Saturday, January 22, 2011

Part IV-Top Events of the Holiday Season


Part IV ALMOST.......The End of.......... Top Events of the Holiday Season

Dinner and a Movie Family Night-
We always take the kids to dinner and a movie a couple of days before Christmas. This year we went to see the new Chronicles of Narnia movie. I told Paul later, "I didn't want to see that movie but I knew when I did see it I would like it."

He seriously has no idea how to talk to me sometimes. I wish you could have seen his face when I made this comment.

At dinner we gave the kids ornaments. This year they all got a different Peanuts character. I told them how they were each similar to their characters. (We had a good laugh with this.) Then I told them they they were all different BUT I wanted them to always remember they were part of a set. No matter where life takes them... they would always be a set.

We had a great night!
(Thanks to one of my best friends in the whole wide world... Gina for sending us a $50 gift card that paid for our dinner!!)

Christmas Eve
We always spend Christmas Eve with Paul's family. His mom always makes an awesome meal. We ate and then all 11 grandchildren opened gifts. After hanging out all day, we all parted ways for church. We ended Christmas by watching the tv version of Christmas Vacation.

"You serious Clark?"

My favorite line in the whole movie! That and "once he starts, it's best just to let him finish."

Christmas Morning
The kids didn't get up until 8:45! Can you believe that?

We always make them wait upstairs until we are ready for them to come downstairs. We have to get the cameras ready etc... It always kills them.

Christmas Eve Pajamas... this year it was a Paul Frank theme

I love it!

The one thing I love about my kids is... I always feel like they are really thankful on Christmas morning. I never think they are disappointed or feel let down. They don't get even get tons of gifts. They get plenty... don't get me wrong.

We always have cinnamon rolls from Cinnabon on Christmas morning which they also think is the greatest thing in the world.

In the early afternoon, we headed to my parent's house. They live about 45 minutes away. My youngest brother was home this year so that made this Christmas special.

We had a great Christmas day!!!

I wanted to remember it was a white Christmas! YAY!

My surgeon brother sitting at the kid table... he totally belongs there too!!

I guess I keep trying get a picture of all these kids for memories sake... cuz it's a lot of work, dang it!

And, Taffy... who does she think she is?
My two favorite guys in all the world!!
Look how little Emme looks next to my little brother!

We decided Chase looked like a Philadelphia lawyer... not sure how this is different from... say an Indianapolis lawyer... but nonetheless when my mom said this I thought I might die!

The day after Christmas I wanted to see my brother one more time before he headed back home. And, since he does not make it home very often because he acts like he's some big shot surgeon that has do all these foot and ankles surgeries, I wanted him to meet Janae. (I still can't believe they'd never met.)

Soooo.... I made this huge brunch. And, for the record, I just want to say that I did it all without a working oven in my house.

I made an egg, bacon and hash brown casserole in my crock pot. I made biscuits in my semi- working oven. (I can make it work if I flip it back and forth between broil and bake) (That's fun!) I made gravy for the first time ever. I also made baked french toast, an egg and chicken quiche, and we had some fresh fruit. (Thank you neighbor Lisa for letting me borrow your oven for the 1,457th time.)

The food was fabulous... at least that's what everyone told me. A great time was had by all... AND I was worn out! Who comes home Christmas night and starts cooking like that?

Oh yeah... me!

Thai Lunch
On the Wednesday after Christmas we had a little best friend lunch. Janae and I went to lunch with our really good friend Courtney and her best friend Emily. It was my first time eating Thai food. (Paul says eating Thai is the sexy thing to eat right now.) (Not quite sure what that means but he says lots of other things are sexy too... like going to a certain church in our area, Starbucks coffee, and various other things.) (For the record, I don't know how to talk to him sometimes, so we're even.)

Anyway, we laughed really hard at lunch. I tried and loved the vegetable sushi. Yeah, went way out on a limb eating those vegetables! And, I LOVE wasabi!! I really like that burn I get way up in my nose. What's up with that? Good thing I don't do drugs, huh?

I didn't like my lunch so much though. On a spicy scale that food can be ordered from 3-9, 3 being low on the scale. I got a 3... and I was miserable. It's so not worth sweating to death trying to eat something. Who are these people who like food that hot?

Janae loved her food. She got some liquid Jif poured over some noodles. (Courtney ate the same thing) To each his own, huh?

At lunch, Courtney and Emily heard my oven story, so they volunteered their husbands to fix my situation.

