Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Best of The Other Mama- 2009

Since it's the season to go all "Best Of", I thought I'd join in. 'Cause I'm a sucka for a bandwagon.
And I am vain and like talking about myself.
There. I said it.

Seriously, my absolute most FAVORITE thing about blogging is meeting new people and connecting with old and new friends. I have met several people recently at Christmas parties or in Chic-fil-As {where else?} who recognized me and that is 1) so cool 2) a little weird and 3) SO MUCH FUN! Y'all are the BEST.

I love writing and hopefully encouraging you and making you laugh. That is one of the biggest delights in my day. YOU are the best treat out there and thank you for your time to read my ramblings.

Speaking of ramblings, here are my Top Ten favorite posts from 2009 {in no particular order because that would take brain cells}:

1. An ode to Henry at 15 months old

2. A crazy phone call that made my day

3. A few pointers to my high school cheerleading squad

4. My views on Facebook

5. Henry at the crime scene

6. What goes on under the sofa, stays under the sofa
sofa 3

7. Ollie's Two-th Day of Christmas

8. I still cannot belive the word "Douche" is here, but it was so much fun {the POST, that is}
hold me closer, Tony Danza

9. A day in the life of a Mom
Picnik collage

10. Oh, Harry Connick, Jr. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

My other highlights included the Birthday Bash giveaway week {I'll definitely be doing that again next year- first week in September! Mark your calendars!}, my first MckLinky Carnival and writing for (in)courage- what an honor.

Thanks for inviting our family to be a part of your life in 2009. We promise to be just as messy, sub-par and entertaining in 2010. We might even beat our own record for disfunctionality- because we ARE overachievers, you know.
hayride family pic

Happy New Year and Much Love to You All!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

An Exiled Christmas

I'm sure you know by now that I'm married to a computer nerd. He would take that title as a compliment and say, "Nerds rule the world" and I might acknowledge him or not.
No matter his cute overconfidence, he REALLY comes in handy for all things computer.

If you have ever seen a frat boy sweating out his Saturday night party in church on Sunday morning, then you might get a good idea what Jason and I looked like without the internet for 5 days. {By the way, do we still capitalize "Internet" or not? We did when I was in college and Al Gore had JUST invented it, but I'm not sure of it's current status.} But we are BACK! I missed y'all so much.
And a coffee shop.
But we shook and sweated our way through a wonderful Christmas.

My parents gave us an amazing gift of our own rental house at St. George Island for the time we were down there over Christmas {thus no wi-fi, or whatever the right words are}. Some might say that our children are loud and messy and the whole family has exiled us.

To that I say, I will amp them up on sugar before we visit so that they will exile us again! It was so nice to be able to sprawl out train tracks, broken vertical blinds and such in our own space.

I'll be back with a Christmas run down tomorrow {we had 5; it might be a marathon}, but for now, I hope you had an amazing and wonder- filled Christmas!

Christmas Card 2009
Here is our 2009 Christmas card {it was 2 sided, not extra long}.
And a special shout out to the wonderful Melissa Tash who not only designed these for us, but double designed one with our kids' blog names. What a wonderful blog reader and friend!

Be back soon with my favorite Christmas gifts and a celebrity sighting!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

2, 4, 6, 8, Who Do We Appreciate?

Things around here were a little wacky last week since my parents were visiting all week. They live about 5 hours away, so this was a special treat. Dad has a new job that is based out of Huntsville, so hopefully they will get to be up here more, but he will still be in LA {that's Lower Alabama, out of state friends} for the majority of the time.

I've been getting the nudge for quite some time now. You know the one, I'm sure.
The gentle reminders to take my CRAP high school memorabilia from my parents' house. The thing is, I have no use for it and it's rightful home is in that high school house.
That's my theory and I'm sticking to it.
Unfortunately, it didn't fly.

When my parents got here, my dad made a huge production about some gifts he brought for the boys. This is how it went:

Big Daddy {Dad}: Boys, I have got a special present for y'all. One for EACH of you! Your mommy is going to love them, too! Do you want your special present?


