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A New Year - a new me!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Last night while I was listening to the sounds of my hubby snoring, I had so many thoughts going through my head, that I actually thought of getting up and writing them down. I didn't, but first thing this morning over my cup of coffee, I started to journal. I kept thinking of what a difference this past year has made in my life, and how great I feel.

This is the first time in years that I did NOT face New Year's Day with a resolution to do something about my weight, because I already started back in August. So instead of feeling guilt or regret because of overindulging in holiday goodies, I feel pleased with myself for sticking with my plan and having an occasional treat. This is also the first time that I've approached the New Year without feeling overwhelmed by the amount of weight that I want to lose. To approach January 1st feeling like my weight is NO longer the issue it was for me in the past is REFRESHING!

There have been many changes over the past few months. As I see my face and body starting to change as the weight is coming off, the biggest changes are happening on the inside. These changes aren't visible and can't be measured on a scale or with a tape measure, but they are the most profound. As I'm discovering myself again, I'm feeling an inner strength that I haven't felt in years! I will no longer tolerate bad behavior or emotional abuse from so-called friends and toxic in-laws! Last year I ended two 'friendships' with people that treated me in a cruel or disrespectful way. I've also limited my contact with my MIL and see her only occasionally. She still does TRY to zing me with her toxic comments, but they have NO power over me! Instead of being hurt by her words, I see it for what it is - a pathetic attempt to make herself feel better by trying to put me down. This crap will NO longer fly with me - I'm DONE!!! I now actually laugh in her face when she says these things and/or firmly put my foot down - this shuts her up! And if this approach doesn't work, I AM prepared to cut her out of my life 100%! I deserve to be treated in the same way I treat other people, with kindness and respect!

Yes, I'm thrilled with the progress on the scale so far, but I'm also happy about how I'm starting to feel about myself on the inside. The clouds have parted and I see myself for the strong woman that I am. I really need to thank my Spark friends for helping me see myself again, without blinders. I know that the road before me is long, but I'm REALLY okay with it. To be honest, I'm actually excited about the journey before me. I'm not traveling it alone, I have my husband and my Spark friends by my side! I feel a quiet determination that wasn't there 5 months ago when I joined Spark, but I'm sure glad that I feel it now. What a great feeling to start the New Year with!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DIFROMWYOMING 1/4/2010 11:00PM

    Wonderful review of your progress! Even through your words, over the last few months you can just 'see' that you are shining from the inside out! I'm so happy for you and so happy that you have been able to value who you are, and put aside those who don't.
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MEOWMAMA3 1/4/2010 10:56PM

    Doreen, you deserve every bit of this joy!

It really is a weirdly wonderful feeling to not cringe at the bombardment of weight loss commercials and messages everywhere in January! It's nice to feel in control of your life's most nagging negative.

Cheers to you my friend! xoxoxo emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MTNHIKER1971 1/4/2010 5:12AM

    You've come a long way baby!

To your continued health, success and I'm sending you some anti-snore strips so you can sleep at night. lol

Keep up the good work Doreen!

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TRAVELNISTA 1/3/2010 3:58PM

    I am so happy that you ended those toxic relationships. I know it was hard to do but you did it. You have grown so much inside, not out. emoticon Your body has shrunk but your wings are spreading and you are starting to soar. I am so happy to call you my friend and to be on this journey with you.

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JERSEYGIRL1950 1/3/2010 3:01PM

    Emerging Butterfly

The caterpillar had done this before; attached itself to the thinnest thread of hope, struggled to shed some of its old ways, and then returned back to life as it knew it. Day after day it would slowly move through life using all its energy just to get by and yet never seeming to get very far. It led an unadventurous life and felt very low. But still it dangled by a thread…

But this time something seemed different. Hanging by what felt like its final thread of hope, the caterpillar became motionless as it contemplated its world turned upside down. It continued in this manner until the things happening within overwhelmed all it had known prior and slowly it felt as though it’s very self was being stripped away. This left it feeling very alone and more vulnerable than it ever had before. But still it dangled by a thread…

