Friday, December 28, 2012

Sobriety Stinks

One more of my Christmas projects for this year (and thanks again go to Pinterest).  I made 7 of these.

It has been our tradition since my kids have learned to play some sort of instrument that they play a musical number on Christmas Eve.  It used to be all piano, but thanks to Jack we have some variation now.  He played "The First Noel" on the trombone . . .

Addie played "Jolly Old Saint Nicholas" on the piano . . .

Taylor played "Believe" on the piano . . .

. . . and Jack completed this portion of the evening entertainment by playing several numbers on his bells.

It is also our tradition tht the gifts given between brother and sisters must be homemade.  This leads to some interesting gift exchanges, but they are fun, nonetheless.  Taylor made latchhook wall hangings (sorry, no photos turned out).  Jack made a duct tape purse for Addie . . .

 . . . and he made pens in wood shop for everyone else, complete with our names engraved in them.
  Addie made bookmarks for everyone with a special handwritten note about why she loves each person.  She did it entirely herself, including the wrapping, and without even a suggestion from me.  This is the first year I haven't had to help her in some way.

Of course, everyone got new jammies.  Bacon for Jack . . .

Bucks for Lane (everyone got a good chuckle from his jammies - including grandma.)

And purple thermal ones for me. - since I do have a tendency to be cold all the time.  I've tried to convince everyone that I'm the correct temperature and everyone else is freakisly hot, but so far no one will believe me.  Taylor's and Addie's both have monkeys on them.  Sadly, all the jammies this year were purchased.  I didn't see when I would have the time to make 5 pairs of jammies so I didn't even try.  I think it turned out to be a wise decision - looking back I don't know when I would have had the time.  It is something I really missed doing and I will simply have to plan better for next Christmas.

One other thing that I didn't really have time to do this Christmas was the Christmas cards, but I made them anyway.  I'm not very happy with them, and what's more is that I didn't even enjoy doing them.  Not even a little bit.  I've been making my Christmas cards for a lot of years now, and this was the first time that it was a chore.  It was rushed and unpleasant.  So on December 26 of this year I did the unthinkable:

I bought Christmas cards.

It's true.  I'm all set for next year.  Thanks to 75% off on Christmas stuff at Kohls, I got them for super cheap and they are even cute.

Of course, Lane has zero faith in me.  He's quite convinced that come next November I will give in to my "take-on-way-too-much" self and make the cards anyway.  I have to agree that there is at least a 50% chance that will happen.  I have problems.

For a little bit of self-braggery, I have made it (almost - there are still a few days to go) through the holidays without drinking.  I have gone all the way since November 12 without a Dr. Pepper or any sort of soda.  I don't recommend giving up the sauce during the holidays - there's way too much temptation around.  As I frequently say, the voices in my head stopped screaming after only about 3 days, but the craving has never subsided.  I would have thought it would lessen some after this amount of time, but it hasn't.  Taylor is still drinking, which makes it tough.  And every single time someone at my office pops a can open, I die a little bit inside.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

There is no such thing as too much glitter

In a typical Holiday Season, I have a tendency to take on wa-a-a-a-ay to many projects.  I was smart this time and got my shopping done early and online and scheduled an almost-weekly Craft Night with Kassie to keep me on track.  My biggest project was 6 of the above Nativity sets (thanks Pinterest!).  Although they weren't hard to make, the prototype became quite an odyssey in itsself:

1.  I had Lane cut one set of wood to try it all out.  I spray painted the wood gold metallic.  I was trying to avoid using vinyl, so after much discussion my trusty friend and Christmas Project lifesaver, Melanie, she cut out stencils for me to paint the images onto the wood.  It seemed genius.  I got the hunter green paint to paint the stencils, and wouldn't you know, it bled underneath the stencil and looked terrible.  And now I had ruined 2 of my gold metallic wood pieces in the experiment.  What to do, what to do?  I decided to paint all that set of wood green because I wasn't all that thrilled with the gold anyway, and then I could salvage the messed up pieces rather than have Lane cut more.  So we got all the pieces re-painted with dark green and I called on Melanie again to cut me some vinyl.  Set #1 complete.

2.  The second set I wanted for myself.  I had used some black spray paint in the past that had glitter in it and I thought it would look positively gorgeous with the cream vinyl for the nativity.  So I got Jack and Lane to spray a second set of wood with the black glitter spray paint and it looked perfect!  Except for one problem.  One big problem.  The spray paint had too much texture, I guess, and the vinyl pieces wouldn't stick to the wood blocks.  You have no idea how bummed I was.  So Kassie suggested I try spray painting with the stencil - maybe the spray paint wouldn't bleed like on the first set.  So I got some silver spray paint and we tried it out - It didn't bleed so much as it created a weird little halo around the image that was just not pretty.  My only remaining option was to re-paint the black glitter blocks.  I still really liked the idea of the black, so we just got some black gloss paint and painted them again.  This time the vinyl stuck and I love how it turned out.  I asked Addie how she liked it, and she said it looked "quiet."  Well, now, isn't that how you imagine the Nativity?  I loved her word choice, although I would never have thought of it myself.

3.  The remaining 4 sets went off without incident.  I found a sage-green paint color at the hardware store in their "paint-gone-wrong" section that was just what I was looking for and worked well for Kassie, too, since she was making 2 sets of her own. I failed to photograph any in that color.

