Thursday, December 24, 2009

So, my birthday is over. I made it to 41 with no problem this year. My husband arranged for us to meet my family at a pizza parlor, and then surprised me by inviting my friends too.

So now that my birthday was over, it was time to get a tree. We usually get our tree at a local home improvement store. Our timing was right too because the trees were 50% off and our tree wound up costing $7! When I was little, we lived down the road from a Christmas tree farm and would get our trees from there. After my parents divorced, we didn't do that anymore. I always liked the tree farm and hope that for at least once, we can give our kids the experience of going to the tree farm and picking out a tree to be cut.

This tree was the first thing that we hauled home in the new van. Now we could have tied it to the luggage rack on the roof, but we didn't have any twine (and I do realize that we were at a home improvement store that sold it and/or bunjee cords, but we just chose not to buy any) so we put the third seat down in the back and maneuvered the tree in. Unfortunately, for Heather, the tree pinned her seatbelt to the floor when we turned a corner on the way home and nearly strangled her. We did manage though to get the tree and the kids home, safe and sound. We waited a couple of days to put in in the house and decorate because Kevin's computer desk was still sitting in the corner that we wanted to put the tree in (Kevin's idea, not mine, just so you know that I didn't "make" him sacrifice his computer corner). When the tree was finally set up, we decided to decorate it on a night when Kevin's folks were here. Kevin's mother (who has Alzheimer's) used to really enjoy decorating for Christmas. So we thought watching the kids decorate the tree might ignite some kind of spark. She seemed to enjoy it a little. There were some ornaments that we thought she would have loved in the past. There might have been a hint of a spark, but it faded nearly as fast as it came.

Now here we are, at Christmas Eve. So far, today has gone by faster than the days of the past two weeks. I made some fudge for the neighbors and then had the kids deliver those today (Kylin proudly wore his "Santa" hat). After going to the first house and saying "Merry Christmas", Kylin told Heather, "That was being friendly!". The kids are anxiously awaiting the morning when they can find out what all of those presents contain. Heather is at the age, where she's more "ok" with waiting. Kylin is not there, at all. In the past we've had something for them to open on Christmas eve, and we do have something. I bought the kids a game (LIFE), but I didn't wrap it because they were with me when I bought it, so it wouldn't have been a surprise. So tonight, we're watching "UP" again (probably the cutest yet saddest PIXAR movie I've ever seen), and having the traditional pizza and pie. Then we'll probably try to play the new game with the kids. Kylin may or may not finish it. We'll see. He isn't a real game player (but Heather is). Hopefully the kids will be abl eto get to sleep tonight. We have an early morning, a VERY early morning to rest up for.


Friday, December 11, 2009

My Birthday Surprise!

So today sort of begins my birthday weekend. I'll be 41 on Monday. My husband has been out doing some birthday/Christmas shopping this past week, which had him coming home late from work a couple of times. So tonight, when he came home from work, he asked me if I wanted to start my birthday celebrating tonight. Of course, I'm not going to say "No". So he handed me a metallic red box. I opened it, and it was full of metallic red confetti, and at the bottom of the box was a single car key. I realized that it was a car key, but just couldn't fathom that I was getting a car on my birthday! So he took me outside and parked on the street was a 2004 Ford Freestar mini van!

The car we have been driving, a '94 Oldsmobile for the past two years. In that time, it has slowly had things go wrong with it. As of now, both front power windows no longer have power. The side passenger window for a long time wouldn't stay down so it's now held up with duct tape, (but still tends to come down so I have one of the kids hold it in place when I drive over railroad tracks & speed bumps). The radio antennae stopped extending so I couldn't get the Christian stations on the radio. And the air conditioner stopped working. And by now, the engine hasn't been sounding too well either, and Kevin hasn't felt very comfortable with me driving it with the kids to church and back (driving through rural roads to get there). So he, with the help of our neighbor, test drove and picked out a van, with low miles (always a plus). And tonight, I'm back in the mini-van club!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Cat Chronicles: "Paws II"

Just a note to start this entry. I am really not a cat person. I grew up with dogs (we had some farm cats, but I didn't care for them because they scratched more than the dogs did). My dad had Dachshunds, so I guess I'm more of a "little dog" person. However, I married a cat person. My husband has always had a cat (and he has plenty of cat stories of his own). Those cat loving genes were passed on to our daughter as well. So for the rest of my life, I will probably have a cat living in my house.

Apparently, according to this picture, all you can really tell about Paws is that he's totally black and that his eyes were open when the flash went off. We currently have 5 cats in our house, and they each have some interesting personalities, so I thought I'd devote a blog entry for each one.

So, as the title states, this one is about Heather's cat "Paws". When Heather was about 6, she started talking about "when I get a kitty, I'm gonna name it Paws". For three years, we heard about this cat that she was planning on having. She didn't seem to have any particular kind of cat in mind other than just having one of her own. When she was almost 9, and it was a hot day in July. Heather was coming home from church camp that day. I had gone to the teacher supply store when someone walked in and said that there were some free kittens in front of the grocery store next door. I left the store to check out these kittens, and saw a little orange tabby snoozing amongst the little black fluffy siblings. I made the impulsive decision to take him home (which surprised my husband because impulsively bringing a kitten home is something he would do......and has done). So Heather came home from camp and found this cute kitten in her room, and he was the "Paws" she had waited for. This little guy had a place on her bed to sleep and he even blended in with all of the stuffed animals.

Unfortunately, that little guy didn't stay with us long. We only had him for a month and he wound up having to be put to sleep. Heather grieved for several days over him. Kevin started to check the newspapers again for free kittens and found an ad for "rubberized" kittens out in the Thurston area of Springfield. So we drove out to see them and see what "rubberized" meant. The lady giving them away demonstrated by holding them in hand, just under their little armpits and sort of dangle them, and swing them a little before cuddling them. They were the most relaxed kittens we'd ever seen. Heather picked out this little black ball of fur with bright blue eyes, and he became "Paws II" (we eventually dropped the "II"). It turned out that he also had a little bit of white fur between two toes, so I guess his name fit.

We brought him home, and discovered that he liked to beg for food (scrambled eggs). He doesn't do that now. He's kind of passive. Anytime he sees other cats get into a fight, he likes to go and be a spectator, not a participant. He's not a mouser, he'd rather play with it, however he is a bird catcher (gross & sad). And I have never seen a cat so proud when he's being pet, like this one. He acts like he's the king of the house. He's also the only cat in the house who may actually figure out how to open the front door to let himself in and out, and it wouldn't surprise me if, one day, he figures out how to ring the doorbell to let us know that he wants in. He certainly has tried.

Even though he's Heather's cat, he seems to have bonded with Kevin more (it's ok though because Heather has bonded more with Kevin's cat "Aslan")

So, that's the tale about Paws. Not the most exciting or amusing one, just kind of a lazy one.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Bagel's "Wordless Wednesday"

Um, yeah..........Well so much for "Wordless Wednesday". I need to say a few words about this cat. I'd like to know what Oscar does that is so tiring that he needs to sleep all day...........on my bed. I know for certain, that he wasn't spending hours wrapping these presents to tire him out.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

December is Busy and so am I!

(the picture on the left was what I discovered while typing this blog. Don't worry, my kitchen is clean and I normally don't allow cats to be on the counters or in the sink. But they sneak up there anyway thinking that there's something for them)

Well..........we've already cruised through the first week of December and Christmas will be here faster than I'll be ready for it!

As tradition has been, on the first day after Thanksgiving, we put away all of the fall decorations, and bring out the Christmas ones (as seen in this post's pictures...........the paper bag at the bottom is not one of the decorations.... in case you're wondering........we just haven't moved it yet).

I have probably said it before and will say it again, this year has gone by faster than any other year in my past. Not only am I getting ready for Christmas, but I've been sewing quite a bit too. My kids needed some more winter sleepwear (especially my son, whose legs grew longer than his pant legs in the past 6 months). Then there is always school to oversee, errands and more errands to run, and regular household chores. Just really busy! I joined a group on Flickr in which I am supposed to post a picture of my self (or at least have a part of myself in it) every day. I haven't been always able to do that every day, because................I'm busy..........and so is my husband. He's been putting up our lights and he really, really likes to have alot. For us, this is the time of year, in which if the Christmas lights are on, we don't turn on any vacuums or hairdryers. A small sacrifice for a beautiful display. I'm very glad to have a husband who likes to put up lights!

So today, was one of those busy days. My daughter had a Jr. High youth group Christmas party at 1:00. I needed to do grocery and Christmas shopping. The party was only 2 hours long and I needed more time. So I awoke early (earlier than the time my husband wanted to wake up on a Saturday) and headed out the door just before 10. I cruised through one store, found most of my groceries (so we won't starve, should the forecasted snow arrive) and was back home in time to put them away, and eat something (cereal) before delivering my 13 year old to her party.

My first stop in my Christmas shopping venture was to one of our shopping malls, to find a few requested items. I had hoped to get a few items from our local university's store, as my son has become a fan, (and our team is headed for the Rose Bowl, so I wanted to see about getting commemorative t-shirts). That store was FULL of people so I decided to go back later this week.....when most of those shoppers are at work.

I think that probably the funniest moment of the day, was when I was at the Christian bookstore. A man came in and said rather loudly to the lady behind the counter, that only in our town "would you find THIS store next to THAT one!". "THAT" a Victoria's Secret. Those two stores had been next to each other for years (the Christian bookstore has been known by different names) and I never saw the irony. Maybe I was too busy noticing the irony of the church down the road from us that shares a parking lot with an adult bookstore (I have no idea which one arrived in that lot first).

After my visit to the mall and a local ShopKo, it was time to pick up my daughter and then take her shopping. She wants to buy Christmas gifts for family and she has two friends who have birthdays this month. So we ventured toward the other mall, stopping at a couple of craft stores on the way (my daughter had the same "excitement" at those stores that I used to have when my mom would take me to the fabric store when I was little. She was very bored). I tried not to take too long in gathering paper for scrapbooking (after the holidays).

Once at the mall, we walked all over the place. Visited several stores, found gifts, and tried to avoid bumping in to people. By the time we were finished, we were both very tired, so we treated ourselves to a latte/hot cocoa.

Now we're home, resting our weary feet, and legs, and the plastic. Our house is lit up (though not quite bright enough for planes to see yet).