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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Ahead of schedule in the final stretch

Thanksgiving is over, the turkey has been cleared of all it's delicious meat, and we head to the final stretch of December, hurling toward the end of the year. We had a great Thanksgiving dinner in Massena, and the kids always enjoy being around all their cousins - there's always a lot going on. It reminds me of when we were all young (that's the great thing about having kids, you get to relive your own childhood over and over and over...).

Dare I say I'm "ahead of schedule" this year? The package is off to Turkey for our family there, the decorations are up (the tree will go up next weekend), the Christmas cards are ready to be addressed (but I won't mail them for a week or so...I don't want to seem too ahead of schedule), I've got a good chunk of my shopping done, and the dates are set for St. Nicholas Day, a get together for my coworkers at our house, and the cookie exchange. Wow!! Well, to reduce my stress I need to take little bites out of the gigantic elephant called Christmas. So, bite away, I'm under control and still have 25 days to go!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Over the thruway and through the tolls...

...to Grandmother's house we go.

We're heading up north to a Massena Thanksgiving for what is probably the first time in more than 15 years (I can't even remember the last time we went up for this holiday). Early in our marriage we decided that we would alternate holidays between families, but that fell apart pretty quickly once the kids came. This year has been a rough one health-wise for my Aunt and Uncle, and my mother has also been battling frequent bouts of "flu," so I thought it might be time to head up North before the weather really gets bad. My sister, Mary, and her family are joining us there (my other sister is a nurse and will be working all day), so I'm looking forward to being able to see the extended family. We're going out to dinner (I know: not ideal for Thanksgiving), as my mother is not able to fix a meal, and the extended family has their own families to cook for. So, we're off, keeping our fingers crossed that the weather will cooperate.


Best wishes you and all those you are thankful for this Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

December: Oh you cruel month...a time to rant?

If you remember, last year at this time I had already ranted about the ever earlier creeping of Christmas commercialism by now. It all started on November 1 when I was driving home from downstate, and came across a radio station that was playing "all Christmas music all the time."

This year, I haven't gotten my dander up (just yet) about the all encompassing holiday (for some) that is exactly one month from today. Why the difference? I'm not sure - I'm just not feeling overwhelmed by all things Christmas yet this year. It's not that I'm any farther ahead with my shopping; I have only about a 1/3 of it completed (I'm taking December 12 off to do a wide sweep and finish most, if not all, of it). It's not because of all the ads and commercials; they don't seem to be flooding the airways just yet (or maybe I've blocked them out, which is more likely).

Maybe it's because the month of December actually has really some fun stuff in store. From our St. Nicholas Party the first weekend through the cookie exchange and the Christmas Eve party at Mary and Peter's, I'm looking forward to all the traditions. This year our friends, Scott and Kay, have decided not to have their annual tree cutting party, something that Cameron is very upset about since, in his mind, it was the "kick-off" for a whole month of get togethers, great eating, and fun (which is ironic given his newly declared religious views - I guess his intellect has not yet caught up with his emotion).

I think part of my problem with the holidays, but more specifically, December, is that it is a tangible example of how quickly the years are flying by. As we were walking the dog in the cold, wet snow last night, it felt as if those trips to the Moonlight Creamery and summer walks along the canal were all just a sunny, warm dream...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

What Mercy does all day

Mercy is probably the smartest member of the family in her quest to keep warm as the temperatures plunge into the 20s and it just keeps snowing. She's discovered the heating vent in the kitchen, and we now have to step over her as we go about our daily routine.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sweet Justice - Honor Role Style

Annalisse was excited to beat her brother in this year's first report card quarter with a satisfying 90.31 to his 90.27. Both kids did great, but it's always nice for her to rub it in a little!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Jasper Baker, CGC, CTD

Among all the revelry of the weekend, I forgot to report that Jasper passed his test to be certified as a therapy dog.We think evaluator cut him a lot of slack with his excitability, though, and we do definitely need to continue working on heeling and staying seated when being petted by a stranger. We'll most likely take the Level II class again just work on this stuff (starting in January). We might also look into Delta certification for him since that's the other type of certification that places require before you can bring the dog in for visit.

We're proud of him passing the test at only 18 months old! When he reaches the two-year mark and his brain matures even more, we expect he'll do even better with the things that require longer attention. In the meantime, you can find him sleeping on the couch.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

100 Years of Broadway = 3 Hours of Extreme Fun

On Thursday night, during the last rehearsal before opening night of 100 Years of Broadway, there were apparently some last minute shake-ups having to do with the choreography, stage risers and other such drama. As a result, Annalisse and her cast mates left rehearsal very upset and saying things like, "We don't even want to be in the play now" (these sentiments seem to multiple exponentially with the number of kids involved - they feed off each other...). Anyway, we did not overreact, and simply said, "In two nights it will be over - just focus on the fun stuff like Friday night at Friendly's and the cast party."

And what a night it was! The performance was great and the after performance celebration was even greater, with Annalisse proclaiming it was one of the "greatest nights of her life." The kids were real troopers presenting over 25 (abridged) Broadway tunes in just over an hour, complete with some expert dance moves. We were very proud of Annalisse and all the kids - it was a real showstopper! "Break a leg" tonight, kids!




Friday, November 14, 2008

100 Years of Broadway - all in a tidy Hour-and-5-minutes!

Tonight is Annalisse's debut (along with many, many others) in Johanna Perrin's 2009 musical production, 100 Years of Broadway, a jaunty romp featuring some of the Great White Way's most famous tunes. The kids will perform such songs from such shows as Cats, Jesus Christ Superstar, Guys and Dolls, and the great classics by Rogers and Hammerstein (you know us old people and how we like a good show tune!!). Annalisse tells me the production will last just over an hour, then it's off to Friendly's for some after show revelry.

Come on out and see the budding star!! (NO! I am not a stage mother!)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Old "Bait & Switch"?

Recently, Wegmans announced that they are lowering prices on hundreds of items to assist their customers and employees during these challenging financial times. Wow! That sounds great and so typical of Wegmans to lead the way with their innovative ideas. It makes people like me really want to shop there in support of our famous hometown grocery store and their efforts help the community.

So, this morning I headed out early to get a couple of things for the week. I was shocked when I checked out to discover I had spent $90 mainly on items for the kids lunches, breakfast stuff and a other assorted groceries that did not include any meat and very few vegetables (I was heading to Skip's meat market and the Farmers Market when I got home for those items). My groceries didn't even fill one of the smaller grocery carts, and I think I only filled two of Wegmans recyclable shopping bags (plus two jugs of milk and a 12 pack of w-Pop soda) for the ride home.


Then I realized something: my grocery tally had very few shoppers club items. I remember a time when I would watch the groceries being "rung up" and many of the items would be followed by the discounted amount. This time around I spent $1.92 on a $90+ bill (the only discounts were on the 2-gallon jugs of milk and the 12-pack of Wegmans brand soda). Could it be that they are able to lower their prices and make up that loss through a reduction in Shopper's Club items? I don't think it's that I chose less items that qualified - I think it's that they are offering the discount on fewer items.


Hmmm...what do you think? Have you noticed the same?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Hope! Obama!

Dare we to hope that there will be progress toward stabilization of the economy, improvement for the health care mess, and more open, diplomatic, and congenial relationships with foreign countries?! Of course, the historic and exciting election of Barack Obama won't solve everything, but it seems there's no where to go but up - it feels a little like Christmas morning!

So, McCain, get into your (Ford) Maverick and drive back to Arizona, and Palin, load up the dog sled. Is Wasilla waiting for you? You betcha!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

In case you're still wavering

Here's a really scary article about John McCain.

Get out and Vote!!

Today is a very exciting day in the history of American elections!! We'll all be heading out to vote after work today - the kids want to come along as they've also been very engaged in the election this time. The only thing better than Obama getting elected would be an Obama/Hillary ticket. Oh well...maybe next time. Get out and vote - all our votes count!