Common Mom Rotating Header Image

December, 2008:

A Slippery Slope

I never had video games growing up. My video game exposure was limited to Donkey Kong and Ms. Pac Man at the bowling alley every Saturday morning! I remember getting our first and only video game console at home – an Intellivision! Oh the graphics on that . . . and the many keyed touch pad that you used to play REAL LIVE FOOTBALL! But I digress . . .

Just as back then, we’ve always been a no video game house as well. We just didn’t have them. Oh we had a couple plug-n-plays because I just couldn’t go without Ms. Pac Man ūüėČ But other than that . . . nothing. Until now . . .

Grandma and Grandpa gave the kids a Wii for Christmas. Woo hoo! We all love it. The adults are playing as much as the kids (I even had to start bowling left handed because my right shoulder started to hurt!). And if we were going to get a video game system, I guess I’m good with the Wii because you’re actually up doing stuff rather than sitting there losing your eye sight and getting carpal tunnel.

Then, each kid asked the big guy in the red suit for a Nintendo DS. I wasn’t surprised that Dude asked for that. I was very surprised Princess asked for that . . . I was sure she’d ask for something sparkly, or a unicorn, or a sparkly unicorn.

So, they each got a Nintendo DS from the big guy. The big guy must have been feeling very generous because he also gave each of them a couple games for their DS. I guess that was good because really, what good is a DS without any games?

Then, Grandma and Grandpa #2 sent each of them a $50 gift card for Christmas (thank you!). Of course they each used the gift cards to buy cases for their DS and also a game or 2.

So, we have officially started down that slippery slope of video games. We’ve taken the Halloween stance on the video games . . . let them eat as much candy as they want the first day then throw the rest away. They’re getting to play video games a LOT this past week . . . and we’ll let them until Grandma and Grandpa #3 come on Thursday . . . then it’s a new year, new rules :-)

How about you? Do you do video games? Do you have rules on playing times?

Frigid and Fun

Two words that describe our weekend :-)

We headed to Breckenridge after school/work on Friday to hang out and play for the weekend. We stayed in Vail Friday night . . . took us 3 hours to get there with the snow and icy roads, but we made it!

Up Saturday to head to Breckenridge for a day of lessons . . . skiing for Princess and boarding for me, Hubby, and Dude. I am soooo proud of the kids! They both did their entire day lesson without complaint . . . oh, did I mention that it was 6 degrees with about -25 windchill and that at times while we were up on the mountain we had to stop and wait because of white-outs due to the wind? So ya – it was a little cold . . . but the kids got to take quite a few hot chocolate breaks, which was cool. I have to say, Breck knows how to do it with the kids :-)

Hubby and I learned a TON in this lesson – our second one. It was so awesome – our unlimited lesson pass will certainly come in handy this season!

Dude was taking a level 4 lesson and did awesome! Only one other kid in his class, so pretty much a private lesson all day :-) Hubby and I were riding up the lift and saw Dude below us on the hill in his lesson. If what they were learning is part of level 4, I want no part of it ūüėČ They were learning basic free-style moves! Learning how to do twists off of mini-jumps! Ya – I’m sure the boarder dude instructors (who are awesome with the kids!) do this to make it fun for the mini-boarder dudes, but all the same . . . I am so not needing to learn any freestyle moves on my board ūüėČ I’m 36 . . . I know what pain feels like . . . I’m out of shape . . . freestyle moves are not on my to do list . . . just sayin’.

What else . . .

DewTour ’08 was at Breck this past weekend, so we got to see the pros and top amateur skiiers and¬†boarders doing tricks on the jumps and¬†the half-pipe. During one of the breaks Dude’s group took from their lesson, they headed up to check out the competition. Dude got to meet Shaun White¬†and Hannah Teeter! His instructor said they got their picture taken with them and everything. I asked if we could get a copy and he said he had no clue because it was some random lady who asked if he and the kids would step into the photo with Shaun and Hannah. But COOL! Dude was on cloud 9. Oh, and he got his first taste of Mountain Dew since they were giving it away free :-) This of course brought back memories of Hubby and I living on cold left-over pizza and Mountain Dew through college and early married life :-) Dude thought that was hilarious!

Princess finally got off the magic carpet and got to go up the lift with her instructor! She’s stopping and turning and good to go. One more lesson and she might be able to come out on the slopes with us :-) She did so well and had a blast . . . she’s not our cold weather kid, so we thought for sure she’d have bugged out of her lesson early. But nope, she got back a little late even! We were totally surprised when we saw her and her instructor making it back to the Kids Castle from the lift!

We bugged out of riding on Sunday because it was so friggin’ cold and 2 days in a row would have been a bit much in that weather. Instead, we listened to a pitch for time-shares for a couple hours (hey, they gave us a free room for the weekend for that 2 hours of time – it was totally worth it!). Then headed to the resort where they gave us free day passes and enjoyed the hot tubs and pool – outside. Hubby and I drank too many boat drinks at dinner – it was happy hour – but no problem since we didn’t drive and the shuttle took us back to our hotel. And because we had too many boat drinks, Dude and Princess got the hugest ice cream bars ever for dessert at the restaurant. Guess that’s what happens when mom and dad’s judgement is a bit impaired!

