Is it a bad sign if I bring in the year 2010 working a 15 hour shift? I'm STILL WORKING!! Well I'm happy I have a job. That's something to cheer about - right? I need a drink! :) Someone please pass me one!
It’s been a few months since I’ve blogged and I feel awful about it. I knew that on our trip to MI I would have a few extra hours to catch up. The drive only takes about 20 hours. Eh.
So what has been going on with us lately??
Well let’s see. Mom and dad visited in October. It was super nice to see them and they came and went way to quickly. We jammed a lot of activities in while they were here like going out to west Texas, going to the Dallas aquarium, the Dallas arboretum and my mom was even fortunate enough to see a Dallas thunderstorm!
November was busy for us too. It seems that the months go by so quickly anymore. I look and it’s already the end of the month and I don’t know where the month has gone.
We had Thanksgiving over at the neighbor’s house again this year. The food was excellent as usual. I made a pumpkin roll. Actually I was told I could not come unless I brought the pumpkin roll! lol. It must have gone over well because there were no leftovers left for me to take home. Joe was bumming a bit about that. He says it’s not Thanksgiving without the pumpkin roll!
Joe and I had off the Veteran’s day holiday this year and tried to do as much of the kid’s Christmas shopping as possible that day. We also picked up a few other things for other family members while we were out that were on the list. We ended up finishing up our shopping around the 14th. I about had a stroke because I ordered two things for my MIL on Nov 17th. I knew one was backordered until Dec 4th. I think I placed three calls about the order from the 7th until Dec 16th asking where it was. Finally they shipped on Dec 17th. My mom received it the 18th. I am so thankful as it was a huge part of my MIL’s Christmas gift. I was so stressed though it wouldn’t get to us by the 21st when we go up to have Christmas with them!
We celebrated the kid’s Christmas on the 12th of December. It was a week before we left for our trip to MI. We decided this year that there was no way we were taking all the kid’s presents up north and then bringing them back home. The van was so packed to the hilt last year that we were trying to avoid that situation this year. The kids loved their toys this year from mom and dad. The big ones for the kids were for Joey: Starfly DS game and a dual light saber from star wars. Justin’s big presents were a razor scooter just like Joey has and a huge set of plastic food. He carried around the ice cream cones and corn for days.
Now Justin is gung ho about the cars movie. He will carry around lightening mcqueen cars all over the house.
Joey has been saying some really funny things lately.
This week we had a Christmas party at Joey’s school. Joey brought in his teacher Mrs Davis a gift certificate for her favorite spa place. She had Joey there when she opened it and she asked if he had any idea what she got. He really didn’t. I don’t think he gets what a ‘spa’ place is. So she explained she goes there and they work on her face and make her really look nice. He looks at her like um ok. She squeezes him a hug and says thank you and he walks off and says really loudly, ‘I don’t ever wanna do that’. Mrs Davis and I busted out laughing. It was so funny!
Then today in the car we were talking to Justin and telling him to NOT throw stuff off the right side of his car seat otherwise I can’t get it. Joe always tells me I have ‘alligator arms’. You know how an alligator has small stubby arms? He says I have them because I can never reach anything. Later Joey asks if there are any more chips. I tell him there is but they are in the very back and I can’t reach them. Joey says, “oh yeah mom (sighs) – because you have alligator arms’. Joe and I busted out laughing. He used it in perfect context!
Every year we get our Christmas photos taken to use in our Christmas cards. This year we attempted to do it in November the weekend after Thanksgiving but it got rained out. Then we tried the next weekend and we were rained out again! Finally the weekend after was the weekend we got the photos done and it was already into December at this point. Usually by now my Christmas cards are already in the mail! We had a great photographer Trina. She did my friend Amy’s photos and Amy’s photos turned out awesome! Trina is so affordable – 1 hour photo session to the location of our liking and it cost $65 and that includes the photo cd!! It was soooo cold the day we did our photos outside. It was about 40 and super windy outside so it felt much colder. The boys complained often that it was cold but were troopers about it. About a week later we got our photos delivered on cd and I think they were some of the best family photos we’ve had taken yet. Trina took the best photos of the boys and Joe and I. We were so happy with the results!
