Archives for December 2008

2008 – High/Low for the Year

I can never decide whether or not I feel more nostalgic or joyous when one year comes to a close and another is about to begin. I guess it’s with equal parts of both joy and nostalgia that I move outta 2008 and right into ’09.

In review, the year’s lows:

  • Feeling like hooey and then finding out that it was just my thyroid being a big dysfunctional jerk
  • Friendships that went wonky
  • My grandfather’s health being on such shaky ground and the time spent in the hospital
  • The economy and the uncertainty of employment
  • Paying $4+ for a gallon of gas? Yeeeouch!
  • Beyonce continuing to release albums
  • That the state cut the snow removal budget during the year of the worst snow on record in quite some time (genius, guys, really).


Highs:

  • My kids continue to be the most amazing part of my life – my certainty and my happiness – if I never do anything else good in my life, it’s okay – because my girls? They’re more than enough. (Okay, sap sort of over).
  • Finally taking the leap and starting guitar lessons.
  • My grandfather weathering the nasty health scares and sticking around. Love him.
  • I still have a job
  • I have AMAZING friends. I do. I am so lucky. To my enduring friends who have been by my side for a bazillion years (I’m lookin’ at you, Robin), to the peeps I’ve only just met: Ya’ll are amazing. Whether you make me laugh, you make me think, or whatever your role is in my life – I’m glad you’re there. All of you.
  • The 365 project has been excellent for forcing me to look at my life from new angles. I needed that.
  • I am so eager and excited to start looking at the next 1,001 days. And I have created numerous challenges for myself involving Chicago, so I’m looking forward to several trips to one of my favorite places. Win – win.

Happy New Year to all of you. I hope that 2008 was a good year for you – I hope 2009 is even better for you. Do you have big plans tonight? Do you have resolutions set? What was the best part of 2008? What are you lookin’ forward to next year?

Velcro. Next to the Walkman and Tab, It is the Coolest Invention of the 20th Century.

Today, The Princess and I dropped Pumpkin off at her daycare/preschool (it is nice that they don’t close for the entire break, but even so, we’re all still a little off kilter with the school holiday.) Having left the house before The Princess could eat, I decided that we would run a few errands and then pick up some cereal or something at Target before finishing up our to-do list and heading home.

We were wandering around Target and I was checking their DVD section (part of my 101 mission is to watch “The Big Lebowski” in its entirety – so I figured I’d see if they had it – they didn’t). Know what I found?

“Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”.

For FIVE dollars.

So, I bought it.

This movie was made in 1985 – and starred Sarah Jessica Parker (pre-Carrie Bradshaw), Helen Hunt (pre-Twister) and Shannen Doherty (pre-turning into psycho Brenda Walsh on 90210). I loooooved this movie.

It’s sitting on my dining room table, and admittedly, I’m somewhat afraid to watch it – afraid I’ll find out that it’s really just a stupid little movie and it’ll burst my bubble of nostalgia. That I’ll realize that it was just another movie that made my mother want to poke her eye out, much like I feel about some of the movies The Princess loves so much.

Sigh. Oh well.

At The Carwash…

Yeah, so we’re starting the second week of a two week Christmas break. What’s a mom gotta do to entertain the kidlets? YES.

We went to the carwash.

But, it really needed it.
Car wash, girl…

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Because I Think Mother Nature Is On Crack

December 27, 2008 by 1 Comment

The other day, we were knee-deep in snow (and I’m not totally exaggerating: it was NUTS). Last night we had a winter thunderstorm, and woke up to loud gusty winds, rain, and warmer temps.

Now, most of the snow is melted. It was raining so hard earlier, but now it’s stopped.

And where my kids’ sandbox used to be is now a wading pool, I guess. I’m not entirely sure why the lid wasn’t on but with the melted snow and the fresh rain, the water is level with the rim of the pool.

Winter in Michigan. You never really know what you’re going to get.

And I’m not complaining (today). Wait ’til the temps drop tomorrow and it all ices over.

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Saturday 9 – Last One of 2008

December 27, 2008 by Leave a Comment

1. What was the best thing that happened to you personally in 2008?
Personally? I’m thrilled to still have a job. I’m ecstatic to be healthy. I guess on a personal tip – finding out that my wonky thyroid was the root of all evil was good to know – it definitely cleared things up and I feel a LOT better now.

2. What was the worst thing that happened to you personally in 2008?
I lost a good friend this year and that was really difficult.

3. What was the best thing to happen to all of us in 2008?
I’m pretty pleased with the outcome of the election. I’m anxious to see what the next four years bring us.

4. What was the worst thing to happen to all of us in 2008?
This crappy economy. Paying $4 a gallon for gas? INSANE. People losing jobs, losing houses, losing their retirement savings? That sucks.

5. What was the best gift you receive during the ā€™08 holidays?
My daughters both made ornaments for me at school. I love those (because I’m a big sap). I also love the video camera so that I can starting making vids and sending them to my dad. Again, because I’m a sap.

