Friday, December 30, 2011

final card stats, 2011

Well folks, the final Christmas Card Stats are in. Or at least, they should be. If I receive any more cards after this point, it is going to be stretching it to call them "Christmas" cards. I know you are probably biting your nails waiting to find out the final breakdown of my cards, so we'll get right to it!

Total Number of Cards Received: 21

# of Photo Cards: 14
# of Non-Photo Cards (in case you're not a math genius): 7 
# of Cards from Georgia: 9
Card Hailing from Furthest Away: Harlingen, TX (1,178 miles away) beat out Carrol, Iowa by about 100 miles. Way to go, Alejandros! 

The following categories apply to PHOTO CARDS ONLY:
Black & White to Color ratio: 3:11
# of Cards with Kids (not counting kids in utero): 11
# of Cards with ONLY Kids: 2
# of Cards with Pets: 1 (let's try to do better on this one next year, people)

I think that about sums it up: if you can think of any other statistics you're dying to know about, feel free to ask.

And while we're at it, here's what our card looked like:

I'm sure it came as a real shock that I used that picture. It's only my FAVORITE PICTURE OF US ever (this year)...which is why it's featured in my blog header and pretty much all profile pictures of late. I'm tan, bangs are looking good, arm is at a MOST flattering angle, I'm wearing my favorite dress...seriously, what's not to love.

Putting away the Christmas cards is always sad, but I look forward to pulling them all out again next year (yes, I save them every year) and seeing the friendly faces once again.  

And if you have nothing else to do today, I suggest YOU take inventory of your own cards. It's very entertaining (if you're a dork like me)!

PS. Happy Birthday to my bestie Mollyanne!! Go over to her blog and show her some birthday love if you have a minute!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

since last Friday...

Seriously, it's been almost a WEEK since I last wrote? What kind of person have I become? I'll admit-- I was almost tempted to keep not-writing until after the New Year...simply because then my number of posts for 2011 would stay a nice, even 150. 150 posts!! That's pretty good! But I guess it'll be 151 or 152 or something, because I didn't want to wait that long to write again. I might forget what I've done with my life for the last week.

So, Christmas! It's done with now, yes? It was a good one...lots of time with family (which is what I've been doing all week while I'm busy not-blogging), way too much food, excellent presents, hitting up the after-Christmas sales...good times.  

Here are some of the highlights:

1. Santa Butt pants. On Timmy, of course. Not me. Not nearly as cute on me.

2. Watching Tom go into ULTIMATE NERD MODE with his favorite Christmas present: a BOOK OF FORMULAS. I am not even kidding. I looked at the book. It is full of equations. And he was SO EXCITED about it..."I already have seen some equations I can use to do ___"...I mean, FOR REAL. It was the funniest thing ever. I guess that's why some people have PhDs in electrical engineering and some people teach 4 year olds how to rhyme. Different strokes.

 3. Timmy's reindeer suit. It's one of the cutest things ever.

4. Playing around with aperture settings. Here is an example of what not to do: make everyone and everything look blurry and ghost-like.

5. Example of what TO do. Focus on one thing and make background lights look like glowing orbs. Sweet!

6. Back at our own house (although we haven't spent but like 5 non-sleeping minutes there in the last week) it is like Dog Central. We are keeping my parents two dogs while they travel, so that brings our total Dog Count to 3 (if you're not a genius like my brother-in-law Tom, I thought I'd help you out with the math there). Let me just say. Three dogs (in my house) is TOO MANY. Approximately 2 too many. And the 2 visiting dogs are SMALL...way smaller than Lola...but still. That means 12 paws going CLICK CLICK CLACK CLICK all over our floors, which then echoes throughout the house, and when you multiply it with the high ceilings and take the derivative of the sound of 3 dogs barking and playing...let me consult my Nerd Book...carry the, yeah, it's about 2812048 decibels ALL THE TIME.
There are a few sweet moments like this. But not many. Take Home Message? I'm thankful we have only one dog, and this should effectively squash any "I want another puppy!!!" desires for at least a few weeks. Also, the thrice-daily potty walks times three dogs? And it's been RAINING NONSTOP? Loads of fun. Awesome.

