Monday, December 31, 2007


Lots of giving and getting. Lots of singing and laughing. Lots of just chilling and hanging out with Mom and Dad. LOVED that part. It was the first year I've hosted Christmas for my side of the family in this house, and even though the house wasn't as clean as I'd have liked, and even though we never did go out and cut down a real tree this year, and even though I only put out the barest amount of decorations, I decided right before they arrived that IT IS OKAY. And it was. Sweet memories.

Apparently, Dad read and paid attention to my Christmas letter. He came through and passed with FLYING COLORS! Although, when I squealed with delight upon opening a vacuum cleaner for Christmas, I had to wonder, aloud, "So this is what it's like to get old? Feeling giddy about a vacuum cleaner on Christmas morning??" Here's the one he got me.

Also from Dad: a big, thick book of NYTimes Sunday crosswords which have single-handedly changed my late bedtime habit. I almost can't wait to crawl into bed these days with my mechanical pencil in hand. WHOA BABY.

He also managed to find a fluffy bath towel big enough to wrap around this bod of mine. And the kicker? Two cigars. "Wow, Dad, these look like good ones."

"I doubt it," he said. "I went into the smoke store and asked for the nastiest ones they had." BWAHA!!

In other Christmas news, Darren came through with my most desired wish: a 50mm lens for my XTi. I've been a picture-taking fool again since putting it on. LOVE the results I get with that lens.

As for giving, Darren and I gave the kids a Wii. Couldn't be from SANTA, ya know, since Doofus Santa left it in the kitchen that one night. Instead, Santa gave the boys a soccer ball, a basketball, and a toy each. All of which have been long forgotten already, as the Wii demands everyone's full adoration. The boys also got a couple of smallish toys they'd been wanting, a new pair of tennis shoes each, and new shirts and jammies. Dani scored some new makeup, some cool posters for her room, Vans, earrings, a penguin speaker for her iPod, and other random stuff.

I gave Darren a new Dallas Stars shirt to replace the one he dripped bleach on last week, a running shirt, an electric beard trimmer thingy, and the biggie: I shaved my legs. Bwa!

I drew my brother's name, and bought for him a bluetooth headset thingy and the Guiness Book of World Records.

In other news...
You maybe oughta sit down for this.

As Dad and I were unloading his car, he handed me a laptop and said, "I can't remember if I told you about this or not." Immediately, my greedy little brain did a somersault and I thought, "SWEET!! A laptop for Dani!" Then Dad said, "It's Mom's." I promise you that immediately after that, we had to pluck gravel from my lips, 'cause my jaw hit the GROUND.

Get OUT! She's said for a hundred and one years that she'd NEVER get online. She wouldn't even TOUCH a computer. When I'd email photos, she'd make Dad print them out and bring them to her in her recliner, 'cause she refused to look at anything on the computer screen.

But now she's online. She brought her laptop here so I could show her how to use it. She bookmarked my blog. I taught her how to comment. And I BETTER SEE A COMMENT HERE, MOM, or I'm gonna come get that laptop and give it to Dani after all. LOVE YOU!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Santa is a doofus!

So. The box arrived yesterday. You know - the box with the WII in it.
The elusive Wii.
The Wii that I make sure we look for at Target every single time we're there, pointing out to the boys, "Oh, rats. Look. They still don't have any Wiis."

The boys know that Wiis are hard to come by. Still, they asked Santa for one, and Santa came through. Doofus Santa opened it up last night, and meant to take it upstairs to hide it, but instead, he got distracted and left it on the kitchen counter.

This morning, Ian came down for breakfast, and exclaimed, "HEY! A Wii!!"

Santa, quick on his feet, said, "That's not a Wii. It's just a box."

Then he grabbed it up quick and brought it upstairs.
I can't believe he had the guts to tell me about it. Doofus.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

HoSanta in the highest!

