'tis the season.

Okay, so maybe it's a little early for The Season, but it's 2 months to Christmas. We're close enough.

And 2 months to Christmas means it is The Season: It's Christmas Card Season. Actually, open hunting started today. I got a concealed photo permit. Don't worry, this is all legal.

As I said earlier in the week, I lobbied and I lobbied hard for the 300 picture of my family to be used as the Christmas Card Picture (hereafter referred to as CCP where I see fit).

I was reminded that for a photo to be The Family CCP it would help if the entire family was in said picture. I needed to add my brother (Eric) and Stacia.

Fine. Fine.

I resubmitted this tonight:

I feel it really captures the whole family.
And, as PK noted, Chuck as Uncle Eddie really is the icing on the cake.

I presented this as a joke.
They are taking it seriously.
As in, this is seriously in the running to be my parents' CCP. It was recommended, however, by The Father, that perhaps (persmaps) we might consider taking a regular CCP for some on our Christmas card list who might miss the humor in my doctored photo.

Again, fine. Fine.
We'll take an Alternate CCP (should this hereafter be referred to as the ACCP? Acronyms are confusing.).

You may be wondering why would we take a CCP or ACCP so early. Well, see, Eric and Stacia live in another state. And in that state Eric is a police officer which means his schedule is different to say the least. And it means we don't actually see Eric for holidays so we can kiss November goodbye. A picture taken at the end of October will have to do. Hopefully no one changes much by December 1. Lucy might get cuter and Chuck might get taller and skinnier, but other than that we should be good to go.

I forced my family onto the staircase for the photo (no one will disagree that I forced them).
Because I'm a slave to lighting and I refuse (REFUSE) to use my flash. I could milk enough lighting out of the surrounding rooms to Tim Gunn make it work.

I needed to test my theory that this lighting would do so I took a quick test picture of the family as they were getting set.

I'm gonna throw this out there: This is my hands down favorite family picture ever. There's so much going on here that I love. Soak it all in, people. My family is one giant gem.

The next few pictures were taken rapid fire by Shelley's friend Jay (who came over thinking he was getting dinner, but really was getting roped into photographing our family and being yelled at about composition by me).

Eric managed to ruin the first set with impressive skill. I didn't know you could change your face that quickly on the rapid fire setting. Four pictures in a second and his face is different in them all. Subtle, but there. These were my two favorites.

My brudder.
He makes it interesting to say the least. If he's going to act like that then I vote for picture number 2 to be the ACCP. It also marks the only time in the evening that Lucy found him a)humorous b)approachable or c)interesting. She was a wee bit taken a'back by Eric and may have used Bubba as a humor shield on more than one occasion.

Then, we decided to take our turn at The Lucy Pose (two fingers in the mouth) as a possible picture. Like a visual shout out to Lu.

Again, Eric. Fantastic.

One out of 27 pictures taken is definitely "appropriate" and "typical" and could be the ACCP.

But I'm still pulling for the Griswold Picture to spread our holiday cheer when the time comes OR even one of the other fine specimens that we took. Looks like Fe has some tough choices to make.

What will she pick?
Tough to tell.

Good thing we have time to mull this over.

we almost did the pumpkin patch right.

We're not big into "standard" or "traditional" around here. I don't think we ever claimed to be, but I want to make sure it's noted. And it's not just us, it's a family thing.

I feel like Lucy is bearing the brunt of all the irreverence. She's receiving a concentrated version of "untraditional" as a sort of "prize" for us having gone (at some point) through the normal traditions ahead of her -- only to find out that normal isn't always that great. We wanted to make sure she never feels the pressure to be "normal".

I mean, really, think about it.

Her school pictures from last year?

The pearls. The "come hither". It may not be normal, but it sure as heck is "Lucy".

Or her Christmas picture last year.

Santa and the elves were pretty psyched to see at least one little girl who was sans a velvet red dress and an attitude. How could you have an attitude in a Yoda hat and a tutu onsey?

Point is: We never want Lucy feeling The Pressure. Shelley has always been very focal in wanting Lucy to "wear her geek on her sleeve" and I think we are on a good path.

So today, we got her ready for Pumpkin Patch-ing, us style.
First, Lucy dressed in her new favorite top -- she selected it from Target and insisted on it.

It's a boy's top. It's 24 months. She rocked it.
I insisted on zebra rain boots, but really? Why wouldn't I?

We actually made a pretty good run at traditional today.

I mean, not many families were pushing their baby through the parking lot in a wheelbarrow, but you know what? She loved it and I feel like maybe these were just stuffy patch people.

She fed the animals.

Kind of. More like, Shelley fed them and Lucy threw pellets at their faces and then was extremely taken back at their lack of desire for her "num nums". It was shocking.

And as we expected, she tried to convince us to get her the ugliest pumpkin in the pile.

And by pumpkin, I mean "apple". Every pumpkin was called an "apple." We gave up by the end and just soaked up the looks from the other families.

She did have a blast with this tradition.

Oh, and in (almost) two year old fashion, every pumpkin (apple) was "MINE!".


That's about the time we stepped back and looked at these pumpkins.

They were huge.
The line was long.
The rain was starting.
Lucy was having to be carried at this point.

Because that speedster couldn't be trusted anymore.

And we gave up. We figured, we did the pumpkin patch.
Ok, so we did the "patch" part, we just skipped the pumpkin part.

So, if Lucy asks you: yes, pumpkin patches are where pumpkins grow.
And grocery stores are where pumpkins are purchased.


We came really close to actually accomplishing a normal, traditional family event.
So close.

it's the little parts of marriage that just make it fun.

So, right, right, we're married, it's a partnership. It's equals. Oh yeah, there's nothing going on around here other than equalness. Equality baby. Chuck and I reside on one smooth level playing field.

We would never (never) have stand-offs with each other.

You understand the sarcasm here, right?
I'm just checking.

In our marriage, we like to have stand-offs for power. It's pretty much our favorite game. Trust me, stand-offs are totally normal and just a sign of love. LOVE, people. Because love is seeing which person breaks first and carries the Pile O' Life up the staircase. Who will it be? Who will back down?

Whoever does, well, they lost.
They gave in.
They may love more (and be willing to pull there weight around here), but they don't have The Power anymore - side note: at press time, we had yet to determine what The Power was and/or what good it was to even have when the other person now hates you for not picking your stuff up off the stair any of the 27 times you passed it during the day.

The stand-off for power has also happened with the Grocery Totes.

Because getting our groceries delivered isn't lazy enough.
Then, we have to add the "leave it in the foyer until someone cracks and gives in" game. Someone will break down and carry them to the garage.

Oh, and a new addition has been the power struggle over taking stuff upstairs that has been left on the corner of the kitchen counter.

Yes, that is a sailor's hat, and yes, I agree. I think the addition of this spot is what's confusing. All these items should have been added to the staircase, which is a Nationally recognized pile location.

The thing about the Clean Laundry Standoff is that usually it just naturally takes care of itself.

As in, eventually we run out of clothing and just start grabbing from The Pile, and yeah, it pretty much takes care of itself. Incidentally, I'm also relatively sure that this is how families on Hoarders get their starts.

Anything that can't fit in the dishwasher.

Well, that's just a given. No one (other than my mother) likes hand washing dishes.
At least, no one in this house.

And don't judge about the pictures. Obviously, they've been taken over time and I've collected them and fostered them and loved them....

They definitely were not all taken tonight after I realized we'd gone into a sort of Power Struggle Pile Overload and were in danger of needing to make pathways to get between the stacks. It would be so embarrassing if these were all pictures of our house in its current state... so embarrassing.

We've decided on a Piles Truce for this round since obviously, this got too big.
Though we didn't declare a winner, I would like it known that before said truce was announced Chuck washed the pan and carried the Grocery Totes to the garage.

I don't want to say "winner", but WINNER.


This marks my 300th post. Can you feel how big this is? I feel like this is important, or, at the very least, that I should hype it until it's important.

Kind of like the MTV Movie Awards and Water World.

I've decided to mark the occasion by recreating the movie 300 with treasured characters from The Blog. It seems fitting and a natural progression to me. I feel this is totally normal and not a bit weird.

300. Allison Wonderland style.
Own it people. It's like a commemorative poster. I feel like coffee mugs and pot holders should have been made. (Oh, and you may want to click the picture and enlarge it. I'm not trying to tell you how to run your life or read my blog, but, you know what? I am.)

On Sunday, I will lobby for ending the hunt and calling this The Family Christmas card picture, 2010, done and done. I'll need considerable backing of this motion from you all if this is going to work. Fe will be an easy one to appeal too. I feel like PK will be the hardest to sway.

Anyways, 300 posts and it all started with a few crummy pictures and captions so sad and pathetic, I can't believe that's how we began (note that I'm not linking you back to this post. It's that bad. If you want to find it, be my guest. But not on my watch.). Truth be told, I never meant for this to be anything more than an easy way for my out of town in-laws to see our then-new house and keep up on Jack's recovery from major surgery (I still can't talk about it).

But then Chuck hung a ship's wheel from our staircase.

And I found out that some people think our little life is funny.
Or sad. Very thin line between the two. Very thin.

Even though to us, going to Estate Sales,

And "winning" all this is totally normal. It still is.

But at least, what we think is a riot, you also seem to think is a riot.

Which says something.
About all of us.

But I'm glad I found you. And I'm glad I started this thing even though the upkeep is more time consuming than our house (I learned guilt trips from my grandmother).

I really do love it.

chubby cheeks and first cupcakes.

His little face had me melting Sunday.


His first birthday party was Sunday and of course, I brought the cameras.

I've come to realize that picture taking is a bit like my crutch at social events. It's not that I'm anti-social, it's just that I like doing something always. My cameras, they give me something to do and the need-for-constant-stimulus (aka middle child) part of me loves that. I have something to tinker with. Something to look at. Something to be my second activity.

I always have a second activity. Right now, it's TV and blogging. I could tell you every word being said on TV verbatim even though I'm typing the words for this post. Chuck needed my computer last night which forced me to watch a movie and ONLY that movie. I had no idea how to focus on only one thing. I don't think I comprehended the movie nearly as well as I could have. I totally should've read a book while it was on. Dang. Missed opportunity.

Talent? Or the product of middle-childhood.
Meh. It's my life coping mechanism and it works.

Anyways, I had a nice little Sunday snapping pictures at Tyson's party while hanging out with his fabulous family. It was quite a little event. I was most in-love with the menu: french fries, nuggets, and pb&j. As a notorious picky eater (who is a convicted "pre-eater" before events, just in case I don't like what's being served), I was so happy that there was food for my palate. My palate being the same as a 1 year olds. I feel I should work the first birthday circuit more. These are my people. Clearly.

Happy Birthday Tyson!
I can't believe it's been a year.
I really, really can't.

I may (may) have wiped his face off but left the mustache.
What? I wanted to see a glimpse at the future.

I feel the same.
How is that I'm always more exhausted after the weekend? I need another weekend, then I'll be ready for Monday.

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