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And we’re OFF!

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We’re going to miss the garbage man today. First pickup after we gifted him with treats for Christmas and we’re not even going to see him as we will (hopefully) be in the air on our way to Dallas. Where we will then bolt to our next flight during our 45-minute layover and head to Tucson. Where we will succumb to a whirlwind of wedding activities including Nikki’s second attempt at being a Flower Girl. Hopefully it will go better than the first time when her brother had to carry her down the aisle due to stage fright.

I meant to post yesterday. How funny is it that I posted the days surrounding Christmas and even Christmas itself no problem, but the Monday after? I’m silent. I have weird blogging habits, don’t I? I hope to post while I’m gone as I’m going to assume there’s WiFi somewhere where we’re staying. There’s three pools…SURELY there’s WiFi. Even if it’s not free…surely it’s still there. I want to show you pictures as we’re gone! My favorite thing about Tucson – besides my wonderful (and dorky) brother of course – is the scenery. I photograph the hell out of Tucson whenever I’m there. Can’t wait to get out and do it again with the kids this time. They’ve never seen a saguaro cactus up close, I hope they’re as impressed as I was my first time.

It’s hard to pack for a 2-year old as you will wish you had brought ITEM X no matter how much you pack. I’ve learned that over the years…everything you think you need to keep them entertained? Will prove useless and you’ll always think of that ONE THING you opted to leave behind and you’ll convince yourself that ONE THING is what would have made things easier. They’ll travel well or they won’t – no matter what you bring. I did, however, take almost all of the music off my iPhone and replace it with episodes of Dora. I’m officially lame. Goodbye Alkaline Trio, Jason Mraz, Against Me! and Indigo Girls. Hello Boots and Swiper! Hopefully the cartoon that saves me during my most desperate moments at home will make the plane ride much easier on Wes. Otherwise? I’m suing Nickelodeon.

Hopefully you’ll hear from me tomorrow. But – if wedding chaos and technical difficulties keep me away – please have a wonderful New Year. I think every year that this blog and the friends I’ve made here have made my life so much better. I started this blog January 1994. That means my blog is about to be 7. Thank you all for a wonderful seven years. I’m not exaggerating when I say you have made my life richer. Thank you. I hope my periodic discussions of boob sweat and diet coke (Not to be taken together, of course) sometimes make you smile.

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Now that Christmas is over…I better talk about the other HUGE THINGS going on in my life.

I love this picture
Me and my angel/devil’s minion. Depending on what time of day it is.

Have I mentioned that on TUESDAY – as in…in TWO DAYS – my entire family is flying across the country for my brother’s wedding? As in…all FIVE of US plus my Mom? To Arizona? For a whole week? I haven’t mentioned that? Well…we are.

I’ve been putting off thinking too much about the trip because Christmas was such a HUGE hurdle we had to get over first. The problem was, I knew all along that the trip would commence three days after Christmas so I couldn’t really simply ignore it. So I have small little piles of Stuff To Be Packed and about 100 lists of Things To Do before we leave but in reality? I have a quite a bit to do between now and 4:30am Tuesday morning.

Did I mention our flight that we’re making with our kids leaves at 6:30am? I didn’t? Well…it does.

I am a little less worried now that I found out you can buy episodes of Dora on iTunes now. Do you know how much easier that will make my life? SO MUCH EASIER. Wes doesn’t watch TV much at all, unless it’s Dora, then he’s glued to it. This makes me breathe a huge sigh of relief because…well…Wes has been a little Poo-Poo Head lately. I mean, I’ve only blogged about his version of Terrible Twos about 19 million times, so I’m sure you all know why I’m worried. But I feel like it should be repeated: My son, when not an adorable little angel, is Satan’s minion. And I just knew that, if I couldn’t keep him happy and occupied on the plane, the minion would take over and it would be the first time they had to do an emergency landing because of a Toddler Threat.

So…Yay! for Dora!

We leave on Tuesday, the Wedding is on Friday, we fly back on Monday. And then…do you know what happens on Tuesday? About 17 hours after I get back in town after a week trip with my family that was done immediately after Christmas? I go back to work.

I’ll let that sink in for a moment.

I’ll have Christmas to Put Up and my entire family to Unpack and I won’t have time to do any of it because we land at 5pm and I have to be at work at 8am the next morning.

I hadn’t thought much about it because Christmas was in my scope and the Trip was in my periphery. I’ll be working for the same company I worked for before. They got funding/approval to re-launch a project I had worked on when I was there. It’s a contracted position for at least 2 years. I’ll work 8-3pm. Not quite full-time, but close. It’s a little sooner than I was planning on going back to work, as I was going to try to time it with Nikki’s entrance into Kindergarten, but the opportunity was too perfect to pass up. It’s work I know with people I know who don’t mind my 8-3 schedule which will allow me to still be available for my kids before and after school if they need me.

I still haven’t really processed it all…but I’m sure I will over the coming weeks. And then, when I’m done processing that? We’ll talk about E turning 16 on the 21st of January. SIXTEEN. I’m definitely not going to think about that for awhile, okay? Maybe until her turns 18…yeah. That sounds about right.

Snuggies
Christmas Snuggies from Grammy

Is It Over Yet?

Why is Christmas SO EXHAUSTING? I have the kids down for their naps and I’m minutes away from collapsing myself. Except there’s still a whole half-a-day left! I still have to shower, cook some more, and head over to the in-law’s for a gluttonous family dinner.

I just wanted to pop in with a couple pictures from this morning. After asking for two years straight now, Nikki finally got her first American Girl Doll. Santa made sure that Lanie (that’s her name) was wearing the same pajamas Nikki wore when she went to bed last night. He’s magic like that, you know. This is my first foray into the world of American Girl dolls as well although I have a lot of (much younger) friends who remember their own very fondly growing up. I hope Nikki does as well because Santa would like you to know…THOSE THINGS ARE RIDICULOUSLY PRICED. Although, that kinda didn’t matter when I got to see her face as she realized it was A) A REAL American Girl Doll (she got a fake last year) and B) It was wearing the SAME PAJAMAS she was!

Her First American Girl Doll (After asking Santa for two years)

Wes got a bunch of what he asked for as well but was very overwhelmed with the entire experience. He’s happy…don’t get me wrong…but in a little bit of shock over the fact that POOF! there are presents! And many are for him!

Overwhelmed

This is the year E spends Christmas with his Dad so I spent a good chunk of the morning texting him pictures of what he was missing with several sappy, “I miss you!” type messages. He finally texted back around 10am having just woken up. Damn teenagers. My heart is always a little sad these years because it’s hard to get 100% into Christmas when one of your kids is somewhere else. But – he’ll be back tomorrow! Then more presents!

And then…the biggest surprise of all? SNOW! This is the most snow I think I’ve witnessed in Huntsville, and it’s definitely Wes’s first snow of any significance as well as the first White Christmas I think I’ve ever had.

White Christmas
First Snow

Happy and Blessed. That’s what I am. And also…REALLY FREAKIN’ TIRED.

Peace and Happiness to you all. And also some well-deserved rest, if you’re any bit as exhausted as I am.

Christmas Flashbacks

First Christmas

My first Christmas. Don’t I look utterly enthused? Because I am. I remember. I was totally stoked about that walker right there. You can tell, can’t you? Also – did you have those ornaments covered in thread on your tree? I remember digging those out every Christmas, even up until a several years ago at Dad’s, and every year one of them had disintegrated in storage and those damn strings got tangled up in every OTHER ornament so we spent more time rescuing ornaments from shiny thread than we did actually decorating the tree. I’m so glad they don’t sell those anymore.

(Please don’t tell me if they do.)

Tree

I was 17 in this picture. It was 1992. I was just starting to branch out into my “goth” phase (Goth Zoot = Wearing Lots Of Black Shirts With Black Boots) which I started by buying that black Carpe Diem shirt. MAN…I loved that shirt. I think I probably ended up adding tall black suede boots to that outfit after this picture was taken because that was my FAVORITE OUTFIT at the time. So…imagine that outfit there with tall suede black boots. Are you inspired by The Awesome? You should be.

Also…notice the hair wrap. I wore those things non-stop for about 4 years. Because THAT was totally cool, you know.

Let’s not talk about the Mom Jeans, okay?

Christmas

One of E’s first Christmases. I’m thinking he was about to be 2 here. Look at that hair. Wes’s is looking more and more like that every day. Of course my boys both have luscious curls while my daughter’s is board-straight.

Christmas 2000

Our first Christmas after Donnie and I were dating? Maybe? I think so. E has a broken arm in this picture. I’m going to use that broken arm to justify everything else that may look hideous. Like my hair. THAT was obviously one of my many bad-self-dye experiences. I have no idea what color I was going for there. Why do I look like some sort of salon/fashion reject but Donnie just looks like a younger and totally adorable version of himself?

Blankets By Mimi

This is us last year with the blankets Mimi (Donnie’s Mom) made each of us. We’re quite a lucky family, you know.

If you celebrate Christmas…I hope you have a joyful day tomorrow with Friends and Family or Both Or Whichever Makes You Less Krazee. If you don’t celebrate Christmas? Have a THRILLING Saturday. I hope it is also filled with joy and laughter but hopefully less food than my day will be filled with. I’m just trying NOT to gain back the 5lbs I’ve lost recently. That’s my only goal.

Frosty The Snowbutt

Goofy

My kids spent the entire car ride home from the Galaxy of Lights last night modifying Christmas songs to incorporate words like Poop. Or even better…Vag!na. (Trying to avoid certain search hits, you know.) As in, “Rudolph the red-nosed Poop, had a very shiny Vag!na.”

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH THAT?

Do you -
A) Tell them that certain talk, especially about private parts or bodily waste, is not acceptable or polite.
B) Squelch a giggle and remind them that songs like that are okay around family but not around anyone else who might think it’s rude.
C) Laugh Hysterically because…my gawd that’s pretty funny. Then sing your own song called, “Jingle Boobs”