Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Room for improvement.

I used to avoid making New Year's Resolutions. Then for a few years I thought it was fun, although I am not too sure I stuck with many of the resolutions I had set for myself. Last year, I did quite a bit better. I wish I could remember where I put my list (organization, anyone?), but I do know that I had wished to start cooking more (check!), start exercising more (check, at least for a while), and start saying "no" to a few obligations to get less off my plate (check, kind of).

So what's on the table for 2009's resolutions? Here you go:

1. Treadmill every day. I know that "every day" is not going to happen, but when I set it this way, I'm a little less likely to fall off the wagon versus "3x a week" or something like that.

2. One other form of exercise new to me. Right now Jazzercise is looking fun, or tennis. Of course, tennis is not a solo operation, so maybe not. And I don't always have childcare available. Anyway, something new in addition to the treadmill would be good. (And no, laundry doesn't count, regardless of how many stinkin' times I have to go up and down the basement stairs carrying heavy loads each day.)

3. ALL doctors will be visited in 2009. Eyes, teeth, blessed woman parts, general, skin, you name it. I need to be better about visiting ALL of them every year and not just a few of them, especially now that I am over 30. (Ugh. Look at me, acting like an adult, haha.)

4. Traveling more, if it's financially feasible, of course. The year my son came home (2006-early 2007), we traveled at least once a month. Why? Because he was under two and FREE on the airlines! Since he turned two in 2007, we haven't traveled nearly as much, which is completely to be expected, but I would really enjoy it if there was a teeny bit more travel in 2009 than there was in 2008. Even if it is driving and not flying.

5. Finish up one project a month at least. My unfinished project list is embarrassingly long, so 12 items off the list really isn't knocking off a whole lot, but progress is progress.

6. Less sugar. My husband is diabetic (type II), so we don't need to have much in the house anyways. I eat WAY TOO MUCH sugar. Cutting it out completely won't work, but at least paying attention to how much I consume would be a start.

7. Organize and declutter. We started this a little this past year and got rid of a ton of stuff, but really, I could stand to go back through each and every room and give away MORE. The less I have, the less that has to be organized, and the easier it is to organize and keep it organized.

There you have it. 7 resolutions. The perfect number. Will I be able to keep them all? Probably not. But you can't reach your goals (or strive to reach them) if you don't have any in the first place. And any progress is good progress.

What are your goals for this new year?

Friday, December 26, 2008

A Child's Christmas in Wonderland

The latest nighttime prayer:

"Day doo, Gah, (Thank you, God) for Mama, cats, fire, Linny (the Guinea, from Wonder Pets), Papa, Tampah & Tamma (Grandpa and Grandma), candy canes, my game, and AMEN!" (The cats and fire bit came from the "Bolt" book we read just before bedtime, in which Bolt the Wonder Dog makes a cat friend and makes a fire rescue.) I get such a kick out of his little prayers every night. You never know what or who he will pray for!

We were kickin' it old school this evening. One of the little gifts my mom gave us for Christmas was one of those PacMan joysticks you can hook up to a TV.

So now this "video game-free" house owns a video game. It might not be a Wii or a Playstation, but we certainly are having fun with it. It reminds me of the Commodore 64 box my brother and I shared growing up. (Did anyone else out there own one? Or maybe a Vic-somethingorother?) We weren't cool enough to own an Atari, but we at least had the Commodore 64 to hook up to our TV and play a few games on, including Frogger. I just remember Frogger as these moving squares that represented cars and trucks on the road, and Frogger (a green moving blob) had to jump across them without getting hit. It's pretty hilarious (and amazing) to think how far graphics have come in the last 25 years or so.

In fact, it really was sort of an old school Christmas for my boy, at least toy-wise. He got his first set of Legos (not the big toddler chunky ones, but real Legos), Lincoln Logs, PacMan, some Little Golden Books, candy canes (of course, since that is the only thing he specifically asked for), a LiteBrite, some Dr. Seuss items, and a small Indian teepee (for play with the cowboys and Indians he already owns). He got a few more items than that, but those are all the old school gifts I can think of. My husband and I each received a small assortment of gifts from my mom and my brother and sister-in-law as well, my favorite items being the Anthropologie giftcard (of course) and a dishtowel with a sepia-toned photo of a Vespa scooter on it. My mom is pretty good at finding some pretty cool and quirky little items.

