Sunday, November 28, 2010

Drumsticks and Sunshine

Our Black Friday this year was actually quite golden.  No mall, no movie theater, no boots, no gloves, no shoveling.  Just a big blue sky, sixty degree temperatures and a lovely family hike up Goldmine Mountain.  Not sure it burned off the butter fest known as Thanksgiving Twenty-Ten, but it was a start.

Having some family in our hometown made Thanksgiving so easy! Grandparents, cousins and friends came just for the afternoon.  No one had to cross a time zone or brave a blizzard or get the airport pat-down.

The food was all homemade and delicious.  And nothing makes a house feel more like home than hosting family and friends.  Much to be thankful for!

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Our new hometown is one part Southern California and one part Laramie, Wyoming.

Last night, we hitched up our britches, pulled on our boots and headed to our first-ever rodeo.

Cute cowgirls,
hotdoggies and chili,
country music, pony rides and chicken chasing.   

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Weather, Harry Potter and Other Things I Know You're Dying to Hear About

Ahhh.  November in Arizona is complete heaven.  The sun shines every day.  Temperatures hover around 75 during the day, then cool off enough for cozy jammies at night.  My kids are constantly outside.  I go for a jog in the sunshine every morning.  THIS is why we live here.

The twins are settling nicely into first grade.  However, Luke has decided he wants nothing to do with his brother.  Last week, he was "Hero of the Week" and did not want to include a single picture of Sam on his poster.  I guess this makes sense developmentally.  He wants to be his own person...define himself.  But it makes me a little sad.

They have also decided they want to play separate sports.  Sam-soccer.  Luke-tennis.  But I am torturing them both with piano lessons!  They started this week.

Last week, Brad and I took a trip to Orlando.  We did the parks WITHOUT the kids.  Pure fun.  Harry Potter at Universal Studios was the highlight.  (Crowded but worth the wait!) We really are kids at heart.  Thanks, Babe for planning.  Thanks to Nana and Aunt Geesh for babysitting.

Em chose to choreograph a roller-blade number for the Activity Girls' Talent Night at church.  She performed beautifully, especially considering the fact that the day before she had five (!) teeth pulled.  Two of the teeth removed had crowns.  Nice.  I love paying to have all that expensive work taken out.  By the time this kid is 18, she will have a million dollar smile.  Literally.
Jake has become a sixth grade party animal.  The doorbell rings non-stop with friends asking to play.  He bikes to the park everyday with his buddies, has all kinds of birthday party invites and a great scout troop.  For the first time in his life, Jake has an age-appropriate social life and I am so happy for him.

Life is good.

Monday, November 1, 2010

November Cleanse and List Day

November 1 was official Cleanse and List Day around here. I feel so much better. Some serious pumpkin-pitching, one manic trip to the carwash, a fast-acting Fiber One bar for breakfast and I am a whole new woman.

I also got my new yellow legal pad (mini-size) ready for the annual Christmas list.

Now I know there is certainly some higher-tech way I should be organizing my Christmas plans. I know there probably is some foolproof holiday app right at my fingertips. But, quite frankly, I enjoy keeping the holiday a pen-and-paper kind of operation, okay?

Besides, my kids will definitely find the list if it's hidden on the iPhone. But if it is out in plain sight, on the kitchen counter, on the same kind of paper that I use for the Saturday chore lists, they will avoid it like a green vegetable.

I have saved my Christmas legal pads for years all wrapped up in rubber bands. I think it's fun to go back and read what I gave everybody in 2008 (Phillies' World Series sweatshirts) and what the kids wanted when they were really little. (2010 will be the first Christmas in years with no Thomas trains under the tree. Sniff.)

At the back of my little trusty legal pads, I also write a post-holiday review and helpful hints to remember next year. Order more cards! Send packages before Thanksgiving! Neighbor cookie party= big hit! Reading notes from my former festive self actually energizes me and gets me right back in the holiday spirit.

Last year I wrote: Keep It Simple! No Homemade Anything!

Now, I am NOT trying to rush the Christmas season. I honestly became nauseous last week in Hobby Lobby's pine and tinsel aisle. (Seriously, how can anyone stomach Silver Bells and cinnamon pine cones when it is 89 degrees?)

However turning 40 has led me down a path of increased self-awareness and I DO know myself pretty well after all these years. I know that I am an early bird....I get my best day's work done before noon, I get my best holiday cheer on before Thanksgiving. The longer I leave tasks undone, even fun yuletide tasks, the less likely I am to ever get them finished.

So today, I struck while the iron (and desert sun) were hot. I ordered a few gifts online. I planned a few holiday surprises. I threw out the Jack-o-lanterns. I walked off a couple Hershey miniatures. It felt good.

Holiday madness? Bring it on. My legal pad and I are ready.

For now anyway.

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