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Walking Kateastrophe

I Used to be Interesting. Weird.

April 18th, 2012 by Kateastrophe

I don’t know why but lately?  Blogging is SO HARD.  I look back at years ago when every single day I had something at least remotely interesting or funny to write.  Lately?  Nada.  It’s frustrating.  I have about fifty posts that I started but never finished because even I knew they were boring.  Hell, this post is going to be boring.  I’ve totally lost my mojo.

One would think with the baby on the way and life changing SO MUCH for me that I might find interesting things to do which would lead to interesting things to say.  One would be wrong.

I just don’t think people are all that interested in my announcing gleefully that the puppy has slept through the night the last three nights!  Or that he is really figuring this potty training thing out!  And he’s starting to hump!  Also, my stomach is getting huge!  And a bit hurty!  And despite the puppy sleeping through the night, I sure don’t!  And I figured out a cleaning schedule for the house that (for the most part) works for me and keeps the house somewhat presentable!

Boring, boring, blah, blah, blah.

The worst part is that I really think it will just continue to get worse.  I have the other blog to talk about all things baby so I can keep things separate and not start inundating you with stories of cloth vs. disposable diapers and diaper rash remedies and breast feeding.  Not that those things are boring, just that they’re not really applicable to the type of blog I want this to be.  If it’s even really a blog at all anymore.  Sigh.

And now I think I sound like I’m complaining.  I swear I’m not.

Truly, life is awesome.  I love this little puppy with  all my heart even when he’s making me crazy.  He is so cute and made life around here so much fun. Matt and I hardly watch TV anymore and spend a ton of time playing with him and talking while we take him on walks.  We are saving so much money because we eat out so rarely and try not to go out other places too much while he’s still a puppy and has a hard time being alone - this is obviously good training for when our little man arrives.   I don’t think we ever would have gotten a dog while we were both working full time so that’s a win for the unemployment column. We both have said out loud more than once that we can’t imagine life without Watson now that he’s here.

The pregnancy going so well and has been so easy 99.9% of the time.  I could not feel more lucky or more blessed to have this be the way that my body chooses to behave while pregnant. My minor aches and pains and sleep issues are nothing compared to the horror stories I’ve heard or seen in person with some of my friends.  I count my blessings every day that I am able to do pretty much anything I want.  I just sprinkle in a couple of naps here and there.  The nursery and supplies are coming along splendidly if I could only choose a wall color.  Good thing I have three months and some sort of a plan.  Let the nesting begin!

My husband is amazing and works his can off every day to make sure that life continues to be comfortable for our little growing family.  Being home during the day has made me treasure the time that he’s home and we can hang out.  He was sick yesterday and I was almost excited because it meant I got to see him more.

We have decided against a Babymoon, just because we’re trying to pay off Matt’s truck by the end of the year and have no car payments.  We have money stashed away for a vacation still but we’d rather use that in a year or so when we can do what we really want, which is go to Greece.  Luckily we have three willing babysitters in our Mom’s and should be able to pull this off within a year and a half or so, rather than waiting until this kid is in high school or something.

I’m not sure what else to say.  I’ve covered the four VERY exciting things that are going on in my life right now.   You are all so stimulated.  I can tell. You can thank me later.

Yet Another Post Lost to Placenta Brain

February 21st, 2012 by Kateastrophe

Ohmagosh.  I wrote a whole long AWESOME post today and then my computer battery ran out (known risk of being too lazy to get up from the couch, I suppose) and I lost the whole thing.  Ugh.

To summarize:

I’m still pregnant and writing about it over yonder at my baby blog and will attempt to keep this blog about more than things related to my uterus.  I realize the last 20 months prove I’m not good at that, but I promise, I’ll try.  As a quick update for those of you who don’t want to take the time to click over (I know, so hard on that clicker finger) baby and I are doing great.  18 weeks yesterday and still not showing though I feel like I have a gut bomb at all times.  We have an ultrasound on Thursday which should confirm whether or not it’s actually a boy (pretty sure it is).  Other than that, nothing to report.  I can’t complain at all though I do wish I’d start showing because I think at that point it feels more real?  Hum.  Either way I’m sure in a few weeks I’ll live to regret that sentence and ever thinking that I couldn’t wait to show.