7. We ate lunch here:

...but instead of telling you where "here" is, I'm going to make it a POP QUIZ!!! Woohoo!! If you live/have lived/have visited Athens (and had a half-decent tour guide), then this should be the easiest quiz ever (no formula books required!). Question 1: Where was I? Question 2: What did I eat? Leave your answer in the comments. People who were actually there with me at this meal are disqualified, so you can just leave your comment about something else. Winner gets a great prize, like maybe I will go eat lunch with you at this place (didn't say anything about PAYING, though).

 8.  I've been playing this game:
Yall, Hanging With Friends is the funnest game EVER! Technically, I've been playing this game since like October, but my Play Time has definitely increased on this Christmas Break. Hanging is superior to Words, in my opinion, because it's WAY LESS STRESSFUL and a turn doesn't take like 30 minutes. So that's why you should download it and start a game with me. My user name is ErikaB1212 if you want to play me...although you should be warned that I sorta suck at it. 

9. Matt went to Zumba with me on Monday! It was the most entertaining thing ever. After class was over, I asked him how he liked it. He had very sad eyes and said "I give myself a D." I give him an A for effort, personally. And an A for making me want to laugh my head off. He was very cute. 

10. I need to take down "Christmas." :( Obviously I am procrastinating this by blogging, but it needs to be done. It's much better to do it now, when I have the time to do it well, then to wait until I go back to work and then just throw everything in a box and hope it sorts itself out by next year. I bought some more storage tubs at Target yesterday, so I'm hoping that all my accumulated crafts will fit...this weekend, Matt is going to put up more shelves in the garage so that hopefully we will actually have a place to PUT the new tubs full of crafts. Ay yi yi. 

11. Last night I got to hang out with part of the Spectacular Seven! AKA my BFFs from high school...if you're not in the know.

L-R: me, Dustin, Elizabeth, Christopher, Michael, Jessica, Patrick

We did take a picture last night, but I don't have it yet, so a picture from 2003ish will have to do. Last night we got to enjoy hanging out with Patrick and his wife Brooke and baby Charles (they currently reside in Iowa), Christopher and his wife Katy (currently reside in Greenville, SC), and Jessica (currently resides in Augusta) (and myself and Matt, obvs). I had a blast, and it was MUCH more my idea of a good High School Reunion than the one actually hosted by my high school a few months ago (and attended by a few of the folks above, who filled us all in on it last night). We did miss our friends who weren't there, though. :( 

12. OK, the procrastinating must end. CHRISTMAS MUST GET CLEANED UP. And also I should probably like...shower. Or brush my teeth. Or something. 

Or not. I'm still on break!!! Woohoo!!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

life and pictures and stuff

 Hello, long lost friends. I suppose I should be thankful that most of my time the past few days has not been spent in front of a computer screen...instead, I've been actually interacting with real live people!!!! and that's something to be thankful for. But I do miss blog-land. (Note: just because my face has not been stuck in front of my computer screen does not imply that it hasn't been stuck in front of a lot of other screens, including but not limited to: my phone screen, camera screen, iPad screen, and a movie theater screen. I've been diversifying my screens, you see...)

My sister- and brother-in-law are in town for Christmas, which means the famous Baby Timmy is in town! This means most of my free time has been spent securing my spot as Most Favorite Aunt. Here's part of my game plan:

...But don't tell any of the other aunts (all 1 of them). I have some pretty sweet moves and can usually always get Timmy to smile. One thing he really likes?? Having his picture taken!

Therefore Amy and I have taken it upon ourselves to reenact every single Famous Photo Idea we've ever seen on Pinterest. I consider it to be a 'famous' idea if basically everyone I know has repinned it, including people who don't even have or know any children. You may recognize these pictures as the Really Cute One with the Baby Boy wearing Nothing But Daddy's Tie. They turned out REALLY well, but I will not be posting the 'full shot' unless Amy gives me express permission to, seeing as it's her child and he's naked and all. But this shows you how cute he is, anyway!

Basically I should have a career as a baby photographer, don't you think?? Timmy thinks so.

Matt and I also tried our hand at posing with random Christmas decor. It was great, except for I couldn't stop laughing.
And in other notable family news, I finally got my Christmas present from last year...long story, but I've basically been hanging onto an IOU for 363 days...but I shall wait no longer, for today I got it!

A painting of my one and only beloved daughter:

Isn't it amazing???! It looks EXACTLY like her. I am SO happy with it and it makes me almost excited to take down the Christmas decorations because I'll get to find a place to put it!

In other news...hmmm...let's just see here...

