Sunday, November 30, 2008

New Year's Resolutions Update & Preview

As the year comes to a close, I'm very proud that I have had about a 50% success rate on my resolutions. Here is an update on my progress with only 30 days left in the year:

I resolve to take more pictures! This resolution was too vague to truly measure if it was successful. I did try to keep my camera in my purse at all times, which helped.

I resolve to read the Bible in a year. Over the summer, I got way off schedule, but buckled down to multiple reading each day until I was back on schedule. I am currently right on track to finish on time.

I resolve to read 12 Newbery Medal winners this year. Again, I am right on track to finish at the end of the year with 11 of the 12 books already read.

I resolve to lose 20 pounds. I have lost about 5-7 pounds since the start of the new year. It is certainly better than gaining, but I hope to do better in 2009 with our August trip to WDW looming in the future to motivate me.

Here is what I'm thinking for 2009:
I resolve to read 12 Children classic literature titles. Here are the twelve I plan to read (in no particular order):
Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
The Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting
The Call of the Wild by Jack London
The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
The Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle
Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

I resolve to exercise three times a week. I'm hoping that focusing on getting moving will help with the whole weight loss goal. Part of this goal is to start a walking program with Nikolas this Spring so we are both conditioned to tackle all the walking at Disney World.

I resolve to get a tattoo. This is one of my "4 before 40"--four things I want to accomplish before I turn 40 in September. I have been talking about getting a butterfly tattoo since before I turned 30, so we will have to wait and see on this one.

I resolve to learn to ice skate. Another "4 before 40" item (the other two are read thru the Bible and lose 20 pounds) and the one I have the least faith in accomplishing. It is the pipe dream of the four.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Kicking off the Christmas Season

Truth be told, I have been listening to Christmas music on the radio for a couple of weeks now, but today marks the official kick-off of the Holiday season.

Last year I shared my favorites Christmas CDs from my collection of over 220 titles (see my archives). This year through out the season I will be sharing some of my favorite songs by style (traditional, religious, children's, rock...). I got some of the songs playing on my playlist, but not necessarily my preferred artist rendition.

How about starting with some Swingin' Christmas tunes?

Mistletoe and Holly by Jack Jones
Christmas Holiday by Andy Williams
(Everybody’s Waiting for) the Man with the Bag by Kay Starr
A Marshmallow World by Brenda Lee
Boogie Woogie Santa Claus by Patti Page
Cool Yule by Louis Armstrong
Dig That Crazy Santa Claus by Ralph Marterie
This Time of Year by Brook Benton
Christmas Is by Lou Rawls
Christmas Island by Bob Atcher
Christmastime is Here by Vince Guaraldi Trio
(It Must Have Been Ol’) Santa Claus by Harry Connick Jr.
Mele Kalikimaka by Chris Isaak
The Magic of Christmas Day (God Bless Us Everyone) by Celine Dion & Rosie O’Donnell
Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin’ by Tinsley Ellis
Santa’s Got a Brand New Bag by Gary Walker
The Christmas Twist by Syd Straw
Give Love On Christmas Day by the Jackson 5

Monday, November 24, 2008

Mean Girls? It Starts young...

Nikolas and I met his best friend Dylan and his grandma at Chuck E. Cheese today to celebrate Dylan’s birthday. The boys had such a great time playing together. At one point, they ran up to us so excited to show us the picture they captured on the Chuck E. Sketchbook (The print-out looks like a sketch of the subject). They went back to the machine to make a 2nd one so that each boy could have one to take home. After a minute, they both came running back to the table close to tears because a little girl had gotten in their picture and ruined it. Pam and I went back to the machine with another token to make sure that the boys got a undisturbed picture, leaving the original picture and two bags of full of tokens/tickets unattended.

When we got back to the table the first picture was gone! Pam and I frantically looked around to find it and then Pam noticed two young girls attentively watching us from afar—the same girls who had ruined the second attempt. We didn’t want to go up and confront them, but kept an eye on them. A couple of minutes later, the boys came running up to us again and told us that the girl had the picture and had torn it up in the boys faces!

I was fuming!! I went to confront the mother (who ended up being the nanny). She must have observed something going on because when I found her she had the torn up picture in her hand. The little brat told her that she had found the picture up in the playground, but I let her know exactly what had happened.

After the nanny talked to the girl, she made her come to us and apologize. After a weak “I’m sorry” and "I was just playing with my brother" I did one of those things I swore I would never do--I disciplined someone elses' kid. I explained to her that it was wrong for her to take things that didn’t belong to her and doubly wrong to destroy them. She kept saying “I know, I know” with her eye looking up to the sky in a half eye-roll. It was all I could do not to whack her one.

I really don’t believe the boys did anything to provoke this girl, she seemed to get real delight in just being mean—for her to come to our table and only take the picture when we had a whole bunch of tokens and tickets laying there. It made Pam and I both wonder what kind of problems the girl was going to get herself into once she was a teenager.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Nine Months Until Walt Disney World

In just nine short months, I will be "delivered" the the happiest place on earth--Walt Disney World! Are you groaning at the bad pregnancy pun?

To celebrate, I am continuing to share the scrapbook pages from our 1996 trip. We are still on day 2, October 20th, Gary & my 10th wedding anniversary. We spent the day at Animal Kingdom. After seeing the sites in Africa, we moved on to Asia and the Maharajah Jungle Trek. I only have pictures of the tigers and komodo dragon because I refused to enter the free-flying bat enclosure with the boys.

After Asia, we headed to Dinoland USA to ride Triceratop Spin. We had lunch at Restaurantasaurs (McDonalds) and then Nikolas threw sand--I mean played in the Boneyard.

After seeing the 3-D attraction "It's Tough to be a Bug" we headed to Camp Minnie Mickey to meet some characters. When the handler saw our Anniversary buttons, she suggested a family photo with the "Big Cheese"

Some of my favorite pictures from the trip are these shots of Nikolas and Minnie Mouse.

Nikolas was finally warming up to the characters and had some cute exchanges with Donald and Goofy.

We actually met Baloo and King Louie earlier in the day on our way to the safari ride. We had a "magical" experience with King Louie. We were told by the handler that only Baloo could sign autographs. But when it was our turn Nikolas handed King Louie his book and he took it (as best as he could with his molded hands). He then motioned for me to stick the Sharpie between his fingers so he could sign. All the while the handler was chastising him and telling him that now he would have to sign for everyone. King Louie just shook his head. His signature was messy, but what do you expect from a primate! I guess he really wanted to be "human too." Gary noticed that after our turn was over King Louie held his arm like it was hurt to the next person that wanted an autograph.

Nikolas didn't want Flik's autograph so I just took his picture as we passed by. As we were leaving Animal Kingdom that afternoon to get ready for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween party, we saw one of Nikolas favorites Playhouse Disney characters Stanley outside the gates. Look at the smile on his face at meeting his "animal lover" compadre.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Testing Out the New Camera

The 1GB memory card from my camera arrived today. So, of course I had to check it out right away. Since Nikolas was playing with his Leapster, I headed to the backyard with the dog.

The dog...
The backyard....

Trying out the 10x optical zoom.

So excited to see the Chewy's beautiful golden eyes on film!

He was intently watching the traffic.

I'm lovin' my new camera.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Week in Review-10/26/08-11/1/08

Nikolas' school had Red Ribbon Week (Drug Awareness) this week.

Monday was "I elect to be drug free" (wear red, white and blue).
Tuesday was "Don't get mixed up in drugs" (wear mix-matched/unmatching clothes).
Wednesday was "Dream big, be drug free" (wear your pajamas).
Thursday was "Give drugs the boot" (wear western clothes).

Friday was "It's crazy to do drugs" (crazy hairstyle).

On Thursday I got my new camera that I ordered from Walmart. It was a bundle deal with the Canon Powershot and a 1GB memory card. Only the memory card wasn't in the delivery, so I had to call and I should get it next week. All the pictures in this post were taken with the 16MB card that came with the camera.
One of the many reasons I wanted a new camera was to take better pictures of our beautiful dog , Chewy. He has these great golden eyes, but with my old camera I always got the ghostly blue/green eyes. Here is my first is hard to photograph him because he always wants to approach the camera.

Friday for Halloween Nikolas and I joined our neighbors at the mall for trick or treating before canvasing the neighborhood.

Bass Pro Shop had a craft area for the kids to paint small gourds and color masks.