Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Ringing It In

No New Year's party here. No dressing up. No spectacular fireworks display. No champagne. No trip downtown to see a star raised at midnight. Nope, just a simple evening at home, a game of Sorry, a quick trip to the store for a special treat, a toast to the upcoming year, and the symphony of fireworks popping all over the city.

Happy 2009!


Monday, December 29, 2008

I'm Still Here

Just popping in to say hi! After a week away, three Christmas celebrations, a lot of gifts, and tons of food, we've returned home. Here are just a few of the things we did last week:
Decorating a gingerbread house, then watching the candy slowly disappear.

Chasing and catching a dog many, many times.

Feeding the deer.

Listening to Popsie explain the science of baking bread.

Slaying dragons.

Opening presents.

That's me!

An unexpected catch in the rain puddle.

Happy birthday Jesus!


Six slices to be exact.

Scaling mountains.


I love this time of year. I love getting together with family. I love the laughter. I love the excitement in my children's eyes. I love the magic. I love the twinkling lights. I love the joy. AND, I get to do it all again this weekend with my side of the family!
Well, that's it for now. I'll leave you with this year's family Christmas portrait.


Nessa Dee

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas To All....

Here's my attempt at a Christmas card, not through the mail this year, as I had hoped, but still, it's posted on my blog on the eve of Christmas. Doesn't that count for something? I have to admit that I was pretty disappointed in myself for not getting Christmas cards mailed out. I didn't even get a picture of my kids in their Christmas outfits together and get those printed off for the grandparents. Our star is at home, sitting on our table, waiting to be placed atop the tree. AND, I still haven't bought my husband a gift! I've been feeling a little sad knowing that Christmas snuck up on me this year, and I haven't really slowed down enough to enjoy it. It's easy to get swept up in the busyness of the season and forget to take into account the true meaning of Christmas. It's not about having my cards sent out on time, or giving and receiving presents, or snapping that perfect picture, or placing the star on top of the tree before the 25th. Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the ultimate gift. I don't ever want to get so caught up in Christmas that I leave out Christ.
To all of you, wherever you are, I hope you have a very merry Christmas!

With much love,

Nessa Dee

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas, Christmas Everywhere!

Well, we're about to head out of town for the week, so blog posts might be scarce. Before we leave, though, I wanted to leave you with all of the Christmas that was crammed into the last couple of days.

Christmas gifts:

Christmas goodies:

Christmas lights:

Christmas breakfast:

And the Christmas pictures? Well, attempt #2 never happened because of lack of cooperation with the weather and a two year old who cried every time I mentioned the word picture. My plan is to dress him in his Christmas outfit every day this next week and follow him around with my camera.

So, if I don't get to post again before the 25th, although I'm going to try, I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas!


Nessa Dee

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Oops! I Forgot a Title

I'm back! Well, I've been back for a couple of days, but I had to play catch up in other areas of my life before I would allow myself to blog. My mom's doing well, and back home. Although things didn't go quite as expected, spending the night in the hospital gave us a little perspective, and we know that we have much to be thankful for. I hope you enjoyed my husband's novel while I was gone. It's good to know that in my absence, I have someone to step in and brag about how awesome he is. I'm just glad he didn't shave his legs!
Well, it's going to be a quick post today, as I'm going to be rushing like mad to get the ultra long list of "things to do before Christmas" done before I leave Saturday. Did I just say I'm leaving Saturday? Oh the pressure...

In the meantime, here are a few pictures...

Did you see the moon last weekend? It was closer to earth than it had been all year. I thought I was going to see a boy on his bike, flying in front of it with an alien in his basket. Seriously, it was that huge.

And this is what greeted me in the mailbox. They're Little Luchas, tiny wrestlers for your thumbs! Thumb wrestling masks! Aren't these awesome? I couldn't pass them up when I saw them on etsy. What better way to work out holiday stress than thumb wrestling matches in style! If you want a pair for yourself, just hop on over to Itybitybags' shop.

