Saturday, December 29, 2012

Lumpy's Gift

You may remember the acquisition of our Lumpy Tree that I wrote about. We had Lumpy for a couple weeks before we saw her miraculous gift. On Christmas morning we woke up to see one side of Lumpy covered in a spider web. I don’t mean, “Oh, look at the cute little spider web!”  If there’s such a thing. No, I mean, “Who spread the fake Halloween web all over the tree?” Seriously. So foul. Our hardworking Lumpy Spider had spent all Christmas Eve building us a web, but we couldn’t find any words in it, so clearly it was not Charlotte the spider. Lumpy Tree had given us a gift. It was a Christmas miracle?

We weren’t home very long on Christmas day--  just long enough to open presents, Skype with Idaho and Ecuador, and then head out for a day with family. The spider wouldn’t leave the tree, right? He couldn’t bite us if we weren’t home…we’d take the tree out the next day. Just be cool, everyone. And please just let Lumpy Spider be a boy and not a pregnant mom.
The next morning I started undecorating Lumpy, but Brian was sick and slept a lot of the morning. I could not haul that giant tree out by myself so I just waited. We were sitting at the dining room table when Clark pointed up at the light and said, “Look Mom, there are bugs on our ceiling.” Yes. There. Were. Hundreds of tiny spiders, each about the size of a pen tip, were on a web from the vent at one side of the ceiling to the light in the middle of the ceiling. I tried not to vomit as I vacuumed them up and emptied the vacuum out. Later Brian woke up and took the tree out in segments and we cleaned up the needles. Then in a lampshade in the living room we found more of Lumpy’s gift—more tiny spider babies. And Lumpy’s gift continues.

We definitely will never forget Lumpy Tree and Lumpy Spider.  Now every tiny speck I see I aggressively wipe out. Damn that mutant tree.
Lumpy's web

Lumpy Spider's offspring

More of Lumpy's Gift

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Our Christmas 2012 Non-Shopping Trip

One night last week my brother and I met up for our annual Christmas non-shopping trip. It’s a yearly event that I wrote about here last year. To set the scene, I must remind you that I don’t shop much. I can’t drive and I have twin three year-olds; we don't spend much time in stores. There’s the occasional rush into the grocery store by our house, and the hectic trip through the craft store (No, we do not need a shopping cart full of yarn! Or ten mini Nutcracker dolls!) and the family trip to Costco, but overall I don’t hang out in stores often. So when I am in places like Target or the grocery store without children I experience an eerie, otherworldly feeling that can either be super empowering or completely terrifying.

My brother Aaron lives in DC and also doesn’t do much shopping— certainly not much shopping in malls or big box stores— and since we both share a dislike of shopping in general, he’s the perfect company for me. We wander around amazed at the bright lights and loud whistles of robust consumerism. We either eat ice cream or drink beer, depending on my pregnancy status, and we don’t get much done, other than spending time together. We try not to make lists of things to do so that we can’t fail. Anything we might come away with is a bonus!
Aaron came over, we had dinner at our house, and then the two of us headed out for our night of not accomplishing anything more than hanging out and having quality sibling time. I had one thing I needed to do; I needed to pick up our Christmas cards at Wal Mart. Aaron hadn’t done any Christmas shopping, so he was asking about what the boys would like for Christmas. I said something about Duplo blocks because they’re really into them lately, and Aaron saw a Toys R Us sign. I’d only been to a Toys R Us once or twice. Aaron had never been to one. We weren’t in the lane to turn but we made an exciting, fast lane change and swung over to make the turn. A snap decision! We were off to the most exciting start to our non-shopping trip that we’d ever had!  

After we made the quick turn we saw the store was actually a Babies R Us.

False alarm.

False awesomeness.

Then we couldn’t make a U turn and we had to drive onto a deserted and closed satellite college campus. It was quite a letdown. We drove toward Wal Mart, feeling cheated.

We promptly took another wrong turn or two before we actually walked into the blazing lights and dancing colors and curious smells of Wal Mart. We quickly took care of the only item on my list and picked up our cards. Then Aaron realized he needed printer ink and we were off to get swallowed up in the madness. He sat down with the ink cartridges for a long time while I just thumbed through the bins and bins of CDs and DVDs. Alas, the giant aisle of print cartridges did not have the one Aaron needed. However, he remembered that he needed some batteries, so he got those, and that made us feel oddly productive.
Aaron, lost amongst the cartridges
We found a puzzle for our parents and looked at some of the toys and games. Weirdest among them was the board game based on the A&E TV show about storage. Really? It all just made me so tired. I found a couple more little things for the boys in the art supply section. Aaron was approached by some missionaries! This was new. What a crazy mission field Wal Mart must be.

I nudged Aaron away from the candles this year, and we also avoided the deodorant aisle. He likes the scents but also the names, like Freedom and such. (What might Freedom smell like? It's intriguing, but can take up all evening if we're not careful.) 

