End of December, NY Resolutions, and all that jazz

I’m having trouble with the fact that it’s 2013 already for some reason. Most years I am quite happy to let the new year come, but this year just felt like it went by so slowly and quickly and unsatisfactorily that I can’t believe that it is over. So let’s catch up first on the end of 2012, ok? Great!

The last week of school before the break David came down with the flu, which of course quickly spread to me and I got bronchitis, too.

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We had all kinds of obligations that week including D’s first band concert, which he missed, and the annual Christmas music recital, which we all missed, and class parties, which David missed and I was asked to leave when it came out that I was so sick (“But I’m the coordinator!” “Mrs. H, you are sick. Go home to bed. We’ll be all right!”), and we also missed a birthday party for Greg’s friend Asher which was End of the World themed for the Mayan Apocalypse (we have awesome friends, right?!), and our beloved Owen’s first birthday party was missed as well. I did manage to catch Greg’s Christmas program, though, which was super cute!

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Our van also broke down the next-to-last day of school before the break. I was at Brookshire’s in my less-than-appropriate-for-the-weather pants when it happened. Fortunately my friend BR came and picked me up and took me and my supplies up to D’s school for his class party and then dropped me back at the van to await the tow truck. Then Nick rescued me and brought me back home to my sick David. (And then my van was gone until New Years Eve, due to one thing and another needing to be ordered. It was a ridiculously expensive experience.)

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So Nick ended up driving us down to CS for Christmas. I slept through most of it. When I wasn’t sleeping, I was dozing in front of the television or feeding people. Seriously, I have no real memory of what went on other than A) gifts were given and received, B) I watched more bits of more random things than ever before in my life except when I had pneumonia, and C) I wore a Typhoid Mary name tag to Christmas Eve service at church. Cause my mom said I had to go and I’m wacky like that. Looking back at pictures, I see we played some games, made a gingerbread house, grew some crystal snowmen & trees, the kids scootered with the neighbor kids, my sister took them out to play basketball at the school, and my dad got them a giant remote controlled car to play with.

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We eventually came home and found out that it had snowed while we were gone! There really was very little left, but the kids went outside and had a blast!

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The kids spent the night with their Nana & Pa. Then we had dinner with our friends L & M, making pizzas and exchanging books. It was delightful.

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Then next day Nick, David, and Greg left for Dallas for their Teen & Pre-teen Winter Weekend (a church event). Ben stayed with Nana & Pa, as he was still sick, and I had two whole days to myself. It was lovely. I spent one whole day reading than watching movies based on books I read. The next day I tried a whole bunch of things from Pinterest and posted them all just in time for the Pinterest Party some of my group of friends from church is having.

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The next day was New Years Eve. We got the van back and I bought a few party supplies and the kids and I made a few decorations and we had a party at my parents house here in town. We stayed up late playing silly games (Apples 2 Apples is my current favorite) and tried to do fireworks in the rain and ate a whole bunch of junk food.

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We did a countdown at 10pm for the younger kids, then had a toast and took everyone home. The younger kids went to bed, then we counted down the new year again with David watching the East Coast new years eve show. Then he went to bed and Nick fell asleep while I watched Sherlock and waited for it to be 2013 properly (I couldn’t stand any more of those stupid new year’s eve shows). It was a good night! In the morning we got up and went back over to my parents house for coffee and more games (we got my dad addicted to Settlers of Catan this year and even my mom will play it). Eventually they left to go back home to their other house. We spent the rest of the day trying to clean up and put away stuff from all the places we’d been and all the stuff we’d gotten.

