Monday, November 29, 2010

Addendum

Guest posting today for a very worthy cause. Check it out HERE.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Vicks Effects

Tonight I wheeled the bassinet out into the living room so the little bunny will stay asleep for longer than fifteen minutes. She needs to be by me. She needs her back patted when she stirs. And so tonight I willingly oblige, patting and rubbing that little dip at the bottom of her back right above her diaper when she whimpers. I wait until she's still and then resume the typing.

Her profile is glowing from the light of the computer, one jammied leg is slung over the edge of the bed, and I can hear her wheezy breath, quick and rhythmic...in and out, in and out, in and out.

I'm generally pretty laid back. Fits and messes don't seem to bother me, and I happen to like a mini van that smells like last week's happy meal. But, oh when they're sick. Dude, it's rough. I can't fix it and that sucks. Even my mama jiggle--that little dance I do, clinging little bodies to my chest and wiggling the little jig that always settles and soothes them--it lost its charm.

Both girls have been pretty under the weather for several days now. There are piles of crusty tissues stuffed between cushions and heaped on counters, and I'm low on sleep and high on Vicks vapors. My babies are sick. Their eyes are heavy, their cheeks are peaked, and their sing-song chatter has dwindled to raspy whimpers. Brett and I are running the Gauntlet. Oh, you should see the pre-bed ritual. There's squeegy-ing of noses and steam baths and Vicks chest-rubs, setting up the sippy cups for midnight whimpers and plugging in the vaporizers. There's quilt-tucking, back-rubbing, and cough-suppressing until one of 'em finally falls asleep and when she does, oh sweet victory...even if it only lasts an hour. It's an ugly cold that, hopefully, is on its way out.

But don't think for a second we let it win. Because Christmas trumps colds.

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Oh, the tree. The blessed Christmas tree and the ceremony that grows richer every year thanks to little souls that prance around the room, dragging garland, making messes, unraveling tissue-wrapped ornaments and asking questions about every single one.

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We Christmas-tized every last corner of the house while the little time-capsule part of my brain simultaneously gathered memories and stashed, continually making comparisons through all of it...Last year, my belly was *this* big. Last year, I dreamed of what this year would look like. Last year, I had no idea how complete this baby would truly make us.

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Lainey's favorite ornament (PersonalizedFree), placed appropriately at her eye-level so she can point it out to everyone.

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I never really thought through how we do Christmas until I had kids. And when you have kids, everything shifts. You're not just someone's kid anymore, following through with the traditions your own parents started. You're the mom. The matriarch. You hold the Holiday Torch--the powerful seed of tradition--in the palm of your hand. Everything your child remembers about these months stems from you. Wow. That's a lot of power.

I've thought about it a lot. I want my kids to know about other celebrations and to respect them, maybe even celebrate them. But I also want to preserve the magic of everything my parents did for us this time of year. We did Christmas in the balls-to-the-walls kind of way. Not so much in presents and money, but in feeling. There was music and candles and lights, scents and sounds and talked-about hype. I'll never forget the excitement and comfort and hominess I felt through all their efforts...big shoes to fill, Man.

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So, we try to do it up pretty good.

Like..."Hey Look! Snow in Florida!" Also known as "Hey Look! These parents take it a little too far."

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Needless to say, there was much tree gazing this weekend...

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...and Mr. Griswold had his way with the staple gun.

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Seriously though, I'm three days now with very little sleep and my rallying skills aren't so sharp.

We're taking a little family trip this week. More to come.

But, in the meantime...

Super stoked about new art in my home. The best part? It's my brother's. Check out my cute talented brother, the artist.

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And our TWO giveaway winners!

Winner of the Silhouette Cutter: Commenter #195, Hillary: happy thanksgiving to you and the family! we're so thankful for our surprise 4th baby on the way!! and the other healthy, happy 3 that are here with us. can't wait till lunch for some southern cornbread dressing, and chocolate pie!!

and

Winner of the Sticks and Stones Keepsake piece: Commenter #224, Amy: Love the alphabet art (and "like" it on FB)! Where is the half-full glass from??? I NEED one! :)

(oh, and the glass if from Z Gallerie for all who asked)

Congratulations to both winners. Please e-mail your contact info to kellehamptonblog@comcast.net, and we'll have your gifts to you asap!

And anyone interested in the Silhouette products, use the promotion code KELLE at checkout for even greater savings.

Also, sponsor Pip & Bean capes is offering 15% off right now...use Code "pipblackfriday2010." Discount ends Monday at midnight Pacific Standard Time.

Baby is stirring...

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The holiday isn't over...it's just beginning. Fa la la la freakin' la!

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Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving

I am tired and full and thankful.

Both girls have thick, sleep-depriving coughs that turn heads when we're out, so we've been staying in as much as possible. Lots of fires and quilts and movies and, consequently, one happy mama.

The run-down is simple.

Annual Thanksgiving Pajama Breakfast with our friends Matt & Dede at our house.

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Hot coffee and blueberry pancakes, a morning fire and mimosas that got refilled more than they should.

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See those little dots on the wall? That's blueberry juice from a pancake that exploded.

