Merry Christmas!

I just wanted to say “Merry Christmas” to everyone! Sylvia celebrates her Christmas on December 24th, so we will have dinner with her tomorrow night. My mom will stop by and we will exchange presents. She will drive to my sister’s house who lives a few hours away and stay with her for Christmas. Jack has to work, but he will come in and eat later. We will open a few presents and have some desserts! We will then celebrate Christmas with my brother and his family here at our house. Jack doesn’t have to work so we will all be here. We would usually go to my dad’s house later in the evening on Christmas Day, but not this year. We are still not speaking. I am not happy about the situation, but a great weight has been lifted off of me knowing that I don’t have to go over there and not be my true self.

I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas. Be safe out there!

Update on Family!

My mom met my sister-in-law and me at the Sears Outlet. She found a washer she liked that was in our price range. She decided she needed a washer more than a dryer. She needed to be there to make sure she could reach into the washer and get the clothes out. She is a bit on the short side and was afraid she wouldn’t be able to reach in and be able to get the clothes. She was very appreciative that we did this for her for Christmas. We reminded her of all of the times that she has been there for all of us! I am glad we were able to do this for her and that we did it without any of us kids arguing!

Family

My sister is in town and texted me and my brother today about a gift for mom. She said that mom’s dryer is not working properly but she hadn’t told anyone because she didn’t want to bother us. My sister thought it might be a good idea for all of us to chip in and buy her a new dryer for Christmas. Of course, we all said yet. None of us ever know what to get her. She has a lot and we hate to just buy something to buy something, unless we know she needs it or wants it. My sister and my brother’s wife were going off shopping today and said they would stop at an appliance outlet (major store, but don’t want to name it) and look at the dryers. I even told my sister if they found a washer at a good deal to get both a dryer and a washer. I told her that Sylvia and I would put in $200 but to keep me posted. Now remember, she volunteered to take care of this!

I touch base with them later and they are still at another store shopping for the kids. They finally call me and said they could not find the store and were headed back to my mom’s house. My sister-in-law then says that my mom doesn’t like for her to be too far away when she leaves the kids with her. Ok, my mom lives in a small town about 45 minutes from us. The town where the outlet is, is about half way between the town we (brother and family) live in and my mom. Now they say that maybe I can meet my mom and go shopping for a dyer (yes, we told her what we were going to do, the thing has to be delivered). The tricky part is, I trust my sister to send me the money. I trust my brother too, but I will have to BUG him for the money and I hate bugging family for money. They get defensive and accuse you of not trusting them. Now, I can spare $200 for this gift for my mom, but I can’t cover someone else’s $200 (we may not have to spend that much, it just depends on what we get).

We had looked at prices for Black Friday and really the outlet had the best prices. I am just irritated, because I have some plans tomorrow, that can be rearranged, but WHY OFFER to do something then not do it. Putting money in for a gift is a commitment and can cause issues with family. I just texted my sister, brother and sister-in-law and told them we can meet mom tomorrow, but I need someone with me (my sister leaves tomorrow, so not her) to make sure I know how much we can spend and handle the money situation. I want to do this for my mother, but it shouldn’t have to be a hassle.

The Holidays!

Jack arrived home from college this past Wednesday! He will be home until about January 11th. We are so happy to have him home and the cats are ecstatic. They love hanging out in his room. Today started the day of my holiday baking! Ethan and I still have a week of school left and I like to send his teachers, principals, the bus driver and bus aide, and the principals some holiday treats. I also take holiday treats to my staff. I will be taking baking items to school tomorrow so my students and I can bake some sugar cookies. I make it into a language activity so that is how I work that in. Today I helped Sylvia with her truffles and have made two batches of snowball cookies. I will make my great-grandmother’s pralines later today. I think I will be baking each night this week. Starting next weekend I start baking for my family! We give out truffles, snowball cookies and pralines as presents. My dad LOVES my pralines so he gets a large holiday tin of them!

My niece and nephew will come over one day and we will back a LOT of sugar cookies. It is my sister’s MIL’s recipe and they are SO good. They are not too sweet and so you can put frosting on them and decorate them! The kids love it and we usually leave them out for Santa, although Ethan doesn’t believe my niece and nephew are young enough to still believe. Of course, we ALL get to participate in quality control and taste everything….and we take full advantage of that! Ethan loves to come in and help with the truffles. Sylvia rolls the chocolate and then Ethan and I roll them in some sort of sprinkles and put them in mini cup holders (like cupcake holders but much smaller). They really turn out quite pretty and no one can believe we make them ourselves! I also think a lot about my great-grandmother and my mother when I make pralines. My mom is still alive and takes a lot of pride in her pralines and now I do too. It is an OLD family recipe that I hope to pass onto my boys or their wives (or their husbands, you never know!).

Enjoy your holidays and try not to eat too much!

Mother’s Day 2014!

Today was a very nice day. Sylvia and I got home from a party last night around 1:00 AM and slept in to 8:00 this morning. Jack had a great time at his prom last night and Ethan spent the night with my mom. I met up with her and bought her lunch for Mother’s Day. Jack bought Sylvia and I some HUGE chocolate covered strawberries for Mother’s Day. Ethan gave me a cute card that Sylvia helped him pick out. It lit up and sang a song when I opened it. Sylvia and I just ate the chocolate covered strawberries and we are headed to bed early. I have been SO tired from staying up late. We are NOT late night people! It was a very simple day, but that was what was nice. I never felt rushed or hurried, and I got to do what I wanted. I am so happy that the boys accept Sylvia as a step-mother, and I am fortunate to have her in my life!

Easter–Family

We don’t usually do much for Easter. I actually worked some today as did Sylvia. We went to my mom’s house for dinner with my brother and his family. Jack had to work, so he stayed home! We arrived around 3:00 and let the kids hunt for eggs. We then had a very nice dinner. My brother and his wife seemed to be a bit moody, but we just kept on with our day and tried to ignore it. Part of being around family is just getting through it. The kids(they have a girl who is 10 and a boy who is 4) had a great time hunting for eggs. They were all three being nice to each other and getting along. I had taken a picture of the three of them and a video of Ethan hunting for eggs. I posted them on Facebook, like I usually do with pictures. I had done this over the Christmas break with my niece and nephew with not a word being said to me.

About 30 minutes after eating dinner, I hear my mother and brother arguing. I was outside with the kids and Sylvia. It ended with him yelling at her and dropping the “F” bomb. He then left. My brother and his wife had come in separate cars so it was fine that he left them there. After my sister-in-law left I asked my mother what happened. We both agreed that he had been moody since he had gotten there. She said that he had mentioned he video and pictures that I posted and seemed aggravated. She had sighed in response to this and said, “just don’t” meaning don’t argue with your sister. He, of course, took offense to this and argued with her and left. We all agreed he was just looking for a reason to leave and probably didn’t want to come over to begin with.

I hope I never yell at my mother like he did today. He was a jerk at Christmas to me and now this. I love him, but don’t understand him. I looked back in my iPhone at Facebook, and I have posted several pictures of his kids and videos since Christmas, with not one word(we are friends on Facebook) being said to me that he prefers NOT to have his kids pictures on Facebook. Was he just looking for a reason to argue with someone today. I told him back at Christmas that I was done with him until he apologized. He finally then told me that “we are family and family doesn’t have to apologize to each other, we should just understand”. I promptly told him that was not how I felt. That is the same LAME excuse my dad used when he hurt me a few months ago.

What are your thoughts? Should family JUST understand when you are mean to them and not expect an apology? I am not sure if Jack would still be standing if he ever spoke to me that way, even if he were 42. Hopefully, I will never have to find out!

Oh the Holidays!

Being with your family can create some fond memories of holidays. I have been baking with my nephew, niece and Ethan. I have been baking with Sylvia and buying presents for the boys. Overall, we have created some great memories. However, being with family can also be a real pain the ass. Things were going awesome today. We went to my brother and his wife’s house to be with them. We brought food, they made the turkey and all was well. We came home for a while and then we went to my dad’s house. My brother and his wife, along with their two kids met us there. We exchanged gifts and I even had a decent conversation with my dad about same-sex marriage. We discussed Utah and New Mexico’s recent decisions to allow same-sex marriage. He actually listened and didn’t comment positively or negatively about it.

