Hibernation (Rambling, Long, Pictures, Survey)

The holidays are winding down. Aidan will be going back to Ohio soon. :( And all that’s left is the cold winter months. Is it any wonder that I feel less inclined to go anywhere or do anything except curl up with a blanket, an electric heater, and a large stack of books and read and sleep? Ack.

Today is Aidan’s birthday. My little boy is seven. Last night he told me he wouldn’t stop cuddling with me until he turned ten. So I guess I have three years to soak up all the cuddles and cheek holds. Right now, that little guy who was just a tiny newborn is now sitting beside me playing Lego Star Wars on the Wii and loving it. He’s a night owl just like I am, and he is a funny eater like me. We both latch on to something we like and we can eat it over and over and over and over without getting tired of it. He’d prefer to wear pajamas and hang out all day than run all over the place. He reads like a maniac. He loves Disney. And spaghetti. He’s such an amazing, incredible child.

We had a wonderful Christmas! We spent the week leading up to it trekking to the UPS store to pick up many packages, and we got our ham from Honey Bear Hams. It was amazing and delicious! Holy cow it was good! I got two pounds, and I am freezing one pound while we plow through the rest. It’s expensive but SO WORTH IT. Guess what I’ll be getting for Easter! Yum. When we got to the store, the bear was out waving, and the place was so festive and bustling. The owner gave Aidan a free stuffed Honey Bear! They had samples out and snacks. It was a fun trip. Christmas Eve, I made chocolate-cherry truffle cake, sugar cookie cutouts, and chocolate chip cookies.

Christmas Cookies! Chocolate-Cherry Truffle Cake

I also made part of the Christmas dinner so Christmas day would be more about relaxing than rushing. AND IT WAS! We didn’t have to go anywhere! Adam was the first one up, then I got up about 830 or so. We had to get Aidan up at 930 because we were too excited! Aidan was so excited and happy with his presents!

Aidan on Christmas Morning
Still a bit sleepy, though.

We had a good Christmas. I got Planet Earth on Blu-ray Disc™ (oh yeah!), The Boondock Saints, and Sleeping Beauty as well. Wii Fit Plus, gift card to Barnes & Noble, shirts and sweaters, more Wii games, pots and pans, The Sims 3 World Adventures, Kit’s Desk (American Girl), The Game of Things, tea from Lupicia, the new Enya CD, a Proofreading Exercise book, so much stuff that I’m not even remembering! But the best was that my little boy was here with me!

The food was yummy and seems like making Christmas dinner was way less stressful than making Thanksgiving dinner. Maybe because I did some of it the night before. Hmmm.

Anyway, the rest of break has been relaxing. Reading a lot (for my birthday I scored $75 in bookstore giftcards!), hanging with Aidan, cat sitting, all that good stuff. The other day, we lost Helena! I’d thought she’d gone in Aidan’s room to sleep, but nope. Crookshanks was pacing and wailing like his cat world was ending. That’s when I realized she was missing. Snowball was out and about, which should have been my first clue that something was off. She’d been mostly hanging out in my room under the bed. We figured that Helena was hiding (there are a lot of hiding places here) from Snowball and that she’d come out when she was ready. Then I heard a big catfight from above and instantly knew that Helena had somehow gotten upstairs with Stinky and Stinky was unhappy about it. I found her hiding behind a counter and lured her out by banging a spoon on a can, picking her up and bringing her back downstairs where she ran back inside her true home. Silly kitty.

Little Helena

I don’t know when I’ll get time/inspiration to journal again, so I’m gonna do my 2009 Wrap Up stuff here:

Read the rest of this entry »

Holiday Wish Meme

My favorite time of the year is here again. And in 2009, I have so much to be excited about and thankful for!

