Monday, November 30, 2009

NaBloPoMo ... Another year in the books!

Well, one more November in blogging land, and I've successfully completed another NaBloPoMo challenge!  I posted every single day in November - actually, this will make my 46th post in 30 days.  I actually beat my post record for last year's NaBloPoMo month... 44 in 2008 vs. 46 in 2009.  However, nothing I did this November came close to the excitement of this time last November.

I am proud of myself this NaBloPoMo round, even though I didn't pass out or have seizures or anything.  I finished the drill despite sooo many internet connection problems... many evenings, I had to start a blog entry, and then "Work Offline" when the internet dropped its connection mid-post, and I would leave my laptop up and running all night to catch the internet connectivity wave as it rolled back through in the middle of the night.  Anyway, let's not go into all that... certainly not with my precious hubby, who says the internet always works for him and this only happens to me. Weird.

I will say that I've enjoyed the challenge... and I've enjoyed looking at all the frequent postings by other NaBloPoMo participants.  However, it will be nice to not feel the pressure of must ... post ... every ... day.  As I say that, I should also add that you shouldn't be surprised if I post 46 times this month as well ... our December is just jam-packed with holiday activities!

Regardless of all the idiosyncrasies of technology, I did it - NaBloPoMo #2 is one for the record books!

Poor Little Ginger

Our little Ginger is sick!  Her right eye got terribly red, swollen, and teary over the weekend.  The vet think she's got a scratch or something in her eye, but it is so swollen they can't examine it.  She's on anti-inflammatory meds and antibiotics, and she's going back for a recheck on Saturday morning.  Poor little pup has to wear an Elizabethan collar until then to keep her from rubbing it.  She can't eat with it on or go up and down stairs.  Hopefully she'll be feeling better soon!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

First Christmas Surprise!

This morning, Katie Anne got her first Christmas surprise!  When she woke up this morning, I took her into the living room to show her the pile of presents I'd been waiting to give her since I ordered them in July!

But why, you may ask, would she be opening Christmas gifts in November?  What kind of craziness is this?  Well, these are special Christmas surprises that need to be enjoyed all December long.

For a little background on this idea, my parents have a little wooden nativity set.  It is filled with very tiny, cute, simple wooden animals and people, and Greg and I totally loved this nativity.  I always looked forward to getting that wooden set out of the attic and putting the little green and brown stable together and arranging the tiny animals and people.  My favorites were the three kings, but the little tiny Baby Jesus was pretty cute, too.  One of our favorite things to do was to rearrange the nativity scene and play with it throughout the month of December.  Even after I got too old to really play with the nativity set, I still enjoyed setting up the whole scene.

So, I wanted to have a special toy that my kids could play with during the month of December that they looked forward to each holiday season.  Also, the nativity set is a great way for kids to explore the Christmas story.  Plus, I like the idea of kids having something safe to play with in the midst of all the breakable Christmas things.  I knew I couldn't find that same wooden set (I've never seen one even similar to it), but I was on the lookout for a kid-friendly nativity set for this year - and hopefully many years to come.

In July, I got an email from Fisher Price that their Little People Christmas Sets were on sale during their Christmas in July extravaganza.  I went online and looked around, and I saw that the Little People - who Katie Anne loves - have their own Christmas Collection ... and it was all on sale!  I got all three pieces of the nativity scene (the inn, the stable, and the three kings) for only $67 (normally $77), plus the Little Drummer Boy set was thrown in free!  Then, if I spent four more dollars, I got free shipping, so I threw the clearance-priced Santa Claus Christmas Train in the mix, too.  Wow- five magical Christmas Little people sets for only $75 - plus free shipping!

I was so excited to give them to her this morning ... the reason I picked today to give the Little People to her is because we are putting up our Christmas tree today.  So, I thought it would be a great kick-off to the Christmas season ... and give her something to do while we did all the heavy lifting involved in the whole Christmas tree setup!  She absolutely loved having early presents to open, and she was so excited when she found out there were Little People inside the boxes!

Okay ... Google storage upgrade purchased ... on with the post ...

Katie Anne found Baby Jesus

So excited to set it all up!

