Friday, December 31, 2010

Year in Review

Our little family tops the list of boring lives.  We work, we eat, we sleep, we spend time with family and that's about it.  The last year? It was good.  Nothing major or super exciting.  A few short road trips, a painted house, and a resignation.  Lots of shaved ice, stories read, and time together.

I'm proud of my husband.  I'm proud of my kids.  I can hardly believe that last year at this time I had a baby who had just learned to crawl and a little boy who was just starting preschool.  Now, I have a toddler who RUNS everywhere, and a 25 year old trapped in the body of a little boy whose so close to four he can smell it.

My boys have changed so much in the last year.  Here is some photographic proof.

December 103

December 104

December 106

I am excited for the new year and all the adventures it holds for us.

Have a happy new year Internet. I hope to be asleep by 8:30 pm.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

16 Candles......


Holy Freakin' Cow.

My baby brother,  the one whose impending arrival into the world 16 years ago left me in a state of shock and awe, the one whose made my life, and the life of my family and my boys so much more exciting, the one who just the other day, still sat on my lap for a few minutes even though he's a giant and thank heavens he didn't fart, is 16 years old today.

It's hard to believe.  Really, it is.


Who'd a thunk that this kid who, 8 years ago (half his life ago) when I got married wasn't even shoulder high, would now be taller than me, stretching himself out at night for a few more inches.  Or, that he'd be wearing a size 15 shoe.



He's tall and handsome.  He's smart and funny.  He's kind and sincere.  He takes honors classes and gets good grades.  He's a good writer and a good ice shaver.  He willingly plays with his crazy nephews and lets them use him as a bean bag chair.  He sings, he goes to dances, he isn't too cool to go bowling with his parents and sisters on his Christmas break.

If you get the chance to meet him, he'll let you know that one day, he's going to be famous.  He looks good in purple.  He's a really good basketball player.

I don't know what we'd all do without him.


He's my baby bwudur, and I luf him a lot.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


Every year it's the same thing.  The Grinch in me arrives around the first of November.  Something happens to make my heart grow three sizes around the beginning of December.  Then around the middle of December, the spirit of giving, and of Christ, and of generosity of heart and spirit - mind and body arrives and I feel the need to be nice.  To do nice things.  To be generous with time and money - and food and labor - and by the time Christmas rolls around, I really feel spent.

I'm tired.  I've spent a lot of time figuring out how to give and help others.  This year we didn't do anything really awesome.  I donated coats and hats and gloves to some "inner city" families. I knitted some hats for my brothers eagle scout project.  I donated to a "sub for santa" for a family in my neighborhood hit by some tragedy right after Thanksgiving.  I made a billion cupcakes with a friend to give to neighbors.  I gave gift cards to people, taped to their doors on Christmas Eve.

Yesterday my little family and I were bombarded by love.  Isn't that what Christmas is all about?  Being with the people you love, who love you back.  We were gifted wonderfully generous and thoughtful items - things to make our lives more fun, entertaining, relaxing, and purposeful.  We were gifted a trip to Disneyland by my parents, all we need to do is set the date (oh, I'm so excited).  We were treated to food and family and laughs and hugs.

We served each other.

Isn't that what life is all about?  Serving our fellow man?  It isn't about the presents one day a year, but about how we can help people all year long.

Yesterday was a great day.  One of those days where "our cup runeth over".  There are so many stories and pictures - they'll come later.

But right now, can I tell you I loved Christmas.  I loved going to church today, the day after Christmas.  It was such a blessed reminder of why, at least for me, we do all that we do all year long.  As a kid and a young adult, the holiday was such a let down.  So much build up for one short day.  As an adult however, and as a mom, I really think (at least I hope) that I've figured it out.  I hope I've figured out what this season is about.  And I pray that I can always do my part to help those around me and that I can be guided to those that may need my help.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all - all 10 of you who read this thing, including my mom.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Merry Christmas.

Love the Reindeer

And the boy who sits on the counter

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Two weeks ago I resigned from the job I have done for nearly 6 years. Today is my last day of work. At the end of the day I'll turn in my computer, ipod, name tags, hair nets, keys, and the kitchen sink.

Six years ago, when I left the classroom, I was desperate to get out and find a change of scene - a change of pace. I LOVED teaching history. I LOVED the kids that were my students. I just couldn't do it anymore. The job felt too hard and stifling and like it was choking me. I did it for almost 6 years and was ready to move on.

I left the high school in a flurry and found what I thought at the time was a great job.  To commemorate the event, because the timing just worked out that way, Ross and I went to Italy. Oh, Florence. You served my brain well.

Fast forward another 6 years. I really LIKED my job. I really LIKED the teachers that I got to work with in the world of online learning. LIKE does not however, a great job make. When I was walking away from  staff meetings with stomach aches...or in tears (how pathetic does that make me, right?), or dwelt on a snarky e-mail for too many days I realized it was time to suck it up and vacate the premises.

That's what I've done and I've done it without a net. Right now, there is no job to fall back on, no career to advance no Italy to visit. 

There is just me.

The best me that I can be.  Holding my head up high.  Knowing that I did a great job.  Knowing that right now, where I'm supposed to be is at home, with my kids, being their mom, and fixing myself - becoming a better me with new goals and experiences on the horizon.  Taking deep breaths and leaps of faith.  It's scary - but a very exciting time.  A new frontier in the life of Annie.

I had a teacher send me an e-mail and tell me that she hoped that I resigned for something bigger and better.

I told her that right now, I'm running away!  But, in the next few months the something bigger and better will come.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

In the spirit of giving....


My grandma is 80 years old. She is the mother of 8 children, all living. Those children all have children, and some even have grandchildren. She has a big family. She loves her big family. She buys Christmas presents for her big family - totalling 53 people and counting.

My grandma's lungs don't work very well.  She's on oxygen all the time.  She's lost close to 80 pounds this year and has become so much smaller than the grandma of my childhood.  Her legs don't work so hot and neither do her ears.  She still though has an amazing spirit and light about her.  She's tired and in pain nearly every single day.  She passes out a lot and just a week ago fell so hard that she bruised her entire leg.  She could win an award for that bruise.  She's a fighter.  She's got amazing faith.  She watches "All my Children" every single day.

I love my grandma dearly.  She has taken care of me my entire life.  My sister and I, when we were younger could count on my grandma for everything.  One phone call and she'd be wherever we needed her, whenever we needed her.  She was my official chauffeur all through school, even picking me up as a senior in high school.  In fact, the first time I ever ditched a class was the last week of my senior year and grandma was the one who came to pick me up, take me to the 7-11 for a coke, and let me hang out at her house all afternoon.

Anyway, back to the presents.  Like I said, she buys presents for about 53 people.  She has a book, her gift bible, that lists everything she has purchased.  She has another book, even bigger, with receipts, catalog order numbers and everything else she needs.  She's organized and thoughtful and does her best to give everyone gifts that they will love.

We all know that every Christmas we'll get socks.  It's important for my Grandma make sure we have socks.  As a kid, she had to darn her own socks or go with out and shove cardboard in her shoes to help keep her feet dry. - the great depression can do that to a kid.

I've talked about it on this blog before, but it is my designated task, for the last many years (I really cannot remember how many) to help wrap presents.  Last year I wrapped most of them by myself and it took me several days and over 15 hours to get it all done.  This year, my sister, cousin and I got it knocked out in two nights - in about 10 hours.  My back is still sore a couple days later.

Think about it.  53 people.  Each person has at least 3 packages to wrap.  For the little kids, every present is wrapped individually so the kiddies have more to open.  That's over 200 presents to wrap and we did it in 10 hours - and I wrapped a few that I picked up yesterday to even things out at my house this morning.

My grandma is amazing.  How she does this every year I don't know.  I love her so much.  I love wrapping presents for her.  I love spending time at her house.  I haven't been the best visitor lately - I let life get in the way - but I hope that my grandma knows how much I love and appreciate her and all she does for our family.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Squirt:: 19 months

Boy oh boy Chickie.  You have had quite a month.  It's amazing how, like, three days after you were officially one and a half, a toddler, you changed into a little boy.  There isn't one single smidgen of baby left in you and it's freakin' awesome.

It's also proven to be a bit destructive.  Your super powers for chaos are strong.  Dad and I haven't quite figured out your kryptonite yet but we're working on it.  Once we discover the thing that brings you down, you and your terrorizing ways will be squashed.  But, we'll still love you and play with you and take you places and buy you french fries.  We're just nice like that.

In the last four weeks you've had bronchitis and mild croup and a pretty serious bout of asthma that got you at the Primary Children's Instacare for a few hours.  You set off Grandma Connie's house alarm and called 911 on Grandma Judy's cell phone.  The first incident was easy to fix - the second resulted in a visit to the house by the police - and I don't mean Sting and Stuart Copeland.

You only puked, I think, twice in the last month which is a record.  You are still a terrible sleeper and the last week has sucked dead goat as far as you sleeping is concerned but hopefully, some day, you will turn a corner and decided it's cool to sleep at night instead of waking up four times a night, screaming as if you were being attacked by a moose, and wandering around the house.

Fun times, kiddo.  Fun times.


I am most proud of you this month for eating and talking.  You have decided that food is your friend and are almost down to no bottles at night to supplement the lack of nutrients you receive during the day.  You have started to eat chicken!!!!  It's awesome.  In our house we love good eaters and you are starting to fit right in.  Sitting at the dinner table every night and watching you eat, and play, and be part of the family is just so much fun.  You make us laugh little boy.  You are infectious and contagious and one of the funniest things around.

And you're starting to talk - not just babble, but real communication.  We've almost mastered "Thank you" even though you'll only do it for me, and we're working on "please" and just for fun, "Fart" because that seems to be your favorite past time in the last week.  A couple of weeks ago I told you that you were "coo-coo".  Now you wander around the house like a parrot calling everyone the same.  When you want something, or like something you say, "uh-huh" and for the opposite, "Nuh-huh".  It comes with a big head nod and smile that's just too funny.


Just the other night we were waiting for your dad and brother and you found a football.  You my little Chickadee set that ball on the floor, said your version of one, a very clear two, and then charged at the football and kicked it from the kitchen table to the back door.  A mighty distance for one who doesn't have the best coordination.

You always want to sit on the counter when we're in the kitchen.  I never lift you up.  I think if you could talk, you'd yell at me for always saying, "Say UP Wyatt and I'll pick you up."  The other night though you were begging me to get you up.  I just looked into your cute beady little eyes, said, "Say UP, Wyatt" and guess what, you yelled UP!!!!! at the top of your lungs.  It was so great.  Now, up is the word for up, down, out, in and pretty much everything else that requires movement or the desire to be carried around.  It's cool though - I don't mind.

I love you so much little fart.  You are so much my boy that I don't know what I would do, or the world would do without a little spitfire spirit like yours.  Nothing stands in your way. You are smart as a whip, quick to catch on, and can figure out how to take apart nearly everything that is placed in front of you. You are determined to have the world and with that kind of attitude, one day the world will be destined to be yours for the taking.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

2 weeks and counting....


Our tree has been up since the last Saturday in November. It is really pretty. All it needs is photos of a dead cat or a lost dog and it could have been in the festival of trees.

As of last night, the shopping is officially done. I did really well this year. Last year I blew the budget out of the water. This year I'm just a tad bit over my estimation. My budget last year was kind of high and I really blew it up in a grand way. I lost a bit of control and a lot of little purchases added up fast. This year, my budget was half of last year's and I'm just barely over. That's a good feeling Internet. To know that you've been able to do some really nice things for the people you love and not blow your whole savings to do it.

Nearly every present is wrapped and under the tree.

Today, this very afternoon, my sister and I start my most favorite project of the year. Wrapping my grandma's Christmas presents. I am overjoyed. Presents for 50 people, hours of time, miles of tape and ribbon.

Yes! The holidays are here.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Christmas Songs

it seems that the last few years i've posted some of my favorite christmas songs. this year is apparently no different.

the first song, i never thought of as a holiday song, but in searching out some new tunes last weekend it was on a bunch of albums....performed poorly. the rufus wainright version is my favorite - and after listening to almost a dozen last saturday/sunday night i think i'm an authority on that now.

rufus wainright

now this song? it has become an obsession. admittedly, i'm not a huge neon trees fan. that bieber cover is completely awesome and the trees have jumped up a wrung on my music ladder with this christmas tun.

how much do i like it? enough that i've memorized the whole thing and driving home from a hair cut on monday, in the car by myself i listened to it for 30 minutes straight. my husband is definitely rubbing off on me after nearly 8 years of marriage - i have officially driven a song into the ground.

but it's so awesome. i love the word selection - that it's "darling" instead of "baby". that he says "animal" and "adorable"

christmas spirit - just knock me out now.

wish list
neon trees

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Home Alone


Ross and I have a deal - that excluding extenuating circumstances and emergencies, neither of us travels for work until the boys are older. At least for me, parenting all day and then all night by myself is really, really hard. I enjoy having another grown-up in the house to talk to and help with the boys, the dishes, the laundry and all that other stuff.

Ross had to go on an overnight for work. He left yesterday morning and gets home this evening. And as per our usual - though things have been fine, there have been hiccups that only seem to happen in these situations.

On Monday night, when telling the boys at dinner that dad was going out of town, Ross told Elliott that he had to be the "man of the house" and be a really good helper. Yesterday he was a really good helper and a good boy. Only one time out and one hissy fit all day long. Awesome. When the boys and I sat down for dinner last night, Elliott said to me, "Mom, since dad's out of town I think that I should sleep in your bed with you tonight." I asked him why he thought that was a good idea and he replied, "Because I'm the boy in charge and I'm sick and tired of sleeping on a bed that is so low to the ground!"

Monday night the garbage disposal broke. It overheated and we panicked. Yesterday the boys and I walked into the garage to get in the car and run some errands and the garage door wouldn't open. It would open about three inches and then stall. After trying a few times to will it to open I gave up. A double garage door is very heavy. I exhibited massive amounts of strength to manually open that door. My arms are still tired. Thank heavens I didn't drop it on myself or one of my boys. We got it open, found a house key and have been parking out front.

And if that wasn't enough, to top off the night, the Chick put on a sleepless show. I have to tell you Internet that I have a great husband when it comes to taking care of the boys. Ross gets up with the Chick every night, all night long. He's been doing it all on his own, with the occasional help from me for the last year. I never hear my baby boy at night and I've been with him all day so Ross thinks it's the least he can do.

Oh, I love him for that.

Anyway - dad wasn't home and I was nervous we were going to have a bad night. Boy did we! I got that crazy little fart to sleep at 9:00 pm. He was awake and screaming at 11:00 pm. Fifteen minutes later he was out and I was in bed only to be woken again at Midnight by blood curdling screams. I gave him a bottle and that lasted him until 3:45. We then sat up for a while flipping channels until he was out again around 4:15. At 5:00 am he was up again. Another bottle, another dumb movie and I was back in bed by 5:30. I'd set my alarm for 6 am.


A quick adjustment to the clock and everyone slept until 7 am.

I'm so tired this morning. I tell ya - that boy sure knows how to mess with me.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

New Music

While shopping for some new holiday tunes today through amazon and itunes I came across Ben Rector.

I seem to have fallen in love with the music of Ben Rector.

Take a listen to this Tom Petty cover.

His renditions of some classic Christmas tunes are spot on. Find him and download some music now.


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