Microphone Maybe

Music with an interlude of microphone amazement:

Christmas Card 2012

Happy Christmas! We are here with a quick post of this year’s holiday card.

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Thanks to David’s work contacts, we were invited to a free photo session at the Philadelphia Knoll Salesroom at the end of October. Actually, the same day us girls left for Florida and the day before Super Storm Sandy made landfall! David used photoshop to alter the color of Estelle’s clothing since we are seriously lacking in holiday attire. Estelle insisted on bringing the little chihuahua, it has no special meaning!

Here is the back, a photo taken by my cousin back in March in Annapolis, MD. A Perfect Day Photography operates out if NC, but we were all in MD for my sister’s wedding.

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We used My Publisher again this year, but this time around David was primarily in charge of the design and ordering. He even addressed most of the cards while I was coughing up a lung on the sofa. So sweet! Side note, my cough is mostly gone. It just took a month and some mucinex to get rid of it.

We hope you all have a great day, whether you are working hard or relaxing with friends and family.

Stephanie

Good Speeler

http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?feature=youtube_gdata_player&v=N4E2shp7TF0&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DN4E2shp7TF0%26feature%3Dyoutube_gdata_player

Spinning Flower Girl

Holiday Firsts

Please note: I started writing this post prior to Friday’s tragic massacre in Newtown, CT. I was pretty useless at work after I heard the news. Lots of tears were shed for children and families that are not my own. I just wanted to take a moment to reflect on the events and think about the Newtown community during what should be a very happy time. I wish a virtual hug would help. I wish stricter gun laws alone would help. I wish we didn’t glamorize violence so much. I wish quality mental heath care was readily available and not stigmatized. I wish a whole mess of things that are only going to happen if our nation comes together. How many more children must die to realize that the status quo is not OK?

Despite the heaviness of my note above, it is the time for Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa! How are you all celebrating one or many of these holidays? Or maybe you’re sick and resting, all sorts of gross stuff seems to be going around lately. We’ve done a little bit of resting and celebrating the past couple of weeks. Well, only I’ve been sick, but it’s definitely helping me slow down a bit. I managed to feel well enough to go to David’s office party last Friday night. It was a family affair, and they had a photo booth, see for yourself. Who’s the boss?

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Last Sunday, our friends from Baltimore came up to do some of their traditional Philly holiday things. Funny enough, we hadn’t done most of them before! They had cousins and friends join us too, it was a nice afternoon of holiday firsts.

For starters, we successfully waited in the longest line ever to see the creepy animatronics Dickens’ Village at the Macy’s in the old Wanamaker Building. The end of the line led us to photos with Santa. Did I mention we had 2 newborns, a 2-year-old, and our 3.5-year-old in tow? Yeah, I’m amazed we survived with no meltdowns (from the kids and adults). I think the grown ups got the most cranky towards the end, we were HUNGRY. Estelle has previously refused photos with Santa, but I think having a whole gaggle of little girls helped ease her fears. Santa was holding the babies after all, how bad can he be?!

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After we figured out how to pay for these photos, we ventured over to Lucky Strike Lanes for some food and drinks. We just sat in the lounge sofa area…it was perfect. Never missing an opportunity to use a photo booth, we sent the bigger girls in to do their thang.

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Our next stop was a walk-through of the Christmas Village at Love Park. It’s an outdoor market type place I walk by daily, but never visit. It was cold and it started to mist, so we quickly headed over to the Comcast Center for their holiday show. They have a huge television screen on the lobby wall, the technology is hard to describe in such simple terms, but definitely worth the trip. This little boy statue in the Comcast lobby had girls crawling all over him, what’s his secret? The grand finale of the show included indoor snow…I’m glad our cable internet payments are going towards something important.

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This weekend we need to finish up some gift shopping. Oh, and wrap, pack, and ship presents. We also have plans to celebrate the season with some neighbors while watching Love Actually and eating good food. Happy weekend, and much love to those whose weekends and holidays will be less than happy. We won’t forget you this weekend, not in the slightest.