My beautiful and healthy son. Aidan is at the top of his class, he has an “expansive vocabulary,” he’s friendly, popular, and kind.
My amazing husband. This man, understanding that I’d had a stressful day at work, would have my “nest” all ready for me with pillows and something sweet to drink, so all I’d have to do is come home and collapse. :)
My family.
Getting to go to Disney World AND Disneyland this year!
Getting to spend a day with Ricky Luna!
My little orange girl, Helena.
The chance to hear the music of the spellbinding S.J. Tucker, and befriend her as well.
Finally meeting Vixy after hearing Adam rave about her for years and hearing her beautiful voice in many songs.
The new friends I’ve met in the American Girl fandom. There are lots more of us than you think. ;)
The abundance and blessings that have been and keep being rained down on us.
Getting the chance to meet Meg Cabot AND Sarah Dessen this year. Plus, I got to see Laurie Halse Anderson again. ♥ And, I met (and got kissed by) Peter Yarrow, and I met Sharon Draper. *faints*
My Plurk crew. They are hilarious and fun. ♥ them!
The other new friends I met this year: Krista & Crew, Theresa, Amy R., just to name a couple.
Getting back in touch with many people from my school days. I never thought I’d hear from most of them again.
The TV show MODERN FAMILY. So hilarious.
Random Sunday trips to Naperville.
All the new music I’ve been introduced to.
My awesome friends. You guys rock!

It’s now time for the Holiday Wishes Meme. I started doing this in 2006, and I encourage you guys to do it as well.

Step One
– Make a post (public, friendslocked, filtered… whatever you’re comfortable with) to your LJ/blog. The post should contain your list of 10 holiday wishes. The wishes can be anything at all, from simple and fun (”I’d love a Snape/Hermione icon that’s just for me”) to medium (”I wish for _____ on DVD”) to really big (”All I want for Christmas is a new car/computer/house/TV.”) The important thing is, make sure these wishes are things you really, truly want.
– If you wish for real possible things, make sure you include some sort of contact info in your post, whether it’s your address or just your email address where Santa (or one of his elves) could get in touch with you.
– Also, make sure you post some version of these guidelines in your LJ, or link to this post (it’ll be public) so that the holiday joy will spread.

Step Two
– Surf around your friendslist (or friendsfriends, or just random journals) to see who has posted their list. And now here’s the important part:
– If you see a wish you can grant, and it’s in your heart to do so, make someone’s wish come true. Sometimes someone’s trash is another’s treasure, and if you have a leather jacket you don’t want or a gift certificate you won’t use—or even know where you could get someone’s dream purebred Basset Hound for free—do it.
– You needn’t spend money on these wishes unless you want to. The point isn’t to put people out, it’s to provide everyone a chance to be someone else’s holiday elf—to spread the joy. Gifts can be made anonymously or not—it’s your call.

There are no rules with this project, no guarantees, and no strings attached. Just…wish, and it might come true. Give, and you might receive. And you’ll have the joy of knowing you made someone’s holiday special.

With that said, here are my wishes for 2009.

1. A gift card, or for you to make donations to, DonorsChoose.org. DonorsChoose focuses on education. Teachers ask for classroom project materials. We donate. The kids learn. Most of these schools are high poverty, and the teachers are already doing all they can. Any amount is welcome.

2. Donations to Paws Chicago, the shelter where we got Helena. It’s a cage-free, no-kill shelter, and they are run completely on donations; they receive no city, state, or federal funding. It’s a great place. A shelter situation is stressful for the animals involved, and every animal I came in contact with there was happy and friendly. They have an extensive screening process to make sure you’re aware of your decision and commitment, and if somehow things don’t work out, the animal always has a home at PAWS.

3. Anything from my Amazon Christmas & Birthday 2009 Wishlist.

4. Anything from my AmericanGirl.com wishlist (number 86409). I know, I’m really reaching with this one, but hey, it’s a wish meme, right? :)

5. Another trip to Disney World. Oh yes. Another pipe dream, but what’s life if you can’t dream?

6. Y’all to buy Electro Bomba!! It’s really good, I promise. Ricky Luna is super talented and his music is off the hook. If you’re unsure, my previous entry has a link for a free download sampler.

