Making the most of my "Dash"

Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

Valentine’s Day and Lowered Expectations

Me and My Sweetheart

For many, many years, my birthday, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and anniversaries were not really celebrated.  I often heard, “Sorry, it came up so quick I forgot to get time off” or “Sorry, I didn’t have enough money.”  (or apparently any time to even do a handwritten card). I also had (and probably still do) a habit of replying, “It’s ok. I don’t mind.” to these sorts of comments.  I certainly didn’t want to make the other person feel bad.  Even though it made me feel bad, very bad, inside.

So, in order to compensate for the disappointed feeling that I would get when these holidays came around , I just decided that Mother’s Day wasn’t for me anyway.  It was for my mom.  Plus, it’s just another way for the card companies to make money.  And Valentine’s Day… Well, Valentine’s Day was a stupid holiday anyway.  Chocolates were too expensive, flowers were astronomical, restaurants were too busy, gifts were too expensive, and all the lovey-lovey people were just annoying.  So with my lowered expectations (that were met without fail), I was never disappointed around these holidays.

Well, turns out that was another life.

Mister is having no such attitude from me.  My vocal protests of the extra holidays that “don’t mean anything” can not withstand the determination of my “romantical” (to use his word) husband.  He refuses to let Valentine’s Day pass without some sort of token of our love expressed.  Preferably homemade.  He does not like the commercialization of the holidays either, but his determination comes from a desire to prove to me that I am worth thinking of on these days.  I am worth going to the store for a $2 (make that $5, nowadays) card.  I am worth a box of chocolates.  I am worth being taken out to dinner.  I am worth his thoughts and his time.

The only thing that makes his view of Valentine’s Day acceptable to me is the fact that it doesn’t have to be Valentine’s Day for me to have these things.  I’ve come home countless times to fresh flowers on the entry table.  To a bag of snack size Reese’s Peanut Butter cups.  To a card that says, “Just Because I Love You”.  I get taken out on a date-night almost every Tuesday evening.  Every day with Mister is Valentine’s Day.  I know without a doubt that I am his sweetheart, and he is mine.  So, when Valentine’s Day arrives tomorrow, Mister and I will spoil each other a little more usual.  And I will take this opportunity to tell Mister some of the things I love about him:

  • I love how you say, “Good Morning, Beautimus!” to me every morning when we wake up.
  • I love that you always want to hold my hand.
  • I love how you try to anticipate my every need and meet it, even before I know I have a need.
  • I love how you try to race me to fold the laundry… and how sometimes you’ll try to be sneaky and do it when I’m not paying attention.
  • I love that you like cooking our meals together.
  • I love that when something needs to be fixed in the house, or on the cars, that you take care of it…as soon as possible.
  • I love how I never worry about being broken down and stranded anymore.
  • I love how your eyes turn soft, and your mouth smiles, whenever you look at me.
  • I love how you like to snuggle on the couch in the evenings.
  • I love how you help the kids with their math homework (because we all know that I’m clueless).
  • I love how you help me be a more patient, kind, and loving parent to the kids.
  • I love how fair and kind you are to the kids, and because they know that is how you are, they respond so well to you.
  • I love when you kiss me on the forehead.
  • I love how you always give me time to work out issues when I’m upset, and that you never let me get away with shoving an issue aside rather than discussing it.
  • I love you for trying to always make my life calm, and as stress-free as possible.
  • I love you for knowing when something’s bothering me, and that you never ignore it in the hopes that it will just “go away”.
  • I love you for making me feel so beautiful, that I no longer criticize myself whenever I look in a mirror and see my body.
  • I love that when I look at you I *know*, without a doubt, that you love me too.
  • I love you for encouraging me; for reminding me that I am a smart, capable, strong, and brave woman.
  • I love you for being the kind, patient, giving, loving, sensitive, romantic, intelligent, capable, and wonderful man that you are.
  • I love you for seeing me.

Bah Humbug!!

Kids putting the ornaments on the tree

Scrooge.  That’s me, when Thanksgiving is over and I know it’s time to decorate the house for Christmas.  I hate it.  I hate the bother of pulling out all the boxes (I’ve got it down to three Rubbermaid tote boxes, plus the tree).  I hate the annoying task of shifting things around in the house, finding places to put the Christmas decorations.  I hate the mess of pulling all the crap out of the boxes, and that they stay there for hours while you get stuff decorated. I particularly hate the tree.  Ugh.

The dreaded tree. Ugh.