After we paid, we ate frozen yogurt and headed to World Market. Reminder: I’m 11 weeks pregnant and have been an exhausted heap quite a bit during the past weeks. After we wandered around a little, this fog of tiredness settled over me. There are always amusing, eccentric trinkets to be found at World Market, but after awhile it all runs together. Lord of The Rings Pez dispensers? Check. Bear keychains that poop? Check.

Aaron once again was caught up in the olive oils section and I finally succumbed to my exhaustion and sat down in an abandoned corner nestled up with some pig-shaped roaster crock things. That's what happens to me lately when I spy those enticing flat surfaces of any type. Even a cement floor gave me some rejuvenation. After ten minutes or so I stood up and we left the store. It was nearly miraculous: Aaron had found some gifts for his girlfriend! I found a few stocking stuffers.

View from my delightfully flat surface
We swung by a real Toys R Us (wow, what a place) and Aaron got some blocks for the boys while I tried to keep my eyelids from closing while plodding through rows of Barbies.

We had more good sibling conversation on the way home and I sent him off to Chicago and Idaho for Christmastime. It was a remarkably successful Dawn and Aaron non-shopping trip. And I curled up in my coat in the fetal position on the gloriously flat dining room floor for the night.

Just kidding. I went to real bed. It was hard to shuffle down the hall, but I made it.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Thursday Thesicle

It's hard to say which stationary game is Mom's favorite: Apollo 13 mission
or Mount Rushmore.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Gingerbread Party, 8.0

Yesterday was the 8th Christmas in a row that Brian and I (with significant help from Brian's mom) threw a gingerbread party. Here are some pictures from the past years that I posted last year. This year I was tempted to call it off on account of first trimester utter exhaustion, but I just couldn't quite give it up. It's such a cool tradition for us and for a lot of other families now. The first two or three years there were no kids at the party because no one had them. Yesterday I think there were 22 kids, all covered in candy and frosting. Here are the pictures from yesterday's bash. A lot of pictures.

Nick, Cal, and Clark decorate their gingerbread man and gingerbread robots.

Robot A gets his candy

Can we eat them now?!!

He lasted for maybe two minutes.

Kids dig in

The boys show Alex how to eat gingerrobots.

Christian and Luke do the whirlwind party tour, gingerbread in hand.

"No, Mom, that is NOT the design I had in mind."

Careful Katie works on the chimney.

I love the Twizzler hair ribbons!

Brought to us by Melissa, Chelsea, and Natalie!

Cal took advantage of limited parental supervision and ate more candy than
he should have. Fortunately Uncle A swooped in with some mac 'n cheese
amidst the M&Ms and Mike and Ike's.

Uncle John sets the scene for this year's masterpiece.

Christian and Luke share a brother hug.
I'm pretty partial to brother hugs.

Seasoned gingerbread party veterans confer.
This year Kendra and Charissa went for the big gingerbread man.
I see a house next year!

Maureen and Katie- new guests this year!

Lisa, Kyle, and Ella weren't quite able to salvage this...
but it will still taste good!

The Clarkes also had some structural difficulties, but a good first year of

Philip and Susan's man with a marshmallow shirt

Aaron and Kierra created each other. So romantic.

Finley directs decoration and construction.

The Korin's annual house!

Since Jessica the Elf didn't show up, Alex filled in for our traditional
picture pose.

The Cupolos did it again! 4th year in a row

Jackson's first gingerbread party!  

Meanwhile, Aunt Julie is hard at work decorating BOTH
sides of their flag football players.

Somehow, expert holders Gammy and Aunt Kristi manage to keep theirs standing.

No hands!

Proud of their creation!

Jim and Vania build yet another masterpiece.

Flag football game referee

Line of scrimage

Second year of an amazing masterpiece- Julie and John

Goal posts

This year I decided to not make anything...
but after the dust settled I decided I'd try to use up some gingerbread pieces...hard to tell,
but it's a boathouse, dock, and fisherman being surrounded by giant shark fins in the water.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Thursday Thesicle

Three year-olds may appear lighter than they actually are.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Santa Post

Last Christmas I wrote a post about Santa and our decision to not play Santa with the boys, and got some good, thoughtful responses that were helpful for me and others. I thought I'd repost it today and hopefully get some more comments.
The boys had a chance to meet Santa when we went to Jingle on Lake Anne last Saturday, but both freaked out and didn't want to see him. The gingerbread man decorating, ornament making, and petting zoo were plenty to keep them very happy. The weather was beautiful and Santa floating in on a pontoon boat to crowds of swooning children somehow felt sort of normal.
Here is the link to my Santa post.

Decorating gingerbread cookies

One eye, one button...


Delicious leg

Cutest donkey I've ever seen. He loved Cal brushing him.
Santa post
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