Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's way.

I'm sure we all had different plans for New Year's Eve. Some think it's worth it to travel into the city for "First Night". Some go out to parties, restaurants, friends houses. Hubby and I aren't partyers, and rarely go out on New Year's Eve. (We did have an awesome time a couple years ago when our kids sent us to a dinner/show/New Year's Eve party) But snuggling on the couch is usually good enough for us. This year, the weather in New Hampshire just happened to be close to 50 for New Year's Eve, so Hubby and I went to our most favorite place in the world. The beach! The few boats that were in the water were surrounded by hunks of ice. We were going to go to our favorite junk shop, but it was closed for the holiday. We were looking to pick up a couple of "odds n ends".
However, Hubby's record shop was open. He managed to spend a few bucks in there.
Here's what I think of more records in the house!
Such a cozy wooden walkway to travel across.......Hubby and I love the beach in the winter!
By the time we got from the boardwalk in Newburyport to the beach at Salisbury, the sun was beginning to set.
I did find one of my favorite things.....a whole sand-dollar. We also found TONS of shells that were washed up after the east coast storm we just had.
After walking along the beach, we visited our absolute favorite seafood place...Brown's. We weren't the only ones with this great idea. The place was packed.
Hubby enjoyed himself!
And so did this guy. He had the place rockin'. I told Hubby this should be our new New Year's Eve tradition.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas 2010

During our Christmas season, Hubby and I were lucky enough to spend time with both of our grandchildren and all of our families. Christmas Eve was spent with Hubby's kids. Our 2-year old Grandson Noah had a ball. At one point, while gifts were being distributed and no one was looking, he went behind his Grampy and opened a gift "all by himself". We heard his little voice saying "I ripped it...I did it...Good job!" Luckily, the gift happend to be for him! We made sure he received plenty of his current obsession....vehicles. He's waiting almost patiently for me to get them out of the wrapping.
He and his Grampy had lots of fun playing with his toys....and the bows from the gifts. Hubby's favorite Christmas movie is on the TV....."Santa conquers the Martians". Don't ask.
And Wendy, Allen and Kenny had a great time visiting.
On Christmas Day we went to my Dad's house. Our little sweetheart Emily was happy to be there.
When we asked her what she got for Christmas, she told us "A new Pink Toothbrush!" She also got a Winnie the Pooh playset, which she graciously allowed me to play with her.
She always has fun with her Auntie Jamie. Emily is beginning to look more and more like her Auntie.
My niece Laura always enjoys the company of my Hubby..."Uncle Tag". She was very excited when Uncle Tag got her a "Disgusting Science Experiments" kit.
Laura brought over one of her Christmas gifts - a tube filled with bird seed, and various objects in it, such as paperclips or buttons, and the goal was to move the tube around and find all the objects. It kept everyone busy, including my soon-t0-be daughter-in-law Kelly.
I got to be "Santa" this year and hand out all the gifts. It takes a long time with so many people, but it's lots of fun to see everyone open their gifts.
Hubby got my Dad a special hat for his trip to Alaska.....and Emily insisted on taking a picture of it with her little digital camera.
A good time was had by all. Now we get to hunker down and get ready for the first Blizzard of 2010. 12-18" of snow headed our way. Whoo hoo!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Just one little thing..........

I'm very proud of myself this year for being so zen about Christmas. I just refused to get sucked into the craziness. I started early, shopped online, wrapped as I went along, saved all year so I wouldn't have credit card bills. But there's one thing I can't do anything about. Traffic. I did what I could to diminish my involvement in it. 1) The aforementioned shopping online 2) Using backroads as much as possible 3) Walking when possible 4) Shopping at odd hours ie. early in the morning. Unfortunately, I can't avoid the traffic altogether, because A) I live right across from a mall with Christmas Tree Shop and Kohl's in it, and 2) I live one set of lights from the MALL - not the little mall - the BIG MALL. So tonight, the Tuesday night before Christmas, it took me 20 minutes to go the 1.8 miles from my office to my home. My office is on one side of Route 28 (aka "The Strip") and my home is on the other. So there's no way to go from one place to the other without making a left-hand turn. Can't make a left turn out of the office to try and take a back way.....I'd have to cross four lanes of traffic and would therefore be sitting there all night. Can't make a left turn at Kelly Road, which would lead me to a back road, because everyone else who wants to take that left gets into the middle lane reserved for people trying to get across the lanes at least a 1/2 mile ahead of time, crossing double yellow lines in the process. By the time I could LEGALLY get in the left turn lane, there were already dozens of cars in the lane behind me. (At this point, I should have been an a**hole and put my left blinker on and cut into that line, but then I would have been screwing the people behind me waiting to go straight, and I'm just not like that.) Finally, my last chance to take a left onto my street (which is also the left needed to go to Christmas Tree Shop) and I had to sit through FOUR turns of the light (each turn being the people going straight, and then the turn lane, then the other people going straight, and their turn lane, etc) before I could get through. Here I come upon the most frustrating part of the trip. I need to take a left into my driveway, and the people coming out of the mall block the intersection! Their light is red, but that doesn't stop them from pulling up as close as they can to the car in front of them so they can sit there and wait. This is where I really do become an a**hole, because I lay on the horn, knowing darn well they can't go anywhere and they have to sit there and listen to my horn and view my fury. THAT'LL teach them!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Vennard Family Christmas

