Archive | December, 2015

New Year’s Eve 2015

31 Dec

I’m not a big partier when it comes to New Year’s Eve. In years past I have gone to friends homes to celebrate, but in all honestly, I’m completely happy to stay at home in my comfy clothes, with my family, off the roads where there are crazy drivers (who may or may not have been celebrating with too many adult beverages), where I can quickly climb into bed at 12:01 a.m.

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This year is no different. So far tonight, my sister has taken group selfies, I’ve read 100 pages of my new book, and watched some of the New York City New Year’s Eve coverage on TV.

And folks, this is about as wild and crazy as it’s going to get here on New Year’s Eve….I even went against the packaging and made my Ghirardelli peppermint premium hot cocoa with Cashew Milk rather than water!

And I just finished Factiming with Scott. Long distance relationships are not always easy at the holidays, but we’ve found a way to make it work for us! We had to celebrate the New Year a little early this year so he could get enough sleep before his early work shift tomorrow. We’ve had some fun adverntures and firsts in 2015, and I am so excited to see where 2016 takes us!

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So here’s to my last post of 2015 – I had grand plans of finishing some drafts I had started a few weeks ago, but I’m just too distracted to write creatively or to go back and edit. I promise, I’ll finish them soon-ish, they are fun stories, so please come back for those!

So readers, what does your NYE look like? Are you a party-animal or a home-body like me? However you are celebrating, I hope you all have a safe, fun-filled and wonderful New Year! I am going to close this out so I can watch Carrie Underwood perform on ABC! Good night and Happy New Year all! 🙂

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Nap time tactics

30 Dec

My mom is an evil genius when it comes to putting little kids down for a nap…I should know, of course, I was the first genernation she got to torture.

You see, here’s the thing, it’s actually a really smart, and super simple idea, and very little set-up and planning are required to make this scheme effective. One simply needs a Yanni CD and a repeat button on the CD player and it works every time!!!

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When my sisters and I were younger, we didn’t like to take naps. To “compromise,” my mom would tell us we didn’t have to go to sleep, we just had to lay there and listen to the pretty music, and when it stopped, we could get up. But here in lies the evil genius part of her plan…WE DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT THE REPEAT BUTTON!

I swear, that was the world’s longest CD ever to a little kid. My mom tells me that we usually were out within 2 – 3 songs, but that may have well been 2 – 3 hours of listening! Once she knew we were out, she’d let the CD play through 1 – 2 times and then turned it off so there would be no music playing when we woke up. Did I mention my mom was an evil genius?! 😉

Today, we are watching my cousin’s little boys for a few hours, and once lunch was over it was the most hated moment of the day for kiddos – nap time! The youngest didn’t have much fight left in him once he was all snuggled up in his blankie.

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His brother on the other hand, was having none of it, he only cared about watching Paw Patrol. So when my mom took him for a strategically timed potty break, I turned off the TV and busted out Yanni. Does this make me an accomplice to the evil nap time plot?!

He was given the same instructions I once received, lay on the pillow and listen to the pretty music. The little man cried and tried as best he could to fight the sweet, sleepy sounds of Yanni, but he, too was lost in dreamland before the end of song number two.

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The CD is still playing in the background as I type. It really is soothing, calming music. My mom and I were laughing about how at bedtime my sisters and I would sometimes ask her to play the Yanni CD. To this day I still fall asleep listening to soft music, my favorites being Jim Brickman and Celtic music. I guess some habits from childhood never fade. And someday when I have children of my own, mom has already told me she’s giving me a Yanni CD of my very own so I can torture the next generation of nap-haters! I must say I am looking forward to pulling the same trick on them that my mom pulled on me!

The little signs of Christmas 

25 Dec

This was the first Christmas Eve I’ve had off in three years, and I loved it! I spent the morning baking cookies and watching classic movies with my mom. Usually by the time I get home from work, the cookies have all been made. 

    

    
 
Next one the list was Christmas Eve service. My family goes to two different services, one where we worship every Sunday and then one at my great grandparents church that we have attended for as long as I can remember.  

I love seeing the advent candles and then when it’s time for the congregation to light our candles and sing Silent Night. I get chills every time, it’s such a beautiful sight! 

    
    
 
 

From Christmas Eve service number two, it’s home to get ready to go to my grandparents house for dinner. But before we can go, an annual photo with the Christmas tree must be taken!   

  
And then it’s off to grandmother’s house we go where we meet up with aunts and uncles and cousins.  

    
    
 
And this year an extra special guest made a surprise visit!! Did you know I was Santa’s granddaughter?! 😉

    
 
Then all too soon it was times for goodbyes, hugs and kisses. Back at home, all the gifts that had been hiding in various nooks, crannies and corners found their way to the Christmas tree. Meanwhile the stocks that were seated on the couch were stuffed with all sorts of goodies!  

    
   

And once everyone goes to bed besides my mom and I, it’s time to recreate one of my all-time favorite childhood Christmas morning memories…Santa’s magic snow footprints. Since we’ve never lived in a house with a chimney, Santa has always left a one way trail of footprints on the carpet coming from the direction of the front door! I love that this is a tradition I now get to make and one I’m excited to pass on to my future children! 

  

And now it is 1:15 a.m. Christmas morning and I’m keeping my mom company as she bakes nut, poppyseed and raspberry rolls for Christmas morning brunch.  

 
And now with kitchen clean and eyes that I can hardly keep open any longer, I wish you a good night. May your dreams be filled with nutcrackers, sugar plum fairies, and the true meaning of Christmas, the birth of a little baby named Jesus, who was born to save the world. 

The best laid plans…

21 Dec

Have a way of changing. Everyone seems to have those days where anything and everything seems to go wrong. For me, that was Thursday – before my work day started, I’d already had an argument with someone I love, then at work my computer froze four times prompting me to reboot it each time, and my email crashed three times while I was trying to draft the next weeks staff e-newsletter. To top it off, a project I had worked hard on had been passed onto another employee for what I took to mean I had done a poor job because I received an email saying something like “here are my edits, let me know if you have any questions.” – That happens to me a lot now, how can I learn to be better if I can’t fix my own projects?

For one of my coworkers, her bad day happened on Friday. Did you hear the news that I work for a university now? Well on Friday we were putting all the finishing touches on Convocation for our graduates of the fall semester. She had been working hard for a couple months on a program, submitting a t-shirt design, ordering yellow flowers to hand out to each graduate and checking off a million other small details on her checklist. On Friday, all of that planning went out the window…

After the 800 programs had been printed, folded and assembled with cords, a credential error was found after one of the speakers names on the inside page. Half a dozen of us found ourselves removing the wrong inside page and reinserting the correct page for a few hours. The t-shirts arrived, all 100 of them, shortly before lunch and they still needed to be sorted by size, rolled so the school logo was showing, tied with a blue ribbon and marked with a graduates name sticker. Luckily, many hands make light work and that at least went quickly enough.

After lunch, the bucket of yellow flowers arrived. It’s a good thing she ordered extra because those poor, pitiful things – some where missing heads, some were missing stems. In the end, we had just enough nice looking ones to tie a blue ribbon around!

That’s when I was next sent on an internet wild goose chase hunting down live, red poinsettias that had no glitter, sparkles or anything extra added. I needed five bouquets and luckily found them not far from the university. I was given the college card, told how to use it, and then my manager and coworker joked asking if I had their cell numbers so they could bail me out of supermarket jail. They humor wasn’t appreciated when I was in the store purchasing said flowers as the cashier entered the information wrong and the tax wasn’t removed. She had to have the office correct the mistake, which at first delayed me by 10 minutes and then caused me to have to sign my life away, including my license number on the corrected copies of the receipts.

Once over at the hall, the bad times kept pushing forward….the student ambassadors never showed up, which meant we found ourselves organizing pin boxes and t-shirts into alphabetical order and then running to start checking graduates in. Talk about chaotic – people everywhere! Thank goodness for my time at Disney; I felt totally in charge providing instructions, directions and answering the same five questions over and over. I was even Disney pointing as I showed guests the stairs or the elevator that would take them upstairs and the graduates the room behind me where they were to assemble in alphabetical order to walk into the ceremony.

Five minutes until showtime and our first speaker decides to finally make his appearance, I thought for sure the event planner was going to pass out from stress wondering where he could be.

By this time I am in my seat with my laptop, I was responsible for live tweeting quotes from the speeches, and using a tripod and camera to record my angle of the ceremony as B roll for a highlights video. One of the faculty members stands up at the podium to welcome everyone and she can’t be heard in the audience. I was sitting four rows back and found myself straining to hear her words. Enter the tech guys who attempted multiple times to adjust the volume on the microphone.

