Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Trimming the Tree

The kiddos helped their Granny put up her tree last week. Took the opportunity to snap a quick picture of them together. No one really wanted to cooperate, and Sassy's wouldn't let me brush out her hair. All in all it came out pretty nicely, and we used it for our Christmas cards this year...

Is your tree already up? Do you use a real or artificial tree?

Happy Wordless Wednesday! Leave me a comment and be sure to link up below!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Elf on the Shelf - Week 2

Wow! I've been scarce this last week. As most were, I was elbows deep in Thanksgiving prep. Thanksgiving Day, and Black Friday were the only two days 374 had off. He works now straight through until Christmas. We spent lots of family time together. 374 even got to participate in Elfie hi-jinks while home with us at night. Here's what Elfie was up to this past week.

Night Nine - Elfie was found sick on the couch. Sassy had come down with a rotten cold the day before, and our best guess is she passed it on to Elfie. Poor guy was sleeping on a rolle up tissue for a pillow, and one covering him for a blanket. He took a dose of Sassy's meds and called it a night!
Night Ten - Elfie must have still been feeling a little under the weather. He took a hot shower and wrapped up in a toilet paper towel. Hopefully he's on the mend.
Night Eleven - The kids were particularly naughty on Day 11. They seemed to be infected with sassy mouths. Elfie stayed put on the tree. He believes if he doesn't have anything nice to say, he won't say anything at all. So there was no good report for Santa this night. Hmm, maybe my kids should adopt Elfie's motto! Since he remained on the tree that night, there is no picture.
Night Twelve - Elfie was pretty offended when he found some lingering fall decor. We forgot about our jelly leaf window clings that were still on the front door. He removed them for us.
Night Thirteen - Elfie picked up some snowflake ornaments for us from the North Pole. He decorated our tree with them. The kids love them!
Night Fourteen - Elfie wanted to wish us a Happy Thanksgiving. Or, "Turkey Day" as he called it. He left us a message on the calendar.
Night Fifteen - Elfie was found hanging out on top of the t.v.
Night Sixteen - Elfie made his way into Bubby's room and was perched atop his alarm clock.
Night Seventeen - Elfie left another message for the kids. He changed their chore chart from all the week's chores to "Feed Elfie Candy". Hmm, we'll see about that Mr. Elfie.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Review and GIVEAWAY: ~Topped with a Bow~ *WINNER POSTED*

Sassy loves hair accessories. It's very rare that her hair is left down and not styled. Every ponytail is finished off with a bow or flower clip. It's just the way she operates.

I buy her pony tail holders from big box stores, but when it comes to the clips, flowers and bows I support work at home mom (WAHM) businesses. I've also been known to make a few myself when I see a ribbon or cute button to add to the middle.

I have bought bows from a couple different ladies, but most recently I purchase from ~Topped with a Bow~ on Facebook. She has been making bows for her own daughter for years now. She has a huge collection of her own built up, and has decided to turn her hobby into a money maker. She has started a Facebook page to showcase her talent and offer the bows and clips she has for sale.

She has a wide variety of bows available for sale. She also takes custom orders. She tries her best to work with customers to get the perfect bow for them. I like that not all her bows are in the normal tied bow shape. I love the designs she comes up with. The centers she uses for her bows are big and colorful and are the perfect finishing touch to the design.

Just a few of our own bows from ~Topped with a Bow~

We just recently received a firefighter themed bow from ~Topped with a Bow~ for Sassy's birthday. Even 374 is in love with the bow. He finds any excuse to style Sassy's hair now so he can top it with the firefighter bow!

Also available from ~Topped with a Bow~ are fabric covered head bands which bows can be added to, as well as wipes cases. Again, personalized to the customer's wishes, a plain jane wipes case is covered with batting and the fabric of your choice. The edges are finished off with a complimentary colored ribbon. I wish I had a need for these wipes cases, but alas my children have been potty trained for years.

Here are a few more designs offered:

I'm excited to announce that I have partnered with ~Topped with a Bow~ to offer our FIRST GIVEAWAY CONTEST! She is giving away a bow to one of my lucky readers! Below you will find the contest widget -

Mandatory entries include:

*Go to ~Topped with a Bow~ and LIKE her page
*While you are on her page, browse her bow designs and pick the one you'd like to win. Come back here to LBtT and leave a comment with the bow you'd like to win.
*Go to Life Between the Tones's Facebook page and LIKE

Optional entries include:

*Follow Life Between the Tones on Twitter
*Tweet about this giveaway. You can earn an entry once a day, so tweet daily!
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*Follow LBtT via Google Connect - Button is in my side bar
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This contest is open now until 11/24/2013 at 12:01am!

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Elf on the Shelf - Week 1

I've always wanted to do Elf on the Shelf with my kids. Up until this year we never participated in the tradition in our home. One reason being I never wanted to shell out the money for the kit. Who wants an elf that looks like everyone else's elf? I've been hunting for a cute little elf that would be the perfect fit for our family.

Last week we ran into Meijer to look for Bubby's yearly Christmas ornament. I hadn't had luck in any other stories I'd browsed so Meijer was next on the list. Not only did we find an ornament, but we also found an adorable elf for $3.99! Can't beat that price!

Sassy was with us, and asked about the elf purchase. We explained that he's one of Santa's helpers. When you bring him home from the store, you have to name him so Santa knows who he belongs to. Then each night we put him on the Christmas tree. Over night he travels back to Santa to report on the children's behavior from that day. The next morning he comes back to our house to keep watch again. We explained it all again when Bubby came home from school.

It didn't take long for them to name him. I figured this would be a long, drawn out process with tears and arguing. Much to my surprise, he was named within minutes - Elfie. How original.

That afternoon they set Elfie on the Christams tree. He kept watch all evening, and was bid farewell for the night with a "Goodnight Elfie!" from each child. When the kids woke up in the morning, they were in for a real surprise.

Not only did we bring home an adorable little elf. We brought home one very mischievous elf.

*Insert evil elf laugh here*

For the last week Elfie has humored us with his over night antics. I'm not sure if I have more fun coming up with the night's trick, or watching the kids react in the morning. Each night after Elfie is set for the night, I snap a picture. 374 gets a sneak peak at the Elfie happenings each night. He enjoys his nightly text with the picture I've taken.

I realize most people don't start their Elf on the Shelf tradition until the first of December. However, due to my love of all things Christmas, and the fact that this is our first year and Bubby is getting pretty old for the "believing" crowd, I want to take full advantage of our time with Elfie.

Each week I'll share the Elfie Hi-jinks from the week before. Hopefully this will help some of you with ideas for your own tricky elves! Here is what Elfie has been up to since he joined our family last Wednesday!

Night One - Elfie T.P.'d the Christmas tree. He was found sitting beside the tree in a toliet paper tube.
Night Two - Elfie decided to hunt up a Christmas coloring book and colored a picture of an elf assembling a toy.
Night Three - Elfie managed to open up the clock, and lock himself inside. 
Night Four - Elfie was found hanging from the living room ceiling fan.
Night Five - Elfie was very ornery this night. He made the milk turn green. Bubby was the only one who would drink the green milk. Sassy, and even 374, turned up their noses.
Night Six - Elfie used a dry erase marker to color on the pictures of the kids hanging in the dining room. 
Night Seven - Elfie climbed into the candy dish and gouged himself on chocolate. He was found with a half eaten Hershey's Kiss and chocolate all over his face.
Night Eight - Elfie hit the Christmas tree again - this time with socks and underwear. He's currently camped out in the sock basket next to the tree waiting for the kids to wake up tomorrow morning.

The Quirky Fire Wife

I'm a quirky person. I like things a certain way. My husband calls me a perfectionist. I've gotten OCD a few times. I like to think of myself as quirky.

I'm a creature of habit. I like things to stay the same. I like routine. Don't we all? My desire for routine may be to a fault at times, but it's what gets me by in this crazy life I lead.

When 374 is out on a call, I like to be at home. I don't like to be out and about in town, or around people who are not in the fire community. It's hard for people who are not a fire spouse to understand the emotions we go through. It's a lifestyle you can't understand until you've lived it - sort of like people who don't have kids trying to sympathize with or give advice to those who have kids.

Today I found myself completely out of my element. I was in town running errands with my mom and sister when I got a text from my neighbor. "House fire in....." "Yep I have kids. House fully involved." My heart sank. I had errands that HAD to be run. I had groceries that HAD to be bought. I couldn't just drop what I was doing and run home, but it makes me so uneasy to be out when he's on a call. I like to be in my own home where I can worry and be nervous in private. Also, as morbid as it may be, I worry that if I'm out it would be harder to contact me if something happened to him on a scene.

My mom returned home while my sister and I finished up things in town. I was very anxious to get home. "Calm down!" my sister kept telling me. I rushed through each store, forgetting things each place I went. All the while in the back of my mind I kept thinking, "She just doesn't get it." To be fair - people don't get it. Fire families have their own ways of coping with the lifestyle. These quirks are my coping mechanisms.

It's hard for me to share these quirks and feelings with most people in my life. "Why do you worry yourself over it?" "Wouldn't you rather be out and be busy or having fun?" Those are usually some of the responses I get. There's really no way for me to help them understand. Sympathy is all you can expect. They can't empathize - they really, truly do not know what you are going through.

My anxiety is probably a little higher lately than normal. A volunteer fire department not too far from us lost a firefighter in a LODD within the last week. He left a wife and two very small children. His family has not been far from my thoughts since the day it happened. Situations like this make you more aware, more thankful for each call from which he comes home safe.

He finally returned home as I was sitting on Bubby's bed reading a bedtime story. Blaze barked as he walked in the front door. He stood in Bubby's doorway and almost immediately I caught a sniff of smoke and sweat. The smokey smell that fills my house after each call has become comforting. I almost miss it after it dissipates, until the next call. Again, another quirk.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Mama's Girl

It's rare to have a picture with me IN FRONT of the camera. Here's one from our pumpkin patch trip a few months ago. I love this girl! She's Mama's little shadow.

Happy Wordless Wednesday!!! Leave me a comment, did your family make a trip to a pumpkin patch this year? 

Share your Wordless Wednesday post in the link up below!!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Happy Birthday Sassy!

I do not want to write this post.

I had to fetch a box of tissues before I sat down with the laptop.

This blog post has nothing to do with fire. Instead it has everything to do with the fact that my last child, my baby, is turning five. Today.

They say having children changes your life. This statement is very true. Whether it's your first child, or your eighth child, your life changes. My life couldn't have changed more than it did the day Sassy was born.

I am going to share something here that I don't really share with a lot of people. I'm always afraid that my words will be twisted into something I didn't mean. That someone will feel like I'm not appreciative of the gift I was given in my daughter. That's the farthest from the truth.

For as long as I can remember, I always wanted two boys close in age. I wanted to sit in a lawn chair sipping tea while I watched them wrestle in the dirt, drive dump trucks in the sand and play catch in the warm afternoon air. I was always some what of a tomboy. I was not very interested in fashion, really never knew how to correctly apply makeup, nor did I ever have many close girl friends. Boys just seemed natural to me.

You can imagine my panic at my 20 week ultrasound when we found out we were on Team Pink. A girl. What in the world do I do with a girl? Bubby had been such an easy going, quiet baby. He was now a rough and tumble toddler who drove trains across the floor and watched Cars on repeat every day. Now our world was about to be turned upside down with dresses, bows, and all things girly.

Ready to bust out of the hospital!

I won't lie. It took me quite a long time to adjust to having a girl. I don't mean that I moped and cried and mourned the fact that I would not have two boys in a row. We prepared for her arrival with just as much joy and enthusiasm as we did with Bubby. We dolled her up in pinks and purples and frills as soon as she was home from the hospital. I was never once unappreciative of the precious little life we so blessedly added to our family. However, it took almost until her first birthday for it to finally sink in. We have a daughter.

It was around that time she really started developing her little personality. What a personality it is! She's a performer. She always has been. She's independent and loves to express herself. Sassy always used to make us laugh with her crazy outfits. Most of the pieces were never her own. My heels, Daddy's tennis shoes or hat, Bubbie's shirt or socks. You never knew what she'd have on next - her outfits still change multiple times a day!            
One of her many outfits - Age 3
It was then that I realized just how much our life had changed. We could not have had two more different children. When Bubby was small, he'd sit quietly on the floor and play with the same two toys for hours, however Sassy was constantly into everything! She was a constant streak of energy from the time she woke up in the morning, until she finally passed out in the evening. She never sat still for more than a couple minutes, and was constantly running everywhere she went! Bubby always enjoyed sitting back and watching the world around him. Sassy? Sassy was not about to sit back and watch anything, she was and still is all about being center stage!

Pumpkin Patch 2008 - Almost 1

I can remember phone calls from 374 while I was at work in the evenings - once he had to call poison control because she ate a stick of deodorant while he was making dinner, shortly after that she dumped an entire bottle of liquid foundation on the bathroom floor and proceeded to finger paint herself AND the bathroom with it (again, while he made dinner). Coloring on walls,  climbing on tables, coloring all over herself with markers - you name it, this kid has tried it. She constantly keeps us on our toes and challenges us as parents daily.

Daredevil baby! She loved doing tunnel slides head first!! - Age 2

Now, five years later I can not imagine life without a daughter. I am glad someone knew better than I did. Sassy is such a light in our life. She's constantly making you smile - whether it's with a performance, a story or a hug when she knows you are sad. She was the missing piece to complete our family.

Lunch date with Mama - Fall 2011

Mommy, Daddy and Bubby love you so much Sassy! You are our beautiful, curly haired performer. You have given us so many laughs and smiles these last five years, I cannot wait to see what the next five bring. You are an amazing little girl Sassy, Happy Birthday!

Helping wash trucks at Daddy's station - Summer 2011

Sassy and Daddy playing firefighter at a local science center - Feb 2011

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

It's No Secret...

I'm a Christmas freak.

My tree goes up the first week of November. This year it went up on the 4th. 374 used to moan and groan, but he's learned that it's easier to give in and indulge me than it is to listen to me ask daily for him to bring the decorations out of the attic.

I listen to Christmas music all year long.

I live for this time of year. There's something about a lit up tree, peppermint mocha coffee, warm sweaters, snowy night, and buying gifts that makes me feel all fuzzy and warm.

Okay, I'll stop now before I make someone puke.

Oh, and I also dress my dog up for the season. This sweater had me at "antlers". He reminds me of the dog from the Grinch.

You might imagine the groan and eye roll 374 gave me when the dog came running from the kitchen in his new outfit. However, there was also a TINY smirk of a smile. Yea, he thought it was cute too.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: A Little of This, A Little of That...

Trying something new this week!!! Using a collage app to piece together a few pictures from the past week at LBtT!

  • My kitty has found a new favorite hiding spot - my reusable grocery bags. I had to take them out to the car to keep him out of them.
  • Yes. I have put up my Christmas tree. It goes up the first week of November ever since I was pregnant with Sassy. I had a scheduled c-section with her, and wanted the tree up and decorated before I came home from the hospital with her. It's been that way ever since. 374 knows it's a losing battle to fight me on it.
  • I took 374 to lunch yesterday. Lunch time beer. 'Cause it was five o'clock somewhere. I love my Killians!
  • My wonderful 374 sitting beside with me in my grandpa's hospital room on Sunday. He loves my grandparents like his own and has been there for them since they day he met them. I'm not sure he knows just how much this means to me. 

Happy WW to you! Please share your WW in the link up below! Leave me a comment and let me know you were here!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

LBtT is Featured on 10seventyfive.com!

I am excited to announce that Life Between the Tones is partnering up with 10seventyfive for a series of  guest blogger posts! You will find a link for this blog in my Mutual Aid sidebar.

10seventyfive is a blog written by Mike. Mike is a volunteer firefighter. A lot of the firefighting related blogs out there are written by full time guys and gals. You don't get a whole lot of volunteer content. Mike is looking to bridge the gap in the blogging world with 10seventyfive.

He is currently running a series of posts about becoming a volunteer firefighter. Because Mike is not married nor has kids, he was looking for someone to share the family perspective of the volunteer lifestyle. He approached me about a week ago on offering some posts for his series. I was honored and excited.

I sent my content to him late Friday night, and tonight you can catch the first installment! There will be three other posts from me featured on 10seventyfive in the very near future. Please bookmark Mike and support him as his blog grows! Stop by and check him out. Leave him a comment saying LBtT sent you!

You can read Part 1 of my series HERE

Follow 10seventyfive on Twitter HERE

Follow 10seventyfive on Facebook HERE