December 2011 archive

December Daily | last week

Going to the movies is always an adventure.

As a family, we go to a movie theater maybe twice a year. It’s just too expensive between the ticket price of $32 and snacks price of $38. But, since the kids are home from school, we decided to see We Bought a Zoo at AMC on Tuesday.

Parker took this opportunity to throw up in the middle of the 2 hour movie. I told the restroom attendant, “At least she made it to the trash can!” She was a very kind AMC employee, showing care that Parker was okay and letting me know that I could get my money back if we leave the theater. As we left to take our sick kid home, Glenn got passes to come back at a later date.

Then Glenn realized he lost his glasses and is convinced they fell out of his pocket at the movie theater. Instead of turning around while we were still in the neighborhood (as I suggested), be chose to “take care of it later”. Later, he makes several phone calls to the theater and even a return visit to look for the $400 glasses with no luck. This has made this movie visit very expensive, not to mention it has made me a very irritated wife.

So, we tried again on Thursday. This time we took in a few of our own snacks but did buy drinks at the concession stand. (Did you know most theaters are okay with this? Day cares and schools always take in their own food when on field trips.) Parker did not throw up, but she did get very restless.

Based on a true story, We Bought a Zoo is good movie. The little girl who plays Matt Damon’s daughter is a scene stealer. However, Matt Damon’s character lost his wife to illness, so he spends a lot of time crying and missing her. His son acts out, rightly so. It has more serious moments than comedy. It is not a light-hearted romp through owning a zoo.

And apparently watching Matt Damon cry is not very appealing to a five-year-old.

Alex took this opportunity to show me that she is more like her father than I admit by leaving her winter coat in the theater. And she was so kind as to wait until we got all the way home to mention it! Glenn said he would go back and pick it up in the morning. I chose to drive back right then, because I am not making that same mistake twice in one week. He may have lost his glasses but I will not buy a new winter coat.

Giving the gift of technology

December Daily | Day 26

photo by jstunkard

Giving the gift of technology (to someone who finds a simple cell phone a challenge) can be a health risk. And by health I mean your sanity.

We gave my 83-year-old mother-in-law a Kindle Touch for Christmas. She doesn’t have the internet; never has, so we got the 3G upgrade. She can download books just about anywhere without worrying about finding a WiFi hotspot.

The problem? She has never had internet…so she doesn’t have email. You must have an email address to create an Amazon account and register your Kindle.

“Can’t you just put in a fake email?” she asked.

No.

“Are you sure?”

Yes.

I do it anyway to prove it to her.

I have to bring the Kindle Touch home to use my laptop with WiFi to set up an email account she will never use just so she can download books using gift cards I gave her. Sigh.

Now I am even more convinced if you don’t have internet you will get left behind.

Fast forward 24 hours. She is at our house using her registered Kindle Touch. She loves the feature to enlarge the text so she can read the print. She is even downloading books with little instruction from me. She is playing with the Sudoku book I bought her. I think she likes it.  Now, if an 83-year-old woman can do it, anyone can!

frost on our windows.

December Daily | Day 25…for a child is born…


…a son is given to us.

The government will rest on his shoulders.

And he will be called:

Wonderful Counselor,

Mighty God,

Everlasting Father,

Prince of Peace.

7 His government and its peace will never end.
He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity.
The passionate commitment of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!

Merry CHRISTmas!

Our Christmas Letter

Every year my hubby writes our family Christmas letter; and every year family (most notably, his aunts) look forward to reading it. Some would say including a letter with your Christmas card is about as fashionable as a hand-knitted-bedazzled Christmas sweater. Although it may be a little dated, he doesn’t write your typical Christmas letter.

Most of the time the Christmas letters I get in the mail are a glowing recap of the year’s events. I think, “Man, this guy’s life is fantastic!” I mean no disrespect because I love to hear from family and friends that I don’t get a chance to talk to but a few times a year. Why are you telling me only the “good” stuff?

Sure, hubby’s letter includes our-kids-are-great-the-job-is-great-our-health-is-great kind of stuff, but he also likes to keep it real. Good and bad. Funny or weird. And this year “real” meant we lost a lot of loved ones who where very dear to us.

Because real life is not made up of just the good stuff.

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Merry Christmas to All!

 I hate to start a Christmas letter on the gloomy side, but I feel that we should all take a moment to remember all those who have passed this year. There were a lot of friends and family members that went on to a better place and I want to recognize them.

 In January, we lost our very good friend Don. He lived a long and adventurous life.

Our beloved beagle, Bailey, lost her battle with Cushings disease in June after 15 years. We will miss her dearly.

My Mother-in Law’s husband, Ron, passed from ALS after a long and tortuous struggle. God bless him.

 Harley’s step son, Ryan, died in July at just 23 years old. That is just too soon. And Aunt Genie, whose smile I cannot get out of my mind.

 My best friend lost his father in September. I knew him since I was sixteen. I golfed with him and valued his advice throughout the years. But a bigger shocker was my best friend, Ed, who died just three weeks later. He was the kind of friend you just cannot replace. I will miss them both dearly.

 And finally, let us not forget Amy’s father who passed recently. He too had led a long and productive life.

 We know there are others that you all have lost that we do not know or are not aware of, so please, to everyone, we issue our sincere condolences.

 I thought the Second Coming was upon us with all those that we lost suddenly, but it appears we are all safe…for now.

 Oh my goodness, what a year! We have two new family members (thanks to my buddy Ed and his father). Thor is an 85 pound black Lab and Rocco is a 9 pound white Poodle. What a pair! Both are great dogs and well behaved… most of the time.

Alexandra turned nine somehow and loves to ice skate. We are so proud of her as she takes private lessons and does individual skate exhibitions. She did her first show just last week and I had to tear up watching her. She is so beautiful on the ice. Soon she will be competing in the Olympics and making us lots of money! She is still an A-B student at school and is in 4th grade. Have you seen the math 4th graders are learning? Word problems, algebra, fractions, theorems. Calculus must be next year. How will I help then?

 Parker, aka Park E. Bear, is now five. She is just so precious that even her temper-tantrums make us smile. She swings and plays without fear. She wants to try everything and has even begun ice skating. Lessons are next. Jeri skates also. I fall down just looking at the ice. Guess I will just sit on the sidelines and cheer them on.

 Jeri and I have both been so busy with work and the kids, we have had time for very little else but we did get to the Flinn family reunion (Mom’s maternal side) in Fort Worth this year. We had a great time and hope to attend more. We both had good years in business and are both healthy and happy. We look forward to 2012 and hope to see, or at least hear from, all of you soon.

 Merry Christmas!!!!!!!!

Glenn, Jeri, Ally-gator, Park E. Bear..GRRR, Thor and Rocco

December Daily | Day 22…snow day

I am snowed in on my day off, again. How is that for luck? At least I didn’t have to brave the commute to work this morning.

Thor loves the snow

“…the closest thing to heaven anywhere is a quiet (almost) Christmas morning in the Colorado snow.” –Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

Officially Broomfield, Colorado got 12 inches in total. We busied ourselves making candy for the neighbors.

Parker is taking this very seriously

Chocolate pretzels and peppermint candies...yum!

Chocolate spoons are going to be awesome in my coffee tomorrow!

Luther playing in the snow

We are keeping an eye on our friend’s dog, Luther, while they are in California. He is just a puppy but he is almost as big as Thor (our lab). He came over for a play date in the snow with Thor today. He is sleeping at his house though because Rocco (our poodle) can’t play nice. There is nothing funnier than watching a 9 pound poodle put a 60 pound hound in his place…and the hound backing off. Just look at the muscle on that dog!

Snowflake chocolates

December Daily | Day 20

Alex started her big day out by vomiting up her dinner from the night before. It’s a big day because she has her holiday skate exhibition at the rink; this is not the way to start the day! Good news is she wasn’t running a fever. I went to work and then left early to take her to the rink. She said she felt fine by 9 o’clock. So, I am thinking it was just bad dinner or popcorn with too much butter that made her sick.

She seemed to be fine getting ready for the show. I could tell her stomach was a bit weak, but she insisted she could still skate. A winter storm starts to sweep the metro area and it is freezing outside.

Once we arrived at the rink we sat down in the bleachers to watch some other the other skaters perform. That is when Alex said her stomach really hurt and she didn’t want to skate. Really? I am not sure it’s so much her being sick as it is nerves that is upsetting her stomach. She is looking out over the large ice rink with lots of people watching…it’s scary. She said she isn’t feeling like she is going to throw up, it just hurts. Yes, her stomach isn’t 100%  but nerves can add to the discomfort. I think she needs to power through it because she will not always be feeling 100% on “game day”. (Call me a bad mother now.)

“Could you be nervous” I ask.

She reminds me that she has never been nervous. Ever. I know.  She has never had nerves before going out on the ice or on stage for ballet. She has always been excited.

We headed downstairs to find her coach. I am hoping she will give Alex a good pep talk to get her through it. She does. Alex performs and does wonderfully. Later, Alex tells me her coach said, “You’re stomach hurts now, but once you get out on the ice you’ll forget all about that. And when you’re done, your stomach won’t hurt anymore.”

Alex added, “And she was right!”

All smiles AFTER Alex performed

I am not so evil now am I? I know my kid. I could tell she was nervous even if she still won’t admit it. But this experience has her rethinking her figure skating competition plans. She has more guts than I ever had. I participated in the Flag Corps in high school and I just about lost my lunch every single time before we walked onto the football field.

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I’ve got two Christmas questions for you:

1. Do you known anyone who gathers around a piano on Christmas Eve to sing carols? Everyone in the family is joyfully singing “Silent Night”. Or, does it only happen in Lifetime movies?

2. Do you know anyone you has actually received a brand new Lexus topped with a big red bow for Christmas?

When did I start watching my parent’s tv programming?

Growing up my parents watched CBS News Sunday Morning, every-single-Sunday. To a kid, this was even more boring than the nightly news. Which (today) irritates me that my hubby has to watch the 6 o’clock AND the 10 o’clock news every night…like they are going to say something different in the 10 o’clock newscast! But then again, he is 10 years older than me.

And this morning, as I am watching the CBS News Sunday Morning, like I do almost every Sunday morning, I think…I AM OLD! When did that happen?

Worse yet? I am actually enjoying the stories. Two of which brought tears to my eyes. Okay, that’s not so surprising, since I cry at some commercials that I won’t name.

My favorite story? The one about the two former ad execs who started a free e-card service called someecards.com.

This is not your parent’s e-card website!

See what I mean? I wish I knew about this e-cards website before I designed, printed, stuffed, addressed and stamped 50 Christmas Cards yesterday! Hilarious!

And one of the stories that made me cry? Jasin Hines.

“Hines has a rare genetic joint condition called Larsen’s syndrome and uses a wheelchair. He is a strong supporter of charity and has performed at many fund raising events. He founded the Justin Hines Foundation, a charitable foundation for people with disabilities.(Source)

Check out his inspiring story. Just have some Kleenex handy.

I really hope that just because I watch CBS News Sunday Morning doesn’t mean that I will be tuning into Wheel of Fortune next!

************

December Daily | Day 18

We went to Pasquini’s for lunch today. This was our first visit to this little pizzeria in Denver’s Highlands neighborhood. The Highlands neighborhood is made up of trendy shops, unpretentious restaurants and martini bars nestled along side bungalow-style homes. This newest “it” neighborhood, just northwest of Lower Downtown Denver, has gone from shabby to chic in the past few year.

Upon arriving the waitress presents the girls with pizza dough to keep them from whining. Why don’t all restaurants do this because it worked famously! Not once did the kids interrupt the adults as we debated the phenomenon that is Tim Tebow.

First up, an appetizer of buttery cheese sticks with marinara sauce. This little appetizer had my daughter licking the plate. You think I am kidding, but I am not.

The girls ordered “make your own pizza” and it was truly that. The waitress brought out a small pan that had the dough rolled out, but the girls got to load it up with sauce, cheese and their choice of toppings. She then whisked it off to be baked. My youngest daughter ordered the kid’s spaghetti and proved marina sauce does look good all over your face.

I had a veggie calzone that was HUGE. I know what I am having for lunch tomorrow. Hubby had the homemade spaghetti and meatballs. The meatballs were so good he asked for an extra side of them!

 

photo taken with my phone

photo taken with my phone

If you’re in Denver I would suggest trying out this cute hide-away. They have 6 locations.

December Daily | Day 15

Why is shopping for Christmas presents so exhausting? Today was a major shop-til-we-drop day. It’s crunch time. If we are lucky everything will get mailed in time to deliver before Christmas Day. Are you in the same situation?

Parker, hubby & I dropped the dogs off at the groomers, then went to Krispie Kreme for a gift card. Upon walking into KK we were overwhelmed with hot donuts coming off the line. If I worked at KK, I think I would get sick of smelling donuts every single day. Just watching the donuts travel down the conveyor, being showered with surgery icing, made my belly hurt. I wish I had my camera with me. Parker’s face was pressed up against the glass, mesmerized.

It was 4 more stops for gifts…pick up the dogs at the groomers, wrap and package the gifts that need to ship tomorrow, pick Alex up at school, skate practice, back home for dinner, make popcorn treats to ship & for teachers, wrap more gifts…I need a nap.

Alex actually cried when she saw Rocco for the first time after the groomers got their shears on him! I think he is cute, but he looks naked. Where is his sweater?

Tomorrow is the last day of school and then it’s 2 weeks and 1 day of winter break! We made 2 large batches of  S’more popcorn to give to all the teachers. It’s super easy.

