Ahhh- Christmas 2012

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Christmas is by far my favorite time of year. I love spending so much time with my family. This year was especially fun, and for no particular reason other than it just was. Since Elijah knows all about the myth of Santa now, in order to make Christmas a little bit more fun for him, I decided to do a scavenger hunt in order for him to get his presents. He really wanted a PS3, and since they are quite expensive, he wasn’t going to be getting much else. A scavenger hunt was definitely better than a few scarce presents under the tree 🙂 He was up at 4am Christmas morning, and I finally succumbed to his begging and constant “But I’m just SO excited MOM!” at 5:30 and let him go downstairs. He LOVED the hunt for his presents and truthfully, so did I. It was so much fun to watch him run around the house with his clues trying to find where the next clue and gift was hidden. (Christmas Eve night he decided to write some clues and hide my presents as well, which made me feel like a little girl again come the next morning!) He got his PS3 and I think it made me the best mom in the world for a short time. He was super happy! (However, the game that came with the system, Unchartered or something, is rated T. Elijah knows he isn’t allowed to play games with language, violence, blah blah blah. After he opened everything, I immediately fell asleep on the couch and he played the PS3 with the couple games I got him. When I woke up he told me that we need to get rid of the game it came with, because they said too many bad words. Moments like that I see he really does hear the things I tell him)

Best. Day. Ever.

Best. Day. Ever.

After I posted the above picture on Facebook, my neighbor texted me and said that Elijah could borrow some of his sports games of his if he wanted. Elijah was surprised, and very excited! He ran over to get some, and has been playing them ever since. I told him thanks and his reply warmed my heart. He said that they (as in he and his wife, equally as awesome) love Elijah, and think he is a great and responsible kid, and he trusted him with his games. I don’t know of any mother who would tire of hearing positive things about their child(ren) and I’m no exception. Ever since Christmas, Elijah has said Bill’s name no less than 20 times, and wonders out loud all the time when they can play in person. Elijah craves male attention so badly that when he gets any positive attention from one, he eats it up. Which is no wonder considering his relationship with his “father”. I really lucked out in the neighbor department, and for the most part, love them all. (Although I wouldn’t mind trading Robin and Bill for the ones I share walls with).

I have to say, he did something on Christmas morning that shocked me. He had told me previously that he wanted to sing Happy Birthday to Jesus before opening any gifts since “Jesus is the reason for the season Mom!”, but I had assumed that he would be too excited once morning came that he would forget. At 5:30 on Christmas morning he ran downstairs, grabbed his Bible, ran to the chaise and cracked it open to Luke to read the Christmas Story to me.

Reading the real Christmas Story

Reading the real Christmas Story

After he was done reading, he belted out the Happy Birthday song and sang it loud for Jesus to hear (along with half of our small sleepy town too, I’m sure!) After that, he grabbed the first clue and began the search for clues and gifts.

Reading one of his clues

Reading one of his clues

After he was done with his gifts, I searched for mine. He got me the new Taylor Swift CD (as a 33-year-old mother, I should maybe be embarrassed to say this, however I am not. I LOVE that girl, and I already have half of her songs memorized and SO look forward to driving so I can listen to her :))  I got a picture frame you can write on, a coffee mug with my initial, and a gorgeous necklace and ring from the Secret Santa shop at school. And he also got me the Hachi movie.

Hachi: A Dog's Tale 2008

If any of you have not seen Hachi, I recommend it to all animal lovers. It’s one of our favorite movies to watch together, and best of all, it’s based on a true story. But, it’s a serious tear-jerker (as in me and Elijah SOB when we watch it. Loudly.), you have been forewarned.  But it’s SO SO good.

We always spend the day after Christmas at my parents house with all the kids (6 including spouses) and grand-kids (9 and Elijah is the oldest) doing our Christmas there. This year since we had quite a bit of snow fall that day, we headed over to my brother and sister-in-laws house to do some sled riding on their massive hill. You know how as a child going sled riding is fun, and you could do it for hours, no  matter the weather? Well, I realized how old I am becoming. I decided to grab the sled, take a running leap and go down on my belly, face first. I screamed like I was on a roller coaster, because that’s exactly what it felt like. As I was speeding for certain death towards the trees and tall grass (what, you’ve never heard of someone dying from hitting some tall grass before??) I put my arms out to stop myself. That was clearly a big mistake- I had nothing but an armful of snow in my coat by the time I finally stopped, much like a straw you fill with pumpkin pie filling on Thanksgiving day. But it was such a rush, so I ran as fast as I could back up the hill, and did it again. This time though, I hit a ginormous rock about a quarter of the way down, flew off the sled, and landed face first in the snow. As I laid there I thought how much it sucked to be cold, wet and basically numb. But I wasn’t going to give up yet. I went down the hill one more time for good measure, and that was all I needed to fill the rest of my clothes, boots and gloves with snow, so I decided to head inside. I didn’t remember the snow being so cold when I was a kid, but it was still a blast!

