navygreen: (Default)
It's been such a nice, long, lazy Thanksgiving break. :-)

By sheer luck, Philip had off from Wednesday-Friday, and having him home all the way until Saturday night (he works midnight shifts) almost felt strange. I bet he's only been off on Thursdays for actual Thanksgiving Day maybe three times in the past almost 13 years of our military life. We celebrated with our friends and neighbors - Tanya, Adam, and Emma - as well as one of Philip's troops, Puckett, and old friends of ours Jan and Payton (while J.R. is temporarily stationed at NCO Academy).

We made enough food for an army, though. Even though there was only 10 of us, I asked everyone to bring food for 30 (explaining the reasons beforehand, of course). You see, the best part about the Thanksgiving feast is having easy-peasy leftovers afterward. We had 30 pounds of turkey, almost ten pounds of ham, two sweet potato casseroles, stuffing, cornbread dressing, candied yams, rolls, green bean casserole, corn, peas, jellied cranberry sauce, 15 pounds of mashed potatoes, gravy, and cranberry salad. Just like last year, it worked out beautifully: we were able to make three full meals of leftovers before we ran out of sides. I still have about 2 pounds of dark meat turkey I'm going to chop and freeze for tacos or chili later on, as well as three recipes' worth of cubed ham.

I also made two pumpkin pies, a Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake, two Chocolate French Silk Pies, a new cake (which I haven't named yet), and about 100 mini decorated cookies in my brand-new dough creation. I made tiny pumpkins with our names on them, and I made sure everyone took a few home as well.

Emma stole the show for most of the get-together. She's now 19 months old, and she's just too adorable for words. She really cuddled up to Puckett (who's a single airman living in the dorms!), and he was so sweet with her. She climbed up on the chair next to me when I was eating, and she ended up stealing away almost all of my cranberry salad - she loved it! And when Jan was scouring the Black Friday ads and writing out her shopping plan-of-attack, she sidled up next to her and pointed out the toys she was interested in. We were all in love!

Jack's friend Payton spent the night with us so that Jan could do all the midnight Black Friday shopping, and we had a large breakfast late the next morning. (They both fell asleep between 3-4am!) Philip pulled all the bins and boxes out of the storage shed in the garage for me to begin the holiday decorating, and we pretty much did that the rest of the day. Jan came to pick up Payton before dinnertime, and then we went back to decorating. The boys finished their tree entirely, and then they constructed the main tree. A.J. and I took a break and watched The Good Son together (a movie I had seen many years ago), too. After that, I felt too distracted to get back to serious decorating. ;-) I did hang the lights on our main tree while watching both Die Hard and Reindeer Games, and then Philip had to run into the squadron around 4am to clean his weapon.

On Saturday, we did more lazing about, and I finished up some more decorating. We all watched Liar Liar together, and the boys loved the class Jim Carry funnies. I made an easy pantry dinner of tuna casserole and green beans, and we finished off a few pies. Philip took a TON of desserts with him to work, and I was glad to have all the space back in my fridge!

It was 45° today (it's been warm all week), and the boys enjoyed hours of playtime outside. They probably have a few more days they can get away with it, so I encourage it! We've had a bit of snow, but it's all melted, and I'm happy for every warm day we get as a treat. Usually, it snows here in October, and we made it all the way to November 15th before our first snow, and it melted anyway. A blessing!

Last week was crazy-busy, but it was so fun! I threw a last-minute get-together with a bunch of gals for the midnight premiere of Twilight: Breaking Dawn, and I made cookies for the event. We all met at Applebee's for dinner, and then we headed to the theatre around 10:30pm to get in line. We had a great time, even despite one part of the movie that made us all snicker in our seats. ;-)

The next night, Friday, my friend Tifany hosted a Girls' Game Night while her husband was gone, and it was a blast. We played Taboo for hours, and we laughed SO HARD. She had great snacks, and I took a quick chocolate chip cheese idp and graham crackers (I had everything on hand already, and my friend Mary had suggested it while we were waiting for the movie to start the night before).

And then on Saturday night, I hosted Enchilada Night at our house! Tanya, Janelle, and I had been talking about our different enchiladas for weeks, and we decided to have them all together one night to share. Tanya made red enchiladas, Janelle made green, and I made white (the colors of the sauces, I should say). Tanya brought a big pot of Spanish rice, and we all ate together. It was a tasty night, and Jack loved it so much that he's already planning out our next "community suppers," as Tanya calls them. Samantha came over around bedtime and had some leftover enchiladas, and then we girls all watched Friends With Benefits together.

On Sunday, I was beat! Seriously, I think I napped and dozed all day to make up for three parties with three different groups of friends in three consecutive nights!

This coming week should be busy, too. I've got a bunch of cookies to make, as well as HUNDREDS I should be putting online. I need to make two "foodie" posts, and I'm hosting a huge giveaway on my website tomorrow (well, today!) to celebrate both Cyber Monday and my 1000th 'like' on Facebook. I've got two cookie swaps to mail out, and I want to make a bunch of cookies for the Airman's Cookie Drive again this year.

Oh, oh, oh! Aaaaaaand, my cookies made the Top 10 in the L.A. Times 2nd Annual Cookie Bake-Off! (Gosh, I can't believe it took me so long in this post to remember this!) I figured the "crowd favorites" as far as vote-getters would make the Top 10 even when the staff baked the Top 50, so I had been confident in my cookie so long as I remained high in votes. When the voting stopped, I had a 70+ vote lead on my closest competitor (the last time I saw it before the contest was pulled down), but then I waited for days on pins and needles for the baking and judging to take place. Finally, last Monday, the winners were announced! I was SHOCKED to find that the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th place vote-earners did NOT make the Top 10 at all. It was crazy, and I'm SO glad my cookie held up in the judging! I still can't believe all my friends that voted so much for me - thank you ALL!

I've been invited to Los Angeles by the L.A. Times for a publicity photoshoot and a day tour of the facilities in their test kitchens on Dec. 7th. The recipes will be published in the huge holiday edition of the paper on December 15th. There's also another article on the judging HERE. I do wish so badly that I could go, but I absolutely can't afford the travel *to* L.A., so these articles are the end of the line for me. It was still SO EXCITING, and I was calling friends and *squeeeing* when I found out!

Oh, and we received a Christmas card yesterday from [livejournal.com profile] ashen_butterfly! She's the first, as usual. I've still only got my cards addressed, but not written, nor an accompanying newsletter even started!

I'm so happy to see so many of my friends returning to LJ lately. I have been reading, and I'm trying to be better at commenting myself. I don't know how much I'll be able to post in December, but I'm glad to have checked in at least a little bit. :-)
navygreen: (Christmas - Coke Santa)
If I waited to put these in order - or to write stories - with each of these pictures, they would never be ready in the same timeframe as our holiday newsletter. In short, I will just put a small caption beneath each photo. Enjoy a glimpse of our 2010!

50 Faves From 2010 )


The 2010 family tree.

*whistles*

Nov. 15th, 2010 09:15 pm
navygreen: (Christmas: candy canes)
I began addressing my Christmas cards last night. Philip and I had run a few errands in town, including picking up the holiday stationery and envelopes. I've been buying a book or two of holiday stamps each time I'm in the post office (it seems to sting a bit less that way, you know?), so I'm getting there in the preparation. I need to process the boys' fall portraits I took in September (yes, I know!) so that I can print a picture to pop in the cards, and then I'll be set.

Well... except for actually writing the newsletter, that is. I'll have to crank that one out by this weekend or so. I always feel so dorky, yet folks continually tell me how much they adore my "newsy" newsletters. Oh, what I do for the people I love! *wink*

This afternoon, Philip and I finished up all the outdoor holiday lights and decorations. There is currently no snow on the ground, but there is a dusting in the forecast this week, and we got about 5" a couple weeks ago (which melted in 60° the following two days), so now is the time to beat the true cold and wind. Also, tonight is the first night you can officially have holiday lights on in base housing, so we were ready for that. The icicle lights on the roof were up during October as part of our Halloween decorations, so we only added the train on the roof, the moving deer (a doe and buck), and the yard stakes with red-white-green lights. We'll put our indoor decorations up on the 28th, and then the two full-size trees will shine brightly out both of our large front windows.

We completely finished our holiday shopping almost two weeks ago, and then I finished wrapping everything over that next week. I mailed out our first boxes of holiday gifts last week, and I hear that both have been received already. I still need to mail two more big boxes of gifts, and then the shipping part is done. I can't wait to have our trees up and decorated because I'm tired of storing all of our gifts in the closet! Even though they are already wrapped, I still don't want them out until the tree is ready. (It makes sense in my mind, I swear.)

Last year, we waited on all gift-shopping for our family because we were moving on Dec. 7th. We didn't want the movers hauling gifts, but we didn't have room in our vehicles for them, either. We finished up our friends and extended family before the move, but waited on our own things. This year, however, it feels nice to be ready ahead of the game. Two years ago, I took a picture on Nov. 4th of everything wrapped and ready, and this year we were on par with that. It sure makes for a sigh of relief as we head into the busy holiday season!

Meanwhile, we spent our nights this weekend while Philip was off watching movies. While doing that, I crafted tons more ornaments, and I'm over halfway done with the sets for the boys' teachers. I really had to step up my game this year since A.J. is in middle school and now has seven teachers instead of just one - eep! I will probably tuck some cookies into their gifts as well. (Naturally!)

And that's that. It's not just "beginning to feel a lot like Christmas" around here... it's practically in full-swing already!
navygreen: (Christmas - Coke lights)
All of my Christmas newsletters are stuffed, sealed, and stamped. I'm ready to spread some holiday cheer in the mail on Monday! :-)
navygreen: (Christmas - Coke Santa)
I began addressing envelopes last night for last year's holiday newsletter. Yep, I'll be sending yuletide greetings in March/April - go me! I'm using the holiday stationery that I bought way-back-when, and it'll be adorable.

Besides, I betcha I'm the only "holiday" newsletter many folks will receive during the Spring! *wink*
navygreen: (Jack: soccer)
Jack's first game of this indoor soccer league is at 5pm tonight. As soon as the boys arrive home from school, though, we're taking them to the base hospital for the H1N1 vaccine. Last week when we went to the youth center, a gal was handing out fliers at the door, announcing that all students would need the vaccine by 1/29 to be allowed back inside the building.

So, we're cutting it close. ;-) Jack will be fine, but A.J. has a debilitating fear of needles and vaccines. When we got his last set of vaccines in the fall, he must've cried for twenty minutes straight. It was pretty horrible, and I'm not looking forward to a repeat performance. He's known of this afternoon's plans days in advance, and last night's dinner conversation was situated muchly around needles. I hope he pulls through okay, as he really, really, really likes the youth center.

I got a Christmas card last week from [livejournal.com profile] mostcurious! Thank you, chickie! I really want to get my own out, too. I've got all the supplies sitting here on my desk, but I've not written the newsletter yet. I know they won't arrive until February, but I figure that everyone will cut me some slack since we moved in December. Hee!

I emailed the Runza National office again, as Philip and I have still not received our W-2s. I had originally contacted them two weeks before they were due to come out with our new address, so we wouldn't have to wait on them to forward up here. I was assured then that ours would be mailed on the same day as everyone local. Instead, the locals received theirs in the mail on the 15th, and we've seen nothing yet. :-(
navygreen: (Cats: Baby)
There's only one day left of the boys' holiday vacation, and I know they're sad for it to be over. However, they're very excited to go back to school and begin riding the bus for the first time! All of their snowgear arrived on the 22nd, but their last day before the break was the very next day. That didn't give me enough time to 1) unpack the items (the movers didn't leave that night until 6:30pm), and 2) go to the school to let them know to add them to the bus schedule (which meant I would've gone in on Tuesday morning, and they would've had only the ride home that day... which seemed kinda silly). So, I'll take them to school again on Monday, and while I'm there, I'll head into the office to fill out the bus paperwork. They'll begin riding the bus on Tuesday...

... and I'll begin the jammied, goodbye-kisses-at-the-door! Wheee! (Yeah, I may be even more excited than THEY are! *wink*)

We need to find a larger size 'plate holder' for one of my Coca-Cola® trays in the dining room. We've hung the other ones on the wall, but the largest size we could find was adjustable from 11"-18". My tray is about 20" in length, so no dice. I had the idea of extending the stretchy brackets with zip-ties, but that didn't fully work either. (Philip tried for a good while, too.) We'll find or figure something out, I'm sure.

