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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

...and the countdown continues

July was crammed with swim team, family drama, and BOYS.  It was great.

ICK! August took us back to school, gave us Breaking Dawn AND Elvis week, and brought my mother for a visit.  We did a lot of chatting.  A lot.

By the time September got here I really could have used a vacation, instead I got Sarah Palin, a visit from my in-laws, and the weirdest Relief Society dinner EVER.

October really brought out the political ranter in me.  Whew.  I'm surprised anyone is still reading after all that. You guys should really tell me when I'm getting carried away.  When I wasn't going on and on (and on) about the election, I seemed to just be going on and on about pretty much nothing

Ah, November, an historic election, a new James Bond movie, my stinking 40th birthday(which I am SO over by the way), and some serious art appreciation. 

I'm not going to bother with December, I mean it's not even over yet, how could I possibly? 

PS~We went to see Doubt this afternoon.  I highly recommend it.  My husband gives it a so-so.  Men.

Almost as interesting as a Barbara Walters special

Just in case you are looking for some entertainment while you count down the hours until 2009, here are the highlights, in my opinion (and what with it being MY blog and all, I think my opinion should count for something, if not everything), of my exceedingly, and sometimes irratic, blogging performance of 2008.  I'm no Dick Clark, but neither is Ryan Seacrest. Trust me, this will be way more fun that watching some silly ball drop.

January was a good month, and clearly the start of my annoying obsession with all things election related, I think if an intervention had been staged at that point my children may not have had to witness their mother talking back to the television while she took notes (I took NOTES, what kind of a nut am I?!--If you are my brother, that is a rhetorical question, I already know what kind of nut you think I am) during ALL of the debates. My favorite January post has suprisingly nothing to do with the election and everything to do with my daughter, which, if you ask her, is just how it should be.

In Feburary I continued to talk about politics and Amish Friendship Bread, but the my break-up with Blockbuster has unfortunately remained the thing that affected me the most.  We never reconciled and I will probably never be the same.  Hollywood Video has tried to be a substitute, but they don't even have any season of Dexter on DVD, so without meaning to, they will always fall just a little short.

March brought Spring Break, Mike Huckabee, and the end of sweater season, but most importantly a valuable lesson about vanity.  One that I have not forgotten.

In April I discovered Flight of the Concords, no, I don't live under a rock, we just don't have cable, which everyone knows is about as close as you can get to actually living under a rock. Just ask my kids.

There were plenty of high points in May, but none even came close to this.  I really needed it after that whole tanning business in March.

Girls Camp was scheduled for June and my seperation anxiety kicked in making my kind of whiney, but knowing that I am raising funny kids really helped to put everything in perspective.

Okay, there are the first six months, it's only taken me an hour and half to put that together.  Now I must run to Target for Happy New Year tiaras and party snacks.  I will be back with the second half of the year this afternoon.

So, New Year’s Eve

I remember staying home with my little brothers while our parents (or my mom and whoever she was married to that year) went out to fancy grown up parties. We would watch Dick Clark and wear party hats, I, of course, being the only girl, got the glittery Happy New Year tiara, we would toss homemade confetti at midnight and drink ginger ale from plastic champagne glasses.  It all seemed very exciting at the time.

Later, when I when I was a drinking girl, the party would start early in the day and continue way past midnight. Which generally left me the ringing in the New Year feeling quite nauseous, and usually with the uneasy feeling that, while I didn’t exactly remember that last club we’d been to, maybe that was for the best.

It’s been years since I’ve been to any kind of crazy party on New Year’s Eve. We either hang out with our kids or go to boring adult parties. After last year I swore we would not spend another January 31st in agony, so tonight we are staying home and have invited our closest friends to come to our house where we will ring out the old by watching rented videos and eating ice cream and possibly going to bed around 10:00. I can’t even make it through an entire episode of Saturday Night Live anymore, I’m not even going to pretend I will be awake at 12:00. I’m old. 40, remember.

Our children will stay up, or try to. They will wear hats and throw homemade confetti and drink sparkling cider from plastic martini glasses. One or two will even go out with friends, just to other homes where some mom waaaayyy nicer than me has agreed to host a Flight of the Concords marathon (it doesn’t hurt that there is no fun wrecking little sister on the premises either, some people have all the luck).