Our Christmas Day was nice and quiet. We had to wake up my son to start the present-opening festivities -- I thought for sure last year would be the last time he was somewhat clueless about Christmas, but nope, we squeaked by one more year of sleeping in a little! After the presents, we ate breakfast with my mom. I made blueberry upside-down pancakes, and they were so good. Then we trooped over to the movie theater to catch a movie at 10:15am -- I can honestly say I'm not sure when the last time was that I saw such an early movie! It paid off, though, because the movie theaters weren't busy yet, and we got out right at noon, just in time for lunch. We took the boy to see "The Tale of Despereaux".

So cute. I had read the book (yes, I sometimes read children's books for fun), and I had the opportunity to meet the author the summer before and get a few signed copies of her books, so it made me all the more excited to see this movie. I highly recommend it, especially because it had some really great life lessons about telling the truth, the importance of forgiveness, actions and consequences, and being yourself.

Then we had the afternoon to laze around and nap, followed by dinner at my cousin's house. We are very blessed to have my cousin and his wife live so close to us (same neighborhood, about 5 or 6 blocks south of us). They have five kids (9,7,5,3, and 1), so holidays are always a blast.

That's my Christmas in a nutshell. Nice and laidback and very enjoyable. How was yours?

Minne-SOH-ta, baby.

I sooooooo know where I am going to be January 30th. At the movie theater. Seeing this.

I feel I should get some royalties or something since someone out in Hollywood felt compelled to pen my life experience to paper. New girl in town, in Minnesota? That was ME. Totally me, just ask my husband. Of course, the fact that Harry Connick, Jr. plays the love interest, well, that just puts it over the top for me. Ha! But really, I felt like a fish out of water (putting it lightly) when my husband took a job transfer to the Great North a mere six months after we had gotten married. Frozen lakes? Never seen one. Ya sure, you betcha? I didn't know what in the heck ya'll were talkin' 'bout. Hot dishes? Oh honey, I think you mean a casserole. 30 below? I had no idea the temperatures really could get below zero unless you were in Siberia or something. Thank goodness my Minnesota experiences took a turn for the better, and after I halfway adapted, I am beyond thankful for the close friendships God gave me from there, and for the extended family on my husband's side that took me in and accepted this Southern gal. In fact, our annual (sometimes bi-annual) trip up to Minnesota is one of the things I look forward to most every year (since we're smart enough to avoid visiting in the middle of winter). All of that to say, I wouldn't change a darn thing about my time there, but man, if I can't relate to the gal in this movie!

I. can't. wait. to. see. this. You betcha'.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Feliz Navidad!

I want to wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas! I hope that you get everything your little heart desires, that you slow down enough to enjoy the peace that comes this time of year, and that you remember the true reason for the season.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life. -- John 3:16

(Oh, and don't shoot your eye out!)

Monday, December 22, 2008

A whole big ball o'random.

Oh. my. stinkin'. heck.

The marketing brains behind this are brilliant. And by brains, I mean obviously women. I know you'll be laughing out loud. (It's a little long, but worth it.)

Now for some cuteness from that three-year-old son of mine, which must, of course, be typed down before I forget it:

1. I played a game of "memory" this evening with my son. "Memory" is the card game by Milton Bradley that has been around at least since my own childhood, but which now has various forms, one of which being the "Backyardigans" version that was gifted to my son today by a neighbor. When played with a three-year-old, this equals a rare and special form of Chinese water torture, for those of you who have yet to experience it. Despite my getting a little frustrated every two seconds from trying to keep all the cards straight on the floor, my kid from picking up more than two cards at a time, and my kid from taking more than one turn at a time, I do know that it really is an excellent educational game. We talked the entire game about making a "match", and by the end of the evening, my boy had it down what defines a "match". He even made several matches on his own out of 72 cards based straight on his little memory of what he had seen. I was impressed! My reward for the evening came at bedtime, when he looked up into my eyes and said, "We a match, Mama?". Oh my, son, we are SO VERY MUCH A MATCH. And I couldn't imagine it any other way. I'll take Chinese water torture for the rest of my life, thankyouverymuch, if it means I get to be matched with this crazy little guy.

2. For about a month now we have been asking him what he was planning on telling Santa he wanted for Christmas. I thought for sure this year he would finally "clue in" about Christmas and presents and how it's the season to hit paydirt, so to speak, in terms of getting every little thing his heart desires. I figured the "gimme's" would arrive this season, the impatience would kick in, and the begging for every single toy he could think of would start. But no. His steady and constant answer to our persistent question was this: "A candy cane, Mama". And sure enough, when the day actually came for him to sit upon Santa's knee, he stuck with his plan and asked for a candy cane. Love that. (And don't worry, he's getting more than just a candy cane this year!)