Thursday morning, these fabulous guys gave up a morning of their vacation and came and cut through my countertop and cabinets. They removed 2 huge cabinets and my cooktop to make room for a free standing oven. Thanks to the same amazing man who bought us a new washer and dryer, we had money left over and combined it with some Christmas money and I got a free standing oven (as opposed to my teeny tiny wall oven that doesn't work) .... WITH 2 OVENS!!!!!!!!! I could not be happier or more thankful!


So, that same day, while I was getting a massage and a manicure, thanks to Janae's awesome husband, Michael, my new oven was installed. Talk about a great day. How fun to go to a spa with your best friend and be pampered!!!!

In the future however, I would like to recommend not doing Zumba afterwards.

Tomorrow... New Years Eve and then I am done with this forsaken holiday post! Geesh!!!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Top Events of the Holiday Season Part III (and a rabbit trail)

Top Events of the Holiday Season Part 3:

Before I get into all that, I feel like I should address my issues with mines so that you're not wondering what that's all about.

One night when Paul and I were laying in bed, I asked him if he'd heard about the miners in Chile. He said, "Yes, I heard."

I then said, "Well, they're going to be down there for months!"

I paused for a moment and then continued. "I can't even talk about it."

He said, "Well, they are fine. They can communicate with them and get supplies to them."

I was like, "I know! BUT, they're still trapped!!! They can't get out! Some of them are already starting to show signs of trouble. They're having issues with oxygen, they're going to have muscular issues." Panic started to enter my tone. "I'd be so BORING down there. Did you know they've assigned them jobs?

Paul said, "Jobs? Yeah, you over there... you go look for food. And, you... you're in charge of the sleeping arrangements, find some! and... you, you can work on communication and YOU... You..... just... just ... start digging!!!!"

I started laughing hysterically. The "YOU! You... you... start digging!" just got to me.

But, then I got all serious and I said, "Really! I can't talk about this any more. It completely stresses my out and makes me start to panic. Let's not talk about it anymore. Seriously, I can't even think about."

Paul was just lying there and I know he was desperately trying to figure out what to do with me. And so he stopped me in the middle of my panic and said. "April? April! Are you going into a mine any time soon? I mean, is there something you need to tell me?"

I could not stop laughing. I do that kind of thing all the time. I get completely stressed about about things that have nothing to do with me. Recently, I had a hard time watching House Hunters International because this young girl was moving to Abu Dhabi to teach. She didn't know a soul. The thought of moving to the middle east makes me want to die.

Paul, exasperated, just said, "You know, for me it's slasher films... Michael Myers, Jason. They really get to me and stress me out. For you, it's House Hunters International."

Again, died laughing!
It's true. How quirky is that?

Total rabbit trail!

Back to Top Events of the Holiday Season Part III

Cookie and Ornament Making:
A couple of days before Christmas we had our Second Annual Cookie decorating/Ornament making day with Janae and her girls. Basically, I was a total loser and did nothing in preparation for the event. I tried to make sugar cookies with my kids the night before, but a salt lick would have tasted exactly the same. It was so late I didn't have time to make anymore. Janae also got all the supplies for the ornament and had it prepared. We made little wreaths with silver bells and red bows. They were so cute. They cookies... not so much. I don't know who makes them for the magazines, but my kids cookies always look like a train wreck! They're awful!

Janae and I also had gifts for each other. She tried to tell me that we got each other the same thing. I argued with her for days. "No we didn't!"

She would argue back, "Yes! Yes we did!"

Guess what?

We got each other the same thing.

We both bough each other Brian Regan DVD's. But, the good news is... between us... we have them all!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Top Events of the Holiday Season Part II

Welcome Back to Top Events of the Holiday Season Part II!

(Oops! I knew I'd go out of order!)
We've lived in our house 7 years and I've never been able to cook a turkey in my own oven because... I am quite sure it is the smallest oven in the world. Seriously, it can't even hold a regular sized cookie sheet. I usually cook it at my neighbor's house because I host Thanksgiving for 30 family members/friends every year.

Who takes on that task with the smallest oven in the world?

Uh... thatd be me!

The Smallest Oven in the World has been on the fritz for over a year now. I can cook most things with it if I put it on broil first, then put it on the temperature I need to cook and then switch back and forth between broil and bake. It's a great way to cook on a regular basis when you cook almost every day for seven people. Yeah, so....

I cook at my neighbors house often.

Why don't I just get a new oven? Because I can't stomach spending $800 for an oven that's way too small the minute I buy it. I really need a whole new kitchen, but that's neither here nor there at this point.

SOOO, to make a long story short, I had Shelby take 2 corn casseroles over to my neighbors on Thanksgiving. I sent her back an hour later, when it was time to eat, to get them.

They were still sitting on the countertop.


More on that later in the Top Events of the Holiday Season.