Everyone will sleep in tomorrow, except me. I hardly ever sleep in. I will wake up early and crack open my new 2009 planner.

I love the idea of new years and fresh starts. I’m optimistic like that.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

is it really Christmas Eve already?

I’ve had a hard time feeling festive this year.

It’s really not like me. I am usually all about the baking (of which I have done ZERO this year and my kids keep asking when we are going to do it and I keep buying time with cookies from Trader Joe’s and now it’s getting down to the wire …………….) and the watching of the Christmas movies (of which I have only watched one-Stalking Santa{it rocks}, although I did sit in the same room while the yucky Jim Carrey version of the Grinch was on last night, does that count?) and the decorating (of which I have done the minimum and I still have a small pile of lights that I was going to use to make the upstairs feel all Christmas cozy but are lying in a corner in the family room because I didn’t get that far) and the torturous family photo Christmas card (of which I have not even forced my family to pose for, much less order, address, write a clever letter, and mail out to all of our loved ones near and far).

So today I am taking the day off. I’m not going to work or check e-mails or worry about, well, anything. I am dedicating this day to the Grizwold Family Christmas. We are going to be the hap- hap- happiest, most jolly, carol singing, treat making, light hanging, White Christmas watching, family in town.

Merry Christmas!!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Hallelujah

Thanks to what we shall forever refer to as “The Soldering Miracle of Christmas 2008” I have finished all 30 charms in record time. Victory is mine!!

*Special thanks to my sweet husband who cut all the glass for me, thus making this miracle possible, and not once did he ask me when I would learn my lesson. That must be his gift to me this holiday season.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I'll let you know how it turns out.

Because I am a woman who knows not my own limits, and because I have apparently sustained some sort of head injury which I have forgotten about (because, duh, that’s the way it goes with those stupid head injuries!) I have committed to MAKE (with my own two hands) 30 charms for Young Womens.

By Sunday.

HA! HA! HA! (that is the sound of me NOT crying over this stupid stupid not humanly possible thing I have agreed to do)

Saying no is not a concept I am well acquainted with.

I’m pretending I can’t hear you asking me why I waited until the last minute. It’s not funny.

*the charms I'm making look like this, but they say believe instead of LOVE

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

And the winner is........

Before I make the announcement I just want to take a second to tell you that this having a contest thing is no piece of cake. It was super hard. I really wanted every one of you to have some delicious Joe Joes, so I hope you will believe it when I tell you that, in my heart, you are all winners and your suggestions and stories have provided not only me, but my entire family with a wealth of ideas, thus ensuring that this year will be the best white elephant gift exchange ever (or at least, the most entertaining). I promise to post pictures of the extravaganza, it’s the least I can do.

With that said, the winner of 16 servings of Candy Cane Joe Joes is---

Ward who suggested –

You could make a cool sweatshirt with bubble-glitter-paint that reads: My Favorite Relative, and has an iron-on picture of you.

What could be better? It’s fancy AND practical.

It was really a tie between that and the Syrup Bottle Angel that June suggested, so I hope he will share his gourmet cookies. It’s Christmas after all.

Congratulations!! They will be in the mail this morning.

Monday, December 15, 2008

It's an exchange, you give me something, I give you something. We all win.

I have never given away anything on my blog before but I am in serious need of the vast knowledge and combined cleverness of my best internet cronies and have decided to reward them with the next best thing to a Red Rider BB Gun. At stake is an entire box of Candy Cane Joe Joes, the most fabulous Christmas cookie available for purchase in all of the world, for you, the lucky winner to share with your family or devour secretly in the privacy of your walk in closet, the point is- The ENTIRE BOX, all 16 servings, could be yours, to do with what you please.


Every year at our family Christmas party we have a gift exchange. Long ago we used to give gifts to everyone, then we all went and had a bunch of kids making it logistically and financially impossible to give individual gifts, so we began giving a family gift which evolved into each family bringing one family type gift and playing the present stealing game. It’s been fun and we have come up with some clever gifts as well as ending up with some clever gifts but it has gotten harder and harder to be original, so this year we are changing it up again.

We have decided to hold a true White Elephant exchange.

