Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!!

Happy New Year!! Wishing you a prosperous year full of good health, good fortune, good times, and lots of completed resolutions!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Weird week

This week between Christmas and New Year's is so strange, especially this year without any travel. People go back to work and start getting back into the swing of things and then BOOM, another holiday. Not that I'm's just a strange time, a period of limbo, if you will. It's strange for us this year too because Olive doesn't have school and most of our friends are either out of town or sick so our social calendar is a bit more empty than usual. Not that we don't have lots of things to do around here, but it feels like a period of waiting. In the meantime, we are enjoying the warmer than usual weather and the extra Daddy time. Real life can wait - it's these fun holiday times that are most special and memorable!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays!!

As I sit here on Christmas Eve, my final presents wrapped, I think about how fortunate I am.
I am able to give Olive a wonderful Christmas, and not just with the gifts under the tree, but with the whole spirit of everything we've done. We did a daily Advent calendar, a countdown to Christmas, Elf on the Shelf, went to see holiday lights at the Bull Run Festival of Lights, made more cookies than any of our waistlines could tolerate, did countless coloring and art projects, and had fun shopping and wrapping gifts for others. What a special time to be with those you love.
We will not be travelling this year and will spend the holiday at home, just the three of us. I am really looking forward to this - there's no stress, just fun times with our family. I'm not sure what all sorts of activities we'll cook up, but it will be fun just being together and seeing the joy of her face when she opens her gifts tomorrow morning.
Happy Holidays to all of you and safe travels!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

A new trend in fashion??

As I've been out and about doing some Christmas shopping, I've noticed something that I don't ever recall seeing before - a new line of swimsuits in December. At the first store the other day I thought, "boy, that's strange, I guess they had a lot left over from the summer" - I thought they were on clearance - but thought it unusual that they'd be near the front of the store. Today I made my last trip to the dreaded mall (and thank goodness we got our Santa picture done 6 weeks ago - the line today looked like it was probably at least an hour and a half) and saw the same swimsuit displays in the stores. They were not sale items - they were new styles. Maybe it's the new trend?? Maybe enough people travel somewhere warm over the holidays or winter months that they justify these itty bitty bikini displays next to the bulky sweaters? On a 20 degree winter day like today, the last thing that comes to my mind is a bikini, but I guess if I were headed for the tropics, I'd be thrilled to buy something small (though the thought of taking off my warm sweater to try it on and see my pasty winter skin in the mirror would be a bit of a deterrent). Anyhow, just an observation. If you're headed somewhere warm this winter, make sure to hit the stores for a new bathing suit - there's no shortage of styles. Or if you're like most of us, there are still lots of sweaters, scarves, and jackets to find a new one or two ;-) Happy Winter!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Book Review: Marley & Me by John Grogan

Marley & Me by John Grogan
A friend passed along this book and said I should read it. I had heard of it before but she said that being a dog lover, I would really enjoy it. So I picked it up and instantly fell in love.
This is the tale of Marley, "the world's worst dog" - a dog who does everything wrong but is still lovable. This story follows him throughout his life with his family and all their ups and downs. A true story, written in an easy-to-read and fun format, that shows you just how wonderful a dog companion can be. I won't say much more than that but it's definitely a book that shows you about "the little things" in life and how to savor every minute, just as a big, slobbering dog would do.
In the course of reading this book, I started seeing previews for the movie which comes out on Christmas Day, featuring Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston. Sure to be cute, I will definitely see this one.
I have also started seeing Marley stuff everywhere - a line of kids' books and activities and all sorts of other spinoffs from the book. This is a quick, easy read, one that could be enjoyed this holiday during your travel. So pick it up and read it. You'll fall in love with Marley like millions of others.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Last Minute Holiday Shopping Tip

I had just a few last things to get today so I could send out some packages to distant relatives but I was stumped. What to get?? What part of town or area could I go to that I could get something for these several random people still on my list? Maybe gift cards? But not all to the same place, hmm... I was in a quandary so I called in the expert (Mama). She said, "Do you need to go to the grocery store today?" Huh?? Did she want me to send groceries?? "Uh, yeah, actually I do, why?" Then she reminded me that at most grocery stores they have oodles and oodles of gift cards from every sort of place imaginable. WHAT A GREAT IDEA!!! So I went and bought some groceries and finished some of my Christmas shopping, just like that. How nice! Word to the wise though: If you buy an American Express or Visa gift card (not sure about MasterCard, they were out of those), they charge a $3.95 or $4.95 fee for it so not sure if that's worth it to me. Think you can get Visa Check Cards and such at your bank for face value (ie, no extra fees). Anyway, just something to think about it if you're stumped and also out of time. Gift cards are also great for out of town gifts because it's so cheap to ship them! Bonus! Happy shopping!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I am thankful

This holiday season, I am reflecting on all the many reasons I have to be thankful.
I have come to realize that everyone is fighting some sort of battle. For some, it may be a baby with colic, a very independent-minded 2 year old (ok, that's us), financial burdens, health concerns, holiday jitters, etc. You name it, everyone has something that is on their mind at any given time. While some battles are bigger than others, we all face challenges in our everyday lives and they are all personal and important to us. That's why it's really important to remember all the GOOD things we have going on. So you may not have been able to afford to give your kids a Wii this year, but at least you can be together on Christmas and maybe make cookies together or shop for a needy family. Maybe this year you find yourself unable to travel and be with family, but there are so many ways to celebrate in a different fashion. It's also good for me to remember in dealing with other people that they all are fighting their own personal battles and when I lose my patience, I remember that there is probably more going on with them than I realize and let it go.
For me, I am grateful for a lot of things. I have a warm home, enough money in the bank to pay the bills, a beautiful daughter and husband, a loyal dog, and lots of love. Really, there's nothing else I need. I don't need gifts under the tree or a big to-do - just time to enjoy those that I love and cherish every moment. I've enjoyed the season so much this year with Olive - baking cookies, making Christmas art projects, opening our daily Advent calendar, decorating (and redecorating) the tree, etc. Take a moment this holiday season and remember the little things and not just about what you receive. That's my motto - "it's the little things..." - this is what makes life special.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Stuck at home with the sickies

Poor Olive has caught another cold this week. I had a slight touch of it but it seemed to pretty much disappear in less than 24 hours. Think Dennis is fighting it now but it means I've been home all week but busy. It's actually been nice to be home for once. Usually I'm antsy to get out but I guess I've had enough here to keep me occupied. Hope everyone's healthy at your house - I'll be back soon! ;)

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Holiday Spirit

Well it seems the holidays are in full swing around here. We returned to DC to see twinkling lights and wreaths galore - a beautiful sight! I spent the morning while Olive was at school perusing the aisles of Toys R Us and determining what she would like, what I can stand, and what we have room for. We're not going crazy this year - after all she won't really know the difference - but it's so fun to shop for kids' stuff. I just wish we had a whole house to dedicate to her toys and games so we could have art stations, train tables, playhouses, and more. Honestly, you could fill an entire house with all the things that look fun and educational. I restrained myself as best I could and bought things that I thought she would really enjoy and that I could easily store. I'm still looking for a toy chest and/or other attractive toy storage idea (if you have any good tips, pass them along!)

All week Olive and I have planned to start our holiday baking but it hasn't happened yet. Hope to start this afternoon if we have time. This is one of our favorite traditions. We also just got some new holiday cookie cutters from Grandma (or "cookie comers" as Olive pronounces it) so are anxious to use them. There is one that is a train that she has decided is Thomas the Train. I have a feeling we'll be making a lot of train cookies.

Christmas is also fun with kids because Olive is so into the decorations. Last night we walked the dog around 5pm when it was getting fairly dark out and people already had their lights on. She would walk up to them and say they were so sparkly and pretty and then pick out her favorite colors. Aaah, the magic of Christmas!

Hope you have a weekend full of seasonal magic. We hope to put up our decorations this weekend too.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Last night I returned from a wonderful vacation to visit family in Florida for Thanksgiving. It was great. We had a fantastic time. But while I'm gone, even if I tell myself I will, I really don't have anything to do with my "normal" life. I rarely check email or phone messages, even more rarely do work, and almost never post blog entries. I really take a vacation from real life. It's great while I am gone and free of thinking of everyday stuff but sometimes overwhelming when I return. But I like it that way. A vacation is a vacation and I really like to get away and get a change of pace. Now I'm back though and ready to get working and get ready for Christmas. Boy, time flies, doesn't it?? I will post some pics from our trip whenver I get around to uploading them. Hope you had a very happy Thanksgiving!