Hubby's family agreed to have Christmas a bit early this year, to make it easier for those who had multiple households to attend. With two two-year-olds in the picture, it seemed important not to over-stress them. Uncle Paul and Aunt Jeanne got the boys Little Tikes fire trucks! Going by the size of the box, they assumed that it was already put together! One of the dads, Ryan, gamely put together one of the cars, which the boys shared for the afternoon. Noah helped....... Grampy and Noah shared some time together, watching carefully as gifts are passed out. Hubby's sister Peggy played Santa. She does it so well....she's a very generous Santa Claus. She still fills stocking for all the "kids"....even the ones who are in their twenties!
Hubby's mom made it downstairs for a short time. While she was down there, her sons were busily installing the new 32" TV we all pitched in for up in her bedroom.
Hubby's son Kenny, his friend Matthew, daughter Wendy and sister-in-law Jeanne share some time together.
Grandpa (aka Hubby's brother Doug) watches as his son Ryan and grandson Gabe open a gift.
Hubby loves spending time with his grandson.
We ate, we talked, we played, we opened gifts. A good time was had by all. We also had our Christmas with my kids on Friday night. Two more parties to go...........Christmas Eve with Hubby's kids and Christmas Day with my whole family.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Little Bit of Busy

Hubby and I just got through what will probably be the busiest time for us this year. Hubby played Piano at a Christmas Party on Thursday night. We both went straight from our respective workplaces. The Party started at 6pm and they were blinking the lights out at us at 9pm. All that would have been fine and dandy....except we both had our "Holiday" potluck lunches at work the next day. So....after the party, we came home and cooked. Hubby had offered to make sushi for his party, so he was busy chopping and rolling. I was making chicken marsala in the crockpot, so I was cooking and mixing. On top of that, we were going to my kids' house for our Christmas party on Friday night, and I had said I'd make some salsa, so I was busy chopping and dicing for that as well. We got to bed about 1am (I'd never seen Jimmy Fallon on Late Night!). Friday was busy for both of us at work....although we managed to find time to stuff ourselves. Straight home from work, grab food and gifts, and off to my son's house where we had a great time with all my kids, spouse, fiance and grand-daughter. We ate and opened gifts and played with the new cats and the grand-daughter. And I only forgot to bring one gift for my son. Oops! He'll get a nice extra gift sometime next week! Now it gets quieter and more steady-paced. Easy day today. Dad wanted to find a NY style deli around here, so we're picking him up and going to Exeter for lunch. And tomorrow is Christmas with Hubby's family.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Nice N Easy

Christmas-time has been easy for me this year. Because I want it to be so.
I decided early on that it's totally ridiculous to get all jazzed up and anxious about Christmas. The whole idea of the season (besides the obvious, religious one) is to bring JOY to people's lives, right?

So why is everyone running around like nuts ripping their hair out?

The season is to be enJOYed!!

So I am determinted to enjoy it.

My decorations are minimal. My tree (a real tree, cause that's what Hubby and I like) is up and decorated. I put several decorations with sentimental value around the room. I don't decorate outside because we live in a condo.


I started very early asking everyone what they wanted for Christmas, made a list, and shopped online.


I don't do any baking......because no one wants to eat it. Maybe I'll see if I can get my grand daughter over to make some Christmas cookies. Just for fun. 'Cause FUN is the name of the game, right? So baking.............done.

I wrap a little bit every night. No point getting a crick in my neck wrapping for hours and hours.


I love sending out Christmas cards. Hubby and I try to get a nice picture or two when we go away on our adventures. I sit at my computer and make them. They have our names pre-printed on them and I have my mailing labels all set up on my computer to print. Easy and quick.

Christmas cards..............done.

The Christmas season can be whatever you want to make it. Easy or hard. Anxious or Joyous. The bottom line is....Christmas will come whether you're ready or not. And really.....what are people going to remember? Your perfect tree? Your expensive gifts? Your running around like a nut and going crazy? Or.........the fun and joy and excitement you bring to the season?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Beat the System

I live in the Shopping Capitol of the World..... Salem, NH. It's a border town with MA, which has a sales tax, and we don't. So we don't have only our residents shopping here; we have all the folks from MA coming up here to beat the sales tax. Unfortunately, that only creates a horrendous amount of traffic. Any citizen of Salem knows better than to go out onto the main roads at Christmastime. This situation is what has led me to do most of my shopping online for the past several years. It's been a divine blessing to be able to do all my shopping in the comfort of my own jammies.

(Ya Huh.....That IS Me!)

However, there are certain things that you really need to go into the store and check out before you buy. So today, Hubby and I ventured out to do a bit of shopping.

Hubby wanted to do some shopping for moi this morning, so he set out and walked to all his destinations. (Hubby likes to walk a little bit more than I do).

In the afternoon, we drove to a distant location for our specialty store item, and on the way back, as luck would have it, we were passing by the exit for the beach. So........

And for our grand finale, Hubby wanted go to TOYS R US! The insanity of it just boggled my mind. But.....Hubby works long hours, and the only other time we could go would have been at night when it would be just as crazy.

It just so happens that Toys R Us is adjacent to the plaza where Market Basket is located. We parked at the end of the plaza, down where the garden shop is in the summertime. There were plenty of spaces. We then walked to Toys R Us, got our one item and walked back over to the plaza........walking gleefully past the long lines of cars waiting to get out of the parking lot.

We then walked to the other end of the plaza, got our food for supper, walked back (again, walking right past the long lines of cars trying to get out of the plaza) and drove out the back way to get home.

VOILA! Stress-free!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Favorite Holiday Toy

We were talking at work yesterday about one woman's quest to find the toy her daughter wanted for Christmas. Apparently her heart is set on a Crayola Crayon Maker. It took her a while, but the woman finally found one. And it made me start thinking about how every year, there's some toy or other that is the craze for that year. Tickle Me Elmo. Cabbage Patch Kids. Beanie Babies. Furby. Tamagotchi. I tried to think back to the toys that were the craze when I was a kid. And I can't remember a single toy that I was so desperate to have. My number 0ne favorite Christmas gift that I will remember forever is the home-made Barbie clothes my mother made for my sister and me. Yes, MADE. Every day while we were at school, she sewed little tiny clothes for Barbie and Ken on her sewing machine. Imagine that. Coming in second is the box of school supplies. Not supplies for me to actually use at school. Things for me to use to PLAY school. Do kids even play school anymore? In the box was paper, pencils, crayons, glue, etc. including a teacher's bell for the desk! My sister and I would take turns being teacher, while our dolls and stuffed animals were the students. Both these gifts were great because they forced us to use our imagination to play. We'd spend hours setting up scenarios with Barbie and Ken. Most of the time, half the neighborhood was in our backyard with all our Barbies and accessories, playing all afternoon. Almost everything we did involved using our imaginations. Playing house, school and "church". (smooshed bread cut into a circle made great communion hosts). Riding bikes, rollerskating, ice-skating. No cell phones or hand-held video games in sight. (Yes, I certainly did see three ten-year olds on their bikes, each talking into a cell phone). I hope kids today get the chance to use their imaginations. They don't even know what they're missing out on.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Emily Gems

Spending time with Emily brings me back to the days when I taught preschool, and why I loved being around children so much. They come up with the best quotes. I've said a million times that I wish I'd written them all down and published them. While babysitting Emily last night, I got to play with her "Little People" with her. I like to interact with her and find out how her mind works. It fascinates me to see the little wheels turn in her head while trying to come up with answers to my questions. The scene: The Little People are going to have a birthday party. They are all gathering at the Little People house and are playing in the yard while waiting for everyone to arrive. ME: (as a Little Person): Can I play on the swing? EMILY: No ME" Why not? EMILY: You are too big ME: big am I? EMILY: You are 10 ME: Oh good.....if I am 10 then I can go in the treehouse. EMILY: No ME: Why not? EMILY: (pause) Because you are not 10 ENOUGH. ME: Can I play in the sandbox? EMILY: No, you are too big ME: (different person) Can I play in the sandbox? EMILY: No, you are too small ME: (another person) How about me? EMILY: No, you are too old ME: (another person) Can I please play in the sandbox? EMILY: (She looks at the person for a minute) No, you are too narrow! ME: Emily, this little person has hair just like you. EMILY: No, Memere, that person's hair is yellow. ME: Your hair is yellow too. EMILY: No, my hair is gray. ME: Your hair is gray? It looks yellow to me. EMILY: It just turned gray! Pepere played Thomas the Train with her for about an hour. Mostly they played with the helicopters while flying all over the house. We also had a great time playing with their two new kittens, Tasha and Lula. We read stories and played games on the I-Pad. We fed her dolls and then fed Emily. It was a busy night. Emily went to bed and was asleep when her head hit the pillow. Same with Memere and Pepere!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Snowman Band

I'd like you to meet the members of the "Snowman Band"....... Trumpet Tom, Saxophone, Guitar Freddy and Keyboard Ken. These little guys are put out by Hallmark and were available one at a could buy them about 3 weeks apart. I finally got the last one today. The neat thing about these little guys is that they are wireless. When you press the button on one, they all play. And you can have them far apart from each other and they play in unison.

My favorite song: