Friday, December 26, 2008

Old School Christmas Tree

According to old Hollywood movies people used to get and decorate their Christmas trees on Christmas Eve, or sometimes Santa himself would deliver it. How magical.

I personally prefer to have the tree up the whole month of December; however, in our life, things rarely go according to plan (someday I'll explain our family motto of "Completely Unprepared for Absolutely Everything"). So, its not really to surprising that being out of town in the beginning of December threw everything off. Add to that a big snow storm this past weekend and we found ourselves out on Christmas Eve looking for a Christmas tree.

The only "real" place (i.e. a plant nursery/tree lot) that still had trees was selling $80.00 trees for 40% off...I'm sorry, not a good enough deal for the Udys! So what if they were beautiful, they still shoud have been $20.00 - IMHO. So we finally gave in and headed to Wal-mart (not even the nice one in the next town over, but the trashy one down the street from us) for the tiny trees I'd seen leaning against the building for $10.00. And lo, they had been further discounted to...

...wait for it...


A Christmas miracle. (Okay - don't worry, we aren't that poor, we were planning to spend a lot more than that but still - FIVE DOLLARS! You can't loose!)

Before - Aaron is trying to put on a "poor me" face next to our shrimpy tree.

As you can see, it turned out wonderfully and I loved the idea that Tessa would wake up to a Christmas tree, lights, decorations AND presents. Yeah!

After - LOVE IT!

Christmas Surprise

I had an ultrasound on Tuesday, it was scheduled at the last minute so Aaron wasn't able to come. I didn't want to know the gender of our baby before he did, and so, since Christmas was right around the corner I had the u/s tech write down the gender and seal the paper in an envelope. Contrary to popular belief, I did look away from the screen when the tech got to "that part" and so I was as clueless as Aaron.

I carried the paper around in my purse for TWO WHOLE DAYS and it nagged at me the whole time. But I was a good girl and waited until Christmas to open it.

The note is now posted on our fridge and reads:

"Congratulations. Its a Girl."

We were both expecting a boy - but are thrilled to be having another girl. Yeah!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Grandpa's Trains

While we were visiting Idaho Falls, Grandpa's trains were a big hit. Believe it or not, I think he got bored with running them before Tessa got bored with watching them. I think a lot of fascination had to do with the train car that dumped M&Ms, but there was a lot of things she thought were magical.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Gift and ANOTHER endorsement

For Christmas my little sister Laura made me a book about our experience with Tessa's birth and hospital stay.

You can read it here

Laura is a consultant for Heritage Makers. Unlike other photo books and/or scrap booking systems Heritage Makers helps people to tell the story as much as on the pictures and layout.

I was really touched by the book she made us. Thanks Laura.

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Most Embarrassing Brag

I finished a quilt.


I'm not proud of myself.

I started it in 2006.

I actually gave it to my Mother-In-Law last year for Christmas, unfinished.

I took it home to finish it.

And it took me all year.

Talk about an anti-climatic gift.



Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Mishaps & Endorsements

I guess no Christmas travel is complete without its adventures, even if is a non-Christmas-early-December-attempt-to-avoid-travel-excitement trip.

Well to be honest, we (and by that I mean Aaron) only had one, pretty major, travel mishap. The other mishaps happened after we (and by that I mean I) got home. But I am going to use this forum to get sympathy for them as well. :)

Mishap #1: Aaron vs. Airport security - When Aaron got to work last Thursday and told a co-worker that he had lost his license she asked "What did you do?" She apparently was a bit scarred from being a passenger while he was driving them around Philadelphia on a business trip. He clarified that he had lost, as in "misplaced" it - not lost as in "had it suspended".

The timing of this was rather unfortunate. You see, Aaron returned to MA from ID a few days before I did via the 4:10 am shuttle to the SLC airport. At 8:45 am I get a call from him with the question "Have you seen my driver's license?" I insta-panic for a second before I find out he was already through security with an hour to spare before his flight.

However getting through security involved the following:

  • A phone interview between some unseen security guy and Aaron, through the ticket counter guy. Various semi-random questions were asked that would come up on a quick background check and then what we assume was confirmation by the ticket agent that Aaron fit the description on his drivers liscense photo...which we assume is available to high level airport security via the inter-web.
  • Removing an extra 7 lbs of luggage from his overweight suitcase (which he shoved in his carryon).

  • A rigorous security screening which triggered a positive for nitroglycerin (2nd time this has happened to us...anyone with insight why?) and resulted in an even more up close and personal search of his person (clothes stayed on in case you I did. I believe the phrase Aaron used to describe it was "just shy of invasive").

Moral of the story - it isn't the end of the world to show up at the airport without ID, but it is definitely better to check for your drivers license before you leave the house.

Non-mishap #1: Emily vs. travel with a toddler - Luckily Aaron was our weathervane for bad travel luck on this trip and despite my extreme anxiety about weather conditions and behavior (of both Tessa and I) our trip home was a breeze.

Related Endorsement #1: This was the first time we flew Southwest and I am a big fan because -
A) We got a screaming deal.
B) you can reschedule your tickets if you want (which makes total sense to me and I think other airlines are real ninnies for being so strict with their policies).
C) The flight crew attempts to be humorous.
D) the seats are unassigned and parents with children under 4 get to board very near the beginning of the group.

We had to use a smaller airport, Manchester, NH, which was only slightly farther away than Logan Airport but so much friendlier. And parking was even cheaper than we'd thought so perhaps next time we'll just suck it up and pay for parking (shocking) - Thanks to the Browns for letting us park our car at their house!

