Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmas Traditions Old and New

Everyone has their Christmas traditions.  Some involve when you open your presents - be it Christmas Eve or Christmas morning.  Some involve the types of food you eat and who you spend it with.  My family always opened presents Christmas morning (even though we never did the whole Santa thing), while my husband's family always opened presents Christmas Eve night.  Now as we have children we do a little of both. I always give my kids new pajamas on Christmas Even for them to wear when they come down to open their presents Christmas morning.

We have a couple of other traditions in our family that have evolved from some crazy experiences that have happened around the holiday.  One is known as "The Christmas Squirrel". 

Daren and I had been married just a couple of years and we were living in Michigan in our first house. We had decorated for Christmas and every day that I came home from work I would notice a few of the ornaments from around the tree on the floor.  I would scold our dog, Baxter and move on to the next thing.  But it was happening like every day.

One Friday night we had a large progressive supper that we participated in with our church.  I had left overs the next day.  We were both having a lazy Saturday and I plugged the leftovers in the crockpot and turned it on low and we were snacking on them through out the day as we wrapped presents and did various things to prepare for Christmas.  At one point we needed to leave to run some errands.  We put Baxter in the bathroom and unplugged the crock pot and left.  When we got back we let Baxter out and then went about our business.  A little while later I noticed that some of the food that had been in the crockpot was on the other side of the kitchen counter and some of the sauce was smeared across the counter.  I scolded Baxter and showed Daren.  He also scolded Baxter.  But after some reflection he came to me and said "You know - I don't think that was Baxter."  Of course it was Baxter - how could it not be.  "Well, if it was Baxter there would be nothing left - he would have ate it all and licked up all the sauce."  You're right.  "I have a feeling that happened while we were gone and we just didn't see it.  And I think it's a mouse."  Seriously?  A mouse.  I am not having it - you have to get rid of it.

Well later that night we had yet another Christmas party to go to.  When we were done it was quite late - around 2am but we stopped at the local Meijer (think Super WalMart) to pick up some mouse traps.  I gave very specific instructions that Daren was to take care of the situation and I wanted to know when it was taken care of, but I did not under any circumstances want to see any of the evidence that said mouse had been taken care of.

So when we got home I went back to the bedroom to get ready for bed while Daren went about setting the traps around the house.  Suddenly I heard all sorts of chaos in the kitchen.  Daren was running and jumping and laughing.  Before I could come out to see what was going around he came bounding down the hall with Baxter - threw him in the room with me and said "Whatever you do - don't let him out."  WHAT?

Apparently, Daren had gone to put a mouse trap behind a radio in our kitchen and when he pulled the radio out from the wall there was a little tail wagging at him.  But it wasn't a mouse tail ... it was a squirrel tail.  So Daren was chasing this squirrel all over the house trying to catch it.  At one point he lost it so he came back to the bedroom and said "Let Baxter out - maybe he can find him."  Before he even finished the sentence Baxter had found the squirrel and was chasing it around the house - his nose just inches behind the squirrels tail.  They were tearing through the house at an amazing pace.  Finally the squirrel jumped into the Christmas tree.  It was literally like the scene out of the Chevy Chase movie "Christmas Vacation".  The squirrel was scared to death - was making crazy sounds - the tree was shaking - and Baxter was just inches from the tree - barking and growling and generally going crazy.

Daren eventually caught the squirrel in a box and let it outside.  But every Christmas since then we have made it tradition to put a squirrel in the Christmas tree.  I found a small stuffed squirrel the next year and when we went to put our tree up we turned to Baxter and said "Where's the squirrel?" and darn it if that dog didn't go straight to the tree and start sniffing and growling.  So every Christmas we make a spectacle out of putting the squirrel in the tree while we are decorating it.

The first Christmas after Baxter was gone it was so bittersweet to bring the Squirrel out and put it in the tree. It brought tears to our eyes to remember our dear sweet baby on the other side of the rainbow bridge.  But now we have two more precious doggies in our lives.  And wouldn't you know that they think the squirrel lives in the tree too?

Here is the squirrel and where it is living this year:

And this year we have started what we hope will be a long standing tradition in our neighborhood.

All of us in our neighborhood LOVE the Christmas movie Elf (starring Will Ferrell).  So a bunch of us in the neighborhood decided to have an Elf party this year.  One of the neighbors managed to get Elf hats for everyone.  We had spaghetti - complete with syrup - and we watched the movie together while partaking in the 4 major Elf Food Groups (candy, candy canes, candy corn, and syrup) and some fantastic dessert.  At the point in the movie where Buddy the Elf lets out an epic burp, we paused the movie so that we could have our own burping contest.  And can I just tell you - the moms represent!

