Friday, December 30, 2011

2011: A Year In Review

It's that time see what went down in 2011.  I always enjoy reading my answers from the year before.

1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?

I went on my very first cruise.  And it was everything that Brian and I had hoped that it would be:  the most relaxing and fun vacation that we have ever taken!  It's become an inside joke, when things get hectic one of us will sigh and say "I miss Josh."  "Josh" was the cruise director, and responsible for our fun for four days.  It was a trip without kids, and it was awesome.  Someday we'd like to do a cruise WITH the kids too, when they're a little older.

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

I really don't "do" New Years Resolutions.  However, in 2012 I will be starting the "Day Zero Project..."  which is like a list of things that you want to accomplish in 1,001 days.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Good Lord, who didn't?  It was the year of babies, with friends and family having children.  Plus, my beautiful niece Abby was born in November.  So excited for my brother and his wife, and thrilled to have a girl in the family to knit for!

4. Did anyone close to you die?  

My uncle passed away unexpectedly in May.  He was my Dad's older brother.

5. What countries/places did you visit?

Our cruise took us to Saint John New Brunswick, Canada.  I had never been there before and it was a nice little city.  I was especially happy to be there at the time that we were, there was a horrific heatwave going on at home and it was a balmy seventy-five degrees in Saint John!

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?

  Sanity! Just kidding.....  2011 was a tough year in some ways, but we are all healthy, have plenty of food and a roof over our heads.  We're both employed and have many other things that lots of people out there don't have.  So I feel blessed.

7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

I don't remember any of the exact dates, but this year's weather has been particularly noteworthy.  First, the winter brought heavy wet snow once or twice a week.  Then in June, there was a tornado.  A pretty big tornado that devastated cities and towns to the west of us, and got into Central MA.  Then it was followed by a hurricane at the end of the summer, a HURRICANE!  We got a bit of rain damage on that one in our bathroom, rain was blowing into the house vent and it ruined our ceiling.  Again, the cities and towns to the west of us, who hadn't recovered yet from the tornado, got dumped on once again.  And just to keep things interesting, a freak snowstorm the last weekend of October!  Halloween was certainly interesting this year.  Many people were without power around us for up to a week, we hosted friends and families for food, showers, recharging devices, etc.  We were very, very lucky through all of this, never losing power more than a couple of hours.  Based on the year that  it has been weather-wise, I don't dare ask what Mother Nature has up her sleeve.  Or question her mood.  :)

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I managed to work three jobs at once.  I worked at my current building while running applications at the new building, plus did some coverage at yet another building.  It was a ridiculously busy November and December, but when I am sitting in my new office next March, it will be all worth it.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Not taking care of myself better.  I tend to do for everyone, and forget to take care of me.  I really need to work on that.  Plus, I tend to take on too much personally and professionally, and not realize until I'm in the thick of it.

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!  Some antibiotics in our household, but nothing serious.  We are very, very lucky!  Especially with our daredevil younger son!

11. What was the best thing you bought?

The best thing that we bought was time and memories with the boys.  We took them to a couple of children's museums, parks, and shows.  We went to PA to visit Grandmom and Grandpop.  Best money spent:  going places with the kids.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
All of those Secret Santas that paid off people's Walmart and Kmart layaways this year for kids' Christmases.  I loved, loved, loved those stories!

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Crazy Black Friday shoppers.  I mean a video game system for your kid worth your life?? Do you really need to bring pepper spray?  This is why I stay home on Black Friday.  No deal is worth it to me to get trampled, shuffled or pushed around.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Bills, bills bills.  Same place they always go.  BUT we did pay off my husband's car and get our driveway re-done in anticipation of putting the house on the market in the next year or so.  A little bit at a time, we'll get there.

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

Hmmm.  Well, not to sound repetitive, but Brian and I really got excited about a vacation without kids.  Four days of just us, enjoying the hell out of everything that a cruise has to offer.

16. What song will always remind you of 2011?
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.  (I liked this answer so much from last year that I decided to keep it.)

b) thinner or fatter? about the same.  but I feel really good about myself and NOT putting on more weight during some pretty stressful times.
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.  Saying yes more.

