Friday, December 19, 2014

The Story of Our Tree

For me, the Christmas tree is a pretty big deal. I know for so many, it's just a decorating tool for the holiday, but for me- it's a scrapbook of our lives. 
Some of the very best memories I have from when I was little, are of when I used to sit with my grandmother and talk about the ornaments at night. Her tree was always a mishmash of everything and for me, it was just the most beautiful thing in the world. Though she definitely does not approve of the white lights (it was always colored ONLY), our tree has evolved into exactly the same type of Christmas tree I remember as a child. 
And nothing could make me happier. 

It sparkles and glitters and even though I know exactly what is on it, I could sit and stare at it for hours as if it's the first time my eyes have seen it. 

This year has been the first Christmas in 7 years that we've been able to put ornaments on the entire tree without the threat of curious little hands snatching them off. 

The tree isn't the largest, but years ago when it was purchased, it was a very hefty buy for us (even after the coupon!). Every year when we take the tree out, the thought of a bigger tree, whos branches don't tend to fall out does cross my mind. But, when I think back to how we scraped the money together to bring this tree home, I just can't bring myself to part with it. It is ours and it has been loved and this is where it will stay. 

One of my favorite things to do when I was little, was to pretend I was tiny and lived inside of the tree like the chipmunks from the Disney cartoon Pluto's Christmas Tree.
I may or may not have done it last night...never too old to use your imagination, right?
Almost every single ornament on the entire tree means something. 
So many are from my grandmother.

And others are from places that my grandmother and I have gone together. 
Santa's pocket watch is from Stan Hywet Hall.

The heart is from The Nutcracker- I was about 8yrs old and it was downtown at The Palace Theatre- magical is the only word to describe it. If you're not familiar with the Palace, google... the inside is stunning. The lobby was filled with table after table of goodies like I have never seen before (those were pre-pinterest days and it was the first time my eyes had ever seen a croquembouche). We were not far from the stage and I can still remember the awe I felt when I saw the giant Christmas tree on stage.

Other ornaments were from mine and my husbands first Christmas together as a couple. 
He glittered our names himself. A fact that is even more amazing if you know him. 

Many are older than him and I both- from simpler times that neither of us will ever have the pleasure of experiencing. 
-when the Elf on the Shelf didn't bring expectations ... 

...and letters to Santa sounded more like this than a Best Buy advertisment.
Many commemorate the arrival of our babies. 

And one very special one tells the tale of our first Christmas in our new home. That was a trying year and whenever I see this little house it brings tears to my eyes realizing how far we've come. 

My most treasured are now from our children. And if you're a parent, then you know exactly what I'm talking about. There is no better experience than chubby little preschool fingers handing you something them made themselves. 
This was the one that started it all, and they have been flooding in ever since. A massive perk of having so many kids. 

This one has a glittery handprint and a card that reads 
Sometimes you get discouraged 
Because I am so small
And always leave my fingerprints
On furniture and walls
But every day I'm growing--
I'll be grown some day
And all those tiny handprints
Will surely fade away
So here's my handprint
Just so you can recall
Exactly how my fingers looked 
When I was very small

This was only from one year ago and Sean's little hand was so tiny. Tears. 

These 4 bells are new additions to the tree this year from Aunt Linda, they help us to remember her since she is no longer with us- and keep in our thoughts this Christmas, the 3 she left behind. 

So that is the story of our tree. 
It's so much more than a decoration, but a symbol that 
there really is no place like home. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Never gets old

The best sight to wake up to...
At least, it is if you're like me and have 5 kids to keep happy. Nothing makes kids happier that looking out the window first thing, and seeing snow. 
I love the idea of them sitting in school just bursting with the anticipation of coming home just so they can go roll around in all the fluff. 

And to be honest, the same goes for me.  

Towards the end of the season, I will be ready to see it go, but there is no better feeling than the beginning of winter.

