Finding the joy again

This is the first year in many when I haven’t felt completely overwhelmed by the idea of Christmas looming in the distance. There have always been elaborate check lists of things that need to be done, gifts that need to be purchased, events that need to be attended, etc. While we still have all of that, for some odd reason this year I am not stressed out about it. I’m not even really done with my Christmas shopping, but yet I haven’t put much energy into what is left outstanding on my lists.

I’m not sure what I did differently this year. I have started listening to Christmas music in the car, and I have been thoroughly enjoying watching the kids react to everything that is Christmas. I’m looking forward to my Mom arriving this Friday and even more so to having her around Christmas morning to watch the kids react to the completely overblown morning of opening presents and playing with new toys. I’m no longer looking at all things Christmas as an obligation, but rather as an exciting opportunity to witness pure joy from my kids.

I am not trying to have a perfect Christmas, but rather I am trying to enjoy Christmas. I will not be spending the entire Christmas day cooking in the kitchen for the house full of company we are expecting, but there will be good food to eat. We will not have a formal sit down dinner, because that is not what we enjoy. In fact the idea of a formal sit down dinner gives me chills and raises my heart rate, but the idea of people grabbing their own food and eating buffet style makes me happy. I think life is too short to suffer through a formal meal simply because it is what you think you should do. I also think it is a shame to miss all of the joy and excitement of Christmas because you need to cook a mountain of side dishes.

It is really nice to be anticipating Christmas rather than begrudging it. I hope this gift I’ve given myself lasts for the rest of my life. It is nice to be able to say that I like Christmas and really mean it.


It's a Jib Jab Life

Yes, I am wasting a bunch of time this fine morning.

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Snowball fight

I didn't spend too much time making the heads look right for this movie, but it is still pretty funny. Enjoy!

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The card

I decided to make Christmas cards after all. I spent the bulk of yesterday evening working on the outside photo portion, and then spent the bulk of tonight working on the inside. I think it turned out pretty well. T thinks that the inside verse is cheesy, but well he didn't make them so I'm discounting his opinion *pbbt*.

So I give you the oustide of the card (click to get a larger image):
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and the inside of the card:
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To card or not to card

T and I have been married for 10 years. We have sent out Christmas cards each and every one of those years. The first card was a photo card with a wedding picture of us on it. In the years after that and before we had kids I think there was one other photo card in the mix (a picture of us with our then dog). Since The Boy was born we have sent a photo card in some shape or form. I’ve made a few of the cards myself, taking a snapshot of The Boy and editing it to make it stand out in some way. The last two years I was organized enough to schedule photo shoots with a professional photographer, so we used cards from her. This year I haven’t given it much thought. I was living in bliss pretending that I wasn’t going to let the idea of Christmas cards haunt me, that we would just skip it this year. That was until I started getting Christmas cards in the mail.

Now I find myself daydreaming at work, wondering what fun idea I can come up with for homemade photo cards. I do have an ample supply of cardstock, and the 4x6 photo printer to draw from. I just need some inspiration. Sometimes I can just look through pictures of the kids and it will hit me, but not this year. I like making photo cards of the kids, but I can’t just send a random picture, I feel the need to show off my mad Photoshop skills. The card is a vehicle to show off my
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incredibly cute children, and to show that I do have some creativity crammed inside of my analytical head. So much self-imposed pressure wrapped up into a Christmas card *sigh*.

I asked T whether he cares if we send Christmas cards this year, and he answered with a resounding NO. I knew all along that the cards were my thing, but he confirmed it for me. Part of me does want to skip the whole rigmarole, but another part loves getting cards from friends and family and wants to keep up the tradition. I tend to get really wrapped up in my work, the house, the kids, T, and I forget to take the time to tend to my old friendships. Sometimes the card at Christmas is the only contact we have with some of our friends, and I guess I like holding onto the past. Even though life has changed and we’ve grown apart from some friends, I still do wish them well, and want to remember them around the holidays. I guess I’ve just answered for myself; to card it is…now to find some inspiration quickly.


Extended Calves

I've never liked that term. I am the proud owner of big old muscular calves. Even if managed to shrink from my current size 6 frame I would still be the proud owner of big old muscular calves. It is a blessing and a curse. For the most part I don't mind my calves, they are what they are, and I don't put much thought into wishing they were smaller. The one exception is when I see someone wearing big tall boots. I get a little twinge of envy. I start remembering the shopping trip with my two girlfriends to find me a pair of tall boots.
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I didn't buy any boots that day. I must have tried on at least 10 pairs of boots, but none of them fit over my monstrous calves. I was deflated. I wanted my slut boots, but the gods were telling me to go back home and forget about it.

Oh sure I could have just ordered a nice pair of Extended Calf boots, because at that point I couldn't find any such animal in the stores. I didn't want to buy boots by mail order, I wanted to try them on first. It was a huge buzz kill. I wanted those boots, was convinced I needed them, but was left with a horrible taste in my mouth when I couldn't find any that fit.

Now it is at least 6 or maybe 7 years later and I still don't have any slut boots. I still want some. I think I've gotten over the extended calf name now, and can live with the fact that I can't fit into normal boots. What I really want to know is do the rest of you really have calves that are so tiny??? I mean my calves aren't that big. Do you have trouble standing for long periods of time? I mean obviously I must need that chunk of muscle for something, so what is my genetic advantage doing for me? It must be an advantage right?


Angel on the treadmill

It is winter here in the frozen north. We've gotten enough snow this week that I have traded in my morning outdoor runs for morning treadmill runs. Truth be told I've been intermingling treadmill runs in my routine for about a month, because sometimes it is just too cold to run outside...and dark. I used to just settle for watching the local news while on the treadmill, it is okay but they repeat themselves every 15 minutes or so which gets old.

A while back I was flipping through channels and settled on Angel on TNT. I had one brief stint in time of watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, so I wasn't unfamiliar with Angel. I decided it was worth a shot, and now I am hooked. I now spend less time slurping my pre-run coffee and checking email because I want to get down to the treadmill so I can see more of Angel. It seems to be on at 5 AM and 6 AM each and every weekday morning. I typically catch the end of the 5 AM show, and the beginning of the 6 AM show. This is okay, but it leaves me with big blanks in the happenings of the show. Thankfully they do a good job of recapping previous shows at the beginning of episodes, but I still have to piece together many details. I also have to endure really long commercial breaks, which isn't ideal.

So what is a girl to do? I could buy Angel seasons on DVD, but I don't think I would want to watch them multiple times. I think the better solution is to get a netflix subscription so I can rent Angel seasons, and then other shows when I'm done with Angel...I should start with Buffy I suppose....Charmed looks interesting to fill this treadmill viewing need too. The other option would be to get a second DVR so I can watch recorded shows in the basement, so many choices to make and so much of my cheapness to set in and stop all of them...I predict more parts of shows with plenty of commercials in my future.


We interrupt this show

My kids lead very sheltered lives. They watch the majority of their TV shows from recordings on our DVR, PBS kids live, sometimes Playhouse Disney live, and very occasionally Noggin live. All of these formats share the common thread of no commercials during the actual shows. They all have their own little versions of commercials in between shows, but there are typically no show interruptions to contend with.

This holiday season we've been letting the kids watch Christmas special shows on Live network television, with *gasp* commercials. As soon as a commercial comes on The Girl screams "I don't like this show," and is quite upset, assuming we have changed the channel without her approval. The Boy has caught on, he used to protest similarly, now he just says "it's just a commercial."


Excuses, Who needs excuses?

I have been absent from this blog. I blame work. I blame the kids. I blame everything else in my life, oh and I blame myself. I have no good excuses, just the fact that work has stepped up to an entirely new level of busy in the past few months. I have very little downtime at work. I've had to stop (mostly) surfing my message board addictions, and forget about posting on them. After the kids are asleep for the night I find that I have no witty banter left in me, and I never feel much like just writing something for the sake of filling up space (no offence to all of you NoBloPo folks but frankly your posts every single frick'n day of November were not always up to your usual standards...not that I had time to read all of them). I decided that while everyone else was posting every day of November I would post very few days of November, you know to balance things out. Okay I didn't really think that through, but in hindsight it sounds probable.

I will try to post more this month, but I've also decided to try to make my default (meaning that I can do that distance on autopilot) 4 mile runs turn into default 5 mile runs this winter and if I have to pick one goal I think the running one will win.