Friday, December 30, 2011

My 1st Baby Shower

Yesterday my aunt my cousins hosted a baby shower for me.  It was a small but lovely affair including my grandmothers and some relatives from both sides of my family.  I rememeber thinking, back in my bridal shower days, that it was hard to believe that these parties were actually for me!  Now it is happening again with baby parties...such fun!   

My aunt made these cakes in a jar after inspiration from Pinterest.  She thought they could have turned out better but I thought they were nice and tasted good!  (They were supposed to be a layered rainbow of color and they kind of ended up blending together...)

Cute owl centerpiece!

I had my new camera ready to go!  I was sitting on the floor when I took these so I appologize if anyone finds the upward angle unflattering! 

My grandma made that quilt for me.  It is flannel and very cuddly and cute.  There are puppies in the middle of each block.  She told me that she just threw that one together this week and she actually has another quilt for the baby too!  She is a quilting fiend. 

Notice the cute onesie garland in the background...This is the photo where I realized that my face is getting pretty fat...sigh...

I wish I had more gift pictures but they are all packed up in my car.  The last thing I need to be doing is moving more crap into my sister's house as I am trying to clear it out!  That big pastel box next to me was a stroller/carseat combo from my aunt Kris and my Grandma and cousins...that was exciting!  And that garment I am holding is an NDSU outfit!  Every baby needs an assortment of Bison clothes! 

Right now I should be cleaning my sister's basement but I had to take a few minutes to try out my camera with a snowy backdrop since it snowed for the first time (besides the instant melting kind) last night.  Very nice.

Play position!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Bounty

I hope everyone had a good holiday weekend.  I am back at my house and have been enjoying my Christmas tree, Christmas dishes, and the decorating I did weeks ago that I haven't been able to look at.  I have also been enjoying trying to fit a year's worth of shopping and accumulation into closets and drawers that were already stuffed beyond capacity.  Wow, it is a mess around here.  More on that later...

We had a great Christmas.  We got several joint gifts that will be very useful and are much appreciated.  I think being excited about sharing a gift with someone defines you as an adult! 

We got this "tasteful toybox" and ottoman from Justin's family along with a crib (although the crib is not chosen yet.  More on that later as well...).  It will be a way to keep our (Justin's) basement from turning into a kid zone although, as you can see in the background, it is kind of a cat zone right now! 

We also got a new camera that has actual lenses and many great features.  It makes me nervous to have a nice one because I have had several mediocre point and shoot cameras that I have taken with me everywhere by throwing them in my pockets or purse without any sort of case or protection.  This one will require more delicate care!  I have done some experimenting the last few days and I already know I will like this one. 

Here are a few samples...

This is my aunt and cousin on a Christmas day tour of my dad's shop. 

I tried to take some pretty wintery photos around the yard but it was a rare brown Christmas this year and my dad recently dozed several rotton old Boxelder trees so there are big dirt patches everywhere.  But this one highlights a cool feature of the the portrait setting it blurs the background to highlight the main subject. 

Another example of depth... favorite subject!  Until the baby comes anyway!  I love how his eyes don't automatically look like creepy little flashlights!

The monochromatic setting...

This is my favorite!  I love everything about it!  And yes, that is a mattress he is perched on...once again, I will tell about that later!

Justin gave me an ipad which I am in love with already!  I know many people who have them and have been jealous although I never thought to ask for one for myself!  He knows me too well!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Wind Down

Well, December 27th is here.  On the 23rd I couldn't imagine life on this day after all the chaos had passed.  It always goes way too fast...I have so much to tell!  I am going to dedicate this post, however, to my dad because today is his birthday.  He was born in 1957 as part of the largest group of Americans to be born in one year during the most booming year of the baby boom.  You can do the math to figure out his age! 

Family legend tells that he was born 13 days past due giving my grandma a Christmas to remember.  As a result, he was born large and in charge and consuming 8 oz. of milk.  ( I had to look it up and learned that newborn babies should have around 2 oz. at a time the first week.)  Who knows if any of that is true except for the past due part. 

I have always thought this photo was cute and funny.  I don't know when it was taken but that looks like a summer outfit so maybe it was when he was between 6 and 8 months old?

 Smiling and toddling around...I don't know the date of this one either.  It was probably on the back of the picture if it was there at all.  I love those metal cupboards in the background.  They look just like the metal ones in our garage that used to be in our kitchen!

This must be some birthday in the early 80's...I can't see what he is holding!  It looks like a photo of a calculator or something so maybe he got a fancy calculator from someone.  Whoo hoo...