Speaking of Coca-Cola, we took two of my large puzzles to Hobby Lobby today to be framed. I put these puzzles together about 15 years ago, back in my freshman year of high school. In fact, Philip helped me to make one of them while we were dating. I've carried them from home to home for years, and they've never been on display. I am ├╝ber-excited to get them back in a couple weeks and put them up in my dining room. Depending on how much I love them (and I'm sure I will!), then I'll take my largest puzzle in to be framed as well. It's about the size of Jack, so it'll be a pretty penny, I know. Still, Hobby Lobby was having a 50% off sale on custom framing, so I figured it was a great time to get them done.

Poor Baby kitty is so frightened of the main level of the house. The living room and the large office both have high ceiling fans, and she is just scared to death of them. Honestly, to see her expression, you'd think there was a giant monster with 200 teeth coming after her. It's been three weeks now, and she's just not warming up to them. The kitties have had their food, water, and litterbox down in the basement, but today, we moved the food up to the office. She has stood in the hallway and mewed at us in the most pitiful voice, and we keep inviting her to join us in one of these rooms. Philip and I have both brought her in here several times to show her the location of the food, calmly petting her and trying to reassure her. The last time Philip did so, she ate about four little kibbles. She'll get there, I know she will, but it's pretty pitiful to see right now.

Kiki, on the other hand, is perfectly happy anywhere now. She was cautious near the fans for the first week or so, but now she's very content. She's currently sleeping on my Coca-Cola bin near the windows while I'm here in the office.

I found a neat, wrought-iron plaque on clearance at Hobby Lobby yesterday with a cut-out design on it, as well as the text, "HOPE." I really waffled on buying it though, as I could see a small scratch in the finish. Philip and I tried to rub it out in the store, and it was almost gone... but I could still see where it was. Even though I thought we might be able to do a better job of it with a cleaner or a special pad at home, I walked away from it. I figured it just wasn't meant to be. I will be keeping an eye out for the perfect "HOPE" decoration this year, as I wanna celebrate and commemorate my word!

I've received a ton more Christmas cards, but I've been remiss this last week in thanking so many of you. Thank you to [livejournal.com profile] donnazita, [livejournal.com profile] hermioneluna, [livejournal.com profile] m1x3d3m0t10n5, and [livejournal.com profile] scarletharlot52. A special thank-you also goes out to [livejournal.com profile] tabbyfoo!

I'm not sure what the day holds tomorrow after church. Maybe I can get all my guys to sit around the table on our new chairs in our gorgeous dining room and play the new game I picked up - Milles Bornes! I loved that card game when I was growing up, and I hope they like it, too. :-)
navygreen: (Christmas - Robbie)
We received a ton of cards in today's Monday mail, and I'm loving it! Several were from fellow LJers, including [livejournal.com profile] mayna, [livejournal.com profile] laurushka, [livejournal.com profile] posthaste, [livejournal.com profile] butterflymama3, [livejournal.com profile] dottey & [livejournal.com profile] kechara, and [livejournal.com profile] desertmommy. Thank you all!

I'm even more amazed that so many of these cards are coming addressed to the new house, rather than being forwarded. Look how on-the-ball you all are! :-)
navygreen: (Christmas - Coke Santa)
We received more cards today, including ones from [livejournal.com profile] hetterrific and [livejournal.com profile] flyingwolf - thank you both!

Today felt mostly lazy on my part. You see, since our household goods are not here yet, we have no washer & dryer. It had been a week since we did laundry on our last night in the TLF, and we all were down to having no clean pants. The boys and I bluffed the day away in our PJs, while Philip headed out to the base laundromat, only to find it empty. He also had to take money out of an ATM, but then find a nice store that was willing to give him a couple rolls of quarters. Once he had the laundry washing at a laundromat downtown, he headed over to Napa AutoParts for a new oil cap for his truck. Then back to switch the laundry to the dryers, and then out to pick-up the BIG. NEW. TV!

Meanwhile, the boys played and watched a few videos here at the house, and I unpacked the cleaning supplies. It was the last box of stuff we'd brought with us in our U-Haul trailer, and I wanted to find my cleaners so that I could give my red kitchen trashcan a good scrubbing (we used it to haul items during the move, too). I made lunch for myself and the boys, and then I set about destroying fixing my computer.

I bought and installed new security protection, but in doing so, I then had to make sure that I had all the Windows Updates I needed. I didn't, and that took a couple HOURS to do - ugh. But now everything is running smoothly, and I'll have it do a deep scan tonight while I'm snoozing.

I also paid all the mid-month bills, paying a handful of them way, way ahead, too. I love the feeling that comes from sending $800 to a bill instead of the $100 it asks for. We are so blessed to have come so far in our finances, and I'm thankful every day for that. Also, I discovered a mistake on the Air Force finance side of things... I'm sure no one who is/has been military is shocked by that one. It always happens. Philip will go to Finance on Monday and let them know what we've found. Until then, we've moved the $1888 error to a side savings account so that we'll have it to pull from when the military then sharply deducts it from Philip's pay in the future. Wouldn't it be lovely if Finance could ever get anything right the first time?!

I took an evening bath/shower, and then we all headed out to dinner at Alaska Alder Grill. (I've just looked, and I can't believe they don't have a website!) It was very reminiscent of our times at Alaska Wild Berry, except that it was a food place, not just a chocolatier. Among the store area, we looked at a huge buffalo, a white ram, a cougar, a hyena, a wolf, and many deer heads. I loved all the beautiful wood carvings and stone pottery. It was a neat experience.

Now we're home, and the boys are headed to bed. I've culled the receipts that stacked up everywhere during these last two weeks of moving, and I feel much better about the state of things now. I still need to get my holiday cards in order, and I need to pick out a "Card Wall" here and get it going... :-)
navygreen: (Christmas - socks)
Whew, I'm beat!

Philip and I began the day earlier today than we have all week, and I'm bushed tonight to show for it! We had decided today would be the day to finish up the Christmas shopping, as he will begin working here on Monday, and it was best to take advantage of the full day with the boys in school. So, we dropped them off at 9, and then we were on our way into town!

We did all of the rest of our holiday shopping VERY early this year, knowing that the confusion of moving would put things into a tailspin. I'm so very thankful for that, as it's been a comfort to only have the boys left to shop for. We bought everything, I wrapped it all, and then I shipped it to everyone via UPS waaaaaaaay back on Nov. 7th... I think if those folks haven't received their packages by now, it's safe to call them lost. ;-)

For the boys this year, we had decided on one thing: A.J.'s gift would be easy, and Jack's would take a bit more searching. We purposely did no shopping for them ahead of time because we didn't want the movers to pack any gifts, and we had no spare room in our vehicles for packages, either. See, we've had things stolen from each move, and I figure a wrapped holiday present is just *TOO* much temptation, ya know?

I cannot WAIT for Christmas morning, as I'm so excited to see A.J. open his gift. He has a small handful of gifts, as well as his Christmas stocking, but that's because his main gift will be...

... his very own netbook!

Not just his own computer, but he's receiving his own mini-laptop! His mini comes with Windows 7, and I'm so geeked to set him up with his own email account. I've got a pocket full of addresses from several of his gal pals back in Nebraska to set him up with, too (they all made sure to give me their emails on the night of his band concert, and it was so sweet to see their *goo-goo* eyes). I just know he will have so much fun with his new computer. And probably the best news of all - he won't have to share it AT ALL. We're going to set a very strict rule: it is A.J.'s computer, and A.J.'s only.

That may sound harsh, but the reality is that my boys have to share practically everything. It's been this way since Jack was born, and I think that lately, it's really starting to affect A.J. how he never has his "own" things, and he really gets very little personal space from Jack. Sure, he can go to his room for alone time, but he still ought to be able to have some things that are his alone, and this will be one of them. I know he will be stoked, and we'll have to work with him on not gloating, even just a little.

As for Jack, he'll still have use of the secondary computer. It is on a LAN with mine, and it's what the boys currently use on a desk in A.J.'s room (which takes even further from A.J.'s personal space, but that's where it fit in our old house). Here, we'll either set up a smaller desk in the office with our computer, or we'll put one in our large dining room. Either way, A.J. will be free to use his bedroom desk for just his own computer.

