31 December 2009

My new fitness plan

In a recent article on MSN.com they listed 50 Ways to Cut 500 Calories...

I'm going with option #21:

21. Get out your knitting needles. An afternoon of knitting can burn more than 500 calories (at a rate of about 100 an hour).

So, if you are looking for me this weekend, I will likely be starting in on my post-holiday health plan at Starbucks with a scarf, sock, mittens or hat...

29 December 2009

And the winner is...

I'm going to be a winner!! Well, I hope so anyway. Miss Cindy got me hooked on reading this blog: Brooklyn Limestone and there is a New Years Giveaway going on that I'm sure I can win...it is all about the random number generator! One of the fun things about surfing blogs is finding out about all the talented people out there in this world and this is one talented photographer!!

21 December 2009

Dear Virginia:

When we were going to the Santa Claus book reading at Petunia's Place, Tyler asked me if it was a Santa in a costume or the real Santa that brought presents to our house that we would be seeing. Today in the office, Erika asked me what Tyler believes about Santa Claus. In discussing our "Co-Parenting" Plan with regards to Santa Claus, Doug and I discussed whether Santa would probably visit both of our houses or just the one Tyler was staying at that night.

It seems that Santa Claus is, and has been for years, a much discussed aspect of the holiday season. In fact, in 1897, there was a little girl name Virginia who wrote to New York's Sun Newspaper asking about Santa Claus,

"Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. "
"Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.' "
"Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?"

The Response is "history's most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps."

One passage in particular stands out to me:

"Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus."

This, for me, draws a loose parallel between the secular expression of Christmas (Santa Claus) and the true "Hero" of Christmas (Jesus). Jesus was (and is) the epitome of love, generosity and devotion. In fact, using Francis Pharcellus Church's words and replacing Santa Claus with Jesus it reads:

"Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a [Jesus]. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no [Jesus]."
SO TRUE!! I have always considered myself a believer, even though not necessarily "religious", but I have found that raising a son, I am constantly reassessing my beliefs and faith priorities.

All the time in the world...

In my blog reading, I keep finding these amazingly fun projects that I would LOVE to do (If I had all the time in the world....

While reading Nesting Place, I came across this project that I really feel like Tyler and I would have a blast with.

While cruising Live a Colorful Life, I found this awesome half eaten gingerbread ornament that I plan to start right after Christmas (gotta finish the Christmas gift knitting) and besides, then I'll have time to do it for the tree for next year.

And while looking on Etsy this week, I found several people who are making Button Letters...I'm totally planning mine (since I can't see spending that much money on something I can make). Instead of a pillow, I'm making mine a wall hanging!

This one's by Letter Perfect Designs
If you have any other super fun projects that I should add to my to do list, please feel free to leave them in a comment!!

15 December 2009

Aren't the holidays fun?

Other than the ornaments Aunt Sue has crafted for me (and all the other cousins) over the years, this is probably my next favorite. The funny thing? It came as a Starbucks gift card holder a few years ago.

14 December 2009

Dear Santa,

"I want a Black Spider Man costume, a Sharkbite Bay car track, a Wolverine Shing, Wolverine shoes, Wolverine socks ..." and his list goes on. This is the first year that Tyler has really been "into" Santa. He is continually adding to his "list" for what he wants Santa to bring him for Christmas this year. When I casually mentioned to him that I had never seen Wolverine shoes in the store, he blithely reasured me, "It's OK, Mom, I'll just ask Santa and he'll know where to get them!" Oh...well...now that you put it like that...(does anyone know where in the heck Santa might shop for Wolverine shoes or socks???)

This weekend Tyler, Mom and I had the opportunity to go to Petunia's Place (an awesome bookstore at Bullard/West) to listen to Santa read stories to the kids while the parent shopped--clever sales ploy which I totally fell for! Now, in years past, Tyler has wanted nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, to do with Santa. He didn't want to talk to him, he didn't want his candy, and he for sure did not want to sit on his lap. So, I knew going in that this was going to be a "distance learning" experience. As we were walking in to the bookstore, Tyler asked me, "Mom, will this be the Santa in a costume, or will this be the Santa who really brings presents to our house?" Hmm...Now, what an insightful question. Anyways, Santa read Jan Brett's Night Before Christmas and then asked if any of the kids wanted to sit on his lap. No go...Then he read Chris Van Allsburg's Polar Express and asked again. Tyler completely surprised me and said YES! So, at age 4, Tyler has his first Pictures with Santa.He started off standing...then made his way up onto Santa's lap...wheeew...we did it!

13 December 2009

Trees, Trains and Gingerbread...

...it must be Christmas!

Now that Tyler and I are living in our own place, there was one more tree to put up. Bright and early Sunday morning, Mom, Dad, Tyler and I gathered at our house with a tree, some decorations, hot chocolate/coffee and LOTS of energy! Although, I have to say, I think most of the energy was coming from Tyler...We were able to set up our brand new Christmas tree (gotta love the three section, flip down limbed, prelit trees!) and then Ty set to work putting up the decorations. In years past, Tyler has been more about undressing the tree than dressing the tree, so it was a lot of fun to see him get into the festivities. My heart warmed when he requested his very own nativity and diligently set it up exactly as it was shown on the box.
It really helps me remember that JESUS is the reason we celebrate this thing we call Christmas; presents, food, etc. are just bonus, but would be nothing if it weren't for Jesus.

We were aparently gluttons for punishment, because later that same day, we headed over to Mom and Dad's house to do up their tree in a similarly festive manner. It was great to see Tyler practicing his management skills; it was common to hear, "Now, Mom, you put this one on that top branch, and I will put this ornament on this branch over here. No, Grandma, not that branch, THIS branch." Kim, Tyler, Mom and I had the opportunity to put together a gingerbread house...from 2007...needless to say, this one's just for looks! Later (the following weekend) we decided to to a gingerbread Christmas tree that could be eaten, because that's most of the fun!

