Thursday, December 28, 2006


Wow, I can't believe a week ago we were giddy with the anticipation of Christmas. Now, it is written in the history books. I have so many pictures I don't know where to start. I desperately need a scrapbooking weekend just to catch up on this holiday season. They were darn good memories, but I feel a sigh of relief that they are over.

Aidan and I have been spending alot of time together, just playing with new toys and enjoying each others company. We even took in a movie yesterday morning....Charlotte's Web. We give it 5 stars!! I can tell a huge difference in our interactions now that Christmas is over. It is such a relaxing time with him now. I think the anticipation was a little much for both of us. We are in a period of recovery.

I enjoyed writing in the blog everyday, but I have to admit....that was hard, especially during the holiday season. I thought it would be easy because I would have so much to write about. Yeah, right! So much to write about, so little time. It has been nice to take the last couple of days off.

I thought you'd like to see some pictures of our Christmas, so here you go. I am off to cook dinner for just the three of us....and looking forward to the normalcy it brings!!

Aidan and Kaylea playing with the new Doodle Monster

Josh and Aidan show off their new fish....Thanks, Uncle Keith & Aunt Kathy!!

Hollee, Kaylea, Josh & Aidan make Christmas ornaments!

The littlest ones tackle Charles

Aidan plays with his new race track from Santa!

All of the toys he received and he had the most fun with the box....and Uncle Randy, of course!!

Monday, December 25, 2006

December 25, 2006

‘Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the house,
Not a creature was still,
Especially at our house!
The stockings were hung
By the chimney with care
Our countdown to Christmas,
Almost too much to bear.
The family finally gathered
For games and good cheer,
One last joyous gathering
To end a good year.
While visions of presents
Filled the children’s heads.
We all headed home
For the anticipation ahead.
When from Aidan’s room
there arose such a din
Of “I’m thirsty, I’m hungry,”
And “Mom, tuck me in!”
Away to dreamland
He finally went,
He fought a good fight,
But that boy was spent.
With dreams of toys and candy
That would come the next day,
Aidan looked so peaceful,
In the bed as he lay.
And just when I thought
I got to sleep,
In flew Aidan,
Run, jump, bounce and leap
I knew in a moment,
Sleep was no longer ahead.
And so slowly I stirred
And got out of bed.
More rapid than eagles,
To the Christmas tree he flew.
And he whistled and shouted
And called out, “Ya-Hoo!”
“Oh Mama, Oh Daddy,
Oh Java, can it be?
Santa has come and left
All this for me!”
He bounced off the ceiling, and
He bounced off the wall.
We couldn’t contain his excitement--
No not at all!
As the boxes were opened,
The paper did fly,
We were met with the gleam
Of joy in his eye.
So, up to the challenge
Of assembling the toys
Daddy worked like an elf
Amid all the noise.
Daddy spoke not a word,
But went straight to work
He worked very quickly,
Then turned with a jerk
And laying down his tools,
Wiping the sweat from his nose
And then saying “I’m done,”
To the coffeepot dad rose.
To all his new toys,
For which he’d been wishin’
Away Aidan flew,
Like he was on a mission.
But, I heard him exclaim
In the dawn’s early light,
“Merry Christmas to all,
I hope Santa comes back tonight!”

Sunday, December 24, 2006

December 24, 2006

Well, this is it!! We've made it to Christmas Eve. The night of great anticipation. We are so excited and happy to be spending the next two days with our families. Aidan is bouncing (and I literally mean bouncing) off of the walls. It is going to be so exciting.

Last night we spent the evening with Denise and Randy (Paul's sister and husband). We started the evening out with a great Mexican feast and headed to a Holiday Night event. We strolled through 200 years of American holiday celebrations. There were homes to visit, staged musical perfomances, holiday vignettes, live reindeer and skilled artisan demonstrations. There was an outdoor skating rink, as well. However, we decided to sip our mulled cider and spiked cocoa and watch the skaters go round and round.

It was an amazing to spend one last night in such a calm and relaxing way. With warm hearts, we celebrated the simple delights and traditions of the season and enjoyed caroling and a fireworks display at the end. It was fabulous evening with a fabulous couple!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

December 23, 2006

Today, we've been doing last minute preparations for Christmas. However, it has been a very relaxing and enjoyable day.

We visited with our neighbor and took her a Christmas arrangement. She is a wonderful neighbor and we are so lucky to have her!!

Paul went to the movies with a couple of my cousins while I cooked my dish for Christmas Eve. I signed up for Keilbasa and Kraut and it is an all day process. Alot of work, but soooooo worth it!!

Aidan and I also made cookies for Santa. He thought Monster Cookies would be Santa's favorite this year. They are good, but I really don't think Santa was on his mind when they chose the delicious cookies with peanut butter, M&M's and butterscotch chips. Aidan is a sucker for M&M's with or without Santa!!

Friday, December 22, 2006

December 22, 2006

In an effort to make Christmas Eve a little less chaotic, I've created a plan. Whether it works or not will be a fate determined in a few short days.

