Thursday, December 31, 2009

Resolving to Make a List

I always try to do the resolution thing but they don’t always play out. I have good intentions but the execution comes up lacking.

Last year both Nick and I resolved to eat more meals at the table instead of in front of the TV. We have done better on that one and average 4 to 5 meals at the table a week. I wanted to have a game night but life got in the way of that one. I am cooking more creatively but that wasn't really a resolution. I have resolved to not procrastinate so much but I can always do it tomorrow. Hmm, one out of three isn’t too bad I guess.

Well, this year I want to make resolutions and really try to keep them. Jen at the Spin Cycle has asked what our resolutions are. Maybe if I document them here I will be better at keeping them.

So here goes:
1. I want to have a game night. Be it playing board games, video games, or something outdoors, I want us to do something as a family that is not just sitting and staring at the TV.
2. I want to try a new recipe two times a month. We need more variety in our meals. I’m lucky in that Turbo will try almost anything and Nick likes things that are different.
3. I want to yell less at the kids. I have a voice that carries and when I snap I yell or scream. I need to count to ten more and yell less when things get crazy.
4. I want to blog as regularly as I have been. I enjoy the interaction with other people who are going through the same things I am. It helps to get through it when you know you are not alone. Thanks ladies, I have only been here since November but the interaction has already helped.
5. I want to be more active, walking or biking or just rolling on my exercise ball. I don’t need to lose, just tone up. I think I will feel better but I need to find the time to do it.
6. I will get some scrapbooking done. I so far behind that anything I do will help. I enjoy scrapbooking but have had a hard tme getting motivated. Must work on the motivation thing.
Well there you have it. The six things I have resolved to do. Not your standard resolutions but some things I need to work on for me. I think it might help me to think of this as an improvement list rather than resolutions.

Happy New Year to all. Have a safe and happy evening.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Year's Eve at the Jones's

We started a new tradition last year at our house. I was eight months pregnant and huge. I could not eat a lot at a time. We planned on having lots of seafood for New Year’s Eve and I knew I would not be able to eat it all in one sitting.

What developed was a three course meal that stretched from about 2:00pm until 9:00pm. We prepared the first course—appetizers, shrimp and scallops with a veggie grazing tray—and then ate it and cleaned up the dishes. Around five we made lobster tails and baked potatoes, again, cleaning up after we enjoyed them. Around 8:00pm, we made crab legs and bread (to soak up some of the butter). We had time to clean up from this and then we watched the ball drop in New York with Turbo. He crashed about 10:30pm.

Doing the meal all stretched out this way made it so I could enjoy all the food without feeling overstuffed. Clean up was a breeze and we were able to enjoy sitting together to eat and had no pressure to finish cooking everything at the same time. It was great.

This year we are planning on doing the same thing. A long stretched out meal of several courses with lots of time between them. Turbo will get to stay up until midnight if he makes it. We have sparkling cider for him and will have champagne for Nick and I to toast—even if it is for midnight in New York and not here where we live.

Bruiser will be kept on his schedule this year but I think it will be OK for him, he’s not really aware of what is going on anyway. He will get to try some of what we are having and will be content with that.

We don’t have many other New Year’s traditions. I try to take the tree down New Year’s Day or shortly there after. Nick likes to try to go ice fishing. Turbo likes to go with him, but freezing on the ice is not really my thing. I don’t care how comfortable Nick claims the ice hut is.

Mostly, the New Year is more about our family and being together than Christmas is. We get to be just us without the pressure of grandparents or anyone else that we have to entertain. I like the New Year better than other holidays because it is low stress for us.

On a side note, there is a blue moon on New Year's Eve this year. Hope the weather is clear enough for everyone to enjoy it.

What do you do for the New Year? Resolutions will be discussed tomorrow, (cause I haven't really thought about them yet)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Random on Tuesday

It's time to get the randomness out and show it to everyone. Here goes.

When you’re only two feet from the floor it’s easier to find those things on it that will give Mommy a heart attack if you try to eat them. Put all of them in your mouth anyway and cry in rage when Mommy digs it out. Repeat.

If you are older than your brother--and he is just a baby--tease him with small toys just to hear him yell when you take it away. This has the added bonus of making Mommy crazy. Repeat.

When Mommy is totally at the end of her rope do something cute like help your brother ride his new toy and point out when baby brother tries to stand and succeeds for a few seconds. This will make Mommy sane again.

The above has been repeated over and over again the last few days. I’m not sure who will crack first—Probably Mommy.

Still no cards done—I think that this year it’s going to be New Year’s cards. Sigh.

There is no way to tell kids to play with balls that does not sound slightly naughty. Turbo got Bruiser a ball maze for Christmas and Turbo plays with it more than Bruiser does. He keeps hogging the balls so–I can’t believe I said this to Turbo—They’re his balls, let him play with them. Then I realized what I said. Nick laughed at me. The trials of living with boys.

Not looking forward to taking down the tree. It’s a chore I don’t enjoy. This year it’s harder cause we have the fake tree. I’ll get to it sometime next weekend.

So Nick’s cousin had a Wii at Christmas and we got to play with it. Nick thought it was really cool. We will be getting one soon. Even Turbo was able to play it. We are slowly catching up with technology.

Since I am home this week I am getting way to much day time TV. Man there is some weird stuff on during the day.

And Bruiser is teething again. He fights each and every tooth. Makes him miserable and clingy. I feel like I have a growth that wiggles to much. It's either that or listen to the crying that sounds like he lost his best friend, even though I am just in the next room. Come on tooth, just bust on through already.