6. What was the best gift (most appropriate or best received) you gave during the ā€™08 holidays?
My mom and her hubby told people “no gifts” – but we gifted them anyway. They had said it because my sibs are kind of struggling financially and they didn’t want anyone to feel obligated. But honestly, they do SO MUCH for us that we didn’t want to not give them anything. It was low key stuff – gift certificates to a bunch of different places, but they were surprised and happy. That felt good.

7. Do you have any regrets about what you did in 2008?
I don’t believe in regrets.

8. Do you have any regrets about what you didnā€™t do in 2008?
Nope. I don’t believe in them. If I didn’t do it, I’ll toss it on my 101 list and do it in the next 1001 days.

9. Did you meet anyone that became important to you in 2008?
Absolutely. I have made some great friends this year. A big ol *mwah* to them. They’re awesome.

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Thursday Ten: The OMG It’s Finally Christmas Edition

December 25, 2008 by Leave a Comment

1. First, and foremost obviously: Merry Christmas to each and every one of you. I hope your day wasn’t too stressful, I hope that it was fun and I hope Santa was good to you. I hope the food was good and that you splurged instead of worrying about calories and eating healthfully (dudes, even I’m in my stretchy pants).

2. My kids were so well behaved. I canNOT believe how awesome Pumpkin and The Princess were. They were so amazing. From the moment they woke up and still at this moment, they remain chill, gracious and full of Christmas spirit. That’s more than I can say for some of the adults I know.

3. Big surprise of my day? I got a Wii. I totally didn’t see that coming – didn’t expect it, and am excited. The kids are excited too. Somehow, I think they’re going to get more use out of it than I am. That’s alright.

4. I have been tinkering with my new digital camcorder and that’s fun too. My dad is in California, and I’ve been able to email him a message from the girls. I think that’s going to be a fun way for him to keep up with how they’re doing as they aren’t always up for chatting with him on the phone when he calls (for example, today? They were far too engrossed with playing with their new toys to talk).

5. I am REALLY REALLY TIRED.

6. Lots of iTunes gift cards today. New songs in my library so far are: “Winter Song” (Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson), “Gives You Hell” (All American Rejects), “Imagine” (Jack Johnson) and “Good Enough” (Evanescence). There will obviously be more music buying in the next few days. LOVE IT.

7. I had calendars made with pictures of my daughters – and the three people who got them? Loved them! That was probably the best gift I gave (though I think Hubby is pretty thrilled with the tix to the Red Wings/Avalanche game!).

8. Brownie cheesecake? Better than Christmas dinner. I barely ate dinner and instead just ate dessert. Works out much better for me that way.

9. Tomorrow? Yes, tomorrow I’ll be back at the whole being a good healthy being pattern. We may be treadmill shopping too – so, WHOOOOO!

10. Just a week until 2009. Is that scary or a good thing? I can’t believe how quickly this year flew by.

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The Children Were Nestled All Snug in Their Beds…

December 24, 2008 by 1 Comment

Merry Christmas eve. As I type, it’s almost 9:30 p.m., the kids are tucked in and the excitement has finally worn them out so they seem to be completely out-of-it. I have finished wrapping gifts while sitting in my walkin closet with a cocktail and my iPod on to dull the agony that is giftwrapping (hate it! hate it! hate it). I have baked a TON today: a pumpkin pie, brownie cheesecake, and the traditional Christmas Eve monkey bread that the girls and I make every year (it’ll be our breakfast tomorrow).

I worked out (um, sampled a bit too much of the cheesecake batter – I always do), I colored my hair. Again, I was reminded why I will never ever get highlights again because what a pain in the butt as they fade, they look brassy, and so I keep dyeing my hair every month with a semi-permanent dye to cover up the highlights somewhat. Last month, I used more of a mahogany – today just a dark brown. I spent some time on the couch curled up with my Wally Lamb book (I’m at about 550 pages now, and I’m starting to get mad at how long it is).

Christmas is different since having kids – and though I’m exhausted as hell right now from all the prep, I know how much the kids love it and how special the whole day is for them. I look forward to that. And though I know how beat down I’ll be by the end of tomorrow, I can’t help but love Christmas anyway.

I’m sure I’ll be back at some point tomorrow with a Thursday Ten Christmas edition. To all of you, though, I wish you a very Merry Christmas tomorrow. Enjoy your day, enjoy your families, enjoy the giving, enjoy the food – and be safe for those of y’all who are travelling.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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Can’t Escape Tom Cruise & Katie Homes at Four in The Morning

December 23, 2008 by Leave a Comment

I am so tired right now that I can’t see straight. Well, I haven’t tried, actually – that whole seeing straight thing is a little low on my priority list because I’m concentrating on staying upright. Last night, Pumpkin was up for about two minutes at 3:30 ish. Oddly enough, the stretchy sticky dealy bob on her diaper had broken and she was distressed that her diaper was falling off (which is a good thing, otherwise, later she might have been distressed to wake up drenched in pee). I got her a new diaper, gave her a smooch and ventured back to bed.

And then lay there.

And could NOT FALL ASLEEP.

