Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!

I purposely left my computer at home so that I would spend more time with the kids, less time blogging and playing around editing my photos. Of course, I know where I'll be, once we get home. After the Christmas tree and decorations come down, that is. For now, a sneak peak of our Tahoe experience, with pictures to come! I said I didn't bring my computer, no way could I be part with my camera and my new high definition video camera that Erik got me for Christmas! Can't take credit for the cute clip, it was Erik's doing, but I'm sure this will be my next obsession! ;)

Monday, December 21, 2009

santa, santa, ho, ho, ho!

I am convinced that the magic and spirit of Christmas was with us as we set out on our quest to see Santa. Two years ago would be our last attempt, with Kieran on my hip and Anna in my belly. With tear filled eyes and red cheeks bright enough to light Santa's sleigh, that was enough for Erik to throw in the towel. I thought I might do the same, but the Christmas spirit (and my sister) moved me to have a change of heart. 

If we keep skipping Santa, how will he know what gifts to bring? And, if we keep skipping Santa, by the time I decide that the kids are ready, I'm afraid that they won't believe! 

Just before we left, I showed Kieran a picture of my niece and nephew, who are 4 and 2, both of whom were smiling away. Reassured that he too, could see jolly ol' Saint Nick to tell him what he wanted for Christmas, Kieran decided that this might be a good idea. As he smiled with anticipation, we made the short drive and arrived at our destination; a destination that would either bring Christmas cheer, or Christmas blues. I held my breath and crossed my fingers, for the former that is, definitely not the latter.

"Look, Kieran, look Anna! I think I see him! I think I see Santa!" Giant candy canes, glittered gingerbread men and decorated trees surround us as we approach the line to the North Pole.

Quietly admiring from afar, we make our way to the front of the line. "Hi, Santa, Hi, Santa!", Anna exclaims. This could be okay, I think to myself. This could actually be okay. 

As we're waiting for our turn, a mom yells out to one of her son's on Santa's lap, "No, don't do that, do the soft smile!". The boy's face is plastered with the only fake smile he knows how, as the photographer shouts out the proverbial "cheese" (which never results in a good photo, by the way). He tries again with all his might as he is trying not to disappoint his mother. Attempt number two and the smile gets even worse. "Well just close your mouth then!" Close your mouth? Poor kid is trying to smile for Santa, not take a DMV photo gone wrong! He closes his mouth for just a moment, only to attempt a third time and he's back to awkward picture when I was 5 with Santa photo. No coaching for me, I'm lucky if I'll have two kids who aren't crying so hard that they've used Santa's suit as a giant kleenex to wipe their snot!

We approach the stairs to sit on Santa's lap and I have visions of Ralphie as he's shoved down the slide by Santa's big black boot, "Ho, Ho, Ho, Merry Christmas!". This could explode like a hand grenade in a matter of seconds, I think to myself. Kid #1 is on Santa's lap, and much to my dismay, kid #1 is smiling! Kid #2 could very well cling to my body like velcro, much like kid #1 did two years ago. At one point he was hanging on so tight, I completely let go while he hung on like a baby chimp does to his mommy! 

I placed kid #2 on Santa's lap. The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes, the little pint sized (and usually very loud) Anna, no crying she makes! I make a run for it next to the photographer and assistant, hoping to get her to smile. She's in shock, wide eyed and stone faced. No amount of peek-a-boo is moving her as her big brother so sweetly grins away. She flashes her hand signs and shouts, "All done! All done!" 

Just when I think I am out of luck, I remember the Santa beanie baby sitting on top of the photographers camera. I run swiftly to Anna, placing the beanie baby in her hands and the deer in the headlights expression quickly transforms in the twinkle of an eye. The small crowd of parents cheer as they wait their children's turn, and Anna has all but forgotten the fact that she is sitting on the lap of a white-bearded stranger. 

One click of a button and a flash of an umbrella, and the moment is captured. "Did we get it?", I ask. The photographer smiles and I breathe a sigh of relief. Kieran eagerly chooses his candy cane and we walk back down the stairs. "Bye, Santa!", Anna shouts. My picture is printed and I can't believe my eyes. 

Pure magic, I do believe.

After seeing Santa, I was even so lucky as to capture a few pictures before we left.

As we strolled away, Anna topped off the evening with her her best rendition of Mickey Saves Santa. "Santa, Santa, Ho! Ho! Ho!", she shouted with joy. She was very proud of her picture with her brother and Santa, and I'm a very proud parent who will continue to take my sweet children to see the magic and spirit that only Christmas can bring, for as many years as I can.

The End.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

tag, you're it!

Back in October, I was tagged by my friend, Melissa. And, back in October, my blog was private. 
Melissa so kindly tagged me with the:

Recently, I decided to finally go public, and convinced my husband that he was just being a little paranoid.
 Even though I'm quite convinced that I'm not very "kreativ" (I don't sew, I don't cook, I don't have any hidden talents, that I am aware of, anyway...), I decided that I would finally return my thanks.

