Don't let the door hit ya' in the ass on the way out.

I feel like I should have some well thought out profound post for today. But, um yeah, I don't. What you aren't surprised? Me either really, because these are the oh so random things running through my brain today.

How the hell am I possibly going to get up early tomorrow for a long day of work after attending a very fun New Year's Eve party tonight?

This is the first time since the year we got engaged we are going to a New Year's Eve party. Really we moved on New Year's Eve one year. As hubby says, why go out on the night all the amateurs are out drinking and driving? The party tonight is in the neighborhood, no driving required.

Back to the subject of work, besides the normal everyday stuff I have to process all the Christmas returns. Like ASAP. More hours does equal more money. But did I mention the more hours part? Remember I wasn't even really looking for a job when this one dropped in my lap.

On the flip side: I have a job in this crappy economy. And those extra hours are pretty much when I schedule them.

Guess what I got my oldest daughter hooked on over the break? MADE on MTV. Dude, now I want to be MADE!

It occurred to me Monday while simultaneously watching One Tree Hill on the CW and searching MTV online for program listings for when the newest Real World is starting that perhaps this is not normal tv viewing for a thirty *ahem* something mom. Look at me, single handedly throwing off the viewing demographics!

Moving on, let's end our year at the shallow end of the pool. Shall we? Yes, yes, we shall. Cause it's my blog and I can drool if I want too.

Our checker at the grocery store today? Looked just like Zach Gilford aka Matt Saracen from Friday Night Lights. Seriously they could be brothers. I think I'll be shopping at noonish on Wednesday more often.

Seeing him reminds me that I read my favorite Friday Night Lights hottie Taylor Kitsch is rumored to have bought a condo in South Austin. I have a niece looking at places to live in Austin. I told her... um begged her to check out the south side of town.

What?! A woman can dream can't she? I mean seriously who wouldn't enjoy seeing this at the complex pool?
I'll leave you with that little fantasy for the new year. You are welcome!

OR The Resolution to the Santa Dilemma.

Let's back up a few days to Christmas Eve. We were waffling back and forth, tell her, not tell her. Then before church she sat down to write a thank you note to Santa. Look at that determination. How could we ruin her Christmas and disappoint that face? So we did what all good parents do, we cooked up a good lie. We left the box in the garage and daddy filled it with scrap wood to make it heavy. Then we talked about how Hanukkah lasted until the 29th. The plan was if she asked about the box in the garage it would still be out in the garage, if disappeared Christmas morning that would be a dead giveaway we had moved it. It was ready for daddy to deliver to one of the Jewish men he works with for his daughter, wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

But I'll be damned this child looked like that at 5:00am aka the butt crack of dawn's butt crack. Because SANTA WAS HERE!

So this.... this was the time on the clock when child #2 was woken up by her big sister. Yes, we sent Breanna in to get Brooke. She just kept kept repeating Santa, dollhouse, blah, blah, blah. Can't see my toys, yada, yada, yada. With not even a peep about that box in the garage. This parental torture lasted for roughly half an hour until we exhaustedly (is so a word spell check!) gave in.

Then before the sun even thought of rising Breanna and I were dressed and out side to ride the very dangerous against my better judgement Ripstick she got from the big man himself. And no that's not snow, it's just a drizzling rain. But it looks cool, doesn't it? Note the neighbor's lights are still obviously illuminated in the wee morning hours.

And never again has anyone spoken of the friggin big ass dollhouse box in the garage. It has been completely and forever forgotten. And mommy didn't ruin Christmas. But there's always next year!

2008 was a bit of a roller coaster for the _____ family.

Every time I start to write this year's Christmas letter I think of the movie Parenthood. You know when the grandma talks about her first ride on a roller coaster? "I always wanted to go again. You know, it was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited, and so thrilled all together! Some didn't like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it."

There were highs.
Brian and I celebrated a few milestones this year, including my 20th High School Reunion, Brian's 40th Birthday and our 14th Anniversary.

And lows.
Brian was without a job for part of the summer. And we had to say goodbye to our sweet old black lab KBHR in August.

With lots of twists in between.
We bought a new car and took a big road trip to Texas to visit friends and family for Spring Break. And then a vacation on Anna Maria Island for the 4th of July.
On the job front, Brian got a good new job with a subsidiary of Clear Channel and I went back to work part time after 9 years at home with the girls.
Brooke turned 5, and started kindergarten. She spent enough time in the pool this summer to turn into a mermaid. She has also covered our doors and her walls with art she has created. Breanna turned 9 and is in the 4th grade. She read all 7 Harry Potter books in 6 months and was Hermione for Halloween. It feels like it's all Harry all the time.