Coming Home from the Overnight Trip:
I was almost not allowed to go on the trip with Janae because the weather men were predicting a snow storm on Sunday. Never mind that Saturday didn't even require a coat.

I won. I went.

I stopped blowing leaves on Sunday morning (see previous post) and woke up to a steady rain. We drove into a snowstorm midway through our way home. While I was white knuckle-gripping the wheel with my hands at 10 and 2, Paul called. I was trying to play it cool like the roads were no problem when... AS I AM ON THE PHONE... I am passed on both sides by semi- trucks. Waves of snow and slush completely consumed our car. We couldn't see a thing.

Janae, who I sometimes fondly refer to as Carol Brunette, loudly announces, "Geesh! We were just in the cradle of death!"

Because that's what Paul needed to hear.

The cradle of death.

Children's Choir Concert:
We made it out of the cradle of death to attend a wonderful brunch at a golf club. We were invited by our really fun friend Jen, who we have had the pleasure of getting to know over the last couple of months:-) There was a famous Santa at this brunch. He's the Santa for the Target commercials... or something fun like that.

We all left there and went to my favorite event of Christmas. Shelby sings with a children's choir. They have superb instruction and what they get these kids to do with their voices is simply amazing. On top of that, it's all about Jesus (from a city choir believe it or not) and it is the best worship of the season.

We drove home in a picturesque winter wonderland that perfectly set the mood for Christmas and had the kids betting on wether or not they'd have school the next day. (They lost. 2 hour delay.)

Getting Pictures Taken:
Our great friend Nikki, who's recently started a little photography business, offered to take our pictures. She'd only been offering for months and we finally got it scheduled for December. Even though it was freezing cold, it was a super fun photo shoot. It was really snowing during the shoot. No fake stuff for our pictures! The snow made for some great shots and some great memories.

Nikki did an awesome job! If you are in the area, you must schedule a photo shoot for your family. Here's a few of our pictures:

Don't you just want to pull our hats off our eyes! Geesh!

Shopping with My Mom:
I was able to spend a whole day doing Christmas shopping with my mom. We always manage to squeeze in one day during the season. It was really fun. We got all her shopping done and found perfect gifts for everyone. We had lunch together and laughed a lot. My mom is really funny! We went back to my house and ate dinner and watched a Christmas Carol. The one with Jim Carey.

We spent the rest of the night consoling Jackson and making him a bed in our room. Who knew a horror flick could be disguised as a Christmas movie? Geesh! It was really freaky!

Part III tomorrow!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Top Events of the Holiday Season Part I

Here are the top events of the holiday season, I am not purposefully excluding the word CHRISTmas, I am just trying to cover a time frame: Thanksgiving to New Years Day, thus... Holiday season.

Nothing stresses me out more.... ok, that's a lie. (Just thinking about getting trapped in a mine stresses me out so much I can hardly breathe. I've got a story about that. You're just going to have to hear it later.)

It really stresses me out to think about blogging when I haven't done so in awhile. I feel like I have to catch myself up on all that has happened. Catch myself up... because no one is beating down my virtual door asking me why I haven't blogged.


So, here are my top events of the 2010 holiday season: (Just so you know... they're in no particular order, although I am trying to go in chronological order.)

Unexpected Gift:
I got a Facebook message right before Thanksgiving from an amazing man of God who had just lost his wife of 40 years this past summer. He told me the Lord had laid our family on his heart and he wanted to buy something for our house. When I finished crying... and getting over the fact that... this was his first holiday season without his wife and he was thinking of our family, I was able to respond to the message.

It was very difficult to respond for a number of reasons, although, it didn't take me long. I told him that I spend every spare moment doing laundry, hence, the name of my blog. We've had our tiny washer since we were first married and our dryer broke a number of years ago and we had been borrowing one ever since. (Our dryer friends were going to need it back in May.) He took the whole family out to dinner at a Japanese Steakhouse and handed us a check for a ridiculous amount of money.

I am in love with my new washer and dryer and I have gone from 12-15 loads of laundry a week to 3-4 loads. I have never been more thankful and I am still in awe that someone would do something so unbelievably kind for a family they do not see very often. And, now, I think of him every time I see my beautiful washer and dryer.

Christmas Concert:
Kindergarten through 4th grade performed a school wide concert for the parents. Jackson told me a few weeks before the production that he would need a tux for the event. I said, "Jackson, there's no way you have to wear a tux for this concert."

He replied, "Well, I want one and I am going to wear one!"

Gracie told me she needed to wear pants and be in all black for her part of the concert. Never mind that I knew the entire school would be performing together and I knew that not every girl had to wear all black. Just her and a couple of other girls because they had a "special" part in the production.

