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My Christmas Ornament Obsession

4 Dec

I LOVE Christmas. It really is the most glorious time of the year (except for that perfect Fall day with a bonfire and changing leaves… or any day where I’m splayed out on a beach with a frosty drink in my hand).

Like many of you, our little family went Christmas tree shopping over the weekend.

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I love this picture, it’s like Jack is mid-strut…

Then – like most of you – we brought our tree in the house, shoved it in a tree stand and unwrapped the plastic wrap so that the limbs could breathe again. My husband and Jack were then shooed towards the living room while I brought up the Christmas ornaments and lights.

This is where it gets a bit…dorky.

I’ve been collecting Wizard of Oz ornaments from Hallmark for over 20 years.

That’s right, this tree looks like any other tree from far away…

Full Christmas tree

But when you get a little closer, you see it.

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Almost 25 ornaments of different scenes and characters from the Wizard of Oz.

It started quite innocently many years ago. As part of our Christmas gift, my paternal grandparents would allow each of the grandchildren to pick out an ornament from the Hallmark catalog. This usually would happen during the summer, way before sugarplums were twerking anywhere near our heads. Then, on Christmas Day we would receive our ornament along with our bounty of gifts.

For a few years, I just picked out random stuff. I was a kid, so it was mostly dancing ballerinas and cute little Christmas mice. Then in 1996, I chose a little Emerald City music box-like hanging ornament. It was awesome and when you plugged it in to a light socket, the little characters would spin on the yellow brick road and “We’re Off to See the Wizard” would play.

I was hooked.

IMG_2760From then on, I’d choose a Wizard of Oz ornament every year. When I received the Miss Gulch ornament in 1997, I remember my grandmother playing with the wheels on the bike… and saying how nice it was. Every year brought a shiny new ornament for our family tree and when I moved out into my own house, I took my collection with me.

The year that I moved into my first townhouse was also the year that my grandmother passed away. However, she left my grandfather pages and pages of written instructions which included directions on collecting the Christmas ornament orders from the grandchildren.

For the next few years, I continued to pick out my Wizard of Oz ornaments and eventually decorated my own tree with JUST the collection and some simple balls to fill out the extra space. I remember the first Christmas that Travis and I were together. He wandered over to the Christmas tree, looked around a bit and then turned slowly and said, “wow…this tree is very…girlie.”

We would laugh hysterically every time I turned on the tree and all the music box voices would yell out at and sing at the same time. The noise would startle Potter from his perpetually relaxed position on the couch. Every single time.

Last year my grandpa had some health issues and decided to skip the ornaments. I found out on Christmas Day when I looked around for that familiar Hallmark box. It felt like a piece of my Christmas was gone. Like my grandmother had finally moved on and left us.

I couldn’t let my collection end though and was lucky to score the 2012 ornament off ebay after the holidays. This year, I checked in and found out that my grandfather is finished with giving the grandchildren their ornaments. It’s really the end…after more than twenty years. And it makes me incredibly sad that Jack will never be a part of this tradition. Perhaps we will start a new tradition.

But for now, I made my own trip to the Hallmark store to purchase the latest ornament for my collection. Because it makes me happy and I can imagine my grandmother smiling from above at the pretty green in the lion’s cape.

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Maybe someday Jack will be the one buying me my yearly ornament. Maybe he will roll his eyes at his silly mom with the Wizard of Oz tree. Or maybe he too will smile every time the tree lights go on and “The GREAT and POWERFUL OZ” screams out of an ornament while another sings about the wonders that must exist on the other side of the rainbow.

Do you have a collection that you treasure? How did it start and do you feel guilty of you miss a chance to add to it?

Celebrating Cyber Monday: Who Likes Free Wine?

2 Dec

When I was cleaning out the mess that is my old office, I came across THREE $50 gift cards for nakedwines.com. I don’t know if the special gift codes are still good… but I have PLENTY of wine so I figured I’d give them away for three of my lovely readers to try out!

All you have to do to enter to win is leave me a comment and tell me about your Thanksgiving! Was there a funny Thanksgiving ‘foul’ that makes you giggle? Are you STILL eating leftovers? If you’re not from the US, tell me how you spent your weekend… have you decorated for Christmas yet?

You have just over 24 hours to enter and I’ll pick a winner at noon on Tuesday, December 3rd. Good luck!

P.S. I have no reason to believe that the gift cards have expired (there is no expiration date and they’re not that old), so they should work. However, if they don’t work…I’m sorry and don’t hate me. I’ll try to figure out something else fun to give you.

12/3/13 Update: So I planned on just throwing everyone’s name in a hat to pick the three winners… but four of you really blew me away with your Thanksgiving horrors. I randomly picked three winners from those four of you who made me want to kidnap you and re-do a Thanksgiving with lots of margaritas, pedicures and repeated viewings of Love, Actually: Adrianne, KindleQueen and BeachMom… I hope that a little bit of wine makes it up to you. Teri, I wish I had a forth card…because I think you deserve one too. Heck, EVERYONE deserves one and I wish I had more to give!

Happy Thanksgiving!

28 Nov

I will not be blogging today. In fact, I even set this message up early so that I can try to stay away from computers all day long. I will be spending today watching the Thanksgiving parade, making lots of food, spending time with family and devouring lots of food.

I wish all of my fabulous readers a Happy Thanksgiving with lots of love and pumpkin pie!

 

Surprising Myself with a Career vs Family Decision

21 Nov

I’m a hard worker. When it comes to my professional life, I work my butt off. I’ve always been that way and figured why do something halfway when I can do it and be the BEST at it? Yeah, in case you forgot… I’m very Type A.

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This was my desk at my second ‘real’ job. The dog’s name was Moo and he was one of three office dogs. He was also a boy dog. Until this job I had never seen a boy dog’s thingie and vividly remember the first time his ‘red rocket’ came out while I was on a conference call.

I started at my first ‘real’ job when I was still in college and served as the Public Relations Intern/Assistant at a really cool little nonprofit.

After graduation, I had a hard time finding a position and through sheer luck (and by calling every marketing company in the yellow pages) I ended up with a job at a small marketing/public relations firm.

Within a year, I had moved up from Public Relations Assistant to Public Relations Manager. From there I moved on to become the Director of Communications and Marketing at a nonprofit entity at NSA. Next, I was the Director of Marketing at an accounting firm.

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When I worked at the accounting firm, I planned the yearly end-of-tax-season trips. On this trip I was obviously drinking some kind of tequila concoction being fed to me by a clown.

Up…up… UP. I pretty much climbed as quickly as possible towards the top. Every single job was an opportunity to take on more. More responsibility. A better title. More money. You name it and I was working towards it. Year after year after year, I worked as hard as I could.

I was never quite satisfied though.

And then I lost my job while I was pregnant with Jack.

Instead of focusing on something bigger and better, I wildly searched for anything, ANYTHING that was marketing-related that would pay me a salary.

Funny how your priorities change when you’re about to pop out a kid and you’re suddenly jobless, right?

I got incredibly lucky, because after years of wanting to work in higher education I ended up at a really great business university in the area. The position I was hired for wasn’t EXACTLY a ‘marketing job’… the title was a step down… the money was a step down… but you do what you have to do. My boss is awesome, so that made up for a lot.

In the past two years my position has grown to match my skill-set, the title has grown and the money has grown. The schedule recently changed so that the driving is a lot easier on me…knocking off 6 hours of driving each week. I’ll be able to spend more time with my family.

I’m happy.

I finally have a work-life balance that is a bit more life than work and I LOVE It. I still work really hard, but then I go home and I can actually relax. I mean, as much relaxing as you can do when you have an almost two year old to chase around.

The exact same day that I found out my schedule changed, I also found out that they are hiring for a position that would be PERFECT for me. The position for someone with my exact background and I can do it. I can do it REALLY WELL. However, the position is located back in that location that is almost a 2 hour drive from home, and I’d be driving there 5 days each week.

So do I stay in the position that I love, I’m good at, and is finally flexible enough that I can spend more time with my family? Or do I try for a new job opportunity where I can continue my journey of going up, up, UP. More responsibility. A better title. More money.

Oddly this was an easy decision for me.

For the first time… family wins.

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