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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Moving Forward and Looking Back

The week between Christmas and New Year’s is a good time to reflect and look back on what has happened over the past year.  It is also a good time to look forward to what is ahead.  In January last year, I accepted a new job with a different company that in the beginning made me question my decision to take it.  It turns out that it was one of the best decisions I could have made for Angel and I.  The company I was working for was dissolved in September, leaving all of the employees unemployed.  I don’t think I could have gone through being unemployed again.  I am excelling at my current job making this past quarter the best one of the year.  I have great partners, a cool boss, and I am hoping to be considered for Rookie of the Year. 
2011 was a difficult time for me and my family emotionally.  However, in our down times we found strength in each other.  I have come to realize that we may not understand the things people do, but there is a reason and a consequence for everyone’s actions.  A certain affair left my family and me questioning God, our faith, and asking why.  A situation that could have driven us all apart brought us closer together.  Although, we may not know the reason why this happened now, I am sure in time it will reveal itself.  There is no doubt that God has a reason for it, just like everything else.
A custody agreement was reached between Angel’s father and me this past year.  At first I didn’t like it.  I don’t ever want to be away from her, but I have come to accept our arrangement.  I am glad her father loves her and wants to be with her as much as I do.  I will admit I miss her terribly when she is gone, but some down time is usually welcomed. 
I have made some incredible new friends this past year and rekindled some old friendships.  I treasure my friends.  They have seen me through so much, and I continue to make memories with both old and new.  
Going into a new year I always make my list of goals and resolutions.  I don’t like to make finite goals like lose 5 pounds by the end of the week; rather my goals are something like to be healthier.  This year I am trying to cut out dairy and sweets from my diet, not completely (I could never give up ice cream), but limit it.  I also have a goal of traveling abroad.  2012 will be 3 years since I have done any serious travel.  I am looking forward to seeing more of the world.  I plan on focusing more on my workouts and doing more yoga!  I also want to try to not be so cynical and stay positive.  There was something that I planned on making a resolution which came early in the form of a text message.  A few days before Christmas I received this message read it once then re-read it.  In a moment, the last thread of hope I had dissipated and a weight was lifted from my shoulders.  I have peace now.  When emotion is completely gone all you are left with is reality, and reality is much easier to deal with than emotion.  So I will move into 2012 at peace, which is something I haven’t had in a really long time. 
2012 will be a great year.  Every year that I have Angel is a great year!  This year I am hoping for love to find me and to just take things one day at a time.  Life isn’t perfect.  If it was it, it would be boring.  I’ve learned to hold on tight and enjoy the ride.  Remember, you have to go through some valley’s to appreciate the mountain top!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tis The Season

Christmas is almost here!  I have always loved Christmas, and since having Angel I love it even more.  There are certain aspects about Christmas that I haven’t always appreciated until recently.  First, are Christmas decorations, specifically outside lights.  I have found myself causing traffic delays because I am driving 5 miles per hour so Angel can look at lights as we drive down the street.  I don’t care that there is a long line of cars behind me, probably with drivers who are cursing the idiot who is driving so slowly.  Seeing her face light up with delight as we see decorated houses makes me smile.  I have even learned to appreciate the inflatable snow globes and the like which I previously thought were just lazy decorating.

Second, I have finally gotten used to that creepy little man that shows up randomly around my house to watch over Angel (I know he is watching me too!) and report back to Santa on our behavior.  For those of you who do not know what I am talking about, it is the Elf on the Shelf.  The doll is somewhat creepy.  It reminds me of a bad scary 80’s movie where the dolls come to life and kill people, but kids love it!  It is also a good way to encourage good behavior because if the children are bad the creepy little man aka the Elf will go tell Santa.  This could result in fewer toys for the children.  Angel doesn’t really get this concept yet.  She just wants to hold it, but I am sure next year it will become a clearer what it is.  I do know I will have a long relationship with this guy so I better get used to him.

My third new appreciation for Christmas is manger scenes.  My mom has one on her coffee table and was a bit concerned about Angel wanting to play with it.  After being told not to touch it a few times, Angel decided she would just add to it.  A giraffe, pink elephant, some cows, an orange horse, and 2 farmers joined Jesus in Bethlehem; at least they did that day.  Also, Angel will stand over the manger scene and say, “Hi Jesus!  What you doing?”  

