Archive for the ‘holidays’ Category

A while back, I wrote about why I hate Thursdays, and in that article, I mentioned that I also hate February. Here is why.

In February, 2005, I was in the throws of Post-Partum Depression. The Boy was born in January, and spent 10 days in the NICU with pneumonia. Brian and my Mom had to go take an Infant CPR class (I was already certified, so I didn’t need the class). This was right around Valentine’s Day. On his way home from the class, Brian had to pull over to barf. Thus started a nasty round of the stomach flu. The Girl got it later that day, and I got it several days later. Did I mention that I have an intense fear of vomit, that was only amplified by the depression? Yeah, there was that.

Jump to February 13, 2006. I picked the kids up from my mom’s, and The Girl has a huge black eye. Mom tells me she fell and hit her face on the wooden foot of the couch. Fine. The next day (note: Valentine’s Day…again) I again pick the kids up. I notice The Girl has a weird rash. I lift up her shirt, and it’s everywhere. I decide we need to go to the hospital RIGHT NOW. So we go. We are there for hours upon hours. The Girl was wearing an undershirt that had lace hearts on it. When one of the many doctors lifts her shirt to examine the rash, the rash has actually taken the form of the heart! He touches her skin, and it leaves more of the rash. This is not a rash, folks, it’s essentially a giant bruise! The formal name is petechiae, and it sucks. They try to tell me she has Leukemia, which of course is devastating. Turns out, it’s not Leukemia (WHEW!), but it is serious. She had a blood disorder called Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, or ITP. Basically, her platelet level was dangerously low, and she could have bled to death. They transfer us by ambulance to another hospital, where she is admitted. For several months, we have to take her to the Oncology Unit at Detroit Children’s Hospital to have her levels checked. She had to wear a bike helmet for a few weeks. Finally, it turned out to be the acute version of the disease, and we were out of the woods by her birthday in June, but those were the worst months of my life.

February, 2006 and 2007. I don’t remember specifics, but I know that the kids got sick a LOT in those months. Mostly colds and asthma issues. Oh yeah, and more stomach flu.  It was during these years that I decided that I would no longer participate in February.  We started calling it JanuMarch, and I wouldn’t leave the house for the entire month unless absolutely necessary.

February, 2008. Brian was working the auto show circuit, and wasn’t home for…wait for it….Valentine’s Day.  Are you sensing a theme here?  I am.  Anyway, My mom called me at work to tell me that The Boy was barfing.  A lot.  So, I spent Valentine’s Day at my mom’s house being barfed upon by my son.  And I still have that pesky fear of vomit, so I was all hopped up on Xanax as well.  I remember that I missed half of LOST because I had to change my clothes.  I was pissed.

However, I think that February 2008 was a turning point for me.  On February 29th (Leap Year, Yay!), I flew out to LA and got a job offer.  We moved out here a month later.  And, because January has been so full of illness (we have all had a nasty cold or flu bug that’s going around…and The Boy spent a night barfing), I’m convinced that February will be great!  I’m not going to let this month get the best of me this year!  I will participate!  I won’t hide!  And no one is allowed to get sick!


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I won’t say that 2008 has been easy for us, but it sure has been fun!  Our life has been completely turned upside down this year, and frankly, I’ve never been happier.  Here’s a rundown:

I vowed to never spend another winter in Michigan.

I got an awesome job in sunny Southern California.

Brian was out of town for work the entire month of March, while I (with the help of family and friends) packed up the house.

We drove across the country to our new home.

The Girl switched schools.

The Boy got potty trained.

The Girl lost her first tooth.

The Boy found his incredible sense of humor.

We have seen Hollywood and the Pacific Ocean.

We found out we really like hiking.

The Girl hurt her elbow.

The Boy swallowed a quarter.

Brian found stable work.

We lost our Maggie Mae.

We gained Bacon.

The Girl started 1st grade and has more playdate invites than we can deal with.

The Boy made friends in dance class, and also has some playdate invites.

We found out what 110 degree heat actually feels like (and we love it!).

We experienced our first earthquake, fire season, and Black Widow.

We got rid of cable tv, and don’t really miss it.

We have a mouse living on our patio, thanks in part to “Reindeer Food” that we had to sprinkle out there.

We (well, I) fell in love with In and Out burgers and El Pollo Loco tacos…oh, and Sharky’s shrimp tacos…heaven…..

We had our first snow-free Christmas.

And now, we will celebrate our first New Year in our new home.  We wish you all the very best in 2009!

(ps, if you read this through a reader, you should really go look at the new blog theme!)

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Before I tell you about my day, let me first say that I was not one of the crazy people waiting in lines at 4am, and I did not engage in any herd mentality.  My heart goes out to those who lost loved ones today because of the stupid, greedy, disrespectful people who have truly lost the True Meaning of Christmas.

That being said, I did shop today, and I was out there at 6am.  I live for Black Friday.  This day and Christmas Eve are my favorite days to shop.  It’s not for the deals…this is what gets me in the spirit of the holidays.  I felt I needed a kick start because of the lack of snow this year (no, I don’t miss it, I’m just saying).  Anyway, this is how my day went:

5:45 am:  Roll my turkey-laden body from my nice, comfortable, warm bed.

6:02 am:  Curse that there is frost on my car window.  This is California, for crying out loud!

6:05 am:  Arrive at Walmart (it’s right across the street…don’t worry, I didn’t speed).  Spend about 10 minutes looking for a decent parking place.  Settle for one that was in Timbuktu.

6:15 am:  Say “Holy Hell” for the first of many times when I see the insanity that is Walmart on Black Friday.  Get a coffee at the McDonald’s which is conveniently located in the store.  Spend 5 minutes trying to find a cart.

6:25 am-7:10 am:  Walk around the kids clothing section looking for the $4 pajamas that were in the ad.  They were already gone.  Pick up two other pair.  Head for the toy department.  Find a few of the items I came for.  Spend several minutes in a discussion with a perfect stranger (who was possibly the only one in the store, besides myself, who spoke English), with both of us trying to decide if the stuffed animal I was holding was a cat or a dog.  Decided it was a dog, and kept looking.  Found a cat, but it was the wrong color.  Keep looking.  Decide to buy wrong colored cat.  Witness several pushing/shoving/swearing incidents over items that were either a) not a good gift, b) not a great deal, or c) just plain stupid to be fighting over because I found all of them at Toys R Us for a better price.  Find some great movies for The Boy (Spiderman!) for $2.  Put them in cart.  Try to get to the front of the store.  Get halfway there and realize that if I want to get out alive, I’m gong to have to ditch the cart.  Go down a random aisle, ditch the cart and the pajamas that I picked up earlier.  Head to the cashier.  Wait in line for 15 minutes while sweating buckets because they have the heat on…Hello?  There are a million people in your store…don’t think we need the heat!  Stand in astonishment when the poorly dressed man in front of me (with his 3 SCREAMING children, still in their pajamas) plops down $400 cash on toys, clothes, a microwave, and of course, a gigantic tv.  Pay for my $17 worth of stuff, and get the hell outta there.

7:12 am – Breathe fresh air for the first time in an hour.

7:15 am:  Lock my stuff in the car and start walking to Toys R Us.  Laugh at the guy who thought he was going to get my parking spot.

7:17 am:  Walk into Toys R Us.  Find no carts.  Decide I can use a hand basket.  Say “Holy Hell” again because it’s just as bad as Walmart.

7:18 am – 7:40 am:  Walk around the store, pick up a few things that were good deals.  Get berated by an employee because OTHER PEOPLE (not me, I didn’t use the price scanner, I swear!) left a huge pile of crap by the price scanner and she had to put it away, and she has to work till 1:00 pm and then go work her second job at 3:00 pm.  Bite my tongue to keep from saying “Poor baby, having two jobs must be so hard.  Perhaps you should give one up so someone might have a chance to feed their family.”  Head toward electronics.  Find out that they are only allowing one person at a time to enter the electronics department, and there is a HUGE line to get in there.  Decide it’s not worth it, ditch my hand basket (sorry mean employee, more for you to put away) and leave.

7:43 am:  Back at the car.  Drive to Target.

7:58 am:  Arrive at Target.  Find a parking spot with ease.  I’m pleased.

8:00 am:  Find that there are no carts. I’m less pleased.

8:01 am:  Find a cart.  I’m pleased again.

8:02-9:05am:  Calmly peruse the aisles.  Toy department was a little picked over, and they didn’t have what I went there for, but it wasn’t on sale anyway, so I was cool with it.  Rejoice with a lady who got the last Wii Fit.  Find some more cheap, but good, movies for the kids.  Bought some advent calendars…but wonder why they are not religiously themed.  Got a stocking stuffer for The Girl.  Found the line that I had to wait in before I was assigned a cash register.  Was through that line and paid for myself in under 2 minutes.  I am pleased.

9:06 am:  Step outside and realize that I am STARVING.  Begin quest for breakfast.

9:15 am:  Find McDonalds in a Kmart parking lot.  Order Sausage McMuffin with no egg, hashbrowns, and a caramel iced coffee.  Eat in Kmart parking lot.

9:30 am-10:00 am:  Enter Kmart.  Find a cart right away, and also find that the store is fairly calm.  Spend some time perusing.  Found the toys I was looking for at Target.  Found pajamas for the kids that were BOGO, and super cute.  Looked at what I want to get Brian, but decided to wait on it for now.  Go get in line.  Not too long of a line, but slow moving.  Found a box of candy canes, remembered that I wanted to get some for the kids.  Wait some more.  Finally pay, and leave.

10:00 am – 10:05 am – debate with myself on whether or not I feel like going to the mall.  Decide against it.

10:05 am – 10:35 am:  Go to Michael’s.  Wander aimlessly for a while.  Have minor panic attack because I left my phone in the car.  Find a cute craft project for the kids to make for the grandparents and Godparents.  Find a great deal on a craft set for The Girl.  Pay using my 25% off doorbuster coupon. 

10:36 am – 10:50 am:  Go to Payless to look for shoes for the kids…yeah…the kids.  Am the only shopper in the store.  Have brief conversation with only employee in the store.  Silently embrace and relish in the silence.  Leave without buying anything.

11:00 am – ish – Get home.  Find Brian and kids playing a game.  Join the game.  Fall asleep on the couch while playing the game. 

12:00 pm – Wake up to find Brian making lunch for the kids.  Eat some leftovers. 

Spend the rest of the day hanging out with the kids, cleaning the house (sorta), and finishing the Christmas decorations.  The Girl didn’t feel well this evening, so they were pretty calm. 

Now the kids are in bed and Brian is at work for another hour or so.  I am trying to decide whether I should stay up and wait for him, or hit the hay.  I’m really leaning toward the hay…..

Oh, by the way, I’m almost done shopping!  🙂

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Who Knew?

Photo by Eve48

Today is the anniversary of Brian and I getting engaged. We were engaged on 10/30/1999…otherwise known as Devil’s Night…or so I thought.

For the past few days, I’ve been talking about Devil’s Night to people at work, people at the Chamber of Commerce breakfast I went to yesterday, and to the people I sat with at the conference I was at today. No one said anything to me, but they all gave me a weird look. So, on a hunch, I looked up Devil’s Night on Wikipedia…I realize, not the most valid source, but hey, it’s what I had.


I feel like such a newb.

So, for those of you who feel left out and want to know all about Devil’s Night, here’s the story. As a disclaimer, this is only my experience, and is not meant to be an accurate history.

In Detroit and the surrounding areas, the night before Halloween is called Devil’s Night. In olden times, it was a night when hoodlums would go out and throw eggs at windows, T.P. people’s houses (please tell me you all know what T.P.ing is), and occasionally throwing flaming bags of dog poop on that creepy old guy’s porch. This then excalated to a night of arson throughout the Metro Detroit area. I can distinctly remember driving past burning sheds and buildings when I was younger.

In recent years, the city of Detroit has tried to change this image, and have created “Angel’s Night”. They get groups of volunteers (who wear obnoxious yellow shirts) to walk around the city as a deterrent. It seems to have worked, because to the best of my knowledge, the number of arsons has gond down significantly in recent years.

So, now you know. And maybe I’ll find out more things that are “Detroit Things” or “Michigan Things”…like pop, and coney dogs……

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Jack o’ Lanterns

Originally uploaded by Teo

I took the kids out to a farm yesterday with The Girl’s friend’s family. It was so strange for me. Being from Michigan, going hunting for the perfect pumpkin always involved at least a jacket, but more often than not, we wore hats, gloves, winter coats, and boots. Yesterday, we wore shorts and t-shirts, and were still sweating. It had to have been 100 degrees out. And there were probably 1,000 people there! It was just craziness.

That being said, we had a good time. We had some caramel apples, pet some farm animals, and the kids played on a mountain of hay bales. The Boy felt a unique bond with a llama because of the spelling of its name (for those of you who do not know us, The Boy’s first name begins with 2 L’s. That’s right, 2 of ’em. LIke a llama). We only bought some tiny pumpkins because we aren’t carving one this year, because we see no point in doing so while living in an apartment…we don’t anticipate any trick-or-treaters, and we won’t be home anyway.

After we left, I took my 2 kids and The Girl’s friend out for some frozen yogurt (shh, they think it was ice cream!) to cool off. The girls bamboozled me into buying a bigger size than they would normally have, so no one ate dinner. It’s all good though. Sometimes it’s nice to have “ice cream” for a meal. 🙂

The best part of the day, though, was bedtime. The kids were all clean from their bath, snuggled in their beds, and were sound asleep in minutes. That’s when you know you’ve had a good day!

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