in the back) was a freshman in college here and Cboo was a junior in high school. It was such a great holiday season having a little one in the house again!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

Decorating Advice Needed

Oh wise Internet bloggers -- can you help a girl out?? There's my fireplace, yeah, right there. I need some advice on some sconces for my living room. I checked into putting electric light sconces up years ago, but the electrician spent a great deal of time scratching his head trying to figure out the wiring or some such, so I discarded that idea. But, having been inspired by Lisa's cool decorations and the Queen Bee's great re-dos, I found these great wood sconces on sale at Micha*ls for 80% off -- yes, they were only $6 each. So, my question is -- do I just put them up like this or paint them? And if I paint them -- what color - black? white? other? As you can see the fireplace and the wood trim all over the house is painted white.

Here is one of the wood sconces -- so aptly (albeit reluctantly) held in place by the Hub. Other furniture in the room is fairly dark (like cherry) wood. So, do tell, what should I do?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Flashback Friday!

Since it is a bit chilly and windy today (wind chills in the teens - yikes!) and a couple days ago, we had a record high of 79 -- I'm already thinking of warmer times. This photo is from a 2005 vacation to Mexico. It was loads of fun and Maddy loved seeing the towel animals every day! Ummm yeah, I liked those too, but loved the Margaritas! :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Rockstar? Doctor? Teacher? Mother?

What shall I be when I grow up?? This is the big question lately from my little first-grader. Indeed, what shall she be when she grows up? A Rockstar?(watching too much Hannah Mon*tana perhaps); a Doctor?? A Teacher?? A Mother?? She seriously contemplates each career path, discussing the pluses and minuses of each. Hmmm -- a Rockstar would be a really busy life -- so she thinks that maybe she'll need to do that first while she's young. Then maybe become a Doctor-- because that takes a lot of school, so she doesn't want to wait too long to start. A Mommy - she definitely wants to be a Mom, so that makes her think maybe her career should be as a Teacher -- since teachers get the summers and holidays off. So, it seems she has decided that she will be a Rockstar first, then a Doctor, then a Teacher and a Mother! Who said you can't do it all, eh!! :) While the decision is a long ways off for her, as a Mother, I've tried to encourage all my kids to follow their dreams, find something they love and do their very best. That's all we Mothers really want, isn't it!

Wordless Wednesday!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween Weekend Update

Wish I had a great intro for my Weekend Update like SNL, but no such luck. But . . . our weekend was lots of fun! We started Friday night by having BFF Mei and her Mom over for dinner before trick or treating! Oh yeah, I go all out for company -- we had hot dogs, chips and nachos!! Hey, at least I knew the girls would eat the fancy fare I made and I was right -- they gobbled it right up!! :) Here they are just before starting out -- Mei was one of the girls from Camp Rock and Maddy was . . . well, the Princess Witch! The hat only lasted for the photos!

After going a few blocks during which time, the girls raced from door to door and argued (in a nice way, of course) over who got to ring the doorbell, we ended up back at our house. Then the real fun for them began. Yes, they both said it was more fun to hand out candy than actually trick or treat! Blasphemy -- if you ask me!! When I was kid -- it was all about procuring a LOT of treats! Alas, the competitiveness of these two BFFs continued as they each had a bowl of candy. They didn't wait for the trick or treaters to come to the door --- no, they went out to the front walk to grab unsuspecting trick or treaters to try and be the first to throw candy in (or in some cases), at the little ghosts and goblins who chanced upon our walk! It was loads of fun and the weather was so great -- that there were lots and lots of trick or treaters out -- which kept both girls busy and happy!! Now, it's Sunday night and time to get ready for school and the week ahead. Hoping that the teachers are ready for a bit of sugar overload tomorrow!