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

Multi-tasking.  Worrying.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

With my family, having a simple dinner, eating lots of cookies and watching the kids play.

21. Did you fall in love in 2011?

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

22. What was your favorite TV program?

I enjoyed True Blood this past summer, and the usual primetime dramas that Brian and I watch.  And I got a bit more into the Food Network.  Brian, Will and I really enjoy "Chopped."

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 nearly as much this year, and honestly, I don't know if I can pick a "favorite."

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Nothing, really.

26. What did you want and get?
I got to start accepting applications for my new elderly apartment complex!  2012 will see me in my new office and out of family housing for good!!!

27. What did you want and not get?

More time to knit.  But there's never enough of that.  :)

28. What was your favorite film of this year?

Hmmmm.  I went to see Bridesmaids and Breaking Dawn in theaters this year.  And Brian and I spent my birthday playing hooky, going out to lunch by ourselves and getting a Redbox movie.  So there you have favorite movie was "Friends with Benefits," for the sheer reason that we got to watch it at home, uninterrupted.  :)

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

See above for birthday plans, and add "finished Christmas shopping."  Plus, the day before, Brian cooked a Chicken and Eggplant Parmesan feast, and made chocolate cream cupcakes and my whole family came over!    I dreaded turning 35 this year.  Once it happened though, I was OK with it.  What's with the anticipation???

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

Not worrying so much about money or childcare.  Comes with the territory, I guess.

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

Thrown together and harried. My personal sense of style is a bit stunted.  I'm trying to break out of my "comfortable" colors of purple and dark pink, and trying different colors.

32. What kept you sane?

my yarn stash, and knitting my way through it.  Teaching myself new tricks involving needles and yarn.  I knit 12 MILES worth of yarn this year.  That is just crazy.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
None of ' over it.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

I don't know if I'd say I was "stirred" over them....but the ones that I will remember the most are the "Occupy" protests all over the country, and the quiet end of the war in Iraq.

35. Who did you miss?

The people I missed most are the ones far away.  My friends Jen and Heather, Jen is in Illinois and Heather is in Florida.  Heather is pregnant with her first child and I so wish I could see her.  I'm planning a solo trip to see her in early 2012 when Baby Girl is born!

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 2011:

It's important to look up once in a while and assess the situation.  It's equally important to recognize when you've taken on too much, and either let go of some things or learn to delegate.  Also, take good care of yourself, you deserve it.

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

"You can't live your life, in the baby seat.  You've got to stand on your own, don't admit defeat."
Barenaked Ladies, "Baby Seat."

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Boy and his Dog

Just last week, Will and I were talking about dogs. Specifically, it was about how much dogs love to be petted.  I remarked that our dog Joey was certainly no exception, that is his favorite thing in the world.  Joey loves nothing more than idle hands in a free lap, and plenty of snuggles.  Will said, " Well why doesn't he ever want to be in my lap?  I'd love to snuggle and pet him.

Joey must have heard, because the photo is the 2 of them in the car on monday, headed to my parents to celebrate Christmas.  Either that, or he just wanted a little piece of Will's fleece blanket!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Yeah, I wear hats now.

I used to be such a priss about hat-wearing in the winter time.  I grew up in New England, I mean, c'mon, it's cold enough here for hats a good part of the year.  As a kid, I'd take it off, because I was "too cool" and apparently hat-wearing was a sign of weakness here in the Bay State.

Well, those days are over.  I am a dork, a weakling and most of all, a hypocrite.  Especially when it comes to my own knitted hats!  The older I get, the colder I get in the winter.  So there.  I wear hats now.  And I'm proud of it.  :)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

100 Things in 1,001 Days

I'm not one for making New Year's Resolutions.  They always seem to be the same thing....things that you feel like you HAVE to do.  "Lose weight."  "Stop Smoking."  "Join a Gym."  Blah.  

Recently though,  I heard about this curious thing called the Day Zero Project.  Or perhaps its better-known name, "100 Things in 1,001 days."

Here's what it entails:  the participant makes a list of 100 things that he/she would like to accomplish in the next 1,001 days.  (roughly three years)  You can put anything on your list:  self-improvement items, volunteering, silly stuff...but it has to  be clearly defined so when it is finished you get to cross it off.

I took over a week to write mine, and I made it hit a lot of categories.  There are books that I've always wanted to read, parties I've wanted to throw, places to visit with the boys, etc etc etc.  I also asked my husband for some input (since he is my biggest motivator/cheerleader), and borrowed some ideas from other people's lists.  

Here is my list:  Due Date September 28, 2014. I won't blog about every single one, but have created a separate page so people who are interested can click on the tabs above to see what I've accomplished.  Now.....just have to pick out the first one and get moving!  Care to join me in making your own, or have your own going already?  Leave me a comment so I can make sure to follow you!  

100 Things in 1,001 Days

1.  Read "Anna Karennina" by Leo Tolstoy
2.  Rent a dumpster and clean out the basement
3.  See Les Miserables
4.  plan a family trip to Disney World
5.  perfect macaroni and cheese from scratch
6.  learn colorwork in knitting that’s not just stripes
7.  send a box of handmade baby items to Stitches from the Heart every six months
8.  take a sewing class
9.  plan a better vegetable garden
10.  go away for a weekend to a bed and breakfast
11.  visit three new restaurants in Central MA
12.  take the kids to the following places in PA:  Sesame Place, Crayola Factory and the “Please Touch” Museum.
13.  organize all of the photos into albums
14.  make a donation to a food pantry every quarter
15.  get our wedding video transferred to a DVD copy
16.  Participate in the “Ravelympics” and Go For the GOLD!!!
17.  Participate in NaBloPoMo once.
18.  Give up subscriptions to womens’ magazines
19.  Practice three acts of random kindness
20.  Trade in old, faded purse for something new and swanky
21.  Fold a paper airplane
22.  Read the Harry Potter series
23.  Drive a convertible
24.  try yoga
25.  give a 100% tip
26.  start a charm bracelet
27.  take a cake decorating class
28.  let the boys splash and play in puddles
29.  take the boys to their first drive-in movie
30.  go kayaking
31.  Attend a state fair
32.  Write a love letter to my husband
33.  Try a new hairstyle
34.  Get pictures done in a photo booth
35.  Get a tattoo
36.  Picnic in a park
37.   Ride in a hot air balloon
38.  Buy a lottery ticket
39.  Go ice skating
40.  Watch 5 classic movies
41.  Plant flower boxes
42.  take a “knife skills” cooking class
43.  Build a sandcastle with the boys
44.  build a snowman with the boys
45.  go tent camping
46.  Floss every day for a month
47.  Start taking a multivitamin and continue for a month
48.  Be part of a cookie exchange party
49.  Watch 5 movies from the American Film Institute’s Top 100 list
50.  See a Flyers home game with Brian.
51.  Send a secret to Postsecret
52.  Go to the beach once every summer
53.  Successfully knit a pair of socks.
54.  Mow the lawn myself
55.  send flowers to someone “just because”
56.  learn how to play either Gin or Rummy
57.  visit the Ben and Jerry’s factory in Burlington, VT
58.  Make Baked Alaska
59.  Eat at a Spanish restaurant and speak no English while there.
60.  spend a day in Northampton with just my Mom.
61.  write a short story
62.  use the snowblower by myself
63.  learn how to throw a football with my kids
64.  Play flashlight tag outdoors
65.  Have a yard sale
66.  Dye yarn again with my friends
67.  make lemonade from scratch
68.  bake homemade cinnamon rolls
69.  write the boys letters each year for their birthdays
70.  read all of my old diaries
71.  Make four different kinds of soup from scratch that I have never tried to make before.
72.  Put our house on the market.
73.  Switch banks
74.  Cash in our change jar.
75.  Bake fresh bread, not in a bread machine
76.  Ask my parents to tell stories of our family’s past, and write them down.
77.  Renew our passports
78.  Visit three local yarn shops that I have never been to.
79.  Replace the kitchen trash can with a fancy “Simple Human” one.
80.  Open “Joy of Cooking” to a random page and make something on that page.
81.  get black and white photos taken of our family.
82.  write a fan letter/email
83.  Knit sweaters for my husband and children
84.  Repaint my front door
85.  treat myself to a spa day
86.  take part in a  yarnbombing project
87.  Finish up paperwork to close BVWA
88.  let the boys have a sleepover
89.  Donate supplies to the shelter that we adopted Joey from, once a year.
90.  Give up soda for a month
91.  Go through all of our cookbooks, get rid of some that we aren’t using to make room for new ones
92.  take the boys to a baseball game
93.  go snow tubing
94.  clean out my bedroom closet
95.  donate blood
96.  Host a dessert party
97.  complete a crossword
98.  play every board game that we own, get rid of the ones that we no longer enjoy
99.  Visit Washington, D.C.
100.   Put $5 in our savings account for every item not completed. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

