Friday, November 30, 2012

At the Buzzer...

This morning in my hour between pilates class and volunteering at school, I finished the bags.  You may recognize them from last year, and the year before that.  There was a bit of panic earlier in the week when I couldn't find them.  I looked through all the Christmas bins.  Three times.  And then, I remembered that last year, I put them in my closet in order to have easier access to them rather than having to search through the Christmas bins.  That plan didn't work out too well for me.  But, in any case, I FOUND them, and today, I loaded them up with little notes and treats and got them all ready for December, which starts tomorrow.  I have no idea how, now that Daphne is in school full time, I seem to have LESS time to get things done.  I could either blame Girl Scouts, or just own up to the fact that I have poor time management skills.  Probably a combination of both, mixed with unexpected sicknesses and hurricane-days-off.  Getting those bags done was a real relief, though, and now I can relax and enjoy the weekend, which is going to be busy.

Tonight, the troop is going caroling.  Tomorrow is family-put-up-the-tree day.  And Sunday we're taking the girls in the troop shopping for the family they adopted for Christmas. Yesterday at the meeting, the girls made placemats and cards for them.  My friend Jill took this picture of Daphne.  Nice attitude, huh?

The girls were very silly yesterday, but still managed to make some sweet cards and pictures, and learn a little something about being responsible.  It was a good meeting even though I was feeling a little off.  I'm very lucky.  I had a lot of help.  Thankful for that.

November ends today, and I have enjoyed doing these "thankful" posts.  I really do have a lot to be thankful for, and I appreciate my family and friends and home and all the things I have a lot more than I probably ever say.

Off soon to troll the ancient Yuletide carol.  Happy end of November.  Stay tuned for some very bag-intensive posts.(Sorry.)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Ready or Not...

Here comes Christmas.   Yesterday, I poured myself some eggnog and braved the basement.  I dragged up all the Christmas bins except the giant one with the tree.  We'll do that on Saturday - whole family.  But the little bins are my job.  The stockings were hung, and other Christmasy items were thoughtfully placed around the house.  It's getting festive in here.  Just the way I like it. 

Daphne was so excited when she got off the bus.  She loves all the familiar Christmas stuff.  She went around the house announcing everything.  "Oh!  Here's our stockings!  And here is my Santa bag!  And my tree that I made at preschool!"  And on and on.  It's all special because it's hidden away in the basement all year.  And I only got about half the stuff out yesterday.  More to come.

This year, I'd like to get my candles back in the windows.  It just didn't happen last year for some reason.  And I want to do something special on the porch.  If I had time, I'd make some pillows.  We'll see.  Daphne told me this morning that she wants to do some Christmas crafts.  That's my girl! 

OK.  I haven't left the house since Thanksgiving.  It's time. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving Day

I made apple crisp.

Daphne made place cards.

Grandpa carved the turkey.

The table was set.

Scout had a birthday.

There were garlic cheddar biscuits.

Grandma made noodles.

Kev mashed potatoes.

Aunt Kathy made the drinks.

Plates were filled.

And we ate.

Thanksgiving weekend.  If not for the pink eye, it would have been perfect.  Even with the pink eye, it was still pretty great.

I have learned that it is a little harder to feel thankful when your eye is matted shut with disgusting eye goop.  But it IS still possible.  And I have a lot to be thankful for.  After all, there are NO LIONS.  I hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving with the people that you like the most and lots of pie.  Stay tuned for Christmas!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Weekend Thanks

I love this picture.  Daphne and Kev were playing "We Three Kings" over the weekend.  We stopped Daphne's piano lessons when school started, but I think we may go back after the holidays.  Listening to them play Christmas songs together makes me really happy.

Daphne got to go spend the night in Manassas on Saturday.  She had a great time, and I am thankful that she can do that once in a while.  Meanwhile, Kev and I got most of our Christmas shopping done, went ice-skating, and had dinner at Clyde's while she was gone.  I am thankful that I didn't fall down, and for braised short rib cannelloni.  And for a nice relaxing evening with Kev. So relaxing that I kept falling asleep.  Sorry, Kev.

Yesterday, I got to have my mom's spaghetti (see list below) and hang out with my family for a little while.  I'm looking forward to going back there on Thursday for the Best Meal of the Year.  It will also be Scout's first birthday!

Today and tomorrow, I am babysitting.  For a 10-month-old.  From 7:45 to 4:00.  It is fun, but tiring, and I am thankful that Daphne is six.  I am also thankful that 10-month-olds take naps.  And that there is still some minestrone left over from last week, so I don't have to cook tonight.

Well, I think nap time is over.  Happy Monday!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Random Wednesday Thankfulness

There is still a little bit of fall left outside.  Our maple tree in the front yard is always late to turn red, and it looks so pretty when most all other trees are brown or bare.  It's cold, though.  I think we've had the last of the nice warm no-jacket days.  Perfect weather for the minestrone that is in my slow cooker.

The cards my troop made and the items we helped collect were delivered to Gerritsen Beach over the weekend.  The 17 foot truck and two completely full cars were met with cheers and crying.  Those people who still have homes will probably not have power until after the holidays.  I can't even imagine that.  So, I have a lot of big reasons to be thankful this year as the holidays approach.

Today, though, I am thankful for the little things.  Here is a list of a few of them, in no particular order and certainly not complete:

  • eggnog
  • coffee
  • eggnog lattes!
  • good sharp knives and quality cookware
  • indoor plumbing
  • my garbage disposal
  • fresh bread
  • Wii Rock Band
  • this blog
  • my camera
  • cheese
  • chocolate
  • books and my kindle
  • birds
  • my mom's spaghetti
  • free pilates classes
  • Wegman's
  • records, cds, and Pandora
  • Mister Rogers
  • minestrone in the crockpot
  • Elf
  • dogs
  • lip balm
  • Skype
  • yarn
  • Elvis Costello
  • Henry and Mudge
  • Quincy
  • shrimp and grits
  • biscuits and gravy
  • pie
  • Maine
  • the Rangers and the Mavericks
  • snow
I could go on and on...

Monday, November 12, 2012

On the Needles

I am almost ready to start the sleeves of my OWLS sweater.  And I am halfway through a simple ribbed scarf I'm knitting for a little boy in the family of Washington Redskins fans that our troop adopted for Christmas.  I am thankful for knitting and for friends that knit and for all wool-giving animals, but most especially alpacas.

More Thanksgiving

I was dragged kicking and screaming into the whole Girl Scout Leadering thing.  I didn't want to do it.  I wanted to help someone else do it.  But no one else wanted to do it either, so I finally agreed.  At first, there was a lot of stress and feelings of being overwhelmed and inadequate, but I am SO thankful now to be in this position.  I love working with my troop.  I have great kids and great parents who are always willing to help out.  I have great co-leaders who have awesome ideas.  And together, we've had so many opportunities for fun and service that might not have otherwise come up.  This week, the girls made cards (above) and collected items for victims of Hurricane Sandy up in New York.  The cards were so sweet and thoughtful, and my car was completely full of donations.  I honestly think these girls enjoy the "helping others" part of scouting as much as they enjoy the "fun for me" stuff, which there is plenty of.  Saturday, we took them to an afternoon of camping activities.  They hiked, and made soap, and played games, and sang songs, and learned about cooking on a campfire, and lit matches, and made S'MORES!

And they also got to work together to make a troop flag, just in time to carry it in the Christmas parade next month.  Pictures like this make me happy.  Little hands, working together:

Through being the troop leader, I have met some great people that I might not have otherwise crossed paths with, and they have introduced me to more people I may not have met, and I have made some really good friends.  I got to spend a night out in DC with 6 of them on Saturday, and it was so much fun.  Awesome Greek food (flaming cheese!!!), great company, lots of laughing until I was crying.  And we got to stay in a beautiful brownstone on Capitol Hill. Quite an adventure.  I am so thankful for the friends I've made here.  And I am thankful that Kev encourages me to go out and have fun, and is willing and able to watch Daphne so I can.

Back at home, I spent Sunday with Kev and Daphne, working on her turkey art project for school.  All the kids got a blank turkey and were instructed to work as a family to create something.  Daphne decided to go with a "Disco Turkey."  He is in disguise so no one will eat him for Thanksgiving.  In real life, Daphne refuses to eat turkey for Thanksgiving.  Last year's Kindergarten unit on turkeys made her too sad to ever eat it again.  She has ham instead.  (Yeah, I know.)  I am thankful, though, for Daphne's kind heart. 

Today, Daphne is home sick.  I think maybe we'll have some hot chocolate and watch a movie.  We could both use a little down time.  Maybe I'll get some knitting done.

PS:  Go here for awesome Greek food!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

I Voted

Well, as you can see, I voted.  I have that sticker up there to prove it.  And I am thankful that I live in a country that allows me to vote (or not), and I am thankful that I don't have to tell you who (if anyone) I voted for.  I am thankful that the election is over and the 5 or 6 phone calls per day will finally stop (I never got political phone calls in Texas.  Ever!).  And I'm thankful that the people of Facebook can now go back to the business of posting pictures of their kids and describing their lunches in great detail.

Last night, I went to a beading class with some of my friends!  I made this bracelet, and it was really fun! 

Someone last night said that these kinds of bracelets are sold on line for $298.  Are you kidding me?  I'm thinking of becoming a jeweler now.

It is so hard to take a decent picture of your own arm.  Seriously.  Try it.

