Friday, December 31, 2010

2010: A Year in Review

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?

I guess I was pretty boring this year....because I can't think of anything at this moment! 

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I'm not a fan of New Year's resolutions.  I used to make them but they're short-lived.  I improve on things where I can, and let the rest lie.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

I did!  Our boy Sean was born in January.  I can't believe it's been almost a year already....  Also, there were three babies born on Brian's side of the family this year.  Lots of new kids to play with in years to come.  :) 

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Brian's grandmother passed away in June.  We really, really missed her at Thanksgiving this year, and every day.

5. What countries/places did you visit?

We drove out to Wisconsin to visit friends this past summer.  And I had my first trip to New York City!    

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?

I can't think of anything, 'cause I've gotten everything I've ever wanted.  Wait....I want to start my new job.

7. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

January 10, 2010....the day my youngest son was born!  That being said, there are no other dates etched upon my brain....'cause my brain's been compromised and I'm lucky I know who I am half the time.  :)

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Adjusting and being flexible.  Also, starting a weight loss program a week after Thanksgiving!!

9. What was your biggest failure?

Not being patient enough, especially with myself. 

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

It's been a good year.  (knocking on wood right now!)  No trips to the hospital, nothing crazy to get the doctor's opinion on!

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Brian and I bought a cruise for ourselves next summer!  Five days, four nights, just us.  :)

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Pass.  I can't think of anyone. 

 13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

I hate these kinds of questions.  I don't know, nothing really surprises me anymore.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Down the toilet.  Just kidding.  Mostly towards bills and necessities.  Not a lot of wiggle room for "extras" this year, but it was a good year.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Sean's birth, duh......  :)  Also, our trip to Wisconsin!  It was SO GREAT to be on vacation with the Ratties, checking out a different part of the country.  Ahhhh.

16. What song will always remind you of 2010?

Sadly, nothing comes to mind.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder? I've been some of both this year.  Some times have been harder than others.  But I've always been a "glass half-full" kind of girl and I've got lots of blessings to count.
b) thinner or fatter?   thinner.  Though 2010 got me on the right track to getting healthier, and 2011 will be even better.
c) richer or poorer? Richer in some ways....poorer in others.  I'm rich where it love and family.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Living in the moment.  Relishing life's simple pleasures.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?


20. How did you spend Christmas?

Happily celebrating with the boys and my whole family.  Goodness, I love a full house!!

21. Did you fall in love in 2010?

I fall in love a little bit more each and every day.

22. What was your favorite TV program?

I'm really enjoying How I Met Your Mother and 30 Rock.  The writing for those shows....genius. 

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

I make it a point not to hate anyone.  There's people that annoy me or I dislike, but hate's a pretty strong word.  (yes it's last year's answer, but it still applies!)

24. What was the best book you read?

I didn't read as much this year....once I got knitting I kind of forgot about reading. I did read some, though.  According to Goodreads, I read sixty-five books.  To be fair, these include books I read to the kids.  Most of what I read are cookbooks and knitting stuff.  if I had to pick a favorite for 2010,  I'd have to say The Help by Kathryn Stockett.  I'd also have to say that I really am looking forward to when the movie comes out!  (I don't say that very often about a book.)

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

I didn't discover anything musically this year really.

26. What did you want and get?

All my needs met, and some of my wants too.

27. What did you want and not get?

The uncanny ability to always be able to tell the difference between needs and wants!!  :)  I'm also disappointed that I haven't yet been able to grow a third arm or the fact that the government doesn't provide you with a personal assistant/maid/chef when you bring home a new baby.  (LOL!)

28. What was your favorite film of this year?

I can't think of a single movie that I was wowed....but I really can't say I saw too many that weren't animated.  I just saw Toy Story 3 and I'll admit it, it made me teary.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I had a fantastic birthday weekend.  Hubby let me sleep in, I got a manicure and pedicure, we went out on a Date Night the night before, and I had a fabulous dinner with my family at Longhorn Steakhouse.  Lots of simple pleasures, it was great!

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

A new job.  Talk to me in the Spring.  

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?

Thrown together and harried.  I am trying to make changes to that, though.  

32. What kept you sane?

Knitting.  Lots and lots of knitting.  My fiber addiction keeps me calm, that's for sure.    Also, learning to count to ten.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

None of ' over it.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." It's about time!!!

35. Who did you miss?

Lots of people.  All I can say is that I'm still very pleased with the invention of Facebook.   