It was really quite a ride, good thing we _____s enjoy roller coasters. Now we are wondering what the new year has in store for us. And we hope 2009 is just the ride our friends and family are waiting for!

*I wanted to take picture of the card to show the foil accents on the front. Not sure how well that worked, but you can take my word for it, they look awesome in person.

We are stuck between a large dollhouse and a heartbreaking place here at Casa de Pete. See my oldest daughter spotted the huge box in our garage that was meant to be her sister's Santa gift. It's totally my fault, but damn who would've guessed for the first time ever she would take the trash all the way out to the cans? Normally she tosses it out the door and the trash fairies move it to the appropriate place later.

Now if that damned dollhouse shows up under our tree Thursday morning, the gig she is up. Why don't we just make the dollhouse her present from us you ask? Well we could, but then what would Santa bring? See Brooke's original gift from mom and dad is already wrapped under the tree and she has shaken those little dolls within an inch of their lives. So if that box is missing, someone is going to be hell-a-pissed Christmas morning. We have contemplated the old switcheroo, but those damned divas had to be packed in a very distinctive box. Thus we'd have to take them out, paint the box and then stuff another smaller gift in the box and re-wrap it.

The whole thing seems like a pain in the ass. And to me the logical answer is to fess up to the deception. Breanna's a good big sister and will totally play along for her sister's sake. But hubby seems to be dead set against the idea of "ruining" Christmas for her. Dude she's almost 10 years old, and has already told us most of the kids in her class don't believe anymore. Seems to me we are totally on borrowed time anyway. And really we don't want her to be that weird kid who gets laughed at because all the other kids know the truth do we?

So what does a blogging mom do? She asks her readers for help. How old is too old to believe in Santa? How did your kids find out? Should we preserve what is most likely our last magical Christmas at all costs? Help a sista out! Hurry, we are running out of time!

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

This morning while I was out looking for something to wear to hubby's, fancier than I originally realized, Christmas party I realized that the last time I really shopped for a fancy outfit was about 10 years ago. Co-ink-i-dinkly that event was held at the same restaurant as the party is Friday night. So I thought I'd confess to my slight, okay massive, overindulgence the last time I was at the Mason Jar... um Maison Jardin. But really, it wasn't pretty, so we're just going to stuff that back into the section of my brain reserved for repressed memories and move on now.

Instead I give you the re-gifting story I promised. Although after making that promise I realized I would need to hide the true identities of those involved to protect the not so innocent... um me.*

Once upon a time hubby and I were young and in love and decided to have and hold each other forEVAH. So we had a small wedding, and let's be honest, the only reason we didn't elope was the hope of getting some good gifts. So when we returned to our love nest... um duplex in the ghetto, after our honeymoon, we wasted no time opening the loot. I don't actually remember opening the box with the huge ass ugly gold leaf frame. But to this day I wonder who it was actually meant for. Surely not for us. We had a circus billboard with a picture of a tiger covering our entire living room wall, shelves made from pallets, the world's ugliest yet most comfortable couch and a country blue (hey it was 1994!) kitchen table. Somehow none of that screams we need a mirror the size of our kitchen table in a gold frame to hang in our non-existant entry way. So we did what any nice young couple would do, hinted around to the gift giver to find out where it was purchased, hoping to return it. We were too polite to ask outright, thus we found a nice spot at the end of the hall to lean it on the wall. Our puppy KBHR loved to play with that cute little ball of fuzz in the mirror, so there it remained for him to slobber on until we built our first house.

Shortly thereafter, we dutifully moved the two ton mirror to our new house and shoved it in a closet. Along with the unattractive bookends given to us from the elderly lady at our church whom we credit for helping us find each other when we lost touch in college. Those bookends? In our closet to this day. I can not get rid of them, I am convinced it would doom our marraige.

Anyway, back to the story at hand. Fast forward 5 years. The couple who had given us the mirror got divorced. And lets just say we sat on the groom's side at that wedding, so the person responsible for gifting us that ugly mirror, (because seriously what man would give a mirror as a gift?) would no longer be around.

