Thursday, December 31, 2009

Farewell, 2009

We are in the last three hours of 2009. Another year, come and gone and what to show for it? The same 5-10 lbs lost and gained again. The girls another year older. Days filled with the same chores of laundry, cooking, cleaning. Days filled with time on the computer (Facebook, anyone?).

Time spent with family was definitely the highlight of the year. From basketball games with my parents to family birthday celebrations to our traditional 4th of July trip, we saw lots of family. Even a funeral brought the family together. A week-long trip to the in-laws capped off the year. We saw hubby's side of the family more this year than we have in a long time since we are spread from Iowa to South Dakota to Colorado to California.

Hubby's highlights include sporting events. He went on a much-talked about, finally-taken "guys" golfing trip to Nevada. They four guys even got to re-live one of the golf courses on a Wii game over Christmas. It was fun for them, but I guess you had to be there for the "Remember on this hole the wind was from the northwest" type of stories they told. Hubby was also able to go to a Cardinals baseball game in St. Louis which he has been wanting to do for a long time. Now I just have to get him to Denver to watch the Broncos play. He also went to most of the Cyclone football games this year--wish we could've been there tonight in Arizona to watch them win the Insight Bowl. Hubby got to play softball this summer which he loves to do and hasn't done for many years.

For me, I did a few new things. I trained for a 5K and beat my previous time by a good 10-13 minutes. I expanded my cookie and cake repertoire and even made (very) little money. Maybe that will be something to continue in 2010. Like I said, I lost and gained the same 10 lbs which is frustrating. Must be something about being 30 and having had 2 kids--I try every year with the same result. I just read a Facebook update of a guy who set and reached his goal of losing 50 lbs this year. Wow.

Emma also had a very "sporty" year. She did soccer in both the spring and fall, softball in the spring, and swimming in the summer. I think she is great at all of them, but she thinks she needs a break from soccer. We'll see about that. ;) I can no longer spell out words in front of her because she is too smart for her own good. She is growing her hair out and becoming more mature.

Leah was my greatest cause of stress and also one of my greatest sources of joy. Sometimes it is hard to know what are "typical" health issues and what should we be concerned about with her. Thanks to 3 CT scans this year, multiple x-rays and other Dr visits we met our deductible once again. ;) She has the cutest voice and a smile that will make you light up. She continues to go down the path of princesses, Barbie, ballet, and all things girly. New territory in our house.

What will 2010 bring? I hope more family time, continuing to find new adventures, and another year of watching the girls grow and learn. Maybe lots of new blog followers and posters (although I'm not sure why!) A few less pounds would be good, too. ;)

Happy New Year, everyone! May 2010 be a great year full of promise and good things!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

We have been up at the in-law's since last Sunday and the week can be described by one word: LOTS. Lots of:
  • noise--10 adults, 4 kids, multiple TV's, pianos, Wii games, and other things all going on at once
  • food--too. much. food Snacks and treats and goodies galore
  • drink--we've polished off a few bottles of wine, more beer, and even some Vodka
  • presents--no one is leaving empty handed. Presents from Grandma/Grandpa, aunts/uncles, cousins and of course Santa. Only a few have to be returned/exchanged. Good thing Best Buy and Target carry the same things Santa brings.
  • snow--all the Christmas songs have come true: "Let it Snow" and "White Christmas" could definitely be used to describe the weather outside. We've gotten at least 12" of snow and it is still snowing. The two main interstates that run through the state are both closed. The airport was closed all day today and was supposed to open at 10am tomorrow (Sat) but that may not happen either. Not good news for the Californians here in the house whose flight was at 6am tomorrow. The earliest they could fit them on a flight was Tuesday. The brother/sister-in-law from Colorado will also have a hard time getting out West. Even we will have to wait and see when we may be able to leave.
  • fun--there has been golfing and bowling and poker and light sabre fights and progressive rummy and trivial pursuit. And the little kids played games, too. ;) Hubby, Grandpa and Uncle took the girls sledding (before most of the snow!). We decorated sugar cookies.
  • family--it has been great having everyone home from this side of the family. It is a rare occasion and now with the snow our time together may get extended even more.
I hope your Christmas has been just as memorable. I know in the Midwest the weather has definitely changed some plans and even made Christmas different in some houses (no electricity, no church services). Merry Christmas--enjoy!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

And a partridge in a pear tree

Today is packing day and I think it may involve everything--better make sure I have that partridge and a pear tree just in case. The thing is we will be 5 minutes from civilization (aka Super Target and Super WalMart) but have to make sure we have all gifts, goodies, and other things that can't necessarily be bought once we get there. As long as the bag with the wine gets packed, I'm good.