36. Who was the best new person you met?

I've made some new friends in my knitting group, and gotten to know others better.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009.

If at the end of the day the kids are reasonably cared for, you have clean clothes and dishes, everyone's been fed and watered, it's been a good day!  The rest of it can fall by the wayside.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

"Aint no rest for the wicked, money doesn't grow on trees.  I got bills to pay, mouths to feed, aint nothing in this world for free.  I can't hold back, I can't slow down, you know I wish I could...but there aint no rest for the wicked, until we close our eyes for good."  (Cage the Elephant, "No Rest for the Wicked.")

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Mad Skills...

It's been nice knitting the few days, knowing that there's no hard and fast deadline for whatever it is that I am working on.

Two things that, when I started knitting a little over two years ago, that I never thought I would be able to do:

1.  Knit on double-point needles.  (dpn's)  I got two sets of square dpn's from my SIL for Christmas and after some fiddling and a fair amount of cursing, check it out!

Perhaps things like socks are now in my realm of possibility  :)  This is a pattern for a set of very simple arm warmers called "Toasty."  Basically it is just a tube, nothing fancy.  The yarn is Lion Brand Wool in cocoa.

2.  Garments!  Here is the sweater that I am working on for Will.  Well, the finished back of the sweater, anyway.

I've only been working on this since last week and it's really coming together nicely.  I picked Lion Brand Wool-Ease because A. the pattern suggested it and B.  if it's a sweater for a four-year-old boy, it damn well better be machine washable!!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Knitting

OK!  Now that Christmas Day has come and gone, I can talk about the fabulous knitting I did for my family this year!  I no longer have to stuff it in a bag when someone comes around the corner, or slip up and say the word "shawl" in mixed company.  Some secrets have been tough to keep in the past few months.

First, how about the hats for my Dad and my brother!

I bought this orange Berroco Alpaca back in February.  February, people!  I had a false start on a ribbed watch hat, circa 1945.  I discovered that I didn't like ribbing a whole hat, it's quite tedious.  The gray stripes were a mid-thought. 

Ahhhh....Dad's hat.  I knitted this twice.  The first time, I mis-read the sizing and when it was done, it fit Will.  Instead of my Dad.  Ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!!   This is from Lion Brand Wool-Ease in a colorway called Wheat.  Also bought in February.  (Procrastination, Huzzah!)

Will asked for some mittens and a hat, and he picked this yarn out himself when we were Christmas shopping together last month.  It's Paton's Classic Wool in a colorway called Palais.  I like it because he has two winter jackets, one is blue and gray and the other is red and black.  The yarn coordinates with both.  I do intend on making some i-cord so he can run the mittens down his jacket sleeves and they won't get lost.  The mitten pattern was pretty easy.  Though I do have big plans to finally learn how to knit in the round in 2011.  No more seaming!  (I hope, I hope)

I also knitted Sean a hat from some yarn I bought at Web's at the end of November.  However, I put it on his wee head right away because baby, it was cold outside!  It's really cute, made with Berkshire Bulky in "burgundy" with a stripe in "oatmeal."    I do wish I had made one with a chin strap, because he loves to take it off and throw it in the car.  I suppose it's not too late to pick up some stitches on either side and put one, though!

I made this scarf for my Mom back while I was on maternity leave.  (Turns out you *can* knit on very little sleep, as long as it's not too difficult of a pattern)  It's called a sampler scarf because it's broken up into different blocks and different stitch patterns.  I really enjoyed making it.  (the yarn is Lion Brand as well, in Jiffy.  Colorway:  fisherman)

And the piece de resistance??  A shawl for Kim, my sister-in-law.  It's called a Point-Edge Wrap, and the yarn that the pattern suggested, although very nice, was discontinued.  How dare they!   So I substituted Lion Brand Baby Alpaca.  It's from their swanky collection that's not available in stores, only online or at their flagship store in New York City.  (Which I went to in October!  It was quite a treat.)  I started this thing mid-September and I was fretfully weaving in the ends and glancing at the clock, wondering if it was going to make it under the tree!!  The pattern wasn't difficult, just tedious.  The end result was totally worth it, though.

The only gift that didn't make it for Christmas was a hat for my dear Hubby.  However, as soon as I finish my baby hats for Sean's Birthday, I will make him one.  No way is his head going to go hatless.  I don't care if "the cobbler's kids go without shoes," this knitter's family will be well-covered!

