Friday, December 30, 2011

"...Another Year Over and a New One Just Begun..."

^John Lennon (Happy Christmas - War Is Over lyric)

As it is the last day of 2011, my mind has been going over the year... lots of ups and downs. I lost both of my grandmothers this year a few months apart. It was hard - I miss them greatly. Maris turned 4 and had her epic Beatles Yellow Submarine party... Jackson turned 2 and had his Toy Story party... to tell you the truth... the year seems like a blur right now in my sleepy muddled brain so a recap seems crazy :) It was a fun and busy year with the family and Mom's group... we welcomed a new family member, Ava Grace, into the world a few months ago (my sis in law's new baby!)... once I finish the family yearbook for this year, the events will be fresher in my mind :) Every year for the past 4 years I have had a book printed with highlights from month to month and I fell waaay behind! It should be a breeze on this fancy new computer of mine though! Just have to do a bit more digging for the pictures as I had that virus wipe my hard drive *and backup hd* earlier in the year. (one of the baaad events of 2011)
Aanyway.. here are a few resolutions I was kicking around in my head. I normally don't really "do" resolutions because I know they are fleeting... but in the spirit of the holiday... I will indulge.

Resolution #1 - I will try to set more of a set schedule with our daily routines. I have fallen into the habit of letting them eat whenever - graze - and not have really set meals except for dinner... and I feel unorganized lately with getting them up and going. Embarrassingly enough, there are days when I jump right into my cleaning or whatever I'm doing that day and dont even dress them until afternoon or a diaper change is needed for J man. A routine would tie together nicely with my next resolution...

Resolution #2 - I will try to eat set meals MYSELF. I never eat breakfast... rarely eat lunch... occasional snack here or there until dinner. I think I get too distracted by the kids to remember that I am hungry. I really never feel it until I get dizzy or there isnt much to do. I know once Jim gets home and I am cooking dinner... he helps with the kids and all and I start to realize I havent eaten. It might be rubbing off on the kids with their refusal to eat lunch most of the time... I eat like crap. Gotta fix that. Which ties even into my next resolution!

Resolution #3 - Get fit. This is the stereotypical one I know.... but I am serious. Its not a resolution of "Im gonna be skinny this year!" or anything like that... I just want to be in better shape. Thinner would be nice... haha Basically, I am done having babies (not really having a choice in the matter health-wise...)so there is no reason to still have this baby weight... They are 2 and 4... I lost a ton of it with Maris but didn't really lose Jackson's post preggo pounds. I work late nights and have the kids all day so I'm tired and even when I'm not tired, I don't want to work out due to the fear of being burnt out later that night at work... I know... excuses excuses... I realize that. It just has to change. Maybe more walks... more park days where I run with them instead of drawing or just taking photos while they play... Our road is TERRIBLE with farmer work trucks and bad drivers... lots of blind turns and careless people... so I have refrained from taking too many walks past the mailbox but there is a walking trail in town. There is also the wii fit. NO EXCUSES MARISA! Get fit!

Resolution #4 - Keep In Touch With Family More I have been using facebook as a crutch really in the whole "Hey, I don't need to contact anyone - they can see my facebook photos and posts and be updated there..." idea. Which is true for the most part... but what happened to letters and phonecalls... I really have been missing my Dad this holiday season (not just now, but it seems worse lately) and I rarely call him. To be fair, he rarely calls me either... the road goes both ways... but I could try to reach out more. Not only my Dad, but a bunch of family members... life is short and time is precious. Family is forever but the people in it aren't... you've got to enjoy them while you can. I mope about missing family and all but then I look at people like my friend (who I won't name for privacy...) - she lost her Dad in a sudden accident 2 years ago. She can never talk to him again... I can still pick up a phone and call my Dad. It makes me feel a bit silly sometimes with the moping when it is easily fixed. It puts things into perspective for you... seeing people miss loved ones. My paternal grandparents were married for 60 years and we just lost my grandmother this year. I can't even IMAGINE how he must feel. Such immense loss... I DO try to send him photos of the kids and letters and all... I sent him a christmas card with pictures of the kids... but I have to resolve to do more. Maybe plan some roadtrips to see family in 2012. Life is hectic and busy with kids and now Maris' school and ballet schedules and my work being opposite of Jim's and all. but we will make it work. Even family that is close by... a few towns over... I need to make an effort to spend time with them. Maris and Jackson have 2 cousins roughly the same age and they rarely see them. Why?? I have a cousin and her great hubby with lots of similar interests with whom I used to be so close with... maybe reach out and make some plans... I frustrate myself sometimes... even my sister. We used to go shopping and do sooo much together. we are still crazy close, but I miss spending time with her like I used to.