7. Gift cards to bookstores, any bookstores. I love bookstores. And books. But you already know that.

8. I also wouldn’t mind gift cards to Target, Aeropostale, Filene’s Basement, Best Buy, or Kohl’s.

9. The Princess and the Frog soundtrack. Thank you, my awesome husband!!!

10. Mickey mouse socks.

And for the things that I’d like your prayers/happy energy for:

A job that I love, that makes me feel accomplished, is reasonable and low-stress, and that pays well. Just putting the energy out there.

My friends and family to be happy and secure.

A mild winter.

Happy Holidays! It’s December now, the season really is here! YAY!

*** If you do this meme for yourself, please make sure you comment with a link to the entry, OK?

(Originally published at Anywhere Is…)

The Winding Down of Summer (Long, Multimedia)

I can’t believe how fast the summer went. My mom was here for a week; that sped by. I can’t believe I’ve already been home from Disney World for a week. Life’s too short, babe, time is flying….

My mom was here and that was cool. She made us fried chicken and meatloaf, and she bought me a new doll. (I am up to 11 dolls now–and just when I think I have enough, I find out that a bunch of new ones are coming out next week. Aye yi yi.). Here is my mom, Aidan, and me at McDonald’s for lunch one day:

Isn’t my mommy pretty? :)

And here are a bunch of pictures from the week she was here. She had her first Chicago hot dog, she spent lots of time with Aidan, and even went to American Girl Place with me. We also went to Naperville, where I love to go to get away from the city and shop at the indie stores, especially Anderson’s Bookshops.

DSC02094 Buzz Mommy! Mommy at Hot Doug's Cuddle Wuddle

Aidan

Goofy Family Portrait

Riverwalk Crime Scene

Sonali Matthews
New doll, Sonali

After my mom left, it was time to throw ourselves into preparing for Disney World. That meant last minute trips to Target for stuff, laundry, and packing. And then, the night before, the neighbors behind us had a guest who was drunk and yelling from 7pm until 5am, when I had to get up. I got NO sleep. I’m pretty sure they were still yelling when we left at 6am for the airport. I thought, foolishly, that I’d get to sleep on the plane. Nope. I mean hello, a flight to Orlando, where Disney World is? Kids and babies. Babies hate flying. Babies were screaming the whole time. My iPod Skullcandy ear buds were pretty good but I still didn’t sleep well. Fortunately, I had enough adrenaline running that I was able to hit the parks at about 2:15pm and I kept going until 1am, when the awesome Extra Magic Hours ended. Woohoo.

Family Photo
We really are having fun. It’s just that the sun is all up in our faces. :D

A few highlights that we didn’t get video of pix of. On our first night, we were eating at Liberty Tree Tavern. There were LOADS of people celebrating birthdays. There was a birthday in our room. After everyone sang Happy Birthday and applauded, Aidan yelled out the biggest YAY I’d ever heard. My first instinct was to be kind of mortified, but then the entire room burst out laughing. Another thing happened at LTT. Aidan had asked for a root beer and was given a Coke. I told him to ask the server nicely for a root beer instead, which Aidan did. Not only did the server replace Aidan’s Coke with a root beer, he gave it to him in one of the $7 souvenir cups with a light-up Lightning McQueen!

Aidan's Bonus!

Watching Aidan during the parades was SUCH a treat. I remember how I felt the first time I saw a parade, but it was nothing compared to watching Aidan see Celebrate a Dream Come True and Spectromagic.

Aidan also got to help the, well, I call them Magic Makers. They’re the guys with fancy brooms that paint Disney characters on the ground with water.

Magical Characters

Aidan was so enthusiastic during the shows that he got singled out at Crush’s Turtle Talk, and it was hilarious. He was next to the man who got picked on during Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor so he was on the big screen quite a bit. During two parades/parties, he was pulled out into the street by characters and performers to dance, and at the end of the Toy Story Block Party Bash, he got a little Nerf ball that says “Block Party Bash” on it. He was terrified of Soarin’, but when we got off, he said he loved it and said “Can we do that again???”

