Sunday, December 16, 2007

Christmas Cheer

I spent much of last night riding the adrenaline wave of Melissa's launch party. We've done a lot of events, but this was just so much fun on so many levels.

Today was a planned slug day. The weather was predicted to be awful and it was! Snow and sleet and yuck all day. We opted not to open today - sorry to anyone that made the trek, but I can't imagine anyone would. It was truly that nasty out there! I can't say I did much slugging or knitting. I spent time communing with the laundry (how do two, small boys create so much??), attacking Jackson's closet. Mrs. Claus must come and take away toys and clothing the boys no longer use or fit into for those children less fortunate. Jonathan and I worked through his room and we all did the basement play area around Thanksgiving, but we've stalled since then. Mrs. Claus will be stopping by one day this week and the boys are feeling very good about things.

Next, I need to get right to an apology. To Knitting Contessa - who was so kind to ask me to participate in her 25 days of holiday blog interviews. Not only did she ask me (which I was incredibly honored by) but she kicked off her series with ME! Here I am, 15 days later finally getting the link posted. Tina - I will never be able to apologize enough. You did a beautiful job, not only with my interview, but all of the others throughout the month. For anyone who doesn't regularly read Knitting Contessa - now is the time to start. She has a lovely blog, her writing is witty and entertaining. Be sure to check out my interview and the rest of the series as well!

Now, I promised to build upon something on Melissa's blog. She stole this from Purling P's and I'm stealing it from Melissa Knits. Kind of a nice way to cap off the weekend.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? This truly depends on the gift. I LOVE to wrap gifts. I am big on ribbon and bows and such. My family thinks I'm nuts. Anytime I'm shopping and I"m offered gift wrap, I always say "NO", that's my favorite part! Some years are better than others in terms of the effort. Also, we definitely have specific "Santa" paper and "family paper". I messed up one year and Jonathan, at age of 3 or 4 noticed. I had to do some fast talking!

2. Real or artificial tree? REAL! I always had a fake tree growing up, so once I was out on my own, a real tree was a must. At this point, I could be convinced to get a nice fake tree with lights already strung, but Steve insists if we're going to have a tree, it must be real.

3. When do you put up the tree? It sort of depends on (a) our schedule (b) weather and (c) when Hanukkah is. Since Hanukkah was early this year, we waited until it was underway before getting the tree. Usually second weekend in December.

4. When do you take it down? It's out the door, deocrations packed away and gifts put away by New Year's Day.

5. Do you like eggnog? Not really.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? Oh - tough one. I was a HUGE Winnie the Pooh fanatic as a child. Unfortunately, there were no Disney stores or major licensing agreements in those days. What little was out there could be found at Sears. I still have ornaments that my mother found that are easily 35 years old. I always got a new Pooh Bear at Christmas and I still have them all. One year, I received a long gown - dark green with a high white ruffle neck and poufy sleeves. There were Winnie the Poohs all over the green fabric. I wore it the entire school vacation and I wanted to wear it the first day back at school. There was also the year I wanted to get my ears pierced and my mother refused. I was too young (13). My Aunt Dottie gave me pierced earrings for Christmas :)

7. Do you have a nativity scene? No.

8. Hardest person to buy for? It varies. This year, my ILs were tough. My mom is always hard. Some years I'm very inspired and other years it's more difficult, depending on the person.

9. Easiest person to buy for? The boys!

10. Worst Christmas present you ever got? Coat Hangers. From a former sister-in-law.

11. Mail or email Christmas cards? I have not sent Christmas cards in at least 3 years. I have the cards, just never get them done. It's depressing because we're being dropped off lists and not receiving as many cards. There just isn't enough time.

12. Favorite Christmas movie? Year Without a Santa Claus - I love Heat Miser and Snow Miser. Then of course Charlie Brown Christmas, Rudolph, The Grinch - I know these are more "shows" than "movies" but they are what I grew up with and I love watching them with the boys.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? November-ish, although I've always got an eye out, especially when travelling. If I see something I'll get it and stash it away.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Oh yeah.

