Friday, December 31, 2010

Cookie Decorating and Gerry's Birthday!

Wow!  I am waaay behind on blog entries so I'm going to combine a few and try to make them short and sweet.  (Not that these are any less important, but I have so much catching up to do) And let's be honest...people really just want to see the pictures, anyway, right?

A few days before Christmas Eve, I baked up a batch of sugar cookies for the girls to decorate. After Naomi went to bed one night, Maria and I rolled out the dough, cut out the shapes and baked them. The next day, Naomi helped us decorate them as well. These were the cookies we left out for Santa on Christmas Eve.

Naomi started off adding M & M's to her tree.

 Then she decided to eat them.
 Santa, cut out by hand, since we didn't have a Santa cookie cutter.
 The finished products.
 Wow...I hope Santa likes decorating gel.  This was Maria's masterpiece!
 And this was Naomi's (un) decorated cookie.  Notice the bite she took out of it.  I don't think Santa will mind. Ha ha!

December 22 was Gerry's birthday.  In the weeks leading up to this day, I asked him a few times what he wanted to do on his special day.  He kept insisting that he just wanted to eat dinner at home with all of us and relax.  Although I agreed with him, I had a plan he didn't know about. I got in contact with a few of his co-workers and asked them to help me out.  His boss arranged for Gerry and some other men from a different company to have a lunch meeting.  These other men were in on the email invite so Gerry never got suspicious.  Little did he know that when he got to the restaurant where the lunch meeting was to take place, he found his three favorite girls waiting to surprise him!  We decorated the table with balloons including a special Tinkerbell one that Maria picked out!  The look of surprise on his face was priceless.

We had a nice lunch together but the suprise didn't end there. We all headed back to his work together and sang happy birthday and ate cake and ice cream with his fellow co-workers. What a fun day! It was so nice of Gerry's boss and his friend Connie to help me arrange this! So, if you happen to read this, thank you!

 Waiting for daddy to arrive:

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Elfin' It Old School!

Who knew Gerry could Tootsie Roll like that???

Ornamental Ornaments

Okay...I will join the fun!  My sister in law does this every year and I saw that Rebecca did it as well. 
These ornaments, old and new, will always hold a special place in my heart.

 Can you guess who these sweet little children are?  If you guessed Gerry and I, you win!  Who knew that these little kids would grow up, fall madly in love and make 2 beautiful children of their own! I love the homemade ones!

 My mom made these several years ago.  My poodle on the left, Mary, died back in 2003. 

 This is another beloved pet.  She was my childhood dog who passed away the morning of my high school graduation, in 1997.  She was 10 years old.

 My secret Santa (aka-brother in law Bobb) gave me this one last year.  It is one my of my favorites because it represents our first Christmas as a family of 4.  Aren't we cute?

 This one is of the first 2 grandchildren on the G side of the family.  Who knew how much our family would grow in such a short time.  Now we have Naomi and Dominic in our lives as well.

 Of course this one is of Big Sister Maria from last year when Naomi was only 7 months old.

  This cute little bear is from Maria's first Christmas.  This one is super special because it is my first baby's first Christmas!

 Naomi's first Christmas...just as wonderful!

 This one was given to me by my friend Erin, in high school.  We are still BFFs to this day!

 Wow! 1984!  That was a long time ago! Gotta love thumbprint ornaments from back in the day!  Me and my big brother!

 My mom gave this one to Gerry and I the year we were married...2005.  Although I'm not a fan of these shiny glass ornaments, I will always love this one. ( Even though the groom has blond hair! Ha ha mom!)

 This one came from a Christmas card we received several years ago.  So simple, yet so meaningful.  The real reason we celebrate!

In honor of my husband, the huge Star Wars fan.  When Maria was a baby, we gave Gerry a set of these for his birthday, which is Dec.22.  Vader is his favorite!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Why are these dogs in my kitchen???

Beacuse people are idiots, that's why!

I know the Good Lord guides these animals directly into my yard...I swear He does.

Remember Spencer?

Okay, so Maria had just gotten on the bus, Naomi was sleeping soundly and I just came downstairs to work on the computer and have some "me time" when that was all shot to hell.  Out of the corner of my eye, I see two sets of eyes and two tails wagging in my office window.  I look over and I swear they both smiled at me!

At first, I sat there hoping they would go away.  No such luck.  This was on the coldest day of the year so far.  At the time it was 18 degrees and dropping. 

Then I just asked God what he wanted me to to do and I willed myself to go out the back door.  Up walked the gentlest old soul with the kindest eyes.  He was a brown shepherd mix with a tag that said Buddy.  The other one was a neurotic female beagle that ran away when I opened the door.  I brought the old man into my basement and called the number on his tag.  He just sat there...smiling at me. Of course the number on his tag was no longer in service. 

I went back outside to see if anyone was coming after them or to listen for anyone calling.  I could only stand to be outside for a few minutes, and eventually the beagle followed us.  It was apparent the two dogs were friends. 

I brought them in my garage and laid a few towels down while I tried to figure out what to do.  They gobbled up a bowl of food and drank a bunch of water.  Buddy seemed to be content but the crazy beagle just wanted to come inside.  It was getting late and I had to get dinner going.  Maria was going to get off the bus soon. 

I reluctantly left them in the garage when the beagle started scratching the door.  I opened it up to tell her "No" and realized she had scratched some of the weather proofing strip off the door!  Gerry is going to love that!  I also realized the beagle was in heat. Great!  That just put me over the edge! Luckily the shepherd was neutered!

