Tuesday, December 31, 2013

christmas & slothmas

Celebrating Christmas just one time a year doesn't cut it for us.  We do it up right with celebration after celebration.  Some loud, some peaceful, some in pj's but all with great food and lovely people.  Some celebrations are by phone but there is love there none the less.

All of the hustle makes us crave Slothmas with such a fierceness that we started it right after we got home from Christmas dinner.   Don't get me wrong, we love our people but sometimes we need to slow down, be one with the sloth, and just enjoy us.   So, we threw our pj's on, stuffed the leftovers into the fridge and got down to business with some jenga tetras. 

 and some hanging out on the kitchen counter time.
 and some ticket to ride.
 and then for a little change of venue, some snowboarding at Whitepass.  We had to practically beg for a list from our kids this year.  They were good with the "what I need" type stuff but the "what I want" type stuff was too tough.  Eventually they both decided that what they wanted most was just time together.  I know, I know...my kids are good eggs. 


 What they didn't realize, is that we were really getting the gift for ourselves.  This is exactly what I wanted most for Christmas and everything Slothmas was invented for. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

I might just harbor this one little jealousy of my childless friends...

It's not the sleepless nights.  I can handle those.  It's not knowing that you will never, ever have anything nice again.

It's the unavoidable (believe me, I tried) family picture.  You know the ones. 

and so it begins. 

It should have begun a month ago, this setting the stage of holiday memories.  We did do a little shopping online.  We put out our tree and decorated modestly.  We prepared a list of must haves for Christmas goodies and Slothmas necessities.  We set some dates for get-togethers and aligned lists with budgets.  We had one afternoon of Christmas ornament crafts.  We attended Christmas programs and watched White Christmas.

But we put off the dreaded family picture again and again and again.  I think it is inherited.  I only remember one family picture from my childhood.  Us girls wore handsewn flowered dresses and James wore a little vest.  I'll have to dig that one up sometime.  It is a beauty.  Come to think of it I was crying in that one too...

I digress. 

The whole process gives me the shakes.  Picking out outfits that show our personality.  They can't be too dressy, or too casual or too matchy matchy.  Thinking of a spot that isn't too cluttered but still holds some interest.  And what about poses?  Nothing too staged, but still something that we can see everyone in and please nothing that has an upward angle. 
And then getting children to smile naturally!  Screw it. 
As more and more perfectly polished pictures popped up on facebook and cards began to trickle in I knew the time was here.  Wait, was it that or was it Karen telling me to get my act together because she will be over in a little bit to snap a picture?  Who can remember.  Just kidding.  Thank you Karen!!


So that means, black and white photos to cover up the fact that we didn't coordinate at all and pictures in the backyard for the third year in a row.  I only threw a tiny little fit and no one ended in tears.  The best part is that my little Christmas photo album has a 2013 entry instead of me drawing stick figures, which was plan b. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Count yourself lucky...

I do.
I don't know where I would be without my Tony.  Sometimes I try to picture it and then I quickly blink it away because I can't imagine a good life without him, let alone this wonderful life we have.  And today is his birthday.  This world has had 37 years of good fortune with this hell of a guy. 

Here is a list of randomness about our Tony.

>>He likes lists and so do I.  Ergo, a birthday list.

>>His favorite movie just might be It's a Wonderful Life.  Followed closely by Pump Up the Volume because he has this rebellious streak (and just might be plotting to stick it to the man) and The Notebook because he is a complete romantic. 

>>His 'working music' is 1970's Country.  Throw on some Johnny Horton or some Marty Robbins(maybe Johnny Cash if he's feeling mainstream) and step back.  He's going to get stuff done.  But his 'pump up' music is usually something with questionable lyrics.  He's been known to love a little Limp Bizkit Nookie and his latest favorite is Rosana by Wax. 

>>He likes to bake and gets a little competitive about it.  Luckily he is dang good at it so I don't have to squish his feelers when he asks if his bread is better than xyz's bread. 

>>If he could do anything in the whole world for a living it would be flip houses.  If he could do anything for leisure it would be a toss up between sail the world, soak in the tub reading a good book and build something...anything...out of wood, out of busted up old cars, whatevs.

>>He will gladly correct any of my takes on his fav's and wishes but you won't see it on a social site.  He just sent me a text about how he sucks at facebook, and anyone who played fantasy football with him knows he doesn't make a trade.  Doesn't as in never, ever. 

>>He loves me and he loves his Aidan and Nadia.  He tolerates the cats and is mildly fond of Margo.  He is loyal and giving and loving and opinionated in the best way and helpful and handsome and funny and smart and sexy and handy truly the best thing that has ever happened to me. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

a love story

I've been thinking about love stories lately.  I have a great one.  So great that a student of mine told me that she plans to make millions when she makes a movie all about the boy who would give a girl all of the answers to US History during 6th hour English.  Don't worry.  The conversation was totally educational.  It was all about prereading skills and how we can make reading more powerful if we set the scene first. 
But that wasn't the take-away message for my student. 
It was that her teacher, who in the movie version will be a chemistry teacher not a biology teacher, fell in love with the boy next door because he was smart and found his way to her heart with a few American History facts and a knack for making her laugh.

Of course this young lady doesn't know about the rough junior high years or the cold winter hours flirting in his sister's car, waiting for a ride home.  Or how he was always willing to help hang posters with the cheerleaders and somehow managed to be there anytime the (who was just a really good friend and would listen to his girlfriend troubles and occasionally make her blush) girl needed a boost.  The girl in the story is rather short, you know.  Or how she killed his mojo when she said that they were so close that she thought of him like a brother.  Or how he threw caution to the wind and asked her to a movie a couple months later and got so nervous he said the wrong name of the movie!  Or how they went to prom together in their junior year, only to end the night with a peck on the cheek.  And then how he told her best friend that he was giving up!  And she had to make the next move, asking him to go for a drive.  And of course she would never know about how when he kissed her she said a million times over that she needed to remember every single detail about this because she knew right then and there her life was changed forever. 

True story, people. 

No, this student doesn't know all of the ups and downs of that early courtship.  And I'm sure I don't remember most of it.  What I do know is that I freaking love our love story.  Boy moves in next to girl.  They work through the awkward puberty years and build a friendship that lasts a life time.  They realize that friendship was only the beginning.  Twenty years, two kids, two cats and a dog later they still find things to talk about and dreams to dream about and laugh together every single day. 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Grandma Sue

I overheard Tony tell his Dad, "We lost Grandma Sue."  What a funny way to say it.  It doesn't seem very permanent.  The lost are often found.  I can't bear to say it in any of the usual ways myself.

I love that woman.  She's my person.  We didn't have to warm up with small talk.  We could just jump into what was really on our minds. 

Our story is complicated, but she loved Tony and she loved me and even in the weirdest moments of in-law drama, I never doubted that.  Nadia asks us to tell her stories of Grandma Sue.  It is easy to come up with them. They all show examples of love and strength and mothering of those around her.  I want to remember them all because I want her to be an example to Aidan and Nadia like she was for us.  I want my kids to know that a little bit of spoiling is good for the spoil-ee, as well as the spoil-er.  The gesture doesn't have to be as grand as dropping everything to pick up a three-year-old and make him fried chicken for breakfast, but can be simply wiping the rain from someone's headlights before they leave, shows them that you love them.  But Grandma did them all, large and small.  I hope they learn too, that the lesson doesn't end there.  I think it ends with gratitude.  Being thankful and appreciative of the little things, like teaching you to make chicken & noodles in your pajamas at 3 in the afternoon, and of the big things, like giving you a place and a purpose in the family. 
Grandma shaped Tony.   She taught him to appreciate his loved ones.  What a gift that woman was!  Equal parts sass and heart.  I feel her missing from me, from us, but know that she is with Pop.  They shared a love that makes you ache to think of one without the other.  It brings peace and happiness to know they are back together.