Sunday, December 28, 2008

Snugs and Hugs

No pics to post. Just a note to say, I'm snugging and hugging babies.
Be back in a day or two.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Post Holiday Hangover

Day 26

Today was spent in traditional post Christmas stupor. We slept in, laid around, ate left overs, played with our new stuff and did nothing much of anything. I did make my way next door to visit the next door relatives. My aunt and uncle and their kids and grandkids were all in similar mode. At 3:30pm most of them were still in pjs and my aunt offered me 3:30pm. We sat around the table and munched on goodies and chatted and caught up and had a generally pleasant time. I came home with treats that we don't need, but whatever. tis the season. Right?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Holidays

Day 25
...from our house to yours.....
We all reach a time in our childrens' lives where we just take what we can get. Today we are at just such a juncture. All four (current residents) in one place at one time and all looking in the same general direction. PRINT.

I think I would have better luck trying to wrangle cock roaches.
Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Twas The Night Before Christmas

Day 24

and all through the house, all the Pak's were settled in to watch A Christmas Story at last. Our Christmas Eve tradition is to watch one viewing of A Christmas Story. You can tune in anytime during the next 24 hours to catch the show. It repeats, repeatedly until tomorrow night. This reminds me of a funny story. Every year we would start watching the movie and something would come up to interrupt us, but we'd just pick up on the next go-round. We usually go out driving to look at lights or we'd stop to eat dinner or someone would come over. But it was never a problem because we'd just watch it later. Well, last year was the first year we enjoyed the luxuray of DVR. We recorded the movie, went about our Christmas eve business and then all sat down to watch it in one sitting. Alex said something like "oh, this is the longest movie ever." I said, no, it's only an hour and a half and he complained that it couldn't possibly be that short. Well, we started it and an hour and a half later it was over and he said "is that it?" I laughed and said, how long did you think it was, to which he replied "I don't know, it usually is playing for two days." We all cracked up to think that he thought the marathon was the real length of the movie. Poor kid.

May each of you find your very own Red Ryder BB Gun under the tree.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Night.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Hello Winter

Day 23

Well, it took long enough, but I think its safe to say that winter has well and truly arrived in Montana. 10" as of 9:00 am this morning. More falling throughout the day. Now on the one hand, this throws me right into the holiday spirit. On the other hand, I'm not sure we'll get to take our little trip to meet the new grandbaby. I'm not thinking of that just yet. We could wake up on the 26th and decide that its ok to go. We could end up staying put. No firm plans as of right this minute.

But all that aside, the snow is really coming down. I've been out and about today and the road crews are working their fannies right off. .....Maybe I should look into that line of work. Lord knows my fanny could use some working off. But I digress. Snow, snow and lots of it.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Love This

Day 22
Got this in the mail. This is what all those sleepless nights, all those car pools, all that homework help, all the concerts and class parties and school plays, all the sleepover and temper tantrums and money for braces and whiteknuckle driving lessons and all that stuff, was about. So I can sit back and enjoy the fruits of my labor (pun intended). This is what it's all about.

The Last Sunday Of Advent

Day 21

This has been our tradition for as long as I can remember. Each Sunday we light another candle on the advent wreath and read that week's passage from the Children's Bible. Each Sunday we get that much closer to Christmas. Tonight is the last Sunday. It seems like I was just digging the wreath and candles out of the bin. I pack it on the top of my Thanksgiving decorations. Not in my Christmas bin. This way, I can find it easily as the first Sunday usually falls right after Thanksgiving, as it did this year. So tonight we light all four candles and we ready the final installment of the story of the birth of Jesus. We may not be a church going family, but we've managed to keep the reason for the season at the forefront of our hearts and minds. Merry Christmas to all and Happy Birthday Baby Jesus.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept It....

Day 20

Post a holiday greeting on your blog or Facebook or wherever you hang out,

and link back here.

Happy Holidays...