So what are some of your Christmas traditions?

Have to share

I have a friend at work who is becoming quite the budding photographer.  She did a photo shoot of my family a few weeks ago and the pictures came out amazing.  I had to share just a few of them.

They came out fantastic!  Just one note - I am not at all happy that my son is now apparently up to my shoulder and looking like such a young man.  When did that happen?  NOT COOL!

I've missed you!

I know - bad bad bad blogger. I have no good excuses - none.

Nonetheless - here's what's been going on with me - keeping me from blogging ...

Work.  Work.  Work.  It sucks right now.  I'm trying to ride it out - but he simple truth is it really sucks right now.  I'm super busy and dealing with a lot of political drama that is totally dragging me down.

I've been a little down that I haven't been able to run.  When I have tried I have hurt.  Elvira's ghost is alive and well and she likes to remind me that I have had major surgery this summer and she's not done torturing me.  I was supposed to run a Turkey Trot but heeded my body and my husband and laid off the running for a bit.  I hate it.  It feels like I haven't really been able to run all year.  I'm trying to walk more and do situps and pushups to keep me going in the mean time.  I could use some encouragement here.

Rubber is meeting the road as far as "real life" in Kanga's world.  I can eat more ... sometimes.  I can eat things I couldn't eat before ... sometimes.    The reality that gastric bypass surgery is not a miracle cure all is staring me in the face.  I am not regaining, but I am scared that I easily could.  I can see old habits trying to creep back in.  I'm trying desperately to stay grounded, etc...  I will not be a statistic.  I will make this work.  I can not get this far only to slip back.  I will make this work.

And, of course, life in my house is insanely busy.  Kids are starting up basketball and cheerleading season.  I usually coach cheerleading, but was able to recruit enough coaches this year that I can focus on just being the Cheerleading Comissioner for the Upward league that we are involved in.  It is something I love and I am really looking forward to this season.  This time of year just tends to be so busy anyway with all the extras going on.  Of course, I love the extras.  :)  But life is just crazy hectic right now.

Speaking of hectic - I have 3 lia sophia parties this week.  Yeah!  I love doing lia sophia parties.  There are great deals to be had for Christmas gifts and it seems that lots of people want in on them.

I have talked about my BAHA on here before.  Mine suddenly stopped working this past weekend.  No bueno.  I have to get that checked out and I'm not looking forward to that bill.  I love my BAHA, but dang if it ain't expensive.  I have had it for 5 years and have never had a problem with it.  But this not hearing is really for the birds.

Ok - so how is that for an update?  I have all sorts of blogging madness going on in my head - so hold on because I'm about to be a blogging fool here in a hot second.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


What I am thankful for today - a day to work-at-home.  This is a new thing for me. It was just recently decided that I could work from  home one day a week.  I would love for it to be 2 days a week, but I'll take what I can get.  :)

What many people don't understand is that when I say I'm working from home ... I'm actually WORKING while I'm at home.  Yes, I'm able to get a lot of things done around the house and I can take the time to go to the doctor or run some errands, but I actually get a ton of work done on my work from home days - more than I do in the office.  With my kids at school it is a very RARE opportunity for me to have some QUIET time to myself.  I can't tell you how much I need this time to myself.  I can't tell you how much I look forward to my Wednesdays.  I need my Wednesdays.  I love my Wednesdays.

Get the picture?

November 2 Blessing

I forgot to post this yesterday, but I wanted to fill in anyway.

My blessing on November 2 is that I am thankful for living in the home of the free and the land of the brave.  I am thankful for the sacrifice of the many men and women (including both of my grandfathers, two of my uncles, and my father-in-law) who lay their lives on the line so that I can live in this great country and exercise my right to vote.

God Bless America.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Running Again

So I am finally running again.  It's slow going, but I'm doing it.  I'm up to running a 5K right now.  I guess it's more of a jog, but I'm doing it.

In an effort to get myself back in the right frame of mind I have signed up for the Ridgewood Turkey Trot for Thanksgiving morning.  It's an 8K (5 miles) race that I hear is pretty hilly.  This should be interesting.


With Thanksgiving coming up I thought it was time to resurrect my "Blessings" posts.  I lost site of them a bit after the craziness of the summer.  So here we go. 

  • I am so thankful for my mom.  I don't know what I would do without her right now.  She not only takes great care of me - she takes great care of my kids.  She is not only a great mom - she is a great friend.