Picking Up The Christmas Tree

I don’t like the artificial tree that we have. My husband picked ours up a couple of years ago on some big sale. It’s what I describe as a Charlie Brown tree, and it’s fake to boot! Fake trees are supposed to look nice! So once again I went out and got a real tree. I took CJ with me. When we pulled up he got very excited. We picked out a promising looking tree together. The nice man at the lot cut the end off.

2013 Getting Our Christmas Tree

then he and another guy tied it to the roof of my car. The other guy said “I’ve never seen anyone put a tree on a Mustang before.”

2013 Getting Our Christmas Tree

My son was so happy we got a tree. His smile in the car window was priceless.

2013 Getting Our Christmas Tree

Even better were his screams of joy. “Yay!” “Tree!” and “Santa!” and “Surprise!”

2013 Getting Our Christmas Tree

Tis The Season To Be Thankful #IntelAIO

#spon: I am in a partnership with Intel. Through this partnership I gain access to content, product, or other forms of value.

Tis the season to be jolly. That may be the case, but it’s also the season to be thankful. My family has had it’s ups and downs this year, but in the end the Thanksgiving of 2013 wound up being one of the best ever.

Partially because of these people.

WW - Big Thanksgiving Family Photo Session

They are my family. I am thankful for every one of them. I have one brother that lives in Ohio. Because of the distance we don’t get to see him on holidays any more. I miss him. He, along with his family, drove in from Ohio to surprise our parents. I have another brother that was in the service for a number of years. He hadn’t been able to have dinner with us while on active duty, and especially not while deployed. There were a few holiday dinners where we put his picture up at the table. 2013 was the first year in probably 6-7 years that I got to be with both of my brothers and my parents. It was heart-warming to see everyone together, having a good time and enjoying each others company. I cooked a huge meal for everyone and we had a great time.

2013 Thanksgiving Table 2013 Thanksgiving Turkey

I’m grateful I can cook. That wasn’t always exactly the case. For the first few years of our marriage I only made maybe five different things, or simply heated up pre-made things. Back in those days, the late 80s, if you didn’t know how to cook something you’d get a cookbook. Technology has come a long way since then. Now if I don’t know something or can’t figure it out I just hop on the computer and either email someone or look on a site like Pinterest.

Speaking of technology, I’m very grateful for technology. I do love using it for work and school, but I also appreciate the things it lets us do for fun, especially during family time.

Intel AIO PC

That unobtrusive All In One PC that you see above provides:

Hours of laughter as my son and I play memory games like Angry Birds. He has been known to cheat.

Intel AIO PC

Educational reinforcement. Yes we have fun playing dominoes, but it’s also a good opportunity for my son to practice counting.

Intel AIO PC

Opportunity to color together without crayons.

Intel AIO PC

And even once in a while, it’s given me the opportunity to enjoy some reading. I don’t have great vision. Let me assure you that the Kindle app on the Intel AIO PC is perfect for people like me.

Intel AIO PC

The #IntelAIO PC HP Envy Rove 20 All-In-One Computer has become a part of family life and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I’m looking forward to sharing more about the Intel AIO PC very soon, especially a new software called MediaStory that I’m checking out that should be perfect at this time of the year. In the meantime, Learn about the many things that you can do with an Intel AIO PC.

What are some things that you’re thankful for?

#WW With #Linky – Big Thanksgiving Family Photo Session

We had a big family Thanksgiving. My brother and his family drove in from Ohio. Only I knew about that until they got here, that was a surprise for my parents. My Mom cried. My other brother and his family joined as well. Since we aren’t all together very often, I planned a big family photo session. Here are some of my favorite photos from the day.

My parents.

WW - Big Thanksgiving Family Photo Session

Me, my parents and my brothers.

WW - Big Thanksgiving Family Photo Session

The family.

WW - Big Thanksgiving Family Photo Session

It’s been many, many years since we had an extended family photo. I know it would delight my Mom. Time flies by and you can’t go back. It’ll be great to look at these photos in the future and smile, remembering a great Thanksgiving and celebrating family.

Thanks for stopping by! If you have a picture up for Wordless Wednesday, leave your link below! Then head on over to From Val’s Kitchen and Here And There.

When’s the last time your family got together for a photo? Leave a comment!

Two Weeks Until The Next Phase In My Life. And I Want To Be Like My Mom.

Mom I Love You Thru The Ages

I found that picture you see up there while searching for something on Google. It’s pretty scary how accurate it is for me.

At 14 I was more then half way through high school. (I graduated at age 15.) I didn’t like any one. My Mom was so annoying it wasn’t funny. Especially after she cut up my white shoes. I was already swearing if I ever had kids I would never be like my Mom or treat my kids like my parents treated me. Because you know, I was absolutely tortured. Bedtimes, curfews, rules, chores, punishments – you know, all that totally unreasonable stuff.

At age 18 I was pretty sure I couldn’t stand her. Make no mistake, I was pretty sure I couldn’t stand my Dad either, I was an equal opportunity bitch. I knew everything. I was sure that my parents were quite unreasonable and that the grass was, of course, better on the other side. On my 18th birthday, and I mean literally as in right after midnight, I moved out. It was quite unceremonious. I was quite unprepared. It was without a doubt one of the five biggest mistakes that I’ve made in my life.

Even after I moved out and turned into a complete raving bitch (I was only a junior bitch before that), my parents never gave up on me. I did things that I know embarrassed my parents. I didn’t care. They always did what they felt was right, and what they felt was in my best interest. My Mom always did what was right. Not what was easy, not what was convenient. Not what was popular.

I know for a fact that there were times that my parents blamed themselves for my bad decisions. I know this because they told me so. I assured them then, and later in life, that my bad choices in behavior weren’t their fault and they needn’t take them personally. They told me they did because that’s just how it was.

I started to figured out Mom was right before I turned 25, thankfully. I didn’t fully get it until after I became a mother in 1995 at near age 30. I’d already been apologizing for several years. I’m still apologizing. I doubt I’ll ever be able to apologize enough. Onward.

Some time after I became a parent my Dad, husband and two brothers would tell me I was just like my Mom. For a few years I was in denial. I didn’t want to sound like her. After all, I was different then she was. Then one day, I heard her voice come out of my head and I knew they were right. That stung a bit but I got used to it. It didn’t take long for me to realize that if I had to be like anyone, why not be like my Mom.

I’m not all that far from 50 now. I’m 47. My Mom just passed 70. She’s still looking pretty good for an old bird, and gets around pretty well. I don’t want to lose my Mom. Not now, not soon, not at all. I’ve told her, and my Dad, that they’re not permitted to die. But that isn’t the point here today.

In two weeks my oldest will be 18. Sometimes I call him the man-child. He isn’t really either a child or a man at this point. I’m not going to sugar coat it, things haven’t been going as well as I’d like lately. Or as well I’d hoped. Some days all I can do is just cry because I feel like I’ve failed. At some point I realized that this is how my Mom must have felt all those years ago. When I started realizing this is how she must have felt back then, I realized how much it must have hurt her. And that’s when I realized I am a coward and didn’t want to feel that way. In other words, I decided that day that I didn’t want to be like my Mom.

I’ve realized that this is like a long car ride. There have been some bumps over the past year or two. And then a few more as my son’s birthday started nearing. And I have a feeling we’re going to hit at least a few more. As my Mom did, I am taking many things personally. I feel like we’re almost at that point when the car is nearing the top of a huge hill and you’re just not sure if  the car is going to make it all the way up or if will stall. And then I realized I hope I can hold on like my Mom and be as strong as she was if the car does in fact stall. And should the car make it to the top of the hill without stalling, will we see a fun downhill on the other side, or will it be yet another incline. Basically, in the end, I hope I am just like my Mom.

Mom (who reads my blog every day), I love you. I’m sorry, there aren’t enough apologies. I hope that I have half of your strength and patience if the time comes that I need it. Being 15 and living at home with you and Dad sure looks good right about now. And once again, you were right. You can’t help but take it personally.

PS. For the record. I adore my Dad and much of the above applies to him as well. It’s just slightly different. A horse of a different color, as it were. Maybe we’ll trot that one out another time. One thing at a time right now.