Monday, December 28, 2009

Presents Galore!

Luci started Daisy Girl Scouts last month and this month her troop along with the brownie, junior and cadette troops in this area had their investiture and rededication ceremony. Luci's troop is rather large with 19 girls! She was chosen to escort one of the flags into the ceremony, but as people were standing for it, I didn't have a chance to get a picture. Here she is in line awaiting her pins. On Luci's right is Kaydence. She is a new acquaintance of our family. Her mom is my brother's new....friend. ;-)

As there were so many girls, to keep the ceremony at a decent length, they had the girls say the GS promise in two's. Kaydence and Luci happened to do theirs together.
Incidentally, Kaydence's mom brought her to me for Xmas pics. Here's one of my favorites of her!
Sonja, my niece, is also in Luci's troop. Here she gives her promise. The girls love having each other in the same troop and are guaranteed at least one hour every week of playtime together without their moms present!
In just one month of meetings, the girls earned the middle patch and 2 petal patches! Luci is so proud! (Incidentally, Drew's troop is NOT in this area, so was not part of this ceremony.)
Monty, my little man! As cute as ever!
A couple days before Xmas, we headed over to Julie's house to exchange gifts. Ben opened his envelope and was very happy with his gift! I got TWO hugs and many thanks!

Drew examines a locking diary!
Oooo! A Nintendo DS game!!
And another! Hmmmm....good thing they already knew they were getting DS's!
Hannah got an I-Tunes gift card and this Fur Real kitty. This kitty sat under our tree for 2-3 weeks until we could do our exchange. Every time I turned the Xmas tree lights on or off, it would meow! I was glad to finally give it to her! Ha ha!
Hannah's dog, Ruby! She loves me!
Every year on Xmas eve, we go to Dean's parent's house to open gifts and have dinner. As we were getting the car loaded, I noticed this set of hearts in the driveway made earlier by my mom's car as she was leaving.
During dinner, Drew complained of an earache, so I decided to go home to get some Motrin for her. While there, I let the dogs outside and shortly afterwards, I discovred that our dog, Janie had been hit by a car at the end of our driveway. She had an obvious broken front leg and a kind passerby who stopped, helped me carry her into the house. A call to Dean brought him home and we brought her to the vet. There was no saving her leg and the only option was amputation. Unfortunately, Janie was coming up on 13 years old and she was already arthritic in her hips. An amputation would have been a serious degradation of her quality of life and in the end, the only humane option was euthanasia. It was a huge loss to our family. She was not just a dog, she was a member of our family as are all our animals, and she will be sadly missed. So needless to say, Dean and I missed the kids opening their gifts from Grandma and Grandpa while we were at the vet's office. When we finally made it back, this was the only picture I could take. Drew, Luci, Sonja and Max enjoy SEVERAL very LOUD games of Hungry, Hungry Hippos! They had a ball!
After Grandma and Grandpa's, we went home where the girls excitedly stated that they were going straight to bed so Santa would be sure to come! But before they ran upstairs, they left Santa a little refreshment!
In the morning, I was surprised to hear movement downstairs. I knew it wasn't the girls, so I got up follwed shortly by Dean. The girls were still sleeping at 7:30 as we made our way downstairs. My dad was up and my mom had already arrived. I called my brother to let him know we were up. Finally, after 8 rolled around and the girls were STILL not up, my mom made enough noise to get them going. They spent a little time with their stockings that Santa had left on their beds for them, but were soon making their way downstairs!

Santa was kind enough to get the girls all the Webkinz they asked for! They both got a fish and a dragon and Drew got a Wolf and Luci got a unicorn. (The night before, Uncle Dan and Aunt Tina also got them both some Pandas and G&G got Drew a Chihuahua) They were in Webkinz heaven!
Even the dogs love getting in on the present opening action! Janie loved this, too and we couldn't help but to think of her as the other three ripped open their toys!
Wow! MORE DS games! Meema got them 5 more!
Look what else Meema got them! $100 each to save for our upcoming trip to DisneyWorld next December! The girls are REALLY looking forward to it as are we! Dan, Tina, Sonja and Max are coming with us!
Just what I've always wanted! A red Nintendo DS!

