Monday, December 31, 2012

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas...

Christmas of 2012 we dreamed of a white Christmas.
No traveling hundreds of miles to celebrate with family...(wiping a tear away as she types).
We stayed home because of this... 

Our kitchen renovation finally began on December 10th.  That's a whole 'nother blog post or two or five.  Suffice it to say we needed to stay close to home.  Stuff had to be attended to.

But before the renovation started a couple of other great Christmas joys occurred.  I'm sure you are dying to know what those are, right?  Well, of course there was the Clinton Christmas Parade.

And this year, Anna was in the parade with Dance South where she takes gymnastic lessons.

And the second joy is seeing dear friends.  My and Patrick's college friends gathered for the 25th year in a row to celebrate "Friends' Christmas". Twenty five years does not seem possible.  I am still a Spring some circles.  Here we are posing...we love to pose.

Strike a pose...
We rented a cabin in Brown County.  The same one we rented for year 20.  Not much has changed except we are a tad more creakier and a bit wrinkly.  Except for me...I am still a Spring Chicken. 

Sadly, Patrick didn't join us.  Logistics were not on his side and he was gracious to be Daddy to the kids while I got to laugh at the same jokes, dance to the same tunes and kiss on the same people. So I knew that he had to be included.  That's when I remembered Flat StanleyI needed a Flat Patrick. He was coming to Friends' Christmas!

Now if you look closely in the pictures above he is in every one of them.  In fact he was all over Nashville.  That guy really gets around.  Baby Jesus never looked better.  If you want to see the "Flat Patrick Series head on over to my Flickr account.

When I got back home we decorated the tree.  Just by looking at the beautiful Christmas tree you'd think decorating was a blessed memorable event.  Memorable... yes. Nothing says Merry Christmas like fighting kids and a screaming mom.  Next year I'll decorate the tree with a spiked mug of hot cocoa with Ollie gazing at the lights and my favorite Christmas tunes playing in the background...ahhhh.

Winter break in Clinton is not complete with trips to Sonic.  Especially when our Pittsburgh friends come to visit.  I'm sure Martha is jealous about right now.

The yearly gingerbread house was made and eaten.
And then finally Santa arrived...
This was Gavin's first year of being in on the magic.  I'm pretty sure there was some grieving going on in that stinky middle school boy's heart.  But he didn't let the "cat out of the bag" for Anna.  That was our little Christmas miracle.

Christmas morning was full of joy...
There was Christmas Ball Frenzy thanks to Gramma Cece.
And how do you ring in 2013 when you have no kitchen to cook in?  Fondue, of course.
It was a sweet quiet holiday season.  Next year you all are invited to come spend Christmas with us.
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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Baby, baby, baby ohhhh!

Look who we found in the basement!
We have walls.
And Justin Bieber as our general contractor.

Real lighting in the ceilings was installed and the walls mudded.


Oh, and under this...

kitchen floor - before

was this...

...and underneath the "tile"...breathing a sigh of relief...wood floors.

Hardwood floors!
We all breathed a collective sigh of relief that we didn't have to install linoleum.

That is until Kenny, our super hero of a contractor, began the sanding process.  Then I'm sure he was breathing a few choice words under his polite Southern breath.

One coat of paint (Desert Hotsprings) and now the floors are being sanded.

But they are on their way to beautiful...

Floors are sanded and ready for stain.

A little stain and they'll be transformed.

Next installment soon...

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Monday, December 10, 2012

The Great Kitchen Renovation: Step One...Demoliton.

Well the day actually arrived.
After what seemed like a decade of fretting, arguing, and compromising over a kitchen design, I am pleased as punch to say our kitchen now looks like this...

And the demo begins!

It used to look like this...

kitchen - before

And this...

 kitchen 2 before

But there is joy in seeing this...

 on your mark...get set...go!

Because it represents so much more than just the beginning of a kitchen renovation.

Next installment soon!
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Monday, November 26, 2012

We Are So Grateful for...


We were able to travel to Ohio and Indiana to celebrate Thanksgiving with both families.  Knowing that we possibly weren't going to be there for Christmas made the time even more dear.

Thanksgiving day was spent in Ohio with the Kileys at Kevin and Laurie's Loveland home 2.0! They have been through a trying year (and more) of renovations.  They could have been on Renovation Realities quite honestly.  But they forged through and we got to reap the rewards of spending quality family time in their lovely home.

The weather was warm enough for Gramma Cece to take a spin on the scooter...
Grandma on a scooter!