There is a tradition at Lane's family Christmas party that if Santa gives you a broken candy cane, it's because your year hasn't been,  shall we say, stellar?  Lane's is always broken, without exception.  At least since I've been in the family.  Addie's was broken this year because Santa knows what her room has looked like lately.

And Jack's was also broken. Same reason. Shocking.

Santa brought Addie a new pair of shoes.  With sequins.  Because when you're name is Addie and you're 10 years old - you simply cannot have enough things that are sequin-y. Or glittery. Or bedazzled.  And it can never, EVER, be too much.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

It's a Sickness


The love I have for all things Christmas is equaled only by my disdain for Halloween. As I have mentioned before, Addie being born to me on Halloween, and thus forcing me to show some degree of interest in Halloween, is the greatest proof of the existence of Karma. So since I am forced against my will to show some minor enthusiasm for Halloween, I cross-stitched this witch to add to my meager collection of Halloween decor.

This boy of mine likes almost nothing more than eating.  I found it quite amusing at Thanksgiving dinner that Jack's "Round 1" consisted only of potatoes and gravy and the giant turkey leg.  Before he started eating, the potatoes took up all of the plate not occupied by the turkey leg.  I don't recall how many Rounds of eating there were, but I know it was enough to keep the rest of us amused.  Monitoring Jack's food intake is not only a full-time job, it is also a tremendous source of entertainment.  I've been told he has reached Legend status at the Family Reunion.  We're so proud.

So back to my love for all things Christmas. A person simply cannot have too many Christmas tree ornaments.  I add quite a few every year:  the annual Hallmark Scarlett ornament plus a photo ornament of each of the 3 kids and one family photo ornament (yes, that's why I hoard Orange Juice lids), plus maybe one or two more when I just can't help myself.  What can I say?  I'm weak.  In the above photo, the kids are showing off one of their favorites - it's the Leg Lamp in the crate.  Yes, it lights up.  Yes, it does say "Fra-gee-lay.  Must be Italian." 

In keeping with the "Christmas Story" theme (again, I simply can't resist), this is Hallmark's 2012 offering:  The House on Cleveland Street, complete with the Leg Lamp lit up in the front window.

Another of my many weaknesses - Fisher Price circa 1970s.  Last year Hallmark brought us the little house, and this year it's the Popper.  And it pops.  It really pops.  Could. Not. Be Cuter.  I bought 4 of them.

And, of course, Scarlett and Rhett - "Sir, you are no gentleman" - from the BBQ at Twelve Oaks when she has her temper tantrum and throws the vase.

Naturally, all these ornaments take up space and so this year we have 4 trees.  Yes, I said 4.  But one is a small, table-top tree so it doesn't really count.  We sprung for a nice, bushy, real tree this year.  On it is hung all the glass, traditional, ball-type ornaments.  Then we have "Lane's Tree," which is the white artificial tree that we got some years ago because Lane was fool enough to tell me he liked white trees (it became tree #2, so this mess is really his fault).  Lane's tree has all the Hallmark ornaments on it.  Then the original artificial tree has all of our homemade ornaments on it - including the ones made at school and primary - truly the most treasured of the Christmas ornaments.  They are the funnest ones to hang because whichever kid made the ornament has to show it off like it's made of gold (it is to me) and say "I remember when I made this!!!"

And this is why I love Christmas.   All the memories.  All the traditions.  All the family time.  It becomes more and more precious as I realize how fleeting the time is with small children.  Christmas turns us all back into children, to one degree or another.  With the 3 holidays all lined up - Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years - it is such a perfect time to reflect on how blessed we are, how much love we have to share.  Truly, it is the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.
It's time once again for the Funk Family Photo Shoot.  Since I am the Queen of Procrastination, I managed to put off this annual fun until after Thanksgiving.  I must be doing something right because bad weather has not found us yet so we were able to get decent outdoor pictures even this late in the year.  I have really good intentions every September, but somehow it never gets done in September.  Special thanks to KNC Photography (meaning Katie and Nanette Clark) for putting up with my nonsense every year and pulling off the impossible by getting decent photograhs of us.  That's the sign of true friendship.  Or they're crazy.  It could go either way, really.

I don't know why this posted twice.  I also don't know how to delete it.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Trans Siberian Orchestra

After listening to countless commercials advertising the upcoming Trans Siberian Concert, I decided it would be fun to go.  The concert was on Thanksgiving Wednesday, and I made this decision at about 8pm on Tuesday.  Sadly, Taylor was scheduled to work and couldn't get anyone to cover her shift, and I mistankenly thought it wouldn't interest Addie.
So after paying all the various "convenience" fees to SmithsTix, the tickets were just under $50 each.  I tried to choose the best from the Cheap Seats, but next time I go, I will definetly spring for better seats.

The concert was way more than I was expecting, and the music, of course, was amazing.  I felt badly that Taylor had to miss out, and now I know that Addie would have been entertained.  I would love to go again, and hope that they come again next year on a convenient day considering Taylor will be away at college (insert sobbing sounds here) and I would hate for her to miss it a second time.

The only other down side to the evening was that we ate dinner at the downtown SLC JBs while we waited for the crowd to clear out so we wouldn't have to stand on the train.  Even by current JBs standards it was pretty barfy.  Cheesecake Factory is the way to go.  Always Cheesecake Factory.