Tuesday, December 29, 2009

#100 (or, Christmas 2009)

So here we are, blog #100. It only took me...what, a year and ten months? Not bad. And let's face it, consistent blogger wasn't really my calling card in 2008. 2009 has been much better for that. Sort of. When I've felt like it.

But anyway. Since blog #100 is happening in such close proximity to New Years and our one-year TTC anniversary (which was a few weeks ago) (and if you don't know what "TTC" means, you clearly don't frequent the semi-lame message boards for girls who want to be pregnant...lucky you!), I will try to spare us all the redundancy of multiple "what I've learned" and "how I've grown" posts. Instead, I will fill you in on all the greatness that was Christmas 2009: the Year of the Snuggie.

Lola and I with our adorable matching headbands. She just LOVES wearing hers!

Mattie before work on Christmas Eve. Apparently he felt "goofy" wearing this? Whatever, I think he looks great!

Christmas 2009 was excellent, filled with family and presents and silliness. And a tiny bit of food. But just a tiny bit. And more than a tiny amount of Snuggies.

We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas morning/day with Matt's family. Among the many (wonderful and generous) gifts I/we received, I received this beauty: a UGA Snuggie. Laugh if you want...I did...but once you put that puppy on, you're SOLD! How I ever lived without a Snuggie, I don't know. It must have been cold and un-snuggly. And I never want to know that life again.

After the presents were opened and while the women performed our womanly duties in the kitchen, the boys did this:

Apparently Women's Lib hasn't hit Christmas yet. (And if you've noticed a recurring theme in pictures of late...that is, Matt and a dad sleeping...well, it's because it's a recurring event. It must be how men bond or something.)

I wore my awesomely amazing new houseshoes (slippers? That sounds so old man-ish) all day. And I may or may not have also worn them shopping the day after Christmas. These were a much needed gift from my husband...hardwood floors are COLD!

You may note the bottom of my Snuggie has crept into the picture. :)

After we finished up lunch and such at Matt's parents' house, we headed back up the road to our own house. We opened our gifts to each other and then a few minutes later, my parents arrived! They stayed here until Sunday evening and we had a wonderful time. We exchanged gifts when they arrived, which meant that I gave my dad a Snuggie (in maroon, his team's color) and he also gave me a 3-in-1 Softie wrap (which I'd asked for) which is basically another version of the Snuggie...except it's down and has all these zippers and snaps which allow it to be configured multiple ways. And it's freakin awesome. So awesome that my mother was green with envy, so the next day Dad and I went out and got her one, too! Needless to say, the Snuggie Exchange necessitated lots of photos.

Dad and I "raising the roof" just like in the Snuggie commercials!

I let Matt borrow my Snuggie so I could demonstrate the Softie wrap. It's basically the softest thing ever. It also will only let you hold your hands downward, which is odd...but it wins points back by being the only wearable blanket that allows you to breastfeed with ease! Not sure that's what they'd intended when making this design, but it's certainly the first thing I noticed when I put it on! Ha!

One of our favorite gifts was a fire pit for the backyard (okay, we actually received two...one from my in-laws, one from my brother...just proving how perfect a gift it really was!). We wasted no time putting it together and enjoying a 4 or 5 hour fire in the backyard Sunday evening. Despite the awesomeness of the fire, it was still a little chilly outside. Good thing we have an abundance of Snuggies!

Mom and Goliath look on as Matt tends the fire.

So our Christmas weekend was wonderful. Dad and I went shopping Saturday morning and were pleasantly surprised to find that we were pretty much the only people shopping in Athens! It was crazy...we went to Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Sams, the mall, Academy...empty parking lots, empty stores, no lines. Strange but awesome! So I enjoyed picking up some 50% off Christmas stuff for next year and some new jeans and workout pants at Target. Yay!

I've had to "work" yesterday and today...if by "work" you mean sit at work and do nothing. With your bosses permission. It wasn't too bad. :) Especially when she came in at 11:30 this morning and said "uhhh...why don't you guys just go home?" Why don't we, indeed! There's nothing like getting paid for an 8 hour day but only "working" for 3.5! Days like this make me very thankful for my job!!

So my unexpected early release from work allowed me to come home, change into sweats, and catch up on this here blog. I'm feeling a little sick (and alas, not pregnant...) so I'm taking it easy in hopes of having enough energy to do the Shred when Matt comes home. We've been working out a lot lately (since December 6, if you want to be precise) and I know myself too well to let myself take a day off. :) Because one day turns into two which turns into five years...so I MUST feel better by tonight!!

In the meantime, though...it's me, the Snuggie, and a "sparkling snow"-scented candle. Because I'm in denial that Christmas is actually over, I guess. And because "sparkling snow" has a distinctive smell?? I think you're stretching it, Yankee Candle Co.!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

'twas the week before Christmas...

'Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

Not entirely true. Lola is doing plenty of moving about. Here she is enjoying some holiday bonding with her (outdoor-dwelling) brother Aidan.

And I've been doing some stirring myself. The kitchen is in a perpetual state of chaos as I stir batch after batch of dark chocolate peppermint bark...this season's treat of choice!

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care
In hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there!

I'm not holding my breath for St. Nick, but I can't wait to open presents and stockings!

The Christmas Cards were nestled, all snug in their "beds"
With visions of loved ones printed on their "heads"

Come on...just roll with me here. Pretend that made sense.

And Matt in his hoodie, and Dad in his cap
Had just settled in for a long winter's nap

I know I've posted this pic before, but come on...it fit the poem!!

And something something something about Santa...
And Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!!

PS. This is my 99th blog entry!! Which means it will probably be like 4 months until I blog again because I feel like the 100th entry is really important and I don't know what it should be about!! What wisdom do I have to bestow that I haven't already?? Haha...so seriously, all suggestions are welcomed and appreciated. Or maybe I just should ignore it and pretend 100 is no big deal? I can't just DO that!! Help me!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

i love analytics: vol2

Lots of strange things were revealed to me during my bi-weekly investigation of my Google Analytics today. Let's start with the most disturbing, shall we?

My favorite part of the Analytics is finding out what words/phrases people type into Google that brings them to my blog. Here are a few (typical/non-disturbing) things that brought people here in December: "optimistical," "footie pajamas," "mattyerika blog" (why don't you just bookmark me next time, eh?), "funky couple" (truly we're the poster couple for that, huh?). Here's what is truly disturbing: "huffing swiffer dust and shine". WHAT????

Umm...wow, where to begin. I do truly love Swiffer Dust & Shine (and all other Swiffer products)and it's true that I (IN A JOKING MANNER) mentioned it may be worth huffing...but people...YIKES!!! That blog was written before I watched the episode of Intervention with that skinny girl who huffed computer duster. Have you seen that one?? Umm...because you should. (Note: I think it's still running on On Demand if you need to stop here and go see it) It's one of the most disturbing Interventions I've seen, and that's saying something. That junk JACKED HER UP and it was SO freaky. And sad. If I ever thought huffing was a funny/lame/not serious drug...I was so wrong. So anyways. I hope that whoever came to my blog looking for whatever information will reconsider their plans and maybe instead use that product to clean with and just enjoy the scent (and product) in the manner with which it was designed to be enjoyed. Sad sad sad.

Well, moving on to less disturbing things. Apparently my blog has a huge multi-cultural appeal-- in December I've had visitors from 15 countries!! Wow. Among the most surprising countries to drop by: Malaysia (3 visits), Phillippines (Kristina, are your relatives stalking me?), Indonesia, Singapore, Slovenia, Lithuania, and Iran. There is apparently a world-wide epidemic of BOREDOM or something...because why and how on earth would people from these countries land here?!?! Do we even use the same kinds of characters for reading/writing? If you go to my blog in Slovenia is it translated into Slovenian? Someone, please enlighten me.

