Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Happy Birthday VICTORIA!

Friday was Victoria's last birthday before being a teenager.  It was a memorable day for another reason: she started wearing glasses.  Yep, we've dodged that bullet for all these years and then wham!  Two girls, Alyssa and Victoria, got glasses the same day.  She doesn't need to wear them all the time, so I suspect they will hardly ever be worn.   But, they'll be there when she needs them.

With her birthday falling on a Friday and knowing Hannah had a horse show on Saturday, we elected to celebrate with Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt Chrissy, Uncle Mark, Matthew and Caitlyn on Friday night with me wimping out and ordering pizza.  I DID manage to make a salad and slice up some strawberries to put on the Cheesecake Factory cheesecake that Miss Jane had given her for her birthday.  She was quite surprised to see a her present, a new bike.   So now she can ride around the neighborhood in style.

Friday, January 7, 2011

A Symptom of a Larger Problem

Innocently, Victoria asked me if she could have a piece of chocolate.  She didn't want just any piece of chocolate, but the Lindor Truffles we received as a Christmas gift from someone who had recently returned from Switzerland.  That's right, chocolate straight from the folks who KNOW chocolate.  I told her she could and then glanced across the room to see her fishing around in the box, searching for the kind she likes best.  Well, I know which kind she likes best...the same kind we all do, the ones in the black wrapper, the dark chocolate ones.  Hmm...are the dark chocolate ones almost gone?  Out of curiosity, I poured them out to see. 
Yes, that's right.  You are seeing correctly.  There is ONE left.  One little truffle out of a 500 g box (I told you it really was from Europe...not an English measurement on the entire container).  Just for reference, the box has been sitting around the house since December 20 and there are still twelve milk chocolate (red wrapper) truffles left.  Clearly everyone is searching for the kind they like best.

"Big deal," you say.  "It's just chocolate."  And you'd be correct.  The truth is, we're about to clear all (or most) of the sugary treats out of the house, and I'll probably end up gifting these truffles to Carenet and the faithful volunteers. (I don't suppose they'll be able to read the French on the box and notice the marked absence of dark chocolate ones.)  But I think this bowl points to an attitude that DOES cause problems in our family...in all families.  We all want our own way and are willing to deprive someone else of what we know they would prefer in order to satisfy our own desires.  So maybe for the new year, instead of grand resolutions that will deserve a A or and F at the end of December, we should strive for incremental changes in our heart.  If we all were to move toward a heart that prefers others above ourself, then I'd really have something to celebrate at the end of the year.

Maybe next Christmas the bowl of truffles would look just the opposite.  If everyone were to prefer one another as more important than himself (think Romans 12:10) everyone would LEAVE the black ones.  Interesting thought, don't you think?

What might "preferring others" look like at your house?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Making the Grade

On December 31, 2009 I publicly set some goals for 2010. If I remember correctly, I even reflected on them mid-year. Today is the day of reckoning and it's not looking pretty.

#1 was to learn to use my phone. I'd have to say D+. I have learned to use a few additional features (it's now my alarm clock) but I have NOT successfully used it to listen to podcasts and music, which was my intent when I made this a goal last year. I have decided that since every other person in the house has some kind of Apple device and all music is stored in iTunes, I'm fighting a wickedly uphill battle to convert what I want to mp3 and get it onto my devices. Now, shall I be like my son and just hold out for Verizon to get the iphone or should I just confiscate Victoria's shuffle that she no longer uses (because she upgraded to an iTouch)?

#2 was learn to use my Christmas presents. This may be my best grade - say B+. I'm pretty savvy with the Flip, because it's so easy to use. I can post video here to my blog or to facebook. I probably don't use it enough, but I have documented Hannah's riding and Victoria's dance pretty well with the Flip. I also can make a pretty delicious cup of coffee in the French Press if you are inclined to like your brew on the strong side (I do). Just let me know you're stopping by, and I'll be sure to swing by Starbucks and pick up some fresh, coursely ground Pike Place Blend.

#3 is an undeniable F. Regarding menu planning, or my lack there of, I'm just going to plead the Fifth.

#4 was to blog more. Based strictly on numbers (and I have no idea how else to evaluate this one) I have another failing grade. I started blogging at Blogspot in February '09 and had 54 entries posted that year. In '10 had a measly 49 entries. What can I say - F.

#5 was to really go all out for Christmas. This is a tough one. I'd have to say a B-. While I'm not sure I went all out, I did make some efforts that I had simply given up on in previous years. For the first time since moving into this house, I unpacked ALL the Precious Moments porcelain ornaments and used them on the tree. I went with a white/pastel theme and was pleased with the result. I also decided to add one new element that I really love to my Christmas decor each year. This year, I had a beautiful silk arrangement made for a wedding shower that I hosted. Then the designer added some Christmas elements for the holidays, leaving me a very large new addition to my Christmas decor. I was thrilled with the result until Patrick, Mr. Practical himself, said, "Where are you going to store that?" Details, details. I try not to let those things bother me. For now at least, I'm thinking of turning it around, hiding the "Christmas-y" part, and letting it be a "winter arrangement". Aren't I clever?

Overall, I'd have to say I did a pretty lousy job keeping last year's resolutions. This year I may have to try some that are a bit more quantitative. Maybe if I'm a little more specific, I'll be more inclined to succeed. That will be a blog post for another day.