"Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of. but do it in private
and wash your hands afterwards." --Robert Heinlein.

We've moved!

For the next two years (Summer 2014-Summer 2016) I'll be blogging our family's adventures in China at www.chinesemileposts.wordpress.com

Monday, November 29, 2010


Jed and I both make piles of stuff.  It's how we clean up.  It's how we organize.  That being said, I could use one of these.


However cool this may be...

it's the last thing I need.  Making candy more convenient is not a good thing around me.

Thanksgiving Holiday in Review

Our Thanksgiving was originally going to be 10 people at Jed's parents (our family of 5, the grandparents, and Jed's little brother with his wife and newborn).  Then plans changed and Jed's brother's family (with 7 kids) was coming so Jed's sister's family of four basically HAD to come since it was now a family reunion of sorts.  Twenty-three people and two bathrooms.  But we survived and had a lot of fun.

The trip started and ended with going to a state's highest point (Jed's new thing).  On the way, West Virginia.  On the way home, Pennsylvania.  And, on top of the new counties (another Jed thing) we got just coming and going, Jed went on a 10 county trip to Indiana one morning.

I finished three books (The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, Everything is Fine by Ann Dee Ellis and This is What I Did by Ann Dee Ellis).  We did a little Christmas shopping (but none of it super early Friday morning).  I ordered my 2009 family blog Blurb book. I found a $3 copy of Gone With the Wind at a enormous used bookstore one town over.  I don't think I'll get it read by 2011 (which was my goal earlier in the year)... but now I can read it next year.

We over packed on things like socks and shoes since we almost never left Grandma's house.  And much to my kids disappointment and my joy, it didn't snow except very briefly in the middle of the night and I only know that because in the winter, I check weather.com quite frequently.

There are four girl cousins (but one is only 3 months old).  Luckily the other three are aged almost 7, 8 and almost 8.  They don't always get along, but they usually do pretty well together and this trip seemed to be mostly getting along.  Or maybe I was just left out of the not-getting-along problems.

I basically saw Buddy for an average of six minutes per day.  These minutes consisted of asking for food or drink, or needing help because he needed a bathroom badly and all the bathroom were occupied.  He spent most of his time with the older boy cousins (aged 13, almost 11, 9 1/2, and almost 9).  Buddy's 6 1/2.  They were in the basement playing the Wii.  And went he wasn't in there, he was in the Lego room (normally known as Grandma's living room.

Little Guy I saw a little more frequently than Buddy.  But not much.  He spent a lot of time in the basement exploring Jed's old toys, watching the big kids play the Wii and just messing around.  If he wasn't in the basement, he was in the Lego room.  If he wasn't in the Lego room, he was hanging out by Grandpa's train set with a boy cousin 6 months older than him with a horse obsession.  The train set features a horse coral and several small plastic horses.  Those "horses" were loud.

So, overall a fun trip.  And to wrap it all up... a photo of Grandma and Grandpa with the grandchildren.

Poor lighting.  Crappy camera.  And too many kids to get looking and smiling at once.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Christmas Tree Skirt

I'm thinking I should make a Christmas tree skirt.  The first year Jed and I were married we went to a Christmas tree farm and bought a real Christmas tree.  We still have the stand, I've lugged it on all of our moves and stored it away hoping for the day to come when we have a real tree again.  The next year we were living at my parents' but wanted our own little tree as well so we bought a little decorative tree that was only about 3 feet high and meant to be an accent, not a Christmas tree, and decorated it with our family's ornaments.  Somehow it ended up being our tree for the next several years.  Last year I finally broke down and spent the least amount of money possible for a fake tree at Walmart that was a decent height.  But because our tiny tree was so little, I just wrapped a fancy Christmas place mat around it's base.  I'm not sure what we did last year with our "bigger" tree, but this year I'm thinking I should sew a skirt.  I'm thinking something like this

Monday, November 22, 2010

Social Awkwardness

Sometimes I feel like I interact with other adults so infrequently, and I don't have any close friends nearby, so whenever I get a chance to socialize with people, I find myself saying things or acting in ways totally contradictory to my normal personality.  It's as if I'm saying the first thought that comes to my mind, but because I'm in a social situation, the first thought has already gone through some sort of wacky process to make it "sound cool or clever" and later that night when I'm going over the conversation I blush at how ridiculous I must have sounded.  Argh.

Decorating for Christmas

I'm a firm believer in Christmas not happening until after Thanksgiving is over (except for where Christmas shopping is involved).  I think it's part tradition from my childhood and part not wanting to skip Thanksgiving.  Growing up, we couldn't play Christmas songs until after Thanksgiving.  If we were lucky, my dad would let us play them Thanksgiving night, once the Thanksgiving festivities had ended.  And we never put the tree up anywhere near Thanksgiving time.  This was probably because we got a real tree from a Christmas tree farm (not a grocery store lot) every year when I was little.  We waited until mid December, not wanting it to die before Christmas arrived.

Last year, because I have persistent, holiday-crazy kids (we like to joke that Princess Sparkley is going to grow up to be one of those old ladies who wears holiday sweaters*) we decorated for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving.  This year... we've gone crazy.  We started decorating for Christmas yesterday.  Yep, almost a week before Thanksgiving.  If we keep this up, in a few years we'll be decorated for the start of school in September.  But this year, I think I mainly gave in because we'll be gone for Thanksgiving and I'm hosting book club at my house on December 2nd.  I didn't foresee a lot of time to decorate for December between now and then.

We tried to decorate our little tree tonight (which is an upgrade we made last year from our tiny tree) but our tree light strand is dead.  Once the kids were in bed I finished sewing my Christmas bunting and hung it where last year we hung lights.  So I moved the lights to the front windows.  Except between our two front windows is a front door.  And our light strand it LONG.  So I sort of draped it above the door.  I asked Jed what he thought.  His response, after a pause: "The kids are going to love it."  Me: "It's not that bad, is it?"  Pause.  Jed: "The kids are really going to love it."

It's not that bad.  Is it?  Maybe I'm just used to too many college apartments "decorated" with Christmas lights.

My new Christmas bunting.

*No offense to any old ladies (or young ladies) who wear holiday sweaters.

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