Oh yeah, maybe I'll just throw it out there that yesterday we went to another city for a very exciting meeting with two individuals (we'll call them...MD and JD...and the initials represent their degrees/professions) regarding arranging a private adoption.

Huh? What? Yeah, I know, me too. I guess when God decides He wants to do something, things can start to move fast. Like when people you've never heard of find out about you and your situation and feel so strongly that they are supposed to help you that they take 2 hours of their time to meet with you 3 days before Christmas (for no pay)...yeah, that actually just happened. To us.

So fa la la la la...our hearts are happy. We don't have a baby this Christmas, but we are so full of hope and joy that we just may explode. It's a really good know that God hasn't forgotten you. To know that there is hope. To know that you will be parents, even if it's not by the method you'd originally imagined. To know that miracles come in many ways...and to think that maybe finally your dreams might come true.

A very merry Christmas to you...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

a very biker christmas

 WHOA. Sorry for the blog absence here lately. As I've mentioned before...I'm slightly not ready for Christmas, so this week has been spent working, spending time with family, Zumba-ing, and also trying to start my Christmas shopping. Basically, I'm swamped.

But not too swamped for Way Back When-sday!

The Blogivers

WAY BACK in 2004, I was a senior in college. My sister was a senior in high school. My mom was a senior (HAHAHAHA just kidding Mom!! Not that you read this!!). We decided to take the traditional Family Pictures on Christmas Eve.

Apparently leather jackets were all the rage (in our house) that year. And bad Christmas sweaters. Yikes.

Can we all just agree to never let our fathers buy those 'progressive' tinted glasses or whatever the heck they are? Because looking like you're wearing sunglasses indoors on Christmas Eve? Not cool.

I would like you to refer to more recent pictures as evidence that my family has made great progress on the fashion front since Biker Christmas 2004.

And that's all we have time for today, folks, because SOME people gotta drive to work. Boo. Have a very happy last-few-days-before-Christmas, and in case you were still stumped about what to wear to your next Christmas dinner/party/church service...may this post serve as a reminder that probably your Black Leather Coat is NOT IT.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

'twas the weekend before Christmas

Is it seriously the last weekend before Christmas? Seriously? Really? Because I have exactly ZERO presents underneath my tree. Wanna know how many presents I've bought Matt? Zero. Unless you count the camera, which was sorta a gift-to-each-other thing...but we're supposed to be buying other gifts for each other, too, and I've already told you how THAT'S going. Despite being not remotely ready for the gift-giving part of Christmas, I'm not stressed about it in the least. It'll get done...or it won't, and that'll be fine too. It'll be a good time to remind people that "Christmas isn't about the presents!"Haha, wouldn't that be a jerk move? Okay, also you should know that we've already DONE Christmas with my it's not like I haven't done ANYTHING. All of those presents were wrapped...and are now given away. But our tree does look really sad, all present-less.

So what have I been doing this last weekend before Christmas, now that I've admitted how unprepared I am for Christmas? Well...obviously, procrastinating some more! Last night I hosted my first ever Girls Being Crafty night! Basically it was an excuse for some ladies to hang out and/or eat and/or work on some crafts. Not terribly organized (I most certainly did not plan some organized group craft for everyone to work on was BYOC)...because that would probably stress me out. I just wanted people to come over to my house (it's no small drive) and be happy. 

Side note: last December, I decorated my house as per usual. And at the end of the month, when the house had been decorated for the whole month, I realized that not a SINGLE PERSON besides Matt and myself had been inside our house to see the decorations. NO ONE. Maybe the UPS guy had glimpsed the inside when he dropped something off, who knows. But not a single friend or family member ever came over. And it's not anyone's fault but my own. But don't you know I cried for like 3 days over that travesty? So this year, I was determined: SOMEONE BESIDES US WILL SEE AND ENJOY MY DECORATIONS!! That gave me extra encouragement to try and put together some sort of social get-together to ensure it would happen. 

So anyway, some girls came over and there was food and craftiness and good conversation and so I considered it a success. But the night was not without drama! And I'm not talking about the girl kind. I'm talking-- my corkscrew BROKE!!!!!! As in, we had no way to open up the wine!!!! You should have seen the faces of horror as we realized our predicament. Luckily, our friend Google had many suggestions on how to get out of this pickle. Please witness the winning idea: using a screw and hammer, and a lot of brute strength.