It remained, as it was, unable to move on. Afraid of all that it did not understand it became paralyzed and almost frozen in fear. All its former dreams seemed to come tumbling down around it. Layer by layer it encased itself in fear, worry, doubt, and a spiraling depression until only darkness filled its tiny self-made cocoon of life. Feeling trapped within the emotional casing it heard life outside but felt unable to fully participate in it. But still it dangled by a thread…

Time continued and within the restrictive cocoon a different kind of work began to take shape. Life altering work was in progress unlike had ever happened before. Slowly and after what seemed a lifetime the day finally arrived when an opening appeared from within the layers of the cocoon and light pierced through the darkness. After much struggle and persistence the opening grew and was eventually pushed aside by a colorful emerging butterfly. Although afraid of what lied beyond the safety of the cocoon it gained strength gradually. With a new perspective it noticed both the beauty in itself and the world outside. It no longer dangled…….instead it basked in life itself and then it outstretched its wings… and it flew.
Hugs Helen

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MMICKEYP 1/3/2010 3:00PM

    What a beautiful post! How wonderful it must feel to face the new year without the dreaded weight loss thing looming overhead! Thanks for posting what you did. It's so inspirational and I can picture myself this time next year writing something similar! You're great!

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CLAYSGAL 1/3/2010 2:20PM

    Congrats an hugs on all the changes. emoticon

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Enjoying the Holidays, and--wow--losing weight!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

The last couple of weeks have been hectic, and I haven't been on Spark that much. I was determined, however, to NOT dive headfirst into the calorie-infused goodies of the season.

Christmas Eve dinner is always at our house, and everyone had a good time. Even my MIL was on good behavior (for her). My friend Helen commented in front of my MIL on how much weight I've lost, and in true fashion, my MIL said... NOTHING. She called the next day, and the first thing out of her mouth was, "Have you lost a lot of weight?" to which I replied, "Yes, I guess I have." Her response? "Well, it's really hard to tell." Thanks for the compliment, witch (See below for pics of our friends and aforementioned witch and her companion).



Christmas Day was a relaxing, quiet day at home with Hubby. We hung around and had breakfast in our jammies, opened our gifts, and followed up Christmas movies with leftovers from the previous evening. My hubby got me some great gifts, some of which had a butterfly theme to go with my Spark page! He found a beautiful stained glass butterfly lamp at a local antique shop and a datebook adorned with birds and butterflies.The gift that really amazed me, though, was a pendant made from a real butterfly wing. Although it was beautiful, my first thought was that a butterfly was killed to make it. After reading the enclosed notecard from the artist, I was relieved to find out that no butterflies are harmed; they come from tropical butterfly farms and are gathered only after dying naturally. I've already received compliments on the days that I wore the necklace, but only Hubby and my Spark friends know the REAL significance and symbolism of the butterfly.



The last few years, we've also had a casual dinner for friends and family on New Year's Day. I usually make two kinds of soup, a huge salad, assorted breads, fruit salad and leftover Christmas cookies. I put the soup pots and all of the food out on the counter for everyone to help themselves. Our guests always let us know how much they enjoy the low-key, dressed-down evening -- my kind of entertaining! At the end of the night, I put out the remaining Christmas goodies, paper plates, and foil, and ask everyone to help themselves. This year it felt really good to get all of that stuff out of the house as soon as possible!



It's January 2nd and I've kept my promise to myself about weighing less today than I did before the holidays. I lost three pounds this week and two the previous week. YAAAYYY! I enjoyed the holiday season, yet stuck with the "everything in moderation" motto. It worked well for me, and I look forward to the new year while continuing my journey with the support and friendship of all of my Spark friends!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MEOWMAMA3 1/3/2010 1:35PM

    You look mah-vel-ous Doreen! I like your idea of "making" people take all the leftovers home! You deserved a peaceful and happy holiday after your hard work. It's very sweet of your DH to buy you gifts with such special significance! He's a gem!
Keep up the momentum and have the best year ever in 2010! emoticon emoticon

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LAMOUR0 1/3/2010 10:34AM

    Doreen, you look wonderful and glowing in your photos. So glad it was a wonderful Xmas for you and you let NOTHING stand in your way of your continued success. I am so happy and proud for you. Keep up the great work! The butterfly gifts are so beautiful. Have a wonderful week and cheers to a FANtastic 2010!

