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Monday, December 28, 2009

no one can say we don't have a sense of humor

There has been a bit of a running joke with the Carvers about me getting my picture on the mantle.

In all fairness to me, I was under the illusion that this was a possibility and the right picture just hadn't come along yet.

Turns out there is some sort of bloodline connection required for said mantle photo display. But that hasn't stopped me from pushing and prodding and teasing and harrassing.

I told them I would get a glamour shot done so that I could be of the same caliber as the three professional pictures of their three girls (complete with fist under the chin poses, feather boas and serious bling around the neck.)

What's a girl to do? They left me no choice.

So Sandi and I got busy.

I borrowed Ella's pink boa.

And just for fun, the pink, furry ear muffs.

I practiced my best serious look. One I have not at all perfected.

A little over the shoulder gazing...

Maya gave it a try...

And, voila! Final product. All photoshopped up. No wrinkles. No bags. Pure glamour. Perfect Christmas practical joke.

Monday, December 21, 2009

'tis the season

'Tis the season for Mochy, our 10 pound (and at her more svelte, 9 pound) miniature pincher to overindulge.

It happens every year. One year on Christmas Eve we came home to find that she had eaten her way through 2 boxes of chocolate covered cherries.

Last Christmas I think it was M&Ms...

This year it was the Wilton red candy melts. The kind that are super easy to melt and you can use them for lollipop molds (which I did) or for drizzling decoration (which I also did.)

Or you can use them to eat yourself to the point where vomiting is the only viable option.

Which Mochy did. All over the living room. On our kinda new cream colored couch.

This is also the season for missing the whole point of all the hustle and bustle and it becomes essential to take a breath (have a bottle- I mean, a glass- of wine) and take a few extra minutes at bedtime for us four girls to snuggle in and sing Christmas carols in the dark.

Otherwise you end up like the woman at the Augusta Walgreen's who I had the charm of interacting with on Saturday. They were having an H1N1 vaccine clinic and there wasn't a space to be found. She saw fit to pull her car so that it straddled two spots. I waited for her to exit her car and VERY politely said, "Excuse me. I was wondering if you might move your car over so that there would be an extra space?"

She turned back to her car, accessed her crappy parking job, and then turned to me and said, with spite and true nastiness in her voice, "Nope. I'm not gonna do it."

I smiled and said, "Okay then! Merry Christmas!"

I reminded myself not to get lost in the busy, the doing, the running around. After all, if you can't open you're heart at Christmas time to make a spot for your neighbor, when can you?

(And...are the people in Bangor simply nicer than the people in Augusta?)

'Tis the season as well to drink warm cups of tea, stoke the fire hot and stay up late wrapping presents.

It's also the season to eat gingerbread houses for breakfast with your kids.

Don't ask. I can't explain.


2 more things I love about Maya:

1. She is the child that people say "has the devil in her eyes." She is the one who unbuckles from her car seat so when you look in the rear view mirror to catch a glimpse of her, you might only find an empty car seat. When this happened a few weeks ago, she was romping around the back of the van while we were traveling 60 mph down the highway.

2. This morning I took a piece of something she had and she said, "Hey! That back me!"

Sunday, December 20, 2009

10 new things I LOVE about Maya (and 3 reasons she is like a dog)

I will start with the dog part.

1. She eats books. Chews the corners and everything.

2. She fetches and retrieves. She also carries things around in her mouth.

3. Yesterday she was frustrated that I put the earphones on her for the portable DVD player. So she ripped the foam padding off one ear in protest. Chewed it right off.

4. When the dog barks at a potential knock on the door, Maya yells, "Hum in!"

5. When we are out shopping, she says to me, "Momma, scheck it out!" about any and all items.

6. Every high five she gives out must be followed by the fist closed, knuckle to knuckle "pound." If you forget she says, "poun, poun."

7. She loves to aggravate and play tricks. Often she will look with her coy blue eyes and deny people kisses. "No pisses for yo!" and she will turn her head away.

8. She is obsessed with Jingle Bells- the 45 minute animated movie (which has at least 2 showings a day at our house) and the song (which plays on a loop). If either one of these is not playing she walks around the house bellowing, "JINGLE BELLS!"

