Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Busy, Busy, Busy

The Christmas season is always so crazy. Why should this year be any different? Well, it is different in that instead of having my hand in 6 different pots, I've got them in about a dozen.

You see, this year I'm doing 2 separate parties for Braeden. One next week for just his friends, and then we'll be having family and friends over for cake & coffee that weekend. Makes things a bit crazier with planning and preparing, but in the long run it'll probably be a tiny bit less stressful than having family, friends and a dozen (or more) preschoolers to deal with all at the same time. So, tonight I was out picking up Ninja Turtle goody bags and Hershey's miniatures so that I can get the personalized wrappers on them (granted, I still need to print & cut them all first).

Not to mention that my mom and I are hosting the December "Girl's Night" for our community, which is a cookie exchange/grab bag. There isn't much to do to get ready for that aside from cleaning the house, but it's that much more baking that needs to be done.

Plus, I've still got my photography class once a week. It wraps up next week (makes me a bit sad, but I don't think I could keep up with the holidays and all), and I've got a photo essay to do. I've been racking my brain for ideas, but I'm frazzled. Too much on my mind to focus on assignments, I guess. As it is, this week's is not done yet.

And did I mention about the fundraiser? Yup .... it kicks off this weekend. Music, Christmas lights, candy canes, hot cocoa, raffle baskets, Santa ..... the whole she-bang! It's actually come together quite nicely so far, though we are working on getting broadcast. So far we've made one newspaper, and another is going to do an article - but we want TV coverage. I guess we can't complain .... many members of the community have embraced the idea, and plan on coming out to volunteer their time, or to take part in the festivities. Our entire block is shining with Christmas lights. There are only 5 homes that didn't put up any Christmas lights - but they still have time. And considering the festivities haven't kicked off yet .... we've already raised over $200.

The plan is to see how it goes this year, but we're optimistic that it's going to be successful, and there's plans to do this as a yearly thing, picking a different charity/organization/group to donate to each year. This community truly amazes me, and those that I'm on the committee with are a great group of people. It feels so good to be a part of something like this.

So, I'll be volunteering alot of my time to working "Santa's Landing" (Friday & Saturday nights for a few hours each night), and the rest of the time I'll be working, finishing my class, buying the last few Christmas gifts, baking a billion cookies and wrapping a gazillion presents. Hopefully I'll still be able to squeeze sleep in here or there.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Turkey, Trimmings and Babies

A late Happy Turkey Day to my readers. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family, friends & loved ones.

We celebrated with my family with lots of food, a bit of laughter, and full stomachs. Then at 1am, I kicked off the Black Friday shopping by hitting the local mall for their Rockin' Shopping Eve. I went to just the Disney store, could barely move around, but found a few things, got in line and stood there for an hour just to check out.

By the time I got home and wound down enough to sleep, it was after 3am. And let me tell you, 7:30am came around real quick.

So now the holiday season is in full force. Lots of shopping, lots of get togethers and even more lights and decorations. We're already blowing fuses on our lights and overloading our musical Christmas light device. We have to get it worked out this weekend, as the community fundraiser we'll be holding every Friday and Saturday night starts next weekend, on December 1st.

In the last few days we've seen more and more neighbors on ladders, and stringing lights in their bushes, or around their front doors. It's really going to look beautiful when it's all said and done and everyone has everything in perfect working order.

I really do love this time of year. I always have, and it's even better now that I have kids. Seeing their eyes light up in fascination, hearing the excitement in their voices, the curious questions as to just when Santa will be coming. I love buying them the things they really want, and watching them rip open the paper, anticipation in their eyes, and the sheer glee on their face when they see that beloved item they've been asking for the last few months.

Good friends just welcomed their first child into the world in the wee hours of this morning. One of my cousins just announced to the family that she's pregnant, and due early July 2007. They, too, will find themselves sneaking packages into closets, stashed in the basement, or tucked away under the bed. Quietly wrapping gifts on Christmas Eve from "Santa", and nibbling cookies and drinking milk before heading off to bed themselves. These are the moments that make those memories. Memories that will hang on even after the kids have gone away to college, have married, and started families of their own. Precious memories.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

I did it again!

I had another photograph published in the newspaper. I'm thrilled. This is the 2nd time in three weeks.

I'm actually starting to believe what others have told me ... that I've got a talent. Before I was thinking it was just luck.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Feeling Festive

Yes, I realize it's only November 12. And yes, my blog is already decked out for Christmas.

The truth of the matter is; in less than 2 weeks our house will be glowing with Christmas lights and cheer. I won't have the time to think about designing and changing my blog then.

So today it is!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

It's beginning to look ... a little bit ... like Christmas

We've had some gorgeous weather here, so we took advantage of the near 70-degree temps and sent the men outside to start putting the Christmas lights up on the roof.

A neighbor is going to have a fantastic light display synchronized to Christmas music. Ours isn't going to be as fancy or 'high-tech' as theirs (he's a computer whiz), but we do have a musical kit that will synchronize our lights to some holiday melodies.

As a kid, and even as an adult, there was a particular street in a nearby town that went all out. It was labeled as "Candy Cane Lane". A few years ago, there were no lights. It was heard through the grapevine that the residents of the "main" house got divorced. We haven't been able to find an area quite as good yet (on that particular street, most of the other homeowners had beautiful light displays as well).

Perhaps OUR street can be the next "Candy Cane Lane". The idea is on a few residents minds and would be great if we do a fundraiser like we are in the process of discussing.

Have I mentioned before how our community rocks???

Saturday, November 04, 2006

I'm famous!

Well, not really, but maybe someday!!!

I had one of my photographs make it to publication for the very first time! A local newspaper has a photo contest, and last Saturday I sent a photo in (the one I took of my daughter, and then did in B&W with color accents) just for fun. I had forgotten about it, and this morning I'm upstairs getting the kids ready to start the day, and my dad comes running upstairs, yelling about something. I got worried, thinking something was wrong.

Until I saw he had the paper and there was picture on the front page of that section. HOW COOL!!!!

I can't even begin to express how truly great this makes me feel. I love taking pictures ... it's something I enjoy doing, and love seeing the end result. And having something like this makes it that much more enjoyable as well.

I'm enjoying my digital photography class emensely, and I'm already thinking about what's next. It's like I just can't get enough!