 Yes, I realize my nails look awful. I am currently accepting sponsors for a manicure.

VICTORY IS MINE!!!, saith Erika.

And that is the extent of my pictures from Craft Night. Apparently my craft was not working on my photography. I am not even done with my craft yet. If it doesn't suck, I might show you later when I'm done.

Today, after sleeping until like...lunch...we did some necessary chores and then got fancied up for a wedding. Yes, we have had weddings two weekends in a row. Because our Christmas budget was like, SO OVERFLOWING WITH FUNDS, we were like...anyone? Is there anyone else who we could buy gifts for?? Please?? OK not really, it was just a coincidence. This was a 3pm wedding, and even thought we had loads of crap we SHOULD have been doing before that...instead, we decided to have a photo shoot with ourselves, courtesy of our tripod and self-timer that shoots continuous pictures!! Woohoo!

 Um...who was in charge of that above picture, anyway? Could they have PICKED a brighter, squintier spot? I think not. Sheesh.

So...verdict on having a home photo shoot with self-timer and tripod? SUPER FUN. WILL DO MORE OFTEN. 

So then we wedding-ed (after a very stressful experience at Bed, Bath, and Beyond, which I do not care to re-live again) and then finally bit the bullet and did some Christmas shopping. Whilst wearing our wedding clothes (see above). One store we went to was Home Depot. I'm guessing they don't see people as fancy as us very often there. We got some stares.

So GUESS WHAT? In the time it's taken me to write this blog, A PRESENT HAS APPEARED UNDER MY TREE! I guess Santa Matt has been busy. But for some reason, one lonely present looks even more depressing than no presents, haha. 

Oh yeah!! You should go visit my friend Kristina's blog: she did a cute tutorial about making DIY silhouette ornaments, and guess who she used as her model? LOLA! I know, my sweet little baby is moonlighting as a model. And also it is one of her PUPPY PICTURES...which are about as adorable as you would imagine. So you should go check it out and die of the cuteness. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

this is actually how i spend my nights.

 So I know I've probably never mentioned it here before, but I'm learning to take pictures with a real camera!! I know, I know...shocking. And I can't decide if it's just proof of how boring my life is, or if it shows my dedication to my new hobby, but I seriously spend many nights doing nothing but taking pictures. You are so lucky I've restrained myself (mostly) from boring you with the results of these evenings.

But today your luck is up. Today you get to see PICTURES! But I promise that they are at least semi-entertaining, and two of them are actually GOOD (by my standards)!

So last weekend when we were in Augusta, we celebrated Christmas with my family. Like all good 'grandparents', my parents thoughtfully include Lola in the gift-giving. Or rather, the gift-receiving. That Lola...she is BROKE. She never remembers to buy other people presents. Jerkface.

Anyway, one of Lola's presents this year was a toy that seriously made me LOL. Literally. It's a ball with a mustache/beard combo attached to the front. Like...what's the world's obsession with mustaches and beards lately? I don't know, but I support it- especially when it's really ridiculous like on dogs or babies. So in theory, if Lola would hold the ball in her mouth correctly, it would look like she had a beard and mustache. Only she kinda sucked at that part, and mostly preferred to hold it by the beard or mustache.

So Wednesday night we spent a good long while playing and trying to convince her it was most fun to hold the toy the RIGHT way. We mostly failed. But I got a few pictures anyway so that you can almost see what the toy is supposed to do.

Her preferred play pose.

Almost right here! Just slightly the wrong angle. You can barely see them, but there are little fangs that stick out beneath the 'stache. I'm not sure if these are supposed to be regular dog fangs or if the makers of this toy are also trying to cash in on the vampire popularity. Either way, it's cute.
See?? Cute!!

OK, after we tired of the new toy, I focused on trying to get some good pictures of my girl. The following are officially the Best Pictures I have of my daughter. LOVE THEM.

Isn't she beauuuuuutiful??!?!?  I know, I know. I can barely stand her cuteness myself.

OK, enough of my dog. One day maybe you'll get lucky and these will be pictures of a kid instead. Keep praying! 

So that was Wednesday night. New dog toy. Pictures.

Last night (after I nearly died at Zumba) we had a lot of baking to do. Treats for the neighbors and my co-workers. And we waited til the last minute, naturally. So last night was Bake-a-thon 2011. I was in charge of the AMAZING OREOS (I could think of a more descriptive name, but that really sums them up quite nicely) and Matt made 3 loaves of banana bread. We're a formidable team in the kitchen, for sure!

