Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Today we're having a family day. I think my days of partying 'till dawn on NYE are over. Gosh I could tell a tale or two about those times!! I did some crazy stuff in my young single days. Today we're taking the kids to the NYE "noon" bash at the New Orleans zoo. Then tonight we're going hang out with friends for as long as the kids will let us. We'll likely be home by 8 or 9pm, lol!
I am glad 2008 is over. I usually go back and read over my entries and write a year in review post. I can't do it this year though. I can't relive those memories right now. The year has passed me by and much of it is a painful blur. No need to say it -- but this has been a difficult year for me, if not THE most difficult year thus far. The first four or five months were typical, happy even. I never expected things to take such a downward spiral. I never expected many months of grief and sorrow. I never expected to feel so broken. It has definitely been a learning experience about myself and others. Death is such a sad way to learn though. Such is life I guess and you should always expect the unexpected. I just never fathomed any of this would happen.
It's kinda nice to start fresh every January. A new calendar... a blank page. Time to introduce the new and improved Me. I'm not sure what I hope 2009 brings. Peace perhaps. To find peace. For my heart to heal. For the heaviness weighing me down to lighten. More quiet instead of chaos. Normalcy. Brighter days. Fewer tears and fewer sleepless nights. A little less heartache and a little more happiness. Mostly I just hope that 2009 is better than 2008. Maybe that's asking a lot. I can hope though, can't I?
Happy New Year, everyone.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Instead, watch Uncle Jay explain the year:
Monday, December 29, 2008
I got my laptop back from Dell today. Yay!! I haven't a clue if the issues are corrected, because Clint has yet to install the hard drive. But anyway, that's not the point here.
Under my computer there was someone else's Repair Depot Tech Notes.
"Internet Explorer stops responding, gets very hot on the motherboard and the hard drive, battery only stays charged for 30 minutes, and time is set to Greenwich Mean time, I am in the US Eastern time zone. If you cannot repair these issues this time I want a replacement or a full refund!!!"
I had to read it twice. Ok three times to be sure I understood the "issue." Really.... this person returned their laptop to Dell for repair because the TIME is wrong?? IE crashes?? It gets HOT??
I almost wish there were an email address so I could drop them a line and say thanks for the laugh.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Me: "what is it"
Clint, reading the box: "My Little Pony Rainbow Bath set!"
Val: "I really love it! Um, who is that from?"
Me: "Pumpkin, that's from MeMe. She bought that a long time ago"
Val: "Um I will say thank you for MeMe at heaven. Thank you MeMe!! I love it! and I like it!"
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Friday, December 26, 2008
Did Santa bring enough stuff or what???
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Valerie has strep throat.
Veronica has a sinus infection.
Let's see.... guess who's next?? Why none other than ME of course. I started feeling run down last night after presents. Then my throat started to hurt. 101 fever during the night. Hot/Cold/Hot. Today I'm achy and really really tired, and my throat has the lovely spots just coming out. Yay me.
Christmas Eve went well. The girls had a GREAT time. It was so fun watching them rip open the presents. I was okay until Valerie unwrapped something my Mom had bought. After she died, we found a few gifts she had stashed away for the kids. I had my Dad wrap them. When Val opened hers, a My Little Pony bath set, I told her that MeMe had bought that for her long ago. Val got so excited! And said, "I gonna tell her thank you in heaven!" And she looked up and said just as sweet as you please, "thank you, MeMe." It was all I could do to fight back the tears.
That darn Santa brought way too much stuff over here!!! Pictures to come soon...
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
When I was little, we went to my Grandma's on Christmas Eve. First though, we'd dress in our best , take pictures in front of the tree, then open our gifts under the tree at home. My Mom always said this was to keep Santa's gifts and their gifts separate. Then we'd head to my MawMaw's for some holiday cheer. Everybody went. Everybody. All the Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, close family friends. If they knew our family, they were there. We'd have party food galore. The kids would play. The adults would gossip. My Uncle would tell us he heard sleigh bells outside! Then we'd all open gifts. I don't remember ever getting more than 2-3 gifts, but that was fine with me. I was always bursting with excitement anyway. After what seemed like many hours, we'd head home and go to bed. Notice I didn't say sleep!! I barely slept most Christmas Eve nights. Too excited at the prospect of what Santa might bring!! And usually I'd creep out to check during the night and there would be nothing under the tree. At about 5am when I could stand it no more, and I'd be up to discover what Santa had brought. Gosh, how my Mom must have hated that!!! My Mom told me that usually she had JUST put everything out when I'd decide to get up. LOL! As the years went by and more and more babies came along, my Grandpa passed... so Christmas at MawMaw's was no more. My Mom decided that we would do it at our house - but just the three of us. And that's the way it has been every single Christmas. Until now.
