Tuesday, December 21, 2010

All things Christmasy :)

Yikes! It's almost Christmas! I was going to add more to this post, but then it may never be finished. . .so, here ya go!

I absolutely LOVE Christmas. Decorating the Christmas tree was so much fun this year! Hannah was such a good helper :)

Never mind that more than a dozen times we heard a crunch or a crash immediately followed by "Uh OH! Granny will have to fix that with her glue gun" and/or "It's o-tay, accidents happen, Mama. I just broke that." Tell that to the poor Santa who lost his head! Or the numerous animals/characters missing appendages. . .or the snowman who lost his face! I hope they are as forgiving as I am! But, I was not stressed about it. I was having fun! I fully expected to have a few casualties in the ornament department. No big deal :) What is important to me, is my daughter has fun and makes memories :) I simply saved the special ornaments for me to put on the tree. . .though thinking back on it now, that probably did not make much sense, as I am probably the clumsiest person in the family! But it worked out well this time.

Lets bow our heads for a moment of silence in honor of all the ornaments who sacrificed themselves this year in order to let a 3 year old feel important and decorate the tree her way. You will not be forgotten, guys! I hope! (Psssst! Granny? Get your glue gun charged up!)

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree. . .you have so many broken ornaments. . .
I love that she loves playing with the nativity set
She sticks her tongue out when she is concentrating, just like her daddy :)

Here's our bottom heavy Christmas tree! I think it is one of the most beautiful decorating jobs ever, because Hannah was such a huge part of it this year. I love that she even included non-ornaments, like the giant bow that usually dons one of the garage lights; and you can't see it in this photo, but there is a huge Winnie the Pooh Merry Christmas sign on the right side of the tree, that usually hangs on a wall! LOL But, Hannah had a vision, and I let her go with it! :)

We are enjoying making presents for people . . . we've been doing a lot of coloring and painting over the past few weeks--I hope she doesn't develop carpal tunnel syndrome!

Here's our make-shift mystery Christmas project! I had an empty kleenex box, and got the idea to have her decorate it! For what? I have no idea! Maybe a pretty centerpiece for Christmas dinner? Regardless of its lack of purpose, she loved decorating it! It is my favorite masterpiece, so far. . .whatever it is :)

VOILA! C'est fini!

Now, here is some Cute Hannah Christmas Randomness:

Two names I don't want to forget:
"Rumolph" the Red Nosed Reindeer
"Frosty-a-Deer" (a combo of Frosty the Snowman and a Reindeer?)

Hannah's version of the 12 Days of Christmas. I intentionally did not correct her, as it is much cuter to hear what she thinks the words are :)

So, apparently the "12 Days of Christmas" gifts have changed this year. . . perhaps with the recession, Hannah was unable to afford to follow the tradition, and came up with some other more economically friendly gifts! Here are the gifts, according to a 3 year old (and these are never sung in any particular order when sung alone. But she keeps them in order when she sings along with the Muppets Christmas CD)

1 Party in a Pantry (or sometimes Partage in a Bear Tree)

2 Turtle Ducks (products of an unlikely union. . .I wonder what their parents think of their relationship?)

3 Friend Jens

4 Ball of Birds

5 Hoo-ahh Freeeeee! bah-bum-bum-bummmmm

6 Piece of Legs

7 Foxes swimming

8 Mays a Milking

9 mee mee mee mee mee meeeee (Beeker's version wins every time!)

10 Lorz sleeping

11 Pipes a piping

12 Drummers Running


This is incredibly sweet, and cracks me up. . .

The Christmas Goat:

Singing "The 12 Days of Christmas":

Poor ornaments. . .
*PARENTAL WARNING* If your Christmas tree is within earshot, or any small breakable ornaments, the following video may not be suitable for them. Please use caution in viewing this video, as it depicts the sounds of poor unsuspecting ornaments crashing to the floor. . .their hopes and dreams crushed on the cold unforgiving tile. So, please. I urge you to use caution in viewing this last video, and be sensitive to your fellow decorations. One of the ornaments in this video could be their cousin!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Little town. . .

Look! There's downtown Vail!


Oops. You missed it.
With the wonders of modern technology, I am able to share with you what you might've seen if you had propped your eye lids open with toothpicks or tape, and didn't blink. . .

Some of the buildings here have been around forever, and thus, seem more fitting to be presented to you in black and white :)
You know you live in small southern Arizona town when you have a guns and ammo shop in town. . .and still lack a grocery store. Priorities, people! Really! Personally, I believe in buying my meat from a butcher, not killing it. And I believe in arming myself at home with a security system, not keeping a gun under my pillow or on my hip. . .but that's just me.
Choo choo tracks :)
Our little church
The coffee caboose. It resides between the tracks. Joe makes some yummy lattes :)

The newer part of town. . .Walgreens and big subdivisions.

We live in a small town. A VERY small town.

