Archive for December, 2009

Random last thoughts for 2009

1.  The kids participated in their first Christmas pageant.  If I’ve learned anything as a music teacher, programs go however they go.  Sometimes they way you planned them.  And sometimes not.  Either way it usually makes a good story.  Our good story is this: after two rather flawless rehearsals where J dutifully pretended to eat hay, he melted during the show.  Literally and metaphorically.  Heh.  In his costume, he looked more like Cousin It, than a donkey.  Probably because he wouldn’t wear the ears.  So anyway, we were sitting in the back so this is mostly second hand information.  Apparently, he and the sheep were wrestling (behind the altar of course) and he bonked his head on the floor.  Well add that to being tired and overheated and he was done.  I kind of wish I could have seen the barnyard brawl.

Overheated donkey with a sleepy sheep. (They are friends :) )

An overheated donkey and a sleepy sheep.

L did a wonderful job as Mary.  She took her role very seriously.  And there was no throwing the baby Jesus down the stairs like she used to do with her baby dolls.  Whew.  (Mom!  I’m seven years old now!  Sheesh!  is what she says every time I tell that story.)

Having a little chat with an angel.

2.  Christmas was wonderfully laid back.  I was in charge of bringing the salad and dessert.  Score!  AND I got a Snuggie.  🙂

3.  I was noticing the other day that one of the many “gifts” cancer has given me is the ability to swallow a large amount of pills at once.  With coffee.

4.  Wii Fit Plus is awesome.  I especially like being the bird.  I like the bicycle riding, but I have a tendency to get lost.  So I really get my exercise when I play.  I am also appalled at my computational skills.  There is a game where you have to bump numbers with your behind to add up to 10.  You’d think I’d be able to add to 10.  You’d think.  Darn negative numbers.

5.  I just paid the bill for my lymphedema sleeve.  And now it’s time for a new one.  Woo.  I think I might get a crazy color one this time.  Or tie dye my old one.

6.  I read my horoscope over at  the Yahoo main page today.  It says I’m very productive today.  Heh.  I guess I sort of was.  Still have so much to do though.  Tomorrow. It also says, “Your new commitment to self has given you a renewed appreciation of the your divine wisdom and accomplishments.”  Heh.  I especially like the “of the your”.

7.  Have a Happy New Year, everybody! Don’t let bad grammar or the inability to add ruin your evening.  It’s not ruining mine.  Grins.


Merry Christmas!

Christmas Letter 2009

I’ve decided to keep the Christmas Letter electronic.  I like that it uses less paper and gives me some creative options that I don’t have with the traditional letter.  So here goes.

Dear friends and family,

This year has been a much less dramatic year.  I think, if there’s any theme, it would be an attempt to return to normal.  Which normal, you ask?  For me, it’s one where cancer isn’t at the forefront of my brain each day.  And it’s not.  I attempted reconstruction this year, but it failed.  It doesn’t dominate my day.  I’m trying again next summer.  It is what it is.

L is loving first grade!  She is definitely her parents’ daughter who loves to read and sing.  She made me laugh the other day when I asked her what she going to ask for from Santa this year.  A Nintendo DS, she said.  I balked somewhat because I’m pretty sure she’s just trying to keep up with the neighbors and has never played one in her life.  Oh, I said, that’s a pretty expensive gift…  I know, she interrupted, that’s why I’m asking SANTA!  Heh.  I told her that I wasn’t sure Santa made those sort of things.  Luckily there’s plenty more on her list.  Plenty.  🙂  You know, like a horse.  A real one.  No really.  She asked for a horse.  Don’t see that one happening either.  Maybe the Zhu zhu pet.  We’ll see.

J is in his first year of preschool and doing really well.  Whenever the preschool teachers tell me how wonderful he is in the classroom and how well he follows directions I have to resist the urge to say, “Um.  Are you sure you know who my son is?”  I realized the other day that Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer is a mouthful for kids who don’t do “r”s.  Though it’s pretty cute.  🙂 And his favorite Christmas song.  So we hear a lot of Wudolph at our house.