So we were shopping today mainly for Jack, as well as for stocking stuffers. Along the way, I ended up with a new wardrobe. Now, I hate shopping for myself, but I badly needed to, and Philip insisted. In fact, Philip was encouraging me to "just get it, honey" with almost every single item I picked up all day. As a result, I came home with a LOT of goodies. I kept saying, "But what about you?" He just insists that he's got something in mind, so don't worry about it.

Hmmm...

So the shopping is finally complete, and I have a ton of wrapping still ahead of me for next Monday and Tuesday while the boys are in their last days of school before holiday break. Right now, all the packages and items are hiding in the cabinets in the basement. See? I'm using them already! ;-)

In addition, we returned home to two large packages of Christmas gifts from our family, as well as a host of cards. These included ones from [livejournal.com profile] happysmiles01 and [livejournal.com profile] adiasplat. Thank you!
navygreen: (Christmas: candy canes)
Today's regular and forwarded mail brought only Christmas cards - yay! Nothing but the good stuff! :-)

Among those received were ones from [livejournal.com profile] ashen_butterfly, [livejournal.com profile] 1grl_revolution, and [livejournal.com profile] sdaisyk - thank you!

Cards!

Dec. 17th, 2009 03:25 pm
navygreen: (Christmas: candy canes)
I've received several cards, but the majority are still slowly trickling in due to mail-forwarding. For example, the ones we received yesterday were originally postmarked the 7th of December, and it never took 10 days for mail to reach us state-to-state before.

But thank you to [livejournal.com profile] prosodic, [livejournal.com profile] gardenmama, and [livejournal.com profile] niftybabe313 for the cards we have already received. I haven't decided on a 'Card Wall' here in the new house yet, but you can bet I'll be deciding soon. ;-)

Now that we're here and have an address, I'm going to work on my own holiday cards. We don't have our household goods yet, but I figure that just means I'm *supposed* to really buckle down and do cards now - hehe!
navygreen: (PotC: Barbossa - which way?)
We're on the home-stretch now: 530 miles down, 208 left to go. We will make it to Minot AFB tomorrow!

A la Kevin Smith, I yelled as we passed the border: "NORTH DAKOTA, I am IN YOU!"

*giggles*

Now the knowledge is out in the open, and that feels nice. Even so, it still gives me a great little thrill that we kept our moving news so locked down for six months to just a handful of special people in real life. I love that folks didn't know until I chose to let them know. For the sake of the boys and their church/school situations, it made things much simpler. Thank you, my LJ friends, for keeping mum on the subject since June - hee!

And it sounds like our friends in Nebraska have had more than a bit of snow since we left. We got some on Sunday night that put us in a tizzy over whether to leave or not... but we decided that we couldn't wait and then risk being trapped by the larger storm system due on Monday night. Apparently, we made the VERY RIGHT decision in leaving, as they have been nothing but blasted by snow since we left.

Meanwhile, I'm not a great big ol' fan of South Dakota. There was hardly any accumulation going on along the interstates, but the 3-5" of snow that was already in place was whipping across the lanes, and we felt as if we were driving in an intense fog. For most of the roads in SD, we were buzzing along at 35-40mph... in an area with a speed limit of 75mph. Philip's truck pulled the U-Haul, and he was the one equipped with our GPS, so I was lolling afterward. At one point in the afternoon, he was at 1/4 tank of gas, and I had a solid 1/2 left plus Jack and both kitties sound asleep. We made the decision for me to whip on and find a place for dinner and 'free time' for the kitties, and then it took Philip another 40 minutes or so to catch up to us.

I was super-nervous this morning when we hit the blustery roads, but by mid-afternoon, I was asking Philip to go faster. I'm more than a little proud of myself for keeping it together and pressing on. :-)

Philip just brought me a hot fudge sundae from McD's while I'm down here in the hotel lobby using the computer. Mmmmm!

My friends have more than kept me occupied with texts and Tweets. Thank you, all of you, for checking in so frequently. If nothing else, I catch up on potty breaks. ;-) Oh, and [livejournal.com profile] kerryblaze, thanks for the LJ gift, too!

[livejournal.com profile] hearts_refuge, did you get your box yet? Mailing that sucker out involved being a party to the most RIDICULOUS conversation ever. Seriously, I was shaking my head in bewilderment and looking around for a hidden camera.

[livejournal.com profile] kp_nut, I received your Christmas card in our last day's mail. Anything else should be forwarded right now, but yours came just in time. Thank you!