And then happy morning seamlessly shifted into happy afternoon...

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With kitchen prepping...

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The arrival of ones we love...

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And Cheers to a rich, happy day.

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He did read the Wikipedia pages, by the way, and everyone is now a Thanksgiving scholar. Thank you, Brett.

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My glass says it all, Baby.

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One of our sponsors, Pip and Bean capes is having a Black Friday sale, 15% off until midnight Monday, use code "pipblackfriday2010" at checkout.

And Black Friday is the perfect time to introduce our new Sponsor, Sticks and Stones, featuring beautiful original keepsake art created upon order from alphabet photography. They've been featured on Oprah, Martha Stewart and Rachel Ray! Check 'em out.

We love ours! (and Lainey loves spotting the letters!)

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For a limited time, Sticks and Stones is offering buy one, get one 50% off as well as free shipping. And they are giving away one keepsake up to a $200 value. "Like" Sticks and Stones on Facebook HERE (if you have a Facebook), and mention in your comment that you did. Giveaway winner will be announced Monday.

Guess what we did tonight?

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Yup. Tree is up and fire is crackling. Movie is a' rollin'...more to come.

Happy Holiday Weekending!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Perfume Apple Pie...and a little bit of thankful

I prepped for the big day today. Cleaned the baseboards, the toilets, the dust bunnies that have been sleeping in the corners for far too long. I rolled my pie dough and chopped all my apples, finishing them off with a few scoops of sugar and some generous shakes of cinnamon.

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After all that work, I tasted, as any good baker must do.

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It was awful. Like strong soap.

And then around the corner came Lainey, wearing a sheepish grin and holding a bottle of perfume. "I spwayed it," she fessed up.

Needless to say...

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We'll start over tomorrow.


I love Thanksgiving. The linens, the dishes, the food, the chaos, the chopping, the football, the heat in the kitchen, and the fullness at the end of the evening.

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I noticed Brett printed out some Wikipedia pages on Thanksgiving today. They're stuck to the refrigerator with a carpet cleaning advertisement magnet, and I have yet to ask him what it's all about. Probably some attempt to teach the kids as all good try-and-be-a-good-parent attempts go, and I will smile tomorrow watching him pull out his little papers and read through typed explanations about what it is, how it started, why we do it. I love this about him, I do.

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And he has me thinking...what do I want my kids to know about this day?

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Lord knows I'm all for being grateful. Hell, I ride unicorns. My kids will know we're grateful--if not from the hot-glued felt banners literally spelling it out hanging over the table, then from the hundreds of thank-you's we pray throughout their childhood. For good food and safe homes and health and trained doctors and cool toys and loving friends. It's so important, really it is. But, it's so done. Like rattling off "I love you" before you hang up the phone every single time, depleting it of its real meaning. When does I love you really mean I love you and when does thank you mean that kind of thank you when you feel it in your bones...when you want to kiss the universe and cement grateful moments into a place where they won't fade away over time?

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I think the true meaning of gratitude arrives on its own. You can't try too hard to create it; you can't stress too much about conveying it. Oh, we'll read the Widipedia pages tomorrow. We'll talk about Plymouth and Spanish explorers and throw out fancy phrases like "bountiful harvest" that will leave little eyes clueless and confused. We'll take turns sharing what we're thankful for this year which will range from less original but still valid answers like houses and jobs to the more emotional blessings of little almond eyes and the tiny soul that changed us. I'll most likely cry and then pull it together. But still, that's not the heart of it. That's not the meaty core of Thanksgiving...the kind I want my kids to grasp and feel.

It will come somewhere in between...when no one's watching. Right when the kitchen's crazy and the gravy's boiling and the football game is roaring and hands are being washed and babies are being prepped and hotpadded dishes are being carefully carried to the table. And someone will holler for everyone to come, and I'll watch as conversations are wrapped up and bibs are fastened and heads are tipped in laughter. And right about then, I'll want to grab my kids and kiss them, whisper into their ears...."This is Thanksgiving. This, right here, is being thankful. Drink it in, Babies. Drink it in."

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And then you just hope they get it. That over time, they know that they are blessed and that there are so many places in this world, in this country, in this little town, where there is pain and need and hunger. And knowing just how good it feels to have it, you hope they give it back.

So, yeah. I'm thankful tonight.


And two Thanksgiving treats for you.

Giveway winner of Mark Poulin's $75 gift certificate, Commenter #471 The Stansbury's: I always think that moms of toddlers and babies are so brave for camping...and adventure I haven't faced...yet ;)
Congratulations, Stansburys! Please e-mail your contact info to kellehamptonblog@comcast.net.

And what's a holiday without more free stuff?

So, I just got my new Silhouette digital cutting tool, and this thing has crazy possibilities. Scrapbook pages, etching, iron-on designs, letters, rhinestone bling.

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I'm going bananas Christmas paper crafting right now. It comes with software ready-to-go, and their website is filled with downloadable fonts and projects. Valued at $299, and one is FREE to a random commenter on this post. Winner will be announced Sunday evening. Hello, Santa!


Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


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