Come and Gone

So, after the opening of a few dozen presents, the eating of a fatted calf and the taking of many naps, the most eagerly anticipated day of the year has come and gone. I’ve been a little quiet around here while we enjoy a some time with this guy.

And these two.

We’ve also managed to squeeze in some bad guy thwarting…

And approximately 1542 costume/identity changes.

And, did I mention the presents?

So a belated Merry Christmas from the Ishidas – hope yours was filled with as much joy as ours. Back with more photos and stories from our Portland adventures with the Fisher-Flavels soon – right after I finish becoming acquainted with my new Kindle. 🙂

Five Things Friday: Link Me Up (and a beautiful sunrise)

Sharing a few things I came across online during a very busy week. You see, I will officially be on vacation at around 5:01 this afternoon and I had a lot to squeeze into a short 40 or so hours.

Still, I managed to find a few minutes here and there to seek out some online inspiration with a couple of WOW moments.

  1. A beautiful look back at 2011 (keep the tissues handy)
  2. A little (free!) recipe book that I had a hand in designing (look for my contributions next to the recipes from Australia and Portland)
  3. Christmas album #567 added to my collection. OK, not really #567, but I discovered I have a lot of Xmas music and this new one stands out because of the Muppets!
  4. A cautionary tale for the iPhone generation
  5. A wonderful story featuring random acts of book art

Now that my christmas shopping is all done, I am looking forward to weekend filled with relaxation and sloth like behavior – OK, not really. Still, there has been a great weight lifted from my shoulders that will be replaced by my to do list of laundry, grocery shopping and getting prepared for arrival of our guests on Sunday night. For fun, I’ll squeeze in a play date for the boys with some very special friends on Saturday afternoon and something Christmassy.

For now, I leave you with a photograph that I took when I dropped Samuel off this morning. I guess it pays to be a little early for school every now and then. (no comment on the fact that he has a MUCH better view than I do during the day).

Photo is straight out of the camera with just a little sharpening – pretty amazing.

Happy weekend!

December 12th – A Personal Best

This may be the first time EVER that I have had all of my Christmas shopping done, wrapped and even shipped, a full two weeks before the big day. Even the teacher and colleague gifts are out the door.

I feel fantastic!

And it’s a good thing too because some very special guests arrive next Sunday and I want to free up as much as time as possible so I can enjoy spending some time with this guy.

(Photo stolen from my sister-in-law’s Facebook page – thanks Emma)

Expect to see many more photos of Mr. Charlie Benjamin over the next few weeks – although he’ll be wearing a heavy sweater and sitting in semi-darkness. I really miss Australia at this time of the year. Sigh!

I have been so focused on getting everything ready for Christmas that, of course, I haven’t had time to take/edit/post photos. All I have to offer are a few snaps taken with my iPhone but I am determined to pick up the camera more frequently now that I have a little room to breathe.

In the meantime, enjoy this glimpse of our life right now – both the ups (Christmas lights and hot chocolate) and the not-so-ups (scraping car windshields).


Finally, wishing a very Happy Birthday to my husband who turned the big 4-0 on Sunday. I have known him since he was 26 (!) and can honestly say that he is still the best man I know. I am a very lucky woman.

Five Things Friday: Christmas Tunes

A special holiday-themed five things Friday this week. I am currently immersed in trying to cut down my Christmas mix tape (CD) from about 30 songs to about 15-20 so it will actually fit on a CD. And now I’m going to try and cut it down to five for this week’s Five Things Friday…

1. Last Christmas by Wham
Sung by my High School celebrity crush (I was so naive). It’s 80s and it’s fabulous!

2. Jingle Bells by Michael Buble feat. the Puppini Sisters
The opening is very cheesy, but this is one one of my favourite renditions of Jingle Bells ever recorded.

3. Sleigh Bells by The Ronettes
This is the sort of song that they choose to play during the opening credits of a holiday movie. You know that part where they’re flying the camera in over the city before they zoom in on a lonely girl alone in her apartment. The one who’s just looking for a little love this Christmas? That one.

4. Baby It’s Cold Outside, Glee Cast
One of my favourite all time Christmas tunes and this one is even more special because it’s… well… Glee!

5. All I Want for Christmas is You, Mariah Carey
Arguably the best Christmas song recorded in the past 20 years. It will also always remind me of the girl who sings it at the end of Love Actually (arguably one of the best Christmas movies of the past 20 years). It’s a shame the music video is so cringe-worthy.

Bonus Aussie Tune: Six White Boomers by Rolf Harris
Did you know that Santa is pulled by Kangaroos in Australia? It’s True. The rest of the story is explained in the song.

I know there will be a bunch more that come to me right after I hit publish. I’ll share my full mixed tape sometime next week.

This weekend marks a very big milestone birthday for my husband – 40 years! We’re spending it by leaving both kids with friends overnight and staying in a downtown hotel. Sure – it’s only 10 miles away, but it’s worth it for the maid service.

Happy weekend!

My House Smells Like Pine Tree

We designated Saturday our Christmas shopping day. We had to. It was clear that Christmas was in full swing – even Happy the Elf had made his first appearance in our house – so we could put it off no longer.

First hurdle – locate the Christmas Tree lot. We had one in mind that we visited last year but sometimes Portland streets all start to look the same and we had a little trouble remembering it’s exact location. Finally, a gmail search led us in the right direction (LOVE undeleted emails from 12 months ago) and we soon found ourselves surrounded by Noble Firs – my tree of choice.

Samuel wanted me to take a photo of him with no hands – that kid can be a little weird.

I have hands now!

We finally chose our 6 foot tree – a process that I was WAY more into than anyone else. Me: “How about this one Kei?”
Kei: “Whatever – that’s fine”
Me: “Will you at least LOOK at it? This is a big decision”

And, while Kei tied it to the top of the van… (I guess he’s useful for something, just not choosing the tree)

…I counted the number of blown bulbs on the Xmas lights while simultaneously trying to stop my children from running into traffic (I’m great at multitasking).

When we got home, it was time for lunch and Samuel’s nap. And, because we all had to be awake before we could decorate the tree, I endured at least two hours of Thomas asking if we can decorate the tree yet. He was incredibly excited (and more than a little annoying).

Finally, we put on some Christmas tunes and hung some lights. And when I say “we”, I mean “I” because Kei had not quite awakened from his nap on the couch. I know, I know, we were supposed to wait but the whining got to me. I can only take so much!

The kids hung the first ornaments…

And then “helped” with the rest while I worked hard to protect the most delicate pieces. Thankfully, no ornament casualties this year.

And then we took a few family pics in very bad lighting (it’s the only kind of lighting we have at this time of the year in Portland after 4pm).

Thomas took the next one – not bad!

and this one too

And this one of Samuel and, uh, my chest.

The tree is trimmed, the elf is sitting on the shelf and the Amazon orders are shipping. It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas…