Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Reminiscent of Ramblin' Rod...

When I was a kid there was a morning TV program on called Ramblin' Rod.  I really don't remember much, but it was a local show so they always had local kids on the set and they'd do a smiling contest.  The camera would pan back and forth on all these kids who had that constipated look on their faces from trying to show the most teeth or stretch their cheeks the widest...  Ultimately one kid would just seem to shine above the rest and the camera would stay trained on that mugshot and a really bad neon graphic of SMILE CONTEST WINNER would flash on and off...

If I seem a little bitter its only because I always was jealous that I never got on the Ramblin' Rod show and that follows the thought that I never won a smile contest...

So here you go all you Ramblin Rod Smile Contest winners who got your face on TV...time to join the big leagues of Smile Contests.  I have just found a smile contest that results in $250 worth of Amazon.com holiday cheer.

So...for the next few days I'll have camera out to find that perfect smile in someone...somewhere...

Here's the blog to share the love.  I'd love a little healthy competition. 


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Ich verfluche dich Weihnachtsbaum

...which in English translates to, "I curse you Christmas tree."  But, I needed to write it in German because the tree is German and I want to make darn sure it understands EXACTLY what I'm saying.

So, I get the tree in the tree stand and then cut the nylon netting they put around it and its STUCK in the exact same shape.  Literally frozen like that.  I just had to laugh.  How appropriate.

(They were cuter than the tree so I decided to take a picture of them instead.)

I took the broom to it.  Whapping at the branches to get the frozen beads off...and the snow off...and to make them start to pull downward and fill out some....and I got it pretty good...

But then started some of the other problems.  It was sooo cold outside that the snow and ice was jus stuck on the branches...I tried to let it melt off...but that didn't work so I knew I'd have to bring it inside the house and then let them melt off...

And so I did...note all the towels around the base?  It took about 2 hours, but it finally all melted and the tree dried enough that I felt comfortable putting on the lights.  Look...it filled out more too!

And then began the decorating...first the lights...

The girls INSISTED on putting the rope lights on the tree.  Normally I wouldn't do it...I mean it looks a little ridiculous, but beh...who really cares?

 And then it fell down.  Not once...not twice, but THREE times this dang tree fell down.

And broke John's Czech Republic Pilsner ornament...

And made Maddie cry.  And so I tied it up with yarn.  (you thought I was joking...didn't you...)

And then the "ornamenting" began.  (That was Maddie's word...she's been excited to "ornament" the tree all day.)

The box of ornaments...

Look Mom!  Sparklies!

Bella hanging her first ornament

The girls "ornamenting" the tree

And when it was all done I had to just stand back and laugh....check out the bottom row of branches...
How many ornaments can you fit on one branch?  :)

And even though this was a job that took the ENTIRE afternoon and left one child in tears and made the other extremely grumpy and hungry...

When our neighbor came visiting she said, "Oh wow....this tree looks very loved."


I'll take that as a compliment.

Ohhhhhh....you better watch out!

You better not cry...

You better not pout....

I'm telling you why....

Santa Claus is coming to town....

First holiday party of the season and SANTA was there !  Hoorah.  Its a good thing too because the party which was supposed to be a decoration party for us to make stuff to send to the FOBs for Christmas got scaled down to a single small table with some cheap crayons and white computer paper.  I was pretty irritated, but apparently they got a lot of stuff donated and after the donations they decided they didn't need to do any more craft activity.  BUT, there was nothing else for the kids to do!  Anyhow...lame.

This little girl asked Santa for a baby doll for Christmas.  I think she *may* just get her wish come true!

I've been debating the merits of having Santa add a small piece of coal to her stocking with a reminder to be good next year.  She's been such a pill lately...well, actually, she's much improved from September, but still...maybe some coal would remind her that someone other than me is watching? 

Then Bella met Santa...and she was NOT happy about sitting on his lap.  I think just about every kid has one of these scream your head off Santa photos.  And yes, thats a giant carrot in Bella's hand.  She insisted on a giant carrot - not a slice of carrot, not a smaller carrot...that giant carrot in its entirety.  Its cute...all nibbled up.

And a close up just in case you didn't get the full hilarity of her screaming face.  I was really pleased with how cute our santa was...doesn't he just look GREAT?!

Santa Claus is coming to townnn!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

I am woman. Hear me roar.

Its becoming quite the winter wonderland in Vilseck these days.  Every morning we wake up to white trees and snow on the ground.  Is just beautiful to look at and yet I'm so glad when by mid afternoon its all melted away.  I just know its going to last f.o.r.e.v.e.r. 

So....yesterday I cut down a tree.  Not just any tree, mind you.  The tree that shone with a halo as angels sung out "O Tannenbaum"...(because we are in Germany, you know.)  Yes, I cut down the tree that the girls and I found after stomping around a snow drifted tree farm for an hour.  The tree that not only looked perfect for us, but had the right colored tag letting me know it was in our "tree budget." 

We didn't plan on cutting a tree down yesterday.  In fact, the plan was to go to a Christmas Market, but on our way I saw a sign...the "cut your own" sign and we decided to stop. 