This is just a funny Christmas photo...he wrapped up my grandparents' dog and presented it to my aunt as a present!  That dog seems quite agreeable. 

Happy Birthday Dad!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas Everyone

I probably won't be on here until Christmas has passed so I thought I better make a quick post tonight before the fun and madness starts!  I wish I had some introspective thoughts or something but I'm just not feeling it tonight...there has been too much craziness lately because not only is it Christmas but tomorrow is my last day at work and I have been trying to pack not only for the weekend but also trying to pack up a year's worth of crap in my room!  It's not even close to cleared out...

I have had the opportunity to watch "Christmas Vacation" tonight!  First we watched the dvd and now it happens to be on TV!  Also, our planning for the NDSU game is complete and I will be visiting Texas the weekend of the 7th!  And yes, I asked the doctor and she said it was safe for me to fly at my appointment last week...this is how I discovered that she is a Bison fan and NDSU alumnae as well!  Yeaahhhh!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Chaotic Countdown to Christmas

I can't believe Christmas is in 5 days.  It kicks off for us on Friday which is also my last day of work!  I appologize for not updating for almost a week...I have been really busy getting ready for Christmas!  I think this might be the first time I have had a full time job at Christmas which is actually kind of embarassing!  I did at this time last year but we were in a strange "down time" period where we were on call alot so I had alot of free time.  So anyway, every day after work I shop and run errands and when I get home I have to feed myself and usually do laundry because my wardrobe is pretty limited right now! 

I have also been trying to bake which has been a mess.  Last night I made cookies that turned out OK but I realized that I forgot to add baking soda in the first batch of dough so they both taste the same but they look quite different...I know baking soda is important.  I remember my Home Ec. teacher explaining baking as chemistry and ingredients like eggs and baking soda were crucial for chemical reactions that held everything together.  Sigh...

Then tonight I tried to make these "easy" toffee cookie things where you pour toffee and chocolate over saltines.  My mom made it a long time ago and I recently saw it on Pinterest.  It should look like this...

Pinned Image
Well...mine turned out like this...

Just looking at this makes me sad and said to line the baking sheet with foil!  Ugh!  I salvaged a few pieces but the rest had to go in the trash :(  I hate the thought of that bag of chocolate chips and that cup of butter and that cup of brown sugar going to waste!  I try occasionally but baking often ends in a mess when I do it and I have been around long enough not to be able to use "it takes practice" or anything like that for an excuse. 

A main reason for this last minute Christmas chaos is that the Bison have continued to advance in the playoffs and there have been home games every weekend in December.  This has been a great time and the tailgating weather has been perfect.  This weekend they made it to the FCS championship game in suburban Dallas, TX!  It wasn't even a close game!  That dome was insane.  See the stripes in the crowd? 

Now we are in ticket turmoil...everyone wants to go to Texas but the game is sold out.   This is even more dissapointing that my cookie fiasco!  SO much more dissapointing!  Sigh...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Goodbye Ragner

I read today that Ford is discontinuing the small Ranger pickup in the United States and closing its Ranger factory in Minnesota.  Sigh...I know they are not top sellers but I have a soft spot for Rangers.  This is because I owned three of them in my teens and early 20s.  They were so cute then with their little flare side boxes! 

The first was a bright red one that I didn't have a scanned photo of although I know I have photos of it somewhere.  It was my first new vehicle.  Each was a two year lease, so after the red one I had my favorite one ever.  It was a deep blue color called sonic blue but sometimes it looked almost purple which was really over the top but I loved it.  Finally, I had a dark grey one. 

Here I am that summer night in 2004 when I had to turn in my favorite blue Ranger.  I was sad but also excited for my new one.  I am in a dress in a hotel parking lot because the trade was made at my grandarents' 50th anniversary dinner.  That is a makeup bag on the hood and I don't remember the story behind that! 

A nice shot of the blue one...

Andrea and I posing with grey ranger in the greek housing parking lot in college.  I was a senior and she was a sophomore and I have my bar mug which indicates that maybe she was giving me and whoever the photographer was a ride...or maybe she had just picked us up...

Roommate Ashley and I on a KD Bid Day. 

One year we used the blue ranger as a scaffolding for our house photograph and it was a very nice picture!  I had someone take my photo while I illegally drove on the sidewalk and the lawn. 