Check out my new pillows. They're not too comfortable, and they tend to wander off during the night, but they were quite the bargain!

We had a contractor in our house recently, and Finn immediately grabbed his toolbox to help the guy out. In order to keep Finn from getting in the way, I had to give him his own job...repairing the grout in our breakfast room. Not only that, he informed me that he fixed our table, too! I should hire him more often. Check out his toolbox. It was my grandpa's old metal lunch box that he carried with him to work for over 20 years. My grandpa recently fixed the handle (using a dog collar) and gave it to Finn. It's quite special.

Okay, not so quick post.

Well, off to shopping, baking, sewing, wrapping, picture taking, picture printing.

Nessa Dee

Monday, December 15, 2008

Nessa for a Day

Hi. I'm Jonathan, Vanessa's husband. You might know me from real life or from an occasional mention on Nessa's blog ;). For an accurate description of me, look no further than Meaghan's comment on a previous post ;). (Am I allowed to put two ;) in a row?)

Vanessa isn't here right now to write a blog post. She's camping out at the hospital tonight. Don't worry. Her mother had a routine, scheduled surgery (that went just fine) and will be staying with us for a few days starting tomorrow. Once she feels better we'll let her earn her keep by watching the kiddos while Ness and I escape to a movie. Synecdoche, New York, anyone?

But I digress. This morning started as most mornings do, with Finn and the dog executing coordinated attacks on my person. But within a few seconds Vanessa was out the door, and I was left to tend to breakfast and school and poop and errands. It was like Freaky Friday, only not really, and also I really hate that movie.

Breakfast was easy. Nessa makes these great pumpkin/apple sauce muffins and wait, I'm going to have one now.

Okay, I'm back. Man, those are good. So we had muffins and orange juice for breakfast. Finn ate half of his muffin frozen before I convinced him that it would be better heated up. I also heard him tell Audrie "You crazy, girl!" at the table. Take that, kid in Jerry McGuire.

Next up was school with Audrie. We started with piano practice. My job was to not interrupt her by banging on the keys or dragging out my guitar for an impromptu jam session (I play a mean Row Row Row Your Boat as long as the only chord is E.)

Then we shifted focus to Math and Language Arts and Spanish. Audrie is a good teacher and I learned a lot. For instance, a peck is eight quarts. And Mrs. is short for Mistress. Who knew? No you didn't. Or in Spanish: No usted no.

After school we zipped over to Home Depot to get manly things for manly projects. As we entered an associate spotted us and insisted that I switch Finn out of the normal shopping cart into the deluxe-everyone-look-at-me-where-did-my-dignity-go-race-car shopping cart. I begrudgingly agreed, and Audrie climbed up into it as well. This thing was double the size of a normal cart and I could not have felt more stupid. Fast forward 20 seconds and we were zooming up and down the isles. That thing could really corner, and when I worked up enough momentum, I could put most of my weight onto the cart and my shoes would work as skis on the polished concrete. The kids pleaded with me to take the longest way possible up to the checkout. I need to think up a reason to go back tomorrow.

Next up was late-fee-paying-book-renewing at the library. I parked up close and handed Audrie a few dollars, the offending book and the library card. She was surprised that she was going in the library alone to pay for something. Small steps to adulthood.

If Ness would have been with us she might have asked if it was okay for Audrie to go in alone. And I would have answered yes with all certainty. But without her there to ask, I felt less self assured. Why is it that marriages work this way?

Audrie took a number of minutes, and I had to remind myself that it was ridiculous to worry about an almost eight year old in a library 20 feet away. By the time my father was eight he was killing and dressing deer. Well, maybe not my dad, but someone's. By the time Audrie has kids it will be considered too dangerous to let them learn to walk without helmets.

But still. It just takes a minute for a bad thing to happen. How do you ever know? In the end you have to risk some level of their safety in order to give them a chance to grow. But where is the line?

Before I could work out the definitive, universally true answer for this, Audrie made it back alive and we stopped by Jack in the Box (yeah yeah, I know!) on the way home.

