Friday, December 25, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
We have spent the last month doing the usual family holiday things...Thanksgiving celebrations with family were fun, but tiring. Collin, Cousin Avrie and Uncle John enjoying a nap together at Grandma Nola's house....
After Thanksgiving, it was time to start the Christmas season. A Christmas party for the families of 3M employees gave Collin one of his first chances to talk to Santa. Last year, Collin would not go near him, although this year he did agree to sit next to him. I don't think that his reluctance is a bad thing....Although we do have a few Santa themed trinkets around, we don't really promote the concept of Santa at home... If you ask Collin, Santa is the guy that helps parents get presents to everyone for celebrating Jesus' birthday. I am actually pretty happy that he questions the logic of sitting on the lap of some stranger in weird clothes that he's never met before....Call me scrooge if you want, I do think it is an odd tradition....
Collin also had a Christmas program at his daycare one Sunday afternoon. Check out our "Wiseman"....
We also put up our own Christmas tree and decorations at home. I am happy to say that this year we took the time to go to a tree lot to purchase a real tree instead of using artificial...No, we have not yet ventured out to cut down our own tree...maybe next year. I keep envisioning the Griswolds from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (one of the best movies, ever) and can't get myself to take that plunge.
I remember picking out the family Christmas tree every year as a child and wanted Collin to have those same memories. Although our perfectly full, pre-purchased store tree with it's themed ornaments suited Doug and I well as a couple, our family is better suited with a real tree. Our tree and our home is now adorned with an eclectic array of decorations, ranging from new gifts Collin received at daycare to ornaments I had as a child.
(A small nativity scene that my Grandma Rose had in her home and our stockings all in a row...)
We will be opening gifts here, tonight, on Christmas Eve, then heading west to visit with family for the weekend...assuming the weather allows it! It is definitely a white Christmas this year!
And, although I will not taint the actual day of Christmas with anything that could be considered "political", since today is December 24, I just cannot resist sharing one "greeting" of the season that I received via e-mail recently...
To All My Liberal Friends: Please accept with no obligation, implied or explicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2010, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere. Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.
To My Conservative Friends: Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Thursday, November 26, 2009
From "The Catholic Prayer Book," compiled by Msgr. Michael Buckley
Monday, November 23, 2009
Fall has always been my favorite season. I enjoy the colors of the leaves and the crisp air. Doug, Collin and I have enjoyed a lot about the autumn season every year, and fall 2009 has been no exception.
To prepare for Halloween, we took a family field trip to a local pumpkin farm in Andover. Complete with hayrides, a corn maze, a potbelly pig that greets you, and the largest pumpkin patches I've ever seen, it was a great afternoon. We were able to leave with a large pumpkin that later decorated our front step. Collin also had his first taste of homemade pumpkin seeds baked in the oven, made from the "pumpkin guts" that he helped to scoop.
Don't let the picture fool you, this was a very big 25lbs pumpkin!
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
You know, the little (or long) list of tasks that you are hoping your spouse can accomplish for the benefit of your family or home...and, admit it, to make your to do list smaller.
Those of you that know me well know that I really appreciate a good list. It is such a nice, concrete way to organize your thoughts and ensure that you are making progress toward your end goal. As I have been blessed with a pretty handy husband, I have really learned to appreciate a good "Honey, do...." list.
Typically Doug is pretty laid back about humoring my requests. He too likes things pretty clean, organized and in good repair at home so, although sometimes my style is more concrete than his, he can at least see my point and is willing to accommodate. I do try to not get too ridiculous with the requests either, and there are plenty of things assigned for me to do on those lists as well.
To make lemons out of lemonade we've strung together a pretty great "Honey, do..." list for his official period of unemployment. The job market is tough these days, and it is important to be realistic.
Now, imagine my surprise when he called me on Tuesday afternoon to tell me that he would be starting his new job on Wednesday!
Timing could not have been better. We were told about the closing of his previous company, Exel, in mid September and were expecting his last day to be early October. That position was extended until mid-October as it took longer to tie up loose ends than expected. He was then immediately offered a temporary opportunity by Exel (who knew they were loosing a good employee, if I dare to brag a little about my guy!) in Ohio to fill an executive position for the last two weeks of October. He was gone from October 19 to October 30. After enjoying Halloween weekend as a reunited family, Doug had 2 official days of unemployment-- Monday 11/2 and Tuesday 11/3, then had his first day at his new job today, 11/4.
We are excited and grateful for this job. Doug is now the Logistics Manager at US Water Services in Cambridge, MN. The commute is 30 minutes with no traffic to speak of, the pay and benefits are good, the hours are typical business hours, and so far the job description seems like a very good fit for his interests and skills.
Guess that "Honey, do..." list will have to wait after all!
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Friday, October 16, 2009
Fun, fun, fun!
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Our first purchase of the day, and the only thing Collin asked for the whole time we were there, which is quite a feat given all the toys and items on display. No wooden puzzles or stuffed animals...he went straight for a "bad guy fighting" sword.
We keep our expectations realistic...we know that we are not attending as adults anymore, but as a family which automatically changes the dynamics. The first years it was remembering which "privie" had the cleanest and least crowded diaper changing area. Then as Collin began to walk, it was giving him enough freedom to explore, while keeping enough structure to maintain his safety and our sanity as well. This year he was a full participant in the world around him and I can safely say we had the best year yet.
Strolling the grounds 2009. The crowd was minimal even though it was a beautiful day. The news had predicted rain for the weekend, which I think kept crowds away. It was a beautiful sunny day! Because of this, Collin was able to take the lead in exploring the event, which he loved.
We stopped and listened to some of the comics and other performers. At one point we heard music from a distance and could use some rest so we sat down thinking it would help to keep Collin entertained. Next thing we knew dancers came out with hockey sticks...yep, really. It was the Highland Fling Scottish weekend, so the dancers did a hockey themed dance, which of course had our little boy amazed. There is just no avoiding that game!
Food for the farm friends too! We had our share of turkey legs and chicken on a stick, but couldn't leave out the animals. In the past, Collin has enjoyed petting zoos but not the up close feeding. This time there was no hesitation as a hungry sheep enjoyed some lunch.
The highlight of the day, however, was sword fighting. I don't recall this game before, but until now it was not something Collin was old enough to do, so it may have escaped notice. This year, however, he was enthralled. Kids and adults are able to put on fencing attire and fight (complete with an announcer to provide a play by play and to ensure a fair fight). The goal is to pop the balloons that are attached to your opponent's helmet. Although his souvenir sword is still well loved and used to this day, the chance to actually "fight" with a sword was of great interest to him.
So, here are the Top 5 Steps to becoming a great Sword fighter:
Step 1. Eat ice cream and intently watch others for close to an hour. This ensures that you will have your strength from a good meal and you will have gotten a chance to learn some cool bad guy fighting moves.
Step 2. Find a wench who can help you get into your fencing gear.
Step 3. Find a worthy opponent. In this case, Daddy will do nicely.
Step 4. Use those skills and pop those balloons! The size of your opponent does not matter. Remember David and Goliath? No fear!
Step 5. Raise your sword victoriously. Look very serious while doing so...sword fighting is no joke!
Knowing that we would not find anything to compete with the sword fight experience, we ended the day on that note and took our little warrior home, close to 8 hours after arriving! Another great day at the Renaissance.
And, we felt very safe on the way home knowing we were protected by such a great swordsman...Of course he did fall asleep in the car, but I am sure he would have woken up if a dragon would have attacked.....
Sunday, September 27, 2009
(author unknown- www.scrapbook.com)
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Tom, myself and Collin...I think he's a bit star struck!