BD: I can teach you how to use them and you will get to use them a lot! They are so much fun to play with inside! {Really getting them riled up}


And this is what he pulled out:
Dec 09.5 042
Nice, huh?

I was laughing so hard that I didn't get any pictures at the time, but I took some this morning.

This is the main thing that those megaphones are good for- either these dunce cap wannabees or for sliding/ riding them across the floor.
Dec 09.5 072

Dec 09.5 077
Since I had mad cheering skillz {ha}, I tried to teach them how to yell into the megaphones, but this is what I see:
Dec 09.5 100
I think we'll have to work on football scholarships instead of cheerleading ones, but they really enjoy hearing other people yell in them. Especially my dad, who had lots of kind words about bringing my crapola back up to it's "rightful" home.

There is a huge bin in the garage full of corsages {why in the world would I save dead flowers??}, letterman jackets, pictures {that will surely make a few appearances here} and just junk, in general. I'm surprised there weren't any taped episodes of Fresh Prince of Bel Air or Saved by the Bell, but there were some videos, so we'll have to see what's on there. Maybe I'll get lucky and have a 90210 season finale!

So, I have finally, officially and completely moved out of my parents' house at age 31.
Or been kicked out- whatever your take is.

Where are your worthy and meaningful things from high school?
Have your parents given them the boot, yet?
And what do you do with all this stuff?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Like a wiseman, I found the Nativity

You'd think it was only available in Bethlehem.


After loads of fruitless online research, I called Bitty of Itty Bitty here in Huntsville {where our nativity originated} and asked her where it came from. {Bitty is her real name- or close enough. It's like Other Mama's name was Smiles; it just sticks. It's a Southern thing I can't explain.} Bitty said it's from a company called Kubla Craft {also Kubla Kids} and that she wasn't carrying them this year.

So, I called the company and they don't sell to the public; only to stores. Because apparently they think the economy is great and don't want business. Or else they are only a wholesaler or something like that.

But, they gave me the name of some of their retailers that have online sites and LO AND BEHOLD I found them! If only I had had a bright star to follow for a few years, it might have been a bit easier.

So, I called Cindy of CDK Enterprises in Parker, Colorado and she has them! Well, after talking with Cindy {my new friend who I love} they only have ONE! She said they will have them year round, though, so you can get them in January to prep for next year.
Their price is $26.10 + shipping {and there is even a small possibility to get that one to you before Christmas}.
As an encouragement to purchase anything on her site, Cindy even gave you lovely readers a discount! If you enter TOMAMA10 in the Gift or Certificate Coupon Number at Checkout, you will receive an additional 10% discount! Let me know if you are the lucky recipient of the LAST ONE!

Since Cindy only has one, I also called Carol at Good Time Learning in North Carolina. She has several and their price is $32.95 + shipping. They don't have a website and are making an exception to deal with individual customers, but they said they would be happy to help! Her phone number is 704-542-2622 and you need to call to order.

Don't forget to enter the Happy Birthday, Jesus package giveaway! I'll close it tonight {Monday!} and ship it tomorrow so you'll have it in time for the birthday party!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Happy Birthday, Jesus- A GIVEAWAY

This giveaway is now closed. Congrats to commenter #23 {says}, the WINNER! That's Annan T. and I will get in touch with you ASAP!
Congrats, Annan!

When my friends at Dayspring saw that Henry was not a fan of Santa, they asked if they could send me a Happy Birthday, Jesus package to see if he liked that any better.

Funny thing is, they had already given me one at She Speaks this summer and I had tucked it away in a special place to remember it. Except that I had completely forgotten it.
I'm sure you don't ever do this, right?

I was so excited to pull it out and have a Happy Birthday, Jesus party this week! My parents have been here all week, so mom was behind the scenes helping me pull this together. She's a little blog shy, but know that I didn't come this organized; I had help!

Party pack
The Happy Birthday, Jesus set comes with a guidebook, candles, plates, napkins, noisemakers, balloons and a banner. There is also a HUGE interactive portion online that includes games and activities that we LOVE!