9. Unlike her big sister, Maya goes out of her way to smile and wave and engage strangers in public- such that I have gone from saying, "Don't take it personally" when Ella would give people dirty looks to saying, "It's okay, you don't HAVE to talk to her" about Maya when she targets the same people multiple times.

10. But what I love most about Maya right now is her undying devotion and hero worship of her big sister. If Ella is jumping on bands, Maya must be right beside her. She wants to sit next to her, have the same mittens, bring Ella her favorite blanket or proudly deliver her a snack or drink. The sun rises and sets by Ella. When we drive to school to pick Ella up, Maya murmurs, "Ella" the entire time in the backseat. She loves her so much, she has to pull her hair and bite her every now.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

There are no words.......

Things to love about December

You get more cards than bills in your mailbox.

It is legitimate to spend an entire afternoon mixing combinations of sugar, flour, eggs and butter into concoctions to spread among your friends and neighbors. Likewise it is acceptable to go to the store and purchase only these ingredients. Plus chocolate.

Chocolate holds its own as a food group this month.

The winter just doesn't seem so oppressive in December.

December = Christmas music. Need I say more?

People hold the doors, let you go in front, smile and extend a hand during December.

It's really dark but there are lots of lights.

Hello? We have a tree in our living room.

I don't know, everything just seems more fun at Christmastime...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

10 New Reasons I LOVE Ella.

1. Because she says things like:
"Croutons are awesome. They really rock a salad."
"Are clowns real people?"

2. She wants roller skates for Christmas and was totally on board with trying the whole skating thing. We took her (and Maya! can you picture it??) to the indoor rink and she went around the rink, slipping and sliding and skidding at a pace that would have a snail doing laps around her. When the torture was over and we were sliding the banana peels off her feet, we asked her if she still wanted Santa to bring her roller skates. "Yep."

3. In the re-telling of the skating story, Ella recounts that she slipped and fell because, "I lost my mind."

4. In order to get Maya to properly wash her body in the tub, Ella is the teacher of "washing class."

5. When we went to help Kristi clean her brand, spanking new, GORGEOUS house (pictures to follow) as part of her birthday party, Ella went full tilt all day. And then her cousin Brevan left, and everyone started to peeter out along with her stamina. She hit the car in full tears and wailed, "I don't like this place." This was followed by, "You don't love me like you used to. Now you love Maya." Where does this stuff even come from? A little tired and the whole world comes crashing down? After attempt number 10 to assure Ella of our love for her, I told her that we would love her always, that she was ours and that there was nothing she could ever do that would make us stop loving her. This was received with the most enormous grin, like she was filled to overflowing with love.

6. The velcro on Ella's boots just won't stick. Today she said to said very solemnly to me, "We REALLY need to call LLBean."

7. When I told Sandi I was going to send Santa (her mom) a text message saying that I like coffee now, Ella asked, "Can you really send Santa a text message?"

8. Ella asked when Brady was going to come over to see our Christmas decorations. I told her I wasn't sure, that Christmas time is a busy time for people. And the sage replied, "But isn't spending time with people we love the whole point?"

9. We have a screaming/whining room at our house now and anyone can use it at anytime for these purposes. Ella doesn't fight it anymore, she just goes in there and gets it out and returns cheerily to the house. However, the impetus for such a room came after she and I had some very angry altercations one morning before school when she was painfully tired and argumentative and I was (embarrassingly) returning retorts like a five-year-old. I told her she was tired and maybe needed a nap instead of school. "I think you're the one who needs a nap," she returned. I came up with the screaming room that afternoon. I use it too.

10. Because last night, after four torturous nights of trying to get Maya to sleep, she willingly climbed into her crib and lay with her sister until she fell asleep. She lay quietly with her for close to 30 minutes, pulling the handle on the lullaby bunny to make it sing to Maya. When I picked her up out of the crib and thanked her profusely she said, "I did what you couldn't do. Well, me and the pink, singing bunny."

Friday, December 11, 2009


Today is our nine year anniversary.

Deep breath in.

