Friday, December 29, 2006


The theme over at Mama Says Om this week is Family.
Family is getting to know your cousin better by trying to put her head in your mouth.

What's this?

Have you ever been in a good relationship with someone and have them do something non-climatic and suddenly flashback to a previous relationship and the way things were horrible and not be able to stop yourself from becoming either ragingly mad, moderately bitter, or pitifully scared? Have you ever done that?

Perhaps someone will call you and tell you about the plans they are making with someone and you'll flash back to how someone else used to do that and how it lead to them ultimately abandoning you and forcing you to break ties with their friendship and you will suddenly become fully aware of your own insecurities and wonder if you will have to walk the same path with this person. Then it gets akward...the silence crawls in and the night takes over your thoughts, parnoid and alone. You think about it too much. You want to scream and cry.

That's the enemy. That's satan in your head doing his best to make you doubt that you are whole. Are you good enough for them? Will they hurt you? Will they abandon you? Remember what it was like before, he whispers. Take caution and push away he silently urges. But then somewhere in the retreat in your head you can still see the glimpse of reality.

Small but pure the hope of something pure and better can pull you through. Talk it out. Pull yourself towards it with all that is in you. Find strength in it's dim light for the closer you get to the light the smaller the shadows will appear. Don't let it win.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Thursday 13- Mini Resolutions

Thirteen Things about Allie

1. Become more physically active.
I'm at the least physically active that I've ever been. So this is about getting up and doing something more often.

2. Make a conscience effort to be affectionate in a less playful manner.
Just because I think pillow fights, tickling and pretending to bite someone is funny sometimes, doesn't mean my hubby does.

3. Make and stick to a budget for 2007.
This will be a hard one due to the fact that we're starting off a little behind in 2007 and we're going on vacation as soon as the year starts but it's worth a try.

4. Dinner at home 4 nights a week minimum.
Lately we seem to be eating out a decent amount. While that's not too bad tasting it's definitely not good on the budget.

5. Monitor my fertility.
I swore I'd never be one of those women with the thermometer and the calendar but my Dr seems to think it's a good idea so we're off the land of charts and calendars for 2007.

6. Girls Night Out.
Time to work a girl’s night out on to my calendar for once a month. Probably to co-inside with a boys night in of some sort (or out).

7. All things in Moderation.
Like food, chocolate, Pepsi and butter. Yea, you know it. This is the diet number.

8. Constant Diligence.
Pray every day. Simple as it sounds, hard as it may be. Be more like Christ. Try harder.

9. Don't put it off until it's too late.
Every year I talk about scrap booking and making a family cookbook for people for Christmas. Then I put it off for 12 months. Then it's too late. Then I swear to do it next year. This year... I'm doing NOW.

10. Keeping in touch.
I was really bad last year about keeping up with my friends and family. Sure, I emailed a lot. But I mean calling and stopping by more than once a month. So this year I'm going to try to get the family circle back into a circle.

11. Putting my best foot forward.
I don't mean to sound vain because I know I'm not a pretty girly girl. But I used to be a done up girl. I mean I used to look kempt and professional. Ah...the good old days. It's time to get into some up to date clothing and get my hair and nails done. Don't you think?

12. Rising to the challenge.
This one is all about succeeding at work where I just took a new job. Passing the tests & making the difference. Changing the world.

13. Being real.
I had this on my last list in another form called "no game face". I seem to be growing a new game face for the same old reason. Bye bye game face.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Year In Review

You know you have hit a whole new level of pathetic posting when you are willing to cop out with a year in review post so that you can catch up on things at work instead of taking a real lunch break and posting a real blog. Sigh. Oh well... it's the best I have time for so while you try to contain your excitement I'm going to start posting...

2005 ended with me looking for a homeless man with several people my age in the rainy darkness of New Year's Eve in San Diego. We found him. We made a small non- memorable dent in a homeless ridden part of the country. It felt good but it was humbling. So January was spent in much the same way. I volunteered a lot at my church (Monte Vista Chapel) in the baby nursery and with some of the groups that I was active in at time.

For Valentine's Day the hubby (previously known as the boy in the rain) gave me a kiss. A kiss, I had said he could not have unless we were officially out in the open tell the world dating because we had been "closet dating" and hanging out for quite awhile without letting on how serious or not serious it was at any given time. I'd known for a while that he was the one. But him, he was stubborn. It took him longer and up until that kiss I was just a sitting duck.

March 28th is my birthday. I know you all want to write that down so you can send presents.I moved into my house and then last year for my birthday Hubby and I went to Disneyland. It was supposed to be Hubby, myself and 6 or so of my closest friends. They all bailed. So is life. So we went without them. It was the best 4 days of my year. We laughed, we played, he skipped in public, I wore stupid hats. There are almost 200 pictures from 4 days (including travel). It was AWESOME!

It wasn't long after Disneyland before Hubby and I knew we were "old married people". Everyone talked to us like we had been dating forever. We knew each other inside out and it was just RIGHT. So right in fact that Hubby asked me to marry him one night in casual conversation and the next morning (it's good to sleep on these things) I said yes. We set the date in Sept mainly based on the fact that we wanted around a 6 month engagement.

May was filled with wedding plans, fittings, bookings, food planning, invitation printing. Premartial counceling prep etc etc etc. I also coordinated a wedding in May for my BIL3 & SIL3 because their wedding coordinator went into labor on the day of their wedding (I used to coordinate weddings for a living). So May brought their rehearsal dinner, wedding and my nephew was born to BIL & SIL who was born on BIL birthday.

June was a busy month. Work was busy and it was the throws of summer. We spent a lot of time with friends this summer. We attended swimming parties, back yard BBQs and more than one impromtu board game or movie night at my house. Highlights from June include a lot of time spent in my bathing suit & the engagement announcement BBQ that the hubby and I held at our house.

4th of July we went to an awesome BBQ with friends and then watched the fireworks from the local college along side the road. After helping someone find their lost keys in the grass we went back to my place to play with sparklers and set off some ground fireworks of our own. July also had some great moments including a board game night at our house and time spent with family.