On a side tangent, our hotel tonight has the best showerhead ever. Goodness, it was relaxing to stand there forever after the chilly parking parade. I also love how hotels have neverending supplies of hot water. Philip jumped in with me, and then afterwards, Jack took his bath. We were dressing in our jammies and giggling, listening to Jack singing, "Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town" while he bubbled away in the tub.

I can't wait to download some pictures. I've not taken any of the trip, but I have several from before that I think will be keepers. We were SO PROUD of A.J. in his very first band concert last Thursday night. I was so tickled that we were able to stay until that point (the next day, Friday, was their last day of school), and that he enjoyed it so much. We sat in the second row, and I took a bunch of snaps. He is one of six clarinet players, and he clearly knew his stuff.

Even better, he surprised the heck outta me when we arrived back at the TLF that night. I had watched Mr. Holland's Opus with the boys the previous weekend, and A.J. had been particularly interested in the clarinet player's struggles (which I expected, and which is the reason I suggested the movie, besides just loving it to pieces myself). He told me he wanted to play something for me, and he pulled out his clarinet...

... and then he played THAT TUNE from the movie! He played it by ear, having guessed and practiced it by himself all week. I was ASTOUNDED! I told him he's really got a gift, and that not many folks can "hear" notes like that, and especially not just three months after beginning to play an instrument. He just grinned and played it over and over, working on figuring out the next note as he went. Wow!

I should probably get moving here. No one's waiting on the computer, but I would like to get a long, lazy sleep in, and that means I should start snoozing soon. 'Night, all!
navygreen: (Christmas: candy canes)
Alrightee, this is my official Raise-Your-Hand-If-You-Want-A-Holiday-Card-From-Me post. Some of you have been on my list for a while, some not as long. Even if you're pretty sure I've got your address, put it here to be *Extra*Sure* again. (I need help organizing, and this is the best way to do it!)

Yes, comments are screened.

Also, if you have a roll-call post of your own and I've not yet responded, point me to it, please! I'm all about the holiday cards!

My holiday card order will be ready to pick up in 46 minutes. From that point forward, I will be addressing cards. Get in now, while the getting's good! ;-)
navygreen: (Christmas - blue)
I must announce to you all that I received my first Christmas card on Saturday. It was from a dear, very on-the-ball-already lady named Gretchen ([livejournal.com profile] ashen_butterfly). Wow!

I really hope to receive lots and lots of cards this year. We had a damper on the cards coming in last year, and I'm sure that had more to do with - for the first time in history - my not sending out cards myself. But, last year, I just couldn't muster up the energy to do them, much less write a newsletter that would've been 90% fake.

This year, I'm doing cards again. I've compromised with myself to do the cards with pics, but to lay off the newsletter once more. To be honest, I'm not sure if/when an honest newsletter may come out again, and all the "faraway friends" don't really need details anyway, you know?

But this very special, very FIRST card is already mounted on the wall, and the newsletter that accompanied it is tucked into the special holder for those as well. I'm excited!
navygreen: (Christmas - socks)
I am so happy, and I have been so blessed. I have also been extremely spoiled this year! I am in awe of the promises that December kept to me, and I thank God with every breath for bringing such hope and happiness.

If you're curious, read on. If you're uninterested in the Christmas gifts, feel free to skip the rest of this post. :-)

A list I could never have dreamed! )

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season. This new year feels very promising to me, and I wish such warm feelings for each and every one of you, my friends. Here's to 2008! *clinks*
navygreen: (Darkwing Duck)
Christmas cards have continued to trickle in these past few days. Among those, we've received cards from [livejournal.com profile] kristchan, [livejournal.com profile] cateyes25, [livejournal.com profile] flopbrain, and [livejournal.com profile] _stacy. The card from Kris plays music and comes complete with a website (no, really!). The boys thought that was very cool.

But the card from [livejournal.com profile] _stacy came in a package that warned me not to open it without the boys. So we opened the package together, and each pulled out a soft, wrapped gift with his name on it. I opened the card (finding the spiffy picture of Mr. Cole on the envelope!), and I also found a trinket for myself: a Hermione LEGO® keychain! Inside each of the boys' packages, they found these:


Superhero capes!