15. Favorite thing to eat on Christmas? Sweet Pickles. We always had these at holidays growing up and it's just not Thanksgiving or Christmas without them.

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Clear.

17. Favorite Christmas song? Have Yourself a Merry LIttle Christmas, Christmas Wrapping and most sentimental is Silver Bells. Oh, but I love Carol of the Bells too!

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Home.

19. Can you name all of Santa’s Reindeer? Absolutely.

20. Angel or star on top of tree? Star. Given that Steve is Jewish, I have always felt that an Angel would not be appropriate, not am I a big angel person. We only recently found a star we love. For many years the top was either bare or just had ribbon. When the kids were first born, my mom (I think) gave Jackson a large Clifford the Big Red Dog furry ornament and we decided he should be the topper and he was until last year.

21. Open presents Christmas Eve or morning? Morning, but there is always a "Christmas Eve" present. When Steve and I were dating and first married we would exchange our gifts on Christmas Eve.

22. Most annoying thing this time of year? Grumpy people.

23. Do you decorate your tree in any theme or color? It's a hodge podge of memories. Ornaments from my childhood, exquisite ornaments given to us as gifts or something I've picked up, handmade ornaments from the kids - lots of Red Sox ornaments, hot wheel cars - whatever their passion is each year. Plus, we give the boys a special ornament each year so that when they go off on their own, they will have ornaments that are meaningful to start their own trees.

24. What do you leave for Santa? He gets cookies and milk. The reindeer get carrots and maybe some apple.

It's overwhelming to think one week from tomorrow, Santa flies! It's going to be a frantic week at work. Deadlines for shipping to customers are flying by (tomorrow is it for the West Coast without expedited shipping, Tuesday is South/Midwest and Wednesday is East), shoppers will be starting to panic and we've got to prep for the Year End Blowout Sale!

I'm going to see if I can steal a sneak peek from Steve's super-secret list and give you all some inside scoop later this week!


Saturday, December 15, 2007

And Sometimes That's Okay

Despite my need for things to be symmetrical and my ducks to be neatly in a row, sometimes things get thrown out of whack for a reason. I do wholeheartedly believe that everything happens for a reason.

Today, a day earlier than planned we held the launch party for Melissa's first book "2-At-A-Time-Socks". It was suppose to be tomorrow, but when the weekend forecasts started coming in and snow/sleet/freezing rain along with high winds appeared to be more than just a prediction, we decided we had to make a very, very tough call. We know we disappointed some folks who simply could not come today. I am sorry beyond words. Given that we're a week from Christmas, the year-end sale, New Year's and Melissa's travel schedule, we really had no choice.

Thank you to everyone who came - what a GREAT day! It's been well documented that I truly love events, it's my background and my passionate. TODAY.WAS.AWESOME. We had a great turnout, our team did an incredible job, especially Mary and Karen! You guys truly rock. Everyone working in the store was great, LA thanks for the help, Sharlene - your floral arrangements were stunning and Linda we love your wine!

Then there was Melissa. As nervous as you were, as stressful the change was - YOU WERE INCREDIBLE! Great, great job! Fun was had by all!

We gave Melissa gifts:

There were others, but in the craziness of the day no photographs and trust me, the other chickens were way cooler, but mine, not so complex, but so from the heart.
The most wonderful shot of the day is this:
An Omie with her granddaughter, at her first book launch, surrounded by yarn, good friends, family. . . .doesn't get any better than this. (Not to mention, the darling GD was not happy until in said Omie's arms - only a few days old and she already knows the score. Smart little girl that April is.)
I'm going to keep this short because (a) Steve is home and hungry (b) Jackson spent 6 hours at the store and even he has had enough of computer/video game and is also hungry (c) Jonathan barfed in the parking lot approximately 1 hour before the event and (d) well, it's Saturday night, it's been a week.