Hubby and Dude went boarding on Monday Рit was much warmer and sunny Рthe sun makes all the difference up here! Princess and I packed up the room and went shopping :-) Hubby and Dude tried out the run that takes them right into town and we picked them up there and headed to the resort for another day in the hot tubs and pools . . . fun fun fun!

Princess turned 6! Woo hoo . . . yes, she turned 6 while we were gone. She got to choose lunch, dinner, and pretty much whatever else she wanted on Monday. And of course she opened her presents when we got home ūüėČ

We all crashed WAY early –¬†all that fun wore us out!

We had a great weekend and can’t wait to head up there again! Anyone want to join us?

It’s Been 12 Years

I haven’t applied for a job for 12 years. This job I currently have is my first and only professional job, if you don’t count the internship I had to complete college.

I had to update . . . no, create . . . a resume!

I applied for a 6-month contract job today . . . it’s in MN . . . with the opportunity to work virtually after a while. I do not live in MN, but did for the first 24 years of my life. Maybe they’ll see that I’m 150% qualified for the contract and would want me so much that they’d let me work virtually with just a few trips to MN.

Yeah – I’m an optimist. But hey, ya never know!

Keep your fingers crossed for me :-)

Adventures With Grandma

I received this in an email this morning and couldn’t resist. Never hurts to spread some holiday cheer :-)

I remember my ¬†first Christmas adventure with Grandma. I was just a kid. I¬†remember tearing ¬†across town on my bike to visit her on the day my big¬†sister dropped ¬†the bomb: “There is no Santa Claus,” she jeered. “Even¬†dummies know ¬†that!”

My Grandma was not the gushy kind, never had been. I fled to her that day because I knew she would be straight with me. I knew Grandma always  told the truth, and I knew that the truth always went down a whole lot  easier when swallowed with one of her world-famous cinnamon buns. I knew they were world-famous, because Grandma said so. It had to be  true.

Grandma was home, and the buns were still warm. Between bites, I ¬†told her¬†everything. She was ready for me. “No Santa Claus!” she snorted. “Ridiculous!¬†Don’t believe it. That rumor has been going around for years, and it makes¬†me mad, plain mad. Now, put on your coat, and let’s go.”

“Go? Go where, Grandma?” I asked. I hadn’t even finished my ¬†second¬†world-famous, cinnamon bun. “Where” turned out to be Kerby’s ¬†General¬†Store, the one store in town that had a little bit of just about everything. As we¬†walked through its doors, Grandma handed me ten ¬†dollars. That was a bundle¬†in those days. “Take this money,” she said, ¬†“and buy something for someone who needs¬†it. ¬†I’ll wait for you in the ¬†car.” Then she turned and walked out of Kerby’s.

I was only eight years ¬†old. I’d often gone shopping with my mother, but¬†never had I shopped ¬†for anything all by myself. The store seemed big and¬†crowded, full of ¬†people scrambling to finish their Christmas shopping. For¬†a few moments ¬†I just stood there, confused, clutching that ten- dollar bill,
 wondering what to buy, and who on earth to buy it for.

I thought ¬†of everybody I knew: my family, my friends, my neighbors, the¬†kids at ¬†school, the people who went to my church. I was just about thought¬†out, ¬†when I suddenly thought of Bobby Decker. He was a kid with bad breath¬†and messy hair, and he sat right behind me in ¬†Mrs.Pollock’s ¬†grade-two class.¬†Bobby Decker didn’t have ¬†a coat. I kne w that because he never went out for recess¬†during the winter. His mother ¬†always wrote a note, telling the teacher that he¬†had a cough, but all ¬†we kids knew that Bobby Decker didn’t have a cough, and
he didn’t have a coat. I fingered the ten-dollar bill with ¬†growing excitement.¬†I would buy Bobby Decker a coat!

I ¬†settled on a red corduroy one that had a hood to it. It looked real warm,¬†and he would like that. “Is this a Christmas present for ¬†someone?” the lady¬†behind the counter asked kindly, as I laid my ten dollars down. “Yes,” I¬†replied shyly. “It’s …. for Bobby.” The nice lady ¬†smiled at me. I didn’t¬†get any change, but she put the coat in a bag and wished me a Merry Christmas.

That evening, Grandma helped me wrap the ¬†coat in Christmas paper and¬†ribbons (a little tag fell out of the coat, ¬†and Grandma tucked it in her Bible)¬†and wrote, “To Bobby, From Santa ¬†Claus” on it — Grandma said that Santa¬†always insisted on secrecy. ¬†Then she drove me over to Bobby Decker’s house,¬†explaining as we went that I was now and forever officially one ¬†of Santa’s¬†helpers.

Grandma parked down the street from Bobby’s house, and she and ¬†I crept¬†noiselessly and hid in the bushes by his front walk Then Grandma ¬†gave me¬†a nudge. “All right, Santa Claus,” she whispered, “get ¬†going.”