Uncle Scott showed off his new guns...
Uncle Scott showing off his guns!

Aunt Shannon and the girls took the flatcoats for a walk...or did the dogs walk them?
The boys stood still long enough to get a picture...
Kiley Cousins

And the girl cousins got their craft on with Aunt E-E...

Kevin, once again, out did himself in the gorgeous new kitchen!
The master turkey carver

While Erin outdid herself with the cranberry sauce.  Although I have to note she made a wicked apple kuchen that we all loved.

Dinner was served...

And thanks was given...
The Kiley family Thanksgiving

Laurie had dish duty in her beautiful kitchen...

And a football game was watched...
What's Thanksgiving without a little football?

And then we went over the river and through the woods to Indiana for the Gallagher Thanksgiving.
Cousining ensued.  Raphael, we discovered, has become quite the pastry chef and brought us his meringues to sample.  I dare say they were better than Gaga Debbi's!

After dinner, cookies from Linne's bakery were brought out for dessert for the kids.
The treat of the day at the Gallagher Cousins' Thanksgiving...cookies from Linnie's Bakery!

Do you think they were disappointed with the dessert?

I got to snuggle with my youngest nephew, Phillip...
Aunt Kelly gets a snuggle in with nephew Phillip

While Aunt Cindy gave Anna a crochet lesson...
Aunt Cindy teaching Anna to crochet!

While our resident photog, also brother, father, uncle and son, was caught giving out photography advice...

An attempt was made to get all the cousins together to get a picture.  First we got this one...
a gaggle of Gallagher cousins...

Then this gaggle of Gallagher cousins decided to do this...

One last photo with Gaga and Papa and their new puppy, Maggie before we headed back (sniff, sniff)
One last pic before heading back down south...<sniff, sniff>

How grateful we are to be surrounded by the people we love. 
Thanksgiving 2012: Cousining at it's best

It makes us want to jump for joy!

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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Could it be the last?

We have a middle schooler.
Dressing in costume to get candy from strangers is no longer acceptable behavior.
But he wanted copious amounts of candy.
So what does any self-respecting middle schooler do?
Well, you wear a costume that only a middle school gamer would love.
Middle School costume of his childhood...sniff, sniff.
Can anyone guess who or what he is?
[crickets chirping]
Well, my uninformed friends and family, he is a Minecraft creeper.
Because I am such a cheapskate I scoured the internet for a like minded mother who blogs and found one.  Mama Needs a Hobby set me up.  That, a free cardboard box and a coworker with an awesome color printer and my middle schooler was ready to pillage the neighborhood.

My second grader had grander plans.
And I loved them.
We had found an gnome costume for Mr. Ollie Wienerkins.  Oh the universal shame for dogs on Halloween.  But we gloriously joined in the night of shame and dressed our dachshund like a gnome.  Anna decided he was Gnomeo to her Juliet.

So I was in charge of making her look like Juliet.  And, to be quite honest, because I am not full of vim and vigor these days, it didn't take too long to put it all together.  Here's the whole gang on Halloween night.

Gnomeo & Juliet and a Minecraft Creeper

This years Halloween Party brought lots of little ones with their 'rents.  We kept it low key this time and I didn't go crazy on cooking and baking.  Gotta love warehouse shopping in situations such as this.  Plus friends who bring yummy food to share.

Here is my one easy but fun thing I did for food this year thanks to my obsession with Pinterest:

Who can resist Jack-o-lantern vomit?

After all, who can resist jack-o-lantern vomit?

That and fake mustaches and you've got yourself a party!
I came across stick-on mustaches somewhere before the party and snatched 'em up! (I love the verb "snatch"...hmmm, but I digress).  And just as I thought, they were a hit at the party.  I love that a picture can tell it better than me.

There were all sorts of secret personalities that came out at the party that night!  Loved it!!

Before all the trick or treaters ran off to pillage we gathered them around the Magnolia tree for the traditonal Halloween picture.
A gaggle of goblins

The gaggle of goblins did not disappoint.

And while we out trick or treating we were serenaded by a mad accordianist.
There was even an accordion player in College View playing creepy music (I think he stole one of our mustaches)
Note: his mustache is real.

We all had a great time and I'm sure next year we'll do it again.  But maybe the creeper will stay home and hand out candy. Who knows...maybe he has another Halloween in him...we can hope.

Until then, here's hoping your Jack-O-Laterns light up the night so you can find your way home.

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