Friday, December 31, 2010

Snowy Get Away.

A fresh blanket of snow has the effect of erasing all the hard edges in life and making the morning's sun feel like the dawn of man on earth. And so it was fitting that on our night away celebrating seven years of marriage, the heavens opened up with a coat of snow that fell in flurries and in fits. We planned this last minute, winter weather warning be damned, and though it may fall under the 'That Could Have Gone Horribly Wrong' column of life choices we acted in our typical fashion and ignored the 'what ifs' in favor of the 'why nots'.

The sky above us was nothing but those big white clouds with gray moats, less threatening and more beautiful.




































The nearer we drew to the high country, the more menacing the cloud cover became, hefting itself up over distant hills and dumping rain and sleet into the basins below.


We 'oooh'ed and 'ahhhh'ed and I snapped pictures like a mad woman while Darrick pointed from one snow-dressed peak to the next saying, "Oh get that one! THAT needs to be a picture. They NEVER get snow! I bet those people are going NUTS over this!". And the kids? Well, for once Rohan fell asleep early in the road trip instead of crying his fool (adorable) head off all the way there and Luca was less than amused. Before we left the house she'd smalled the same finger in the same door twice, resulting in an ugly bump and a pretty impressive bruise. Lucky for me, it was just the right finger:





































I mean, what kind of sister would I be if I didn't photograph that one and post it on my brother's Facebook wall?





































As we drove, Luca entertained us with the next chapter in the novella that is "What Luca Will Be When She Grows Up". For reference, it's gone from a mommy to a mommy and a wrestler to a mommy and a cheerleader (ah, too easy a joke there! I'll pass.) to a cheerleader and a ballerina to just a ballerina. In this incarnation, broken down via photographic dramatic interpretation, she tells us how she will be 'Only good and nice things and no bad or mean things' when she grows up:








The first snow fell on us at Sunset Point and pretty much stayed falling all the way into Prescott. This is Darrick, attempting not to shit himself as he was forced to drive through it, in a Honda Civic:

Our stay in Prescott was at the Prescott Inn, a Bed and Breakfast I do not recommend at all, because if I recommend it here it might be hard to get a room next time, and we SO want to stay there again. The couple who owns it is British, which is enough to garner my love, and Darrrick jumped right into the B&B experience by helping shovel the drive like a good midwestern boy should (he was born in Ohio). We rented a two bedroom place in hopes of the kids sleeping peacefully in one room while we drank wine and watched movies in the other, which didn't work out quite that way. Instead, we drank and watched movies and battled Rohan and Luca over sleeplessness issues. But, alas, there was this to make it all worth the hassle:





I swear, they loved the snow.




Eating snow in a cup. And yes, those are socks serving as gloves, which means that is photographic evidence that what we have in enthusiasm and love, we sometimes lack in packing skills.

Traveling with kids means bringing in the doll's pack n play full of toys.
It was an amazing way to prepare for ringing in a new year and celebrating 7 years and 2 kids. We're lucky and we're in love and even though I would have preferred sitting by the heater in jammies watching movies to playing outside in that cold, we did it. And I am glad we did. There are times I wish we'd spaced out our wedding into another, less insane and busy time of year. From Halloween through Valentine's Day, it's a whirlwind of events and celebrations and money spent. But then I think of what my husband said to me as we drove home with two sleeping babies this afternoon. I leaned over and rested my cheek on his shoulder, holding his hand, and he put it into perspective like only he can when he reminded me, "This time of year is about the holidays, but it's also about our time together to reconnect. We are so damn lucky, babe."

He's right, as usual.



That's Prescott Brewing Company, which is fabulous, locally owned, and makes outstanding hot chocolate that tastes like a slice of heaven after walking through a flurry of snow on icy streets while carrying and 33 pound baby boy.

To 2010 closing and 2011 blooming like a flower full of promise. Happy New Year!!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

January 1 Looms.

Last year I made myself two solemn swears, and then I didn't fulfill either. But that's neither here nor there because a new year is coming and I'm an eternal optimist. Plus, I was raised Catholic so nothing makes me feel more complete than setting myself up for the guilt of not following through. I'm clearing up some karmic space in my world by making some goals this year that I hope will improve our lives.

Three Goals for 2011:

1. Financial Stability. We're on a real, live budget for the first time ever, with plans of moving to cash from debit cards as of January. We'll have auto pay for our bills and cash for most expenses. Debit cards aren't being frozen or anything, but they are going to get some rest this year. I've been wanting to do this for awhile, but honestly we needed to get to a place where we were ready. In addition to a budget and cash living, we're working on getting rid of the credit card debt, and I'm develping a payoff plan for that. I need this. I am sick of worrying about money.

2. Health. Darrick and I have both made a commitment to losing weight, but it's not just about dieting. It's about diet. Healthy foods, less going out to eat (meshes well with the $ goals) and more outdoor fun. I have a goal in mind for year end, but I'm not going to put it out there. I AM going to work on making some healthy changes and hope those bring me closer to that goal as the months go by.

3. Thrifty. It's something we've been slowly progressing toward for awhile, but we made a pact this year: second hand is the way to go. Other than the obvious (gifts, food, toiletries and diapers for example) we're going second hand or going bust. We already make an effort to buy clothes for our kids, home decor, etc at second hand stores. Even my husband will happily shop Goodwill for work clothes and shoes (like the $350 pair of size 15s he got for $14.99 at our local Goodwill last week...I shit you not.). This is where I confess I'm the one who doesn't shop second hand for myself. It's NOT because I am a snob or think I am above it. For many years the majority of my wardrobe was from thrift stores and I had much more style back then! It's more that I don't like my body right now so clothes shopping becomes a drain emotionally (see goal #2) and the idea of sifting through rack after rack searching for treasures like you must do when shopping second hand compounds the misery. But no more excuses: this year, I'm going thrift or going home! I'm going to tally up (as best as I can guess) what we spent in 2010 on brand new items we could have purchased second-hand, and compare that to what we spend in 2011. I bet this helps with Goal #1, too. Bonus!

So, there they are. My nebulous and exciting goals for 2011. We're going to live like we have less than we do in order to gain more, and care for ourselves a little better. I'm actually looking forward to making these changes, suffering a bit and giving up some of the convenience and comforts we've taken for granted.

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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Revelry.

I overdid it this year, and so did Santa, but even when money's tight or there are a jillion Mega Blocks strewn from one end of the house to the other, it will have been worth it. This was the first Christmas Luca really 'got it' and from talking about Santa to obsessing daily over the stockings and plugging in the tree, she was all over Christmas. Which is great because, really, I am ALL OVER Christmas as well!

Rohan, on the other hand, is such a good spirit and went right along with her in the squeals and laughter, but in the end Christmas flew right over his head like one Santa's sleigh. That didn't dampen the joy of a stack of new toys, but he wasn't as enthusiastic about opening as I expected. I have a feeling that next year will be a whole new world of excitement, though!

Regardless, Christmas was an amazing and fun flash of wrapping paper, quiche, candy, books, toys, hugs, giggles, sleepy smiles, wine, family, and fun.


































































































































With Christmas over, we look forward to a wonderful beginning of a fresh new year. I asked Rohan the other day in the car, "Mo, do you think 2011 will be a good year?" and he raised both hands in the air, gave me that million-dollar smile, and yelled, "YEAAAAAAAH!"

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Kitchen Art.

In the 4 years (nearly) we've lived here, our kitchen has suffered the fate of small kitchens everywhere: used a lot, loved very little. And while I have big dreams of knocking out a wall, rearranging the layout, adding a half bath and laudry room on the far side, and putting in an island (not to mention new counters!), it's not happening anytime soon. But that doesn't mean my kitchen deserves to live a life void of decoration tenderness, right?

It started here, with the paint job and flooring demo. Another big step we took was leaving things off the top of the cupboards. My husband in particular has a tendency to shove things way up there because it's quick and convenient, but it looks horrible. For now, all we have up there is a brightly colored bird we bought in Mexico on our honeymoon, a white wrought iron decorative piece, and an antique juicer machine.

Thanks for my wonderful and talented friend Adrian, however, we had some artwork to add now as well.  As soon as I saw these pictures of my kids, I knew I wanted them somewhere in the kitchen or dining room. My initial plan was to put them on the wall where our table usually is, but for now it's all been rearranged to accomodate an obscenely large Christmas tree. So instead, I hung them (high, so the kids can't reach them) on the pony wall in our kitchen. Between them I hung a sterling silver serving piece that was part of our cake cutting and service set from our wedding. These pictures aren't the best since it's overcast today, but behold, kitchen art:






































I am super indecisive and like to redecorate frequently, so I initially put these up with thumbtacks, but as soon as we're sure that it's all going to stay where it is, we'll do an official hammer & nail & level hanging job. I am pretty sure I love it, though! It adds some character and cuteness to the room for sure!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas Week.

We rang in the start of Christmas week in true AZ style: short sleeves, sandals, and yellow leaves. On our way to my mom's to make graham cracker houses (an annual tradition), we stopped at the school across the street so our kids could play in the leaves. It was 70 degrees out today, with a bright blue sky. Perfect.












With Christmas rapidly approaching, I'm feeling a little stressed over all I have left to do. Shopping is only about half done, and that's because I went today and bought several gifts during naptime. I want to bake. I have yet to order cards and may never get to it this year. Lucky for me, tomorrow is my last day of work before Christmas, so I'll have time this week to shop, play with my kids, sleep in, stay up late and watch movies, and maybe even drive up and see some snow! I'm so excited for tomorrow to be over so Christmas can be here for me at last!!


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