As part of my plan, I'm trying to prepare Aidan. Tonight, during dinner, the following conversation took place:

Jenny: "Aidan, on Christmas Eve the adults are going to play a couple of games and the kids are going to work on a craft project. THEN we will open gifts."

Aidan: "Is it Christmas Eve today?!"

Jenny: "No, not for a couple of more days, but I just wanted to let you know that we are not opening gifts until after dinner and after the games. I don't want you to keep asking when we are going to open presents. OK?"

Aidan: "OK mom."

after a few minutes later.

Aidan: "Mom?"

Jenny: "Yes, Aidan?"

Aidan: "When are the games gonna be over?"

Thursday, December 21, 2006

December 21, 2006

Tonight is another "Family" night for us. After dinner, we played games and are currently watching (it is a commericial break and this will be a quick entry) Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.

Aidan has been really into dancing lately. Whenever a song comes on he starts dancing up a storm. One of his favorite dance songs righ now is "Shake Your Tail Feathers" by Ray Charles. He thinks he is Donald Duck. It is too are some pics. Enjoy. I'm going to get back to my family night....

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

December 20, 2006

I have been so giddy at work the last couple of days in the anticipation of Christmas. I'm starting to get on my co-workers nerves. One of my co-workers asked, "This is the most excited that I have seen an adult about Christmas ever, what do you love about it? Not that I don't love it, but the magic is usually gone by the time you are an adult." Well, I have thought alot about her question. The thing that I really love about Christmas is Christmas Eve. I love to gather with my extended family on Christmas Eve. I love everything about it. I love what it means to our family, I love how excited the kids are, I love playing games and I love just being with everyone on that night. My cousin, Kandi, commented on a previous blog entry regarding a night with my cousins. In her comment she said, "We truly have a wonderful family!" I couldn't agree with her more! I don't know why this comment stuck in my head, but I haven't stopped thinking about it all day. Sure, we have our differences (and sometimes alot of them.), but that doesn't matter. In the end, we make it all work. Since it has been on my mind all day, I thought I should write about some things that I think make our family truly wonderful:

We like to laugh. No matter what we are doing, someone is always laughing. I could insert a story about my cousin and crabs, but I'll spare him tonight. Although, I'm sure he's expecting the story to appear on my blog somewhere, sometime....because it is one of my favorite stories about him. I'll consider it my Christmas gift to him and spare him for now. Laughing is part of who we are. I especially love it when my dad or any of his brothers laugh. Their laughter just takes over their entire body.

We are extremely close. The majority of us live within a 15 minute radius of each other. We see each other and do things with each other often. For instance, I get together to scrapbook with my aunt and cousin, just because. When I was little, I can remember loading our bikes in the car and driving over to the street where my grandparents and 3 of my cousins lived, just to ride our bikes and sit on the driveway and visit. Our two biggest celebrations of the year are Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. There are approximately 30 of us who gather at my uncle's house each year on these holidays. It is complete and utter chaos....but it is home and I wouldn't spend those holidays any other way.

We help each other out. It doesn't matter what differences we may have, if one of us needs help all we have to do is ask. When my moms brother died unexpectedly she was frantic about getting everything done. She was helping my aunt plan the funeral, helping her get her affairs in order, not to mention, her emotions. All she had to do was make one call to my dads brother and say, "can you handle the funeral luncheon?" was done. None of us knew any details, we just went back home after the funeral and everything was handled. There was enough food to feed an army and everyone was there. It is nice that they do things like this, but the fact that we KNOW we can count of them is even nicer.

Speaking of food, you will never walk away hungry in our family and you are always, ALWAYS welcome. Paul remembers, one of his first gatherings with our family. Someone made the comment to him, "if you walk away hungry, it is your own fault." Likewise, it is not uncommon for a strange face to appear at Thanksgiving dinner or the Christmas Eve party and be told the same thing. When they do, no one bats an eye. We welcome anyone to join our family, no matter the reason. Hey, if you can handle us for the evening, you deserve to stuff your face!

Food Funny: It was one of the first years that my cousin Kandi's boyfriend (now husband) Chuck, ate Thanksgiving dinner with us. That evening, they went back to Kandi's mom and dads house. My uncle Keith starting pulling leftovers out of the refrigerator.

Uncle Keith: "Chuck, do you want to eat some leftovers."
Chuck: "Oh, no thanks. I'm not the least bit hungry."
Uncle Keith: (looking baffled and fully intending on eating no matter what Chucks response is) "Well, neither am I?"

I just had to tell that story because it makes me laugh so hard EVERY time I think of it...I can just picture the look on my uncles face as he says these words.

I know alot of people who don't have this kind of relationship in their family or that do not WANT this kind of relationship in their family. I know we are lucky to live so close to each other and that is part of what makes it work. In fact, the same co-worker that I mention in the beginning of this entry just shook her head as I told her about our cousins weekend. She stood there staring at me and said, "man, I just can't imagine seeing that many of my family at one time. It would be so stressful for me and I would definitely not look forward to any holiday like that." It makes me sad that she feels that way. I love my family and I don't know what I would do withouth them....I can't wait to see them all on Christmas Eve!!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

December 19, 2006

Last night was THE most relaxing advent evening we’ve had yet!! What did we do? NOTHING!!!!

