29 December 2006

Pass The Torch

Please take a brief moment to visit Kelly at Pass the Torch. By taking a moment to leave a comment on her site, you will help support St. Jude Medical Research Hospital, as her corporate sponser will give $1 for every comment left. Please help someone else this holiday season by doing this simple deed.

28 December 2006

The Aftermath

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas or Hanukkah or Yule. Mine was nice. Calm, which was good. Christmas Eve was spent w/the in-laws having a lovely dinner & gifts. The Day was spent opening gifts privately at home, then off to church, and then home again for a quiet, relaxing day. (Something we never do...it was great!) In the evening we again spent it with more of hubby's extended family. My gifts weren't what I expected, but still nice. I was able to get several new pieces to add to my Fontanini nativity collection, so that was a pleasant surprise. My biggest gift was definately the calm of the day.

I had my pregnancy check up too...everything is progressing calmly there. He's about 3 lb. 10oz as of yesterday and growing right on schedule. (My home computer crashed, otherwise I'd post the latest ultrasound picture...its a really awesome closeup of his little face!) Only about 9 weeks to go...I can hardly believe it! Hubby painted the nursery last night (a lovely warm yellow called "Denver Omlette"...ha!) so tonight we'll probably build the dresser & do some arranging there. Because we'll be having guests this weekend for New Year's we'll wait to put up the crib, and instead put the spare bed mattresses in there for them to have their own room to sleep in.

Nothing more to share, really. Hope the holidays are good to you!

22 December 2006

Essence of the Holiday

Ok, so the epitome of Christmas truly lies with those people who make you feel special and loved, and I have to say that I am so amazingly fortunate to have THE Greatest Friend EVER! My best friend, Kim, totally surprised me yesterday by sending me not one, but two different loaves of Stollen for Christmas. This German frosted fruit bread has been my family's traditional Christmas morning breakfast for my whole life, (specifically from Zehnder's in Frankenmuth, MI) so the fact that she not only remembered this obscure little fact about my life, she (who lives in Ohio) made the effort to have the loaves shipped to me in Wisconsin! It was truly one of the coolest things anyone has ever done. I've been like a little kid, bouncing around all giddy since opening the box. Kim...you Rock!!

Today is my daughter's 13th birthday. I can hardly fathom that fact. As I sit here, 7 months pregnant, I can't help but remember everything about being pregnant with her. It wan't a difficult pregnancy, with the exception of the unbearable heartburn. (I'm convinced I, personally, funded the Tums corporation that year.) She was overdue, the doctor's put me through a week of cervical gels, 3 day of triple doses of pitocin, and still her stubbornness kept me from ever going into labour! At 1:30pm, 13 years ago today, she was delivered by a very easy and uncomplicated C-section. She had a full beautiful head of black hair (I could put it into a little ponytail it was so long) and perfect skin. She was so cute the nurses all wanted to keep her with them (which was a blessing when I needed to get some sleep). That first day she could already raise her head up.
Her stubborness hasn't changed, nor has her ability to learn & charm. She now stands several inches taller than me, has a new cute, sassy haircut, and all the teenage attitude. But she's also still very loving, cuddles up on the couch whenever she can, is an avid reader, loves to perform, and still makes me laugh. She may drive me crazy at times, like any kid her age, but my love for her has only continued to grow. My birthday wish for her is to feel confident in her own skin, to know she is truly loved, and that she'll always work hard for her own successes. I can't believe my little girl is now a teenager. Time truly does fly by faster than we can appreciate it.