She absolutely loves the nativity set.  She literally played with it all day long, from the time she opened it at breakfast time until bedtime. (And, since I'm going back to complete this post on Monday due to picture issues, I can tell you that she played with it all afternoon today, too.)  I'm so glad we got it for her!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Jones Family Thanksgiving

We celebrated Thanksgiving at Doc and VJ's house today. They had a big crowd this year - Doc, VJ, Carlton, Trisha, Vespa, Grandmama, Aunt Emily, Uncle Hugh, and us!  Doc and VJ's friend Dennis Bull came over to pose as our Santa, and we made some Christmas card pictures for VJ's cards.  We enjoyed a delicious lunch cooked by VJ and Grandmama (with a little help from Agan's Bakery with the yummy rolls) ... turkey, ham, dressing, squash casserole, salad, mac-n-cheese, and sweet potato casserole.  Delish!  After lunch, everyone headed upstairs and raided VJ's toy box.  Katie Anne had a great time playing puppet show with Mommy, VJ, Aunt Emily, and Grandmama.  It was a fun Thanksgiving celebration!

A Christmas card picture with Santa

Everyone loved their headbands!


Katie Anne took her bunnies to Doc and VJ's, and she and Aunt Emily loved playing with them.



Indian Headdress Making

Today, we celebrated Thanksgiving at Saunders's parents' house.  Katie Anne made Native American headdresses for the whole crowd this morning.  She loved choosing the shapes for each headdress and making patterns.  Her favorite shape of the moment is by far the hexagon... there were many hexagon-only headdresses.

 She had an adoring crowd of animal friends watching her every move.

She loved choosing three feathers for each headdress!

Modeling her finished headpiece ... of course, it's a hexagon one.

 Of course, her adoring fans got their own headdresses to wear.

A whole group of little Indian headbands, ready for the celebration!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Good Black Friday Deals

Other than my Snuggie Mania experience, Katie Anne and I had a very positive Black Friday Shop-a-Thon.  It's become a Black Friday tradition for the little person and I to go shopping each year - but we don't put a lot of pressure on ourselves to get out too early.  I saw two early-twenties moms with toddlers in strollers waiting outside Kohl's in the freezing cold at 3:45 am!  Insanity!  Katie Anne and I go a little more relaxed on Black Friday, and we headed toward the Calhoun Outlet Mall at about 9:30.

Eating breakfast in the car so we can get on the road - a true shopper!

KA and Peach are ready to roll, loaded down with Carters and Gymboree bags

We weren't looking for anything specific at the outlets today, although I was hoping to score a great deal on something for my brother-in-law and sisters-in-law.  It was pretty crowded, and we only stayed about two hours or so.  We didn't find any Christmas gifts, but we did find some cute stuff for Katie Anne!  Our main intention was to find a brown and/or green sweater for her to wear to the Jones's Thanksgiving tomorrow (Vicki wants to make Christmas card pictures of the family), and we found that at Gymboree.  We also found...

A cute dress for her to wear to see Santa -
regularly $69.99, sale price $13.60

Christmas PJ's for Christmas morning @ 50% off plus an additional %10 off

A cute lollipop sweater and tights to wear with her fuschia pettiskirt @ 20% off
(Hey, Gymboree doesn't do that great of sales, even on Black Friday)

Thinking ahead - a Birthday Girl shirt for daycare this April -
 originally $18.00, but we got it for $2.90!

A new pair of tennis shoes -
originally $28.00, sale price $12.60


And there's a "bonus" ... when I sat the bag down on the dining room table when we got home, we realized they're light-up tennis shoes!  Wow!

So proud of her light-up tennis shoes!


Light-up shoes make you feel the need ... the need for speed!

Black Friday - Snuggie Hysteria!

Today is Black Friday, and that means I was out early on the hunt for great deals.  I had gotten an email a few days ago from Kohl's outlining their post-Thanksgiving sales.  I can't go into great details because most of the bargains I was hunting are for Christmas gifts, but I can say that there were items on sale that inspired me to get up this morning at 3:13 am!  I was up and ready to roll out by 3:35 ...  too early!

I got to Kohl's, got in the insanely long line waiting for the doors to open, and froze my butt off waiting for my turn to enter the store.  As I was waiting, that's when it happened.  The beginning of the hysteria.  I heard several people in front and behind me talking about one particular item that was on sale.  I quickly realized that many people had come to Kohl's for this one item only.  I had considered picking up one of these for myself and Katie Anne, but I had no idea that...

Snuggie Mania

had taken over at Kohl's!  When the store's doors opened and we were allowed to rush in, everyone that had been waiting around me headed straight towards the Snuggies!  It was a Snuggie wave, and I got washed away with it!  The excitement, the hysteria, the push for Snuggies ... how could I resist it?  It was hypnotic ... all I could think of was ... I want Snuggies ... I need Snuggies ... I've got to get some Snuggies!  When the rush of people arrived at the display, there were two employees on hand to stop the mad grab for Snuggies - there was a three Snuggie limit!  Whoa - even more reason to grab some Snuggies when they're limiting the purchase of them!  I grabbed a leopard print for myself, only to hear that there were only 5 leopard print Snuggies in the store!  Wow!  Thank goodness I got my hands on one!  I grabbed a pink child's Snuggie for Katie Anne and a blue adult Snuggie for Saunders ... nevermind that Saunders never said he wanted one ... the Snuggie race was on!

I was busily stuffing the Snuggie boxes into my bag when I heard a commotion on the other side of the display and  realized ... there were dog Snuggies over there!  And, there was a three dog Snuggie limit!  And, the larges were already gone!  These Snuggies were flying off the shelves!  So, I grabbed two medium pink dog Snuggies and started shoving them into my bag.  Of course, Abby and Ginger needed Snuggies!  Right?  Right?!?!

Then, I overheard a ruckus which brought my Snuggie grab-a-thon to a halt.  Two adult women were arguing over a leopard print Snuggie.  One wanted it for her daughter, the other for her granddaughter.  (Have I mentioned how exclusive the leopard print Snuggie was?  I think I have.  Totally, totally hot Snuggie... only five in the store, people!)  I paused there for a moment or two, and my Grinch heart grew three sizes right there in the Snuggie aisle.  In a rush of Christmas Spirit, I graciously gave one of those women my leopard print Snuggie in exchange for her bright pink adult Snuggie.  I stopped the Black Friday Snuggie Fight single-handedly, just like a Snuggie superhero!  They were so grateful, and the Kohl's employees thanked me profusely for being so generous with my leopard print Snuggie. 

Now, I was riding high on a wave of good karma.  I finished the rest of my purchases (and did a good job sticking to the list I'd made), waiting in the crazy-long checkout line, and got everything stuffed into four giant shopping bags and started walking the trek back to where I'd had to park.  As I walked, and the cold air blasted away my shopping-induced insanity, only one thought kept crossing my mind ... Why in the hell had I bought five Snuggies?

Was it the hysteria?  The rush?  The heightened intensity of being limited to three Snuggies?  Or could it have been the idea of my dogs, happily playing backgammon or relaxing on the couch or channel surfing wrapped in matching bright pink Snuggies as the box suggests?

For whatever reason, there was a Snuggie craze in Kohl's this morning, and I became a part of it.  Now, I had five Snuggies to show for my efforts ... and some explaining to do to my husband, who had no idea we were in the Snuggie market.

When Saunders woke up, I told him all about my shopping successes ... and the Snuggie Fest '09.  He told me that he'd heard on Good Morning America that Snuggies are airplane blankets with armholes.  I told him that surely he was wrong!  How could all those people be that insane for Snuggies if they weren't amazing?  Why would Kohl's limit them to three - and guard them! - if they were just thin fleece with holes?  I told him I know several people who have professed love for the Snuggie, and I was sure we would enjoy them.  (Plus, the two adult Snuggies came with bonus booklights, and Katie Anne's Snuggie came with no-skid socks.  Score!  And, who can forget that precious picture of dogs playing backgammon?  How could Snuggies not = domestic bliss?)

Well, tonight, we tried on the Snuggies.

And, in Katie Anne's words, "I am sorry Snuggie, but we do not like you."

Sigh... the Snuggies were a bust.  They were thin, and they itched a little bit, and they had a lot of static and clung to us in annoying and unflattering ways.  They probably would be fine lounging blankets, but by this point our Snuggie expectations were so, so high... no Snuggie could ever live up to them.  Maybe I should've held onto my leopard print Snuggie... the box did say "premium".  And, the worst part was that the dogs never sat down to channel surf or play backgammon in them.

So, my precious, hard-won Snuggies are repacked, stacked up with the receipt taped to the top of the box, waiting to be returned to Kohl's.  I wasted valuable shopping moments playing Grab-a-Snuggie, only to be disappointed later.  Oh, well - you can't win 'em all ... especially when you're part of a Snuggie mob.  I can only hope the recipient of my leopard print Snuggie will have a very Merry Christmas!