Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Catch-Up #2...

Yes, Katella, now I am REALLY behind! I am not sure I can even remember what I did yesterday, so I don’t know how I think I’ll remember last week! But here goes… and just to really mess with you, I am going to go backwards so the most recent is on top:

Tuesday, December 16th

Work has been looking like a Winter Wonderland. There's been treats galore every day and tons of pressure to keep up with everyone in their decorating mania. So I did a little Dollar Store shopping and tried to keep up with the times.

Monday, December 15th

The tins are packed, the cards are signed, the table is full… maybe one of these days I will get to handing this stuff out!

The weekend – December 12th – 14th

It was a busy weekend! We had dinner at our house to celebrate the many November and December birthdays that tend to get missed in all the holiday hoopla!

Can you tell he likes the present we got him?

And his mommy and Uncle Jon-Fin set up the tracks so he could play. ALL the cousins got in on the action, including Isabella, who patiently waited to catch the train!

The girls kept asking "Where's my baby?" and took possession of Isabella all night. I swear they must have said goodbye to her two dozen times a piece!

The Winslow’s came over early to try and get a Christmas photo. All I can say is, God Bless Photoshop! Getting three kids to cooperate, smile, and face the camera all at the same time proved impossible. Even after bribing them with juice and cookies! But Photoshop came to the rescue and I was able to make something out of them after all:

And my favorite of the day was not planned. It was just a cute moment where I happened to still have the camera in my hand. Maddy was nice enough to share her bribery, I mean reward, with her Mommy.

I spent most of Saturday baking. One of my many holiday traditions! I always tell people that I think there would be a riot if I didn’t make my chocolate chip cookies every year. This year I also made some coconut squares and tried them with caramel and chocolate – YUM! And I dared to try something else new and made peppermint chocolate cookies. My niece Emily would have swallowed them all whole on Sunday if I hadn’t been guarding the container!

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.... Coooooooooooooooooooooooookkkkkiiieeeeeeees!!!

We also had Jonathan’s holiday party with his work. It was a casino night theme and actually quite fun. They had craps, blackjack, poker, and roulette. I lost everywhere but craps and it was my first time playing! I think I found a new game! The guy that ran everything had a great personality and explained everything really fast but also so that it made sense. And he gave out lots of bonus chips just for staying at his table, so I liked him!

At the end of the night, you cashed in your chips for raffle prizes and then put yours into the prize that you wanted. We didn’t win, but we did get some movie tickets in the door prize drawing. I have to say, it was one of the better holiday parties that I have even been to. But I have a few more to go to yet this season, so I won’t vote it the best of the year yet.

Thursday, December 11th

35 years ago today, my big sister was born!

Now that little baby is all grown up and has a baby of her own!

We went to dinner with her and Luigi and Isabella on Thursday at Red Robin – her favorite. Jonathan told the girl in the big the Robin costume to shake her tail feather.. and she did it. He was so proud!

Wednesday, December 10th

My first day off on my new work schedule. I work and extra hour for 8 days, and get every other Wednesday off because of it! I spent the entire day running around and doing my Christmas shopping. The stores were still fairly crowded, but I can’t imagine they were anywhere near as busy as they would be on the weekend. I got the majority of my Christmas shopping done and only have a few last minute things to pick up now. Even though I am tired a lot lately and haven’t quite adjusted to the new longer daily schedule, I think I am going to REALLY like having a day off every other week!

I spent the evening with Brenda and Beth and even as the designated driver, had a good time out with the girls.

Tuesday, December 9th

I have no idea what I did on Tuesday. Insert Christmas memory here __________________

Monday, December 8th

A Charlie Brown Christmas was on TV tonight. I was bored with the football game, so I flipped the channel over and had it on in the background while I was organizing and cleaning for the weekend. But eventually the movie caught my attention. It’s totally different humor when you watch it as an adult. Some of my favorite quotes:

Sally: I've been looking for you, big brother. Will you please write a letter to Santa Claus for me?
Charlie Brown: Well, I don't have much time. I'm supposed to get down to the school auditorium to direct a Christmas play.
Sally: [hands a clipboard and pen to Charlie Brown] You write it and I'll tell you what I want to say.
Charlie Brown: [sticks pen in his mouth] Okay, shoot.
Sally: [dictating her letter to Santa Claus as Charlie Brown writes it for her] Dear Santa Claus, How have you been? Did you have a nice summer? How is your wife? I have been extra good this year, so I have a long list of presents that I want.
Charlie Brown: Oh brother.
Sally: Please note the size and color of each item, and send as many as possible. If it seems too complicated, make it easy on yourself: just send money. How about tens and twenties?
Charlie Brown: TENS AND TWENTIES? Oh, even my baby sister!
Sally: All I want is what I... I have coming to me. All I want is my fair share.
Lucy Van Pelt: You DO think I'm beautiful, don't you, Charlie Brown?
Lucy Van Pelt: You didn't answer me right away. You had to think about it first, didn't you? If you really had thought I was beautiful, you would've spoken right up. I know when I've been insulted. I KNOW WHEN I'VE BEEN INSULTED.
Schroeder: This is the music I've selected for the Christmas play.
[Schroeder plays Fur Elise]
Lucy Van Pelt: What kind of Christmas music is *that*?
Schroeder: Beethoven Christmas music.
Lucy Van Pelt: What has Beethoven got to do with Christmas? Everyone talks about how "great" Beethoven was. Beethoven wasn't so great.
[Schroeder stops playing]
Schroeder: What do you mean Beethoven wasn't so great?
Lucy Van Pelt: He never got his picture on bubblegum cards, did he? Have you ever seen his picture on a bubblegum card? Hmmm? How can you say someone is great who's never had his picture on bubblegum cards?
Schroeder: Good grief.
Charlie Brown: Thanks for the Christmas card you sent me, Violet.
Violet: I didn't send you a Christmas card, Charlie Brown.
Charlie Brown: Don't you know sarcasm when you hear it?
Lucy Van Pelt: I know how you feel about all this Christmas business, getting depressed and all that. It happens to me every year. I never get what I really want. I always get a lot of stupid toys or a bicycle or clothes or something like that.
Charlie Brown: What is it you want?
Lucy Van Pelt: Real estate.
Charlie Brown: [Yells into mailbox] Hello in there. [looks away and soon begins to walk] Rats. Nobody sent me a Christmas card today. I almost wish there weren't a holiday season. I know nobody likes me. Why do we have to have a holiday season to emphasize it?
Patty: Try to catch snowflakes on your tongue. It's fun.
Linus Van Pelt: Mmm. Needs sugar.
Lucy Van Pelt: It's too early. I never eat December snowflakes. I always wait until January.
Linus Van Pelt: They sure look ripe to me.
Lucy Van Pelt: Look, Charlie, let's face it. We all know that Christmas is a big commercial racket. It's run by a big eastern syndicate, you know.
Charlie Brown: Look, let's rehearse the scene at the inn. Frieda...
Frieda: I can't go on, there's too much dust. It's taking the curl out of my naturally curly hair.
Charlie Brown: Don't think of it as dust. Think of it as maybe the soil of some great past civilization. Maybe the soil of ancient Babylon . It staggers the imagination. He may be carrying soil that was trod upon by Solomon, or even Nebuchudnezzar.
Pig-Pen: Sort of makes you want to treat me with more respect, doesn't it?
[Linus knocks on an aluminum Christmas tree, which gives a metallic "clank"]
Linus Van Pelt: This really brings Christmas close to a person.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


So I'm way behind on keeping up with my December Daily journaling, and I figured if I don't catch-up now, I probably never will! So here goes...

Friday, December 5th...

We spent the evening across the street with the Keyes'. Mark got his bonus and let Brenda do the honors of opening the envelope...

Saturday, December 6th...

My first scheduled photo shoot with the Intiso's. Unfortunately, by the time everyone was ready for photos, Isabella was ready for her nap! So there weren't too many to choose from. But she still looks adorable, as cranky as she was...

I call this one her 1980's look....

And although it's really grainy, this is the best I was able to salvage of the family photos...

Sunday, December 7th...

I spent the day putting up the tree and decorating the house... oh, and it was all by MYSELF, cause where else would Jonathan be on a Sunday?

And there's something about the final touch of the topper on the tree that always reminds me of being at home with my mom and putting the angel on her tree. It was always a special treat to be able to do that and be hoisted up or up on a chair to finish it off. I think it was a tradition when she grew up too!

I'm being summoned out the door for a ladies night, so I'll have to catch up on the rest of the week later.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Must See TV...

There are a few movies that are the staple of my holiday season. I watch them every year and never get sick of them! Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without watching these. My top 10 holiday must see movies: The Santa Clause, Elf, Miracle on 34th Street (the original), Love Actually, Bad Santa, Scrooged, The Nightmare Before Christmas, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, A Christmas Story, and my all time favorite, Home for the Holidays! We could watch this movie a dozen times between Thanksgiving and Christmas and still think it’s funny. I’ve only caught bits and pieces on TV in the last couple weeks, so I’ll have to sit down and actually watch the whole thing very soon!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thanks for the Memories...

We were saddened last week by the news of the passing of a friend of our family. We knew the Meeks family through my aunt and uncle and saw them often at family gatherings over the past three years. Marvin was a BIG guy, six-foot-six, or maybe even taller, and all muscle, but his warm smile and genuine personality invited everyone in and made them feel welcome. He was known to be a big teddy bear. Sadly, Marvin found out in mid-November that he had colon cancer and lived only two very short weeks longer.

We first met the Meeks family three years ago around this time when Santa came to visit my aunt’s house. They brought their two young kids with them so they could get a chance to visit with Santa, but it’s tradition at auntie’s house that EVERYONE gets to sit on Santa’s lap and tell him what they want for Christmas. It was quite a site to see this big guy on Santa’s lap, trying not to crush him!

When Jonathan and I gave up on fertility treatments two years ago, it was only a few days before Santa was coming again. We were lucky enough to get a chance to corner Marvin and Marianne at the event and pick their brains about their experience adopting their two kids. They were both so supportive and gave us a realistic run down of the positives and negatives of their experience. Marvin talked a lot about his struggles trying to be a good Dad to his kids but always ended his stories with how rewarding it all was. A week later, we started our process through the agency they had referred us to. Marvin was even in the orientation video they showed us when we started!

A year later, we had our foster kids for only a couple of days before Santa came again. Marvin and Marianne were so excited for us and loved how well our boys got along together. Marvin wanted to set up play dates for the boys and thought how good it would be for two adopted kids to share their experiences together. Unfortunately, the kids didn’t stay with us long, so we never got the opportunity to spend that time together. But I remember being very thankful for all their support and knowing there was someone else out there that understood what we were going through.

Today at work, we were talking about holiday traditions. One of my co-workers, Amy, was joking about how she’ll probably be dragging her kids to see Santa and go on a Christmas train ride once they are teenagers. Another co-worker, Sandy, mentioned how, despite the fact that they may gripe, if the tradition is started, they may also appreciate it in later years. I immediately thought of our visits from Santa and how much fun it is to see all the adults sit on his lap too. The kids get such a kick out of seeing their parents, grandparents, and aunts and uncles laughing on Santa’s lap and acting like kids again themselves. This photo of Marvin flashed through my head and I thought how some day his kids may look back and consider little moments like this with their dad and smile.

We miss you already Marvin!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Oh the Weather Outside is...

Awesome! I love this time of year when the winter weather starts taking effect and everything that goes with it. Starbucks Peppermint Hot Chocolates, bundling up in fuzzy coats and soft scarves to go outside, snuggling with Saddie when I get home, and curling up under a warm blanket every night. The weather today is finally down into the 50’s after many weeks of a warm spell and something about the cold weather pushes my holiday mood into full force.

This is an e-mail my mom sent to me a couple weeks ago:
One of my coworkers, just reminded me of a wonderful memory of you that I want to share with you….

Her daughter just started college back East and she called her and said it was snowing today. She was so excited, being that she was raised out here.

The first time you saw snow, I think you were about three, and your sister and you and I went to Michigan for our first Christmas with Grandma and Grandpa. As the plane landed, everyone started shouting and were all excited and saying “Oh my God……..it’s snowing” and you started crying, because you didn’t know what that meant or why everyone was making all that racket and I had to calm you down and tell you that it was OK and show you the snow out the window of the plane and tell you how much fun we would have playing in it. I bet you don’t remember that and I don’t remember if I ever told you that story, but I have a lot of wonderful memories of you and your sister…………………………Love and Kisses……….MOM

Maybe I associate this cold weather with the holidays because we spent so many Christmases in Michigan in even colder weather. I remember the days of traveling to there for the holidays as a kid and being so excited to experience a white Christmas. I would sit in the window of my grandparent’s house, watching the snow fall and feeling anxious for it to pile high enough for us to be able to play in it. Then Melanie and I would bundle up and spend hours outside making snow angels, building snow men, sledding, and having snow ball fights. There was always good memories of Grandma and Grandpa’s house and all the amazing Christmases we were lucky enough to experience with them.

Monday, December 1, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....

The sight of my house all decorated and ready as I drove up tonight made me sing this song out loud! I love the holidays and this year have decided to document it in a December Daily Album inspired by the Ali Edwards project here on her blog.

We're back safe and sound from our trip to Arizona. We spent time with Jonathan's parents and his two sisters, went gambling and shopping in Laughlin, played games, and in the spirit of Thanksgiving... ate until we could hardly breathe!

My favorite photo from the weekend is a classic Ashcraft family photo! Mom really wanted a family photo together before we all left, but no one could stop laughing long enough to take one all together. This is more typical of how they all look all the time when they get together then anything I could have ever posed!