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DIFROMWYOMING 1/3/2010 12:30AM

    Doreen, you just look radiant and healthy and happy! I am so thrilled for you! You deserve all the health and happiness in the world, and I am glad your hubby and friends appreciate and love you for who you are! Good job on not letting one person have power over your happy holiday celebrations! Hugs to you, Di

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MTNHIKER1971 1/2/2010 8:48PM

    Wow, Doreen... awesome pictures and and the MIL sounds like such a charmer. I wish she was on SparkPeople, the motivation and support she would give is nothing short of amazing, lol

You do look very good, and I'm proud of your discipline, willpower and that you have mastered the power of knowing who your good friends are vs the ones who do nothing but hold you back. Life is too short to invest time in others who do not return the investment.

Cheers to you and yours, and I'm glad you and your family had a great holiday.

Your buddy

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ANITAWPG 1/2/2010 6:09PM

    Doreen, you already know my MIL thoughts.
so we won't even discuss that nasty evil woman.

The funny thing is my mom and I were talking about my evil ex-MIL, mainly as she and my brother ran into the Ex at a sale this week - what a surprise to my mom, he now looks REALLY OLD.
OK, so I did a little happy dance in my mind.

My DH and I had a nice Christmas, busy as all get out, but still nice. He worked chrstmas eve till 7pm, Christmas day out to my aunts (90 minute drive)
Boxing day - organizing house, getting tools out of dining room etc. Dec 27 his family came for supper.

I love the butterfly pendant. Two years ago we spent some time in Sioux Falls and went to the butterfly zoo there, this summer on our way to St Louis we are taking a swing by it again.

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JERSEYGIRL1950 1/2/2010 5:55PM

    Well I will not add anything about the MIL... I'm sure Mrs. Notaboutface will cover it quite nicely but you look awesome . I can see a big change in you from your sparkpage..you have truely transformed yourself and your smile goes ear to ear. You have to be so proud of yourself remember you first blog??? Can't wait to see the changes for this year. Hugs

Comment edited on: 1/2/2010 5:56:00 PM

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NOTABOUTHEFACE 1/2/2010 5:21PM

    Sounds like you had a great holiday. (Why did SHE have to come???) I'm glad you could have the people around you who truly care. Love the butterfly stuff, so pretty. I will email you with comments on MIL so as not to have people SP Mail me on what a b**ch I am!!

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TAKINGCAREOFKIM 1/2/2010 5:07PM

    MIL needs her eyes checked if she thinks it's hard to tell you've lost weight! It is very obvious in the photos--you are doing awesome!!!! Keep up the great work! Your hubby was very thoughtful with the gifts! How sweet! Keep enjoying your life, you deserve it!

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NGCHILD 1/2/2010 4:42PM

    Dorren look look fabuolous and HAPPY!! Yeah!! I am so happy for you!! Too bad your MIL is too blind to see it! Sounds like you have been as busy as me! I Love the holidays but am glad that it's over. We are never home and it is nice to just sit and relax! Which we did yesterday and it was WONDERFUL!

Have a fabulous 2010 and congrats on your loss!!

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Ho - Ho - Freakin' Ho!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

We just spent the last 2 days up to our necks in Christmas decorations. UGH!!! Oh, the joy of the season! With the holidays quickly approaching, we knew that we had a dreaded weekend of lights, trees, balls, and other patience-testing Christmas chores! As my DH loads up the yard buggy with lights, extension cords, timers, and what not, I carry the big-@ss ladder out back. When I question him on his good mood with all of this work before us, he seems almost giddy as I look at him with suspicion. He told me that ever since he was the 'token' Jew at K-M@rt, on black Friday, at 6AM, buying a Christmas tree - he's in the holiday spirit! Yeah right, he's just afraid that if he's grouchy, I'll write a blog about it.

We're ready to knock the first job off of the list - erecting tall Christmas trees in the back yard. As he pounds the poles into the ground, I get busy stringing lights up and down into the shape of trees. We have a system in place and usually get this done quickly. 'Usually"being the key word here! Naturally we test ALL of the lights BEFORE we start, and they were fine. YAY! A couple of hours later, the trees are done, lit, and looking very festive. But wait, 1/4 of the lights go out on tree #1! Great!! We replace the bad lights, and as we admire our handy work, 1/4 of the lights on tree #2 go out!! Are you kidding me?? I feel the twitching starting as I fight down the profanity that's trying to spill out! My DH patiently removes the dead lights, we put up another new strand, and stand back and admire our work. Okay, one job down, a dozen more to go.