Personalized superhero capes! What a cool idea! The boys were instantly in LOVE with them, and they put them on quickly. What followed next were several minutes of superhero mayhem, lots of yelling and running around, and several flicks of "Spidey hands."

Thank you so much, Stacy! What a FANTASTIC idea! :-)

More of the mayhem under here. )

Cards!

Dec. 17th, 2007 03:34 pm
navygreen: (Christmas: candy canes)
I was so stoked when Jack brought in the mail just now. It looked like a stack of nothing but Christmas cards! I pawed through all of them, and I found that the last card-shaped was actually just our cell phone bill.

Still! We received eight Christmas cards today! Two of the cards were from hetterrific Heather's family, as well as three thank-you notes - thank you! Altogether, there were eleven cards in the mail! :-)

Edited to add: Philip came home just now and brought in a bit more mail, too. Two more cards - ones from [livejournal.com profile] gardenmama and [livejournal.com profile] maryjo. Thank you!
navygreen: (Christmas: candy canes)
I am so blessed. Can I just tell you how blessed I am?

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me... the new LeAnn Rimes CD
On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me... a stainless steel, 1.5-quart pot with glass lid that strains itself.
On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me... Titanic on DVD.

I've been looking and looking for another small pot. I wanted one like the smallest one I had, for there are lots of times when I just need something little to heat up a single can of veggies. I've not had luck finding just that size, however; usually the perfect small pot only comes in a set with eleventy billion other pots and sizes. What a surprise for Philip to gift me with such a spiffy small pot today! And he went ahead and gave me tomorrow's gift as well, since he was afraid he might not be able to get out for shopping tomorrow - sweet. We've had Titanic on VHS for years (we bought it the night it came out, in fact!), but the tapes are old and worn (um... I've played them a LOT!). It is so nice to replace them with DVDs. And I *love* LeAnn Rimes and have most of her stuff. I swear, I sing "Nothing Better to Do" all the time lately!

And I forgot to include it before, but he also gifted me with two big, juicy pomegranates on one of the other days. Mmmmm!

While opening the packages of Christmas gifts from his parents to put under the tree, we found an unwrapped pair of snazzy Santa socks. I'm sure they're for me - socks!

And then this morning, a box was delivered while I was making pie. It came directly from PartyLite®, and it contained a selection of yummy candles:

- one dozen tealights in Cinnamon & Bayberry
- one dozen tealights in Holiday Spices
- one box of ScentPlus™ Square votives in French Vanilla
- Aroma Melts™/Tealight sampler, including six different scents (one melt and four tealights each)

We dumped out all the packing peanuts but found no note or slip in the box anywhere. Nothing was on the front tag, either. I've got an idea that [livejournal.com profile] happysmiles01 might be my secret Santa in this one... *wink*

We also received four Christmas cards today, including ones from [livejournal.com profile] 1grl_revolution, [livejournal.com profile] devi_pavarti, and [livejournal.com profile] posthaste. Thank you all!
navygreen: (Christmas: cookie cutter)
Okay, I do. But lately, it feels like I never really turn it off; rather, I just keep adjusting the temperature for the next recipe!

I have been a baking FIEND lately. Need proof? Well, in the last seven days, I have made the following:

- two Black Bottom Banana Cream pies
- ten dozen Peanut Butter & Chocolate Chip cookies
- two Apple Blackberry Crumble pies
- two batches of Cornflake Candy
- fifteen dozen Snickerdoodles
- seven dozen Peanut Butter Chocolate Kiss Blossoms

I'm making two Key Lime Pies tomorrow morning, too. Of course, those technically don't have to bake... ;-) I also have all the ingredients to make Sausage Cheese Balls and two cheesecakes. I'll make the cheesecakes this weekend, and the sausage balls later in the week.

Tonight I made a 4-quart pot of White Potato Soup. It was sooo yummy, and I'd been craving it for days. I also wanted to use up the rest of the bag of potatoes from Thanksgiving so I wouldn't confuse it with the new bag. Mission accomplished! I dished up the leftover soup in portions for tomorrow. I swear, it tastes even better the next day.

We received three Christmas cards in the mail today. Thank you to [livejournal.com profile] tabbyfoo, [livejournal.com profile] poetlady, and [livejournal.com profile] scarletharlot52!

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