Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas cheer!

This is, quite literally, the only family picture we have where all three of us are smiling.
That's what happens when two family members are melancholies,
and the third is a cheery, eternal optimist 
who thinks that even crabby-looking pictures have redeeming qualities. 

Charlie and I are not eternal optimists.


here's wishing you and yours a blessed and merry Christmas,
from our melancholy-optimist bunch :)

May you eat too many cookies,
sing lots of carols, funny and favorite,
be both the giver and recipient of abundant generosity,

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Cathia and Bret :: Married!

Remember this post from last month, when I introduced you to Cathia?
Well, here's her beautiful wedding day, in pictures!

{**** click here to see a slideshow of the wedding day! ****}

I first met Bret in October of this year, when the three of us met to go over wedding details. We sat inside a 50's-style diner, and over burgers and fries, I told him -- twice -- that he was the luckiest guy in the world, because he was marrying Cathia. (He wholeheartedly agreed with me, by the way.)

Cathia and Bret are both in the military. They're tough, and they're passionate. They really, really love each other. If you watched the slideshow at the top of this post, notice Bret's expressions whenever he looks at Cathia. It's like his eyes are saying, "This woman is my treasure."

What a privilege to spend their wedding day with them and their family. Marty and I loved every single minute of it.
And now... a few behind-the-scenes shots from the day. 
Some of these are ridiculously embarrassing. 
Just being real here, yo. 
We like not taking ourselves too seriously.
(Can I also say that Marty is an absolute saint for being willing to shoot weddings with me? He knows that I boss him around, and stress out about stupid things, and pace like a madwoman... and he still plugs away, taking awesome pictures and setting up off-camera flashes and running to get bouquets and making faces at me from across the aisle. I love him.)

And... Steak N Shake celebration.
It was a very long, and very awesome day, indeed.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


After a long day,
there's nothing better than driving home in a quiet car,
and suddenly hearing a little voice squeal out,
and then,
"Sing. Mom! Ho Tismas Tee, Ho Tismas Tee..."

Babies are not all fun. I'll be the first person to tell you that.
But this?
This is fun!

Monday, December 12, 2011

hair cut.

This is my sweet little boy, right after naptime:

(I cut his hair, all by myself, right after I took these pictures. 
Can you believe how badly he needed a haircut?!)

I probably shouldn't have attempted a solo-haircut, right after taking these pictures,
given the dreadful foreboding of this dagger-like glance, directed straight at me:

And this was him saying, "No. No. NO."
As in, "Stop taking my picture."
So I stopped.
And then I cut his hair. 
Afterwards, there were hair clippings, 
orange peels, 
melted MnM's, 
Christmas mints, 
and wet towels 
all over the bathroom.
Memories were most definitely made.
(Now, I'm off to google "Humane straight-jackets for children, for moms attempting DIY haircuts.")

Friday, December 9, 2011

bell ringin' and such

Hellooo bloggy world!!!!

I've been a bad blogger. Please forgive me. Also, please forgive anything obnoxious about this post (including too many exclamation points, or adding extra letters to the ends of words that really should have been left alone). I'm on my second cup of coffee, running on much-too-little sleep. Bear with me.

Things have been crazy around here. I'm guessing it's the same at your house, right? In order to cope with the nutz-o-ness of the season, I'm trying to focus on what's really, truly important. Things like talking to God every day. Reading the Bible. Making time for people. Smiling at crabby employees. Eating leftover Christmas party cookies. Digging in my purse for loose change for the Salvation Army bell ringers, while Charlie wiggles in my arms.

...Which reminds me of a story. Once upon a time, I was a Salvation Army bell ringer.

I'm not sure how it happened. My college roommate and I were members of Omicron Delta Kappa. (ODK is a national leadership honor society. Don't be too impressed. We jumped through lots of hoops, and got to wear a few extra cords around our necks on graduation day. Oh, and we had to pay for the cords. Bogus.)

Anyways, part of our membership requirements were a few hours of community service, doing pretty much whatever we wanted to do. My roommate found out about the above-mentioned bell-ringing opportunity, and one Saturday, there we were, in Uptown (a hipster neighborhood in Minneapolis), ringing bells on a street corner and trying to figure out if we were supposed to say "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays." The token red bucket and bell didn't come with an instruction manual for proper bell-ringing, donation-collecting etiquette.

Now, PEOPLE. Cut the bell-ringers some slack. I know lots of folks who get all worked up about this. "SHE SAID 'HAPPY HOLIDAYS' TO ME. CAN YOU BELIEVE WHAT THIS GOD-FORSAKEN COUNTRY IS COMING TO?" And then they'll look over their shoulder and yell, "MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU TOO, SWEETHEART!!!!"

(Again with the coffee/lack of sleep thing. Sorry.)

But listen: do you have any idea how offended people get on both sides of the spectrum? We got death-looks from people, whether we said "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays." Really, truly, we did. There were also people who responded to our "Happy Holidays" with a knowing glance, a smile, and a quiet, "Merry Christmas." Those were the ones, I'm convinced, who worked in retail, and knew how it was to be forced to say something you didn't really want to say.

I didn't mean to turn this post into an anti-Happy-Holidays tirade. Whoops. Back to my story without an ending:

It was cold. We'd take turns standing inside the nearby convenience store and drinking really bad hot chocolate, while the other person stood outside, bumbling their words because their lips were blue and people were all sensitive about the Happy Holidays issue, and ringing that little bell faster and faster, because it was getting colder and colder. The few hours crawled by. If I ever ring that silly bell again in sub-zero temperatures, it'll be as a four-person quartet, singing Christmas carols. It's a win-win: you avoid the Happy Holidays issue, you get to sing about Jesus in public (because, really, that's who the very best Christmas songs are all about), and it gets your mind off of how slow the time is going, and how cold your toes are.

Moral of the story? Next time you see a bell-ringer, give them a pair of those instant hand-warmer things, or buy them a cup of (good) coffee, please!