Here are the rules:
1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award.
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award.
4. Name 7 things about yourself that people may not know.
5. Nominate Kreativ Bloggers.
6. Post links to the blogs you nominate.
7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they’ve been nominated.

Waiting for my 7 things?

1. Many people think I'm Irish because of my red hair and blue eyes, when in actuality, I am not one ounce. I'm half Italian, 1/4 German, and 1/4 Croatian.

2. I can't remember where I put my keys, but I can tell you license plate numbers from old family cars, old friends phone numbers, and my 7th grade junior high room schedule: B2, D1, C11, A9, Gym, A2, A2. +/- it.

3. I had 7, yes you read that right, 7 wisdom teeth pulled when I was in high school. No, I'm not a freak of nature, they're called supernumerals! Could 7 be my lucky number?

 I don't have many fears, but dying is one of them.

I am not a sales person, but find myself selling pretty much anything in any store when people randomly ask for my opinion. Sometimes I think I should get some commission!

I  was set up by my sister and her friends as Erik's Secret Santa. I said I'd never date him because he was a big dork. 13 years later, 6 of them married, whose the dork now?

7. I can't cook, but I can bake (anything but lemon bars, that is). I love, Love, LOVE bundt cakes. So easy, so pretty, so delicious!

For my last task, I am tagging:
Valerie (friend from college and witty writer)
Caitlin (my sister-in-law's super stylish friend) 
Courtney (high school friend who I don't blame if she doesn't want to put this on her blog, it's more her business blog-flush designs, but you have to see it, she is absolutely amazing, along with her husband. Beautiful, beautiful, photography, on Erin Hearts Court!)

Sending you blog love!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

ten on tuesday

1. i have been staying up late, way too late for the 4th straight week in a row. not sure why, because i'm extremely tired the next day. i guess i have a lot on my mind. 
2. i am looking forward to my winter break, when i have 2 whole weeks to spend with my family-pure bliss!
3. i think i might actually have a surprise gift for erik this christmas and i know that he'll like it to top it off! yay!
4. at 19 months, anna can sing, "jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way, oh what fun it it is to ride in a one horse open sleigh, hey!". quite cute. i have the first line on video and still need to capture it in its entirety. 
5. at 3 1/2, kieran assures me that when i get small, i can go to school with him.
6. i am unbelievably excited to take a photography course! it doesn't start until march, but i am so excited! can't wait to learn what i can actually do with my camera, understand how it works and get off of idiot mode! i've been interested in photography for as long as i can remember. so i've decided to take the plunge with this course because i'm discovering that it is a passion. something i've been missing. 
7.  i was able to somehow "win" the h1n1 lotto, and both my kids received their 2nd shots. some of my family and close friends cannot even get the first one. if only i was lucky in winning the real lotto (but then again, you have to play it too, and i don't). 
8. i feel as though i am constantly surrounded by piles of laundry. just when i think i'm done, another pile appears. note to self: you are never done with laundry, for as long as you live.
9. i really, really, need to get my house in order and organized. time to read the january issue of better homes and gardens. 50+ ways to pare down, cut clutter, store more.
10. i wonder what goes through a little crazy baby's mind, when she decides to jump in the tub with her clothes on? clearly, it was a perfectly logical idea in her mind, and most importantly, fun!

thoughtfully posted,

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

simple gifts in the art of baking soda

I guess if you are going to dump anything on the new carpet, it may as well be a cleaning agent. It could have been the time when Kieran somehow got into the can of unsealed primer left out by his daddy. I was too frantic to take a picture of it then, but I learned my lesson that these are the times that I need to take a step back. I will take baking soda and paint any day over things that could be far more complicated. It's easy to take the simple things in life for granted. It's not about what I don't have, it's about the gifts that I have received. The simple gifts-like the art of baking soda.

Simple Gifts, Joseph Brackett, 1848
'Tis the gift to be simple,
'tis the gift to be free,
'tis the gift to come down where you ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
It will be in the valley of love and delight.

When true simplicity is gained,
To bow and to bend we shan't be ashamed.
To turn, turn will be our delight,
'Til by turning, turning we come round right

'Tis the gift to be loved and that love to return,
'Tis the gift to be taught and a richer gift to learn,
And when we expect of others what we try to live each day,
Then we'll all live together and we'll all learn to say,

'Tis the gift to have friends and a true friend to be,
'Tis the gift to think of others not to only think of "me",
And when we hear what others really think and really feel,
Then we'll all live together with a love that is real. 

