Fare Thee Well, 2010

As I mentioned before, it has been an interesting year for us.  A lot of changes have taken place over the last 365 days.  Rather than try to summarize everything, I thought I would put 2010 into a slide show.  A lot of these pictures are repeats from the blog, but they were easy to get to, so I am reusing them.  

Many of these pictures stir up feelings that I thought I had gotten over.  Makes me wonder all the more what 2011 holds for our family. 

Wishing everyone the very best in 2011.  Happy New Year!!! 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

2011 and Beyond

They say that you increase your chances of making your dreams a reality if you write them down.  I am not sure exactly who says this, but I have heard it multiple times, so it must be true.  We will just assume that they are the experts, and therefore know what they are talking about. 

As I sit here, reveling in the quiet of the morning, I find myself thinking about what I would like to accomplish this upcoming year.  I do not have set-in-stone resolutions, but there are some things I would like to work on. 

I should mention that I have also heard that your resolutions should be treated as a diet – you either tell everyone so they can hold you accountable, or you tell no one so… well, we know why.  That being said, here are some of my goals for 2011 and beyond:

1.  Eating Habits.  I am not going on a diet, nor do I intend to give up all my favorite foods, but I would like to work on being healthier.  Health and weight are not the same thing.  I may not have a weight problem, but eating cookies for breakfast, lunch and dinner and following up with ice cream for dessert may not make me the healthiest.  I need to remind myself that sugar is not a food group, sugar is not a food group…

2.  Bloomsday.  I have wanted to run Bloomsday for many years.  It is a glorious 12k run in Spokane, WA that happens the first Sunday in May.  We walked it as a family back in 2008, but I would like to run it.  The whole thing.  According to the official ticker, I have 122 days, 16 minutes and 10 seconds to prepare, so I better keep up my morning rendezvous with the treadmill. 

3.  Pictures.  I absolutely love taking them.  I want to work on improving my abilities.  There are lots of books out there on taking better photographs and improving technique.  And as they always say, practice practice practice.  Sounds like the perfect excuse for a road trip to me…

In terms of my individual goals, these are the top three.  I could go on and on about the things I would like to improve and change about myself, but I have opted to treat those as the diet I keep to myself.  It is just so much safer that way…

What are your goals for 2011?

A Single Step

It is hard to believe that another year is coming to an end. I have always heard that time goes faster the older you get, but I never quite believed it. Well, time has made a believer out of me.

Things I thought would never arrive passed months ago. Things I hoped would last forever, well, they passed, too. That is the way of life, I suppose. Always changing. Sometimes you feel as though you are waiting for life to catch up with you, and other times you are the one doing the running.

We have had an interesting year, full of ups and downs. There have been lots of tears. Happy. Sad. Everything in between. But there has been much joy, too. Lots of laughter and happiness. Adventure. And change. Lots and lots of change.

Each December, as we look forward to the year ahead, we are determined to make it the best ever. 2011 is no exception. I’m not sure where we are going to start this year, or which direction we are going to go, but as Lao Tzu once said,

“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”

 

And Robert Frost must have understood the feeling as well, and today it feels as though he wrote this just for us:

The Road Not Taken (1915)

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

My Favorite Christmas Moment

It has been a wonderful Christmas.  I have loved every aspect of it:  watching the kids’ excitement, hanging out in our jammies, the smell of Christmas dinner in the oven.  But I got to thinking, if I had to pick a favorite moment, what would it be?  I wasn’t sure at first, until I was scanning through pictures.  But in order to explain my choice, I have to back up a little bit… 

Our son, Nathan, is completely in love with the color green.  He chooses the green candy out of the bowl, writes with the green pencil and wears green gloves.  When asked what he wanted for Christmas, he replied simply, “A Pillow Pet.  The green one.”  Fair enough.

I set out Christmas shopping, knowing that all three kids wanted a Pillow Pet.  The penguin was easy to find for William and I had no trouble finding a lady bug for Catheryn.  But no matter where I looked, a green one was nowhere to be found. 

I even called my mom from the store, asking for her advice.  Do I buy a different color, hoping he won’t notice?  Or do I get him something different entirely?  The decision was to get him a Pillow Pet, since that is what he really wanted, and the hope was that he would not mind that is was not green.  I took home the panda bear.   