Watson is the coolest puppy ever despite the fact that he just peed on the carpet right next to the door to go outside…where I was standing asking him to come pee.  All signs point to this being one stubborn dog, y’all.  But stubborn I can handle because he’s cute and he hardly makes a noise, loves people, loves me the MOST and is finally starting to sleep for more than an hour or two at a time.  Some nights.  Matt and I realize we are spoiling him rotten but we just love him to death and it’s hard not to when he looks like THIS in a sweater (that he HATES).  I mean REALLY.  And that crooked ear kills me.  We wish it wasn’t crooked and we’re working on getting the blister that’s causing it taken care of for the third time but seriously?  SO awesome. (And yes, I’m becoming that annoying dog owner. I get it, I’m lame. I’ve accepted it.)

Let’s see… I went to Florida (Tampa and Siesta Key/Sarasota to be specific) to help my former/current/it’s complicated boss find a place to live for a new super sweet job he took.  We found a great place with a great view but I’m not sure it’s going to work out, which is lame, but he and his daughter who came along were able to see options and we ate some amazing lobster in the process.  I also got to see my amazing friend Angie who has a sweet little baby girl named June who I hadn’t met yet.  We had a great night catching up before I had to head down the coast.  It was a quick trip and I’ve been exhausted ever since but it was worth it.

Work for me has slowed down a little which I actually don’t mind much because I’ve been really tired, but it looks like it’s picking back up and I might have two additional companies asking for my help in the next little bit, so that will be nice and help us pay off the last little bit of my car and hopefully most of Matt’s before baby comes roaring into our lives.  Matt is busy as usual, especially right now.  The beginning of the year is extra crazy for him and his team but luckily, it doesn’t usually mean a ton of extra hours so most nights he’s home for dinner and we get to hang out.

That about sums it up.  I swear my other post was much more entertaining and witty.  It’s late enough in the day that I’m almost incoherent.  I always thought placenta brain was a myth.  Trust me, it’s so not.  I swear I get dumber and less interesting every day.  At least my boobs are getting bigger so I’ve always got that going for me, right?


The Post I Have Been Waiting to Publish for 20 Months Has Finally Arrived

February 8th, 2012 by Kateastrophe

After all the trauma of life the last couple of years, I was pretty sure this day would NEVER, EVER come, but it seems it has.

We’re 16 weeks pregnant and the ultrasound we had yesterday seems to indicate it’s a man child.

I am 100% excited about the fact that we’ve finally made it this far and things appear to be perfection. The pregnancy so far has been pretty easy breezy and with the exception of a couple of weeks of stomach issues thanks to a slow digestive system, I haven’t been sick at all.  Not a single instance of morning sickness, food aversions or the unbelievable exhaustion that usually accompanies the first trimester.  I am definitely more tired than usual but not EXHAUSTED like I was before and my immune system seems non-existant as I seem to get every single cold or bug that’s going around, but overall I have no complaints whatsoever.

As for the boy part, full disclosure, I’m about 70% excited about the boy part.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE LITTLE BOYS and I’m so excited at the possibility of one and  having the oldest be a boy to look after his younger sibling(s) (maybe more than just one) BUT my entire life long I have always just known I would have a girl first.  There really wasn’t ever a doubt in my  mind that my oldest child would be dressed in pink from head to toe.  Ha.  Hahahaaaaa.  Hahah.  If the experiences of the last two years have proven anything to me it’s that God is trying very hard to point out to me that I don’t always get my way and this little guy is no exception.  I actually had a feeling the whole pregnancy that it was a boy.  I kept telling Matt that I just knew it wasn’t going to be my little girl and that he, and his Dad, and my brothers and most of my friends would get their way and I’d end up like an apple tree growing a banana.  I guess I was right!  Now, no matter what I am SO grateful to have what appears to be a healthy pregnancy that should end in an actual baby, unlike before, but there is a small twinge of disappointment that I didn’t get my little girl - which I’m sure will completely disappear over the coming months and for SURE as soon as I meet him.

