Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Obligatory Christmas post (part two)

We packed and headed to Texas to visit my family early on Christmas Eve day. I haven’t been back in so long – it’s always good to go “home home” as I call it.

It was snowing when we landed.

Who knew we would have a White Christmas in Texas? So crazy.


Christmas Eve is traditionally spent at my uncle and aunt’s house with their three big lugs of teens and pre-teens. There’s a grand buffet of every food imaginable (but of course, I didn’t get a picture). Lots of drinks and then a game or two.

We ended up skipping Midnight Mass that night because of the ice buildup on the bridges. Texas doesn’t do well with winter weathers.

The next morning, we opened up presents before Mass.

I got my Cricut! Well, technically I opened a card that had a picture of one. Husband hid the actual box from me for weeks while waiting for Christmas. My family is so sneaky!

Plus, the awesome hippopotamus ornament! Do you know the Christmas song from the 60s about wanting a hippo for Christmas? It’s my favorite song ever and my dad found a Hallmark ornament dedicated to it! So neat. :)

It was a good trip and I was missing everyone the minute we got to the airport. Someday I want to live in the same city as my parents again.

WWFM: Taking the day off before vacation

Before we move on to the next Christmas post [and before I jet off to Disneyworld in 18 hours - squeel!], I wanted to put my two cents in for this week's WWFM hosted by We are THAT Family.

This year, I did something out of the ordinary - I took off a vacation day on Christmas Eve Eve. We had so much going on and I was so tired from tons of event at work that I just needed a day to sleep in and pack before leaving for Texas to spend Christmas with my family.

And you know what?

It was amazing!


We didn't end up sleeping in, but got up at my normal work-wake-up time and got to movin'. There were errands to run - the post office, the bank, Target, the library, and a bunch of other places. Then we went back to the townhouse and I started a few loads of laundry while Husband worked on organizing the crap-ola that had to go in suitcases for the trip. I piled my stuff on the bed and went to clean the kitchen while he packed everything for us [he is DEFINITELY the packer/traveler in the family - and I'm happy to let him! :)]. The only thing left to do was to put toiletries in the bag the next morning. Pretty impressive!

We got to bed early, I had my coffee and orange rolls the next morning [to save $ by not stopping at the Golden Arches] and off to the airport we went at the crack of dawn.

Taking a day off from work before leaving town DEFINITELY works for me. I would highly suggest it if you are able!

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Obligatory Christmas post (part one)

It’s been quite an eventful week.

Last Saturday, we had Christmas with my in-laws ahead of the actual holiday. Lots of food, fun and presents were had by all.

Moose was FASCINATED by the snowglobe that plays Christmas music. My brother-in-law was helping him out with it.

Click was being a pre-teen and hanging out before we actually stated to open presents. I think he was giving his cousin that look – apparently the sugar hadn’t kicked in yet!

Scrappy and Husband were playing with princesses on Nina, my mother-in-law’s cabinets. She loves them!

Christmas presents at this exchange included a beautiful white down and feather-filled coat with a fur-trimmed hood from Costco. I fell in love with it a few weeks ago on a shopping trip with my mother-in-law and I figured it might end up beneath the tree! I haven’t gotten a chance to get a picture of, though.

I was really surprised, however, to find out that Husband and I are both getting a nook come February! I had talked to my in-laws about Husband getting one but I didn’t expect one for myself. :)

Did you know that the nook can let you borrow books from friends? Our local library also has a website that allows you to “borrow” from the library just like you would a hardback! Now I can read all those classic books with lots of pages that I never wanted to carry around in my purse.  I can’t wait until February!

My in-laws are so generous, there were lots of other fun things for us to open – like chocolates (my favorite!) and my Page-a-Day calendar (a tradition in their family).

After opening presents, Mike’s younger cousins (Click, Scrappy and Moose, our godson) learned that they would be spending New Year’s in Walt Disney World! The look on their faces were less than impressive, however. We knew they were excited though! They only had to wait 10 more days. 

Before the secret reveal:

After the reveal:

Do they look excited? I promise they are – no, really, they are definitely excited about going to Disneyworld in ten days.

Only two more sleeps at this point!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day REDUX

Remember the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad 12 hours?

Well, I may have just beat it.

Here are the yays and nays from the last 72 hours:

Yay! The nice technician at the Saturn dealership finally came up with a fix for the Saturn – the positive battery cable that connects the battery to the rest of the car had become corroded from the inside out. Apparently, there were 12 inches of corrosion in that cable [probably the original one from eleven years of service]. No wonder it was ruining the batteries! After 4 batteries in three years, I decided it was time to ask the technician at the dealership what in the world was going on. He fixed it. I liked it. It was good!

Nay! This morning, the newly-fixed Saturn wouldn’t start. Yup, you guessed it – the same clicking and lights flickering that it has been doing for months. The battery cable wasn’t the problem?! UGH.

Yay! AAA was able to come out rather quickly and the nice gentleman was able to convince corporate to give me ONE MORE BATTERY. I promised that I wouldn’t call again and that we would sell the car before it needed another one.

Nay! I need to careful and not call AAA for service again, because they just might cancel my membership. NOT GOOD!

Yay! We have a back up plan [or two or three] for when the Saturn dies again AND IT WILL. Because it’s eleven years old and it’s time to go to that big used car lot in the sky. SERIOUSLY.

Nay! This means we have to cut out all fluff from the budget, get down to brass tacks, eat ramen and rice and hope to hell we can save enough money for a new car before the Saturn dies. This will not be a fun year.

Yay! However, we had Christmas at my in-laws house over the weekend … post forthcoming, I promise.

Nay! I have to wait until February for my nook. :)

Yay! One more day of work and then it’s off to Texas to visit my parents! I haven’t been in MONTHS so I absolutely can’t wait to be there.

Nay! Husband’s relatively new computer (that he bought for law school a few months ago) has officially bit the dust. Something in the LCD screen broke and the crystal display is black in places and isn’t quite working. So tonight commenced the search for a new netbook.

Yay! There is the possibility of post-Christmas sales, so maybe we can some save cash on that one. That’s the one upside of the whole day.

Yeah, it’s been a crappy 72 hours. Let’s hope tomorrow goes by quickly.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…

Photo Credit

That was my motto this week. Yes, it may be strange that I find my philosophies in movies made for children, but sometimes you gotta find it where you can.

And it got me thru just fine, thank you!

It’s that time of year, and we had a few holiday parties, one of which I had to plan at work (not surprising, as I’m an event planner!), and one at the apartment complex. Much fun and good food was had by all.

Then there was that small matter of a live show at a concert hall with 700 of my nearest and dearest friends and donors. Whoever decided to set up a major event one week before Christmas and the day after the office holiday party needs to be run of out town! It was insane. I’ve never seen so many people in this concert hall!

In any case, everything went off without a hitch and it was a great event! I received many compliments that everyone really enjoyed the show and the food and I even got an on-air credit for the broadcast. Isn’t that nice of them? I was quite touched. :)

Today in the office was quiet, filled with more holiday card stuffing and mailing and a bit of clean up. I’ve only got Monday and Tuesday and then Christmas vacation begins! I won’t have to be back until the 28th. Good thing too, because we’re off to Fort Worth to visit the parents! Yippee for Texas at Christmas!

Just keep swimming… just keep swimming…

Photo Credit

Btw, even though I love me some Dorie, I think Peach is my favorite. :) She’s just awesome.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Lights in the Cold

Driving thru the Snows with the top down on the Mustang… doesn’t really sound like my version of a good time. But that’s exactly what we did a few nights ago!

After our usual Sunday night dinner, our friends M and D wanted to go see Christmas lights – M absolutely loves them, just like me! So we picked the Way of Lights display at Our Lady of the Snows.

We had hoped there wouldn’t be too many people since it was already 8 o’clock on a school night. We were pleasantly surprised when we drove straight into the Shrine turn off and into the lights.

After going thru the lights twice, we stopped for a camel ride! Yes, I thought it was odd combination – beautiful white lights, the story of Christ’s birth told in lights, and camels? But everyone wanted to try it – well, except me that is. I ride horses, not camels. I was NOT getting up there. I had to take pictures after all!

This was the best shot of M I could find – for some reason that camel would not stand still for me to take his picture!

D poses kinda funny – but that’s why we like him.

And of course, dear Husband, striking a Heismann pose.
Inside the visitor’s center, they had a bunch of other displays set up. We saw a whole room dedicated to different themed Christmas trees. Down the hall there was a children’s village – and we fell in love with this candy cane made of legos! How cool is that?

They also had an auction of themed wreaths on display. This one below was my favorite – and I’m hoping it will inspire me to take on a wreath project next year and make my own.

On the whole, even though it was cold, we had a blast! I love spending the night out with friends. :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I came home to Christmas Decorations!

I came home last night to find my wonderful husband had decorated for Christmas! I had an awful day at work and he knew just what to do to surprise me! :)

My real pine wreath on the front door

We decorated the tree that night, after he got it all set up in my craft room

The small nativity is set up in my craft room under the window

The stockings are hung on the bookshelves, because we have no fireplace anymore. :(

This is the small nativity on the front entryway table.

Of course, I had to try out the kissing ball.

See what a great job he did?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Fresh flowers.. err.. wreath this month

We stopped by Ted Drewes on Sunday …

and picked up this great pine wreath for the front door.

This is a St. Louis tradition – grab your real tree and a frozen custard. It was so cold that we just got our wreath and avoided the lines at the custard stand.

Husband and I had such fun picking this one out (even though it’s more money than I wanted to spend; whoops!).

The neat thing is I can take the decorations off and use them again next year. And it just makes me smile when I pull up to the townhouse and see this gorgeous wreath hanging on my door.

This satisfies month one of my monthly flower rule! Um, sort of.. right?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Cleaning is Good for the Soul

#5. Clear out RSS feed and keep only those blogs that I truly enjoy reading – DONE!

Yesterday, I spent the evening looking at every single item in my Google Reader and evaluating whether or not I truly enjoy reading it.

I started with over 400 subscriptions. 400. I KNOW! I could not BELIEVE I had so many in my reader. No wonder it took me so long to read everything each day! It was starting to become a job in and of itself.

There were still some feeds in there from when I first discovered blogging and subscribed to anything that seemed remotely interesting. I have recently had a “Come to Jesus” talk with myself – I realized that I don’t need to read about other people’s children poopy diapers or hundreds of wedding blogs [I’ve already planned my own wedding] or bunches of crafting pages that have projects too complicated or not in my taste.

So… drumroll please… we are now down to 300 subscriptions. YIPPEE!

It feels good to check another thing off my 101 in 1001 list. :)

Monday, December 7, 2009

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas…

I saw this on Sonya's blog for a Christmas meme. I was drawing a blank so it seemed like fun!

After you finish this tag be sure to link up with Heather @ Top Ten Christmas, she originated the meme and wants to share everyone's posts.

1. Have you started your Christmas shopping?
We had to start our Christmas shopping early because of our situation – we spend Thanksgiving in Kansas City with my side of the extended family. Since we don’t go back for Christmas, there’s always Christmas present opening on that same weekend. It’s just so much more fun to open them in front of people! So half of my shopping is done. :)

2. Tell me about one of your special traditions.
We always open presents on Christmas morning, have a big breakfast, go to Mass if we haven’t gone the night before, and then end up at the movies in the afternoon. It’s my favorite thing!

3. When do you put up your Tree?
I would like to say it happens the day after Thanksgiving, but that’s Black Friday, so it’s usually that Saturday. This year, however, it isn’t happening! There’s no room in the new townhouse so it’s a little less Christmas-y around here.

4. Are you a Black Friday shopper?
Not until I met my husband – now I’m addicted! But we slept in this year until 6:30 am. It was grand and I still got the boots I wanted!

5. Do you Travel at Christmas or Stay home?
Our holiday season is pretty crazy. We usually travel for Thanksgiving and then again for Christmas and most years for New Year’s. Whoopee!

6. What is your funniest Christmas memory?
I remember the first time that I watched my husband’s home videos from Christmases past. I fell out of my chair laughing! Now we all are in on the joke about waiting until my father-in-law gets the video camera out to tape us coming down the stairs before we open presents – even though we are all grown and aren’t waiting on Christmas morning upstairs. Does that make any sense to anybody but me? :)

7. What is your favorite Christmas Movie of All time?
I don’t have a favorite – is that bad?

8. Do you do your own Christmas Baking, what’s your favorite treat?
I haven’t really done a lot of baking on my own, mostly in my mom’s kitchen when we’re home for the holidays. My favorite has to be old fashioned sugar cookies with way too many sprinkles. :)

9. Fake or Real Tree?
All my years growing up we had an artificial tree that got replaced with a bigger one every few years. We had a real tree our first married Christmas but now the husband has pretty much declared we’re going to be a fake tree family.

10. What day does the actual panic set in to get it all done?
Mine happens the week after Thanksgiving. That’s when I realize we have about four weeks to get it all done and I freak out. So yeah, I’m good at this point!

11. Are you still wrapping presents on Christmas Eve?
Since we travel, I don’t wrap those presents until we get to my parents’ house. So yup, we’re normally wrapping on Christmas Eve!

12. What is your favorite family fun time at Christmas?
I love decorating the tree, wherever we are. Somehow, that just makes it feel like Christmas.

13. What Christmas craft do you like the best?
I haven’t really done any crafting around Christmas. I really enjoy putting up the cards in a place where I can see them everyday. Does that count?