Christmas went great for us…just very very busy.
When we arrived in Michigan it was Sunday and we visited with my parents for a day. Monday my mom had off work so she hung out with us. We had some issues with our power steering making a ton of noise on the trip up north so we decided to get the van looked at before our drive home. My dad has a mechanic and we decided to take it to him to look at the van.
That day Joe and I also took off and went to the Salvation Army to get some clothes for the kids since they grow out of them so fast. We ended up finding a beach towel (since we swim a lot in the summer) and a sleeping bag with Spiderman on it for Joey. We found a bunch of clothes for Joey too which was nice. It seemed like a lot of it was picked over – perhaps because it was before Christmas.
When we got home we all relaxed for a little bit and then the mechanic called to say he was done with the van and it only needed a flush for the power steering fluid and only cost us $40. That was a huge relief! We thought it would cost a LOT more. Phew. At one point we thought we would have to replace the pump! The manual for our mini van does not have a maintenance schedule for the power steering. It just says take it in to be looked at if it starts to make noise. Isn’t that awful?
Tuesday we got up and my mom and dad had already left for work so we packed up the van and drove up to see Grandma K and Grandma Char. We got up there early. They were preparing dinner for Christmas.
Now keep in mind that we already had our family Christmas. This was Christmas number 2 with Joe’s family on his mother’s side.
We waited for Uncle Fred and Aunt Tamie and after waiting for a little while it was determined they would be late so we all sat down to eat dinner. We had homemade mashed potatoes, turkey, gravy, sweet potato dessert, corn and more. It was such a good early dinner/lunch. I don’t think the kids were that hungry as they didn’t eat much.
Soon after Uncle Fred and Aunt Tamie came with cousin Derek. They ate dinner and then we got ready to unwrap gifts as the kids could NOT wait.
The kids did great. They got two semi-truck car carrying cases that said Walmart (where Uncle Fred works) and Joey yells, ‘Look this says WALMART – THIS SAYS WALMART!’ We were all laughing. Joey can barely read but he can read the word walmart! Haha.
The other things the kids got were these electronic robots that fight each other, cash and a few other things that I can’t remember right now.
Joey got cash from Grandma Norma – a $5 bill and a $20 bill. Joey walked up to Grandma Norma (also known as Grandma K) holding the $20 bill and told her, “I like money with these numbers on it.’ That was so funny as we all died laughing when he said that so innocently! Don’t we all like money with 20s on it?
I got from Derek who had my name for the gift exchange some dish rags, a bunch of new spatulas, slotted spoons, spoons, etc for the kitchen and a can opener that makes a non-sharp edge on the can when you use it. Joe and I also got this backpack that is for coffee and has a stainless steel thermos and a bunch of cups. I really like it. I think I am going to nab the thermos for water at home!
Joe got socks (for his size 14 feet!), Weeds tv show on dvd and some money.
It was nice to see the entire family and the kids were happily playing with their new and old toys at Grandma’s house.
Later that evening it was decided we would do Christmas at Joe’s mom’s house. Joe’s mom went crazy on us this year.
I can’t even begin to say all what we got from his mom. Joey got a TON of DS games for his Nintendo DS and Joe got a DS so now he can play with Joey. Justin got a drum set (actually two sets) and sat right down at it (she had it setup) and he started to play like a natural. He’d hit the drums a few times, then do the foot pedal and then hit the cymbal.
Joe still had a bunch of his old star wars stuff from when he was a kid so Joe’s mom cleaned that off and gave that to Joey for Christmas.
Joe and I got a new knife as well (Cooks knife).
Joe got some cash, a new Tigers ornament and a ton other stuff I can’t remember.
The kids got a bunch of new Disney movies which would come in handy for the trip back home.
I got a ton of stuff. I got a hungry girl cookbook, The eat this not that book, a cold treats cookbook, a new shower curtain and towel set for my guest bathroom, a really nice jewelry organizer, a pop up laundry hamper, a nice wooden breadbox for our kitchen and so much more I can’t even remember it all!
The kids had a blast playing with all of their new toys. (This was Christmas #4).
