Saturday, December 09, 2006
Light show
After the ladies went home (or went to sit in traffic) we went out to see a Christmas light show. It was set up in a local park. You paid at the gate and then wound around the park for a good while in your car, enjoying all the light structures they had set up. I'd never heard of such a thing till two weeks ago. It was nice. I think the kids were impressed.

We ran back home and fed the kids. I put Emma down for the night and the adults headed back out. We went to the Cheesecake Factory. On a Friday night. It was around 9 p.m. that we were seated. We didn't get up from our booth till 11:30 p.m. I'm sure our waitress was loving us. We had a great meal and great conversation, so it was all good.

The meetup
The meetup in Maryland went great. Everyone made it in one piece. There were three other mommies from my mommy group including Jen, Allie and Sue. We had tons of toys for the kids to play with so they were pretty happy.

Allie's daughter, Avery, was as cute as she could be. Everyone in my family who met her remarked on how well she talked, and that sweet little voice was adorable. She became attached to two "animated" stuffed animals. One she referred to as Goofy. It was a dog that sang Christmas tunes. The other was a chicken, wearing antlers, that would play the chicken dance. I joked that it was never hard to find Avery when she wandered off because you could follow the homing devices she was carrying around. I think this household might be chicken-danced out for a while though ;)

Jen's kids, Hunter and Gabe, we quite cute also. Hunter was the quiet one. He played very well with the other kids. His agenda was all about the cookies. You gotta watch out for the quiet ones. He'd slip in amongst the hustle and bustle and reach up on the table, hoping to strike gold. As a courtesy, we weren't counting anyone's cookies ;) Gabe was as sweet as he could be. The first thing that strikes you about him is all his hair. At six months old he has more hair than Emma! He's a charmer. Quick with the smiles and so sweet.

Eric was a very busy fellow. He's a big fan of cars (and Cars!) so he was very happy playing with cousin C's box of cars. He was very willing to play with the other kids and got along with everyone quite well. He was very quick with the kisses and hugs for his mommy, which was very sweet.

And then there was Emma...

It wasn't her best day. As a matter of fact, I'd rate it amongst her worst. She was in a bad mood all day. I didn't try to alter her sleep schedule, so her afternoon nap put her down for most of the meetup. I finally had to go get her for the group photo when it was time for everyone to leave. She'd been down for two hours and 45 minutes, but apparently it was still too soon to get her up. She cried over everything. I couldn't do anything to make her happy. In retrospect I should have dumped her somewhere and let her cry it out, instead of dragging her around everywhere, crying in my ear. She doesn't warm up to new kids very quickly, and I guess despite my precautions (using borrowed toys) she was still a bit territorial. I know it wasn't that she didn't like the other kids, she's just slow to warm up. Anyway, she failed miserably in her hostess role. I may need to send her to Martha Stewart boot camp.

Here are the photos:
Allie and her sweet girl, Ainsley.

Gabe was proficient at rolling himself around the room. He rolled right on over and checked out the new girl on the floor.

Hunter is checking out the kitchen with Avery watching. Note the cookie in his hand...

Sue brought Christmas beads to share with all of the kids. It looks like she's scammed more than her fair share here. You all know she was happy about that.

Here are the mudslides I promised the ladies. While they seemed like a great idea at the time. I was sort of regretting them later in the evening, when my energy was flagging.

Here is the whole group. Sue and Eric, and Jen, Hunter and Gabe all rode down from Pennsylvania. Allie and the girls flew in from California. And then we trekked up from Virginia.

Ornament of the Day - Friday
The lighthouses of the Outer Banks.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Sorry no pics tonight
I'm getting ready for a trip up to Maryland. I've been baking this evening. It got a lot more involved than I had planned.

After work tomorrow I'm headed to Maryland to stay at my brother's for a couple of nights. I'm meeting up with some friends on Friday; we're gathering at my brother's house so that makes me the de facto hostess. So there are preparations to be made, and Martha Stewart I am not.

When I leave work tomorrow Emma and I are headed to Noni's. I talked her into joining me on this adventure. She's basically holding my hand while I navigate the DC area. I hate it up there, especially in Maryland. I get turned around every time I leave my brother's house. I'm a hopeless case. And I used to be so fearless...

I'm a bit vexed, on top of it all. They're calling for snow here tomorrow. I hate, hate, hate crossing the mountains in the snow. But I absolutely must go. I dread work tomorrow. I picture myself sitting there watching the snow come down, getting more and more anxious about having to drive in it when I finally get to leave. Sigh. Serenity now.

The good news for you all is that the trip should produce some interesting pictures for you to enjoy.
Ornament of the Day
This little lady came home with us from Ireland.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006
These are Emma's candles
Why are they Emma's candles? Because she says so. But then again, every thing on the big blue planet is hers, so why not?

Beaky pillow
Labs make nice warm pillows. That's if you don't mind your pillow shedding a sweater's worth of brown hairs on you.

Ornament of the Day
This is a souvenir from our recent trip to Williamsburg.

Monday, December 04, 2006
Buyer Beware!
I am done with Toys R Us online. I ordered four items, three for Emma's Christmas and one for a cousin. They shipped the cousin's one item right away. Then they sat on the rest of the order for TEN DAYS and then cancelled it. No wonder they're losing their shirts to Walmart. Walmart is damned surely where I went to place the order for the one major item that Toys R Us cancelled. I won't be back.
Little People Corral
What? You don't have this one?

OK, the corral is actually Mega Blocks. They put up a pen to keep those high-spirited Little People in check.

Thank you, Jeanne, Oscar and Lexi!
This is an ornament I received in our mommy board ornament exchange. I love it. I'm a big fan of snowmen. It looks even cuter with the names unsmudged.

Emma Art
I don't think I've ever shared her artwork before. She likes a broad canvas.

Another score from the Majors
Emma really likes this. She doesn't really know what to do with the pedals, but then I didn't expect her to.

Ornament of the Day
I apologize for this one being blurry. It is nearly impossible to get a clear picture taking a macro shot of a tree that can move with a camera that can move. I know I could set up a tripod, but the way the tree tapers away from me makes it difficult. This is the worst of the bunch.

The ornament is a Hallmark Keepsake that I bought in the box at a secondhand shop for $2.50. Pretty good steal. You can turn the letters to spell different words.

Sunday, December 03, 2006
My bad, Noni
I stood there and insisted that you owned one of these, and if not you then it was Grandma. Turns out I own one of these. I guess that's why pulling out the Christmas decorations every year Christmas. I never remember what I have.

Yes, he asks you if you're ready for this, and then wiggles his butt at you. I'm not sure I was ever ready for that ;)

The Christmas tree is up
By having an artificial tree I'd say it will be up only one week before it would have been, had we waited and put up a live tree. I'll try to get a nighttime picture later.

Tree detail...

Ornament of the Day
It's back! Get your Christmas fix here every day with the onrnament of the day. This year we begin the series with an ornament close to Emma's heart, Elmo...