In honor of getting this far and knowing the gender, I FINALLY allowed myself to start clothes shopping and yesterday I bought  two of the most adorable little boy outfits and I’ve been scouring my baby board on Pinterest separating out the (very few) boy nursery ideas that I have in there, and I’m actually getting more excited the more I think about it.  And while we haven’t actually discussed it since pregnancy number one, the name we agreed on most was our boy name so unless Matt changed his mind, we’re all set there.

As usual I’ve been writing blog posts throughout the pregnancy over at my baby blog and I will be publishing those later today.  I read over them again and realized I’m SUPER repetitive, especially when only blogging once a week or less often, so sorry about that!  There are ultrasound pics and all sorts of randomness going on over there.

So there you have it.  It seems the baby aspirin and progesterone paid off and we are well on our way to being honest to goodness parents.  Now if we could just get the dog to sleep through the night before July…

A Trip Down Blogory Lane

January 30th, 2012 by Kateastrophe

Today I was reminiscing about the days when I used to have tons to blog about and tons of comments.  It’s completely my fault that all went away but today I realized I miss it!  I have made SO many cool friends blogging over the years and sometimes when I think back to when I actually “met” them, I can’t believe how much time has passed!

For example, back when I first met Molly, she wasn’t even engaged, let alone married with a baby and #2 on the way!!  And Angela was still living in Seattle and had only been married like, a year.  Now she and Colby are moving to Germany, doing In Vitro next month (sticky baby dust your way, love!) and coming up on their fifth anniversary!  My real life best friend Anne aka Brillig who was my partner in Soap Opera Sunday crime (yeah, I never did finish that one loooooooooong story.  Sorry guys.) doesn’t even HAVE a blog anymore.  I never thought the day would come!   Luisa had a baby who is now almost FOUR!!! There are tons more I want to name but it would seriously take me all day.  Lots of love and marriage and babies and new jobs and big changes and so maybe great people I’ve met.  I love that part of blogging.

And then there’s my life.  Since I started blogging waaaaaayyy back in 2006, just the day after our first anniversary, Matt and I have done and been through and experienced SO MUCH!  I’m going to bullet this list because HOLY CRAP there’s a lot!

  • Celebrated five (soon to be six) more anniversaries
  • Built a house
  • Sold a house (gross)
  • Moved (gross)
  • Yearly family vacations to the sand dunes
  • Yearly (AMAZING) girls trips
  • Losses of friends (sad)
  • My introduction to fine dining and subsequent food snobbery
  • A trip to China
  • A trip to Puerto Vallarta
  • Countless trips to California with a couple Disneyland trips thrown in
  • One job change and two promotions for Matt
  • A huge promotion, a company acquisition, two job changes, a job loss and a contracting job for me
  • A lead role in two musicals
  • Starting to teach voice lessons
  • A girls trip to Disneyworld
  • Acquired a new sister (technically sister-in-law but who needs to get technical!?  She’s my SISTER!)
  • The birth of NUMEROUS babies to my besties (I’m trying to count.  I think it’s something like 12?)
  • Three pregnancies and subsequent miscarriages (boo)
  • A new puppy!

I’m sure there’s a ton more given the plethora of posts between my three (!!) blog versions.  In spite of some downer moments, the last six years have been really good to me.  I’m pretty glad I started a blog because I’ll always have that fun stuff to look back on, and hopefully there’s years more to come!  Maybe at some point I’ll even get interesting again and return to my former blogging glory!!  Not likely, but I guess one never knows.

Thanks to those of you who  still read.  I know from my stats that there’s more of you than the comments show and I appreciate you coming back to make me feel like I’m at least a little bit interesting! I’ll try to step it up this year and see if I can make it worth your while!

The Puppeh Has Landed

January 20th, 2012 by Kateastrophe

So…owning a puppy.  It’s a love/hate/love/hate/love/love thing.  He is so freaking cute I want to carry him around in my pocket all the time, and quite frankly he’s small enough and loves the attention enough he probably wouldn’t mind one single bit.

