Saturday, December 31, 2011

A New Year.

A new year is upon us and it's kind of a big deal, the new year. It's the beginning of the next year of the rest of our lives.

Believe it or not, 2011 was not a totally miserable year. My good moments were better (WAY better) than normal and my bad moments were worse (WAY worse) than normal. I am more grateful than spiteful, so I guess it all balances out.

So. I have 2 items on my list for next year. (The term "resolution" doesn't do it for me.)

1. Getting rid of "Stuff"
2. Fuck Strength

1. Getting rid of "Stuff"
This is metaphorical, mental, and physical. Whether it is shoes I don't wear, people I don't like, or my own personal baggage. I'm getting it out of my life and not looking back.
This will make more room for the shoes I do like and people whom I love.

2. Fuck Strength
I guess you could call this my 2012 Mantra (or words to live by if the term mantra is to "yogi.")
I often see forwards and postings stating how a girl from < fill in the blank > is. "We are tough, we drive in the snow, we can beat the heat, we can live in the cold......" and it goes on. That was my attitude.
How strong are you Mandy? Well, I'm strong.
We are all strong and can ALL survive pretty much anything that is handed to us in this life, no matter where we come from. I've always asked for strength and now I'm ready for peace. So Fuck Strength. I want peace. I don't want to be too cold, I don't want too hot. I just want to be happy. I want more good days than bad. That's it.

Here's to 2012. I love you all!
To get this new year party started I've cut 4 inches off my hair (getting rid of stuff) and put on a dress (Fuck Strength)
Happy New Year!

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not one bit simpler."
Albert Einstein

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Vacation part 2: Staycation

I take my time off VERY seriously. The majority of my "working" life I am always struggling (as most Moms are) work, family, home duties, doctor appointments, 2 cell phones, an IPad, a work computer, and a brain injured husband.

Therefore, when I am "off" I tend to completely unplug, (attempt to) unwind, don't get out of my pajamas until noon (if at all) and do not apologize for it.
If you need me, I'll be on my couch or with my boys or both.


Christmas Eve with the cutest kids ever.

Christmas morning.

One of the many perfect sunsets this week.

A Christmas project. Thanks grandpa Scott. This thing will be burned before we take it down and set it up again.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Vacation Extravaganza, Part Won.

This year I am so happy that we decided to do a vacation rather than a gift exchange. Honestly, there is no present that could be bought that would have compared to our Christmas vacation thus far. That includes E and I arguing while we drive deep in the the mountains, about to run out of gas, looking for his college buddies vineyard because E "was sure" there would be a gas station "somewhere." I am more of a planner so driving uphill, into no mans land, where we've never been, for 40 min, with the gas light on, rolling the dice that we would just run into a gas station.....not my idea of fun. But we did find gas AND the vineyard. In that order. So for this time E, you win.

Our humble abode at El Capitan.

Hud's 1st time bowling.

Bumpers and a dinosaur ramp after we got smart. He almost won, both games.

The friends winery was called "Artiste." Not sure if the painting was open to the public but I see a wine label in his future.

And....we're off....

Today we hiked.

And hiked.

And took a break.

And found a farmer and his goats. (For reals)

And held the goats.

And got tackled by the goats.

And walked back.

And learned how to ride a bike, sans training wheels.

And celebrated. (A shout out to the balance bike for a smooth transition.)

And ate Macaroni and cheese in a cup, camping style.
(Elf on a shelf dead tired from his travels Aka. I am sick of moving that damn doll around. Hey Elf, why don't you do something sneaky like pack up the car for us tonight because it's ME who picks up after you and your cute little tricks and quite're starting to annoy me.)

And ate Harry's homemade pie, awesome style.

Tomorrow we Disney.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

It's a marshmallow world.

Ok. Vegas gear has been unpacked and "Glamping" gear has been packed, loaded and ready to go......except for E. He still needs to start and finish his packing in the morning. Standard. I will have all of the camping gear, food, clothes, bikes loaded in and Hudson and I will be waiting in the car as E frantically throws his bag together and runs to the car...sweating, flustered and usually toothbrush less. So, I always pack two.

Unfortunately, this is not a brain injury thing. It's an E thing. Nonetheless, I am very excited to get the boys out of town, get some fresh air, and enjoy some whiskey and pie at Harry's in Santa Barbara. (a brilliant combo, and known for excellence in both)

Things have been hectic and a little intense around here for various reasons which is sort of par for the course as we still have so much on our plate. Mainly being E's continuing recovery and all that surrounds it. As we celebrate the close of another year (especially this one), I know next year will be better, yet, there is so much to be accomplished. I've quit asking the gods for strength, as they seem add more weight to the overhead press. So instead, I ask for peace, patience, and a fantastic, really long vacation.

But for now, we are off to listen to 4 hours of non-stop Christmas music, teach Hudson how to ride a bike (sans training wheels), roast some marshmallows, drink some red wine, get up early, go to bed late, take naps in between and see those crazy Disney folk.

A few pics from the week......

Breakfast with the boys at home before I left.

At the Wynn in Vegas. Adult version of Disneyland.

Christmas party with great friends. 80s ski theme. And NOW he wears the helmet.

Both handsome and loyal.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Viva happy places.

I wouldn't call myself a "religious" person but I do have a relationship with the gods. My gods. We make a good team. I know they have my back for many reasons but here is the latest example.