Resolution #5 - Work on Photography Career I drag my feet on this like an idiot out of fear of failure and also out of inexperience. I have NO mind for the business aspect... Pricing things that I love to do seems awkward to me but I have to get past the whole "You are not a pro photog so no one will take you seriously" thing I have going in my head. I am all talk with the photography bc I have all the passion in the world for it... just have all sorts of intimidation about declaring myself a PHOTOGRAPHER instead of just a hobbyist. There is also the issue of losing a huge chunk of my portfolio in the virus debacle... I basically have to rebuild a portfolio from scratch. so long story short. no excuses. head out of ass. get going. take photos. I live and breathe it. might as well get paid for it! Maybe a class to boost confidence level?

Bring it on 2012! Onto a new and improved life and person...

and just because I hate posting without a photo: here are my lovey kiddos this morning eating breakfast on the go. A banana is better than nothing! :)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

*Almost* Wordless Wednesday

New computer set up! :) LOVING having 2 screens - one for music/movies and the other for business. It makes my photo and video editing so much easier. (Even though basically since I set it up, I've had kids videos playing in a youtube playlist for the kids on the spare screen haha)
Well! Back to un-Christmasing the house and organizing the enormous influx of new stuff Santa brought!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Wrap Up

Christmas has officially come to an end. It is always bittersweet. I love Christmas time and Christmas carols and preparing for the 2 days of family and food and fun... but I also am ready for normalcy and less traffic and less of the holiday humbugs people tend to get. I am a person who tends to take down our tree before New Years - sometimes even the day after Christmas... we live in tight quarters and we can use the space for all the kids' new stuff! But on the same hand, I have decals to put onto toys, board games to assist with, new gifts to put away and a new computer to make time to set up properly and I have work tonight... we are also meeting a friend for lunch and to exchange gifts. At least she doesn't have school until after New Years!

So Christmas Eve was great as usual. We have it at my Mom's house and she makes her amazing bread and lasagna that we look forward to all year. We track Santa on the NORAD (I am OBSESSED with doing that... :)) aaand usually open one gift and save the rest for the next day. I made a photo block set for my Mom and one for my sister. I got a Beatles lamp! My Mom rules at finding Beatles stuff I don't have already :) Feeding my addiction! I brought an old home movie of Christmases and other things and we got to see my grandparents in that and had a moment of really quietly missing them. It was great to hear their voices and see them smiling with their family. There was much dessert and coffee and we stayed until the kids were about ready to drop, loaded up the car and came home. They were super easy to get in bed and fell asleep immediately. Then we cracked open my Red Nose Ale from Heartland Brewery that I got for "Santa" and Hubs to drink as we put out presents. Santa had some beer with his cookies to take the edge off... haha Jim and I were super excited about the gold box for Maris and the nutcracker for Jacks. He said we should hide them in the back for last :)

Our Christmas Morning started at &am. The kids were up and talking to each other about how Santa did come. Jackson was under the impression that we were going to SEE him so he was briefly disappointed. Every gift he went "wow! thank you!" and it was soo cute!

she still loved her apron and robe! I knew the Hello Kitty would sway her :)
and they get to the GOLD BOX AND NUTCRACKER. Their faces are priceless and Maris refers to it as her favorite gift of all. Jackson got all quiet and hugged his nutcracker then hung it on the tree.

we got him an rc car that is for 3 yrs and up and he was going NUTS! (he is still playing with it as I type this blog... haha)

Around 930ish we got dressed and headed to stop #2 on the Christmas adventure- Back to my Mom's for Christmas morning there.

Muppets Yahtzee! I love when two things I love get combined! Its on!

