Friday, January 30, 2009

And the germs just keep coming...



But, there was a bright spot in the day. Well, maybe a couple.

We only had a half day at school today, so Jeff was able to stay home with the kids in the morning, and I came home in the afternoon. No sick days used=awesome.

My new camcorder came in the mail today! I have been annoying the children by sneaking around them and recording their every move. I love having something that is easily uploadable to the computer. I love iMovie. I feel like Kevin Costner directing my own Oscar worthy film. Even if most of it today has just been of my children and their germs.

And don't you just hate having to listen to your own voice on things? I sound like a smurf. How do you y'all stand me?

Watch out! If I figure it out, this blog will have a lot more video clips!!!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Germ Invasion

We're having a super fun Thursday around here. Charlie and Sammy both got diagnosed with RSV today. On top of that Charlie also has strep throat.

We also heard the sad news that Jeff's grandma in Colorado is expected to pass away in the next couple of days after complications with pneumonia/flu.

When it rains, it pours.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Man in the Checkered Pants

Today's post is inspired by one of my favorite bloggers, Sharon of Mom Generations, and her post yesterday called, I ain't afraid of no ghosts! At the end of her post, she asks her readers if they have ever had a ghostly experience. Which reminded me of the following story...

Once upon a time, when I was just a wee nine year old, I had an experience my whole family still teases me about today. My three siblings and I were home with my dad while my mom was out running errands. We lived in a split level house, and when you sat in the family room in the basement, you could see up the stairs and into the living room above. I was sitting on the couch downstairs watching TV when I saw a movement on the stairs out of the corner of my eye. When I looked over, I clearly saw a man climbing the upper level of the stairs. He continued to the top, and went on into the living room. I was terrified to see a man I didn't know in the house, and I ran to get my dad. I was so completely insistent on what I had seen, my dad asked me for a description of what he had looked like. The most overwhelming feature I could report on were the funny pants he had been wearing, which looked like the checkered pants that men sometimes wore in the 60s. My dad went off to check the house to check for an intruder, but he found nothing.

I never saw him again, and my family decided I was crazy. The man in the checkered pants has come to be one of those family stories everyone loves to laugh about. As I was growing up, if something got misplaced, we said the man in the checkered pants took it. If something strange happened-you guessed it! It was the man in the checkered pants who was responsible.

But you know what? I KNOW I saw that man. To this day, I am 100% positive I saw a man walk up the stairs. I can recall exactly what he looked like. Nobody in my family will ever believe me, but I saw what I saw.

Do I believe in ghosts? Maybe. I'm not sure. But I know I saw something strange that day that I won't forget. And I also know I can hear my sister snorting with laughter as she reads this post! =)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I'm Leavin' On a Jet Plane

Even though it's still a year and a half away, I am still super excited today! Last night Jeff and I decided we are going to take a trip, just the two of us, to celebrate our 5 year anniversary. WITH NO KIDS! We haven't been anywhere together, with or without kids, since our honeymoon. We don't know where we are going, but that doesn't really matter to me. Just getting some uninterrupted time with my handsome prince is enough for me.

Bring on the travel brochures!! WOOHOO!!!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Feeling Blessed to Be Alive

I had the scariest moment of my entire life this morning. On our way to work/school, with all three boys in the van, I hit a patch of black ice on the road. We did 4-5 complete 360s, went off the road twice, was on two wheels at one point where I really thought we were going to roll into the ravine, went into oncoming traffic and missed hitting 2-3 cars by inches, and caused another car to go off the road to avoid hitting us. The entire time we were viciously covering large areas of pavement and grass. I am so thankful God was watching over us and keeping us safe. All I could think about was that the kids were in the car with me.

We have teased my Dad for many years for repeating the same life lessons to us kids over and over and over again, but today I was supremely thankful for this habit of his. I could hear his voice in my head, as if he were right there with me saying, "DON'T stomp on the brakes Christy! Turn into the spin!" Which I did, although I don't know how. I was so aware of everything that was happening, almost like having super senses, and you just totally react on instinct. It was a strange calm, and as we were headed straight towards oncoming cars, I remember calmly thinking, "Okay-this one is going to hit us. Brace yourself." Miraculously, no one hit us, we didn't roll, and eventually, we ended up facing the right direction and in the right lane.

I will never in a million years forget those moments or the sound of my kids screaming in fear.

