If you wanna feel better about your family, just read about ours...

Starring: a dad, a mom, a son & daughter-in-law, a daughter & son-in-law, a teen, a tween, 1 grandson, 3 granddaughters, 3 dogs, and a whole lot of love.

Family Story Pic

Family Story Pic


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas traditions that should be carried on, and a few that shouldn't.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from my family to yours. I hope you're enjoying these final days of 2010 with sweet memories of your recent Christmas celebrations and with excitement for the year to come.

We're finding ourselves still talking about what a relaxing Christmas we had this year and contemplating the things we'll do the same next year....and of course the things we'll do differently.

When Z was born we decided to get each of our kids a Christmas tree ornament each year so that when they had their own Christmas tree one day, they'd have a collection of memorable ornaments to take with them. Needless to say, with four kids, our tree is packed full and I love it! +

This year we put up our Christmas tree before Thanksgiving which motivated us to get all of the shopping and wrapping done early too. We had everything completed and were able to completely enjoy the weeks leading up to Christmas. +)

I used my awesome new cell phone to create a file of all the kids gifts so that I could conveniently mark and track them without keeping lists lying around. Z found the files while playing Solitaire on that awesome phone. (X)

We took the kids out to buy Christmas gifts for each other and they were responsible for wrapping them and putting them under the tree. (+)

C unwrapped the edges and told everyone what they were getting. (X)

All of our family visits happened on Christmas Eve this year. My family came over in the afternoon and my husband's family came over in the evening for Euchre tournaments. (+)

We nicknamed Christmas Eve "Binge-mas" and loaded up on all the treats we don't allow ourselves throughout the year. (+)

I didn't take into account that we'd be stuck with a ton of leftovers....we're currently on day #7 of "Binge-mas" and my jeans tell the whole story of how well that's working out. (X)

We forgot to dismantle the mouse trap before we gave K her coveted Zhu Zhu Pet. Not near as traumatic as when I was a child and my parents got my sister and me two live hamsters and forgot to lock our cat up before they went to bed Christmas Eve night. We woke up to "Duffy" munching away on "Mork" and "Mindy" Christmas morning. Merry Christmas to us. (X)

My husband read 'Twas the night before Christmas' to his whole family before they left. (+)

He didn't wear his glasses, therefore mispronounced most of the words, accidentally added a few inappropriate ones and couldn't stop giggling when he had to read the word "breast." (X)

Santa came early this year! By midnight we were gathered in A's room singing Happy Birthday to Jesus and praying together before heading downstairs for all the fun. We crashed around 4am and slept till whenever we wanted. (+)

We hid K's bike and C's battery operated police car in our bedroom to surprise them. (+)

My husband forgot and sent K in to get a pair of scissors. We both realized what happened when we heard her screams of delight....immediately followed by my husband receiving his first death glare of the day. (X)

Then he thought it would be hilarious to pull out a scary mask that sent C screaming and running....straight into our bedroom. Followed by squeel of delight when she saw her police car. Death glare #2. (X)

Christmas breakfast consisted of boxes of Schulers donuts and a hot chocolate buffet with all the fixins, complete with chocolate covered marshmellows on the ends of candy canes to stir with. (+)

Before going to bed, Z spent five hours putting together his giant Kinex roller coaster. (+)

When he discovered it was too big for his room, he opted to put it together in the middle of our breakfast table.....it's still there.....(X)

Christmas day was spent in our jammies playing, napping and gathered together in our bed to watch Toy Story 3 and Ramona & Beezus. (+)

While my husband worked, the kids and I managed to get up for church the day after Christmas. (+)

We got stuck in the snow at the end of somebody's driveway along the way. (X)

That afternoon we all met back at home for our ham dinner made complete by my Grandma's cheesy potatoes. Comfort food, packed with memories, with my husband and kids around the table. (+)

As you can see, the positives outweigh the negatives. Barely, but whatever. We've definitely discovered traditions that will carry on and we encountered a few things we'll rethink next time. All in all, our Christmas weekend was filled with blessings, family and fun.

And something we discovered a long time ago: X's make for some lasting memories.....

Okay, your turn! Let's hear your traditions. The old, the new, and especially the X's!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

From "Pity" to "Surprise".....ya gotta love a party.

I turned 39 last week. Let me tell you something about turning 39.....it sucks. And it all started with a simple question from my husband a few weeks ago that went something like this:

"I was thinking about throwing you a surprise party this year, but decided not to. Would you have liked it?"

What the heck is that? Who makes an announcement like that and then bothers to ask if you would have liked it?!? And with that, my downward emotional spiral began.....as did a new obsession with wearing thick white face moisturizer to bed each night, made worse by my husband's facial expression and his second question of the month to send me spiraling: "Crap. Are you entering that phase of life?" (Some men should not be allowed to ask their wives questions.)

For 3 weeks, I threw myself a kick-butt pity party. It was huge. Getting bothered each time my husband would seem surprised at the mention of my approaching birthday and hearing that Z and A signed up for an all-night Christmas party with the church youth group on my actual birthday. (What kind of youth group celebrates Christmas in December?!? Come on!) I spent countless hours in the bathroom studying my face closely in the mirror....with tweezers in hand. And spent way too much (wasted) time contemplating the people who don't acknowledge my birthday anymore. Do I know how to throw a party, or what?

