Saturday, December 1, 2012

So, this is Christmas...

When you have a large family, I'm noticing, everything pretty much runs in a state of barely-controlled chaos.  Several years ago, I laughed when I watched the movie "Yours, Mine, and Ours".  In case you aren't familiar with the film, it is about a couple that finds each other midlife and falls in love, but they don't know that they each already have like 6 kids apiece.  They get married and blend their households, and because it is a romantic comedy of sorts, much drama and hilarity ensues.  Now that I'm living a mini-version of that, it doesn't seem quite so hilarious.  I find myself thinking of certain scenes, and nodding sympathetically to myself. 

However, with a little (by that I mean, a LOT) of organization, and some can keep things running smoothly.  Most of the time.  There are days, especially lately, with the master planner in an advanced state of pregnancy, that things get a little crazy. 

Sometimes you just have to let things go a little, and let kids be kids.  One such occasion was the tinseling of the downstairs Christmas tree.  This year we have two Christmas trees.  Since we combined our households this year, we ended up with two of them.  My husband asked which one we were going to get rid of, back in September.  I looked at him and said, "We can't get rid of either one of them yet.." He paused, and carefully asked, "Why not?"  I said, "Because, I don't know which one I like better.  What if I throw the nicer one out?  We have to wait, and put them both up, so I can decide which one I like the best."   My husband is an intelligent man, and said, "oo-kay," and we went on with our sorting. 

Another situation that came up with the blending of our households was the mingling of various holiday traditions.  In my husband's family, they love to cover the tree with enough tinsel to bury it.  The thought of this sets my anxieties off for several reasons.  One, when you are OCD neurotic like me, tinsel is a very threatening item.  It falls off the tree, ends up everywhere, and gradually works its way into every corner of your house.  Two, when I grew up, my mother choked the tree with tinsel and garland, to the point that you couldn't see any green.  My father really didn't care for this, so I grew up with the idea that tinsel was "too much". 

I am willing to compromise though, so we just put a 'little' tinsel on the upstairs tree.  The upstairs tree was my tree formerly, and we decorated it with blue, white, silver, shimmery decorations for the most part. It is beautiful, I think.  The kids were THRILLED to decorate the tree.  I told my husband that I had more than enough ornaments to decorate two trees, and I was right.  The kids helped me bring up all the shoe boxes of ornaments I have collected over my life.  Many are childhood ornaments my mother sent to me when I was an adult.  Many others are ones I bought myself or as gifts for my son as he has grown. 

I am usually a more active participant in the tree decorating, but I was content this year to sit and rest in a chair, and hand ornaments to all the kids.  My son was really excited to show off his personal ornaments to the other kids.  I know in the next year or so, we will add a lot of new ones...because next Christmas we will have an almost 1-year old.  Even though baby will be almost 1, it will still be 'Baby's First Christmas'. 

So, the downstairs tree was my husband's tree formerly, and he wanted to have colored lights on that tree.  My Christmas light selection is not that great, a lot of the strings I have are really old, and not in a good way.  I did find some funky pastel-colored lights with white strings though, and decided to try them on his already white prelit tree. 

A couple bulbs were out, and we replaced them with flasher bulbs, which made certain sections of the tree flash spastically.  My husband and his kids then commenced putting tinsel on the tree in big silvery handfuls.  They ran out of tinsel before they would have been done, I think.  The effect was rather retro though.  It had a certain 1950s look to it by the time we finished. 

My husband wanted to take this picture of me, to document how big my belly has become.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I have officially crossed over into 'ginormus'.  This is the only picture I could stand, out of all the ones he took.  We still have about a month and a half to go, according to the doctor, though I know I don't look it. 

 This is how the two trees ended up...icy blue and silver....

and retro colored lights.  What do you think...which one do  you like better?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Bloom Day: July 2012

It has been a long time since I've done a bloom day post...but I figure it's a good way to get back in the swing of things.  I have neglected my garden so much this year, because of being so tired, but in spite of that, there are so many things blooming.  Here's a taste of what's growing in my garden, enjoy!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Welcome Storm

Today, I was delightfully surprised by a pop-up thunderstorm.  I was out deadheading in my swimsuit top and when it started raining...Ijust stayed put.  However, as the minutes passed, thunder and lightning started, so I decided I'd better go inside.  I'm glad I did, because the skies opened up and it started pouring.   I watched excitedly from the doorway...I could feel the temperature drop as the storm went through.  It was even hailing for a few minutes. 

