Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Resolute Resolutions

I think it is time that I made some New Year's resolutions. In no particular order they are...

1) Meal Planning: I suck at this and too often dinner is thrown together or I will decide at 3pm that I want Grilled Chicken Caesar salad and then I have to run to the store for most of the ingredients. Also, with our schedule busier than before, a little planning would mean less fast food for us.

2) Lose Weight: To go along with the meal planning, I am hoping that I will lose weight. I have made this resolution every year since I was 15 years old. Gah! How I wish I could go back and smack the 15-28 year old me. While I will say that I have indeed lost weight this year, I am certainly not at my goal weight. Also, I do need to reconcile the fact that the goal weight will not bring back the body I had pre-children and pre-marriage (put on that freshman 15 when I got married and I am right about my pre-pregnancy weight but clearly not my pre-pregnancy looks).

3) Career Goal: Yes, I am putting this out there. I think I am ready to start a new career. I have really enjoyed and been blessed to have been a stay-at-home mom for the past 10+ years but now it is time to get back to work. I am not even sure if it is a "career" that I am looking for. Perhaps just my only goal will be to write/update a resume. Yes, that sounds good.

4) Organization: Remember my hoarding and more hoarding tendencies and the shame that is my laundry/mud/utility/crap room? Well, we made a step towards organizing it today by purchasing some IKEA hall units that we will install to wrangle the coats and back-packs and hopefully shoe issues we have. A good first step!

5) Spend less money: Well, funny to put this here right after I wrote that I bought some stuff at IKEA. But really my goals to lose weight, meal plan and organize my life should all result in me spending less money. We are not in debt or anything but it is just that I know that I sometimes shop for recreation. It used to be at Michael's and Joann's but I honestly have nipped that habit. Now it is just making sure that what I buy matters. We have more expenses coming up (we'll have to start paying for Dex at the club starting in Jan, Dex started bass guitar lessons, we are getting a new vehicle, etc) so spending less in other places will help our overall bottom line.

6) Friendships: I have had a few friendship crises this year. Some people taking me for granted and I have done the same to others. I have lost touch with some people who have been very important in my life and I would like to reconnect.

7) Church: Going to Mass has not been a priority in my life this past year. I think having issues and questions of my faith were behind it and now I am wondering if I don't just GO that these issues will resolve themselves. Either way, I won't know unless I go. I thought it would be a good idea to have the kids take religion classes on Sunday afternoon but that has just made a convenient excuse for us not to get up Sunday morning to go to Mass. So, we are going to try to go on Saturday evening Mass and then have pizza/movie night since that too has slipped since Jax has hockey practice on Friday evenings.

I guess that is it. My next step is to take each of these goals and figure out exactly what I need to do to accomplish the goals. Seems simple and very logical but this is where I always get stuck. It seems overwhelming but I think baby steps are the way to do it. And, these are my goals so really I can work at them at my pace, right?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

I let my hair dry naturally today. It has a lot of bend in it (not even nice enough to call wave). Cars asked me why my hair was so messy today. I told him it was because I did not blow dry it straight like I normally do. He looked me in the eye and said "You really need to blow dry your hair straight. All the time, Mom."

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Today was our annual lazy day after Christmas. The kids did not get out of their jammies and they built Lego sets, played video games and watched movies. Stephen spent the day mostly playing his new "Legend of Zelda" game and I watched HP6 (although I did fall asleep not long after it started and I missed most of the first 45 minutes of it). Oh, I also ate my way through the day. It is dangerous to have leftover yorkshire pudding and gravy, and Nanaimo Bars and chocolate and sugar cookies hanging around. Good thing I took care of them today.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Blast from the Past

For Christmas, I received a package from Ramona with a little photo album. Inside was a card that said "To be opened in a Private Place Dec 23'09 Merry Christmas!". Of course, I peeked inside the card and found an envelope which read "Denine's Dec. 1999 Diary Entry to Ramona's Diary *Not to be opened until Dec., 1999" and on the back it was dated 12/23/89 with my signature written across the seal of the envelope (a trick I learned while working in the bank).

I completely remembered writing this letter! We were exchanging Christmas gifts at Ramona's new condo and we each wrote a letter. Ramona was the holder of the letter (since we had written them to her diary) but over the years she had thought she had lost them, along with her diaries, but they were in storage at her parents' cottage.