After it got dark, we check out the 3 grapevine reindeer covered in white lights in the front yard. My DH says that the lights on the back end of the largest deer are out! But of course it is - YES, sarcasm! With every ounce of strength I could muster, I fight back the urge to drop kick that half lit sucker across the front yard! As if reading my mind, or the fear of seeing me throw a full blown reindeer- kicking fit, my DH suggests that we deal with it later.

Thankfully the remainder of the jobs went smoothly and by last night we were enjoying the lights and all that we accomplished. As we're closing up the house and getting ready for some well earned rest, I make sure that all 3 cats are inside. Since the weather was so nice, I left one set of sliding glass doors open onto the screened-in lanai. As I'm doing kitty-roundup, I hear a strange 'SPLAT' sound behind me. In horror I see that Daisy brought a small snake INTO the house! The splat sound was the snake hitting the tile floor after she picked it up and dropped it. YUK, YUK, YUK! Instead of my usual snake-screech, I calmly (well semi-calmly) tell hubby that a snake got onto the lanai and she brought it inside. I was however, extremely grossed out! Hubby ran over, and armed with the LONGEST set of salad tongs we own, picks up the snake. We soon realize that the slithery critter is a goner, as we see teeth marks down the length of it. It looks kind of like a snake flute! I try not to barf as I run to the front door, with hubby right behind me, with the dead snake hanging from the tongs. I do semi-screech EWWW, as he flings the snake out the front door.

Despite the fact that we were not looking forward to a weekend of Ho Ho Ho-ing, we joked around, and were still laughing about it this morning. We took chores that we were dreading, and had a good time anyway. I learned a few lessons during the Ho Ho Ho-ing. Be grateful - for a pleasant, non-grouchy hubby to share the misery, I mean 'joy' with! Be thankful - for the fact that it was a small non-poisonous snake, and Daisy was okay! (DH is putting new sweeps under the screened doors to keep future slithery critters OUT) Be appreciative - make the most of everything, even half lit reindeer!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANITAWPG 12/20/2009 1:47PM

    I think we will put up the tree on Tuesday, maybe, we are doing Christmas at our place for DH's family - but not until the 27th.


Christmas eve DH works till 7pm so it will be a quite evening for just he & I. Christmas day we drive 90 minutes out of the city for my family Christmas. Boxing day - RELAX, get ready for the 27th etc - cook and carve the turkey this day so i don't ahve to deal with it on the 27th

His family will come over on the 27th

Turkey, mashed potatoes, veggie casserole - not all that healthy as there is cheese in with the broccoli, cauliflour and carrots, but lots of veggies. And I am going to do a couple of other veggie dishes as well. No salad, but sliced tomato & cucumber

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RASTUS55 12/14/2009 9:56AM

    How did I miss this blog especially with another snake episode in it LOLOLOL! Daisy is really pushing it isn't she??? I am glad you didn't get that kick boxing thing going on the reindeer....that would really knock his lights out LOLOL like the pun hun? Very fun blog...you always write so I can envision it all! Loved it!
Ruth

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ANITAWPG 12/9/2009 8:44PM

    the many uses of salad tongs!!!!
no snakes, I use mine for takin laundry out of washer - I am too short to reach the bottom

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LAMOUR0 12/9/2009 11:40AM

    Wow, sounds like a lovely Xmas experience. I would be having nightmares. Ewwww....snakes! Thank god you are seeing the humor in everything and I love that you enjoy the Xmas season so much. I wish I had half the spirit you seem to have. I can live vicariously through your blogs and yes hopefully photos. Thanks, Doreen for always making me smile and laugh with your wonderful blogs. HO-Ho-Ho!