We named him Dr. Watson and call him just Watson.  I think it will fit his personality as he grows up really well.  He’s so young he does all the normal puppy stuff but he’s showing signs of being loving, loyal and super duper feisty and stubborn.  Our first vet visit went great.  He weighs a whopping 2.72 lbs and other than the infected bite on his ear (courtesy of a feisty sibling the day before we picked him up) which is causing the ear to curl back instead of pointing up, he’s a healthy little guy.  He eats well, though I’ll be changing his food soon due to the fact that most dog normal dog food is made mostly of animal by-products and corn, both things that aren’t so good for him, or really any dog for that matter.  {Stepping down from soapbox now}

As I said, he’s oh so snuggly.  From the moment we got him in the car to bring him home he snuggled up in his blanked (courtesy of Grandma and Grandpa Murphy, aka Matt’s parents) and went to sleep.  As soon as we were home he explored a little bit and then climbed onto me, nuzzled into my neck and went back to sleep.  So there’s that amazingly lovable side of him.

Then there’s his stubborn, snotty side that will look at me, run into his crate and pee, just to show me that while MOST dogs refuse to pee where they sleep, he is the exception to the rule and he’ll pee wherever he wants, thank you very much.  It shows up other places too.  For the first few days he couldn’t get inside fast enough after his bathroom break.  Yesterday, he discovered sun patches.  He was outside for almost an hour yesterday, absolutely refusing to come inside (without force) and just hanging out in the sun.  He discovered the same sun patches in the (before now) never explored living/dining room.  Now it’s his favorite place to go hang out on the warm carpet.  I’d let him stay there forever except for the fact that I find him sneaking off to mess up my carpet every time I turn my head.

As for the feisty side, it usually shows up at play time and is completely hilarious and appropriate, but it also shows up when it’s two in the morning and I just want to go back to sleep.  He would instantly fall asleep if I put him in his blanket in my lap but if I put him in his blanket in his crate suddenly he’s WIDE AWAKE and wants to play, which usually entails chasing my feet around and biting my toes, which actually hurts! As an example of the feisty, below is a video of him attacking a mag light.  Apologies for the length and for my horrible voice and laughter.

As you can see, he doesn’t really walk or run anywhere, he hops. This has been a constant since his first movement here at the house. Fortunately he gets more coordinated every day because at first he couldn’t take three steps without falling all over himself. We still have hilarious accidents involving walls, shower doors, sliding glass doors, nor realizing that when he scratches with one leg he really shouldn’t try to walk, and rolling off my shoulder in his sleep, doing a backflip on the way down. The good news is that he seems to be made of rubber and has yet to even wince when he falls or runs into something.

So there’s the puppy update.  We’re madly in love with him, though severely sleep deprived and walking around like zombies, but at least we’re zombies in love with the cutest dog ever.

Off to a Good Start

January 3rd, 2012 by Kateastrophe

It’s the new year!  Thank freaking goodness!  I’m not sure I’ve mentioned it before but I have never been more ready for a new beginning than I am right now.

I realized as I started writing this that I should really include some pictures from our Christmas and New Year…but they’re at home and I’m not and so no pictures for now.  Maybe tonight I’ll do a post that’s entirely made up of pictures…hmmm interesting concept.

My birthday this year was really mellow and really nice.  It was a rough year for babysitters so there were only six people who were able to make it to my party, but it was actually really, really fun.  We sat around the table eating and talking and laughing until midnight, when we realized we had one minute to get out the noise makers and fake champagne, so we hurried and did that and then we played Minute to Win It games until almost two.  It. Was.  Hilarious.  Whoever came up with some of those games deserves a medal.  If I happen to do my picture post tonight I’ll also include a video of the Bobble Head game.  I’m not sure I’ve ever laughed that hard.   As for gifts, I got some really fun trinkets and games from friends and family, Matt’s parents got me the most awesome professional style popcorn popper  I’ve already used it like five times, just for myself.  It’s awesomsauce.  Finally, Matt dialed in with a sweet surprise of two day park hopper passes to Disneyland, which I am SO EXCITED about.  I love me some Disneyland.  All in all, my birthday was a huge hit and helped end a pretty crappy year on a really high note.

New Year’s Day was spent being extraordinarily lazy.  We woke up at eleven and then didn’t leave the couch until three at which point we decided we needed some food before crashing back on the couch until bedtime.  It was an awesome day of sluggishness.

Yesterday, we decided we were done being lazy and we packed up the Jeep for a four wheeling adventure to Box Canyon, which is about and hour and a half south-east of our house, near a tiny town called Florence.  It was an amazingly beautiful 80 degree day and the trail was awesome.  There were only a few times I thought my brain was going to bounce out of my head and I stepped on a cactus branch in my flip-flops while trying to pee in the wilderness, so that was…interesting, but we really had a great time.  I love having our Jeep and we high fived yesterday on never selling it.  Go us.  We ended the day with delicious Cafe Rio (oh how I wish there were one closer to our house) and drove home.  It was such a fun day, I’m glad we decided to kick the laziness and go do something.

Today I’m back to work after two weeks of blah - I mean I worked during those two weeks but it was all from the couch..  It was rough getting started but nice to be back in a routine that didn’t involve hours of Netflix, pajamas and my couch blanket - aka Snuggie.  I’m sure poor Matt thought he’d never see me with make-up or normal clothes on again.  I guess I had to wash my sweat pants at SOME point.

I’ve joined a lot of people in skipping New Year’s resolutions this year.  I really just want to focus on loving my life and being happy, so I’m not making any specific goals, I just really want to keep my chin up and have a positive attitude all year long, no matter what happens.  It might be the hardest thing I’ve ever set out to do, honestly, but I’m determined to make it happen.

Merry Sickmas!

December 29th, 2011 by Kateastrophe

I have been sick for ten days.  TEN DAYS.  It hasn’t been bad enough to knock me completely out, it’s just been one of those things where I’ll think I’m getting better so I’ll go on a walk or run some errands and then next thing I know I’m down for 12 hours or so.  I’ve been to the doctor three times.  THREE.

First time:  “Just a common cold, here have some nasal spray!”

Second time:  “Hmm, still probably just a cold.  Maybe some prescription cough syrup?”

Third time:  “Well, probably a virus but just in case we’ll give you a Z-pac to knock it out if it’s not.”

Well, must be a freaking virus because nothing did the trick.  Insert heavy, more obnoxious than it already is whining HERE.

I swear I’m trying not to be a big, complainy baby here (ok that might not be at all true) but I don’t remember being sick for this long.  EVER.  And this is like, the best I’ve ever had it as far as nurturing an environment of healing.  I’ve had the luxury of being able to stay in bed almost all day every day during this whole thing.  That’s the awesome part about working from home.  No one on the computer knows I’m sick and they’re not going to catch it.  As long as I can make it through a few conference calls, I’m good.  So anyway, I’ve gone to bed early, used a vaporizer, downed enough Sprite and juice to sustain an army, taken every drug known to man, and it just won’t.go.away!  It’s like my immune system was sitting on the couch, watching season 1 of Lost when it got the phone call that it was needed and it kind of shrugged it’s shoulders and went “Eh.  This is a really good show.  I’ll show up when this episode is over”  Then it turned out it was LOST and it was watching it on Netflix and then found out that ALL the seasons were available (!!!) and couldn’t handle any of the cliff hangers and had to watch all six seasons, back to back.  No breaks, no sleeping, no helping a sick girl out for Christmas.  I’m just hoping it likes the ending well enough to GET OVER HERE AND MAKE ME BETTER.

I’m finally (cross my fingers) starting to feel like I’m on the upswing, but we’ll see how it goes when I have my annual birthday party/New Year’s Eve bash on Saturday.  I might just kick it back into action and be sick FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE.

