Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
~Alfred Lord Tennyson, 1850

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Exactly What I Was Thinking

I did send Christmas cards this year (albeit fewer than in previous years) but, I admit, writing our family holiday letter seemed a bit difficult this year because I think most people know all there is to say.... We've got the website, the blog, and the Facebook accounts. So, when I read an article on Shine, I thought, "yeah, that's exactly what I was thinking." (I'm also thinking, "why can't I come up with this stuff on my own?")

I should be....

... doing a million other things to get ready for Christmas. I have done a few productive things this morning but I've just poured the last of the coffee from the pot and decided to sit down at the computer. Not the smartest move given my lengthy to-do list but what I am doing none-the-less. In perusing some of the blogs I have begun following I came across a poem that has really helped evoke some of my Christmas spirit. You can read it here if you'd like.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Thought for the day...

"Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense."

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

It's Almost Christmas

Our tree is finally decorated. I use the term 'decorated' loosely though since this year we only decorated the top of the tree in an attempt to keep baby and and miscellaneous cats from removing the ornaments. Our tree is also surrounded by a baby gate further detracting from it's appeal. At night, though, when the tree lights are on and the living room lights are off, it is still a pretty sight. Most of our Christmas decorations didn't even make it out of the basement this year (and believe me we have a lot of decorations in the basement) but we are slowly trying to find the Christmas spirit. We had a snow day yesterday with all three of us "stuck" inside together.
It is a pretty sight, looking out the window, and
we're hoping all this white will stick around for Christmas;
it's hard to believe it's only 3 days away!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

I'm too tired to be original...

At least that must be the case because instead of an original thought popping into my head, that I feel I really must write about, I'm instead reading other posts, articles, etc. that make me think hmmm... other people should read this. That's what happened when I read a recent blog post by Holly of Fussy Baby entitled Babies Are Boring. I could keep writing but that would be original. So just go read someone else's post.

Someone Else's Blog

Another blog I read linked to this post and I liked it:
Currents and Tides

Friday, December 19, 2008


This morning I was reading a blog post by Kirsty (Other Stories) entitled, "Why is 'feminist' such a dirty word?" and it got me thinking... how do I perceive the word feminist and those that claim to be one? I'm sure I've written papers on feminism in the past - I know I've written at least two on works by Camille Paglia so there had to be some discussion of feminism in there somewhere - but I guess I never really thought about whether or not I consider myself a feminist. I always sort of analyzed the subject of feminism from the outside looking in. If you were to ask me, any time prior to this morning, if I consider myself a feminist I think I would have answered, "no." After reading Kirsty's post, though, I believe I've changed my mind. I am a woman after all. I believe in women's rights. No, I don't feel I've been slighted or denied my own rights because I'm a woman but I certainly don't deny that it happens to others. So why is it that feminist holds such connotations? Why is it often seen as extreme for someone to claim they're a feminist? I think I am one; I just never knew it.

Monday, December 15, 2008

"Desired Things"

My parents had a plaque hanging next to our front door, for as long as I can remember, of the Desiderata - what I might call a poem about how to live life. (Although our plaque claimed that it was written by an anonymous author and found in an old church circa 1692, it turns out it was actually penned in 1929, in Indiana, by Max Ehrmann.) Shortly after my dad passed away, a friend, who had never been to my parents' home, gave me a gift of a plaque with the same saying. I now have both plaques and have my parents' version hanging next to our mudroom door. I walk past it numerous times each day but today I stopped to actually read it again. I thought it seems so appropriate to life right now:

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Blog Chain Letter

So there is an online/blog-version of a chain letter going around and I was tagged by Jenni.

Here's the tag:

1. Go to your sixth picture folder and find the sixth picture.

2. Pray you remember the details!

3. Post it on your blog.

This picture is Johnathan checking out the remote control at about 6.5 months old.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Yum, Yum, Yum!

I made this for dinner last night and it was great! On a side note, I realized part way through prepping that I did not have the can of condensed cheese soup so I substituted a bit more cheese and most of a can of Cream of Chicken soup. I would also recommend spraying the crock pot with cooking spray first; despite getting the can of Pam out as a reminder, I forgot to do this and had to soak the pot overnight and scrub it this morning.

Paula Deen's Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients:1 cup whole milk
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoon (1/2 stick) butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup sour cream
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed Cheddar cheese soup
3 eggs, beaten
2 1/2 cup (about 10-ounces) grated sharp Cheddar cheese
2 cup uncooked elbow macaroni (an 8 ounce box isn’t quite 2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Boil the macaroni in a 2 quart saucepan in plenty of water until tender, about 7 minutes. Drain. In a medium saucepan, mix butter and cheese. Stir until the cheese melts. In a slow cooker, combine cheese/butter mixture and add the eggs, sour cream, soup, salt, milk, mustard and pepper and stir well. Then add drained macaroni and stir again. Set the slow cooker on low setting and cook for 3 hours, stirring occasionally.

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Ease of Preparation: Easy

Recipe courtesy Paula Deen

My Grownup Christmas List


Thursday, December 11, 2008

My Favorite Holiday Memories

In no particular order (with a few links thrown in):
  • Getting up early the Saturday after Thanksgiving to go out for breakfast and then to pick out our tree at Dank's (sp?) Tree Farm. I loved that it was cold and I got to wear my gloves. We would search for the perfect tree then tag it to pick it up in a couple weeks. We'd go back around the second weekend of December to cut it down and enjoy some hot cider or cocoa and a little bit of Christmas Craft Shopping.
  • Christmas PJ's: Every year, on Christmas eve, I was allowed to open one gift before bed. You guessed it... it was always a new pair of pajamas. I plan to carry on this tradition for Johnathan.
  • Visiting Santa (even though I was always nervous and shy)
  • My Advent Calendars
  • Putting up Christmas lights with my dad
  • Skating in the various Christmas shows
  • The La Jolla Figure Skating Club Christmas parties... who else, but figure skaters, have a party before 6am?
  • Waking up Christmas morning and going to get my parents
  • Christmas dresses and patent leather shoes.
  • The Hotel Del with Angie (see previous post)
  • In Cahoots Christmas party
  • LJFSC Secret Santa
  • Watching the holiday decorations appear at the mall
  • Looking for Santa (and listening to the Santa Watch on 760 KFMB-AM radio)
  • John Ruff's Christmas party
  • Christmas Mass with my family
  • Later.... Midnight Mass that my friend Judy agreed to join me for.
  • Day-after-Thanksgiving shopping with Judy (and breakfast, too)
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  • Marching in the La Jolla Christmas Parade
  • Christmas on the Prado
  • Ice Rink at Horton Square
  • See's Candies Santa Boxes
  • Wrapping Presents
  • Christmas Music
  • San Diego Bay Parade of Lights
  • The Chipmunk's Christmas Special
  • Peanuts Christmas Special
  • Laura's Cookie Exchange
  • Christmas dinner (after Christmas) on Honeycutt.
  • Watching the Hollywood Christmas Parade on TV
  • Our family's New Year's Eve pajama party complete with appetizers, hats, and noise makers.
  • Skating on "dead ice" on Christmas eve until the wee hours
  • Christmas eve dinner with friends followed by a trip to In Cahoots
  • Y2K at Bamburgh
  • First Christmas with Mike
  • First "married" Christmas
  • Johnathan's First Christmas
  • Looking forward to the first Christmas Johnathan will actually enjoy (this year)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

What if?

What if you could do more to help various charities? Would you?

I was reading an article about a small boy struggling to overcome a cancer that, upon his diagnosis, had very limited treatment options. The boys parents decided to do something about the lack of funding for research of childrens cancers and founded Cookies For Kids Cancer which raised over $400,000 with its first bake sale. The article has a footnote for how to have your own cookie sale or how to order from their site to give as gifts. It got me thinking....

Every year, my husband and I say we wish we could donate more to various charities and causes that are important to us. Financially, we just can't give as much as we would like. As we are quickly approaching Christmas, and the gift-giving season is well under way, I wonder: what if we were to purchase gifts only from these charity sites? We could continue to give gifts to the family and friends on our lists while, at the same time, supporting important charities. Do you think it might work? Even a few gift would help I think.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Christmas at the Del

Hotel Del Coronado
Originally uploaded by FrogMiller

I've been retrospective about the holidays lately. Perhaps motherhood does that to one. You begin to reminisce about all the things you did while you were growing up. More recently, I remember going to the Hotel Del with friends to see the amazing tree, have a Christmas drink and listen to some wonderful music in the lounge (this prompted my search for the attached photo). It figures that AFTER I leave San Diego that they add an ice rink to their holiday celebrations.

Stay tuned for more holiday memories....

See more: Holidays at the Hotel Del Coronado

What would you ask Santa for?

I'm stealing this topic from Turtle:

Dear Santa,
Please help the families who are missing their babies this year to be able to find some comfort and joy during this holiday season.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

One Year

Today was Johnathan's first birthday. I'm so excited for him and also a little bit sad. People have always said, "it goes so fast" but I really had no clue exactly how fast it really does go. It seems like we just brought him home from the hospital. It was a snowy day today; similar to the day he was born. As I'm glancing at the clock right now, I realize it would be just a bit more than an hour before he was born at 11:37pm. What a long day that was.....

He had us (ok me) up at around 4 am. We were checked into the hospital around 7:30am and, only about 16 hours after that, he finally made his entrance into the world. Crying and pooping. Some things never change. :-)

A year full of firsts...

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Time for Good Cheer?

It's December 1st. The holiday music has been playing on the radio for several weeks already and the biggest shopping weekend of the year has come and gone. People are getting ready for the holiday when Christians celebrate the birth of their Savior and family and friends share good tidings and cheer (isn't that the way some song goes??). So why is it that shopping for this holiday has gone from fun and cheerful to absolutely horrible? I made a quick trip to Target today to pick up a few things for Johnathan's party. It truly amazes me how rude people can be; how they seem to think there is no one in the store but themselves. Can giving really feel good when you're that uh, rude, when you're shopping for gifts to give? I used to LOVE holiday shopping; it put me in a cheery mood and officially kicked off my holidays (yes, the day after Thanksgiving). Of course, back then, it used to be the first time of the season that Christmas music was played and the holiday decorations hadn't been out since October. Probably close to ten years ago I was at Thrifty drugstore in mid-November, holiday decorations just beginning to hit the shelves, when I heard a toddler ask his mother, "why are we skipping Thanksgiving this year?" It struck me then and I've remembered it every year since. I'm all for planning early, and not waiting until the last minute but c'mon....

This year I'm determined to remember how fun it is to get ready for Christmas. Fun because you're spending time with family and friends, listening to Christmas Carols, and most important (for me) celebrating Advent in preparation for the true reason for the season. Perhaps I should take more advantage of technology and visit the cyber malls where I can shop from the cozy comfort of my home, while enjoying my family, my favorite holiday music, and maybe even a delicious cup of hot cocoa.

Side Note: How much is a bargain worth?