My Dad is coming to our house tonight. We're having our usual party fare: chicken salad sandwiches, cocktail meatballs and sausage, devilled eggs, chips/dip, drinks, etc. We'll eat. Take family photos. Then open gifts. Everything will be as it has in years past. Except that it won't.The first Christmas is supposed to be the hardest. Part of me wants to be happy and cheery. And I am excited for my girls. Yet sad too. They will never remember Christmas at MeMe's. We do have video of the past 3 years, so I can show them at least. All the holiday lights are shining bright, but I am not. It's just not the same. Holidays are all about family, and big part of mine is missing. How can I be happy when myheart feels sorrow? So many memories. It's a painful reminder that a whole part of my life is gone. Such a sad, bittersweet, Christmas this is for me.
Merry Christmas, Momma.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
So... Veronica is snotty and coughing as well. Looks like we'll be spending tomorrow morning at the doctor with her since there is a good chance Roni has it also. Lovely.
How bad of a Mom am I?! I can't even tell when my babies are sick! Really sick!!
Monday, December 22, 2008
The Morgan City newspaper, The Daily Review, does something unique with Santa letters every Christmas Eve. They print them. As written. Almost all of the elementary teachers do it as a class project and send in their class's letters. It's my most looked forward to section of the paper every year! It's pretty fun trying to decipher some of the requests. Some letters are so sweet and innocent. Some are just downright hilarious. And there's always a few that pull on your heartstrings.
Here is Valerie and Veronica's letters that I mailed in to the paper. Val helped me write both:
Thank you for the toys you brought me last year. Santa, this year I'd like a Baby Alive Go Bye Bye, roller skates, and a pogo stick. I want a horse and I want to ride it. And I will get hay from the store. Remember when I saw you in the mall and gave you a big hug? Please bring my sister a new butterfly rattle. Please bring my Mommy new make up brushes and my Daddy new tools. Santa, I will leave you some cookies and milk. Merry Christmas. I love you.
Thank you for the toys you brought me last year. The Jack in the Box is my favorite. This year please bring me a new baby doll and a little bitty horse and a little pack of hay, and new shoes. Merry Christmas.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Oh my little darlin'
How can it be four years already? Four years since I first held you in my arms. You were swaddled tightly in hospital blankets with the little striped cap on your head. Oh so tiny!! I wasn't sure what to do with you. I was in awe. You were so good, so quiet, and so sweet. How you changed our lives forever! How you changed ME forever. And here you are, four years old already. A little girl. You love to wear dresses - and the same dresses over and over! You're a Valerina! You're a princess! Make up and perfume are a special treat. Oh so girly girl. Yet so silly!!! You still love your bunny blankets. You can sing and dance. You go to school and dance class. Your friends are so special to you. So thankful for everything and so polite and so full of hugs and kisses and I love yous.... You love to help. You love to cuddle and read books. I couldn't ask for a sweeter little girl.
And even after four years, I'm still in awe.
Happy Fourth Birthday to Valerie Nicol! Love you!!
Valerie and I left our house at 8am and didn't get home until after 6:30pm. Where were we? Baking cookies!!! We went to our friends house to join in their traditional cookie day. I've never done anything like that before. It was fun!! Although I do admit I got burnt out after a couple of batches and kinda sat there. haha. I brought home two tins of yummy yummy cookies though. Valerie had a great day playing with her friends. Clint and Veronica had a Daddy / Daughter day since it was easier that way. So, it was a good day for all ...
Clint is on vacation until January! Yay!
Thursday night we took the girls to Celebration in the Oaks. For anyone not familiar with it, city park in New Orleans is all decked out with lights. We used to go every year before the girls were born. This was our first time taking the kids, and of course they loved it. It's one of my favorite things about this time of year.
My previous post got picked for Best of Holidailies. Yay!