Do you think I was a bit obsessed?  Goodbye Rangers...even though new ones are not being made I know I will still see them on the road and think back fondly!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas and Baby Countdown

Hello everyone!  I am finally feeling normal again after an off-kilter day that revolved around my glucose tolerance screening test.  If you didn't know, this is a test that is recommended for pregnant women between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy to screen for issues such as gestational diabetes.  It entails spending 2 hours in a lab and having your blood drawn several times.  First, they draw when you arrive, and then you swill a bottle of juice (juice is a loose interpretation) with ALOT of sugar in it.  75 grams of sugar.  A can of Coca-Cola has 39 grams of sugar and a cup of orange juice has around 25 grams.  I think the drink was about 12 ounces.  You have to drink it in 5 minutes.  It was OK starting out but those last swallows were just sickening.  I hate having blood drawn, especially the rubber strap that they have to use to find my veins, so the drink was the least of my worries.  I have to say I felt pretty gross during my time at the lab. 

Oh, I left out the big have to fast for 12 hours before the test.  Fasting is sooooo not my thing.  I don't do it.  I never skip meals and I am eating snacks all the time.  The lunch bag I bring to work every day is like a grocery store.  I had a regular appointment at my doctor's office after the screening so I wasn't done with everything until about 11 a.m.  On a normal morning I usually have eaten twice by 11 a.m.  I headed straight to Qdoba and destroyed a huge burrito as soon as possible after the appointment.  It was not good by that point...I was sweating and my face was feeling tingly when I was in the car on the way over there.

The good news is that I don't have gestational diabetes (approximately 1 in 10 pregnant women get it and it goes away after the pregnancy) or any other related complications.  My other appointment was fine.  At my last one 6 weeks ago I was measuring 2 weeks behind (this refers to the height of the uterus and how far it has is called Fundal can look it up if you want details).  It is measured in centimeters so I wasn't too worried.  It seems crazy to get bent out of shape about two centimeters, even in this percentile obsessed culture, but I was still slightly concerned.  The boy seems to have had a growth spurt since then because now I am measuring on schedule.  The due date is March 1 although I think I am just going to tell everyone it is February 29 because it would be sweet to have a leap year birthday!  From now on there will be appointments approximately every two weeks!  Eeeek!  It's the third trimester!

After the appointment I wrapped some presents with the help of Allan.  He behaved as he usually does...

He is such a pain...

Presents!  Wrapping Christmas gifts is so fun...I wish I had more home with me to wrap!

Here is our wreath from the Boy looks just like the one from last year!  Those red bows never change!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Cheer Coming Your Way!

I just finished preparing our Christmas cards!  I love making them and I don't mind stuffing the envelopes and addressing them either.  I feel like kind of a cop-out because there is not a single personalized or hand written thing on them.  But...that's OK...I think that is pretty common these days and give me a break...I still hand write thank you notes!  This year there is no typed letter either.  Just pictures!  I will add that I had a coupon for some fancier, more expensive cards, so 40 of you lucky people, most likely people related to me, are getting fancier cards and many others of you will be getting the traditional 4 x 8 photo cards.  Both versions have the same photos!  

Look at that stack of mail.  That is WAY more mail than I send each year.  I have one bill that requires mailing and other than that check and the occasional note or birthday card I don't use many stamps.  The struggling U.S. Postal Service better appreciate this business!  Pardon the cluttered, poorly lit and generally bad photo.  I took it with my phone.  This isn't a photo spread for Better Homes and Gardens! 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Festive Photos

Here are a few fun Christmas themed photos I had sent to me today!

Our nephew Blake wearing an elf hat he made...Very nice!  His eyes are irresistible...

Fat Allan...He apparently helped Justin wrap that present tonight and it is for me!  Yeaahhh!  I want to get home to my paper stash and wrap some gifts!  That means, however, that I need to buy some gifts...Allan has been a nuisance in the past regarding gift wrapping.  He wants to sprawl his body on the rolled out paper which makes it all wrinkly and he also likes to play with bows.  I can't believe it is his third Christmas with us! 

Here are a few photos from 2009 only 2 months after we adopted him and he was helping me wrap Christmas presents for the first time...look how little he is!  

He was very playful then and I'm glad to say he still is much of the time!  Although he can be a nuisance I am glad we have him!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

More Baby Talk

I decided I was going to register for some baby merchandise today, after there has been talk of a shower as earlier as the end of the month with others being planned.  Registering for presents is so fun.  It is such a childish thing to do, when you think about it.  It is kind of like when my siblings and my cousins and I would circle toys we wanted for Christmas in my grandma's JC Penney's Christmas catalogue.  I kind of miss the thrill of that shopping is great but sometimes it is fun to look through an actual publication! 