Things are pretty good for John and me too.  This year instead of tangible gifts, we decided to do gifts of relationship.  A date night once a month from him and spending 2 hours a weekend cleaning/organizing from me.  We felt that this sort of thing was especially important with all the other things going on in our lives, his work, my new job, the kids’ activities.  It’s so easy to let our relationship go on the back burner with all that going on.  He’s been amazing with all the craziness that has been our life post diagnosis. Love that guy.

Looking back at my posts, this year was actually fairly un-normal.  I spent quite a bit of it wearing a drain. I got to sing in public.  A lot.  Sometimes wearing a drain. 🙂  I interviewed for and got a job.  I knit a lot of hats.  And socks.  And an arm.  Got to do fun things with my family.  It was a good year.  So if that’s my un-normal, then un-normal is just fine.

Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holiday to you and yours!  And may your normal be beautifully un-normal.



PS The gift of relationship thingy, we got the idea from the Advent Conspiracy.  Worth checking out.  🙂

This little light of mine

Last night we made soy candles for the kids’ teachers.  J and I had gone to a ceramic show last month and found these lovely tiny pots (made by a knitting friend of mine).  I had been trying to think of fun things to put in the pot (honey, spices, tiny plants…) when I remembered reading that you could make soy candles in the microwave.  We bought the stuff at Joann’s and on the tip of one of their employees used an old crayon for color instead of the commercial dyes.  We also added apple pie scent to it. I figure, who doesn’t like apple pie?  This was a very easy craft, but I admit I was a little paranoid about the hot wax and the kid’s pouring abilities to let them do much more than affix the wick and peel the crayon.  They still had a good time though and are now making festive bags to wrap them in.


Once upon a time I had a plan.  Sort of.

When I was 23 it was to be a High School or Middle School Choir Teacher.  And then I got the job teaching elementary school General Music.  And I loved it.  It was amazingly rewarding to see kids who wouldn’t necessarily be inclined to make music discover that it was for them, too.  That it’s meant to be part of the human experience.

Then I fell in love with my best friend and got married.  This fit right in with my plan and I kept teaching music to the kids that I adored.  I could see myself teaching there until I retired.

Then I got pregnant.  As excited as I was, I was torn about whether to quit teaching.  I toyed with idea of being a working mom.  My husband and I both had mothers who stayed at home and felt that we’d benefited from it, but I still wasn’t sure.  Finally, a good friend of mine, who happened to be pregnant as well, said, “Nicole, you are the sort of person who throws herself completely into what she’s doing.  If you try to teach and raise your child, you will always feel guilty about neglecting the one you’re not with.”  Or something like that.  It’s been seven years and my memory’s not what it was.

So I’ve had seven wonderful years being the stay at home Mom.  My friend was right and I never regretted it.  Over the years, I’ve had offers to come teach music at different places but none ever seemed to fit my schedule.  I had a new plan.  When the boy was in school full time I’d go back.  I figured I’d substitute teach for a while, and then look for a part time position.

Then my friend (the same one) called and invited me to interview for the part time general music position at her school.  I couldn’t ignore this one.  It fits with my kids’ school schedules, I get to teach general music again, and I still get to have time with the boy in the afternoon.  My husband and family were unanimously excited for me.

So I went for it.  And I got the job.  I am both scared and excited.  It’s all I can think about.  I’ve even started having teacher dreams again; (Gratefully, not the kids-hate-me-and-throw-a-riot dream.  I hate that one.) trying to remember what I used to do.  It’s like a dormant part of my brain is waking up.

I told L today and she rushed over and gave me a hug.  “I’m so happy you got a job, Mama!”  I asked her why she was happy and she said, “Now you have something to do while I’m at school!”  Heh.  First graders are funny.

So anyway, here’s the moral of the story.  The most significant things in my life have never followed my plan.  Sometimes you just have to make the proverbial leap of faith and know that everything’s going to be ok.

(Remind me of this a couple months from now, please.)  🙂

How not to make Christmas Cookies.

So this is what my mother’s sugar cookies look like when you read the recipe wrong.  1/2 a POUND of butter.  Not a 1/2 cup.  Oops.  They still taste good though.

We're HUGE. Oh yeah.