All the rest of the way to school, we SHOUTED our thanks to Jesus and our guardian angels, who were working over time to get us out of that one. I hope they are rewarded with whatever it is angels enjoy. I had so much adrenaline pumping through me, my skin felt prickly for quite awhile afterwards.

I am SO thankful to have all of my children in one piece, a van that is in one piece, and the chance to have a normal evening tonight, where I can love and hug my kids.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Ending the Week on a High Note

Last night we celebrated Evan receiving two stickers in the reward system at eye therapy. We had a family movie night and we all snuggled up on the couch and watched Wall-E. It was the first time I saw the movie, and as an adult, I thought it was great, but it really didn't hold the attention of the toddlers. The story line was a bit above their heads, which was a disappointment for Disney/Pixar, but still a god movie, and a great family time.

We had great news at eye therapy this week, where the doctor checked in on his progress now that we are at the four week mark. She is really pleased with how well he is doing, and says he is above average in his progress. Today, during home therapy, he was able to cross his eyes for the first time ever. It took a Herculean effort, but I am SOOO excited to see progress already!!!

We got our van back from the "car hospital" (as Charlie calls it) on Friday afternoon, and BOY does it feel good to have things back to normal. The great thing was that it wasn't the fuel pump, only a disconnected air pump, which only cost $100. Awesome.

And to top it off, my husband suggested AND offered to help with an organizing/cleaning project today. We took every scrap of paper out of our filing cabinets, all the flotsom and jetsom that have built up over our marriage. We scrapped and shredded 4 bags of trash, and reorganized all of our financial records. I love, love, LOVE organizing things. And to have Jeff help? Even better.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Fun and Excitement!

Have you ever tried to help a 4th grader with double digit long division at the same time you are cooking dinner at the same time you have two whining toddlers hanging on your legs?

It is the most fun ever, let me tell you.

It is so much fun, I sure hope I don't get to do it again tonight!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Adventures with Vehicles

It's been a LOVELY 24 hours here at Casa de la Sole Woman, y'all. Monday on the way to school the check engine light came on in the van. We called our mechanic right away, but because of a car show here in the Big O, he couldn't fit us in until Friday. So, since the car was just a bit "chuggy" but otherwise fine, we decided to drive it until our appointment. I will just admit to all of you here and now that that decision was COMPLETELY stupid. And I paid for it.

Yesterday on the way home from swimming lessons, with all three of the kids along for the ride, the van completely stalled out. I was thankful I was at least able to coast through the intersection to get to the side of the road. Unable to get it running again, I had to call AAA. Big kudos to them for their customer service. The lady I was talking to heard Sammy shouting in the background, "MOMMY! GO CAR! GO HOME! MAKE THE CAR MOVE!!!" and she sweetly asked if I had any children with me. I told her I was toting three grumpy boys, and she said she would put a rush on the tow order since she didn't want them to have to wait in the cold, and she moved us to the top of the list. So everybody-the next time you have to call for a tow truck do not instruct your children to be quiet while you use the phone. Have them create a big ruckus and they will feel sorry for you.

After towing it home, and a big rescue from the side of the road by my awesome parents, we are pretty sure the fuel pump is out, to the tune of about $630. Swell! Hopefully things are fixed by Friday.

The rotten thing was that my dad had surgery today and he really wanted to make it to the family rosary last night for some prayers and encouragement, and because of our dumb decision, he missed out on that. I felt like a total heel. I would have loved to handle the whole thing ourselves, but we can't fit the kids in Jeff's car since it won't hold carseats in the back, and we definitely can't fit all of us in at the same time. I can't wait to get rid of the "bachelor car" as I not so affectionately call it, but a new vehicle is just not in the cards right now.

Here's to making smarter car decisions in the future. I definitely learned a hard one this time. Being stuck with three kids on the side of a dark road is not something I want to repeat!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Progress

I pieced up my wallhanging this weekend, and I love how it turned out. This picture shows it basted and ready for some handquilting...



I feel great that I am making good progress on a project that I enjoy, and that I've taken consistent time for me lately. I really feel like it has helped me to be a better mom and wife!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Charlie is Three!



It's hard-REALLY hard-for me to believe it has already been three years since I gave birth to my baby Charlie. It seems such a short time ago that we were up together in the wee hours of the morning, watching Cosby show reruns while he had a bottle. I remember sitting in the recliner with him shortly after we came home from the hospital, with him curled up against me, and feeling so content with this new little life in our family. And then ZAP! He's three!

Charlie was super excited for his party this year. I think he finally "gets" the concept, especially after Sammy's birthday and cousin Colin's birthday last weekend. He couldn't wait for his guests to come, to play, and to open presents. Although I am not ready for him to be a preschooler, I do love the age of three. What a magical time, where everything is new.



We all had a great time with family and friends, and Charlie felt like a star, which is the point, after all, for a kid's birthday party. His favorite gift was his cars and Ninja turtles, which he has been guarding with his life from his brothers. They seem to be pretty popular among the Sammy and Evan crowd too, and they have been working hard to sneak them out from under his nose.

And don't you love him in his sunglasses? They were a Christmas gift from Papa John, and he feels like a big guy when he's got them on.

His birthday also marked the first day in his young life where he has not taken a nap. Boy did he feel awesome when Sammy was taken off to bed, and he got to go on a bike ride with Papa John!

In the evening, Jeff had to go to his office Christmas party (why it's in the middle of January makes no sense to me!!!), so the boys and I had a fun birthday dinner with Charlie at Runza, where he loves the corn dogs.

All in all, it was a great day, and filled with fun memories to commemorate my little guy's entrance into the world.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Am I bald yet? Because I am pulling my hair out...

This was our night last night:

I had a meeting after school last night that went a little late. By the time we left school it was 4:30. Not good for our schedule, that's for sure! We rushed home, I got the toddlers settled with a video, and by 5:00 Evan and I started on eye therapy. It was already 5:40 by the time I was able to start cooking dinner. Which meant that the natives were getting restless. When Charlie and Sam get hungry, they have the intense urge to wrestle each other to the floor and bite each other. Perhaps they are envisioning eating their brother for dinner? I don't know, but it happens every time.

Meanwhile, Evan has now gotten a VERY late start on his regular homework, which GOD BLESS AMERICA! included ALGEBRA. Cue the scary music. I swear to you, I was in 7th grade before a teacher uttered this dreaded word in my presence. It is no joke when you hear a teacher say they are pushing down the curriculum to earlier and earlier grades in order to cram in all the info kids need to have before high school graduation. Needless to say, Evan was not able to do this assignment on his own, and now began begging for help. All the while I am trying to get dinner on the table.

We made it through dinner somehow, but afterwards I managed to dump an entire glass of sticky orange juice on the floor. At the same time Sammy took his own diaper off (which was full of poop) and tried to sit down on his potty chair and got poop everywhere. At the same time Evan was crying through his after supper chores because he had so much homework left to do.

I had to excuse myself for a time out in my bedroom. I worked on finding something to be thankful for while I was in there. IT. WAS. HARD. I tried hard not to cry. It didn't work.

Somehow we got through the rest of our night. The miracle, and not a small one either, was that I was able to still greet my husband with a smile and a hug when he got home, instead of wrathful anger because he was home late again. So at least we didn't top things off with a fight. Instead, Jeff noticed things seemed to be in a bit of disarray, and he cheerfully helped me to restore order. And then we all felt better.

I am REALLY hopeful though that tonight is better. Because tomorrow? My baby turns 3! I can't believe Charlie will be officially leaving toddlerdom behind (I am hoping he leaves the temper tantrums behind too!!) and is becoming a preschooler. But, we are going to welcome this new age in with a big party and a CELEBRATION tomorrow! Charlie and I can't wait!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My Kids are Friends

When I picked Charlie and Sammy up from daycare yesterday, one of their teachers told me the cutest story! Apparently both the toddlers and the preschoolers went to the school gym to play in the afternoon, giving the boys some time to play together. This is a rarity since Charlie moved up to the preschool class. They were so excited to see each other that instead of playing balls and riding toys with the other kids, they held hands and walked around the perimeter of the gym talking to each other the entire time. She said you could just tell they loved each other so much and loved being together.

I guess we are doing something right as parents. Is there anything better than raising kids who are siblings AND friends?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tweet!

A momentous occasion in the life of a 4th grader happened to Evan yesterday. It's one I remember well myself. In music class Evan was presented with the most coveted of 4th grade possessions (at our school at least)-a recorder.

When I look back at receiving this instrument myself, I remember the excitement, the fun of learning to read music, playing together as a group, and believing I was a wonderful musician. Which I am sure is the point of the whole experience. It was obviously a good one for me, as it lead to other musical endeavors like marching band and choir.

Now that I am seeing this whole thing from a mother's perspective though? I just want to cover my ears. God bless my mother for doing this 4 times. Is there any other musical device that squeaks quite so badly? Whose sound so closely resembles a dying tortured bird when played incorrectly?

After 2 hours of excited practicing last night Evan was finally playing a recognizable Hot Cross Buns. I love that he is excited. I love he is learning the basics of music. I just wish I could wear ear muffs while he does so. Even Charlie, after he heard the beautiful "music" wafting from Evan's room, asked "Why Evan crying so loud in there?"

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I am SOOOOO over Walmart

Due to a horrific experience we had this morning. All three of the boys were in the car with me this morning as I drove through the Walmart parking lot, looking for a free space. This is gripe number one: THERE IS NEVER AN OPEN SPOT CLOSE TO THE DOOR AT WALMART BECAUSE IT IS PACKED AT ALL HOURS. EVEN 2:00 IN THE MORNING. I unwittingly drove into the middle of an argument two cars were having over a parking spot. I didn't want their spot. I was just cruising by. But a woman in one of the cars thought she owned the pavement, gave me the finger, and shouted the F word at me. Did I mention my kids were in the car? A second car started honking at us as we passed this mess. I don't even know why, really. When we finally parked a couple of rows down from the crazy people, a car full of teenage boys stopped right behind our van and started honking and yelling obscenities at us. Did I mention that my kids were in the car? I really and truly don't even know why they were upset. I just drove up and down the aisles, and parked.

Which brings me to gripe number two: THE WALMART PARKING LOT IS FULL OF RUDE, SCARY, GRUMPY PEOPLE. By this time, I was getting nervous. I was alone with my kids, with a loaded car of angry men behind me. I wanted to cry, but I didn't want the boys to get scared, and I could tell Evan was already nervous. Luckily for us, God was keeping us safe, and the car of crazy teenagers went on their way shortly. I looked at my kids, smiled, and said, "I think this is a good day to go to Target!"

In the past, I was willing to put up with the parking lot being crowded, the store being crowded (gripe number three: WALMART IS ALWAYS WALL TO WALL PEOPLE, BUT NONE OF THESE PEOPLE ARE EMPLOYEES WHO CAN HELP YOU FIND THE ONE THING ON YOUR LIST YOU CAN'T LOCATE.) etc, for the lower prices. But now that I don't feel safe there? I am all about Target. Where, by the way, the parking lot had lots of open spaces, there was a friendly employee to help me find the lamp shades, and no one tried to scare the crap out of my kids and I. Totally worth the extra pennies.

Relaxing

Check out how three of my boys relaxed this morning...

Friday, January 09, 2009

Hmmm....

We had Godfather's Pizza delivered for dinner tonight. As I opened the door to the delivery man, Sammy poked his head out the door and said, "Oh! You bring McDonald's for Sammy!" Luckily the guy got a chuckle out of it.

Charlie, my child with the appetite of a bird, ate three pieces of Hawaiian pizza. Even the pineapple! When he was finished he declared, "My tummy feels so happy!" That's what it feels like to be full, buddy!

Today Sammy proclaimed that the name for an ambulance is a happy mint. What's sad is that the stuff he says is so funny that you can't help saying it yourself. So, today we talked about riding in an alligator, seeing a happy mint on the road, and about why owls growl.

This is the first weekend of the 2009 tax season at our house. Jeff works for a large company here in town as a tax accountant. It's corporate taxes, not personal, which is good since I hear the hours there are worse. God bless the spouses of each and every personal tax accountant!!! BUT...it is not a fun time non the less. In previous years, they have hired on extra people during tax time to help with the work load, but this year with the bad economy they will be doing all the work themselves. FUN!!! Even more hours! I am just thrilled.

BUT!

In my effort to have a thankful and merry heart, here is what I am focusing on, with a smile on my face. Please ignore the fact that my smile may be pasted on top of gritted teeth. I am new to this thankful bit! I am working into it slowly. So without further ado, here's my list.

1. I am thankful my husband has a job during these tough times.
2. I am thankful that his job is one he is loves, and provides him with personal satisfaction.
3. I am thankful the job allows us to have a comfortable home in a safe neighborhood.
4. I am thankful my husband has a strong work ethic, and that it is important to him to provide for and protect his family.
5. I am thankful that I have lots of family close by who help me out with the kids when the going gets rough for me during tax time.
6. I am thankful to have Jeff period, no matter what his job and the hours it requires of him.