For this, we are incredibly, immensely, immeasurable happy. You get it, right?


Yesterday I left the grocery store and went to the van and noticed the rear wiper was bent in an unnatural direction, snapped like a child's arm needing a cast.

I also noticed that our No on 1 sticker was partially ripped off.

I blamed both on the blizzard we just had.

Until Sandi said snow wouldn't do that to a wiper and I realized I had used it on my way to the store.

Oh, boy.

Someone, in a sad state of living with hate in their heart, saw fit to deface our sticker and break our wiper. I know this wasn't committed against a person but it feels an awful lot like a hate crime.

We tossed it around for a while, feeling a bit violated and attacked and wanting to have a new perspective so we didn't let it get us down.

We realized how lucky we are to live the life we live. How much nicer it is to live with love than with hate. How no one who does those things can be living a very happy existence. How we get to home and love each other and our family and no one can ever take that from us.

And then Sandi snapped it back into place and it works. Victory is ours.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Piper Mountain

We made our annual trek to Piper Mountain Christmas Tree Farm this weekend. It is now truly cemented as one of our family traditions.

First, we dress appropriately. Or not.

We set off to find the perfect tree.

And find it. Always.

Maya tries to remove her clothing. Ella wonders why she doesn't have more on.

Then we cut it down. Usually we make sure the children are out of the way before it falls. Usually. There was a small miscommunication that prevented such a safety measure this year.

We admire our selection and then try to guess how old the tree is. We then convert that to dog years and then to cat years and we are ready to go.

Sandi pretends to be Paul Bunyan. This is one of my favorite parts.

The cold starts to get to us and we get a little crazy so we go in for donuts and hot apple cider and to pick out some ornaments. One for each of the girls and one for us. Every year. See, it's a tradition.

Then back outside for a hay ride.

And some love.

And home to decorate. (Ella took this picture. Not exactly the whole tree but I love that she has a photo on the blog.)

The un-Christmas card

Every family with kids has them. Most don't ever want to show them...

The Christmas card photo outtakes.

Here are ours.

These crack me up because I have a blanket over my lap to try to hide the ratty baby doll Maya insisted on having for the photo shoot and Ella is trying to be discreet (and failing) at hiding the camera remote that snapped the pictures. Note to all parents like us who were previously unable to get a family photo- give your child the camera remote. She smiled big and snapped somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 pictures.

She hides it by covering it with her hand. Very stealthy indeed...

the festival of its-too-cold-out-here-they-need-to-shorten-it-up Parade

Ah...the Festival of Lights Parade. Picture it: downtown Bangor, a temperate Saturday evening, carolers' voices drifting through the air, twinkling lights abound, squealing children, parents clutching cups of coffee, a holiday thrill buzzing about.

And a pile up of cars like I have never seen the likes of in our little Bangor, Maine.

It really was a charming parade, even though the weather, which had seems very mild turned an arctic cold after standing (and sometimes sitting) on pavement for an hour, us wanting to jump up and down to keep warm but knowing we probably shouldn't because all that coffee was now being housed in our overactive bladders.

We only got a few photos, what with cold, the mobile children and the lack of flash working against us.

We met the Smith's there, which is always a party waiting to happen and all was very magical, a light snow beginning to fall, until we tried to leave early and Ella burst into tears because Brady (heretofore called THE BIG MOUTH) told Ella that Santa, the REAL Santa, would be bringing up the rear at the end of the parade. Huge crocodile tears fell as we listened to the wails of (our previously disinterested in the live Santa) daughter cry, "But it was the REAL Santa. Brady said so!"

And so we sat in a line of cars begging with full bladders to exit the parking garage, unmoving for 20 minutes, while we heard these forlorn pleas. We were trying to save the hassle of the everyone-out-at-the-same-time exit, trying to appease our need for a bathroom and our frozen hands and hoping to get to our Christmas party somewhat on time.

Yet as we got near the exit, there were the Smiths. Gloating. (Okay, not really.) They saw Santa AND were still leaving in the same line of cars we were.

Live and learn.

This one is worth posting if nothing else because Ella was wearing snowPANTS. With a dress under it, of course.

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