This is one of the reasons I hate getting up with my kids in the middle of the night – and actually, I didn’t wake up when Pumpkin called me. I was in such a heavy stage of sleep that Hubby nudged me about four times before I got up, and as I stood up and stumbled towards the door, it took me a minute to figure out where I was and what I was doing (and how I don’t fall down the stairs when I’m in that weird state of mind is beyond me – I walked past the top of the stairs thinking, “Boy, that would suck if I fell.”).

After about forty minutes of waiting for sleep to come, I gave up and went downstairs and clicked on the television hoping maybe something good would be on (I have fond memories, actually, of waking up in the middle of the night to feed the girls when they were babies and “Third Watch” would be on A&E in the middle of the night – LOVE syndication). Unfortunately, all that was on at four this morning was: “Cocktail”, infomercials and reruns of “Dawson’s Creek”.

Yeah, how do you even choose?

I was still awake at 5 a.m. when the local news came on (and we’re still in a Winter Storm Advisory so bite me, Mother Nature – haven’t you done ENOUGH?). I finally drifted a bit just before 6 a.m. so it’s possible that I got maybe 30 minutes of rest, but at that point? Yeah, too little too late.

Now, midafternoon it’s quite clear that it’s all catching up with me. The two cappuccinos didn’t help. Drinking tons of water didn’t really help (though I’ve spent a lot of time having to pee, which has kept me from falling asleep at my laptop). Coke Zero didn’t help. Sugar didn’t help. A workout might help, but that’s not an option until later, and who knows if I’ll still be standing then?

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What I’m Reading Now, and a Mini Cry (More Like a Call, Not a Cry) for Help

December 21, 2008 by 3 Comments

For those of you who have been reading my blog for awhile, you’ll know I’m a voracious reader. If I’m not in the middle of a book, chances are I have a stack of magazines two feet high that I’m catching up on. I really REALLY like to read (And yes, I’m just a dork like that – I read. For fun).

Currently, I’m reading “The Hour I First Believed” by Wally Lamb – and I’ve been waiting for awhile to read this one. Waiting, because I put it on hold at the library and have had to wait my turn. Finally, it’s my turn. I’m about 250-pages in and for the most part, it’s an amazing story, but it’s kind of gut-wrenching too – so I keep pausing to take a break from the sadness of it all.

Though it’s a work of fiction, this novel is based on the Columbine shootings on April 20, 1999. So you’ll recognize some of the names – Wally Lamb even includes excerpts from the journals and writings of the killers. Though the main characters were created solely for this story, the school-shooting and the names of the victims remained intact, and that is what is hardest for me. Reading about horrible things anyway is difficult – reading it and knowing that yes, it really happened? It’s pretty tough.

I remember where I was when I first heard about the shootings in Columbine – I was in a car on the Pacific Coast Highway with a co-worker of mine. We had been visiting our dealers in Oregon, talking to them about automotive parts (I know, I know – I used to work in marketing for an aftermarket autoparts manufacturer – seems like an odd fit, right? It was). The guy was kind of a horse’s ass, and a bad driver to boot. I spent much of the time pretending to sleep rather than engage in any conversation with him. Coincidentally, he was from Littleton, Colorado.

On April 20, he got a call on his cell phone. It was his wife – all the schools in Littleton were in lockdown because of a shooting. He had no idea what school was being shot up – only that his daughter was in a high school in Littleton and he had no way to get ahold of her. The rest of that day, we stopped over an over again so he could try to call his family and get ahold of them. He eventually found out that the shooting was at Columbine and not his daughter’s school. It was a pretty emotionally ugly day, watching him wait for news.

Knowing that the events really took place make the book a bit heavier of a read than I normally choose, but it’s well-written, so I keep on.

And here is where you help me. I was lucky enough to win an Amazon.com gift card and I’m itching to use it. Recommend books and music to me!

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A Bit of Sunday Random

December 21, 2008 by 3 Comments

It’s about four degrees here today and the snow plow service just arrived a bit ago to finally clear out the 8+ inches of snow that have drifted over our driveway (I’m not sure how much of that was new snow – the wind is blowing like crazy here – so, there’s a lot of drifting too).
Yesterday was our holiday cookie decorating party – with a way more low key turnout than usual. Lesson learned: do not host holiday cookie party so close to the actual holiday. Usually, we do this a few weeks prior to Christmas and it is a little easier to squeeze into a schedule. This year, we couldn’t pull it off any earlier unless we’d picked a November date.

So, Friday, I baked a bazillion cookies with the kiddos. Yesterday, we got everything set up (yes, as you can tell, I cheated and bought green frosting instead of making it all. Get over it.). I still have an ungodly amount of sprinkles I need to vacuum out of my carpet, but I can’t find the energy today. Feeling housebound because of the cold nasty weather sucks and I had plans to take the girls to see “Bolt” today. With the weather being so yucky, and the roads being a mess, I don’t know that I dare though. I have ONE more gift to pick up, and was planning to do it while I was out (Also: I am out of Coke Zero – for those of you who know that I can’t make coffee, you realize that I am now entering a trouble zone where there is no caffeine unless I decide to start drinking the green tea I’ve got left in the cupboard, which is fine, I suppose but not the tastiest caffeine delivery method).

And I’m sick of cookies.

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