There's a song we sing at church that I love.
The girls echo the guys... "Lord we lift up Your name... with hearts full of praise... be exalted, oh Lord our God... Hosanna in the highest!"

The boys often sing along at church, and I'm regularly amazed at the lyrics they know. Last Sunday, though, Ian caught me off guard when I heard him singing, with feeling, "HoSanta in the highest!" bwa ha ha ha!

Speaking of Ian. He's been wicked bad lately. He screamed and cried at Dani when she gave him a birthday present he didn't want. He was ugly to Tenny and Gonna when they gave him a gift he already had. He's been generally spoiled and rotten. The other day, I said, "Ian, you sure are acting ugly, and that's a bad idea this close to Christmas."

"Why??" he demanded.

"'Cause Santa's coming, and he's watching you."

"Santa only cares about the rest of the year. He doesn't care about December."

"Oh, Ian. You're so wrong! He's making a list and checking it twice right now, and he knows if you're being naughty or nice. And truth be told, he's probably seeing a whole lotta checks in the naughty column lately. He probably won't even notice the rest of the year now."

At that, Ian fell on the floor in a puddle of tears and exclaimed, "Santa's not gonna come at ALL!!!!"

Am I mean?

His repentant heart didn't last long.

When we took all the kids' photos at Fortress on Sunday, this is the pose Ian gave me. You can almost hear the growl, can't you?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

More of the Same - Christmas Edition

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper. I'm a freak about it too... I want it to all coordinate. Then I get sorta sad when Christmas arrives and people show up and put their gifts under the tree wrapped with SpongeBob paper and gold foil poinsettia prints that totally clashes with my stripes and polka dots.

2. Real tree or Artificial? Both. Real tree in the front window, and a fake tree in the family room.

3. When do you put up the tree? Fake tree usually goes up Thanksgiving weekend, but we've all been sick and haven't gotten it out of the attic yet this year! We usually buy the real tree around the 10th.

4. When do you take the tree down? Hmmm. Real tree gets undecorated pretty quickly, 'cause I hate the mess after it starts drying out too much. Fake tree? Depends. Last year, I think I finally took it down toward the end of January!

5. Do you like egg nog? Yep. From Braum's. With a shot of Bailey's and nutmeg sprinkled on top.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? my orange vinyl-covered record player that closed and locked like a suitcase. (I bet you young whippersnappers don't even remember record players. Or for that matter, hard-sided suitcases that had snapping locks!)

7. Do you have a nativity scene? No. I want one. Started looking at Fontanini pieces last year, after a friend sent me $30 to put toward my first piece. Still haven't bought anything yet! (Is something wrong with me that I don't love Fontanini? Someday, I'll find THE perfect nativity scene. I'll know it when I see it.

8. Hardest person to buy for? Darren's brother, Chris. If he wants anything, he could just go and and buy it without worrying about the cost. Problem is, he just doesn't want anything!

9. Easiest person to buy for? my sister. I'm always seeing things that make me think of her!

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail. I still handmake 'em. Haven't started THAT this year, either.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? a black nightie from Darren that didn't fit. By a long shot. I don't know who was more disappointed - him or me!

12 . Favorite Christmas movie? A Charlie Brown Christmas. and Love Actually.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Whenever I find something I know someone will love. Problem is, if I buy too early, I can't wait to give it to the person, and end up having to buy them another gift closer to Christmas!

14 . Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? That black nightie? I gave it to Cara just a few days ago, tags still attached. lol!

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Mom's fudge

16 . Clear lights or colored on the tree? Clear on the fake tree. Colored on the real tree.

17. Favorite Christmas song? What Sweeter Music, sung by the Cambridge Singers (with John Rutter conducting)

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? this year, my family is travelling to OUR house! It's different every year.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeers? Yes. Rudolph and Olive.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Star.

21 . Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Depends which family we're celebrating with. With the Kocurs, everything gets opened on Christmas Eve, and then Santa leaves stockings and another gift overnight. With the Agees, everyone gets to open one gift on Christmas Eve and then mayhem ensues on Christmas morning. I like it both ways, actually!

