Sunday, December 30, 2007

Journal Your Christmas day 25-27

I was very busy yesterday. I completed 3 layouts.

Day 25

Day 26

Day 27

I also made up my end of year to do list, what needs backed up, what needs deleted and what needs printed. The what needs printed thing is a bit embarrassing. Today I finally ordered some of those photos that I uploaded to Wal Mart over Thanksgiving vacation. Just the ones from 2002-03. And I've resolved that I won't order 2004's until I have put all of these into their album with their dates & details written on the tabs provided. So I should be ordering 2004's sometime in late 2008... Fortunately as time goes by I take less photos, so I should reach parity about the time the boys start high school.

I'm going to make a softcover photo book of my JYC layouts. I'm going to use Viovio and get their 8.5x8.5 book. It will be less than $15 for 36 pages. Considering I pay $1 a page for each 8x8 I get printed, that's less than half the cost. The problem with doing it for all my pages is you are stuck with them bound that way. No switching stuff around between albums or adding stuff later. But for the JYC, it is perfect

Year End work

Back up my F drive

Back up my Documents

Delete kits owned more than 6 months & never used.

Burn .psp files to DVD

Burn 2007 photos to DVD

Sort through 2007 photos & choose those to print

Ditto 2007 layouts

Size & border JYC layouts for photo book

Uninstall all programs past their 30 day trial I have no intention of buying.

Defrag all drives

and the worst....

move music to F and redo everything in Zen.

Friday, December 28, 2007

back at it

I was given a nasty cold for Xmas. I had chills, aches & chest congestion all day Xmas day. I had chest & sinus congestions on the 26th and spend most of the 27th in bed with a hot water bottle due to stomach & intestinal issues. But today I am feeling much better and am getting caught up with some Journal Your Christmas prompts.

Day 23

Day 24

and Day 28

Before I get these all printed I'm going to have to go back through all of them & make sure they are numbered and that the numbers are correct. At least 3 that I know of are numbered wrong and 2-3 more have no numbers at all.

new to you video games

We got the kids a Playstation for Xmas.  The original Playstation - from 1999.  Last century's Playstation.  And we didn't actually 'get' it for them, unless you count 'digging it out of the storage closet where it has lain since 2003' as 'getting it'. 

Yep, parents of the year, that's us.

Ok,it wasn't an actual 'open on xmas' present. It was a 'hey look here's something to do over the weekend before xmas' thing. The boys love it. They play Jet Moto 3, Madden 2000, a Tiger Woods golf game & some racing game or other.  There are a couple first person shooter games as well but I got a bit huffy when DH played them in front of the boys.  Age inappropriate if ever there was such a thing. 

We decided to take advantage of the window of opportunity we have been given. We borrowed a Wii for a couple weeks in November. The boys loved the games. They are fascinated by video games. We cannot afford a Wii, assuming we could find one to buy and if we did buy the Wii we couldn't afford the games. We do own a working 8 year old gaming system & a stack of games.  The boys want to play games. They are not old enough to know the difference between a new Wii and an old Playstation or to prefer one over the other. Next time we won't be so lucky. Eventually we will have a Wii or whatever the hot new game system is. Right now we are taking advantage of their consumer innocence

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Journal Your Christmas layout

one of the many

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The gifts are all opened

Havoc got his shiny red tow truck & Mayhem is delighted with his new trains, but the surprising favorites, at least so far, are the games. Mayhem got Ants in the Pants and Hungry Hippos (and damn that game is noisy). Havoc got Chutes & Ladders and Let's Go Fishin'. We've played all those games several times so far already.  They haven't yet gotten into the card games or the Leapster games, but as they are off school for another week, this is fine by me.

They both got Transformers. This is such a boy toy. Mommy had to sit & read the instructions to open them from a vehicle to a robot & then couldn't get them back to the vehicle but Daddy just folded a few things an bingo! Transformers apparently come in different difficulty levels. We have the level just above the boys' actual ability apparently.