21 December 2006

Holiday of Faith

This morning I, unexpectedly, found myself getting very worked up mentally (& emotionally) after reading one of my favourite blogs, Motherhood Uncensored. Kristin has been writing about religion and the hypocracies she sees, believes, experiences with it. And I agree, there are alot of hypocrites in the world (our dear President, included, in my opinion) who hide behind their so-called morality. Her debate of the day addresses whether or not religion should be "convenient". Allow me to share the comment I posted at her blog:

"I find it utterly ridiculous to say that religion should be convenient. Of course it shouldn't be convenient! It should be about effort and some personal sacrifice. That's the problem with America these days, everyone wants what's easiest, what's most convenient to them. We're a disposable society with disposable values. No one is willing these days to make the extra efforts, be it in school, work, relationships or religion.
That said, I think most people are also confusing the difference between faith and religion. Religion is man-made, and therefore ANY religion is going to have fault. Faith is your belief in a higher power, whether you want to call that God, Alla, goddess, or banana, its about putting trust and faith into something, someone more knowledgeable and powerful than you.
But people want someone else to blame, so organized religion becomes the target more often than not. The Catholic church especcially, as they are one of the oldest, most widespread and dominant religions on the planet...and yet they have endured. But there has been far more corruption within other religions and religious leaders, as well. But it seems easy to overlook the "crazy televangelists" or "backwoods ministers" because Hey, we apparently expect them to be crazy and do stupid things. Let's not forget that the Reformation started with a crazed king, people taking Luther's words and making them something other than he intended, and Knox who married a child and kept her captive...clearly these were sane men from whom to base religions on!
(Fact of the matter is the Catholic church had, under our previous pope, a very liberal view on women's and gay rights. Most people haven't bothered to know that.)
I am FAR from some Bible-thumpin' religious fanatic, but I do feel that our society chooses the easy way out more times than not. And that usually is without solid knowledge and instead acts with emotion. "

Yes, in a nutshell that sums up my general beliefs. I don't care what religion you choose to practice, recognize the failings within all of them. Nothing about religion is ever going to be "convenient" to everyone, nor should it be. But faith is, and should be, convenient because faith is trust. It's honesty. It's peace.

So no matter what your religion or what holiday celebration you are indulging in this month, find peace. Share it. Spread it. Be it.

15 December 2006

Bah Humbug!

So we had travel plans for this weekend. A leisurely 6+ hour drive into Michigan to visit my siblings & their families for our annual Christmas gathering. It varies as to which house it will be at, but we all get together for the day and celebrate in the typical chatty, snacky way. Then the kids open gifts, we eat dinner together, my daughter & nephew blow out birthday candles (as both of their b-days are in December) and then they get their gifts. The evening typically is filled with game playing & digging out old photos. A generally basic, and in most cases, pleasant enough day. We do this the same weekend every year.
So why then are we no longer making the trip? Because, it seems, one of my brothers has to work and apparently, as he's the oldest, that means none of us can get together. WTF? I'm furious, to say the least. It's the one time each year we all get together. It's the same freakin' weekend every year! It's utter chaos, in my opinion. My sister even offered for everyone to come to her place instead...but no, the rest of them can't seem to get it together to do that. I swear, families can be nothing but stress during the holidays. They had the nerve to suggest we all get together in January. Uh, hello...that's one month before this baby is due and I'm not travelling in God-knows-what kind of weather to another state then! And God forbid they should actually come here! (Apparently the roads only travel TO Michigan, not FROM. It's a good thing I have my special passport to get back into Wisconsin, huh?) Yeah...Happy Freakin' Holidays Family. *sigh*
So now I'll probably spend my weekend at the post office mailing gifts. Rah.

13 December 2006

'Tis the Season...for stress

Ok, first the good news. I passed the 3 hour glucose/gestational diabetes test, which means I'm all good. (YEAH!) I celebrated with a plate full of christmas cookies & a giant glass of milk.

I don't know that I really have any bad news, but merely to state I'm stressed beyond words right now. Extended family, money, pregnancy, etc. etc. etc...its all just adding up to me not being able to relax (or sleep) and simply causing me to generally freak out. Baby has been unusually quiet (and still) for a few days, which is also freaking me out. (ok, straight up terrifying me) I still have gifts to get. It's just a general feeling of I want to get away...have a relaxing massage or bath (in a tub much bigger than the one we have), and simply be able to destress. The end.