Today feels like the first kind of real day of the new year. Although not exactly, as the kids are still out of school until Tuesday. Still, we’re working on our resolutions and playing with our new stuff. Tomorrow I’ll post about our resolutions and our family motto for the year. 🙂

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Don’t Just Talk About It, Days 13,14, & 15

When I first made my list earlier this month, I had no idea that I’d end up having the kind of week I have scheduled ahead of me.  Monday I have a two-hour webinar for scouts, Tuesday I’m going to spend all day driving to and from Dallas with David, getting his back checked for scoliosis, Wednesday I have a half day playdate (planned for two weeks ago, then rescheduled) to catch up with a friend that I haven’t seen since my birthday last April, Thursday I’m going in to the hospital to have an EEG done to see if I’m having mini seizures, and Friday I’m having another catch-up playdate with a different friend (also rescheduled) who I thought I’d seen this month, but apparently haven’t yet.

Fortunately I’ve already done days 16 & 17.  YAY.  So today I’m going to try to get 13, 14, & 15 all done.  Watch for updates.  There should be some.  You know, unless I fall over and hit my head or something. *sigh*

Update 1:

BEFORE:

The craft supplies extend into the two carts on either side of the desk and also into the big binder, box, and accordion file under the desk

Two hours later, I have emptied the entire desk-that-was-my-grandmothers (now referred to as the craft desk because that’s a less unwieldy phrase), taken stuff out, looked at it, pitched some of it in the trash, designated other bits -one entire drawer actually- for sale on ebay  (anyone interested in some Stampin’ Up?), and moved another whole drawer over to another area, where I feel like I might feel more compelled to write notes & cards (since I won’t have to dig through the scary deep drawer to find them).  I have also dug through the entire cart, following the same process as above, a drawer in the other cart, and the small three drawered cubby as well.  I watched episode 1 & 2 of the first season of the UK version of Being Human while doing so.  I say “watched” but listened was more like it.  I wanted to see it because I liked the werewolf from when he was on Little Dorrit.  I liked him here, too, which was unfortunate because the show is too bloody for me.  😦

Now the children are home, it’s lunch time, and we’re digging through drawer 2 of the second cart.  We may have to stop to do tie-dye before we move on, since it takes up a lot of space and the children would rather we tie-dye today than throw it out unused.  I agree with them.  If only we had some white t-shirts.  Off to check for shirt availability.

Update 2:

An hour later, Nick has gone off to work and I have finished emptying the second cart.  Another trash can has been added, as the first one is FULL.  The tie-dye did not pan out, as only one kid has a shirt available for  it.  The top of the desk is left to do, as is finding a home off the floor for all the paper products (which do not fit into the desk).

MIDWAY:

See, the top is still left to be sorted out.  That'll be left until the ebaying is complete, sadly.

However, the day is still rain-free, the kids are awake and at liberty, so they are being drafted into “Day 15” and will help me carry heavy stuff in the garage.  I can hear them discussing it amongst themselves right now.  “We have to help her because she’s TIRED.”  “We’ll carry the heavy stuff and then she’ll be happy and let us have screen time later.”  They are SO RIGHT on both counts. (In other news, my bff read my earlier update & called & excused me from coming to her house this weekend, which was a relief because I was fairly certain I’d be dead by then.  Two trips to DFW in one week do not make for a happy Lisa.  On the other hand, I had wanted to see the Harry Potter party leftovers and love on her and her kids.  Ah well, there will be time for that next month.)

Update 3:

Another hour later, because I’m about to pass out and this may be the last update of the day.  The two younger kids have been very good helpers, as evidenced by the quotes above (you all knew that was Ben & Greg, right?).  David got mad about 3 minutes in because I wouldn’t let him keep his large supply of sticks in the garage any longer.  He left to take a giant bag of Lego bricks inside (why was it in the garage?  no idea) and never came back out again.  Greg and Ben helped me break down boxes, sort things into recycling bins (certain things can go in the one that goes out to the street that can’t go directly to the recycle center and vice versa) and the dumpster, and sort other things into whose room in the house they belonged to for once they go back inside.  Now we have a couple bins of things that go back in the house, which worries me a bit.  But the garage has been tidied up a reasonable amount, my trunk is full of more stuff for Goodwill, and in a few minutes it’ll also have been swept.  And then I’m going to go lie down on the couch and watch The Secret of Moonacre again with Greg because it is a delightful movie and I am exhausted.