I got 2GB RAM for my laptop & a new Vera Bradley purse.  DH got a 6qt professional Kitchen Aid mixer & jumped up electronic kitchen scale.

We had the traditional Christmas chicken nachos for lunch & DH has take the boys to the park to ride bikes because it is 55 degrees and sunny out. I cleaned the living room. Later we will be having lamb roast & couscous & veggies, assuming this cold doesn't knock me on my ass again. The boys had us up at 6:50am. Gifts & breakfast were over by 8:30 and I was back in bed with chills & aches until 10:30. Mayhem has a runny nose & Havoc has a hacking cough. Why do we always get colds for christmas?

Monday, December 24, 2007


Your Holiday Stress Level Is Low

You take it easy over the holidays, and you only take on what you can handle.

You know the holidays are about celebrating and fun - not standing in line at the mall!

it is in the handwriting

What Your Handwriting Says About You

You are a fairly energetic person. You know how do pace yourself, and you deal well with stress.

You are somewhat outgoing, but you're not a natural extrovert. You think first before you act. You tend to be independent, rational, and logical.

You are balanced and grounded. You know how to get along well with others.

You need a bit of space in your life, but you're not a recluse. You expect people to give you a small amount of privacy, and you respect their privacy as well.

You are somewhat traditional, but you are also open to change. You listen to your head and your heart.

You are a decent communicator. You eventually get your point across, but sometimes you leave things a bit ambiguous.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Journal Your Christmas - day 22


Journal Your Christmas - day 20


I had a hard time with this one

Journal Your Christmas - day 15


had to twist the prompt a bit to use it

Journal Your Christmas - day 4


never thought I would get this into a layout

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Journal Your Christmas - Day 19


Journal Your Christmas - Day 16


credits at my DST gallery

Friday, December 21, 2007

Naughty or Nice?

You Were Nice This Year

You Were 40% Naughty, 60% Nice

Okay, so you weren't *entirely* nice this year
But Santa doesn't expect a modern girl to be perfect
You were good enough - and you'll be rewarded for it

Had I been single the past year I would have been a lot naughtier according to this quiz. :)

Journal Your Christmas - Day 17

I'm getting this for my husband.

as usual, all credits can be found in my DST gallery

Journal Your Christmas - Day 18

I'm going to stop marking them belated. They are all belated at this point


This isn't our actual holiday meal, unless the local Cafe is having a Xmas day buffet. It is the meal I would like to serve if more than 2 adult and 2 very picky preschoolers were having dinner.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Journal Your Christmas - Day 9 belated

I'm working on day 17 now. I know how I want to do 16. I can't do 15 because we are going nowhere & no one is coming here. That just leaves 18, 19 & 20, and by the time I get 16 done, 21 & 22. I think I am just going to resign myself to being 4-5 days behind.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Journal Your Christmas - Day 14 belated

Here is the layout for this prompt. Loaded my Zen up with holiday music as well. :)
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Credits at my DST gallery

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Handing Out the Gifts

The prompt for the 13th is about passing out the gifts. How does it get done in your house? I can't see how I will turn this into a page so I'm just going to write it out.

The gifts a placed under the tree on Xmas Eve (usually as they wrapped, because we put that off until the last minute). On Xmas day, after I get some coffee, we all sit in a circle & I hand gifts out to everyone, assembling gift piles next to each person. If we are at my mom's house, then she hands out the gifts. This is because we don't put tags on the majority of our family gifts. We write a small initial in one of the corners & only the person that writes it is really certain where it is or what it is. Tags are for non-family gifts. Once all the gifts are handed out, then we take turns opening a gift at a time.  It is very important in this scenario that small children have the exact same number of gifts to open. They don't seem to notice that a package holds 2 toys instead of one or that a set has been divided into 2 packages. Its the number of packages to open that must be equal. The wrapping paper gets tossed into the center of the circle of people as we go. I like to take a picture of all the discarded wrappings. Stockings are opened last.

