Monday, January 26, 2015

The boss and his tea.

I've been up to my eyeballs in basketball, PTO meetings, and planning for Catholic Schools Week.  I haven't abandoned my little corner of the internet but it sure feels like it.

Hopefully things will settle down a little next week and I can get back here on a regular basis, but until then, here's something that made me chuckle over Christmas.

Peter has been really pressuring me to let him drink coffee.  When I told him that it would stunt his growth, he informed me that was a myth with no scientific evidence to support it. 

And even if that's the case (which it most likely is, but who has the time other than Peter to actually research it?), I still don't think 12-year-olds need to drink coffee.   But he was really pestering me good so I gave in and let him have a cup of tea.

Here he is in the process of fixing that cup of tea:



After he let it steep, added some milk and sugar and stirred, he grabbed the cup in his hands, walked over to Sarah and gesturing with the mug said, "Do you have those reports completed that I asked you for last week?  I need them for my meeting."

Sarah gave him a confused look and just rolled her eyes.

Not sure if he ever got the information he needed for his meeting or not!

Monday, January 19, 2015

My selfish prayer. (Alternately Titled: Thank God for unanswered prayers.)

I postponed ordering and shipping Christmas presents as long as I could.  We always go to Massachusetts to celebrate with Dan's family. Always. But his brother, Bob, was struggling with colon cancer and the chemo treatments, and his sister had just started a new job and was only going to be up there for a couple of days and I just felt like Christmas and where we would be celebrating was one giant question mark. The last thing I wanted to do was to order and ship everything to Massachusetts only to realize that we would need to celebrate in Virginia or North Carolina.

But Bob was adamant that he wanted to spend Christmas in Massachusetts so we made the plan.  He would ride up with us and would stay for a week and then would take the train back to Virginia with his uncle so that he could continue his treatments.  His lungs were too compromised due to the cancer to be able to fly.

Once we had the plan set, I started ordering gifts, and Christmas was on!  We were charging full steam ahead.  And I felt like we needed to make this Christmas the best one ever because honestly, I knew this would be Bob's last Christmas with us.

So I started praying.  I prayed fervently that the Lord would bless us with the best Christmas ever. I prayed repeatedly for a Christmas full of wonderful memories. I prayed passionately that the Lord would grant us generous amounts of  laughter, numerous photo opportunities, and abundant amounts of time spent enjoying each other's company.

I prayed this way out of what I thought was the goodness of my heart.  I wanted a beautiful Christmas for my kids knowing that most likely after this one, Christmas as they had known it their whole lives would be different.  I wanted special memories of a final Christmas with their beloved uncle that they could cherish for a lifetime. 

After he passed away, I was talking with Dan.  We were trying to find the goodness of God's plan in all the death and sadness we had experienced this last year.  And while talking about Bob's death, I
realized why God didn't answer my prayers for a wonderful Christmas.

In retrospect though, my prayer was a selfish prayer. I was requesting things that would be good for my kids, for my own little family. Instead of granting me my requests, God, as usual, answered in a way even better than I could have asked.

He allowed Bob two whole weeks surrounded by family and friends.  People flew in and drove in from various parts of the country to spend time with him as he was dying.  Bob's brothers, sister, and uncles got to spend huge amounts of time with him in his final days.  And my kids got to say goodbye to their uncle, knowing  that it would be the last time talking to him. He definitely knew he was loved.

He also received the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick to include Confession and Holy Communion.  I know that being able to receive those sacraments in his final days were a huge comfort and blessing to him.

If he had not passed away over Christmas, he most likely would have been alone in his apartment or alone in a hospital room in Virginia.  If God had to take Bob, I'm glad he chose to take him when he did so that we could be with him.

We didn't get the Christmas that we wanted, but instead, we got the Christmas that Bob needed.

And ultimately, one that we needed as well. 



Thursday, January 8, 2015

RIP, RJC


Colonel Robert Joseph Cotell, USA, entered into eternal life Tuesday evening, 6 January 2014.  Robert (Bob) was born in Winchester, Massachusetts on 31 January 1962.  He grew up in Wellesley and considered himself a native son of the town.  He spent the summers and most weekends throughout the years of his youth in West Yarmouth on Cape Cod where his father grew up and where his bloodlines run deep – extending back to the time of the American Revolution.  Bob attended grammar school at St Paul Catholic School in Wellesley and then attended Boston College High School.  During his formative years, Bob’s character was substantially molded through his participation in the Boy Scouting program.  Bob was a dedicated and successful scout, rising to the rank of Eagle while holding all major leadership positions in Troop 186 of Wellesley.  Along the way, Bob spent seven years working for the Yawgoog Scout Reservation in Rockville Rhode Island as a summer camp counselor and Camp Director.

After high school, Bob earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Northeastern University.  It was there that Bob began his long career with the US Army by enlisting as a cadet in the ROTC program.  After Northeastern, Bob enrolled in law school at Suffolk University where, upon graduation, he became a Judge Advocate General (JAG) Officer in the US Army.  Bob spent twenty-six years serving his country on active duty as a JAG officer with assignments beginning with West Point, New York and including Yong San, Korea; Heidelberg, Germany; Livorno, Italy; Fort Bragg, NC; Fort Knox, KY; Fort Detrick, MD; Fort Belvoir, VA and the Pentagon.  Bob served as the Chief Legal Counsel to the Joint Task Force – Olympics in Salt Lake during the highly sensitive mission to secure the Olympic Games in 2002.  This was one of the first high-profile international events hosted by the United States following the terrorist attacks of 9/11.  Bob also served a combat deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.  He was stationed at Bagram Airfield supporting the mission of the XVIII Airborne Corps.  Bob remained on active duty with the army right up until his death.  He earned myriad awards and decorations during his time of service including the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star Medal.

Bob’s service to his country, his dedication to his faith and his family and the courage he showed in facing his cancer are an inspiring example to all who witnessed them.  Bob was preceded in death by his parents, Robert and Irene Cotell as well as an aunt Catherine Browne and a niece Rebecca Cotell.  He leaves behind a sister, Catherine Cotell of Alexandria Virginia; a brother, Richard and his wife Jennifer Cotell of Needham; another brother, Daniel and his wife Elizabeth Cotell of Lexington, NC; an uncle and aunt, Gerald and Barbara Browne of Marlborough; an uncle, Rev Robert Browne of Marlborough; a niece, Jillian Cotell of Needham and a niece and nephew, Sarah and Peter Cotell of Lexington, NC.

Funeral arrangements are being made by George F. Doherty Funeral Home in Wellesley.  The wake will be held 4-8 PM on Friday with a Mass of Christian Burial to be held at St Paul Church on Saturday at 10 AM.  Burial will follow on Monday at 11 AM at St Francis Xavier Cemetery in Centreville, Massachusetts.  Donations in Bob’s name can be made to the Yawgoog Alumni Association Narragansett Council, B.S.A. PO BOX 14777 10 Risho Avenue East Providence, RI 02914-0777, attention Judy Ferrante.
OTELL, Colonel Robert Joseph USA, entered into eternal life Tuesday evening, 6 January 2015. Robert (Bob) was born in Winchester, Massachusetts on 31 January 1962. He grew up in Wellesley and considered himself a native son of the town. He spent the summers and most weekends throughout the years of his youth in West Yarmouth on Cape Cod where his father grew up and where his bloodlines run deep - extending back to the time of the American Revolution. Bob attended grammar school at St. Paul Catholic School in Wellesley and then attended Boston College High School. During his formative years, Bob's character was substantially molded through his participation in the Boy Scouting program. Bob was a dedicated and successful scout, rising to the rank of Eagle while holding all major leadership positions in Troop 186 of Wellesley. Along the way, Bob spent seven years working for the Yawgoog Scout Reservation in Rockville, Rhode Island as a summer camp counselor and Camp Director. After high school, Bob earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Northeastern University. It was there that Bob began his long career with the US Army by enlisting as a cadet in the ROTC program. After Northeastern, Bob enrolled in law school at Suffolk University where, upon graduation, he became a Judge Advocate General (JAG) Officer in the US Army. Bob spent twenty-six years serving his country on active duty as a JAG officer with assignments beginning with West Point, New York and including Yong San, Korea; Heidelberg, Germany; Livorno, Italy; Fort Bragg, NC; Fort Knox, KY; Fort Detrick, MD; Fort Belvoir, VA and the Pentagon. Bob served as the Chief Legal Counsel to the Joint Task Force - Olympics in Salt Lake during the highly sensitive mission to secure the Olympic Games in 2002. This was one of the first high-profile international events hosted by the United States following the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Bob also served a combat deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He was stationed at Bagram Airfield supporting the mission of the XVIII Airborne Corps. Bob remained on active duty with the army right up until his death. He earned myriad awards and decorations during his time of service including the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star Medal. Bob's service to his country, his dedication to his faith and his family and the courage he showed in facing his cancer are an inspiring example to all who witnessed them. Bob was preceded in death by his parents, Robert and Irene Cotell as well as an aunt, Catherine Browne and a niece, Rebecca Cotell. He leaves behind a sister, Catherine Cotell of Alexandria Virginia; a brother, Richard and his wife Jennifer Cotell of Needham; another brother, Daniel and his wife Elizabeth Cotell of Lexington, NC; an uncle and aunt, Gerald and Barbara Browne of Marlborough; an uncle, Rev Robert Browne of Marlborough; a niece, Jillian Cotell of Needham and a niece and nephew, Sarah and Peter Cotell of Lexington, NC. A full military honors funeral service will be held from George F. Doherty & Sons Funeral Home, 477 Washington St. (Rt. 16), WELLESLEY, Saturday, January 10, at 9am followed by a Funeral Mass in St. Paul Church, Wellesley at 10am. Relatives and friends kindly invited. Visiting hours will be held on Friday, January 9 at the funeral home from 4-8pm. Interment will take place on Monday, January 12 at St. Francis Xavier Cemetery in Centerville, MA. Donations in Bob's name can be made to the Yawgoog Alumni Association Narragansett Council, B.S.A. PO BOX 14777 10 Risho Avenue East Providence, RI 02914-0777, Attention: Judy Ferrante. For directions and guestbook, please visit: gfdoherty.com.
- See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/bostonglobe/obituary.aspx?pid=173767513#sthash.Biy44sCz.dpuf
OTELL, Colonel Robert Joseph USA, entered into eternal life Tuesday evening, 6 January 2015. Robert (Bob) was born in Winchester, Massachusetts on 31 January 1962. He grew up in Wellesley and considered himself a native son of the town. He spent the summers and most weekends throughout the years of his youth in West Yarmouth on Cape Cod where his father grew up and where his bloodlines run deep - extending back to the time of the American Revolution. Bob attended grammar school at St. Paul Catholic School in Wellesley and then attended Boston College High School. During his formative years, Bob's character was substantially molded through his participation in the Boy Scouting program. Bob was a dedicated and successful scout, rising to the rank of Eagle while holding all major leadership positions in Troop 186 of Wellesley. Along the way, Bob spent seven years working for the Yawgoog Scout Reservation in Rockville, Rhode Island as a summer camp counselor and Camp Director. After high school, Bob earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Northeastern University. It was there that Bob began his long career with the US Army by enlisting as a cadet in the ROTC program. After Northeastern, Bob enrolled in law school at Suffolk University where, upon graduation, he became a Judge Advocate General (JAG) Officer in the US Army. Bob spent twenty-six years serving his country on active duty as a JAG officer with assignments beginning with West Point, New York and including Yong San, Korea; Heidelberg, Germany; Livorno, Italy; Fort Bragg, NC; Fort Knox, KY; Fort Detrick, MD; Fort Belvoir, VA and the Pentagon. Bob served as the Chief Legal Counsel to the Joint Task Force - Olympics in Salt Lake during the highly sensitive mission to secure the Olympic Games in 2002. This was one of the first high-profile international events hosted by the United States following the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Bob also served a combat deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He was stationed at Bagram Airfield supporting the mission of the XVIII Airborne Corps. Bob remained on active duty with the army right up until his death. He earned myriad awards and decorations during his time of service including the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star Medal. Bob's service to his country, his dedication to his faith and his family and the courage he showed in facing his cancer are an inspiring example to all who witnessed them. Bob was preceded in death by his parents, Robert and Irene Cotell as well as an aunt, Catherine Browne and a niece, Rebecca Cotell. He leaves behind a sister, Catherine Cotell of Alexandria Virginia; a brother, Richard and his wife Jennifer Cotell of Needham; another brother, Daniel and his wife Elizabeth Cotell of Lexington, NC; an uncle and aunt, Gerald and Barbara Browne of Marlborough; an uncle, Rev Robert Browne of Marlborough; a niece, Jillian Cotell of Needham and a niece and nephew, Sarah and Peter Cotell of Lexington, NC. A full military honors funeral service will be held from George F. Doherty & Sons Funeral Home, 477 Washington St. (Rt. 16), WELLESLEY, Saturday, January 10, at 9am followed by a Funeral Mass in St. Paul Church, Wellesley at 10am. Relatives and friends kindly invited. Visiting hours will be held on Friday, January 9 at the funeral home from 4-8pm. Interment will take place on Monday, January 12 at St. Francis Xavier Cemetery in Centerville, MA. Donations in Bob's name can be made to the Yawgoog Alumni Association Narragansett Council, B.S.A. PO BOX 14777 10 Risho Avenue East Providence, RI 02914-0777, Attention: Judy Ferrante. For directions and guestbook, please visit: gfdoherty.com.
- See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/bostonglobe/obituary.aspx?pid=173767513#sthash.Biy44sCz.dpuf
OTELL, Colonel Robert Joseph USA, entered into eternal life Tuesday evening, 6 January 2015. Robert (Bob) was born in Winchester, Massachusetts on 31 January 1962. He grew up in Wellesley and considered himself a native son of the town. He spent the summers and most weekends throughout the years of his youth in West Yarmouth on Cape Cod where his father grew up and where his bloodlines run deep - extending back to the time of the American Revolution. Bob attended grammar school at St. Paul Catholic School in Wellesley and then attended Boston College High School. During his formative years, Bob's character was substantially molded through his participation in the Boy Scouting program. Bob was a dedicated and successful scout, rising to the rank of Eagle while holding all major leadership positions in Troop 186 of Wellesley. Along the way, Bob spent seven years working for the Yawgoog Scout Reservation in Rockville, Rhode Island as a summer camp counselor and Camp Director. After high school, Bob earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Northeastern University. It was there that Bob began his long career with the US Army by enlisting as a cadet in the ROTC program. After Northeastern, Bob enrolled in law school at Suffolk University where, upon graduation, he became a Judge Advocate General (JAG) Officer in the US Army. Bob spent twenty-six years serving his country on active duty as a JAG officer with assignments beginning with West Point, New York and including Yong San, Korea; Heidelberg, Germany; Livorno, Italy; Fort Bragg, NC; Fort Knox, KY; Fort Detrick, MD; Fort Belvoir, VA and the Pentagon. Bob served as the Chief Legal Counsel to the Joint Task Force - Olympics in Salt Lake during the highly sensitive mission to secure the Olympic Games in 2002. This was one of the first high-profile international events hosted by the United States following the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Bob also served a combat deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. He was stationed at Bagram Airfield supporting the mission of the XVIII Airborne Corps. Bob remained on active duty with the army right up until his death. He earned myriad awards and decorations during his time of service including the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star Medal. Bob's service to his country, his dedication to his faith and his family and the courage he showed in facing his cancer are an inspiring example to all who witnessed them. Bob was preceded in death by his parents, Robert and Irene Cotell as well as an aunt, Catherine Browne and a niece, Rebecca Cotell. He leaves behind a sister, Catherine Cotell of Alexandria Virginia; a brother, Richard and his wife Jennifer Cotell of Needham; another brother, Daniel and his wife Elizabeth Cotell of Lexington, NC; an uncle and aunt, Gerald and Barbara Browne of Marlborough; an uncle, Rev Robert Browne of Marlborough; a niece, Jillian Cotell of Needham and a niece and nephew, Sarah and Peter Cotell of Lexington, NC. A full military honors funeral service will be held from George F. Doherty & Sons Funeral Home, 477 Washington St. (Rt. 16), WELLESLEY, Saturday, January 10, at 9am followed by a Funeral Mass in St. Paul Church, Wellesley at 10am. Relatives and friends kindly invited. Visiting hours will be held on Friday, January 9 at the funeral home from 4-8pm. Interment will take place on Monday, January 12 at St. Francis Xavier Cemetery in Centerville, MA. Donations in Bob's name can be made to the Yawgoog Alumni Association Narragansett Council, B.S.A. PO BOX 14777 10 Risho Avenue East Providence, RI 02914-0777, Attention: Judy Ferrante. For directions and guestbook, please visit: gfdoherty.com.
- See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/bostonglobe/obituary.aspx?pid=173767513#sthash.Biy44sCz.dpuf

Monday, January 5, 2015

An update.

On the cusp of 2014, Dan and I kissed, and toasted the new year with, "It's gonna be a hell of a year."

And it was.  Just a week prior to that toast, we had learned that Dan's mom had leukemia and a few weeks later, she passed away.  And a few weeks prior to her leukemia diagnosis, we learned that Rebecca had Trisomy 18 and would not live long after birth.

We went into the new year knowing that those things were coming.  But what we didn't expect was the Stage IV colon cancer diagnosis that Dan's brother Bob received in March. 

He has been fighting this cancer hard with 8 months of chemo and wanted more than anything to spend Christmas in Wellesley with us this year.  He was between rounds of chemo so we picked him up very early on the morning of December 20th in Virginia and drove to Massachusetts.  He was weak and he was tired, but he was going home for Christmas.

And he did fine the first few days he was there.  He was out of breath a lot and had to rest a lot but he was where he wanted to be.  On Tuesday, he even went with Dan and Peter and Sarah to Bunker Hill.  On Christmas Eve, however, he stayed home from Mass and when we returned he said he needed to go to the hospital.He was struggling to breath and needed oxygen. 

He was in the hospital several days before he was released to hospice care at home.  The doctors at the hospital said there was nothing they could do for him. Hospice delivered an oxygen machine and a hospital bed and we all took care of him for several days as best we could.  However, on New Year's Eve, the hospice nurse who visited that morning said his oxygen saturation level was 80 and he wouldn't make it through the weekend.

He had two choices - stay on hospice care and die in a few days or head back to the hospital.  At 52, he just couldn't say it was over.  So we called 911 and on New Year's Eve, he headed back to the hospital.

He was officially transferred from the U.S. Army JAG Corp to the Warrior in Transition Unit.   This is a unit that is set up to help wounded and  sick soldiers recover. 

A team from this unit is flying to Boston on Tuesday morning to evaluate Bob and determine the best course of care.  They will coordinate his care at this point. Not sure whether they are going to recommend a hospice house or try to get him into a nursing facility so that he can get his strength up to perhaps resume chemo.

The kids and I returned home last night on a plane.  Dan is still in Massachusetts with his brother.  He can't bear the thought of leaving him alone. 

On Saturday night, I watched my children say goodbye to their beloved uncle.  They knew it might be the last time they ever saw him.  It was heart-wrenching to say the least.

We continue to pray for a miracle, for guidance and wisdom for the doctors, for peace for Bob, and for comfort for our whole family.  We are all struggling. 

There were no New Year's Eve toasts this year.  Just prayers. 

Sarah, Bob and Peter at Bunker Hill

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Check and done!

I can finally breath!

As of bright and early this morning, all of the Christmas gifts and stocking stuffers have been purchased.  That is always such a relief.  Now, I just hope Amazon Prime delivers and gets everything to Massachusetts post haste.

I will still have to wrap everything when we arrive, but I can't do anything about that now so - check and done!

