Friday, December 31, 2010

Best of Twenty-ten

Don't you just love reading end of the year top ten lists?  Best movies, books, songs, news stories, inventions. Always makes me feel like I'm watching history unfold.  My own personal list isn't full of anything new or shocking, but these are ten discoveries that have made my year a little happier...

01.  audiobooks
I don't know how I'd ever work out, fold laundry, or get through all my other zillions of mind-numbing momtasks without audible entertainment.  And let's face it, once the twins started all-day school, the house was just WAY too quiet.  My listening library is a life saver.

02.  cerave skin care
Sara Vee?  Saravay?  Karavie?   I'm not sure how to say it, but I love this stuff.  It's cheap.  It's gentle.  It's recommended by my dermatologist.  Hey, I'm 40 now.  My skin needs all the help it can get.

03.  crossword love

Call me nerd if you must, but crosswords are my new favorite brain workout.  USA Today puzzles are the best, in my opinion.  And, if your husband travels a lot, he can bring them to you from hotel rooms around the country.  Sweet.

04.  my iphone
Yeah.  The whole smartphone revolution...I get it now.  

05.  friday night lights

Brad and I are addicted.  It's enough "All My Children" for me and plenty of "Sports Center" for him.  He doesn't seem to mind that I have a teeny crush on Coach Taylor.  Maybe because he thinks Tami is pretty cute.  Thank you, Netflix.

06.  charming charlie

I didn't know such a store existed til we moved West.  Can you say "candy store for grown women"!?  Cheap and non-fattening.  Also known to cure PMS.

07.  honey + licorice

These got me through my last East Coast winter.  (And it was a doozy...)  Sadly, I have not been able to find them anywhere since we moved.  I will keep scouring drugstore shelves, though, because my pocketbook is lonesome for their crinkly-wrapped goodness.

08.  shower power
Tilex Fresh Shower.  You know the kind you spray and leave?  And your brand-new, beautifully tiled shower stays streak- and mildew-free?  I love housekeeping when it's this simple.

09.  digital trainer

I've been using  MapMyRun  to help me stay motivated this month.  Technology is just so great.  With the help of #1 and #4, this little app is digitally kicking my trash.

10.  babysitters in da howse

The single greatest discovery of 2010 is the fact that my kids can take care of themselves for a few hours while Brad and I catch a movie or grab a bite.  In other words, I am saving so much money, I can head to Charming Charlie on a regular basis.  And I can go child-free!  Happy New Year to me.

What's on your Top Ten?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Christmas When

2010 was the Christmas when Opa and Oma came to stay.  Oma treated the girls to pedicures, lunch and shopping.  Opa got up early to repair and wax all our antique leather books. (How many houseguests do that?!)  They spent lots of time loving their grandkids and no one wanted them to leave.
It was the Christmas when, for the first time EVER, our kids got to celebrate the big day with both sets of grandparents.  

How lucky am I?  My parents are healthy, happy and still in love with each other.  My in-laws are healthy, happy and still in love with each other.  Both sets of parents get along without a single bit of drama.  They all dote on their grandchildren AND make Brad and me feel like capable, successful adults.  I realize that we represent a very small subset of the population in this respect, but I am thankful.  It made for a merry Christmas.

2010 was the Christmas when Nana brought her world-famous Swedish tea ring for breakfast and helped us start a new Christmas dinner tradition. (And this recipe was perfect for an apres-bain repast.)

This was the Christmas when Santa's elves brought a hot tub just in time for some Yuletide soaking.  Mrs. Claus especially appreciated the hydrotherapy.
2010 was the Christmas when we brought our traditional Christmas Eve hot-dog roasting party out west.  Instead of old pals standing by the fireplace, we got to know some new friends as we sat around the backyard fire pit.  We discovered that the Christmas spirit isn't subject to temperature change.

This was the Christmas when everyone's favorite gift rolled into the backyard...
...and took away more than it left behind!
Come for a dip in 2011!

 Happy New Year and thanks to everyone who made our Christmas so merry.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Holiday Hacienda

Yay!  My laptop is alive!  The camera is a little blurry, but it would be asking too much for everything to function perfectly at once, right?  Anyway, here is a little peek into our desert Christmas.

Last month I was worried that I wouldn't be able to get into the Christmas Spirit without snow or cozy sweaters.  But it's amazing how 72 degree sunshine can put you in the ho-ho-holiday mood.  I love running all my errands without a bulky coat.  I love shooing the kids outside while I play Mrs. Claus indoors.

I love my Christmas cards!  Just looking at my photogenic friends and family puts me in the holliest, jolliest mood ever.  You know what I think when I look at this wall?  I think, If I died tomorrow, these are the people who would care.  Is that weird?  I find it vaguely comforting.  

Unpacking the Santas and little forest of Christmas trees, I felt like I was reuniting with old friends.  They help make our new house feel a little more like home.

The train is circling the living room tree, but I'm finding my little engineers aren't quite as captivated with the chugga-chugging this year.  Sad.

And the Tooth Fairy finally made a stop at Luke's pillow!  All he wants for Christmas is his two front teeth.  And a Bakugan.  And a plasma car.  And Rock Band.  And a puppy...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

No, I'm Not Dead. But My Laptop Might Be.

Everyone close your eyes right now and say a little Christmas prayer for the Gabtop 3000.  She is in the fight of her life, trying to survive a bout with a deadly online virus.  Terminal illness is never convenient.  But in the month of December, it can be particularly painful.  And since Brad's big old bulky desktop isn't really a fan of snuggling by the Christmas tree, my online shopping (not to mention my cyber social life) is suffering.  Big Time.

But here is what I have been doing in my screen-free time:

Moving to a new place is like going to a new high school.  You find yourself trying new things.  Hanging out with a different crowd. Taking new classes, inventing a new persona. Insecure teens might get talked into drugs or alcohol.  Insecure 40 year olds might get talked into running a 24 hour overnight relay.

Yes, I am running the Ragnar Del Sol in less than three months.  No, I have never done anything remotely like this in my entire life.  Yes, I am racing with 11 other Mormon moms.  (We have approximately 55 kids between the 12 of us and are seriously considering the team name "Sister Wives.")  Yes, I am training every day.  No, I have not experienced any notable weight-loss.  But, yes, it is surprisingly fun and addictive.

The kids are running too.  I guess 24/7 sunshine just makes everybody want to lace up the sneakers.  The PE teacher sponsors a twice-weekly running club after school, so that's where we can all be found Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.  Some of us are fast, some of us are slow.  Some of us whine and some of us glow. Needless to say, the backseat of the minivan is not the place you want to be on a Tuesday or Thursday afternoon.  Post-run showers are mandatory.

So this is the part where I ask any runners out there for advice on shoes or training or good music for the iPod.  In the past, my eyes would completely glaze over when I encountered any running I promise not to get zealous.

 And, if the sick laptop ever makes a miraculous holiday recovery, I will post photos of our Christmas Casa!
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