Well that seems like enough random for today. Head on over to
Keely's a d check out the other randomness on the web today.

Monday, December 28, 2009

The aftermath

Christmas is over. I can say with some relief I am glad it's over. We had a lovely day with family. Breakfast with the grandparents and dinner with cousins. Turbo was exhausted by Friday evening. Bruiser had eaten his share of paper and bows and was equally tired.

Nick loved his gifts and he did well for me. He surprised me with some pearl earrings and a peridot and blue topaz necklace. they are lovely and even better they were chosen by him and mean that much more to me. I got some Yankee candles and some other stuff.

Bruiser really likes his ride on toy. He can't make it go but he loves it when we help him move. Turbo got a hot wheels race track and lots of Lincoln logs. He has a whole fort built in his room now.

I have had a bit of let down from the season. I think it is because I have been short on sleep. Bruiser still has not gotten the memo that night time is for sleep. Santa missed that one. I keep hoping that sleep will come and Bruiser teases me with a couple of good nights then bam three nights where he does not sleep so I don't sleep. He will eventually get it won't he? I mean teenagers don't sleep but not usually cause they need their mommy.

Sorry about the tangent above--back to our already scheduled program. New Year's is creeping up on us and we really enjoy New Years Eve with just us at home. More on that later this week.

I hope that every one's Christmas was good if not great and we can all be thankful that it only comes once a year. The feeling should last all year but all that togetherness need only come in small doses.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas all

Merry Christmas to everyone.

I hope your Holidays are everything you hope for and imagine.

See you Monday.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas to all

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to every one. I get an unexpected vacation for the next week and a half--the university where I work takes the holidays off. I am looking forward to time with my kids and family and the joy that is Christmas and New Years.

Yesterday I got the first part of my baking done. I made some delicious pumpkin pie bread as Turbo calls it. I need more sugar for today and tomorrow. Turbo and I are making cookies no matter what. We are having friends over for clam chowder and seasonal cheer tonight. I got most of the things wrapped that needed it. Only a couple left to go. Score one for me on the Christmas front--I think the Christmas feeling is creeping up on me.

Tomorrow Nick and I are headed out to the chocolate shop for turtles, jelly beans, and orange sticks. I love dark chocolate turtles and I only get them at Christmas and maybe Valentine's Day. Nick is a fan of orange sticks, so we each get something we really like. I look forward to this trip all year. This is another tradition for us-the annual chocolate purchase for Christmas.

Tomorrow evening we will be at Papa and Nana's house for snacks and presents. Then everyone will be at our house Christmas morning. We are doing a brunch of sorts-maybe just late breakfast-well we are eating in the mid morning. Later we are headed over to another cousins house for a late Christmas dinner. This lets Turbo get some time with cousins that are his age. I think Christmas will be fun and enjoyable for the whole family.

I am wishing good memories on all of you and hoping that your Christmas is fun filled and turns out the way you would want it to.
Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Randomness

So it's Tuesday. Oh wait, that means Random Tuesday time. I knew there was something to like about Tuesday.

So, still no baking here at casa Jones, I'm a horrible slacker. I better get my butt in gear or Santa will have to make do with granola bars. Granola does not go well with Christmas milk(aka egg nog). I think a quick batch of chocolate chip may be in order. Also some brownies. Maybe some pumpkin spice bread, oh lets not get to ambitious.

Last night Bruiser learned how to climb up on the couch with the help of a pillow or two. Now his favorite activity is couch diving. Thank goodness his preferred place for diving has lots of blankets and pillows to land in. He is so pleased with himself. Look mom I can get up here like my brother. He giggles and laughs and has a grand old time.

Turbo is about to lose a front tooth, on top no less. If it makes it through Christmas I will be amazed. I know it won't be there when he goes back to school. He has such a gap toothed smile already from losing one on the bottom a few weeks ago. As soon as it goes I will provide pictures.

Family relations can be so touchy. This one doesn't talk to that one or that one won't talk to them. We seem to be stuck in the middle. Makes who we spend what time with tricky. Most of the problems are on Nick's side of the family. My family is too far flung for the drama to come out that often. Nick's family is all right here in town for the most part. We navigate it well but oh how we watch what we say to whom.

Well, I think that's all the random I can come up with for this Tuesday. Go see Keely for the rest of the randomness floating around the Internet today. Go on, go you know you want to.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Loss of Motivation

Four days til Christmas and I still have not gotten cards done, baking done or all the presents wrapped. I haven't gotten a newsletter done for said cards or pictures printed to go in those cards. I really can't seem to get myself in gear. Christmas is all around us but I'm not feeling it yet. Not really.

I have my shopping done but I know Nick doesn't. Turbo is excited and counting presents under the tree at our house and the grandparents--he's at 17, not bad for a six year old. Bruiser doesn't have much under our tree but then he will be more interested in the boxes and wrapping paper than anything else. I have stuff for Nick but need to wrap it.

And the baking thing. Well let's just say that this weekend was about the New Mexico Bowl game(which Wyoming won-woot!) and not so much me in the kitchen making goodies. Hopefully tonight wonderful things will start to come out of my kitchen. I mean I have all the stuff, I just have to put it together. Unfortunately, the elves aren't helping there.

The high light of my weekend was when I had to run to the store for garbage bags and when I got home Nick had done the dishes for me. Sometime he surprises me that way. And how sad is that the the high point is not having to do dishes myself?