Happy Christmas, and Happy Knitting!  I've already got ideas floating around my head for next year...

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Baby's First Christmas

Who needs presents when no one is guarding the remote controls from my Death Grip??

"Somebody's" pajamas kept popping open....guess a certain baby is almost ready for size 12 month clothes!

It's...Baby in a Box!

A Very Happy Christmas

Our Christmas, in photos...

 Watching the cookies bake with Daddy

 A teething Sean waiting for a Christmas Eve treat

 Mommy!  Santa came!!!

 Sean was a little confused at first but he loves tissue paper and boxes

 Ooh!  I like Santa!

 Decorating Sugar cookies

 Nana is enjoying decorating the sugar cookies, too  :)

 Mama making a cheese tray before dinner.

 The finished cookies.  Mmmm!

 A running brother's nickname at his old job is "Waldo."  as in "Where's Waldo."  We all had a good laugh at the t-shirt my mom found for him!

 Seanie and Daddy posing for a pic

 Will, Auntie Kim, my cousin Matt and my brother Brian

Aunt Nancy holding a sleepy Sean

Friday, December 24, 2010

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!  To all our friends and family that are spending Christmas alone because they can't make it home, you're in our hearts and thoughts.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Eve Traditions

When I think of Christmas Eve in my formative years, I remember two things:  after church we would have a spaghetti supper, and my brother and I would play cards until it was time to go to bed.  I miss spaghetti, and playing Albanian or Spit.  (I have no idea if "Albanian" is the actual name of the card game, but that's what my family has always called it.)  Then I would wake up at like 1AM and do my "big sister duty," climb the stairs and rouse my brother awake so we could go downstairs and look at the tree and see what Santa left!  I'm the oldest and yet I was always the one so excited to go and see the tree and goodies!  As the years went by there was still spaghetti and Albanian, but as teenagers we would have to be roused out of our beds.  The wonderment was gone.  Sure, there were still lots of happy surprises and beautiful Christmases.   But there's a reason why people say "Christmas is for and about the children."

Luckily, you don't realize that you get to experience that through your own children.  It's this wonderful surprise, looking at Christmas through their eyes.  Telling them stories about Santa Claus, and making believers out of them.  I like to think that it's wonderful for the grandparents as well, to have someone in the family that is in awe of the holidays again.  I know it won't last forever, it never does.  But for me, even though the holidays can be stressful and crazy, it's about family.  It's the Christmas Dinner that we all sit down for.  And especially, it's to see the surprise and happiness in those two little boys.

In our house, I'm going back to the tradition of the spaghetti supper on Christmas Eve.  I used to get fancier but I've discovered something that my mother has probably always known:  not only does everyone like spaghetti, it cooks in a flash and doesn't create a lot of dishes on Christmas Eve!  The boys are too young for cards but I hope to teach them when they are older.  Brian and I have always had a tradition of opening one gift on Christmas Eve.  And every single year, Brian reads "The Night Before Christmas" and we leave cookies and milk for Santa and popcorn for his reindeer. 

What are some of the traditions that you honor with your family?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Story of the Pre-Lit Christmas Tree

Growing up, we almost always had a fake tree.  Then my parent's tree, at twenty or so years old, fell apart.  The next year we had a real tree and it was MAGICAL!!  However, it was a lot of work and a new artificial tree was procured at the after-Christmas sales.  I always thought that I would be the kind of person who would insist on a real tree in my own home.

Well, that is just not so.  For the first few years we lived in our home (and I can't believe it's going to be NINE years this May, BTW) we had a real tree.  And we discovered just how much work a real tree is.  First, you have to buy it every year, and get it home.  Then it would sit outside until we were ready to bring it in.  Then you had to put it in a special tree stand and let it "rest" and settle it's branches.  You have to be especially careful to water it regularly and add that stuff to the water.  And make sure to keep your dog from drinking the water or they'll get really sick.  Or Horrors!  A dog will visit your home and think it's really cool that you installed an indoor doggie bathroom and take a whiz on your presents under the tree!  (We forgive you Benny, we know you'd never seen a live tree in someone's home!)  Not to mention the vacuuming, and how your vacuum starts to choke on the pine needles.  And don't even get me started on those huge bags that are supposed to make disposal easy!  What a joke!

So when my parents got a "pre-lit" Christmas tree, I thought it was a pretty good idea.  Brian was on a business trip in Texas when I found one that I liked in BJ's Wholesale.  HUGE trees come in a HUGE box, and I was alone on this shopping excursion.   Somehow I wrangled the box onto a cart, paid for it and got it outside to load into my Ford Escape.  And I wrestled that sucker into the back of the Escape, huffing and puffing the whole way and with people staring.  I was NOT going home without it!  However, when I got home, I realized that there was no way in hell that I was going to get the box up the porch stairs and into the house on my own.  Thanks to a pleading phonecall to my Dad, it was taken care of.

Then, something peculiar happened.  My parent's tree lost all its power, after one or two seasons.  Brian did his best to repair it but it was declared a lost cause.  And now, after it's fourth Christmas in our home, our tree appears to be doing the same thing.  Every day I notice that "my fabulous Christmas tree deal" is getting darker, and I'm so irritated about it I wanted to throw it out onto the front lawn and stomp on it!  (no kidding....I know someone that did that once!)  Unfortunately, I think it's destined for the trash after the season is over.  So who knows what next year will bring....a new tree?  Or will we go back to real trees?  Decisions, Decisions......

Just...Two...More...Days....I can make it!

Just two more days of working (and one of those days is today!) and I will be on Christmas vacation for a week.  And next week, I work ONE day and get a long weekend.  I think I can, I think I can.....

I started wrapping gifts the other night, I really hate wrapping everything all at once.  I have spent more than one Christmas Eve wrapping presents and cursing.  A little every night and it'll allllllll get done.  After about an hour my back starts to ache and I stop, not wanting to make it worse.  Then it's my comfy chair in the living room and whatever project I am working on, plus TV Time with Hubby.  More often than not, he's folding laundry while watching the Flyers. 

 All of the Christmas knitting is DONE!!!!  I weaved in the ends of my last project last night.  Y'know, like most knitters, I lovelovelove to knit, and HATEHATEHATE finishing work.  Like seams.  Or those damn ends.  That's what usually brings out the cursing like a sailor in me. 

All of the Christmas cards are out!  I put the last three in the mailbox this morning, along with a gift for Brian's parents.  We have big plans to Skype on Christmas morning and have the boys open their presents then. 

Friday will be a day of hustle and bustle, but thank goodness not in stores.  Well, maybe a little time in the grocery store, since no matter how well we plan there's always something that we need for Christmas dinner. 

So, two days, today and tomorrow.  That's what stands between me and Christmas Break.  For three days next week I'll get to be a stay-at-home mom with my kiddos and it's going to be great.  (Power of positive thinking!!!!)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Slip n Slide

On this lovely Winter Solstice, Mother Nature gave us a gift....snow!!!

Not too much snow, mind you.  But enough to be slippery and a crappy drive.  I had two place to drop kids off this morning, and on the way I made the executive decision that the Big One was not going to school today.  There were road closures and accidents, and the two-mile drive to the daycare was a trepid snails' pace.  So a quick phonecall and Will was ecstatic that he was going to "Auntie's" with his brother!  Especially when he found out that there would be Christmas movies.  He promised me he'd be on his absolute best behavior today.

The drive from there....took half an hour to go about five miles.  But I'm here and in one piece!  And not leaving until it's time to go home.  Those errands outside of the building can surely wait.  Welcome to a New England winter!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Fabulous Birthday Weekend!

It was my birthday this weekend and guess what?  It didn't snow, and nobody was sick!  It was a fantastic weekend, with lots of cheer and lots of plans.  On Saturday night, Nana came over to watch the boys while Brian and I went on a date night.  We had dinner at one of my favorite seafood restaurants in the city and then caught a movie.  (Love and Other  We did see previews of Natalie Portman's "Black Swan" and it looks creepy and intriguing....adding to my list)

Yesterday morning brought a fabulous bagel and cream cheese, then playing with the boys, opening presents and furiously working on my last knitted Christmas gift.  Then I took myself out and treated myself to a pedicure, manicure and blowout.  The weekend was capped off with dinner with my parents, brother and sis-in-law and hubby and kids at Longhorn Steakhouse.  I wasn't exactly good with the caloric intake, but isn't that what birthdays are for?

In short, it was a simple, happy birthday and lots of small things made me very happy.  Happy Birthday to me  :)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Confusion

Will is very big into Santa this year, but he has some conflicting ideas.  They're really cute though.