Well I think that's all I've got for now. I'm sitting on my couch absolutely freezing to death since I just worked out and haven't yet turned the heat up or put on warmer clothes. I really should do something to fix this situation but instead I'm just going to shiver and whine (this is how I roll).

I have to work tomorrow and Tuesday (YES I work for the public schools and NO I don't get the normal school holidays...LAME) but I am looking forward to a fun week! Our Christmas shopping is *thisclose* to being done and wrapped and since I've been working out I don't feel nearly as guilty doing all the baking and eating I please. :) We're not leaving town at all (save a quick trip to Atlanta for dinner tomorrow evening) this week. Our Christmas will be with Matt's family (we alternate holidays and years w/ our families), but as it turns out, my parents will have NO children spending Christmas with them in Augusta! Isn't that sad?? So they decided to drive up here Christmas night and spend a few days with us...yay!!! This is a major score: get to still be with my family for Christmas, and DON'T have to pack up and leave town (although I will totally miss seeing everyone in Augusta)!! As Kristina said, you have officially reached adulthood when your parents come to YOU for Christmas! I figured I'd have to wait til we had kids to reach this level, but God smiled on us early, I guess. :)

So that's the plans. Having Wednesday and Thursday off by myself (Matt still has to work) means I should have plenty of time for blogging, so you can all mark your calendars and look forward to that. That means you, bored peoples of Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe and the Middle East!

Don't forget...if you have any insight about whether blogs (or any webpages) are translated into other language characters in other countries...enlighten me!

Saturday, December 19, 2009


I promise I am alive. And well!! Just busy. Tis the season, right??

So there was my birthday last week-- fab. I had so much fun on our quick day trip home to see my parents, siblings, and their +1s (that's blog-speak for significant others. I'm just in the know like that.) Since I only see my beloved sister about 3 times per year, I figured this would be my only chance to see her this holiday season since we're both spending Christmas with our husband/boyfriend's families. Since I had bought her the Christmas gift of a lifetime (she has had a burning desire for adult-sized footie pajamas for years and been unable to find any to meet her needs...but big sis DID!) I absolutely needed her to open it then and there so that I could witness her excitement. She did not not disappoint and made haste to try those puppies on and wear them around the house...in the middle of the day, in front of God and everyone. That's why I love this girl. Look at her rockin' those pjs.

I promise I am not that gigantically tall. She's shoe-less, though, and I'm wearing tall-ish shoes...but I don't normally look like such an Amazon woman!!

This is what we look like when we talk, apparently. We're animated speakers, I guess!
I tried to catch non-posed pictures of everyone at dinner. Here's Sarah and her +1.

Jake and his lovely +1.

And my parents.

And here's us at my birthday dinner. Yay for family and moms to cook!!

Mom made my all-time favorite cake...rainbow chip cake with rainbow chip frosting, and PLENTY OF IT. Don't laugh..you know you eat that stuff straight from the tub, too. And if you don't...you don't know what you're missing.
$1 to the person who guesses what I'm wishing for!! Haha. And look at the faces of Mom and Mattie behind me...my adoring fans.

So that was supposed to be the last I saw of my sis for 2009. But lo and behold, come Monday morning she was calling me asking if she could come up with my parents for the weekend to visit MY house and do Christmas!!! Wahoooo!! This is truly monumental-- she's visited Athens maybe like 5 times in the 9 years I've lived here. So I was so excited to get to a) see her again and b) not have to drive!! So today we enjoyed a wonderful few hours of hanging out, eating at Sarah's Mexican (1 of 2 sit-down restaurants in my town...and so appropriately named!), putting Matt and Dad to work, watching Hoarders, and introducing Mom and Sarah to the wonders of Awkward Family Photos, People of Walmart, and Cake Wrecks. Their free time will never be the same again.
Photographic evidence:

We did "Sarah's Christmas" which meant we all opened our presents to and from her. Here's an attempt at a decent photo of our tree this year...why is getting a good pic of a tree so hard?!?! I will keep trying.