So, like I said, we tromped around in the snow for an hour before we fond the perfect tree.  Maddie thought EVERY tree was the perfect tree...I'm not sure if she was just excited to be getting a tree or if she was ready to be done tromping around in the snow too.

I now have a newfound respect for tree cutters.  Well, at least tree cutters who have to use a hand saw.  I do believe the saws that were at this tree farm were the most dull saws available on the face of the earth...Otherwise, I'm sure I wouldn't have had half the issues that kept me knee deep in snow.  Ok, I even actually at one point was LAYING in the snow trying to saw at this tree trunk.

So, instead I decided the time had come to just push it over.

And I guess in reality I didn't really "cut down" the tree as much as I just pushed it over.

 Yep - thats me after pushing it over.  And thats the kind of photograph you get when an 8 year old snaps the photo.  ha ha ha

And the stump... You know..the one that I cut.  ha ha ha

And it was done just in the nick of time...Bella got a little grumpy...

And wanted me to take off her boots to get the snow out...

...but rotton mom that I am, I made her walk all the way back to the car while I drug the tree and Maddie carried the saw...

And when we got it home I sat outside and RESAWED the trunk of the tree with our hand saw (which is the second dullest blade on the face of the earth)  while the girls made a fort...

And coming soon - the comedy routine of me getting the tree in the tree stand and into the house...  :D

Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

My cute little kids at storytime made the tailfeathers of this turkey.  Isn't it the cutest thing EVER?!  I just love it.  I'm sad that Thanksgiving is over and now I have to take it down...  Boo hoo. 

Anyhow...just a quick little blog on my Thanksgiving day.  It was....different.

Not bad...not fantastic...just different than any other Thanksgiving I've ever had.  Of course the biggest differences being that we had no family around to celebrate with.  And, if you don't already know...growing up we used Thanksgiving as the big Butler Family Reunion.  so we literally had 100+ people and more food than you knew what to do with.  I remember pies lined up for 15 feet and the biggest pile of mashed potatoes you could ever imagine...

The other big difference this year is that we were all missing our soldier boys.  I did hear from John that he had THREE platefuls of food for lunch then went back for more at dinner time and ended up in bed totally stuffed.  he he he.

So, on our very different little Thanksgiving day...We started the morning off great - the girls played and played until it was time to get dressed for our big Thanksgiving feast...

Bella would NOT let me help her get dressed.  "I do it mama!" are about the only words I hear from her mouth...so I let her do it and when she finally gets frustrated I get to help.  So, she's got a dress on around her waist and she's putting her legs into her sleeves.  It just makes me laugh.

We had planned our dinner with Miss Jennie -

And then we heard that a few others had nowhere to go and nobody to go with so they came along too!  Miss Ashli...

And Miss Jessica!

Then off to the DFAC (dining facility) where we had our Turkey dinner cafeteria style.  I was pleasantly surprised at how good the food actually was.  They had all kinds of meat, turkey, ham, roast...And all the fixins to go along with it.  Plus icecream and cakes and pies for dessert.  DELISH.  I had turkey, ham, potatoes, stuffing, corn, a roll and a little bit of eggnog.  YUMMY.  I was one STUFFED girl...

The one thing I didn't get was pumpkin pie...they ran out when we got there...but I figured they might so I bought the ingredients to make it myself here.  ha ha ha.

Last, but not least - Bella got ahold of that camera and took this great self portrait photo...It made me laugh so I had to post it...

And one of me too! (DO NOT...I repeat...DO NOT look closely at my eyebrows.  :D)

When our meal was over we came home and the girls watched movies while I got in a turkey induced nap...ahhhhh.... 

So to all you turkeys out there...Happy Thanksgiving.  We love you!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

For my favorite turkey....you know who you are!

If you ever need a lovey idea you should check them out. 
You should see their saucy version of the 12 days of Christmas. 
**disclaimer...its SAUCY and not for the super modest or prude or those under the age of 18**
...gads...I'm making it sound like porn.

Holy cow...did I just say porn on my blog?  Mom...I honestly don't know what that word means.  Promise.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I do not suffer from "depression" in the manic classic sense of the word.  Never have...and had a REALLY hard time understanding it when I realized how many people in my life suffer from it chronically. 

BUT, these past couple of weeks I have been DRAGGING.  As in...don't want to get out of bed, exhausted - but not sleeping well, cranky, unmotivated (eeeek!  you should see my house) and just basically in a FUNK.

And then a few days ago as I was IM chatting with John I said to him, "I think I'm depressed."  Jokingly.  And then I realized.  Holy cow.  I AM depressed. 

I miss my husband

I had a leaky sink

I couldn't get the new showerhead on by myself.

My baby is two

I have too much STUFF in my house and nowhere to put it.

Holidays are here and they are just a tad lonely

I worry about my mom (who is getting hip replacement surgery TODAY.)

I worry about my madmad...and her little moods

I don't want to sweep any more leaves off the front stoop.

I look outside and all I see is rain...or this morning it was snow.

Cooking has essentially been opening a can for the last couple of weeks.