As families do, we were just all sitting around and talking. My dad, Sylvia and I were in one part of the kitchen talking while everyone else was in a different part of the kitchen. I mentioned the dialect test that has been going around the internet on facebok. Here is a link

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/12/20/sunday-review/dialect-quiz-map.html?r=j14440t1000010200j08084000400105080201804000000400&_r=1&

(I can never get this link thing correct on this blog, so cut and paste if you want to take it.)

I found it quite interesting because it name my home town as one of the cities after I took the quiz. There is no right or wrong answer, it is all based on the names of things or how you pronounce something. My step-mom mentioned the three cities she got, and one of them was a major city near the small town she grew up in. We just thought it was cool. My dad then asks about this quiz and so I was telling him about it. I mentioned a few of the questions that I remembered and all of the sudden there is this uproar. My brother is grumbling because HE wants to take the test and I am giving out all of the answers. I said, “well there is no right or wrong answer.” My dad wondered what the big deal was also. So, I tried to lean in close and discuss it with my dad and my brother is still pissed. He even tells me to “F**K” off. OK, now this is a quiz on the internet, and not something you need for your job or something that is really a big deal. His wife is now involved “asking” me to drop it. So I stop talking about the questions and mention to my dad the three towns that the quiz named after I completed the test. My dad then asked me how I said the word “o-f-t-e-n” and I pronounced the word. He said that was how he said it. He then mentioned another word and said it. So here we are just having a conversation, that is about NOTHING really. It reminded me of Seinfeld, just a conversation about PRONUNCIATION and how people in different areas talk. I asked him how he said a word, and now my brother explodes. He calls me a “BI**H” and is stomping around the house all mad. My dad is clueless about why he is mad and I am thinking, I am talking about the three cities and HOW people say words now. I didn’t say anything else about the TEST! I did ask my dad to let me know what three cities the quiz named for him, but that is all. My brother is still stomping around the house. So we got our stuff and left. I just don’t get people. If he didn’t want to hear what we were discussing then LEAVE the room. My dad had kept talking to me about words, and that is all. I am not going to change everything because one person doesn’t want his life ruined over an internet quiz on dialect. Don’t you just love FAMILY!

Truffles!

truffles

Sylvia and I have been busy baking for the last two weekends. We both like to bake at this time of year and we give a lot of as gifts to people we work with. I usually make Snowball Cookies (pecan sandies rolled in confectionary sugar) and home made pralines. Sylvia found a new recipe she wanted to try this year and it turned out so well. The recipe is for truffles and they are awesome. They are really easy to make and only have three ingredients. We then let the mix harden some and she rolls them into balls. I then roll them in sprinkles or finely chopped pecans. Sylvia even bought some baking cups that are red and white to put the truffles in.

We have really enjoyed preparing all of our goodies. I think we are ALL done, except for some sugar cookies that I am making with the Ethan and my niece and nephew tomorrow! We have all of our goodies in baggies and tins all ready to pass out over the next few days! Sylvia and I have enjoyed working together on the truffles. The boys even helped me roll the truffles one night! Of course, we have to be sure that the truffles are of good quality and we each get to try at lease one of them while we are rolling them! I am glad we found something we can work on together! The picture of the truffles is at the beginning of the blog!

Finally!

Christmas Break is finally here! The boys and I are out of school for the next two weeks. Sylvia will be working during this time, but not as much as she usually does. We both will be doing some mystery shopping, but we can at least sleep in most days! This means we will get up between 7:30 and 8:00, instead of 6:15. Jack is working at the grocery store quite a bit, because of the holidays and the fact that people like to eat!

I have quite a bit of baking to do in the next few days. I make pralines for several family members to give as gifts as well as snowball cookies. Sylvia found an AWESOME truffles recipe and I think we will make at least one more batch of those. I still have some shopping to do tomorrow. I haven’t even gotten Sylvia’s gift yet. I have done all of the shopping for the boys, but need to wrap the presents! It will be a busy few days! We will spend Christmas day with my brother and his family, then go to my dad’s house to see everyone there.

