Monday, December 29, 2008

Back home again....

According to Ashley, Christmas is now officially over. After spending Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my Mom and Stepdad and my brother and his wife, we traveled to Virginia to do it all over again with Ray's parents and my Dad and Stepmom.

But nothing would say Christmas without throwing in a few extras we weren't prepared for. Ray's Grandfather on his Mom's side was married twice - his first wife, not Ray's Grandmother, died the day after Christmas. Get it? I am still confused by Ray's family sometimes. I can never remember who is cousin and who is an aunt or what. So Ray attended the wake on Sunday night for that.

And my maternal Grandmother was transferred from the hospital to a nursing home, so we spent some time with her on Sunday as well. She smoked a ton for a lot of her life, but she is doing okay considering she isn't on oxygen. She didn't know me when I was there, and often confused where she was, but I think visiting her lifted her spirit for the day.

We are back. I am off work until Friday, so the girls and I are going to spend tomorrow unpacking and getting things together while Ray works. I am hoping since Ray is working through New Year's, I will get a chance to sneak away one night and go see Twilight. Ray got me the book for Christmas, and I literally could not put it down. I finished it Sunday, and now I really want to see the movie.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Santa Claus

I have struggled slightly with the fact that we are basically lying to the kids. I can't quite get my head around that idea, and hopefully I still have a few years before I face Ashley questioning the validity of Santa Claus. The things that keep me a little sane about the how thing is that I don't remember the "moment" I knew Santa wasn't real, and I still believe in a little magic every once in a while (Disney, anyone?).

And then I read this post by one of my favorite bloggers. I am reposting a little bit of the story here because part of it happens where I grew up - Stafford, Virginia. The same place where my Grandmother will spend Christmas in a hospital bed, unable to get up and take care of herself.

"And then one Christmas my friend Angela told me a story of when she was an elementary school teacher in Stafford, Virginia. Every Christmas Angela and her co-workers identified families who might be having trouble making Christmas happen, pooled their money and helped to buy presents for them.

Angela was coming down the hallway on the last day of school when she found a little girl crying on the steps.

“Santa’s not coming to our house this year,” she said. “My mother says it’s because we don’t have money, but I know it’s because I wasn’t a good girl.”

The little girl wasn’t one of the children Angela and her friends had identified, but her situation turned out to easily be the worst. The girl and her brother, mother and grandmother were struggling to survive, much less have Christmas.

Angela called her husband, a Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant stationed in Okinawa, Japan.

“I feel so bad,” she told him. “What do we do?”

“Get the family’s name and address,” he told her. “And the ages of everyone in the house. I’ll see what I can do.”

From Japan, Angela’s husband called back to the Marine Corps base at Quantico. The following afternoon, Christmas Eve day, the little girl from Angela’s school was playing in her house when there was a knock at the door. Her mother opened it to find two young Marines in dress blue uniform.

While her mother stared in astonishment, the Marines began to move boxes of things into the house — food, gifts for everyone, and a tree.

The 20 year-old Corporal — stationed away from his own family (he would have dinner at Angela’s the following night) — stopped to speak to the little girl.

“Santa was worried he might not make it to your house this year,” he said. “So he called in the Marines and asked us to help out. He said to tell you you were a very good little girl and he was proud of you.”"

Read the whole post about Da Momma and her girls here. Take a box of tissues with you.

Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 22, 2008

More things off the checklist...

The carpets are getting cleaned in my house today, baking and pre-cooking commenced yesterday (any appetizer or dessert I could make ahead and freeze for Christmas Eve, I did), presents are wrapped. Audrey is feeling better after a weekend of coughing and asthma issues. Ashley wakes up each day excited that she is one more day closer to Christmas.

Tomorrow my brother and his wife, and my Mom and Stepdad are coming. They will be here until Friday, and then Saturday we head to Virginia to celebrate with my Dad and Stepmom and Ray's family.

I only have a few more things to do...I am trying to finish some curtains I started forever ago for my kitchen, and I have a project that I am doing for Ashley's room as a Christmas present. Hopefully I will be able to post a picture of it tomorrow. If only I didn't have to work today....

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I'm crossing things off my list...

Presents are finally getting wrapped, cookies are made for a cookie exchange tonight, lists are made for next week's cooking extravaganza (we do an appetizer spread for Christmas Eve, and I love it, appetizers are my favorite), final presents will hopefully be purchased today. I finally feel like I am getting somewhere.

And Ashley comes home tomorrow...she had been in Virginia all week visiting the Grandparents. While she I am sure has had fun, I have missed her tremendously. I told her before she left not to grow while she was gone, and when I talked to her yesterday, she told me she thinks she has grown. Which I am sure she has - she has been eating non-stop lately, and has been complaining of pain in her legs. I never experienced "growing pains" when I was a kid, but Ray says he vividly remembers them. This kid is going to be taller than me before she's in high school.

Audrey has of course loved the only child status she has had. If you ask her if she misses her sister, you will get an emphatic "No". I am sure she has, but all the Mommy and Daddy time she has received has been good for her. She never got to be the only child, and every chance she gets, she takes full advantage of it.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I was cold all freaking weekend long...