Wednesday we relaxed. Joe and I went up to Walmart to go pick up a few things and I made two pumpkin rolls in advance for the Dziekan Christmas party on Friday.
That evening we went over Joe’s dad’s house for our Christmas there. We got a gift certificate from his step mom and dad and the boys got some games and cars and gift certificates.
Thursday we went over to Joe’s grandparent’s house on his dad’s side. We got there about 1 pm and ate dinner about 4pm and didn’t do gifts until about 6pm. The kids were asking constantly about doing the gifts as they were just so excited.
I got a pretty ornament and Joe got a Tiger’s ornament (we do a Christmas gift exchange for the adults). Joey got star wars figures from Grandma and Justin got 3 nice puzzles from Grandma which he insisted on putting together right then and there. Joey got a really nice star wars set from his cousin for the gift exchange and we think Justin’s gift was shipped to our house. It wasn’t under the tree and the neighbor told us that we have some boxes at the house from Target. (This was Christmas number 5).
Because of the impending ice storm for the next morning we left the Christmas party about 8 pm and headed to Grandma’s house to pack to go back to my mom’s. We said goodbye to everyone and really hated to leave!
At Grandma’s house we had to pack up all of our new stuff. Some of it was already packed from earlier but it seemed like we kept finding more and more stuff to pack. We got packed about 9 pm and said bye to Grandma K and Grandma Char and we were so sorry to leave. We missed all of them. Joe and I hate the leaving part. We know it’s going to be months again before we see everyone!
We arrived to my mom’s house without any really bad weather which was a relief since we heard it was raining near their house.
The next morning (Christmas morning) it was a relief to be at my parent’s house and not driving from Grandma’s like we normally do. It was an even bigger relief since the weather outside was snow/sleet and we made a good decision to come the evening before.
The kids were up around 8am and we were to wait for Greg and Audrey to come. We ate breakfast first and the kids wanted to open the presents so badly. Then Greg and Audrey came and had to eat breakfast and the kids were even more anxious by then. They couldn’t wait to rip those presents open!
The kids were so happy when we started to open the gifts. Joey was gracious about the clothes he got for Christmas but you can tell he wasn’t happy it wasn’t a toy. Joe and I both remember being like that when we were kids! My mom knit these really cute stuffed hedgehogs for the kids. They got a bunch of clothes and some sweaters my mom knit for them.
Joey got a bunch of star wars and star wars legos.
Justin got some puzzles and a tractor. He was actually not very happy most of his presents were clothes.
Joe got his golf card he wanted.
I got some socks, smooth away for your legs, the window washer as seen on tv thing, the Cook’s Country 2008 and 2009 books and a set of pots and pans.
Uncle Greg and Aunt Audrey cleaned up Greg’s old legos from when he was a kid and gave three boxes of legos to Joey and Justin for Christmas.
The big finale was at the end the present for Justin. We pushed it out of the back room. Justin was so excited that the big present was his. He ripped it open and low and behold Santa brought him the Scooby Doo Motorcycle that he wanted for Christmas.
Uncle Greg and Joe put together the motorcycle but it needed to charge for 16 hours so he could only sit on it the first day.
Later that evening we went to visit my dad’s side of the family. My dad is the oldest of 7 – 6 are living. 4 of the 6 were at the Christmas party. My dad’s parents both have Alzheimer’s disease so they were not at the party anymore. I guess my grandmother has medical issues making it almost impossible for her to leave the care facility and my grandfather, though in good health otherwise, does not remember anyone in the family anymore. He does not even remember my father – his first child. What an awful disease to have your health but not your memory!
We had a really nice time. I loved my Uncle Randy’s minpin little dog. It’s so cute. Santa came to visit the boys. They were so excited to see Santa come visit! Santa brought Joey a lego star wars set and Justin the cars movie cars set where Lightening McQueen was a blue lightening McQueen. Justin loves it!
