Monday, November 28, 2011

You know it's Christmas when....

The TREES arrive!!!!

Once again, the girls anxiously awaited their trees from Gamma & Mister (aka, Judi & Ted) and as usual, they were beautiful.

These trees mark the official start of the holiday season for the girls, as they have been getting these trees pretty much since birth from Judi & Ted. 

Every year, I say..

"What's on the front porch?"

The girls look out the window and yell - "It's the trees!!  From Gamma and Mister!!!"  

They recognize the boxes :)

And then begins the annual...

 "I wonder what mine looks like?"

"Do you think we'll have white lights or colored lights this year?"

"Remember last years tree and the pretty ribbon/ornaments/lights it had?" 

(They have surprisingly amazing memories - they can tell you almost exactly what all of their trees have looked like since - pretty much - the first time they remember getting the trees.  Ah - youth.)

 My memory is not that good.

Then again, I'm old. 

Moving on...

Olivia's Tree

Sydney's Tree

 Every year, the girls get to choose where they put their trees.

This year they chose to each put a tree in one of the bay windows....

See them in the windows???

Now can you see them???

They look so pretty - and this way everyone gets to enjoy them. 

I wish I could show you all of our beautiful Christmas decorations, but - well - you're pretty much looking at them.

And the only reason the outside lights are up?

I took Sydney to dance class and Brian was bored.

And he figured if he put up the lights while I was gone, it would be soooo  much easier for him.

Not that I would tell him what to do or where to put the lights or anything...

I had four days off and while I did actually get the tree up and the lights on - it's a hot mess.

And I can't find the angel for the top.

And I was so NOT motivated to do any other decorating, even though  - did I mention? - I had FOUR DAYS OFF and all the time in world to decorate the house.

Oh, I pulled all the decorations out.  

They're just still sitting in the same spots.  In boxes.  Untouched.

In my defense, I did cook for 13 people on Thanksgiving Day.

And I did have to take Friday to recover from all the wine  hard work.

Saturday, I......can't remember what I did on Saturday.

Seriously - what the hell did I do on Saturday???

And Sunday we we HAD to go see the Muppet movie. (LOVED IT) 

Ooooh!  And my brother came home from Vietnam so we had to have dinner with him.

So really, I was far too busy to decorate.

I promise I'll get to it this weekend.

I hope to anyway.

And hope springs eternal. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Let there be light.....

Now that the hallway is almost done, I had one last thing to do...

Figure out what to do with the light. 

I wanted to change out the light but when we investigated, we realized that due to circumstances beyond our control, we would only be able to convert the can light to a small pendant light.

That didn't work for me.

Enter the internet......

I saw several versions of faux capiz shell shades, but this was by far my favorite.

I figured I could do this.

Little did I know how big a project this would be.....

There are a ton of tutorials out there on how to do this so I'm just going to give a brief overview.

I found an old plant hanger in the garage and sprayed it a creamy white.

First thing I did was lay down three sheets of wax paper between two sheets of parchment paper and iron them.

It's quite possibly the only time I've used an iron in the past 10 years.

The wax paper then gets cut to make the "shells". 

Since I was hanging this in the hallway I didn't want round shells.

I don't know why.  I just wanted something angular. 

I cut my "shells" into diamonds and then used a dot of hot glue to attach each shell to a length of fishing line.

This is where the phrase "shit ton of work" comes in....

I would love to be able to tell you how many shells I made, but I have no idea.

I can tell you that I began working on this in the beginning of October.

It didn't get finished until the day before Thanksgiving. 

Once I FINALLY had the shade done, I sprayed all the shells with this to give it a little sparkle and depth. 
I liked it, but I wanted it to be a little fancier, so like Miss Bee, I added a prism....

Once it was finally done, Brian simply screwed some hooks into the ceiling around the can light and we hung it up.

And now, some pictures.....


The light is on a dimmer so I played with it at different settings....

Is it perfect? 


But, it definitely works.  

And once it was it was done I wasn't sure what I was going to do with all my free time.

Until I saw the large pile of ironing Brian and the kids made for me.

(Excuse me while I go hide the iron for another ten years.)


Monday, November 14, 2011


 The 2011 Annual Cheer Competition at Cole Field House at University of Maryland was yesterday.

It's an incredibly long day, after an incredibly long, intense few weeks of practice to prepare.

Olivia's squad practices 4 to 5 nights a week, 3 hours a night to get ready, so by the time competition rolls around everyone's exhausted and getting sick.

Thank God for adrenaline.
Waiting.  And waiting.  AND waiting....

We got there around 12:45, but the girls didn't perform until 4:00.  

Here they are - finally on deck warming up and saying a prayer.

They performed about 4'th in their division.

I was really worried after watching the other squads - the competition definitely stepped it up this year.

Unfortunately, there were a lot of drops on the stunts (never something you want to see, no matter who's squad it is).

I knew our girls had struggled a bit with their stunts and all I could do was pray that they didn't drop anyone.

Apparently all the prayers from the parents and the girls helped, because they NAILED their stunts.

So Proud!

It was awesome!

Storming the floor

After all the teams perform, they clean up the floor while making the crowd compete for the Spirit Stick for their organization.

It's very loud and I always have a sore throat and headache by the time a winner is announced - ha!
 (unfortunately, it's never our organization because we never have as many people as some of the others).

That's a lot of cheerleaders....

Once the floor is clear and the Spirit Stick awarded, they bring ALL the girls down to the floor and play music. The girls dance for a few songs to allow the judges and volunteers time to get ready for awards.

This is always everyone's favorite part of the night!

This picture is a little like Where's Waldo.....

Did you find her??

Finally - the girls are announced - THIRD PLACE!!!

Going to get their medal!

They were all VERY happy with that result, given the competition.

And we were so proud!

Cheer Bow
We drove home and went to get something to eat since we were all starving and it was about 9:00.

Olivia and her medal - she's collecting quite a few!!

We were all in bed, asleep, by 10:00.

It's now 9:00 Monday morning and the girls are still sleeping.

I told the girls they could sleep in this morning - they both need it - especially our little cheer champion.

Olivia's not sure if she'll cheer next year and I'm on the fence about whether or not I want her to.

But I do love going to the competition and watching my girl shine! 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The hallway, continued....

Notice anything different?

I finally got around to hanging pictures in the front hallway.

I used only black and white pictures and black frames because I love that look against the grey wall.

Now, let's take a peek at the photos...

Left:  My mom and Olivia when Olivia was about 5 months old.
Right:  Sydney when she was a year - and one of my all time favorite pictures.
Bottom:  The four of us last year from Misou's photo shoot.

Top:  My dad and Olivia when she just a few weeks old.
Bottom:  A picture I took in high school of my grandparents lake house in upstate New York.  

Top & bottom:  Two more photos from our photo shoot with Misou.


The other side of the wall has these two metal pieces that I found in the basement.  My mother in law found them at a yard sale and thought I might like to have them.  I'd forgotten all about them until I started searching for something to hang here, and stumbled across them.  They're perfect for this spot. 

The hallway is just about done.  Here's hoping I'll have the final touches by Thanksgiving!

We're off to the annual cheer competition at University of Maryland today - Good Luck to Liv and all the JV Lancer girls!!

Oh -and as far as the non-smoking:

Deb:  8 days
Brian 14 days