Here's what Matt and Dad did while the ladies were dying laughing at the above mentioned webpages.
Finally-- and perhaps MOST importantly-- we replaced our ugly, hideous, inherited-from-the-previous-owners dining room chandelier today!! My parents gave me money to buy a new one for my birthday, so we finally bought it and Matt and Dad got it installed today. This is huge-- that old one was killing me slowly. I am SO happy with the replacement (and the fact that it got bought and installed all on the same day and isn't going to sit in our garage for 3 months while we try to figure out how on earth to do it!!)
Before: Heavy on the brassy gold plating and fake crystal. YECH!!!

Let's get a closer look at that baby. Ooohhhh yeah.

New one!!! Wahooooooo!! Welcome to the 21st century!! (Which is strange, by the way. Because this house was only built in 2003, so the former light fixture couldn't have been THAT old and must have been bought this decade. Which begs the question....why????)

I'm so happy!! Yay! So, that's the down-and-dirty of the last week. In between seeing my family, I've been working and working out (more to come on THAT) and eating dinner with my beautiful friend Alyssa and shopping and wrapping and TOTALLY looking forward to Christmas and more time with family and friends. And a few days off of work, too.

So tell me...how totally jealous are you of my sister's footie pajamas? Because I'll admit, I very nearly kept them for myself once I saw them (in all their Easter-colored camo glory). I found them online and YES they did have some versions that featured the all-important BUTT FLAP...unfortunately, that feature cost about $10 extra and these babies were already pricey enough. But seriously. I think lots of us should get them and then have a FOOTIE PAJAMA PARTY.
You comin'??

Saturday, December 12, 2009

happy birthday to me!

Why play shy?? I always think it's funny when people neglect to acknowledge their own birthdays. Like when you find out at work at 4:55 pm that it's your co-workers birthday. Like it just hadn't even crossed their mind all day long. Right. I could just not mention to the blog world that it's my birthday today, but let's get real-- I have a BLOG. Obviously I like talking about myself. :)

So it's my birthday!! Yay and hooray and WHOA I am old. 27. I bet it won't be long before I stop posting my age, haha. I guess that's how you know you're not that old...when you want to complain about how old you are but you're not really ashamed to admit it. For instance, my grandmother probably wakes up equally awed and shocked on her own birthday, amazed at how old she is. The difference is, she doesn't go around blurting it out. That's because she actually is old. I, on the other hand, am a spring chicken. Or something.

Well, I'm in Augusta for the day, celebrating with my family. Or...blogging, as the case may be. Whatever, it's my birthday, I'll celebrate how I want to. :) We had breakfast in Athens this morning with Matt's family and it was lots of fun...I married into a fun family who make me feel very special! Then we drove here where we are spending the day and getting to see both my brother AND sister (which is truly rare and has not happened since Easter. Seriously.) and hang out and then we'll head back home tonight. A quick trip, but a good one, and hopefully I'll get a haircut out of the deal.

That's all I have time for, but if you want to read more about me (hahaha) then you should check out Kristina's tribute to me which made me cry and smile and feel so blessed that I have such wonderful friends.

Happy Saturday!!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

meditations on a song that drives me crazy

So I'm home sick from work. I went and made it about three hours today before I thought...why do this to myself? I'm tired, I'm still stuck with this cold that I've had for about three thousand days, and I'm a walking zombie. Let's move this show on home. So here I am in my PJs, looking forward to a nice long nap, but I've got this song stuck in my head...

