Wednesday, December 29, 2010

There was a set?!?!

You may have seen examples of how my talented sister, Lori, paints canvases for her kids' rooms. Well, when I first bought Brandon's nursery bedding, I enlisted her to help me paint some canvases to match his bedding.

I wanted three square pictures, one of each animal, to hang directly over the crib. Lori went with me to Hobby Lobby to pick up the supplies. Between the canvases themselves, the paint, and the paintbrushes, it wasn't exactly inexpensive.

Have you ever had Burger King nachos? Well, they don't serve them at Burger King... Lori serves them at her house, and she served some to me when I came over and spent the better of a day working on the paintings. It's a very secret recipe, so you probably shouldn't ask for it.

We made a lot of progress on the paintings, but there was still a lot to be done when we stopped for the day. I said to Lori, "After the cost and all the time we've put into these, I probably should have just bought the set."

Stunned. "There was a set?!?!" Oops, yeah. We looked it up online, and it was actually cheaper than I thought. BUT, there were only two pictures and they were 10 inches square instead of 14 inches square. Plus, they were not made with love. We tried to convince ourselves it was totally worth it. I think it was... even after spending the majority of the following week finishing them.

And here's the whole effect. Two 10-inchers would've looked kinda cheesy, right people?

And the lovely window valance plus the cute wooden rod I searched forever to find at a decent price.

Now that Russ has finally hung all this stuff up in the nursery, I let the baby sleep in his own room. Yahoo! We actually get more sleep now... zzzzz.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Spirit of Christmas

I went to Costco today. So did a few hundred of my neighbors, apparently. The parking lot was a chaotic free-for-all where only the rudest were aggressive enough to snag a decent parking spot, and I ended up parking farther from the entrance than I ever have before. As I prepared to get out of the car, I checked my list to make sure I really needed to brave the crowd. Yep.

The carts are big, and there were lots of them. Some people were browsing, and others were in a hurry, so there were lots of jammed aisles with annoyed people trying to get through. Smiles were rare, and "excuse me" seldom heard. Is this what Christmas is all about?

All of the checkout lines were open, and all had long streams of people behind them. As I waited, I reviewed in my mind the things I would need to rush around and do today. Hurry. Rush. Stress. People, please get out of my way!

When it was my turn, I asked the cashier if they sold stamps. She said that they did sell stamps, but only in lots of 100. With the internet, I remarked, I hardly ever send things in the mail... that would be too many.

The next thing I know, the woman behind me is holding out two sheets of brand new holiday stamps. "I've already sent my Christmas cards, and I won't be needing these. Just go ahead and take them. I'd hate to have to make an extra stop for stamps."

Surprised, I asked, "Are you serious?" She insisted, and I took them from her, despite the twinge of guilt I felt for freeloading. I wished her a Merry Christmas and went on my way.

As I walked to my car, I noticed a new feeling inside. Gratitude? Not exactly. My stress melted away, the crowd didn't seem to bother me anymore, and I smiled at everyone I passed. The gift she gave was more than stamps; it was the gift of charity and good will toward men. This gift lifted my spirits, changed my attitude, and revived my hope in humankind. I realized I had been shown the true spirit of Christmas by a perfect stranger, and I vowed to pass this spirit on to others by paying it forward.

I hope that woman feels happy about what she did today because it really made a difference to me.

Friday, December 17, 2010

2455 E Gingerbread Lane

We needed more sugar around (right?)

The girls were so excited about the idea of building a gingerbread house. I was kinda scared (Lori, remember the "outhouse"?)

We carefully worked on the yard while the icing was drying...

Made lovely patterns on the roof...

Adorned it with the perfect finishing touches... (love my trees?)

And voila! It may not look like much, but it's the best gingerbread house I've ever made, and I learned a lot for next time.