Monthly Archives: November 2011

It’s the MOST wonderful time of the year

Friday night, after an intense {and incredibly fun} time at Toys R Us, where my mother and I sauntered through the aisles, dragging my father along with the cart, we checked out {WAY} over budget {but Zoe just had to have that beautiful Christmas dress} and as we were leaving the store I said to the bouncer… {that’s legit. There was actually a bouncer outside the door to Toys R Us…but when you think about the mass quantities of crazy moms outside, you would understand}. Anyways, I said to the bouncer, “Merry Christmas!” and he laughed and said it right back to me.

And my spirit raced with excitement.

It was officially Christmastime!!!!

For that split second, I could look past the fact that it was still in the 80’s here, and that on Thanksgiving and for the whole Thanksgiving weekend, I was wearing short sleeves, capris, and flip flops. I can look past the fact that some trees here still haven’t turned to fall colors because it’s just not cold enough. I can forget about the fact that, once again, I will not see snow at Christmas. That’s all OK….

Because it’s Christmastime.

Christmas 2

It’s a month of twinkling Christmas lights, curling up on the couch with a good book and Christmas music in the background, grabbing some hot apple cider and driving around the Riverside area with Brad looking at AMAZING decorations, Salvation Army people jingling their bells outside of Publix, Christmas decorations at the shopping malls with Christmas music, coming home to a house filled with decorations, parties, cookies, white elephant gift exchanges, baking….

Christmas.

I love every second of it. I always have.

When I was in the 8th grade my older sister gave me a book called Winter Dreams Christmas Love, it’s a classic “coming of age” story that follows a girl from the first day of her freshman year to her junior year of high school…and, of course, the guy that she falls in love with that first day of school. Their big events happen at Christmastime every year… and it’s what the book revolves around. For over a decade I read that book every single year the day after Thanksgiving. Cover to cover. Truth? I started a snow globe collection because the main character in that book has a snow globe collection. That book instilled a love of Christmas in me that I hope I never shake.

Christmas 3

When I was 19 years old and living in my very first apartment away from home, I went all out buying my own decorations. Ten years and numerous moves later, I still have almost everything I bought that year. Except my snowman, Michigan… Hemmingway ate him last year. I cried. I remember sitting on the couch in that living room, the whole house decked out in Christmas lights, Delilah was on the radio playing Christmas music and I was curled up under a blanket reading a book… there was a stillness in the room, and a magic that can’t be explained. I fell even more in love with Christmas.

Christmas 4

Then I moved to Michigan, and instead of adding to my snow globe collection, I got to live in one. The day after Thanksgiving I was shopping with my friend and it started snowing. I called my mom back home in Florida and when she said “hello” I started singing “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas” at the top of my lungs, bursting with excitement over the snow. She let me sing a full verse before she told me that I was on speakerphone… and she was in the middle of the mall. That year when she came up to Michigan for Christmas, she brought with her a singing teddy bear dressed up in a red velvet coat with a top hat. He sings…you guessed it…”It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas”. I woke up to my first White Christmas that year, and I was ruined forever. Florida’s palm trees will never hold a candle to a true winter wonderland.

Christmas 6

Today, Zoe and I got bundled up because for the next couple days it’s going to be in the 60’s {hallelujah}, and we went off to the Town Center to buy some Christmas stockings. On the way there we turned up the Christmas music real loud and jammed out to “Sleigh Ride”. When we got there we enjoyed strolling around outside, stopping every 10 feet so we could dance. Once inside Target, Zoe got to pick out her very own Christmas stocking. Her choice? Hot pink with sequins. She chose that over the zebra strips with pink fur and the dancing snowman…. go figure. But, my point? I’m getting to experience this through the eyes of a 1 1/2 year old. Sure, she doesn’t understand the anticipation of Christmas, the reason behind it or anything other thing that we’re doing over the next month. But, her eyes light up when we plug the tree in. And today, she went from decoration to decoration inspecting all the new things in the house. Her favorite is the contraption that I rigged up to our chandelier, just a bunch of red ornaments on ribbon…but they shimmer, and they sway, and they’re wonderful to look at while she’s sitting in her high chair. Then, to top off all the “new” things in her world, her Gammy {Brad’s mom} came by with a few Christmas books and a singing teddy bear! Does it get any better than this?!?!?!?!

Christmas 5

I can’t even contain my excitement for this Christmas. I can’t wait to take Zoe to the local man-made because we’re still mostly hanging out in the 80’s Winter Wonderlands. I can’t wait to let her taste some hot chocolate, and then laugh as she begs {and gets} more. I loved watching her examine the tree this morning, and sit in her armchair right by it, content to just stare at the lights. I’m excited to “help” Zoe “make” presents for her family. I’m just excited…. period.

Merry Christmas Ya’ll!

What are some of your very favorite Christmas traditions? What’s your favorite Christmas memory from childhood?

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Thanksgiving Recap: Just a few days late, but with lots of pictures to make up for it

It’s quiet here this morning. Brad has gone back to work, Zoe and I are lounging around, and the only thing we have on our agenda is watching Baby Einstein “World of Music” 500 times on repeat.* It’s good for the soul. I feel like everything in me is exhaling a great big sigh of relief.

