Friday, December 21, 2007


Imagine living in picturesque New England.

Spring starts off the seasons with beautiful budding branches. Grey turns to green almost overnight as Poplars, Elms and Maples all start to shed their winter coats. Perfectly poised buds pop from little nubs into miniature forms of the future foliage they will be in a few months time. Grass begins growing again as lawns turn from cheerless to chartreuse.

Summer. Ahhhh, Summer in New England can be lovely. Camping on the coast of Maine can uncover sand dollars, sunburns and snippy hermit crabs. All are perfect and meant for kids to enjoy and memories to be made. When Maine is too rainy, as Maine can often be, there are always the mountains of Vermont. The Green Mountain state is duly named for towering pines that give shade to travelers whether picnicking, hiking or staying overnight. On the other hand, sitting in a backyard, enjoying a good old fashioned Slip-N-Slide, inhaling hamburgers on the grill and watching the Red Sox on their way to another World Series victory will always do in a pinch.

Fall.... Arguably my favorite (okay, maybe second favorite) time of year. The emotions of raking leaves is always the same. Eager enthusiasm to layer on warm clothes, pull out rakes and take to the yard soon turns to thoughts of hired services to do 3 days work in 3 hours time. Then the kids come out. Fights over rakes, whines of heat exhaustion or frostbite and constant potty breaks are no match for a well managed pile of leaves. The exhausting effort of attaining family-wide cooperation is quickly turned into a lark as soon as wide eyes spy even wider piles! Nothing beats innocent minds falling head first into a humungous mound of crunchy oak leaves.

Winter. Yup, winter in New England, or more specifically, "north of the Mass Pike" can be (to use a local term) a ˆwicked pissahˆ. Those of you from around the area know exactly what I mean. I've been back in Massachusetts for over 11 years now. I grew up here, weathered the infamous "Blizzard Of '78" and actually craved things like "wind chill temperatures" for the several years I spent in California. So I very wisely moved back East. And we (I should give my husband credit too) bought a home in the 2nd worst snow belt in the state. My 3 girls seem to love it here. Perhaps they don't know any different, but we do try to show them around the country as often as possible - we're off to "sunny California" next week as a matter of fact. But there is one area where our address has failed them. For the last, oh gosh it seems like an eternity, several years, all we hear is "we want a white Christmas!" True. Massachusetts, or at least our little portion of it, has been largely greenish-grey during the holidays in recent memory.

Ah, but dear, do remember to be careful of what you wish for!

With 10 days left in the month, we are well on our way to the snowiest December in history! Let me take you back a week...

Last Thursday was a beautiful day. Light, gorgeous, fluffy snow fell to a depth of 8" by the time all was said and done. Early school closings offered ample time to enjoy sledding runs and snowball fights. Mom even took a toboggan ride down the driveway after all the shoveling was complete. As easy task as light snow practically moves itself.

Sunday was not quite as blissfull. Snow falling on a weekend is a blessing, no doubt, but I guess it all depends on the type and amount of snow. Thick, heavy, wet snow is hard to move - especially 8 more inches of it! A husband bent on the latest XBox video game, as many of you well know, is ever harder (if not, impossible) to move. And then there's the dog. Let's not forget the 10 year old pooch who, for completely understandable reasons, doesn't move well on his best day and now needs a path from the back door all the way to the woods. That would be my job. That would be the end of my pining for a "white Christmas."

Oh wait, not done yet. If 16 inches of iced over snow (yes, I left out the details of how the 2nd storm ended with freezing rain) wasn't enough, more was in the forcast. 2-4 inches were due yesterday. For those of you reading this who have ever lived in the Northeast, you know that weather forecasting in, at best, a crap shoot. It is unbelievable how quickly 2-4 forcasted inches can turn into 6-8 real fallen inches, not to mention another shortened school day.

Bottom line, please everyone, stop wishing for a White Christmas! If you feel you really must have one, try renting the DVD - the one with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye. We New Englanders are a hardy bunch, but even the burliest of snowplow drivers are feeling a bit overwhelmed right now!

On that note and with Christmas lingering just a mere 3 days away, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and the Happiest of New Years!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Tag, You're It!

Christmas Checklist:

1) Select and purchase Christmas presents for entire family (both sides), friends (mine, his, ours & theirs), pets, teachers, coaches, neighbors, girl scouts, pastors, babysitters, paperboy, etc...
2) Double check shopping carts at all websites visited to make sure the "checkout" button was actually hit - forgetting this has cost me lots of money on unnecessary overnight shipping costs.
3) Wait in line at UPS, USPS and any other service that might get packages where they need to be sometime around the 24th.
4) Menu plan and shop for holiday meals
5) Wrap, wrap, wrap
6) Hide any presents Santa had to send ahead of time. This year, it's my closet with the hope that my fierce mandate of "don't go in there" will be listened to (I can hear Santa laughing now)
7) Clean the house, the bedsheets, litter boxes (you all know the drill)
8) Start a blog on a whim without a clue what to do and wish for the best!

So I've been challenged, oops, I mean "tagged" (sorry, add #9: take course on blogging lingo) to make an actual post. Apparently it isn't enough to start the blog, you are, in fact, supposed to write stuff on it! I think the easiest place to start is to thank my Sister-In-Law Gina for being the one responsible for starting me on this journey. I've been a fan of her blog pretty much since the beginning and only hope I can do half as good of a job as she has done. If you haven't already, please take a minute to view her blog:

So on to the "meme."

Here are the rules:
- Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
- Share 7 random and or weird things about yourself.
- Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
- Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Since I'm a noob (ha! I do pay attention to my daughter's chat strings) and since I have yet to write my "About Me" statement, I'll start with 7 random things...

1) My current favorite color is lime green. It's been that way for a while and I don't see it changing anytime soon.
2) I love a perfectly made Margarita (see, it's even the best color!)
3) I love dark chocolate, preferably Dove.
4) My 10 year old black lab Tucker is snoring next to me, on the couch, as I type.
5) My 3 daughters are all off at school (at least for now). Between real fevers, imaginary tummy aches and ever changing snowfall amounts, every day is a crap shoot.
6) I swear. No, I don't mean like on a Bible, I mean like a sailor. I do try to only do it when I'm alone in my house. Tucker is rarely offended
7) I love Christmas. For any of you who know me from Gina's 12 point Hoopla blog, it was my mother that passed away on Christmas Eve. I am blessed with her gift of departing when she did, 2 hours later and it would have been Christmas Day. We have to take what we are given in life and make lemonade as much as possible (hopefully life hands you a few limes too ;-). I have two trees in my house. The first is the family tree. It's real and the kids had a blast decorating it. This year I let them do it all themselves and didn't throw a nuttie when candy canes got put on backwards. The other tree is a fake one we needed while our house was under construction 2 years ago. That tree sits in my dining room and has only Grandma Sue's (my mom's) ornaments on it. The kids love looking at it and hearing the stories of my memories of them. And best of all, I've finally found a way to keep the kids from breaking them! Win-win!

Unfortunately I'm so new to this process, I don't know how to "tag" anyone and I only know Gina. If, by the grace of God, someone is reading this, consider yourself tagged and please leave a comment.

Thanks to all for supporting me in this newest endeavor.

Happiest of Holidays!