It's beginning to smell like Christmas ...

Burnt cookies, brownies, cakes and pies.

That's what Christmas smells like in our household (mainly because when I finally scrounge up enough time to bake I also use it as an opportunity to do millions of other things and then neglect my sweet treats).

Pearyn is starting to get into the holiday spirit of things, which isn't hard considering our house is slowly looking like Christmas threw up all over it. From ornaments randomly dotting our tabletops, tree and counters, garland strewn about the window fixtures and real, pokey, authentic pine needles jutting out from our carpet, I'm pretty sure we're living in the house Christmas did NOT forget.

Did I mention my husband discovered the 24/7 holiday tunes channel Direct TV offers? I'm starting to think Christmas may actually overlap a few weeks because it's going to take us that long to clean everything up. Actually, with the effort we've put into decorating, I might just throw a few plastic Easter eggs or shamrocks around and pretend our "Christmas" village is really a "St. Patrick Day's Village" or the "Easter Bunny's Village" and call it a day.

I wish I could claim that brilliant idea as my own, but alas it is inspired by my Aunt Rosie who once left her artificial Christmas tree up year round by trading ornaments for pink hearts, red white and blue ribbons, and pretty much any other garb you'd use to decorate for EVERY holiday under the sun.

Speaking of a tree, this is our first official Christmas with a real, live tree. No, not just a real tree, I mean a seriously, still-living, giant bundle of roots and dirt, plant in the ground when Christmas is over, real tree.

No, we're not crazy (although yes, we are kind of hippie), it was a tradition in my husband's family and we've decided to carry it on. So when our plump Judy has served her time as a Christmas tree (yes, we named our Christmas tree), she'll find a home in the back yard among the other trees speckling our yard. I just hope she fits in.

In other news, Pearyn isn't thrilled about our new addition, Judy, and usually cries whenever you put her near her, walk by her or place her in the same vicinity as her. And here I was worried I was going to have to keep Pearyn away from the tree, turns out she can't get far ENOUGH away.

She did however, thoroughly enjoy the lights.

While trying to clean up and prepare for the upcoming weeks of Christmas merriment (and the hoards of cookies, guests and crinkled wrapping paper it brings with it), I've been attempted to stay up-to-date on all those pesky household chores like vacuuming, not only doing the laundry but actually putting it away and the both loading and unloading the dishwasher. Side note -- what did people do before this metal box of Heaven was designed?

I haven't been without help though, as Pearyn has apparently grown very attached to the dishwasher. No, seriously, I can't keep her away from it. If we want to accomplish anything without her throwing a tantrum we have to put her in the living room all the way by the front door (the furthest visible spot from the dishwasher) and try to round up all the dirty dishes in the 15 seconds it takes her to crawl over. If we fail our mission, she usually ends up climbing up inside the dishwasher. And being the responsible parent I am, rather than stop her from doing this, I'll just take a photo.

I sincerely hope she is this into the dishwasher when she's a teenager. I have the perfect chore in mind for her ...

Speaking of responsible parenting, we're now taking bets on how long it will be until she gets her first set of stitches. My husband is a bit more optimistic than I am, but if she can make it to one year of age without requiring them I'll consider myself lucky. She's getting into any and every thing. And not just "getting" into it, but crawling, climbing, rolling and falling into it all. At just 7 months she's already pulling herself into a standing position and testing out gravity by letting go. We've already had several close calls with the DVD player, speaker system and of course, dishwasher.

At this rate ... she's going to be walking next month and driving the month after that.

Can she PLEASE stop growing up so fast?


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