Have a great day!
Heather

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JERSEYGIRL1950 12/9/2009 5:16AM

    OMG! When will I learn NOT to drink coffee while reading your or NOTABOUTFACE blogs..when will I learn NOW I HAVE TO CHANGE MY SHIRT FOR WORK... snakes are my number 1 nightmare HATE THEM..yuck ..when I moved here we have a screen in porch area so we left the back door opened ..and I get up at night to pee well I go in the bathroom and sit down and feel something around my leg I jump up and there's a cornsnake..I'm screaming 3 am and scared the S**T out of hubby screaming and swearing bloody murder...I wouldn't sleep I'm crying I'm not living here I want to go home to R.I...he's get the machete and saves my life LOL..while I'm yelling I HATE YOU you told me it was safe....after no sleep I wait for morning and go out to the screen area and I'm checking every inch turns out we have a pool and hubby saids there is space around the screen for water in case of pool overflow ..OH YEA I DON'T THINK SO..I go and buy cement and patch every nook and cranny..he mental and I don't give a hoot I rather drown from water then ever,ever see a snake in my house again..ok now I got the creepy crawlies and breaking out in a sweat and have to change my shirt...you happy now???? ROTFLMAO...Love you girl..Hugs

P.S. NEVER,EVER LEAVE A DOOR OPEN IN FLORIDA emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 12/9/2009 5:17:26 AM

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MEOWMAMA3 12/8/2009 11:20PM

    That was so funny I had to read it to Meowdaddy....perhaps it shall inspire him to put up the lights before Valentine's Day!!!!
You and your snakes....Salad anyone???

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MTNHIKER1971 12/8/2009 8:44PM

    Sorry, I always have to laugh at the UGH!

The start of your Ho-Ho-Holidays was challenged by the thought that your DH might get his skull stabbed by the nails in the attic. Fast forward to today, and it's the Griswold's Christmas at its best.

I bet it's really beautiful, and I look forward to the many pictures your going to post of your efforts! hint hint.

Always enjoy your blogs Doreen, you describe it so well it feels like we're there.

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TRAVELNISTA 12/8/2009 5:57PM

    I just knew this was going to be entertaining as soon as I saw the title. I am still laughing. Thanks for making my day!
Ho-Ho-Ho!

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WooHoo, I'm 1/4 of the way there!

Friday, December 04, 2009

This morning when I stepped on the scale and saw that another 3 pounds bit the dust, I was thrilled. But something else happened, I reached the 1/4 of the way to goal mark. WooHoo!! And yes, I certainly did the happy dance. Heck, I may be dancing all day long, after all I can count it as cardio!

When I joined Spark in August, my motivation was at an all time low and I felt a bit hopeless. But I couldn't accept the fact that I was trapped in an overweight body, so I still had a glimmer of hope. Four months ago I had NO idea that I could be feeling this way today! Anything is possible if you're willing to do the work that it takes to succeed. With each passing week, I started to see glimpses of my strength and determination shining through. Looking back, I hardly recognize that beaten down, sad woman that felt buried under all those pounds. It's not just about losing the physical weight, but also dropping the emotional baggage that kept me locked in a place of self doubt.

So for any new Sparkers that are where I was 4 months ago, have faith in your ability to succeed and let the support of fellow Sparkers give you strength. Only 4 short months ago, I didn't realize what a life changing experience this could be. It's all about choices. It's one calorie, meal, step, mile, and day at a time. When I first joined and looked at my weight ticker, it felt overwhelming. Happily, today I see it in a much more positive light - as progress! When you begin any journey the road before you seems long. But taking that first step is changing my life for the better, and I'm grateful! As my journey continues, the road before me isn't quite so long, especially as I look back and see how far I've come - in many ways!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

IM4KINGDOM 12/19/2009 5:31PM

    I am sooooooo happy for you! emoticon
I hope you can ride this good feeling for the next four months!

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MEOWMAMA3 12/8/2009 11:23PM

    What a great reflection to help put our journies in perspective and inspire newbies, especially those who thought there was no hope left for success!
You're a special role model and I'm so glad we're friends! emoticon

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GLOBALKEEWEE 12/4/2009 10:19PM

    Congratulations! What an impressive milestone to reach...and you did so in fine style (3 lbs?? WOW!)

Keep up the great work - you'll be at your ultimate goal before you know it!

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LAMOUR0 12/4/2009 5:20PM

    Doreen, fantastic. Wow, congratulations on the 1/4 way mark. Even more so, on the wonderful spirit that has come to the surface with the shedding of the pounds. Good for you, I am so happy for you. I am honored that we have connected within these last 4 months and share some of the same challenges. You GO girl, I am right behind you. Whoo Hoooo, for Doreen! High Five!