Oh well, maybe the Christmas feeling will hit soon and I will feel more in keeping with the season. For now I will put on the happy face and go with the flow. And hope my motivation come back from the vacation it seems to be on--I hope it has been enjoying itself.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas vacation

Turbo's last day of school this year is today. He goes back on Jan. 5, 2010. He gets a nice long vacation at home. I don't remember getting that much time off at Christmas. As a kid we got out of school about three days before Christmas and were back in school shortly after New Year's Day. Turbo gets two solid weeks off.

Oh man, do I need to come up with some stuff to keep us all from going stir crazy. I can't just kick him outside like in the summer, it's too cold out. There are only so many times he can go visit the neighbor girls (and I can only handle having the group at our house in limited amounts of time).

We have baking on the list, repeated discussions of Santa's imminent arrival, decorating the front windows, repeated requests to leave his brother alone, watching Christmas classics(Charlie Brown, Grinch, etc.)and repeated requests to leave the presents under the tree alone. It remains to be seen who cracks first. While getting through next week will be an interesting challenge, the following week should be easier. I'm off work and will be home with him and Bruiser.

the week between Christmas and New Year's, we plan on cross country skiing, sledding, and letting Turbo play with the stuff he gets for Christmas. There will also be lots of lying around doing nothing(my favorite).

This is Bruiser's first Christmas. I know he won't remember much but we will and so I hope things go well. We are keeping things low key and easy on everyone. I just hope everyone enjoys the day.

On a different note, it was so weird to type 2010. I'm not sure I'm ready for the next decade. Man, time does fly as you get older.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A baking we will go...

OK, so the Spin Cycle assignment from Jen at Sprite's Keeper this week is baking for Christmas. I try to do this but getting in gear is hard. It's easier now that I have a stand mixer, I'm not big on hand mixing cookies, I always leave stuff unmixed at the bottom of the bowl. It's better now that the mixer mixes for me.

Chocolate chip have been requested this year by Nick, and Turbo wants to make Candy Cane Cookies. He got to help last year by rolling them into ropes. They didn't turn out half bad. They really need to wait a day or so before being eaten cause they taste better then. I also need to make brownies, but I'm sworn to secrecy on those because they come from Nick's dad who makes the best brownies ever. They always work even at our high altitude(7200 feet, I'm not kidding).

Any way the recipe I am going to post is the Candy Cane Cookies. They look festive when they are done and very good this time of year.

So here goes:

Candy Cane Cookies

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup powdered sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red food coloring

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix thoroughly butter, shortening, powdered sugar, egg and flavorings. Blend in flour and salt. Divide dough in half; blend food coloring into one half of the dough.

Shape 1 tsp dough from each half of the dough into a 4 inch rope. For smooth even ropes, roll them back and forth on a lightly floured surface. Place ropes side by side, press together lightly and twist. Complete cookies one at a time. Place on an ungreased baking sheet, turning one end to form the handle of the cane.

Bake, about 9 minutes or until set and very light brown. If you wish mix up 1/2 cup crushed peppermint candy and 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Sprinkle the cookies with this mixture immediately upon removing from the oven then remove from the sheet. Allow to stand until completely cool as they are fragile when they are warm.

Enjoy these cookies yourself or give as gifts on a cookie tray. They also make great treats for Santa. Merry Christmas and happy baking!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Christmas Story

I'm sure by now everyone has at least heard of the movie A Christmas Story. In our house it holds a special meaning for my husband. I will explain, I promise.

When I met Nick in 1993, I had never heard of this movie. That year was my first Christmas with Nick and his family. I sort of got dumped on them, long story-another time. They made me welcome, but were surprised that I had never even seen A Christmas Story. I watched bits and pieces of it but did not really get the point of the movie. It was a couple of years before I saw it complete from start to finish. I thought it was kind of weird but it has since grown on me.

Now, about Nick's connection with this movie. He also had a great aunt/grandma(the family tree gets a bit murky) who thought that Nicky(as he was called as a child) was a girl. For years he got dolls and other girl oriented presents for Christmas and had to act happy about it for this relative. He really identified with Ralphie in the movie.

Now we use certain lines from the movie at different times during the year. Some of these are:
-I can't put my arms down!
-You'll shot your eye out, kid!
-Frageelee--it must be Italian.

Obviously we don't get out much. Still A Christmas Story has become a tradition around our house at Christmas. I have been tempted to get Nick a copy of the leg lamp from the movie but have resisted so far.

What holiday movies are tradition around your house? We have other that we watch but none mean the same as this one. Happy holiday viewing everyone!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Random things


It's Tuesday and time to empty the random thoughts out of my head. Really, my head needs emptying cause its full. I'm all stuffed up and snuffly. I feel like my head is packed in cotton. Not a fun way to pass the time.

With the holidays upon us we are now gifted with the holiday commercials. Some are entertaining and some are dull. Some are just plain weird. My favorite one has got to be the Progressive one where Santa is insurance shopping and Flo calls out "I like cashmere socks!" at the end. Something about it makes me smile.

Anyone want an opinionated six year old? I swear that Turbo is six going on sixteen. He throws such fits sometimes if things don't go just the way he thinks they should. On the other hand he can be really sweet, it balances out but there are times when I'd happily give him to the circus if the offer came(I'm safe knowing that the offer won't come of course).