The adults did a Christmas exchange as well. Everyone buys a $5 Christmas gift and wraps it and draws numbers and the person who is number 1 gets the first gift. The person #2 can take their gift or get a new gift. A gift can only be stolen up to 3 times and then can not be stolen anymore. This year the big gifts were small bottles of Captain Morgan and Sky Blue Vodka. My dad stole a bottle of Captain and I stole a bottle of Captain so Joe had two bottles of Captain when the gift exchange/stealing was done. We bought very nice chocolates and the person who ended up with them seemed very happy.
The day after Christmas my mother and I went shopping. We went to Michaels and got some new Christmas wrap and ribbon and I got a really nice new Christmas wreath for my front door for 60% off. I was very happy with that purchase.
Afterwards I went with my mother to Verizon as they wanted to switch to Verizon again for their phone service. It took about an hour since it was very busy but she walked out very happy with a new phone for her and a new phone for my father. She’s moving up in the world – she got a phone that has GPS navigation and weather! My dad kept calling his voicemail ‘email’. He’s so funny. I had to transfer all of their phone contacts to their new phones since we forgot to do the phone number transfers while we were there. That worked out well anyhow since there were some numbers that were old on both of their phones that did not need to be transferred over. Later that afternoon Joe and I escaped and left the kids with my parents and went to the movies to see New Moon. I already watched it once a month ago but it was Joe’s first viewing of the film. The movies were packed to the end. I couldn’t believe how busy it was. I guess the day after Christmas is a very big movie day because a lot of people are off work/school and have money to use. I also heard family is in town so people go to the movies to do something to get out of the house. One other thing I heard about it being so busy is that the movie companies wait until big holidays to release movies and there were a few new releases – Aavatar and Sherlock Holmes and those drew some pretty big crowds. Luckily the movie we went to watch was already a month old so it was not sold out or busy. We enjoyed going to see the movie together. It was nice to go out on a date. We had a gift certificate that was about to expire at the end of the month so we had to use it on this trip or lose the money on the card. We left the remainder of the money on the card with my mom and dad and hope they go and use it since they can go see a movie for free with what was left on it.
When we came home we started to pack up the van. We had to wait on some laundry that we were washing/drying as we needed to pack that in close to the beginning since the suitcases were large and then we usually pack around them. We usually keep out a bag of all of our clothes for our overnight hotel visit so we don’t have to bring in 4 suitcases – we only need one for all of us and that works really well.
We said our goodbyes to my dad that evening as he had to work first thing in the morning and would not be home when we got up to leave.
We got the kids to bed after their baths and then tried to pack up the rest of the van for tomorrow’s trip.
The next morning we woke up and ate breakfast and then packed up the rest of the van. There was still so much to pack up and take. I could tell Joe was getting stressed out trying to fit it all in the van. He finally got it all shoved in and packed.
We said goodbyes to my mom and then off we went. It was a pretty bad drive once we got into Indiana. We passed through snow storms and the roads were not that great. I actually drove most of the way so I was pretty stressed out. At one point a semi was drifting into my lane and I had to blow the horn AND drive on the shoulder until he got out of my lane. That pissed me off. Then I was trying to leave a reasonable amount of space between me and the next car since they kept hitting the brakes pretty hard on the snowy roads and I kept getting cut off. I was getting so pissed off. When I handed over the keys to Joe I was so done driving at that point I was nearly crying.
Luckily when we got near Illinois the weather cleared up and the roads got much better. By that time Joe was driving and I knew he was relieved as well. When we got to the hotel we checked in and then went to Fazoli’s for dinner. That was really nice. Everyone was able to get something they wanted. The kids both got spaghetti and Joe and I got pasta.
We agreed to do Christmas on the 12th this year because we were leaving town the 19th (the following Saturday) and we didn't want to take all of our Christmas gifts to the boys up north with us. We decided the Saturday before was perfect since it gave them a week to play with their new toys.
Justin and Joey getting a new Imaginext Castle
Joey and his new star wars dual light saber!
Justin getting a dragon for their castle (behind Joey).
I had no clue it was going to snow, which is a miracle considering I follow the weather like a maniac. I usually know what it's going to do all the time. This snow came out of the blue. I opened the front shutter and I was like WTH!!!!!!!
School wasn't canceled which I couldn't believe. All the snow melted by noon but it was quite a sight when we woke up. We had snow before Michigan did. What about that?