ETA: I've been reminded that I've also heard Gay's voice. I thought about redoing this video to include that info and to rectify the gashawful still shot of myself...but it took too long to load and I just don't want to bother. So look away while it loads and we'll all feel better.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Pug In Booties

Day 19

Cold is the only word for it. So cold that you don't want to even think about going outside. For some of us, that's ok. But for those of us who must do our business in the great out-of-doors, no so much. Poor Chloe would hold it forever, if she could. She goes out and then sits down and lifts all her feet off the ground. So, great, the feet are warmer but the butt is frozen. Just not a good situation. We tried to fashion doggie booties out of the fingers cut off a wool glove. They were too tight. We tried a few other ideas. None worked very well. The other day I was wandering the aisles of the Dollar store and saw "2 for $1" baby booties. I bought them and brought them home. A quick alteration of a drawstring around each "ankle" and we were cooking with gas. She doesn't love them, but she tolerates them long enough to do her business and get back inside. Plus its just funny to watch her prance around in them.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Home For The Holidays

Day 18
This is Franny. Francesca, to be exact. She and her siblings were found living under a van in a back alley. It took a very dedicated lady and several traps to catch them all. I think she was quite small when she was found. She's been living at a no kill shelter for several months and is a staff favorite.
They think that she's about 6 months old. She loves to be held like a baby. She will stay wherever you put her. I stuck her in this blanket on the family room couch and she stayed there until I moved her elsewhere. She's not the curious cat that Colby was when he came to live with us. He wandered all over the house and peeked into every nook and cranny and just moved himself right in. She will take a little more coaxing. She's not skittish or outwardly nervous. But she's most secure when she's being held or when she's bundled up in a blanket or towel. I'm hoping with love and care, she'll come out of her little shell and be a part of our family. I think the kids would like to change her name. It'll be fun to see what they come up with. Welcome home Franny....or whoever you are.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Snail Mail

Day 17
Yesterday was post office day. Our post office is always busy. There is always a line. Usually I can use the self serve kiosk and be in and out quickly. Not so, yesterday. I knew it going in and I blocked off the afternoon for line standing/people watching. The line at the kiosk was as long as the line for the counter help. And most of the kiosk users don't know how to use it, so don't bother.
I wrestled three big boxes out of the car, slid the van door shut and then realized that it didn't close all the way. So, I freed one finger on my right hand to try to undo the latch and have another go. Ho Ho Ho. Thanks go out to the kindly lady who took pity on me and leant a hand.
Once inside, I assumed my place in line and immediately was flung into a one sided conversation with the lady in front of me who had lost both mailbox keys and wasn't quite sure what to do about it. Thanks go out to the kindly man behind me who started a chit chat and made me turn around from lost key lady. She quickly moved on to another victim. Everyone minded their manners and kept cool heads and the wait wasn't "forever" because we all made it home in time. The only dramtic moment was when lost key lady was told that it would cost her $40 for the guy to come out and replace the lock on her mailbox. I'm going to assume that she's now mastered the "put things back where they belong" lesson in the school of life.
I only have one more quick trip to make and I'll be done for another year.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

All I wanted for Christmas

Day 16
This was all that was on my list.
A plump and healthy baby. And here he is in all his hammy goodness. Richard was born on Dec. 15 at 10 something am. He weighs 7.09lb and is 20" long.
Mom and baby are doing fine.
Dad and sister are doing equally fine. Everyone is just fine and dandy.
If all goes well, weatherwise, we'll be headed out there right after Christmas. I can hardly wait to get my hands on Ricky and Dani too. I think I'll take a gingerbread house kit for the kids to make with Dani. She'd love that. Some of the candy may actually make it onto the house.
Welcome home, Little Ricky. We can't wait to meet you.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Snow Days

Day 15

We don't get them. Bundle up kids, it's barely -30, time for school. I keep calling the school's hotline, hoping that someone, somewhere had some sense knocked into them and I won't have to go out and scrape my windshield and defrost my car. I'm not even sure I'll be able to get up our street. I know that in June, I'll be glad that we all bundled up today and got on with business, but right now I want to stay in my jammies and drink hot coffee. Stupid snow days.