Heather emoticon

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MTNHIKER1971 12/4/2009 3:52PM

    Doreen rocks! A definite milestone. Just think, in 4 more months, or sooner, you'll be at the 1/2 way mark.

Very motivational, and inspiring!

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TRAVELNISTA 12/4/2009 3:23PM

    One quarter of the way into your weight loss goal, emoticon. Doreen I am so proud of you! emoticon I am doing the emoticon Happy Dance with you.
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RASTUS55 12/4/2009 1:24PM

    OH MY GOSH!!! That is just so totally awesome!!! Oops I squealed out loud and I am at work LOLOL! Aww heck they are used to outbursts from me! I think this will put a smile on my face the rest of the day! We can head down the rest of this road hand in hand!!! I will be there and watching you as you cross that finish line....cheering you on all the way!!!
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Ruth

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TAKINGCAREOFKIM 12/4/2009 1:07PM

    Way to go Doreen!! I remember that shadow of a former self that you have left behind--you are doing awesome! You'll be at your goal before you know it. I'm doing a toned down dance for you so the other folks in the surgery waiting room don't look at me too funny!

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NOTABOUTHEFACE 12/4/2009 12:35PM

    emoticon girl!! I shall strap on my ho pumps and shake my @ss right along with you since you've done the same for me!

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REMOLACHA1 12/4/2009 12:34PM

  Congratulations on your success! It is all one day, one moment at a time. Keep on making those good choices for yourself! emoticon

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Preparing for Ho Ho Ho!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

This isn't going to be about weight loss, but about what I'm feeling thankful for today, which is sharing the holidays with my husband. As I'm sitting outside having my breakfast, I'm gearing up for a day of unpacking Christmas stuff (UGH!) and getting into the holiday spirit! Don't get me wrong, I really enjoy the holiday season - but it's WORK! Since we live in Florida, and don't have a basement, everything is up in the attic. This is a two person job, so I need my DH for this one. I usually start preparing him about 2 weeks before hand by saying that we need to get the stuff down. And I always keep my fingers crossed that the day we do it, it's NOT 140 degrees in the attic! I think that he would rather have a colonoscopy than go up into the attic! I think that the memory of the time he was up there, stood up and hit his head on the exposed nails from the roof, still haunts him! He came down and I looked at the top of his head, which was covered with little red spots of blood from the nails, and he asked "does my head look like a colander"? I couldn't help myself, after I saw that he was okay, I bust out laughing! I know, I know, bad wife! But he laughed too!!

So Sunday was to be attic day. I thought that if I could entice him with something that he could look forward to, then he wouldn't mind SO much. Okay, so he's a man, which means that there are 3 options; TV time, sex, or food. I opted for food because there wasn't time for the other choices! Up into the attic he went, as I stood at the bottom of the steps, prepared to catch the boxes and totes coming down. Okay, note to self - the **** totes are too heavy, so remember this for next year, as I almost fell on my @ss trying to catch the stuff flying out of the attic! As I lift, carry, and stack all of this stuff, I realize that I'm getting a workout.

So as thoughts of going out for breakfast the next morning were swirling in his head, my DH happily starts getting ready to decorate the front yard. We have 3 large grapevine reindeer, which we've had for over 20 years, that we covered with white lights and that goes in the front yard. I always think of that scene from National Lampoons Christmas Vacation, where Chevy Chase throws a fit and kicks the decorations across the yard - as we check the lights on the reindeer. I can actually visualize myself kicking those suckers clear across the front yard when the lights don't cooperate, which seems like every year.

There have only been 2 times that I've been know to curse like someone with Tourettes Syndrome. Watching Tracey on The Biggest Loser was one, and the other is when half of the Christmas lights go out! Last year my DH sat in the driveway and put all new lights on the 3 reindeer, yes, he has patience! He's such a sweetie!! This year I held my breath as he plugged them in, and they LIT! YAY!!! Okay, so no reindeer kicking for me - this year anyway. Before we decorate, hubby trims the shrubs as I wash the windows and front door. On to the lights. As he wires the evergreen garland around the front door, half of the lights are NOT lit, naturally! By now I'm starting to feel the twitching and cursing coming on, but I hold back. As he strings new lights around the windows and door, I'm starting to feel better and getting into the holiday spirit.