Bruiser has decided that anything I am eating is his too. He yells and screeches until he gets a bite. If we are in the living room and he is roaming free, he will stand at my knees and squawk for his share. If it is not forth coming, chomp on momy's knees and see if that gets results. he has bitten my knees several times lobbying for his share. He has even bitten Nick's knees to get a bite of what we are having. This from the kid who doesn't like most baby food. He also squawks at the dinner table for his share but there he is contained in his high chair. He still demands his share but he can't bite us for it.

I hate the wind. It's blowing here like crazy and it's cold. I much prefer snow-it's pretier to look at and be in if you have to. However, we get lots of wind here. I should be used to it but I don't have to like it.

Oh boy, the stuffiness is taking over my brain. I think I'll go now and hope things improve. Head over to Keely at the Unmom for more random things for this Tuesday.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Monday, Monday

Well, what a weekend. Nick and I knocked out the bulk of our kid shopping for Christmas. Now I just have to wrap what we are giving Turbo and what Santa is giving Turbo--in different paper of course. Bruiser is also getting a visit from the jolly guy in red. I need to take Turbo shopping for his dad's gift and let him choose something for Bruiser. We need to hit the local chocolate shop for the obligatory treats--I love turtles, truffles, and jelly bellies. There may be the odd stocking stuffer to pick up, but my shopping is mostly done. Nick is another story. He still needs to shop for whatever he decides to get for me. Typical last minute guy shopper.

Next weekend I will be making cookies with Turbo. I will be posting a cookie recipe when I decide which one we will be making. Maybe candy cane cookies-Turbo likes to help with rolling those out.

I still have not done the cards. I got a 24 hour bug on Sunday and couldn't move off the couch. Feeling better now, but the stuffiness is running around our house right now. Everyone is sniffing and running at the nose. It's kind of gross around here but hopefully we get it out of our system before Christmas.

And finally some pictures:

Aren't we a cute couple?

Brotherly love.

The proud graduate and his family.
(This one might go out in the Christmas cards, its the best one of the whole family.)

In other news I won an award from Leigh over at Leigh vs. Laundry. Go check out her blog, she's pretty funny at Leigh vs. Laundry.

Friday, December 11, 2009

A little of this and a little of that...

Hey, hey, hey it Friday! Nick's favorite day of the week, cause we get paid for it and it's the end of the week. the weekend is in view. Turbo should be at Grandma's tonight so we just have Bruiser. Tomorrow we are heading out of town to go shopping for Turbo. We are going with some friends so good times are expected.

We are finally escaping the deep freeze--temps should reach above 20 degrees. we really have a winter wonderland going on here. It's pretty but I could do without the extended below zero temps.

Can I just go on record as stating that I hate doing dishes. I can hunt up every dirty dish in sight and get them all done and not five minutes later the sink is full again. I swear the dishes mate in the dark. No matter what I do the sink is always full of dirty dishes. Maybe paper is the way to go, hard to cook in though.

I have chosen the Christmas picture of the family that will go in our cards, I just need to print them off. Then address cards and write a letter and get them in the mail. Um--maybe Sunday. I procrastinate on this one all the time. One year we sent new year cards--hey it was still the holidays right?

Here's hoping that your Friday goes well.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas traditions

It being that time of the year and all, traditions become all important to some people.

I look back fondly at the sort of traditions that I had growing up. Decorating always started with the tree. Once we had gotten the tree we put it up and then my mom put the lights on--usually around ten to twelve strands, we liked a bright tree. Then my brother and I spent the next couple of hours hanging our ornaments in just the right spots. Christmas music played in the background and it was always fun to see a beautiful tree when we were done. After we had placed the last ornament my mom and I would put the garland on-shiny silver garland we used year after year, no tinsel for us cause Mom hated the stuff and the cats ate it and that was never pretty.

As I got out on my own, well I was with Nick, we started the tradition of finding a tree in the mountains. That was always fun and refreshing to go find the perfect tree. We would decorate it but I got tired of putting on all the ornaments I had as a child. We went minimalist with lights and strings of beads. Nick started putting the Christmas cards in the tree as we got them and that seemed to be the perfect way to display them. Once the Turbo was old enough to start putting his ornaments on the tree we started having more ornaments. This year we watched a Christmas movie while we decorated. A nice tradition getting revived.

Another tradition we have is to watch A Christmas Story at least once on Christmas Eve--during the 24 hour run on TNT(or TBS, I'm not sure which). Nick has an affinity for that movie which is a whole other post (later I promise). I like to watch the standards-Rudolph, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Charlie Brown Christmas, etc. It is fun sharing them with Turbo. Bruiser is not interested yet.

As for Christmas Day we don't have any set traditions except we have decreed that we won't go anywhere. The kids deserve to play with their toys, not rush from one place to another. We do Christmas Eve with Nick's folks and then go look at Christmas lights, then home to leave out Christmas Milk and cookies and carrots for Santa and the Reindeer. The next day everyone comes to our house for brunch and my mom brings her gifts then. I spreads out the gifting for the kids and they can appreciate what they get.

I guess we have more traditions than I thought. What do you do that are tradition at your house? Do you want to change them or make new ones. I think we need a few more at our house but it still feels like Christmas here.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Light the lights

My father-in-law loves Christmas. He truly lives for the season all year. He plans out where the lights will go and where the rest of the decorations go. He has the blow ups of Santa, Rudolph, Frosty and various others. It is, to say the least, very festive outside their house. They live two blocks down the street from us so we can see when they have their lights on. It always looks good in the snow.

The year that Turbo was a baby-seven months at Christmas-Papa and Nana were moving and could not put up Christmas lights. Papa decided that Turbo could not miss out on lights so he came and set up lights on our lawn. It looked like Christmas came and threw up on our yard. There was no plan just blow-ups and lights all over. We got lots of looky-loos that year.

