Merry Christmas 2015 Romano-Style

Yesterday, we woke to find that our little elves had come bearing gifts–some new pajamas for Miss C and H-man. I guess they thought the kids had been especially good this year, so they wanted to leave them a little something before they said goodbye and flew back to the North Pole for another season.

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The elves also brought a little video message straight from Santa, and Cadence about lost her mind when the big guy called her by name and she saw her and Henry’s name on the TV screen…

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After that Miss C headed out the door to play in the snow, which was a very welcome sight after a few days of gloomy weather and pouring rain. At least a few inches of snow made it feel a little more like Christmas, and Cadence had a blast playing outside while her Daddy shoveled and sledding in the yard with the neighbor kids.

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As for Henry and I, we stayed in where it was warm and hung out.

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And now, forgive me while I overload you with photos, but I can’t help it. Christmas becomes a little more magical when you become a parent. And this year, with the addition of little H-man to our family, we got to experience a first Christmas all over again. Even Miss C got in on the excitement. I swear, she was almost more excited about helping her little brother open gifts than she was opening her own.

And I gotta say, when you’ve got kids as good as ours, it’s so much fun to spoil them a little, at least one day a year. πŸ˜‰

Merry Christmas everyone!

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Elf on the Shelf 2015 – Day 7

Anyone who knows Stevie and I knows that we’re a bit…uh…let’s say eclectic. We’re obsessed with movies that most people haven’t even heard of (Southland Tales). We wore lampshades on our heads when we were introduced as bride and groom at our wedding reception (we wanted to match the lampshade wearing couple that adorned the front of our wedding invitations). Our dinner plates have aliens and hitchhiking angels on them. And we once sent out Christmas cards with a family photo featuring Electra trying to jump over my head to chase a rabbit, Cadence looking horrified, and Stevie flashing his classic, open mouth goofball grin straight at the camera.

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Yeah, we’re a little strange, and we embrace it.

Last winter, when we put our old house up for sale here in Lincoln, we almost had a chance to appear on an episode of HGTV’s House Hunters. We interviewed over the phone with one of the producers of the show. I always knew Stevie and I were a little different, but it wasn’t until we were asked to describe our “style” that I realized just how unique our tastes really are.

“So, is it like more Crate & Barrel, or Pottery Barn?” she asked.

“Uhhhh….” I stuttered.

“Well…” Stevie said.

Neither of us could quite figure out how to tell this woman that our “style” wasn’t really something that could be summed up quite that simply. We’ve got books (everything from our childhood favorites to vintage collections to our old college textbooks) stacked in crates in just about every room in our house. Our walls are decorated with family photos, movie posters, and a life-size canvas of our buddy Foerth giving his speech at our wedding. And as far as knick knacks go, we’ve got Stevie’s Star Wars and X-Files toys, an antique lantern, and an urn with the ashes of my old Shih Tzu, Angel (aka Stinky), who lived to the ripe old age of 13 and who now sits in her final resting place on the mantle of our fireplace.

We ended up buying our new home so quickly that we never even had a chance to submit an application or audition tape, but I imagine had we been able to appear on the show, we might have been one of those couples that the audience is torn between falling in love with and wondering if we are even real.

I assure you folks, we’re very real. And we think our home and our family and all are quirks are pretty awesome, right down to our animated, Christmas-light parrot Pedro.

See, Pedro was a wedding gift from our friends Jenny and Leland. Story goes, Pedro was actually given to them as a gift by a couple who’d received him as a gift from a couple who’d received him as a gift, and on back a few more giftings. Apparently, Pedro was quite the prank for awhile, right up until the moment where Stevie and I unwrapped him, plugged him in, and simultaneously decided that he was, quite possibly, the most fabulous thing we had ever seen. We promptly named him Pedro and from that moment on, he’d found his forever home.

That was almost nine years ago, and we don’t plan on getting rid of our little friend anytime soon.

He’s been down in the basement since we moved in February because we just haven’t had a chance to find a good place for him yet. Apparently Cosette and Leo didn’t think the accommodations in the basement were quite good enough for dear old Pedro, so they hauled him upstairs while we slept, and hung him near the Christmas tree where he could be admired in all his glory. And that’s where Cadence found the three of them this morning when she woke.

“Oh Cosette!” she sighed when she saw them. “What did you do now you silly elf!?”

Silly elves indeed. Cosette and Leo definitely fit in well in the Romano house.

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Elf on the Shelf 2015 – Day 4

Cosette and Leo think it’s time for Cadence and Henry to send Santa their Christmas lists, and it seems they’re on the “Nice” list.

Yeah, we agree. We’ve got some pretty awesome kiddos.

Cadence says she wants a Donatello action figure and a Merida doll–exactly what we’d expect from our tomboy princess. And Henry…well, right now Henry is interested in anything he can grab and put in his mouth since he just cut his first tooth and we’re pretty sure there are a few more quite close behind.

So off our little elves will fly tonight with our babies’ lists tucked carefully away for Santa. And we’ll see if Cadence and Henry get their wishes.

Any bets?

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The Great Bagel Delivery, Part 2

Last year, Stevie’s sister, Michele, decided to send us a little taste of New York for Christmas–a box with 1/2 dozen fresh egg bagels in it. She wanted to surprise us, which was awesome, but she’d never met Electra. How was she to know that our dog is a crazed food whore who would chew through layer of packing tape, a cardboard box, and a Ziploc freezer bag just to get to the bagels inside.