I did bring some work home, but its not stuff that I have to do, but rather things to do to get ahead. Grad school starts back up on January 15th and I am hoping to be ahead with my work at school so things don’t overwhelm me.

I hope everyone has a great holiday!

Family

I really enjoy seeing all of my family at Thanksgiving, but then I really enjoy it when we go our separate ways and life returns to normal. My brother, his wife and two kids live about 10 minutes from us and we see them quite a bit. However, it is for short periods of time to celebrate a birthday of one of the kids or to just grab dinner. My sister and her son live about six hours away and I get to see them three to four times a year. My mother had lived two and a half hours away, but recently moved closer. I enjoy spending time with all of these people, but NOT all at once. Ok, so we do pretty good for a few hours, but then someone’s feelings get hurt. Jack had to work yesterday, so he missed all the fun. Actually, yesterday went better than I thought it would. The three older kids, Ethan, my niece-age 9 and my nephew-age 10, all played video games and hung out. My other nephew is only three so he hung out with the adults most of the time. He actually caused more drama than anyone else, by just being picky and demanding, but hey he is three! Three year olds do think they are the center of the universe.

The real fun started today with the family though. Everyone was going to the movies and I mean everyone. I had decided we weren’t going to go, just because Ethan’s tics always seem to come out more when he is supposed to be quiet, like in a movie. However, I decided that I don’t get to see my sister much, so hey, why not, let’s go meet them. Jack and Sylvia decided to bow out, and I was fine with that. So, my brother, his wife, their two kids, my sister, her son, my mother, Ethan and I all meet at a fast food place to eat. This was our first mistake, because the place was packed. We could hardly find a place to sit. We finally got luck and found a spot where we could all sit. My sister, SIL and I all go up to order and when we come back my mother and brother had gotten into an argument. What were they arguing about, you might ask…..well, it was about WHERE everyone was going to sit and who was going to sit by who?? I won’t even get into the complexity of this argument, but thankfully things calmed down and we all sat down to eat.

We had already purchased tickets for the movies, and we were early for the movie, so I took the three older kids with me to Best Buy. The others ran to another store to shop. My SIL and I met up with all the kids at 1:25 to get into the theater and hold seats. The three older kids were sitting together while my little nephew and I saved all the seats. Everyone finally arrives and I move down to sit near Ethan, to be sure his tics didn’t get too loud. Well, then my 10 year old nephew decides he wants to sit near his mother, so he moves down. This means my niece has to move, so she can sit near my nephew. Now Ethan wants to move, arghhhh, I told him no. We were going to stay where we were. I was not about to play musical chairs with nine people when a movie is getting ready to start. We all survived the movies and the three kids came home with me to play. My sister and mom went shopping and the other family went home for a while.

My sister and mom then came and picked up all three kids. Ethan is going to spend the night with my mom, sister and nephew tonight. They met my brother, his wife and son at a restaurant to eat. We were invited, but we decided to bow out. As they were leaving, I asked my mom who she was going to sit next too. She smirked and shot me a look….she then said, “Are you sure you don’t want to come?” I laughed and said, “not tonight!” I later called my sister to be sure that Ethan had taken his medicine. She said he had and they were on their way back to my mom’s house. She then mentions that Ethan ate his dinner and had been good. She said they had left the restaurant and gone to a fast food place to get my nephew, her son, something to eat. Another pet peeve of my mine, this child NEVER eats at a restaurant. My sister always buys him a meal after everyone eats. He did not eat ANYTHING at the Thanksgiving meal. I can see this if he was a young child, but he is 10! Ethan was always a picky child too, but he would eat a pizza or chicken strips at a restaurant. Even when we went to a Mexican food place he would eat tortillas and cheese.

We were all invited to my mother’s house to eat dinner tomorrow night. I declined for us. I said I would come out to pick up Ethan and visit, but we would be making our own dinner. I love my family, but when we are ALL together, somebody always gets mad or upset. I guess this is what family does, or is it? What is your family like? I am sure I do something to bug all of them too. OH, and my sister doesn’t quite like my dad who lives about 10 minutes from me and I am always a go between for them. Aint it grand? I don’t pretend to be perfect, but can’t we just all get along?