Hubby's birthday is in August. Again...write it down...send giftcards that's all he really wants anyhow. For his birthday I planned a weekend long trip to Humboldt which is where he went to college to visit all of his favorite spots including having some great BBQ and going to the Finnish Hot Tubs. Three days trapped in the car together with 7 people proved exhausting but Hubby loved the trip and I'm still glad we went. The end of August & beginning of Sept. was also both of our Bachlor/Bachlorette parties (his was a camping trip to Yosemite and mine was a road trip to Capitola), my bridal shower (thrown by SIL) & my SIL2's baby shower.

September 8th we were married. Officially the little Mr & Mrs we went on our honeymoon to South Lake Tahoe and enjoyed the perks of being married. With Hubby all moved in we quickly found out that I got pregnant on our honeymoon (hey it's easy to tell when you can't hold down food) and we marveled at how easy it actually was to get pregnant despite knowing I had fertility issues. Then it was back to work because financially getting married was a big burden and we wanted to get caught back up.

I miscarried in October. It was a horrible month filled with tears, disappointment, and doctor's appointments. Infertility became an obvious foe and we started dealing with prayer circles, horomone spikes and pitches and my inability to forgive people for being insensitive despite saying they were my closest friends. We canceled a lot of plans and tried to spend more quiet one-on-one time in October. But with that tragety there was also a gift or two...a return of an old friend which I had missed very much and the birth of our niece.

Just like everyone else we spent a lot of November focused on Thanksgiving. This was our first Thanksgiving as a married couple. Since October we have become very VERY very close to my BIL & SIL and my nephew. We spent a lot of November with them. We enjoyed Thanksgiving spent with my Mother in law (MOM2) and Hubby's side of the family. Our renewed ties with family in our time of loss was probably the thing we were most thankful for this year.

Our first Christmas was marked by a December calendar with plans on every single day. There was the Women's Ministry event at church with Judy Howard Peterson, Christmas Tree Lane, our Back in the day party, Christmas eve at MOM2's and Christmas day at our house. All in all, I think we couldn't have had a more better first Christmas. There was a unique mix of both sides of the family, we had a few glimpses of private time, friends came to laugh and play board games and we didn't get into any major disagreements about how Christmas Traditions would be.

So 2007, hit me with your best shot because after a few days off for the holidays I'm feeling very ready for you.

Till Next Time

Thursday I plan on posting the 13 things I intend to improve about myself in 2007. New Year's resolutions aren't really my thing so it's more like a To-do list for life. But until Thursday my life has a different sort of To Do List. It's a personal greedy little list and it looks something like this...

Remove all signs of Christmas from my house. You see I love Christmas and I normally leave it all over my house in various forms till the first week in January but the Hubby and I are going to South Carolina the first week in January to visit his family so I want it all put away before we come back.

Return, rebuy and respond in thanks. Today is the day I return the things that don't fit (like bras one size to small and pjs that won't fit on round chunky bottom) and I get new bras, better pjs and hopefully some new jeans with my ample bounty of gift cards. Then I send thank you emails. Because I don't have time to send cards this year.

Dishes, floors, cars & clothes. Clean up is my least favorite part of anything so I'll be happy when it's all finally caught back up around here.

Wonder about pee sticks. I thought I wouldn't have time to play with my boy in the rain but between church and family sometimes a little opportunity presents itself and now we get to wonder if it's really working.

Happy Birthday Wife of the Canadian. I need to send a friend some flowers. It's her birthday. Happy Birthday to her.

Lay around in a pile of sloth and gluttony. Last chance to binge eat and lay around in my pjs watching my new DVD's before I start packing for vacation and moving around furniture for my friend Pickles to move in the back bedroom for awhile. Ahhh gluttony and sloth. I heart thee tonight.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Twas the Day After Christmas

And all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even the toy mouse. The cat she was slipping on my new clothes with care, in hopes that small children would not be running every where.

It's over. We made it. We did it. We survived. We still love each other. It was fun. Everyone liked it. I'm relieved. You see, the thing I worry about most at Christmas is that the Hubby and I will turn into those people who fight over something stupid like who has to take out the trash or what color the twinkling lights should be this year. But it didn't happen. And it had lot's of ways to happen. So we're good to go. Would you like a recap?

Friday I got off work early. When I got home BIL and hubby were playing Tekken Tag. Hubby went to work and BIL went home. Batman was still Christmas shopping so he picked me up and we went to Borders, Target, Starbucks, the Movies (to get gift certificates) and then to pick up dinner. Then BIL and Batman brought over all their presents and I wrapped and I wrapped and then Pickles came over and there was WWE watching and napping on the couch. Then we watched the Full House season she got for Christmas. We stayed up late. Everyone went home.

Saturday we got up late. There was Christmas prep to be done. House stuff to clean. Tables to pick up and set up in the livingroom. Then BIL and Hubby and George played games for a long long time. Then SIL (BIL's wife) came over with the Monkey Baby (otherwise known as cutest nephew ever) and we put him to bed and played a few rounds of the card game Munchkin. We stayed up late, opened our Christmas presents. It was good. Real good.

Sunday was Christmas eve service at our church. BIL, SIL, Mom2 (Hubby's mom), SIL2 (Hubby's other sister), Pickles, The Monkey Baby and the Frog Baby (otherwise known as the neice who just learned to hold her head up) all went together. Then Hubby and I went to Perko's for Breakfast. We came home did some more prep stuff. Ran by starbucks to get a coffee and then went to Mom2's to spend Christmas eve with the Inlaws (mentioned above plus 2 more people). There was food. There were gifts. Babies cried. People laughed. It was good. Real good. We went home early (10ish) because I needed to prepare for Monday.

Monday was MERRY CHRISTMAS! I got up at 7:30 made a turkey and all the fixings and people came over starting at about noon. We ate at 2 right on time. Some more gifts were exchanged and then people hung out most of the day. We took down the tables and put back the couch. Around 6:30 we played some board games like Mad Gabs and Trivial Pursuit 90's. It was good. Real good.

We went to bed with all the love in our hearts, joy in our souls and tired feet. It was good. Real good.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Acting Like Grown Men

I am on day 3 of WWE wrestling video game yelling, cable movie channel flipping, junk food eating little boys... in the shape of grown men. Batman, Hubby and the Brother in Law (a.k.a. the BIL) have been hanging out for a few days now. Yesterday BIL & Batman even hung out while the Hubby was at work and I wrapped Christmas presents for them. Then Pickles came over and we all had a grand old time watching Mary Poppins, the WWE, and last but not least the 2nd season of Full House. We're grown adults...really we are... we'll prove it to you... next Wednesday at work.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Thursday Thirteen #72

Thirteen Things about Allie @ Christmas
1. I'm rather smug about the fact that I'm completely done preparing for Christmas, gifts are wrapped and food is purchased.
2. My favorite Christmas ornament used to be my Grinch ornament but this year I got an Our First Christmas Ornament that knocked it out of first place.
3. The only time I've ever tried to snow board I broke my tailbone so instead I love to go to the snow and have a snowball fight while everyone else is speeding down the slopes.
4. My favorite Christmas song is "Baby It's Cold Outside" but my favorite Christmas Carol is "O Holy Night"
5. I used to make my own hot chocolate and marshmallows for Christmas gifts to other people, the year I switched to store bought gifts no one noticed...5 years later people started asking about it.
6. I have a really hard time making my Christmas list now that I am Christian because I feel very guilty about telling people how to show their love for me. This means that usually I like the presents that I get that aren't on my list MUCH more than the one's I've asked for.
7. I bought Christmas stockings this year for Children I do not have yet so that they will match the set that I got for myself and the Hubby
8. I usually buy my Christmas tree right after Thanksgiving. This year it was too close to the heating vent and we had to replace it last week.
9. I want a puppy from Santa Claus but I can't have one because I live in a rental.
10. My least favorite part of Christmas dinner prep is peeling things. Usually I try to get someone else to do that part.
11. My favorite thing at Christmas dinner is the Cranberry Relish that my Aunt Penny taught me to make when I was 11.
12. One year I got more presents from my extended family than my parents could fit in the car. I decided that year that when I grew up I'd limit my kids to 3 presents from me. I was 12.
13. This is my first Thursday Thirteen. I'm super excited about it.
Links to other Thursday Thirteens!1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)
Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006


The theme this week over at Mama says Om is traditions. Most of you have already read my post on Christmas Traditions which can be found here. I've spoken out about what Christmas is to me quite a bit in the last month. So I'm going to talk about a whole new sort of tradition. That tradition of setting yourself up for failure, also known as, the new years resolution.

See my traditional New Years Resolution used to be things like lose weight, find the perfect guy, pay off all my bills. Notice anything strange about that list? Like the fact that one of them is something you have no control over and the other two are things that require a long term commitment and plan. Yep- destined failure.

Last year, I had made a 6 month pact with myself not to do several things, or to work on several things. It was awesome. Knowing that I could always stop at the end of the 6th month mark helped me a lot. I actually successfully did most of the things on the list. Being as the list was still a work in progress when New Year came around I didn't make a resolution. I already had a list of over 20 things.

Thus my new tradition. The 6th month bargain with myself. I just recently started thinking of another list of 20 things that would make me a better, healthier, happier, closer to God sort of person. It's not done yet...a work in progress and I figure this time I'll actual start on Jan 1. Although I might make it my first Thursday Thirteen tomorrow... just for giggles.

How many times do you have to do something before it's a tradition? I've never missed a Christmas parade in my home town and it's been 27 years but this second year with "The List" seems like a much bigger deal. Keep checking back in and I promise to put up my list when it's done.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Gnashing of Teeth

I have my own personal hell. It's snappy, gnashy and every person has a one liner they feel obligated to get in. I've been there. But not lately.

This weekend I spent in a different kind of place. My little heaven on earth. My solitude got a reprieve in the form of some of our friends G & J. No not Gin and Juice. People. I'll call one Batman and the other one Pickles. So Batman and Pickles spent the weekend. I laughed so hard that I cried. I loved it.

Pickles brings out the best in me. She makes me silly. She makes me love well. She makes me play air piano while Batman plays air guitar and my husband plays air drums and she dances like a ballerina the whole time to the Trans Siberian Orchestra. She catchs me off guard and she makes me feel that it's ok to be a dork. She's aDORKable. And I heart her.

Batman is my hero in the shadows. The kind of guy that makes me proud. I'm proud to be friends with someone who is so selfless in his ability to help others. He is the hero of friendship. He moves heavy objects without so much as a whimper of complaint. He drives to the far ends of the earth to save you from the things that hide under the bed at night. He has a baseball bat and he's willing to use it. But when he doesn't have on his hero outfit he's just a guy, a video game playing, board game competing hell of a great guy.

Combine those two great people with the Hubby. That man that makes my soul feel like it doesn't need to search. The man who's willing to build furniture with a moments notice and move every shelf in the house so that there is room for my whimsical love of redecorating the room...again. The boy who stood with me in the rain turned into such a brilliant man. A man who would let someone move in to feel safe one moment and who would do the dance from Grease lightening to make them laugh a second later.

It was an awesome weekend. It was a brilliant show of laughter, life and love. And there I was... a part of it but not responsible for it. It was beautiful.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Back in the Day Party...

So last night was our back in the day party. At any given time we had between 7 and 13 people here (not including us and babies). It was a blast. We played board games, watched Christmas movies and ate a lot of really great food.

My nephew who had been here the night before and my neice who came for awhile and then went to Grandma's house both got their fair share of time as the center of attention. Their childhood is very similar to mine in that every aunt and uncle is VERY involved with them and they get A LOT of attention. Which is good. Because we're learning to hold up heads and to crawl now but later in life when the lessons get harder they will already have that foundation of trust.

So I'm done for a little over a week. Then it will be Christmas day and I'll be cooking again. I love making ham so I'm excited about that. There will also be turkey, two kinds of stuffing, 3 kinds of veggies and some deviled eggs and home made rolls/bread. I heart food. I can't wait.

All the food around here has me thinking about New Year resolutions. Have you thought about yours yet?

Friday, December 15, 2006

Joy (day whatever it is)

The pillow fight.


So it's time for Frankly Friday which is the point in the week where I acknowledge a great thing and a crappy thing from the week before as well as something I learned this week. It's a good way to keep the work week in perspective before moving on to the fun filled weekend. I was a slacker last week and I didn't post one. You people need to keep me on my toes.

Friday Fab- This week I was bless need with a lot of time with my neice and nephew. I'm watching my nephew (otherwise known as the cutest baby ever) again tonight. Overnight. It should be a blast. He's so stinking cute. He's starting to crawl. It's adorable.

Friday Flop- Work this week was a pain in the neck. Especially Tuesday when I had to drive to at training in the rain. That was totally not worth it.

Friday Fact-"An apple, potato, and onion all taste the same if you eat them with your nose plugged. " I found a site this week which gives you random facts. That was one of them. I've been amusing myself all week with things like "45.2% of people pee in the shower. " and "In Holland, you can be fined for not using a shopping basket at a grocery store! "

The MeMe I stole from Cheryl

Things You May Not Know About Me:

My hubby won’t play games of backgammon with me anymore. When I was young my parents played backgammon almost every night while they watched TV. I got really good at it. He hasn’t won a game. He hasn’t even gotten close. So he quit. I’m rather smug about it.
I love to cook and I’m good at it. I read cookbooks like novels, front cover to back page. I combine things from multiple recipes to make my own when I’m bored and the budget has groove room. If I’m freaked out about something, I usually cook.
I was born without an appendix. It’s just not there. When I was in high school I had to have some medical testing done. They thought it had ruptured. Upon closer investigation it was determined that I never had one.
I have a Southern accent when I’ve had too much to drink or when I need to butter someone up to get something free or sometimes just when I am really relaxed. My grandmother and I spent a lot of time together when I was learning to talk and it’s very natural for me to slip into her southern accent even though I was born and raised in California. It confuses people often and they ask where I am from.

Things I want to do before I die (in random order):

Make a difference in the life of a child.
Travel the world with my husband.
Master the bane art of baking.
Pay off all my debt and own my own home.
Become a published author.

Things I cannot do:

Make Cornbread (it’s a long story).
Break Dance.
Teleport…despite popular belief I don’t splice either.
Not plan. I can’t just do something. I need a plan.
Watch sitcom television.

Things I can do:

Multi-task while entertaining small children.
Cook for 50 people without breaking a sweat.
My job extremely well.
Talk to just about anyone regarding just about anything and have them enjoy it.

Things I love about my Husband:

His kindness towards others.
His competitive nature.
His patience and laid back attitude.
His love of his family, especially when he’s playing with his niece and nephew.

Things I say most often:

I love you.
Sarah knock it off!! (that’s my cat)
I know.
thingy… as in that thingy over there on top of the thingy that makes our thingy change the channels.

Movies I love:

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
Holiday Inn
American Outlaw
The Harry Potter Movies

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Me & Hannah

Sometimes a bible story hits a little too close to home. Sometimes you can't relate to something at all. Sometimes you sit and think about a particular story over and over and over. Sometimes you wonder if you will ever get to feel something that a character in the bible has felt.

For me that sometimes is Hannah. Hannah was barren. She prayed to the Lord and the Lord after many, MANY, many years made Hannah a mother to the prophet Samuel. When her child was born Hannah promised to raise him to rejoice in the Lord and she cried out in thanks and rejoicing...

1 Samuel 2:1 Then Hannah prayed and said: "My heart rejoices in the LORD; in the LORD my horn is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance."

Hannah had been criticized by her family, she had be criticized by her friends and she had been criticized by her community for inability to have a baby. In the bible Hannah got snide comments from people showing her just how low they thought she was because she could not concieve. I wonder sometimes how much Hannah would have rejoiced if the attacks she felt weren't so obvious. I wonder if she would have rejoiced as loud.

But I know the answer. I can relate. I'm less than 3 months into my own fertility battle and I know exactly how much Hannah is longing for a baby of her own. I can feel in my heart how even the smallest non-caring comment can rattle a person down to the depth of their being. I can understand how sometimes her faith must have seemed unstable and her will to want seemed to push her will to follow God.

I can hear the things not written in this bible passage. I can hear the voices in her head that tell her to do whatever it takes battling with the voices that tell her to trust in the Lord and follow his will. I can feel the tears that she tries to hide everytime she thinks it's time for a baby and it's not. I can understand that anxiety that comes with knowing that your husband is there for you but that he can't feel what your feeling. And I wonder... will others hear my voice when I rejoice or will they hear all the things I was too weak to admit before.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Christmas Traditions

When you are little Christmas is easy. You go to bed late and when you wake up Santa has left you an overwhelming wealth of presents and happiness. There is great food. People to play with and everything is cloaked in the magic of the season. Then one day... you aren't little anymore.

Sometime after the origin of the Santa gifts becomes less magical and after you realize someone has to do the dishes there are a few years of akward familiarness. The few years when you are too old to see the glitter on the fireplace as enchanting and too young to be a slave to commercialism and the demands of others.

Later when you realize that it's your year to make the turkey or your turn to stay up till 2 am to help an Elf make a bicycle. Suddenly, it's not so magical. Christmas becomes work.

Shopping used to be fun. Then you grow up and you see long lines, high prices, an ever growing list of children and in-laws and that overwhelming feeling that you will never be done wrapping. Too much paper, not enough scotch tape and at least one misguided swear word later you start to promise yourself that next year will be different. Next year you will not go into debt, next year you will do more for others in need. Next year you won't be miserable. By next year... you forget.

Cooking christmas cookies and helping grandma make a pie used to be exciting and involked the passion of the season. By the time you're in your teens the coolness of frosting bags and little sprinkles is replaced by that feeling that there are better things that could be done with your time. As an adult you reinstate that same cookie cutter and recipe thinking that the traditions of christmas will be filled with joy again if only you could get some caroles on and get the kids to paint the perfect snowflake or build an adorable gingerbread house.

Christmas day itself has been moved from whimsical displays of love and kindness to a day filled with grunting as you lug around a 20 pound bird filled with 10 pounds of stuffing and wonder why everyone vanishes when it's time to peel 10 pounds of potatos and 5 pounds of carrots. Christmas is work. You sweat and you labor and you wish it was someone else's job.

The traditions of Christmas evolve from this. The things we tell ourselves MUST be done. The things we think will make Christmas magical for our children and enjoyable for our relatives are the things that make us...and usually them... miserable.

A few years ago I decided to take a new approach to Christmas. After the passing away of all the family matriarchs I found a lot of freedom in not being told what to do. Not that I don't miss them, I really really miss them. But I started to Pollyanna effect the holidays. Examples...

Christmas trees and lights. I love to decorate but my childhood was filled with "NO the Nativity HAS to go on the MANTEL" memories. So when I decorate now I put whatever, where-ever. People love it. My house is welcoming and filled with the decorations of the season. But it isn't overwhelming. It isn't everywhere. Maybe just a little bit in each room. And it packs down into two nice little tubs in the shed. I don't dread putting it up because I can get it all done in less than a day and I don't dread pulling it down because I know how fast it went up and things always come down easier than they go up.

Stuff the Stockings & Gifts Galore. I replaced this practice with a simple rule. Two gifts per person. One nice. One small. MAXIMUM. Sometimes you only get one gift. Hey I don't have a quota. The only exception is the Hubby. He and I have a dollar limit. And as for the stockings. Two or three small things and a few pieces of candy is more than enough guilty workout motivation from Santa. When I have kids...Santa will be bringing one unwrapped toy to go with that stocking. Period. I wrap as I buy too. I buy wrapping paper on the first trip and NOTHING gets stored in the house without being wrapped. I also give people gifts they could use before Christmas. Like toddler toys, or SPA gift certificates because there is something to be said for giving people the option to be happy throughout the month of December with your gift.

I replaced Twas the Night Before Christmas with the Book of Luke last year. It helps us keep our focus. I don't put out the Nativity till the night before Christmas because Mary and Joseph did NOT spend all of December praying in the hay. It also makes the Nativity more of a center piece for the kids who come over. It's not drowned out by the tree. It's new. It's important.

Baking is my bane. I'm not a great baker. I used to cater. I can cook you every meal you can imagine but I just don't like to bake. I don't get joy from being covered in flour. I don't feel excited when I give or get a box of cookies. I just don't get it. If you get it...that's each their own... but I don't get it. So I bake the things I like to eat. I make one batch each of fudge, peanut butter fudge and my few favorite types of cookies. Then I put them on the table and people eat them. I don't wrap them in pretty things, I don't decorate them. They are edible. I consume them.

Parties are my thing. I don't stress out. I like to plan. I LOVE to cook. I love themes. I also like things that don't require much work. I have one christmas party every year. I ask people to come in their pjs. I don't allow cameras. I call it the Back in the Day Party. I make things we like to eat when we are five (mac & cheese, hot dogs, pizza bites, tater tots etc) and we all watch Christmas movies and sometimes we play board games. I make people bring 1 dozen cookies or a dessert of their choice. Store bought is ok. That way I don't have to bake and they don't have to try very hard. The party is all day long. It is come and go as you please. People love it. You can bring your kids. It's SUPER easy!!

I stopped going to Christmas pagents, festivals and parties unless I actually want to go to them. You would be amazed at how much more I like the holidays now that I'm not forced to watch other people's kids do boring things or sit through yet another couples dinner party. Granted once I have kids of my own I'll be back in the kids event circle but for now I'm taking a vacation.

I also stopped doing Christmas cards. Instead I call people. All 40 of them. I call them and talk to them for 15-20 minutes each over the month of December. Then I put the $40.00 bucks I would have spent on cards in the offering plate at church. The thing is, most of the people who get a Christmas card I see ALL THE TIME. I mean daily at work, once a week at church, once a month at a family gather, randomly for friends. They don't need a newsletter and I can give them something better than a personalized sentence in the bottom of a photo card. I can give them a moment of my time to talk, laugh or vent.

In fact the only Christmas tradition I'm holding on to is Christmas dinner. My family was very interactive when I was little. We had advent calendars, big decorations, huge parties and large piles of presents. But the thing I cherished most was Christmas dinner. I love the food. I love the stories and I love fact that people are all together. I do it a little differently every year. But the basics stay the same. Everyone comes, everyone laughs, everyone eats and everyone loves. Turkey is optional, side dishes sometimes flop, once someone even had too much to drink and passed out before the food was served. But you can't go wrong with the tradition of being a family. After all, wasn't that what the very first moment of the very first Christmas was about?

Luke 2:6-7 "While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn."

So I want to know what your Christmas Traditions are. What brings your family joy during this time of year? Tell me in the comments or put a link to your blog and I'll come read them. What traditions have you stopped doing, which ones do you cherish, what are you hoping to add to the line up.... what parts of Christmas matter most to you?

The Realization of Joy (Day 10)

I think one of the most powerful things that ever happened to me was the moment I discovered that I was worthy of God's grace. There was this great moment of powerful joy. For a long time I thought that happiness was in knowing the Lord. As I have grown as a Christian I have come to the realization that I don't know the Lord very well at all and that I will always be in a search to know him better. This has lead me to ask what that feeling of Joy was. I have now come to the unprofessional opinion that the specific type of Joy that I felt was the realization of self worth. Realizing that you deserve joy is very powerful. Until that moment that you have it you might always feel that you're not quite doing it right or that you don't deserve anything better or that you are doomed to fail. But in one moment you can discover that Joy is something of great value and while other people can inspire it you are responsible for finding it in yourself and using it to inspire others. Realizing that you are your own Joy Stealer will be one of those "duh" moments that we all dread. But what you do with it... now that's the awe inspiring part.

Joy Stealers Go Away (Day 9- late is better than never)

So yesterday was all about Joy stealers. Guess which one of these things tried to steal my joy...

1.I got up to find a rain storm would make my hour and a half drive to training into what I thought would be a two and a half hour drive.

2.Turns out it was more like 3 and I was late. I passed 3 accidents on the way to the mtg place.

3. I didn't have a pepsi all day and I didn't get to eat lunch because I was trying to make up for the fact that I was running late by mingling with big wigs during my lunch break.

4. The hormone pills finally managed to make a menstrual cycle and I spent 6 hours in one day in a car and another 6 sitting in a class.

5. I almost ran out of gas on the way home,but I had no cash so I had to go home and then back to the gas station.

6. There was nothing to eat for dinner TV.

7. The christmas tree was placed too close to the heating vent and is now VERY dry. Thanks to several days at 72 degrees while we watched babies. Now we'll be taking the whole tree down this week and then putting up a new one before our party on Saturday and while watching my nephew overnight for the first time.

8. None of the above. Joy can not be stolen. It is something you give yourself or you take away from yourself...although all these things did happen.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Monday's Joy (day 8)

Ahh the joy of guilt...err... I mean candies. So far I've made fudge, peppermint bark, peanut butter fudge, cowboy cookies, rum balls and peanut butter kiss cookies.

Still on the list...sugar cookies, a pie for Christmas and possibly some chocolate chip cookies.

Yum...the joy of fudge...

ahhh Monday...again...Joy 6 & 7

So this weekend we had nothing to do. Which of course means we were busy the whole time. I'm sure you know how that goes. How about a play by play? Great... here we go...

Friday after work I went to my friend B's house. She was supposed to meet me there. Shew as running late so I went and got a Starbucks. Turns out she was running more late than that so I .sat in her front yard in my car for awhile. She's my oldest and dearest BFF from highschool so I still love her even though I sat in my car for a long time. Friday's meeting was to make up for the fact that she didn't drop off a bunch of stuff on Thursday. I ended up calling my brother in law because it didn't all fit in my car. He was there five minutes later and we were back at my house unloading a free crib (with mattress) , a playpen (and all it's lovely accessories), a car seat with it's base, a box of toys and a box of crib sheets and pads, and a bag full of bottles, spoons and other baby feeding devices. So then we're at the house talking and we decide everyone should go to his house to play board games when Hubby gets off work at 8:30. So we wait till 8:30, pick up some Taco Bell and we play Munchkin (which is a card game) till around midnight.
My Joy for day 6 (Saturday) is this game (which is horribly corny and keeps my Hubby and his brother very close)

Saturday we wake up pretty decently early for people with no kids and no plans and I find myself assemblying the baby room at 9 am in my pjs with bed head. For those of you who are following along. No. We're not having a baby. We just watch our neice and nephew enough that we've decided to make the back room a TPGB or tiny person guest bedroom for those of you who don't speak Allie'isms. After that I made biscuits and gravy. It's been cold and rainy so it sounded like a great idea. We watched some TV and did some minor nothing and some major nothing...for most of the day. Hubby went by his mothers (which could be another story for another time) while I worked from home and then when he got back I was out of the shower and we went back to Brother in Law's for another round of board games and dinner. We hung out there until almost midnight again. I crashed as soon as I hit the sheets.

We had already decided not to go to church this Sunday. It was kids christmas chior day and our normal seats at the front of the service at Monte Vista Chapel would be crammed with parents, grandparents and aunts baring camcorders, digital cameras and usually at least one or two really cute babies in christmas clothing cramming towards the front to catch little Jenny or Jimmy singing or waving a banner. Yeah. Not it. I'm a little hormonal from the pills they are giving me for my ovaries and I was bound to cry... a lot... and that's not cool. Also there is some sort of desire not to be squished in a pew with Aunt Betty and her mammoth VCR recorder. So... we slept in. Most of the day was uneventful. We watched a Christmas movie, I made a country breakfast, and Hubby's mom stopped by with his sister and the baby to drop off one of my Christmas presents so I could use it this weekend. Hubby raked the leaves and cleaned out the storage shed. I did a lot of dishes, some laundry and a little bit of kitchen cleanup. I ran to the store, ran into someone I know and had a nice visit. That was about it.
Joy day 7 is all about having the tools you need for the job. Like an alan wrench and for once not having to build something using a butter knife and a meat tenderizers. I mean how great are tools...yea... I know... without them I would have spent Sunday building furniture too instead of just the brief time I spent on Saturday.

Friday, December 08, 2006


So it's time for Frankly Friday which is the point in the week where I acknowledge a great thing and a crappy thing from the week before as well as something I learned this week. It's a good way to keep the work week in perspective before moving on to the fun filled weekend. I was a slacker last week and I didn't post one. You people need to keep me on my toes.

Friday Fab- I think the fab thing for this week would be the Katina's concert that the Hubby and I went to with J and some friends from work on Monday night. For the Hubby I'm sure his fab was the next night when he went to the Days of Reckoning Tour with his brother but I really enjoyed the Christmas songs and getting to hang out with one of my girlfriends.

Friday Flop- Last night was a total flop. My BFF was supposed to drop off a bunch of baby furniture and she never showed up and she didn't return my calls and it was much drama in many directions. The part that was a flop though was the part where I worried about her all night long. I think she's not in the best relationship and when she didn't show up I spent the night contemplating showing up on her steps.

Friday Fact- 239 degrees is a far cry different than 240 degrees when you are making pinoche Christmas candy. That one degree will keep your candy from getting hard. It was bruttly unedible and I will be throwing it away tonight and trying again. Oh well. No foul.

Day 5 of Joy

Some glad morning when this life is o'er,
I'll fly away;
To a home on God's celestial shore,
I'll fly away (I'll fly away).
[Chorus]I'll fly away, Oh Glory
I'll fly away; (in the morning)
When I die, Hallelujah, by and by,
I'll fly away (I'll fly away).
When the shadows of this life have gone,
I'll fly away;
Like a bird from prison bars has flown,
I'll fly away (I'll fly away)
[Chorus]I'll fly away, Oh Glory
I'll fly away; (in the morning)
When I die, Hallelujah, by and by,
I'll fly away (I'll fly away).
Just a few more weary days and then,
I'll fly away;
To a land where joy shall never end,
I'll fly away (I'll fly away)
[Chorus]I'll fly away, Oh Glory
I'll fly away; (in the morning)
When I die, Hallelujah, by and by,
I'll fly away (I'll fly away).

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Joy Day 4

So one of the things that has given me a great deal of joy this year is decorating our first Christmas as a married couple. I got lucky in that the sage green and burgundy combination that runs throughout our house was very easy to tie into a Christmas Theme... see for yourself...

This is our living room with Christmas tree and the piano I'm using for a fake mantle because we don't have one.
This is the Christmas Village that is outside our bathroom door on the way to the Kitchen. I painted it with my Aunt Penny before she died.
I love these pine garlands and have them placed around my house along with random cinnamon scented piles of pinecones to give my house that Country Christmas feel.
That Poinsetta was almost $20.00 and it's the only one in my house but I didn't know what else to do to this side of the room to make it festive. I replaced all my sconce candles with candy cane striped ones to add color to the walls.
My favorite thing this year is the tree covered with both of our family ornaments and the glass "our first christmas" ornament we got as a wedding present.
Love is sharing the holiday traditions.

In Contemplation

I was searching the internet today for ideas on keeping people having fun at a boisterous christmas being as I will soon have 20 people in my house to celebrate and my house isn't that big. Instead I found this which contains a quote (from someone's mother) that made me really think, it states ...

A boisterous christmas is far preferable to a
three or person contemplation of the nativity.

How do you feel about that statement?

Joy Day 3

When I was little I wanted to be famous. Not famous like the President or a person on TV. I wanted to be a rock star. The closest I ever got was dancing on a bar once with a few girlfriends the year after I got out of college. And for the record...we were sober... it just sounded like fun.

For me there is a great deal of joy in watching a person really rock the house. When the crowd is into to it and the band is loving what they do I feel a great amount of happiness. I think that Joy comes from the realization that Lord wants us to have fellowship and to express our joy in groups.

I wanted to be a rocker girl but instead my audience is a bunch of two and three year olds. Every Wednesday night I work the baby nursery at my church I try to at least once get all the kids to sing a song together. I rock the house with my ring around the rosey. We bust a move to the hokey pokey. The crowd eats it up. And there in that moment of pure joy we are celebrating the life the Lord gave us. One where we have each other...and sometimes a great solo.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Operation Hope

Monte Vista Chapel (the church we attend) is doing a Christmas project this year called Operation Hope. Operation Hope will be helping to feed and education the children of the Kibera Slums in Africa. More information on the project is available here. It costs $60.00 to sponsor a child for a year. They take credit cards, checks, rolled coins, and cold hard cash. It's a good Christmas charity. Hubby and I will be donating as a gift for someone on our Christmas list this year that already has everything he needs. How about you? Are you donating this year?

Day Two of Joy

So I decided to Google for Images of Joy this morning. Don't do it. It's a complete waste. In fact, I can say it was a Joy killer. Except this picture from Frederick Olsen.

As a child I feared the water. I remember at some point being thrown into my Uncle K's pool and freaking out because I thought there were sharks. After that water was horrible. I liked the bath tub but other than that I was content to playing in the sprinkler all summer. One year my mom decided to help me kick the fear addiction. Swimming lessons terrified me and thrilled me all at the same time. Weeks later I would make my way all the way around my mom's friends pool with my hands on the edge and swim under water holding my breath. It was a complete moment of freedom.

Now 20 or more years later I can recall many many summers in my small home town swimming at the local community pool blocks from my house which my mother let me walk to before it opened and at which I stayed every day with my friends until it was closed. Every. Single.Day. I was surrounded by laughter, confidence and the smell of banana boat. My hot pink bathing suit and my 3 month in the sun tan both faded before Sept. every year. But I remember even now when I jump into a pool that first moment when fear turned into absolute excitement. I remember the joy of knowing it would be ok.

Monday, December 04, 2006

A Month of Joy

Faith lifts theme this month is Joy. Like it says in Galatians 5:22 "The fruit of the spirit is joy, love and peace."

For the month of December each day I am going to put forth an effort to post about joy. Today I will start with a picture
Night Snow by Capolina
"Stand still and consider the wonderous works of God" Job 37:14
Snowfall at night is one of my favorite sites. I live in California. I live in the middle of a central valley that is vast and flat in every direction. I was blessed with a childhood here that kept me a mere drive from every adventure imaginable. I was 2 hours from the beach. I was 2 hours from the snow. I was 2 hours from the mountains, desert or forest. I was 2 hours from all of the wonders of nature and it kept me as a child certain that there was more to life than what meets the eye. Somethings are too magestic to just be "because"

Stein Leventhal Syndrome

Stein Leventhal Syndrome. That’s what it is, and I don’t even have the worst version of it. Hallelujah…the hard part is over. Knowing what you have does great things. The Dr called this morning and I already feel better.

First off, you don’t feel crazy (granted I still feel very hormonal because I’m being shot full of hormones) but I’m not crazy there really is something wrong with my ovaries that can be quantified, qualified and filed into a nice little category in column B of the medical chart in my Dr’s office.

Secondly, once you have something on your chart you can start fixing it. I’m a fan of checklists so we’re approaching this with a check list mentality.

Thirdly, once you know what you’re up against you can play beat the clock with an educated line up.

It’s all code green over here in our household.

So at this point the game plan looks like this. I’ll be taking some nice hormone pills (sorry about the mood swings- in advance- just in case). I’ll be getting a sonogram to officially rule out cancer, ovarian cysts (which are not part of this version of PCOS- but I’ve had them before so we want to make sure I don’t have another one in the way) and other ugly internal yuckies (yes that’s a technical term).

Once that’s done we’re going to give a run at making a baby with some hormone boosters on the side. Assuming that works after I have a baby I’ll be put on a metabolism booster and a little hormone pill to keep things flowing so we can try to have one (or more) additional babies before the buzzer goes off signaling the end of the game.