OK.  I am now going to go try to be thankful that it's cleaning day at my house. 

Monday, November 05, 2012

November 5

Daphne didn't have school today.  We spent the morning together at the new Build-a-Bear store.  Then when we got home, I had some work to do, so she entertained herself for a while.  I was instructed not to come into the living room.  Then, when I was allowed in, she had all this prepared.  For one nickel, I got Jingle Bells, Up on the House Top, and Jolly Old St. Nicholas.  How could I NOT be thankful today?

Sunday, November 04, 2012

There's No Place Like Home

Going through old pictures is fun, and I enjoyed looking for Daphne's "Costumes of Halloweens Past" for the mosaic I added a couple of posts ago.  The Dorothy one is the only one I didn't "make" myself.  (I use that term loosely.  Princess Leia was basically a robe and some duct tape, so I can't really say I made it.  But I didn't buy it in the costume aisle at Target).   "Dorothy" was purchased at the very last minute. the costume aisle at Target.

At the time, we had just arrived in Virginia, and we were living in a terrible apartment with terrible loud neighbors and the most uncomfortable couch in the history of furniture.  Daphne was a handful, I was desperately homesick, and Kev was starting a new job.  We were also trying to sell a house 1000 miles away and buy a house in a place we didn't really know anything about.  So, making a Halloween costume wasn't gonna happen.

Those were hard days.  I missed my family and friends and knowing where I was going.  Everything here was confusing.  I didn't know which way was North or South.  I didn't know how to get back to our apartment if I ventured very far away from it.  There were many tears.  So, Kev got me a GPS.  That helped a little.  I am thankful for my GPS.  Eventually, the GPS helped me find Trader Joe's.  I am VERY thankful for Trader Joe's.  But mostly, in those days, I spent a lot of time sitting around feeling sorry for myself,  knitting on the terrible couch, watching marathons of old Project Runways and wishing we could go back to Texas.

Fast forward to now.  We found a great house in a great town.  We have actual real friends.  My family is here!  Kev's job is stressful but secure.  Daphne is happy and slightly less of a handful.  And I still knit and watch Project Runway, but on a comfortable couch, and not whilst full of sorrow.  And I am so thankful for all of that.  I appreciate how lucky I am, even if I don't always say so.

For the record, I still rely quite heavily on my GPS, but that's OK.  I can find Trader Joe's without it now, though! 

Friday, November 02, 2012

Day Two

Scout the Awesome Dog
Today I am thankful for this good puppy.  Even though she can be a little naughty, she brings joy to people everywhere she goes. And look how shiny she is!

Thursday, November 01, 2012

For Grandma, By Request

All the Halloweens so far...

  1. Pebbles Flintstone
  2. Dorothy
  3. A Purple Octopus
  4. Super Daphne
  5. Princess Leia
  6. Owl


Frankenstorm Winds
Welcome to November.  I decided that this month, I am going to post pictures and write about things I am thankful for.  It seems appropriate to start with being thankful that Frankenstorm Sandy did not really cause us any trouble at all.  We certainly got lucky, because it did cause a lot of others some pretty major trouble. So what, the parade was canceled.  Meh.  That wasn't a big deal.  I got to spend time with friends instead, and Daphne got to do a lot more trick-or-treating than usual.  And the two days off from school were just what we needed after all that Fall-A-Paloozing, so no complaints about that.

Today, I went to see my retina specialist, and I am thankful that for now my eye remains stable.  I can drive, read, knit, and everything I was afraid I might not be able to do back when this whole thing started.  Look!  I'm knitting a whole SWEATER!

Eventually, it will have owls on it!  And it will go on ME instead of a chair!

I learned recently that it has been proven that knitting lowers stress and blood pressure.  As long as you don't make a big fat mistake that you can't fix and start freaking out about it.  That would tend to have the opposite affect, I'm afraid. Ask Kev.  He knows.

At the beginning of October, I had some goals.  Let's see how I did.
  • Clean out Daphne's closet (again) - Partially complete
  • Clean out the kitchen cabinets - Made a good start for sure
  • Sew something - Owl costume...check!
  • Try a new soup recipe - nope
  • Get some pants - nope
  • Start thinking about Christmas - check!
  • Get a haircut - check!
  • Get a pedicure - nope
  • Read for 20 minutes every single day- no, not every day, but I finished two books. 
OK, all things considered, I am happy with that.  I made some progress.  Progress is good.  I also got to spend a lot of time with family and friends, and did a lot of fun stuff.  I can always get pants in November.

And, I'm certainly thankful I'm not these guys.  Poor turkeys.

PS.  I know I should be mad that Christmas stuff is already everywhere, but when I saw it all at Target yesterday, it made me feel happy.  Bring it on.