What'd you get for Christmas??

So, what did you get for Christmas?  I'm not talking gifts....I'm talking memories, experiences.

For our holidays, I experienced....

...the excitement of a five-year-old in waiting for Santa!  Though he had to be ROUSED from his bed at 8am, the first sleepy question that we got was "Did Santa come?"  Once he heard the answer he was alllll about jumping out of bed and checking out the scene.  But...roused?  I still find that hard to believe.  But it's true.

......the "whatever" factor of an almost-two year old.  Sean, teething still, wasn't really interested in much of it.  Once you open one gift, he's interested in just that.  So his gifts got opened slowly as the day went on.  Plus, there's really no such thing as "into it" until breakfast has been consumed.

.....the power of overwhelming a kid.  Gift-opening, playing with lots of new things, getting dressed up, running around, skyping with Grandmom and Grandpop, more gifts, visits from Nana and Papa, dinner, no nap, lots of cookies....  They get so excited, and it's a little hard to keep them going.  There were some tears and tantrums, but all in all it was a great day.  Gentle words and understanding went a long way yesterday!

......that my husband, though I already knew this, cooks a MEAN roast.  Lord, I love roast beef and mashed potatoes.

........that if some things don't get done, you don't miss them.  I insisted that we had to bake up the sugar cookies on Christmas morning so that we could decorate them as a family event.  It was a lot of fun the previous year, frosting them before dinner as a way to keep Will occupied.  Anddd....we forgot to do them, after all that baking.  Oh well.  Something to do tomorrow when I'm home with the boys!

Hope your holidays were fun and full of memories.  :)

Christmas Knitting: 2011

Christmas has come and gone, and (most) things have been put away.  There's still leftovers in the fridge, and it's time to tell you, Dear Reader, about all of the lurrrrvely things that I knit for Christmas gifts.

Mom:  Saroyan shawlette

Dad:  Irish Hiking Scarf

Nancy:  Cabled scarflet.  My mom made her the hat, which matched nicely with my scarf!

Kim:  Old Shale Scarf

Brian:  Dudester scarf.  He is hard to knit a scarf for, I learned.  That is because he is over six feet required a LOT of yarn!

I also knit a little cotton cardigan for Abby but I can't locate a picture of it.  And I know that I took one!  Rest assured, it's really cute, in a  "seaspray" blue and will look great on her in the spring.  Perhaps I'll post pictures then.

Yes, I did notice that there are no hand-knits for Hubby or the boys....this is because I had a major FAIL in sizing for Hubby's Hat.  And I did start some stuffed monsters for the boys, but didn't get them finished in time.  So now they're going to be a "just because" gift on a gloomy winter day.  Which, I think, sounds even better.  :)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve Snuggles

Snugglin' with Sean...taking a break from wrappin', bakin', cleanin' and otherwise preparin'.  Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Spirit and Kindness

I feel like I've heard a lot more stories about "helping your fellow human being" and paying it forward this Christmas Season.  This is wonderful!  Given all of the negativity out there in the world, random acts of Christmas Kindness out there don't get as much publicity as they should.  I mean, we all heard the story about the woman out in California who, while shopping at Walmart on Black Friday, sprayed pepper spray into the air so that she could purchase a video game system before anyone else could get to it.  I mean.....that is a disgusting display of behavior.  And for every story like that that's publicized, you know that there are more just like it that you haven't heard.  