You can't not register at Target anymore...for anything.  I think if someone had a wedding or a baby and I found out that they weren't registered at Target I would be baffled.  It seems that Target is the first place most people look. 

I know that etiquette rules state that registries should be unspoken and should be discussed discreetly through word of mouth.  Is this still true in these days of wedding websites and Facebook group invites for showers and all of that? I know it shouldn't be scrawled on a formal invitation but other than that does anyone really care anymore?  I don't really care...I do feel dissapointed that some old etiquette things that seem to be dissapearing.  I know I will always hand write thank you notes to the individual instead of sending a generic printed message regardless of how many I have to write and try to do it in a timely fashion. 

So...enough of that nonsense.  This afternoon I headed to Target.  The excitement of scanning items with that barcode gun was what sustained me through a very boring work day.  I got there and was directed by customer service to the public registry kiosks where you can search for people's registries and, apparently, set up your own.  They are awkward because the keyboard is for someone much shorter than me and also they are gross.  I am not a squeamish hand-sanitizer using fiend but these things really are nasty.  The keyboard keys are worn smooth from fingers and the touch screens smudged.  I quickly recalled my password from my Target account from our wedding registry back in 2007.  "This will be no problem!" I thought!  Wrong.  So wrong.  In the last four years they have "made improvements" to their website which requires a password change on all old accounts on  I took out my phone and went to and requested a password change which said I was being sent a confirmation email.  I checked my email on the phone and realized that the confirmation went to my junk mail which I couldn not check on the condensed email version I have on my phone.  The customer service people didn't know what to do about it so I told them this was not my fault and I shouldn't have to go home to check my email just to use their services in the store.  Still they put me on the phone with someone in India who asked for my last name and I said that it could be one of two maiden name from the wedding registry or my married name...I didn't know which it would be.  This proved to be too difficult to comprehend so I hung up and left the store.  It was a bunch of B.S.!  What if I had come from out of town?  They said they didn't have Internet access there which I know is a huge lie because who doesn't have Internet access?  I didn't want to register anymore anyway because I was too pissed off and registering is something you only get to do a few times in your life and I wanted it to be fun.  I really wanted to tell them that I didn't need their stupid registry anyway but I knew deep down that I really didn't want to do that!

I ended up setting it up online this evening instead which isn't the same because it is much more fun to see the merchandise in person and also many of the items on the website are only available online.  I will have to go back there later. 

I also plan on registering somewhere that I can't believe I am actually considering...Burlington Coat Factory.  This store opened in Fargo when I was in college and I went in there once because I thought it would be like TJ Maxx.  It is nothing like TJ Maxx.  The brands are not as good and there are alot of really bad fake designer labels.  For example, they have this brand called Charles Klein and the logo looks just like Calvin Klein.  It throws you off at the first glance.  However, at the age of 22 or 23 or however old I was I skipped right over the "Baby Depot" section.  Justin's mom filled me in on this great find over Thanksgiving.  They have huge selection with real name brands! They have furniture, crib sheets, strollers, carseats and everything else you could want.  So I am not going to rely only on Target...

OK, enough shopping talk for one night. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Winter Tailgating

The playoffs started (successfully) for NDSU on Saturday.  It was the first really cold day after a fall of very good tailgating weather.  There hasn't been a rainy day, snowy day, or even uncomfortably cold day until now.  It has been windy but that is a given around here!  Fortunately our tents have walls and they were put to use for the first time!  Also, we have many different propane powered heaters and appliances (you can see one in the background on the left).  The only time I left the warmth of the tent was to visit the portas...that was not fun!

 My whole fam came, even my brother who went to school at UND...too bad about that...(that was kind of a joke since I got the later part of my education from there too!)

And holy crap...I look huge!

And we won so this scene will be repeated again next Saturday...I love a drawn out season!  If this season continues we will have to get a Christmas tree for the tailgating spot!

On a completely different subject, we want to start stockpiling diapers.  I did some research online and read some reviews and it seems like Pampers Swaddlers are a popular choice for newborn babies...does anyone who has experience in this area have an opinion? 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Happy December

Holy crap, it's December 1 today.  I can't believe it is December.  That means it is almost Christmas!  When I was a kid I could hardly wait.  I loved a good advent calender, whether it was one of those paper chains, a printed calender made on the computer with that old Print Shop Suite from the 90's (I had alot of fun with that program in the pre-internet days!) or one of those ones with the little doors with cheap chocolate behind each door.  Yesterday would have probably been the Advent party at church that always kicked off the season on a Wednesday night.  I still have ornaments I made at that event on my tree! 