3. Top it all off with the fact that I ask him what Christmas is, and he flat out says, "Haha Barebay, Baby Jesus!" (Happy Birthday, Baby Jesus), and that makes for one grateful Mama.

4. Tonight's nightly prayer was a good one (they are usually quite entertaining) -- he thanked God for God, Jesus, toothpaste, and the sky. Oh, and my ratings must be up because I made his prayer list. ;)

Back at ya' tomorrow, maybe even with some pictures if you're lucky, haha.

What's one more day?

I know you'll forgive me just this once. Instead of working on a super-duper post, I spent my time wisely shopping on the Internet. Finally, some 75% off markdowns in the least expected places, and even before Christmas, something I never thought I would see at Anthropologie...

(See? After mentioning the "A" word, I knew you would understand. Now tomorrow should be clear for blog posting.)

In the meanwhile...

...enjoy these two songs on me. They are my favorites of this season, and I listen to them over and over and over and, you get the picture.

(Zee Avi -- No Christmas for Me)

(White Christmas -- Snow)

Dangling from the globe

I didn't mean to fall off the face of the earth.

Sometimes the crazy holidays will do that to you, though. Anyway, I'll be back tonight with a post of some sort, I promise. :)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Still here.

Sorry for going all MIA on you lately.

Life in a nutshell:
Dog had emergency surgery last week.
Come to find out he is a cancer survivor, bless his little doggone heart.
Vet called it "cancer in a sack" -- got the whole thing, expects normal lifespan for Romeo.
In-law's arrived for a visit, mere hours before the first big party at our house (30+ people).
Next night, another party, this time a formal dinner party, at our house.
Busy church day on Sunday.
Lots of marshmallow making (we're up to 5 batches so far, still 4 more to go, at least).
Google Reader tells me I am behind on blog-reading by 600+ posts. Haha. Yipes. I am sad.
Still have to finish my Christmas shopping.
At least I got started on my present wrapping.
Haven't even begun trekking to the post office to mail all the far-off packages. Hmm.
Love love love the holidays.
But might be ready for the peace and quiet and nothingness that comes in January.

I promise to return in another day or two (after the in-laws have gone back home) to do a real post. For now, there is lots of fun to be had with grandparents away from the laptop. :)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Romeo, oh Romeo...

My husband took two of the dogs (remember we have five) to the vet today. One he was worried about, thinking she had lost weight and wasn't looking so good, and the other was due for his annual shots. Well, my husband just came home with one and not the other.

Before you think the worst, he had to leave one there for an emergency surgery. Not the one he was worried about mind you, but the other one. My little furry firstborn. My beloved, Romeo, who has been with me for almost 10 years now, through thick and thin, and who some of you prayed for back in August. He had a small tumor removed in August. At that same time, there was a tiny second lump on his stomach, but no big deal according to the vet. That little tumor now takes up the entire palm of my hand, and the vet decided it needs to go, and it needs to go now. Um, yeah, I wasn't exactly mentally prepared for my husband to not bring my baby back home.

So I'm asking for prayer again. Yes, for a dog. I don't care if you don't like dogs. I don't care if you don't usually pray. Now would be a great time to change your mind on those two things, though, because my baby goes under the knife first thing tomorrow morning, and we don't get to pick him up until Thursday, so I'm going to be a bit anxious the next two days, and I'm not too proud to ask for prayers for my dog.

As far as the dog my husband was worried about? It's a little bit funny what her problem is. Apparently the vet told my husband that occasionally, when a dog gets a haircut (like she did a month or so again when my husband gave her a short clip), they can actually get embarrassed (no joke) and become a bit down in the dumps over it. Ha! Who knew we had such a diva on our hands? Other than her embarrassment, her health is in tip-top condition.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Little Miss Busy

Busy. That's what this coming week is. Busy, busy, busy. We'll be having two holiday parties at our house, family coming from out of town to visit, and I'm working 12 hours this week instead of my usual 3-4 (and next week as well, actually). And believe me, 12 hours at a piano really feels like more than that -- sitting on a backless bench for more than 30 minutes at a time really doesn't do anything positive for this gal with chronic lower back pain. But the visions of extra green in my wallet from the next two weeks of extra work does, haha! And Bunko this week. Can't forget Bunko.

Plus, it just dawned on me that I need to start making nightly batches of my homemade marshmallows if I am to get them all done on time. This is both fun and frustrating. It's fun if it works. The first year I made them every single batch turned out beautifully. The next year it was 50/50, and when they don't turn out, the whole batch is ruined and not salvageable. Since the process is a 2-day process, you don't know until the 2nd day if the batch is going to be a good one or not. Hence, the frustrating part that can sometimes occur.

Oh, and I need to fully finish cleaning out the guest room this week, since it is going to actually be used (a rare occurance). And it would be nice to finish up the painting in the boy's room as well, although that is not likely to be done by week's end. The bed and surrounding woodwork is almost finished -- just one more coat on the inside of each berth and one more coat on one side of the bookshelves. Then we can paint the walls and the ceiling. And set up the long-anticipated train!

So how much of this list do I anticipate finishing by Friday? Unfortunately a lot of it really needs to be finished, but as far as if it can be finished, well, I don't know. So here goes...I'm just going to jump in and get started and do the very best that my little self can. Ready, set, here I go!

What all do you have to accomplish this week?

Ballet Shoes

I have been way too busy these last few weeks to watch hardly any TV or movies. My Netflix account has sat dormant, until last week when I finally watched Leatherheads after having had it for two months. When I went to the Netflix website to adjust my queue for the next movie, one of the "suggestions" was this movie. I'd never even heard of it, but as a child I had been a huge fan of the books upon which it was based. I had read every single one of the books by Noel Streatfeild -- Ballet Shoes, Circus Shoes, Dancing Shoes (just to name a few of them). And since they were written in the 1940's, as an adult, I still love the idea of them (since I firmly agree with my late grandmother who always said I was born in the wrong era -- I should have been born in the 1920's). I had no idea a movie had been made about these books, but I was very excited to see what it was about, so I requested it, and last night, although I had a zillion other things I should be doing, I climbed into bed with my laptop and watched this gem of a little movie.

So now I know exactly what I am going to be asking for Christmas -- Ballet Shoes on DVD, please. It is darling. Absolutely darling. The actresses are all fantastic -- it even has "Hermione" from Harry Potter, and "Lucy" (the youngest, I think her name is Lucy) from the Narnia series. The storyline is adorable, the music and the costumes are to die for (since I love all things from that era), and the ending is just too sweet.

If you're looking for a great movie for you (and possibly your daughter, as long as she is old enough for a PG rather than a G rating), you need to check it out. Movies like these are rare finds anymore.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Two thumbs (er, paws) up.

We took the boy to see Bolt at the movies tonight. In 3-D, no less.

Man, it was cute. I cannot lie. (Of course, I am a woman with five dogs, so I might be a tad biased, although for the record, everyone knows I am a cat lover as well. Yes, we are an equal-opportunity household.) There were many laugh-out-loud moments, especially thanks to the supporting cast of the alley cat and the hamster. (Props to whomever came up with the hamster character, especially his plastic ball that had me cracking up many a time.) I usually let my husband take the boy to the movies for most of the little kid flicks, not that I don't enjoy them, but mainly because I figure at some point, once they come out on DVD, there's a good chance I'll be subject to some mild form of torture in having to watch them over and over and over again. But Disney is smarter than that. Throw in a 3-D version for a couple of bucks more, and I am hooked. I'm a sucker for the 3-D glasses. (Ooh, especially for Harry Potter, at the IMAX. Sheer bliss.)

I'm no Roper or Ebert (those are their names, right?), but I thought it was a good little flick.

Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

Whoops! Here it is Sunday night, and I forgot to tell you who won my little giveaway!

I did it the old-fashioned way, letting my three-year-old pick a slip of paper out of a cup with the name on it, and the big winner is............


And guess what?! After I clicked on her blog to find out who our new friend Chere' is, I found out her birthday was last week! So it's kind of like a little belated birthday gift. God is cool like that.

Anyway, Chere', I hope you enjoy the show (since you've never seen it, but have a willing heart, just like I specified in the rules, haha). It's a great lose-yourself-in-imagination-and-escape-reality-while-laughing-all-the-way type show -- I truly hope you'll love it!

Thanks for playing, everybody. I promise more giveaways in the future...

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Always look on the briiiiiight si-ide of life!*

*Props to any of you who, off the top of your noggin', can name that Broadway show.

Ah yes, in life, it is mucho important to try and see the silver lining in all things. Take today, for instance.

The dog peed on the bathroom floor. -- Instead of screaming any number of expletives upon discovering such a situation, one might instead think, well, now is the perfect time to mop the floors since I was needing to do it anyway.