Update 4:

(Are you shocked?)

Well, another hour has gone by and I haven’t passed out yet.  The kids didn’t want to watch a movie just yet.  “It’s a lovely day, Mama!”  And it is.  Breezy, warm.  Non-standard January weather.  They wanted to ride bikes in front of the house.  Sure, why not.  Well, here’s why: we tidied the bikes into a figurative corner and couldn’t get them out without getting the van out of the garage.  As long as the van was out and there was more space to move around in, why not reconfigure the garage so the bikes are easy to get to and the van seats (which rarely leave the garage these days) are less open to the elements?  So the kids got their bikes out, I shifted the other stuff while they were riding, et voila!  Now they can get to their bikes & helmets & padding on their own and I, thanks to some hooks hung on the wall to contain their never-used golf sets, have comfy seats inside the garage to watch the festivities from, out of the sun and elements.  Wahoo!

BEFORE:

messy, hard to get around stuff

Messy messy back wall of garageMessy, messy garage looking out of big doors

AFTER:

stuff we like to use front and center by the door, tidied up & purged of extras (except that small desk, which is destined for my in-laws house once their remodeling is complete, which will be soon)

The back wall of the garage, tidied up. :)Looking out through the big door of the garage, all tidied up

Week of craziness

(One day soon I hope to come up with better titles…we’ll see.)

Thursday last we had a double crazy day.  I baked 6 dozen cookies over the course of the day, those yummy apple caramel cider ones I did last week, but this time with the chunk caramel rather than the bits.  Oh what a difference the chunk caramel made!  They went from yum to superextrayum!  After the kids came home from school we decorated the cakes they baked the night before and that morning.

Ben’s cake:

Ben's green car cake

David’s cake:



That night Nick took the kids to their cake auction while I went to a cookie exchange party at one of the newer neighbors houses.  I didn’t know most of the people there, but the kids did enjoy playing together and I came home with some fabulous cookies.  (photos to be added once I find them)  Nick came home with some other kids cake, as he was outbid on our kids cakes.  They totally loved that!

Friday was the quadrupaly crazy day.  Ben had eaten  one of the caramel chunk cookies without warming it first and his crown came out so he had to be taken into the dentist first thing in the morning.  Also in the morning there was a concert at school for all the kids and parents that hadn’t gotten to see/be in the big performance the week before.  My mom took Ben to the dentist and my dad, Greg, and I went to save seats at the concert.  Ben and my mom got back before the concert started but too late to sit with us.  David got to play his violin in public for the first time and did very well.

From there we went home and got some breakfast real fast before gathering stuff up for the class parties.  I’m the homeroom mom coordinator for our PTA this year, so I’d spent the week contacting all the homeroom moms and their teachers, trying to make sure all the room parties were being taken care of and that people were all signed up to bring stuff.  I brought a cartload of extras and put it in the school office in case anyone was lacking anything, as I had two parties of my own to help out with.  Fortunately for me, the other moms involved in the parties were awesome, so I was able to run back and forth between the two parties a bit.  While I was running around, I noticed this hanging in the bathroom:

Isn’t that amazing?!

Anyways, Ben’s party had bingo

and a Left/Right gift exchange (I wrapped extra gifts in case they were lacking some and passed them out to younger siblings afterwards).

David’s party made ice cream cone Christmas trees (idea from Pinterest, naturally)

and also played bingo (yes, Greg was everywhere all at once, too!)

It was a great afternoon, but I was exhausted and out of breath by the time I’d climbed all those stairs a half dozen times (sometimes I’d walk the extra distance and take the elevator, but it was pretty far away).

My parents picked us up straight from the time the bell rang and drove us down to Palestine for our annual trip to ride The Polar Express.

Mom and I dressed up in our robes for the event

The kids were likewise dressed in pajamas.  This year it was freezing cold, so everyone wore their jackets, except Greg, who tried to live inside my robe.

