Thursday, December 30, 2010

Our Maui Vacay

These past three months flew by and I am finally getting around to posting photos from our Hawaii trip. It was so nice to relax without the kiddos!  You kinda forget what life is like without the holler of "Mama!  Mama!  Mama!", the dogs needing to go out/come in on a constant basis, someone being hungry and/or needing something 24-7, etc.  Not that we would trade it for the world, but was is quite nice to have a week without all of hubbub that seems to consume our daily lives.  I'll be honest, it took a few days to get used to.  Those first two days we, along with our friends, were a little on edge.  It was as if we were waiting for one of our kids to fall in the pool or something.  This trip was one of the few shining lights in an otherwise daunting fall/winter in 2010.  Our week in Hawaiian paradise:

Seriously?  We're in Maui without kids?!

Can't go to Hawaii without shooting the cliched sunset picture :)!

One of our favorite eats!  Great fish tacos!

Our hotel:  Westin Time Shares

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Magic

Well, our stockings are hung with care and the tree is decked out to the nines.  I cannot believe Christmas is almost here!  Although stressful with the many projects I have been working on, this has been one of the most laid back holiday seasons.  So nice!  This year we sort of mapped out what we were going to get everyone, and did a lot of shopping online (Amazon, Snapfish, etc.)  Only one trip to the mall and that was for just one item I wanted to get for Todd.  I just did not have the desire to wait in long lines surrounded by cranky shoppers and disgruntled employees.  Of course there have been several trips to Target and Michael's, but that is nothing unusual for us.  Costco, Target, and Michael's are our playgrounds.  Although the closer it gets to the 25th the more I try to avoid these places. 
I am not sure if I am getting more jaded as I get older, if it's the economy, or what, but I just don't like the superficial aspect of this time of year (stores displaying Christmas stuff before it is even Halloween?  Really?!)  Yes, I love to give and receive presents (who doesn't?!)  Giving is what this season is about - goodwill toward others.  But I don't like the mob mentality, self-absorption that people fall into, the constant pushing of retail purchases, people buying crap just for the sake of giving something with little thought into the gift itself.  Gifts should come from the heart, have some meaning behind them, or be something the recipient genuinely wants or could use.
Not looking to throw money down the drain, this year we really challenged ourselves to find gifts that measured up.  It took some serious thought, but it was fun.  Working hard to hard gifts with meaning and purpose.  I will admit, there are some family members who are very challenging!
In addition to our quest for thoughtful gifts, we have also spent a lot of time decorating the house.  It is so fun to watch the kids' reaction when their home is turned into a Christmas wonderland.  Maddie gets so excited and Lucas is just in awe.  Despite our objections he loves to play with the ornaments on the tree.  I think at this point it has become a game for him.  Maddie gets so happy she glows when she sees how we have incorporated her projects into our Christmas decorations.  She made some paper houses with Grandma this year that I added to my chipboard village.  Watching the two of them reminds me of how magical Christmas was as a child.  Everything was so spectacular, the world around me seemed to sparkle!  Nothing was tainted with the hustle and bustle of shopping, or the overall grumpy attitude people seem to have.
That magic is my goal.  Remembering the actual spirit of the season.  Don't let the other stuff get in the way.  It is so hard not to get caught up cesspool of holiday worries.  Projects to finish, class parties to attend, gifts to wrap, etc.  But we need to remember, is it the end of the world if the store is out of boxes?  Is it really necessary to berate the employee when the store is out of the size/color you want?  Five years from now is your child going to be scarred for life because they did not get the must-have toy (that will more than likely end up collecting dust by March)? 
As we dive headfirst into Christmas tomorrow stop and take a breath.  Take a moment to remember how magical it all used to be.  The surge of excitement December brought.  The importance of kindness towards others.  And let's all try to recapture some of that, because that is what meaning of Christmas is all about.  

Saturday, December 4, 2010

I Heart My New Iphone

For the longest time I was against getting an IPhone.  I just couldn't justify paying an additional $30 a month for Internet service.  And really, it wouldn't be $30 a month.  If I got an IPhone, Todd would get jealous and want one as well.  That's $60 per month, which winds up being $720 a year.  Ouch!  Almost a $1,000 per year just for the IPhone?  That's a lot of camera goodies I could purchase with that $720, or art classes for Maddie, clothes for Lukey, you name it!  Consequently I could not hop on the IPhone bandwagon no matter how desperately I coveted one.
Then the 4G/new Internet package was introduced and I began to waver.  That $15 per month plan only equals $360 per year!  That is a lot easier for me to justify in our single income household.  Thus with the purchase of our IPhone I have discovered a new love.  Now that I have it I don't know how I ever survived without it.  It is my calendar, my video camera, my phone book, my point and shoot camera, my entertainment, my on-the-go internet (which has come in handy more times than I can count!), my notepad, sigh...basically my life.  So sad considering how anti-PDA I was.  My little tree-hugger self has officially entered the new millennium.  In honor of my fallen pride, here is a random assortment of IPhone pics:

"All done with breakfast, Mama!"

Afternoon stroll in our neighborhood

Maddie decorating the kids' tree

Todd enjoying shaved ice in Maui.  Sooooo gooooood!  Vanilla ice cream, shaved ice, root beer syrup, topped with coconut milk.  Yuuuuuuuuuuum!

The hubs and his "perfect" Christmas lights

Like yogurt much little dude?


Earlier this week Lucas ran out of our bedroom and into the wall.  There were some sobs and tears, but he calmed down rather quickly.  Didn't think much of it.  Fast forward a couple of hours and here is what I found on his poor little melon after his bath:
I guess he didn't hit the wall so much as he hit the corner of the wall.  AAAK!  Poor lil' man!  His bangs were hiding this big, gnarly lump.  Of course, by this time Todd was at work and it was just me at home (these never happen when he's here to help.)  All I could think of was what if he has a TBI (traumatic brain injury)?!?  What if he goes the way of Natasha Richardson?!  I swear after she died from that skiing accident I have never looked at head boo boos the same!  What if I take him to the hospital and they think I did it?!  Fortunately my mom is a nurse.  I called "Nurse Grandma", got some medical advice, and kept him up another hour watch for sings of a concussion.  In the end, all was OK and Lucas proceeded to get a few more lumps and bumps from various accidents throughout the week.  Sigh, boys....

Friday, December 3, 2010

Where Does She Come Up With These Things?

As I am driving Maddie to her dad's tonight we passed one of the larger Christmas tree farms in town.  She took one look at the trees all neatly lined up and exclaimed, "Wow!  They got the hook up!"

Apparently my eight year old has a new catch phrase...  These things just tickle me :)

October Re-Cap

Since I have been gone so long I figured I would just post a photo re-cap from October's festivities. It was a great month. My parents were doing much better, we had Halloween, I got to make Maddie's costume this year (love homemade costumes!), we trick or treated with good friends (including Sarah's mom who was visiting from Nebraska!) and family, our October tradition: Lemos Farm, the Half Moon Bay K9 trials, Todd's birthday, Lucas discovered my shoes (so stinkin' cute!) and the magic of colored pencils (when he wants to color now it's, "col!"), pumpkin carving, and just hanging out/being a family. All in all, a great month!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Blog Sweet Blog...

...Oooh how I've missed you!
It has been a ca-RAY-zeee four-plus months since I blogger. In the span of two weeks I almost lost both of parents to serious (yet unrelated) medical dilemmas. Dad had a hemorrhagic stroke and Mom was so busy taking care of Dad that she ignored her own illness until it was almost too late. She came down with a severe case of pneumonia and sepsis. No one should ever have to get a phone call that their mom has been found on the floor unresponsive. UGH! What an awful feeling!!! But both are doing well and are on the mend! Yay for my parents!!
In addition to medical brew-ha-ha Todd and I took an adults only trip to Maui. The trip was great except for my 24 hour bout with the flu. That royally sucked! Fortunately there was only one day where I was really down and out. Due toa lack of appetite my first few days post flu I think this was the first time I came home from Hawaii weighing the same as when I left! No matter how much sun block I used I still got a killer tan. Todd was pissed. He is the one with Middle Eastern heritage and I'm the one who, despite my Western European heritage, gets a tan after being in the sun a mere 30 minutes. Apparently Todd inherited all of the Scottish genes and none of the Syrian. But some of my Maui favorites were the soft velvety sand on my feet, listening to the waves crashing as I drifted off to sleep, the amazing seafood (Duke's!), lounging by the pool with a good book, the shopping, and most of all being there with good friends. Sigh... I love me some Hawaii!
This fall I began an Adobe Illustrator class. With all that went on early in the semester I had to drop my other two classes. But this one has kept me pleasantly busy. My teacher rocks and Illustrator is a program I have grown to love (maybe even more than Photoshop!)
Thanksgiving left us with lots to be thankful for this year! Just having us all here and healthy was reason enough for me! Our little home was filled with laughter, joy, and some fabulous food. My Martha Stewart mashed potatoes and apple crumb pie had enough butter to clog more than a few arteries. My mom's stuffing was to die for! Thick chunks of bacon in stuffing, who woulda thunk it? We had turkey and stuffing sandwiches the next three days. Although delicious, I think I have had my fill of turkey for a while. Even the dogs discovered turkey surprises in their food. I just can't believe I didn't take any photos!
Now we are in the throes of Christmas decorating. Tree up and decorated, check! Department 56 village displayed in hutch and china lovingly packed away, check and check! Chipboard houses on fireplace mantle? Check! Stockings hung with care, check! Wreath above fireplace and a fresh pine scent lingering in the house? Check, check! Plus I have my dining room table decorated, Todd hung the lights outside, and I have my yard decorations displayed along our walkway. All that is left are decorations for the entertainment center, garland along the stairs, decorating the kids' tree, and hanging my banners. I swear, we have been like two busy,little elves since Sunday!