White Pine, and the world over, according to Carina: the ordinary is extraordinary. A day filled with events that we adults often overlook as nothing more than routine, mundane, and normal is cast in a completely different light when viewed through Carina's wide eyes: it is an adventure into Wonderland.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Our Apologies to Thanksgiving

Dear Thanksgiving,

You are important to us and you will be observed this Thursday just as you are every 4th Thursday of November. We will gorge ourselves to the point of no return and beyond recognition and we won't regret a single bite of it.

This year, however, we have begun celebrating Christmas prior to your passing. This is a first for us, too, so bear with us, and most especially with Carina. She's new at this holiday thing and though she is a master at schedule adherence in her daily routine, she's not yet aware of the order in which holidays occur according to calendar year. Yes, we her parents are fully aware of the hard and fast facts of the Gregorian/ Western/ American-Mayflower-Pilgrims ( etc.) Calendar in which Thanksgiving precedes Christmas, and, yes, we are using her lack of awareness to our family's collective advantage and impulse satisfaction, but, to be completely honest, we just couldn't wait to see the look on her face once the newest edition to our family, the Christmas-Tree-of-all-Christmas-Trees, had been assembled (yes, it's fake) and lit. Please forgive us this time, Thanksgiving, though I have a feeling it won't be the last.

Carina was appointed Head of Ornament Hanging and Arranging and excelled tremendously...

Jared was hard at work cutting and tying hemp twine to hang the ornaments while Carina continued her arduous task of inspecting and gathering shatter-proof (good thing they were, too...) ornaments. We decided to go with hemp twine to hang them because it doesn't feel like a tiny and annoyingly prick-y knife stabbing into your bare foot if you happen to step on it. Good call.

While Jared and Carina were hard at work, Mama was over-zealously playing with her camera (obviously) because...drumroll, please...IT'S WORKING AGAIN! Turns out it just needed new batteries. Thanks for that brilliant insight, Papaw. LOL! All day Sunday was so completely perfect that not much, if anything, could be done to improve on it. We got the tree up, it came pre-lit (score!) so we just had to hang ornaments, spread out a super-soft, neutral colored, and useable-year-round blanket around its base as a treeskirt, and imbibe. It was the first time I've ever had a beer in one hand and a Christmas ornament in the other and it was such an oh-so-satisfying-feeling. Festive in more ways than one, no doubt!
Our recently discovered and current favorite:

And then there was dancing. There has to be festive dancing whenever the Christmas tree is getting decorated. Normally, families listen to Christmas music and get all wrapped up in "Silver Bells", "Blue Christmas", and rock out with "Jingle Bell Rock", but Carina opted for Jason DeRulo's "Whatcha Say". She loves Pop music: the more complicated the beat, the better, it seems, too. Since Christmas music isn't on the radio yet for this Holiday Season, it was a (somewhat) fair trade off. I'm hoping she takes to overplayed Christmas music as enthusiastically as she does to overplayed Pop music...

One can hope, right?

She cares an awful lot about her tree: she says,"Hi, Tree!" when she first sees it (either first thing each morning or when she gets home from school) and says,"Bye, Tree!" whenever she's leaving the room, even at bedtime. Mamaw said it best,"She's really going to get into Christmas
this year..."

It looks like she's well on her way.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

"Thaaaaaat's Elmooooo's Worrrrrrrrrrrld!"

Have you ever loved someone or something so much that your love became an obsession? His or her image racing through your thoughts a million times per second, at least every other request akin to him or her in some way, and just the very mention of his or her name filled your innards with glee and swarming Monarch butterflies?
Maybe it was just puppy love:

and you either outgrew it or once the newness of it faded, you moved on to someone or something 'newer', better, and probably more fun with more in 'the looks department'.
Maybe it was everlasting:
In Carina's world, Elmo is all there ever has been. He gives her the multitudes of butterflies, he is the center of her universe, and he is Carina's 3rd most requested entity (Dada and Mama are tied for 1st and 2nd place). From the ripe old age of 3 months, she has been transfixed by this fire engine red descendant of The Muppets. While others may have differing opinions on the topic of The Muppets' having spawned the majority of all Sesame Street characters (both past and present), I'm convinced that Elmo is the lovable, literate, and perpetually 3 year old offspring of these 2 heart-ed individuals:
What does this have to do with Carina? No need to adjust the color settings of your monitor/ iPad / etc. Unless you're red-green colorblind, you're well aware of what this has to do with our little costumed Carina. She got her wish: a wish she probably didn't even realize she had. She was Elmo...for about 2 hours. Complete with hairbows! For her 1st celebrated Halloween, she was quite the trooper. Last year's Halloween, she was outfitted in orange-black striped leggings, a black onesie with a glow-in-the-dark ghost on the chest and was strapped into her carseat for 11.5+ hrs while travelling home from her Aunt Darci's wedding. =) And the year before that, she was the 'gem' of my 80s Treasure Troll costume while in utero. That kinda sounds creepy...ah, well.
Dada had a brilliant idea: let's put bows in 'her fur' so she's not mistaken for a boy! And so we did. While this worked very well for us and there was no confusion whatsoever regarding Carina's gender, I only wish that the parents of children whose gender is not clearly obvious and yet are determined to masquerade their children around in non-gender specific costumes would save me the painful embarrassment of referring to their little girls as..well, boys. Yes, that happened. And the child is a friend of Carina's from school who Mama didn't recognize. Crap. Our next parental run-in at school will be, to put it simply, "awkward".
Carina was not immediately taken with her fur and neither were the animals. Cheddar rubbed against her once and scurried off after he realized that she felt different. Jacques took one look, turned tail, and disappeared under the bench. Their uncertainty was not enough to silence her 'cat calls' though (see above photo). Wee, Booger, and Cruiser, were somewhat standoffish, but granted permission for one brief photo-op.
Elmo-Carina with Booger's hiney

Papaw, Elmo-Carina, and Mamaw

We didn't make it out and about early enough for Trunk or Treat at her school. It was complete smalltown pan-de-mo-ni-um by 6 o'clock in Dandridge, so we sheared Elmo because she was sweatin' buckets (seriously) and opted for Food City for grocery shopping. Next year we will head out earlier (around 4pm) and get a primo spot in Dandridge. That's totally the place to be around here! The majority of businesses in 'downtown' are open and handing out treats, some convert their spaces into haunted attractions, a couple of aware cops (and one 'a zombie likely ate my brain' cop) direct traffic, and supreme people watching vantage points from the courthouse steps and the main street. I can't tell you how many 'OMG Moments' we had while spectating at the spectacles of costumed folks. Frankly, some people's costumes were likely their daily get-ups and we just didn't know it. Since I had already learned my lesson from the gender discernment fiasco, I decided it best not to comment on costumes that might not be costumes. You never know what you're going to see around here...
Carina didn't seem to notice the difference between this day and any other: she was Elmo.
And that's all that mattered.