Monday, December 31, 2012

New everything

The new year is a time for a new beginning. This blog is ever-evolving and now seemed just as good a time as any to make a few changes. I was never really happy with the name "Snakes, Snails, and Puppy Dog Tails" and it has been driving me crazy. Though the expression is totally befitting of a mom of two boys, I could never quite shake the fact that I don't particularly care for dogs. At all. Which is probably no big deal, but it always seemed to me that people likely thought this was a dog blog, if such a thing exists, and to know me is to know that I would probably never own a dog, much less blog about them. It's not as if I had a better name in mind, I just knew that one didn't quite fit. And so months ago I began to think about what this blog is, about what it means to me, and I kept coming back to the fact that whenever anybody asks me what I write about I tell them, oh, you know, a little of this, a little of that. And so it now is. This blog is me, it tells my story as a wife and a "boy mom". And the fact of the matter is that I am all over the place most all of the time. My only hope is to capture some of it along the way.  

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sometimes the details are worth the effort

Fifty years together is a long time and a couple of weeks back I was honored to help my parents celebrate what is, in this day and age, nothing short of a miraculous feat. The party was the most fun I've ever planned, no doubt because of how deeply personal it was, right down to the fact that we held it in my brother's back yard. Everythign we designed, we designed for them and with the help of some amazing friends (thank you, Natalie and Jihan!) and very crafty family members we pulled off what was a simple yet elegant party for just under 100 guests. I am still in awe that the giant 50 my sister and I made out of coffee filters, card board, spray paint and glitter was the show stealer. Thank God no one peeked behind to see the massive amounts of duct tape involved. Too funny. There were speeches, a wall of hand-written memories sent in by guests, a slide show and more than a few partculary fabulous dance moves. It was a most perfect night full of love, music, and memories and one that neither my parents nor my family will soon forget.
all photos by Natalie Moser: Natalie Moser Photography
balloons: Geronimo
inspiration for the 50: found here, via pinterest
inspiration for the photo garlands: Angela Hardison
flowers and flower boxes: DIY

Friday, December 7, 2012

I need a little Christmas cheer


Christmas is my favorite. My favorite. Yet for some reason I'm having a hard time getting in to the whole spirit of the season this year. The tree is up, the lights are hung, the carols are playing and most of the shopping is complete, yet I'm simply not feeling it. I know it's the time of year to put others first, but I think that's just it- I spend so much time shopping, creating, planning, and doing for everyone else that I lose myself along the way. As much as I enjoy all of the output, it allows very little time to just relax and enjoy Christmas with my own little family.

I bring much of it upon myself, that is without question. I rarely say no, and feel guilty when I do, and the procrastinator in me just won't cut me a break. And the fact that money is tight (is it ever not?) only forces me to be creative in my gift-giving which honestly, sometimes, is just so much better in theory than reality. And my decorations? Don't even let me think about how much I can't stand 90% of the decorations I own but continue to put up year after year because at Christmas time I'd rather spend my money on gifts than decor only to complain about it the following December.

But what is the alternative? Would it be Christmas if we didn't all stand in front of the tripod all dressed up taking literally hundreds of photos in an effort to capture just one where we are all in the frame and no one is screaming so that we can send them to 100 people who will toss them aside because they have absolutely no idea what is involved in photographing, creating, and printing your own cards? The answer is no. No it wouldn't. And so tomorrow after a few more Christmas-related errands (not for myself) and hopefully finishing off some homemade gifts we will don our gay apparel and turn the living room into a photo studio and I will, even if I have to pretend, get in the spirit. For 'tis the season and I am going to make every effort over the next few days to begin to feel the joy. If we have to bake two dozen gingerbread men and visit Candycane Lane seventeen times, I will find my Christmas cheer this year.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Ralph showed up bright and early Saturday morning as he does every year in the week following Thanksgiving. He's a sneaky little guy, that elf, and we never know quite when he'll find his way home. He keeps an eye on all of us throughout the days leading up to Christmas and makes sure that we are all on our best behavior. He's kind of the best thing that happens all year and, quite frankly, we start talking about him pretty early around here.

The funny thing about Ralph and all of his elf friends is all the controversy around them. Who knew these little guys could cause such a ruckus? They are just Christmas elves, for goodness sake. I keep hearing about parents who are overly concerned about the message being sent by "lying to their kids" and by telling their kids the elf is watching them and reporting their behavior to Santa. People who find the whole idea manipulative and wrong.  I've even heard that the whole concept is outrageous because giving should not be associated with behavior. Which, in my mind, is ridiculous because giving should be directly related to behavior. Why would anyone want to reach out and give to people who are ill-behaved? And who doesn't want to go out of their way to help and reward those who are honorable, respectable, and well-mannered?  Are these people not being, perhaps, a bit over-dramatic? He's an elf. He's Santa's helper. How else can Santa "see you when you're sleeping and know when you're awake"? Or maybe these people are the same ones who don't allow their children to believe in Santa. And is there anything more sad, really?

My kids are little. They love Santa. They love everything about the Christmas. Yes, they understand it's Jesus' birthday (well, as much as they can at this age anyway, though Anderson has been singing "Happy Birthday" for a few days now to get ready for the "big party"). Yes, I teach them that is a time to give and be grateful and enjoy everything with which they have been blessed. And they also believe in Ralph, the magic Christmas elf who watches their every move and flies home to the North Pole every night to give the big guy a full report on the day's happenings. It's fun. And every morning Anderson eagerly looks for Ralph to see where he has decided to perch himself for the day. Though, sadly, there are sometimes days where Ralph doesn't move at all because maybe he just had such a great view the day before. And sometimes, just maybe, there are frantic early morning text messages confirming Ralph's arrival because it is a well-known fact that Ralph is one of Santa's lazier helpers and sometimes he just doesn't feel like making the long journey up north. Yes, that totally happens.

And so we welcome Ralph, master manipulator. Because for the 24 days leading up to Christmas there are few things that work better to straighten Anderson's attitude than the threat of walking up to Ralph and whispering in his ear. In just the same way I was afraid of Santa seeing me throw a temper tantrum, Anderson is afraid of receiving a bad report. If that makes us bad parents, so be it. I'm sure we have done worse. Magic is magic at any time of the year and maybe those parents who find such things to be detrimental and manipulative just need to remember what it is like to be little and to believe.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

As it were

Pre-Target bagel date.
It's often I find myself neglecting to take a moment to reflect and write because, quite frankly, nothing seems so exciting that it is worth the time, effort, or energy to remember. But isn't that just the point? Isn't that why I started this blog- so as to take it all in and write it all down? This place is for the ordinary, the daily, the uneventful. Too often I let days pass without taking a few minutes to write because it seems silly to want to remember that we did nothing more exciting than make no less than 3 trips to Target this week or that we had pancakes for dinner because it required the least amount of effort. But these are the moments that make up our life. These blurry snapshots and Instagram photos are us.