So um, other than that…Christmas was great.  Matt and I were both spoiled rotten.  I got my much wanted enameled cast iron skillet and the Ray Ban sunglasses (woot!), a ton of awesome kitchen gadgets, a bunch of gift certificates to my favorite stores and a lot of other sweet stuff.  Matt got a super nifty hands free video camera he can mount on his ATV helmet or his Jeep and catch the hilarious moments (aka CRASHES) we always miss when we’re out riding, a really nice G-shock watch, a bunch of tool related things that go in the garage that I don’t understand and some shirts and sports stuff and other boy type things.  I seriously couldn’t believe my eyes when we doled out all the presents and I saw the amount that was left under the tree for just us.  Santa was much too kind this year.  I like to think we deserved it.  *wink*

So now all that’s left in 2011 is getting better, cleaning the house (which includes rearranging cupboards in the kitchen to make room for my loot) and putting together the games for the party on Saturday.  My big birthday present is the puppy, who comes home around the middle of January, but I’m still expecting a little somethin’ somethin’ from that husband of mine.  And what I mean by that is some jewelry.  Ha!  The theme of overdoing it might as well continue, right?  Because next year we just might get lucky enough to have a munchkin to spoil, or at the very least a puppy…so we may never get this chance again!  SPOIL ME AWAY, SPOUSE!

I hope you all had fan-freakin-tastic Christmases too, and I also hope you have a wonderful and safe New Year.  I’ll probably be be back before 2011 is over, but just in case I’m not, love and (mask covered) kisses to all!  XOXO

Merry Christmas!

December 25th, 2011 by Kateastrophe

No matter what your beliefs, may we all have the true meaning of the season in our hearts.  As Ebeneezer Scrooge so beautifully says in ‘A Christmas Carol:’

“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach.”

For me, the center of Christmas is the Savior.  I cannot say what I feel for Him and what He has done for my life better than Thomas S. Monson, the prophet of my church did in his Christmas Devotional earlier this month:

“Because He came to earth, we have a perfect example to follow. As we strive to become more like Him, we will have joy and happiness in our lives and peace each day of the year. It is His example which, if followed, stirs within us more kindness and love, more respect and concern for others.

Because He came, there is meaning to our mortal existence.

Because He came, we know how to reach out to those in trouble or distress, wherever they may be.

Because He came, death has lost its sting, the grave its victory. We will live again because He came.

Because He came and paid for our sins, we have the opportunity to gain eternal life…

May His precious Spirit be with us, and may He ever be the center of our celebrations and indeed of our very lives”

Merry Christmas to all of you.  I hope your day is filled with love, family and laughter.

Almost There

December 17th, 2011 by Kateastrophe

Matt was expressing his irritation at my getting flour all over his iPad the other day while I was using it to cook (happens a lot and it’s covered like Fort Knox so it’s not like I’m going to DO anything to it) and then he said something that for some reason struck me as Hi-larious.

“Shouldn’t we have won an extra iPad by now?  I mean, COME ON.  We haven’t won anything or had any great news in a long time.  This year has been crappy with a capital S-H and I THINK WE DESERVE TO WIN AN IPAD.”

I just started laughing and couldn’t stop for about ten minutes.  It was funny for so many reasons, the first being we haven’t entered to win an iPad so unless someone is delivering them door to door, it’s not happening.  Second, we HAVE an iPad and I’m absolutely certain we don’t need two.  I mean, I wouldn’t say NO to one but it’s not like I have this great urge to go out and drop the cash on a second one.  Third, Matt having a burst of emotion such as that is just plain funny.  I think, however, that I was laughing mostly out of 2011 exhaustion.  It’s that slap happiness that hits you at 3 am at a sleepover and you know you’ve passed the point of no return and all you can do is laugh.  That’s where I’m at with 2011.  It’s the 3am of the year, two weeks left, and I can’t do anything but laugh until I pass out from exhaustion and wake up in 2012.

