Monday, November 30, 2009

Packing and Preparations

Yes, the packing is in full-swing. As soon as the family all left on Thanksgiving Day I hauled the suitcases into the front room and started filling them up. Packing for 5 is a lot of work, especially when you're an anal coordinating-clothes, n0-big-graphics, picture-friendly attire kind of person. It's been a challenge, that's for sure. But I have no reason to gripe so I'll just say that the packing is coming along. And I've only got 1 more day before we leave so it's a good thing it's nearly completed.

At the last minute I decided to make the kids matching shirts. We did this last trip for everyone but Brian didn't seem to keen on the idea this time so I just did it for the kids. Let me tell you, it was tough finding t-shirts at the store in late November! I finally found some in the mens department for the boys and used one I already had for Carissa. A little editing, printing and ironing and this is what we've got:
It's hard to tell in the picture, but these are smaller graphics in the top left hand side of the shirt. Carissa has Minnie, Tristan has taekwondo Mickey (complete with a green belt, just like Tristan has) and Chase has sorcerer Mickey. They did turn out pretty well and the kids like them. Disneyworld, here we come!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Advent Calendars

As a kid I remember having Advent calendars every December. Each day my siblings and I would open up a door on our cardboard Advent calendar and to see what shape the chocolate piece was. Somehow, I recall only one calendar. Maybe we shared? Maybe we took turns?

Either way, I remember having Advent calendars as a kid, a tradition I continued with my own children. Since they have been old enough to celebrate Christmas (about age 2 or 3) I have purchased them each a chocolate advent calendar. Every morning they wake up and scramble to the calendar, trying to be the first to figure out what shape the chocolate piece is today.

For years I have been looking for a more permanent solution to the advent caledar, but most I see are heavy wood pieces or cheesy looking things that I wouldn't want hanging around my house year after year. Well this year I finally found the right thing - plastic-base advent calendars. Of course, I had to alter them. This is what I came up with:

The piece above is the first one I did. It's already safely on it's way to my sweet little nephew Randal. The one below is the one I did for our family. There are little numbered drawers, one to open each day leading up to Christmas. I've filled each drawer with 3 little things - chocolate coins, Hershey kisses, peppermint candies, tiny toys, etc.

I had a lot of fun altering them and hopfully, once we return from WDW, I'll alter a final one for my newphew Jonathan (I hope teenagers still like Advent calendars! LOL).
Take care and have a wonderful holiday season!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Cheer video

I was clearing off my cameras (all 4 of them! LOL) before WDW and came across this video I had forgotten about. It's Carissa doing the "hoedown" dance during halftime of one of the games she was cheering at. Anyways, just thought I'd share. She's in the back row with the black hat.

Tidbits from the kids

Just a little tidbit about each of the kids for today...

CARISSA is currently stuck on dresses and skirts. Again. Last year I thought we were progressing because she started wearing leggings all the time and just occasionally wearing skirts and dresses. No such luck, as she is now back to strictly skirts and not even wearing any leggings with them, even when it's cold. BRRRRRRR...

TRISTAN has decided what he wants to be when he grows up ... a Trailblazer! He said he wants to be paid to play basketball. I tried to explain to him that you first have to work hard and practice lots, then you go to college and play and then maybe you get to go professional. He says "I know" and just goes on his merry way. Basketball season does start soon and this is his 2nd year playing. He moves to full-court this year (last year was half-court) so it will be interesting to see how that works out for him.

CHASE came home last week and told me that he was sent to the principals office. I was stunned. This is my follow-the-rules, easy-going, do-as-your-told sort of kid who has NEVER been sent to the principals office. So I asked him what for. He broke out in a huge grin and said "because I got the best state testing score my teacher and the principal has ever seen!" Apparently he had state testing last week and got a huge score on his test, 260 points (which is about 20 points over the "exceeding" ranked score). He was so proud of himself! The kid never ceases to amaze me...

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday

The good thing about Thanksgiving is that the day after is Black Friday. And Black Friday means shopping. The one and only store in our little town is Fred Meyer and each Black Friday I get up at 4:45am to make it to Fred Meyer by the 5am opening. As always, I purchase socks for everyone. It's the only time of the year that I buy socks, as they are always 50% off. This year I bought TONS more than I usually do, as the boys are moving up from kids socks to adult socks so I needed lots and lots of pairs. A package each for Carissa and I and 3 for Brian should get us all through the year. I also purchased PJ's at 60% off, pillows for us all at 50% off, a necklace for Carissa to wear after she does her pick-a-pearl at Disney and a calendar for 2010. Wiped out over $150 in Fred Meyer, but we're pretty set for the next year. Plus, it's nice to be up early and enjoying some peace and quiet before the kids rise.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Can I just admit that Thanksgiving isn't my favorite holiday? It's sort of the spoiler to my holiday joy... the thing that keeps me from putting up my beloved Christmas goodies as soon as Halloween is over. Plus it's just a lot of work - cooking, cleaning, planning visits to and from family, etc. And to be perfectly honest, I'm not all that fond of turkey.