Yes, I’m a huge Bah Humbuggy Scrooge when it comes to this part of Christmas.  I wake up with a headache, tense, and annoyed at the task of decorating.  I have pared things down to the bare minimum amount.  Just enough to give us the “Christmas Spirit” (that I never have at that point in the holiday season), and enough to make the kids happy.  The tree is my biggest hurdle.  Mister knows this.  Now.  Let’s just say last year gave him a steep learning curve.  Poor man.  Having been through a bit of a “trial” last year, he knows how stressful decorating day is for me.  And he does absolutely everything in his power to reduce my tension.  Not that there is much help for that.  If it were up to me, I’d have Charlie Brown‘s skimpy tree and call it a day.

Mister topping the tree with our Angel.

With Mister by my side, we were able to get the decorating done fairly easily.  I only had one moment that reduced me to tears, and it was over the way he was spreading the tree branches.  Yes, really.  It was stupid, but it wasn’t the way I had done it in the past. However, it was the way he had always done it, and the way “all the real trees in Oregon” are.  Whatever.  I couldn’t argue with that.  However, I knew that the next task was to put on the despicable lights.  I couldn’t see any way they were going to be wound around branches, if all the branches were flat.  I like a  “full” tree look, and he likes a sparse see-through-the-branches look.  While trying to fight back the annoying tears, I figured he was the one putting the tree up, and going to be putting the dreaded lights on… so he should do it his way.  And, it turned out nicely.  Especially since I didn’t have to fight with that stupid tree and lights all by myself.  Or at all, actually, since my job was simply to keep the untangled light strand from tangling while he wound it around the flat branches of the tree.

I love my lighted garland and poinsettia's!

I do have a favorite part of this dreadful decorating day, though.  It’s my green lighted garland, and the little red poinsettia flowers I decorate it with.  It’s usually the last thing I put up, because afterwards I look at it and it makes me smile.  At that point I know that the awful decorating is done, the garland is up, and the cheeriness of the flowers wipes the Bah Humbug right out of me.   I can feel the warmth of the Christmas season starting to spread throughout me, and I can happily go on my way shopping for gifts and making yummy goodies that will “fluff” us up for winter.

Do you like decorating for Christmas? Is there a part of decorating that you particularly enjoy or dislike?

A Past Due Thanksgiving post…

Thanksgiving with two of my favorite people!

I didn’t have too much time to write about the holidays this year.  I’m a little behind, but I plan to catch up now!

 

Jill and I in downtown Vegas

This past Thanksgiving was my best one, ever.  Brian and Jill, Mister’s son and his wife, came to visit for the week.  We were SO thrilled to have them here!!  We picked them up from the Vegas airport, and stayed the night there.  Brian and Jill took us to a wonderful dinner at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, and we spent the rest of the evening at the penny slots in our hotel.  Way too much fun was had by all!

The next few days were spent where we live, in Havasu.  We drove them around the area one day, and took them to the infamous Sno-2-Go.  Jill LOVED their unique ice/cream treats.  We already knew Brian loved the place, and we all promptly promised the owner we would be back the next day for more.  And…. we were!

Jill and Brian on the way to Havasu Landing

We visited our little casino across the lake too.  There’s a great little ferry that will take you across to Havasu Landing.  It’s free if you get the little tickets from the paper.  So, we went to the store and I bought several papers.  And then looked inside to find NO coupons.  Of course.  Turns out the paper doesn’t print the coupons during holiday weeks.  Whoda thunk it?!  We all “splurged” on our $2 tickets and spent a very enjoyable couple of hours over there at the penny slots.  We’re cheap like that.  We also like to leave with our money, which we did.  Bonus!

Everyone ready to eat, but I made them take just one more picture

Thanksgiving dinner went along without a hitch!  Everyone got to sleep in, take our time getting ready, and dinner seemed to cook itself.  Okay, not really, but I had a schedule (with instructions!) written down to the minute!  I did note on this handy-dandy little schedule that someone needed to carve the turkey, and it wasn’t going to be me!  I told Brian that neither his Dad nor I were going to carve the turkey, and he graciously offered to do it for us.  No *hint-hint* or anything like that there for him.  I think he just wanted to eat the turkey, and he knew someone had better take a carving knife to it before we all ended up like little Randy on a A Christmas Story when his mom asked, “How does Mommy’s little piggy eat?!”

We spent a lot of time out on the back porch, relaxing and chatting.  And isn’t that the best part of any holiday?  Getting to spend time with family you love and respect.  Completely relaxed, comfortable, and enjoying each others company.  Not to mention chatting up a storm, and laughing until your sides hurt!

Thank you, Brian and Jill, for sharing your holiday with us.  When I think of my many blessings, and things I am most thankful for, your friendship and love is at the top of my list.  We love you both so much, and appreciate you!

 

A Havasu Halloween

Bring on the Treats!!

I love Halloween! In Havasu, we’ve had an entire weekend of ghoulish fun!

Callie had a blast with her sleep-over/Halloween party.  While she was busy with that, the rest of us went to the Fall Fun Fair.  Josh and Megan walked the whole fair and then chose the booths they wanted to spend their tickets at.  Josh SCORED at one of the booths where two little girls knew him.  They begged him over and over to play their game, and he finally gave in.  [I think he was playing hard to get.  Amazingly enough, he was doing it right.]  When he was done with the game they LOADED him up with candy.  Yep, definitely doing it right.  He also went back to their booth later.  Smart kid.

Nice Facepaint, Megan!

Megan had some freedom to roam the place, and I think she appreciated that.  She hung out with some of her friends, and got her face painted with a skull and crossbones.  That was another big “mom” step for me, letting her be free to walk around on her own.  But, I knew it was a safe place and it felt good to let her have some more grown-up like independence.  We all met up at the end and as we were getting ready to leave, we saw ‘them’.

Just because you can, doesn't mean you should!!

I’ve noticed more and more that Halloween seems to be an excuse for women to dress more ‘scantily’ than is socially acceptable.  I will NOT say ‘provocatively’, because in most cases it simply hurts the eyes and brains to look at them, thus being the exact opposite of provocative.  We saw a pair that would absolutely burn the eyes right out of your head.  Pink spandex stretched so tightly it became see-through-pink spandex.  The accompanying black spandex pants just gave that perfect ‘oomph’ to the sausage link look she was going for.  Her friend, in the white lacy top that had a bra-like closure in the back, was equally cringe-worthy.  For you women who want to dress like this for Halloween (or, God FORBID, any time of the year), I have one piece of advice for you that I dearly wish you heed for the sake of my eyes and brain: JUST BECAUSE YOU CAN, DOES NOT MEAN YOU SHOULD.  Learn it. Love it. Live it.  Seriously.

Tonight we did the Havasu Main Street Halloween Fright Night.  The weather was a nice 80°.  I spent the afternoon getting the girls ready. I tossed together a quick dinner, threw on my costume, and Mister took some pictures of all of us before we left. I had to admit, I was not too thrilled with leaving when it was still light out. I mean, come on, that’s when the BABIES are out trick-or-treating.  But, I knew Mister wanted to get a decent parking spot.  And, he did.  Woo Hoo. (Yes, that was indeed dripping with sarcasm. I figured it was so blatant you just *might* have missed it.)

Main Street Halloween Fright Night!

There weren’t too many people there at first, and the kids were a bit hesitant about going up and trick-or-treating the booths that were set up. That shyness wore off by the third booth.  I realized that I really like that they’re old enough that I don’t have to hold their hands and go trick-or-treat with them.  I could just walk along, keeping them in my eyesight, and enjoy the evening.  No work for me! WOO HOO! (That was NOT sarcastic, by the way)  By the time it got dark, it had become completely crowded.  And that was when I was glad Mister wanted to be an early bird and get the very best parking space.  I also quickly became very irritated with the crowd.  People, leave your dogs at home.  Especially the couple trick-or-treating with their baby in the stroller.  I wouldn’t have minded so much if they would have moved more than three inches per minute.

We finally got around them, and managed to get into a city block-long line of trick-or-treaters.  That was tedious.  I am very glad I decided to stop taking the metabolism medicine this week.  I probably would have been on the 10 O’Clock news otherwise.  By the time the crowds and lines became overwhelmingly large, the kids said they were done and ready to get back home.  I was surprised, but oh-so-glad to hear it.  When we got home and looked in the kids’ buckets, I realized why they were done for the night. They were filled to the brim! Josh’s was so heavy, I’m shocked his arm didn’t fall off!  They are definitely set for candy for a LONG time.  None for me though. I’m TRYING to be good.  *sigh*

It was a great night, with lots of fun, and quite a few sore feet. The candy is safely tucked away, and hopefully the sugar high they got from free otter pops & cotton candy (not to mention any candy eaten during the Main Street trek) will wear off soon.  I can’t wait until next year! (Hopefully pink spandex lady will NOT try to wear the same, um… outfit? Costume?)

I put a slide show of the rest of the pictures below.  You need to watch it just to see Josh with his candy haul. Incredible.  Happy Halloween!

Enjoying my ghoulishly wonderful Dash…

Christine

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It’s time for the Pumpkin Massacre!

Nicely done, kiddos!

The Jack-O-Lantern is the quintessential Halloween decoration. It’s a must-do every year at our house, and that usually means, “Mom MUST-DO the yucky part”.  You all know what that means… Mom has to take the guts out.  And, Mom LOVES to do that part.  Ripping out all the squishy, sticky, ooey-gooey insides of the pumpkin is wonderfully gross.  Especially when I squeeze it through my fingers. The kids can’t stand that part. I call them chickens.

This year I decided to buy one of those cheap pumpkin carving booklet/tool-kits they sell for three bucks at the store. Before I could tell the kids I didn’t want them to pick the hardest patterns in the book, that’s exactly what the youngest two did.  *sigh*  I really should have seen that one coming.  At least the kids were helpful as we taped the patterns to the pumpkin.  Each of them patiently waited for me to finish helping with one of the other kids, before moving on to help them.  Since the tool that scores the pattern onto the pumpkin was missing from the package (I didn’t notice that in the store, but that’s my kind of luck), the kids were going to use a punch tool that came with the kit.  I suggested toothpicks would also work, and Josh and Callie worked quietly, diligently marking out their pattern.

The kids really surprised me, because I did not hear the usual complaints. “When is it MY turn?” “She/he is taking too long!”  “This is boring!”  “Mine’s not working!”  “When can I be done?”  They were calm, they waited their turn, they helped each other, they even said words like “please” and “thank you”.  Mister had his HAM radio set up outside and was listening & talking while we were all out there.  The kids were actually quiet enough for us not to be bother to him while he was focused on that.  Plus, the kids and I were greatly entertained by some of the conversations that were going on over the airwaves (like the guy who was openly talking about the diarrhea he got from a Walmart chicken… The kids and I about died laughing).  Anyway, I’d like to thank the person who stole my kids and replaced them with these well-behaved, kinder, politer children.  Actually, that only lasted for the pumpkin-carving, but I’ll take what I can get.

As far as carving kits go, why have I not done this before?!!  I thought having a sturdy metal spoon was fine for scraping out the pumpkin innards.  I was so wrong!! That cheapo piece of plastic scraper was a MACHINE at getting that stringy stuff out.  And those flimsy little saw-like tools? WAY better than the normal humongous steak-knife we use. When the kids started out working away with their little saw-knives, I figured they were still going to do the usual hatchet-job on the pumpkins (just using smaller, more annoying tools).  Ohhhh nooooo… Those things were fantastic! I started wishing I had got my own pumpkin to carve.  Until I had to help the youngest two with their patterns, and then I quickly got that out of my system.

We all had a great morning, and the kids really did a fantastic job on their Jack-O-Lantern’s.  They turned out so much better than I thought.  Next year I’m buying more of those nifty little tools.  Those things are BOMB!

Josh took some pictures of all of us while we were working, so I just put them all in the slide-show below.

Making my dash great by spending time with the kids and creating actual Jack-O-Lantern’s,

Christine

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I LOVE Halloween!!

Mmmm... Candy Corn!

Fall is my favorite time of year, and Halloween is my favorite holiday.  Even more than Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Not in a “I worship the devil” kind of way… I just LOVE the fun that surrounds Halloween!  The Fall Fun Fair the town puts on is fantastic!  Then, I love getting the kids dressed up, taking them down main street for their Halloween Trick-or-Treating.

Devilish!

Of course, I thoroughly enjoy getting dressed up too!  Last year I was working (at Walmart… Just had to put it out there), and we got to dress up for several days.  One day I did a she-devil kind of thing.  The next day I was a renaissance wench.  I LOVE that costume, because a very special friend of mine who is a big part of the ren faire scene sent me the costume to wear and It. Is. Awesome.

My Favorite Costume!!

I bought a witch hat and some striped tights last year to wear for this year, but I just did not find the right dress to wear with it yet.  Actually I DID find it, but it was way more money than I was willing to spend.  So disappointing, but I’m a cheapskate when it comes to buying costumes so I really can’t complain.  I’ll probably scour ebay after Halloween this year and hopefully have the perfect dress for next year.

A "Grim" Entry Way

After moving twice in the last two years, I seem to have lost most of my Halloween decorations.  THAT is a bummer.  Mister bought me a few things last Halloween and I went out today and I got a couple more things.  I’ll slowly build up some nice decorations.  I wanted to do a graveyard in the front yard, but the “tombstones”  I had were about 10 years old and too flimsy for the wind.  I’m hoping to get some on clearance after the month is over (I know…cheapskate!!).

The Welcome Kitty

I was inspired to decorate by The Detailed Decorator LLC.  She was having a “Decorate for Fall/Halloween and post your picture event” on her Facebook wall today.  I was too embarrassed by my meager decorations to post any pictures on her wall, but it did get me motivated to pull out what decorations I did have and get them put up.

On our outdoor privacy wall I put up a big spider with some glow-in-the-dark webbing.  They only had one spider at the store, or I would have gotten two more! I also put up a dorky plastic door cover that doesn’t quite cover the door, but I’m okay with that.  I got a nifty little hanging grim-reaper thing too.  The kids will LOVE it when they get back from Fall break. I also got some candy corn today for a little display on a table, but unfortunately I keep getting one or two every time I walk by.  That is not going to go over well with trying to lose weight.  I have to remember they are decorations… SELF-CONTROL is in order!!!

Love my Spider!

Having a spooktacular dash,

Christine

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