I have to apologize for the photos. I left my memory card in my home computer (bad blogger). Fortunately, Petey, our Ops Mgr (read - they guy in charge of making sure you get your mail orders) suggested "the camera" we use for yarn photography. The camera is high end and definitely smelled the fear in me. Being reduced to "point and click" did not make the camera happy whatsoever.

I have a very important and overdue link I'll blog tomorrow and I"m also going to pull something from Melissa's blog. I will also update the links here, but seriously my family is about to meltdown.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Not According to Plan

It has been a very strange week. I'm a relatively organized gal and like things to go according to plan. I'm not so rigid that I can't handle a few curve balls now and again, but too much at one time can sort of send me over the edge. I have not worked a full day at the store in 8 days and nothing has really gone according to plan for the following reasons:

1. Steve was on jury duty from last Wednesday until Tuesday of this week. It was a very difficult deliberation with an outcome he is not happy about. He did his civic duty and did it well. For me though, let me just say, it's not easy being Steve. Despite the fact that we work together, live together and spend A Lot of time together, there are things that we don't talk about, things he's doing or working on that I don't necessarily know about. Normally this is not an issue - I trust Steve has his responsibilities under control as he does with me. It does become a problem when Steve is suddenly, unexpectedly unavailable for 8 hours per day for 5 days.

2. I spent five hours here at home on Friday afternoon waiting for the "Geek Squad" to come an install Steve's Hanukkah surprise. I waited and waited and waited and waited. Go ahead, guess what happend. They didn't show. I was beside myself. I couldn't even be angry I was so upset. Steve is impossible to buy for and I rarely get to surprise him. The kids were totally in on this and we had all pinky-swore not to spill the beans. They held up their end of the deal, as did I. We were sneaky, we were stealth. He had no idea. It was the perfect plan - I even had a big bow already to adorn said installed gift. Instead, three said faces showed Steve the box, with the gift in it, uninstalled. Needless to say it went back the next day and never again shall I shop at Best Buy. I'll spare you all the gorey details - all I know is that we treated our customers the way I was treated, you would all refuse to shop with us again too. I went to another store purchased a replacement gift, had the electrician here this morning (our own electrician this time - he is definitely NOT a geek). We take the gift out of the box, we are all excited and then as Steve is admiring the bells and whistles, we realize that something is missing. We realize - THEY GAVE ME THE WRONG ITEM. I paid for item X and they gave me item Y and item X has more features than item Y. Next year he's getting underwear for Hanukkah.

3. Jackson's "possibly" broken finger turns out to be broken with a "displaced chip". We went from the pediatrician, to the hospital for x-rays and then onto an orthopedic for an evaluation. All turned out well in the end, but as the ped was explaining that "if" it was chipped and "if" it was displaced, it could result in his finger growing strangely without further "treatment" (he never said the "S" word, but it was screaming in my head) all I could think of was that we had waited five days to have it looked at and what terrible parents we were. Again, all is well. The chip is already healing. The only downside - no hockey until after New Year's.

4. Tuesday evening - 3am - Jonathan comes into our room crying, saying his belly is upset. I said "do you think you're going to throw up" and he says "yes". As I start to tell him to get to the bathroom he instead decides our bedroom floor is a better option. I'll spare you the details, but trust me when I say this was not a good situation. Two days at home with "barf boy" was not on this week's schedule.

5. There is a very big snow storm currently hitting us. Jonathan was already home sick as mentioned above, so the timing was actually pretty good for this one. It's actually quite beautiful outside right now.

6. Unfortunately, the next storm is not nearly timed as well. It is scheduled to hit here Saturday night into Sunday and is expected to be an even stronger storm than we are experiencing today. This is a major problem, because we were scheduled to have Melissa Morgan-Oakes HUGE launch party for her book this Sunday. WE HAVE CHANGED THE DATE!! If you are registered or thinking about coming - DO NOT COME ON SUNDAY! The new date is this SATURDAY 12/15 from 1-3pm. This should get everyone on the road and home safely long before the first flake floats down. Melissa will be there, the book will be there, yummy food and beverages will be available. Super special giveaways will be up for grabs! Plus, you know you need a project to work on during the snowstorm on Sunday! Don't let Melissa down - this is her first book! I'm expecting to see you all Saturday - this Saturday at 1pm!!