I was wrapping gifts for Daddy and Will was very excited about it.  He said "Let's make sure to give those to Santa so he can deliver them to Daddy!!"  Do you hear that, Santa?  We're adding to your to-do list.  Not only are you going to deliver presents to all the good boys and girls, you are now going to be UPS.  :)

He also insists that he must wear a Santa hat to bed every night, in order for Santa to come.   That's right, Santa is sending down his elves to make sure that Will has the proper headgear while at rest. I'm not sure how this figures into the equation, but if it makes him happy, then I'm happy!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sending out Birthday Surprises

I signed up at the beginning of the year on Ravelry for a Birthday Swap. The concept behind the swap is that everyone loves surprises for their birthday!  Seriously, there's nothing like coming home and finding a package full of goodies like yarn and handmade items.   Since my birthday is in December, I had a looong time to wait for my turn!  In October I was assigned a partner who also is a December baby and we are supposed to swap birthday packages.  The requirements included that we had to send one food treat, at least one skein of yarn and one handmade item.  The rest of the package was up to us, after some "stalking" to find out your partner's likes, dislikes, favorite things, etc.

My package was sent to the Northern Maine Coast this week.  Here is what my lovely Birthday Partner will be receiving:

-Tazo Chai Tea
-Hershey's Chocolate Covered Pretzels
-sm container Jelly Belly/Coldstone Jelly Beans
-one skein Stroll laceweight yarn in Ultramarine
-Yankee Candle ramekins
-Froggy stitch markers and row counter from Etsy
-two skeins of Specialty Alpaca sockweight yarn from the New England Fiber Festival (I'd call the color Peacock green)  I have no idea which booth I bought this, but it was a farm in upstate NY that dyed and spun it)
-two scented pencils made from recycled newspapers
-"initial" stationery

And my favorite thing in the whole package....

Old Shale Lace Scarf (made by me!) in blue Jojoland Melody fingering yarn.  This is the same yarn and pattern that Baby mangled on our way home from PA.  LOVE IT!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Hold On to That Feeling

This morning, was a miracle.  We all got up, and did exactly what we were supposed to do.  I didn't have to yell because of potty training, dawdling breakfasts or teeth-brushing.  Makeup and hair were done in a timely fashion.   The baby, who cried and wanted to be held all weekend because he's pushing THREE TEETH woke up in good spirits and did not begrudge Mama for putting him in the exersaucer to watch Playhouse Disney and eat cheerios with his big brother.  I got to have a veggie omelette and a strawberry smoothie for breakfast.  No lunchboxes were forgotten, and the diaper bag had plenty of clothes as back-up for the day's activities.  And the best part of all....Brown Doggie, who's been missing for a few weeks, turned up in my raincoat pocket!  Will was so happy, he sat and hugged his best pal for a good five minutes. 

After so many mornings of the complete opposite of all of these things happening all at once, causing a downward spiral and me arriving to work half an hour late, frazzled and forgetful, I deserved this!!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Baby Burrito...

...Or, my Hooded Baby Blanket is finished!

This is a gift for my friend Danielle, who is expecting her first child in January.  She is having a boy, and I liked this colorway of Nature's Choice Organic Cotton from Lionbrand.   This pattern is meant for a small baby, so Danielle will be able to wrap the baby for the first two months or so in this cuddly blanket.  It came out really cute!

To turn a baby into a burrito, follow these three  simple steps:

1.  Lay hooded baby blanket out flat.

2.  Put baby in middle of blanket, and fold sides in over baby.  Place hood over baby's crown.

3.  Tuck bottom of blanket over baby.  And try not to melt from the cuteness!

Teddy bear used for emphasis; your "baby"  may vary.  :)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas Memories: The Neighbor's Tree

I was talking to my mom last night, making arrangements for her to watch the boys while Brian and I go out to celebrate my birthday next weekend.  She says to me, "Oh, by the way, just want to let you know that the Monsey Family's tree in their front yard is lit."  To which I replied, "Ok, I'll be right over to take care of that!"