So it's the 24/7 Christmas music time of year on my radio station of choice. I wish there were more than 8 Christmas songs, that's all. Other than that I like it. It's just there's only so many ways you can sing Joy to the World...and they all still pretty much sound the same. But whatever, I still like Christmas music. There is one (traditional) song in particular I don't like, however. I say 'traditional' because there are LOTS of "new" Christmas songs that don't float my boat...just stop, okay? Let's just be happy with our 8 established songs...stop trying to be creative, you money-grubbing music-makers!! But anyway, I digress. For years the song Little Drummer Boy has gotten on my nerves. It's all that rum-pum-puming. I mean, seriously. Rum pum pum pum?? I enjoy rum as much as the next person, but I don't feel the need to sing about it all up in my Christmas song. And in case rum isn't what they were actually intending to say with that little phrase...well, I don't think drums sound like "rum pum pum pum" either. I was in band for 7 years, I'm pretty much an expert. So the song just gets on my nerves. Especially when artists feel the need to get all crazy with their rum-pum-pumming. It's like, to cover up how embarrasing those syllables are, they're just going to go all crazy with them and really draw attention to them? It's ridiculous. So in general, if this song comes on (or God forbid, someone tries to make you sing it in church or anywhere else live) I either change the channel or struggle to suppress all my sarcastic comments. Or don't struggle at all and just let whoever happens to be nearest hear all my thoughts on the song. Lucky them!

So on Sunday as we were driving to church, the song comes on. Since it's the first time I've heard it all season, it was the perfect opportunity to re-state to Matt all my pent-up emotions about rum-pum-pumming and how unnecessary it is in life. This is obviously preferable to just changing the station, since that would require moving my arm, which is way too much work for me. My rants last throughout about the first verse, and then I ran out of words, so I was just stuck listening to the rest of the song. Oh, the horror.

And wouldn't you know, that in the midst of my judgement and my sarcasm and my derisive remarks, that God decided to speak to me. Or at least, to open up my heart a little. For reasons unbeknownst to myself, I started thinking about the song, and about a poor boy who had the opportunity to visit the King but had nothing to give. And about how inadequate and how dorky he must have felt as he weighed his options...should I go? Empty-handed? Or just stay here and miss the opportunity of my lifetime? And I don't know where exactly drummers stood on the social scene of those days (because theseadays, drummers are typically pretty cool...) but I guess he must have been broke (just like drummers today!! ha) and then someone suggests he play his drum. Right. Because that's cool. Unless you're banging on a full set (which I don't imagine this drummer had access to), playing a single drum all alone is not usually terribly exciting. It's not really a solo instrument. Maybe a djembe...but since the only info we have about what kind of drum this is is that it goes "rum pum pum pum", I'm going to have to surmise that it's more of a snare drum and not so much a djembe. And playing one snare drum, all alone, is not that cool. But he did it...he took what he had, and he did it with all his heart. And, according to the song, the baby Jesus...all 6 pounds, 7 ounces, laying in his holy manger (okay, maybe that was from Talladega Nights, yet another excellent source of historical information)...He smiled. He liked it.

And it's SUCH A DORKY STORY that I can't even believe I'm putting it here. But that really moved me that morning. The thought (not new, by any means), that whatever I do or have, I can do it or use it to bless my King. I think I too often pass over my own gifts and passions, thinking they're not really fit for the King. Prayer...that's what God likes. And burning passion for other countries. And like...evangelism. And none of those are things I'm "good" at. So I go on my way, sad that there's nothing I can give the King. And really, maybe I should just go on and do the things I can do...and do them with all my heart...and maybe those will bless Him, too. And prayer and missionary work and evangelism...all those ARE good things, and things God likes, but they're not the only things. And I forget that.

So thank you, Little Drummer Boy, with your rum-pum-pumming self, for reminding me of something important. And thank you, Mercy Me, for singing the coolest version of Little Drummer Boy I've heard yet. I like that thing you did at the end of the song that didn't involve any extra rum-pum-pumming and how it made me think and cry a little and it reminded me that God can and will use any means necessary...even really dorky songs...to remind His kids that He loves them.