I remember so vividly writing this post on the eve of my 30th birthday last year.  I was so very certain that 2011 was going to be the greatest year ever.  And frankly, it started off that way.  I got a new job, I spent an amazing few days with awesome friends in Disneyworld, I found out we were pregnant again and carried that little baby past 12 weeks and into what seemed like the safe zone…then around April everything just sort of fell apart.  The baby didn’t make it, the new job wasn’t all it was cracked up to be, I was a huge ball of stress and I had a good three months of invasive poking and prodding only to find out there wasn’t much wrong and we had no idea why my babies weren’t making it.  Then, in September it all sort of culminated in the official loss of my job, still not being pregnant and having a lot of spare anger and emotions to top it all off.  We are all very lucky I had proactively started on anti-depressants in April because BOY HOWDY was September rough.  Now, complete in fairness to 2011, the last three months haven’t been bad at all with two trips home to Utah, a wonderful Thanksgiving with my brothers and sister and a contract job that seems to be working out really well.  So all things told, five months of the year were the crappiest in memory, three months were not so bad and three were some of the best of my life.  It’s been a roller coaster for sure.

As always, the love and support I’ve had through all of this has been greater than I could ever explain.  In general, people have been SO kind and SO understanding.  There have been the random letters and statements telling me to “suck it up” but I think the people saying those things really hadn’t taken the time to hear and understand the entire story, and I know they were just trying - in their weird way - to be helpful.    I try not to hold it against anyone just as I hope that they won’t hold my recent strange behavior and attitude issues against me.  As I said, almost everyone has been fantastic.  Supportive, thoughtful, kind and willing to be there for me in whatever way I need.  I am so unbelievably grateful to have the friends and family I do and I wish that I could do more for them.

I’m still not quite to that point that people claim you get to where you can look back on your troubles and say you were grateful for what you learned.  I still struggle every day with trying to figure out how to be OK with some of the things that happened.  I’m struggling with finding happiness for others who have the things I’ve been denied.  I’m struggling with some feelings of worthlessness and inadequacy due to the job failure.   I’m struggling to find peace with the things that happened and move on.  In some cases the painful things were absolutely no fault of my own and in others, there are lots of things I need to think on to determine what I may have done to contribute and make sure I prevent that behavior in the future.   It’s a daily battle but I’m working so hard and I really think I’m almost there.

I’m looking forward to turning the page on this year.  I’m counting on a fantastic 2012, whatever it brings.  That might mean a baby, a new job, a promotion for Matt, a new house, a big vacation (Australia, anyone?!?!) or just a happier outlook.  At the very least I’m aiming for that last one.  I’m going to be happy in 2012…even if it means upping my medication dose.  Ha!  Just kidding.  Maybe.

Christmas Traditions

December 15th, 2011 by Kateastrophe

I’m feeling all festive lately so watch out for another Christmas post.  This time I want to talk about traditions.

I mentioned that my family tree is sort of all over the place, with divorces and extra parents and all that jazz.  This meant that my siblings and I were in a different location for Christmas every year.  We rotated between my Dad’s current home (wherever that happened to be at the time until he got married then it was Pennsylvania), his family home in Ohio, our home in Utah and my Grandparent’s home in California.  We had a total blast but traditions were not so easy to keep.

All of our set and attempted traditions come from my Mom or her side of the family.  Dad’s side is a little more focused on Thanksgiving so Christmas traditions were never much of a big deal to them.  As for our little clan, my mom sure tried to introduce new traditions to make the holiday somewhat consistent for us.  One year she decided that we were going to collect pieces of a Christmas village, one each year.  My Grandma, who is OBSESSED with Christmas,  got wind of this and the next year our present from her was an ENTIRE VILLAGE.  Hmmm.  Next she tried a nutcracker theme, with a new fancy nutcracker every year.  This one lasted about two years and then Mom forgot.  No more nutcrackers!

For food, our big meal has always been on Christmas Eve.  Apparently when my Grandma was growing up the big dinner was always on Christmas day and she said she always felt bad for her Mom and the other women (eventually I’m sure herself included) who had to spend all day cooking instead of enjoying their gifts on Christmas.   So, when she got married she decided the big meal was always going to be on Christmas Eve.  She also gets some breakfast casserole ready to be warmed up so that on Christmas morning, the only cooking you do is breakfast (which is already mostly prepared) and then spend the rest of the day relaxing and enjoying family.    As for the actual meal, we are pretty weird and picky about our our holiday recipes.  It has to be just the right stuffing, creamed corn and sweet potatoes.  Sometimes we mix it up with the meat and have ham or prime rib, and we are allowed to try new mashed potato recipes, but so help you if you mess with the stuffing, creamed corn or sweet potatoes.  Well, it’s not like we DO something to the person who introduces a new recipe, we just feel like the holiday wasn’t complete and make the dishes that were missing within the next day or so.  So basically either way we always get our favorites whether it’s on Christmas or not.