I consider the town"small" because I can expect to see cattle alongside the road on any given day; and downtown only consists of a couple of restaurants, schools (some of the best in the state, which is why we moved here from Tucson), a Walgreens, a Dairy Queen, a post office, a coffee caboose (yes, a caboose!), a gas station, a beauty salon, a church, a dentist, and a few other small town essentials . . . including an impressive golf course and club house (what? you mean every small town doesn't have one of those?) and two sets of railroad tracks. When you move to Vail, you learn pretty fast (the hard way) to allow time for one or two trains to pass by when you need to go anywhere in a hurry.

The trains. They rumble by quite often here. No commuter trains to speak of in southern Arizona. Mostly we see freight trains. Very loooooong freight trains. I have yet to witness an Amtrak train pass through town, but I know they do because my dad took Amtrak to Tucson a few times, and would have had to pass through here :) My dad loved trains. He preferred traveling the country by train. He didn't mind that they often ran late. He just figured extra time into his trips. He loved researching the histories and highlights of the towns the train would be pass through, and he loved the opportunity of meeting new people. In fact, he always opted to ride coach instead of getting a sleeping room. When we traveled as a family, when I was younger, my mother and older sisters opted for a bed and private bathroom. . .but when I was a little girl, I loved sitting/sleeping with my dad in coach. As a mother, I now realize why my dad was always awake each time I woke up. He was in protective Papa Bear mode, protecting me from other passengers. But my dad hardly ever slept, so it did not even phase me at the time. Bless his heart for letting me stay with him instead of sending to my mom or sisters' rooms so he could sleep. I liked hearing his stories about the towns we were passing, or landmarks seen from the train window. When I got sleepy, I would ask him to wake me up if we were going to pass anything interesting. I really wish I could remember everything he told me. . .or even just a handful of the things he taught me while I sat in coach with him and watched the country fly past the windows. . .he was such a wealth of information! I may not remember the specifics of what he taught me on those trips, but I will never forget the awesome experiences. I wish he was still around to share them with Hannah.

My dad always had plenty of entertaining stories to share after his solo train adventures across the country. He told me the southern route to Tucson from Chicago, was one of his favorite train routes. He was never disappointed. He met lots of amusing and intriguing people from all walks of life. Undoubtedly, my dad left his mark in a lot of people's hearts as well. He loved meeting new people, and my dad was such a kind and gentle soul, that people felt at ease talking to him and sharing their life stories. The train was always full of friends he never met, but got to know along the way :)

While some people who live near the tracks in town may curse the noise of a loud train horn, I find it very comforting. Every single time I hear a train horn, I think of my dad. (then again, I don't live right next to the tracks, so there is a bit of a buffer) So, I love the fact that Vail has two sets of train tracks. I get to hear trains all the time from my house, and it makes me feel closer to my dad. I miss my Dad. . .

**as I type this TWO howling trains can be heard from my house. It is extremely rare that I hear two trains at once, so now I REALLY feel like my dad is with me at this moment :) Perhaps, sensing I am writing about him, enjoying memories from my childhood, and thinking about trains :) Or not so subtly calling to my attention the fact that I am digressing in this post, and steering me back on track to the original topic of this post!**

Anyhoo, back to Vail. It is a small town, but it spans many miles. There are some pretty big subdivisions, lots of ranches, horse farms, and lots of open desert within its borders. It is outside Tucson, and so civilization is not too far away. We have the best of both worlds, really. I love it here. We've been here almost a year now, and I have not regretted the move once :) You are just as likely to see classy SUVs with golf clubs in the back stopped at the train tracks as you are a beat up pickup truck with a horse trailer hitched on the back. And you are just as likely to see women wearing high heels or fancy running shoes waiting in line at Walgreens, as you are to see men in dusty old cowboy boots. So, there are all kinds of people out here in this little town.

Here's a small example of how it can REALLY feel small sometimes. The town Holiday Festival, if you can even call it a festival, was a couple weekends ago. So, we thought we'd check it out! Santa was coming (by fire truck of course); and the lighting of the town Christmas Tree was going to take place. All right! A town Christmas tree! I was sure it would be spectacular, and illuminate the sky!!!! (A Chicago girl at heart, I had high expectations) Well, it turns out the "tree" is not a tree after all. It is a metal pole with strands of lights strung downward diagonally. . .made in a tree shape, and it sits behind an old fire truck that has seen better days (not expecting that thing to put out any fires in my lifetime!). A grand tree, it is not. In fact, a similarly crafted tree erected behind the Walgreens by my house dwarfs the town tree by at least 500,000 feet!!! OK, not by THAT many feet exactly, but it really is a pathetic little thing. But, it is cute. I have to smile each time I pass it.

There were horse and wagon rides at the festival! We got a ride all to ourselves, and it was fun. . .but a bit dusty :)

Well, the older gals were having fun! Looks like Hannah is nervous she's going to bounce out of the wagon. . .
Yep, that's the "tree" peeking out from behind the old fire truck. Fantabulous, eh?
You know you are jealous and wish your town had one just like it!

One of the reasons I love our small town. The views from our property are breathtaking. . .