Friday, November 14, 2014

A wintery morning

Our morning walk to the bus stop was wintery and wonderful. 
I sent 3 kids off on the bus (3 post-snowball fight kids), and wandered back through the fluff with these two. 
Like their mama, they happen to be huge fans of snow.
(but what kid isn't really?)
Casualties were minimal- see that reddish nostril? Remnants of a bloody face-plant. But she was totally unaffected, just too excited to be outside.  

Danny was just as happy, though had an issue with some wandering snowflakes who found their way right into his eye. 

He survived the ordeal, only to be blasted again. 
Darn snow. 

But as much as we love the snow, the warm house was calling us, and we glady answered. 
Actually, not all of us were glad... some of us had to be dragged in kicking and screaming after our boots were forcibly removed but, such is life. 

Come inside we did, and cozy we were. 

It has definitely been a good morning. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Veterans Day 2014

Tomorrow is Veterans Day, a day where we honor those who have served in the armed forces here in the USA. To many, tomorrow will just be a day of no banking or mail delivery- but to even more, it is a day where we remember the sacrifices so many people have made to give us the freedoms that we have the luxury of taking for granted. How awesome to walk outside of our safe homes in our safe neighborhoods, and see sights like this...
Certainly not something I ever get tired of. Really, remember this? November either has some amazing sunsets (in Cleveland? Um, not so much) or it's the universe sending me some awesome reminders- which is what I'm going with. 

My kiddos will grow up knowing that their dad served and they will be brought up to respect and honor those who served before, after, and right along side him. 
So, tomorrow, we honor... 
and sing songs of course because... well... why not? 

Thank you Corey for everything you have done, and continue to do for us! We love you! 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Our Saturday

So I've been slacking lately. I have the best blogging intentions but it really just can't be helped. Reason for said slacking? Kids. KIDS, people.. just the kids. Do we have 75 of them? Of course not... but I feel like the 5 that we do have might as well be 75 because it really is just chaos over here. 
Every once in a while, we get to do something fun as a family- not every day, because, well... kids...but some days we do. 
Today happened to be one of those days. 
I'll start off with some nature-y photos of where we went because why on earth would I this place not the most perfect picture of fall you've ever seen?

Breathe deep... can't you smell the leaves? 
Nothing better, I tell you. 

And yes, because all of the perfect smelling, perfectly colored and falling leaves just wasn't enough perfection- I give to you- the river that runs right alone side all of this autumn-ness. 

We really do live here, and I really am this excited about this place. Growing up, I was about 5 minutes away from all of this and it brings back great memories for me. I was here all the time, even when I wasn't supposed to be but that's the sort of thing you do when you're a kid- sort of like climbing those cliffs you see in the picture above, because yes, we really did used to do that (gasp!)...
It means so much to me that not only do I get the gift of living in such a beautiful place, but that I get to share that gift with my kiddos. 
I am happy to report that they loved it all as much as I did
 (and still do!)

Isn't is just gorgeous? See those beautiful pine trees on the right there?

My child was in one. See him? See that little hint of bright green there in the middle?
Yeah... right there. Really high up actually, like, high enough where I had to walk away because I felt a little sick. 

me- "Corey, can you please get the kids out of the tree?!"
Corey- wanders over to take pictures because unlike me he was not afraid of them plummeting to their deaths. 

me- "Corey...seriously...can you get the kids out of the tree?!"
Corey- (ignores me)

me- "I am flipping out, get them out of the tree before they fall and die. If they fall out of there, THEY ARE DYING!"
Corey- "Will you leave them alone? Can you fix this?"
(his phone) 
(me walking away again to pay attention to 2 little girls who were off not risking their lives but instead playing nicely like little girls tend to do.)

The boys did make it out of the tree, we did have a tantrum or 2 when it was time to go home, but the kids did go to bed early and pass right out...and really... can't ask for any more than that!

(and also, I'm not going to lie...more than once during this excursion did I imagine that I was actually on the run from zombies like in The Walking Dead- I know you know what I'm talking about and you know you've done it too!)