Passing down traditions: New Year’s Eve

imagesWhen I was a kid we had a really fun family New Year’s Eve tradition. First, we’d go to Blockbuster and pick out 3 or 4 VHS movies for our movie marathon (quite a splurge back in the day), and then we’d come home and set up our fondue pot…I always looked forward to it! *mental note: get a fondue pot* Our first course would be veggies in a tempura batter, next was meat (chicken, shrimp, steak), and we finished it off with chocolate fondue & fruit. Oh, and there would always be a crackling fire to set the ambiance. I was always the designated “fire tender,” not because I loved the mood, but because I’m pretty sure I was a pyromaniac. Haha.

Anyhow, our meal usually lasted the first whole movie. After that, we’d quickly clean up and then literally wrestle my parent’s queen sized mattress from their bedroom to the family room. It was quite an event. This was back in the day when you inflated air mattresses with a foot pump, so it was actually easier to move the whole bedroom mattress…we only did this on special occasions of course, like NYE.

Then we’d all cozy up on my parent’s mattress on our family room floor and continue our movie marathon until about 11:30 (we’d have it timed perfectly), and we’d watch the last 30 minutes of Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve & watch the ball drop. Then my mom would give us wooden spoons and pots & pans and we’d bang them outside (I’m sure our neighbors loved us), because that’s what she used to do when she was little. Then my sister & I would retire to our rooms, and our parents would stay up and sleep in the family room for the night.

It was such a fun tradition, and we’re carrying it on with McKenzie…although, we just go out for a nice dinner and bring out the air mattress. =) Ah, fond memories…did you have any fun family traditions for New Year’s Eve when you were a kid?

He Graduated! Woo!

After 5 years working part-time at UPS, going to school with a  3/4-course load, and being an awesome husband and daddy, my hubbs graduated from UW-Madison! Now we just need a Rose Bowl win. ;) Here are some pics, as promised…2 weeks late. But I can’t believe he’s done with college, almost exactly 1 year after me. I’m so, so proud! In high school, he would not have been the kid graduating from a top-tier university. Funny what a good woman can do for ya. *pats self on back*

But now the Army is less than 3 months away. *eek!* Thankfully, we’re going to Cancun in less than 2 weeks now, which should be super-fun “alone time” before he leaves. ;) Can’t wait.

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Shopping’s all done. Phew!

IMAG0433 copyI posted a link awhile ago to the online children’s boutique, Mommy’s Little Sunshine. They’re always having giveaways, and I just got this “free” (plus shipping) headband in the mail. It was originally for McKenzie, but I commandeered it…I always wear ponytails, so I LOVE headbands in the winter. =)

In other news, I officially finished Christmas shopping! What a chore. But it’s always worth it to see the look on McKenzie’s face! That said, I’m relieved to be done (except for stocking stuffers). It looks sparse under our tree right now, but when Santa comes it’ll be packed under there.

We’re having Christmas morning at home for the first time ever…I’m pretty excited. Then during the day we’re going to my mother-in-law’s. Jon has to be back for work the AM of the 26th, so we’ll just leave the doggies at home.

On that note, Cali’s tail is taking nightmarishly long to heal. Goodness. I have to wrap it at least once a day still, and now we have a large syringe-cover taped to the tip so she doesn’t split it open.

Annnnnnnnnd LESS THAN 3 WEEKS until our Mexico vacation. =) I’m excited. As you can tell, I could definitely use a tan.

Annnnnnnnnd LESS THAN 3 MONTHS until Jon leaves for the Army. =/ I’m definitely nervous about that one. Since he’s graduated now, it’s getting more and more real. The hardest part is that we don’t really know what his job will be yet, or where we’ll be living. It’s just hard to picture the future, and that’s nerve racking.

Anyhow, Happy Holidays everyone. =)

Snow Day!

McKenzie’s school was cancelled today because of the blizzard “Draco.” We made sure to get out and play, and we definitely got some use out of her new snowsuit. I even wrapped Cali’s tail with a plastic bag so she could join us.

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We had fun sledding, making snow angels, and building our first snowman as a family! Logan (our Golden) LOVES the snow. By the end of our time outside, his coat had grown snowballs. IMG_0773

We put her brand new Disney Princess sled to use too, and we built a wicked-awesome snowman named Frosty. =) Overall it was a very fun day, complete with hot cocoa!

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In other news, Jon graduated on Sunday! I’m going through pics now, so I’ll have up some photos in a couple days. It was such a nice ceremony. We’re so proud of him!

A fun weekend & a new (big) purchase.

I have so much fun just getting out of the house as a family and enjoying our city. Saturday morning we went to the Farmer’s Market on the Capitol Square (for those not familiar with Madison, the entire block around the Capitol building is full of local farmers…at least a quarter mile around).  It’s a blast just to walk around and sample foods/buy fresh fruits & veggies. After walking around, we went out to eat at one of our favorite restaurants, “The Old Fashioned,” where we enjoyed local Wisconsin fare, including Beer Cheese Soup and deep-fried cheese curds with ranch dipping sauce…it sounds gross, but it’s SO delicious. In fact, that was my only craving during my pregnancy with McKenzie. Haha.

I had a photo session scheduled at 4, so after our scrumptious meal I headed out since it was an hour away. I got some fun shots, here is my favorite family photo (below). The little boy was having a hard day…I’ve never photographed a baby that didn’t like me! You can see  the concern on his face. He’d cry whenever I got near! Oh well. I still think they turned out nicely.

In other news, I’ve been looking for a workout buddy for awhile now, to no avail. *sigh* Having someone to workout with really helps keep me accountable and motivated! It’s a big help. BUT, then I thought: “Well, if I had a treadmill in my house, I would literally have no excuse.” So with my hubby’s blessing (what husband would say no to that), I went out and bought a treadmill. I love running when I can get into it…even walking would be helpful at this point. I’ve been inexcusably sedentary lately. Probably due to my notorious Netflix addiction. Haha.

ANYWAY, after McKenzie was born, I lost all the weight very quickly (36lbs total…thanks to the aforementioned cheese curds) just by walking/running 2 miles a day on our treadmill. Just 2 miles while she was napping. Very easy. But for some reason (I seriously don’t remember), we sold it. Soooo I went out to buy one with 2 major criteria in mind: it had to have incline, and it had to fold up to save space. I settled on the Lifespan 1200i (which was on sale for $999, originally $1,599).

I really love it so far, and it is very high quality…much better than our last one, which was a ProForm. The motor is much quieter,  so I’m sure our condo neighbors will love that. And I love that it has incline/speed buttons on the arms of it. It’s an incredibly convenient feature. My starting goal is just 2 miles/day. I think that’s really manageable, and it will be doable with McKenzie in the house. Score! If anyone has any good running routines/tips, feel free to let me know! Or even healthy (and tasty!) meal ideas, I’m lookin’ for those too. =)