Mom and Bobby got us a portable outdoor shed and I cried I was so happy! No more tarp with rocks for us! the kids outdoor stuff will now be safe and at our house. What an awesome gift!
Not sure how much I went into the portablenorthpole videos... but you can make your kid a Santa video with their personalized info and it will say if they are on the naughty or nice list... well my kids were obsessed with theirs and my Mom made one for Miranda saying she wanted a camel and she was on the bad list. Maris was deeply concerned about this for weeks saying Miranda better be good or she wont get her camel. She was totally serious about the good and bad list this year. It was super helpful for keeping her in line in the rare instances where she was acting up. WELL... some renegade elf *meee!* got a camel figurine and stuck it in the bottom of her stocking on Christmas Eve to surprise everyone on Christmas morning hehehe It worked! She laughed so hard she cried! and Maris was happy that her Aunt Miranda got her camel. :)

Around 12 we packed up (had to leave most of the gifts behind to pick up later *tiny car!*) and headed to Jim's parents house for Christmas stop #3. We had french toast and bacon and Maris went on and on about her squinkees :)

I took oodles of great pics but in the interest of saving space and time, I only uploaded some faves. We watched Christmas Story and opened gifts and ate delicious food... took some super pie home for later... The kids really got the hang of opening gifts! They made some priceless faces haha

I hope everyone had a wonderful christmas. I know that we did! Now off to brave the post xmas sales and clearance! where to start! I hate tearing the kids away from their toys... but we have errands to run!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

First Christmases...

I got thinking about first Christmases this morning and how usually when you hear "first Christmas" it is a joyous thing. a baby's first Christmas, a first Christmas in a new house... or as a married couple... but there are also some sad ones... like a first Christmas without a loved one. This year will be my family's first Christmas without my Grandmothers, both Mary and Violet. My Aunt sent us a Christmas card with a poem called First Christmas In Heaven. It actually was a great comfort. I hope everyone in my family can still have a happy holiday and look back with happiness and loving memories instead of dwelling in grief.
As excited as we all are for Christmas Eve, I also have my Grandmothers on my mind today... As this is the first Christmas without both of them as we lost them this year within a few months of each other. I just wanted to take a moment to think of them and hope wherever they are, they are smiling down on us. Both were beautiful loving women who are deeply missed everyday. Merry Christmas Grandma and Nana. I love you. and also to my Grandpa. He has been gone several years now, but he was the greatest person I've ever met and I still miss him immensely. The world was a brighter place with all three of you in it, but your love and memory lives on. Merry Christmas

My Nana, Mary. She always had everyone in her prayers and loved her family so much.
My Grandma, Violet. Maris' namesake (middle name) beautiful woman who was always smiling and loved her family.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Recital and other Christmas-Type Fun

I have been on a cookie making craze lately... I made eggnog cookies with an eggnog glaze and also some sugar cookies, heath cookies, peppermint cookies, and candy cane cookies. I was wishing Maris had her apron I made her for Christmas since she was covered in flour! haha
Today we had Maris' school party and recital. It was a Wizard of Oz theme (no idea why lol) and they were munchkins. Absolutely adorable. they sang "its the most wonderful time of the year" and did a jump move at the end. All the kids were soo pumped to do that jump... it was incredibly cute. All of the teachers made a gift for all the kids and it was an apron and chef hat. I swear my heart sank when I saw it. (She really really wants that, but I handmade her one for Christmas!!! Its pictures in previous posts.) You can see in the picture how crazy happy she was with it.I got over it... but it was a shock! I am amazed with all the little gifts the girl got from her teachers and friends! The bottom picture is of her basket with all the stuff!

Here's a funny side story : So.. Maris has her gold box that will make her believe in Santa., We are pumped to give it to her. Now last nght Jim asked Goober what he wanted Santa to bring him and he immediately (and straight faced) declared that Santa will bring him a green Nutcracker. Not cars, Jackson? No. A green nutcracker. SO.. being the awesome parents we are, we went and found him a little green nutcracker today after the recital :) Jim distracted eagle eye Maris so that she would think it was from Santa as well. I am truly having a great time with all the christmas spirit my kids are having and really getting into it all. They really cannot wait to give their gifts to everyone and have made billions of cards and love singing Christmas songs. Maris has a countdown going.. how many sleeps til Christmas Mommy?? 2 sleeps. Its on! :)

a good day :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

Local Lights

We drove past a local house that goes all out every Christmas and encourages people to walk up and down their driveway to enjoy their decorations. We took the kids on one of my nights off and they loved it. It was crazy bitter cold and Maris got cranky but Jackson LOVED it. Something my Dad always did with us when he had us for visitation was drive around the local neighborhoods and check out the lights on all the houses. I know I loved it and figured the kids would enjoy the tradition as well.

they do love Santa.. and Christmas lights