In other news, I have finished my mom's calendar gift and my dad's bookmarks. I've been trying to upload the templates for the bookmarks to but the wind is playing havoc with my internet connection. I've also figured out layout plans for Days 9, 14-16 of Journal Your Christmas but I have no idea when I'll get to them.  I'm having RAM issues again & PSP is running really slow or not really loading at all. I am getting 2GBs of RAM for Xmas & I'm not waiting until then to install it. It is going in as soon as it arrives.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Journal Your Christmas - Day 5 belated

We ended up buying a LEGO advent calendar. A friend gave us a chocolate filled one last Sunday but Monday morning Mayhem woke up at 5:30am, went in the living room, opened all the windows & ate all the chocolate in it. Howls of protest from Havoc when he discovered it. Mayhem cannot assemble the LEGO figures & knows it. He seems to understand that after lunch every day we open a new window & doesn't bother the box any other time. I think we may make this a regular feature.
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Credit can be found at my Digishoptalk gallery

PS thanks to my secret santa for the Christmas kit :)

Christmas movies

We start the holiday movie viewing season off early here. The day after Thanksgiving we watch Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. We will watch that movie several dozen times before Xmas. We also watch The Grinch that Stole Christmas many times. Frosty gets an occasional airing but the boys don't seem to be that fond of it. My favorite of the animated ones is The Year without a Santa Claus. My favorite regular holiday movie is A Christmas Story. I can so see the boys asking for a BB gun for Christmas in a few years.

We have a couple boxed sets of the traditional kids movies, maybe 8 DVDs & a dozen shows all together. I have a hard time watching some of them. I used to love the Little Drummer Boy and Nestor the Long Eared Donkey when I was a kid but now they just seem so full of meanness. Sure everyone is redeemed at the end but I have to wonder really if they would even be made today. I have that problem with Rudolph too. Santa really is a callous old so & so at the beginning. It leaves me wondering if any physically handicapped child or even kids with big noses ever got xmas presents from him before Rudolph showed him the light (pun intended).

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Journal Your Christmas - Day 10 belated

The journaling is about how I prefer gift bags to wrapping paper
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Credits can be found here at my DST gallery

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Journal Your Christmas - Day 12

The thing that seems to have changed the most over the years is the people. When I think about Xmas past I think first about who was there and then where we were.  What we actually did together is much vaguer in my memory.

When I was a little girl we would usual go to my paternal grandparents house on Xmas eve. I can't recall if we went before or after Mass or if we had dinner with them. I know we did sometimes. I remember my grandfather had many trains set up and running around the house for Xmas & we loved watching them.

Xmas morning it was the immediate family opening gifts & then we'd go to Mass if we hadn't gone the night before. After lunch we'd go to my uncle's house or my maternal grandparents' house or they would all come to us. It rotated around. My mom & her brother seemed to have some sort of game going between them involving giving each others' kids noisy toys.  It was one of the few times we got together with our cousins even though we all lived in the same town.

As we grew older, getting everyone together was more of a challenge. The last time I saw my cousins for a holiday was when I was 17. We continued to visit my grandparents on Xmas Eve until they passed away. My dad's parents divorced & Grandpa remarried a woman with grown children.  There were a few years when we went to their house & spent some time with this new family, but that ended when he passed away.

I married in 1993 and added another family to the holidays.  DH has 3 siblings with families of their own,so they usually all gathered together sometime between Thanksgiving & Xmas. We did spend one Xmas with his whole family.  I remember thinking they were very loud because there were so many of them. We've hardly seen any of them since his mother died in 2001, that would be the last Xmas we all spent together.

One year, soon after my brother married, my parents took all of us on a cruise for Xmas. There were years in there where we traveled to Wheeling to be with my parents & years where stayed at home or drove up to visit DH's mom.

So many people from Xmas past are gone now though death and lack of communication.  I miss them.