See! I feel much better already. I am going to chant these tomorrow as Jeff goes in to work and I am missing him. My book also recommends playing music and dancing as you do your work to help lift your mood, so I have organized a kitchen dance party with my kids Saturday morning.

There is a family at my school that lost it's husband and father this week very unexpectedly. He was only 47 years old. I cannot stop thinking about and praying for the mother who is now left alone with her three children. I can't imagine having so much life still ahead of you without your spouse to walk through it with you at your side. It really put a lot of things in perspective. Who cares about long work hours? I am lucky enough to have my husband here on earth, and that is what's important.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

An Instruction Manual for My Husband

My cousin Teresa wrote on her blog a couple of weeks ago about a book she was reading on marriage and being a wife. I decided to order it from Amazon and read it myself. I love my marriage and the relationship Jeff and I have, but I always feel like I could do better at being a wife, especially with three kids running around. Sometimes I feel like I am so focused on them, and work that I leave poor Jeff out of the equation.

After reading the last two nights, I feel like the author has been sitting in a corner of my house for the last three years observing me, and then wrote this book about me as a way to bang me over the head with a frying pan and say, "Get a clue girlfriend!"

The things she says to describe pitfalls many wives fall into are me to a T. She says that husbands usually fall into one of three personality types, and my darling Jeff is Mr. Steady (her term) to a T. It's as if she were writing the chapter about him specifically. In fact, last night I read him some of the chapter, and he said "That's EXACTLY what I have been trying to explain to you about how I am and how I feel! FOR THREE AND A HALF YEARS!" Poor man!

The biggest thing I am learning about myself is my problem with having a negative attitude. My personality type could be labeled Mrs. Bossy. Top that off with being a first born and you have MRS. BOSSY PANTS WITH A BAD ATTITUDE. I have a strong need for control, and when that doesn't happen, I get grumpy and negative. Funny thing about marriage-you are not in control of everything anymore! To continue my downward spiral, when I cause tension in this way because I don't get my way, I react in bad ways by trying to punish those around me by being cold and unfriendly. I know this may sound stupid, but the book helped me to realize that this doesn't help at all to change anyone's behavior around me. It's probably things that I should be able to see on my own, but I didn't. And it's great to feel like I have a new insight into myself, and my Jeff, who God Bless him has been so patient with me acting like a doofus.

So, the past few days, I have been praying for wisdom. Wisdom to be cognizant of my behavior and reactions. I have been making a huge effort to have joy in my heart, and to be thankful. And you know what? It hasn't just helped my marriage, but also my job. Being a teacher can cause a lot of burn out. It's a hard job a lot of the time. But when I focus on what I can change, and being thankful, it makes a huge difference. I have loved being with my class this week. I feel renewed in ways that make me feel like I am back to the excitement I had as a first year teacher.

I am also thankful for Teresa and her blog, and for sharing such a great nugget of information with me. Isn't the wide wonderful world of blogging amazing? It's a gift the way that people can touch others' lives in ways that weren't possible just a short time ago.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Sammy's Latest Mix-Up...

Sammy is great at mixing up words...his latest is calling an elevator an alligator! That kid keeps us laughing!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Stress

It is amazing how quickly life can go from a calm, fun, relaxing time with your family to major stress.

We had the best two weeks off from school. Charlie returned to being his normal cheerful self. We had a few temper tantrums, but they were short lived, and not every day.

When we went back to school today he immediately returned to his horrible evenings. He is so tired when he comes back from school he has one long temper tantrum every day from the time we get home to the time dinner is on the table. A tantrum that includes screaming, crying, banging his head on the floor, and tonight-slamming Sammy's hand in the door. All five fingers. I was hoping maybe we had broken the tantrum habit over break, but apparently not.

Sammy was in a terrible mood too, which is unusual for him unless he is sick.

Evan was in a tizzy from the time I picked him up from After School care. Apparently some of his friends there had reminded him that he had forgotten to complete a large English project over break, which is of course due tomorrow. He was completely opposed to doing his eye therapy when we got home because he was so worried about his project. Add that to being overtired due to getting up at his regular wake up time, and you have one sassy grumpy 10 year old.

And to top it all off-it's tax season again in our household, which equals Jeff not getting home until 7:30 or 8:00 everynight. I had no idea what I was signing up for when I married an accountant.