So today, Leah Ann, Ramona and I had a conference call and we read our letters to each other. What fun it was! Leah Ann really enjoyed it which is good because I can remember not long after we wrote them, she wanted hers back to tear it up. She had written that she'd marry Dave but three weeks after we wrote the letters, she met Roman and a few weeks after that, she and Dave were kaput. Three months later, they moved in together (she had been dating Dave for well over 8 years when they broke up).

This is what I wrote on December 23, 1989 at 12:20AM ET:

Dear Ramona's Diary,

These are my predictions for what I think I will be doing in 1999.

I will be married with at least 2 children
I will be living (FAR) outside of Toronto (therefore I will be visiting while this is being read)
Career wise I am not sure as I am currently working at IBM Lab. It would be nice to think that I will NOT (underlined) be still working there as I am (at this time) not too contented with it.
I willl mention Stephen PEZ as I love him now and think that perhaps we will get married...if not, I hope no one becomes offended by this...
I hope that perhaps I would have gone back to school in some capacity. I would like another degree or diploma, perhaps in FRENCH.
- still c. 140lbs (chubbs!) OMG, to be 140 again

These are my predictions for Ramona (underlined):
- still a nurse but maybe -> probably not a ward nurse -> actually maybe a social worker or councellor (sic)
- have travelled LOTS
- married (whirlwind romance!)(1 kid) - maybe but LOTS of pets
- still living in Toronto area (but NOT (underlined 3 times) Scarborough Ramona not now only lives in Scarborough but she is only 5 miles away from her mom's house and 0.65 miles from Leah Ann's! LOL
- exclusive/exquisite house and home

Predictions for Leah Ann = Mrs. Leah Ann Dave'sLastName
- 1 kid, daughter
- NOT (underlined) at Big Phone Company She has been there for over 20 years and is highly respected and successful manager
- living close to her mom (she is 4.5 miles from her mom)
- diabetes still in control but with some complications (20 years by now!) (30 by the time we actually read the note)

(turn page over)
On the whole my predictions are pretty boring. They are what I really expect but not what I really want. I would love to say that I would be a successful mgr at IBM but I don't know I was so sure in 1979 that I would be well married by 1989 Gawd, I'm an OLD BAG... Anyway, here's to 1999 and the end of the decade, era, century, millenium.

Love Denine M. MaidenPezName

P.S. To be totally HONEST, I think that I will be dead by 1999 (underlined 3 times). I don't think that I was meant to live a long time... we'll see. Until then, Best of luck to all of us!!

What fun we had reading these letters over the phone and laughing together over this! We have each sworn to write another letter and Ramona will keep them all again until December 23, 2019 (no one trusts that Leah Ann won't read them beforehand and of course I will probably lose them).

Now, I must think about my predictions for the next decade of my life.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Stephen and I went to a Christmas party today at J's house. J is in book club but she is also Spy's SIL (JBJ's sister). We had a great time. Her house is lovely, the food she served was soooo good and the company was spectacular too.

I hired the babysitter to come again tonight and she will be here again tomorrow morning so I can go work out. I had forgotten that Stephen had the week off so he can take the morning to go finish up his shopping.

Tomorrow will be the shortest day of the year. At 3:30pm it is now dusk. Looking forward to Tuesday and the beginning of longer days.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Tis the season to be very busy! We have had a crazy busy week so after hockey today, we all just came home and crashed. I crawled into bed about 2:30pm with a clipboard and started working on my Christmas cards and I finally stopped writing just a few moments ago. I wrote, addressed, sealed and stamped what seemed like a thousand cards today!

I still have one or two gifts to buy and one of them needs to be mailed. Or I can shop online and have it shipped. I am just really stuck about what to get them. Ugh.

Stephen has the upcoming week off and I have booked the babysitter for a couple of hours here and there so we can get out to finish up (and hopefully I will have time to hit the gym too).

Last night we went to Spy's house for her husband's, Jon Bon Jovi, birthday celebration. We had a great time. Spy told me that she was just going to wearing a dress made out of t-shirt material and some boots. Ok, she was wearing a one shouldered, ruched (sp) dress and thigh-high boots that made her look like a million bucks!!! T-shirt dress my ass! Tomorrow evening is her SIL's Christmas party and she claims she is wearing a t-shirt and a skirt with boots. We'll see what she is really wearing!

Anyway, at the party was a teacher from the kids' school who claimed to Spy that Dex and Cam's teacher says that she really loves her class this year and she would personally have hand-picked the kids herself. Hmmm.... I don't doubt that she said it because that teacher had no reason to make it up but I am wondering how much Dex's teacher really means it. Last week, we saw Dex's teacher at Costco but she turned her back hoping we would not notice her. It was very apparent so I marched right over there with Dex to say HI. Had she not made such an effort to not catch our eyes I would have just let it go. Dex is always telling me she does not like him but I always poo-poo it to him but I am not so sure now.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I've been super busy and I am looking forward to tomorrow afternoon when school lets out for the rest of the year.

Today, I spent two hours photocopying and stapling in the supply room at school. I really do not mind photocopying for teachers but I hated all of the little "booklets" that I also had to staple and cut with the big paper cutter. For one of the kindergarten teachers, they wanted 46 copies of mittens on red construction paper, cut out, holes punched along the seams and then some green yarn tied to each "pair" of mitts. Riiiight. I made the copies. Someone else can do the cutting and stuff. Ok, if there hadn't been all that copying to do of course I would have cut out those mittens (last month I spent two hours cutting out 45 construction paper ears of corn.

I also have to make cookies for the 1st Grade holiday party tomorrow. The kids are watching "The Polar Express" and eating cookies and drinking cocoa. Cars' teacher asked me to make cookies for what I thought were the kids IN HIS CLASS who were allergic to nuts/peanuts (there are just 2 of them, including Cars). Turns out that she meant all of 1st grade and for some reason she asked for 24 cookies (there are 100 kids and I don't think that 25% of them are allergic to nuts/peanuts). Anyway, because the kids with allergies always get ripped off (IMO), I baked some of my very best sugar cookies EVER in the shape of polar bears. Then I had to ice them. I think they turned out nicely.

I also am teaching Art in both Cars and Jax's class tomorrow (and I taught Tuesday in Dex's class). For Cars' project, we are making snowflake mobiles(the one in the line). We just have an hour so I spent 2.5 hours this week cutting out the circles and attaching them together so we'll just have the kids fold and cut the snowflakes (oh and glue them on).

For Jax's class, his teacher asked on Tuesday for an Art Class to be scheduled so since it was "last minute", I thought that they too could make snowflakes. So we are going to make a 3D snowflake. Again, I have just an hour so I pre-cut all of the paper for the snowflakes for the class. Oh, I pre-cut the paper for Cars' class too because the snowflakes cannot be larger than 7" in diameter to fit on the circles.

Anyway, it has just been a super busy week for me doing "busy work". I haven't worked out and I feel like a big tub of goo.

Now, I must run to wrap the gifts for the bus driver and school office staff.


Edited to add that this is close to the the craft we made for Dex's class (Spy, don't click or you will ruin Cam's Christmas present surprise!).

Monday, December 14, 2009

Friggin Toyota

We are in the process of buying a new vehicle. Stephen hates, hates, hates the van so we have decided that an SUV is what will work for our family for the next several years. We were looking in June then put off the process after we asked for their best price and the have us a price that was not much lower than sticker price. Both Stephen and I hate the game that you have to play when buying a car - they tell you the sticker price, you offer a lower price. They come back and you give them another offer then back and forth ad nauseam. And with three kids in tow, it is definitely not a fun process.

So, we renewed the vehicle shopping process but this time we decided to go through a car broker. The broker charges a set fee and she will negotiate the price of the new car for you, negotiate the best price for you for your trade in, do all of the paperwork and deliver the car to you. Her price seems very fair for doing all that, especially since in the testimonials on her website, she beats the best prices at the dealerships.

We contacted her, told her that we wanted a Toyota Sequoia with certain options. And we wanted a Blue one with beige interior. She checked and found none in nine states so decided that we would just order it custom made from Toyota and it would take a few weeks. We contacted a dealership to get their best price (they give deals to Big Software Company employees and the price was a couple thousand cheaper than than the first dealership). This broker then beat that price, even with her fee.

So, we ordered the car two weeks ago. Or so we thought.

She called today to let us know that Toyota is not allowing dealerships to have any "allotments" for Sequoias because basically they cannot sell the ones they have out there already. Aargh! She is working with a dealership in Portland that will hopefully get an allotment soon. We should know by Thursday. If not, it is back to the drawing board. Well, we could take a Sequoia that is on a lot somewhere but most of them have the captain seats in the second row (we want bench seats) and are either white, black or silver.

Maybe this process will show Stephen that the van is not that bad afterall.

Friday, December 11, 2009

I had to get some passport photos done this week for some immigration stuff that we have on the go. Thankfully, they could just be US Passport sized photos so even though I had to buy two sets, it was still way cheaper than the Canadian Passport photos we get from that little photo lab in Bellevue.

I was shocked when I saw the photo for two reasons: 1) I had my hair coloured last week (low lights) and even though it was a subtle change, the passport photo made my hair look really dark. I might have even said that I looked younger except that 2) I could totally see a deep wrinkle running down beside my nose! OMG! I look positively aged! Wah!

I don't mind aging, I just don't want to do it until I am old(er)!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Busy day because Stephen realized that we needed some paperwork done for our immigration status and it was a mad scramble.

Dex started his bass guitar lessons tonight. He was so keyed up about it afterwards. I am glad that he is doing it. Something just for him.

I tried to take some photos of the boys today at the park. This was the best one I took:

So we tried again when we got home. It was not that successful until I told them to get closer, closer, CLOSER and they were almost wrestling each other to the ground. I love this photo even though it is a bit fuzzy.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!

It was quite cold today so rather than allowing the kids to stand around outside waiting for the bus then around outside of school (from 8:10-8:25 when the bell rings), I drove them to school then headed out shopping. I went to Target to get a few things but they were out of one particular toy that Dex wanted to I drove to another Target. Then I went to Michael's, Joann's and Cost Plus World Market (I love that store!). Oh and Old Navy. I was able to get a lot of things checked off my list and I am feeling less stressed. I still need to mail quite a few boxes to Canada but I think as long as I get them out by Friday things should be good.

Now to start on Christmas cards.

Monday, December 07, 2009

The new furnace is in. It is quiet and the house feels comfortable! No more walking upstairs to the boys room and feeling like you are walking into a furnace while the kitchen and living room are COLD. The furnace circulates air 30% of the time when the furnace is not actually producing heat so we get no more hot/cold spots. And when the furnace is on it is soooo quiet and it does not sound like a jet engine when it starts up.

We have a couple of holes in the ceiling of the laundry/utility/mud/junk room that will need to be patched after we have the city come by to inspect the installation.

Ah...relaxing in my warm house. Especially in this really cold weather. :)

Sunday, December 06, 2009

I blogged everyday for a month then disappeared for a few days. I know you all missed me. ;)

It has turned quite cold here but thankfully is it clear and sunny everyday so no snow. Tomorrow is supposed to be the coldest day yet (with a high of 32F/0C) and wouldn't you know that is the day I have scheduled for our new furnace to be installed. Yes, 8-10 hours with no heat. Brrr! I am thinking of bringing some wood inside and firing up the wood stove for a bit of heat.

Stephen checked out bank account today and it seems that the mortgage company to which we just paid off our mortgage (we re-fi'd with another company) took out our December payment. He is PISSED. I wonder how hard it will be to get that money back and how long it will take. The mortgage broker is going to get an earful when he returns Stephen's call. So much for our "free re-fi".

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Well, I did it. Went ahead an booked a date to have a new furnace to be installed. I guess it will take about 8 hours to do so hopefully it will not be too cold that day.

Shoot! I just checked and the high that day is supposed to be 36F! Oh no! I am going to have the woodstove going throughout the day. Hopefully that will keep the woodpecker out of our chimney.

Looking at the forecast it seems it will snow next week too! Oh I am so not ready for that. I pray that we do not have a winter like last year. All that cold and snow is just too much.

And I just realized that I need to get the winter boots out to see who needs what this year and I'll go this weekend to get new boots for whomever needs them.