Related Endorsement #2: Southwest uses the Chicago Midway airport and in this airport they have a restaurant called the Potbelly Sandwich Works. I was drawn in by the reasonable prices of their sandwiches (even cheaper then I'd expect to pay in the "non-airport" world) and then as an added bonus because I had a baby with me an employee took my order and I didn't have to wait in line. I got teary-eyed at this. Seriously.

Mishap #2: Aaron vs. writing a check - First thing in the morning, after returning to "real life" at home I get a phone call from our local bank branch.

Turns out our mortgage check wasn't going to clear without over drawing our account by $1000+. Once again insta-panic...but for longer than a moment. The bank manager said if we could transfer the money into the account he would process the check after we did that...but what money would I transfer...and HOW did this happen? I had just gotten paid before we left, we didn't spend much money on the trip, and Aaron had just gotten paid that past Friday.

I asked the bank manager (whose name is Chad) if I could call him back...I checked the balance via the 800-number and we had more than enough to cover the check...what the...? I called Aaron...he hadn't written any big checks (I'll admit, I was a bit disappointed to find out I wasn't getting a mink shoal for Christmas)...there really must have been a mistake. So I call the bank back (after confirming the phone number Chad gave me was legit and I wasn't being scammed...I am so cynical), told Chad I was really confused, explained why, and somehow in the course of the conversation realized that, although Aaron had assured me that he "could handle writing a check" he had in fact written one from my "business account" which, sadly has no money in it, instead of from our joint account. WHAT A RELIEF...a quick transfer of funds and problem solved.

Related Endorsement #3: Sovereign Bank, Essex St. Salem Branch & Chad. True, we have unknowingly bounced a check (or two) with no phone call - but I was sooooo incredibly relieved that he called to solve this issue. They actually did a similar thing a few years ago when a huge check had initially cleared but 7 smaller checks didn't. Without a phone call they swapped the order and saved us $231 in over draft fees. AND when we refinanced our home equity loan the same week Tessa was born the manager at that time (Rhonda, I believe) was incredibly helpful. And of course it also helps that they haven't collapsed.

Mishap #3: Emily vs. spoiled toddler - While we were in Idaho, in unfamiliar surroundings I had to rock Tessa to sleep each night in order to have any success putting her to bed. So of course she was pretty mad that I just plopped her in her crib when we got mad that she made herself vomit. Yeah...that was Tuesday night, Wednesday night Daddy was on duty (and he rocked her to sleep), so I am very anxious to see how Thursday night goes...

...just an update - I'm finishing this post during Thursday nap time and she went to sleep as she usually does (sans vomitting)...fingers crossed for tonight.

Mishap #4: Emily vs. Target parking lot - Picture me happily doing some Christmas shopping. Then picture me standing in the freezing cold drizzle trying to decide if I should have my car towed because it won't start or if I should just call a friend to get a ride home and let Aaron deal with it later that night. Don't worry, it all finally ended well when some amazing, wonderful, fabulous friends came by and managed to jump start our very very very dead battery. This was after a previous, unsuccessful attempt by a kind stranger who was parked in front of me. I was pretty much resolved that there would be a towing bill and a new alternator in my future...but that was not to be. After that I had some quality time with a box of chocolates...and I don't feel guilty at all.

Related Endorsement #4: Dusty and Crystal Pyne - who are amazing and wonderful (and have a really cute daughter). I am so grateful that in additon to a link to their blog I'm going to go ahead and link to the Chik-fil-a in the Northshore Mall. They own it, we love it - and if you order right it is very healthy. I do not - I order the chicken nuggets & waffle fries, which I coat in Ranch dressing, and a milk shake to top it off.

Suggestions please

I saw a great idea for an advent activity on one of my favorite blogs...

The Crafty Crow

The idea is to have a different Christmas book to read each day in December. I figure it'll take me around 5 years to collect 25 Christmas books if I only buy a few a year (actually, if I only buy a few a year that will take 10 years...but I'm not going to be THAT frugal!)

Anyway - I was hoping you could offer suggestions on children's Christmas books you love. I want uplifting (but not too heart rending in order to give my hormonal self a fighting chance) with cute pictures...not too much to ask. A good moral would also be nice.

Don't worry - I already have a special place reserved for "Poochy the Christmas Pup."

Stay tuned for travel adventure updates...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Just a note

By the way - I'm out of town. I still need to catch up on a lot of things but that will have to wait.

In the mean time you can anticipate hearing about Aaron's adventures at the airport on his trip home. Looks like our holiday travel curse strikes again.

Monday, December 1, 2008

More proof he's paying attention

On Tuesday night I saw Twilight.

I went with some girlfriends, which was good since Aaron may not have appreciated the 13-year-old-like giggling that was happening in the theater (not from me though...of course not).

When I got home that night I was on a sexy-seventeen-year-old-vampire-induced-high (yikes, I know, creapy). Aaron was waiting with his lips puckered - however the high could not cover up the need I had to visit the ladies room (16 oz. of soda) so I had put his kiss on hold. When I came back in the room he puckered up again and when I kissed him his lips were ice cold.

Apparently he had remembered this blog* I had him read...remembered and applied...good job honey. Good job.

I included this a the most recent pic I have of him - the cat has nothing to do with it...but he's cute.

*The blog I linked to is really long, so in summary, if you want your Edward infatuated wife to fall head over heals for YOU try, among other things, sucking on an ice cube before kissing her.