Three years later said man remarries. And it takes me both hands to add up how many weddings the bride and groom have racked up between them. So what does one buy for the happy couple? I'm fairly certain they have 2 sets of dishes, towels, sheets, crystal, pots and pans and silverware between them.

Yes huh! I did so! I wrapped up that ugly ass mirror that the groom and his ex-wife gave us 8 years earlier and re-gifted it right back to him and his bride. Hey, I wiped the dust and dried dog slobber off it first.

Got something weighing you down? Have a good re-gifting story? Anything, anything at all to confess? Share it with us. Don't leave me hanging here people!

*If you read my blog and know the true identity of the people involved, please do not say so in the comments. Email me if you HAVE to know if your guess of the secret identities is correct.

Okay, I have one more card from Christmases past to share with you. I think I may have mentioned my hubby is a graphic artist by trade, it's what he does to bring home the bacon. Yes, he fries it up in a pan too, but that's a whole 'nother post.

Anyway, Christmas 2002 we were living in an apartment while waiting for this house to be built. With no yard to mow and being 15 minutes closer to the expressway, thus shaving an hour off his commute, hubby had some extra time on his hands. He was a man with a vision and he was determined.

First he took the background from this beach photo. Because Pete knows I was very tired and fat at 6 months pregnant and was not actually going to the beach for a photo shoot, vision be damned.

Then he played a little game of tug with KBHR to get a good profile shot of him.

Next he had me take this photo at the apartment pool. Yes, it was December. But we live in Florida. She got to go swimming as a reward for cooperating in this picture.

Anyone have any idea where this is headed? Can you put the pieces together like a puzzle?

This is the finished product, it was a Coopertone Christmas.

Pine and Contribute

I pined for hubby's iPhone for months. I contributed to his purchase of the new 3g version and I put a pretty pink cover on the old one and claimed it as my own.

I trust everyone understands why this post is short and sweet. Later Homebloys!

Okay, it has been well established all over the blogosphere, facebook and anywhere else parents are posting pictures that kids and Christmas cards don't mix. And the more kids, pets and family members you want to cram into your photo, the more horrible the whole experience will be. So I'm here to help. My advice? Give the hell up! Seriously they will NEVER EVAH all be looking at the camera and smiling with their eyes open at the same time! But you wanted a cute card? Well then, lets learn to work with what we've got. That is after all every mom's secret.

Here in example one we have one child obsessed with something that is nowhere near the camera. Just make sure the object of affection is in the photo and take the picture anyway. This works best if you have a very young child that you can position to irritate the hell out of an older sibling, cause then it's cuter. Oh and cutesy matching outfits never hurt either.(2003, girls are 7 months and 4 1/2 years old)

Option 2? Good old fashioned bribery! Just give the small whiny kid some candy already. Yes, the sibling will pout for candy too, just color coordinate and go with it. If possible have older children look more angelic by having them "hide" their loot up their sleeve, or behind their back. If all else fails add more pictures to the card (preferably ones taken at some other time during the year when your children actually liked each other) to take some of the attention away from the cheesy smiles and squinty eyes in the official Christmas photo. Again, I'd like to suggest putting them in seasonal matching outfits for an additional distraction. (2004, girls are 18months and 5 1/2 years old)

Then of course there is the "if ya can't beat them, join them" philosophy. Just encourage the shenanigans and build your card around your misbehavin' kiddos. I can not emphasize enough the impact that matching clothing adds to the cute factor. (2005, girls are 2 1/2 and 6 1/2 years old)

Then there are some years (you'll know which ones) it's not even worth the effort of making the tots brush their hair. Don't even attempt it. If you must use photos of them, take pictures of some that you already have framed. Then pile Christmas decorations around them, make up a funny little game or list and call it a card. Done, and DONE! (2006, girls are 3 1/2 and 7 1/2 years old)

Another idea is to use the collage cards that so many companies offer these days. Our Top 11 list was a take off on that idea. Thus using a few good photos (again I advise finding pictures from the entire year, ensuring you'll find at least a few where your kids are not trying to kill each other) and not stressing out over getting one all important picture.

Lastly if you are computer savvy you can photoshop your pictures together like G-man suggested in the previous post. I have no examples of such a thing. Not because I can't do it, although I can't. But hubby can. However, we have so far refrained from such activity because no one likes a show off with kids who appear perfect, even at Christmas. (HA!)

It comes in all forms. Thought I'd share some of our cards of Christmases past with you this week while I am waiting impatiently for the UPS man to deliver me this year's cards.