This evening I went to a craft fair downtown called Unglued that features homemade goods that are more modern and trendy than typical craft fair goods (I am thinking about the goods that would be sold at our church auction in the old days).  The items at Unglued are similar to things one would find on websites like Etsy or Pinterest.  It was fun and they had free hot chocolate.  I saw many cute items but didn't buy anything because i realized I could make everything that I liked myself!  Oooh, I love my sewing machine...

Here is a cute and very easy looking ornament idea I found on Pinterest this evening in honor of the beginning of December...

Button Christmas tree


So cute! 

Speaking of December, every year I take note of the night sky this time of year and notice the brighness of the stars, the presence of various planets, and the strange hazes and auras that appear around the moon.  Years ago (YEARS...back to the years when we lived in Gillette, WY, and the oil rich school district had a high school with a planetarium attached...NDSU and UND don't even have planetariums!) when I was in Kindergarten I remember being at a presentation about theories behind the Christmas star and the speaker running the show mentioned that the sky is at its most fascinating and beautiful at this time of year.  Hopefully I will be away from the city lights enough times to check it out for myself!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Pinterest success!

Awhile ago I expressed my desire to make this cute baby hat that I found a link to on Pinterest...

Well, I made it!  I got an old shirt from a thrift store, (washed it in steaming hot water of course!) and assembled the hat last night.  It was hard for me to get a good photo of it without a baby to model it but I tried my best! 

I am very pleased with myself over sewing looks excellent and there is not a pucker or bulky seam to be found!  Also, things with linings always intimidate me so this small lined project was good for my confidence.   The final step was making a button hole, which I haven't done in years and I have never done on my current machine. project.   I plan on making a matching blanket one of these nights. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011


I can't believe the delightful long Thanksgiving weekend is over already...I had to post this photo from Thanksgiving weekend last year to articulate that I am thankful that the weather is really nice and there is no snow (yet).  

This was taken at a tailgating event during the playoff game that took place over Thanksgiving weekend last year.  Look at that snowbank!  Ugh!  It was almost 60 degrees outside this is hard to believe how different each year can be.

Justin and I spent Thanksgiving at his mom's house in Grand Forks.  We stuffed ourselves and watched TV all day while tearing through the 5 lb. bundle of Christmas shopping ads from the newspaper.  That evening we drove around town to check out the people waiting in line outside of various stores who were set on scoring some Black Friday bargains.  That kind of shopping is just not my thing! (Yes, there are some kinds of shopping that aren't my thing...believe it or not...)

On Saturday we went to Fargo for a bridal shower for a soon to be cousin.

We managed to get a pretty decent group photo with the timer on my camera.  Some men even showed up at the end to join in the fun!  We shopped a bit afterwards and it was busy but not unbearable in the stores.  

On Friday and this afternoon I did some decorating around my parents' house.  My mom had already done the boring part...assembling the tree and adding the I was able to do the fun part and hang the ornaments!  This afternoon we hung our stockings.  My mom sewed these stockings for us starting with the Mom and Dad versions at the top back in the early 80's.  Mine followed, and now we all have them and so do some of my relatives.  Justin's fish and Kirk's tractor are the newest additions.  She was talking about how she wants to start assembling several so as new babies come she can just add names!  Sounds like a good idea to me!  I want to learn to sew them as well.  Pardon the clutter and debris in the background...that radiator is a catchall for damp outerwear and boots and gloves that need to be warmed and the other room is full of the decoration boxes from the attic.  Just remnants of life!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Decorations Continued

Ok...the rest of my decorating...I know everyone has been waiting anxiously to see this!  Haha I bet...

I have this cheap box of plastic blue ornaments from IKEA and they don't all fit on the tree.  If I ever have a bigger tree (or I should say WHEN I have a bigger tree) they will all fit so I keep them year after year of course.  I arranged them in a bowl and put it on a Fiestaware Christmas plate.  I love that Christmas Fiestaware...I got that tree napkin holder at a rummage sale this summer. 

Here is the nativity scene with an assortment of Christmas trees.  Some are from rummage sales, the small glass ones are ones from my grandmother's collection.  For years, my sister and I gave her a tree and a few years ago she started gifting them back to us as keepsake items.  I love them!  To the left is a stack of children's Christmas books given to me by my mom over the years. 