So when I read stories like the ones about Secret Santas paying off people's layaway bills for Christmas Gifts for Children, it shows that random acts are alive and well.  And I know that this one is true...I know one person in real life that had her Walmart layaway for her three kids' Christmas gifts paid off by an anonymous donor.  I say, way to go!!  THAT's the Spirit of Christmas!  This morning I saw on Facebook that one of my FB friends was in Burger King yesterday, buying dinner for herself and her three kids after a trip to see Santa.  She realized that she didn't have enough cash on her for everyone's dinner, so she bought dinner for the kids and nothing for herself.  Soon after, the manager on duty brought her out a tray of dinner, because an anonymous person had seen that she didn't have any dinner, and bought dinner for her.  BRAVO! 

All of these little stories like this, they reminded me of the movie "Scrooged" with Bill Murray, the big speech he gives at the end about changing himself and believing in the Christmas Miracle.  I'll close this post with a little blurb from it.  And with this:  I feel the Christmas Spirit this year, for the first time in years.  Merry Christmas to all!
"And if you give, then it can happen, the miracle can happen to you.

Not just the poor and hungry, Everybody's gotta have this miracle!
It can happen tonight for you all!
If you believe in this pure thing,
the miracle will happen and you'll want it again tomorrow!
You won't say, "Christmas is once a year and it's a fraud." It's not!
It can happen every day! You've just got to want that feeling!
You'll want it every day! It can happen to you!
I believe in it now.
I believe it's gonna happen to me, now. I'm ready for it!
And it's great. It's a good feeling.
It's better than I've felt in a long time." --Billy Murray, "Scrooged"


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Nothing Says "Merry Christmas" like Two-Year Molars

Poor Seanie.  Those two-year molars are making my bud miserable.  Teeth have always been tough for him though.  Turns out some snuggling and Tylenol were just what the Doctor ordered.  Oh, and the piano player from "The Snowman Band."  It's especially funny to have Mommy start singing along and then turn it off to see if Mommy can sing without the back-up.  Kind of like my own singing gameshow!

All of the Christmas wrapping for the boys is done.  We took an hour tonight and did it quickly, before anyone could jump out of bed, looking for a glass of water or complain that he "wasn't tired."  And man, it feels so good to get that out of the way!!  No 1:00am wrapping in sleep deprivation, cursing.  Yeah!!!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Birthday Celebration!!!

Tomorrow I am going to be the dreaded 3-5.......I don't know what it is about birthdays that end in "5" but they bug me.  Still, I have a lot to be thankful for, and I am going to have a great day tomorrow!

My family came out to celebrate with me today, and my husband cooked such a great dinner.  Chicken and eggplant parmesan, and "hostess" style cupcakes.  And even sweeter--he's doing the dishes while I'm typing.

 Awesome cupcakes that spell my name.  There's even mini-cupcakes for the exclamation points!

 My mom made me a shawlette designed by Steven West.  It's knit in a beautiful, tweedy dark green wool.  I love it!

 Posing with a decoupaged box that Mom also made, with spa gift certificates inside!

 Me and my boys.  Can't get everyone to look at the camera.  MWAH!

 Me and my "Big" little brother.  He thought that he'd be funny and teased me about turning 36.  Love you too.  :)

 Dad and his pups, Luke and Lilly.  Big ol' lovebugs.

 The fam....or some of us.

 Will and Sean enjoying their cupcakes.

Papa, dogs and boys.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Virginia Shawl

As 2011 is starting to wind down, I am looking for my newest knitting project.  To be honest, nothing has really excited me recently.  I had mentioned a LONG time ago about a pattern that I was interested in, it's a triangular shawl.  "Shawl" just sounds so...OLD to me.  I mean, it's mentioned in the Little House on the Prairie books.  "Laura wrapped herself in Ma's old shawl to get more wood for the fire."  Not exactly the image that I had in mind.  I am really into neckwear lately though:  scarves, shawls, and the getting-popular shawlette.  And not just for cold winter days, either.  So in browsing my Ravelry queue, I found said triangular shawl again, and in looking at the pattern, I was excited to learn that there are different ways to wear it.  In reading the pattern through, it looks rather easy. So casting on TONIGHT!  In a beautiful wool yarn called "Dream in Color Smooshy" in a fuschia/purple colorway.  This was already in my stash too, so it's not breaking my self-imposed "yarn diet."

I was born to knit this thing, after all it's called The Virginia Shawl.  Fitting, no?  Can't wait to see how this all comes together,  this first project for 2012. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Wicked Random Thursday

1.  I still feel sick, and it's been a week.  But I'm still pushing myself to do everything that needs to get done.  If it wasn't for this rent-up and the resulting mound of work, I think I'd stay home today.  And we're out of cold meds.

2.  Regarding the cold meds, I seriously considered for a minute this morning taking an expired Advil Cold and Sinus.  (I didn't.)

3. Last night my friends at knitting tried to convince me that the hat I was knitting for Hubby for Christmas was just too big.  I stubbornly refused to believe it.  I brought it home, put the little bit I had done on top of his head, and it's too big.  Dammit!  My friends were right.

4.  I am not starting a new hat ten days before Christmas.  Hubby will not suffer if he doesn't have a hat on Christmas Day.  And neither will the boys....the little monsters that I started knitting for them can surely be a "just because" gift during the winter doldrums.

5.  With that decision made, I am DONE with Christmas knitting. .  And now I will make a few things for myself.  I deserve it, right?  :)

6.   Later on, I'll pick that hat back up and knit it for charity.  Some man with a big Sasquatch head is going to be thrilled to get a hat in his size!

7.  We have a big surprise planned for the boys this weekend.  It involves a 90-minute drive, lots of Christmas lights and the boys' first train ride.  Hope I'm feeling better by then so I can enjoy it!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Ho Ho Ho....Hoo Boy. :)

The Main Stressors for the Holidays......

1.  Christmas Cards.  Who's with me!  I know why we send them, because we LOVE receiving them.  There's something really warm about coming home to a mailbox full of cards from friends and family.  Since the kids came into our lives I've gone the "easier" route and gotten photo cards that you just throw in the envelope, address and stick on a stamp before sending them on their merry way.  STILL--picking out a photo to go on it, and then letting the box of cards whisper reminders to you every time you come into the room "'re really late this year, when are you going to address us?  Tick Tock, Woman!"  I've been busy.  Busy working, and taking care of the boys and Christmas shopping and all.  I'm getting there.

2.  Christmas Cookies.  We used to spend an entire day baking cookies.  I'm talking dusk til DAWN, baby.  Every kind of Christmas cookie imaginable, then ship some to out-of-town friends and relatives, not to mention bring cookies everywhere with us.  Ahem.  Clearly, those All-Day Cookie Marathons are o-v-e-r.  We still bake some, but not the magnititude that we've done in the past.  And I think our waistlines are thanking us.  Still---it's not Christmas without some sugar cookies, or Rollo cookies.  I'll remedy that soon.

3.  Deadlines.  WHOOSH!  (Hahahaha, I love that noise.)  With Brian usually finishing a semester of school, figuring out child care for the week between Christmas and New Year's, and this year trying to fill an apartment complex....the heat is on, people.  Also, why would my town put out their kindergarten pre-registration stuff in December?  You can bet that I filled out the forms online for the all-day kindergarten lottery the day they hit my mailbox, there's just too much room for forgetting this time of year.

4.  And the toughest one of all this year?  Keeping up with Santa Claus.  This is the first year that Will has really begun to question just how Santa gets gifts to everyone, and how does he really know if he's being naughty or nice?  Me:  "He just knows.  Now, help me clean up this mess."