I burst into tears when I leave Bella in daycare because I know she's just going to cry for the next hour until I pick her back up.  (separation anxiety is just as bad for me...)

Plus, I still need to get her vaccination shots and it makes me tear up every time I think about her getting those needles in the leg.

AND...last but not least, I hate putting folded laundry away and you should see the pile of it that I am dreading...

I have become SUCH a softie.  I used to be able to write out a to do list and tadum!  It all got done.  Not now...now I am wallowing.  But wallowing makes me feel unproductive which for me is a bad way to feel.


Ok... so that was good for me to wallow just a little more...and now I'm done feeling sorry for myself and tomorrow...after I try for a full 7 hours of sleep...tomorrow I will write out my to do list and get it done.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Baby mine....

When Bella was born I would sing a sweet little song that you may recognize as having been played in the Disney movie, Dumbo, but the version that I love most of it is by Alison Krauss.  Its called "Baby Mine."  Alison Krauss has a sweet soft voice and in the depths of my pregnancy hormone induced drama this song would cause much melodrama and would bring tears to my eyes...

Or so I thought.

And then I was listening to my MP3 player the other day and guess what song came on...and guess what sprung to my eyes.  Apparently it has nothing all all to do with pregnancy or hormones.

I think I just love the song. 

YouTube won't let me embed the video, but here's a link of you want to hear the original...

And in the meantime...My little 2 year old who is no longer considered a baby...is still my baby.

Baby mine, don't you cry
Baby mine, dry your eyes
Rest your head close to my heart,
never to part,
baby of mine

Little one when you play,
don't you mind what they say
Let those eyes sparkle and shine,
never a tear,
baby of mine

If they knew sweet little you

they'd end up loving you too
All of those same people who scold you
what they'd give just for the right to hold you

If they knew sweet little you

they'd end up loving you too
All of those same people who scold you
what they'd give just for the right to hold you

From your head down to your toes
you're not much, goodness knows
But you're so precious to me,
sweet as can be,
Baby of mine

Baby of mine

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Wiggly Waggly Puppy Party!

Be prepared....this is one of those monster blogs that just goes on and on and on forever with video and photos and nonstop blabbering from yours truly...

But, how else do you properly document a 2-year old's birthday party when you are just amazed that she's already TWO?

Originally I had planned on having a fingerpainting party for Bella's second birthday.  Then I came to my senses and realized what having multiple children and fingerpaint run wild would do to my home and my sanity. 

SO.....that plan quickly changed and instead we decided to do a PUPPY PARTY!  Bark Bark!

Bella loves puppies.  Adores them...so it was very appropriate.

I sent out cute invitations inviting all puppies to come wiggle and waggle their tails.  We invited the four 2-year olds that live on our street and a 2-year old friend from storytime.  Those little ones and their siblings made a total of 9 party guests.

Birthday morning and she woke up around 8:30...what a GREAT present for mama!  I actually got to sleep in a little!

I started with the cake...
And I have to tell you that I am immensely pleased with myself over this cake.  I found a picture on the internet and basically copied it, but I love how our yummy puppy turned out.  We made it out of lemon cake and frosting.  The muzzle and eye are tootsie roll and the tongue is a starburst (heated in microwave for just 5-10 seconds!)

I also made a "doggy door" for our playroom and called it the Puppy Playhouse.  The kids loved this.  They spent a lot of their time in that playroom. 

As decoration I bought $1 plastic dog bowls at our PX and used the big ones to serve snacks and the smaller partitioned ones went to each child to hold their capri sonne and their cupcake.  I made both cake and cupcake because there was one little boy who is allergic to certain foods so the cupcakes were all "safe" foods and the big cake the adults munched on.

We started the party off with all the kids in the puppy playhouse....they played in there for about 15 minutes while the parents all had a chance to just relax.  Then I started the games.  We played Pin the tail on the puppy and hungry puppy bean bag toss.  It was a lot of fun.  They wanted to each have about 10 turns for each game so we just played them over and over again.

I also attempted a barking contest, but that got out of hand reaaallly quick so I nipped that one immediately and moved straight into the birthday song and cake.

Yummy....cake cake cake!

And then fruit snacks on top of the cake...

And finally we got to presents.  She was very excited and did a great job ripping off the wrapping paper and looking inside the bags.  She was such a polite little birthday girl.  She gave everyone big hugs for their gifts and was very sweet and excited about everything she opened.

And then we attempted nap time.  Yeah right...did you hear me mention cake AND fruit snacks.  I laid her in bed and she wanted nothing to do with that.  About 40 minutes later I got her up and we let her open more presents.  These were the ones from us...mommy, daddy, Maddie and family.

She's running to see the presents that still need to be opened...

Maddie and Bella after just opening a gift.  The pull along puppy and Elmo camera that are behind them were two of her favorites.  She has played with both of them on and off all day.  Its so cute to watch her tugging that little puppy around saying, "C'mon puppy...c'mon."

And then we had cake...part deux...  I took another picture of her getting ready to blow out the candles and we sang happy birthday again...

And she's become a pro.  Who needs a fork when you can just stick your face in your cake.  ha ha ha.

Happy birthday Bella!  Bark! Bark!