Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2015 Awaits

It's the last day of the year!  2014 wasn't very kind.  This past year has been challenging for me health wise.  I have pretty much been ailing with something the entire year.  Total billed to my insurance just for me was $45,000.  Usually I never even come close to my deductible.   I had vein surgery then unexpectedly had a total thyroidectomy.  There were doctor visits and two days in the hospital.  I had more unwell days than I can count.  My leg still aches daily and now I'm on the no thyroid hormone roller coaster.  Yay me. Daily pain and feeling poorly can make the most ordinary tasks feel like unsurpassable mountains.  Most days I just try to ignore it as the 'show must go on.'  I know I'm not getting any younger but I hope that the sick(er) days are behind me and better (healthier) days are ahead.

Looking ahead to 2015.....

I'll definitely be back at the gym Monday when school starts.  It's the norm for me to go almost daily, so this isn't a new resolution.  I've been doing a fitness 'something' since I was 25.  I do hope to get back to where I was pre-surgery.  I have been on a junk food and sugar binge for quite a while now and it's time to get back on track.  It's time to go back to the classes I enjoy and back to lifting heavier weights.

Every year I start to declutter the house and fizzle out by February or March.  I am constantly getting rid of stuff, but I need to do a MAJOR clean out.  Maybe this year I will try to clear out one room a month.  That seems plausible. I can donate or sell what we don't use anymore.  Our closet is horrible, so I plan to start there.  The kids' rooms are a disaster, but I can't keep them up if my girls don't make an effort, which they don't.  I've pretty much given up on that. We did a master bath, hall bath, and dining room remodel this past year,   This year, I'd like to revamp our bedroom.  Paint the walls, touch up all the crown and baseboards, and buy all new bedroom furniture.  Painting the living room and foyer are also on the agenda, but that is a lot of wall space to cover, and it means shuffling heavy furniture around.

Tonight I will spend New Year's Eve as I have spent every holiday this year: with my small family of four at home.  We plan to build a fire, roast hot dogs, make s'mores, and we bought a heap of fireworks.  It's legal to pop fireworks on my side of the street (literally, across the street it is not,) so the neighbors put on quite a show.  We'll be outside braving the cold and ringing in the New Year together.

Happy 2015 y'all.

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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

They all axed for you!

This is a Mardi Gras favorite that comes to mind every time we head on down to the Audubon Zoo, which is exactly what we did today.  We usually go on New Year's Eve since they have a big party for the kids.  Last year it was insanely crowded and we didn't even go near the festivities, so we decided to go a day early and beat the crowd.  By luck, someone handed us a free ticket as we were waiting in line to buy tickets!  It was dreary, damp, and cold, but the sun was supposed to come out by lunchtime (it didn't.)  The cool weather had the animals pretty lively, so that made it fun.  

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Dear Holidailies Peeps,

It's the Eve of New Year's Eve!!  The End of another Holidailies is almost here. I kept up fairly well this year, only falling behind once.  I was picked for not one but two Best of Holidailies this year.  I have noticed that this year has been rather quiet.  Early in December I had quite a bit of traffic every day.  Comments were few, but I had readers. As the month went on, the visitors died down.  I admit I did the same.  At first, I clicked and read almost every post and commented often.  As the weeks passed, I read less and less.  Life was busy and I had to squeeze in time to write my own post.  My attention on reading trailed off and my focus was on making sure to get a post in every day. Is that what you did too??

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Monday, December 29, 2014

Photo shoot!

I took my girls to see "Annie" this morning.  I'm usually not crazy about remakes.  "Annie" is a classic, and then there's the obvious that Annie has always been a redheaded white girl!  The young actress who stars as Annie, Quvenzhan√© Wallis, is from where I live - Houma, Louisiana.  We couldn't pass up an opportunity to see a local girl on the big screen.  I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.  The remake is pretty good and it's a new twist on a classic story.  Even the updated versions of the songs were enjoyable.  

After the movie, we went to the park.  I brought along my Christmas present, a Canon Rebel T5, to try it out.  I haven't had much time to try it out, so this is just me playing around with the settings to see how it works.  

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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Santa on the Fire Truck!!

Every year, usually the Saturday before Christmas, Santa passes on the fire truck!!  We can usually hear the sirens long before he gets to us.  My girls will camp out in the driveway waiting and waiting.  One year he threw them battery powered toothbrushes!!  Normally it's just junk candy, which was the case this year.  Veronica left it in the driveway because 'the ants need to eat too.'  It's still fun though because it's one of the things that makes living in a small community special.

Yesterday we un-Christmased the house.  It makes me a little sad that Christmas has come and gone so quickly.  I keep thinking that when we see all of this stuff again, my girls will be a year older.  It didn't help that Valerie cried as her Dad took apart the tree. This was most likely the last Santa year for Valerie.  She will be eleven next December and I just can't see her believing beyond that.  I hope she doesn't tell her sister.  I always think of grand plans for the holidays but I never seem to find time do it all.  That leaves me to wonder if I did enough with my girls.  Will they even remember any of it?

Today I will work on putting the house back in order.  As much as I love putting up my Christmas decorations, the clutter starts to bother me after a while.   It feels so nice to come home to a neat, clean, clutter-free house.  Who am I kidding?  It's me we are talking about.  I'm not the best housekeeper and with the kids, it's a never ending battle.

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Saturday, December 27, 2014

Amazon Kindle - FAIL #Amazon #kindleproblems #brickedkindlefireHD

I have to complain a bit about Amazon and the 32 GB Kindle Fire HD we got for Veronica last Christmas.  Actually, we got two of them - one for Valerie and one for Veronica.  Clint got them using air mileage points.  With all of the traveling he does, he had a crazy number of points and decided to cash them all in for Christmas gifts.  He ordered them in November since we weren't sure how long it would take for them to arrive.  These devices sold on Amazon for over $300 each and we were excited to get them for free.  Yes, if we would have bought them outright, we would have spent over $600.  Anyway, when they were delivered, we put them on a shelf in the closet.  There they sat until it was almost Christmas, and Clint powered them up to have them set up, charged, and to go when Santa delivered them.

Veronica and I shared her Kindle.  I liked to read free Amazon books and check out library books on it.  Veronica played games on it from time to time.  I downloaded lots of kid friendly books for her and she'd look through them sometimes.  More often than I thought, Veronica's Kindle sat untouched.  Sometimes we didn't know where it was and we'd find it stashed on a shelf somewhere.  Literally weeks would go by and it sat forgotten.  Basically, it had very light use.

One night in November she was trying to play a game and the Kindle Fire's screen went black.  Nothing we did would turn it on.  After looking for help online, we discovered this being stuck in a boot loop is a very common problem.  We tried all the tricks online to reset it and got nothing.  Clint contacted Amazon and none of their suggestions worked either.  Support said it was dead and needed to be replaced.  Since we didn't buy it directly from Amazon, they looked up when it was purchased from Amazon.  August.  They said the only solution was to purchase ANOTHER Kindle because the one year warranty was up.  Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on ME.  Never mind that it wasn't even turned on until December.  Never mind that it only had very light use.  Never mind that a $300 tablet didn't even last ONE YEAR.  Amazon must be out of their minds if they think we would actually give them more money for another Kindle Fire when this one was barely used died for no apparent reason.  Something that costs $300 shouldn't have turned into a brick after 11 months of light use!!

So, if you ever think about buying a Kindle Fire, don't.  I will never, ever buy another Kindle anything again.

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 #Amazon #kindleproblems #brickedkindlefireHD

Friday, December 26, 2014

How to combat the post Christmas Blues

Step one:  go to Walmart at 6am on December 26.

Step two:  Head to the Christmas section.  Bonus points if you are the only person back there.

Step three:  put anything and everything in your basket.  It doesn't matter if you need it or not. IT'S ALL HALF PRICE!!!  If you find battery toothbrushes and toothpaste gift sets for $2.98 - YOU HIT GOLD.  Buy them ALL.

Step four: If anything appears questionable, find a scanner that isn't broken for a price check.  If it's full price, PUT IT BACK.  This is a half price mission.

Step five: Circle the store's perimeter.  Those fuzzy Rudolph socks you wanted have to be somewhere.  Oh look, it's a $1 rack of clothes!  Buy.

Step six;  Stand in the check out line that snakes down the aisle and if a register opens up, RUN to beat all the little old ladies.

Step seven:  Ignore what ever dollar amount the cashier spews out.  It was ALL HALF PRICE!

Step eight:  Stare in awe at the pile of bags as you push your buggy into the parking lot.  What did you buy?

Step nine:  Come home and unload your vehicle so that your counters look like a Walmart store.

Step ten:  Spread everything out on your table.  Think to yourself what a great job you did at bargain shopping!!

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Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!!

Last night we had our little party with tons of food and opened our gifts under the tree....

Lots of excitement and so fun!  They loved everything, even the new bed sheets!  Veronica fought sleep for hours.  She kept getting up and getting up and saying she was scared!  Oh my... long night.  Finally about 2:15 am, Santa passed!!!  And guess who was out of bed at 3am...  lol   I coaxed her back to bed.  Then Valerie was up before 5am.  I think a nap is in our future today!

They must have been really good girls this year.  New bookcases??  An iPad?  A laptop?  AND all kinds of other stuff...   Thanks Santa!!

Mommy must have also been good because she got a nice camera upgrade -  A newer model Canon Rebel with a ton of accessories!

Merry Christmas everyone!!!   What did Santa leave under your tree?

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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Magical night

Merry Christmas Eve!!

Christmas Eve was always a big deal when I was a kid.  I can remember being in the tub very early and putting on dressy clothes.  My Mom and Dad got dressed up as well.  First we had to take pictures in front of our tree.  Some of just me.  Some of my Mom and me.  Some of my Dad and me.  Then we finally got to the part I had been yearning for - we opened our presents under the tree!!  My Mom usually gave me necessities and small things.  My Dad was well known for going to Walmart on December 24th and just grabbing the first thing he came to.  Afterwards, we'd hurriedly scoop up the mess and we were out the door.  Everybody went to my MawMaw and PawPaw's house on Christmas Eve.  Everybody - all the kids, grand kids, aunts, uncles, cousins, and so on.  Everyone crowded in the tiny living room and gossiped.  Usually the adults claimed the sofas and chairs and us kids were left to sit on the floor.  There was food galore - sandwiches, barbecue meatballs and sausage, deviled eggs, and desserts.  I guess everyone contributed something but I don't remember. It wasn't until after everyone ate and after all the adults had caught up on the latest that it was present time.  Somebody would hand out the gifts and most of the kids just tore into them right away -- chaos. It was too much to exchange gifts with everyone,  but you always knew that you would get something.  My Aunt would usually give me something homemade like gingerbread cookies.  My Godmother always gave me something from my Santa list.  If my Grandma gave anyone anything it was towels.  Always towels.

Eventually things would wind down and someone would always say they heard sleigh bells and maybe it was time to go.  Of course that would put all the kids in a frenzy because none of us wanted to miss Santa.  Once we got home and unloaded the car, we'd put all the Grandma's house gifts aside so that Santa wouldn't confuse them with whatever he brought.  I always thought that was strange because he was Santa and Santa had to be very smart and not some bumbling idiot who would accidentally take presents instead of leaving them.

Sleep would never come as I was a bundle of nerves.  If I did drift off, it was only to dream of what Santa might bring.  I honestly have no idea how Santa came because it seemed I was awake looking at the clock the whole night.  When I couldn't stand it anymore, usually about 5am, I would creep down the hall to find a heap of toys under the tree.  Santa had magically passed! I probably had enough presents for three kids.  My Mom and Dad could afford it and I think my Mom was trying to give me all that she never had.

I can only hope my kids feel Christmas is as magical as I did!

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