Happy Holidays and give yourself an extra pat on the back.  We all deserve it.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Family that's Sick Together, Sticks Together

There's been lingering colds in our home already this season, and it's not limiting in the number of times one of us can get it, either.  Two of us are affected currently:  me and Sean.    Sick of the sickies already, and it's not quite mid-December.  I hope this isn't a sign of things to come!

Sean and Will, do Mom and Dad a favor:  when germs want to come home with you, say NO!  :)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Advent Calendar

Will and I were recently in a Hallmark store, purchasing the newest member of the Snowman Band.  While we were at the counter to pay, he spied a cheap Advent calendar featuring the cast of Peanuts.  Having read "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!" recently he begged for the calendar, and I relented.  

This little cardboard calendar has turned into a wonderful Christmas activity.  In the mornings, he asks to open that day's flap  to see what we're going to do today.  So far, Nana has made paper snowflakes with him, he's gotten to bake cookies with Daddy, we've sung Christmas songs and learned how other countries celebrate Christmas.  But I think my favorite was when Will and I set out last weekend to pick out toys for charity.  He was especially excited to go out to Target with Mommy, and get two toys to donate to Toys for Tots.  The only activity that I put the kibbosh on was making treats to feed the birds.  Because in our backyard, it would be the squirrels and frankly those nuts have plenty.

I find myself looking forward to each morning's unveiling, too.  What will tomorrow bring?  And who knew that a little cardboard "toy" would bring so much fun to our home?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas Card Outtakes

The Christmas Cards came in the mail yesterday, ready to be stuffed, addressed, stamped and mailed.  It was NOT easy to get a photo this year!!  While I won't post our actual Christmas card, here are some of the tries to get a decent photo of my two lil' monkeys:  these were all taken at my parent's house on Thanksgiving.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Face Says It All

I've been told that I have an authorative look.  I apparently carry myself in a way that people assume that I am in charge.  Many times I am at a store (be it groceries, clothing or otherwise) and people stop to ask "Excuse me, is this on sale?"  "Do you have any more of these steaks in the back?"  Or my personal favorite, "Miss?  The bathrooms could use some freshening."  Really?  Do I look like I work here?  Or do employees usually walk around with a coat and purse, masquerading as other shoppers?  I'm obviously lacking the butcher's white coat, orange Home Depot apron or red polo at Target.  And rest assured, I do not wear a nametag.

Yesterday was a pretty funny one, though.  I've been working at my new site, taking applications from seniors while the complex is being built.  My mom has been kind to come out of retirement for a couple of days to give me a hand.  (And who better, she was in the business for many years and knows exactly what to do!)  It's been a little slow-going, but it's just the beginning and we have thirty spots to fill, not a hundred.  Anyway, I took a short break to go to the post office and the pizza place downtown, to pick up lunch and check our mail.  I was driving on the backroads to get back to the church hall, when I see a silver car coming in the opposite direction that I am traveling.  The woman driving sees me, and starts flagging me down.  What is that about, is everything ok?  Confused, I stop in the middle of the street and roll down my window.  "Can I help you?"  She is lost and is looking for the church.  I start telling her how to get there, but after a couple of sentences I know that she is not going to find it on her own, and she says something to the tune of "I just want to fill out an application for a new apartment, I really hate where I'm living and need a change."  So I sigh and say "Well, I'm the one giving out the applications.  Why don't you just follow me back there?"  And off we go, at an incredibly speedy five miles per hour.  It ends up taking half an hour to fill out the application interview-style, because "she just doesn't get paperwork."  On the way out, she compliments Mom on her short haircut, saying it's like her own and it's great, because "Only pretty girls can pull off short hair like ours."  I take a gaze at my own shoulder-length locks and think, "What, I'm not pretty?"  :)

So as you can see....I don't even need to be in a store for the "authorative look" to be present.  Apparently my car is "I'm in Charge" looking enough.

Note:  the only time the "Do you work here?" convo doesn't take place is when I have the boys with me.  Score one point for shopping with them.  (And deduct a few for the taking off of shoes and socks in the aisles and begging for candy.)