Thank goodness I had copies of the speeches to follow as I was waiting to tweet. I had scheduled out 8 – 10 tweets earlier at work so all I would have to do was hit the “Send Now” button. As I read along with the first speaker, he said tweet number one and then went rogue halfway through the speech meaning I couldn’t use what I had previously scheduled. Luckily, the keynote speaker hit all of her quotes for Twitter.

Just when it seemed like the rest of the evening was going to go off without anymore hiccups, it was time for the graduates to recite the class pledge. The only problem was the pledge was printed on the back of the evenings program, and they didn’t have programs at their seats. So a few hustled moments later, the pledge was said, congratulations were given and everyone was released.

All in all, I would call the evening a success. No one stumbled going up the stairs, no one tripped or fell while walking across the stage, everyone seemed to be present and accounted for. It even snowed a little bit, our first snow since November.

So I have officially survived my first event at my new job….now to do the same thing over again in the spring, and then next fall. I can see how this could get repetitive quickly.

Monday night piano concert

14 Dec

How are you spending your Monday night? At the moment I am enjoying my own personal piano concert on Periscope played by Mr. Gijs van Winkelhof.

I love listening to his scopes, you never know where the music will take you. For example, he started with Carol of the Bells, transitioned into some Disney songs, White Christmas, and currently we are being serenaded with Star Wars. And I don’t know how he does it, but the songs all transition so seamlessly into each other.

What is even more amazing to me is the fact that he takes requests from those watching the scope and they determine most of the songs he plays! He has no music in front of him, plays them all from memory. And a few weeks ago I learned during one of his broadcasts that he taught himself to play when he was younger – never had a lesson!

NOW HE’S PLAYING HELLO BY ADELE – IS THERE ANYTHING HE DOESN’T KNOW?! This is lovely to listen to. So peaceful and relaxing.

I absolutely love piano music, and there’s something so magical about listening to an artist play live halfway across the world. If you couldn’t tell by his name, Gijs lives in Holland. And that brings me to something else that is truly wonderful, had it not been for Periscope and technology, I would have no idea he exists or how gifted he is on the piano. It’s amazing to know there are people out there who are willing to share their gifts and talents with perfect strangers in different countries.

I could listen to him play all evening, and on a few separate occasions I have done just that. He took my request to play At Last I see the Light”  from Disney’s Tangled! Stunning, just stunning!! And now music from The Haunted Mansion, music from my attraction when I was a Cast Member – this music will forever have a special place in my heart!! HE EVEN MANAGED TO MAKE IT SOUND SPOOKY!!!

For me piano music is an escape, I’m quickly transported into the music. Stress and worry from the day melt away and I find I am lost in the melody and harmony of the tunes.

And after an hour of playing, he’s finishing with a song he wrote himself. Just lovely!

*This post has taken me all evening to write as I found myself swept up in the moment listening to the soothing piano sounds. Do you have something that makes you stop what you’re doing so you can fully submerge yourself in the beauty and wonder of what you are experiencing? And do you know of any other musicians I should follow on Periscope?!

For Christmas I’d like…

10 Dec

An anywhere door. That’s right, I want a door that can take me anywhere my heart desires. The gift of traveling is all I’m asking for…traveling without the hassle of pricing plane tickets and being limited to two carry on items and two checked-bags, layovers in unfamiliar airports and time wasted between point A and point B.

Think of all the exciting possibilities! I think I’d switch out my closet door with my anywhere door like in that Disney Channel Movie (only mine would take me ANYWHERE not just to a Castle court yard in another dimension). No one would know it’s there unless I told them, because honestly, how many people go into your closet on a regular basis?

Oh the many places I would go – Scotland, Australia, The Grand Canyon, France, on a cruise, to The Walt Disney World Resort, to the first floor of my house (that’s right, no more taking the stairs for me)!

There are so many places I’d love to visit for the first time and dozens of other places I wish I could return for a few hours to satisfy an empty feeling caused by missing it so much. Wouldn’t it be great if I could appear in France for some light shopping in the morning, spend the afternoon snorkeling in Australia, pop over to New York City for a pizza dinner, followed by watching the evening firework show at the Disneyland Resort and finish off the night sleeping in my own bed?! To follow that exciting day, I think I’d visit the International Space Station and one day maybe even Mars! My  imagination is my only limit afterall, so let’s see what this baby can really do!

If you could get the white door with pink and purple flowers like the door in that one Disney Pixar Movie, that would just be the icing on the most epic cake!!

Wordless Wednesday – 12/9/15

9 Dec

Breath-taking sunset from Sunday night. No filter was needed.

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