After dinner, because Aidan had made some very good choices that day (see previous posts), I told him that he could open the packages that came in the mail from our cousins, Bruce and Therese, a couple of weeks ago. (Secretly, I knew they were ornaments and I knew he would be thrilled to hang them on the tree.) Along with the ornaments came the game, Hi-Ho! Cherry –O!

We made hot chocolate, turned on the Christmas music and played 20+ games of Hi-Ho! Cherry-O! After the games, we read several Christmas books, including the newest book that his teacher bought him for Christmas. It has been the first time in a long time that we didn’t have the television on.

Paul and I were talking after Aidan went to sleep about how nice it was to do absolutely nothing and spend quality time together, just the three of us. I can’t wait to do the same thing tonight! I’m also planning it, so that we can have a couple more of those nights this week. I can’t think of a more perfect way to spend our final nights of Advent!

Monday, December 18, 2006

December 18, 2006

We spent yesterday afternoon celebrating Christmas with my moms sister and 2 of my cousins (and their families). It was a very relaxing afternoon. My aunt had lunch for us and then we sat around chit-chatting. After the kids opened their gifts, we played with some of their board games. It was great fun!

Aunt Sally helping Kaylee work with her new knitting kit.

Aidan and Kaylee doing gymnastics in the very spacious basement!

And here is the Christmas Miracle!! Uncle Jim and Aunt Sally bought Aidan a UofM football. This is amazing because Uncle Jim is the biggest State fan that I know! What a true gift of the heart!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

December 17, 2006

Last night was "Christmas with the Cousins." It has been the first time that, that many of us have been together in a very long time. We had a blast!! Most of us met up at my cousins, Chrissy and Scotts house. From there, we drove to the Whirlyball courts. The courts were about 45 minutes away and we laughed the entire trip....mostly at my expense and lack of knowledge of how a diesel engine works!!

Whirlyball was a hoot! I have played one other time, but everyone else was considered Whirlyball Virgins. It is a game played from electric bumber cars, where you try and toss a whiffle ball into a basketball type hoop with a plastic scoop. Because we had an even number, we played guys against girls. The girls got skunked, but we had an unbelievable time and made memories to last a life time.

After Whirlyball, we all went out to dinner and enjoyed an evening of good food, good drinks and even better company. It was our first "Christmas with the Cousins" outing and I hope it becomes an annual tradition.

Thanks to all of you for making this such a special night out!! By the way, I hope Todd and Lori remembered to plug their car in so they could make their 4 hour trek home this morning!! :-)

Saturday, December 16, 2006

December 16, 2006

Mom, is it time to go yet? Mom, are we going now? Mom when are we gonna go to grandma's? Mom, it is to looooooooong to wait.

This is what I heard all morning. Aidan is spending the night with my mom and dad tonight. It has been planned for several weeks....however, we just told Aidan at the end of last week for sanity purposes. However, I still think we told him too soon. He is spending the afternoon (and night) with my parents. They are going to decorate the Christmas tree, go to McDonalds and see "Happy Feet." He couldn't wait to get out the door. He had his suitcase packed since 8:30 this morning and ended up having to carry additional items because he couldn't fit everything in the suitcase. You would think that my parents have NO toys at their home.

Anyway, Paul and I enjoyed a kid-free lunch this afternoon and are off to "Christmas with the Cousins" tonight. I can't wait!! There are 17 cousins on my dads side of the family and 13 of us are getting together tonight for alot of Christmas cheer. With this clan, I'm sure I'll have plenty to update you on tomorrow and LOTS of pictures.

Friday, December 15, 2006

December 15, 2006

Thank you to those of you who shared ideas for the teacher gifts. I ended up buying them beautiful Christmas jars with peppermint scented candles. Aidan was excited....I guess he wasn't too hung up on the dog and princess idea. I think next year I will make something....I just have to give myself more time. I'll start thinking now.

Things are moving right along here. I am officially, officially done with EVERYTHING. The teacher gifts are done and the annual Christmas calendars, that I make for my mom and mother-in-law, are completed....Finally!! I really enjoy doing those but I enjoy it even better when they are done!!

We have lots of Christmas activities planned for this weekend and we are excited about those.

