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The Last Week of 2012

The world did not end.

Some say that the Mayans just ran out of room.  Some say that the Doctor saved us as he seems to every Christmas.  Whatever it was, we’re all still here.

The Doctor does always seem to find something trying to take over the world at Christmas...

The Doctor does always seem to find something trying to take over the world at Christmas…

The new year is closing in fast.  The news and magazines and Pinterest, and any other thing you look at is going to talk about the best of 2012, tell us all it’s time to make our resolutions, tell us that it’s time to plan Easter.  I did get a present from the Easter Bunny – a small packet of Cadbury candy eggs.  They are on sale at Stop and Shop you know, and were out on Christmas Eve ready for sale!

I try not to gripe too much but this year, I really can’t help but notice how rushed we all were into our holidays.  I love flipping through Pinterest but I feel like the pressure to start getting into the next holiday is always pushed on me there first.  Then it’s the tv commercials.  Black Friday started the week before Thanksgiving this year and Thanksgiving itself was quite a blur.  Does that mean tonight we’ll start seeing commercials about Easter chocolates?  Valentines?

At any rate, I should quit my griping because Christmas was good.  We are all pretty sick with whatever this sinus thing is but the day was good nonetheless.  I am in Christmas withdrawal though.  It was so wonderful to watch The Daughter wake up and discover what Santa had left for her.  Then the non-sick family went on to Rhode Island while the sick group stayed home and kind of crashed.  When the non-sick family came home from Rhode Island, we did do our annual Peppermint Pig tradition where we say something we wish for the coming year.  I did not make a serious wish because by the time it got to me, we had all been laughing too hard but I do feel like I should have some kind of plan of attack for the new year.   So, my list is as follows:

1) Do the #26Acts in memory of the Newtown.  Before Christmas, money was a little tight so now that the holidays are over, I think the Daughter and I can do some kindness for others in the coming days.  I also think it’s important to carry this one throughout the year.  They should not just be one month or one week of kindness, they should be done every day.  When I finish my dedicated #26Acts, I may do them again and again…

2) Finish the book I started in November.  I am so close to finishing it.  I just kind of put it on hold for December so I could focus on shopping and wrapping and family events.  I need to finish it.  I need to edit it.  I need to draft a query letter.  I need to do it so I don’t live a life of “what ifs.”

3) I need to get back on track with the weight loss.  I’m tired of not looking good in holiday pictures.  I’m tired of not having the clothing I want to have because they don’t make it affordable for fat people to dress fashionably.  I’m tired of being fat.  Thanks Brother #3 for the heart rate monitor…should help me with this goal.  My goal for 2013 is to lose at least another 50 lbs.  I’m shooting low so that I don’t disappoint myself but this coming Thursday will count as my start weight since it’s the last weigh in of 2012.  If I go above that 50 lb goal, then yay me! Just getting back on track will be amazing.

scale

4) I need to be better about communicating with friends and family that I don’t see enough.  I tend to withdraw this time of year.  Maybe it’s the lack of sunlight and warm days.  Maybe it’s the holiday doldrums.  Maybe I’m just weird.  But I am going to commit to my friends and family to be better about phone calls and actual in person visits as opposed to liking photos on Facebook and instant messenger.  Maybe it means more traveling or adventures.  That’s kind of what I’m hoping this one turns into!

So.  I’m going to start with those four.  I think that they are good to start with.  I am thinking that as the week moves on and I get closer to another year, I will probably try to make a longer list of more things I want to accomplish this year.  I like lists.  They help me see that I actually have accomplished something.

What are you goals for 2013?

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The Loss of Innocence

Unless you live in under a rock, you have heard about the tragedy in Newtown, CT.  I have not been able to bring myself to watch the news coverage. I cannot watch it without tearing up or feeling sick to my stomach.  I have read articles online, looked at the terrifying images online.  I did see President Obama’s speech and started crying when he started crying. How could you not?  The families who are now trying to make sense of what happened today, the sadness, the pain, our fellow citizen, our fellow man – you would have to be devoid of a soul in order to not cry.

Other than the fact that the news reduced me to tears, I didn’t know that my 3-year-old should be watching such images.  There had already been so much loss of innocence today, I couldn’t bear the thought of her seeing me watching the news, crying, and then having her ask me what I was watching on TV.  We turned the TV off and spent quality time together.  We did our usual Friday routine even though all day, I kept thinking about the moms who would not have a Friday routine anymore.  I kept thinking about the brave educators who died while most likely trying to protect the small children.

My mother watched the news coverage tonight when we got home from doing some Christmas shopping.  I couldn’t.  It sounds horrible to not be able to watch the news, but I know that tonight I will have nightmares.   Fortunately for me, my nightmare is one I can wake up from.  Sadly, there are so many who, tonight, will not be able to wake up from their nightmare.

I pray that the families of those affected by this horrible day are able to, in time, find peace.

I pray that the little ones, and the adults too, who were lost are at peace in His Grace.

I pray that our law makers can reevaluate the gun control laws and not get held up in party lines and lobbyists.  I pray that this tragedy did not happen in vain and that we, as a society, can open our eyes to the harsh reality that our laws are flawed and need to be revised and amended.  We need to protect our innocent citizens and since there is no more need for a militia, maybe it’s time to realize that the “freedom” to have a gun is not something we can be trusted with anymore since we have seen so many mass shootings this year alone.  I look at how Europe handles their guns and compare it to their gun violence rates. We also need to crack down on how many guns we import from European manufacturers (Glocks, for example, are an Austrian import).  So much needs to change to prevent another family from having to bury a child.

We are the ones to bring about that change.  Please, consider it.  Don’t just quote Charlton Heston’s famous NRA quote, “From my cold dead hands…”  Because you know what, it won’t be your cold dead hands, it will be the cold dead hands of an innocent person who just wanted to see a movie; hear their congresswoman talk; go to their college class; or go to school to play with their friends.

These are my personal opinions.  While I respect your opinions, please keep your opinions respectful if you choose to comment below. 

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Friday Library Fun

It’s Friday.  I’d say TGIF if this really were my Friday but, working from home doesn’t really give one a true Friday.  Friday in our house, as you have probably read in the past if you’ve been following this infant blog, is story hour at the local public library.  I honestly think I look forward to it as much as the Daughter because reading is one of my most favorite things and my heart is so happy when my daughter shows her own love for a well-told story.

The library story hour started off with two great stories.

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams

This story was great.  The repetition and addition of new sights and sounds made the kids all enjoy it that much more.  The little old lady does have some courage and in the end, the kids know that there is nothing to really be afraid of if we see it in a new light.  I have to say though, the scary pumpkin head…not so scary looking.  I personally thought it was kind of friendly looking.

We’re Going on a Ghost Hunt by Marcia Vaughan

“We’re going on a Ghost Hunt. We’re going on a Ghost Hunt. I’m not afraid! I’m not afraid!…”  This is like that old song we played in Girl Scouts, except instead of the bear hunt/lion hunt, we were on the search for a ghost on Halloween night while we were trick-or-treating.  I say we because after we read the story at story hour, the kids picked up some instruments and went on a ghost hunt, crashing cymbals, shaking maracas, and banging drums in the hopes of scaring the ghost out of the library.  Instead, the candy ghost left them all a lollipop and they were quite thrilled with their find.

As for our picks for this week’s bedtime stories:

Three By the Sea by Mini Grey

We had borrowed this book a few months ago and it’s a sweet story of three friends who live in a house by the ocean.  Once night a stranger washes ashore and tries to sell them something they don’t really need.  As the three friends drift apart because of the promise of something better, they discover what they truly are looking for and what they truly need.  A sweet story of friendship and the dangers of letting others influence your what you know in your heart to be true.

Cinder Hazel by Deborah Nourse Lattimore

A very cute new take on the classic Cinderella.  Lots of little giggles through this sweet tale.

Monsters Eat Whiny Children by Bruce Eric Kaplan

I picked this up because I was thinking about how the Daughter would eventually start hitting that point in the day where Sassy Molassy takes over my usually sweet and loving child.  Sassy Molassy is the Daughter’s alter ego and she does nothing but cry and whine.  This book is my (most likely futile) attempt at trying to curtail the whiny Sassy Molassy.  This is a very endearing tale though, about a monster who cannot decide how to cook the whiny children recently caught.

A Bedtime for Bear by Bonny Becker

A funny tale of two friends who decide to have a sleepover.  The only problem, as many moms and dads are aware, is that both have very different bedtime rituals.  Another fun read for just before bed – the Daughter really enjoyed it!

 

Those Darn Squirrels by Adam Rubin

When the grouchy old man in the neighborhood notices that the birds he loves to watch and paint are fighting off a very clever family of squirrels (genius squirrels to be exact), he tries to stop them from stealing all the food.  That is until the birds fly south for the winter and he finds himself lonely.  Then the squirrels hatch a plan of their own.  Even a grumpy old man can appreciate a grand act of kindness.

I like to share our reading selections each week because I know there are so many stories out there.  Some are instant classics and others kind of quietly sit on a shelf just hoping that someone, sometime will just pick it up and read it.  Those books need to get some credit too.  Plus, I know I love getting good book recommendations, whether it’s a book for me or one to be shared.

Reading is so important and builds so many skills but most importantly, it allows kids to grow their imaginations.  If you have a child and that child asks you to read to them, try to make every effort to put down what you’re doing and read that book to them.  In the end, that is the memory that will stay with them.

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Getting Over Vacation Hangover

The Husband and I recently went on our first vacation since we had the Daughter.  We decided that we would spend our anniversary away and back in March, booked our October vacation for Las Vegas.

It has now been six days since I’ve been back and I still feel a little off kilter and you can tell because I haven’t blogged or even played my most favorite Facebook game since I’ve been back.  I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I didn’t have a true daily routine to come home to?  Maybe the holiday weekend added to my already weird sense of time?  Maybe I just didn’t want vacation to be over despite the fact that I missed the Daughter terribly.  Or maybe I just really enjoyed myself and was basking in the glow of a Vacation Hangover.

Vacations are weird like that.  Some people come home saying, “I need a Vacation from my Vacation.”  I have to be honest.  I never really got that statement.  If you need a vacation from a vacation, then you must not have enjoyed your time off or you spent your time go, go, going that you missed the point of your vacation?   All I know is that I have never felt that way about vacation.  I usually come back happy and excited because I spent time in a new place, saw new things, met new people.  It’s just a fun thing to me – not stressful.  And yes, we have traveled with the Daughter – internationally and it was quite the adventure but in the end not too stressful, but that is a story for another time.  Travel is an adventure and vacation is just a word to call that adventure.

During our latest adventure, we stayed at the Luxor, the hotel/casino that is shaped like a pyramid and themed after ancient Egypt.

The Luxor from Las Veags Blvd

After attending the annual AAA Travel Marketplace back in March, we decided to book through Southwest Airlines Vacations.  Now, having the experience I have in hospitality, I usually feel better booking my components separately and tend to avoid packages because sometimes there are just better deals on the service provider’s sites.  But after doing my own research through my normal routes, the package that we were offered at the travel expo really was an amazing deal.  A nightly room rate of $36 (plus tax), transportation to and from the airport, and non-stop flights from Providence to Las Vegas were the key components of the package.  We could have added a rental car but after talking to many Vegas veterans, we figured we probably wouldn’t leave the Strip and that the taxis and buses would be enough for us to get through the city.

Being Vegas virgins, we went with only ideas of what we wanted to do.  My husband thinks I plan too much so he did not want to have a set agenda.  Though, I have to say, my idea of planning is just a loose list of things I’d like to see or do.  Not a list that says at 0730 hours we will wake, by 0830 hours we will have eaten at XYZ Buffet, at 1000 hours we will purchase tickets for the Deuce, etc…Even though that’s what the Husband thinks it is.  My travel style is to do research and see what people recommend then just make a list of points of interest and attempt to see them.  Despite my list, the Husband and I both agreed there were three main things we wanted to do while in the City of Sin.

1) See the Bellagio Fountains – check

2) See the Casinos – Check.


3) Eat at one of the Top Chef Masters Restaurants – CHECK!!!

Hubert Keller is one of my favorites from the show and we actually ate our anniversary dinner at his Burger Bar in Mandalay Place (the mall between Luxor and Mandalay Bay).  Best burger I have eaten in a VERY long time!  Plus the milkshakes were for grownups!

I should note that we “settled” for this more affordable option despite the fact that we really wanted to be enjoying the “Fleur Burger 5000” which consists of Wagyu beef, foie gras, truffle, and a bottle of ’95 Chateau Petrus all for the completely reasonable price of $5,000.  I am not kidding either…See for yourself.  Also, you should know that the first sentence of this paragraph is ripe with sarcasm…it’s practically oozing from each letter, even if I really am curious as to what that burger would taste like.

I’ll take my milkshake, enjoy it, and pretend it cost $5,000 because it sure tasted good enough to be worth that much!

Other than that, we just meandered around like slack-jawed tourists, in awe of the sounds, the lights, the people-watching.  We did all of that very successfully, I might add.   We didn’t gamble all our money away in part because we didn’t have a ton of money to gamble but also because we were there more for the attractions and the experience of the city that never really sleeps.

So, why is it so hard for me to get back into the swing of things?  Am I that resistant to getting back into a routine?  Possibly.  Maybe I should start planning my next vacation.  That might help me feel like I’m accomplishing something.  Now to get out the map and throw the dart…

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Filed under Random Thoughts, Vacations

Apple Picking and The Best Season of the Year

Fall is by far my most favorite season of the year and September is my most favorite month.  The skies seem bluer and the air is full of fantastic smells.  The cooler nights mean perfect sleeping (even if the ragweed is currently wreaking havoc on everyone’s sinuses in the family) and the early morning dew makes the air seem that much more crisp because it’s visible.  Even though technically, by the earth’s rotation, this is the last weekend of Summer, it felt like a proper Fall weekend.

It was an action packed weekend too!

The Daughter and I were very happy to go back to story hour at the Mashpee Public Library.  This is, by far, one of the best story hours I have ever been to.  The children’s librarian does an amazing job with the 3+ year olds.  Three stories, a couple of little songs and dances, all finished off with a craft. It’s a wonderful story hour.  This week, we read stories all about Bears.

This was a very cute book.

I enjoy it as a mom because it gives me a chance to kind of sit back and relax while the Daughter gets some very important kid time and reading time – it’s a win-win-win.  I worry sometimes since she is an only child that she doesn’t always get as much interaction with other kids as she should.  Yes she’s in daycare two days a week but I wonder if that’s enough sometimes.  Story hour is good because a couple of her friends from daycare go too so she gets to see them and there are other kids as well so she gets to make new friends too.
I’m so happy that she loves to read and loves the library. Reading is probably one of the most important skills in my opinion so I’m thrilled that she seems to love it and looks forward to our weekly trip to the library and our nightly bedtime story ritual.

Saturday was even more excitement for the Daughter.  We surprised her with Disney On Ice – Rockin’ Ever After at the Providence Dunkin’ Donuts Center.  I have very vague memories of my first time ever going to Disney on Ice.   I was around the same age as the Daughter and I remember Peter Pan was in the show we saw.  It was so much fun to see her face light up when Mickey and Minnie skated out on to the ice.  She almost jumped into the rafters and it was amazing!  The excitement and the joy at seeing the Mouse and his “gang” as she called them.  She was a little sad that Pluto and Daisy weren’t there but after we told her that they must be back at the Clubhouse making sure that Pete wasn’t lonely, she was ok.  Then there were the princesses.  They were supposed to be the main event, but for the Daughter, they were second fiddle to the mouse.

The Grand Finale

But the fun didn’t stop there!  Oh no!

Today, we did our annual family trip to Pippin Orchards in Cranston, RI. Every year, we usually will drive out here to go apple picking.  Today was the day because one of the Brothers was running a 5K in downtown Providence so it made sense that after we went to the race (which we didn’t exactly make), that we continue on to go apple picking.  They said that they had honey crisps ripe.  Sadly, the few trees that had the honey crisps had nothing but rotten apples on them.  That was sad.  Luckily, the Macintosh apples were ripe and ready to be picked.  Though, the ripe ones were so high up in the tree, we had to jump to reach them.

All the best apples were out of reach and they hadn’t brought out the pickers yet – said it was too early. 😦

It was the perfect day to be out and enjoying the day with the family and tasting the delicious, fresh apples.

When we got home, we pried the Husband away from football, and the three of us went for a walk down to the lake.  It was just after sunset and peaceful.  The lake was like glass and the minnows were in the shallow end grabbing their supper, making ripples every few minutes that spread slowly over the smooth surface.

The clouds reflected perfectly.

The colors of the sunset reflected on the water.

A neighbor’s sailboat on the glassy water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The walk home was shorter than the walk there only because the Daughter was on a mission to get home for a “special treat” for eating her dinner and going for a walk.   That pretty much meant racing home the whole way shouting “I’m winning.  I’m winning.”  But she did end up making some time to hold hands with Daddy and talk about what a wonderful weekend it truly was.

Hand in hand. ♥

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The (Unofficial) End of Summer

Another Labor Day has come and gone.  It was a perfect weekend.  A day of family tennis one day, relaxing on the back patio, picnic lunches, ice cream cones, making progress on some projects, and just enjoying the days.

Mint Chip is second only to Mint Oreo

Family tennis day was fun.  It was the first time I actually pushed myself after surgery.  I am feeling it today, sadly.  It’s like overnight, I became an 85 year old woman with creaks and aches.  It’s just one more reminder why after this blog post, I’m going to finish logging my food day in my WW journal and on MFP.  It was fun though.  I got to use my ball hopper for the first time – it’s the little things for me.

Today we had a very nice, though chilly, picnic dinner at South Cape Beach.  The Daughter got to burn off even more energy running around after she had her dinner.  Then home we came so I could keep chipping away at this:

The top – it’s draped over a chair so it looks like it’s only three blocks long.

It is almost done.  The top is done except for the fraying of the seams.  I didn’t have enough squares to do it as it was written in the blog I found the project on so I’m doing my own twist on it.  I’m going to do the back as larger squares, the size of 4 small squares, and make a patchwork back.  It will look a little different but I think it will be good. I love how soft it is.  I had saved all of the Daughter’s receiving blankets and they were sitting in her closet.  I thought this project was perfect for using them. I figure that once it’s done, she can bring it to pre-school as her nap blanket.  Did I mention how soft it is?  I did, but really, it’s so soft!

The Daughter wanted to be my “passer” – the person who hands me the next square as I was pinning things together.  Needless to say, I let her do it – how could I say no?  She sat quietly next to me watching me sew, occasionally asking me questions only a 3 year old would think of: “Mommy, how does the machine sew?  Mommy, do you need to pin it there? Mommy, why are you using this square?”  I couldn’t help but smile as I answered each question because I knew in the empty chair across from me, my Aunt was sitting and smiling at the two of us, sewing and quilting together.

I used the machine for this one which really made it quick sewing.  I think the next project I’m eying ( a beginner’s sampler quilt) is going to be a little tougher to machine sew.  I could be wrong, but we’ll see.  I picked up two quilting books at an estate sale the other day for a dollar and they are both fantastic!  So in addition to the Big Book of Quilting that was my Aunt’s, I now have two more books to compliment it and add to my library of quilting square patterns.

This book has the pattern for my next project

Now that my machine and I are friends, I think between quilting, I’m going to attempt another dress or maybe pjs for the munchkin.  I’ve been diving into all kinds of sewing blogs and they all have some fantastic ideas and I’m getting excited to try some of them out.

It’s a rewarding feeling to make something out of nothing.  If you have never done it, why not try?  You never know what may come of it.

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