The kids watched Narnia, which gave me a chance to clean up and do some work.

Then we played and cleaned up after Trixie (dog), who seems to really hate or love our rug. I'm not sure what the Dog meaning of "I pee on you a lot" is.

After a dinner of homemade lunchables and a bath it was time for bed.

Oh, Finn started singing Happy Birthday at dinner, and he made his own candles.

And then Audrie joined in.

That's right. My kids think those muffins are as good as birthday cake. But then again, they also thought that their fingers were on fire.

Then, for triple word score I sealed the grout in the kids' bath.

I know Meaghan. Cute AND awesome.

So now it's about time for my morning shower. Except that we need to replace the glass. So, yeah, a bath. And while I'm playing Mr. Mom I might as well down some white wine, crack open one of those Twilight vampire books and shave my legs. Hurry home Nessa.

Oh, before I go! As you know, Vanessa is an incredible artist. Since I took over her other responsibilities for a day, I thought that I'd give the whole "painting" thing a go.

I'm not sure if it's any good. Let me know.


Sunday, December 14, 2008


Me to Finn who was hiding in my closet: Finn come out, we have to go to the doctor.

Finn, crying loudly: NOOOOO, I DON'T WANT TO GO TO THE DOCTOR.

Me: Finn, we're taking Audrie to the doctor.

Finn: Otay, let's go.

Finn: Audrie I'm home. (followed by some sound effects of what I'm assuming was a car door closing.)

Me: Finn, where were you?

Finn: I went to Texas. I went to Texas to buy some bootses.

Finn, looking at a painting I was working on: Is it perfect?

Finn, during a round of 20 questions: Is it a shepherd?

Audrie: No.

Finn: Is it a shepherd?

Audrie: No.

Finn: Yes, it is a Shepherd.

Finn, looking at an ornament of Chicago's skyline: Look, it's New York City!

Finn, the next day: Look, it's Nort Amerita!

Audrie: What are you going to be when you grow up.

Finn: Woody. (from Toy Story), and a train engineer.

Finn: Audrie are you going to be a drill (which in Finn speak means girl) when you grow up?

Finn: Dad, I brote my drum betause it happens, betause that happens. It happens.

Finn , explaining the plot of WALL-E to me: WALL-E rode on the spaceship betause the bad robot hurt WALL-E betause WALL-E had the plant betause Eva needs to go to eart betause WALL-E needs to buy some broten eyes betause.

Nessa Dee

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Attempt # 1

It's Christmas picture time, again. Time to get the kids all dressed up, head to a location, and have Audrie chase Finn around while I try to get a shot with them together. Audrie's been a breeze to photograph since she was just a wee little girl. She's always been patient, putting in long hours of posing just to humor her mother. Since Finn arrived, though, the photo shoots have become work. Whether I've set up a makeshift studio in the house, or have driven to a beautiful setting, the photo shoots require a lot of chasing, entertaining, and distractions to accommodate the rambunctious toddler that is my son. This year? Well, let's just say that this photo shoot was a practice round. I scheduled the shoot for Monday, which is the day I go to my mom's and grandparent's house for a visit and a trip to the library that's a block away. They live in a charming turn of the century house with a beautiful front porch, perfect for pictures. My kids, however, think the house is better suited for exploring and playing (which it is) rather than posing. Plus with a cold front blowing in and the wind gusts that accompany it, it's kind of hard to have decent shots. Having said all that, I'm posting some pictures, anyway.

This is the only shot of my kids together that doesn't involve closed eyes or blurred images of a certain someone trying to run away.

Audrie and her great-grandpa.

Finn spent the majority of the time hiding in this big drum.

While all of this was going on, the dog, who I had brought to include in the pictures sat on the back of the couch and peered at us through the window, letting out a whimper every once in a while.

Well, I was going to attempt a second photo shoot today, but with another cold front blowing in, and yes, gusty winds, I think I'll put it off until tomorrow. I wish the weather would check my schedule before deciding to change.

Nessa Dee