When we travel, our mantra is "If there is room for it, pack it". Which means we will each have multiple pairs of shoes, coats, and clothes that will never get unpacked and worn, but by golly we have the option if we need it. It also means a full day of packing before leaving and at least half a day to round everything back up at the end of the trip.

It looks like the weather for the trip tomorrow will cooperate. We'll have to wait and see where this next storm dumps during the middle of the week.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

What am I forgetting?

We leave for the in-laws in five days to spend Christmas week at their house. I can't think of much more I have to do to get ready, so what am I forgetting?

  • Presents for my side of the family--check. We celebrated Christmas on Sunday with our traditional dinner of soup and rice pudding for dessert. New toys were received and envied by siblings. Kids puked (not mine, thankfully and not at my house, bless the lord).
  • Goodies made--check. Poppy seed bread for the teachers, Buckeyes for the family and for cookie exchange, rolo pretzel treats, sugar cookies, and 5 dozen ginger cookies. We'll make more cookies at Grandma's house to leave for Santa. She He has a preference for sugar cookies and chocolate milk.
  • Presents for hubby--check. He bought himself us a PlayStation 3 on Black Friday. Because of the Blu Ray, you know. So we can watch family movies like Batman and Transformers and the girls can watch him play educational games like Grand Theft Auto. I did buy him a few clothes for Christmas as well, since that is about the only time he gets new clothes. I have requested that he not buy me anything, and if he does it had better be a moderately large piece of furniture for my living room. ;)
  • Helping Santa with his presents--check.
  • Christmas cards--I'll give myself a 3/4 check on that. The picture cards are stuffed into addressed envelopes and the letter is ready to be printed off. I need to get paper and hope the printer lasts for the number of copies I need.

Anything else I need to do? My week is also full of things like class Christmas parties, oil changes, returns, and cleaning/packing. Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Snow Days

I haven't left the house since Monday night, and it is now Friday morning. A little thing called "winter weather" has prevented me from venturing out, and it is still technically fall. It all started when Emma had an early release on Tuesday because bad weather was coming. By that night I was worried hubby may not be able to make it home from work safely. Wednesday was a full-out blizzard and the central part of the state was pretty much shut down. Everyone was home--fun times. Thursday there was still no school, the temps were below zero. But there was mounds of fresh snow on the ground which the girls could not resist. I bundled them up so they looked like extras in "The Christmas Story". Leah had fun, but she knows when she is ready to come inside and take advantage of hot chocolate and heat. Emma could've stayed out all day, but I think letting your child play outside so long they develop frostbite could be considered child endangerment. Finally today the girls are back at school and I have exactly 1.25 hours to run a million errands. There are gifts to be bought (to be exchanged on Sunday), treats to be made, wine to be purchased, house to be cleaned, etc etc. Emma has been the Star Student this week (poor girl was jipped out of 2 days) so today I'm going in to read to her class. And then I have to hustle out to pick up Leah and continue errands. All in the bitter cold. At least it is a change in scenery from being in the house!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Heart Warming

We got our first measurable snow Sunday night and the girls were so excited. After Emma got home from school yesterday, they wanted to play outside. I bundled everyone up and they were happy to play outside for over an hour. Too cold for me!

Once they came back in, they wanted to turn the fireplace on and have hot chocolate. The living room was lit by the Christmas tree, and there they sat in front of the fireplace. Emma had gone and got a Christmas song book she has and read "The Night Before Christmas" to Leah and then they sang Christmas songs. It was truly a heart warming sight! Ah, to be a child again and find the wonder of the season in the little things.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Miss Indecisive

Subtitle: Would you wear this?

So I've been shopping for myself this past week. We have one Christmas "party" to go to, a cookie exchange, and then Christmas itself. Since I stay at home I tend to wear things like jeans and thermal shirts or even fleece pants and slippers. I don't think I can show up to hubby's supervisor's house wearing slippers.

The search for decent clothes began, and I quickly became discouraged. After trying on 6,492 pair of black/dark grey pants at Kohls I was ready to throw in the towel. I managed to find a pair that were okay at Old Navy, just to have a pair.

Then I went shopping at Younkers. I'm not sure how far-reaching the Bon Ton department stores are, but here where I am we have Younkers. They usually have decent sales and then coupons on top of sales. When I went to try on a skirt and one more pair of black pants, the person in the dressing room before me just happened to leave a few behind in my size. I tried one on and . . . . they fit! Of course since I am short, I will have to hem them. Comes with the territory.

As I was checking the price on the pants, I spotted a cute sweater on the clearance rack. This picture doesn't do it justice, it is cuter in person and falls open more. It is actually a cardigan and snaps together up at the top.

I thought about wearing it with either a white or red fitted long sleeved t-shirt underneath. I got a couple of chunky, longer necklaces with red/black/grey in them to wear with it.

So then it comes to the shoes. I had bought a pair of zebra flats from Target, but they aren't doing it for me right now. I saw these on the clearance rack and thought they would work with the sweater. Can you wear sling backs in the winter?

I also have this shirt that gives me another option. I had it on with a pair of dark wash jeans and the shoes and thought it looked dressy enough to wear to the Christmas party. What do you think?
While I was going a little crazy at Younkers, they had these EMU boots on sale. They are Ugg-like, but a step down from the real Ugg. Instead of being sheepskin on the inside, they are wool and the outside is suede. I wore them around the house a little bit and they just aren't doing it for me. I think they are going back.
So there you go. I'm second guessing the grey shoes right now, mainly because I don't own any dressy shoes and don't know how to wear dressy shoes to look right with an outfit. I thought they looked okay with both jeans and dress pants, but I could be totally way off base. I never said I was a fashion guru. The only person I had available for opinions while shopping was three-foot-two and had cookie crumbs on her face. How come it is so easy to dress her (you should have seen her today, a-dor-a-ble) but me not so much?
ETA: After playing dress-up tonight, the black pants will probably be going back, too. Yes, I tortured myself by trying on bazillions of pants only to buy a pair and bring them home and see they are very similar to the other one pair of black pants I own. They vary at the style of the hem/leg opening just slightly, but not enough for me to buy them to wear once a year. And yes, that is how many times I wore the pants last year. And the year before.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Grinch has left . . . for now

Okay, I think I got all the Grinch-i-ness out for now. The upstairs got (mostly) clean, clothes are (mostly) put away, the dishes are (mostly) done, and the decorations are done. While cleaning I put another wall quote up--one I had bought a few months ago and couldn't decide where to put it. I decided, and I like it. I also changed a few other things around and added a few more decorations. I'm happy with how things look and can hopefully keep the house clean through the weekend.

Now I just need to move some presents around and should actually start wrapping them. There are some things in the way back of the van that I need to get out. Tonight I noticed Emma was looking back there (hopefully she couldn't see anything) and then she started talking about Santa. Hmmm. She is a believer, although there are a few kids in class who may not have the same thoughts. Tonight she told me, "That's okay, some people just have other traditions". I think she was thinking more along the lines of the Jewish holiday rather than the belief that Santa doesn't exist.

Next up this week is baking. I have a friend who wants me to make her some cookies that look like the Nutcracker since she and her daughter are dancing in a local production and wanted to give some out as gifts to the cast. That is my weekend project. My sister has completed our photo card for this year (Thank You!) and I have an idea rattling around my head for a fun Christmas letter, so that is well underway.

Meanwhile, Leah is reminding us all that Jesus' birthday is Christmas--something we need to step back and remember when all the craziness is getting to us. It isn't about the lights, the garland, or lame decorations. It doesn't matter if your kids are getting battery powered rodents or the latest, greatest video games. We can learn a lot from the four year old.