I made a few phone calls to animal control and the humane society but they hadn't been reported as missing.  I had the neighbors looking for signs as they were driving home from work.  Of course Gerry was working late that night so my neighbor Theresa helped me load up the kids and drive around posting signs in our neighborhood.  God bless was so cold that night.

In the mean time, I put the dogs in crates in our basement.  Yes...I do have random sized crates laying around from our fostering days.  Luckily the dogs were really good and spent the night being very quiet in those crates.  I guess they figured it was better than being on the street!

I told Gerry I would call animal control to come get them in the morning.  But thank God, the owners saw the signs and called at 8 am the next day.  What kills me is that the man knew the beagle was in heat and even admitted they had no plans of breeding her.  The woman said "She always gets so crazy and tries to get out when she goes into heat." I wanted to say "Duh!" but I didn't.  I did mention that they should consider spaying her so this doesn't happen again.  They just blew me off.  They did offer me money for keeping them, which I thought was nice.  They also thanked me 1000 times. 

So, it was a happy ending after all.  There are a few morals to this story I would like to leave you with:

1) Keep tage with CURRENT phone numbers on your dogs!

2 )PLEASE spay and neuter your pets.  I guarantee you don't need to breed them...go spend 10 minuets in a local animal shelter, then tell me if you think breeding your dog is important.  If you don't spay/neuter them and you think they won't ever get're wrong.  It will happen at some point.  Their hormones affect their behavior and it is instinct for them to want to mate. And don't use the money excuse.  There are low cost spay and neuter programs available all over the city. I'm talking $10.  It's a totally irresponsible excuse.

Okay.  I am done now.  We really need to move because the way people feel about and treat their animals in this community only causes me heartache!

Friday, December 10, 2010

'Tis The Season!

Last Saturday we kicked off our Christmas season by spending the morning eating breakfast with Santa at Maria's school.  We got there as soon as the doors opened because we didn't know what to expect, and we were trying to avoid the lines to see Santa.  Luckily, they gave each child a group number and called them up by groups...and we were in group 1.  (awesome!)

As you can see, I attmepted to get a few pics of the girls hoping I might snag one that would be "Christmas Card -worthy". No such luck.  Naomi just would not smile.  She looks so pitiful in all the pics, despite the holiday cheer surrounding her. 

We ate breakfast right away (donuts and bagels, chocolate milk and coffee) and then the BIG MAN arrived!  He came in ho ho ho-ing, jingling his bells and all the kids cheered.  It was cute.  Maria and Naomi were excited but were not really sure what to think.

Naomi giving Santa the wave.
 Santa...where are your white gloves?
 Naomi is just checking him out.
 While Maria was giving him the stink eye! (It must run in the family)

Then our group was called to go see him and we were actually second in line.  Maria has been very persistant in telling us that she will not sit on Santa's lap, but she will stand next to him for a picture.  When we got up there, she started chatting away about all the different things she wanted.  I snuck Naomi on his lap while they were talking and then we started taking pictures.  Neither of them tried to squirm away, but they didn't really look like they wanted to be there.  Naomi would not look at his face...she avoided making any eye contact at all.  But when we walked away, she was waving at smiling at him like they were BFFs.

After Santa, we visited the book fair and they each got to pick out a cool book and a pencil.  Then we walked around and played games and made a few ornaments.  Maria was excited to visit with a few of her friends and teachers and Naomi just wanted to run around.  It was a lot of fun and it beat standing in line at the mall!

The next day, we put up our Christmas tree.  Gerry assembled it and hung the lights while the girls were napping and we let them put the ornaments on when they woke up.  The bottom half of our tree is pretty bare since Naomi wants to take all the ornaments off and eat play with them.

Naomi thinks the ornaments look much better like this:

Monday morning, the girls woke up to find that St. Nick had left them some goodies in their stockings!  They each got some Christmas pajamas, a coloring book, some candy and a My Little Pony.  It was so much fun to see how excited they makes me even more excited for Christmas morning!

Still half asleep posing in front of their full stockings.

 Super Why coloring book!

Puppy coloring book!

 Naomi is thrilled to have gotten pajamas!  As you can see, she can't wait to try them on!

Maria is excited about hers, though!

 Maria is thinking "Oh man, all I got was this dumb chocolate Santa and some candy canes!"

"Aww sweet!  I did get a pony!"

I was finally able to capture our Christmas card picture and I got some other cute ones during the process.  Here are some more out takes! 

How old does Maria look in this picture!? I'll tell you - old! One day she just turned around and I thought she was 5!  I can't believe how fast she is growing up!

Things are getting really busy around here.  Here is a list of all the things we still have to do before Christmas.  Who knows if they will all get done or not?
-Address and mail the Christmas Cards
-Bake banana bread for the special people in our lives.
-Bake cookies (luckily my 2 BFFs are coming over next Friday to help me out with this)
-wrap all the presents
-buy presents for at least 6 more people
-clean my house (oh wait...that will NEVER get done)

 I'm sure there's more that I just can't think of...and I'm sure everyone is feeling the pressure this time of the year.  I really hope, at some point, I will be able to sit on the couch, with the love of my life and stare at the twinkling tree, while listening to Christmas music and sipping some wine!  That is what I want for Christmas!
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