I was so disappointed because how many more times am I going to get to buy her a Christmas dress? Although my budget was thankful because it wasn't hard to dig through her closet and find her a pair of black pants and a black sweater that used to be Shelby's.

On the day of the concert, I thankfully remembered a houndstooth sports coat that Jackson already owned from the previous Christmas. He was able to wear that along with a shirt and tie and that seemed to satisfy his itch to make this a black tie event.

I was not able to get the kids dressed for the concert because I was tutoring until 30 before the start time. It was Paul's job to get them dressed and to get to the building on time. When I arrived, I went back to the staging area for the kids to make sure Gracie looked okay. It was at that time that she looked at me with a red face and moist eyes and said, "I am the only girl not wearing a dress."

"WHAT?" (Please say that just like that little minion on Despicable Me and if you haven't seen it... go find it. It's in the scene where they are throwing Toilet paper.)

"You're the one who said you were supposed to wear all black and that it had to be pants!"

She said, "Well, I could have worn that black skirt....."

I am still trying to forget that she was smack dab in the middle of ALL 300 kids on stage where EVERYONE could see her clearly. And yes, I am pretty sure she was THE ONLY girl not wearing a dress. I am still unsure of the whole event that transpired that would have necessitated the need for such an outfit anyway. Somewhere in the middle of the singing, she went over and picked up 2 sticks with another girl. They were supposed to lift the sticks up and form a star, but the 3rd girl (also the 3rd part of the star) was still driving around Ohio looking for the church. (I'm not kidding). It seriously lasted all of 3 seconds and it wasn't even a star. And, I could see absolutely no need to be dressed in Goth for that part.

And, while I am trying to forget that, I am trying to desperately remember how intensely Jackson sang and worshipped Jesus AND how proud he looked that he was all dressed up. He melted my heart.

I also had to do a complete double take/double think when we got home and I asked him if his new shoes were comfortable. He said, "Oh yes! The whole outfit was comfortable! Can I wear all of that on our next dress down day." I said, "Sure buddy!" And then I had to do the double take/double think... he wants to wear a suit and tie on a dress down day at school? A day he doesn't have to wear his uniform?

How precious is that?

Short video of Jackson singing.

Overnight Trip with My Best Friend:
There was more involved than just heading out of town to play for a night but no need to share all of that.

Just know that we went out of town for a reason... BUT... we got to go shopping and have a slumber party with Janae's sister-in-law, Pamela. The shopping was a nightmare. I think we went to the biggest mall in Ohio and couldn't move once inside, but it was a memory!

Then, we went to church Saturday night. Great message and a couple of funny moments that I should probably should just treasure in my heart rather than type them out here. I did think the pastor looked just like Mr. McGoo (and that right there was probably saying too much!)

I just could never find the guys eyes!

Then we went to Pamela's house. We ate and had some great girl talk. Janae and I also put a step ladder on two barstools and changed the smoke detector battery on a high ceiling that had been beeping for months. (Pamela has some back issues right now that keep her from being able to do things like scaling walls and ladders.) BUT, if you know either Janae or myself AND if you know both of us, then you know that was no small feat.

We also watched Brain Regan until we laughed so hard we were crying..... and we just had to go to bed because it was so late.... and because we were making ourselves sick from laughing.


I'm not going to lie to you, I feared going to bed that night. We had to sleep in the same room and in the same bed. I've never been afraid of such things before, however, Paul has given me quite the complex lately about sleeping. I mean, anytime anyone compares you to a leaf blower you're bound to develop some insecurities.

So, I had a plan. I decided to wait until Janae was asleep before I feel asleep. I know she sleeps like a hound dog, so I thought maybe the human leaf blower wouldn't bother her once she was asleep.

I don't try to hide the fact that I am quirky. I'm even quirky about my sleeping. I have to be on the right side of the bed and lay on my stomach with my face to the left side of the bed (facing Paul.) Then, when I am just about to fall asleep, I flip ALL WAY AROUND and face the wall and then I go right to sleep. No, I just can not turn the short way, I have to turn ALL THE way around and pull the covers and make a big production.

Does that make sense?

So, I did the same thing when I was with Janae ONLY I was waiting for her to fall asleep. When I thought for sure she was asleep, I flopped over... only to my horror to hear, "Geesh! What are doing over there climbing Mt. Everest?"

That was it!! The laughing started all over again... just like a real slumber party.

I think of it ever time I do my flopping at night... and smile... sometimes I even giggle out loud over it.

That's one of about a million reasons she's my best friend.

Stayed tuned for parts II, III IV of Top Events of the Holiday Season........