Archive for December, 2008

cast your vote

for the little story that made this blog possible. Let’s be honest here, if it weren’t for Ava this wouldn’t be much of a blog. And you probably wouldn’t come visit all that often, so spread some voting love on the story of her beginning.

Ava’s FAVORITE story is one of the finalists in the 22-word kid story challenge. There were so many great stories, I can’t believe it made the top three. So fun!!

Go vote and help me win a few more gifts to add to Ava’s list!

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Without the help of commercials, your child’s Christmas wish list might resemble this:

1. My own gum, and I can decide who gets a piece.

2. Stickers. Lots of stickers.

3. Princess paints.

4. A notebook for my princess paints.

5. Two snow buckets and two snow shovels, one for me and one for you.

6. A printer. {Ava, we already have two printers}. My own printer, so I can print stuff. I’ll write it down. It’s starts with a “P.”

7. Candy canes, and then I can eat them when I want to.

8. Crafts.

9. Polka-dot paper.

10. Books!

11.  And a new pair of pink, sparkle boots from the special boot store.

And if you don’t where the special boot store is, she just might draw you a map.


(The building on the left is our house and the building on the right is the special boot store. All the squiggles are the “take a left,”  “go south” and “turn right” instructions. Hungryman added the compass so that I won’t get lost.)

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Remember when I was complaining about 22 degree temperatures?

That was because I had forgotten what 0 degrees feels like.

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Ava’s commitment to believe in Santa despite her parent’s claims otherwise has been well documented here, here, and here.

For over a month now, Ava has been sharing her “secret” plan to stay up all night long when Santa comes. When her Mimi was here for Thanksgiving, Ava explained to her that when Santa comes, she’s going to lock all doors, so that Santa can’t leave. Then she is going to wake everyone up in the whole house so that they will finally see that Santa is real.

Someone has neglected to tell her Santa’s little nose trick.

This week while Ava was acting out the play-by-play of Ava-Meets-Santa in our living room, she realized that she’s not going to be in her house on Christmas Eve. She’s going to be at Mimi’s house. She then asked if we could write this note:

Dear Santa,

I love you very much.

I’m not here. I’m at Mimi’s house.

I’m going to be waiting up all night so I can see you.

I love you, Santa.

Love, Ava

She thinks that if we bake some very special cookies to leave with the note that he will think “that that Ava’s just so special” and will come to her Mimi’s house.

Now, I’m not one to squelch imagination. So mostly I play along as the unbelieving mother, whom she is eager to convert. She’s kind of like a Santa-evangelist.

This was a rather agreeable arrangement, one I thought would dissolve on December 25th when Santa neglected to leave her any gifts.

On Monday morning, she woke up on the wiser side of bed and crawled into mine to snuggle. “Mama, Santa’s not really real, is he?”

“No, Ava, he’s just a fun story.”

“Yeah, he’s a fun story. Like a make-believe, pretend story.”

“Yes. And Ava, sometimes people dress up like Santa and pretend to be Santa.”

“Like a play?”

“Yes, just like a play.”

A few hours later, I dropped her off my newly minted Santa-skeptic at preschool. And in equal span of time, I picked her up again. Yet, this time she was glowing.

“Mama! Santa came here! Santa came and not a pretend Santa, the really really real Santa. And Mrs. Claus too. He gave us candy canes and presents and he was really real. He had a real beard; there wasn’t a string and it was white and curly. And when he laughed, his belly jiggled like a bowlful of jelly! It’s really true.

“How do you know he was really real?

“Cause I asked him and he said wasn’t pretending? And he’s coming to my house on Christmas, so there!”

There you have it.

I surrender. I can’t compete with  a gift-dispensing, jelly-bellied man and his jolly wife.

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(here’s my little attempt at AP’s 22-word kid-story contest).

“Come out, Baby!” Mama cried. You refused. Daddy sighed. Doctor shook her head, cut you out instead. “A….GIRL!” Daddy shouted. “Beautiful!!”

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happy saint lucia day!

img_4249{Ava, Christmas 2004}

I’m sorry, you’ll have to forgive me. This is shameless baby picture posting.