I’m glad we have another long weekend in front of us, because that means more time with family, playing games, and maybe catching up on laundry! I hope you have all had as wonderful Christmas as I have!

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Lijah Hit the Lottery With His Dad

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I overheard my nephew asking Elijah if his dad “even buys him presents for Christmas?” He just kind of shrugged his shoulders and said “uh- I don’t know” and that was that. It really made me sad that he was even asked that question (my son and nephew both have some pretty crappy dads), and I couldn’t get it out of my head, and his sad response to it. It’s not like I didn’t realize his dad is a putz (I’m trying to be nice here), but I guess out of sight out of mind with him. He comes and goes in spurts, which really irritates me. I’ve told him so many times, in or out, but you can’t do both. Elijah used to ask about him on a regular basis, and now, not so much. He might mention him every now and again, but the mentions are getting fewer and farther between. I hate to even say this, but I’m glad that he is finally starting to see what a mope his dad is, on his own. I’ve never been one to talk bad about his dad to him (when he isn’t around though, well that’s another story) because I want him to realize on his own what kind of person he is, and not resent me in 15 years for talking smack about his dad. I think those days are finally here- I think in the past year he has talked to him about 4 times, and seen him none. Of course he hasn’t seen him in about 6 years, but that’s another story for another time. He doesn’t see him, and he doesn’t call. And when he does it’s always from a different number so I have no idea how to reach him if I wanted to. I think I’ve finally decided what the issue is. His dad friend requested me on Facebook earlier this year, and I saw a few of his posts were about a daughter that he’s been spending time with. I have decided that he can only be a ‘dad’ (and I use that term very loosely) to one child at a time. And that can be a little bit difficult when you have so many to choose from. I’m not sure on the exact number, but I *think* he only claims (again, a term I use loosely, like his belt buckle apparently) 3 or 4, although I know that there were more that have said he was the dad. I am apparently the only one who has filed for child support, which amazed me, and made him mad beyond belief when he first got served back in the day. When I’m lucky, I receive some on a fairly regular basis, and now I’m up to 20 bucks a week, so I’m super lucky, and just rolling in the dough (I know, I should just be glad I’m receiving child support, and I truly am, but $80/month is crap!)! I used to be angry, angry, angry at his dad at all times for being such an ass, but then I got over it and figured it was his loss. Every now and again, though, the anger just comes back with a vengeance (like now obviously) and I’m sickened at how someone can just ignore a child as awesome as Elijah. Thankfully though, I have an awesome family and my dad and especially my brother-in-law do an amazing job of trying to fill in the gap of an absent dad for Lijah, and they are much better role models anyways. However, it still doesn’t change the fact that I wonder what Elijah thinks is the reason why his dad doesn’t want to talk to him, or to see him. And kids should never have to wonder that. Ever. Sometimes I get mad at myself for even getting involved with him, and knowing it’s my fault Elijah has a crappy dad. But I know if I didn’t then I wouldn’t have such an amazing little boy to love, and I couldn’t stand not having him as a part of my life. I will never ever understand how someone can just willingly not be involved in their child’s life- it’s not natural. I’m still getting child support, so I guess he’s still alive and working on a regular basis. But I certainly wouldn’t know that by his involvement in his son’s life. I’m not really bitter, more disgusted by the way he chooses to live his life, and ignore Elijah living his. I’m sad that he even has to wonder about his dads love for him. Inside I’m a tiny bit happy I don’t have to *share* Elijah on the weekends (or any other time) with him, or share his hugs and kisses. Glad we have such a close relationship. Glad that someone as big as a mope as his dad, could give me something so amazing as Elijah!

I love that face!

I love that face!

Homemade Taco Seasoning

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We make tacos a lot- that is one of Elijah’s favorite things to eat, ever. A few weeks ago I was making tacos, and didn’t have any seasoning. Big fail. Big. I Googled homemade taco seasoning and found the following on Allrecipes. It had by far the most positive reviews, so I decided to give it a chance. After making this, I will never buy taco seasoning in a packet again. Ever. Here’s what you’ll need:

1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (I didn’t have these the first time I made it and it was still quite yummy!)
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 – 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Mix together and store in an airtight container.

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Easy-peasy right? After the first batch I made, I made a large batch to keep on hand. Elijah even prefers the homemade stuff over store bought, and so do I!

