Sunday, November 30, 2008

oh how we love your branches...

but not your bugs...oh yes, folks - i must explain! (lori d. - this ones for you!)

after much lamenting on my part because we were breaking our 7 year tradition of visiting motley's tree farm in little rock, we headed out friday morning to pick out the "price family" christmas tree...sounds simple enough, right...not particularly.

for those of you that know jeffrey & me up close & will know that we LOVE huge christmas trees...most years, we actually have to end up cutting the top of our tree off in order for it to fit in our living room! well, this year our ceilings are about 20 feet we knew that having a tall tree would be no problem...for us. however, virginia does not seem to have a high demand for the tall christmas tree types...thus began our hunt!

with the girls donning their first christmas outfits of the season, we headed out to a tree farm that was initiating into the "tree farm" trees over 6 feet tall. no problem...that's just one place. we ventured on down the road a little bit to a farm that was to have some spruce & pine trees...there were some slightly "less vertically challenged" tannenbaums...but not a great fit for us! while we were in route to our THIRD tree farm of the day, i called to see if they had any trees that were about 10 -12 feet tall..."oh yes, we have exquisite frasier firs" - that should have been my first clue that this may not go as smoothly as we thought - yes, they were in fact the tune of...hold on to your hats people...$225!!!!!!!!!!! let me just spell that for you...two hundred and twenty - five dollars...for a christmas tree! we kindly "oohed & aahed" over the staggeringly expensive trees and got in our car. defeated.

this was one of the few years that we did not have our tree the day after thanksgiving...and i could just feel the christmas season hours dwindling down...i truly LOVE having a tree in our home!

so we got back on the horse yesterday morning & headed to our fourth and FINAL tree farm...moose apple tree farm in berryville, va to be exact! they had some beautiful trees and we did our usual dance of "ooh, this one's good...but look at that one...ok, let's go back and look at that other one...ok, this is the one...are you sure...we're going to cut this one...i don't know..." and so on the story goes...every year.

our children were melting, even though it was 40 degrees outside, so we chopped her down and loaded her up!

we get home and are putting our beauty in the stand...i am holding it straight (still in the netting) while jeffrey secures it in the stand. this is when the saga continues...i am studying the tree because it is right up in my face...and i notice LOTS (i say 100's - jeffrey says "no way"...i very much disagree) of SPIDERS AND BUGS! that's right, folks...the tree that we waited to find for two days is what i like to call "infested" say that i was freaking out would be an understatement. i immediately "front lined" emma...and called the tree farm to see what we could do. their suggestion...take the tree out and spray it with bug spray...

friends...we are talking about a 10 foot christmas tree. not an easy thing to just carry outside...but that is exactly what we (uh-hum, jeffrey) did. i made jeffrey use an entire can of bug spray and shake the devil out of this christmas tree. i don't' know if i am crazy or stupid...but after several hours on the front porch, i allowed him to bring this bug motel back into our home. that is how desperate i am to have a normal holiday this year. bye bye lovely pine smell...hello bug spray.

so far, i haven't seen any on the tree...but i am inspecting santa's beard to see what nests are being built!!!!!!!!!!
the girls had such a great time decorating the tree last night...especially ella! she was sweet hanging all of her "favorite" ornaments...since she has been doing this for SO long...she kept exclaiming that "she just loved christmas"!!!!!!! jeffrey and i love making these memories with our truly makes the holidays even more special.

we are so excited about spending the actual christmas holiday in the good ole south...but for now...i will spend the next 432 hours enjoying this tree...and looking for bugs!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

he's back...

that's right, folks! leggy...our trusty, dusty "elf on a shelf" made his 2008 debut tonight! ella is totally pumped about having this little guy pop up in different places this year - she was already talking to him & trying to figure out just why he couldn't respond!

maddie, on the other hand, has a love/hate relationship with leggy! she desperately wants to touch evidenced by her immediate rush to get a step stool in order to check him out up close & personal...but she did her signature "back" (picture her saying this while pushing an imaginary something back with her hand)! we knew that she would love the idea of looking for the elf every morning...and it should have been no surprise that she will have to warm up to the idea...however, our recent bookworm did not want to sit and read the book...

there's always the next 16 years!!!!!!!

for now, leggy will remain a part of our immediate family for the next 28 days...even making our cross country journey - jeffrey & i will probably need the elf to encourage us!

there are likely to be lots of tantrums & griping going on...from the kids too!
christmas time is here...& i am lovin' every minute!!!!!!!


just want everyone in my life - family, friends, "blogging buddies" - to know how thankful i am for YOU today! i can't imagine my life without all of my good friends and amazing family!

not a day goes by that a smile is not brought to my one of YOU!

i hope that this day of thanks finds you feeling special & loved! i look forward to seeing many of you during the coming holidays!

happy thanksgiving from one full family to another...we love you!

Monday, November 24, 2008

the great big city of fruit...

or so ella has named the "big apple"...otherwise known as NEW YORK CITY!!!!!!

we just returned from a girl's trip to NYC...that centered around taking my first born to see "the little mermaid" on broadway! watching ella's eyes light up was worth the trip in itself...but seeing all the christmas decorations and feeling the hustle & bustle of the holidays was fabulous too!

we left sunday morning on the luxury "bolt" bus...bundled so heavily that none of our arms really worked!!!! we looked like three black marshmallows...with a tiny pink marshmallow on top! we stopped by the hotel to check in and we were off to explore before we headed to the theater for the main event! ella was so afraid that we were going to miss it...& she was thankful to get out of the cold...she spent lots of time underneath her fleece blanket!
she LOVED the musical! when mom, brooke, & i were in NY in june...i bought the "mermaid" CD for the ella had pretty much memorized every song...her favorite being "she's in love" that the guppy, flounder, sings!!!!! her eyes were brighter than the stage lights...she was mesmerized!!!! honey bought her a "clam purse" & she was set...& then came the bonus! we waited outside for the cast members to come out so that we could meet them...needless to say, they fell in love with ella just as much as she loved them!!!!! flounder, a little 11 year old boy, was flirting with her and asked her if she wanted a hug...ella was smiling so big (she was NOT smiling about the flirting...i'm sure of it...i think)! then came sebastian, one of the eels, scuttle, & then the biggie - ariel!!!!! we were all so excited for ella...the experience was perfect - with only a minimal amount of squirming!!!!!!!!!!

it was extremely cold...but we made our way over to rockefellar center to see if the tree was's not...but it was great fun to see radio city music hall & their big tree! after a quick bite to eat, we waddled our way back to the hotel to warm up and catch some zzzzzz's! as you can imagine, being in a hotel with lots of snacks is really fun for a 4 1/2 year old little girl!

on monday morning, we hit the ground running because we only had a little amount of time to get a lot accomplished! our first stop of the day was F.A.O. schwartz! we decided we were going to let ella spend as much time as she wanted in there...and as she said on the way home - "there were 50 rooms!!!!" she was like a kid in a huge toy store...oh wait, she was a kid in a huge toy store!!!! we all had a blast! you don't have to be a child to have fun...ella bounced from baby dolls, to dress up shoes, to books, to the big piano, to barbie dolls, to candy, & back to baby dolls! we will be introducing some new members of our family in the not so distant future!!!! we stayed for about 2 hours and then headed out to look at the store windows...the christmas displays are amazing!!!!!!

our last stop on the "kid in NYC" train was the "american girl" store...we went in with the idea that we were just going to make a wish list...and we came out with yet another member of the price family! we needed to weight ella down because she was flying high!

after a quick bite to eat, we taxied to the train station and headed back to D.C.! ella made friends with two little 13 year old girls that she ended up sitting with and playing hide & seek with...they promised to be her "pen pals" & made the end of her trip amazing!

i will never forget this trip with my little girl. i have dreamed my whole life of making these types of memories with my children...i can't wait to do the same thing with madeline...

as ella and i sat together on the train ride home, i watched her knowing that i would always remember "our first trip to new york"...i would always remember her face & her excitement...i will always remember how much i love her (& maddie)...

i will always cherish the blessing of being their mommy.

my sweet ella,
thank you so much for making this trip one that i will never forget. your incredible spirit & zest for life are just a couple of the reasons that make you one of the most special little people i know...& i get the privilege of being your mommy. i hope you feel how loved you are...whether you are on the streets of new york or just coloring at home. you are one amazing little girl and i love you more than these words can possibly convey...
i look forward to many more "big girl" trips...and watching you smile...
you are one in a million!

Friday, November 21, 2008

a momentous occasion...

our sweet little madeline...who appears these days to be anything but little...did something tonight that i didn't think would happen for a VERY LONG TIME...

she "poo pooed" in the potty!

i know it's not polite to talk about such things...but since this is my blog & i am one proud mommy...i just thought it was worthy of some praise!!!!!!

i will have to say that she looked awfully cute sitting on that potty - with her big belly sticking out - acting like such a big girl! she was smiling so big...and she loved seeing me jumping around & clapping! i offered her an m&m, but i think she was so full from all the pizza that we had from dinner...she didn't even want her reward! i guess seeing her mommy so exuberant about poop was quite enough for her!!!!!!!

who knows if this will happen frequently or if this was a one time wonder...but for now, we are happy that maddie is acting like a "big girl"...because we all know...

that she will always be my baby!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

wordless wednesday...

another sweet trip down memory lane...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

dictionary for "madelinese"...


it seems that madeline never stops talking these days...but much of it would be indistinguishable to anyone other than her immediate family members! even we spend much of our time asking lots of questions to decipher what she is really trying to say - she stays as patient as she can...but i know it becomes frustrating to her!!!!!!! just thought i would share a few definitions should you happen to encounter a conversation with the little peanut any time soon!!!!!!

"ga ga" - thank you

"peace" - please

"na na" - sorry
"ite" - light

"eed" - read

"house" - the title to her FAVORITE book these days..."the napping house"

"mmmm" - something to drink

"na" - the name of her special lovie

"m&m" - would you believe it...this is what she says when she wants...m&m's!!!!!!! nothing confusing about that!!!!!
"cacka" - cracker

"bubba" - baby

"ewwa" - her best friend in this universe...ella

"taw" - straw

"da" or "woowoo" - dog

"hi" - when she is asking for Hi-5...a favorite for her & her sister

"ink" - what she says when she wants us to turn on "monsters inc."
"mote" - remote
"poon" - spoon

"dice" - unsolved mystery...any suggestions?!?!?!

some of the other words that she seems to have mastered at the ripe old age of 22 months: bite, eyes, nitenite, bath, ice, BP (the place where her mommy gets her drink every night), poopoo (she likes to blame this one on lots of other family members), tt, eat, done, , hi, bye, out, shoes, cheese, "gigi", no, uh-huh, teeth, up, momma, daddy or dada, bowl, bow, bobo....

so from madeline to all: "gaga" for taking the time to "eed" this post. "peace" visit often...and send "m&m's" if you can...i'll tell mommy "na na" for you!


Sunday, November 16, 2008

"are you ready to get your jingle on?"...

jeffrey & me...when we were just babies ourselves!!! 2002

i was "tagged" by a good friend with this question...and the reflexive, immediate answer that comes to my mind is YES, OF COURSE! and then i have to make sure we're talking about the same thing, uh - christmas...because i certainly may not be ready to get anything else but a jingle on...

ella's 1st christmas - 2004


and then i really ponder this question, and realize that i seem to be getting everyone else ready to "get their jingle on"...while neglecting my own holiday readiness! don't get me wrong...i LOVE making other people happy & my painting has definitely grown to be that "missing" something in my life...but somehow i gotta find the balance!

christmas 2005

i absolutely LOVE christmas time...i have already stocked my 6 disc changer with christmas tunes, already gotten the girls some christmas threads, and am looking into getting our christmas tree before thanksgiving!!!!! i LOVE christmas commercials, made for tv christmas movies, sitting in my living room that is only lit by the lights on my HUMONGOUS tree, lighting gingerbread & balsam pine candles and letting them burn all day, dreaming about all the family & friends that i will visit with during the holidays, watching my children enjoy their own holiday moments...i truly love it all...

there is a little unwelcomed guest this year though...

that other little part of christmas 2008 that makes my heart sink...while the wound of the "move" has certainly scabbed's still there. my mind doesn't wander back to those days as often, but the emotions of last year are still very real. i loved decorating my new home last fact, it was completely "holidayed" by november 15th! that home, which represented way more than a dwelling place for my family, holds so many memories. we managed to pack a lot of fun into a short amount of time there...and for some reason, as the holidays approach...i miss epernay loop. a lot. a whole lot. i miss the fact that when we left, "reindeer food" could still be found on the sidewalk, i will miss the look on my little girl's faces from the balcony on christmas morning, i will miss decorating my banister with garland & lights, i will miss the tree farm where we got our tree for 7 fun years...and while we're on the subject...i miss my hardwood floors (i know that's not holiday related...but i have a serious case of the misses for those!!!!)

we are planning to head south this christmas & for that i am very thankful. we'll see if the thankful attitude is still in tact after a 20 hour car trip with two littles under the age of 5...
if i can't be at epernay loop...i at least want to be with my family!!!!! i certainly know what my christmas wish will be this year...and it won't be for my 2 front teeth!!!!!

the 2006

couldn't leave out my sweet maddie...she arrived 12 days later!!!!

i know in my heart that memories will be made no matter where we dwell...and i know that is the most important part. now i just need to get into "jingle" mode and start whipping up some "gifties" for my peeps...i know the rest will fall into place...because the 25th is coming whether i am ready or not!!!!!!

the girls - christmas 2007

tag your it: megsy, the donleys, christi, and megan

oh yeah…39 days and counting…

another fun contest...

but not from "painting me happy"...yet!!!!

wouldn't this be fun & fabulous...check it out!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

T is for Turkey...

or Totally Tumultuous Takeoff to our day!!!!! wHew!

well, you guessed it...we had special snack again for ella's class! since the letter of the week was T...and thanksgiving is right around the corner, i couldn't resist this adorable "fruit gobbler"! it was so fun to make and ella was really looking forward to taking it to school...until her tongue got in the way!

she mysteriously had all these bumps develop on her tongue yesterday afternoon...and fearing that we may have some kind of contagious disease...i decided we shouldn't risk it...and made an appointment with the doc! however, we'll call her "tina"...was expected at we had to federal express her there before our trip to the doctor!

it was 40 degrees and pouring today, which made transporting a rather large turkey made with fruit rather difficult! somehow we made it, with only a minor decapitation along the way, and delivered "tina" to her rightful eaters!!!!!

all to find out...that ella is completely fine...just suffering from, well...bumps on her tongue. nothing contagious about that. so we dashed back to school so that she could hopefully share a grape skewer and some cheese cubes with her buddies!

thankfully, since we are in the season of thanksgiving, tonight we are not suffering from "hand, foot, mouth" disease or any disease for that matter...and "tina" was a success!

so for tonight...Take Time To give Thanks...i know i sure do!!!!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

wordless wednesday...

takin' a little trip down memory lane...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

from one "mom preneur" to another...

check out this blog to view some great stuff made by other mommies! let's help each other out!
thanks leigh-ann for the tip!

Monday, November 10, 2008

spelunking we will go...

since "gigi" (aka granny) has been in town...we haven't really done anything new & exciting so we decided to head out yesterday to luray...home of the caverns! what an experience that was!

no one even remotely explained to us that when you walked through the very NARROW door to start your would promptly be greeted with 87 stairs to embark down - not good when you are equipped with a double jogging stroller, two children, & one sweet granny who has two bad knees! first obstacle - check. as i grabbed the camera bag, my purse, two blankets, a teddy bear, AND MADELINE...i started my way down! jeffrey, the big brute that he is, hoisted the double stroller and began his descent...with ella in tow! poor granny began to go down as well and thank goodness for the kindness of strangers...because we didn't have enough hands to assist her! we all made it in one piece...mission accomplished!

as the docent begins her speech about the caverns and we learn about the stalactites and stalagmites...we begin to hear madeline...or should i say we begin to hear some tunes coming from her diaper. seems that right about the time we get into the deep cavern where things echo...the sugarless gum that madeline got into before we left home (that's a whole other story for a whole other post!) began taking effect...thus causing her to be, well - let's just say - more "tootiful" than usual!!!!!! 2nd obstacle - check.

we viewed the first exhibit...pluto's ghost...and then comes, you guessed it - obstacle #3...check. the opening (aka doorway) to walk through did not seem big enough for me to push the girls jeffrey, who by the way is pushing granny in her first wheelchair experience of all time, begins to lift the girls through this rock doorway. what he doesn't understand until it is way too that i am ATTACHED to the stroller by that strap you can use for running (yeah, i have never used that feature because i never run...but you get the picture)...and he is literally dragging me along with him!!!!!!! the entire group of people on the tour with us are staring in our direction at this i felt the need to announce that everyone should just ignore us...but how - we are making a total spectacle!!!!!! *sigh*

i am thinking to myself..."great, we only have another 1.25 miles of this adventure. super"!!!!!! yes, folks that's how long the tour was...1.25 miles! right about that time, we hit a downward slope that sent me and the stroller, with my precious cargo, sliding down at a breakneck speed. there was no traction & no stopping...look out heels of anyone standing in front of me...i cannot STOP!

obstacle #4 - check. thankfully, those same strangers that helped the abandoned "gigi" at the top of the stairs, helped me put the brakes on and helped me for the rest of the tour!

since we were such a distraction, we ended up missing most of the explanations for things - because we tried to remain as the caboose at all times...but the girls thought the cave was neat...and there were some really neat parts! unfortunately, right about the time i was going to get the BEST picture of camera battery died. obstacle #5 - check.

we made it to the end of the luray caverns...and we discovered that there was in fact a lift that granny could ride to get her up the stairs...thank goodness. the only bad part was that jeffrey, who took the girls to the car while i waited with granny, did not realize that the stroller was not allowed to be brought up on the lift. obstacle #6 -check. once again...i have everything that i had before - minus madeline - and there is no way that i can lift the stroller up 87 stairs! so that just meant that i got a good "glut" work out...up & down twice for order to go get jeffrey!!!!!!! i'll add a peanut butter cup to the end of the day - check!

all in all, even with all the challenges, we had a great day and the drive was absolutely gorgeous. the weekend was peak color for the fall leaves...and i whipped out some christmas tunes as the soundtrack to our excursion!

i don't know what next weekend will bring...but it certainly can't bring any more obstacles!!!!!!

Friday, November 7, 2008

a box is not just a box...

when it comes to ella & madeline! this afternoon after the girls came home from school...we decided to get creative...or should i say - the sweet peas in the family decided to get creative and form a club!!!! together they created a "club house" with crayons, markers, & stickers...and proceeded to order a snack to eat at their first official meeting!
they play so well together and it was so funny to listen to them laughing and having fun while decorating this cardboard box...who needs toys anyway?!

we would have made "pinky dinky doo" proud today! (if you don't know who she is..."pinky's got a story she wants to share with you"...big fan around here!!!!)

i wish i could say that the fun with the box lasted all afternoon...but it didn't. we proceeded to move outside & play with dirt. they used just about every spoon in the house to make their creations!!!! oh how i wish the camera would have been available when madeline got finished! let's just say...her clothes are soaking in oxi clean as we speak...and will probably be there for a good while! she had dirt from her head to her toes. typical madeline style!

even after all this, the fun did not last my friends! both girls spent the latter part of the evening arguing about who was going to sit on my lap and who was going to to be held by me...while trying to get dinner ready!!!!! *sigh*

who knows what tomorrow will bring...but for now, this mommy is going to bed with a heart that is full...and with the promise that tomorrow is a new day...and thank goodness for that!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008