Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Eve Toast and Grandma

Disclaimer: this post may seem sad. But if you look deep enough - it’s actually very happy.

Christmas Eve night, my family and I sat down to a huge traditional meal (it’s our tradition to eat lasagna on Christmas Eve - the big turkey meal is on Christmas Day). And my dad made a toast - to keeping family traditions alive ... and I think it was the first time I realized that I was ready to talk about my grandma.

When I was on my blogging break a few weeks back - it was because I had rushed up to Michigan with the kids to see my grandma - who had fallen terminally ill. Everyone warned me that she most likely wouldn’t recognize us and wouldn’t be able to acknowledge us. In fact, she had gotten so bad that she couldn’t talk or move anymore. And we all knew what she wanted. To see the kids and I.

And see us she did. In fact, she not only saw us, she recognized us (she heard my voice before she could even see me - from across the room), she spoke to me, she moved her hand up to me to hold my hand, she laughed, she smiled and it was the most wonderful day. Three days after that, she died.

And this is where it became hard to blog about.

I have a lot of personal feelings about her and about our relationship (all truly wonderful) ... and quite frankly ... I have just decided to keep them personal. I hold them very dear and it’s very very hard to talk or blog about them.

So, for now, I’m just going to describe her (and perhaps you will see some of the things that made her so special through my descriptions).

Lynette Helen Mee: January 1910 - December 2010:

Lynette Mee was born Lynette Seelig in Northport Michigan in 1910. She was the youngest of 6 girls - born into a German family (her parents are seen below). She and her sisters were not your typical group of women in that time period. They were encouraged to learn (in fact, their parents wanted them all to go to college), to study, and to have fun. And all of those things she did quite well. She graduated high school at just 16 years old - as valedictorian of her class (she was also the captain of her high school basketball team(seen below)).After that, she packed up her steamer trunks and headed (via train) to Michigan State University (by herself). Seriously, at 16...I was still picking my nose and whining to my parents about how hard algebra was.

At 18 years old she graduated from college (from Western Michigan University - she had transferred when she decided to become a teacher (graduation picture below)) and started her first teaching job (with 51 first graders - all of which could successfully read at the end of the school year). Later in life (while working as a teacher and raising two children) she earned her Masters Degree in education (she loved teaching - see below).

Do you see a pattern of (over) achievement here?

She met my grandpa (who’s parents owned a resort (read: speakeasy)) and had a garden wedding at her childhood home (seriously, how cute is that?).

She was a wonderful mother (so I am told by my mom and uncle (and everyone else that knew her)), she was the most wonderful grandmother (I could go on and on about how amazing she was ... in fact, my friends and I still talk about how much fun she was at my wedding (see below)),

she was a wonderful teacher, cook, role model (not a day goes by that I don’t ask myself what my grandma would think of me, how she would handle something or what she would do), pool player, poker player (in fact, she laughed out loud when I visited her a few weeks back because I told her I was going to break her out and bring her gambling), and great-grandmother (here she is with Carter when he was 7 months old). Carter had the honor to meet her and play with her and she loved Carter dearly.

Avery however did not get much of a chance to know her. I really wish that she had. Avery does have a very special piece of her great-grandma though...her name.

Avery’s middle name is Lyn - after her great-grandmother Lynette.

And I will spend the rest of my life making sure she knows how special that name is - because of how special the person she was named after was.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Ornament Exchange ... because that's how us bloggers roll

I signed up for an ornament exchange this year. And before you’re all “oh how desperate housewives of you” ok ... well ... hmm ... ok ... bite me, it’s fun. I like fun.

And on typical years (not so much this year) I love the holidays. I love decorating, drinking, cooking, seeing family and friends, drinking more, the smell of Christmas trees, decorating more, wrapping gifts, shopping for gifts (online), drinking more, dressing the kids up like mini santa’s, watching Christmas movies, eating too much....I love it all. I love the holidays.

So naturally, when fellow bloggers announced that they were doing an ornament exchange...I was all “oh too....i want in!” In fact, I started looking for the most ridiculous and/or asinine ornament that I could possibly find. And when that failed... I looked everywhere for an ornament that in some way related to blogging with no luck (maybe I should create one...and sell it for tons and become rich .... does it work that easy? No? Ok).