Thoughtfully posted,

lemon bars

I discovered that I am a really good baker...of bundt cakes. Last night I attempted to make lemon bars. Somebody please throw lemons at my head if I ever try to make lemon bars again. Kieran and I had a great time making the dough (which tasted really good), but it all went downhill, way downhill, after that.  Can you say lemon bricks? I couldn't even take a picture of it, it was THAT bad. Thankfully, I did take a picture of this (and it totally makes up for the lemon bar debacle):

Maybe we'll try lemon bundt cake :)

Thoughtfully posted,

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Can you believe it?

Can you believe it? The "powers that be" finally caved in to a public blog. So, I've changed the name (darn, I wanted beautifulnoise.blogspot and someone had the nerve to take it already!) and address, and will probably mess around with the header some more until I'm totally satisfied. 
As we speak, I'm still private until I totally decide to take the plunge, I'm still a little "iffy" about it, what do you think?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

wordless wednesday

...into the wee hours of thursday morning, oh well...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

thanks, mickey!

Saturday to Saturday, that's a loooong time to be away from home, but it was a trip that I will forever be so thankful for! We enjoyed our stay at the Red Lion in Anaheim (can't beat $55 on Priceline!) It's nothing fancy shmancy or anything, but it's clean, updated and only a 10 minute walk (which we enjoyed after eating too many sweets!).  And, it beats out the Quality Inn and Suites (which does not even deserve a link...don't go there...ever). I cannot even believe we stayed there last year. Put it this way, I would rather go camping and sleep without a mat on the ground, than stay there EVER again.
We had an absolutely fantastic time! And while there are entirely too many photos to post, I've picked some of my favorites, which is still a big fat photo dump, but it was oh, so much fun!

Eating lunch at California Adventure

Posing with Mater and Lighting McQueen (the only "characters" we have photos with, because Anna was generally asleep, and Kieran is still afraid of taking pictures with any characters without me-that, and he'd rather ride the rides! Can you blame him?)

One of many photos of Anna catching some zzzs

Waiting for Daddy to come back with a fast pass. Love this picture of us, because it's us, but I look I am in serious need of some eye work! Not that I would do that, I'm just sayin'...

Playing with jet #2 in Disneyland...jet #1 broke within 5 minutes...sadly, jet #2 came home with no top wings!

No, he didn't want to take a picture with the "C" in California, that's right, the letter with Mickey and Goofey with Christmas lights...he wanted to take a picture with the "A". A for Anna?

End of the night, after the Toy Story parade

We had a date night (thanks to my mother-in-law), and ate dinner "on the water" at the Blue Bayou in Pirates! The food was great, and spending the evening with my bestest friend ever, was even greater!

Love the castle at Christmas time! We were at dinner for the fireworks so we didn't see them, and the next night it was too windy, so they were cancelled :(

Waiting in line for the Haunted Mansion

Eating lunch at the Golden Horseshoe...I didn't want to go, but Erik convinced me, and it was actually fun! Kieran and Anna had a great time!

Eating a Mickey ice cream in New Orleans Square. Kieran was rocking out to the Princess and the Frog parade. Grandma told him it was a parade just for him, and he truly believed it! We saw it the next day at lunch, and I told him the same thing again, and he bought it...too funny!

Tarzan's tree house (formerly Swiss Family Robinson, but no little kid, probably even teenager, knows what that is anymore, boy, do I feel old!). Kieran could have stayed in there all day!


Small World, Anna's favorite!

Riding the train around Disneyland

Self portrait(s) on the train :)

Heimlich's Chew-Chew Train @ California Adventure

Ladybug "tea cups" with Minnie-those were too fast for all of us! Can you say, dizzy?

Flick's Fliers, Anna had so much fun!

The very last part of the trip, and the MOST fun for Anna. She absolutely loved this!

We have great footage of when she first got wet-I'll post that on Wednesday, a la Wordless Wednesday :), along with the pictures from the rides and our family picture just inside the entrance at Disneyland.

Glad we had a change of clothes :)

Got a MUCH better parting shot on my iPhone...
What you don't see (and though I do have a lot of pictures, I can't figure out why I don't have more of each of the rides that we went on), is all the "big kid" rides that Kieran got to go on, TWICE!
Just standing in at 40 inches tall, Kieran P. has arrived! He went on Splash, Space, and Big Thunder Mountains! He also rode Soarin' Over California! I thought he had gone into shock on Space Mountain. "Kieran, that was awesome! What did you think?", I asked. "That was awesome! What did you think?" he exclaims. "High five, mom!", as he slaps my hand.
That is a memory I will never forget. 
Though we saw Mickey and Minnie from afar, Anna got her first pair of pink Minnie ears, accompanied by her name in the old school writing in hot pink, of course :) It looks great in her room. 
We can't wait to go again, especially since we bought annual passes. I have so many wonderful things to be thankful for, and had the BEST time with my family!
Thanks, Mickey!
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