You need: chocolate Candiquick, a bag of microwave popcorn (popped), cinnamon toast crunch cereal, colorful M&Ms, mini marshmallows and white chocolate to drizzle. Melt chocolate per instructions on package–about 1/2 the package or so. (I didn’t measure anything; just used my judgement. I am rebel!). In a large bowl mix popped popcorn and  melted chocolate to coat. Careful not to crush the popcorn. Add hands full of cereal and marshmallows, stirring until everything is coated and sticky. Dump the bowl onto wax paper and carefully spread out to an even layer. Let it set.

Meanwhile, melt the white chocolate per instructions on package. Drizzle white chocolate over mixture on wax paper. Once it is completely set you can gently break into pieces. I toss in the M&Ms at this point. Put in a pretty tin or bags and hand out. Yum!

Can you be too Christian?

So, have you heard of that Broncos quarterback named Tim Tebow? Since I live in Tebow Land, I have heard more than my fair share of Tebow news. The good news is the media is finally taking notice of the Denver Broncos. The bad news is they aren’t really paying any attention to the game.  Never mind that the Denver Broncos are 8-5 and 1st in the AFC West.

It’s all about the QB and his faith-on-his-sleeve.

He’s been called a devout Christian (like it’s a bad thing). Overbearing evangelist. He’s been known to wear Bible verses under his eye when he played in Florida. Tebow always, first and foremost, thanks his Lord and savior Jesus Christ after every game. He makes no apologies for it either.

Some people love him because of it.

Some don’t like him for that very reason.

Where Kardashians reign, even Hollywood has taken notice. With all this media scrutiny I got to thinking. Why is Tebow’s faith such a big deal? It’s not like Christianity is a new-wave religion. The majority of Americans claim to identify themselves as Christian (76%) and 82% believe in a high-being or God.

The question: Is it okay to believe in God, go to church on Sunday, read the Bible, but not okay proclaim your God-love every single day in public?

Does Tebow’s Christ-loving proclamation make people uncomfortable? Former Broncos QB,  Jake Plummer said he wishes Tebow would just “shut up” about it. “I think that when he accepts the fact that we know that he loves Jesus Christ then I think I’ll like him a little better. I don’t hate him because of that, I just would rather not have to hear that every single time he takes a good snap or makes a good handoff.” {Source}

Is Plummer right? It’s fine and good to  love Jesus Christ but we don’t want to hear about it? Love Christ in private?

I tend to think that it makes people uncomfortable because they feel inferior in their own faith relationship. To have that kind of faith and love that Tebow exhibits is a great thing. It’s a precious thing. It’s the kind of love that all Christians should strive for.

Tebow has said, “And that’s the thing about my faith: it’s not just something that happens when you’re at church or happens when you’re praying or reading the Scripture. It’s part of who you are, as a person, as a player, in your life and everything.” {Source}

I don’t know what to make of this Tebowing. That’s just weird. And I don’t know what to make of this Christian backlash either. I think it makes for some interesting conversation. Love it or hate it.

I do know this: Tebow’s bold faith and last-minute quarterback plays can’t be ignored.

December Daily | 10 & 11

Day 10: Alex had skate practice in the morning. It was a tough one since Alex had her outdoor exhibition the night before in Longmont. I could not get motivated at all the rest of the afternoon. Watched a bad Christmas movie on TV, did some laundry, then we went to a cookie decorating party with Alex’s skate buddies. We were out too late! I have no pictures because I just didn’t feel like taking any.

All the girls at the party were on their best behavior. I was actually able to carry on a conversation with grown-ups without one or more kid interrupting every 5 minutes complaining about one of the other kids; they aren’t playing what they want, or someone is being bossy, or some other stupid thing! And the other kid is usually complaining about one of my kids. Do you know how awesome that is? I was beginning to think that maybe my kids were the problem. Because I know they are not angels. But there was not one fight, not one crying girl over nothing, not one tattle-tale. I am now certain it’s not (always) my kids.

Day 11: Slept in until 8:30. Did some laundry. Took my mother-in-law out to lunch. We were going to lunch at Cici’s Pizza, because that was what she was craving. Cici’s Pizza website listed a location near her house. We drove around and around looking for it. Then we finally found the address…a vacant storefront! We ended up at Pizza Hut. The girls were being naughty, very naughty. (Like I said, they are not angels.) I may have to call Santa to let him know that. They wore me out mentally.

Parker sang to me Christmas songs. That made me laugh. She can’t play a guitar, but that didn’t stop her from strumming along. On her song list: The Merry Christmas Polka, Grandma Got Ran Over By A Reindeer, and Here Comes Santa Claus.

 

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