I caught Electra, with her head shoved in the box, just as she was attempting to swallow one of the bagels whole. Stevie and I couldn’t decide if we were angry, or a little impressed with her good taste.

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After the Great Bagel Heist of 2013, Michele let us know that we should keep an eye out for another delivery this year. The box arrived on Saturday, and Stevie made sure to set it on top of the piano where it was well out of reach. Electra spent the morning parked in front of the piano with her nose in the air, licking her chops, reminiscing about the delicious bagels of yesteryear.

By the time we began unpacking the box, she was drooling on the floor and panting heavily.

She gave it a valiant effort, stretching as far as her beagle/basset legs would let her, but she came up short. This year, sweet hound, the bagels are ours.

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Merry Christmas 2013!

It was a quiet day at home, just the four of us, and we made the most of it. Hope you all enjoyed the day as well! Merry Christmas!

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Elf on the Shelf 2013 – Day 25

Somehow, today just didn’t seem like Christmas Eve. Maybe because the holidays just sort of snuck up on us this year. Maybe because it’s the first holiday we’ve celebrated since I’ve been back to work and we’ve all been so busy. And maybe because it’s the first holiday that it will be just us. Whatever the reason, I was having a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that tomorrow is Christmas, and that we’re just a few days shy of welcoming 2014.

Time is flying, and I’m not sure I like it.

Today we spent making our last minute preparations for Christmas, which was mainly making sure we had some homemade cookies to leave out for Santa. Steven and I were thinking chocolate chip, the time-tested favorite, but Cadence requested frosted sugar cookies, the kind she could decorate with sprinkles. So, we made both.

In the midst of the cookie making, the doorbell rang. Steven had run out to the bank and I was still in my pajama pants, but at least I’d had a cup of coffee and combed my hair, or I might have scared the mailman right off the porch. He had two boxes and a pile of mail. I thanked him and wished him a Merry Christmas as he went on his way.

Now, had I not been so preoccupied with wondering what Cadence was up to, left in the kitchen alone with a counter full of cookie ingredients, I might have noticed Electra taking more than just a passing interest in the box that Stevie’s sister Michele sent. Thinking that it was likely just some Christmas gifts that needed to be placed under the tree, I set both boxes aside and hurried back to the kitchen to finish the cookies.

Ten minutes later, I sent Cadence to the bathroom to wash her hands for the 17th time (kid has a bad habit of licking her fingers when she bakes). I heard her stop in the hallway, and then she hollered…

“Mom! Electra’s eating a box!”

I dropped the spatula in the bowl of cookie dough and ran. The hallway was littered with bits of blue plastic and wet, half-chewed cardboard. When I rounded the corner to the living room, I saw that one whole corner of a box had been chewed out, and what appeared to be a large, blue plastic bag protruding from the gaping hole. Then, I saw Electra, the food whore, with Β an entire egg bagel in her mouth. And now that she knew she was caught, she was apparently attempting to swallow the damn thing whole.

“Hey!” I yelled, grabbing her by the scruff of the neck with one hand and grabbing the bagel with the other. She gave a disgusted sigh and tried to pull away. I caught her in a headlock, pried her jaw open just enough to wrench the soggy bagel free…well 2/3 of the bagel anyway. She promptly swallowed the other 1/3 and made a mad dash to the box for more, but I got there first, grabbed the box, and took it to the kitchen to assess the damage.

Inside, I found a Christmas gift for Cadence, two boxes of Dunkin’ Donuts K-cups coffee (score!!) and five fresh egg bagels wrapped in blue Ziploc baggies.

“Ooooh, Electra! Stevie is either going to be super impressed with the fact that you have a taste for New York egg bagels, or he’s going to be super pissed that you stole one of ’em!” I said. Electra just licked her chops and stared up me, looking forlorn that she didn’t get a chance to finish her breakfast.

A few minutes later, Steven returned. He shook his head sadly when he saw the damage, and didn’t waste anytime toasting one of the remaining bagels and having himself a little breakfast. Electra sat at his feet, waiting for him to drop a bit.

After the excitement wound down, it was time to finish some cookies. Cadence and I spent the afternoon and part of the evening baking and decorating. We took a break to head to church for the Christmas Eve service, and then Steven ran out to get us some Chinese food for dinner. We wound down the evening watching some Christmas cartoons and talking about Santa. Cadence picked out cookies for his plate and I poured him a glass of milk, and then we tucked a very excited kiddo in bed and called it a night.

We’re just hoping she sleeps past 6:00. πŸ˜‰

Here are a few photos from our chaotic day:

Cosette gets us motivated to do some baking by making sure the supplies are all gathered and ready first thing in the morning…

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And then this short break is brought to you by our dog, the food whore…

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And I know most people would agree that Cadence is my Mini-Me. Our baby and early childhood photos are nearly indistinguishable. But, I tell you, this girl is her daddy’s personality clone. And obviously the ability to make such stellar goofy faces is genetic…

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And Cadence showed off some artistic flair putting the finishing touches on the cookies tonight. And after a short sugar rush, it was time to leave Santa a plate and head to bed.

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