I woke up this morning thinking about this picture. It was as though Saint Lucia herself walked into my room with a tray of warm smiles and sweet baby cheeks.

I’d trade in my scarves for a chance to squeeze those cheeks again.

Now, if you’ll excuse me I have to go find some tissue. There is just too much sweetness in that picture.

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I believe in the goodness of layers. Layers of color. Layers of cotton. Layers of wool. Layers of warmth.

The temperature has dropped about ten degrees below freezing and nearly fifty degrees below comfort. This means that a scarf is fixed permanently around my neck and another one is added anytime I’m required to confront the chill Minnesota air. It’s less than friendly in December.

If you could see me through the little web cam portal that is perpendicular to my nose, you would find that even though I’ve been nursing a cooling cup of pomegranate green tea for over an hour my chocolate hat is still pulled down over my ears and my soft camel scarf is still knotted about my neck.

The chunky brown beret was an impulse buy. That is if you call losing all your body heat while running through the snow into Target an impulse. That or a primal instinct.

Either way, I marched my Uggs right over to the hats and pulled the thickest cable knit one over my damp hair. Thankfully,  I remembered to pull off the tag and pay for it before I went back out into the storm.

If this web cam was streaming, you would see the snow swirling down behind me and coffee drinkers chattering all about me. You find me in my favorite coffee house clacking away on my shiny new laptop, compliments of HungryMan’s annual Black Friday raid.

For the past five years, he’s been braving frigid temperatures and lawless line-cutters through the wee hours of the night in the hopes of scoring the most terrific technology bargains of the year. And each year his tales of sure luck and grit become more far-fetched and ridiculous.

This year, at 4:00 am when I was soundly asleep under a snug layer of down, HungryMan learned that he had come out into the cold for nothing. There were no more tickets for the laptop he wanted. His brother was this year’s line-buddy, so he decided to keep his brother company for the remaining hour. Once inside Best Buy, HungryMan hunted down managers with marksman-like skill. Each one had the same response, “Sorry, there are no more tickets for that laptop.”

After waiting in line to pick up his brother’s desktop and waiting in another line to pay for it, the brothers decided to make one more pass around the crowded store. They were ten feet away from exiting, when a manager ran up to HungryMan.
“Hey, were you the one looking for the HP pavilion dv4?”
“That’s me.”
“We just had one turned in.”
Unbelievable. What’s even more unbelievable is that it happens every year.
Oh, and then his friends love this part, he sells the year-old laptop on Ebay or Craigslist for about the same price as the one he has just purchased. Free upgrades, people. Free upgrades. Though it generally takes a good week or two for the movers to transfer the files and for me to set up house again.

Excuse me for a moment, but the cutest little sweater dress just walked into the coffee shop. I’m obsessed with sweater dresses.

Gramma Penny came home with the most darling one from Paris and Shanel has the cutest one from Banana. Both are a little too pricey for this non-working girl.

I bought this one at Target, but HungryMan thought the shoulders look like some medieval armor or some prehistoric extinct land creature. What do you think?


I loved the color. According to Penny, purple is all the rage in Paris. Really, regardless of what y’all think, I won’t be able to wear it again. Each time I think about putting it on, I feel like I’m gearing up for battle.

Not exactly the sentiment I was going for.

This girl’s sweater dress is a gold waffle weave with lovely bell sleeves. No shoulder issues there. Do you think I should ask her where it’s from?

Hold on.

Well, she was as nice as her outfit. The dress is from Macy’s. That store is huge. I’m always overwhelmed by the vastness. I prefer the boutique shops with a smaller, more selective collection. It helps with indecisiveness.

Wow, I set out to tell you what we’ve been up to these past few weeks and I haven’t even gotten there. Sorry. I blame the chatter on the long absence and severe lack of sleep. Thanks for letting me blather on, run-on sentences and all.

It’s already time for me to put my outer layers back on so I can pick up my sweetie baby.

She’s become obsessed with layers too.

Layers of curls.

img_3516Hello Shirley Temple.

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