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.