The Really Woolly line is focused around these adorable lambs {Jacob and Grace; they are brother and sister} who learn about Jesus. We have the fantastic movie that comes with the package, as well! The truth is, I was a little skeptical because they aren't the Wonder Pets or Dora, but Ollie loves them. As in, he has the stuffed animals and is sleeping with them now because they are his "new friends".
Happy Birthday, Jesus!
To start the party, our head chef put on his apron to cook some gourmet cookies. child apron
Or else it was just a Target brand pre-packaged version of cookies. Either way, he mixed. The chef
Then we cut out some Christmas shapes while Henry found the horns. H loves the horns
This was WAY better than meeting Santa!Fun party
Then, while the cookies were baking, I brought out our stuffed nativity {not from Dayspring- so sorry! I don't know where you can get them! It was a shower gift when I was pregnant with Ollie 4 + years ago, but I will research for you.} to act out the story of Jesus's birthday. Banner
This nativity rocks because it is really interactive. Nativity
And you don't have to glue the wiseman's "feet" back one like I've had to do with our real one once already this year.
H with wiseman
Then the cookies were done and we got to sing Happy Birthday to Jesus and blow out the candles!
birthday candle
birthday candles
By far, this was the most fun and meaningful thing I have done with my children this Christmas. They REALLY got it- especially Ollie {4}- probably because we go to birthday parties pretty often. With a little bit of effort, we got together a family birthday party for Jesus, told the story of His birth a couple of times {with nativity and provided sticker and story book} and the kids had a blast!

They asked if we could have a party for Jesus every day.

Sound like fun? Well I want you to be able to have fun, too!

Dayspring generously sent a package and some goodies for you, as well!
Here is the giveaway:
One lucky winner will receive a Happy Birthday, Jesus package for your own party PLUS an adult Christmas apron with TWO matching child aprons {you'll notice my child #2 wasn't cooperating for the apron picture, but there are two aprons}.
mother and child aprons
Where was that child #2, you ask?
Still playing with the horns and loving every minute of it.
It's a party

All you need to do to enter is leave a comment on this post {click the button WAY down at the bottom of THIS post that says COMMENTS}. And be sure to leave your e-mail address if you want me to be able to contact you! If you don't have this set up through Blogger, here's how to do it.
One comment per person, please.
And I will get choose a winner randomly on Monday, 12/ 21! YIKES! Fast!!

That way I can be sure to mail this to you before Christmas. I super, double promise it will be there before Christmas.
{Or else I will punish myself by locking me and Henry in a room together with the horns. And that is no way to spend Christmas. Really- it's not that bad; he loves them!}

Good luck!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Two-th Day of Christmas

A few notes to accompany this Christmas video:

1) Ollie can't read, but he can memorize like a champ.
Two-th) He likes to make up words if he doesn't know what they are.
3) He loves Christmas music and asked me to video this of him when we were getting dressed one morning. {Thus the reason he has on a regular shirt, but pajama pants; we were halfway through when Spielberg, Jr. had this idea.}


The Two-th Day of Christmas from The Other Mama on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


I can't remember a time when I was ever REALLY hungry. {Insert your own fat joke here.}

I am overwhelmingly thankful that my life has been relatively free of hardships like hunger or lack of housing, but I am becoming more and more aware that those struggles are all around us.
That's right- even all around YOU.

If you are reading this, you are on a computer with internet and most likely have free time to check some blogs versus plow the fields or dig for food in a dumpster. A little drastic? Maybe. But there are people within 20 miles of you who are hungry. I got a nice reality check last week at our local food pantry.

My women's group at church mans {would that be "womans"?} one of our local food pantries the second Tuesday of each month. Two of us volunteer to take the calls, load the bags and supply them to the people when they come in for 2 1/2 hours in the morning. I've been volunteering about twice a year for a few years now and last Tuesday was the busiest we've ever been.

If you've never seen a food pantry, I thought I'd show you what one looks like so it's not a mystery.

The one where we volunteer, called Carolyn's Cupboard, is actually a small storage room inside a church.
Dec 09.1 001
There are also freezers full of meat and butter
Dec 09.1 011

Dec 09.1 002
and also plenty of room for the good stuff!
Dec 09.1 004
Seriously, here are the items I love to give away:Dec 09.1 006
Diapers and formula! Can't you imagine not being able to feed your little baby? It truly breaks my heart.

Our city has a main number that funnels calls to one of 30 food pantries around town depending on where the recipient lives.
There is a guideline of what food to give each family depending on the number of people in the family {the numbers on the left are just the line number; the quanitity was accidentally cut off on the right by your skilled photographer}.
Dec 09.1 012
What amazed me this day I was there was the number of grandmothers who were calling in and were taking care of 5 or more grandchildren. It really leaves me speechless and I'm very rarely in that category.

Here is the one thing that is so rewarding to see, though! This is the chart of people served from this one little food pantry in 2009, not including December.
Dec 09.1 003
On Tuesday when I was there, we were fortunate to be able to serve 6 families with about 5-6 in each family. That's over 30 people who were able to get a week's worth of food for free!

I don't tell you any of this for glory or appreciation. I am simply reporting for awareness. When Shawn Groves was on the last bloggers trip for Compassion, he mentioned that the same amount of people in the world are starving and obese.

That really hit home to me that there is enough to share. Whether it be around the world or around the corner, people need help. This is a great time of year to teach our children and remind ourselves about giving and I'd encourage you to help with your local food pantries if you can.

I believe I'll be donating some more coffee cakes just in case I sampled one while I was there...

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Home Tour

If you are half as nosy as I am, I know you will want to join along in the Nester's Tour of Homes for Christmas! I loved meeting and hanging out with Nester at She Speaks and if you don't read her blog, you should. Who am I kidding? I'm sure you do.

I'm so excited to show you around my place!

In the front foyer, there is the nativity that I got last year from Southern Living at Home. {I added the angel because she needed a home. I'm just telling myself that angels can fit in anywhere. I actually believe they do!}
Next, if you keep walking straight, you'll go into our dining room {Updated: Wall color is Sherwin Williams Mocha #6067 since a few folks asked!}. The chairs are my great-grandmothers and I'm pretty sure I unknowingly hijacked them from a cousin who they rightfully belong to. Let's just keep that between us, okay?
I don't know if it has ever made an appearance on the blog because, sadly, we don't dine here.
We eat all meals in the breakfast room. That's called irony. But I decorated the table for Christmas anyway.
dining room table
Because we also have Christmas china that we never use. I'm pretty sure it's Lenox {circa 2001} and the napkin rings squares are from Pottery Barn. {They say "eat, drink, be and merry", so I leave them all on merry for Christmas.} If you are getting married, register for something like really nice knives or a washer and dryer instead of Christmas china. Not that I'm not appreciative, but you might get a little more use out of those.
table setting
Around in the living room, I managed a picture with 2 little guys getting along on the same toy. Surely because they were being watched by a certain Elf.
on the nice list
We believe! Don't you?
do you believe?
Headed toward the kitchen, I have our display of cards. All very adorable! I'll be sure to share ours when I get them out. Which will surely happen any day now. *ahem*
And we have our tree in the kitchen. I know. Weird. But there isn't another place for it, so this works for us. It's the fake tree we bought last year when I was plum tuckered out and couldn't begin to think about a real one. Again. It was so nice to bring up from the garage this year!
Here is some fun decor and wise men by the tree. I'm pretty sure those wise men are from Southern Living at Home, as well.
Here are some of my favorite ornaments. I stole that Rudolph at a Christmas party with church ladies. All kind, loving and sharing rules are dropped for Dirty Santa; I'm ruthless.
favorite ornaments
Here is my favorite wrapping paper so far this year. I get big rolls at Sam's and then get tired of it half way through. Do you do this, too?
best wrapped present
And finally, what would Christmas be without some poop-look-alike pictures from my kids?
poop-looking reindeer
These are Henry's sweet little one year old hands and feet. I think. I must label and re-frame in a cute frame, but that's up there with dusting, so it might not get done anytime soon.

I hope you've enjoyed my little home and head over to the Nester's to tour some others.
Merry Christmas to you!

I bring you the most joyful news ever announced,and it is for everyone!
The Savior - yes the Messiah, the Lord -has been born tonight in Bethlehem!
Luke 2:10 -11

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