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An Old Forgotten Post- Halloween

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I was going through some old drafts I had written, and was deleting most of them. This one, though almost two months late, is still too cute not to put up! 🙂 Elijah’s costume this year was a tough one. He wanted to be the bleeding scream guy. Not only did that gross me out (I hate blood), but I just didn’t want that mask in my house (it’s gross and not gonna lie- freaks me out a little bit. And it’s gross.). So I started throwing out all these options for him to think about being instead. He finally decided he wanted to be Troy Polamalu (he loves the Steelers). So this was his final costume on Halloween day:

I mean, I might be a little bit partial, but how cute is he? (I only wished I had a bottle of Head and Shoulders for him to carry around too!) He went trick or treating with my nephew and a mutual friend of theirs. We had a Wrestler (G would be upset I can’t remember the name- but I do know he wore a sock on his arm), Polamalu and a Nerd. And might I add, they were all studs. In years past, my sister and I would walk over to the neighborhood behind us (since mine has like 3 streets, and like 4 houses that even participate) and trick or treat back there with the boys. This year since it rained for a week before and after Halloween, we drove it. It was cold and we let the boys get in when they wanted to get warm or out of the rain. We (as in me and my seester) were feeling a little ‘tricky’ ourselves I suppose.

Yeah- we totally made them chase the car. It was HIGH-larious!! Seriously. Funny. Schtuff.

The boys thought it was pretty funny (obviously- you can clearly tell that from the picture. They were as hysterical as we were. And also the other grownups around us taking their crumb-crushers out and about). They got lots of candy and had fun doing it. And the candy he generally doesn’t like, I do. And vice versa. So win-win for everybody.

A Year End Review

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It’s almost Christmas (eek!). Almost the New Year. And just like last year, the end of the year rush snuck right up on me. Another year lived, another year gone. I’ve learnt a lot about myself this year, a lot about Elijah. Here are some of the biggest changes in my life this past year.

Studliest of them all.

Studliest of them all.

I’ve Learned to Love Football
This is perhaps the most shocking. I’ve never hated it, but I’ve never been a *huge* fan either. Basically I could take a game or leave it. I think this I have to credit to Elijah and his involvement in football this past year. Watching him in practices and games, has given me a better (still not a full) understanding of the game and what all the rules are. Knowledge makes me like it 🙂 I actually look forward to going to my dads house on Sunday’s now to watch whatever game is on. (And I’ve enjoyed watching the Browns actually win a few games this year!)

Found Out Who My Friends Were
I’ve lost some friends and gained some this year. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how long you’ve known someone, it’s time to cut the cord. Most people grow and change- but sometimes they don’t. If you have to wonder what a ‘friend’ could be saying about you behind your back at all times- that’s not a friend. I’ve learned I’d rather have a few close, and trustworthy, friends, then several casual.

I Found an Amazing Job
I’ve said it a thousand times, and I’ll probably say it a thousand more. I am so blessed to have been given this opportunity to work where I do. It’s fun, I love the people I work with, and the Boss Men are awesome. I know I am appreciated here, and I can’t imagine ever wanting to work anywhere else than right here.

This is my absolute favorite picture of us from many moons ago.

This is my absolute favorite picture of us from many moons ago.

My Seester and I Have Really Bonded
She and I have grown really close over the past year, and for that I am really grateful. Of course we still have our moments, but she is now the first person I want to tell when something good, or bad, happens to me. She’s awesome and I lurve her.

Blood Isn’t Always Thicker Than Water
I’ve learned a lot this year, and it just isn’t. No matter how hard you try, sometimes you just can’t force your way into somewhere you don’t belong.

I’ve Come to Realize God is a Necessity in My Life
I need Him, plain and simple. I wish I was a better person. I need to pray more, and I need to read the Bible more. I wish I had more of a heart like His. I’m certainly not perfect, and I know that I couldn’t have been able to accomplish half the things I’ve wanted to without Him guiding and leading me along the way.

The World is a Sad and Scary Place
We all know this, this is nothing new. Mass shootings. Mass stabbings. Bombings. Terrorists. Bullying to the point of suicide. It makes me sad for all the young people now- what’s going to be like in 20-30 years? What kind of issues will their kids have when they go to school? Anything can happen to any body at any time. Every single time you go to the store, or head into work, or the bank- it could always be your last. And I hate to even think about that, but it’s truth. I have many regrets in my life and I don’t want one to be “I wish I had told so-and-so how much they meant to me”. Make every moment count.

Usually the end of the year would cause me to think back and wish I had done this, or why didn’t I do that? I don’t regret anything this year, and I wouldn’t change a thing. I don’t have a lot, but I’m richly blessed with everything I need. I have an unbelievable set of parents, great sisters and brothers, and a son who is my absolute everything. 2012 was good to me- here’s hoping 2013 will be just as kind!

This post has been inspired by this Weekly Writing Challenge