Thursday, December 1, 2016

Decking the Halls

I am so happy right now.  I just deposited Ben at school after leaving the house for the first time since Sunday night.  School was closed yesterday too, as well as many stores and offices until yesterday afternoon when the city started functioning again.  Justin has been gone since Tuesday morning so I have been on kid overload.  I planned to go to the Y to exercise with the younger two but, of course, I forgot my shoes since I usually wear them if the ground is dry but I was wearing boots this morning.  I needed a break from the constant chatter and kid talk and whining and incessant cartoons in the background so I put them in child watch anyway and read my book for 45 minutes.  My only adult contact was with the neighbors yesterday when we were outside shoveling snow off the driveway. They were probably like "OK, lady, enough talking, I've got stuff to do!"  My neighbor even brought over a sled and took some pictures for me when my phone died.  Cute snow photo opportunity almost lost!  That was a close one...I like it even though I am wearing my oldest and grossest sweatpants, a United Blood Services freebie t-shirt my dad gave me because it was too small for him (he donates many pints of blood every chance he gets and I have never donated once) and I hadn't washed my hair or put on makeup yet.  I was a sweaty mess when I got inside because this is some very heavy and wet snow.  I am sore today.  I guess my half-a$$ed elliptical machine routine could be more challenging...

Our cul de sac pays a private snow removal company as part of our association fees and they have been here three times this week.  The main street by us is an emergency route and our old street was also an emergency route so I kind of forget about the chaos the people who don't live on main streets deal with.  I saw a lot of people stuck this morning on those streets and neighbors trying to clear their own paths with shovels and snowblowers.  Not everyone drives a tank like me!  Oh, I love my Expedition in winter.  It can plow through anything.

So, what have we been doing since Sunday night?  Besides going insane and being bored?  Well, we deocorated like crazy people.  As in, I frantically tried to get it done quickly to get breakable things placed safely and the kids ran around like crazy people throwing decorations everywhere.  They were so excited though so I tried to go with the flow.

I did something unusual this year.  I set up my entire Department 56 Snow Village.  I have been accumulating these little buildings since I was a teenager and for several years I didn't set it up at all (apartment living) and for the last few years I have only set up as many buildings as will fit on the buffet below. 

I got carried away after looking at all of them and realizing some hadn't seen the light of day for probably ten years so I gave up more decorating space and set the whole thing up. 

I kind of tried to make a residential and business section...haha.  The grouping on top of this cabinet will probably not be lit because I'm afraid Milo might pull on the cord. 

Notice how that second house is lifted up?  I made a little hill out of notebooks under the snow!  Setting this thing up is such an ordeal of boxes and Styrofoam.  If you a are a minimalist clutter hater you are probably dying right now.  You would faint if you saw  how much precious storage space the boxes take up too.  But I guess we all have our "things". 

Believe it or not, Allan has not been too interested in the tree this year.  I think his newly obtained obesity has something to do with it.  He was wound up and spent a lot of time chewing on the branches when I was setting it up and the first day but he hasn't really messed with it since.  Apparently lots of cats like to chew on artificial trees and no one knows why.  He even gets excited by the box.  It must have a smell that he likes. 

Here is a quick tour of my Christmas decorating. 

Dining room (aka the last corner of sanity in the house) table.  I bought a few strings of those cute battery operated wire lights that are all the rage this year.  They look really nice.  I hope the batteries last for awhile.  I haven't purchased Christmas decorations for myself in a long time but that little tree farm sign caught my eye at TJ Maxx this fall and it was pretty cheap so I bought it. 

All right...the next display is kind of annoying to me because it is crowded and not elegant at all and you wouldn't see anything like it in a Pottery Barn catalogue but since the village took all my display space I fit as much as I could up above the fireplace.  First you see my Christmas tree collection that was actually my grandma's collection that my sister and brother and I gave her as gifts for many years.  Then she moved and gave it back to us so my sister and I split it up.  I added another string of lights to it. 

Next to the trees I set up the nativity scene.  I always put it up here.  Usually, however I don't like to mix sacred and secular themes together in one display but it happened this year. 

Yes, a manger scene, snowmen, Santa, glittery pine trees and snow...all mixed together.  Please don't hate me. 

And speaking of mixing sacred and secular...

I present to you the kids' Paw Patrol advent...I mean holiday countdown...calendars.  Good grief, can people just say Christmas?  December 25th is Christmas!  If a family is not Christian then why would they buy an advent calendar to begin with?  If Walmart doesn't want to get all churchy with advent at least they could have called it a Christmas countdown calendar instead of a holiday calendar.  I will say that these are a good incentive to get the kids moving in the morning. Go to the bathroom, get dressed, then you can have your very poor quality piece of Paw Patrol holiday chocolate!  The Elf on the Shelf should have arrived today too.  Last night I was too burned out from constant talking and childcare to go get it out of its hiding place under the stairs.  I had the TV to myself and several shows to watch (Vikings on the History Channel started a new season last night!) I will do it tonight.  I don't do anything crazy.  It just moves around the house to different out of reach locations. are a few more pictures. I wrapped the railing with a very long string of lights so it is very densely lit.  I didn't plan it this way but I really like it. 

I set the frames with Santa pictures on the piano along with our little boots from Justin's grandma and the always fascinating Coca-Cola snow globe which is a music box that you wind and as it plays a little train travels around it.  It is a MIRACLE that this thing is not broken yet.  My kids have loved it for years.  It used to be in my childhood bedroom and Ben would sneak upstairs just to stare at it. 

And finally another little grouping. 

I got both of those trees at a thrift store back in my kid free days.  The one on the right is not electric.  Or maybe it was but the cord and bulb were gone when I found it.  I suppose I could steal a cord from one of the village houses...There is a bigger version of it that my grandma has and I am always on the lookout for one. And it actually has a built in light and plugs in.  The one on the left has a cord but it is really old and it kind of makes me nervous to have it plugged in. 

I have a lot more pictures I was going to share of the kids with the tree but I think I will share them in another post.  This one is getting long and rambling. 

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