On the knitting front, I can't say much since the projects are gifts and I'm not sure if the recipients tune in here regularly. Here's a couple of sneak peeks:

(NOTE - Both of these pictures came out terribly. Especially the first one which is a to-die-for beautiful yarn.)

The time at home also gave me the chance to accomplish this:

I'll leave you with this:

Coming out of the hospital this week, Jackson was mesmerized by the beauty of this tree. Gotta love that kid.


P.S. Blogger will not let me upload my pictures. This is so perfect. . .

P.P.S. Blogger has now decided to cooperate :)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Hanukkah Flambe

Happy Hanukkah to those of you who celebrate. We get to enjoy both holidays since Steve is Jewish and I am not. It's always great for us when there's time between the two. It gives us a chance to really focus on them individually and talk about why the meaning of each and the importantce and such. Despite our best efforts, when the two coincide, it becomes just a non-stop-present-fest which is not good.

Back in November, Jonathan and I were in Tarjay (a.k.a. Target) and he spotted a "Paint Your Own Menorah" kit. He was all excited and I was thrilled. Two kits were in the basket before my cutie-patootie could even give it a good "pleeeeaaaassseee, Mom?". The boys worked diligently on them and Jackson decided he would give his to his grandparents and we would keep Jonathan's for our family. So for the past three nights we've lit two menorahs. We lit the candles tonight, said the prayer, opened gifts and when Steve turned around, Jonathan's handpainted keepsake menorah WAS ON FIRE. Not toast-your -marshmellows fire but "hurry before the smoke detectors go off" kind of fire. This is the aftermath:

About a half hour later as the candles were dwindling to nothing it dawns on me "Art & Barbara have one of these too!" I call them and warn them of impending danger. All is well.

I will call Target tomorrow about this product. I no longer have the packaging, but obviously there is a problem. We still had a lovely celebration tonight:

Notice Jackson's pinky finger. Yes, that is a splint. He jammed his finger yesterday and despite his complaints, there was no swelling. We figured he was just being dramatic. Well, today it was swollen and uncomfortable and the very responsible folks at his school took him to the health center and the nurse examined him and put a splint on his "possibly broken" finger. He thinks he looks cool, I concede complete defeat on any mother-of-the-year awards (gently pounding head against wall for not being more on top of this).

In knitting news, I am working on two top secret projects, one of which will achieve it's deadline, one which I don't think will. Hey, it's not like the house is going to burn down. . . .

We've received in some new yarn, but I am sans pictures. Sorry. Steve has been empanelled in a jury and I've had to be me and Steve, which is not easy. This week's podcast I am alone again and well, I basically talk as if I've free-based a pot of espresso. Who knew I could go without breathing for 12 minutes! Sorry, I digress, on to the yarn.

First, we have carried Schaefer Anne for quite some time in the store, but never on the web. Well, we've changed that. Six of the twelve colors are in. Anne retails for $26.00/skein.

Anne's brand new baby sister Heather will also be on-line and in the store. Heather is a 55% merino/35% silk/15% nylon gorgeous sock yarn. We only have 3 colors in - the other 9 are coming. Cost is $29.00/skein.

We also just received in Happy Feet from Plymouth. A great sock yarn with a nice twist, Happy Feet has beautiful colors. Each hank is 50 gm, so you'll need 2 for a pair. Price - hold on folks - price is $6.99/skein!

I'll be posting some great gift ideas in the next post.

Also, if you listen to our podcast and have any suggestions for KAL's for 2008, please post them. We are planning the schedule and have some great ideas, but would love to hear what would tickle you! Is there a project you think would be great, a technique you want to learn about? Let us know - we can do whatever we want, whatever you want!

Happy Knitting!


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