Garden Grill, as usual, was a pleasure. The characters there are TOP NOTCH, you get to see them tons of times, and the food is outstanding, especially the blueberry buckle. YUMMMM. 1900 Park Fare’s characters were hilarious. And autographs are fun.

I watched the High School Musical 3 show, and we got to meet the $heriff of Nottingham from Robin Hood and Marie from The Aristocats. And THE FAIRY GODMOTHER!

Fairy Godmother

But you don’t want to read my jabber. You want to see MORE pictures, right? Here goes!

Southwest FTW! Adam and Aidan

On the Magical Express

Daisy Duck Aidan and Goofy Me and Lilo

Us With the Mouse

Aidan and Dale Aidan, Adam and Mickey

Aidan and Stitch Aidan and the Gang

Aidan and Spaceship Earth Love! Aidan and Buzz

Here’s a slide show of the whole trip, minus the Photopass pictures, which are not here yet:

DISNEY WORLD!!!

And if you’re still reading, I encourage you to check out this video of highlights I made of the trip (if you haven’t seen it already).

About halfway through the trip, Adam said “We’re coming back next year.” :) Wheeee! He mentioned trying out Chef Mickey’s, and I sure do wish we could stay at the Polynesian, but hey, I’ll be happy with Pop Century again if it means having more money to spend in the parks. Shopping for Disney stuff is FUN (especially during the parades when the stores are pretty empty)!

Aidan went back to Ohio on Sunday. :( Fortunately, he didn’t cry at the airport. When he cries, I cry. Or at least a lot worse than normal. But when he doesn’t cry, I feel OK. It’s been so quiet here, though. I miss kissing his little cheeks, and I keep watching videos of him over and over just to hear his voice. He started first grade yesterday. Apparently, he’s popular. Kids leaping out of their seats because they were so excited to see him! How fun is that? Today, he rode the school bus to school. I can’t believe my baby’s a first grader now. First grade is like REAL school, you know? Next summer should be fun, with all the reading he’ll be able to do.

OK, I guess this entry is long enough. Now if you’ll excuse me, I must go and continue recovering from a busy August. I’ve been hit with a cold or mini-flu or something and I’m been drained. Hope you enjoyed my recap and my Disney memories! :)

Things

Things I Miss:
– Seeing Aidan every day
– My mommy
– My love of, passion for, and dedication to actually writing stories/books
– The Ohio State Fair
– BBQ Fritos
– Columbus Public Libraries
– Living walking distance from the library
– Whetstone Park of Roses
– Having my own house
– Traveling and taking loads of pictures of new places
– My friends in Columbus
– My friends all over the U.S. who I’ve had the chance to visit or host in my home
– The 97.9 WNCI Morning Zoo
– Cherry pies from McDonald’s
– Marc’s
– Not being nervous about driving
– Not being scared of screwing up and being fired every day
– Certain former friends
– Friday night Scattergories
– Friday nights with “the gang” in 2005
– Going to a chiropractor

Things I Do Not Miss:
– Crazy neighbor from across the hall
– Drama
– That I-270 merge
– Worrying about money
– Not seeing Adam every day

Things I Like About My Life:
– Being married to Adam
– Work (on good days)
– Proofreading for Loyola for the 2nd year
– Walking around downtown on a nice spring or summer day
– My American Girl dolls
– Living a 15 minute bus ride from American Girl Place Chicago
– Getting to do cool things like play on the RENT set or hang out and watch a movie being filmed
– Riding the El
– Randomly seeing celebrities or on-the-verge celebrities
– Living close to Millennium Park
– My friends
– Spaghetti
– Looking forward to another Disney World trip
– Christmas in Chicago

Things I Could Do Without In My Life
– The water hammering in the pipes that happens almost every time someone takes a shower
– Feeling like if I don’t make it here, I’m a failure and won’t make it anywhere
– 10.25% sales tax (13.25% on pop). Need I say more?
– The weight I’ve gained since moving here
– Being worried that Helena is going to pee in a naughty place

That’s all for now. I am sleepy. Good night!

(Originally published at Anywhere Is…)

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