I also love the way Angel says things related to Christmas.  Christmas tree = Crisscuss, Presents = peasants, and Santa Claus = Santa Cause.   I can’t wait for Christmas.  The only thing I am not looking forward to is having to assemble her toys.  At least this year I will have some help with that, and Santa sent an elf to put together her swing set (not the one on the shelf either).  

Merry Christmas to all of you!  Enjoy this time with your friends and family.  Soak in every moment with your children for these times will be with them forever!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Rules to Live By

Many of us may hope Santa brings Bradley Cooper with his chiseled abs in all his fineness, down our chimney this year, or maybe we just want a good guy.  Either way these are rules to live by.  Thanks to my Fine Wine Companion, Jade, for sharing! 

If a Man Wants You

If a man wants you, nothing can keep him away.
If he doesn’t want you, nothing can make him stay.
Stop making excuses for a man and his behavior.
Allow your intuition (or spirit) to save you from heartache.
Stop trying to change yourselves for a relationship that’s not meant to be.
Slower is better.

Never live your life for a man before you find what makes you truly happy.
If a relationship ends because the man was not treating you as you deserve
then heck no, you can’t "be friends."
A friend wouldn’t mistreat a friend.
Don’t settle. If you feel like he is stringing you along, then he probably is.
Don’t stay because you think "it will get better." You’ll be mad at yourself
a year later for staying when things are not better.
The only person you can control in a relationship is you.
Avoid men who’ve got a bunch of children by a bunch of different women.
He didn’t marry them when he got them pregnant,
Why would he treat you any differently?
Always have your own set of friends separate from his.
Maintain boundaries in how a guy treats you.
If something bothers you, speak up.
Never let a man know everything. He will use it against you later.

You cannot change a man’s behavior. Change comes from within.
Don’t EVER make him feel he is more important than you are...even if he has
more education or in a better job. Do not make him into a quasi-god.
He is a man, nothing more nothing less.
Never let a man define who you are.
Never borrow someone else’s man.
Oh Lord!  If he cheated with you, he’ll cheat on you.
A man will only treat you the way you allow him to treat you.

All men are not dogs.
You should not be the one doing all the bending...compromise is a two-way street.
You need time to heal between relationships...There is nothing cute about
baggage. Deal with your issues before pursuing a new relationship.
You should never look for someone to complete you. A relationship consists
of two whole individuals. Look for someone complimentary, not supplementary.
Dating is fun; even if he doesn’t turn out to be Mr. Right.
Make him miss you sometimes. When a man always know where you are, and you’re
always readily available to him—he takes it for granted.
Don’t fully commit to a man who doesn’t give you everything that you need.
Keep him in your radar but get to know others.
Share this with other ladies.
You’ll make someone smile, another rethink her choices, and another woman prepare.
They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate
them, a day to love them, and an entire lifetime to forget them.


Friday, December 9, 2011


I have had many friends and family members ask me what kind of gift they could get Angel for Christmas, and my response is, “I don’t know”.  She has plenty of clothes and toys and I am sure will be fully stocked from Santa.  She is happy playing with what she has.  I have given her new things, like the Tickle Me Elmo doll.  She plays with it occasionally but would rather play with a spoon and a bowl making pretend cakes or soup.  I recently saw a commercial for MasterCard that tells a story of parents that spent all this money (way too much in my opinion) on Christmas gifts for their little girl.  In the end all she wanted was to play in the box that the stuff came in.  (Commercial Link)I think most of us have fond memories of playing in boxes and packaging.  I remember once my parents got a new refrigerator and I played in the box it came in every day when I came home from school.  I had windows cut out in it, a television drawn on the inside, and a sun roof.  I must have played in it for at least 2 weeks until it got soaked by rain.  Cardboard houses aren’t water proof. 

These memories came back to me last night when I got a package that was filled with styrofoam peanuts and the item in it was wrapped in bubble wrap.  Angel was of course curious as to what was inside of the box.  When she saw all the peanuts falling to the floor as I pulled the item out of the box she yelled, “OH WOW!” She could have cared less about the item, she immediately started grabbing fist fulls of peanuts and throwing them up in the air watching them fall squealing with delight.  I enjoyed watching her have such a good time with something so simple.  After she was done and my kitchen was covered in styrofoam and bubble wrap Angel helped me pick them up and put them back in the box.  So to all my friends and family who doesn’t know what to get Angel for Christmas, don’t even think about getting her a box full of styrofoam peanuts!  That box is already wrapped and under the tree :)!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Here Comes Santa Claus

Instead of getting out in the madness of Black Friday, among shoppers that are looking for a deal on a coffeemaker or Blu Ray player, I opted to sleep off my turkey hangover.  I haven’t gotten out in that craziness since 2005 when my sister came out of a crowd with claw marks on her chest from a man trying to snatch a Game Boy from her grasp.  So the Friday after Thanksgiving we slept in, had breakfast, and loaded up to see Santa.  Angel knows about Santa from Christmas books my Mom and sister have bought for her and from the Santa Claus bib she wears year round because it’s a “big bib” (these are my Mom’s words).  It is from this giant bib that my Mom has taught her that Santa Claus says, “Ho Ho Ho”, which she can repeat with ease.  She was super excited and talked about him the entire way to the North Pole to see him.  When asked what she wanted Santa to bring her for Christmas her reply was, “oatmeal”. 

This escapade turned out like most adventures that involve young children, the curiosity and anticipation turn out to be more exciting than the event or thing itself.  Angel went through Santa’s Wonderland and saw snowmen, kissed nutcrackers, picked up presents, waved to elves and rain deer, and waited for her turn to sit on the fat man’s lap.  (I must say I feel sorry for Santa because I saw some of the people that were sitting on his lap, and I know his leg must be sore at the end of the day.  This has nothing to do with size (well, maybe a little) but there were entire families taking their pictures with him so he would have multiple people in his lap, not to mention accidentally stepping on his toes.  I would love to know what he says to Mrs. Claus when he gets home about his day.) Anyway, when it was Angel’s turn to walk down the red carpet to see Santa she giggled, ran, clapped her hands, stopped a few times to wave again to an elf or something, and finally she was about 5 feet from Santa and she turned around to run away.  She was not crying…yet.  I picked her up and told her that was Santa and it was OK.  I placed her on his lap which is right when she started screaming.  There was no amount of teddy bear shaking and silly noises that was going to get her to stop crying and smile for the camera.  She was reaching for me and calling, “Mommy” so I went and got her, and she and I, like the family before us, both sat on Santa’s lap (she still didn’t smile for the camera but at least she wasn’t screaming).  While I was on his lap I took the opportunity to tell Santa what I want for Christmas, and I am pretty sure I’m going to get it ;).  Angel will definitely get some oatmeal along with many other presents because she has been such an Angel all year. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Family Traditions

Christmas time is a time full of family traditions; decorating the Christmas tree, baking cookies, going to see Santa, listening to Christmas music, watching beloved Christmas classics, the telling of Jesus birth, and being with friends and family.  Since I can remember my family and I would decorate our Christmas tree the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  My sister and I would get the decorations from the attic while my mom made cookies and other yummy goodies; Bing Crosby would be singing White Christmas in the background, a crackling fire would be in the fire place (except when it was 60+ degrees outside (which was often)).  We would take our time and reminisce over old ornaments and previous holidays.  It was always fun and something I looked forward to each year. 
Since I left home I have continued this tradition with my family and on my own, especially now that I have Angel.  I want Christmas time to be magical for her.  This past weekend I kept with tradition.  Saturday I got everything down from the attic and got my tree.  I knew this year would be better than last year because she is older and would actually get into decorating.  I invited my family and special friends over to take part of the decorating fun.  Instead of Bing Crosby we listened to the tunes of The Wiggles new Christmas DVD…… (YAY!).  Angel was so precious ooooooing and ahhhhing over the ornaments and lights.  She loved the shiny colored balls, little characters, and the star that went on top of the tree.  I even showed her, her hand and foot print ornaments we made last year and how much she has grown.  She didn’t get the concept of hanging the ornaments on the tree.  Instead she would shove them in the branches.  We all enjoyed watching her excitement and curiosity.  She especially enjoyed taking the gold tree skirt and wearing it like a cape and wearing the red beaded garland like a necklace.  Mostly she enjoys the automated Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus that I have on either side of the fire place.  She will sit next to them say “hi”, sing Happy Birthday to you (this is because they are holding candles), and feed them cake.  I guess she is making sure that Santa stays fat! 
So our family tradition continues and delightful unforgettable memories are being made.  I am looking forward to Christmas morning when she wakes up and sees what Santa has brought for her.  I know she won’t fully understand it yet but it is the beginning of something magical!