Looking down at the train

Sitting together

The other half

Mr. Conductor came and punched our tickets.  The kids continued to be sad that they weren’t punching words like in the movie. The elves came out and danced with Ben

and to our great surprise, David danced with her, too.  (Even more surprising actually was that Greg said “no.”)

Hot chocolate

The North Pole.  We decided to be nice and let another family that hadn’t been there before sit on the side with all the lights.  🙂

After the train ride we changed up tradition a little and ate dinner at Giovanni’s, which is right next door to Little Mexico (where we normally go).

We have no photos of Saturday at all.  Aren’t you feeling happy about that by now?

Sunday Santa’s helper Elmer the Brownie visited our house.  When he saw we were all decked out for the holidays, he brought us yummy cookies.

Monday we made some graham cracker houses (and used up all the leftover candy from the class parties).

Yesterday we got The Call and left for College Station a day early, thinking that Steph’s baby was on his way.  Sadly, he wasn’t yet (she was more than a week over due), but we did get in a little visit today and she opened his present from us (which was partly something to be used on Christmas day).  Tomorrow I’ll post some more pictures.  Aren’t you excited?

End of the week & weekend

The first Thursday of the month with had a playdate after school with Greg’s pal E. and his brothers. We had 7 kids amongst two moms. It was great!
Ethan's mom says he hates to have his photo taken, which is why he's trying to escape Greg.

The next day we had a playdate at DSP with Greg’s friend Kya. There were only 6 kids amongst 3 moms this time. 😉 I’m always amused at the numbers, I don’t know why. They had all sorts of new stuff at DSP since the last time we went there, including robotic surgery arms, a new pretend restaurant, and a pretend courthouse building. The kids did not want to play in the courthouse, they wanted to play grocery and restaurant instead. 🙂

They have cool new robot-surgery arms at DSP!Townsend & Annabrielle ate all the play food they could!

Later that day we drove on down to College Station. We ate out at Cotton Patch Cafe (bad decision, such a long wait) and settled in. The next morning we took the kids out to the new skateboard park. We didn’t have skateboards, but we did bring the scooters and they absolutely LOVED it. All the ups and downs were enthralling to them. We have nothing like it in Tyler, as far as I know. They didn’t ever want to leave. They’ll probably go back again this morning as soon as they can drag someone out the door. p_00198Our family.  :)

Last night my dad and Nick had a whisky tasting. (In case you’re new here, I’ll mention that they do a couple a year, one in College Station so they can invite my Dad’s friends from the University and one in Tyler so we can invite our friends.) I spent all afternoon helping to clean and set up and getting food ready (I must have dipped about 50 strawberries in chocolate), but before it started I took the kids and headed out to Steph’s house for the evening.

Here’re the pictures I took before I left:
Getting ready for the whisky tastingSome of the food at the whisky tasting

We had a great time at Steph’s. She ordered pizzas for us and we got to try fancy homemade ice cream. We boggled at the entirely empty nursery. Our friend Sarah also came over with her baby. Sadly I didn’t get many photos at Steph’s house, as I left the camera at my parents house thinking they’d take pictures during the tasting (no, no they didn’t). The best one was this one:
Ren chases Greg in a crawling race.

Anyways, I have a big day ahead of me with Steph’s baby shower. It’s way too early in the morning, but I’m already jittery and excited about it. Must go shopping as soon as the stores open. Smile

a whirlwind kind of week…

Last week & the weekend went by far too quickly.  To sum up (this may take a while):

Wednesday: Three playdates in one day=crazy lady Lisa.  We had one at the park with a mom’s group + a friend with two kids.  Then in the afternoon we had our first-ever bring-a-kid-home-with-us-from-school playdate for David.  After dinner we had a playdate for Nick, sort of.  My friend B’s husband is a gamer and Nick went over to try it out, while the kids and I hung out with B & her kids.  It was a very long evening and things did not go quite as planned, but we did get to see a fabulous lightning storm on the way home, so that was at least something.

