Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Eve 2013

It is the last day of 2013

And we returned only about a couple of hours ago from our big Christmas trip to Oregon.
The vacation was great.
I would say it was perfect, except one of our kids couldn't come.
We missed you, Branden!

And now, I am sitting on my couch in my warm living room and thinking about the year gone by
and the year coming up.

I've never been a big resolution maker
but I do like the idea of trying to improve.
And New Years does somehow feel like a good time to start over and make changes.

I'm not quite sure what my goals are going to be yet.
Talk to me after my birthday

Since we spent the day on the plane and got up early to get to the airport
We are all exhausted.
So we are "celebrating" the New Year
(if you can call it that)
by watching Sharknado
(yes, that's a movie and its about as good as it sounds)
and eating finger foods.

2013 was a good year.

I wish you all a wonderful and happy 2014!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Living it up

I got an email sometime last spring with an offer for a week in Cancun for an unbelievable price.
the catch? 
Must attend a 90 minute presentation to offer us...blah blah blah

Knowing that my husband has this inherent need for sunshine and beaches, I forwarded it to him.
And I admit, I was a little surprised when he actually booked it.

This man is a salesman.
And he really hates being approached by other salesmen.
So I pictured 90 minutes of hard sell tactics trying to sell us a timeshare as pretty much a nightmare.

We went on this trip on November 16th.
And I did something I have never done before.

I just enjoyed it.
I didn't take a camera.
I left my phone in the safe the whole week.

Frank did have his phone so we got a few pictures of the place.
Which is probably a good thing because even though I enjoyed every minute of the vacation,
chances are good I would forget without some sort of photographic reminder.
My memory is very very bad.
...I try not to think about it...

And I'm not even going to fix any of the photos...crooked? dark? badly framed?
I care not.


Our favorite restaurant (all food was included but we only had 3 restaurants to choose from)
It was very cool at night
and we ate a lot of Molcajete which we LOVE.

The walkway at night:

Our room was on the ground floor which we actually enjoyed...we could stroll right out of our patio and hit the pool or beach.
We also had a hammock which we kept intending to use but never quite got around to it until almost the end of our stay.
Here is Frank relaxing:

Oh my gosh! I laughed so hard.  He went all the way to the ground!
As you can see, above his head there, our hammock was ripped.
They replaced it when we called but it was still only so-so in the comfort department.
But at least we didn't hit the ground after that!

It was a great, relaxing week in paradise.

And we survived the 90 minute sales pitch.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The 12 Days of Christmas

Sometime in early December Frank became obsessed with the idea of 
The Twelve Days of Christmas

Each night he would make some comment about how we should be opening presents.
He would mention that there were no presents under the tree for him.

And I would remind him that 
we have never opened gifts before Christmas 
(except pajamas on Christmas Eve),
buying that many gifts would be awfully expensive,
we are traveling to Oregon for Christmas this year
and all of the presents have been shipped there
no presents under the tree!

But he had wrapped a small box for me.
totally shippable or fit-in-your-pocket-and-bring-to-Oregon size.

He talked about it so much that Carter and I decided that we had better just go shopping!
We bought him 12 gifts in one trip.
All from one store.
We weren't super picky...if it looked moderately fun/interesting/his size/useful, we bought it.

We showed him.

We told him that the "first" day of Christmas would be that Sunday
(counting 12 days until we leave for Oregon, not until Christmas)
And we piled all the gifts under the tree.

Here is a very bad picture of his presents, before we put them under the tree.

Here is Frank trying to open them prematurely.

On the first day of Christmas we each opened a present.
We gave him a battery operated card shuffler
I know, so exciting!
(but we've been playing cards every single night for a couple of weeks, so it was a good gift)

But my gift...
my tiny little gift.
Was a remote car starter!
What the heck?
This was supposed to be a trinket exchange.
I now understood why he was going on and on about the 12 days of Christmas...
He wanted me to open my car starter.
He's so cute.

However, since that first day he has been surprisingly excited about opening his gifts.
every night he reminds us that its time to open one
And when he went out of town for one night, he wanted to open two gifts the next night he was home.
I think he's secretly hoping to get something worth getting.

So far he has gotten:
the card shuffler (he actually likes it a lot and thinks it brings him luck when he plays)
a notebook for keeping score when we play cards
a sweater (that was too small)
pajama pants
a pair of scissors for him to keep in his office (that I've since been using for my crochet. oops)

some pecan caramels


Today I snuck out and bought him a game because EVERY NIGHT when he's shaking and poking at his gift
he says, "I wonder if it's a game"
Tonight, blast it all, it will be a game!

Monday, December 16, 2013

100 things

Obviously life has gotten away from me since I missed posting my 100 things around Thanksgiving time.
It doesn't mean I'm not thankful though.
So, in the spirit of  "better late than never" I give you my 100 things
(as usual, in no particular order)

  1. All of my kids
  2. Isabelle Grace
  3. A daughter in law that likes me (I think) :-)
  4. A good water heater
  5. A warm house
  6. The fact that I don't have to shovel snow. Oh my gosh I love that.
  7. My cute little car
  8. My snow tires that make my cute little car a little less scary in the winter
  9. Frank-for the good/nice person that he is
  10. Frank-for still being around in the flesh
  11. Botox-headaches are doing so much better!
  12. Email
  13. Regular mail
  14. My new internet connector (not sure what its called) on my old computer that the Verizon guy put on for free. Yay! I can get on the internet again!
  15. Tropical vacations with hubby
  16. videos of  Isabelle so I can see her grow
  17. Pictures of Isabelle so I can see her grow
  18. friends, near and far
  19. Facebook
  20. gravy
  21. Upholstery class
  22. Gorgeous sunsets (viewed from my deck)
  23. Gorgeous sunrises (usually viewed from my car)
  24. My fuzzy sheets.  I seriously say how much I love them every single night.
  25. Interesting blogs
  26. Gluten free recipes
  27. sugar cookies (I know, I know...makes no sense after #26.  I'm unpredictable)
  28. almonds
  29. emails from missionaries
  30. the internet
  31. Bro Danjou teaching me woodworking
  32. a good stew
  33. fall foliage- this year was awesome!
  34. wool socks
  35. interent search (yes, that's different from the internet. Deal with it)-One of my common comments when someone asks about...well, anything really...is " Google it. You don't have to wonder about anything anymore." And it's so true!
  36. My new Silhouette.  Right out of the box I cut two things, one was just a picture off the internet.  YAY! I'm done being frustrated.
  37. Vacations with hubby
  38. texting (I'd never hear from my kids without it)
  39. Prayer
  40. A big, full moon
  41. Barbeque on the deck (made by Frank)
  42. Mosquito-free summer evenings (rare)
  43. walking barefoot
  44. running in the grass
  45. s'mores
  46. That I get to go to Girls Camp every year
  47. A hairdresser that I trust
  48. hair color (!)
  49. playing cards with the fam
  50. My funny cousin Emily
  51. That my brother visited this year! I get so lonely out here.
  52. Occasional trips to Arizona.  They refill my cup...definitely doing one in 2014.
  53. my cute luggage
  54. talking to my parents
  55. A good dark chocolate
  56. my vacuum with awesome suction
  57. the sunroom
  58. soup
  59. having a friend right next door
  60. IMAX-mostly because it makes my husband happy
  61. occasional alone time
  62. the rare times when my kitchen is clean.  Love a clean kitchen.
  63. online access to the Boston Public Library. It rocks my world.
  64. Going to Oregon for Christmas
  65. Blue skies
  66. Fluffy clouds
  67. online banking
  68. That Carter doesn't seem too embarrassed by me. (hey, low expectations mean I'm happy, ok?)
  69. Netflix
  70. Prime movies from Amazon
  71. popcorn (fresh)
  72. Apple Pie on Darryl's birthday
  73. Frank's Cherry Pie. Yeah Baby!
  74. Listening to the drum line. I love a good cadence. :-)
  75. The temple
  76. The field by our house.  Perfect for summer runs and winter snow fun.
  77. Flowers that pop up in my yard in the spring.
  78. Mums in the fall
  79. family hikes
  80. Living so close to so many cool, historical places
  81. The beach
  82. my sewing machine
  83. My computer (even with its glitches, I'm glad I have it)
  84. cross-body purses
  85. my new remote car starter!!!
  86. Ice cream from Kimballs...once or twice a summer it's worth the risk. :-)
  87. This American Life
  88. Nashville. My guilty pleasure tv show.
  89. Bluegrass
  90. Hearing my kids play musical instruments
  91. That our trash only has to go a few feet to get picked up now instead of up a huge, long driveway
  92. When the UPS man comes to my house :-)
  93. hoop earrings
  94. cold sore medication
  95. the Christmas tree at night
  96. e-reader
  97. "real" books
  98. warm blankets while sitting on the couch
  99. air conditioning 
  100. Anyone who loves me enough to read this whole list!
*kiss kiss*

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Middle age

You know those people?
The ones who act and look "middle aged"?
Some of them were probably like that when they were 20, at least it's hard to imagine them any other way.

Well, I've never considered myself to be one of them.

Today, due to a simple but true comment
I came to the realization that I am one of them.
And it has made me very depressed.

I consider myself:
Easy going

I know what kind of fashion I like
And it is not middle aged.

But guess what? 
I don't wear those clothes
I don't buy those clothes
I am drawn to them and then I think
I need to lose 20 pounds first
I need a cuter hairstyle
I need to wear makeup

And I walk on by
And purchase something large and comfortable to wear "in the meantime"
Something, let's be honest here, frumpy and middle aged.

I'm not young.
I'm 46

 I think I'm less carefree than I used to be.
(darn cancer)

I have aged a great deal over the last two years
(Just another thing I'll lay at cancer's doorstep)

What's my point?
I realized today
that I am middle aged.
And I am not one bit happy about it.

Weekend in New Hampshire #2

I'm way behind here but gotta put up this installment of my NH trip!

I got quite a lot of scrapbooking done while at my weekend away!
It was like old times...
It's been a long time since I've spent a significant amount of time simply scrapbooking
just for fun!

Here are the pages I completed (some still need journaling):

And now for my dream:

As I mentioned, we found out from the person at the front desk that the hotel was considered haunted.
They even had a certificate verifying it!
(yep, he showed it to us)
But they keep it in the back room because some people get freaked out by that sort of thing.

So my roomie and I decided then and there that we wanted to see the ghosts.
Supposedly they are "haunted" by some children (nice and playful) and a woman (also nice)
I don't want to meet mean ghosts.

I admit to thinking about the ghosts a lot 
so they were on my mind...

That night I dreamed that I was asleep.
I woke up (in my dream)
but I felt like I was paralyzed, I couldn't move or open my eyes no matter how hard I tried.
And I felt like there was someone there...in the room.
So I'm trying desperately to open my eyes.
And then someone takes my hand.
So I force myself to open my eyes to look over at what I assume is my roommate holding my hand.
And no one is there.
And I look over and my roommate is fast asleep on her bed.
Then the lamp in the corner of the room begins to flash off and on.
And then I wake up.
For real.
And my roommate is asleep.
The light is off.
And I am a little freaked out.
Because it felt so real.

So what do you think?
Did I dream it because I was thinking about the ghosts? ...or did the ghost come visit me?

Friday, November 22, 2013

Weekend in New Hampshire #1

I recently spent a weekend in Jackson, New Hampshire for a scrapbooking retreat.
I haven't done one of those in AGES.

Anyone who is my friend on Facebook already knows all about it because I posted pictures of all of my layouts as I finished them.
But I have to document here for my own memories.

I went up with a friend from Ink About It, Joni.
and we met two other friends there Meg and Claire.

The weather was kind of gross and rainy as we drove up but I still got a picture of the cute covered bridge that sits at the entrance of the town of Jackson.

 The Hotel was amazing.  A big old building.

We found out during check-in that the hotel is known to be haunted.
(nice ghosts thankfully)
Since I had just gone on a tour in Boston with my brother Dion and they had mentioned haunted hotels in Boston, I thought it was interesting.
Joni and I decided we wanted to meet the ghosts.

The freaky dream I had that night will come in another post!

The hotel was sitting near a gorgeous stream and waterfall.
So on the second day, when the weather was nice, Joni and I went for a walk and I took a few pictures.
It was a really gorgeous area.
I guess the rain from the previous day had made the river run high...but it was just crazy that day.
LOUD and wild.  You definitely wouldn't want to fall in because you'd be swept away for sure.
It was pretty cool to see.

Shortly after this walk, I came down with some sort of food poisoning.
Which made my afternoon and evening of that day less enjoyable and less productive.
Luckily it passed quickly and I was back scrapbooking the next morning.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Dion comes to visit!

My brother Dion came to visit during the last week of October.
I rarely get family visitors so it was awesome!
(I like that business trips occasionally bring people here.  Otherwise I'd never see anyone!)

Unfortunately he took all of the pictures soI have very few to put on here.
I'll have to go steal some from him.
*ok, stole some*

Day 1 didn't go as planned.  We had planned to pick him up from the Boston airport and go to dinner and maybe walk around the city a bit.

Instead we ended up taking Carter to the ER at Mass General for a big lump on his neck
so Frank picked Dion up and brought him back to the ER instead.
We were there a LONG time.
But Frank was able to take Dion up to Lunder 10 (the cancer floor) where he spent most of 2012.
I think Dion found that interesting.
I mean, who wouldn't?
As usual, none of Frank's nurses were there. 
 I swear everytime we go up there to try to visit, none of them are working. sad.

We finally left the ER pretty late and decided to go to dinner
So we took him to one of our favorite places, Papparazzi.
We usually go to a different one but we went to the Boston one
and it was great.

The next day was Sunday so we went to church together
and he bonded with everyone in the ward right away.
what the heck?
I think they like him better than me.

For the afternoon we decided to take him out to see the foliage, 
which was not at its peak...not gonna lie.
Yes, it was chilly.  No mocking my attire!
But we went to Walden Pond and Concord
and it was a nice day together.

Monday morning we headed down to Boston to see the sights there before he had to check into his hotel and start working.
Gets in the way of life.

We went to Dunkin Donuts for breakfast.
Dion was pretty excited about this...and, well, I love a good donut, so I was on board.
We even ran into one of Austin's friends working there.
He was all "Hi Mrs. Hill!" I always feel old when people call me Mrs. Hill.

Dion's festive donut choice.

Before heading to Boston we went to the MIT observatory that was over by our old house.

aaand we might have swung by the old house just to check it out
(since he'd never been there)

Anyway, once we got to Boston, we did the guided tour from the Park Service and it was a great time.
Our guide was quirky and funny and had good stories.
She even told us all about some ghosts in a hotel downtown
(since 2 of the people in our group were staying there)

We had lunch in Faneuil Hall
(a must for any tourist)

and got some Cannolis
(No pictures! what?)
The statue of Paul Revere was wearing a beard and jersey since it was during the World Series.

We even road the T

and enjoyed a bit of the super friendly, unafraid squirrels in Boston Common.

So I think we hit all the high points for a tourist.
Missed the Duck Boats...dang.
Well, Dion, guess you gotta come back!