the other side

last year's slaughter

Usually we head out in early December to go chop down a tree. This year though, will be different: today we purchased an artificial tree. Brendan declared that “I won” because not only is in an artificial tree, but it is prelit with white lights only. 

You see, I maintain that white lights are prettier. But I was willing (eventually) to compromise on this – since we’ve always had colored lights because it is what my husband prefers – however, there were none available. (So I suppose that means that colored is more popular and perhaps my taste is incorrect?)

At any rate, it’s going to be an artificial tree this year. It makes sense in that the basement redo is still incomplete (though getting close). We’d be pushing it to try and get it finished and still have time to go out and get a fresh tree. Plus, with a dog who likes to chew (as our severed FiOS line can attest) and who prefers wood to all other chewing things, a real tree would be awful tempting. I’m sure that he’ll chew on the artificial tree, too. Thus, we opted for a more, shall we say, economical model this year. If this experiment is well-liked, we’ll invest in a big nine footer with a thousand lights and with limbs that bounce back.

I do get annoyed while tramping around the field looking for The Perfect Tree. I’d usually be fine with any tree out of about three or four of them, but Bren’s always on a hunt. I think I’ll probably sort of miss the real tree, but we can always go back. 


Thanks to a generous gift from Brendan’s mother, we spent Monday overnight to Tuesday at the Gaylord National Harbor and took the kids to see ICE.

I think though, that Johnny would have been happy with the balcony.

At some point while we were in line, our point and shoot got dropped and appeared* to be pretty broken. The lens wouldn’t close or focus. So we were left with our camera phones in what turned out to be a pretty low light situation.

Poor Johnny had pretty much had it with being carried by the time we reached the ice slide, which was packed. So we left Bridget and Brendan behind to slide away while we finished up the exhibit and got warm on the other side. Bren was pretty happy to be able to go down the slide himself (we’d heard it was a kids only activity). I really would have liked to linger a little more and look at all the details of the sculptures, but it was so crowded I always felt like I was in someone’s way.

The next morning we had breakfast with the Grinch. Bridget was thrilled at the sight of him (though you wouldn’t know it from this photo)** and surprisingly, John really couldn’t have cared less. Now, if the Grinch had touched his precious cantaloupe, there might have been a problem.

It was crazy crowded, but mostly pleasant.





*Before the kids were both asleep, Brendan had ordered us a new camera, that is meant more for video. And sometime yesterday he had the broken camera fixed, but it was too late to cancel the order on the new camera. It was delivered today. If I hadn’t seen and held the camera when it was broken myself, I’d be more suspicious — he’d asked for the new camera prior to Christmas.

**I might be softening on my Disney stance just to see her smile (I really don’t want to go)…

merry & bright


Kids (and adults) had a good Christmas.

Johnny’s favorite present by far was a bag of Animal Crackers in his stocking from Santa. He carried them (and some Hotwheels) around all morning. (He’s got a bit of a cold; sorry about the boogers.)

Bridget’s Snuggie from Santa was a huge hit as well. She’s been wanting one hardcore for a while now. 

Happy Holidays!

(Hope we get enough snow tomorrow that it’s fun, but not too much that it’s a headache.)

merry MuskoX-mas

This past weekend we celebrated MuskoX-mas (aka Christmas with The Muskoxen [or well, most Muskoxen — missed you Vince & Kate!)

The first night of MuskoX-mas was filled with wine, beer and lively conversation.

The second night, presents for the children and a feast. This year we decided on a broad theme for our feast: bacon.

There was bacon in the mashed potatoes, bacon in the vegetables, bacon in everything! Some Muskoxen had a harder time than others resisting the bacon prior to dinner.

A good time was had by all.


that’s a wrap

It took two evenings, but I think I have finished wrapping this year’s presents. We had some really lovely metallic wrapping paper from IKEA. It was just about enough for everything that wasn’t from Santa.

It seemed much easier this year and I attribute that to the fact that most things were either in regular boxes or fit into one. I’m pretty proud of the way they all look. 

There are things that I never considered before. Like, what paper will Santa use? The same as the rest of the presents and if asked “Santa knows what wrapping paper we have!” or use some different paper and hope that the kids don’t come across it one day. And what about handwriting? So many variables. We settled on special paper for Santa gifts (blue) and some really old (circa 1998) name tags. Santa also writes like a serial killer — in all caps.

At the moment, everything is neatly in my closet. I wish that I could put at least the ones for other people under the tree now, but John doesn’t have any self-control (and I don’t have much extra paper).

Festivities start this weekend with MuskoX-mas, and Christmas with Grandma. Last year’s MuskoX-mas coincided with the first really big snow of 2009. They are calling for some this weekend, but so far it’s not the two feet we got last year.


After a bit of a traipse through the field, we got our tree yesterday from Evergreen Acres.

As Brendan reminded me yesterday, I shouldn’t be surprised at his need/want to look at a lot of trees before selecting one. It seems I forget it every year. It’s harder though, when I have a child in arms. I’m hoping next year will be easier on us all since Johnny should be an expert walker alonger by then. 

Yesterday we just added the lights, and today, the ornaments. Some favorites.

ho ho ho

Christmas at the Kelly household was a lot of fun. Bridget slept until almost 8am on Christmas Eve, so we were convinced we were in for a 4am wakeup call; it ended up she made it until 6:30 and stayed in her room — with grandma — until about 7. It took all her will-power to be patient at the top of the stairs (where you can see straight down into the living room) until Bren went down and turned on the lights and took the customary picture on the stairs.

She had a blast opening all of her (and most of John’s) presents. She loved everything of course. Well, except for when she opened the puppet theater. The back of the package was facing her when she unwrapped it and she said, “I don’t want a box.”

[More photos of Christmas (and the snow) are in the gallery.]


My kids are too cute.

He’s just brimming with personality these days. Talking, shoving things in his mouth. It’s good times. Oh, and easygoing for the most part, too. We got crazy lucky. Sleep isn’t too much of a struggle, though there are moments.

I tried to get them both to cooperate for a nice shot on the bed together. But it didn’t quite work out (it’s well-lit though, so I suppose that’s something). He’s too interested in eating her hair.

Perhaps I’ll give it another go later on in the week. 

Bridget is uber-excited for Christmas this year. She really gets what’s going on now (and wants EVERYTHING) and it’s oh so much fun. We’ve been decorated minus the tree since just after Thanksgiving. Tree is going up this weekend.


Brendan joined the party on January 2, 2004. He's cool now.

Jessica has never been cool. She is OK with that.

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