I have LOTS of pictures. Unfortunately my laptop with my built in card reader is off for repair. So, unless I can locate the cable for my camera to transfer the pics... they'll have to wait!!
Friday, December 19, 2008
My Mom had been toying with the idea of buying me a car for quite a while. I guess I grew up spoiled, because it was always understood that at some point I would get a car. It's no secret Mom and Dad were not hurting for money, so it was just one of those things we automatically started talking about when the time came. I just didn't know how serious my Mom was just then or when I'd get one. At some point we found a key chain with my name on it, so we bought it for 'my car keys.' And just held on to it for months.
We looked through the used car ads on a regular basis and checked out anything of interest. I wanted a small car since it would be easier to learn how to drive. Yes, that's right - I didn't have a license and I didn't know how to drive, yet we were car shopping?! Most of the used cars were clunkers. Too much money, too many miles, too beat up. Being a typical teen, I didn't want to be seen driving a piece of junk! My Mom didn't want to spend a fortune on my first 'learning' car either.
Then, we found it. We saw an ad for a 1984 silver Nissan Sentra. It was only four years old. It had 38,000 miles on it. It was clean and smoke free. And they were only asking $2800! I think my parents looked at it first. Then they took me to see it. And I liked it. It was small and me being so short, it was easier for me to see out of it. I got behind the wheel and idled down the street (haha!) to see how it felt. The next day or so, my Mom told me that they called the man to buy it and someone else had already bought it. I had an inkling of doubt because my Mom was well known for these types of fibs!! MANY times she's pretend to 'forget' or something was 'sold out' only as a deterrent. But then I kinda forgot about it and we kept on looking through the sale ads.
Fast forward... I believe it was Christmas Eve. My Mom and I had gone to Canal Villere, a grocery store that has since shut down. The son of my Dad's co-worker was cashier there and we were on friendly terms with him. My Mom was busily unloading the cart and he turns to me and says, "Melanie, what's wrong with your car? I see it at the dock all the time." Or something along those lines. You see, my Dad worked at a fuel dock, and did all the maintenance on our vehicles during his free time in a big warehouse at work. I was caught way off guard when the cashier said this and mumbled, "Not my car?" And I clearly recall my Mom edging her way in front of me pushing me behind the cart, mumbling something, and changing the subject.
Of course, it was too late. My wheels had started turning!! Could my Mom really have gotten me the car after all? Was the 'it's sold' another ploy to surprise me? Hmmm!
I was on pins and needles after that. Just like a little kid waiting for Christmas! We opened gifts as usual that Christmas Eve. No mention of a car. After we all went to bed, I did what every nosy teenager would do. I got up and went digging. The only thing I could think of that would have some proof is my Mom's checkbook.
And there it was. In the check registry she had written someone named 'Lipari' a check for $2800. The same amount as the car! I kept thinking, "OMG I can't believe she bought it! Did she really buy it??"
Somehow I managed to go to sleep. I woke up reeealy early before dawn and looked out my bedroom window to find that my Dad's car was gone! There was only one place he could be. So I watched and waited. Before too long, I saw headlights. They turn into my driveway. And it's the car. The 1984 silver Nissan Sentra.
I went back to sleep for a few hours.
When I got up, there was a small wrapped gift under the Christmas tree. I tried to hide my excitement, because I wasn't supposed to know! But I did know!! I opened the box, and there was my "Melanie" key chain with a set of keys. My car keys!! And in the driveway was my car. My Mom had wrapped red crete paper around it and tied a red bow on the roof. Awesome.
Later my Mom told me she had whispered to the cashier "I'm going to kill you!!" after he spilled the beans. I never told her that I had figured it all out. No one knew... until now.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Now, on the other hand, unwrapping gifts ... that's another story!
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
He seemed sad and lonely.
All alone at Christmas time for the first time in his life.
He's always been the type who seemed not to care about the holidays much. But this year is different for him. For all of us.
I have my girls to kee me busy. My Dad has no one.
My Dad put up a tiny tree for Valerie and Veronica. It too seems lonely in the corner behind the rocking chair. No presents under it. No lights on. Just a tree. A sad little tree.
I miss my Mom.
Fruit drop cookies:
1/2 cup oil
3/4 cup sugar
1-1/2 cup sifted all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup candied mixed fruit (I usually add a little more)
1/2 cup raisins (I use regular and golden raisins)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Heat oven to 375 degs. Combine oil, egg, and sugar. Beat for 2 minutes. Sift 1 cup flour with baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Add to oil mixture. Mix well. Mix remaining 1/2 cup of flour with fruit and nuts. Stir into mixture. Drop by tablespoons onto greased baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes until edges are golden brown.
Yummy with a glass of eggnog!!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Today I'm baking more cookies. Except these are the BEST cookies in the world. The best Christmas cookies anyway. I swear!! My Mom made these every year during Christmas week. She'd bake and bake and bake. Cookies, fudge, pralines, etc. She made an awesome coconut cake, and I hate coconut. Out of everything she made, these cookies were the bomb!! I made them for luncheons when I was working, and for some reason it took a lot of convincing to get some people to try them because they have candied fruit in them. But they never lasted very long... I made 2 batches today because they won't last long at my house either! And I made chocolate chip cookies for the kids. Plus I'm bringing my Dad some tomorrow. Next week I'll decide what other kind of goodies I want to to make. Gotta keep the family tradition going, ya know??
Tomorrow my laptop is being shipped off to Dell for repair. It's supposed to take a few days, so we'll see. I don't know if my Holidailies posting will be affected or not. I have Valerie's laptop to use as a back up. And my desktop PC is always available, but not really convenient to use while keeping an eye on the kids. We'll see how it goes. Hopefully my laptop will be back sooner than expected good as new (?)
Monday, December 15, 2008
I can't believe it's almost Christmas. The year is almost over! I am hoping to feel better after the holidays have passed us by. Right now it's just anticipation and angst and sadness. Christmas is going to be so hard this year with out my Mom. I keep remembering last Christmas and how no one knew it would be her last. She was probably very sick at that point, and no one knew. Not even her. Or if she did, she never let on. Even now I think back and find it's odd she gave me her sterling silver flatware last Christmas. Why choose that year? It's been stored away in the chest it came in for many years. She already told me I could have it. It was mine anyway, but it was unlike her to wrap something like that and put it under the tree. Just another thing we'll never know the answer to.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Poor Veronica hurt her big toe. She was moving around these big cans of juice. I keep putting them in the pantry, and she gets them out. Well the inevitable finally happened. She dropped one on her big toe. Her nail is purple/black. She cried and cried. I was thinking it was broken for a little while. Finally she fell asleep and woke up happy. She's still going around 'ow ow toe' every so often. I think it is just bruised. Poor baby!
Not much to write about today.
We are busy getting ready for our Christmas party tomorrow. Cleaning and decluttering. There's not much to do, thankfully. I keep wondering why we do these things!! But then I remember I wanted to keep busy. And it's working. We're busy.
I need a nap.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
And that is the first of two White Christmases I've experienced so far.
The next time it snowed? December 25, 2004. Valerie was 4 days old.
Wonder if it snows in Heaven? Hope so, Momma. Hope so.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Today was pretty uneventful. I brought Valerie to school. Veronica and I came home and I did some housework. I addressed all my Christmas cards! Now to get stamps and drop them in the mail. Every year I say I'm not sending out as many cards but then I end up with a stack anyway. We'll probably receive like 5 cards and I'm mailing out almost 40. Why? I don't know.
I had an endocrinologist appointment at 1:30. Just a routine thyroid check up. I had no clue what to do with the kids! Luckily Clint was working in town today. I brought Veronica to him at his office (yeah that's right - babysitting at work!). Then I took Val with me to my appointment. My Dad would have come if I asked, but the weather was supposed to be bad and I know it is hard for him to keep up with both kids. Anyway, doc said everything is OK but depending on how my blood work comes back he may increase my meds. Maybe it'd help me lose the 10 lbs I've been trying to drop for over a year!!!
We're also gearing up for party #2. A Christmas party this time. It should be pretty simple. Just a social event... come by whenever, eat, visit, drink, and stay however long you'd like!
And I gotta decide on a cookie recipe. I need 5 dozen cookies for our cookie swap on Friday!
Sunday, December 07, 2008
3:20am we're sleeping. "DING DONG DING DONG DING DONG DING DONG!" goes the door bell. What the hell?!? Clint bolts down the hall. I couldn't imagine who was at the door - obviously thinking something terrible has happend. Clint looks through the door - no one there. Looks out the window - no one there. We notice some lights come on then go off down the street. So we figured someone was going house to house ringing the bell. We called the cops but I doubt if anything came of it.
So anyway, I got up at 6am and got Clint up at 7am to get the last minute party things together. We didn't have much to do, and I don't like to be rushed so I wanted to get things done early. The bounce house people got here to set up about 10. Valerie was SO happy to see princesses on her bounce house! My Dad came over a little early. The party went great! Every family we invited came. It was so cute seeing Valerie sitting behind her cake while we sang Happy Birthday. She sweetly closed her eyes for a second (make a wish!) and blew out her candles. No crying as in the past couple of years because she was scared of the candles (weird!) It was a great day for my little girl.
Today I went to the gym only to find the babysitter was out sick. Since we were on that side of town, I took the kids to the Dollar Tree. Valerie has a chore chart, and once she got 10 stickers for helping I told her she'd get a toy. Well she has 9-1/2 stickers, so I figured we were there so it would save me a trip later!! I also let her choose gifts for Veronica, Clint, and my Dad all by herself. She picked the funniest things, but I guess to her it makes sense!
Friday, December 05, 2008
I bought Valerie a Baby Alive Learns to Potty doll for her gift. If you ask her what she wants for Christmas, that doll has been at the top of the list for months. After reading the reviews though, I was on the verge of returning it. For one, it wasn't cheap! And some reviews say it is too complicated for a 4 year old. I remember having a Baby Alive when I was a little girl and she was my fav doll! After thinking about it, I wrapped it up anyway. Val has wanted this doll for a while, and I know I will feel bad knowing I HAD it and decided to keep it from her.
I finished Val's cake today. You'll have to wait until tomorrow for pics though!! No peeking before the party!! Clint pressure washed the back porch. We cleaned up inside.... I think we're all set and ready to go!! I'm excited and happy for my little girl. But those clouds are still there. I just wish my Mom were here.
Cake supplies ready! and yes I use a mix, but I have my secret ingredients to make it better!
Tonight was our Ornament Swap/Mom's Night Out (MNO) for the playgroup I belong to. I almost didn't go. I was having a bad night and lost my motivation to leave the house. I went anyway though hoping I would feel better if I went. I don't know if it helped much. I did get a beautiful angel ornament in the swap. It didn't cross my mind until I got home that my Mom loved anything with angels on it. Maybe I got it for a reason. I don't know if that is supposed to make me feel better or worse.
Here I am dressed to go:
So, today kicks off a month of holidailies. Here's a hello and a brief intro for any new visitors:
My name is Melanie. I live in a small town called Bayou Blue in south Louisiana. My husband is Clint (married 2/14/03.) He travels a good bit for work. I'm a SAHM of two girls - Valerie (almost 4) and Veronica (1). Before I was a mom, I worked for 11 years for the same company! I left my job to stay home with Valerie. The girls take up a lot of my time, lol!! I enjoy working out, cooking, baking, cake decorating, and spending time with family and friends.
This is my first attempt at holidailies, so we'll see how well it goes!!
This is us:
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
It has been four months since you've been gone. Four lonely, sad months. It still does not seem real at times. I wonder if my days will ever feel sunny again. Every day is clouded by memories and thoughts of you. Every day I'm haunted by the images and events of the last 3 weeks of your life. It just didn't seem possible that you - YOU - could become what you did. From learning how sick you were, to your dying just three weeks later... It was a nightmare. You must have been in horrible pain for months, but you never let on just how bad it really was. You just trudged on with rarely a complaint. If only one of the many doctors you saw would have put two and two together, maybe you would have had a little more time. I know death is part of the circle of life, but I still feel you were taken from me well before your time. Everyone was shocked to learn of your passing because you were so healthy and so strong. No one ever thought of you sick or dying. I always pictured you aging into an old woman. Everyone keeps saying it will be okay. I don't see how I will ever be okay. I don't know what to say when I'm asked about the holidays. Do I smile and say everything is fine or do I tell them I'm sad? Do I tell them WHY I'm sad? I think of all the years that lay ahead and life feels so lonely with out you. Valerie still talks about you. I wish you were here to see how big Val and Roni are. I hope that you are at peace now.
Sadly missing you,
P.S. I haven't found any pennies lately.