Monday, December 30, 2013

The Many Christmas Adventures of Luke Jeremiah the 2013 Edition: Part Four! Merry Christmas, Everyone!

This is it! Our last Luke post of the season, and what a Christmas season it has been! I already miss our little elf friend, and I am not sure how the boys are going to feel in the morning when he isn't there to greet them. Hopefully three days of Christmas toys will be enough to keep them distracted, though I anticipate tears. Hopefully I can pull up these pictures, remind them about all the good times, and help them look forward to the fun we will have next year.

Night Twenty-Two: Apparently, Luke has made a friend. really now, look at those cheeks! How could you not find them kissable?!

Night Twenty-Three: While I know that Luke loves his job and his family, I imagine that it sometimes gets lonely at night, being a little elf all alone in a great big house. It makes perfect sense that Luke would seek out friends. Tonight it seems he found another little elf, one that has been in the family for decades, to hang out with. They both look very happy in their new found friendship. 

Night Twenty-Four: Sometimes you just need to relax in a warm, bubbly bath with a glass of wine and a good book. Now, our dear Luke wouldn't be sipping on wine, but doesn't he look relaxed? The next few nights are going to be a busy, hard push for our little Christmas helper. He's earned a little relaxation. (And how cute is that little claw foot tub?! Seriously now?!)

Night Twenty-Five: This was all Grandmama's idea, and I really like it. Apparently, Luke had some last minute Christmas mail to send. (Pictured with our Yule Log, which it took several nights for us to convince the boys that part of making a Yule Log is burning it.)

Night Twenty-Six: We were at my mother's house on night twenty-six, because we were celebrating Christmas with them the next day, which was Christmas Eve. Luke managed to find his way to us even though we were somewhere different, and he took advantage of some of Mom's musical decorations while we all slept.

Night Twenty-Seven: Christmas Eve night, and our darling Luke became almost angelic, eagerly waiting for Christmas the next morning. (And the morning of the 26th, when we celebrated a third Christmas, because Christmas in Ohio can't be confined to just one day.)

It was an amazing month with Luke here! He helped us get ready for the holidays, and even stayed a few extra days due to our extended Christmas, Daddy coming home, and Mommy's upcoming birthday. (And maybe Mommy forgetting several nights in a row to put him up and write his farewell letter contributed to him staying even longer than we had originally planned.) I loved being home this year and getting to experience all of this with my family, and I think Luke did too. I'm already looking forward to next year when Luke will be back to make more Christmas memories. He might even have a new friend that comes along with him...

Goodbye for now, Luke! Merry Christmas!


Hello Thirty! I'm ready.

"Hello Thirty! I'm ready." I confidently typed these four words into my status box on Facebook at exactly 12:00 am on December 29th and posted it with a nod of my head. It was here. The day I'd been dreading counting down to for quite awhile. And I really did feel ready when I posted it. My confidence was only increased by the fact that I neither sprouted 40 gray hairs spontaneously nor combusted in the first few minutes of being thirty, both of which I had considered a possibility.

You see, I was eight when my mother turned thirty. I remember that she spent the day crying and bemoaning her advanced age, and I decided that thirty must certainly be when your life ended! I've held on to that irrational fear my entire life, and it just increased the closer I got to thirty. Now it was here, staring me in the face, and I didn't want to leave the same impression on my children that had been left on me. (I love you, Mom, but you scarred me about this whole thirty thing. ;) ) I decided that thirty was going to be wonderful. After all, the amazing Kate Winslet had inspired me with the grace that she had approached thirty several years ago. I remembered pouring over magazine interviews as her Big Birthday had approached, and she made it seem like an exciting new chapter instead of impending doom. I figured I could do that too, though probably not with as much awesomeness as Ms. Winslet usually possesses. (Not many people have that much awesomeness you know.) So I really did mean it when I typed that I was ready. Besides, it was coming, no matter if I was ready or wasn't.

This is the very last picture of me in my 20s, taken about 5 minutes before midnight. I didn't edit it at all, so please excuse my jammies and lack of make up. :) 

The next morning I had another moment of panic, staring at my thirty year old self in the mirror, momentarily sure that I could see the beginning of wrinkles and age spots that had not been there the night before. Then I gave myself a harsh mental shake, slapped on some kick ass red lipstick, and strode boldly out to take Thirty by the horns and show it exactly how much I could rock it. If I have to be Thirty, I'm going to own it!

And what better way to start my new decade than a day with some of my favorite people in the world?! Several years ago, I'd decided that I wanted to have a Build a Bear birthday party to celebrate entering a new decade. It seemed appropriate when I'd had the idea, and we decided to stick to the plan. Michael, Parker, Sebastian, and Alex made up my birthday party, and I couldn't have asked for a better group to celebrate with! Alex had never been before, and I think she had just as much fun as the rest of us. (And Michael, who truly hates the place, managed to avoid any comments about how he could feel his skin burning as we walked in. That is a huge step for him!)

Bears (and mouse) were selected and ready to stuff. Apparently, everyone else had the exact same idea that day, so we had to wait in a long line that stretched into the main part of the mall.

For anyone who hasn't been there before, they have an entire "stuffing" ceremony where you rub your furry friend's new heart on your muscles so they can be strong, your head so they can me smart, your cheek so they can be as cute as you are, etc. Then you put it on your nose and make a wish before placing the new heart inside your new fluffy friend. Then you give them a bath, clothes, and a name, and get a birth certificate in return.

We all played along with enthusiasm, and Michael followed us around taking pictures and trying to look cheerful to be there. :)

 You even get to step on the peddle that fills your animal with stuffing from the stuffing machine. Sebastian tried, but needed a little help from Big Brother.

Alex's turn to stuff her bear, Burt, and then check it's "fluffyness" before he got stitched up and washed.

 Parker's outfit choice should have been fairly predictable. :)

 Alex and her Bear in Uniform!

Parker, Ohio State the Bear, Mommy, Milo the Mouse, Burt the Bear, Alex, Sebastian, and Bear/Banana the Bear

After Build a Bear, we went to Half Price Books, because no birthday could be complete without a visit to the bookstore! We also went to Bell Book and Comic (if you live in the Dayton area and happen to be a nerd/geek you should check it out) where Michael bought me Firefly: The Board Game! (Firefly is a post of its own, but it's an awesome gift, I assure you!) Then we were off to Mom's house for cake.

The day before my birthday Michael and I went up to visit his mother, leaving the boys with Grandmama, Grandpapa, and Alex. They decided to make and decorate a cake for Mommy's birthday, and I have to say that I think it was beautiful! I don't know many other 4 and 2 year olds who could ice a cake so beautifully.

In case you were wondering, yes, there were 30 candles on my cake, and yes, I blew them all out. 

We hit up another book store, because no birthday would be complete without books, stopped in to visit with my siblings, SIL, and niece, and then decided on BDubs for dinner. It was a fabulous idea. The food was delicious. The company was better!

 Helllooooo Thirty!

 Notice Parker's photo bomb?

My big guy is always up for some silly faces!

My little ham.

Bear, who was left at Hootie's house on Christmas Eve, was finally reunited with the family while we visited with Mom on my birthday. Everyone was happy to have him back. (And he hasn't left Sebastian's side since their reunion, which would have been complete with some Chariots of Fire music and confetti.)

We might have duck faced. Don't judge. We were making silly faces, and it doesn't get much sillier than a duck face. ;)

We got home late and still didn't go to bed! This much party can't be contained in just a few hours. It can't even be contained in a single day. (Michael will be taking me out on a grown-up birthday date later in the week. I might even find a little black dress to wear. I've never had a little black dress.) It was an amazing day, and a wonderful way to start this new chapter of my life. My 20s are over and behind me. Some amazing things happened in my 20s, and sometime soon I will sit down and look through The Great Big Book of Twenties, laughing and crying over the memories. But this day was about my thirties! How they are here, and I survived the first day, and I plan on rocking Thirty! Truly, I am going to own this year. It is going to be the best year ever. Believe that!

My other was scared to death that I was going to catch my hair on fire. That would have made for quite a picture!