I don’t think I can begin to tell you how much this thrills me. White Elephant exchanges are on my list of favorite things, along with really good April Fool’s Day pranks and legend worthy practical jokes

I love a good gag gift and see horrid things all the time that I want to buy, just so I can see the look on someone’s face when they open it. Unfortunately, the receivers I would most enjoy giving a “fun” gift to are the ones who are least likely to appreciate one. Like an Alice Cooper Christmas ornament. You don’t come across one of those everyday. It’s a shame more people don’t have a sense of humor. I mean a good one, like mine

What’s your idea of a great White Elephant gift? What’s the best one you’ve ever given or received or heard tell of someone receiving? It does need to be in somewhat good taste, as there are children involved, but this is an individual event and I feel my competitive side coming out. I must have the most hilarious gift of all.

The only rule is that we cannot spend any money, it must either be something we have hanging around the house or something we make from things hanging around the house. Being married to Fred Sanford puts me at a huge advantage here because I have TONS of things hanging around the house (well, technically my husband has tons of things, but what’s his is mine, right?)

To be the winner you must leave a comment with your idea of the ultimate White Elephant gift, between now and Tuesday evening (Dec. 16th) at 10:00p.m. I will then choose one of your fantastic ideas to use as my coup de holiday and announce the winner first thing Wednesday morning.

On you mark. Get set. GO!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Oh, Nat....

This is so 80's

I can't help it.

Where the tree tops glisten

Each every year they bust Christmas Carols

Sing along if you know the words

I give you a countdown, in no particular order, of the best Christmas songs EVER!
Enjoy!!
What are your favorites?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

There’s more to life than being really really ridiculously good looking…

….and I have a feeling one poor teenage boy is finding that out the hard way as he walks the halls of school this week in his new look.

My son has a friend, Tad, who has a big mop of curly hair, it’s bouncy, or it was anyway. Two nights ago, our son, Edge, who is not a licensed stylist (or any other kind of stylist for that matter) offered to shave Tad’s head. Considering the fact that our son has zero experience in that area I was interested to see the events play out. Let’s just say it was, um, entertaining.

The victim arrived with his bushy head of hair (think Carrot Top, but not orange and without the crazy eyebrows) excited by the prospect of hairstyles heretofore unknown. The two of them proceeded to the back yard where our son had set up his salon; the family hair clippers, a pair of left handed kindergarten scissors (he is left handed after all), a comb (like the ones they give you on picture day) missing a few teeth, a kitchen stool, and a garbage bag with a hole ripped in the bottom for Tad to “drape” over himself.

On a side note: One thing I’ve noticed about boys is no matter how old they are the best adventures still take place in the back yard. In the last year we’ve had fires, forts, gun battles, Mentos explosions, silly string, barbequed Totino’s pizza, and now a salon.

Edge began by cutting some of the length off with the scissors, you know “so the clippers don’t have to do all the work”. I could hear our daughter asking Tad if he was really going to let her brother shave off ALL of his hair, which was answered with a nervous little laugh and “well, not shave exactly”. By this time though, it was too late to ask for testimonials from former clients, the makeover had begun, nothing could be done but wait for the results. Poor kid, he must have been having second thoughts as the younger brother and sister gathered around to watch and ask questions, not to mention saying things like “Wow, did you see that big hunk he just chopped off?” To Tad's credit his lower lip never quivered, he has a cheery disposition for sure.

After they had been at it for about 10 minutes I ventured out to see how it was going. It was going hilariously. For starters, the boy was wearing a kitchen garbage bag, which was about 3 sizes too small, it looked like a plastic straight jacket, which is what I would have needed to be restrained in before I let my son go at my head with scissors and clippers. But hey, I’m not seventeen; I guess I have gained a little wisdom in my 40 years. I tried not to laugh, well, I tried not to let them see me laughing-much.

Tad (cautiously) – “I’m not sure how short it’s supposed to be on the sides.”

Edge –“Dude, it’s already pretty short.”

This is an exchange that would only take place between boys. You would never find two seventeen year old girls in the back yard chopping each other’s hair off without very specific instructions and full knowledge of the consequences if things went badly, not to mention an oath signed in blood that if the styling went south being BFFs would never be an option again. Not boys. They’re all “dude, you didn’t say how short you wanted it” and “man, do I have to wear this garbage bag?” and “wow, your hair is a lot thicker than it looks” and “ouch!”.

Me (unable to control my uncontrollable laughter)-“Bwahh hahahaha! You know he doesn’t cut his own hair right?”

Edge (annoyed)-“Do you want to do it?”

Tad (meekly)-“Would you?”

I’m no professional either but I couldn’t, in good conscience, let the tragedy unfold without least making some effort to rescue what was left of Tads locks. I gave him the same haircut I used to give our boys when they were young, short all around with a little to comb over on top, I didn’t really have many options after the Demon Barber of Mesa had his way with things.

Tad seemed pleased with his look. Like I said, he has a cheery disposition. Thank goodness.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

To those of you who are sick of looking at library guy…

…I honestly didn’t mean to leave that last post at the top for so long. Sorry.

I have a thousand thousand “first drafts” in my blog file, but nothing I feel like has been edited enough to post or they are topics whose relevance has passed, for me anyway. I’m the kind of girl who gets excited or annoyed or just worked up in some way about something and I am completely passionate for a period of time then most of the time the fire goes out and I am on to the next thing. Just like a three year old. Which is not to say I cannot be sparked again on the same topic, it just hasn’t happened lately with any of my half written posts.

I also feel like taking Prozac has stunted my blogging mojo. (Are you thinking that I didn’t have any blogging mojo to begin with? Because that is NOT nice and I am emotionally fragile which is why I am taking drugs in the first place- so watch it!) Fortunately, largely thanks to the Prozac, my perception has cleared enough that I know better than to stop taking it just so I can return to my former overly dramatic blogging self. I am hoping my wit will return on its own soon. If it doesn’t I may have to submit a claim to the pharmaceutical company requesting that they list “may cause lack of ability to write anything interesting or grammatically correct” as a side effect.

Your patience is greatly appreciated. Really.

Friday, December 5, 2008

All the books in town can't help this guy.

So, this morning I took my son to the library.  We selected our books and went to the self-check out, one of our books wouldn't scan so we got in line to have a real live librarian help us. Imagine our suprise when we (my 10 year old son and I) saw this- --
We were in the LIBRARY people.  The PUBLIC library.  There were old ladies and small children galore and I thought to myself, surely this man does not know that his entire butt is showing. * Before you are too horrified, what you are seeing is a man with his underwear showing, when my husband saw this picture he wasn't sure. *  I was wrong, apparently that's the look he was going for, because at no time did he ever look sheepishly around and exclaim-"Holy Cow!! My pants have fallen down!"  I know everyone thinks I'm awful to have used my camera phone for this kind of evil, and maybe you're right, I can't be trusted with technology.  I've never done it before, though I have thought about it many times, but I was laughing so hard and I knew that my brother-Mr. You ain't gonna believe whut I'm lookin at- (I swear he calls me 10 times a week saying that) wouldn't believe me without evidence.  Plus, I personally think if you go around with your pants down in public buildings having your picture taken and being ridiculed on the internet is a risk you obviously don't mind taking.

The hardest part is coming up with a clever title everyday.

Last week I went to my Book Group.

I have a love/hate relationship with my book group. Sometimes it’s fun and enlightening, other times it’s dull and a drag. Last week it was good—and not just because my book groupies remembered my birthday (but they did, and it was super sweet and they even got me a gift, which I totally did NOT deserve.  They also did not humilate me by having the entire staff at Chili's sing Happy Birthday cha!cha!cha!, thus making them truly the BEST Book Group EVER).

Our book last month was The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. I wasn’t that excited about it, I had seen part of the lecture on PBS and wasn’t that impressed. I did end up reading it though and I was glad, it was a quick read and actually not too bad. What I was especially drawn to was the idea of being able to prepare for your death. It made me really think about the concept of what if…. What if I knew I only had, say 3 months to live? What things would I want to finish? What would I want my family to know? And how would I want to spend my days?

For the past 6 months off and on I have been reading Bird by Bird (Anne Lamott). It’s a great book. In it she writes about writing as if you are dying. What would you want to leave behind? What kinds of stories would you want to make sure wouldn’t be forgotten?

Is the universe trying to tell me something? Nah.