There have been years when Papa has dressed as Santa and handed out candy canes to the people driving by to look at his lights. Turbo was three the last time he did this. We told Turbo we were going to see Santa but when he got within ten feet of "Santa" Turbo yelled "That's not Santa, that's Papa!!" He was quite offended and disappointed. We told him Papa was helping Santa out. Can't pull one over on that kid.

I think it drives Papa nuts that we don't do a lot of outside decorating, but I honestly don't think our wiring could handle it. He has tried loaning us blow-ups but we just don't get into it like he does. This year the weather has been less that friendly for outside decorating unless you started in November. We will do something inside around the windows but that's all I think.

At least we can enjoy what he does. He puts thought and effort into it and it usually looks good when he does. He doesn't go overboard like some houses featured on TV--not because he can't but because Nana keeps him in check. Does anyone else do the big blow-ups or just the lights? What does the outside of your house look like?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Random Tuesday


Well time for more randomness associated with Keely at the Unmom. If you want more randomness just click the button above.

I am new to this blogging thing and I am thrilled that I got the button thing to work. I'm totally non tech savvy, so I'm happy I figured it out.

Moving on, we have snow here to go with our very cold temperatures. Not as much as some places but the four inches we have gotten this morning thrilled Turbo to no end. He got up and saw it snowing and immediately started hoping for a snow day. No such luck but at least they have indoor recess.

We cheated this year and did the pre-lit artificial tree. We usually get a real tree from the mountains but the logistics of a real tree and a crawling, pulling up ten month old just seemed a bit too much. The tree is pretty but only has white lights that are on steady. I'm used to twinkling colored lights and this one just seems a bit flat. Next year we will be doing the real thing again.

Our collie mix dog(who is mostly black with a bit of white on his belly and legs) turns white when he goes out in heavy falling snow. Of course he can turn white even when it is not snowing cause he loves to roll in the snow on our backyard deck. I can always tell when he has rolled by the telltale bits of snow clinging to him. Also, he spend a longer time outside when he rolls. He suffers from separation anxiety and is there fore the fastest pee in the west. We can let him out and he is done and ready to come in before we can sit down again.

Well my brain is empty so head over to Keely's, you won't regret it, maybe, I don't know.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Spin Cycle---Dear Santa,

Jen's Spin Cycle assignment is the letter to Santa or a Christmas wish list. This has always been hard for me to come up with. For years(pre-grandchildren), Christmas lists were requested by Nick's folks at Thanksgiving. These lists had to be long and stuff we really wanted. If they weren't long enough we were asked to provide more ideas. It's hard not to sound a bit gimme-gimme when making a list like that. We got some great stuff but coming up with those lists was never easy.

Now it's not so hard. We just say what the kids like or need and we get gift cards. Still, we have to come up with ideas for each other, not just the kids. I try to keep a running list on the refrigerator with gift ideas. It changes from time to time but the basics stay the same. Anyway, what follows is my Dear Santa effort both for things that are within reach and for the more extravagant stuff.

Dear Santa,

I have been a very good girl this year. I know that because of this you will be generous during your visit. I would like the following in no particular order:
-A new TV to replace the one that tanked in October. WE will treat it well and enjoy it.
-New tires for the car--things are slippery here and new tires would help.
-Something that is shiny and sparkly for my neck or hand. I'll leave the details up to you.
-A new cutting board for the kicthen(talk to my husband on this one, he can hook you up)
-A coffee pot or hot water maker for my office.
-A new memory stick, my old one is too small to carry pictures around on.
-New Rubbermaid storage containers.
-More hours or a raise at work.
-Time. Time to sleep, play with my kids, cook fun food, scrapbook, spend with my husband, and the energy to enjoy it.

I know that some of my requests are a bit harder to provide than others but if you could do your best I'd really appreciate it. You will be getting a letter from my son Turbo shortly. He has been pretty good, so you can be generous with him too(within reason). Thank you Santa. Turbo and I will be making cookies for you, chocolate chip and sugar, and leaving some carrots for the reindeer. Have a great New Year(since you work Christmas).

Lots of love,

Friday, December 4, 2009

Pictures! Pictures!

Here are the guys I live with. They are fun and sometimes crazy but we always have lots of love around.

Nick and Bruiser lounging.

Turbo showing off his lost tooth. More are loose and he could end up missing his two front teeth for Christmas.

Turbo and the ten month old Bruiser. I think they will keep me on my toes. They are cute enough to get away with lots.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Dear Everyone...

For the Spin Cycle this week the Family Newsletter is up.

I try to do this every year because our friends and family are far-flung and we don't get together with them easily or often. We don't try to do the top this thing and we try to let it be news-not a brag fest. So here is a form of what we will be sending:

Happy holidays all!

We have survived another year of ups and downs.

First some ups:
Nick has finished his Master's Degree! He is all done with school. We are very proud of him for sticking it out(he has been fed up with school for quite some time and getting him to finish took a lot of encouragement).

On January 29, 2009, Bruiser joined our family. He is a happy, healthy ten month old now. He wants to keep up with his big brother and is quite content to bulldoze his way where ever he wants to go.

Turbo is six and despite some bumps at school, he's adjusting to his little brother quite well. He still thinks his brother is cool but Bruiser still can't get into his toys so we will see how that goes.