Well, Paul is off to his bowling league tonight and Aidan has picked out "Polar Express" to watch for our Friday night movie (AGAIN!!!) I better get going before I miss it all. That is what Aidan is currently yelling to me from the bedroom!!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

December 14, 2006

I asked Aidan what he wanted to get for his teachers, for Christmas. He said, "a dog, a princess and a shiny gold necklace." Hmmmmm....I'm not sure where that came from. So the dilemma is, what DO you get for teachers? He has four of them. In one minute I have my mind made up not to stress over it, it is the thought that counts anyway, right? The next minute I'm plagued with guilt. How can I not think about a gift for four women who spend more awake time with my son than I do? Does anyone out there have any ideas or opinions on this? I'm getting desperate! I'm pretty sure they wouldn't be thrilled about a dog, I'm not sure where to buy a princess and I'm afraid a shiny gold necklace is a little out of our budget.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

December 13, 2006

At this time of year, people are usually thinking about New Year’s resolutions. Mostly, I hear people talk about weight loss. While I plan to embark on that as well, I wanted this year’s resolution to be something deeper….Something that will inspire me to WANT to fulfill my resolution. Something that will make me want to strive further than the second week of January. I’ve been thinking about this for awhile now. At this point, I’m still not sure what direction I want to go, as there are several things calling to me.

In my faith life, I want to be more involved in our church. I struggle where to fit in as we transition to a new church. We are confident in our decision on a new church, but our hearts still hold a place for our old church. I know it will help if I can get involved and so I intend to find my niche at our new church.

For my health, with the rest of America, I want to become a healthy mom and wife. I want to be around for a long time to continue raising Aidan and to enjoy my life with Paul after Aidan is grown.

In my family life I want to learn to “live in the moment.” I hear people talk about this all of the time and my conscious reminds me of it daily. However, I am constantly in a “just get it done” mode. I promise myself that I will live in the NEXT moment, if I can just get through this one. I feel like I’m going through the motions to get things done and not really enjoying all of my hard work in the end. I love doing things for my family and friends, but worry so much about making everything perfect, that I really don’t “enjoy that moment.”

As far as my professional life goes, I think that will come together with my other transformations. I really enjoy the work that I do right now. However, I don’t aspire to be at the top of the company. I am at peace with my current position in the company and I take pride in my work. I know that I do the best job that I know how to do. I’m not really worried about this aspect of my life because my goals are already set for me. I work with management and write and track those goals on an annual basis. Those are scheduled to be written and will be waiting to be achieved. I can check that off of my “to do” list. That being said, there is always room for improvement. Recently, I’ve been involved in an Employee Experience Initiative. There are many aspects to the initiative, but I am in a sub-group focused on Work-Life Balance. I am very passionate about this topic. I know that I am a better employee if I can balance my family life. So, my personal (professional) goal is to make strides with rolling out new opportunities for co-workers, with the tools that I have been given.

I am extremely happy with my life right now. However, I don’t want to settle. I want to have goals and purpose in life. I don’t have an actual goal for the New Year as of yet, and I still have a lot of thinking to do. However, I know that it will involve shaking off my inertia and transforming my life. I am looking forward to this ride in 2007!! Stay tuned…..

December 12, 2006

Actually, it is December 13, 2006. I know some of you are thinking that I only made it 11 days. I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t write everyday in December, until Christmas. Well, in a way, I guess that is true. However, it is not what you think. I did not bail on my writing. I tried, I really did. The entire blog system was giving me grief. I tried commenting on a friends blog, but to no avail. I tried viewing multiple blogs, but it just wasn’t happening. So, I apologize for letting all of you down. However, I’m back up today and well…..keep reading!!

I've already rec'd grief about using this as a blog entry. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. I will never know, but if the sole reason for me not being able to blog yesterday was so that I can use this pathetic excuse today, so be it.

Monday, December 11, 2006

December 11, 2006

On Sunday, after church, we took Aidan to the museum. Of course, we all headed for a nap upon our return home. For some reason, I have been clenching my teeth lately, when I sleep. I must have done it alot during my nap on Sunday because when I woke up I had a major toothache. The pain continued throughout the day and night and this morning I called the dentist. After spending two hours in the dentist office, they are still not sure what the problem is. They have ruled out a cavity, a tooth fracture and a bunch of other dentist phrases and think that due to all of the clenching, that I have changed my bite, hence, the pain. He filed down some of my teeth to try and change my bite back. I can feel that my bite has changed but I am still in a ton of pain when I bite. He said I have to give the new bite about a week and the teeth a couple of days to get used to it and hopefully the pain will ease. I have to go back on Monday, to "see how things are progressing." Therefore, this blog entry is going to be really short because I am in alot of pain and have taken many pain killers.....and am headed straight to bed.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

December 10, 2006

Aunt Denise and Uncle Randy came over last night. Because Aunt Denise is currently in medical school, Aidan finds it appropriate to pull his doctors kit out so they can compare notes. Dr. Denise and Dr. Aidan got lots of practice on Uncle Randy....Poor Uncle Randy. At one point, Aunt Denise grew a mysterious growth on her head and needed an operation.

Sometimes Aidan pretends he is a veterinarian. When Aidan plays a vet, he either lines up his stuffed animals or he simply uses our ever patient Java!!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

December 9, 2006

This evening I hosted my first annual cookie exchange. I wasn't sure how it was going to go, but now that it is over, I will definitely make it a tradition. The evening started out with appetizers, then continued with a traditional Polish dinner. I am not Polish, but I LOVE their food! We exchanged our cookies and enjoyed good food and even better company and conversation.

You should see our cookie jar is filled to the brim. Paul and Aidan are smiling from ear to ear!

Me, 2 treasured family friends, my sister-in-law,
my sister, my mom & my sister-in-laws dog, who may have eaten a cookie or two, so he made it into the picture too! Unfortunately, my neighbor had to leave early so she didn't make it into the picture.

Friday, December 08, 2006

December 8, 2006

Lately, we've been trying to work with Aidan on good decision making skills. He has befriended a "bad boy" in school and for awhile was getting in trouble on a daily basis. We tried to talk him into choosing a different friend, but realized quickly that that wasn't an option for Aidan. So, Paul and I decided that we were going to focus on good decision making skills at home. Each time Aidan makes a good decision, we point it out to him and praise him.

Today, in Catholisism, is Immaculate Conception. Paul went to church during his lunch hour. I was going to go to mass by myself tonight, but Aidan was really clingy right before I left. So, I thought it would be nice for us to go together. Knowing that he wasn't going to want to leave the house (he usually isn't one for going out once we are settled in for the evening), I had a plan. I told him that it was going to be a special treat for just him and I. We would listen to Christmas carols in the car, go to mass, look at all of the Christmas lights that we pass on the way and then stop at McDonald's for a chocolate milk shake afterwards. Well, the evening pretty much went downhill from there. He was thilled at the idea of the chocolate milk shake, but didn't want to go to mass. He instead wanted me to go to mass by myself and then bring him a milk shake afterwards. It was such a struggle to talk him into going to mass that I felt guilty about making him go. I knew that, for him, it wasn't about NOT going to mass, but instead it was about leaving the house where his intentions to wrestle daddy were high.

I put my decision making activity into action. I explained his choices (which at this point came across more like bribery) and he chose mass and the milk shake. Even though I knew it was the chocolate milk shake he was after, I was really excited about spending the next hour or so with Aidan. Well when we got in the car, he wanted to watch his video instead of listening to Christmas carols. Since I just battled it out with him about going on the trip, I decided to let him watch the video instead of arguing all the way to church about the carols...which also meant that I was alone in my Christmas light watching as well. For when I pointed out the first fully loaded house, Aidan's response was (without removing his eyes from the screen), "Uh Huh." I thought, Oh Well, the important this is that we're going to mass together. I'll settle for that. I pull into a parking spot and turn off the car. Aidan starts crying immediately. When I ask him what was wrong, he answers, "I didn't want to go to this church." (We are in the middle of changing churches and Aidan is having a little trouble with the transition.) I convince him to stop crying and drag him into church with a tear stained face. Aidan doesn't really act badly in church, but he doesn't act his normal self either. He pretty much layed on the pew and was quiet. However, I expected him to say the prayers and participate. Afterall, Hail Mary is one of the prayers he is great at. Throughout the first three quarters of mass, I find myself lost in thought growing more aggravated by the minute at his behavior. It wasn't until the petitions when the reader says, "for all of the expectant parents, may they cherish this advent season and the anticipation...." It hit me like a ton of bricks. Although I am not an expectant parent, I needed to focus on the season and this hour that I am spending with my son, who I once waited in anticipation and prepared so long for. I look down at Aidan, who is laying sprawled out on the pew. It IS 7:45pm and he has had a long day, too. I am going to forget about the laying on the pew for now and thank God for giving me my son. I am so blessed to have Aidan in my life. He is TRULY a great little boy and I am proud to be his mom.

After mass, the elderly lady sitting behind me, who must have noticed my frustration during mass, leaned over to me and said, "Cherish every minute with your beautiful son. They are a treasure to raise." Tears welled up in my eyes as I muttered a Thank You....she was so right!

On the way out of mass:
Aidan: (looking up at me )"Was I a good boy, mom?"
Jenny: "Well, you weren't bad, but you knew those prayers, how come you didn't say them?"
Aidan: "I was tired mom....can we go for a milk shake now?"
Jenny: "you bet we can buddy. You bet we can!"
Aidan: (reaches up for my hand to cross the street) "I love you, mom."

As I sit here writing this, I can't help but think that the elderly lady sitting behind us was an angel.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

December 7, 2006

Yesterday, for those of you who don't know, was St. Nicholas' Day. Paul's mom started the tradition when her children were little and we've decided to continue it with Aidan! In fact, to this day my mother-in-law, er, I mean, St. Nicholas, delivers a small present to our house each year. Typically, it is an ornament or holiday decoration for the house. One year, when Paul was in college, and living in the dorms, St. Nicholas delivered a string of lights to decorate his room. I just love that!!

Yesterday, as anticipated, St. Nicholas arrived at our home. Aidan checked the door, in anticipation, until his arrival. After is magical appearance, he left a Power Rangers umbrella and a game along with a letter and star ornament. The star ornament was a perfect replication for the Star of Bethlehem. Aidan was thrilled to add it to the nativity.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

December 6, 2006

Since yesterdays post was so pathetic, I've decided to make up for it today. As part of a blog "chain letter" if you will, many of my blog friends created a list of "100 things about me." I started it a while ago, but couldn't finish it. It is NOT easy to come up with 100 things. So, I've decided to complete a list of "50 things about me." Perhaps someday, I will come up with the other 50, but for now I'm content with the 50.

50 Things About Me

1. I like to eat jelly on my french toast.

2. I got married when I was 20 years old. I’m still married to him.

3. I have at least 28 relatives (aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents) that live within 15 minutes of me.

4. I have worked at the same company for 11 years.

5. I despise the words “panty” and “hanky panky.”

6. Neither of my grandmothers are still alive, but my great-grandmother is. She lives within 15 minutes of me. (See # 3.)

7. I am a perfectionist. It often prevents me from making decisions.

8. My high school years were not my best years. I hated high school.

9. I survived 13 years of catholic school, including kindergarten.

10. I regret that my labor story is not a positive one. I had definite ideas of how the labor would go….that was my first mistake. The second was accepting demerol as a pain reliever.

11. My husband was my rock through my labor. I would have never NEVER made it without him.

12. I love when my husband and I talk about growing old together. We talk about our 75th wedding anniversary….when we’re both 90-something.

13. If I could go anyplace in the world….I would choose HOME!

14. The open end of my pillowcase has to be facing the inside of the bed when I sleep.

15. I am obssesive about certain things.

16. No one loves their box more than me. I don’t like change.

17. I don’t like to go to the movies because I don’t like to sit in the dark with strangers. I also have a hard time sitting for that period of time doing nothing.

18. I like lists. I need a list for the grocery store. I usually have a list when placing a carry out order….even if it is for 2 items. It has to be written down. I always have a To Do list at work or when doing chores. I find creating this list very theraputic.

19. My mom wanted to name me Pollyanna when I was born. My dad said it sounded like a disease. My dad wanted to name me Michelle. My middle name is Michelle. I have no idea where Jennifer came from/

20. I hated sleepovers when I was younger…..I still do.

21. My maternal grandmother lived next door to me until she passed away. After that, my maternal great grandmother moved in next door.

22. I grew up in the house that my mom grew up in. My parents still live in that house.

23. I never finished college. I came home my sophomore year for Thanksgiving and never when back. I don’t regret that decision.

24. I played basketball in 8th grade. I told the coach I wanted to join the team and just practice with them. I didn’t really want to play any games. I don’t like competition. He made me play in a few games. I still don’t like competition.

25. I played hockey in 4th grade. I liked the skating part of it. I should have tried figure skating instead. That probably wouldn’t have worked out either as I hated dresses and toe-picks. I love to watch figure skating on TV.

26. I feel incredibly blessed in my life.

27. My roommate in college was a lesbian. She was an awesome roommate!

28. I have found that coming up with 50 things about me is hard.

29. The name of my best childhood friend was a red head named David. We called him Rusty. I am still in contact with Rusty today.

30. My dad says he wasn’t around a lot when I was a child. He worked a lot of hours so my mom could stay home with my sister and I. He tells m now that he is sad about not being around. When I think back to my childhood he is in all of my memories. He must have been there for all of the important things because my memories do not include an absent father.

31. I prefer blue pens over black.

32. My favorite TV show is 7th Heaven

33. At one time, my husband and I had a pet rabbit. We let her out of the cage to roam the house. She actually got along with our dog…..a chocolate lab.

34. I am afraid of boats.

35. I thought I would have trouble living in a new house after I was married because I don’t like to stay away from home (See #20). I always feel like I am at home in my married life.

36. I used to think that Parson Brown was a color. Why would anyone wish for a brown snowman?

37. My body does not absorb vitamin B12. I have to take B12 injections, monthly, for the rest of my life.

38. I have suffered from migraines since the 3rd grade.

39. I did not have a single migraine during my pregnancy.

40. I only had one boyfriend ever. I married him!!!

41. I have never smoked a cigarette or experimented with drugs.

42. I am currently on a seizure medication….for my migraines.

43. I love being a wife and mom more than anything in the world.

44. I am Catholic.

45. When I was young and fantasized about having children, I always thought I would have a girl…. I Love having a son.

46. I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason.

47. I love to cook/bake. I love watching cooking shows. I’ve met and received an autograph from Emeril Lagasse.

48. When I was first married, I couldn’t cook AT ALL.

49. I’ve never had stitches.

50. I love to host parties/gatherings!!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

December 5, 2006

I know it is only day 5, but I am exhausted. I had to work late tonight for a last minute urgent customer request and have been working on a special Christmas project for the entire evening. Poor Paul cleaned up the kitchen after dinner and is currently keeping Aidan busy so I can make some significant progress. However, I can hear his patience running low. So, unfortunately, I have to make it short tonight. However, I have included one of the "Christmas Card Photo Shoot" picture choices for your enjoyment. I REALLY love this one and the more I look at it, the more I think it should have come in first place. Oh well....

Monday, December 04, 2006

December 4, 2006

Yesterday, we spent the afternoon with some very good friends of ours, Mark, Heather, Rachael and Ethan. They live less than 10 minutes away from us, but we don't see them nearly enough. We had alot to catch up on!

We met at FantasyLand, a Christmas village, to visit Santa and look around at all of the displays. Then we ate at our favorite Mexican Restaurant and ended at our place to enjoy some wine (Jenny & Heather), some football (Mark and Paul) and some ornament making (Aidan, Rachael & Ethan). It was a very relaxing evening and the kids squealed with delight as they played their little hearts out.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

December 3, 2006

In October of 1996, soon after Paul and I were married, a gift came in the mail from a family friend that couldn't make it to our wedding. It was a gift card from JC Penney. We went to the store and bought a popcorn popper. I was so excited about the was our "first" domestic purchase as a married couple! That night we picked out our movie, made our popcorn and settled on the couch to enjoy the rewards of our first purchase. Well, to say the least, the popcorn was horrible. Through the next weeks, we tried different variations of making the popcorn but to no avail. We soon came to the conclusion that this was a bad purchase, but the popcorn maker still held a special place in my was afterall, our FIRST purchase together! So, we pushed it to the back of the cupboards and forgot about it.

December rolled around and in an effort to put the popcorn popper to good use, we decided to create the tradition of stringing popcorn (made with the beloved little device) and cranberries for our Christmas tree. We would make our own garland and watch "It's a Wonderful Life." It was perfect! In the end, we watched a great
movie, created a new tradition AND saved the popcorn maker from uncertain death.

And so the tradition became. We continued it until Aidan was born. We have yet to string the popcorn since Aidan's birth and consequently our tree has been lacking the garland since our move to the new house.

Yesterday afternoon, Aidan asked my parents if he could stay the night. They, of course, said yes. Immediately, the popcorn maker drifted into my mind. This was going to be the night! Paul and I enjoyed a quiet dinner out and then headed home to string our garland. We had watched "It's a Wonderful Life" just last week, on a night that Aidan fell asleep early because he was ill. So we decided to watch "Grumpy Old Men" instead. It didn't matter, it was still fun to have our tradition back and enjoy the peaceful house, with only the dog snoring at our feet.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

December 2, 2006

I like to consider myself an organized person at this time of year. I make it my goal each year to have my shopping done early, my cards out no later than December 1st and our house decorated over Thanksgiving weekend. My friends are often sneering at me for this, but the truth is I simply love it. I love having my house decorated, I love shopping and I love taking pictures of my son. The Christmas newsletter is a bit chanllenging at times, but a small price to pay in the long run.

This year is no different. It is December 2nd and my cards are out, my house is decorated and my shopping is done AND my gifts are wrapped. I am thrilled to say the least! However, this year seems different. This year seems more peaceful. I've thought about it alot over the last couple of days and I think it is because I am simply doing what I told myself I was going to do. I am claiming this holiday/Advent season as my own.

Last year, at this time, Paul was remodeling our kitchen. We still decorated and celebrated Christmas, but it just wasn't the same. It was a vastly toned down version. Aidan and I did most of the celebrating on our own and Paul was absent from alot of things. This year, we are making up for it by truly enjoying everything about the Christmas season. In fact, we could open our own shop at this moment based solely on one of these joys....the Christmas cookie!

Our house is filled to the brim with Christmas cookies. We spent the day baking cookies and constructing a gingerbread house. It was a complete joy and even more of a joy now that we are eating the loot!! We made 3 different kinds of cookies and built our first gingerbread house.

In the evening, we enjoyed "Frosty the Snowman" on television. It was a truly relaxing day and an example of what I promised myself this season would bring to our family!

Friday, December 01, 2006

December 1, 2006

I was cleaning out Aidan's bookshelf the other day, making room for any new books that come at Christmas time. During my sorting and organizing, I found that Aidan has over 30 Christmas books....some of which have never been read! I thought about it all day and how I could put the books to good use.

I soon came up with my grand plan. I talked it over with Paul and after he and Aidan left for his moms on Wednesday night, I went to the basement and pulled out one of our Christmas baskets and some wrapping paper. I chose 25 of the books and started wrapping. When complete, I had a beautiful basket with 25 "surprises."

Every night until Christmas, starting tonight, Aidan will open one of his books and we will read the Christmas stories. He knows they are all his books, but the fun part is guessing which one we will open on a given night. Tonights package reavealed a pop-up book, "The Night Before Christmas." Even though tonight was our first night, it went over really well. I think this will become a new tradition for us.

The 25 Nights of Christmas

I've decided to succumb to the pressures of my friend, Trista. She commited herself to posting to her blog everyday for each day in November. She did it!!! And, I am so proud of her and inspired by her. I've decided to make a similiar commitment. I will write every night from now until Christmas. I am doing this for a couple of reasons.

1) Paul is complaining that I rarely update and that my viewers will stop reading.
2)I'm giving into the temptation of Trista.
3) I've advertised the website in our Christmas letter, so I thought I better make it worthwhile.

I am going to change the blog a little though. It was originally intended to keep the aunts, uncles and friends up to date on Aidan. However, I find it hard to write only about him. While I think he says or does something worthwhile everyday, I will admit my bias and the fact that people may not be interested in every little thing Aidan says or does. So, I am changing this blog to be writings about anything. It can be an event or feeling or whatever.

Wish me luck......

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Said the little boy to the Mighty King

Aidan and I are really enjoying the holiday music. They are already singing them in school, so he if familiar with them when they come on the radio. A couple of his favorites are:

Do You Hear What I Hear?
"Said the little lamb to the shepard boy, Do you hear what I know?"

Over the River and Through the Woods
"Over the woods and through the woods to grandmother's house we go."

The Twelve Days of Christmas
"On the 5th day of Christmas my true love gave to me FIIIIIIIVE golden rings.
On the 5th day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a house.
On the 5th day of Christmas my true love gave to me FIIIIIIIVE golden rings."

Monday, November 06, 2006

My Knight in Shining Armor

We hope everyone had a Happy Halloween!

My Knight in Shining Armor

We hope everyone had a Happy Halloween!

Meet Jack!

Meet Jack O. Lantern. Paul and Aidan had a great time carving the pumpkin this year. Aidan drew, on his magna doodle, what he wanted our pumpkin to look like. Paul, had the difficult task of duplicating the masterpiece. How did he do?

Once the drawing was approved by Aidan, Paul set to work carving while Aidan set to work smashing pieces of the pumpkin guts with a spoon.

In the end, it was pure joy, as Aidan became one with the pumpkin.

Corn Maze

On October 21st, we spent the day with Pauls sister, Denise, and her husband Randy. We went to a UofM vs. OSU corn appropriate for this family, huh?!?

Here, Paul and Denise are trying to figure out the clue to get us to our next destination

Here, Randy and Aidan are, well....cheating. Instead of using the map and clues to figure out the corn maze, they chose a different strategy. Note to self, never play, for money, with Randy!!

After the corn maze, we went to the pumpkin patch to pick the perfect gourd. We found out that either Randy is a horrible pumpkin picker-outer or Denise is a PPP (picky pumpkin person). That's OK. Isn't that what the pumpkin patch is all about....picking the perfect pumpkin?!?

Here is my pick for the most perfect pumpkin in the patch:

That evening we feasted on a mexican dinner, watched football and (Denise and I) worked on some latch hook and quilting projects. It was a wonderful day with wonderful family.


My girlfriend, Trista, is participating in NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) where she is posting a blog everyday for the entire month of November. While I applaud her for that, I am telling everyone right now that I am NOT participating in that. I do, however, apologize for not being very diligent in the blog updates. Now that I've made my apologies and am (quickly) over my guilt, I'll get on with my posts.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

A Beautiful Sunday!

Yesterday was a total washout. It was a dreary, rainy day. We ran some errands and watched ALOT of football (UGH). We decided to go to a Saturday evening mass instead of our usual Sunday morning in case the weather forcast for Sunday was better. Saturday was, however, my brother-in-laws birthday, so HAPPY BIRTHDAY, UNCLE JOHN!! Unfortunately, he lives several states away, so we didn't get to celebrate with him, but sent many good thoughts his way!!

When we woke this morning, the news channel boasted about the weather and Paul and I looked at each other and said, "Let's Go." We had been wanting to take Aidan to the Renaissance Festival, but time and weather never played in our favor. Aidan is really into Knights and Pirates right now (in fact, he is going to be a knight for halloween!!). We stopped by Kroger to snag our advance (and discounted!!) tickets and headed up north. It was a beautiful ride and we could barely contain Aidan's excitement. He had many questions and just couldn't believe that he might actually see a real knight! All the way there he kept asking, "are we going to see a real knight?" Even after we assured him many times, he still asked, "for real? We're really going to see a REAL knight?"

Once we arrived, we had to walk along a long foot path before reaching the entrance gates. Aidan called this foot path "the forest." I knew he was nervous for two reasons. 1) He kept saying "I'm not afraid, I am brave." and 2) every couple of steps he would say, "I love you, mama." This is something he does/says when he is nervous. I hate that he is afraid, but I LOVE how he reacts to fear. Once inside the gates, his eyes just lit up. He was glued to every stage filled with dragons. He stared at every "character" that walked by. We finally made it to the jousting event and he cheered for our section, "The East Shire" and our fearless knight, Sir Reynolds. We knew Aidan was having a good time but we didn't realize how good of a time until the jousting event ended. There were lots of bees around and at the end of the event Aidan started sobbing out of no where. We thought he had been stung, but through the sobs he explained that he wanted to see more knights. So, we made our way down to the knights and asked Sir Reynolds for a picture....and of course, he abliged.

The topping on the cake was when we were walking back through the festival, checking out all of the sights, Aidan looked up at me and said, "Am I dreaming?" It was truly a wonderful day, filled with wonderful memories!!!
A picture of my brave knights protecting me from any dragons we may have encountered on our way back through "the forest."