Last years, a couple of days before Christmas, 1/4 of the lights on our pre-lit and decorated tree decided to go out. Ornaments had to come off and DH added new lights to the tree. Since it's a pre-lit tree, and the dead lights are wired on, we knew that we would need a new one for this year. I told DH that K-M@rt had tall, slim trees for 1/2 off on of all days, Black Friday! I told him that there was NO way I was going there at 5AM and deal with that insanity, that I would go later in the day. At 5:15 AM on Friday, I woke up to my DH getting dressed for work. When I asked why he was getting ready SO early, his reply was "I'm going to get a new tree". I asked him "are you nuts, it's going to be a zoo in that store"? So off he goes to experience his first Black Friday!

Oh, did I mention that my hubby is Jewish, of Russian decent?? At 6:30 he calls and tells me how horrible the crowds are, and that the trees are on the TOP of the shelves (Yeah, great place to put them), and how he couldn't get anyone to help him get them down without a ladder. He went into the aisle with cleaning supplies and grabbed a broom. Armed with the broom, he made sure the coast was clear, and pushed the box off of the top shelf. With the tree in the cart, he happily calls me back, feeling good about his accomplishment. As I tell him "make sure it's white lights, not multi colored", there is silence, followed by "OH CRAP"!!! He called back again at 6:45 on his way to work, with the tree (with white lights) in his trunk. He told me "I can guarantee you that I was the ONLY Jew in K-M@rt, at 6AM looking for a Christmas tree!! We both laughed!

Our system is that we decorate the outside together, he puts up the 2 trees (one in living room, the other in the family room), I decorate the trees and the house, and a few night a week, he'll do something Christmas related. Tonight he told me that he'll put up the evergreen garland and lights on the mantel. When everything is decorated and lit, it's worth the effort, and we BOTH enjoy it. His favorite is Christmas Day, as it's just the 2 of us. I always make a nice brunch which includes a baked egg dish, like a strata. And every Christmas since our first, 26 years ago, we have croissants. Wait until I factor in the calories on that sucker! We hang out in our jammies all day, listen to Christmas music, and open presents. Followed by watching Christmas movies and have leftovers from Christmas Eve dinner. It's a relaxing, enjoyable day!

Last year we had a house full of people for both Hanukkah and Christmas Eve. This year we're going to have the usual big Christmas Eve dinner with everyone, He wants it to be just us for Hanukkah. I get out the menorah and candles, and light it every night. I always bake some traditional cookies, Greek cookies, baklava, and those for Hanukkah, such as rugelach and mandelbrodt (like biscotti). This year I'm not doing all of that baking, and told my DH to pick out a few of his favorites, which I'll bake for him and our holiday guests. And for a Catholic girl of Greek/Polish decent, I make a mean matzo ball! I make chicken soup with matzo balls, brisket, and potato pancakes (AKA. Latkes) for him, for Hanukkah.

As I prepare for a day of unpacking Christmas stuff, I'm feeling very thankful. Despite the fact that our faiths are different, we are like one person, and I feel blessed to have him! HE is my family! This time of year can be a bit sad, as I miss my parents and sister, but I try to focus on what I DO have. As I'm feeling the spirit of the holidays, I'm thankful for all of life's blessings! Well, the Christmas totes are calling me- HO HO HO! I hope that everyone is enjoying the spirit of the upcoming holidays!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LAMOUR0 12/4/2009 11:08AM

    Thanks Doreen, for making me laugh this morning. You write such wonderful inspiring blogs, I don't like to miss them. Thank god for that husband of yours, I am so glad he survived the Black Friday. That was just a hoot. My husband would not go that far for me, I am sure. We both dread shopping in maniac stores and avoid it like the plague. I am trying hard to get into the Xmas spirit but it is difficult. I am doing Xmas cards and sending a few photos and then had the realization that Xmas is now only 3 weeks away. My jaw dropped, how did that happen? God, I have think about getting out the small tree the next week or so and getting out to shop for small items for my daughter and hubby, not to mention the turkey (the best part really, its our fav meal). Being unemployed, spending will be minimal this year. I also miss my family at this time of year, it just isn't the same but I also love spending a quiet day with my hubby and daughter in the jammies. Ho-ho-ho to you and love your blogs.

