2009: A Year In Review
Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Years Eve.

Back in the day, it was one of those nights I hoped would be filled with excitement and memories I'd look back upon fondly through the years. Yet somehow, every eve of the new year seemed to turn out disastrous. I had a knack for ending up at the lamest parties, was almost always home before midnight (a preemptive approach on my part to avoid being kissed by some drunken fool with slurred speech), and before I knew it, would be dozing off with Dexy's Midnight Runners, "C'mon Eileen" playing over and over in my head. Needless to say, it's never really been my favorite holiday.

Today, New Years Eve serves a very different, but useful purpose for me. It gives me an opportunity to stop and reflect. To many, a year is just a single blip on the radar of life, but if you think about it, a lot can happen in a single year that may or may not alter a person forever.

Overall, it was a good year for our family. Eric and I both ramped up our fitness goals, allowing me to run my first half marathon in several years and him to complete some epic bike rides on the weekends. We're a healthier family than we were in 2008, and that's definitely something to celebrate.

Eric finished residency (halle-freakin'-lujah) while I rediscovered my passion for writing. And reading. I haven't blogged as much as I did in 2008, and it's because all of my free time has gone to one or the other. This year I managed to read thirty-three books, a huge feat for a girl who once got excited over a single book being read cover to cover, much less thirty-three. I read some incredible fiction, a couple of astonishing memoirs, some parenting books (of course), and a sprinkling of chick-lit just to give my brain a rest.

Life also threw us a few curve balls this year. Some of them will certainly bear very little impact on my life, like the fact that nearly almost everything we own has fallen, or is in the process of falling apart. Our vehicles have been in the shop more times than I can remember, our mighty Hoover decided to bite the dust, Eric's cell phone took a swim through the washing machine (in case you're wondering why he hasn't returned your phone call), the list goes on and on. While incredibly frustrating and fatal for the pocketbook these things can be, they are small and usually remedied with a good old-fashioned sense of humor.

Other curve balls thrown this year will weigh on my mind a little more heavily, like the passing of my dad. It's something we all have to go through at some point in our lives, and unfortunately, this was the year for several of my friends to experience such a loss. Gosh, it just doesn't seem like we're old enough for these things to be happening, does it?

Interestingly enough, some of the most exciting events have unfolded over the past two weeks while we were in Oklahoma visiting family over the holidays. Aside from the very impressive and rare white Christmas we had, Eric signed on with a Neurology practice affiliated with St. John Medical Center. It's official. We're moving back home.

Moving, hopefully, to a house that will be built right here on this beautifully snow-covered piece of land overlooking my hometown of Sand Springs. As one of my friends had so perfectly put it, "Once a Sandite, always a Sandite." Whatever the heck a Sandite is, I still don't know.

Eric talking to the builder


If all goes well, we'll be watching deer frolic through these
woods while dining at our breakfast nook.

I suspect the time I'm able to devote to reading will pretty much take a nosedive over the next several months.

As for how I plan on ringing in the new year, it will most likely involve a bottle of Tre Nova Sangiovese (which I see on the table at this very moment), a little bit of college football, and a game of scrabble. I intend to have at least one Scrabble victory for 2009, although I'm not holding my breath.

Happy New Year!

Have fun, and most importantly, be safe.






Merry Christmas
Friday, December 25, 2009

SEASON'S GREETINGS
from the Pacific Northwest


May health, happiness and good cheer
greet you each day of the new year!

The Edgar Family
Eric, Catrina, Wyatt, and Avery


(Our Christmas cards this year were designed by a dear friend of mine from college. Her name is Whitney English Kolb. Not only is she a creative genius, but her work ethic is second to none. She even has retailers in Oregon! Take some time to browse her website. Trust me, you're in for a real treat).






Christmas Program
Friday, December 18, 2009

Last night was Wyatt's Christmas program at school. I'd been looking forward to it for several weeks because....well...nothing melts my heart like watching a bunch of three and four-year-olds sing their hearts out in celebration of Jesus' birth. And because I know my son well enough to know that if everyone else was expected to sing songs with perfectly timed hand motions, he'd be doing anything but.


I've never seen a more adorable herd of sheep and cows in my life.
I'm the proud mama of the handsome cow on the far left.

The kids performed about 6 songs, and Wyatt gave such a great effort with each new song, but the first time he faltered, he threw in the towel the rest of the song. The poor guy has such high expectations of his four-year-old little self. His personal motto? If I can't do it perfectly the first time, then by george, I'm not gonna do it at all. I wish I could somehow help him understand that learning to do something well takes time, patience, and practice.



As the program came to a close, the adorable little herd was shepherded off the stage and into the arms of all of the proud mamas and papas. Wyatt's face had FRUSTRATED written all over it, which meant Eric and I had to turn up the praises and accolades a notch...or two. But in typical Wyatt fashion, he didn't buy into it.

Mommy, Daddy, and Avery: "Yea! Great job, Buddy. Way to go!"
Wyatt (staring angrily at the ground): "I don't. Know how. TO SING!"

Trying to change the subject, I tell him how cute he looks as a cow. His response?
"Well....I really wanted to be a sheep."

Alrighty then.

"Well, would you like to go to the lobby and have cookies?"

Sugar. The universal panacea for all which ails a child.






Tea Party
Thursday, December 17, 2009

Avery called me to her room this morning, excited to show me something. She had organized the grandest of tea parties (complete with balls and other fun goodies) for all of her favorite ponies...



...and one very special guest of honor.


She's bound and determined to get herself on Santa's "nice" list. Never hurts to butter up the head reindeer. Smart girl.






Holiday Express Train
Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Now that the rainy season is underway, opportunities to get outside and play with friends are few and far between. Occasionally, Wyatt will mope around and stare out the window. There's part of me that thinks he just wants to go play, but deep down I know he longs to see his favorite gal pal and neighbor, Carina. During the summer months they play almost every day, but weeks can go by during the winter when their only interaction is a friendly wave as they drive by our house on the way to work or school. So, we thought we'd surprise Wyatt and Avery by taking Carina on the Holiday Express Train with us.


We made arrangements to pick Carina up from school. The kids were so excited to be riding in the same car that none of them had a single word to say about it. The silence was actually quite deafening. But the smiles on their faces said more than enough. Finally, as we're pulling out of the parking lot, Wyatt breaks the ice. "You look very pretty, Carina." Now, Wyatt is just about as boy as they come, but he sure does know how to make a lady feel special. And I'm proud to say he learned it by watching his daddy.

Girls...they just like to hug.



and be hugged.

The train ride was about 45 minutes, and once Santa made his appearance and gifted all of the kids with candy canes, they were pretty much ready to move on to something else. I think the anticipation of riding the train was much more exciting than actually riding it.


But Wyatt passed the time by conversing with his own reflection, and even gave himself a kiss.


He must think very highly of himself.

Rascal.






Snippity Snip
Saturday, December 12, 2009

Now I don't have any scientific data to back up this claim, but I feel fairly confident in saying that most men prefer long hair on a woman, whether it actually compliments her or not. I once read in a magazine that men feel long hair on a woman suggests that she takes more pride in her appearance than, say, a woman with a nice bob. I chuckle at this only because, from my own experience, long hair just makes it easier to pull back into a ponytail or bun on days when I just don't feel like fixing it, which pretty much ends up being every day. Shoot, my kids may as well start calling me Granny.

My husband has historically been lumped into this group of most--pleading with me as I'd walk out the door to a hair appointment not to do anything drastic (i.e. Cut my hair short. Or color it purple. Both would've been equally devastating). But as of late, my hair has grown so ridiculously long that the first words out of Eric's mouth as he walks through the door from work have been, "Oh my gosh. Your hair is way too long," which basically translates into Honey, you're looking a little bit like Chewbacca and it's starting to freak me out.


Really...what's not attractive about this?


Needless to say, I got his blessing to pretty much chop it off. And boy, when I get that kind of freedom--look out world!--I take full advantage. So I spent three hours at the salon today ridding myself of the rats nest atop my head, trying to decide if a splash of purple would be pushing it. Pushing it, indeed.

Here's what my fabulous new husband-approved stylist came up with:

I never thought losing one pound could be so easy.


Note: I realize I haven't reviewed any wines in a while. Truth is, I haven't been drinking much of anything new. Besides, all of the wonderful fall micro-brews turned me on to beer for a while. But I'm sure my wine consumption will pick back up in a few weeks. After all, how else do you expect me to make it through another rainy winter in the pacific northwest? C'mon. It's a joke.






They've come a long way in one year.
Friday, December 11, 2009

2008
When visiting Santa was more traumatizing
than not getting a lollipop at the bank.




Santa came a long way in one year as well. He learned that candy cane bribery works wonders.






"I am the Gingerbread Boy, I am, I am!"
Monday, December 7, 2009


After reading The Gingerbread Boy, we thought it would be a fun family holiday activity to make gingerbread boys (and girls) of our own. I was a little nervous because cookies aren't really my strong suit. But I had a great recipe from a cookie-decorating class I took with my friend Shelley last Christmas, so I decided to give it a shot. To my surprise, they turned out wonderfully. Not to toot my own horn or anything...

Gingerbread Cookie Recipe:
16 oz
butter
15 oz
granulated sugar (2 cups)
1 lb + 2 oz
corn syrup (2 cups)
1/2 cups
milk
2 lb + 10oz
bread flour (8 3/4 cups)
3 tsp
baking soda
4 TBS
ground cinnamon
2 TBS
ground cloves
2 TBS
ground ginger

1 Place the butter, sugar, corn syrup and milk in a sauce pan and heat until about 110 degrees. Stirring the mixture until smooth paste.
2 Sift the flour, baking soda and spices together. Incorporate the butter mixture into the flour.
3 Line the bottom of a jelly roll will parchment and dust with flour. Place the dough on top and flatten the dough out. Cover and refrigerate overnight. **Could chill in freezer for 6 hours**
4 Preheat oven to 375. Roll the dough out on a floured surface in small batches, keeping the rest of the dough in the refrigerator. The dough will feel sticky but don't add flour. The flour used in the rolling will be enough, too much flour makes the cookies too hard.
5 Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut and place cookies on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat. Bake for about 10 minutes or until they have browned. **8 min if you like them soft and chewy**
6 Makes 90 3-inch cookies.
7 If you're making gingerbread houses, add 6 oz of flour, and use margarine instead of butter.



If you decide to try out the recipe for yourself, allow yourself a few days of prep time. One day to mix the ingredients and chill overnight, one day to cut them out and bake them, and another one or two just to decorate (that is, unless you have no kids....then the time can be cut in half...at least).

Wyatt and Avery were so excited to decorate the cookies. I tried not to micro-manage (hey, if Wyatt wants a red gingerbread man with sprinkles then so be it), but it was hard. Fortunately, I set aside several undecorated cookies just for myself so I could satisfy my own artistic urges at a later time.

Avery found her own decorating rhythm rather quickly:


Wyatt--Ahem! Batman--took his decorating a little more seriously. He ensured that every gingerbread boy had each of his RedHot buttons placed equidistant from one another. His daddy's neurosis, not mine.



The finished product (drumroll please):

Top row: Wyatt's cookies
Bottom row: Avery's cookies
(Just a hunch, but I think she might like sprinkles the best)



I don't know how they managed it, but Wyatt and Avery miraculously refrained from devouring their masterpieces long enough for a photo. Then before we knew it...
Snip--half the Gingerbread Boy was gone.
Snip, Snap--he was three-quarters gone.

Snip, Snap, Snip,
at last and at last
he went the way of
every single gingerbread boy
that ever came
out of the oven...

He was all gone!

The Gingerbread Boy
~Paul Galdone






Selective Hearing
Saturday, December 5, 2009


I'm sorry, Mommy. I thought you said it was PARTY time.






Tater Heads
Friday, December 4, 2009



So cute I could just eat 'em up.






Wyatt's Sixth Sense
Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wyatt to Avery during one of their pretend play sessions:

"Don't worry Avery! I'll use my Spider Sense to save us."

Now if only he could use his Spider Sense to clean his room, make his bed, or better yet, patch the holes in his costume.



But wait. That would mean he'd actually have to take it off. Never going to happen.








 



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My Wine Personality:
For the most part I’m a chardonnay, as I consider myself to exhibit a somewhat sunny and mellow disposition (most of the time), but because I find a tremendous amount of joy out of showering my two kids with hugs and kisses, I also possess the subtle sweetness often found in a riesling. But don’t be fooled. I love a great outdoor adventure and am willing to try anything once. This occasional display of boldness is thought to match that of a cabernet, whereas my appreciation for nature suggests that I have an earthy component to my personality—very characteristic of a merlot. (more)

 



“Wine rejoices the heart of man and joy is the mother of all virtues.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1771