December 31, 2011

2011: A Good Year for the Roses

It's hard to believe another year has come and gone, and yet, there it went. So here is my year in review.

January is always a slow month. It was cold and snowy. So we sledded some. And we did our usual work and school thing. And C-man got his very first passport that we unfortunately didn't use. Maybe 2012.

February brought us a Packers Superbowl win. Beerman was fortunate enough to go to the game and have a seat to see it all live.

 I went to Orlando on a work trip and saw Hogwarts.

March brought us a 6 year old. How time does fly. We had a party at a bowling alley and as a result, I ended up with  PhD in Lego assembly.

March also took us to the lake one cold night to see the super moon that was more average than super. But we did meet our friends on the way down, and then met some people by a bonfire, which made it all a worthwile adventure.

In April, we flew to New Mexico for Easter break. We hiked through the Rio Grande Gorge with our very own llamas, Zeus and Apollo, and camped out overnight. I was blessed with an early birthday gift to go up in a hot air balloon over Taos, thereby checking off another bucket list item.

May was eventful as always. I turned 35 and celebrated Mothers Day with my favorite kid. And Beerman and I happily celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary together. Unfortunately, I was in the midst of shingles, so May wasn't as good as it usually is.

But then C-man started his first year in Little League as a Yankee, setting us up for a fun season of bench sitting and friend making.

As K5 finished up, June brought us some summertime fun. C-man started a new summer camp he loved, played more baseball games, and his very first lost tooth.

It also took me to Las Vegas for a week for work.

July meant more summer fun. At C-man's insistence, this meant going to Summerfest.

It also meant learning to hula hoop.

And, of course, playing more baseball; playoffs this time.

August took Beerman and me east to Japan for 2 weeks while C-man spent the time at Grandma and Grandpa's. It was an amazing, insightful, incredibly hot and muggy, bullet train riding, unforgettable trip.

Once we were back, C-man and I celebrated the last week of summer before school by taking his first train ride to Chicago. He also checked off his first cab ride, water taxi ride, and visit to the Chicago Field Museum.

Later in the month, he headed back to school; as a first grader this time. (And missing a second tooth.)

September brought the family together to celebrate Grandma Lou's 80th.

October moved us into flag football season.

It also brought us a Cub Scout.

 And a ninja for Halloween.

November meant we chaired the school rummage sale, (For the last time ever) making $14,000 for the school.

And we jingled around the zoo for the Jingle Bell Walk benefiting the Arthritis Foundation.

December brought more family time, as it tends to do. It started with hosting Christmas at our house.

and then celebrating Beerman's 40th on Sanibel Island,

and then celebrating Christmas for real,

and finally by celebrating Christmas with Beerman's family.

In addition to all that, I've started and stopped more medications than I care to think about. I've read books, watched movies, and burned through a couple of TV series. I've assembled Lego sets, taken photos, and gone for walks. I've rubbed my dog's belly more times than I can count, hugged my kid until he thought he'd burst and not kissed my husband enough. I've mowed the lawn and cheered for the Brewers. I've shoveled snow and cheered for the Packers. There were parts I'll remember forever and parts I have already forgotten. But every part of it included my family. And this year, it also included quite a few new friends. And to me, that's what makes it the most memorable of all.

Happy New Year to you and yours. And here's to a super 2012.

December 30, 2011


If there were anything cheesy enough to say it completes me, it would be salt water. It always has been my muse, my energy source, the moment when I breathe in and realize I've been holding my breath for the whole time. I live thousands of miles from salt water, which is maybe what makes it's reunion so much more special.


December 29, 2011

Catapulting fun

What feels like happened way back (September) Beerman built a catapult a la Angry Birds to play at our Fall Fest. The party was so busy, I never took any photos of the little kids lined up in an orderly way to get their shot. Recently, C-man had his friend over for a sleepover, and they wanted to play with it. A perfect chance for me to show it in action.
The deflated balls seemed to work better in the cold and the bungees pulled a little harder, but it was still a ton of fun.
Until that got too hard, and chucking balls at the obstacles just became more fun. But hey, whatever works, right?

December 27, 2011

Lazy Day

C-man asked if we could sleep in and then just cuddle and watch movies all day. I told him I saw no reason that wasn't possible. So as soon as he's done killing his Ninjago bad guys with all his new sets (which he is also reviewing on his very own YOUTUBE CHANNEL these days) and killing bad guys with his fire sword (Seeing a theme here anyone?), we'll get right on that.

December 26, 2011

The day after

We had such a nice Christmas. It ended with teaching our good friends the beauty of fondue. I got Beerman a raclette set for Christmas, and that fit in really well with the all-Swiss theme. I feel we are so blessed to have such good friends in our life to share fun things like that.

But now, it's the day after. The day when the wrapping paper gets thrown into the recycling, the fondue remnants cleaned up, I drink too much coffee from my beautiful new maker, and I help put a ridiculous amount of Legos together. I'm confident there will be a movie or two thrown in there for good measure, too.

Enjoy your boxing day!

December 25, 2011

Our blessed Christmas

We went to bed with a note wishing Santa the best. And then Santa was almost caught when the child got up an hour later complaining of a nightmare. Ooops!
But it all turned out splendidly.
Especially since he did get the only thing he'd been asking for...
And since his dad is part-owner of the team now, and he wants to be Clay Matthews, it was only fitting he have a new jersey.
It was all opened in record time.
But nothing says Christmas like Garmadon's Dark Fortress building, which is getting assembled at the most frenetic pace I've ever seen.
And as I was brewing a new cup of coffee in my brand new machine, a beautiful friend came to wish us all a Merry Christmas.(And eat my juniper berries, but we're not being picky.)
Merry Christmas to you.

December 24, 2011

My Christmas Wishes

For the door of hate to be closed and the window to tolerance opened.
For those with heavy hearts of loss and depression to find at least a bit of peace.
And for your plates to be plentiful, and both hearts and homes warm.

December 23, 2011

Unexpectedly joyous

Sometimes, when the sun is shining and the breeze blowing, you have so much happiness in you that you can't hold it any longer. And you realize you need to do something to release it back to the universe.
For some, that means doing flips. For others, it means taking pictures of it happening. Here's hoping you have an unexpectedly joyous moment today.

December 22, 2011

Thursday Thirteen: Miscellaneously me

  1. While on vacation, I started and finished Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I got it this summer as a recommended read from NPR, and it'd been sitting on my nightstand ever since. Why hadn't I read it sooner?! Oh my. It was so strange and so awesome. Screw vampires and werewolves- angels and demons is totally where it's at! I can't wait for the September 2012 sequel!
  2. My reporting structure has changed at work, and it's been such a breath of fresh air. I sense more change coming, which makes me hopeful about further alleviating the boredom problem I've been having.
  3. Somehow, each night after a Harry Potter chapter and before sleep, Cman has started asking what my favorite part of my day is. It's always tough to answer, because I can't tell him that it's when we talk about the favorite parts of our days.
  4. I got some work done on our vehicle this week. There was finally a recall on the lights that have been on almost since we bought the stupid thing. Except now, there is something actually wrong with the thing. I don't know what they did, but it's stalling and grinding on me. Bugger!
  5. While waiting at the dealership, I watched the Wendy Williams show. What a train wreck THAT show is!
  6. Beerman got me an 85mm lens for Christmas. I got it early to take to Sanibel. It's so heavy to allow for its beautiful 1.4 f. Dear God, I get all squishy just thinking about it. Screw blood diamonds, baby. Give me some glass!
  7. The Milwaukee Public Museum has a general store in its old fashioned streets portion that Cman never misses. They sell these bars of Indulge, a local chocolatier, and the Mayan Spice bar with cayenne and cinnamon is particularly to die for. Yum.
  8. Every time I think I'm finished buying Christmas gifts, I remember about teachers' gifts. Argh! It never ends. Would the elves come to wrap now, please?
  9. The trash talk about finding the pickle on Christmas Eve has begun. At what age will Cman realize his dad lets him win? Or that the present is always something he, specifically, wants? I love the pickle "competition"
  10. This week we were supposed to wear our holiday attire to work on Tuesday. I'm no scrooge, but I have my limits. And walking into a meeting with a Santa hat on is definitely one of them.
  11. C-man is having a friend sleep over tonight. You'd think he had just won the lottery, he's so excited. Totally adorable.
  12. I bought nothing while in Sanibel and we hardly ate out. (The beauty of renting a kitchenette). And I've got to say, I'm not sad about that.
  13. I really wish people would stop bringing food to work. I can't resist it, and I really don't want it, and all it does is make me feel like garbage. At least it's the last day here for 10 days. Whoot!

December 20, 2011

Christmas concert time of year

It was C-man's Christmas concert last night. Of course, the shoes that were fine for weddings in August no longer fit him, so I had to scramble to the store to find a new pair. But, I had a quick success at Target and even had time to grab the last few Christmas gifts.

It was a typical grade school concert, complete with the 4th graders busting out the devil's instrument recorders, a little brother escaping his seat to make his way to the stage repeatedly to the mother's mortification and crowd's great pleasure, and enough camera flashes to send you into a Japanese cartoon seizure. (Never mind they asked for no flashes - but that would bring me back to my usual rant about people not being able to figure out how to turn the flashes off on their cameras.) The 8th graders even played a song on their iPads. I thanked our friend who was on the technology committee for getting the school iPads this year. That song made the expense totally worthwhile. *sarcasm

And after an hour of indescribable cuteness, it was all over and time to go to Baskin Robbins. Clearly, the best part of the night for most of the kids.

Here are some snippets of C-man's parts:

Of course, by the 2nd song, the shirt was completely untucked. Not entirely surprising.

December 19, 2011

Yea for amazing weekends

What a fantastic long weekend we had celebrating Beerman's 40th birthday. The weather was absolutely perfect, and we couldn't have asked for a more terrific time.

We found loads of starfish...

And C-man taught us that they re-grow their legs if lost. He learned that from the Hulk. (Don't ever let someone tell you that cartoons rot the brain. They teach important nature facts!)

We watched birds...

And we found loads of sand dollars and shells. (Although we didn't find a shell that sounded like the ocean.)

We went on a search for manatees...

And were lucky enough to find two.

And then we were incredibly blessed to see pods of dolphins...

...from the back of the gorgeous sailboat we sailed around North Captiva Island.

In our "down time", we swam,

Just enjoyed being together...

And played shuffleboard.

Thanks, Sanibel. Until next time.