The year is 1989....and I am thirteen years old.  Every night after dinner, my ten-year-brother and I are assigned the chore of taking our dog Ralph for a walk.  Neither one of us is really crazy about this chore because Ralphie can take forever to do his business and Dad insists that he needs to go out for at least a twenty-minute walk.  (Nope, we were not the kind of family that just let the dog out into the yard.  Yes, we are NOW the kind of family who lets the dog out in the yard!!)  Thirteen and ten are a funny tend not to get along.  But we had the common ground of both believing that yes, it's freakin' cold outside and this is sooooooooooooo boring. We'd begrudgingly do one lap up the side street by our house and one lap back, so we could move on to more interesting teenage things.  (i.e. yakking on the phone or pissing each other off)

As we were walking down the side street, we noticed that the Monseys had lit their huge pine tree in their front yard.  We stopped to admire, and then one of us "decided" that it would be great fun to pull one of the lights out of the socket.  These were the days in which one light went out, the whole string went out.  It became a nightly tradition, one of us would think it was great fun to pull a bulb and put it in their pocket, shorting out a whole string on the tree.  And for twenty minutes in the day, we'd have some fun together.

Well, Mrs. Monsey didn't think it was all that funny.  As a matter of fact, she had noticed that a string would go out on the tree around the same night every night and she was mighty tired of putting a replacement bulb into a strand of lights every day.  So she decided one night to sit in her car and wait for whoever was ruining her decorations.  Sure enough, Brother and I come up the street with Ralph and we pull out a bulb.  She guns her engine and we take off!!!  However, we didn't get far because we all know that cars are faster than even the most-determined-to-escape kids.  She cornered us down the street in front of another house, and gave us a tongue lashing.  All I could do was stammer...." you want your lights back?"  I had a handful of them in my coat pocket!!   She took them back and said that she would be sure to call our parents to tell them what we had done.

My brother and I knew that we were done for.  We balefully walked back to the house, and when we entered  my mother said "Well, is there anything that you want to tell me??"  We took a chance and lied:  "No?"  and it worked!  For years, my mother never knew what we had done, it was our secret.

A few years later, my mother mentioned that Mrs. Monsey wasn't acting very friendly and she wondered why.  And I threw us under the bus:  "Maybe it's because Brian and I stole lights off her Christmas tree a few years ago."  WHAT?????  Mom called Mrs. Monsey to apologize and Mrs. Monsey laughed, they both had a good chuckle over it.

Every year, when I see that tree up, I *still* want to pull a light off of it.  And I think I could make a getaway now.  :)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

There's A Naughty List?????

Had I not already ordered a photo for a Christmas card, this would be it!  :)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Shopping with Dad

Christmas shopping with my Dad has been an annual tradition since I was.....twelve?  I think I've only missed it once, last year when I was so pregnant I could barely get out of my own way, much less waddle around a crowded mall.  :)  But yes, every year, usually the first weekend of December, I go out with my Dad and we shop for my mom.  With a list.  Yes, a list that my Mom has made.  :)  At this point Dad probably could get the things on the list on his own, but I think that he looks forward to the one-on-one time and I know that I do, too.  Plus, in this crazy, hectic life of mine, it's one day that I get to spend child-free and shopping. 

I went to their house to get him, which also happens to be the house I grew up in.  We usually get some lunch someplace, and then we conquer The List.  This year's list was very easy and, as in recent years, included things that could be ordered online.  That is usually accomplished by Dad handing me his credit card because, according to him, "I'm good with the computer."  The shopping that we actually had to go to a store for was close by and we finished in good time. 

When we got back to the house, he was delighted to see that my brother was there, returning Dad's truck that he had borrowed that morning to pick up some furniture for their new house.  For a brief few minutes, it was just the four of us:  Mom, Dad and their two grown kids, chatting in the kitchen.  I've got to tell you, it is a warm feeling, the original inhabitants of said childhood home, together again.  No spouses, no children.  Just the four of us, like it was for so many years.  Nostalgic.  :)  Mom went downstairs to fold some laundry and the three of us, laughing the whole time, spirited through the house, hiding gifts to be later wrapped by Dad while Mom is at work.  Dad even helpfully suggested that he wrap the gifts that I had gotten for some of the kids in the family at the annual Holiday get-together with my Dad's side of the family the day after Christmas.  Awesome, now I don't have to spend days explaining several times "No, boys.  Those gifts are for your cousins, not you!"

Another awesome time, and another thing to check of the old "To-Do" list. 

Friday, December 3, 2010

Math Anxiety

One morning last week, I was knitting and drinking a cup of coffee before work, and watching "The Wonder Years."  I start many mornings like this, 20 minutes of an old TV show, a few rows knitted and a cup o' joe do wonders for my day.  Most mornings I'm alone in doing so, but this particular morning, Will popped out of bed early on his own and joined me.  Surprisingly, he did not come barrelling into the living room as he usually likes to and attempt a coup to watch a kids show.  Instead, he snuggled up on the couch and started watching with me.