Of course there is always plan B. Adoption. Enough said.

So the prayer request is as always…babies, patience and God’s will…in whatever form. And praise in that we seem to be moving along quickly, clearly and with much hope in our hearts. And all my thanks to everyone who’s been praying for us and who have been so incredibly supportive through all of this.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The Life of the Hokey Pokey

You put your left foot in your put your left foot out you put your left foot in and you shake it all about. You do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around that's what it's all about. Hey! You put your schedule in you pull your plans back out you pick your datebook up and you shake it all about you do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself around that's what it's all about. Hey! You put your phone call in you pull your drama out you put your tears on high and you shake your voice about you do the hokey pokey and you turn my life around that's what it's all about. Hey!

So Hubby pointed out tonight in a moment of frustration that lately the whims of others are starting to make our life inconvenient. People call us up and cry and we change our schedule around and they change their minds. They make plans with us to go somewhere and they cancel at the last minute or like tonight we agree to do something that takes a decent amount of prep, we call and confirm and then after they don't show we call to find out we'll be rescheduling for later this week. Pisser!

I find myself occassionally wanting to yell "hey" not in that "how you doin'" sort of way but in that "who the heck do you think you are sort of way." Put mildly... I am tired of bending over backwards only to get spanked.

Our friends have decided it's exceptable to just say "oh your in our prayers" and then never call, never ask, never put forth any effort. If we bring something up "oh it's in our prayers" if not...nothing. Silence... silence on the other end of the email, silence in my non-ringing phone. I put my whole heart in they pull my whole soul out I put my prayers all in and it's shaken all about they do the hokey pokey and they turn me all around. That's not what it's all about.

See I'm frustrated. I suppose that's a good thing. I'm frustrated that people are settling for stagnent Christianity. Myself included. I'm frustrated that you think that prayer alone is all God asks of you. God asks of your time, your effort, your love AND your prayer. People wonder why when someone is hurt they shut down...they are worried that in addition to their hurt they are about to get to do someone else's hokey pokey.

Hubby and I are a different kind of Christian, maybe it's not the right kind but we think it is. He is the councilor, people call us when they have drama and he is stable and plans with you on how to make it better. I'm more the planner type, you call me with your drama and I'll help you plan just about anything, party for 200 I can do that, a way to leave your abusive boyfriend, I can plan that. But moreso, we are there. We are not some whimsical fly by night friend. We are there. We are there the week you leave the guy that cheats on you, we are there when you have surgery and we are there when you need to move. What you love about us...our willingness to help is turning into you mistaking our kindness for stupidity. But what is stupid is us expecting more... it's dangerous thing...

You put your expectations in you pull your expectations out you put your intentions in and you shake your life about you do the hokey pokey and the world still turns around...that's what it's all about...

Saturday, December 02, 2006

I win! I win!

If you could see the ear to ear grin on my face this morning on the way out of Walmart you'd know that I'm a woman who finished her Christmas shopping. Yep. Done. And it's not even Christmas eve. Moreso, Hubby and I are having a Christmas party (more on that later) in 2 weeks and I bought all the food prep stuff for that as well. There won't be any more shopping for me till the week before Christmas when I pick up the stuff for Christmas dinner. Excited? No? Well I am.

Yesterday was a big Drs appt day. I got a new pill. It makes me hormonal, weepy and sleepy. I get to take it for 7 days and then hypothetically I'll get a menstrual cycle and can start trying to get knocked up again. Turns out I also learned I might have a metabolic disorder which would explain how I can eat well and still gain weight in the summer when I'm really active. Good to know. We'll worry about that later. After we worry about the pitter patter of little feet... unless of course it could help my odds of getting to the little feet.

Tomorrow J is going to church with us. That's exciting. Last night was the Christmas parade in our little town. We went with a group of family and friends. It was awesome. Afterwards we went to dinner and to see the new 007 movie. It's a good thing that was yesterday. By today my Drs appt had caught up with me and all I managed to do was grocery shopping, that last Christmas gift and laying around on the couch crying at the TV and complaining about how sensitive my nipples are all the sudden.

This next week is CHAOS. Monday night we'll be going to a Katina's Concert with some people from work. Tuesday Hubby is going to the Days of Reckoning Tour with his brother (one of their Christmas gifts). Wednesday I'm working the baby nursery at church. Thursday we crash from exhaustion. Friday we have plans with my mother in law (well I do... Hubby gets to come home and take a nap). Saturday we'll probably do something at the house with friends and Sunday is the kids Christmas choir performance at church.

I also have 3 seperate business meetings this next week thanks to my new job title. On the upside I'm going to have plenty of things to keep my mind off other things. Like nipples. Yep too busy to think about nipples.

Friday, December 01, 2006


Last night Judy Howard Peterson talked about time. How we wait for that perfect moment in the fullness of time for God to stop the day to day tick tock of time and put us in that perfect moment in time when all things come together. She talked about living life in expectation, that is, living life in expectation that God is doing something. Not living life with expectation, which would be expecting God to do things in your life.

Judy is a great speaker. I'll put a link up here later to her site Soul to Sole or Sole to Soul. I can't remember what it's called...but whatever it's called I'll get you a link in the next 24 hours.

Today is my drs appt. The much awaited Drs appt where he takes a look at my one napping ovary and it's friend the ovary in a comma and decides what if anything can be done now. I woke up this morning and I didn't hit snooze three times. In fact I didn't do anything like I normally do it. Today I woke up expecting God with expecting a result. I don't know what will happen today at 10:30 but I expect that whatever it is it will be part of some greater moment in time that God will reveal later.

I'll keep you posted.

Oh Girl You Look So Good

I couldn't handle all that sherbert color. I just couldn't handle it. I know I'm a girl and I know that pink is a girl thing. I also know that neither of the two free templates I have had even look remotely like me (as far as the girls on them anyhow) but I couldn't handle it anymore. See the thing is that while I'm a girly girl I like swank hip look more thank the cute little skirt look. So I went for it. I changed it all around. I got a new template. And it makes me happy.