I went out afterwards to see how much rain we got. Like so much of the midwest, we have been in a drought.  It has hardly rained all summer.  I have been so tired lately, it was difficult for me to get out and water, so I am lucky my garden was doing anything at all.  My mini water feature that I never got started this year has quite a bit of water in the bottom now. 

Right before the rain started, I was tying up my sunflowers.  We had some brief thunderstorms the other day that didn't produce much rain, but they made a bunch of these tall flowers bend over.  It was very convenient to tie them up to this white fence.  I didn't plant any sunflowers this year...these are all volunteers from last years' seeds dropping to the ground. 

You can see this pretty flower, it might be lemon queen, is drooping, heavy with rain.  I love it!

The rain gauge said 2.5 inches, but I haven't emptied it out since the other storm we had this week.  I know, though, that we got less than .25 to .5 inches, so most of this had to be from today.  Right now, the clouds are already gone and the sun is shining again, so I'm headed back out to resume my gardening.  I hope you get some rain coming your way as well.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Having Kids Teaches You Not to Buy Glass-top Furniture

I just recently got a lot of extra junk cleaned out of my house, and so I decided it would be good to get some new furniture.  I only had my awesome overstuffed brown couch, which I love, but only seats 3 people.  I planned on having a bunch of people over for a big Easter dinner; more seating was a necessity.  My friend Cheryl got a new living room set, and was planning on selling her old set.  She was happy to give me this really cool chaise lounge. 

Yes, I realize one of the legs is turned the wrong way...I just keep forgetting to fix it.  This chair is really comfortable.  I plan on spending a lot of time in it with a book.  I also keep finding children in it. 

I also got a fantastic new dining room set...the other one didn't seat very many people.  Not to mention this new one is GORGEOUS.  It expands out and has two leaves that you can insert.  I had ten people sitting at it during my Easter dinner.  A total of 15 people came to the dinner in all.  Cooking Easter dinner for 15 people was a new challenge for me, but I think I managed pretty well. 

This table also came with an attractive protective cover you can put on it.  I don't have it on in this picture, but it might be useful in keeping small children from scratching up the new table. 

The old table went out to the newly cleaned up and organized front porch.  Now, if we want to have dinner on the porch when the weather is nice, we can!  It is a good use for this glass-top set, which I have always liked, but I bought before I had kids.  Now maybe if you are not as neurotic as me about fingerprints and smudges and stuff, this wouldn't bother you.  But in my case, it seemed like I could never keep this thing clean.  I would clean the top, and then notice there were fingerprints on the UNDERSIDE.  How the heck can there be fingerprints on the underside?  My son probably waited until I left the room, clamored under the table and madly pressed his fingers against the glass....laughing gleefully all the while. 

I picked up a little Easter cheer while I was out getting groceries for the dinner.  I have some of these hyacinths in my yard this year, and they are gorgeous.  Ive been coveting some black ones in a catalog snce last year.  These purple ones are so pretty, but I don't like the way they smell.  I can smell them as soon as I walk into the house.

I made a centerpiece for the table using some Easter eggs we dyed using natural ingredients.  I had partial success with this...some colors worked and some didn't.  I couldn't get blue to be blue, no matter how long I soaked them.  I gave up and added a few drops of blue food coloring.

Next year I will try it again, except I will not do it the same night I'm trying to make 3 pies from scratch. 

Since I started this post, we got the hutch put together.  It came with the dining table set, and I can't believe what fabulous condition it is in.  It is kind of crammed in the dining room for now, but when I move eventually, it will get more space to itself I hope. 

It even has pull-out drawers for silverware in the bottom, with material to keep your silver from tarnishing.  How cool is that? 

I am definitely not psyched about moving this year; moving is always such a pain.  But I am psyched to have my new dining room set.  Not having glass smudges really makes my day!  Come back next week, to read my post on signs you may be a mother with OCD tendencies. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Tulips....As Far As the Eye Can See

I LOVE Reiman Gardens in Ames, Iowa, but I've never made it over to see it when the tulips are in bloom.  Today, I went to see them, and I'm so glad I did.  It really reminded how awesome tulips look when planted 'en masse'.  I also got to see mass plantings of orchids, and a creative use of a concrete table set as a fountain.  If you get the chance, go see the tulips while they are still around!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Vision of Spring

I've been really busy, but I snuck a few minutes to take some pics of the spring blooms the other day.  Enjoy!

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