Last year I built our entire card around my favorite picture of the girls. Ironically it did not end up on the front of the card. It was a photo of the girls at the beach making a drip sand castle, soaking wet with hair in their faces. The same day we watched the space shuttle launch from right there on the beach, making the pictures much more unique than the average family on the sand picture. Thus, a card was born.

FrontAnd the inside Top 11 Reasons 2007 was Out of this World.

This one was a favorite of many, and has prompted many questions regarding this year's card. Hopefully they will be here early next week.

Photo Fluke

Every year about this time I start planning... um freaking out over the family Christmas card. Let's just say my hubby is a graphic art guru. So the bar, she is set high. Each and every year, as I swear I'm not going to send cards, an idea hits me. Or I "borrow" it from the internet. Poe-tae-toe, poe-ta-toe. I prefer to refer to it as my divine inspiration.

Anyway last year I decided to try and get a cute picture of the girls in front of the tree to add to our "Top 11 List of 2007". And I took a total of 7 photos. NONE of them horrible. And this one, down right adorable.

So today I finally settled on a theme for our card. And I decided a picture of the girls by the tree would be the perfect addition to those I had already chosen. Ya'll know where this is going already don'tcha?

For the love, is it too much to ask that both my children smile and look cute at the exact same moment, while standing in close proximity to each other? Apparently so. I think there's a mathematical probability thesis paper here somewhere.

Anyway, I've had immense fun laughing at other blogger's photo attempts, go check out The Meanest Mom and Miss Britt for some great laughs. Goodness knows I can't beat them, so I'm joining them.

Yep that's 35 amusing, yet unusable photos. Thank Pete for digital cameras!

I've been re-hooked on Gilmore Girls on ABC Family as they recently started airing the series from the beginning. And I would like to know where exactly Stars Hollow is and if I can move there to raise my children? Also, I hate cold weather, so why am I wanting to move to an imaginary town in Connecticut?

I have been shopping for the big man in the red suit this week. Where the hell does one go to buy doll clothes? I know one would think it was an easy task, think again suckers! Seriously, I found one hanger of baby doll clothes at Target and one at Walmart. Likewise one set of Barbie doll sized clothes in each store. Both stores have aisles full of dolls of all sizes. Dolls that eat, pee, sing and/or swim. But no freakin clothing for them. Damn, no wonder they all end up naked in the toy box.

Speaking of nudity in the toy bins. I swear the Happy Meal toys are having happy sex. Seriously where the hell do they all come from?

My MIL gives me lots of hand-me-down books. Which is awesome because I always have something to read. But occasionally I find myself knowing the major plot points before they happen. This week I started a book, for the life of me the jacket blurb did not sound familiar, yet every time there is a twist in the plot I already know it. Who reads a book and then doesn't remember it, even when they are rereading it? It's a weird book deja vu.

My sister and my parents are coming to visit this weekend. I don't know if it's the abundance of Christmas decor yelling "look at me, not the dust" or what, but except for the floors and animal cages the whole house is presentable... um, not a complete mess. Even the girl's rooms have stayed fairly tidy since "we" cleaned them 3 weeks ago. I KNOW! So I have not cleaned AT ALL for their impending visit. I wonder when the motivation... um, panic will set in?

Well there you have it, the inner workings of my brain. Frightening, no?

Okay, so Tuesday is almost over. Whatever! I finally got some inspiration for this week's words. Or maybe I'm confusing that with procrastinating making dinner. Oh well, poe-tae-toe, poe-ta-toe.

Regardless the words brought to us by the newlywed Tink are Abundance & Thanks.

Remember in my last post? I mentioned something about more than one Christmas tree. Our house has been transformed into a winter wonderland over the weekend. Now we have an abundance of Christmas trees.

What's a Christmas tree forest without an abundance of forest creatures lurking about? Mooses, meeses... moose, they are everywhere! (These are in addition to those I posted previously.)

And Thanks. So many things in this one photo I give thanks for. The rotten little urchins, who are happy, healthy and able to run wild. That more than anything they would rather be out in this gorgeous weather playing than inside watching tv. Thankful that they have fun playing together. I give thanks that we live in a safe neighborhood that they are able to play outside without fear. And thankful that I am able to be home when they are so that they have plenty of time to just be kids.
The fun is over, now it's off to make dinner. Hopefully we'll all be back next week for mature & immature. Of course one of those may be hard to find around here. Three guesses, which one.

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