And so my search began ... for a fun and out-of-the-ordinary ornament. Now, if there is one thing to know about my husband around the Holidays, well ... no, there are three main things to know about Chad around the holidays:

1.) He loves Christmas music. As does his best friend (hi Wang - by the way Wang, Chad said to tell you that our tree is "husky"... not sure what that means). They sing Christmas songs year round. In fact, they sang them at our wedding - on the bus from the wedding reception to the hotel (and people still bring this up).

2.) He loves Chevy Chase movies - specifically Christmas Vacation.

3.) He loves the Moose Mugs from Christmas Vacation (do you see where this is going?)

He loves them so much that two years ago I went on a mad search of the internet to find them for him. And long story short, we now have moose mugs that come out every Christmas.

Naturally, when I saw that amazon had moose mug ornaments ... I had to buy one. And what better way to share the moose-mug-joy than through this ornament exchange?

So, you can imagine my confusion when I opened the box from my ornament exchange buddy (Terri) and it was a moose mug ornament. I sort of scratched my head, looked at the packaging slip, scratched my head more, looked at the slip more ... and this went on for entirely too long before I finally realized that she had sent me the same exact ornament.

The coincidence is somewhat unbelievable to me. But it was a much needed laugh. Great minds think alike I guess. That ... or Chad and I are not the only ones that think Christmas Vacation is a funny movie (I like to think it's the 'great-minds' version though).

I have to point out - this is the statement on the side of the ornament box...

Note: Special thanks to Karen and Shannon for putting on the ornament exchange.

Yet another note: The blogging community has been so very supportive in this very difficult time. And I can’t begin to explain how much I appreciate it. Love you guys!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Maclaren Toy Reviews: Post 1

Well, who'd a thunk it ... someone actually wants my opinion. Ok, well ... my kids opinions.

The kids were chosen as official Maclaren Kid Testers for two Maclaren products. And, as I have always loved Maclaren, I happily signed up and eagerly awaited for my package (seriously, I should be able to use the word “package” without laughing at some point in my adult life right?) to arrive. Unfortunately, then last week happened (which I am still not ready to blog about ... thus I am just going to go on blogging - and blog about last week when I am good and ready).

Needless to say, the Maclaren package-of-fun has been sitting in our foyer teasing us for over a week.

Well, we finally opened it tonight:

Carter’s toy is called the ‘Arctic Puzzle’ (designed by David Netto - which makes design dorks like me jump up and down)... and is absolutely adorable.


You know how there are two types of toys? The ones that look cheap (like you will throw them away within the year - but not before they leave a trail of broken pieces throughout your house that your cat will more-than-likely eat and then throw up in your living room in front of guests) ...

... and than the ones that look like your kids will have them forever and someday hand it to their kids and say, "I remember throwing this at your aunt when I was a did I get in trouble for that" well, this looks like it would be one that Carter will one day hand his kids. Which I can appreciate - quality kid products are hard to find these days.

Carter immediately grabbed the puzzle and dumped all of the pieces out (stomped on them, threw two pieces at the couch, drove his dump truck over the polar bear, made a train out of the puzzle pieces and then yelled “CHOO CHOO” for about ten minutes, stomped on them more) and then started to put the pieces back into the puzzle.

Avery’s toys are two separate stroller/car seat toys called “Travel Companions.” They are made up of three (on each set) stuffed toys that look like different things (i.e. a bunny,

a plane, a race car, etc).

They came with little story-like description cards that are just as cute (and imaginative) as the toys themselves (I love toys that have little add-on specks of entertainment for parents too).

I have not yet had a chance to attach them to her stroller or car seat - so I just handed them to her to see what her reaction was. She immediately crammed them in her mouth and started happily munching away (no big shocker there... that kid would put a living skunk in her mouth if she could get her hands on one). But they kept her entertained for quite a while - which in 6 month old terms of entertainment ... is a very very good thing.

All in all... the initial reaction seems good. Very very good.

More posts on these products to come (lets see what my little monsters...*cough*...children will do)

More Info: Yes, Maclaren is most well known for their strollers...but they obviously have other cool stuff too. Feel free to pa ruse their website for more information.