Thursday: I dropped the two older boys at school and ran five errands (with the baby & all the in-and-out nonsense with the carseat) and then collapsed in a heap.  I had a 101 fever and could not stop coughing.  It was bad.

Friday: Still sick.  Thought I might have to skip the bookstore/wedding extravaganza weekend.  Took the boys to Putt-Putt in the afternoon after I started feeling better.  They loved Putt-Putt.  Oh my.  (The Wii Sports package made my children so much more interested in sports, oh yes.)  At some point Nick realizes that he left no money in the account after bill-paying for me to take anything with me on the trip.  I was not amused.

Saturday: Not sick anymore.  Birthday money in hand, I left for DFW & bookstores & wedding.  Whirlwind crazy day with many bookstores & food at the Great Outdoors & Macaroni Grill & seeing two of my favorite people (Steph and Mikie).  Eventually got to the wedding of Gooch & Christi, after hotel map/google insanity and not-nearly-enough-time-to-get-ready (so if my hair was weird, now you know why).  The wedding was awesome, with Star Wars music & wookie sounds at the end and “We’ll talk about that later” in the vows.  The reception was even better.  There were pages for everyone to “be creative” with for the guest book.  Many people did not bother doing both sides, but mine was filled up front and back (one side with “old style paper blogging” of naughty quotes and the other nicely done for the scrapbook page.  There was an enormous amount of enthusiastically bad dancing.  Nothing was set on fire, but a lot was toasted over those little candles.  Saw lots and lots of people I haven’t seen in ages, which was fabulous, and a Girls Day Out was mentioned for the future, which I am looking forward to.  We headed out around 10:45 because we were exhausticated, but apparently things didn’t go on much longer than that.    (my meager amount of photos at flickr)

Sunday: Got up far too late and started the day at another bookstore.  Went to the Cheesecake Factory for lunch, which I’d never been to, but had heavenly cheesecake (Nick will learn to make the one I had; it was Lemon Raspberry).  Then I had to leave for home.  Came home, we each played one game on Wii Play (which was David’s present from Aunt Steph), then turned around and left for Bible study.  Discovered our IRS refund in the mailbox (which would have made the weekend less worry-making.  oh well, that’s what credit cards are for.).  Had pizza for dinner, watched the very first episode of the Care Bears tv show, and went to bed.

Today: Woke up late, in a panic, but not too late.  Took big kid to school, went to the bank, the gas station, the grocery store, and took a walk, all before 9am.  Then we cleanedcleanedcleaned and ate lunch.  Then I put the baby in his crib and told Ben not to bother me because it was “quiet time” and wow, I haven’t heard a peep for an hour now.  It’s so cool!  (He’s asleep, btw.)

Not particularly dead

After a long, boring saga of non-internet connectivity (solved by a new-to-us cable modem) and illness (baby’s bronchitis, Ben’s virus, Nick’s flu), we decided to make a break for it and come down to CS.  The kids and I arrived last night and are here through Saturday morning.  So far we’ve watched movies, rode bikes, toured campus, and eaten far too much.  It’s been good.

(Oh, and we broke the printer…or it committed suicide; I’m not sure which.)

Fabulous weekend

I had a fabulous weekend (well, mostly Saturday). We drove down to CS Friday afternoon & got there in time to have Freebirds for dinner.

Saturday morning I got up, showered, and got to spend the whole day with Steph. We had an enormous breakfast burrito, saw a cute blue fish bowl, and harassed a hostess. After that I shopped Steph’s shelves & returned a large box of books to her (I found several more when I got home that had been wandered out of the box by small children).