On the upside, we visited a Christkindelmarkt on Sunday. It's a traditional German Christmas market with vendors, artisans, food, etc. It was very enjoyable We definately want to take the baby & kidlet for photos there with Father Christmas next year.

09 December 2006

Fa La La La La

Christine inspired me to this Christmas meme, and since I haven't much else to do, maybe you can play along as well?

1. A favorite ’secular’ Christmas song.
Oh so many, but I think my favourites are probably "All I Want for Christmas is You", "Baby its cold outside", and "White Christmas". OH! And "Do They Know It's Christmas?"

2. Christmas song that chokes you up (maybe even in spite of yourself–the cheesier the better).
My all-time favourites are either "Do You Hear What I Hear?", "Riu Riu Chiu" and "Adestes Fideles". Nothing has made me cry yet though.
3. Christmas song that makes you want to stuff your ears with chestnuts roasted on an open fire.
"I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa claus", "Grandma Got Run over by a Reindeer" and that god-awful "I want a hippopotomus for Christmas"...I can't turn them off fast enough!

4. The Twelve Days of Christmas: is there *any* redeeming value to that song? Discuss.
Absolutely...it is the epitome of the marketing of the holiday! and besides, can anyone hate the Muppets version? Unlikely!

5. A favorite Christmas album.
Oh that one that came out in the 80s that has Madonna's version of "Santa Baby" on it! "White Christmas" soundtrack. And even though I don't own either, I really want Clay Aikens new one and Amy Grant's original Christmas one.
Now it’s your turn.

07 December 2006

Sugar Sugar

So I received a phone call this morning telling me I failed my glucose screening test and must now suffer the 3-hour gestational diabetes testing on Monday. This sucks. I hate failing any test, but expecially one regarding my health!

On the upside baby seem good (can you see his little face there, smiling at the camera?), growing right on target, and currently weighing in at around 2 pounds 9 ounces. Right in the 50th percentile. Why am I not surprised? This kid has been so "by the book" its hilarious. Where I had none of the "you should be feeing this at this time" with my daughter, and who continues to be a very independent individual, this boy seems to almost take pride in following all the rules. (Just like his father...go figure!) I just hope when he's a teenager he'll continue to be the same way!

Trying to get thing set for the holidays. We have a party for renaissance faire this Saturday to attend, which could be fun. Always good to see people. I wish I had some lovely holiday outfit to wear, but being as pregnant as I am, a pair of stretchy trousers and a maternity blouse is the best it gets. *sigh* I have set plans for New Year's Eve though, which is a nice thought. (a low key, international theme at a nearby friend's place...everyone must bring an ethnic dish to pass)

Hubby & kidlet are planning a massive cookie baking day on Saturday with his sister. Should be fun for them. They are also going ice skating on Friday with a group of friends. I desperately wish I could go. I even bought myself new figure skates last spring. *sigh* I guess I'll stay home and write out Christmas cards.

What are you doing to prepare for the holidays?

01 December 2006

Snow Day!

Welcome to Winter! What a way for December to arrive! It's a glorious blanket of snowy goodness outside! We've been pounded with an official blizzard to start off the holiday season...and I, personally, am thrilled!

I love the snow...it's beautiful and untarnished in its stark whiteness. (Ok, I hate ice or slush, but snow...oh yeah!) So far we've gotten over 10 inches in the past 8 hours, and its still coming down, though I think its petering out. It's the kind of snow I remember as a kid...giant mounds of snow, heavy and wet, perfect for playing in. And yes, of course all the school are closed...is there few things better to a kid than a snow day?

The funny thing is that I also get a snow day from work...and the hubby would have too had he not ventured out earlier than his boss who called to tell him the office was closed today...after he was already there for a hour! (Ah the dedicated man...I think he'll come home at lunchtime.)

I know so many people complain about the weather, but I live in the midwest because we do like the snow...so I feel a special giddiness today and if I wasn't 7 months pregnant, I'd be out playing too! Instead, I'll just cuddle under a warm blanket with a mug of cocoa...with lots of marshmallows! Mmmm...