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Comment edited on: 12/4/2009 11:10:32 AM

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TRAVELNISTA 12/4/2009 10:25AM

    I wish I could find such pleasure in decorating for Christmas but as I get older I dread it. I don't mind so much the decorating, the work always seems like nothing I think because of the anticipation of how everything will look. What I do dread is packing it away.

DH sounds like such a terrific guy. He definitely is a keeper, Doreen. You certainly deserve it with all of the other crazies you have in your life. He is such a special guy to volunteer to go out 1st thing on Black Friday for the tree. That was amazing!

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ANITAWPG 12/3/2009 11:08PM

    Congrats to your DH for braving Black Sunday. Mine actually wants to come down to the States next year to go to Black Sunday!!

I have told him ok, he can shop, I will stay at the hotel, relax, read, workout in hotel gym - I will even drive him to the mall and take car back to the hotel so he doesn't have to find a parking spot

We spend Christmas eve with just the 2 of us when we get home from work, then the running around starts.

But we are both off from Dec 25 to Jan 3 which will be nice.

We can work on the house, my girlfriend and I are going to the gym in the break a few times as well

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VMOMMA 12/3/2009 9:59PM

    What a wonderful blog! It made me smile in that I can relate to the dread of decorating. I love the way it looks when its done, but I don't really look forward to doing it. I love how supportive you and your dh are of each other's different beliefs. I've always wondered how couples make that work and this is beautiful how you two do the holidays. emoticon emoticon I hope all of your holidays are wonderful!

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MTNHIKER1971 12/3/2009 4:59PM

    Great Doreen, the second sentence in your blog has the word UGH! I love it, and I hear ya.

I was listening to the soundtrack "Christmas Vacation" while reading your blog and the visuals I got. Hysterical! and I think I lost 2lbs reading how much work you do. Man, Christmas time in Florida sounds like a whole lotta sweatin.

Maybe for Christmas, the DH can get a nice Army grade helmet from Santa...

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NOTABOUTHEFACE 12/3/2009 4:22PM

    By the title I thought you meant the MIL was coming over!! Sounds like quite the adventure and I almost pee'd when I read "I can guarantee you that I was the ONLY Jew in K-M@rt, at 6AM looking for a Christmas tree!!" CLASSIC!!

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NGCHILD 12/3/2009 4:22PM

    What a wonderful marriage and husband you have! I think it's fabulous that you embrace each other's religious beliefs and celebrate both. You are both lucky people!

Flying reindeer in Florida ... now that sounds like a Checy Chase movie! Jules and I are the same way. I thank God everyday that he brought Jules into my life. I really never thought I would get married again!

Looking forward to my weekend of gathering more decorations and I plan to start baking too! Talk about temptation!!

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JERSEYGIRL1950 12/3/2009 3:54PM

    Ok I'm getting a little tired of coffee coming thru my nose..it use to be MrsNOT ABOUT FACE blogs would do this ,,now your running neck and neck..LOL..so enjoy reading your blogs and this one was beautiful..you two sound like you have a alot of fun together..thank god I peed before I read this..enjoy the gratefulness..I'm grateful knowing you. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BRENDAF761 12/3/2009 3:05PM

    Loved your blog. I also must prepare my husband to get the Christmas totes down from the attic. He grumbles but after the house is all decorated he always says it looks beautiful! We've created lots of Christmas memories over our 29years of marriage. I hope your family has a Happy Holiday! Best wishes at reaching your weight loss goals! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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RASTUS55 12/3/2009 3:01PM

    Oh Doreen....LOL! I love to read your blogs. They always make me smile and laugh and just plain feel appreciative of your friendship. It is such a wonderful thing that you have such a strong bond with your hubby. Not many have that privilege of marrying their "soul mate"! I have a real problem this time of year with holiday blues and now you have given me a reason to get past that. Thanking God for the blessings we have in our life and not to dwell on the negatives. Thank you again for a wonderful eye opener and for sharing the fun times your having! You are just a doll!
Love,
Ruth
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