But new people have joined us. I have children now and so does my brother. Its harder to get together for the holidays now. We all live so far away from one another. Last year we were all together at my folks for Xmas before that my parents spent several years traveling back & forth between my house & my brother's, one year spending Xmas day with one family & the next year with the other one.

This year it is just us. My parents are in FL. My brother is in WV. My in laws are in Maryland. This year for the first time my family will be alone. It is very strange in some ways but I am looking forward to it in others. Just to be us every now & then is a nice change but it makes me wonder if my children will drift away from siblings & cousins as the years go by. We did and we didn't even have the excuse of distance. I hope not. I hope I change that & get back with the family we've lost touch with. I'm not sure how to fix it, but I am going to try.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Journal Your Christmas - Day 11

I got lucky today. I visited Traci Reed's Hawt Mama Team blog and found the perfect template for this topic. She is running a 12 Days of Christmas challenge until the 21st with great prizes.

credits can be found in my DST gallery

Sunday, December 09, 2007

How many days left?

I'm a little behind with this journal prompt because I have no idea what do with it.  We never really counted down the days until Xmas, except to say out loud there were this many days until Xmas. I have a vague memory of an advent calendar one year, maybe even 2 years. It was on the fridge and had perforated windows you had to be careful pulling open. There was a picture behind them & possibly some sort of treat. I'm hazy on that part. I remember feeling excited to open the windows & not liking taking turns with my brother.  I have no idea how old I was but I'm assuming somewhere between 5 and 10. I connect this memory with grade school, possibly CCD, which would make it 5 and 8.  It just wasn't something that caught on.

I'd like to do something like that now but I am not sure just what we would be counting down...Santa, Jesus's birth, the Solstice?

We could count the days until Santa I suppose, but I don't see many secular 'advent' calendars out there counting the days until Santa arrives.  I admit I haven't done much looking either.  Finding a Solstice calendar seems even more impossible. This leaves the traditional advent calendar. But why would we count down the days until the birth of someone else's God? Pagans are very inclusive in general and I could probably just stick an advent calendar on my wall & get on with it if it was just me & DH. But sooner or later Havoc & Mayhem are going to ask that question and I need an answer. We celebrate the spirit of giving and the interconnectedness of all things on December 25th.  Our dying & reborn god was born on the Solstice a few days earlier.

I suppose I could put together a Douglas Adams inspired countdown calendar with things like "Today a butterfly beat it's wings in China and the breeeze was felt here" or "It's Christmas Eve. Do you know where you towel is?" as the motivational quotes, mixed in with some general love your fellow humans, we are all connected, stuff.  That's not a bad idea actually...  next year I'll take a better look around at advent calendars & see what is out there.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Friday, December 07, 2007

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Journal Your Christmas - Day 6

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Credits can be found here

There is country music on the radio; it must be snowing

We have 2 local radio stations.  One is a preprogrammed SAM station & cannot be relied on for school closings & traffic issues.It does announce closings in the morning, but does not announce early dismissals. It has no idea what the roads are like.  I like SAM. If I must listen to the radio I prefer SAM.  However, when there is snow on the ground I am forced by circumstances to listen to the other station.  It has actual live human beings in the DJ booth and they more or less keep on top of the traffic situation. They also announce all closings, dismissals & even tell you when these things are being considered.

But they play country music.  I really don't like country music.  All that depressing wailing about wasted lives & broken love affairs & how sad it is that daughters become women and date men who will want to have sex with them.  A real downer on an already gray day. 

Fortunately, if I am home, I can just check the school website from time to time & see if they have put up an announcement - no wailing guitars required.  If I am in the car though, I must listen to the country station.  I need to know about road conditions and I need to know if I have to cut my shopping short & go pick the boys up.