The episode featured Kevin Arnold (played by Fred Savage) and his first day of eighth grade.  He thought it was going to be a great year; everything was going his way, his classes were looking easy, he has his best friend and his best girl and life looks good.  But then it happens:  he walks into.......algebra class.  The teacher is a tough one, and the subject is really hard for Kevin, who is used to pulling good grades with considerable ease.  Kevin contemplates cheating on a test in order to bring up his grade, and the stress is palatable to all involved.  The episode ends with Kevin getting the help he needs and everything is hunky-dory again.

I watched this episode with trepidation, remembering exactly how I felt in the same situation:  helpless.  As the equations were written on the blackboard, I felt mini heart palpitations.  It is nice that the world of television could give little Kevin Arnold a happy ending, though it doesn't always work that way in real life.  I said aloud, "When it comes to all that crazy stuff and the boys need help with their algebra homework, Hubby is going to need to do it."  Will said "What homework?  What are you talking about, Mommy?"

Here's the thing:  I am thirty-three years old.  I am a competent adult functioning in the world.  I can figure out the square footage of a room, calculate the tip at the end of a restaurant meal and compute how big of a roast beef I need to buy to feed my family and guests at Christmas.  (The answer is half a pound per person, so if you're expecting ten people, you should get at least five pounds.  Unless you want leftovers, too.)  I can puzzle out how much yarn I need for a project, and I can figure out at the grocery store if something "on sale" really is a good bargain.   AND as a Property Manager for assisted housing, I'm required to calculate an annual recertification for all forty-six of my tenants regarding their income and assets.  I am absolutely unstoppable with an adding machine!  I had to get certified to do this kind of work, and I passed the test on my first shot.  So why, upon watching this episode, am I feeling anxious about something that I experienced in practically another lifetime! 

And then it hit me.  I'm not so much anxious about the math anxiety that I had back then, I'm dreading the idea of passing it on to my kids.  But how do I avoid passing on my fear of high school math?  They shouldn't carry the thoughts of "I can't do this, this is so difficult!" because their Mom felt that way.   (and apparently still does)  I want them to be clean slates, with no formulated opinion about difficulty level of one subject matter over another.  Wanting this is one thing, making it happen is certainly another. 

As for "Math-Challenged Mama" over here:  that was twenty years ago, and I am no longer that person.  It's time to let it go.  :)


The weight center appointment wasn't nearly as intimidating as I would have thought.  And it turns out that I knew someone in the group, making Hubby's "Geez, you know someone EVERYWHERE you go!" truer all the time.  (It was a mom from my playgroup, we have sons the same age)

Anyway, I was the first person there, I had gotten there a little early and I had brought some knitting to keep me busy.  (Christmas goes with me everywhere with the hopes that it'll get done in time!)    The leader of the group gave me some paperwork, including a printout of what I weighed at intake and what my goal weight was for the fifteen weeks.  Then she said "Whenever you're ready, I'll weigh you."  I chuckled a little joke, "Ohhhhh, I'll never be "ready."  But I'll do it anyway!"

 I stepped on the scale and shielded my eyes, thinking I'd be horrified by the number that popped up, recounting two Thanksgiving dinners and all the crap we ate in Philly this past weekend."  Boy, was I pleasantly surprised, I've lost three pounds since the beginning of November!  And that is despite the two Thanksgivings!  (I didn't go hog-wild at either one, I ate what I wanted and nothing more.)  Guess those three weeks of eating healthfully and being mindful of portion sizes/junk food pre-Thanksgiving paid off.  :)  I could not be happier with my first week.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

First Weight Center Appointment

My first weight center appointment is tonight.  It's been so long since I signed up for this, and I haven't been nervous.

Until now.

Here's a photo to act as a baseline.  I'm not crazy about it, I really don't like to have my picture taken in the past couple of years.  But it's a good way to see how far I've come.  And to show later on, that Mom really did go on all those vacations, etc.  :)    So here it is:  the beginning.

taken 11/23/10

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Snowman Band Rides Again

It's that time....when the decorations come out, so do the members of Will's "Snowman Band."  I like to take photos of Will with them just to show how much he's grown/changed in the past year.

Last year, age three

This year:

And of course, Snowman Band, The Next Generation: