Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!

We're back from a jaunt up north to visit my parents and celebrate Christmas AGAIN! The drive up was a nightmare of traffic delays and fussy children...a trip that normally takes 5 hours took over 7. The boys had a grand time with their grands and auntie and uncle and soon forgot about the hours trapped in the car. The trip home again was MUCH better. The non-stop excitement and activity of our 4 day visit made the boys nearly catatonic for the drive home. Amazing how fast the time goes when everyone sleeps (except the driver, naturally) all the way home.

Of course I took more photos.

I hope everyone has a happy and safe new year! We had sushi...oh damn! I forgot about my bottle of champagne! Well...it's bedtime. Perhaps I'll toast the new year tomorrow instead.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Day

Photos from this big gift extravaganza are here. Now I'm going to start dinner. We're having lobster bisque, burgundy beef with twice stuffed baked potatoes and maple glazed carrots. Raspberry mousse for dessert. What are YOU eating today?

Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Where the F*** are they?!

I'm totally pissed off at Shutterfly. Every year, for the last 6 years, I order photo calendars and cards from them and I've never had a problem. This year? I ordered my cards at the beginning of December and JUST GOT THEM TODAY!

Frack!

I think I set a new land-speed record for slapping on mailing labels and slobbering over envelope sealant. I know, I know. They will NEVER get to their destinations before Christmas. What can ya do.

Ordinarily, I like to take time and reflect a bit as I apply each mailing label. I think about the person I am sending the card to and wonder what they've been up to all year (if I haven't heard from them in a while). Not much time for reflection today. I think I had time to think about maybe three of the addresses I was mailing to.

One was our adoption agency. I added a personal note to that card and fought the temptation to add something about the huge bill they sent and how it almost wasn't going to be a Merry Christmas for us this year. Ouch. In a year where we had to replace both the hot water heater AND the central A/C unit, their bill almost broke us completely. God how I hate being frugal at Christmas time.

Then there was the card where John noticed the need for a new mailing label. It was addressed to Mr. & Mrs. and there is no longer a Mrs. So now I'm thinking about how sad Mr. is, this first Christmas without his Mrs. She was a nice lady.

Finally, there was the card where I felt compelled to write an apology. Sorry I haven't called or written for a while. Been too busy, too tired, too preoccupied...full of excuses, I am.

Sending Christmas cards is usually the first thing I do when I'm getting ready for the holidays. It's my ritual. It puts me in the right frame of mind and generates some holiday spirit. Sadly, not this year. I felt rushed and stressed. NOT a good frame of mind when you are wishing all your friends and family a Happy Holidays.

*sigh*

Maybe after I shower and prepare the delish gourmet meal I have planned to celebrate John's birthday tonight...maybe my mood will improve. I'll apologize to him in advance for being a cranky pants. Happy Birthday honey! I love you!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Saturday, December 16, 2006

He's Coming!!!


Tyler is on the lookout...

While outside today putting up some lights, we heard sirens in the distance. John suspected (correctly) that Santa was taking his annual inspection tour of our town. Every year he comes riding through on a fire truck to do a last minute check of who is being naughty or nice. The nice kids get a candy cane.



More photos from our day are here.

Tyler Cam

A view through Tyler's lens:

Can you identify everything he took photos of?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Deck the Malls

I hate going to the mall during the holidays. I usually avoid it at all costs. I'm one of those folks who embraced online shopping in it's early days and bought more and more Christmas gifts that way until I finally reached the 100% online level a couple years ago. Until this year. Leave it to my mother to come up with the one gift that absolutely could NOT be found online.

A few years ago my mom fell in love with the Crabtree & Evelyn signature series of china. It's Mason's Ironstone and made in England. Pretty stuff (and expensive), but they discontinued it this year. There were NO retailers online who had any in stock, including the C&E website. I couldn't cave and get mom's second choice gift - a Coach umbrella. $138 for an UMBRELLA? No frackin way. So I started making phone calls. I lucked out and found a local Crabtree & Evelyn that still had some of the china in stock.

The only problem...the shop is located in The Mall at Short Hills. Not exactly convenient and not exactly my kind of mall. Why? It's SWANKY. I'm a Walmart kind of gal. I get a little nervous when a mall has valet parking and shops like Brooks Brothers, Cartier, Dior, Dolce & Gabanna, Armani, Gucci, Saks...yadda yadda. I parked next to a pretty BMW and I did buy Tyler some sneakers in Nordstroms (and then wondered at my own sanity when she told me the cost of his new "Heelies".) Then we decided to see how the swanky mall did "Santa".

Ty in the giant snow-globe.I had the boys dressed nice and was crossing my fingers that they both would last through the wait in line. They did great! Santa's area wasn't very special, but they did have fun things to look at along the path to Santa's bench. It was a Happy Feet theme with giant snowglobes full of figures from the movie. Just before we turned a corner to get our Santa photo opp, they had a super giant snow globe that you could walk through. It was even snowing inside. Pretty cool!

I was just happy that Tyler showed almost no hesitation with Santa this year. Yay!!! Poor kid has had a major Santa phobia for years now. Max was really funny. He was snoozing in his stroller up until the moment I lifted him out and handed him to Santa. Max opened his eyes, looked at Santa and got the most comical look on his face. It looked like he was thinking, "Who is this Bozo??!" He didn't smile, but he didn't cry either. I'll take it.


Tyler & Max Visit Santa

Friday, December 08, 2006

Feline Friday: Faces of Sparty


Steven hasn't posted today's Feline Friday post yet, and I am so very far behind on my blog reading that it's just too ironic that I'm posting this before he does. Ha! Just thought I'd share some recent shots of Spartacus. He's such a handsome fellow, but he has as many evil streaks as he does stripes.

I think, more than anything else, he's bored. I don't have the time to play with him much and I can't often convince Tyler to engage him because Ty is afraid of being scratched. I think Sparty would be better off as a mascot in a Frat house. He's a rough and tumble Man's cat.

Coming Soon: A collage of Tyler's photos.

Monday, December 04, 2006

The Lodge

Margo guessed it! We made our annual trip to Great Wolf Lodge for Tyler's birthday this weekend. Max and I steered clear of the water park (so no photos of Ty on the water slides this time) but we had loads of fun trying out the huge jetted bathtub in our room and cruising around the gorgeously decorated resort. I forgot how much fun it was to push a baby stroller and have oodles of total strangers come up and compliment your baby. Max was very popular!

Like last year, Great Wolf went over the top with their holiday decorations. It's a winter wonderland dripping with icicles, illuminated snowflakes and mounds of artificial snow. Max was in awe! His head was whipping from side to side and he had a huge grin on his face. He REALLY loved being in the arcade with his big brother. He was mesmerized by the lights and sounds.

Sadly, we were having too much fun and missed Santa. I'll have to think of somewhere else to take the boys for their visit. Happily, I did manage to get a great photo for our Christmas card. Keep a watch on your mailboxes. ;-)

Birthday Present #1
Tyler opens the first of his birthday presents while we wait near the lobby for Daddy to finish checking in.

The Mini Lodge
Having fun in the lobby inside the mini lodge.

Christmas Card Reject
Christmas Card reject. Max looked too schlumpy.

Tree Beds are fun to climb too
Getting acquainted with our room. Max loved the fireplace.

Determination
On the way to the main arcade, Tyler pauses to try and win a funky looking squishy ball. He didn't have much success, so we bought an even bigger one for him in the lobby gift shop. When Ty asked for my help, I did manage to scoop up a couple of big stuffed animals, much to Max's delight.

Tyler's Birthday

Tyler got something cool for his birthday:



*sniff* I can't believe my baby boy is 5 years old already! Photos from his special birthday weekend coming up.

Friday, December 01, 2006

ACHOO!

*sniffle* Sorry about that. Amazing how much dust builds up on this blog when I'm not here to update it for a week.

I should be asleep right now, but my mind is racing and I can't relax enough. I thought, perhaps if I write a nice blog entry I can wind down. We'll see if it works.

Tomorrow we set off on our annual Tyler's Birthday Trip to his favorite place on the planet. Does anyone remember where that is? I'll leave it a surprise then. You can wait for pictures, can't you? I do plan to take lots of pictures. This will be the perfect opportunity to capture that perfect shot for our holiday greeting card. Wish me luck! I'm on a quest!

Hopefully I can kill many birds with my proverbial stone and get in a visit with Santa too. He should be putting in an appearance where we're going. I'm taking bets on whether Tyler will approach him without fear and/or tears this year. Any takers? He is 3 and 1 so far (3 years of panic/tears and only one year of blissful ignorant joy when he was a year old).

This will also be the first time we've taken a lengthy car trip (longer than 30 minutes each way) with baby Max. A good test to see how he might fare when we finally drive up to see my parents. (5 hours in a car with 2 kids...yikes.) I'm used to sitting in the back seat with Tyler to keep him entertained. No room for me now with 2 car seats back there.

I'm so glad we got that mini-van. People laughed when we first bought it. Tyler was still an infant and it seemed like so much VEHICLE. Maybe a little overkill, but hey, that baby had a ton of gear to haul around! Now all the gear has been passed on to Max. Yay me for not giving in to the temptations of Ebay.

OK, have I gotten all the random gibble-gabble out of my head? Um... Oh! Ever read a book and find yourself wishing that the story would never end? Then, when it does, you realize the ending really left you hanging and you wish for a sequel? Then you find out the author is dead and never wrote any sequel? Yeah. It sucks.

Anything else? Oh yes! I found myself thinking about friends today. More specifically the friends I keep and the ones I choose to let drift out of my life. I've realized I'm really attracted to women who are very intelligent, talented and creative. I have friends who are writers and artists, friends who are talented with puzzles and games, friends who are great with a camera; and all of them are very interesting to talk to.

Then there is one friend who has drifted to the fringes of my life. I've been thinking about her a lot lately. She's called me a couple times and sent me a few emails, but I've responded only half-heartedly. I've known her for many years and while I've been there for her during almost every major crisis she's ever had, she's never really been there for me when I've needed her. Because of the choices she's made in her life, she no longer fits in well with mine.

It's been a long time since those grade school days where friendships were made and then broken with a cry of, "You're not my friend any more!" I'm not 9 years old and this friend didn't steal my favorite Barbie. I know how adults in a romantic relationship do a break-up. How do you end things with a friend? The "just don't call her back and she'll get the hint" thing doesn't seem to be working too well.

I'm also fighting against my own desire to be liked and have lots of friends. I don't have lots of friends and it's not easy to find new ones. Just when I think I've found someone I have a real connection with, they pull that "just don't call/email her back and she'll get the hint" thing on ME. Or maybe I'm just being too sensitive and they are just too busy with life right now to think about cultivating their friendship with me.

OK. Is that all the blather I can muster? No. One last thought. Max is finally starting to sleep for longer stretches. The only problem? He does it during the DAY when I also have to look after Tyler. So much for sleeping when the baby sleeps.

Now I should go to bed. I really really should.

No more Dr. Pepper for me!

I wonder if I recorded ER this week...


Knock, knock!

[Who's there?]

Ach!

[Ach who?]

Oh dear. My dusty blog has gotten to you too, eh?