The only highlight to the day is that we do get to spend it with family. Yesterday was no exception. Brian had to work this year so family came here to visit us. Mom and Jim came in the morning to hang out and so that we could celebrate my Mom's birthday. We even stuck a candle in a little snack cake and sang her Happy Birthday.

Then it was off to the Senior Center, where we served Thanksgiving dinner to the senior citizens and their families. Mom and Jim went with us and helped by dishing up plates, serving coffee and chatting with the seniors. This is actually a Boy Scout sponsered event and Chase was the organizer this year. He worked hard on getting a schedule set up, arranging volunteers, coordinating with the person in charge, etc. This was a project he did for his life rank, which he has almost completed. Tristan also received credit towards his 2nd class rank for serving at the senior center. Carissa went in her foo-foo dress and all the ladies fawned over her... she liked that. :) All in all, we really enjoy working at the Senior Center. It was a long, exhausting few hours but also important and meaningful for us all.

Afterwards I came home to start on our dinner. We made just a turkey breast this year, instead of a whole turkey, as no one eats the dark meat and it would just go to waste. We had potatos and gravy, salads, corn, rolls and olives. Brian's parents arrived while we were at the Senior Center and his dad rode along with Brian for a few hours. Dad and Linda arrived just before dinner and got in a little time on Wii Sports Resort (Dad beat the kids in Archery!) before dinner. Somehow I had forgotten to eat the entire day so by dinner I was famished and ate my fill. Then it was finally time to relax and chat for a while. When everyone left we cleaned up and went to bed early.

It was a long, exhausting but good day filled with wonderful family. Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Pet in a Pocket

Brian's pet, Dot, is a very active rat and is always scurrying around on you when she's out of her cage. Brian finally found a well to help her calm down... a pocket! She loves hanging out in a pocket and just sticks her head out to look around. Isn't she adorable?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The forgotten piggy

I posted about Hurly, Tristan's new guinea pig, but I never posted about this little fellow.
Meet Koda, Carissa's guinea pig. He joined out household in July. His name comes from the main character in the Disney film "Brother Bear". Unlike Hurly, Koda does not have an unruly thatch of hair. Instead he is sleek and smooth with multiple patches of color. He's much louder than Hurly and often squeaks and squeals. He's Carissa's little buddy and likes to sit in her lap and squeak. He's adorable and he's well-loved.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Childhood Memory

I was on the phone to Disney this morning ironing out some details for our vacation and got placed on what seemed like eternal hold. While waiting a song came on that reminded me of a happy childhood memory that I had all but forgotten. The music was the theme song from the film at American pavilion at Epcot - a song that I haven't heard since I was a kid. We went to Disneyworld as a family when I was about 12 and while there my parents bought the record (yes, the RECORD ... vinyl! LOL) with the theme park music from the international pavilions of Epcot. I clearly remember waking up to that music playing downstairs on Sunday mornings and the smell of the waffles and eggs my father was cooking for breakfast. It's amazing how one little tune can bring back such memories. And it's amazing to think that I had almost forgotten.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The finished project...

Earlier this summer Brian started his new tattoo. This was sort of a 35th birthday/college graduation tattoo and is something that he and I have been discussing and designing for the last 3 years. After 3 sessions, hours of drawing and tattooing and a very bloody leg, his tattoo is finally finished. Here's the final project:There's one sea turtle to represent each of us. Brian up at the top, followed by me, then Chase, Tristan and Carissa at the bottom. Each person had some say in what was put on their turtles shell. Overall, I think it came out fabulous and Brian has received so many great compliments about it.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Like death warmed over...

...that's a pretty accurate description of how I've been feeling the last few days. I was fine all week until Thursday afternoon. I had a busy day - worked, went to exchange some shoes at Koh's, visited with my Grandma and Aunt - then came home to get ready for book club, which I hosted this month.

Around 4pm I started feeling a little off but thought it was just from being tired. Got involved in preparations for book club, had dinner and started feeling a little warm. I was fine by the time book club started but by thend it was all I could do to sit through the rest of it.

It was all downhill from there. I've suffered through this unidentified flu for 4 days so far (all the symptoms and timing point to the Swine Flu, though Kaiser doesn't even want to see you much less diagnose you with H1N1). I've had fevers, chills, coughing, congestion, headaches, body aches, skin sensitivity and just about every other thing you can think of.

I'm totally bummed because I missed going to Bremerton for Virginia's baby shower on Saturday. And now I'm not sure we'll be able to go visit before vacation. And I always feel bad about taking days off work, especially knowing that I'll be taking so many off for vacation. But really, I'll just be glad when this is over and I'm healthy again.