One tradition (at least when we were with Mom) was that on Christmas Eve, we read her favorite Christmas story, This is the Christmas. My mom spent a good chunk of her childhood living in Belgrade, Yugoslavia - now Serbia, and has a deep love for the Serbian culture.  This story comes out of that area and involves a Serbian family and a small Gypsy boy.  I’ve posted before so if you’d like to read it, you can find it here.   It really is an amazing  story and I’m glad that this is one tradition that stuck.

Another awesome thing our family did that I haven’t seen much was that my Mom somehow convinced Santa to put our stockings on our beds.  And our stockings were AWESOME.  They were always filled with games and small toys, markers and coloring books.  We had HUGE handmade felt stockings that fit a bazillion things and they were still overflowing with stuff.  The genius in all of this is that when we woke up at the butt crack of dawn - which we almost always did - we had tons of stuff to keep us busy and allow the adults to sleep in until at least seven when we were finally allowed out into present land.

So, now that I have my own little family and home, I’ve been trying to figure out which traditions we want to keep from my family, which we like from Matt’s family and which ones I want to introduce as new.

We try very hard to set aside at least a few hundred dollars every year to donate to a charity of some sort.  We usually do it through our ward (aka local branch of our church) as there are always families who need a little help.  I think as we grow our family I’d like to do something that’s a little more obvious than writing a check, so in the future I’m thinking the Twelve Days of Christmas or spending time volunteering at a food bank or something will be in order.  My Mom was great about making sure that no matter how poor we were, we always did or gave something to a family who was worse off than us and it’s important to me that we do the same thing.

Matt’s family and mine have a little “conflict” in that their big tradition is to do appetizers and shrimp cocktail on Christmas Eve and then watch a movie together.  While I love this, I feel torn because I tend to agree with my Grandma that the last thing I want to do on Christmas Day is spend all day in the kitchen.  So we’ve gone back and forth on this.  I am pretty sure we’ll end up with our tradition being a big dinner on Christmas Eve and the Murphy Appetizer Party on Christmas night, but that one is still being decided.  I love the Christmas breakfast tradition so I’ll keep that, but I think I’ll try different recipes for a few years until we find THE ONE.  It will probably have something to do with french toast.

Matt’s Mom introduced an awesome tradition to us.  Every year she gives us a few Christmas children’s books.  The point is to get 25 and before December 1st, wrap them all up and then open one each evening before bed to read as a family.  I love love love this and I can’t wait to start doing it whenever the babies decide to grace us with their presence.

I’ll still read the special story on Christmas Eve, and I’d like to also read the story of Christ’s birth from the bible.

I’ve been hearing a lot about The Elf on the Shelf lately and I’m undecided on that one.  I think it’s a really cool idea and a good way to help your kids focus on being good in December, but it seems like a lot of work for the parent (if the things I’m seeing on Pinterest are any indication.)  Also?  That thing is kind of creepy in a clown-like way and I’m not sure I’d feel safe in my own home.

At some point in my life I’m going to be better about Christmas Cards.  I spent HOURS making one this year that’s clever and cute but now I feel like I don’t want to spend hours printing, addressing and mailing it.  I’m such a lazy bum.  I’ll still probably end up doing it but right now it just seems like more effort than I want to put into it.  I’m sure when we have kids I’ll be better about family pictures which make cards a lot easier, says me.

What traditions do you have that you’d be willing to share?  I’m keeping a list of ideas to try out over the next few years and I’d love to know what works for your family.

Just writing about this stuff got me all excited for Christmas again!  I love it!

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