While we were decorating at Mom and Dad's, Tyler somehow managed to convince Dad that it was a good idea to set up the train set. (Trust me, it was NOT that hard a sell...)

01 December 2009


I have a new(ish) house. I actually moved in the beginning of August, but have been a terrible blog updater. So, it's new to my blog readers (if I have any left after such a long period of no activity). I LOVE my new house and am so excited to be able to picture my life many years down the road in the same house. Maybe I'll be one of those people who stays in the same house for 30 years? Hmmm...Ok...maybe not.

I live in Pinedale, California, which is kind of fun to say because many people say, "Where's Pinedale?" and I get to explain that it's a very small county island right near River Park shopping center. But depending on who I talk to, I might tell them I live in Fresno. When I asked the clerk at the post office what they want my mail addressed to, Fresno or Pinedale, they said it doesn't matter since it's technically both as long as the zip code is correct. Why would I avoid telling people that I lived in Pinedale? Because there are some stigmas surrounding the community. Even I was a little uncertain when I started looking at buying this home because it was in Pinedale. Some things people say about it are--it's a trashy place where there are gang bangers all over and people have to wear bullet proof vests to sit in their living room to keep safe during all the drive bys. Well, after moving here, I realized that parts of that stereotype are true and parts are wildly false. There are some houses/yards that are trashy...but that can be said of just about any neighborhood. The people on my street take great pride in their homes and their yards and I'm probably the one they look at and say, "Wow, what an ugly yard!" (Right now my yard is mostly weeds and since I do not yet have a lawn mower, I'm not super motivated to get my grass to grow quickly.) There are probably someareas of Pinedale where it would be unwise to walk alone outside at night...but the same can be said of just about anywhere in the world right now. My street is very much a community in which everyone looks out for everyone else. Neighborhood gossip puts the guys in the houses on either side of me as ex-gang members with a ton of street cred that they are still able to swing around to keep our street very low key. Apparently a few years ago there were some kids who were walking through and causing problems with some of the neighbors and these guys "talked" to the kids and nobody walked down my street for at least a year. I live on a cul-de-sac but there is a walking outlet that a lot of people travel through. Once, when I was first moving in, I received a call from my lovely neighbor, Lydia, that there was a strange guy in my yard who was looking at the door frame. I felt so safe!!! And when I told her that it was my dad and he was planning to install a security door for me, she laughed and said that she didn't think I'd need it since everyone here was so nosy.

My house has 6 bedrooms. I know!! Really, what does anyone need with 6 bedrooms unless they have 12 kids? There are 2 people living in the house, so I guess that's 3 rooms per person? Actually, It's been kind of nice because Tyler has his room, I have my room, Tyler has his playroom, I have my playroom (sewing/yarn), I have a guest bedroom (where I have actually now had 3 overnight guests stay!!) and I have an office...I also have 2 bathrooms, which seems like overkill for 2 people.

My observations on home ownership--Oh wow!! There is a LOT to do. I have been so fortunate to have a mom, dad, sister, grandma and ex-husband who are all handy in some way. Mom is a whiz at cleaning and organizing, Kim and Grandma are amazing at decorating and finding places for everything, Dad and Doug are wildly talented in just about every area of home fix-it and maintenance. I also have been very lucky to have a neighbor across the street who does yard maintenance and he (or his guys) have been very helpful in periodically cutting my weeds/lawn.

Flash Update

So, I've realized I'm a bad blogger. I would like to say that I feel remorse, but in all honesty, I have not had the energy at the end of the day to do much more than check a few websites and other people's blogs before my brain shuts down. Sooo....Instead of trying to go back and recreate a ton of catch up posts that are witty and clever, while trying to remember what happened when, I will do a flash update in this one post and then move forward with (hopefully) more posting regularity. I like to think of it as my rebirth in the blogging world, much like when you accept Christ as THE Saviour and then move forward with your new life.

Things that have happened in the last 6 months:
1. I made an offer on several condos, and a house
2. My offers were rejected on several condos
3. My offer was ACCEPTED on a house (it was a short sale, which anyone who has done anything with real estate knows means it could be a loooong sale)
4. I spent 2 weeks at Lakeview Cottages at Huntington Lake helping my mom (and dad) manage the camp. I was in charge of the "man" jobs like boats, handyman/supply restocking, raking, etc. while my dad had to be at home keeping the business in hand.
5. In July I closed escrow on a lovely little house in Pinedale
6. In August, I moved into my new house and have spent quite a few evenings and weekends getting things set up to my liking.
7. In September, I started back to school with subbing and then was also offered a position as an English Language Intervention teacher. I had this same job last year, but they weren't sure they would have the funding for it this year.
8. In late September and early October, we spent most weekends at Lakeview.
9. The first weekend in October (well, Thursday-Sunday) was QUILT CAMP! at Camp Keola.
10. The Friday of Quilt Camp I received a call that Tyler had Chicken Pox.
11. Middle of October we went to DISNEYLAND for our last trip using our Annual Passes. We had a great time there, but Tyler is at the age where he is a little nervous (translation: terrified) about going on some of the rides. He really likes to see them, but mostly from afar. Dumbo goes too fast, but he likes to watch others on it. Buzz is one of his favorite characters, but the Buzz ride is too scary...you get the idea.
12. In November, Grandma Darlene came to visit from Idaho. We had a great time hanging out and visiting. She also helped me to decorate my house in a much better way.
13. Now it's December and we'll see what happens.

So...there's the flash update. If you thought it was boring to read, you can tell yourself that it's only going to get better because now I'll be able to start writing with more detail...I might even go back and throw in some pictures here and there :-)