Thursday, November 24, 2011

November

November passed like a series of overwhelming sneezes.  The next month is filled with exciting holidays and celebrations so it is my intention to post about each of these exciting events.  So until next week when I get to pleasantly write about Josie’s 1st Thanksgiving, here is ten exciting things that happened this month. 

1-      On Saturday November 5th we finished up our breakfast & headed to downtown Auburn to attend the annual Veteran’s Day Parade.  Josie slept most of the parade all cozy in the Bjorn on Tyler’s chest.  Issac was fascinated by the cars, motorcycles, bands and people.  I chased down one of those salesmen pushing a shopping cart full of overly priced blow up toys to purchase Issac a flag.  He was a good boy about not hitting people with his flag & was quick to hold it up when I reminded him that the flag shouldn’t touch the ground. 

2-      Tyler’s birthday was on a Sunday.  For breakfast I tried a new recipe that turned out fabulous; fruit filled puff pancake.  For dinner I created one of Tyler’s favorite dishes: homemade turkey sausage lasagna.  His Mom & mark drove down & bought him a weight set for the bench he got from a friend.  The following weekend he put the set together & has been working out every morning in the garage before he leaves for work while his car warms up.

3-      My cousin Erin invited us over for a late dinner on Tyler’s birthday. She made top notch chicken fajitas & served homemade peppermint cupcakes for dessert.  It was delicious & as always we enjoyed the visit. 

4-      On Thursday the 9th, I got a lil girl time with my cousin Erin.  We did a lil shopping & enjoyed some drinks. It was beyond a good time, I seriously haven’t laughed that hard in a while, much needed! 

5-      On the 12th I left the kids at home with Tyler & took my friends Shobi & Natasha to their first ever Drag Queen Show to benefit SU4K.  It was a blast & the fundraiser was a success. 

6-      We began our Christmas shopping for the kids picking up Lion King on blueray and buying a few toys. We also bought Issac CARS bedding, a shake n’ go Mater and a CARS comforter that I know he’ll love because right now he is Lightning McQueen obsessed!!! 

7-      Last week I sent out invitations to Josie’s 1st Birthday party.  We settled on a pizza & penguins party.  Sounds easy but not so much. The penguins of Madagascar are a little “anger birds” looking to me so we settled on Happy Feet two.  I never located photo invites or any invites for that matter with penguins so I settled on a simple party invite with a lil poem.  I have begun to make Josie’s birthday Tutu & ordered penguin hats from our hat lady, which should arrive any day.  All the supplies are slowly arriving. It is shaping up to be a great day.  J

8-      Last week I tried to do a few Thanksgiving crafts but Issac wasn’t into it.  I wish I was cool enough to know a thanksgiving song beside the one by Adam Sandler but I’m not.  This Monday we made Turkey cards to hand out on Thanksgiving to Grandma, Gee-Gee & Great-Great Aunt Sharon.  I also of course kept one for my memento box too.

9-      On Saturday the 19th the kids were starting to come down with a cold.  However, Shobi offered to babysit & we took her up on her offer for a few hours so we could go run around & complete our to-do list & grocery shopping but first Tyler and I enjoyed a nice lunch out to Chinese food.  We talked about it & the last time we had Chinese food in a Chinese restaurant was over 2 years ago when I was pregnant with Issac!!!  WOW how the time flies.

10-   We also got our Digital image CD of our family pictures this month.  I’m sharing a few but also reserving a few for Christmas gifts & Holiday Cards.  It is my goal this year to have our cards out by December 1st, so send me your address if you have moved in 2011. 

We hope all our family & friends far & near have a warm & filling Thanksgiving this year.

-With all our love- Tyler, Issac, Josie & Leah-

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Not so Cheerful



 It’s that time of year again. Time to deck the halls & be jolly, or so the saying goes.  Every year I have to force myself into the joy.  Each holiday season comes and goes & I celebrate on New Year’s Eve that I made it through another year.  This year Issac is old enough to start to understand what is happening around him, so I think we’ll get a Christmas tree before December 20th this year!  I have even already started to get our Christmas cards together, watched a couple holiday kid movies & even took out a few winter decorations.  BUT I’m internally fighting it, but my brain knows it is here, EVERYONE is on fb talking about that fat jolly man Santa. So now I must face the fact that the holiday season is in full swing, on TV, at the stores and even in our conversations.

 I haven’t always been a Grinch.   As a young child, my Mother & my family celebrated the holiday season with a variety of yearly traditions.  Although I successfully “fake-it” each year, and few around me can see the difficulties in my eyes, I must find it in me, a way to truly “find the season’s joys”.  .  Because I am now a Mother, I believe that I must “shake it off”.  So Tyler and I have begun to discuss what we like, dislike, dread & hate about the holiday season.  So here is what I consider to be the top ten downers of the holiday season. 

1)      Seasonal flavors- I’ll start off simple.  I am not nor have I ever been a peppermint fan. I enjoy every other flavor in the mint family but peppermint is just not for me.  Eggnog is great in a latte but again, a big ice cold glass of the stuff doesn’t hit my mouth, just simply not for me. 

2)      Snow- Okay I fully understand that in some parts of the world snow comes in July or even in before Halloween as a friend in Denver & another in Wyoming posted on FB.  However, I live in the shadow of the Space Needle called; Seattle.  So although we had snow before Thanksgiving last year, it is not a yearly thing.   I’m already sick of all the snow talk!!! When it comes, it comes. Have your house prepared for the winter weather & you won’t be caught at Safeway buying the last $10 flashlight.

3)      Music-  I love Christmas music too. However, every store you go into and every radio channel and TV station features a mixture of classical, religious and updated holiday tunes. If I could play Christmas Music, in my car or house when I wanted instead of having it shoved down my throat (or ears) every time I pump my gas (yes the 76 near my house has music outside) then I love Christmas Music too.  Not to make people think that I don’t enjoy a lil Warm 106.9 after thanksgiving.  I also love my old Mariah before tech-tone Christmas CD & my holiday classic CDs that feature Elvis and Bing Crosby.  But let us seriously agree on one thing: the Hanson holiday remakes from 1997 should be banned from the radio wavesà FOREVER! 

4)      Decorations-      When I was little we would pile into my Grandma’s car with hot chocolate and cookies at least twice during the month of December.  Why? To drive around for hours on end looking at the houses decorated with Christmas lights.  Full neighborhoods would be decked out, lines of cars driving slowly with just their parking lights on (yes cars use to have this option).  My Grandma would lead us as we sang holiday songs the entire night (see I DO like the music).

5)      Baked Goods-   If you have ever been to my house on Sunday night, known as dessert night, then you know I love baked goods. Especially anything chocolate.  But around the holidays people that can’t follow a Betty Crocker’s just add eggs & water recipe suddenly decided to bake instead of distributing cards or gifts.  Everyone feels like if they’re offered to eat something or take something home, we do it to be kind.  But I hate over cooked and dried baked goods, not to mention the not so fun fruitcakes.  I will admit, most anything chocolate does get consumed, but some does get tossed too. Or  I have often given these items to my neighbors or friends, maybe even said “yes” when asked if I made them ;)

6)      Gifts-     I would like to consider myself a thoughtful gift giver.  It’s true we are not wealthy folks but I put a tremendous amount of time and thought in to what I give people as gifts. Wedding gifts, birthday gifts and Christmas gifts alike.  I am a TRUE BELIEVER in the old saying, “It’s the thought that matters”.  However, I am completely put off year after year by not seeing the toys I have purchased when I visit someone’s house or by how little time people put into buying gifts for others.  Seriously, I understand a budget but get crafty or shop at a discount retailer.   Don’t give people previously viewed DVD’s or second hand clothes.

7)      Christmas Christians- I’m not talking about those of you who practice religion year round. I’m talking about the people who “find God” when the Halloween candy runs out but “looses God” on their way to get drunk on New Year’s Eve.   These people drive me nuts, it’s like they are only in it for themselves.  I myself haven’t been a member of a church congregation in many, many moons, but I have enough of an understanding and respect those that are active religious believers to not pretend to be something I’m not.  So excuse me if I’m not yet buying into your new found religion. 

8)      Trees-   Fake trees drive me nuts. I get they can be easy & work great for those with allergies.  However, most are made of un-recyclable materials and end up in landfills.  Also, it is actually environmentally friendly to purchase a fresh cut trees because tree-lings release more oxygen into the environment that adult trees.  Cutting down a tree each year is a tradition we DO want to have for our children. Last year Josie was fresh out of the NICU so we left her in the infant carrier & quickly choose a tree. This year I plan to make it a day long activity.    When I was a child we would go out to a tree farm and my mom would find the most ridiculously large tree. Then we would spend the afternoon cutting off branches to fit it inside our door.  It was a daily task each year that I look forward to.  The year my brother died, we came home from the hospital & my Mom picked up the tree & tossed it out the front door in to the cold. Just like that. The strings of lights, the tree stand & years of family ordainments out the door right along with the tree.  It was years before we had a Christmas tree again.  

9)      Depression- More people suffer from Holiday depression then people realize.  Each year my Mom hits her “holiday blues”.  I let her leave a voicemail when she calls, so I can check to see where her mindset is before I call her back.  It is cruel some of the things people say. YES, ,my brother died 20 years ago but without talking about it my mom will never move on 7 she doesn’t feel very comfortable discussing the subject with many. 

10)   December 28th- Ya, I know that the holidays are almost over & most people spend the day returning gifts, eating leftovers and using up gift cards.  Not for me.  This year marks another year since my Brother Shawn died in 1991.  This year is a big one, twenty years.  I was only 10 years old when my brother passed but I can remember everything like it was yesterday. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Changing Seasons

October has come & gone. It was an amazing month all gearing up to the big day: Halloween!  I was super excited to take Issac trick or treating this year.  To prepare we did a ton of pumpkin crafts, checked out some Halloween themed books from the library and watched a few Halloween movies including A Word World Halloween DVD, Spooky Buddies & others.  Here are our top ten highlights for the month. 

1)      On the 5th we celebrated a friend’s 1st birthday.  I went with my friend Jen & her daughter Lily to Pacific Science Center with the kids.  I packed some Pb&J’s & we had a great time.

2)      The 8th I took Josie to a birthday party & Issac got to see his first theater movie with Dad.  Tyler took Issac to see Cars 2 and Issac did a great job, lasting almost the entire film’s length.

3)      The 9th Tyler’s Mom & Mark came over for dinner. Tyler made us Beef & Broccoli with rice & salad. It was delish!!!

4)      This month I took on a volunteer position of Co-Director of Outreach at SU4K Tacoma. This role is key to the work we do with the homeless & street youth in our community. I also enjoy the weekly reminder to be grateful for all I have; family, friends, health, a home, a car…..

5)      I have begun to babysit for a friend two days a week while she attends class.  The little girl is 2 days younger than Issac and it has turned out to be perfect.  The kids play great together & the extra cash is just in time for the holidays!

6)      On the 22nd, my mom came to town.  It was a rainy & gloomy day so we enjoyed some time at home, took the kids to the pumpkin patch on Sunday & enjoyed pizza and cake with my cousin and her husband. 

7)      The 23rd was a great choice for the pumpkin patch.  The sun was out and there was a tremendous amount of puddles.  My Mom, Cousin Erin, her husband Ryan and their son Jackson joined our family of four for a mud filled adventure.  Issac rain around hitting every puddle and Josie studied everything to try and figure out where we were & what was going on. 




8)      The 29th was Jackson’s first birthday party. The kid’s first ever costume party.  It was a great time & I always enjoy any time I get to see my extended family.  We got Jackson a Lightning McQueen push car that Issac helped pick out.  The kids wore their costumes: Baby Mario & Baby Princess Peach. 

9)      The 30th Tyler had a TON of homework so my friend Shobi & I took the kids to Le Noir Bazzare. A gothic themed jewelry and craft show that had different portions of activity proceeds going to SU4K Tacoma, the event was amazing & I enjoyed being introduced to gothic art and jewelry. Something different & new, although not for me.  ;)

10)  HALLOWEEN!!!!!!!!! First I want to know why my kids didn’t get any Skittles? I wanted to taste the rainbow!!! But seriously, this was the first year as a parent that I got to see my children enjoy the holiday & even kinda understand what was happening.  Tyler had class & like a good student he went so I took the kids up to my friend Shobi’s parent’s neighborhood. The loot was fabulous, Issac got 6 full sized candy bars!  For the most part he was really good, only tried to open a few doors, lol.  He would ring the doorbell & say, “I’m here, trick or treat”.  He was adorable & even behaved all night.  Sometimes he’d grab extra candy & say, “for sister” and then go put the candy in Josie’s bucket.  Josie enjoyed the stroller ride, walked to a few houses and was of course carried bunches!

Enjoy the pictures & Happy Holidays!   With all our love: Tyler, Josie, Issac & Leah