My ballet obsessed ballerinas were thrilled to open REAL pointe shoes!
Now, of course they are still too young to be wearing them, and they are also several sizes too big for them, but they just couldn't resist trying them on and standing on their toes!
They were bought strictly for decoration and we'll be hanging them on their wall soon!
Papa's little seamheads! (Learned that term playing Trivial Pursuit!) He just loves that the girls are Yankees fans along with him!
Once everything had been ripped open, the girls broke open the DS's and we lost them for the rest of the day!

But hey, the girls weren't the ONLY ones who got all the's what Santa brought ME this year!! It's a Sony Touch Edition e-reader! (Simply put, it's a digital book. But you can carry up to 350 books in this thing!) This came in the mail the week before Xmas, and as I knew what it was, I opened it, hooked it up to my computer and downloaded some books into it. I had every intention of wrapping it up and sticking it under the tree, but the reading bug bit me and I just couldn't put it down! I have just finished my fourth Jane Austen book and look forward to cracking open #5 later tonight! Whatdayaknow...I AM spoiled! :-) Lucky me!
Santa was pretty good to Dean as well! I'm not sure what the thing is called, but it's a tool made by Dremel with all the blades and accessories that go with it. He also got a FatMax 25 foot tape measure. (Because SOMEONE was using his old one at the radial arm saw table and it accidentally got a little too close to the blade! Not sure who did it.......hee hee!) MOVING ON...Luci got a cupcake maker from Grandma and Grandpa and was eager to try it out.
Drew made one, too!
I helped the girls and got to taste their wares...and let me tell you...YUCK! Why can't they just use real ingredients anymore??? The look on Luci's face says it all!

Xmas night, we had Grandma and Grandpa, Dan, Tina and the kids, and my brother over for a yummy ham dinner. It was a nice end to my favorite holiday! So now, it's over. Other than the 3 small villages (the big one was dismantled to make room for dinner guests) my house has been completely de-xmas-ized(Dean's word), including the outdoor lights! I'm hoping I can put my e book down long enough to put the other villages away tomorrow!

Today's quotes:

Men are respectable only as they respect. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Integrity is what we do, what we say and what we say we do. ~Don Galer

I know right from wrong and I have the intelligence and self-control to keep from doing wrong. Consequently, my integrity and self-respect remain intact. Is it truly too much to expect as much from others, especially those in your circle of trust? ~Me

Thursday, December 24, 2009

A sad Xmas eve...

What a year 2009 has been. I will not be sad to see this year go away. Below, is Jake, my brother's dog on the left. A month or so ago, he was diagnosed with bone cancer and he had to be put down 2 weeks ago. Tonight, our dog, Janie, on the right, was hit by a car at the end of our driveway and we had to put her down as well. The whole year has been one tragedy and disappointment after another and I'm just so tired of all the misery. The girls have been told that Janie is in the hospital and in a few days, we'll tell them that she just couldn't make it. A lie though it may be, it's justifiable as I just don't want to put a damper on their Xmas day. After opening gifts tomorrow, Dean will sneak away and bury our girl on top of where Jake now lies. They were such great dogs...RIP old girl and Pooper, we sure will miss you both terribly!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

December musings

Nothing much new to report, at least not in photos. The girls' school pictures arrived and I'm happy to report that we won't be needing them redone! Last year, whoever took Luci's picture must have been in a real hurry as her picture looked nothing short of horrible! Luci appeared to be sucking on a lemon! We had them redone, however, and with ME standing there, she smiled as cute as can be and we got the shot on the first try. This year, they turned out well as evidenced below.

I took the girls down to our local Santa's Mailbox where they happily deposited their wishlists to the big guy himself.

As usual, when the house gets quiet while the girls are in attendance, it can mean only one thing...napping! The only switch this time is that they fell asleep together! Ahhh...sisterly love! (At least until they wake up! Ha ha!)

