Monday, December 25, 2006

The Christmas fun is over. The children are nestled all snug in their beds, exhausted from their busy day. I've cleaned up most of the clutter and hauled 10 loads of recycling to the curb. Now I'm looking to head to bed myself to make up for the whole 2 hours of sleep I got last night, but I wanted to post a little about our day.

Chase was the first up. I told them that they could come to our room no earlier than 6am, so at 6:01am Chase was waking me up. He told me that he has been up since 4am and tried going back to sleep but couldn't. Too excited -- I remember those years from my childhood. Tristan was up quickly after Chase and Brian returned home from work at 6:10am. We had to wake Carissa up at 6:15 because the boys were just so excited. The kids got their gifts from Santa, MP3's and I-pets to go along with them. They had stockings filled with little toys and candies too. Then we started on the presents from Brian & I in the torturous way we do them -- one at a time, starting with the youngest. The kids got lots of little toys and tidbits that they'd asked for.

My favorite presents are the ones the kids make at school for Brian and I. Chase made a clay birdhouse, all painted and fired and stating "cat free zone". Tristan made us a clay bread warmer using his fingerprints and a piece of Christmas tree branch to impress on it. Carissa made us a handprint sign with a cute little poem on it.

At about 8:30 Dad and Linda came over and we started the process over again. We all talked to Jimmy and Virginia in Italy for a bit and ate some cinnamon rolls. Brian headed to bed but the rest of us chatted for a while, then surprised Linda with her Cricut (scrapbooking die-cut tool). All too soon they had to go for their other visits, but Mom and Jim were next on the list.

Present process starts over yet again. Tristan got one of his favorite gifts of the day - a Stitch pillow they picked up last month while in Florida. My Mom got me a spritzer machine, which I was surprised and pleased about. We used to make spritzer cookies every year for Christmas as children but I haven't ever had a machine and made them with my kids. So guess what we're doing next Christmas (or maybe sooner! LOL) ... making spritzers. Mom and Jim stayed for a lunch of take-and-bake pizza that they brought and we all played with toys and relaxed for a bit.

Last on the list was Brian's parents. They came over about 2pm and by then I was dragging. In fact, Carissa and I had just fallen asleep on the couch about 15 minutes before Mom & Dad arrived. They toted everything into the house and I woke Brian up. We started our final present process for the day. The boys were THRILLED to get Nintendo DS's from Brian's parents. Carissa got lots of fun stuff too. I got clothes, a scrapbook tool and a telephoto lens for my camera. Brian got tons of much-need stuff for his new job -- Under Armor t-shirts, duty suspenders, patrol gloves, etc. We stuffed ourselves with ham, rolls, potatos (instant since someone forgot to bring real potatos over like she planned *cough, cough, mom, cough*) and pineapple (my must-have for a ham dinner). They all enjoyed some banana cream pie.

My house was thoroughly trashed. There were pieces of toys and boxes and bows and wrapping paper and every little twist tie and plastic piece possible. But despite the after-math, we all enjoyed another wonderful Christmas day.

Merry Christmas!

All us little elves want to wish our friends and family a happy holiday season. For those nearby- we can't wait to see you. For those far away- we miss you, we love you and are we're thinking of you this holiday season.

Lots of love,

The Pixley's

Sunday, December 24, 2006


Preparations for Christmas are complete. The presents are under the tree, the house is clean, the Santa sign is put up in the yard. Tonight we'll make cookies for Santa and I'll make the banana cream pies for tomorrow, but all the required preparations for Christmas are complete. The most exciting part:

Yes, those are 3 handmade, cross-stitch Christmas stockings. I FINALLY FINISHED CARISSA'S!!!! It was a stretch, let me tell you. Finished stitching it yesterday, washed it and laid it to dry. This morning I fused and sewed and now it's happily hanging on the wall along with her brothers stockings. I'm SO glad that project is finished. Now Christmas preparations truly are complete.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


I have been obsessed with scrapbooking since Becky introduced me to it in 2002. As soon as I picked up scrapbook supplies I let all other crafts and hobbies go. But this year I am determined to return to my roots and finish my cross-stitch.

You see, this cross-stitch is special. It's the final piece in a very special 3-piece collection. It's Carissa's Christmas stocking.

I started this before she was born over 6 years ago and figured it would take me a year or two to finish it. I had done it with the boys stockings, working on them in my spare time. Yet since 2002 all my spare time has gone to scrapbooking and the stocking continues to go unfinished.

Each year when Christmas rolls around Brian's Dad gives me a hard time about his poor Carissa who has to have a DOG stocking instead of a beautiful handmade one like her brothers. And each year I make a minor token effort to work on it for about a week or two. But it never gets finished. As a matter of fact, this is what my wall looks like right now.

But this year is different. This year I am committed to getting it done so I've spent every spare waking moment stitching this stocking. I put in at least 4 hours a day on it. Yesterday I spent nearly 2 hours doing nothing but french knots and another 4 1/2 stitching. My fingers hurt so badly that by 11pm I couldn't stitch anymore. And I've only sat at my scrap desk once in the last month, when I had broken my last stitching needle and the stores were already closed for the day. But it's all worth it. Slowly, over the last 5 or 6 weeks, I am seeing it begin to reach completion. It's not done yet. I still have a small corner left to stitch and then the sewing of the stocking to do. But the goal is so close.

This year Carissa will have stocking. She will not be left with a dog stocking while her brothers have their own beautiful cross-stitched stockings. She will have HER stocking, hand stitched with love.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Brrrr ...

It's been cold here and looks to be cold for the next few days. Nothing like a nice winters chill to get me in the holiday spirit. Now, if it would just snow ...

Maybe one of these years I'll have a white Christmas.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Meet Mia

I'd like to introduce you to the newest member of our family - Mia.

I have been resisting Brian's suggestion of a playmate for Tucker -- I just wasn't convinced that I wanted another dog. But then I got a call from Becky about this sweet 10 month old chocolate lab who needed a home. Her current owners realized that they didn't have the time or space to devote to a large dog and were looking to place her with a loving family. After a quick discussion with Brian (why I even had to discuss it with him I don't know, as he immediately said yes) we met her and brought her into our home where she's been happily residing ever since.

Tucker is in turns thrilled and annoyed by her. He's the ripe old age of 3 now and doesn't have the same energetic view as Mia. But he does enjoy playing with her often and is not afraid to growl at her to let her know when he's had enough.

Mia does have some adorable little quirks. The first thing she did when we brought her home was to jump into the dog pool in the back yard. She stood there and drank and drank, then laid down for a moment. Nevermind that it was only 40degrees outside, she loved the water. And she loves to eat her toys. Yes, eat them. She chews on them and chews on them until she gets a piece off and then proceeds to eat it. All too soon she may realize that this isn't great for the digestive system, but for now it's just another one of her little quirks.

Mia has been doing well with the transition. We kept her closed in our bedroom with us the first few nights, not sure how she would do having run of the house (especially since she has made a couple of visits to Carissa's stuffed animal bin, much to Carissa's chagrin). But she did well those nights and in the subsequent days so she has had run of the house since then.

Naming her has been an issue. She was named Poppy when we got her, yet none of us liked that name. And since she didn't seem to recognize the name as hers we thought it approproiate to change it. We have a tradition of using Disney names for our animals so we knew exactly where to turn. Therein lies the problem. All the names we would have considered were already taken by other animals ... Belle (our favorite!) is my Dad's dog, Jasmine and Boo are late cats. We considered Lady, Minnie, Winnie and Carissa's favorite, Tinkerbell, but none of those seemed quite right. We had started calling her Mia, after a character in the Princess Diaries but soon realized that it was awfully close to our cat, Mira. But after much discussion we decided that she should be Mia. After all, Mira the cat doesn't like anyone except for me so it's not like anyone will be calling her often. Now, I'm not saying that we're 100% sold on this name but since we haven't found a good alternative I think that's what her name will stay.

And so is the story of Mia, our new dog. She now has a family she can be a part of and a brother dog that enjoys and detests her at the same time.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Brian has left for his first night on the road. All last week was spent in training so tonight is his first real night on patrol.

I must say that this milestone has left me with a variety of feelings. True, I'm extremely proud of him and I'm happy that he's been able to fulfill his dream of being a police officer. And, of course, I love seeing him all spiffed up and handsome in his new uniform. But underneath that uniform is a bullet-proof vest, reminding me of the other side of the coin -- this job is riskier than the one he held before. He could get hurt, he could be killed. I'm not overwhelmed by these fears, but they are there in the back of my mind. So I'm doing my part to think good thoughts and hope that he comes home safe to us at the end of each day.