{My side of the family did Thanksgiving on Sunday. The pancakes in the bottom right? That’s a Tate family tradition. Pancakes, peanut butter, whipped cream, bananas, and syrup. It’s divine.}
Tate Thanksgiving 1

I don’t know about you, but our Thanksgiving “staycation” didn’t have an ounce of “vacation” in it. We were going constantly, in some cases {like Black Friday}, we were “going” around the clock. It was exhausting. By Saturday, we couldn’t see straight. Sunday I felt like I’d been run over by a truck. I’m so thankful that Brad had Monday off, so we had at least 1 day to recover from the long weekend.

{The majority of Thanksgiving Day was spent at my parents house, lounging around. We took Zoe to the park, back at home she got to “ride” a horse for the firs time. I baked cookies at 3 so that we could say we actually cooked something that day. It was super relaxing.}
Tate Thanksgiving 2

But, I have to say, even though it was long, and exhausting, and I just wanted to crawl in to bed for about 3/4 of the weekend… some really awesome things happened. Wanna hear about them?

Harvin Thanksgiving 1

Remember how I told you last week about my parents showing up on Saturday and “helping” us out to the point where we were speechless? So, Wednesday somebody {another dear person in our “village”} showed up on our doorstep with a $100 gift card to Walmart for “groceries or whatever else you might need”. Brad and I talked about it, and because of my parents, we literally did not have a need… so Black Friday, at midnight, we headed over to Wally World and filled our cart up with some great deals to give away. Do you know how wonderful it is to give? We loved every second of it. After strolling {carefully maneuvering through mass quantities of people who leave their shopping carts EVERYWHERE} through the aisles, we found a lane that was empty {how we’ll never know}, checked out and our grand total {after the gift card} was $.56. We got so much Christmas shopping done and we spent $.56!!!! Sometimes I think stress lifting off your shoulders is tangible. At 1:15am on Black Friday, it was tangible. Oh, and I might have fallen IN LOVE with Black Friday shopping. I got some strange buzz off the energy of the crowds, and I kid you not, I was literally hyper-active until 3am when we called it quits because Brad couldn’t see straight anymore. I honestly could have shopped all night, had breakfast, and then gone to sleep. I have a feeling that this is going to become another one of my favorite holiday traditions.

{We met my parents for Round 1 of shopping at Toys R Us. This is what they left with. Zoe’s going to have the best Christmas she’ll never remember!}
Black Friday shopping

Last weekend, right after we got the two new tires on the car, we were strolling through Wally World {again with the Walmart… weird, we so seldom go there. I’d rather drive 15 minutes to go to Target than the 5 to Walmart…. you’d understand, especially if you knew how crazy our Walmart is}. Anyways, we were there to just pick up some dog food, but we got sidetracked playing with Zoe in the aisles. We took her to see the fish and she loved them. Apparently, Brad takes her to see the fish all the time when he takes her by himself. We talked about it, and decided that we would get her a big fish tank for her 2nd birthday. Do you know how expensive buying a 20-30 gallon fish tank and all the accessories can be? It would take some serious planning and saving to get that tank for her… but she loves it so much, so it was worth it. Then, Friday during the day, Brad was helping his brother move to their new house when Brian {his brother} jokingly asked if Brad wanted his fish tank because he didn’t want to move it. Brad, very excitedly, said yes. Then he called me and I freaked out with excitement. Sunday we went to pick up Zoe’s early Christmas present…. talk about exciting! We knew we’d made the right decision when Brian went to get The Landlord out of the tank with a net, and Zoe immediately picked up the small blue net next to him to help. It was adorable. The past two mornings Zoe has woken up, come downstairs, sat on the couch and waved “hello” to her fish. Sooooo cute!

Fish collage

Then, as if all of that wasn’t enough, Saturday my parents were camping with their RV at a local-ish campground so Brad and I went out to spend some time with them. Jamielynn showed up a few hours in to the afternoon and we all just hung out having a good time. At about 5 my father got a text from my brother David, who has been rather distant from the family lately. He said that he was going to come to the campsite with his wife and baby. I can’t even tell you how big of a deal this is. I wish that I could say that I was all rainbows and sunshine. I wasn’t. But, I did get to meet my nephew for the first time…. and you can’t go wrong there! Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures because they’re all on my sister’s camera and Brad’s phone. But… take my word for it, that kid is adorable!

{Zoe has no problem being the star of the show…and we have the photo evidence to prove it!}
Harivn Thanksgiving 2

So, that’s that. Today we’re gonna head up to Target to buy Brad and Zoe a stocking, and then from there, we’ll just see where the day takes us.

Happy Tuesday Ya’ll!

PS. How was your Thanksgiving?
PPS. Brad and I talked last night, and the next time that he has a 5 day break {the last week of December}, we’re going to make very sure that it’s quiet and relaxing…

*** We don’t actually watch Baby Einstein that many times in one day. Obviously. We have a 1 time a day rule… unless she’s particularly active and I need a break… and then she sometimes gets it twice. But, she would watch it over and over again all day long if I would let her. That kid LOVES that DVD.**