Today, the girls were invited to Julie's house (or as the girls call her, Juju) to decorate Xmas cookies. I left my camera to home, which I immediately regretted upon our arrival as Julie had set up little tables with bowls of different colored icings. She baked dozens of cookies and they waited to be decorated on trays on her new countertops. Sonja and Max were there along with a couple of Hannah's friends, Hannah R. and Jordyn. Ben, Brittany and Nicki's daughter, Marina were on hand to help out the little ones. Even Brit's son, Jackson was there to try his 1 year old hand at decorating...though he was much more interested in eating the cookies than icing them! I had to leave shortly thereafter as I had a photoshoot back home to do. After the shoot, I headed back to Julie's to pick the girls up. Upon my arrival, the girls greeted me with shiny, happy faces that showed evidence of a makeover! They both had applied mascara, and though Drew did a tolerably good job on her first solo attempt, Luci had managed to leave a few black streaks underneath her eyes, giving her a really cool gothic look! As always, Julie loaded them down with their own decorative boxes of their cookies and away we went back home. They had lots of fun and it has turned into an annual event as this is the 3rd or 4th year she has had the girls over for cookie decorating at Xmas-time.

Today's quote:

Many people believe that you truly cannot appreciate what you have until you nearly lose it. This is true for many, but in my experience, it is the direct and permanent "loss" of a most damaging, controlling, needy, using, lying and absolutely mentally messed-up person in my life that has made me appreciate what I have! I put the word "loss" in quotes as, ironically, the "loss" is actually a total win for me! Liberation from crazy people is indeed a sweet victory! ~Me

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Santa's one lucky fella!

Santa may be lucky to have this stunner for a wife, but we're pretty lucky to have her, too! Every year my mom dresses up as Mrs. Claus for our local Xmas parade, a local Xmas show and for parties when her Mrs. C schedule doesn't conflict with another event. This year, she wasn't able to attend the party where Dean dressed up as Santa as it was the same day as the parade. Today, after a Xmas show performance, she stopped by to have her picture taken with the girls. Here are the results!

She has put countless hours and beau coup bucks into making her own costume (something I have plans to do myself this coming year for Dean) and her efforts really show. She has worn this costume for the last few years and has decided to retire it. She already has her new costume in the works.
I've said it before, but it bears repeating. Of all the Mrs. Clauses I've ever seen, she by far surpasses them all! Not only does she look the part better than anyone else, but she acts the part perfectly. Anyone who knows her won't doubt that a bit!

Today's quote:

If I were not an atheist, I would believe in a God who would choose to save people on the basis of the totality of their lives and not the pattern of their words. I think he would prefer an honest and righteous atheist to a TV preacher whose every word is God, God, God, and whose every deed is foul, foul, foul. ~Isaac Asimov

Friday, December 11, 2009

Santa, Snow, Singing, Snagging!

First...Santa. I stole this clever idea from my good friend Jody and her blog. She always finds the coolest things online! Please click on the links below to see if Drew and Luci were naughty or nice!

Second...Snow. Our area got its first real snowfall last week. (We got a doozy of a winter storm in the last few days, but the pictures below are from the snowfall not the storm.) I love how it looks like everything got covered in white sugar!

A little sun peeking through the snow covered branches. Very serene!
My dad hung up some entertaining squirrel feeders recently. Here is a red squirrel trying out the hanging corncob. A day later, we found that the squirrels had chewed through the rope, so he outsmarted them by replacing the rope with a small chain.

Thrid...Singing. The girls had their Xmas concert this week. Here's Luci mid-song.
Soaking up their well-deserved applause!
Drew's turn! This makes me cringe...everyone sharing hats! PLEASE don't let her end up with head lice!!! AHHHHHH!!!!!
The end pose!
And finally...Snagging! (As in snagging an award!) Luci gets her chance to take home an award at the school's assembly this morning. Here she is showing off her Teamwork award!
Not only did she snag an award, but she snagged TWO! Here she is with her Excellence in Music award! She couldn't be more proud of herself! That grin was on her face the whole time!
Way to go, Luci!! We're so proud of you!!

Today's quotes:

Reputation is character minus what you've been caught doing. ~Michael Iapoce

Tis better to suffer wrong than do it. ~Thomas Fuller

A man is usually more careful of his money than of his principles. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man. ~George Washington