Monthly Archives: December 2014

the obligatory end of the year post…

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IMG_1845Well here we are, standing on the precipice of a new year. Looking back at 2014, I wonder how much we really have changed? The boy grew facial hair this year…. though he’s more like a fuzzy animal than a hairy beast. “Bay I’ve been telling you for two weeks you need to shave…” “I’m not going to. Every time I do, my face hurts…it feels like I’m burning and I don’t want to do that to myself.” He replied. “Bay, it’s called after shave lotion…” I tried. “No, it’s called not shaving”.  In spite of our daily argument about his facial hair, what he’s most proud of nowadays are his sideburns. In fact he’s resistant to getting his hair cut for fear he’ll lose those burns. “No one’s touching the burns…” He tells me. Oy ve, I’m more than ready for my handsome son to return…once he’s “cleaned” up (circa 2025?).

The doll would like us all to believe that she has changed the most; thinning out and growing to 5′ 6.5″ tall. Every day she makes a point of coming up to me and using her hands to show the (little) differences in our heights “Look mom…uh, uh…look…” Which prompts me to reply, “Yeah look-I’m still taller than you!” “Perhaps…but for how much lonnnger?” she’ll drawl out with a smirk.  She also decided the time had arrived for a new hairstyle (switching parts from middle to side) which makes her look less like a little girl and more like a teenager. After a week of seeing getting used to her new hairstyle, I remarked to my hubby, “Do you know who she reminds me of?” As we both took a quick glance at her “Viola from the Incredibles…” Thankfully she was out of ear shot and did not hear us laughing at the thought.IMG_1972

Along with the hair change came a change in her demeanor as well and the desire to wear make-up; trying to look and act more grown up. On Christmas eve, her cousin Lisa (20 something) remarked, “She’s such a little adult”. “Mom, is that good or bad?” She asked later, trying to sort out what Lisa meant. “No that’s good. She was referring to how nice, polite and accommodating you seem to be…” I tried to explain. “So…in other words, I’m mature… for my age?” “Yes…but doll…some of us don’t like to be labeled as ‘mature'” I said with a smile and received one from her in kind.

As for the rest…2014 was a very very good year…especially for me. My relationship with the doll grew even stronger as she continued confiding in me and asking for my help. I know I was not this forthcoming with my parents-perhaps because I had older sisters. But I thank God daily for keeping the lines of communication open between us. At the same time the boy likes to tell me I don’t understand him and I’ll never get him. The Ying and Yang right? Then each day we share petty arguments and try not to get upset with one the other. Yet at the end of the night they both tell me they love me…so I have another day to make things right between us. Thankfully love really binds us well.

IMG_0123In spite of turning the big 5-0 in 2014, I probably had the best summer of my life…kicking things off on my birthday weekend by traveling to Charleston, SC to help celebrate my niece’s wedding and enjoyed a nice birthday lunch with my twitter friend Anne. When I returned home, my hubby and I celebrated our 24 years of marriage by taking in a Mud Hens ball game and traveling to Put in Bay (Middle Bass Island) for a beautiful afternoon date. Then summer took over–in both June and July, we traveled to Florida; spending a week at Universal Studios (great thanks to Grammy Pat) where the doll lived her dream, walking into the world of Harry Potter “Mom in my head, this is where I live”. The boy, while fascinated by the theme park in general, wasn’t as excited and opted to hang out with his grandmother-who couldn’t experience many of the park’s facets; much of the time. Then in July we spent a week at Daytona Beach, frolicking at the beach and swimming in the ocean.IMG_1973

As summer drew to a close, I flew out to Los Angeles, CA to attend a fan club meet up for the Webseries Venice and meet the actor/creator/producer Crystal Chappell; with my good friend Cathie. Neither one of us ever thought we’d get to the Golden state as our husbands are uninterested in traveling there. For five fun-filled over the top days and nights, we enjoyed walking down Hollywood and Vine; driving to Downtown Disney and meeting up with an old friend,  driving on the 401 (didn’t really enjoyed that one); taking a tour of Warner Brother’s Studios and walking down the Santa Monica Pier. In one months time I had the honor to say, I had put my feet in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans-a dream I never thought would come true. 