Those little boots are from Justin's grandma.  She had one for all of her grandchildren when they were kids and now that she has a small apartment and doesn't entertain everyone there on holidays she distributed them so they could have them in their own homes.  I was bestowed my own a few years ago! 

These are more thrift store finds...I know of several family members who have a large version of that tree with lights and birds on it and I was excited to find the mini version of it over the weekend!  Hopefully it will be joined by the big one some day! 

 I have been trying to commit to a Christmas card design...I love choosing ours every year and make several options online before ordering my favorite!  Here is a preview with one of our dud photos...I laugh every time I see poor Allan with his creepy flashlight eyes!

I hope everyone has a lovely Thanksgiving!  I am dying for some Stovetop and pecan pie and some olives and pickles in a divided dish! 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Save Your Groans...

The early onset of Christmas madness is a popular topic every year.  Most people complain about it.  They are annoyed by Christmas music in stores and the fixation on Black Friday.  I don't really mind the store displays and shopping talk once November hits because that means there are only 7 weeks to fit in the shopping and holiday season planning.  I love Thanksgiving too, so I wish there were more store displays and TV commercials about that holiday.  I also actually like Christmas music (either you love it or hate it, it seems!  Justin doesn't even want to listen to it when we are driving places on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day!)  and I love the atmosphere in stores during this time of year.  I also like getting people gifts and get kind of depressed when people blow it off as a waste of money, materialistic, stuff no one needs, etc.  It's fun!  Can't some things just be for fun?  So, I guess I am in between.  I don't mind Christmas stuff in stores once November rolls around.  I know it is out long before that but I just ignore it until then. 

So, there may be mixed feelings out there when I say that I put up the Christmas tree this weekend!  It is fake so there is no need to worry about the dehydration issue.  I had a few reasons.  One is that I am never home so I wanted to get it done when I am home.  Next time I am here it will be December so then everything will be done already.  Also, I have a 1/2 off discount from Shutterfly that expires on Wednesday that I want to use for Christmas cards.  We have ZERO...yes, zero...good photos of the two of us from this year that weren't taken at a football game or skiing.  And, if you recall (which I am sure most of you don't but I remember!) we have used both of those themes more than once since our first card in 2007.  Also, I wanted a photo that would showcase the pregnancy for those relatives who haven't been able to have the pleasure to see me in person. 

So we are going to try to take one tonight in front of the tree.  Hopefully we can get a good shot.  Otherwise it is going to be a collage of Allan photos because he is one subject that I have hundreds of photos of from the past year!

This is Allan's third Christmas with us.  Every year he is pretty interested in the tree but not in the way people think cats would be.  He doesn't want to climb it...he likes to chew on the branches.  It is really weird.  Also, he likes to play with the ornaments so I just put the cheap plastic ones near the bottom. 

Here he is, already wanting to start knawing on those branches!

I left it up without any lights or decorations for awhile so he could check it out and hopefully lose interest. 

As annoying as he is when he goes in there it leads to some cute pictures!

Here is the finished product!  It is impossible to get a good photo of a tree with lights with my camera...I tried every setting and they all look bad.  I tried at night and during daylight.  During the day that window causes problems and at night it is hard to capture the twinkle of the lights. 

Here are a few of my favorite ornaments...

I think I feature this little tree last year.  It has been around since I was a little kid.  I picked it out at a craft show or some Christmas store with my aunt.  I vaguely remember it.  It was always on our tree when I was growing up and now it is on my tree!

I have many Coca-Cola ornaments...It is probably the marketing but there is something festive about Coke.  Even as I decorated yesterday I was wishing I had a Coke in a festive holiday can with polar bears or Santa on it to drink.  Also, the packaging is read which makes it perfect for Christmas.  I like this mini bottle because of its cute little hat! 

My mom gave me two of these springy trees a few years ago.  I have quite a few blue ornaments.  I can't say I have a blue theme though...the tree is kind of a mess...there are green and red beads, lots of Santa ornaments that Justin collected as he was growing up, and many oddballs that don't fit with any theme.  I guess that's how a tree should be!  Those store created theme trees are beautiful but I prefer the fun assortment of memories that we have! 

Awww...this one will always be a favorite although it hasn't been around for too long.  I don't want to think of the year when I unwrap it and wish he was still here! 

I set up a few other displays around the house but this is getting long so I will share them in another post.  Hopefully in a few weeks you will be seeing our fabulous Christmas card in the mail!