Now the downs:
On January 29, 2009 I got laid off at the consulting job I had. Yes, it was the same day I went into labor. I don't think the two were related, but you never know. By the end of April I had another job(that paid about half what I was making) so we are still keeping our heads above water.

Our health has had its downs as well. In January both Nick and Turbo fought the flu (possibly swine flu but not confirmed). There were gobs of green goo all over-fun to deal with while juggling a new born. We had our share of summer colds and then the dreaded Pink Eye hit Turbo just after Thanksgiving. So far he has not been generous with his germs--lots of hand washing here.

In other news, Nick is doing well with his archery hobby and I am trying to get back to my scrapbooks. We are always busy but still seem pretty boring--the highlight of our week is something new on TV.

All in all, 2009 was not really mean to us and hope that 2010 will be kind to us too.

Here's wishing everyone a happy, healthy New Year!
The Jones's (honest noone has to keep up with us--most just pass us by!)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Shopping Bug

The shopping season is upon us. It comes with the rest of the season's joys.

I tend to start collecting things about August or September. But Nick and I do the heavy shopping on a weekend between now and Christmas. I like to shop but usually have to drag Nick kicking and screaming to the stores.

Nick does the rest of his shopping the weekend before Christmas unless he is making things(he's pretty handy--I'm hoping for a cutting board that he's has been promising for a couple of years now). He's really a typical guy and will wander around like the other guys hoping the perfect gift will smack him in the face. I give him a list of suggestions but there are times when he needs more directions.

I'll take Turbo to shop for Dad and Bruiser in the next couple of weeks and then, except for stocking stuffers, we'll be mostly done. We do have to think about the grandparents but they always want just simple stuff or "nothing really" which of course means something really.

We intend to have small stuff for Bruiser cause, really, he doesn't get it and the boxes will hold more allure for him. Turbo gets three or four things-some from Santa and some from us. At six he's all about how many presents are under the tree, how many are his and not necessarily their content. Now all I have to do is get the letter to Santa figured out.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Christmas milk and other random things...

OK, so It's Tuesday and time to let everyone in on my random thoughts.

Pink Eye is gross. Turbo has an impressive case of Pink Eye. The doctor was even impressed. I think its yucky how much crust an eye can create. It's almost as bad as the green goo that Turbo produced when he was sick with the flu last January. Almost. I think the Pink eye wins.

Hoping for more snow soon. Things are looking depressingly brown and icy. I prefer the white of the snow. It makes me feel cozy and safe in my house. I also feel like cooking soups and stews and chili and warm things like that. So I am hoping for snow this week.

Is it just me or are Funyons wildly addictive? I'm not that fond of onions but I love Funyons. Nick thinks I'm weird cause of this. OK, so he thinks I'm weird for a lot of things but he always looks at me funny when I get Funyons.

Moving on, It's egg nog time. Although in our house it's known as Christmas Milk. This is what Turbo has called it since he could talk. It will probably always be known as Christmas Milk now. It works for us.

I don't like shopping for my mother for Christmas. She is at that age where she needs nothing and wants nothing(except really expensive things that are out of our reach). If she finds something she wants she gets it and I feel like it's a cop out to get her a gift card. Oh well, we'll think of something.

Well that's about it my head is empty so head on over to Keely and check out the other randomness happening this week.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Monday, I Don't Like You

Well, we survived Thanksgiving. But not all intact. Turbo is sick. His eyes are puffy and oozing and he is just not his usual high energy self. We are hooping Bruiser doesn't get it. Turbo gets an all expense paid trip to the doctor this afternoon. Not exactly how we were hoping this Monday would go.

This truly has been a Monday. Bruiser was up at 4:30am, so guess who else was up? He didn't really go back to sleep so neither did I. It makes me crabby and I really have to watch myself so I don't get snappy with the kids and Nick. Monday struck again when Nick made his tea cause the tea bag exploded and he had to start over.

It remains to be seen if the rest of today gets better or worse. It being Monday I don't have high hopes.

Here's hoping Monday goes up from here, not down.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thankful for the Little Stuff

This is just a list of some of the things that I am thankful for this year.

1. My family. Nick, Turbo and Bruiser are wonderful. My husband is my partner, best friend and (shh, don't tell the kids) lover. Turbo is a great kid who constantly keeps us on our toes. We are still getting to know Bruiser but what we've seen so far says he's pretty cool too. I'm thankful we are all healthy(I know I just jinxed it), and together this year.

2. My mother. She watches Bruiser and Turbo(when needed) while I work part time. She saves us untold amounts of money and keeps Bruiser out of daycare. I still get the guilt trips on occasion(they never forget how to do that do they?), but mostly the arrangement works out well for all of us. I'm thankful she is willing and able to give of her time this way.

3. My job. I was laid off from the consulting job I had the same day I went into labor with Bruiser. Three months later I was able to get another job that also used my geology degree. It pays about half what I was making but in today's economy I'm happy I'm working. It is interesting and I get my own office. I'm thankful to be working.

4. My home. I'm thankful that we own our own home. Well us and the Bank. We did not get caught up in the housing bubble and are not in trouble as so many are. I'm thankful our house is not bigger than we need.

5. My in-laws. I have the greatest in-laws. Nick's folks are great. His mom is sweet and kind and his dad is great with the kids. They live close so Turbo gets to spend lots of time with them. As soon as Bruiser can walk he will be spending time with Papa too. I'm thankful we get along with them and they with us.

That's a lot of things to be thankful for. I'm sure there are more but these are the ones this year. Have a happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Random Tuesday--Thanks again

Well here is my second go at Keely's random Tuesday fun.

Is it just me or are the stores getting a bit ridiculous for Black Friday. Kohl's will be opening at 4:00am. Who needs to shop at 4:00am. I feel for the sales associates who have to be there by 3:30am to get the store up and running for this madness. I know how that day goes, I worked at J. C. Penney's for two years and the Black Friday craziness was no picnic. And that was 13 years ago. I am thankful the retail phase of my life is over.

Moving on, I'm thankful for afternoon naps. Bruiser still thinks being up in the middle of the night is great fun. Well since he cries until picked up maybe it's not all fun for him. But once picked up its party time. Mom and Dad are not so much on that boat. I'm thankful they are only little for a while, but also regret that some of it goes by so fast.

I'm thankful for spontaneous hugs from Turbo. They make my day. He spends his time hovering on the cool boy side of things but every now and then the little boy gains the upper hand. He's so big now. Six and a half going on sixteen.

Also thankful for the times I get to watch Turbo and Bruiser interact. Turbo tries really hard to play with Bruiser and last night they played next to each other on the kitchen floor while I cooked and it was one of those moments when everything was going right--no yelling was needed, no warnings, no cautions to be careful. It was a great look at the times to come as they both grow.

In other randomness I am getting ready for the Christmas movie season. I have been resisting since the beginning of November. I think the programmers want us to think Christmas as soon as the last trick-or-treater is out the door. I know the retailers do. I have been strong and resisted the lure of The Grinch and all the movies they put on Hallmark and ABC Family. After Thanksgiving I will be ready--maybe.

Anyway go check out the randomness that Keely heads up, you won't be sorry--maybe even a little bit thankful.

Monday, November 23, 2009

One Thanksgiving

Well to start the week of Thanksgiving off, the first thing I am thankful for is family close by. Since our families are all here in Laramie we don't have to travel any further than down the street. It makes things convenient for us and easier when there are small children around. Literally, we have to go two blocks down the street for Thanksgiving dinner at Nick's folks.

Our families mostly get along so we all get together, well Nick, myself and the kids and the grandparents--Papa and Nana(Nick's folks) and Grandma (my mom). My brother is a whole state away and will probably work and Nick's brother is going to school at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh. So I guess the family is scattered but together if that makes any sense--probably not. Anyway, I'm thankful we don't have to divide our time and do two Thanksgivings or travel a long way.

This is Bruiser's first Thanksgiving and I know he will enjoy seeing the people and demanding things off my plate. The grandparents adore their grandsons and are looking forward to seeing them. Turbo was six months old for his first Thanksgiving and Papa got a kick out of letting him taste whipped cream and Papa is looking forward to doing the same for Bruiser. Turbo just likes going to Papa and Nana's house because he can pretty much do whatever he wants. And what kids doesn't like that?

Nick and I are going to enjoy not having to lift a finger to make any food. Or do cleanup, Papa and Nana are particular about their kitchen and Papa is a bit hyper about dishes and will have everything done before we can offer to help. We just get to chase kids around--it's a deal we just can't resist. And this year when the baby gets cranky we can just go home. Wonderful.

So much to be thankful for. Stop back by for more thanking as the week goes on.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Sleep, Momma Needs More Sleep

Anyone have suggestions for getting a nine month old to believe sleeping at night is a good thing?

Bruiser has never been a good sleeper. He doesn't sleep well or for long periods without stirring some. We have tried cry it out and various other methods to get him to sleep but nothing that sticks with him. The kid is stubborn and can cry forever. My problem is that if the baby is awake then mom don't sleep.

I was spoiled by Turbo. He slept fine after a couple of cry it out nights. He was never one to wake up all night. Now he walks in his sleep but that's another story. When he was a baby sleep was never as elusive as it is with Bruiser. There are times when I just want to cry, I'm so exhausted. I know things will get better(they have to get better) but the getting there is tough.

The kicker is that Bruiser always wakes up so happy in the morning. It's all smiles and giggles at 7:00am. Those smiles make it easier to start the day, I'll admit that.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

All done but for the party.

My husband did it! He completed his Master's of Geology. Yesterday he defended his thesis to his committee and they had nothing but good things to say. He has some minor revisions and additions but overall he is done. We had a celebration with his folks last night, steak and stuff--yumm! Then we went home like good parents and didn't do much else. Nick broke with graduate student tradition in that he was not stumbling drunk by 5:00pm. I guess we are getting old cause that just sounded painful not fun.

Dec. 4 he will walk through graduation ceremonies and be hooded and then the party is on. we have two other friends that are graduating at the same time and we are hoping to get together.

I am so proud of my husband. It hasn't been easy for him. He hates the hoops and politics involved in the process but he got through it and I couldn't be happier for him. He is the first person in his family to acheive a Master's degree. I think that is pretty cool.

So cheers for Nick and congrats all around!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Too cute

Here is Turbo being his usual active self on the tire swing at Papa's house.

Here is the bruiser looking too cut for words. Just thought I'd put him out there for all to see.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Trying on some random

Well even though I'm new to the blogging thing I thought I'd try the Random Tuesday that Keely throws on Tuesdays. So lets see what random I've got today.

Snow is great but ice sucks. We have lots of ice around here right now. I have come close to going down on my butt but have been able to save myself so far. It's only a matter of time.

New carpet is wonderful but the smell not so much. We got our living room carpeted because it needed it so badly. We had hardwood floor around the edges(about two feet worth) and the rest was unfinished pine. What do you do with a floor like that? We had a rug over the middle but with a crawler and a six year old who likes to lie(lay?) on the floor we decided to just carpet the whole thing. It looks great. Smells not so great. Although, if we ever move and the new owners go to pull up the carpet they will think wow hardwood until they pull up more and see the middle, and by then it's to late to put the carpet back. HAHA!

We put the baby gate up and Bruiser like to stand at it and lick the bars. Not sure what he's going for there but it seems to work for him. He spends a lot of time at the gate wanting out while the rest of us want in the sit down. The grass is always greener I guess.

I think thats all the random I've got for now. Go see Keely for more.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Snow, Snow, Snow

We have snow here. I am amazed as always what a layer of snow can do for the landscape. It hides all manner of problems and ugliness. It also brings out the kid in my husband and me. There is something about the fresh expanse of snow that just begs for tracks. This year we have had lots of snow already and I must admit if it's going to be cold I prefer the snow to the dead brown grass and leafless trees.

Turbo can be out for hours in it without complaint. He loves snow angels and making snowmen. He also just loves to lay in the snow and he makes up games that are comprehensible only to him. By February I expect that Bruiser will be walking and be able to be out in the snow. It is always fun to show little kids about the snow.

When Turbo was about eighteen months old I taught him to do the snow dance. It was just a few made up movements that we would have him do before a storm was coming. the most magical moments were when it would snow over night and we woke up to white stuff on the ground. His happy face and "My snow dance worked!" made any amount of snow fun. He is now looking forward to teaching Bruiser the Dance and carrying on the tradition.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The finder

I'm new at the Spin Cycle but thought I'd give it a try. So here goes:

I live with a bunch of losers. No not losers like awful people but losers in that they lose stuff all the time. I have become the unofficial finder in the house. I find all sorts of things--library books, bakugon toys, hot wheels cars, shoes, pacifiers, socks, wallets, glasses, hats, sunglasses, remotes, etc.

Some of these things are lost by Turbo or Bruiser, namely the toy oriented things, but the rest are lost by Nick. The man loses everything. I think mostly he doesn't remember where he last set it down, took it off or used it last.

So when he needs it he wanders through the house looking for whatever he lost. He doesn't look systematically or well, he just checks the nearest flat surface. Sometimes this method works but most of the time what he's looking for is under or behind something else or in a completely different area of the house than he's looking in. When he can't find it he askes me if I've seen it anywhere. Usually I can tell him where to find the desired item, sometimes I have to look for it but I can almost always find it. Sometimes I find in a place he already "checked, but it's not there". Other times I find things in places he swears he didn't have it. I guess the gremlins are moving things on him.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

End of the School Days

My Husband Nick has been working on his masters thesis for a year now but taking the classes for the last six. He has worked full time as the Coal Geologist for the Wyoming State Geologic Survey, and been a wonderful husband and dad during that time. I can safely say that he is sick of school and is really looking forward to being done.

Next Wednesday he goes before his committee--three professors--and presents his thesis to them and who ever comes to watch. He then answers questions about his thesis and spends some time with his committee privately to hear what they may want changed or edited. Than they hopefully sign off on it and he is done save for the final edits. He is nervous but excited to be this close to being done.

He has stated that he is not going near another class for a couple of years at least. I can say I blame him. He has been taking classes since 2000 when he went back for his Bachelor's in Geology. We both already had degrees but they were in things that weren't very practical--my first was History, his was Journalism. After a series of well paying construction jobs that kept him consistently out of town we decided that for the health of our marriage he needed to work smarter not harder. This started us on the journey to where we are today.

I am so proud of him and have my fingers crossed that all goes well next week. Then we have the celebration of graduation on December 4th. Party time for all!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Here I am again.

Well, I'm not doing so well on this blogging thing. I think I am a serial lurker. I really enjoy reading the blogs posted by other people but am having a hard time thinking that any one would want to read about my family and me. Anyway here goes.

Nick is going to be defending his masters thesis next week. Can we say nervous wreck. He is getting a bit more freaked each day as it gets closer. I hope all goes well for him. And I hope we survive the stress in the house until he is done.

Turbo lost a tooth on Friday which necessitated a Tooth Fairy visit and wouldn't you know the tooth fairy almost forgot to come. Thank goodness Bruiser is still getting up to eat at 4:00am cause that's when the Tooth Fairy remembered that an exchange must happen. Amazing how much the Tooth Fairy looks like Nick.

Bruiser is not only crawling but also pulling up to stand now. He started this on Friday morning. Now he Can do it almost anywhere. And he's fast. He looks like the windup crawling babies but boy can he cover the ground. He is so proud of himself when he gets around. He has also discovered the joys of splashing in the dog water dish. Fun for all.

And then there's me. the only girl in sight around our house, just trying raise boys the one day will make me proud. I think I'm doing OK so far.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Hi, I'm new here...

Well, after lurking around the blogging world for the past few months I thought I'd give it a whirl. I'm not sure how interesting my life is but you never know what people will find interesting.

A little about me and my family. The man I'm married to is a geologist and all around great guy. My oldest son is six and we don't call him Turbo for nothing. My baby is nine months and is our Bruiser. Oh and then there's me. I am a part time stay at home mom, part time working mom, a geologist, reader, scrapbooker and I love to cook. We live in a, well, large town for Wyoming but a small town in the rest of the world. We are close to the outdoors and mountains and we get out quite often to enjoy them.

So come and see what we have happen around our house. I promise the crazy doesn't rub off.


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