Countdown

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I had a few stories I wanted to share with you today. Stories that have been building up in my head over the last several days. Stories that I thought would come pouring out as soon as I sat down to type. But as I sit here, a New Year about to begin, I find myself remembering the past year, wishing some things had turned out differently, grateful that others turned out the way they did. Amazed at how different a place we find ourselves in now, compared to a short 365 days ago.

9… 8…

The New Year is always so refreshing. A brand new opportunity to make things right. The chance to fix what’s broken. But how quickly we lose that determination, that resolve. Before too long, we are back into old habits, old ways of thinking, old ruts.

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And then there are the obstacles we must overcome. Those events that we could have done without. Wrong decisions we wish we hadn’t made. Plans that backfired. Occurences that, at the time, it seemed as though we would never overcome. Wounds that wouldn’t heal.

6… 5…

But from the obstacles of life come new plans. New goals. Forgotten dreams. A braver, more bold self rises from the rubble of broken hearts, and a new future is planned. Every day you take another step and eventually, the past doesn’t hurt so much. You realize that it all did happen for a reason. And although there seemed to be no rhyme or reason to the way things were playing out, they were, in fact, all part of a perfectly planned orchestra. The feeling of defeat fades and you are one step closer to who you are meant to be.

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And at the end of every day, we are aware of the things that matter most in life, for they are not things at all. They are the priceless treasures of life. What makes us certain that there is no place on earth we would rather be.

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Tomorrow is a new day. A New Year. A perfect opportunity to start fresh. A chance to prove to ourselves just how tough we really are, to always get up one more time than we fall down. To roll with the punches, as they say. To enjoy each day of this beautiful ride called life, and know that in the end, we used every ounce of passion that we were given.

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Here’s wishing you a year of happiness and dreams come true. May 2012 be your best year yet.

1…

Happy New Year!

Christmas Memories

Children’s excitement as Christmas approaches is so contagious that it is impossible not to feel giddy this time of year. I confess that, like the kids, I had a hard falling asleep last night, anticipation of Christmas morning keeping me awake. William was so anxious he was up at 1:40am and then again at 3:00. We finally let him get up at 6am.

The day was spent grazing on candy, playing games, watching Christmas movies, cooking a feast and enjoying being able to spend the day together. Bailey gnawed on his Christmas bone, Remi gorged on catnip-flavored treats, Wiggy Wabbit enjoyed celery and sunflower seeds. Even Flash shared some meal worms with his fishy friends. We laughed, we stuffed ourselves within inches of popping, I even confess to catching a small nap after lunch.

And just like that, it is all over. After months of excitement, planning and preparation, Christmas has once again come to an end. The presents have all been opened, the feast consumed. Kids will once again be able to sleep at night. The memories of the day will last a lifetime, though. Memories of a day spent together. A day of dreams come true and wished granted. A day of magic. A day where anything seems possible. Special memories. Unforgettable moments. Knowing that no matter where we are, where we live or what we are doing, as long as we have each other, things are just as they should be.

I hope all your Christmas wishes came true. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Merry Christmas!

We just spent a wonderful evening out looking at Christmas lights. We are finished now, but the boys have gone into the video store in search of a fun Christmas movie, so I am using the time to wish you all a very Merry Christmas!!

Our tree is all decorated and the stockings are hung,

our ham is in the refrigerator all ready to go into the dutch oven in the morning,

and cookies and milk are ready for Santa to enjoy.

So now it is time to head home. Santa is on his way, and we don’t want to be awake when he arrives.

The Best Gift

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!

Refrigerator Makeover

With three kids in the house, our refrigerator is always covered with school information, birthday invitations, phone numbers and priceless art work. Our magnet collection is always hard at work trying to keep all these items securely in place. Take our magnetic surface away, and we have a pile of papers with no home. That is what happened when we bought our new house.

I had considered taping things to the surface of our non-metallic refrigerator, but Rob had a better solution.

I grabbed my paint brush and got to work. Three coats of primer are recommended. It is incredibly runny, so I spent the majority of my time wiping splatters off the floor.    

After three coats were applied, it was time to paint the surface. We decided on yellow since it is such a clean color, it also goes well with blue, which most of our house happens to be.

Our first color choice was a little too lemony, but after a couple of coats of a lighter shade, it was looking  pretty nice.

It didn’t take very long for the kids to start decorating it for us. The refrigerator is now covered with coloring pages and a Christmas countdown. Now that’s more like it.

Tales from the “Black”

As I sat at the dining table yesterday afternoon, pouring over Black Friday ads in the newspaper, I decided to start a list of must-haves. Rob and I agreed on a few things from four different stores and decided that I would head to the stores that opened at midnight and he would catch the ones that opened at 5am.

My first store had sales beginning at 10pm. No problem. Knowing it would only take me about 2 minutes to get there, I decided to leave the house at about 9:40. On the short drive over, I imagined a nice shopping experience, browsing through decorations, viewing possible gifts. I was looking forward to a quiet night of shopping by myself. At least I was until I rounded the corner…

Cars were backed up forever. They were lining both sides of the main street. The parking lot was packed. People were everywhere. I almost changed my mind, but the little voice inside my head was saying how bad could it be? I found a parking space all the way down a side road, walked my way in the dark to the main doors and…W.O.W. Oh, I thought to myself, so that’s how bad it can be.

I totally underestimated the ruthlessness of Black Friday shoppers.

There was no browsing to be done. One could hardly move. I had four things on my list. Two of them were already gone. I ended up with a game that wasn’t exactly the one I was hoping for, a doll that I hadn’t even planned on getting, and cat treats. I’m not sure it was worth the hour it took me to get through the check-out line, but I was already there so I didn’t see a point in leaving without my finds.

My second store was even worse. I say that because I never even made it in the door. When I had left the house earlier in the evening, I had told Rob that I would be home in between stores. With he second stop not opening until midnight, I figured I would have plenty of time. Shows what I know. As it was, by the time  I made it to store #2, it was already 11:20 and the line at the door was all the way down the strip mall and around the corner. Not only was my jacket not warm enough, but all I had planned to get was another game and some jeans for the boys. I opted to go home instead.

Rob was much more successful this morning, but even he missed out on some items. Apparently things disappear quickly when several hundred people are climbing over each other to get to them. Who knew, right? Rob said I am not aggressive enough for Black Friday. Perhaps not. Perhaps next year I will stay in my warm home, drinking hot chocolate, watching a movie. Or perhaps I will attempt it again. Only I will show up three hours early, dressed up in my winter best, game face on. 

It could happen, right? At least Remington liked his treats…

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!

A Night of Tricks and Treats

I love how excited the kids get when Halloween rolls around. To them, nothing is more exciting than being able to go around the neighborhood gathering candy. Ah, the innocence of youth.

 

Rob took them trick-or-treating in the neighborhood behind the house. When I called them around 7:45, they were hitting their last block before heading home. They had a blast. They even stopped by to see me at work on their way home and brought me some candy. When I made my way home, they had left me a pile on the table. Such sweet kids.

I guess now it is time for them  to start talking about what they want to be next year. They will change their minds a million times, but that is part of the fun. Hope everyone had a safe Halloween. Happy November! 

Here are some pictures from Rob: