Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Eve

For the first time since before the kids were born, we are going out tonight with no kid curfew. We've gone out on NYE a few times, but we always had to be back at a decent time to pick up the kids. Tonight they are sleeping out we can stay out as late as we want!

We had our New Year's Eve Eve get together last night since we will not be home tonight. Food, friends, smores by the fire, lots of laughs, and of course a ton of fireworks. The kids had a grand time with their friends and it was nice just hanging out.

Farewell 2011....









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Friday, December 30, 2011

Changes 2012

I've been thinking a lot about changes to make for the New Year. I don't usually make resolutions, but I do try to set a few goals.

Decluttering is always one. I think I did pretty good over the past year. The house is a lot neater overall. My whole routine kind of fell apart in the last few months, but I'm working on getting it back. I'd like to make better use of the space we have.

I was doing really well with going to the gym before our life got turned upside down too. I hope to find my grove and get back to where I was. I still go, just not as often. It doesn't help that I hurt my shoulder and cannot lift any weights. My motivation went out the window, and it seems I've been eating non stop all December. I do enjoy the classes a lot and look forward to chatting with the girls every morning, so I will work on finding my way back.

Facebook has got to go, or rather some of the people on my facebook have got to go. I admit I'm totally sucked in by it and I like it. I enjoy reading the updates and seeing all the pictures. The new timeline is awesome. I love reconnecting with long lost friends. Over time it seems some I thought of as friends are not really friends at all and don't need to know my business or see pictures of the kids. I think it's time to pare down my friend's list a good bit and change the privacy settings -- again.

And once again, I am on the fence about making big changes to this blog....


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Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011

We're down to the last few days of 2011.

Of course you all know the life changing event this year was losing my Dad in October.

We also said goodbye to two pets this year. Skooter and very unexpectedly, Perriwinkle.

Bella joined our family.

There was also the threat of the great spring flood, which had everyone on edge.

On a happier note, we paid off the house and were debt free for most of the year. Then we bought the new vehicle, but even having a note for three years isn't bad at all.

We flew to Orlando to spend Veronica's fourth birthday and Mardi Gras at Disney World. If I had been thinking clearly, we could have easily gone back for Christmas. Next year...

Clint did a lot of traveling this year, and we are hoping to see an end to some of it in 2012.

Actually, I hope a lot of things are different in 2012.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Not an easy day....

Today we went to Morgan City and took care of some of Dad's legal issues.

We knocked out quite a few things on the to do list. It's progress, but still, more to come.

Took care of some of the bank business.

We did the notary paperwork for me to inherit the car and truck and did the DMV title paperwork. Once the new titles come in, we can sell them.

We also picked up his veterans plaque from the funeral home and brought it to the memorial company to have it mounted on the mausoleum.

Doesn't sound like much on paper, but it was exhausting.

I did find a dime on a sidewalk though.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Recap

Christmas was quiet and it never really felt like Christmas. I realized yesterday I didn't even watch "A Christmas Story" or Rudolph or The Grinch or any holiday movies this year. I do feel a little guilty for not being in full 'holiday mode' for the kids.

Christmas Eve we had our party food and opened gifts. Pretty much all the wrapped gifts under the tree were for the kids. Val and Roni were SO excited about everything. And I mean everything, even the socks and underwear. We had to force them to bed so Santa could pass before s/he fell asleep!!

Valerie was up first on Christmas morning and then woke up Veronica to see what Santa had brought. They definitely racked up this year so I guess that means they were on the good list!! So far the Fijits and the X-Box 360 with kinect have been the favorites. They never tire of Barbie stuff either. Myself, I am fascinated by the x-box but it looks like I will have to wait until the kids are back in school before I can really try it out. For now, my new HP laptop will have to keep me entertained.

We went to a friend's house for Christmas dinner which was nice. I'm glad we didn't spend the day sitting home alone, and it was nice not having to worry about cooking for just the four of us.