However, while being a tourist was filled with great fun and adventure, I have to say the majority of my fun was derived from the people we “met” once we arrived. Some I’ve been talking with on Twitter and other social media sites for years, but there were many others I met for the first time–though you never would have guessed. We were all so happy to be in LA, attending the events and finally putting voices to avatars. I’m not sure I have ever laughed as much or hard as we did while there. We were very blessed to be surrounded by such beautiful and fun women. Sisters united!

Aye his pirate face!

Aye his pirate face!

Now looking back at all the adventure I wonder what this new year will bring. My husband and I will celebrate 25 years of marriage in May-even though we’ve been together for almost 32 (hard-fought) years. Our kids will continue to grow in new ways and possibly even shave-every now and again. And just like last year, the days will fly by so fast we’ll wonder where the time went. Thankfully I have this blog and all of you to share our mundane and silly adventures to remind us.

Someday my kids will look back on these blogs and cringe while I luxuriate on a beach, smiling and drinking a light beer in celebration.

Happy New Year everyone!

How is this Christmas?

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The doll kept asking over and over, “How can this be Christmas.” As a smart ass parent I replied, “Well because the calendar says it’s so…” “But mom, you know what I mean…” She replied. “I know baby…but if you like, I can take all your presents back until such time it feels right” I added. “You’re not helping”. she said and I had to agree.

Last years’ Christmas we had ten inches of snow on the ground and we could feel the holiday in the air. In spite of almost non stop Christmas music playing from our radio stations since October, the 50 F temperatures didn’t lend much to the aire of the holiday. Even after my family’s huge Christmas eve affair, the doll kept to her guns. “That just felt like a big party…not Christmas.” She argued. “Doll, I don’t know what to tell you…” I said. “Doll I know what you mean…” Her father interjected. “Every year the holiday sneaks up on me because I’m working so many hours. I just lose all track of the days leading up…” “That’s not it Dad” she said in reply. Which brought out the resident smart ass comment “Yeah dad, what does she know about working?” which earned me a slap for my effort.

After all the presents had been unwrapped I had a moment with the doll to discuss what she expected Christmas to “feel” like and what was missing. “Surely this morning while we were opening presents it felt like Christmas…” I opened. “Even then. I can’t explain why. I just know this doesn’t feel like a normal Christmas”. “Could it be this is the first year you received all clothes? No toys or gadgets? Perhaps that’s what is missing…” I offered. Shaking her head back and forth she replied, “I don’t do toys…besides, even if I did, I don’t know whether that would make a difference or not…” “Well then tell me what is missing-besides the snow…” She lowered her head in thought before whispering, “I don’t know…”

“She’s just being a head case…” Came her brother. “Bay, this doesn’t concern you” I replied before she yelled, “We weren’t talking to you! Why don’t you just shut up?!” “What I was just interjecting my opinion into the discussion…” he said before turning his attention back to his iPad. “Bay, do us all a favor and only interject opinions when they are asked of you.” I suggested. “Momma, you know how impossible a feat that can be for me…” He said, while never taking his gaze from his video. “Be that as it may…you do not have to act like your father here..” I began before my hubby jumped in, “How did I get dragged into this?” And we all laughed for a moment. “Listen doll, regardless if this feels Christmassy or not really shouldn’t be the problem. Do you feel loved?” I asked changing gears. “Yes”. Then the spirit of Christmas is alive and well in this house.

A little while later when I called the kids in for breakfast the doll took one look at what I was offering and said, “Okay, now this feels like Christmas…” as we all dug into our fresh backed cinnamon rolls–our family Christmas day tradition.

ChocoScalibur….