Stephanie

Fancy Tuesday!

For no good reason…

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David

‘Tis the Season

I had high hopes of posting a Thanksgiving recap, but <insert usual tired pregnant working mom excuse here>.

I’m 16 weeks pregnant today (16 out of 40), and feeling pretty good…increased hearing loss and annoying cough aside. I’m getting my hearing checked this Friday, but I already had a mild type of genetic hearing loss (otosclerosis) that is prone to changes from hormones. It just suddenly worsened last week, to the point where I cannot hear the majority of what people say to me. Extremely frustrating and humbling. Despite telling most everyone I speak with in person, some people still insist on trying to tell me secrets at a whisper. On a lighter note, it’s a great time to whisper behind my back. In the grand scheme of things, hearing loss is minor…it was bound to happen anyways!

Moving on, to Thanksgiving. We made quite the road trip from Philadelphia to the Charlotte, NC area to visit my grandmother, extended family, and friends. We had two overnight stop overs in Norfolk, VA. It was fun, we ate a lot, and we visited with family and friends we so rarely get to see. All of that was well worth the cramped car space.

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That was me and Estelle making grumpy faces in the back seat after over 4 hours in the car. My shoulder was wedged behind her car seat. It was all worth it! We got all of my mom’s side of the family together for one great big family photo. It was the end of a long, over-stimulated day for one little 3.5-year-old. She agreed to be in the photo, but refused to face the camera. Ah, memories!

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Family photo by my cousin, Erin, at A Perfect Day Photography

I was waiting until December to fully embrace the Christmas season. Estelle and I celebrated a few hours early by watching A Sesame Street Christmas Carol AND White Christmas last Friday. She keeps requesting more White Christmas, her favorite parts are the “Sisters, Sisters” number (obviously) and when Phil pretends to break his leg (random).

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This past weekend was full of cookie baking and celebrating a joint birthday party with the Feasters. Check out the goodies, I hope to post about the sugar cookies soon! I have a yummy recipe (or two) to pass along.

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We came home Sunday afternoon, and jumped right into decking the halls. Our first task was to build a tree. Say what?! Oh yeah, in addition to hearing loss and a cough, I also have allergies. I never had them before moving to Philly, and they only seem to worsen when I have kids. I just couldn’t handle a tree this year, and I love a real tree. Getting an artificial tree crossed my mind, but they are not cheap! I searched Pinterest for alternative Christmas trees, and came up with a couple of good ideas. I will be the first to admit that the wood tree was not our brainchild! You can even buy mini versions of a wooden tree via Wood & Wool Stool. I ran the idea by David, and he seemed game. We ended up using scrap wood from our basement, and only needed to buy some screws. David just eyeballed the placement and width of each “branch”. Precious and perfect isn’t our game. Do not be fooled into thinking we actually have our gifts purchased and wrapped! Those are from my mom, for our advent calendar…she filled it for us this year. Here is the tree result, see below for some in-process photos.

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Estelle telling David what he needs to do
 
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The act of eyeballing it
 
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Final lay out, pre-cut
 
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Anchors away!
 
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Estelle as quality control, please note the floor ledge I speak of below.
 

We used an existing screw hole to insert an plaster anchor, eye hook, and tie the top of the tree to the wall. Hooray for being slackers and never filling in the hole! David also attached a strip of wood to the base of the tree, and screwed a ledge onto our floor. The screws go in between floor boards to minimize floor damage. The floor ledge prevents the base of the tree from sliding out. All in all, it’s secure enough for our needs. That means we know our kid won’t climb on it, but that statement does not apply to all kids.

We made some other holiday touches around the house, some of them are pictured below. This year was the first year we put lights in the window. I love the glow behind the shades!

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I hope you all are finding time to enjoy the holiday season. I’m trying to keep perspective, and not get stressed about shopping and having a clean house…key word is TRYING.

Stephanie

P.S. – As a thank you for putting up with that long-winded post, you get to see how big and handsome my little nephew is getting to be! One of his other aunties got him the bib, but all aunties know Santa, of course!

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