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Monday, December 27, 2010

12/27/10 MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Or should I say Merry Kittymas?!

Two brothers for our two brothers !
We rescued two tiny kitties for the boys. I took them to the vet right away as they were in bad shape (very thin, one was very sedentary, and we had to pick leaves dirt, and other varmints off them). They have every kind of parasite, fleas, mites, and all the worms you can name. It got almost funny after they got stool and blood samples...the Assistant kept coming back into the room to announce to the Vet 'Kitten 1 positive for____' or 'Kitten 2 positive for ___'. They tested positive for everything except feline leukemia (longer test), which she ran out to tell me while I was paying ($400 for our 'free kitty's' LOL), and we both did a little cheer for the one thing they don't have. They came home with three different meds and they can't start their shots until they're stronger...hopefully at next week's visit. They've been quarantined to one area on the tile (kitchen & mudroom/laundry) until the Vet clears them as flea free. The worms/parasites will take awhile though (and I'm being a clean freak and making everyone scrub out as the worms can be transferred to humans...now there's a diet that works!).

The long hair is DS1's and he named him Beauregard H. Cat (Beau for short), and will be staying with DS1 at school when he's well enough to go (he's in a single next semester).



The short hair is DS2's and he named him Tucker (Tuck for short)...DS2 just finished many years of allergy shots last month and is on maintenance now, and hopefully my asthma will be OK now that I'm on all the meds (my Doc thinks so).



Don't think we forgot DD...she moves into her apartment in a few days and long ago we promised her a dog when she got out on her own (she's carefully contemplating it/small breeds now).
Got to run...my parents surprised us and are now coming tomorrow (with my middle sis) for a few days and the house is covered with 'Christmas Fallout'.
Hope you all had a wonderful holiday!!!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

12/21/10 Christmas Cards and a Feel-Good Story

Since I'm up at the crack of 'lunar eclipse' this morning, I'm sending out 'HAPPY HOLIDAYS!' to you a little early as it's going to be a hectic few days before Christmas and I'm not sure I'll be back here. First, a few updates, and then (you can skip down) an uplifting Christmas Story.

Updates:
The weekend was crazy busy; got DS1 home and his gigantic pile of laundry done. Shopped both days, mainly for DD's new apartment (FYI- There's a buttload of ugly bedding out there peeps!).

Yesterday was another blur; first we had the specialist visit for DS1 (thanks for all your prayers and good vibes); two tests to schedule, and it was wonderful for all of us to hear that the future prognosis, even though the testing may likely show issues, is good and that there is a lot they can do to help. An unexpected silver lining as well (or at least that's how I see it); they found a problem (unrelated, just something he was born with) that had a good probability of adding to the issues in the future, which will require minor surgery to solve (we'll probably schedule this summer).

I took DS1 to the Dentist in the afternoon and then we were off back downtown in the evening to see DD's apartment and to measure it. The apartment location wasn't as bad as I was expecting...just a short walk to a main street of shops, restaurants, and bars, so a good location for two young gals. The apartment was bigger than I expected, had a lot of character (some brick walls, beams, cathedral ceilings, etc.), and needs some work (I'll need to get some of those shrink wraps for the single paned windows, and maybe a stick in each as they don't look very secure...glad they're not on the first floor!).

OK, on to the feel-good Christmas Story...

I've received two Christmas Miracles this year. First (and I'll have to remember to delete this soon to protect the guilty)...I got 'the call' from Mom, but with a new twist this year...instead of the usual "She's done it again!", I got "It's a Christmas Miracle! I got the card from your in-laws and you actually look great!" If you haven't been following, I swear my MIL picks the worst possible pic of me (with our family) she can find every year...and it's gotten worse the fatter I became (and NO, I'm not saying that because I hated all my pics when I was fat, trust me, she takes a million pics of our family 'for the Christmas Card' every year and I know for a fact there were better ones...Now tell me why, now that I'm skinny, they (a nurse and doctor) finally put in a better pic of me than the kids?...You knew there was going to be an weighty lesson in here somewhere!). It's gotten to the point that my Mom (who never says a bad word about anyone) was calling me yearly in disbelief that she couldn't find a better pic, and to laugh with me about it.

So come with me for a short walk through history and a laugh...Some of my favorites:
2003...you couldn't have picked one where I wasn't talking (probably telling the kids to smile...while I'm not)?


2004...I swear I had no armpit hair sticking out (that lint was on every copy...you know I checked with all my family)...
...2007...she insisted we sit on the stairs...so...my disembodied head, looking up my nose (DS2 and I look like a totem pole)...

...2008 was one of my favorites (grab me, lean me over, and give my triple chin some babies, thanks hon)...

...although last year was precious...if you're into shadow monsters....and if you like women without any eyes...

and this year's:

My second miracle...

My family held a mutiny this year...or maybe it was an intervention. They decided that they didn't like how I decorate the fresh tree in our foyer. Apparently, my 'Christmas over-decoritis' is not always appreciated by all. After I called them all Scrooge and lectured them on the proven theory that there's no such thing as 'too much decorating' when it comes to Christmas, I let them voice their complaint...They wanted a change...they were 'sick of it'.

I've been decorating our tree the same way since our second year of marriage. The first year I bought the giant colored bulbs, like my parents had. That first Christmas we also attended one of those 'Festival of Trees' charity things, and I saw 'my tree' there...the angels sang, the light came down from the stars to shine upon it. It had beautiful clear small lights (not very popular then), bundles of dried baby's breath tucked into the branches that looked like snow, and best of all...small bows on the ends of every branch and a gigantic bow at the top with floor to ceiling ribbons cascading down all aroung the tree (very unique back then)...it spoke to me...of Christmas. So much to DH's dismay, our second year I gave our colored bulbs to my parents (as their's were now a complete fire hazard with ancient fabric wrapped cords that had been ducted taped back together one too many times...yes Dad, you worked hard on those lights every year), and I created 'our tree'.

So this year after trying, unsuccessfully, to lobby (bribe) each member of my family to vote with me on keeping things the same (I'm usually the 'change agent', but my senimentality made it hard for me to get behind this one), I had them narrow down their complaints. The main offender seemed to be the ribbons/bows, so that was my concession...no more little plaid bows at the end of every branch, and no more gigantic bow as the tree topper with top to floor ribbons cascading down all around the tree *sigh* (I did tuck in that baby's breath while everyone was out of the house).

2008 Tree with bows:


That night we finished putting the ornaments on and we all stood admiring our tree. It is a beautiful almost 11' fir tree, but it just wasn't the same *double sigh*. I stomped my foot and grumbled 'Fine, if that's the way you want it, but you guys can find a new tree topper, because it just lookes totally bare without one!' (Ha! That'll be their problem, those Scrooge's!).

Every day I looked at our tree...and something (the bows) was missing.

As with you, boxes have been arriving at our home almost daily bringing Christmas gifts. The other day a small one arrived from an unknown sender...probably another insulator for DH's collection (they arrive at least weekly), so I called him and left a message as usual. He messaged me back and told me to open it.

It was a light-up star tree topper! But not just ANY star...it was the SAME metal red and white one (with glitter on the metal), that graced my parent's tree (with all those colored lights) since I was a baby. OMG...as I burst into tears, I tried to puzzle this out. When my parents moved out of our childhood home this summer they had downsized their things and given each of us some ornaments from their tree. I knew my youngest sister had received their star and I knew it was on her tree this year, as she'd emailed me a photo of it.

DH, with his eBay skills, had found an identical 50-something year old star. With the emotionally tough year of moving my parent's out of their 44 year old home and saying goodbye to my childhood home, it is a wonderful reminder of all the warm Christmas memories I had there with them and I will always look at it with love in my heart.



The only thing better than my lovely bow topper...the Christmas star!


Now tell me you don't believe in the magic of Christmas miracles (and I think that deserves some over-decoritis, don't you?)!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

12/18/10 Painting the Town...

...nope, not Red, but colorful!
We went out to dinner with neighbors last night to a restaurant that just opened this week.

It IS possible to eat an appetizer and a small entree with the Band...if you're there for FOUR hours and the restaurant is buying you free drinks! Major glitches in the kitchen (owner even apologized), but the food and company was wonderful.

Wore my thigh high boots...this is the first time anything above my knee has been shown (other than on the beach) in decades...OK, with tights on, but still! I need to remember to keep up my BEST (a la Jen; Baggy Elephant Skin with TAN) with the sunless tanner this winter as I was looking a little pasty in the halter dress.

Off to get DS1's room ready!

Have you heard? *Jumping up and down* IT'S ALMOST CHRISTMAS!!!

Friday, December 17, 2010

12/17/10 Decorate With Me (Tons of Pics)!

Today I thought I'd share some of my Christmas 'Martha Moments'...my one sister makes fun of me and calls me Martha (Stewart) when I'm decorating, crafting (ha, you'll see just how EASY most of these are!) or working on one of my house projects. I try to add/replace one Christmas thing each year and in my extended family, we exchange a decoration or ornament with each family every year, so I usually mass produce one item to give out.

