12.22.2014

Well we had a good run, Santa

We were at the local outdoor mall a couple of weeks ago after Little Kid and I saw The Nutcracker (of which I have zero photos, Holiday Memories Fail) and we ran into Santa Claus! Literally, we almost plowed into him in front of the candy store. I asked Little if she wanted to have her photo made with him. Her response: Nope. I knew that last year was probably her brother's last Santa shot, but her too? She is only six!

So I thought that this was a chapter that we were closing in our family. We had a good run -- we did have ten years of Santa photos. We saw Santa at the mall, at the movies, at dinner, at the DoD installation ... but in those ten years, I don't know if we ever managed to top our very first experience with the Man in Red.

Please permit me to indulge in my Picmonkey addiction for a moment.


2004


So a little backstory to this photo before the memory gets pushed out of my brain to make room for grocery lists and science projects and the other twelve things that I have to remember to do today -- Big Kid was six months old when I took this. It was November, and I did not plan to take him to the mall 45 minutes away that day, but I think that I had such a extreme case of cabin fever that we decided to go visit Santa for the first time while The Engineer was at work. Gramma bought him the elf outfit and I had no idea how the day would go. I was prepared for a major Santa meltdown but he loved him! It was a Christmas miracle. I could not stop looking at the photo as we walked around and shopped because Big was in a great mood (and the other shoppers kept fawning over him in his elf outfit). Big and I needed that. We had a tough few months -- his reflux made him a very unhappy baby at times. And I had no idea that we were about to encounter a minefield of kidney stone surgery (me) and ear tubes (him), but that day was perfect. 

So fast forward ten years and I thought that I made my peace with Santa photos being in our past. Then this arrived:


My nephew RHR and old St. Nick himself (I bought him the Christmas romper). RHR did great! He is a pretty chill baby. And so a new tradition begins.

Have a merry Monday!

12.19.2014

The Mac is Back!

I woke up at 6am this morning (ew, yuck) and realized that I have been going full throttle for the past two weeks without pause. So today before the kids get out of school at 11am I am going to sit still, just me and the hound dog.

We start our tale with some singing. Last week if I was not at work or asleep, chances are I was at choir. On Wednesday, several of us joined up with the nursing home ministry at our church and sang carols at the local nursing home. We meet every other week and it has become one of my favorite things to do.


Apparently I was really getting into "Joy To The World."


Showtime!


I narrated the first half of the concert this year and I am proud to say that I only missed one word!


These two gals to the right crack me up. My voice never fully recovered from my bout with whooping cough in 2012 so I am now an alto (who jumps up to second soprano when need be). I have enjoyed it quite a bit -- and sitting beside Laurie and Rachel is a hoot. My girl Sandy who I am usually beside was directing the orchestra that night.


Thank you to the wonderful church photographer Carolyn Edwards for these super photos. I have said it before and I will say it again, I am constantly amazed at the big talent in our small church. We don't attend a mega church, but we still manage to have a chancel choir, youth choir, bell choir and even an orchestra! And that is due to the dedicated people at MUMC who truly love God, music and each other.

As soon as the concert was over, I dove back into work to help complete the behemoth that was our last issue of 2014 -- 56 pages of year in review. Once it was put to bed, we celebrated. Our director took us out to lunch Monday for the holidays and I ate my weight in spaghetti and then our managing editor took us out to lunch on Tuesday and I ate a chicken pot pie covered in cheese. It was marvelous. I have eaten like it is going out of style this week and I will be paying for that. In the hustle and bustle I was a complete fail at taking photos but I did find this photo of our staff photographer and Little Kid that was lost in the shuffle.


The paper shut down for the holidays and I have three glorious weeks off from work. I kicked off the celebration with a trip to Atlanta Wednesday to see Fleetwood Mac! It. Was. Epic. The Bestie and I went down and met up with our friend Allison for dinner and the concert. Allison and I actually saw them in 2003 in Nashville and that was a great concert but this one was awesome because Christine McVie is back! If you have read the blog for any amount of time you know that I am a Mac Superfan, my dream job is Fleetwood Mac backup singer and I want to be Christine when I grow up.


A friend of mine from choir was also there and we texted and squeed to each other during the show -- Debbie loves Stevie like I love Christine. 


She is 71 and still looks and sounds fabulous!


If you have the opportunity to see them -- GO. They sound better than ever and their energy is amazing. They went full throttle for almost three hours. I was exhausted by the end and I am half their age! Everyone looked and sounded fantastic and after they played "Seven Wonders," I felt that my life was complete.



I was a little concerned that they were not going to play "Silver Springs" which is my all-time favorite FM song, but they brought it out for the encore. Whew! I love that Stevie turns her back to the crowd during that song and sings directly to Lindsey. I told you I am a total fangirl. My editor is also a big fan and emailed me Fleetwood Mac-themed emails on our last day of work! They are just an amazing band.


They talked a lot during the concert and Stevie shared with the crowd the story behind "Gypsy" which was so interesting. I just soaked it up.


I was blessed to share the evening with these two gals whose friendship goes back not years, but decades.

We capped off our short trip with a stop by IKEA. Score. While I was gone, The Nana came down for a few days to spend some time with the kids. Thank you, Nana! Tuesday night before I left, we took her to the local Galaxy of Lights which is this amazing light display at the Botanical Garden.


The Engineer took this with his iPad in low light so it is a little yellow. I have big plans for the playroom in the new year.


All the while, we have been Christmas Crazy with kids' school parties and their gift exchanges. And I will fully admit that 75% of my Christmas cards are still sitting on my work bench. But I will tackle them today, promise.

And confession: there are three wrapped presents under my tree. Part of that reason is because I don't trust my kids not to try to undo the wrapping paper and peek at what is inside. Big Kid has already narced himself out that he has gone snooping through the house looking for gifts. I should wrap up a rock for him for Christmas. This is the first year that I have wrapped gifts immediately before giving them and that trend will probably continue until Dec. 24.

But it is all good because I am on Christmas break, the kids will be out at lunchtime and The Engineer will be starting his Christmas leave this afternoon. This weekend, the kids are spending some time doing holiday activities with Gramma, we are meeting up with friends this weekend for our annual holiday dinner and I will FINALLY finish the kids' Christmas shopping, dare to dream.

Sadly, we will also be attending a funeral Sunday for our Sunday School teacher in Tennessee. If I could ask a small favor, please keep Janis and the Giaimo family in your prayers. Frank was such a special guy and so generous. Every year, they handed out  -- not the snack size -- full-sized candy bars at Halloween. I remember Frank telling me once that they handed out 200 candy bars that year! He will truly be missed.

Have a wonderful weekend!







12.16.2014

T4T | The most epic holiday song evah!

I might be showing my geek but I don't even care. This is awesome.


Best holiday song of 2014 hands down.

Happy Tuesday!