Next week is my last week of work in 2011 AND it happens to be in Vegas. A week to meet with fellow colleagues, ring out this year, plan for next and have some fun on the side. I love my family and I love our laid back beach town but this momma is ready to put on some heels and stay out past 9pm. (I'm shooting for 11pm.) I don't gamble even one iota, but I'm pretty sure my time will be well spent.

Grandma and grandpa Arterburn will be back in town to hang with the boys. (Thank you D and D!)

The following week, the boys and I are going on a little Christmas adventure. We are heading back up to Santa Barbara (this is obviously my "happy" place of the year.) We are going "glamping" Aka glamorous camping at El Capitan.

On the way back, we are bringing Hudson to Disneyland for the 1st time. Just for the record, I hate, I LOATHE theme parks. I can't fucking stand crowds of people, standing in line, $15 sodas, annoying children, adults wearing Winnie the Pooh sweatshirts, adults and kids going on wet rides despite the fact they are wearing jeans and it's only 10 am, and Other stuff like that.
However, I love seeing our son happy, excited, ecstatic, believing in magic, feeling that Disneyland is the happiest place on earth and HE gets to go there and building memories that will stay with him (us) a lifetime.
And that's what it's all about. Hey.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Normal people problems

The good news? I'm starting to have "normal" people problems again.
The bad news? It still sucks just as bad (but I AM getting over it much more quickly.)

I bought all of the ingredients and after school/work and Hudson and I did our trial run of the Red Velvet Chocolate Chip Pancakes I spoke so fondly about a few days ago.

The result? A complete bust. My pancakes looked like dirty pieces of leather, sprinkled with poo. Such a bummer. I had dreams of a new Christmas morning, festive pancake tradition. Those dreams went right down the drain tonight, literally.

It's not that they tasted horribly, but they just didn't seem "right" when you took a bite. Are you a pancake or just cake? It was hard to tell. You would think it would be the perfect marriage. Red Velvet (chocolate chip) meets Pancake. But it was more like a mid life crisis. You pretty much have to choose. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

Kind of like swimsuits and high heels. You can wear a bikini. You can wear high heels. But you don't get to wear both, at the same time. You have to choose.

Pumped and ready to make some yummy pancakes.

Looking good!

Envisioning this.......

The reality was this......

Even Henri looked disappointed.

Back to drawing boards folks. It feels good to have some normal people problems again.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A little bit of this....

Things we did this weekend.

We had a slumber party

Celebrated a birthday party (friend Brady)

Watched a Christmas party (Hudson's pre-school Christmas program)
Front row, 2nd to the end on the right.

Now we are having a sunday-night-watch-tv-in-bed party.

This week, I'm going to have a baking party (with myself and Hud.)
On the menu: Red Velvet Chocolate Chip pancakes (whaaat?!)

If they turn out, they will be our Christmas morning treat. Hell yeah, to the most wonderful time of the year.

Friday, December 2, 2011

My holiday guide. (it's profound)

Here is my guide to "surviving" the holidays.

1. You don't want to gain weight: Then don't eat too much.

2. You don't want to go broke: Then don't spend too much.

3. You don't want to over-commit to holiday gatherings: Then don't invite your family on Christmas.

Happy 2nd day of December folks. Just remember, we've all got 99 problems, but a brain injury "ain't" one. So have a little fun.

Tonight I am making balloon swords for 2 four year olds, reading the latest US weekly and drinking a mahogany colored beverage that rhymes with
dine, fine, line, mine, nine, vine, shine, swine, decline, twine, sign and my personal favorite, consign.

I am now addicted to consigning things and seeing my "crap" slowly disappear (and making a few bucks to boot.)

What goes in, must come out.

Oh and for those of you who have young kids, and have "Elf on a Shelf" at your house this holiday season, here is a link taken from Pinterest, that gives creative ideas for fun Elf adventures.

(For those who don't know, Elf on a Shelf is an elf (a real Elf/doll) who comes to your house each year, watches you and reports back to Santa if you've been naughty or nice......daily. That's right people, screw the honesty policy, there's an elf in town and he doesn't just sit on a shelf in this house.

I would like to add number 101 to the list.
101. Elf on a shelf cooks mom an amazing red velvet, pancake breakfast on Christmas morning. (after all, this IS make believe.)

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Baby, it's HOT outside.

Is it November or July? Hard to tell around SD this weekend. I want to say I love it but honestly I had to force myself out of holiday (crock potting, Ugg wearing, hot chocolate drinking) mode. It was high 70 degrees and sunny all weekend. Nonetheless, we still got our Christmas tree (in T-shirts and flip flops) but we also went to the farmers market, the park and coerced ourselves (myself) to take in some vitamin D. After all, This is why we pay the "sunshine tax."

Also happy birthday to my dad! The best advice you ever gave me: "Chose your job and work it because you want to, not because you have to." Meaning, if you're going to be (fill in the blank) do it because you want to, not because it's your only option.
Pretty smart for a (retired) cop who has never liked donuts.

Love you dad! And now for the weekend slide show.......

Dad and E. (pre-brain injury in MN)

Picking out our Nordman Pine.

Gelato. Post Chargers loss.

Sort of like food pics, it never translates as well in photos as it does in person but our tree turned out pretty, pretty.