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IMG_1910As is the habit for my family on Christmas eve, once the present gift exchange for the little kids has taken place, the older kids and adults gather to begin our annual White Elephant gift exchange. Each year the choice of gifts goes from bad to worse; from perhaps practical gifts only found in a parallel universe to personal humiliation-one family’s quest to show the worst pictures ever taken of them to the world. For our contribution I found an Ugly Sweater making kit and an Uncle Si Chia Pet. Not quite as horrible and possibly even a step up from some my earlier years’ contributions (My personal favorite a small tree made of dairy cow ornaments-endearing “A very Moo-ey Christmas” tree). All in all there were 37 presents to be fought over and I had the unfortunate early number of 10. The odds that something “good” would be available to steal were not good. The doll on the other hand had the number 27…the odds were in her favor.

When my turn arrIMG_1914ived, the boy, who ordinarily won’t hang out with my family-we’re a bit loud (understatement) when all together; asked “Mom can I pick for you please”. Happy to have him sharing in the fun, I said “Sure” and he proceeded to pick the box which most resembled–get this–a sword. I laughed at his choice and once again when we unwrapped his excalibur to reveal…. you guessed it… “A Yard of Chocloate”. Thus Choco-scalibur was born. “This is the last thing we need…” I said looking at the long box of chocolate. Earlier in the day, a 2 pound box of chocolates had arrived from one of my clients. I certainly did not need any additional hazzards on my way to getting thin. “Don’t worry mom, I’ll get rid of this…” the boy added and thus was born the “Salesman of the Choco-scalibur”

One by one the numbers were called and another family member approached the tree. Each one assulted by the boy’s loud booming voice which said, “Take this Choco-scalibur…magically designed to give you diabetes…” “Bay, I don’t think you should point out the flaws while trying to “sell” this” I said and we laughed. “I love the boy’s selling technique” One of my brother’s remarked. “That’s why he’s going into the medical field and not sales…” I replied with a wink. “Choco-Scalibur, the only sword that comes with a warning from your dentists!!” He announced and we all laughed–but no one took him up on his offer to trade–not even his sister who ended up with a musical book on farts, rather than a yard of chocolate. “I’m giving this book to the boy for Christmas mom…since he makes every one of these noises…” she explained.IMG_1965

Later after all the gifts and laughs had been shared in the gift exchange, my eldest brother Bill approached and said, “It was nice seeing the boy involved in the game…seems like he’s making an effort this year to be social”. I smiled in return and agreed. “He’s surprised me this year too”. Then the boy wandered over and said, “Uncle Bill, how would you like…” Bill laughed and replied, “Uh no Choco-scalibur for me boy”. Turning his attention to me the boy said,  “Well mom I tried…” “Yes you did baby…and you had fun too…? I replied.  “Yeah…I decided to be a member of your family tonight and just go with the loudness…” I laughed and asked, “Did you at least have fun?”

“Eh…perhaps…” he smiled and then gave me a hug.

“Eh perhaps” is right.

 

 

a cool yule….

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Okay, I admit it…this is more a Thanksgiving type blog than a Christmas one… but you have to at least acknowledge that some of the best gifts we receive during the holidays are hugs from loved ones. I’d like to think this was one of the best hugs out there…

Mean Mommy's Memoir

Everyday I spend with Mary Alice is a blessing to me; if for no other reason than the fact that we laugh all day long. Sure sometimes the days can be tedious…trying to keep her engaged, but laughing certainly counter balances the day. One of the activities we partake in is to say a daily rosary. For those who are not catholic, the rosary is a series of prayers said to the Blessed Virgin Mother, to intercede to God on our behalf. One of the reasons we say these prayers is because they are in her rote memory. Like music, she automatically remembers them. For my part, I have the rosary downloaded to my iPod, and with the help of technology, can play it aloud over some Bluetooth speakers.  Yesterday, we decided to say the rosary and the divine mercy chaplet, which takes about twenty minutes total; before going out to…

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A Christmas post script

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If you’re looking for the true meaning to Christmas..look no further. A lovely family and their ability to overcome a devastating loss and still find meaning during their Christmas season.
Merry Christmas one and all…

Segues Along the Path

Last week while I played on Twitter, wishing everyone a Happy New Year; I came across a friend, Lori, who had had a very difficult year after her brother’s death. As we exchanged good wishes for the New Year, I asked how her Christmas had gone. What she told me, blew me away. Christmas is a difficult time of year for so many who have lost loved ones. From my own experience, I made a promise to my mom not to allow her death, a few days past Christmas 2005, to ruin future holidays. Yet I have trouble finding inspiration this time of year. However, Lori’s description of the beautiful Christmas she had just witnessed illustrates to me what the holiday season is really all about: LOVE.

With permission, this is her story:

Her family all arrived “home” to their parents’ for the Christmas holiday, not sure what to expect. Time…

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Christmas music…

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I read an article the other day about how silly and diluted Christmas music is, when trying to explain the spirit of the season. Since October, Mary Alice and I have been listening to Christmas music, primarily because, like 40’s era music, the songs trigger something in her rote memory and she joyfully sings along. She giggles and smiles while together we kill the songs with our horribly off-key and loud sing along. So you can imagine, by the time Christmas rolls around the last thing I want to do is listen to the same five songs sung by hundreds of different artists in hundreds of diverse ways. The one song that always stands out for me is “It’s Beginning to Look A lot Like Christmas” primarily for one line in the song which says, “And Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again”. Which makes me think, “Whomever wrote that lyric must have had kids like mine”. But I digress…

Over the years there have been great Christmas tunes to enliven our holiday and to be honest some clunkers. In truth, I’ve never understood the appeal to Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer… Then there’s the argument that the only true Christmas music are those hymns devoted to celebrating the birth of Christ. In my Christ centered world, those hymns evoke nostalgia of my youth-which make them more treasured each passing year.

All in all, when I was younger, I never wanted a hippopotamus for Christmas. I have wanted two front teeth and as I get older I suppose I’ll be wishing to keep them for as long as possible…regardless the holiday.  I’ve never had to worry that I wasn’t getting something for Christmas for being “bad”–because somehow, regardless how often I beat up my little brother, I still made out in the present department. Rudolph and Santa Claus is Coming to Town aside, so long as I heard the Little Drummer Boy, I knew Christmas was really approaching.

I guess what I’m saying, is regardless how your family celebrates Christmas-whether in celebration of God’s gift to the world or as a non denominational holiday involving a fat yet jolly man in a red suit-So long as the good will and peace we all seek feels possible, then our Christmas is a success. For me, the song which brings that idea closest to home is “I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. If you take a moment to read Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s 1872 Poem “I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day” or listen to Casting Crowns beautiful rendition you’ll understand.

Merry Christmas Eve!!

Peace on Earth and Goodwill toward all men and women-across the board.

PS. And thank God the Christmas music non stop radio onslaught has come to an end for another nine months (I hope).

 

Christmas cheerleader…

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Merry Christmas Week… As I mentioned in an earlier blog, this week would be devoted to some of my favorite Christmas blogs written over the last four years. This one comes from 2011, the last year our doll believed in Santa Claus and…reminded us what the true spirit of Christmas is really all about. Thank you for your continued support of my blog, and as always, I hope you enjoy!!

Mean Mommy's Memoir

Throughout the Christmas season, we never made the attempt to see Santa Claus at the mall.   Life just got too busy and the kids never complained.  Besides, if Santa really does exist  and he’s watching all the time, then he already knows what we want in our hearts, right?  At least that’s what I was banking on.

When we arrived home, in the wee hours of Christmas morning; we instructed the kids to go straight to bed.  We were all tired and they did so without much complaint.  As dad and I began to set the stage for Santa’s arrival, the doll came out into the living room and set a package down on the card table,  “Mom, could you make sure Santa gets this letter?” she asked.  “No problem doll, I’ll put it right next to the milk and cookies” I replied.  Giving her father and I one last hug and kiss goodnight, she…

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