I might actually blog something good later. Katie is at the hospital, preparing to deliver baby Richard. Stay tuned.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Pam's post about peeking sent me back in time. When I was in junior high, we moved to Lewistown. Mom and Dad bought a house that was well over 100 years old. The closets are all big, walk-in affairs. In Mom and Dad's closet there is a tiny door in the wall that leads to a little crawl space. Imagine how cool it was to find that little hidden space. Mom thought she was so clever to hide our Christmas gifts in there. We would sneak in and with only the light from the closet to work by, we'd carefully pull back the wrapping on one side to see what was in the package. I would always be dissapointed that I knew what some of my gifts were going to be. But I couldn't help myself from looking. She did catch onto us in time and would put our gifts in odd boxes. No child wants to think that their getting a vacuum for Christmas. I don't peek anymore. In fact I save my gifts to the very last. I guess that means I've grown up, finally.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I Dreamt of a White Christmas

Day 13

This is the first time in recent memory that we have not had snow by Thanksgiving. It is Dec. 13 and we just got our first real snow. And ICE.

We are going nowhere today. We couldn't even if we wanted to. I am not one bit sad about this. It's a rare treat. So I've spent the day puttering around, wrapping gifts and doing laundry. The only downside to the whole thing is that I can not find Alex's snow pants anywhere. I've searched every nook, cranny and closet in this house. If you were snowpants, where would you be? He did manage to spend some time outside without getting frost bite. But he was pretty well chilled when he came in.
In other news, Colby the cat has moved to his new home. Brittney finally found an apartment and made the big move yesterday. I must say, it is a welcome relief for everyone. We miss Colby but I think he'll be coming back to visit. I saw an ad today for a pug. I put in the call and am waiting to hear back. I did really want a Westie but they are so hard to come by. Alex and Sarah both said we should get a new cat. We'll see what the next day or two bring. But there will be a new pet soon.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Lights! No Camera! Some Action!

Day 12

There are now lights on the house. Riddle me this Batman. Why is it, when you carefully unwind every string and plug them in for a test run, they all work; but when you spend two hours hanging them from the roof and turn them on, only some of them work? Why? It never fails.
So I headed to Walmart this morning with my list in hand. Many items to purchase and lights were one of those items. Do you think I could find lights? No Sir and or Ma'am. I could not. I walked up and down each aisle spending approximatley $2.49 for every minute in the store. I crossed many things of my Christmas list but lights was not one of them. I'll have to go back. Maybe if I just take a $5 bill in with me, I'll get out without having to remortgage my home.

In other news, I have made a very concerted effort over the course of this year to not use plastic or paper shopping bags. I have the nice canvas bags from Walmart. $1. each and they are made from recycled plastic bags. Two birds, one stone. I have many and if I forget to bring one in, I buy another one as my penance. I place them on the belt in front of my items and without fail I'm asked "would you like your food items in a plastic bag?" NO, thank you...."would you like your magazine in a plastic bag." NO, thank you...."would you like....." NO thank you. I feel like I might be channeling Joan Crawford from the wire hanger scene. Persistance paid in the end and I came home completely plasticLESS

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Lean Your Ear This Way

Day 11

My Childhood memories of Santa are vivid. I would get so excited for Christmas that I would just shake and I still remember the physical ache of anticipation. I don't think I ever stopped believing. I never felt tricked or deceived by the stories. The thought of a benevolent old soul toiling all year to bring gifts the all the good boys and girls of the world just makes my heart glad. The sight of a Santa and child makes me misty eyed. Part of that may be hormones, but part of it has always been that way.

Yes Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus

Eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York's Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history's most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps.

"DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old. "Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. "Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.' "Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?"VIRGINIA O'HANLON."115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET."VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding. No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Holiday Goodies

Day 10

Had a nice surprise visit from an old friend today. He and his wife used to live here but they moved to Spokane several years ago and we only see them occasionally. He's with Best Buy and he sometimes comes this way on work. When he and his wife come together we all go hang out at the winery of another friend. How much fun is it to have full run of the tasting room?
Well he popped in today with his work crew and delivered baked goodies from his wife. Oh, I miss them so much. It was nice to sit and chat and catch up. We might pop in on them as we pass through on our way to Katie's after the holiday. That will be fun. Short, but fun. It always is. So I've eaten way too much fudge today. Thanks a lot Vicky. Not nice to send your fluffy friend chocolate. And the pumpkin bread is delightful. Why do I feel like there will be a recipe request coming from the Muse girls?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Call of The Wild

