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Dear 2011

Dear 2011:

I can honestly say that I am not, in any way, shape, or form, sad to see you go.  You have, without a doubt, been one of those most difficult years of my life.  But you did have some redeeming qualities. Let’s focus on those, shall we?

I will forever remember you as the year of my sister’s car accident.  And although the heartbreak and pain that came with that were at times unbearable, you did teach me that I am made of stronger stuff than I thought.  And in all honesty, you did do me a favor by providing me with the opportunity to spend more time with my sister than I have since I moved out when she was seven years old.  A blessing definitely in disguise!

You also taught me this year that I can not solve, fix or carry the weight of the world all by myself.  By forcing me to be honest and open with my husband and others in my life about some struggles I was going through, I came out on the other side knowing that even in all my imperfect glory, I am loved…deeply.

This year I also learned of the power of friendship, and how even if we don’t speak or see each other often, when needed – friends will come running to your side.  Sadly, our dear friends lost their teenage son in a car accident this summer.  Even under the horrific pain of that loss, it warmed my heart to see the support and love that they received.  My friends are, and this is no exaggeration, the best in the world.

On a lighter note, you excelled 2011, by giving us Adele’s album “21”.  Literally a life changing record for me.  All I can say is … that’s mah jam!

I’m looking forward to facing 2012.   I’ve got new knowledge on my side, and we all know that knowledge is power.  I’ve got family & friends that support me, even in all my imperfect glory.  I have a husband who (even if he doesn’t often tell me)  thinks I’m pretty cool, and children that light up my life every single day.  I’m blessed to have a job that I enjoy, and a roof over my head.  I’ve got a couple new wrinkles, but also a few laugh lines that weren’t there last year.  Life, as always, is one big balancing act.  So let’s do this 2012.  Let’s laugh some more. Love some more.  Learn some more.  But let’s lay off those wrinkle, shall we?   Umkay?   Thanks.

Adieu, 2011.
-Jess

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2011 in Dear 2011, my rockin' friends, New Years, Sarah Barah

 

New Year’s Eve: A Celebration

I believe this year marks the sixth year that we rang in the new year at home, with our two pride & joys, in our pajamas. Just the way I like it.  Each year I find that we begin a new tradition of some sort.  This year it was my son’s request that we have pudding in a cloud.

Of course, you can choose any flavor pudding you would like, but we went with the tried & true chocolate.

We had a delicious dinner of pork chops, roasted potatoes, and the requisite black-eyed peas, for good luck.  We watched the Dick Clark New Year’s Eve special, always a pleasure.  It always takes me back to my junior high days when I eagerly awaiting a sighting of NKOTB on the annual special.

J-Bo made it till about 11:40…and then his eyelids started to droop…

By 11:45, he was out.

We tried desperately to wake him for the midnight toast, but he was dead to the world.  (When I told him the next day that he had fallen asleep and missed the ball drop, he said, “You didn’t even try to wake me up!”. Hahahaha!  We were literally yelling at him, and he wouldn’t stir. Silly boy!)

So we toasted in the New Year with just three of the J’s.

And then….Sister Bear crashed.  🙂  At about 12:09.

Here’s to a New Year, my friends.  May it be full of an insane amount of love, light and most importantly, laughter.

 

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2011 in J-Bo, New Years, Sister Bear

 

Wordless Wednesday: What a Difference Four Years Makes

2007

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2011

 

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2011 in J-Bo, Wordless Wednesday, WW

 

And To All, A Good Night…

Christmas Eve.  How happy I was that it fell on a Saturday this year!  The husband took the kids to run a few last minute errands, which meant that I was able to turn on Michael Buble’s new Christmas album, consume numerous cups of pumpkin spice coffee, and finish all the wrapping. For the first time in…well…EVER…I wasn’t up till the wee hours wrapping gifts.  It was so lovely. *sigh of contentment*

Our Eve traditions include spaghetti & meatballs, hot cocoa and tracking Santa’s progress online.  It was such fun to watch the kiddos refresh the screen over and over to see if Santa had made it beyond Portugal.  After much, much persuading, I finally convinced them to go to bed.  How can Santa visit if they never go to sleep?  (This battle is an annual tradition, as well.)

Letters, artwork and treats were laid out for Santa and his reindeer.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care.

And then, wonder of wonders, Santa was there!

That Santa sure is sneaky. We didn’t even hear him!  Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night!

 
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Posted by on December 24, 2011 in Christmas, Santa, Traditions

 

Snow Tubing

I work at a law firm downtown, and one of the perks that is sometimes offered to employees is free admission to fun activities in the downtown area.  Each year, Oklahoma City has what they call Downtown in December, which include a tree lighting, riverboat cruises, ice skating, and numerous other happenings.  This year the kids were finally tall enough for us to go to the one event that I’ve been looking forward to for years, the snowtubing. And…even better….it was opened up to only our firm’s employees for two hours, which meant that we got to ride over and over and over.

The slide is set up at the Bricktown Ballpark.  There’s a smaller “children’s” slide, but hey – we figured go big, or go home!

It was a brutally cold night, but after climbing the stairs to the top, and then having to carry your tube all the way back around again, we were ready to start shedding clothes after the first couple of rides.

We had an amazing time! It was a spectacular way to kick off the holiday season, and I really hope that my work is given this opportunity again next year.  It was great to not only get to hang out with the family in such a fun environment, but also to get to cut loose with co-workers that I normally only get to see in business casual wear, surrounded by stacks of paper:)  The only thing we would suggest for next year — hot cocoa!  It was the only thing missing.  But that’s okay – we got some when we went home.  And, of course, the kids were wired for hours:)

Totally worth it.

 
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Posted by on December 6, 2011 in Downtown in December

 

Hiding Songs

It’s that time again, when the dark is surrounding me, nothing but the glow of the computer screen. The only sound the whir of the fan over the sound of music in my earphones.

Music.  My saving grace.  The thing that pulls me out when I reach my very lowest points  in life.  I want to slither my body into the music, immerse myself in it fully, until you can’t tell where I am.  Hide in the music.  Yes…that’s it exactly.

Many things are weighing me down.  Things that eat me up inside and age me outside.  I’m trying to release them, discard them from me like a dirty jacket, but they won’t go.  They. Just. Won’t. Go.

Meet my hiding songs.

Eli Lieb – “I’m losing sight of you again tonight.”

Lori McKenna – “All I ever do is work, all I ever do is pray.  But I do know that I have for you a love that never fades, and it’s okay, if it’s all I ever do.”

Angus & Julia Stone – “Am I not what you wanted?”

Damien Rice – “And if you hate me, then hate me so good that you can let me out, let me out, let me out of this hell in your arms.”

And, of course, my Adele. – “I won’t let you close enough to hurt me.”

That’s where I’ll be.  In the song.

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

The Books of September

I apologize for the radio silence, my dear friends.  *insert crickets chirping here*  It’s been busy.  You know – with those little life things – like work (insanelyfreakingcrazybusy),  soccer season for J-Bo, school events, and trying to figure out how to pay the 5000 bills that seem to appear in my mailbox each day (thus – the working:) ).

Now that my whining is out of the way – rest assured, I have been finding time for some of the more pleasureful things in life.

I’ve been reading –  a lot.  Many of these selections are for RIP VI, but I just haven’t had the time to review and link quite yet. I hope to do so before October 31st:)  Here are the books that have been capturing what little time I’ve had.

And let me tell you – it’s been a GREAT reading month!  I adored Kate Morton’s The Distant Hours, and am highly anticipating reading the rest of her titles.  After recently reading my friend Fuzzy Cricket’s raving review of The Winter Sea, I knew I had to jump on that train!  I promptly reserved The Winter Sea from my library, and while waiting for my reserved copy to arrive, I used a B&N gift card I’d received as a birthday gift to purchase two of my Ms. Kearsley’s back titles .  And showing perfect timing, The Shadowy Horses arrived just as I finished Winter Sea.   I dove right into Shadowy Horses, and absolutely devoured it.  I think it may be likely that I loved it even more than Winter Sea – which I really wasn’t even sure was possible!  Now I’m onto Mariana, about 75 pages in, and loving it as well.  Isn’t it such fun to find an author that you enjoy so much that you can read their works back to back to back – and never feel as if you’ve “been there, done that”?

All in all, September has been an exceptional reading month.  I hope it’s been the same for you.   And if it hasn’t been, then I highly suggest you give Susanna Kearsley a try. I’m almost 100% certain you’ll be jumping on her fan train as well!

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2011 in Books read, RIP 2011, Susanna Kearsley