I love sharing ideas (tell me yours!) for EASY things (you WILL be able to do most of these...some of these you could do with kids, like I have) that add some Christmas cheer. If you're like me now and don't have time to craft before Christmas, the after-Christmas clearance sales are your new best friends for gathering supplies for next year, and the kiddo's always get bored over the holiday break, so you'll have something to do! The five things you must buy: 1) small/mini wreaths, 2) artificial roping/pine garland (easily cut with wire cutters), 3) floral picks (a wire stem with cute holiday things at one end; ie. a piece of pine, a pinecone and a mini package, and if you don't like everything on the pick you can cut them apart...instant decorating), 4) ribbon, and 5) ornaments (they aren't just for the tree!).

NO WORK- ALL YOU NEED ARE ORNAMENTS:
Ornaments aren't just for the tree, so go steal some from your tree and scatter them around the house (also see my ornaments in spools on yesterday's blog):

- I have an angel theme in the first floor bath...bought angel ornament on the towel rack.
-Bought angel ornaments all over our antique medicine cabinet display (see the dozen tiny mini angels sitting on top of the antiques in the cabinet).

Add Command Hooks to interior doors with bought ornaments:

-I love the sound of bells on doors...a santa/bell bought ornament I just hooked over the door handle:


JUST A FLORAL PICK AND SOME WITH RIBBON:

Here's a large berry floral pick I just bent into an arch and set above a picture.

-Bell with ribbon on a door handle:

- Bell with ribbon and one floral pick on a door handle:

-A floral pick that had a red bell, add ribbon and tucked above my sleigh bells.
NO WORK- SMALL/MINI OR CANDLE WREATHS:
Small/mini wreaths and candle rings are as simple as buying them and spreading them around the house. Keep in mind that if you have something larger that these won't slip over that you can cut the ring in one spot so you can open it up (see the holly rings I add to my buffet lamps below):
-Add the rings to a candle (lamp one here), or on hooks (peg rack):
-Bought berry wreaths and I just added a piece of ribbon with two straight pins (one that holds the ribbon around the wreaths and the other anchors it to the top of my valances).


-Just slip them over candles:
SEVERAL OF THE ABOVE:
- Candle wreath (holly) that I just cut the ring in one spot and then open and placed on my lamps.
- Ornaments just placed in 3 glass vases.
- Floral picks (holly) just placed at the top of my plates that hang on the wall.

-Door frame...this one is an ornament, bead garland and ribbon, but how easy (with 3 command hooks)!

GET OUT YOUR GLUE GUN (and if you're me, some ice), USE THE PICKS, RIBBON, AND PINE, AND BUY...
- BUY...Cinnamon sticks (or maybe you have these in your spice cabinet), glue together with some ribbon, and wire them to your metal grater(s) with a votive candle inside shining through (and the heat makes them smell yummy...keep any ribbon far from the flame).

- BUY...a mistletoe ball...bought the pre-made mistletoe ball at JoAnn's (glued in the red berries, ribbons and a bell)


THESE REQUIRE A LITTLE MORE TIME AND SUPPLIES (AND SOME EASY ONES MIXED IN):
- The kids and I made wine charms with sculpey clay (bake and glaze them) for everyone (each of them made two shapes and a dozen of each). We just used wire and beads as well (I found the glass tree at TJMaxx).


-Bought this wooden stacking snowman at the craft store and DD and I painted it.

-Look closely, there are two wooden snowmen on either side of the tree that my two oldest made when they were very young, with 3 scrap pieces of wood and then we painted and glued on stick arms.
-I made the 'feather' tree and painted small pre-made wooded shapes for the ornaments.
-EASY: stick a tree topper in candlesticks- each end of the entertainment top (use some sticky tack to hold if the hole isn't the same size).

-BUY...cookie cutters (or use yours), hot glue ribbon and add several floral picks where they hang.

-The kids and I sponge painted these Santas for everyone one year. Use 2x4 scraps of wood, paint and hot glue some pick parts and a bell w/ribbon on the hat.

-Just a bought mini wreaths and some prepainted wooden shapes we glued on with a bow. Each of my kids made their own for their bedroom doors one year (they wrote their name on one shapes).

- Just a bought horn and glued on pieces of pine, picks, and ribbon:

-Same items hanging:

Several Ideas Here:
-EASY: Bought berry wreaths at the base of my candle sticks.
-EASY: Pine garland just bent over chandelier arms, hook on ornaments and add bows.
-Apple cone: Buy fake Apples and a Pineapple, green 'moss', red berries, and a styrafoam cone, then just glue gun it together. I sit this on a charger on top of a glass cake pedestal and I added some more pine with mini apples around the base.

HAPPY DECORATING!!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

12/16/10 It's Beginning To Look A Lot...

I'm still alive...paddling as fast as I can. I had the worst & longest week long migraine then I've had in the past 5 years. Yes, I'll be calling the Doc as the preventative I take, and that did so well at the beginning, isn't working anymore. It sucks that I can't take NSAID's with the Band...after I could keep something down, I did resort to my old meds, but by then the migraine was already out of control and there was no snuffing it out. You'd think I would have lost weight with all the vomiting I had during the worst of it, but no...still holding steady (d*mn you Christmas cookies!). I need to get caught up...how's everyone doing?