I was chatting with SJ on instant messenger on Monday, and she was complaining about how it was 4 degrees outside. I was sitting smugly because it was like 68 degrees here. My problem? When it's 40 to 50 degrees outside, I am absolutely freezing. I am sure I would not survive living in Colorado like SJ.

Hence why I was cold all day on Saturday. First was our town's parade which my Daisy troop was marching in. Forget the fact they told us to line up at 9:30am for an 11:00am start (I was smart though and told everyone else to get there at 10:30am). And forget the fact we didn't actually start moving until 11:30am. It was probably in the 40s at the start of the parade. It did actually "warm up" by the time we were done at 12:30pm, and the girls did great. I had brought a wagon thinking someone would poop out on me, and no one did.

Ashley is on the right, her friend Alyssa dressed up as a Samoa cookie on the left...

So we get home, and Ray and I convinced the girls to climb into our bed for a quick nap and to get under the covers to warm up. No, of course they didn't nap, but it sure felt good to get warm, because at 4:00pm we had tickets to a local park for their Holiday Express celebration. This particular park has a train, carousel and other fun stuff during the holidays. But yea, it was cold and we were there when it was getting dark. The girls had fun and we got to see Santa with virtually no wait and I got to take a picture with my camera.

Can one of my kids look like me?? Just one...

Too bad Audrey's face is covered by her vest...

Eventually Ray and I will end up in Florida. Where it's warm, or at least warmer than here. Not that here is cold, it's just anything below 70 is too cold for me. Yea, I realize I am a wuss. I like the heat.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Ornament Exchange

I received this beautiful ornament from Lapetitechic...

It is the perfect addition to our tree!
Thanks Julie for organizing the Secret Ornament Swap again this year...

Friday, December 12, 2008


Ray's Mom sent the girls an early Christmas present last week - aprons with matching hats (except in the picture the hats are mixed up...). The girls love to cook with me and it was a great gift.

And while they are all smiles here, that only lasted so long. It seems that the favorite apron was the cupcake one. So fighting, trying to take turns, and some more fighting ensued. It made me reconsider some of the gifts I have purchased the girls for Christmas and if I should have gotten the same thing. But now, a few days later, they have gotten over it, and they have been wearing both aprons interchangeably, thank God.

I am hoping to do some baking of treats this weekend. My Grandmother always made so many things at Christmas time, I am hoping to recreate some of that. Any recipes of candy and such you want to pass along to me, feel free...

Also this weekend is our town's Christmas parade where I will be walking with some of the girls in our Daisy troop. The high will only be 50 degrees, and I am hopeful no one will have to go to the bathroom along the parade route...cause that will suck.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


As most of you know from reading here, I am psychotic about the flu shot. I know that vaccines are a subject like politics that can get someone upset quickly. I vaccinate my children, and I make sure that I am one of the first in line for flu shots. First off, both Ashley and Audrey have been diagnosed with asthma, Ashley virally induced and Audrey allergy induced, although we have seen it crop up recently more and more. Secondly, Ray ended up in the ER when Ashley was one with the flu. It progressively got worse and worse until we realized he needed some help.

For the second year in a row, I have been asked to join a webinar put on by the CDC about the flu. In my typical fashion, I failed to remember when it was, but they passed on some great information about the flu to me.

This video will make you cry...I only suggest you watch it if you have a box of tissues close by.

It's not too late to get vaccinated...check out for more information.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What we have spent our December doing so far...

I finally sat down at my computer and did some uploading of pictures and stuff. And with the end of December barreling right for us, I thought I would update you guys with some pictures....

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, the girls opened one gift early. Ashley also admitted later that day that she wanted to open a "big" gift early; I told her those will wait until Christmas (although I have no idea what big gift she thinks she has under the tree, I barely have anything wrapped for her). Ashley was semi-excited, although she did spend some time on the Webkinz site tonight playing with her dog which she named Lucy. She seems to name everything Lucy.

Audrey, on the other hand, couldn't contain her excitement. This kid would be excited to open a box of cereal. Christmas is going to be so much fun for her this year.
She got a Panda, which Ashley named "Pandy" for her.
We also hosted the PJ exchange last Friday night at our house. Audrey's PJs were adorable (size 2T, the girl is little...).

The aftermath of 10 kids opening gifts....

And then tonight, our favorite 10 year old on our street who comes over for dinner and some homework help every week wanted to play our Wii. The kids played for a while, then we made some cookies, of which Ashley and Audrey love...(they look so innocent here, thinking they are watching Daddy play Mario Kart).
When they are really eating the batter off of some beaters. Thankfully, we were able to send most of the cookies home with our friend. I do not need anymore sweets...

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Inevitable Has Happened....

I know my parents worked hard to keep the presents equal for my twin brother and I when we were little. And with Ray, him and his brother still compare the number of presents they each have (and really, it's just his brother...and he knows it, and he knows I mean it in the most nicest way possible (one year he really did get me coal for Christmas, hence the disclaimer)).

So I am working really hard this Christmas to keep things sort of equal. And a good thing too, because it started this morning.

Ashley pulled the "open one present early" tag off the activity wreath. I had purchased some Webkinz for this occasion (they were buy one get on free at the Justice outlet in Myrtle Beach when we were there).

"Audrey's present is bigger."

"No, it's not. It's the same exact size."

So, this should be an interesting Christmas. We are trying to beat into her head (not literally...) that Christmas isn't just about present and such and who cares if one is bigger than the other. It's the thought that counts, but I am not sure that goes over well with a five year old.

Monday, December 08, 2008

My House Has Become a Black Hole

Ray has been taking Ashley to the library once a week to get her excited about reading and get new books for us to have at home. We also are trying to get Ashley to realize we don't need to buy her new books, she has plenty to choose from at the library.

One of the books has gone missing. Poof, gone, disappeared, no where in our house to be found. I last saw it in our bed when Audrey was reading it. So I am guessing I will have to pay for that one.

So that's one thing missing in the "black hole" of our house. And just let me clarify, our house is not that cluttered. We don't have a lot sitting out, we try to keep toys in their respective rooms in the house. Ray will say we have a lot of crap, but there really isn't that much room for stuff to go missing in. I searched the couch cushions, took apart our bed. It's just gone.

So then Friday night we had that PJ exchange at our house...I of course had two kids I was supposed to buy for. As is my normal fashion, I waited until 5:00pm to wrap the gifts. And of course I could not find one of them. I searched, Ray searched, the pj's were no where to be found.


Thankfully, the one I lost for a just turned one year old, so she didn't even realize I had misplaced her present.

Then last night I remembered I have to turn in Ashley cheerleading uniform at some point this week.

You guessed it, I can't find it. I give up.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Yea, this week?

December has started out with a bang. Audrey had to stay home from school on Monday and Tuesday due to the fact that she may or may not have ringworm (the pediatrician wasn't sure if it was or not). Because Audrey's class had a huge outbreak over 3 months ago, the rules were changed, and any rash resembling ringworm means you stay home for 48 hours.

And then work is kicking my butt. I had a couple of deadlines this week, went out of town for a quick trip yesterday, and we have our "Holiday" party today of which I have to help with because I am on the social committee (I need to learn how to say "no").

Tonight, I am hosting a PJ exchange for some of our friends on the street we see the most. So that meant every night of cleaning and cleaning and prepping for dinner tonight which I secretly love doing. Not the cleaning part (oh, how I miss the cleaning lady...), but the cooking part.

I also started tutoring kids online, had our last band practice before our concert next week, and had to coordinate all the gifts for the teachers for Ashley since today is her last day at school until January 5th. She tracks out and is looking forward to spending some time in camp, at some of the Grandparents houses, and hanging out with us.

Tomorrow both Ashley and Audrey have birthday parties, and Virginia Tech plays in the ACC championship game at 1:00pm. I am so looking forward to sitting back, watching the game, and praying and crossing my fingers they win.

Don't even get me started on next weekend...

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Ray made my Christmas this year...

When I was younger, we would get a real Christmas tree. I vividly remember one year nailing the sucker to the floor because we just couldn't get it to stay up. I also remember dragging the thing through the townhouse we lived in, creating a carpet of dead pine needles.

But still, real trees are my favorite.

Last year, we purchased a sad looking artificial tree. It was a pre-lit tree, but we went for the one on sale, and it looked pretty sad.

It looked even sadder Sunday night when I put it up and half the lights were blown. It was my only chance to try and convince Ray to get a real tree. The stars must of been aligned, because he agreed, and off we were to buy a stand and then to the local tree lot to get a tree.

It is really lovely, the house smells like Christmas, the kids love it. Now if I could only convince him that I need another tree...

Monday, December 01, 2008

Throw-up, snot, coughing and ringworm

That pretty much sums up the past 5 days. Audrey started with a nasty cough on Tuesday night which was wonderful since she was sleeping in my bed and decided to cough so bad she would throw up on my pillow. We ended up taking her to a doctor in Myrtle Beach who gave her some steroids and other drugs. The steroids made Audrey completely irritable and cranky, but it did bring back her appetite. For a girl who is turning 3 in January, she only weighs 26 pounds.

We did have a good time in Myrtle, though. Audrey was well enough to go to Broadway at the Beach and to go with her sister to get a pedicure and manicure at a nail place that had kid chairs. We also had a great time with our friends on Thanksgiving Day.

The other throw up incident was on the trip to Myrtle. Tootles, our lovely dog, decided to get car sick and throw up all over Ray. I thought it was comical, Ray did not. On the way home, she stayed in her cage and did fine.

And then this morning, I get Audrey to school and she always uses the restroom and washes her hands before I leave. As I rolled up her sleeves to wash her hands, I noticed a perfectly circular rash near her elbow. I asked her teacher, and yup, it is ringworm. There was an epidemic of it in Audrey's class almost 2 months ago - I have no idea what the incubation period is for ringworm. Another parent arrived at this time and started to freak out that Audrey was standing there with ringworm. Lucky for Audrey, this means no school for 48 hours. Ray is taking her to the pediatrician this morning while I head into work.