Disclaimer: Maclaren sent me these products to review. No other compensation was received. They did not tell me what to write, imply that I had to write any particular thing (i.e. good reviews - in fact - they asked for honest reviews (which is all I am capable of anyways)), threaten to force me to listen to Michael Bolton music for hours on end if I didn’t write certain key words or happy-sounding phrases. In fact, when I told them that I would be delayed in writing anything (due to an illness and then death in the family) they were not only understanding - but also wonderfully sympathetic. Rock on Maclaren... Rock on.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Sorry for my delay in blogging. I will be back soon:

I’m sorry blogging world. I have cancelled the 12 days of Christmas posting series (maybe next year it will work out).

I am working on writing a very difficult post about a very difficult week (that will explain). But I’m just not ready yet. My apologies. I’m just not ready yet.

In the mean time...I am going to eat my weight in butter-flavored popcorn. Because it makes me happy.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The 12 Days of Christmas

For the month of December, I will (sporadically) be posting a “12 Days of Christmas” Series (and I promise pictures will return soon).

Now, i’ll be honest, I’m not going to do twelve consecutive days. Because let’s be honest, things get hectic around the holidays (and in a house with two kids under three - or just two kids period). So, I am just going to give myself a little just-in-case-someone-gets-sick-and-our-house-turns-into-a-poopfest-or-a-kid-refuses-to-nap-and-turns-into-a-three-headed-monster-and-I-end-up-hiding-in-the-basement leeway.

The twelve days series will be things families with kids can do around the holidays. However, they won’t be location specific. I may refer to locations - but all activities I am planning will be things that anyone can do (with small variations) anywhere in the country or world (ok, smarties ... there are probably some places throughout the world that may not work. So, I’ll rephrase - “The vast majority of you will be able to do these activities” - the rest of you - if you cannot do one of these activities, feel free to email me and I will make an alternative suggestion catered to your location).

This fun series will be coming to a blog near you (ok...this blog...I just like 'a-something-near-you' as a sounds so official) sometime next week (read: when I get around to starting it). So be sure to check back.

It won’t start tomorrow though - I promise you this. Tomorrow, I will be spending the day trying to figure out why my jeep quit working (again)...and also at the department of motor vehicles renewing my license...that I didn’t realize had expired. And since neither of those things are fun...or something that I would suggest to anyone (that I like) won’t see a holiday related post from me tomorrow. In fact, if you see a post tomorrow I can pretty much guarantee that it will just be about how much I hate my jeep or the dmv.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Put some 'Tussin on it

I don’t know how many of you are Chris Rock fans ... but if you are - you may have seen the “put some tussin on it” skit. And if so, i’m in luck ... because you may just understand me a tiny bit more from having seen that skit.

You see, I grew up in a family where there were two fix-it-all’s ...and they were:

1.) Vicks Vapor Rub

2.) Solarcaine

Now, I don’t think Solarcaine is even sold any more (which should say something onto itself). But if you remember it - you know that it’s spray (made up of misc ingredients that seem to disinfect, cleanse, heal and protect (shit, who knows what else it was capable of... maybe it could change my kids diapers, or better yet - potty train them ... I wonder if it would disinfect the diaper genie. I digress)).

And if you haven’t heard of Vicks Vapor Rub, then you live in a cave. It’s magical. Fairies must mix it at night when we sleep ... because it seriously works wonders. If you’re a fan of the movie ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ it is my equivalent to Windex.

Or, if you like Chris Rock’s “tussin” skit ... it’s my tussin. I love it. I would eat it if it didn’t taste so nasty. I put it on my nose (which the box clearly says not to do), I put it on my neck, my chest, my kids necks, my kids chests, in my kids humidifiers, in wall-plugins, hell ... i’d wipe it on the carpets and furniture if I could (Chad drew the line).

If only febreeze read my blog ... they would for sure make a Vicks Vapor Rub scented spray. A girl can dream.

What is your “fix-all?” I’d love to hear some good ones. Leave a comment, email me (gotfam.blogspot@gmail dot com), twitter me (@mygotfam) or well, that’s about it. I love me some good why-people-are-weird-like-me stories.

Note: Please pardon the lack of pictures this week. I am still working on switching things over to my new computer.