Wednesday, December 28, 2011


My family actually managed to keep secrets and threw me a surprise birthday party! I can honestly say that yesterday was one of the best days of my life--and I've had some really good ones! 

Apparently there was quite a bit of discussion regarding a cake.  Even though my mom displayed amazing cake skills while we were younger, she didn't feel up for the challenge of creating a birthday cake for a cake maker.  In the end...

My favorite cake--a good old fashioned southern Lickin' Cake.  Six layers of yellow cake with a layer of fudge in between each one and then covered drenched in fudge.  
It was delicious! And perfect. 

I have the most amazing family and friends in the whole wide world.  
It was an outstanding celebration of my 40th trip around the sun!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


Yep.  Apparently time stops for no one.

If anyone is curious, I'll be regressing today and kicking my 6-year-old's booty in Fruit Ninja.

Because that's how newly minted 40-year-olds roll.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Things that make me happy...

Lately every time the Boy has been watching television and the Tintin movie trailer comes on he's been all...yeah, yeah...I know, really want to watch that...blah, blah, blah.

Yes.  He really adds the "blah, blah, blah."

Thanks to a very generous Nana, great aunt and great grandmother, our big family gift this year was an Xbox 360 with kinect.  Which is pretty much awesome in itself.  But then my always thinkin' husband goes and buys the Tintin movie companion game.

It's received quite a bit of play today.  From all four of us.  And now the Boy is really excited for the movie.  We were discussing it at supper when I made the comment that I was looking forward to it because I grew up with Tintin.  So then he wanted to know if we could watch the shows I watched as a kid.

They weren't tv shows--they're comic books.  The movie is made from one of the books.

Wait...they're books?! 

Yep.  And I still have them.

So I can read them?

Tonight's bedtime story? "The Secret of the Unicorn." Complete with pirate voices and funny Belgian accents.

Sunday, December 25, 2011


They let us sleep in this year!  Both waited, ever so patiently, for both of their parents to be up and on their way to being caffeinated.

With each and every gift opened there was a proclamation of, "Oh my goodness! This is what I've always wanted! Thank you!"

May they always be so grateful!

We're off for a short church service this morning...a simple gathering to sing a few carols and to hear the Christmas story.  Then we'll make our way out to my parents' where we'll spend the rest of the day as an entire family--mine and my sister's gift to our mom.

The past couple of years have seemed to be filled with more ups and downs than others.  But through it all, we have been blessed beyond merit and measure.  I very much believe the best is yet to come!

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 19, 2011

13 years...

Since we vowed to walk this journey together...

Whatever it was that put us in the same darkly lit, dodgy country bar on a cold January night in the south of Spain almost 17 years ago, I'm forever grateful.  I fell in love for the first and last time that night and you still make my heart thump all these years later.

Happy Anniversary, my love!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Traditions...old and new...

Early last month I took over the space where the Christmas tree has resided for the past two years...previously it was in the dining room which allowed us to control munchkin access by means of gated doorways.   So this year, furniture was moved to make room in the living room for the largest tree we've ever had.  The top branch ended up being trimmed to accommodate the angel.  The angel I purchased for our first tree together as a married couple.  It went on top of a tiny little three foot tree I spent way too much money on just so we could have a real Christmas tree in Florida!

Our first Christmas in this house the boy and his dad went out on their own to find a tree.  They found a  couple of old tree farmers selling trees in the parking lot of one of the older strip malls not too far from us.  We've gone back there ever since.  We always take our time looking for the perfect tree--perfect by our standards, not anyone else's! One of the farmers this year made the comment about how big the kiddos are getting.  I wonder if it means as much to them to see us every year as it means to me?

Once the lights were tucked in the branches it was time to let the kiddos loose with the ornaments.  I waited until they were in bed to rearrange clusters and distribute some a little higher.  The lower half of the tree was decorated beautifully!  The top half was a little sparse.  It's evened out a bit now.  Especially as the kitties do their share of ornament placement critiquing. 

Please don't tell any of the other holidays, but I really like Christmas the best.  I do.  I love Christmas.  I love just about every bit about it.  The family time.  The music.  The decorations.  The lights.  Pulling out our ornaments and hanging them on the tree reminds me of who I am and where I come from.  I love that I can pass that down to my children.  And I love that they are at the age where they're curious about them and they want to hear the stories.  

The hand painted wooden ornaments that my mom painted the Christmas I was born.  When my sister and I left home these were divided between the three of us.  Given our nomadic upbringing it means a great deal to know that no matter where any of us are any given Christmas, these wooden ornaments--among others that were also divided out--draw us together as sisters and mother...

There are tiny little clay pitchers I purchased on our camping trip through Portugal.  A painted tin cat that reminded me of our beloved Sebastian T. Cat.  A bright red ball that was a reward for raising a lot of money for this year's National Arthritis Foundation's Jingle Bell Run.  A crystal star given to me by a dear friend and fellow Navy vet I share a birthday with.  A handmade ornament I won in a raffle my first Christmas in Spain...

Carved wooden animals my mom brought back one year.  She and my sister strung them up on a clothes line and spray painted them gold, silver, white and red and gave them all beaded garlands. A little bit of Africa to remind me of home...

My favorites, however, have started appearing in the past three years...ornaments the kiddos have made in school.  Clay mittens painted and sparkling with glitter.  Snowflakes and gingerbread men.  Picture frames with their smiling faces...

New finds I couldn't resist...

And ones each child gets to pick out for themselves.  The girl chose a shimmering purple ballet slipper.  The boy had a tough decision between a dinosaur and a dragon.  In spite of my love of paleontology, I'm secretly pleased the dragon won...

And new traditions.  Last year Kyleigh wanted a Christmas tree in her room.  This year when she brought it up again I remembered how I had always wanted a tree in my room as well.  

I actually found a set of two pre-lit trees on sale, as well as a bin of small non-breakable ornaments, and sparkly garland.  I had the trees plugged in and lit in their rooms when each came home from school.  I knew the wee girl would be excited...and she was...but I wasn't expecting Jacob's reaction.  

He was overjoyed!  His tree was decorated before I could make it upstairs with the camera.  He made sure that this would be something they do every year.   

Of course, they now want to add their own ornaments to their trees each year.  I suppose it's only fair.  But I'm drawing the line at putting their presents under their own trees! 

I've never been one who follows tradition for tradition's sake.  But I love that our little family is creating our own traditions and that these are things my children can look forward to throughout the year.  However, the tree falling over on us before we get a chance to tie it to the wall?  That doesn't get added to the list of traditions we carry on.  Everything else can stay. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A geek's best medicine...

Wee girlie's cold settled into her lungs and now we're dealing with our second case of pneumonia this month.

Last week was insanely long, emotional and trying.

We've always fallen back on irreverent humor to get us through the toughest times in our lives.  So why should now be any different?

Fair warning...I laughed so hard at this I do think I may have peed...just a little.  And I heart my fellow geeks!

Monday, December 5, 2011

A long December...

I don't deal well with being cold...and being cold at Christmas time only intensifies my longing for home and for Africa.  I can't layer up enough to keep my equatorial bones warm and still manage to remain mobile.

Clearing out the attic recently brought into clear focus the fact that I've been in this house and in this town longer than I've lived anywhere else in my entire life.  There's an itch to give away all the things and move on.  The inability/impossibility to scratch that itch is making me grumpy, cranky, moody and an all around bitch to live with.

It's going to be a loooong winter.

And, if you could, please...when you think of my very understanding and long suffering husband, say an extra prayer of peace for him.  He'd appreciate it.