Monday, December 28, 2009

How you know you've married a "keeper"!

Funny how some sayings get lost on this new generation! Guess their world of supermarkets and water parks has moved them too far from the origination of this expression!! So my dear girls I will explain!!!! When one goes fishing there are two types of 'catches'. Some fish are just too darn small and need more time in the water or are of an inedible variety...those you "toss" or unhook and release back into the water! The big, meaty ones that you are trying to catch are called "keepers"!! So when I say, "Your Dad is a keeper!" I mean that he is just the right kind of man that any woman (and especially this one!) would hope to marry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Just one tiny example.... When he goes out in sub-freezing temperatures to start up the van so your little tooshies won't freeze and he brushes off all the accumulating snow so Mommy won't have stay out in the cold air too long!!!!!! He wasn't going to cousins game night tonight. He didn't have to go out in this weather. But he's the BEST kind of man and he LOVES us toooooooo much sometimes! Any man who can work a broom this effectively is a "KEEPER"!!!!!!

Dashing through the holiday!

So after spending waaaaay too long trying to figure out a short cut way to upload the photos from my camera to both here and Shutterfly I must again embrace the fact that I will NEVER gain geekdom! In a quick fly by I'm giving you a hint of how our Christmas went down. Gingerbread houses decorated and displayed....check. Manger properly loaded and displayed.....check. Reindeer food made and dispersed....check. Family snuggle while watching traditional holiday movie before bed....check. Table set for Santa complete with treats and welcome/thank you notes....check! Santa arrives and leaves gift sack for the Missy Mayor(Spanish for 'older' for the English readers).....check. Santa arrives and leaves gift sack for the Lil' Cowgirl....check. Girls awake at respectable hour of 5:45 AM and after a hushed conference wisely wait until 7 AM to exit bedrooms and awake parents before diving into gift sacks..... Gift sacks and stash left in heap while family rushes to ready for church....check. Mom forgets to bring camera to church...check! So the rest of the day kind of tumbled down hill for us from that point. There are some pictures taken at the dinner that I cooked at Auntie Peggy's house (because hospitals don't close on holidays and she had to work) and because Uncle Peter was ankle deep in sewer water trying to rod out Grandma's main line on Christmas day, but they would be on her camera...not mine which was still forgotten at home. I'm sure there are even better pictures of all the cousins opening their gifts at Auntarie's, where we went for the dessert part of our progressive day, but they would be on the Aunties' cameras as I never went back home to get mine! All in all we made a great pitcher of lemonade from the pile of lemons that arrived this holiday season!! Hope to get those pictures from the second half of the day posted soon.....especially since the sledding outing from today yielded some cute shots that I'm eager to post!!!!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Ho, Ho, Ho Happy Holiday's?

Missed me anyone? No need to seriously answer that question since I can't even assure you that I'm 'officially' back!!! I have some pictures from our Christmas celebrations....if celebrations is the term one could use...but Julia has assured me it was one of her best ever so it could have been as bad as I thought it was!!! Those pictures will come in later posts because I'm not exactly sure under which pile I might find my camera and my girls are entitled to a little 'free play' after the yeoman's work they did to help pull off our Christmas so I'm not making them clean to help me find the darn thing! Besides, I've made a sort of a deal to take Julia to the sledding hill in an hour so I don't have much computer time to download pictures!! The short recap of my holiday weekend would look very much like this: Seems that that little virus that we all decided to share decided to turn on my Meniere's Disease switch!!! Now as you know from past posts, this switch has been VERY touchy of late and I've been trying my best to stave off the vertigo attacks but the virus beat me hands down!!! After more than a day or two of feeling like I was thrown onto a seriously out of control tilt-o-whirl which would not turn off no matter the tried remedy AND spending waaaaay too much time hugging something other than my girls..(.because they wanted no where near me as that was happening!!) I did have an occasional remission that allowed gifts to be wrapped and visits to occur but I was pretty much the limp dish rag hanging off the end of every couch..or so I felt. Good news is the MRI shows no advance in my Compressed Loop Syndrome AND NO TUMORS!!! Bad news is it is just good old incurable, grit your teeth and deal with it, Meniere's disease. So I'll just keep on spinning along until it goes into remission at which time this crazy group of people will be back into their jam packed lives of work, school, sports, crafts.....well you get the idea!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Sharing Family!

We have an expression that we use anytime we encounter any of the children being greedy and/or selfish. Unfortunately we use it more than we'd like and this past week we should have abandoned it altogether!!! That expression is, "we are a SHARING family!" Wish I'd never heard, let alone uttered , it ever in my life!! You see we are such a sharing family that for the past couple of days most of us have looked like this........ Since there was an obligation on my part to be the Room Mom in charge of the third grade Holiday Party on Friday, I spent a day or two looking like this... Must have been a serendipitous combination of chemicals in the dose I took before the party because I was informed by the teacher and class that it was a "great" party and that I was a "fun Mom"....weird but I'm soooooo not the fun Mom type that I'm a bit worried just how under the influence of Afrin I must have been on Friday?!?!?! I'm sooooooo NOT showing you pictures of the red rimmed eyes and raw inflamed nose...thus the cartoons! Just thought I'd let you know that I will be looking a lot like this for the next day or so..... because I loooooooove my hot tub and even if it doesn't actually cure me it will make me feel like things are better. AND I NEED BETTER....because I'm only about half-way through my shopping and the Mahoney side of the family has their big Christmas bash with Santa and all....TOMORROW! On a positive note, Julia appears to be on the upswing side of the virus and given the same timeline as her's, the rest of us should be viable by Christmas. No one need burst that bubble of hope I have by reminding me that Julia is the youngest in the family and thus most likely to rebound quickly...besides, my eyes are so watery I wouldn't be able to read it anyhow!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Reality Check!!

Every year my girls have the option to choose between a friends birthday party with all that entails but then a modest gift OR they can choose a more expensive gift but fore go any party. This year, for the second time in a row, Mari has ditched the party in favor of the GIFT. After much soul searching, Patrick and I decided to let Mari join the texting generation...reluctantly and with strict ties to grades and behavior! So for the past two weeks this has been all Mari has seen in front of her eyes.... You'd think that those cryptic abbreviated texts were the secret to long life and happiness with the way she has embraced this little gadget! Lucky for me the plan came with a parental controls feature that allows me to block service from 9pm to 6am so she gets some sleep. The thing is that the more I saw her with her eyes glued to this little marvel of technology in her hands the more I saw an image over and over in my head.. while Mari and I enjoy the luxuries of our modern world there is a woman very dear to us who has this for a kitchen! Life is not fair...this we know BUT when the disparity reaches this level I am uncomfortable in my own skin. I have a 12 year old to spoil rotten because of this disparity! Why am I entitled to be the biggest "winner" in this relationship? How will my 12 year old ever learn to appreciate the Golden Rule if we only "do unto ourselves"? We've made periodic pushes to remember how very much better it is to give than to receive but I know it is only just words really at her age. So this year will be a very different Christmas for Mari! This year Santa will be leaving a LOT less under the tree for her because this is the year that the truth behind those words becomes real. This year it is going to be BETTER to GIVE than to receive because this year she will know that she "did unto others"! Thanks to the assistance of Todd with Books and Wings and Oscar Martinez Vasquez in Guatemala we were able to arrange for Santa (Oscar) to bring a gas stove to Mari's birth mother! (Okay, so she had to go pick it up from him, small detail in a big story.) No longer will her father and brother need to scour the countryside for firewood! No longer will her mother need to nurse a flame from wet wood during the rainy season! No longer will the family fill their lungs with the smoke and ash of an open fire! Unlike the cell phone, this stove is the secret to a longer life with more happiness!!!!! So Josefa, les deseo y mi familia muchas bendiciones en sus vidas y que pases una Navidad llena mucho amor y un feliz ano nuevo!!!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Card Chaos!

Ever wake up one day and feel like you've been cast into the movie Ground Hog Day? I do!! Instead of reliving the same day over and over I'm reliving the same December scenario over and over. Without fail, EVERY YEAR, the first Christmas card from Ireland will arrive in the week between Mari and Julia's birthday. Without fail, EVERY YEAR, Patrick will open said card and after sharing the news start a never ending mantra of "We've got to get going on the cards to Ireland! You know we need to leave transit time don't you?" Without fail, EVERY YEAR, I stand my ground that nothing is happening until AFTER the birthdays are over. Usually by Julia's birthday he has so trampled my last nerve that I snap and inform him of my COMPLETE lack of relatives residing in Ireland and that since it is his "people" that are needing said cards that maybe he should consider writing the cards'd think he'd get the hint? Today two more cards arrived from Ireland....the birthdays are's is now time to slam these babies out and have them posted by Wednesday!! With that goal in mind I dressed the girls up in their Christmas PJ's, wrapped them in their Christmas fleece blankets, topped their heads with Santa/Elf hats and commenced a photo favorite activity ever...NOT!!!! For the 110th time, I am not a photographer!! This was so not the 'lighting' effect I was hoping for and then I started noticing the busy background. The subjects were not really 'into' this as you can maybe tell?!? Mari is in a 'self-conscious' stage so it was taking a while to get her to 'warm up' to the photo shoot but Julia was now on board! Except that Julia has this thing about CLOSING her eyes in pictures!!!!!! We had itchy noses, sneezes, and various other interruptions along the way! Then I get one I like and am ready to call it quits!...until Mari decides she doesn't like it?!?!!? So we try other poses and my lame photography skills literally shine through! Some poses were just too uncomfortable to bear.... and then there's the need to adjust the hair... when again I think I have a keeper!! But noooooooo Mari just HATES her hair!!!! So we're back to stilted smiles and busy back grounds! Winner #3 in my books! Horror of horrors!!!!! You can see her braces!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm not sure at this point if I'm going to lose it more on Mari or on Patrick for his insistence on getting these darn cards out every year!! Bad pose when there's only one tiny present under the tree so far! Sisterly love making for another shot for the discard pile! Oh so close....until Mari started the giggling.... and then the one I reject because Mari appears to have only one eye....she ADORES?!?!!?!?!?!? We briefly lost Julia at this point because she had simply HAD ENOUGH of this whole venture so I tried playing with some settings on my camera to see if I could get the lighting effect I had 'hoped' for in the Christmas card shot. Awwwww, now why does she wait to be alone to give me this natural smile?? ....and then I asked to try another setting on the camera and she looooost it!!! But unlike a toddler, she can recalibrate and repose in short order (: Then the green eyed monster got to Julia who reappeared with the Little Elmos joining the photo shoot too! So before I go to sleep tonight I have to make one heck of an executive decision! Do I go with my fave and deal with Mari's pouting once she finds out which one I sent to the Irish relatives...or do I send the one Mari likes and let Patrick do the explaining on why our elder daughter has lost an eye? Either way, one of them will be at the camera shop tomorrow getting printed out so I can address those envelopes and be at the post office before it closes!!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Time for a Party, Pardner?

As has been mentioned ad naseum in past posts, I am NO PHOTOGRAPHER! So for any important events in our lives I try to make sure that Auntie Peggy can be present with her far superior camera and photography skills. Saturday was a VERY important event but Auntie Peggy had to work and there was no chance for her to get a day off or trade with another nurse so I was on my own, yikes! We were remarkably organized given our usual modus operandi! We were up, showered, dressed, and in the packed car with plenty of time to arrive at the special destination. We arrived in good time and had the party supplies unloaded and set up before any of the guests arrived. I tried to snap pictures at the same time as I directed the arriving guests through the sign-in process. Now you all know from her birthday post that Julia is my easy going sweetie pie but this picture speaks more words than you could ever imagine!! This is Julia's BEST new friend at her new school and I've been listening for weeks about all their adventures together during recess. It wasn't until her parent/teacher conference that I discovered from her teacher just how kind my baby girl continues to be. You see, it turns out Paul has autism and has difficulty initiating and maintaining peer interactions but my ever so loving Julia has taken him under her wing and not only plays with him everyday at recess but has been acting as 'bridge' to the other children in the classroom. Auntie Peggy told me she witnessed him starting to act up at the holiday concert and that Julia had just quietly reached over and touched his arm and whispered something which calmed him right down! Yea, I'm one darn proud Mom!!!!!! But back to the story.... the parents had paperwork to fill out in order for their children to attend this party! I'm tough you know!! Ha, as if?!?! So as more and more guests arrived I was really getting distracted what with trying to take pictures AND making sure all were welcomed and directed to sign the necessary paperwork! Then see that Mom in the green coat? She asked if she could stay and take pictures!!!!!!!!!!! Not only did she stay and take 100's but she's sending a CD of all of them home with Julia tomorrow! Yeah!!! BUT THEN Auntie Peggy called and since their last pediatric patient was just discharged her co-workers were letting her be the nurse to take the early dismissal!!!! We went from one lame picture taker to two photographers (: So since I'm not getting the CD until Julia comes home from school tomorrow, the rest of this post has been done with some of the pictures Auntie Peggy took! So, see the lady in the blue sweatshirt in the above picture? She gave everyone their directions regarding the party and everyone headed out... trudging through the snow to get to the point of the party.... you got it!!!! This was a pick your own Christmas turkey party!!!!!! I'm so JOKING folks! Just trying for a little 'build up' in the anticipation. As if her friendship with Paul didn't make me proud enough I'd also like to point out that the other little boy standing next to her is also 'special needs'. She felt he needed to be invited because, "I don't think he ever gets invited to anything Mom so I want him to come to my party please?!?" How do you say no to that???? After walking past the outer barns we saw this...... even the horses need coats these days! Now the sight of this guy brought the excitement level up a notch! We trudged on and passed this.... and with that you must have some idea what the special birthday party entailed?!?!? So after lining up for helmet fits and a lesson or two.... the PARTY BEGAN!!!!!!!!!! Mounted and waiting for the signal to enter the riding arena! Everyone was all smiles for over an hour! Her BFF Mary Kate was thrilled to ride her first horse as were quite a few of the other guests! Now Julia has ridden before BUT any chance to be on the back of a horse makes for a great day. The BFF/Cousin was there OF COURSE! When Deirdre received her invitation her brother Daniel insisted on coming see it was because of him we found this special location! Julia's comfort with Paul and Cyril can certainly be credited to the fact that she has been raised with Daniel who himself has Asperger's. This special location? A therapy riding center for those with special needs! All of the horse handlers are volunteers who have experience in special education. I called quite a few stables when planning this party and discovered just how expensive the horse world is so when my sister suggested I call the therapy center I thought, why not? They were not really cheaper BUT THE ONE THING that made the difference for me was that while the other barns were "for profit" ventures this one uses birthday parties as a way to FUND RAISE for their therapy program! I kind of feel we helped each other out with this party...I got a fun day for my daughter while they got some cash to help someone else's child have a therapy session...WIN-WIN wouldn't you say? So after the riding we came back to the nice warm hall and did the usual partying! The cake was typically layer in chocolate for the chocolate lovers, one layer in yellow cake for the non-chocolate lovers, a filling of whipped cream and strawberries for HER, and all covered in white butter cream with horses in a field of green sprinkles. Add on the ice cream and juice and the energy level began to rise so we ended the day with a rousing game of musical chairs! So yes, this group partied down pardner!!!!