From our backyard, you can see the golf course in the distance. . .

Now, to take yet another interesting turn and go completely off track again. . . (OK, this is getting eerie, another train is blaring right now! My dad must be laughing at me!)

OK Dad, I can tie this in, I swear! It is still about a little town. . .kind of. . .

Since it fits the title of this post AND because each post SHOULD be about Hannah since it is her blog, here's a video of Hannah singing "Little Town" from Beauty and the Beast. Her very favorite song :) ***NOTE: you must enter a password to view the video. The video's password is: littletown) Every time she sings this song, she grabs a book, just like Belle is holding in the movie when she sings this song. She carefully selects one that has no pictures in it, just like Belle's book (usually one of my old Nancy Drew books). It is too cute!

My mom loves to tell me how I sang perfectly in key when I was in preschool. During a performance, all the other tots blurted out the words to "I'm a Little Teapot" in any ol' key they saw fit, and none of their keys/pitches actually matched the song. And then there was me and the teacher, singing beautifully in tune! Well, as you can see from the video, I guess my dreams of Hannah following in my footsteps must not begin until she's wearing much bigger shoes. . . but I LOVE listening to Hannah sing, regardless of what key she is (not) in. . . Bless her sweet heart :)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Gobble Gobble!

Happy Thanksgiving!
I made turkey, too!

We made a turkey for Thanksgiving! Mama got this neat idea from another blog we follow, and thought it would be fun activity for us to try!

Mama needed a paper bag, and for some reason (I believe Daddy calls it "anal" whatever that means!) felt the need to turn it inside out. Apparently, it is not an easy task. She was muttering something under her breath, but I couldn't really make out the words? But, she was determined to create a turkey with a blank slate, and all our paper bags had writing and pictures on them.

Hmmm. A few boo boos. . .
So, turning the bag inside out caused a few boo boos. Don't worry, I was able to think of something to fix it! I quickly doctored up my turkey, and he was ready to be decorated!

*Mama's note: Did you really think we'd get away with doing a project that didn't include band-aids?
Oops! Another boo boo? That's OK! I got it covered :)
A band-aid here, a band-aid there. . .

We stuffed the turkey with holiday spirit. . .Toys R'Us ads, Target ads, grocery store sales ads. . .Uh oh! Should we be concerned that my paper turkey is stuffed with a flyer of another turkey? That seems wrong. (not sure why it is deciding to underline everything here?)
My turkey was bald. So, Mama cut out some feathers and then asked me to name some things I am thankful for :) What is thankful? Things that are special to me! Well, that's easy! Mama had a HUGE grin on her face, anticipating what the first thing (person!) might be. . .wait for it. . .I said COOKIES! Of course, the very first thing that comes to mind is cookies. I am so very thankful for those. They taste good and are made with sugar! She needed more. Again, she smiled big and batted her eyelashes at me (what is her problem, anyway? was it her contacts?), anticipating my next answer. . .wait for it. . .PRESENTS! Of course! Who isn't thankful for pretty packages with surprises in them! I sure am! Mama continued to grill me for answers. . .Next was a REALLY important thing. So important, that I got really excited when I blurted it out. . .wait for it. . .TOOTS! Yes! Of course. Toots. My very favorite topic at the moment. I love toots! (Why is Mama trying not to laugh?)

*Mama's note: Um. Let's just pretend "Toots" is a person or a favorite doll. . .or, if you don't do well with pretending, lets just call it an example of being thankful for things that make us feel better ;) Lucky for all of us eating at the dinner table on Thursday, I "forgot" to write another "special thing" that came after the toots. You don't want to know. Really.

Anyway, I topped off my list with silly little things like Mama & Daddy (finally, Mama's weird grinning and eye twitching problem stopped after I said this one); Granny & Papa; Woody; Friends; and Sleeping Beauty.

I glued the words onto some of the feathers and glued the feathers on the bird!

The glue stick looked like chap stick. . .that's a mistake I will only make once. Ick.

Next, we made the turkey a face. . .

Poor turkey. His gobbler is a bit LARGE! We're keeping an eye on it. Mama thinks it might be infected!?!? I am sure a band-aid will fix it if we don't see any improvement over the next 24 to 48 hours!

Mama stapled his face and gobbler for me followed by a short discussion about NOT stapling anything to my face or any other body part. Duh! I am not a paper turkey! So why would I staple my face? Sheesh, I swear, sometimes my Mama acts a little nuts! Besides, my preferred mode of attachment is band-aids!
Hmmm, how would Howie look with a gobbler? Fabulous! Mama didn't say anything about not stapling things to the cat!?!?! Oh well, a project for another day.
VOILA! My turkey's complete!
He is pretty, isn't he? Regardless of his gobbler deformity, I still love him :)
I was pleased to see that turkey made friends at Granny and Papa's house on Thanksgiving :)
Here he is sitting pretty on the dinner table! He did a good job :)

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! If anyone would like me to make them a special centerpiece for their table next year, let me know!