The last day or so, I've been trying to get caught up with all the Christmas duties...as my head was spinning off. The decorating is done and the presents are bought and sorted...yes, I spreadsheeted the kids gifts (twice actually, as my DD accidentally deleted it from my computer)...my kids will at least never be able to say that I wasn't fair. We started baking the many batches of cookies (although I think DS2 will have the toffee polished off in a few more days...apparently putting them in the freezer so no one will eat them didn't work; DS2-'I can't help myself...it only makes the toffee better!' LOL). He did a great job at the holiday band concert (only tuba in the Freshman band, so he was easy to hear this year). I'm hoping he continues band next year, but he's losing interest in the tuba as his love of the guitar grows. I have no clue where he got the musical ability, but he's a natural...he found an old harmonica in the basement the other day and without ever playing before, in 24 hours he had 'sounded out' how to play 'Amazing Grace'...in TWO different keys.

DD completed her 'three month probationary period' at work last week (a normal thing for new jobs now). They love her (and the customers love her), are keeping her, and will be discussing a final salary/raise hopefully next week...and more importantly, she'll start their health benefits (she's loving the job and the opportunity to finally shine at something...flew out to NYC again today to a customer, so the travel keeps it interesting for her).

Needless to say, she's already found an apartment downtown...we'll miss her, but we know she's been anxious to get out on her own (and I'm just happy she's not across the country, or the world knowing my DD!). She will be rooming with an old sorority sister in the 2nd/3rd floor apartment of an attached house/townhouse. I'm a little worried as I haven't seen it yet, but after DS1's fraternity house room, nothing else can shock me (my eyes are still burning)...I just hope it's safe. Of course the lease starts Jan. 1, so great timing with Christmas as she's going nuts (and of course, us as well) trying to set up all the utilities and buy furniture and all the other things she needs...I'm hoping we can get in next week to measure/see the place. So it will be an extra busy holiday season!

DS1 is taking finals now and we pick him up from college on Saturday...yay!

OK...on to the pics...I think I'll do a few decoration posts this week as I have so many (Oh, and I have new great Christmas story to tell...don't let me forget!).

Today, a few of my favorite holiday vignettes:

The skinny artificial tree in the Great Room with DH's wooden German ornaments (I even found a wooden star tree topper). When I bought this, I cemented it into a foam urn...sure, NOW the 'urn' trees are everywhere! We decided it was too top heavy and kept wanting to tip, so this year I had this hanging upside down in my kitchen between two ladders (yes, I'm nuts) as I put cement and a spike into the small base so we could attach it to a plywood base (under the skirt). Yes, we have snow (two hour delays for school three days this week).;


DD's Christmas dollhouse is up on the coffee table (my brother and youngest sister assembled this, I finished and furnished it for her);

DD's pink lighted creche (affectionately known as the 'Christmas brothel') on the mantle. If you haven't already, read the best Christmas story ever here (one of my very first blogs):
http://bandgroupiethesweetspot.blogspot.com/2008/12/121708-i-believe-in-santa.html

And the tops to my two Dining Room cabinets; boxes of antique ornaments...

...and indent ornaments and candles with my spool collection (so pretty when the candles are burning at night).

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

12/8/10 Life Isn't Always Fair

First, thanks for the notes noticing I've been away. I started today's blog just wanting to post some Christmas decoration pics, but I've found I need to begin first with letting some things go. I'm realizing that I've probably been working hard keeping myself too busy, because I didn't want to talk about, or even think about it anymore this (maybe I've been avoiding coming here because I knew I'd have to)…I've lost to much sleep already. I've been trying to uplift myself with Christmas (I LOVE Christmas). As an optimist, I'm not a worrier and can always find the bright side of things, but when it comes to my kids being hurt...it's a different story.

I'm still embroiled in the several craptastic life things I mentioned earlier. One of them took a turn last week and I'm just realizing now that I've been avoiding really dealing with my feelings about it. 

*Portion of Post Deleted For Lap Band Blog
Anyway...sorry this post was a downer. I AM having fun getting ready for Christmas, crafting (I made a whole mini tree this weekend), and decorating (except for the d@mn Christmas lights that I've spent day's restringing this year...I swear they are just taunting me…flickering a new line out each day, but who the heck likes dealing with the lights?!)...I'll post some pics next! As DD said again this year 'It looks like someone threw-up Christmas on our tree and all over our house!' I'm hoping to about finish the decorating today and we've got DS2's band concert tonight…Fa-la-la-la-la!
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