Yesterday it snowed about an inch. We don't get that much snow in the winter and we rarely see it before January so I knew the roads & the schools would be caught unprepared by this. Surprisingly there was no delay announced. I passed 2 accidents on my way south to school. No mention of them on the radio. I drop the kids off & head north to town to get new tires on my car (so it can pass inspection). In between the depressing songs about mamas & their babies growing up there is an announcement of an accident on one of the main roads in from the north of town. Later there is an announcement of a different one, also on a road coming from the north of town. Everyone drive slowly, only one lane is open on each of these roads. My husband calls me & says one of his employees, coming into town from the south, turned onto the northbound road I am on, just south of town and there was no traffic whatsoever on it. It appeared the road had been shut down somewhere further south on it.  As he says this I come upon 2 lanes of stalled traffic. Nothing is moving. Not a word about this on the radio.  I sit there for 15 minutes before enough other cars have decided to cross to the southbound side, drive back a couple miles and take a back road into town or just give up & go home. About the time I get to the turn the traffic starts moving on the northbound road and I decide to stick with it. Then the radio finally announces there is an accident on this road. A full 20 minutes after I heard about it and have sat at a stand still for 15. And it was not new news when I heard it.  No mention of the road being closed, of course it isn't any longer, so why would they? but still.  An announcement 20 minutes earlier would have removed at least some of the mile of traffic I had to sit in to get to the turn, not to mention the mile of back up that formed behind me.

Later the school called my cell to tell me they were closing 2 hours early before the radio announced it.

So I have to listen to music I hate on the off chance they will tell me something I don't want to hear. 

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

I'm dreaming of a white (and gold) Christmas

My fantasy Christmas decor is all rich white and gold with touches of red and heirloom glass ornaments, lots of candles and Father Chrismas. Call it a Victorian Velvet Christmas.  A 9 foot Douglas fir tree covered in red & gold ribbons with lots of handblown glass ornaments and real candles on it.  Fir swag draped on the walls, the banister, and the mantelpiece, wrapped with white lights and velvet bows.  Fir boughs on the mahogany table & sideboard in the dining room surrounding centerpieces of white & gold candles in glass lanterns.  Hand beaded velvet stockings hung by the fireplace, Father Christmas statues and pots of poinsettias thoughout the house witt more lighted fir & velvet swags all over the place.  Potpourri contaniers, golden tinsel, crystal snowflakes, candles and mistletoe scattered everywhere.

Now, I know people who know me in real life are thinking "I need to call Stacey & tell her her blog has been hacked by some Martha Stewart wannabee." But really, this is my fantasy Christmas look.  This is what I grew up with. Not so much the Festival of Lights itself (which started when I was 18) but the Mansion Museum.  We toured it every Christmas & I just loved the decor. So rich & cluttered and gloriously lit. That is what Christmas decor is supposed to look like to me. The ultimate decor that the romantic part of me just loves to look at and longs to be a part of.

But, I am at heart a practical person and that decor would never, ever work around me.

First there are the physical issues.  I don't have a fireplace or a dining room, let alone a mahogany dining table & sideboard.  My kitchen table sees far to much use to have any sort of table runner & centerpiece on it.  I do not have a second floor, so no banisters for fir swags with white lights. A 9 foot tree would be too tall for my living room & even if we removed a couple ceiling tiles to accommodate it, we'd still have to remove the sofa & chairs to make room for it.

Then there are the small boys who roam my house unrestrained, shouting and waving swords, oblivious to things like fir swags, candles, tinsel, potpourri contaniers, Christmas knick knacks and fragile glass ornaments.  None of these things would survive in my house more than a week.

There is also my husband, who really doesn't like that over cluttered look & who would constantly be moving things around so he can have some clear space to sit or put his feet.

Lastly there is me, with my allergies to dust, and oh yeah, pine. I cannot even imaging dusting all those things regularly. It must take days.

The ultimate problem with elaborate Christmas decor though is one of storage.  I can't help but look at photos of well decorated homes and wonder where they keep the stuff the rest of the year.  I assume they have large attics or basements, which I lack. I'd have to rent a POD or some other storage facility just to keep the decorations some place.