All of the members of my book group are mothers. We often find ourselves comparing horror stories, relaying our maternal exhaustion to one another, or just offering that “been there, you’ll live” kind of support. Women can be hard on each other and even harder on ourselves, so last week as we discussed the book and tried to reconcile the idea of “living in the moment” while “crossing everything off our to-do lists” I wondered if it is even possible? I don’t think I’m dying, but it couldn’t hurt to live like I am a little more. I mean, technically we’re all dying. It just takes some of us longer. I don’t think you can literally live each day like it’s your last, though some people do, they are so carefree and spontaneous (which is also sometimes known as “irresponsible”), but I do believe it’s possible to find a balance between embracing the day and preparing for the future, possible, but, at least in my case, hard to do.

I want to be “joyful”, but sometimes I just don’t think it’s my nature. Sarcastic, yes. Joyful? I’m working on it. Do you think we can change our natures? Some days I think so, other days (when I am completely worn out from life) I think not. I’m trying anyway. Things happen and you can either cry and make it all worse or laugh and get over it, I definitely believe that the way we react to things makes all the difference. I think most of the time I am pretty good at finding the humor in things and not dwelling on the negative (yeah, yeah, I was singing a different song yesterday--I’m over it, keep up), but I could be a lot better about being realistic in my expectations of what really counts in the long run.

How about you, do you balance well? Have you always? Do you know people who do? Talk to me.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Gather 'round while I get all preachy.

This year before you go shopping I ask you to consider a couple of things. I realize not everyone is as behind on their shopping/crafting/the whole dang stinking list as I am, but if you have any shopping at all left to do consider this; our nation is truly in a financial crisis, I have read more than one article JUST THIS WEEK about hungry children in America. America!!! Here, on our streets, probably in the elementary school down the street from your house.

So, before you go out and buy a bunch of stuff that will just be part of your yard sale inventory in the spring, please check out a couple charities, or better yet, do a search for needs in your immediate area. There are many organizations that value your time as much as your money, so if you are thinking you can’t afford to give anything, think again.

Second, if you are going to buy gifts check out Esty, everything for sale there is handmade or vintage (which means used or recycled, which everyone knows is a GOOD thing), and I promise you could find something great for everyone on your list. Pledge Handmade is a great place to check too. Buying local is another way you can make an impact on your immediate community.

Lastly, I LOVE this, Books for the Holidays. How can you ever go wrong giving books? It’s not possible I tell you. I always buy books for my kids. They expect it now and have all actually given me unsolicited suggestions this year, even the ones that don’t love to read. Merry Christmas to me!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

I find it best to kick the holidays off with a good old fashioned meltdown, don't you?

Let it be known throughout all the land that I am the queen of unrealistic expectations.
Lord have mercy on my soul it’s true. I have no concept of how many things can actually be accomplished in a day. You would think the fact that I have NEVER finished everything on my list would be a clue, but you would be so wrong. So very wrong.

As always I began the day Thursday optimistically making a list of the things that needed to happen before dinner. As usual my list was too long and sometimes the line between “need” to have done and “want” to have done gets a little blurry for me.

We had planned to eat at our house but a couple of our kids got the flu so we moved dinner to my brother’s house which meant technically I didn’t even have to dust anything before we ate. If you think I fell for that trick- HA! You don’t know me very well.

I decided that since I was going shopping on Friday and now I had extra time because we were eating somewhere else I could add a few things to my list. Don’t bother asking why I would assume I had more time, I was still cooking the same amount of food and now I had to have it ready and transported to my brother’s house an hour earlier than we had planned to eat at our house, AND two of our children were not feeling fabulous, but somehow I decided that Thanksgiving day would be a great time to check a few things off that I had been meaning to get to.

I don’t think it will surprise anyone to find out that I ended up near tears when I almost forgot to do my hair because I was so busy working on my "chores", and when my husband told me I should just enjoy the day and try to not worry about the fact that my serving dishes didn’t compliment each other (he wanted to leave the food in the pans—THE PANS!! Have you ever heard such nonsense, on Thanksgiving of all days?!!) well, I almost had a breakdown.

Fortunately I was able to see reason just in the nick of time, through the guiding hand of a Diet Mountain Dew and half a box of Candy Cane Joe Joes, I found solace and pulled my sorry self together. (I actually think those Joe Joes contain a little crushed valium along with the pieces of crushed candy cane. It’s a combination that honestly can’t be beat.)

We ended up having a lovely day. I’d like to think my matching bowls made all the difference, but I’m not THAT delusional.

 
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