So, I am backed to being pooped and disgusted. I am going to try hard to stay positive and recapture some of that vacation calm I had yesterday. I am praying hard all three of my boys are in better moods tomorrow.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Eye Therapy

Evan went for his first therapy session last Wednesday, and we have now finished day four of home therapy. I was really glad I got to take him the for the first time. I met his therapist, saw the therapy room, and got to sit in on his time with her, so I could learn and observe. My mom and Jeff will be taking turns taking him to the weekly sessions until school is out for the summer.

I am so proud of Evan. He hasn't grouched once about doing the exercises, even though I can tell they are really hard for him. In fact, he has been asking excitedly when we get to do therapy each day! I am sure the newness will probably wear off soon, but for now his happy attitude has really helped us get through the first week.

The first day it took us an hour to complete the home therapy session, mostly because I was still getting used to guiding him through his exercises. Things have gotten a lot better, thanks to Evan being really patient with me.

I am a little nervous to see how this will fit into our schedule once we go back to work/school tomorrow, but I know it will be worth it. I am really praying this helps to make school and reading easier for my Evo.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Meet Log Cabin



This is the first quilt block I have sewn in three years. I am so proud of myself for taking time out of the day to cut some strips, set up my new sewing machine, and whip up a block. It's an easy pattern, and just a quick wall hanging, but it is a major step for me.

So far, my new machine and I are getting along well. He is a huge step up from my 1962 Singer, affectionately named Old Bessie, that I was using before. Although older than I am, she was a great machine, and helped me make 6 quilts. Not sure how I feel about the self threading needle feature yet on my new one, but other than that, we are off to a great start.

Looking forward to making 15 more blocks, and then having something to hand quilt again. I am feeling more like myself today!

Friday, January 02, 2009

C'est Finis!

This morning I drove all three of my boys over to my mom and dad's house for the day. My wonderful parents had offered to watch them so that I could have an uninterrupted day to work on finishing my portfolio for National Teacher Certification. I was SOOOOO thankful they offered. It gave me the motivation to get started and just get it done. I was so overwhelmed at the thought of having to sort through all the directions and finalize everything, but knowing I had to use my day wisely kicked my butt in gear and helped me to get it done.

I have to admit though...as I drove away from their house, alone in the car as I never am, I had the intense urge to GO SHOPPING! TAKE A NAP! WATCH TV! BE LAZY WITHOUT THE KIDS! I am never, ever, never alone and being so made me giddy.

I resisted temptation though and worked the whole day through. Eight hours later, without even stopping to eat (I got in the ZONE!) I am finished. I just have to wait for my principal to sign a couple of documents and one thing to arrive in the mail, and then I can ship it out.

This is really the only gift I needed for Christmas. I feel so completely free not to have this project hanging over my head anymore. Oh the choices for freetime! I might sew, or read, or even watch TV-ALL WITHOUT GUILT! Fabulous freedom!

I did learn one really important lesson. I am so NOT at a good point in my life for starting my masters degree. That was my original intent, to get started once I finished certification. My kids need to be older, or I need for Jeff's hours to be less before I try that goal. I won't forget about it, but I am not going to drive myself nuts either.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year!

We had a wonderful time last night. We had my parents over for a deluxe turkey dinner. Jeff had picked up a 22 pound turkey at the store that I knew we would never be able to finish ourselves, so I thought it a good reason to celebrate, and have a party. I made turkey, green bean casserole, corn, rolls, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes with sour cream and chives, stuffing, and my mom made her yummy gravy. Delicious-and the best part? Leftovers! I am NOT cooking today. We didn't get to celebrate Thanksgiving with my side of the family this year, so it was nice. A belated thankful celebration.

After the toddlers were tucked into bed, Evan and I headed over to my sister's house, where she and Luke had invited over just their siblings and their spouses to ring in the new year. It was a lot of fun. A lot of fun too to see Luke's brother and sister. When we were in high school and college we spent a lot of time together, like going to church, and doing various things with Luke and Sarah, and it was nice to see everyone again. Luke and his brother Steve taught Evan a new card game called 31, and I could tell he felt like such a big guy playing with the grownup boys. And the real miracle? We both stayed awake until midnight! That hasn't happened since before Charlie was born.

And, I feel like I achieved a small part of my new year's resolution in going. I am terrified to go out on New Year's Eve. I am always intensely worried about driving with all of the intoxicated people on the roads. Which I know doesn't make much sense logically, so I felt good that I conquered a fear, and made time for family and friends. Courage is a great way to ring in 2009!

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