I took a deep breath, dashed for his front door, threw the  present down on his step, pounded his doorbell and flew back to the  safety of the bushes and Grandma. Together we waited breathlessly in the  darkness for the front door to open. Finally it did, and there stood  Bobby.

Fifty years ¬†haven’t dimmed the thrill of those moments spent shivering,¬†beside my ¬†Grandma, in Bobby Decker’s bushes. That night, I realized that¬†those awful rumors about Santa Claus were just what Grandma said they¬†were: ridiculous. ¬†Santa was alive and well, and we ¬†were on his team.

I still have the Bible, with the tag tucked inside:  $19.95.

I Like To Hear You Sing

Even when Princess is a PITA, she is also a huge sweetie :-)

One thing I’ve never been able to do is sing. I always wanted to be able to sing. But I’m terrible. In elementary school, I volunteered to learn all the songs for our program in sign language so I could sign them with my deaf friend at the Christmas Program instead of sing them. I spent recess for 3 weeks inside learning to sign Silent Night, God Rest Ye Marry Gentlemen, and Oh Little Town of Bethlehem.

The other day on the way home from school, Princess and I heard “All I Want For Christmas” by Mariah Carey, for like the gazillionth time. I was singing the parts I knew. I stopped when I didn’t know the words.

Princess said “Keep singing, Mommy!”

I told her I didn’t know the words to that part.

She said “I don’t care. Just sing any words you know. You sing pretty and I like to hear you sing!”

Oh how that girl knows how to work it :-)

A Perfectly Timed Anonymous Letter

My dear little Princess has been a bit of a – ummmm – challenge lately. Bad manners, rude, interrupting, whiney, hitting her brother, bad choices all around, etc. I try not to play the Santa card, but every now and then, I have to. For the first time this year, I pulled her aside and said “Princess, you are NOT making good choices! And Santa is WATCHING you! What do you think HE’LL think about how you’re behaving? Do you think he likes this behavior?”

She responded with quivering lip “No. I’ll try harder to make good choices because I don’t want coal!!!”

The very next day a letter arrived in the mail – it was addressed to me, in a child’s handwriting. I opened it and inside was a letter to Dude. It read:

“Dear Dude. You are on my good list. SC”

I gave it to him while he was sitting at the counter next to Princess. He of course beamed and beamed even more when she asked him what it said.

Then Princess looked at me with her humonstrous blinking blue eyes and said in the tiniest little voice¬†ever¬†“Did I get one?”

Nope – no you did not get one. I’m sorry.

I must say, her behavior since then has been nothing but STELLAR!

Yes, I recognized the return address . . . no I did not request the letter . . . it was totally unexpected . . . yet very much appreciated ūüėČ

Early Christmas Presents

We exchanged gifts with Queen Taunya yesterday since getting together again before Christmas will be difficult. Look what she brought us from DUBAI!!!

The Dubai Mighty Camels are ready to take the ice at the next open skate!

Oh, and is anyone else surprised there’s a hockey team in Dubai?

You’re Fired! Wait – No! OK, Yes You Are . . . Kind Of. . .

So yes I’m still laid off . . . but apparently I get an extra 30 days . . . so I get to keep my job until January 6th. Woo hoo! I’m happy about that . . . I can finish up some things while still taking the PTO I had planned (I’ll really only work 14 of those 30 days with PTO and holidays) and then I can start 2009 on a¬†wonderful new note instead of ending 2008 on a sour note :-)

My coworker got the same deal which I’m SOOOO happy for! The month will allow her to get her ducks in a row just like it will for me. So yay!

Maternity Leave Without the Baby and Sleepless Nights

Sounds great, huh? Ya – not so much when it means you got laid off with 50% of the worldwide documentation team.

As of tomorrow, I’m officially unemployed. While it sucks that someone else told me when to get gone, I’m actually OK with it. I’ve been talking about leaving for a while, and I guess this was just the kick in the rear that I needed. I have so much work to do for Hubby’s company right now, that this will make it much less stressful for me to figure out how to get it all done. And I did get a great severence . . . see the post title :-)

The hardest part about leaving the job I’ve had for 12 years – actually, the only professional job I’ve ever had – leaving the people. I’ve made many good friendships in that 12 year span and I will miss those people dearly. Thank goodness for email and IM!

So, I’m getting ready to spend more time with the fam over the holidays and spend as much time as possible out in the snow – snowboarding, sledding, whatever – now that I’ve got more time on my hands.

Home Again

So we had this storm blow through last night . . . we only got about 4 inches of snow, but before that, it was warm and RAINED . . . then it turned to glare ice, covered with snow . . . not a good thing with all the California and Texas transplants we have . . . they’re not so hot at driving in winter conditions. And it’s blowing and drifting and pretty darn cold out.

So, school cancelled for Dude.

As for Princess, she’s home with us, too. She threw up around 1:00 a.m. last night, so I got to clean her bed and wash HER sheets in the middle of the night. Fun fun fun.

I’m off to snowblow the driveway . . . man I LOVE my snowblower!