Clint and I both hit Wal-mart for the after Christmas clearance yesterday. Between the two of us we bought $500 of stuff, and that was half price - yikes!! I picked up a lot of gift sets and a few toys to hand off to the kids through out the year. And I got myself a few bath/lotion sets that will last me a long time also. Clint got new lights and yard decorations. After we tore down the tree and all the inside decorations and packed it up. I was ready to be done with it all.

Next year Christmas will be better. It has to be.

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Monday, December 26, 2011

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!!!

We had a visitor last night!!!

Click for Our Elf Cam





More to come....

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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

Last year, Christmas Eve:



Even though you are not here, I bought your usual request - a tin of popcorn. Every year, you asked for this one, simple thing. It's not Christmas unless we have a popcorn tin under the tree for you. Merry Christmas, Daddy.

Dad was famous for his mad dash to Wal-mart on Christmas Eve in search of gifts for me and my Mom. Usually he just picked something odd and proclaimed there was nothing left and that we had everything already anyway. One year he gave me a $3.00 Rubbermaid step stool. No kidding.

Christmas Eve is finally here and The Girls can hardly stand it. I have to say they do really well with the presents under the tree.

Valerie and Veronica did shuffle the boxes around and had them separated into piles at one time, but for the most part they left them alone. Sure, they pleaded to open just one from time to time, but they knew it wasn't going to happen.

We're having our usual party food tonight and will take pictures in front of the tree. Then we'll open gifts and hopefully the girls will go to bed so Santa can pass earlier rather than later.

Merry Christmas everyone. Enjoy this time with each other because you never know what's ahead or when it will be the last.






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Friday, December 23, 2011

icaughtsanta.com




http://www.icaughtsanta.com/

Imagine the look of wonder and surprise when a child receives a photo of Santa caught in the act in his or her very own home. iCaughtSanta.com is a unique website that helps visitors create those memorable keepsake photos.

In three simple steps anyone can upload a holiday photo, add Santa Claus and print it as proof… or share it via Facebook and Twitter. Last-minute shoppers can purchase Gift Cards and eGift Certificates for loved ones with children, making iCaughtSanta.com a great gift idea even if you don't have kids yourself.

Merry Christmas!


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It's practically here....

I've been trying very hard to find my Christmas spirit this year. I did my usual decorating and baking. I took care of the necessary gifts, did the whole elf on a shelf bit, and I listened to Christmas music daily. Christmas is practically here, and any excitement still seems out of reach. Everything revolves around family gatherings, and we don't exactly have that. Never have. It doesn't bother me much to not have a big party to attend, but I wish for more than "just us" for Val and Roni. I wish they could experience it a few times while the magic is still there. Especially, Veronica, who at only four years old likely will not have many memories of her grandparents. Maybe next year we can piece together something. Dad's passing is still to fresh to make new traditions this year.

We did get an invite for Christmas dinner, and we accepted. I'm not crazy about the idea of having to tear the girls away from their Santa gifts to rush off that morning, but it will beat sitting at home alone with my thoughts all day.

I know we are blessed in many ways and there are always those who are worse off. I am looking forward to watching the girls' excitement. They are truly at the best age. It's such a magical time for them and they are in awe of everything. I hate that I have been in this slump and my heart hasn't been in holiday mode at all. There are so many things I usually do and did not. I just could not. I'm sad that I feel like I missed creating the Christmas magic in our home this year.

Maybe my holiday spirit will show up by tomorrow.

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Pennies

He wasn't just my Dad. He was my friend. My confidant. My go to person for so many things. My teacher. He was quiet, easy going, simple Jack. He never asked for or needed much. He's been gone two long months today, and oh how I miss him. It still feels surreal that he became so sick and passed so suddenly. Mostly I try not to think about it much, but it's always there. He kept saying, "I don't know what's going to become of me." And I do have to wonder, where is he now... if anywhere. I had told him to send us nickles and dimes, but I have yet to find more than one or two. Pennies are still abound though, so I can hold on to the hope they are a sign.



Pennies from Heaven

I found a penny today
Just laying on the ground
But it’s not just a penny
This little coin I’ve found
Found pennies come from heaven
That’s what my Grandpa told me
He said Angels toss them down
Oh how I loved that story

He said when an angel misses you
They toss a penny down
Sometimes just to cheer you up
To make a smile out of a frown

So don’t pass by that penny
When you’re feeling blue
It may be a Penny from Heaven
That an Angel’s tossed to you

Copyright © 1998 C Mashburn



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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Seven...

Seven years ago we were forever changed!

just hours old


Christmas Eve, three days old - and it also snowed on Christmas Day!!




It's hard to believe it's been seven years already!! It seems the years have flown by and she seems so grown up. I do miss the times when she was a baby, but I don't miss the 'baby days' all that much.

Happy Birthday to my wonderful, smart, funny, and beautiful Valerie!!!




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Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Cold Within

THE COLD WITHIN

Six humans trapped in happenstance

In dark and bitter cold,

Each one possessed a stick of wood,

Or so the story's told.

Their dying fire in need of logs

The first woman held hers back,

For of the faces around the fire,

She noticed one was black.

The next man looking across the way

Saw not one of his church,

And couldn't bring himself to give

The fire his stick of birch.

The third one sat in tattered clothes

He gave his coat a hitch,

Why should his log be put to use,

To warm the idle rich?

The rich man just sat back and thought

Of the wealth he had in store,

And how to keep what he had earned,

From the lazy, shiftless poor.

The black man's face bespoke revenge

As the fire passed from sight,

For all he saw in his stick of wood

Was a chance to spite the white.

The last man of this forlorn group

Did naught except for gain,

Giving only to those who gave,

Was how he played the game.

The logs held tight in death's still hands

Was proof of human sin,

They didn't die from the cold without,

They died from the cold within.

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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Mom's cookies

It's not Christmas with out Mom's cookies. She made these every year, usually Christmas week. She also made fudge, pralines, snowball cookies, and a coconut cake. She always had decorative tins scattered all over the kitchen counter filled with goodies. No wonder I always put on a few pounds! I always did some holiday baking myself, but not quite as much as Mom did. After I got married, I made sure to get her Fruit Drop cookie recipe, and I have made them every year since. Yesterday I made a double batch, and I'll likely make another before the year's end.

Fruit Drop Cookies

1/2 cup oil
1 egg
3/4 cup white sugar
1-1/2 cup 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
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Heat oven to 375. Combine oil, egg, and sugar; beat for 2 minutes. Mix 1 cup flour, baking powder, salt, and spices. Add to oil mixture. Mix remaining 1/2 cup of flour with candied fruit, raisins, and nuts. Drop by tablespoons full onto greases cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes until edges are golden brown.









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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sad truths...

Veronica, only four years old, keeps mentioning how she and Val no longer have a grandma or a grandpa.

She keeps asking me if I can get her new ones.

Last night she asked if I could get her new ones, and they could live in Morgan City (at my Dad's house) so we could go visit them.

Sigh, that makes me feel so sad for her...


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Monday, December 12, 2011

A visit with Santa

There's not a single childhood photo of me with Santa. Something about the idea of sitting with a stranger with a beard in a red suit freaked me out. I do remember wanting to do it. I know we got in line for mall Santa pictures a couple of times, but as it started to inch closer, I changed my mind. Santa was magic and scary, and I just couldn't find the nerve.

Not my kids.

The second they set eyes on Santa, they shriek!! "SANTA!! HI SANTA!!!" And jump up and down waving. Veronica had it all planned out that she would tell him who she was because she had grown from last year and Santa would likely not recognize her. Ha. I have no idea what they told him, if anything. But here they are - all smiles.





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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Happy Day

It's just a few days into Holidailies 2011 and I'm already behind..... oh well.

Yesterday was the best day I have had in ... quite a while.

I hosted my first cookie baking party yesterday. It was several days of A LOT of prep work for me. I mixed up many batches of dough (times four) and pre-baked batches of cookies to save some time on the actual cookie day. I didn't want to be tied to the mixer and the oven the entire day. Plus I am a messy baker and wanted to keep the mess under control. The party was a huge hit, so it was well worth the effort!! The Moms and the kids had a great time rolling out the dough, cutting out their cookies, and decorating them. Everyone left with a huge bag of cookies, too. Looking forward to doing it again next year!

Last night we went to a party for my Zumba class at the gym. Those girls are so fun! It was nice seeing everyone outside of the gym setting. I stayed away from the alcohol because I'm not sure how it will mix with the new meds. (Maybe they are working because I feel a little better.) Even though we only stayed a few hours at the party, we had such a great time!!! Lots of great food, music, and dancing... It was so nice to get out for a little adult time.


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Thursday, December 08, 2011

Search the car





One of the games my Dad and the Girls invented was "Search the Car."

Nearly every time my Dad came to visit, he had some $1 junk toy for the kids. Sometimes they were a big hit, sometimes not. Quite often, it was so cheap that the toy broke before my Dad left!! His theory was it was something they could play with for a while and then throw it away, rather than adding to the pile in the toy box.

Early on, he would walk in with the toy in hand, and the girls would pounce on him with excitement. Eventually, it evolved to him leaving (or hiding) the toy in his car to avoid the initial chaos. They would still be bursting with excitement when he walked in, but the toy wasn't a priority until later. They would usually con him into a game of hide and seek or puzzles....

Until a light bulb went off, and either Valerie or Veronica would say, "Poppi!!!? Search the CAR?????" And all three would run outside to see what treasure awaited.

Whether it was rocket balloons, an art set, glow sticks, magnifying glass, magnets, etc. The girls were always thrilled with whatever it was. Sometimes it caused a bit of frustration for Veronica, who could not always work it just right.

Unfortunately when Dad got sick, the reality set in fast for Valerie. When my Dad moved in with us, one of the first things Val said was she understood that it meant no more search the car. She's asked a few times since then, "Maybe so-and-so could play search the car?"

I hope it's something special they always remember about their grandpa.

We WILL find a way to keep Search the Car going. I just don't know if it will be the same.


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Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Barbie Princess Charm School

Valerie got this doll for making the A honor roll. It is a favorite around here and the source of a lot of friction between Val and Roni (they both want it all the time.) 





During Thanksgiving break, Val and I went shopping together and she decided all on her own that she wanted to give Veronica her very own Charm School Barbie for Christmas.

(awww right?)

Val helped me wrap it and filled out the gift tag. I made Val SWEAR to keep it a secret and to NOT tell Veronica what it was.

That night, Clint and I were in our bedroom and we hear whispering in the living room. Then all of a sudden Veronica says very excitedly, " BARBIE PRINCESS CHARM SCHOOL!!! I REALLY WANTED THAT!!!"

Then Val says in a hushed tone, "Don't tell Momma that I told you!! Don't tell her, ok?? OK?!?"

"OK. I won't," says Veronica.

Next comes the pitter patter of little feet down the hallway. In walks Veronica with the above mentioned Barbie belonging to her sister in hand, with the biggest grin on her face.

"Val did NOT tell me what my present was. Really. She didn't."

Oh really.

(suppress fit of laughter)


I guess Roni has never heard that only a guilty party needs a defense with out even being accused of anything.

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Monday, December 05, 2011

Hello Holidailies 2011

Well, it seems that after 11 years, there will be no official Holidailies this year. (?) I've emailed the owners of the site and got no response. Such a shame, since I was looking forward to participating. So... it looks as if a few bloggers have decided to do it anyway on their own, so I am going to make an attempt to join in. It's doubtful I will post every day. I don't know how much fun it will be with out the group, but I will give it a try.

For anyone new that decides to tag along... I'm Melanie and I live in Louisiana, and I'm a stay at home Mom to two great girls. Valerie is almost 7 and Veronica is 4.

Who's with me??

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Saturday, December 03, 2011

Party Day!

Happy Birthday Party Day to Valerie!! She won't officially be seven until the 21st, but we always have her party the first weekend in December so it's not so close to Christmas. She had a great day with lots of friends!!! We rented a bounce house, girls polished their nails, and we had crafts for everyone to do, too.

Happy Birthday Party Day to my sweet Val-Gal!!




Mom is not a Bieber fan....

Lots of friends....

Her BIG surprise - a new bike!


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