So while I fantasize about an elaborately decorated Victorian Velvet Christmas, I am quite happy with my 3 foot fiber optic tree, decorated with wooden family heirloom ornaments and my fake fir, prelit swag on the wood stove surround.  I like the single row of lights around the living room and the fake fir wreath I decorated with gold bows during one of my "Martha Moments". This year I bought a Father Christmas statue & found an out of reach place to put it. Its a look I can live with.

Without supervision

Mayhem spent most of yesterday morning with no direct supervision whatsoever.  I was in bed felled by a doctor given mix of percoset & lunesta and my husband was crashed out on the sofa due to lack of sleep. We had spent about 4 hours in the ER in the middle of the night. I woke up shortly after midnight screaming in pain as my entire torso had repeating muscle spasms. They turned out to be triggered by a rupturing ovarian cyst. They gave me a couple percosets for the pain of the cyst. I asked about the combination with lunesta, because I had taken some around 11pm. They said it would put me to sleep but that's all.  It made me incoherent and sleepy until 1pm.

DH took Havoc to school, leaving Mayhem in the nominal care of his nearly comatose mother. I remember at some point Mayhem coming in the bedroom and telling me he would get me my pants so I could get up & play with him.  I eventually had him bring me a book to read. It was one of those large print, 4 words per page kid books. I'd open my eyes to see the 4 words and be practically asleep by the time I read them. Then I would have to jerk myself awake, turn the page, glance and the next 4 words, and say them before I dropped off again.  DH came home, put on Chicken Run for Mayhem and fell asleep on the sofa.  Mayhem, to his credit, pretty much watched the movie and built a train track.  Oh, he went in the junk room and I heard him rummaging around the kitchen  & dragging things from the playroom into the living room, but he stayed out of trouble.

I dragged myself out of bed around 10:30, hoping that being vertical would help the grogginess (it didn't) to see DH out cold and Mayhem surrounded by track pieces, mega blocks, plastic bowls, trucks and trains, playing happily.  I got him a snack and staggered back to bed.  DH woke up an hour later to pick up Havoc and Mayhem joined me in the bedroom, where I groggily read him a couple more books.  I finally came out of my fog about 1pm, though I stayed in bed the rest of the day.

At dinner time Mayhem was playing in his seat and fell, smacking his head hard the bench. For a little bit there I thought we'd be making our second ER visit in 24 hours but once we were able to see his pupils were dilating & he agreed to take the Tylenol things got better.  He rattles around the house for 4 hours with no one watching & he is fine. However, once under direct observation by both parents for 5 minutes, he slips and cracks his head.  Unreal.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Journal Your Christmas - Day 3

I managed a layout for this one.

Credits can be found here

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Journal Your Christmas - Day 2

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credits can be found here

Manifesto Christmas 2007

I am doing Shimelle's Journal Your Christmas this year. I've decided to make it a mix of blog entries and scrap pages.  I know I will not scrap a page every day, so this seems best. I'll eventually just print the entries out on a background when I print the whole album.

I have been a practicing pagan since 1993 & stopped attending Catholic church in 1985. Christmas itself has not been a religious holiday for me in a long time, but I still celebrate the spirit of love, peace & giving on that day. Now that the boys are older I am struggling to work out just how this holiday and Yule work together in my life, so I can share that with them. I am hoping this project will help with that

The first thing is to do a manifesto. This is the one Shimelle gave us, with a few alterations.

I declare my intention to journal my Christmas. Writing something down every day. Creating a little bit whenever possible. Getting my stories documented for myself and my family.

I hope that by taking a little time each day to reflect, to write, t create, I will form my ideas of what this time of year really means to me, so I can pass it on to my children.  Family, friends and hot beverages will help.

I may share my work from time to time. I may remember just why I loved Christmas in the first place and that may be a very magical moment indeed.