Day 9

Nothing good can happen when you bring a tree into a house with animals.
That darn cat is determined to find a way up that tree. The beauty of this fir is that the branches are so close together, he just can't find a clear path. And yet he tries.
I took this funky shot early this morning with my nighttime setting on. I'm trying to capture that glowy look that I see in so many gorgeous photos. However, I am only able to achieve the look of rush hour on the I-5 in L.A. And the red glowing eyes are something else I'd like to be able to fix. I saw somewhere an "pet red eye" feature. But I can not, for the life of me, remember where. So Colby looks like a demon cat on the I-5 at rush hour.
Chloe is just her usual pitful self. She tip toes around the tree, sniffing and snorting and generally looking alarmed.

Monday, December 08, 2008

It's still standing

Day 8
This morning I woke up and walked out to the livingroom, passing the tree on the way. I almost fell over as I caught sight of it out of the corner of my eye. You know that sensation you get when the car next to you in traffic starts to move slowly, but you actually think that its your car moving? Well, as I passed the tree I got the sensation of tipping over, only it was the tree that was leaning to the North East.
Thom and I took turns holding the tree and crawling around. Not at the same time. One would hold the tree while one crawled around...but you knew that. Anyway, we finally got it reseated in the stand and screwed down nice and tight. This tree has a rather beefy trunk. Not like last year's whisp of a tree with a trunk the size of my pinky finger. So readjusting this one was pretty easy. I locked the cat downstairs while I was at work and a good thing too, cuz later today Sarah saw him head under the branches and make a dash up the trunk. She fished him out and we haven't seen him try it again. But I think he'll spend the month of Dec. in the family room so while we are away the cat can't play. This tree is a 6 foot grand fir and it smells lovely.
PS you should be appropriately impressed that this is day 8 and I'm still blogging. Just saying.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Oh Christmas Tree

Day 7

Went to the Lion's Club Christmas tree sale today. It's at the fairground in the Llama building. I'm telling you, it smells a lot better in there today than the last time I visited, on a hot summer's day during the fair. Full of llamas and their "gifts". I love the little old guys that run this booth. They have the trees all neatly separated according to size and variety. The first guy greeted us and said "would you like help or will you spend more money on your own?" Then as soon as I picked out my tree I had a nice young man ready to heft it up to the check out stand for me. Next was a sweet old guy with a chain saw to cut off the end. When I asked if it would be a horrible trouble for him to cut off the bottom row of branches, he said "yes it would." I asked if he do it anyway and he said "of course" with a wink and twinkle of the eye. Two more strong, young things got it up on top of the van and straped it down nice and tight and we were off. It's currently on the front porch having a drink of water, while I prepare to move a piece of furnature or two. Then the lights will go on and the kids will start to decorate. We used to have a real tree decorating event, but now I just leave the tub of decorations out and they slowly add one or two a day until it's done. We are just never all in the same place at the same time anymore. So, we adapt.
It might be a day or two before I can post a pic. But I will when I have a completed tree.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Christmas Babies

Day 6

December is a busy month in our family. Many, many Christmas babies to honor.
Dec. 2....LaVonne (Uncle Jimmy's wife)
Dec. 3....Cousin Grace
Dec. 4...Brittney
Dec. 6...Thom (Happy Birthday Thom)
Dec. 17...Nephew Chris
Dec. 23...Aunt Julie
Dec. 25...Uncle Jimmy (who fell out of the Christmas Tree)
Dec. 27...Dad
Dec. 29 Cousin Noel
And sometime this month, we'll welcome Baby Richard (Katie and David's second)

I said the Dec. was a busy month, but I think it's more accurate to say that March is a busy month. LOL. You have to do gestational math for that one.
So, while we are all shopping for Christmas gifts, we are also trying to remember birthdays. My brain is old and full and sometimes its hard to remember.

In other news, I'm contemplating climbing the big ladder to hang lights. I'm not fully committed to it yet.

Friday, December 05, 2008

The Best Gift of all

David is home, safe and sound. We weren't sure when, exactly, he would be home. There was worry that it might be after the baby was born. But it all worked out and he's back and the bun is still cooking away in the oven and all is right in that little corner of the world.