The boy bit one of his friends at school. -- Instead of thinking the fleeting thought of picking out a sweet little girl to take back home instead of said child, one might instead realize the value in the fact that said child can hold his own amongst his peers.

The boy peed on the newly washed sheets, blanket, and mattress pad in his bed. -- Instead of almost upchucking on one's self from the stench of the situation, one might instead find joy in the fact that now is the perfect opportunity to open up the new package of Christmas sheets one secretly might have purchased the other day (while on sale -- one must use one's common sense and practicality, of course).

The same boy then proceeded to poo in the tub (which surprisingly, never happens). -- While fishing poo out of the bathtub with one's hands, one might be a bit overwhelmed at this turn of events and feel the urgent desire to scream bloody murder. Instead, one might think, well, at least it was not while I myself was lounging in the bathtub.

Ah yes, no raining on this girl's parade today. It is a good day, indeed!

(Don't forget my little giveaway! It ends tomorrow!)

It's the season of giving.

Okay, so this giveaway totally puts my little giveaway to shame. But I soooooooo want to win. Which means you'd better not go over there and ruin my chances. Haha, just kidding. You'd be crazy not to! Who wouldn't want to win this AWESOME PRIZE????

And seriously, what's up with only 8 entries in my little giveaway so far? All I can say is that you folks that are pining to win my DVD set, your odds are pretty good right now! :) Yep, that's a silver lining for sure!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I dare you... watch this without getting a little bit misty-eyed.

Those darn animals. They get me every time.

Reason #462...

...that I should be awarded the "Mother of the Year" title:

Tonight it was just my son and I for dinner, as my husband was working late at the office. Seizing the opportunity to avoid having to make a home-cooked meal, I raided the freezer and found a TV dinner. It is very rare that I even purchase a TV dinner, but occasionally I allow myself the freedom to purchase the "Boston Market" ones. When we lived in Minnesota, we enjoyed eating at Boston Market now and again, but alas, here in Wonderland there is no Boston Market to be found, so I must turn to the freezer section of the grocery store to get my fix.

As I was waiting for my little meal to cook (the one I would be splitting with my three-year-old, mind you), my little eyes wandered down to that forbidden territory, the nutrition information section. (Here is where the "Mother of the Year" part comes in, for all of you out there who are a little slow.)

Calories: 860. Niiiiiiiiiice.
Calories from fat: 440. Even more niiiiiiiiice.
Total fat: 49g. Hmmmmmmmm...
Saturated fat: 19g (60% of the recommended Daily Value). I am such a good mom. A good, good mom.
Total cholesterol: 180mg. Keepin' it real, folks.

And that's how we roll here in Wonderland. So much for avoiding those extra holiday pounds...

On a totally unrelated note, don't forget to enter my little giveaway! Don't worry, it's full of zero calories and absolutely fat free!

Monday, December 1, 2008

One for me, and one for...

...ONE OF YOU out there in InternetLand!!!!

That's right, kids. My 200th post (200, ya' hear me?!) snuck up on me yesterday! Yes, I've been flapping my gums for 200 posts now. That's a lot. And a whole lotta posts means it's time for another GIVEAWAY!!!!!!!

I joined in on the CyberMonday fun today to knock some things off my holiday shopping list, and I decided I could run to my local Borders bookstore and reward myself as well, since I just so happened to have in my hot little hands a 40% off coupon. And while I was standing there in line, it dawned on me. My purchase would not only be an excellent gift to my hard-working self, but it would make a most excellent prize for a 200th post giveaway!

Yes, I'm not too proud to say it. I bought myself an early Christmas gift. A good one, of course. Want to know what it is?


Now, some of you out there might not yet be fans. And you might even be thinking, why possibly fall in love with a show that recently was doomed to the graveyard of forgotten TVLand? Tsk, tsk, tsk. Have you not learned anything from me? It is seriously one of the most wonderful little gems that has ever hit the Boob Tube, and even though it will be a short-lived series (I'm hoping they will go ahead and come out with Season Two on DVD after it ends), it is well worth the watch.

So, what are you waiting for? Leave me a comment telling me either your favorite Pushing Daisies character and why you love them so, or tell me why you would love to win the DVD set (and thereby promise me you will try to fall in love with it and not just recycle it as a Christmas gift for someone else -- don't think I can't read your mind). I will leave the giveaway open until this Friday, December 5th, at noon (Central Standard Time). Feel free to post it on your blog as well. If you do, leave me a comment telling me you did so and I will enter you another 2 times. (If I do it more than that the math might get too tricky in my head, haha.)