22 . Most annoying thing about this time of year? traffic jams at I-20 and Hulen

23. Favorite christmas ornament? a birdhouse that Darren carved for me out of a tree branch when we were newly married.

24. Favorite thing for Christmas dinner? Honey Baked Ham with all the trimmings.

Saturday, December 01, 2007


Late last summer, Darren started a training program called Couch to 5k. He ran his first race on Thanksgiving morning (the Fort Worth Turkey Trot), and his second race tonight (the Jingle Bell Run.) I'm so stinkin' proud of him for setting a goal and seeing it through, which frankly, has never been his forte. His calves are shaping up QUITE NICELY as a result, and I'm certainly enjoying THAT added benefit. Mmmm. ;)

A few weeks into the program, his coworkers got interested, and several of them started too. They all signed up as a team for the Jingle Bell Run and ended up raising $1200 for The Arthritis Foundation. It was fun watching all of them run together, and waiting at the finish line as each of them crossed.

At sign-up time, Darren mentioned to Aidan that the Jingle Bell Run included a 1 mile Fun Run. Aidan said he wanted to do it. One evening several weeks ago, the two of them ran to Aidan's school and back - an exact mile - just to see if Aidan could do it. On the home stretch, Darren said, "Let's race back home." Aidan turned on his jets and left Darren in his dust! There was no doubt that he could run a mile, and THEN some!

Tonight was the night. We didn't officially sign him up, so he didn't have a number or anything. Darren has been coughing up a lung for the better part of a week, so I didn't think we'd even go. We didn't mention it again to Aidan until a couple of hours before the race. He got so excited!

"Aidan," I coached. "You'll need to save your energy for the whole race. Don't start out too fast. And if you get tired, just tell yourself, 'I can do it. I know I can! I know I can!"

He interrupted me, saying, "Mom, I don't need to say that. I already know I can."

"Yah, but just in case...." I started.

"Mom. I'm a winner. Winners don't quit. I'm gonna win. I know it already."

Talk about confidence!

While Darren waited with him at the starting line, I hiked a half mile down the course to wait, snagging a good spot for picture-taking and for cheering on my little winner. I gotta tell ya: as I stood there in front of the Tarrant County Jail ignoring the cat calls and whistles coming from its windows, I thought, "What the heck kind of parents send their not-quite-7-year-old running through the streets of downtown with no one to watch him? No one to make sure he didn't stumble and scrape his knees. No one to make sure he didn't veer off the course...."

But before I could worry for TOO long, here they came. A few adults, a handful of teenagers, and then..... AIDAN!! I can't even express the pride I felt. "You're doing GREAT, Aidan!! Keep running! I'm so proud of you! GO AIDAN!!!" The race ran along the main streets of downtown, where cars were parked along the sides and bicycle cops weaved in and out of intersections keeping cars from entering. Aidan kept running between parked cars to jump up on the curb, then he'd run down the sidewalk a bit, then weave back out on to the street again. He was having a BALL! I think he could've shave a lot of seconds off his time if he'd just stayed on the street. LOL!

After snapping a few pics, I high-tailed it to another intersection where I could cheer him on again on the second half. This time, he was running uphill and was dragging. When he saw me, he slowed to a near-walk. "AIDAN!" I yelled. "You're a WINNER!! You're a winner, Aidan! Keep running! You can do it!" And he turned on his jets, and did it. I ran behind him, cheering him on, for about 2 blocks. When I slowed down, I had to wipe my eyes.

At the finish line, the crowd cheered him like crazy. He was in the top 30 to cross... and the first little kid. Afterward, as we waited for Darren to run his race, people kept stopping to say, "Hey! I saw you running! You did great!" Aidan said he felt famous.

9:24. Aidan's first officially-timed mile.
I'm here to tell you: it won't be his last.