Then we hit two bookstores and a new chocolate store (how was yours? mine was icky, but Nick says the mango was all right). I got slightly less than a ton of books and even managed to easily talk down my cashier $6 on an audiobook of Eric Idle reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (which my kids looooved but I was a bit unimpressed by).
After all the book-y goodness, we checked in with the boyfolk & then hit the theatre to see 27 Dresses. We got there and encountered twenty thousand small girls all squealing about Hannah Montana (and I continue to realize that God did a good thing by not giving me girls. I cannot tolerate squealing.) 27 Dresses was cute, yet predictable, which was a relief, as Steph and I do not have a good track record with movies.

Went back to check on boys, then dragged out our husbands for dinner at Fitz’s & milkshakes at the Chicken. YUM! There were many children at the bar, which led to much quoting of Sweet Home Alabama: “You’ve got a BABY! In a BAR!”

Afterwards, Nick and I went to Specs and wandered delightedly through the aisles. I got some Winter Bourbon Cask Ale, which was not as good as it sounded (I’d failed to note the fine print that read “and Vanilla Bean.” Ah well. Someone can have it at the shindig.*

Today I went to church with my parents & kids. There were a bunch of Muslims there, as they were having an inter-faith dialogue later in the afternoon. The Muslims brought Noah’s Pudding, which has garbanzo beans & navy beans in it and yet, still, tastes good.  After church, Steph dropped by with our Christmas presents (I got a cupcake holder; it’s adorable. Now I need to make cupcakes!). We also got a nifty train shaped cake mold. The kids took one look at it and said “Can we do that? With all the candy? Right now?!” Umm, no. We had no ingredients. Nor food, really, for that matter.

Nick watched the SuperBowl while the kids watched Care Bears (or as Ben would say “Care-a Bear-as” and I dug through old journals trying to recreate the health record that the neurologist apparently lost (that I don’t have a copy of either). Nick’s team won the SuperBowl (I actually watched for the last 10 minutes of game clock time) and House afterwards was really good, too.

All in all, fabulous weekend.

*More about that in a post to follow

back to normalcy

Yes, I am still alive. No, no one asked. I just assumed someone out there might care. Hmm.

In any case, I’m home again. I’ve actually been home since Friday night, but my best friend came up for the weekend and we spent the time playing instead of doing useful things.

Last week I flew to California to meet my birthmother and my half-brother. The week went really well, much better than I expected. They’re very nice people. We exchanged gifts, did some much needed talking about important things, had a few meals. It was nice.

The weird part is that I felt like I was gone for six months and my outlook on life has totally changed. I hadn’t thought much before about all the things I have and all the wonderful trips I’ve been on and stuff. Now it’s all that I think about. I am so totally blessed in life. It could have been so very different for me. I just…wow. Yeah.

We’re all going to keep in touch. It was a nice visit. Hopefully they’ll come out to visit me once I’ve moved into a house.

In other news, we’re house hunting again. We have an awesome realtor and we know where we’re looking and what kind of house we’re looking for. We think we’ll prolly find one within the next month or so. I have no idea how we’re going to get out of our apartment lease early, but we’ll deal with that when the time comes.

I spent yesterday redecorating my bedroom. It needed it. I repainted some picture frames, framed some other art, hung it all up. I also made a canopy of sorts for my bed, which looks awesome. I’m working on painting my dresser blue. I’ve got it half-way done and Nick is bringing me more paint when he comes home tonight. 🙂

Today I’m working on a picture album for last year. Yeah, I know, I should have had that done before my trip to California, but some things just take longer to get to than others. Oh well.

Have a great day!

Bleh.

Bleh. Everything that could work against me getting to my parents house has. Double bleh. It’s just been a bad day. I’m tired and I hate having to change not only David’s clothes, but my own due to various messes. Oh well. At least the hash brown casserole at Cracker Barrel was good.

Good night folks.

I have a new cell

I have a new cell phone! WHOOP! I’m very happy about this. It’s uber-spiffy. It’s teeny tiny and it’s blue-and-silver and matches my latest new watch. It’s so nifty! *bounces all around*

Best of all, I’ll be able to take it to CS with me and call Nick whenever I want. Yay!

🙂

Oh, and the baby is taking another nap…what can beat that?