First up was the Oreos. Matt was in charge of crushing up candy canes...

...while I prepared all the other ingredients.

 White chocolate, and plenty of it.

This is what they look like when I'm done:

Yes, they taste as good as they look. I also made a batch with regular (semisweet) chocolate. You'll see a pic of those in a minute, so hold your horses.

  In the meantime, Matt whipped up the banana bread. It's my mom's recipe (aka the BEST BANANA BREAD EVER), but I really don't have the patience for making it. Matt doesn't mind it, though,'s officially His Job.

Are you ready for the next picture? It's me with one tray of the Oreos. When I saw this picture, I thought "this is the most me picture I've ever seen." Here I am in my sweaty workout clothes, greasy hair pinned back...and I'm having some sort of jealous love affair with chocolate-covered Oreos. Yep, that's me.

How I want people to think I am:

How I really am:

Welcome to my real life. And keep your hands off my Oreos!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Decor 2011

My halls are decked this year. Well, not halls...technically, we don't have any halls in our house (wasted square footage, I say). But walls/tables/shelves/doors/patches of floor? Decked.

This could have something to do with my new obsessions with Pinterest and crafting...possibly.

And just the fact that every year I manage to accumulate a few more Christmas-y 'things.' That naturally means that each year is better-decorated than the previous year. And that in about 2 years, I'm gonna have to move for lack of space to store all this junk the other 11 months of the year. Ay yi yi.

Anyway...if you're new here from Kelly's Korner or Nester: hi! Welcome! And it may help to know that I just got my first 'real' camera a few weeks ago and my current level of photography skill is 'bless her heart, she tries.' Come to think of it, so is my crafting and if you are looking for a posh and professional inspiration blog, this ain't gonna be it. But it is my house and I rather enjoy it, so if you can deal with my semi-bad pictures...we can be friends!

So...on with it!

I took 2,810,938 pictures trying to get a good tree pic. It's not happenin. None of the tutorials I pinned actually helped me. Maybe next year. It could be because our tree is in a really awkward spot in the room. Our house was NOT designed with a Christmas tree in mind...something I will remedy in our next house. I MUST HAVE A GOOD SPOT FOR A TREE (and this isn't it).

Right, so...the tree is behind the couch, blocking the piano. Awesome, right?! Plus it means you can never actually SEE it if you're sitting on the couch. If we actually had Christmas morning in our house, this would be bad news. Since we don''s just something to complain about on the blog. :)

I always love my piano (and all of its awesome 70s-ness)...but come Christmas, I really love it. Its shelves allow me so many spots to place random knick-knacks and decor I wouldn't otherwise have a place to set! Score 1 for the piano!

You might notice some reoccurring elements in my decorating (as pictured below): Jars of sparkly balls. Book trees. If you recall, I went a little bit crazy with the book trees this year. And then I figured out how to sew cute stars to go on top? Done. Sold. I WILL COVER MY HOUSE IN BOOK TREES.

 Looking over at the other side of the tree, towards the front door and coat closet. 

On top of this bookshelf lives the nativity my Nana got in Israel. I know, my nativity just beat your nativity. Sorry! To the right of the shelf you will see a little bit of randomness inspired by something I pinned (surprise, surprise): an upside-down tomato cage I wrapped in lights and tinsel. Fun! 

Here's the view from the kitchen:

Mantel, complete with MORE BOOK TREES. You may also recognize my beloved stick tree!

That concludes the bulk of my Christmas decor. Other than that I just have little 'touches' in each of the other rooms:
 Wreath in the kitchen dedicated to our alma mater.

 Greenery with tiny ornaments in mason jars in the bedrooms and bathrooms.

Yarn wreath on the front door.
Christmas houses in the dining room.

Last but not least...

This may not be remotely attractive, but it is Christmas-related and arguably the most useful thing in the house right now:

My gift-wrapping station in the friggin empty, wasted-space that should be a nursery if only we weren't barren spare bedroom! It's a mess, but a useful one. As you can see, Lola approves (and there's proof we even have wreaths on the outside of our house!).

Ok. That was probably more pictures than you ever needed or wanted to see. If you've made it all the way to the end, congratulations! Leave a comment and I will mail you a book tree or something. :)