Merry Christmas 2010

A few days ago we headed over to the mall to see Santa.  When we walked in, staring out from a Hallmark window, was the green frog.  The very Pillow Pet that Nathan had wanted.  So I took the kids downstairs to wait in line for Santa while Rob went into Hallmark to purchase their only green frog.  When Nathan sat of Santa’s knee, what did he ask for?  The green Pillow Pet.  I wanted to go running through the mall screaming that we found a green one, but I kept my excitement under control.

After we arrived home, I sent my parents this email:

“HEY!!  Guess WHAT???  You know how Nathan wanted a GREEN Pillow Pet but I couldn’t find one anywhere so I ended up getting him the panda??  Weeeeeelll… we went to see Santa in the mall and guess what was peeking out from the Hallmark window?  You guessed it!  In a mass Pillow Pet pile-up, there was one GREEN frog right in the middle!!!  So, Rob snuck in to purchase it while the kids and I went to get in line to see SANTA.  I was able to return the Panda.  So Nathan gets the one thing he wanted for Christmas… A GREEN PILLOW PET!!  Talk about being in the RIGHT place at the RIGHT time!!!  Because Rob checked, and it was the ONLY one they had!!!”
 
The subject line read, “Winning the Lottery… Well, sort of :)”
 
And this morning, as the kids headed out bright and early to see what Santa had brought for them, Nathan’s face said it all.  He had gotten exactly what he had asked for.   
 

Anxiously Awaiting Santa

Christmas Eve 2010

The kids are all snug in their beds, no doubt going to sleep sound tonight thanks to another afternoon of sledding.  I feel relaxed, knowing that everything is taken care of, and that which is not will not matter in the morning.  Gifts have been wrapped.  Santa has been visited.  Christmas lights have been oohed and aahed over.  The much-anticipated day is about to arrive. 

I had better join the rest of the family in sweet slumber.  Santa is due to arrive soon, and I best not be awake when he does.  I too, am going to sleep well tonight, so long as my excitement does not keep me awake…

And For Dessert… Hockey Pucks

Let's see... flat, a little oily, crunchy, slightly burnt, paper stuck to the bottom, but still tasty!

I have baked close to a billion batches of chocolate chip cookies. (Perhaps this is a slight exaggeration, but since it is impossible to know the exact number, I am just going to stick with it.)  I use the same recipe every time I bake them, but they have never turned out the same twice.  It has become a little joke for Rob, always wondering how my cookies will turn out this time.  I have concluded that it has something to do with the butter, but still have had no luck actually duplicating a batch.

This evening I decided to make things easy on myself and went with a chocolate muffin mix.  Adding eggs, oil and water seemed pretty fool-proof, but I was quickly proven wrong.  I learned that I cannot talk on the phone and make muffins at the same time.  Well, technically I can, they just won’t turn out the way they are supposed to.  I ended up adding way too much oil and not nearly enough water.  But since I had the required amount of liquid in the mix, I decided to throw them in the oven. 

Everything seemed fine as the timer went off.  They didn’t rise the way muffins are supposed to, but they still tasted pretty good.  There was excess oil in the bottom of the muffin trays and all the cupcake papers had turned brown.  I had a feeling that perhaps I should remove the papers, but decided to wait until they had cooled off.  Only problem was that once the muffins had cooled, the papers had stuck to them.  After removing all that would come off, I then scraped the bottoms with a knife in order to remove the rest.

The muffins are now little hockey pucks.  They still taste yummy, you just have to ignore the crunching that happens when you bite into one, and the slight burnt taste on the bottom.  But chocolate is chocolate and it will take a lot more than a burnt crunch to turn me away.  Not to mention that my family has learned that if they want to wait for the perfect treat to come out of the oven, they are going to be waiting for a very long time. 

So tonight I decided to officially remove “Professional Baker” from my list of “Things I Want To Be When I Grow Up.”  I’ve discovered that it is best for me to stick to my own kitchen where I can feast on my own… creations.  On second thought, maybe I won’t actually remove the profession, I will just replace it.  I think “Baker Taste-Tester” suits me much better.

Happy Winter!

I have a hard time figuring out how today can be the first day of winter when it has been cold and snowy for over a month now. 

Either way, today happens to be one of my favorite days of the year.  I know that no matter what happens, tomorrow will be brighter.  And all this gaining of daylight will lead up to warmer temperatures, budding trees and summertime.  Today is a beginning and an end. 

To celebrate the arrival of winter, I stayed up last night to watch the lunar eclipse.  It was amazing to see.  Some were calling it a magical night, and I must agree.  There is something special about being able to witness an event that so rarely happens.  Happy Winter!

Lunar Eclipse December 21, 2010