I am constantly reminded of how very lucky we are. We've had a tragedy strike awfully close to home. A friend of Alex's has died in a horrible accident. It is moments like this swiftly put life into perspective. There isn't very much in life that matters as much as we think it does. In the end the only thing that is really important is the health and well being of our loved ones. I sometimes forget that my "problems" are barely blips on the radar of the universe. They just don't matter that much and I sometimes make them bigger and more important than they really are. I have the task of guiding Alex through this traumatic time, but that task pales in comparison to what his friend's family is facing. I must remember to accept my circumstances and bless them for the gifts they offer. This time I've been offered the gift of clarity and gratitude for all I have in my life.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Season's Greetings

Day 4
The winner of the 25th annual Pak Family Christmas card contest is, Laura C. from the U. Her lovely greeting was the first to arrive in ye aulde mail box. Thank you Laura. It's beautiful, though suspiciously unhandcrafted. Which makes me pause. Were you or were you not the hostESS of the Muse card making extravaganza? Well, perhaps I dreamt that part. In any case, I love it and thank you.

In other news of Dec. 4th. My son-in-law, David, is homeward bound. Early, no less. He's been cooling his heels in Germany after serving in Afghanistan since July. Katie is dilated and ready for him to be home. He should arrive around 2pm Pacific time. Welcome Home, Sailor, we missed you.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Day 3
The real miracle of Christmas is that I was able to wrangle this wreath out of the Black Hole that is our garage. Holy Moley & *&^%$#@. But, its out and its up and I'm moving along...

Nativity scenes

I didn't realize I was collecting nativity scenes until I had a collection started. Each year I'd get one as a gift and I'd just add it to the others. Now I have several and they all live on the china hutch during the holiday season. I really would love to get a nice big elegant one like Laura has. Maybe someday.

It's Dec. 3 and there is no snow. There has been no snow all along. This isn't normal or right. The first snowfall puts me right into the holiday spirit. I'm waiting, and hoping. Not that I look forward to shoveling it, but it's sorta necessary to the whole Christmas vibe.

Decking The Halls

Day 2
I came home from work today and got busy. I have a small furnace room that is very much like Fibber McGee's closet . Be careful what you touch in there. Somehow, and without mass destruction, I was able to wrestle my Christmas decorations out of that hell hole the other day. They sat neatly stacked until I had enough strength to deal with them. I began by piling all my everyday tchatzkies on top of my table. Then a massive dusting. Now comes the best part. The mindless puttering of putting it here, moving it there, back to here..Perfecto. All my Santas go on top of the entertainment center. All the snowmen on the hall ledge. That's as far as I got. I still have my nativities and other misc. and then the tree. The tree comes last. Dry climate prohibits early assembly of live trees. Maybe by the weekend. We'll see, cuz Thom's ironclad wallet also has tendency to prohibit purchase of live tree. Now I should add the warm and fuzzy part of this activity. All the memories that waft out of the box and swirl around as I place the items. Each has a story...who gave it, or made it and when. Love that part the best.

Monday, December 01, 2008

December Daily

There's a project called December Daily at Ali Edwards Blog
The idea is to journal daily leading up to Christmas. Since I can barely bring myself to journal monthly, right now, I wonder if this is just a recipe for failure. But I'll give it the old college try. However, the fact that I didn't actually finish college does not bode well for this venture. Just saying....

Day 1

Monday. Oh, see we're already not looking too good. Ok, Monday Dec. 1st. Back to our regular routine after a very nice long break from work (for me) and school for everyone else. I put away the fall decorations and found the advent calendar and wreath on Sunday. That's a good thing. I pulled out the Christmas decoration boxes and stacked them neatly in one area. However, I didn't go any further than that. We can't have all the fun at once, now, can we? So, I've been knitting like a fool since the Olympics and have many scarves ready to gift. I've also been making rag quilts and have two done, two ready to sew and one ready to cut. A gift for Mom and Dad is bought and ready to ship. Things are actually looking good. A massive card making day over at the U has me all set to send greetings early, or at all, this year. So, day one is done. On to day two. What fun and joy will it present? We'll have to wait and see.

That's One Way To Do It