14. Christmas music? Yes or No, and if yes What is your favorite song?
Oh my gosh – yes! My favorite song has to be Mannheim Steamroller. Any song.

15. When do you plan to finish all your shopping?
I hope to be done sometime next weekend. Only a few more gifts to go!

Do you want to play along?
Just simply copy and paste the questions into your blog, and then answer them.
•Then tag 5 or more of your favorite blogs, and leave them a comment telling them they’ve been tagged.
•When you post on your blog, please spread some Christmas Cheer, and leave a link back to Heather's blog (Top 10 Christmas), and the blog that you were tagged by.
Heather would like any blogger to participate in this meme, even if you have not been tagged. She will go back and add your blog link to the list if you want play along.

I tag:
Anybody – have at it! :)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Why My Husband is Amazing

He’s an amazing plumber. I didn’t know this until this afternoon when showed off his skills!

The toilet in the powder bath backed up and before I knew it, Husband was yelling at me from the basement to grab all the towels in the house and get down there NOW. When he uses that voice, I don’t argue – I just MOVE!

The water had spread all through the powder bath and into the hallway and on the tile in the entry way. Husband had seen a river of water rushing down from the eaves above the utility room. I have never seen so much water where it wasn’t supposed to be!

We spent the next hour sopping up the water in the front hallway and moving boxes around to make sure all the water was cleaned up in the basement. Other than a few cardboard boxes that were trashed, I think we dodged a big bullet. It could have been so much worse!

So it just goes to show… if your husband yells at you to grab towels NOW, you better move your butt! You never know what’s going on in the man cave down in the basement. :)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

WWFM – Gift Lists on Google Docs

This week’s carnival is themed – what’s your best gift tip!

Mine is pretty simple and I think many people know it, but I have a little twist.

Some write down their Christmas shopping lists on the back of napkins, some in a notebook and some keep them online. I’ve switched to keeping almost every note of mine in an online notebook – either on Evernote or Google. My Christmas list is hosted on the latter.

Last year, we created a shopping list with a budget on Google Spreadsheets. I tracked how much we spent and what we gave each family member. That made it very easy this year to create a new budget and start shopping all over again. However, it solved one problem I didn’t even realize we would have!

I was looking at ideas for my dad when I couldn’t remember what we got him last year. I was able to look at my previous list and double check that I didn’t give him the same thing!

Keeping my memory online instead of in my head works for me!

You can check out other great tips at the WWFM main post.

You Learn Something New Every Day

You know when you’re really in a rush and you just need to get dinner on the table so you can head to your audition that starts shortly and you haven’t even decided what to wear yet?

Yeah, neither do I. :)

That’s where I was last night and I discovered something I didn’t know before!

Apparently, you can make your very own food poisoning delivery device and yourself nice and sick!

As it stands, I’ve thrown up once (last night) and am now sitting in my tv room hoping I can keep down this orange freeze my loving husband brought from Steak N Shake. I haven’t had anything in my stomach that stayed there until yesterday at lunch. I’m STARVING but I really don’t need to throw up again, so  I don’t know what I can eat. Husband suggested plain waffles – it’s starting to sound really good.

Now I’m debating whether it was just that pound of beef combined with the helper mix that was bad or if I should toss the entire batch I bougtht  from Costco and subsequently froze in the freezer. I hate the thought of throwing it away if it’s ok!

I said I wanted a day off work because I’m exhausted, but this is not what I meant!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

#6 – Go out with friends at least once a month

Before I headed to KC for a family Thanksgiving, the girls and I went to see IT. NEW MOON.

For my monthly outing with friends for my 101 in 1001 list, we caught a movie and then grabbed drinks at a local pub.

Oh. My. God.

I knew I had to see it with friends who really wanted to see it and boy howdy did we want to see it. The friends who got me addicted to the book series bailed on me after hating the first movie, so they were going to be no help with this new movie. My best friend had to wait until her sister was in town, so once that happened on Wednesday, we were so THERE! It was definitely hard to get thru that last day of work before a holiday weekend knowing that NEW MOON was waiting for me!

I sat in the theatre for a half hour before the previews started just fidgeting in our seats, so impatiently!

And then this came on…

When I read the books, I was most definitely on Team Edward but after seeing the most amazing Taylor Lautner, I’m definitely leaning towards the other side!

But, as our conversation in the pub afterwards brought out, the idea of a soul mate wins out over a beautiful body every time (even if it’s an AMAZING body).

Is it wrong that a 26-year-old is obsessed with a 17-year-old like I am? Is anyone else having these inappropriate feelings?!