I wasn't miserable the entire time. Similar to a heart monitor that has a flat line running across it with occasional spikes indicating signs of life. I had plenty of spikes. My in-laws came over for dinner, cake and games a couple days before my birthday. (Spike!) My husband took me and our 2 youngest to dinner at Texas Roadhouse on my actual day, made complete by getting to straddle the saddle while everyone in the restaurant yelled, "Yee Haw!!" while bordering on being embarrassed and secretly relishing every minute of it. (Spike!) The following day, the girls and I joined my Aunt & Uncle to see the movie 'Tangled.' (Spike!) A lunch date with my sister Susan. (Spike!)

In the meantime, my husband was working away planning a massive surprise. Lots of secret phone calls, passing out fliers and buying and stashing away bags and bags of snacks and drinks kept hidden in the back of his car.

All I knew was that my best friend from massage school sent me a message a few weeks ago demanding a double date for the 17th. (Spike!) We love getting together with them and I blindly jumped at her invite. It would take too long to tell you the many lies that my husband and children told me over the past few weeks but I will tell you that it worries me how really good they are at it.

Normally a double date with Andy and Lissa lasts well into the night, so when they wolfed down their food like animals and I hadn't even swallowed my last bite when my husband said, "Well, we better get going," I was stunned. After he practically bolted from the restaurant to get the car, I turned to Lissa and offered up the only explanation that came to mind: "Maybe he has diarrhea."

I got in the car and his erratic driving began. Slow. Really fast. Slow. Really fast. I said, "What the heck is wrong with you?" Then he offered up the only explanation that popped into his head: "I slow down when I see Christmas lights I like." (Yikes. Somebody's been hittin the eggnog.) What I didn't know was that Andy and Lissa were following us to the next stop and he was trying to make sure they were behind us while still trying to make it to the party we were late to.

Next stop: Our church. His story: To pick up the generator he loaned for the Christmas parade. The problem: There's currently a situation with thieves in the neighborhood stealing batteries from cars. My question: "Will anybody be there? If not, I'll stay in the car and protect the battery." His response (Lie number I-lost-count): "People will be there practicing the Christmas play." Me: "We're having a Christmas play?!?" Him: "Yep." (I need to read the bulletin more often.)

But the problem arose when we pulled into the parking lot and there were no cars (all parked in the back), the church was pitch black and the front door was wide open. My first thought: "THIEVES!!!" and not only was I refusing to go in but was considering calling 911. He was finally able to talk me out of the car and I fought thoughts of disgust when he pushed me in front to go in first. (Nice protector.)

I can't remember what went through my mind when the lights flipped on and our 3 year old came bolting out of the bathroom! And there in the foyer stood our children and 60 wonderful friends and extended family members yelling surprise and singing happy birthday to me. (SPIKE! SPIKE! SPIKE! And we have a heartbeat, ladies and gentlemen!) And an awesome volleyball tournament ensued for the rest of the evening!!

As an added bonus, he asked my sister Susan, who made our wedding cake 18 years ago (when she was only 16, mind you) to make the cakes and he even remembered and requested she use our wedding colors again....Black & Teal.

Moral of the story:
1. Give that hubby of mine a lot more credit! (And try to forgive the fact that he told everyone it was my 40th.)
2. I am loved.
3. Don't be so quick to throw the pity party. Playing the martyr is miserable for everyone involved.
4. Keep using that face cream. My skin has never felt so fabulous.

Thank you to all of the wonderful people in my life who shared the evening with me! I love you all!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Lessons I've learned the hard way

1. Don't touch dry ice with your bare fingers.

2. Think it through before you "get something off your chest" to someone you love. The 2 minutes you'll feel justified isn't worth the permanent damage you've done in the process. You can take the nail out of the fence but the hole will still be there.

3. Not many people are worth the fight.

4. People will always let each other down. I am no exception so allow me this opportunity to make a mass apology.

5. If you're looking for self-worth in anything but Jesus Christ, you'll always come up feeling empty.

6. If money is your primary focus you'll never believe you have enough.

7. Never pray for patience.

8. Satan will use the misery of others to steal your joy. Be ready for it.

9. Babies aren't the only ones capable of getting their days and nights mixed up. Toddlers possess that same talent for screwing with you.

10. If the toddler and the dog are left alone in a room with wrapping paper and tape, the dog will eventually be re-gifted.

11. Don't bother starting a diet in January until all the leftovers are gone.

12. If you Google diseases you'll most assuredly come down with the symptoms.

13. Our jobs as moms is to love our children unconditionally and expect nothing in return.

14. I shouldn't push the cart in Menards...or Lowes.

15. You should never let your baby sleep in your bed unless you're ready to sacrifice the middle for the next 3 years. We made that mistake 4 out of 4 times....five if we have another baby. (Some mistakes are worth repeating.)

16. There are people who have high expectations of how they should be treated without giving a second thought to treating you the exact opposite.

17. When watching your toddler's gymnastics class and another mom asks 'Which one is yours?' don't be surprised if yours chooses that exact moment to start picking her nose with one hand and her wedgie with the other.

18. In the world of Facebook, people will defriend you. Go ahead and assume it was 'something you said.'

19. After seeing the movie 'Tangled' I realize it's possible to be attracted to the leading man in a cartoon. I'm not saying it's not creepy....just that it's possible.....

20. When a grown man and a teenage boy encounter a mouse on the stairs, you'll hear what sounds like the screams of two little girls. Don't lose respect. They can't help themselves.

21. A German Shepherd is capable of pulling an entire pot of chili off of the stove.

22. There's no way to manipulate the numbers on a digital scale in the doctors office.

23. The queen is fine....but beware of her mother.

24. When you have a husband and a teenage son you will eventually find yourself saying, "That's what she said" and giggling at ball humor. Embrace it.

25. Sarcasm isn't always appreciated....but that should never stop you.