And I had a little help from an elf named Sarah and we finished the Christmas cards last night.  They will hit the mail box this morning so - check and done!

I still have to pack for our trip but that will happen tonight and tomorrow which leaves me a little free time - something I have been sorely lacking in the last few weeks. 

So at 9:00 I will be sitting at Chick-Fil-A drinking coffee with some friends from my old MOPS group. (And MOPS is Mothers of Preschoolers if that tells you how long I've been friends with these ladies!)  After that I will be eating lunch with my BFF and catching up with her. 

It always feels good to get to this point where you can feel some relief and actually start to enjoy the season. 

And amidst all of our Christmas preparations, Sparkle the elf has been busy.  I've tried to be a little more creative with Sparkle this year because Sarah still believes he's magical and I've got a feeling that next year this time, she won't.

Look how we found him this morning:

I guess he's hoping for a white Christmas. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Gingerbread cookies with Sarah and Dan.

On Sunday afternoon, Dan and Sarah made gingerbread cookies.  It's an annual tradition for the two of them because Dan loves gingerbread cookies and I can't roll any kind of cookie with any success so he has to take matters into his own hands.  He does a great job at it and Sarah loves to help him so it's become their thing.

Peter usually pops in to help cut out a few and I'm always around to take pictures but it's become a daddy/daughter tradition around here.  Peter was at a friend's house working on a science project yesterday but my brother dropped by to fill in. 

Here are a few pictures from the afternoon:







And now all that's left to do is eat them all. Shouldn't be a problem because they are delicious.  And what makes them even better is the frosting. Dan loves cupcake frosting so they always whip up a batch to eat with the gingerbread men. YUM.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

#Babble

Yikes!  Has is already been more than a week since my last post?  You can tell it's been crazy over here.

PTO planning meetings, basketball practice and games, scouts, church, a sleepover, no school on Monday, ordering Christmas cards, homework,more homework, and just life have taken up my week.

Oh, and in the middle of all that crazy - my printer stopped working so I downloaded a new driver.  While I was doing that, my computer informed me that I had a bunch of Windows updates that were available if I wanted to install them.

So I did.  And everything was fine until Peter got on the computer to start playing his beloved Minecraft.  He then informed me that the screen was flicking on and off.

I looked at everything I had updated and discovered that I had updated the graphics card.  And apparently (at least that's all I could think of and Google helped me confirm), the update effected the game.  He played on it for 5 days before informing me that all the screen flickering was really bothering him. 

Yesterday, I "refreshed" Windows.  What this means is that Windows was put back to factory settings.  All my files were saved but any programs I had loaded on my computer that didn't come with it were deleted.

After the refresh, I had to add the following programs back to the computer: McAffee, Firefox, Adobe Flash, Adobe Reader, Java, Roblox, Windows Mail, Excel, and Word. 

And it only took me about two hours. And I say "only" just a weeeeee bit sarcastically because I have about a million other things I could be/should be doing with my time.

But Minecraft is fine now.  Except Peter informed me that the refresh wiped away all of the worlds he has worked so hard to build and had he known that he would have rather dealt with the flashing screen. 

Grrrrrr.....

If you need me today, I'll be parked in front of this computer (and it better not have any issues because I've pretty much maxed out my IT skills) ordering Christmas gifts for the family.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

#Babble

I've got a few things taking up space in my brain this morning so I thought I'd dump them out here.  Lucky you. But that's what #Babble is all about!

I saw quite a few Facebook status updates and tweets yesterday trumpeting the fact that people are done - DONE! - with their Christmas shopping.

What?

I haven't even started yet. 

And Christmas cards?  Apparently quite a few people already have theirs in the mail.  Showoffs.

I haven't even taken one picture of the kids posing in front of the tree in pretty clothes yet, which means of course, that I haven't ordered any cards yet. 

Oh, and remember when my computer crashed a couple of months ago?  Well, my address list was conveniently stored in an Excel spreadsheet so I could easily print out labels. That's gone.

And did I mention that we leave for Massachusetts on December 19th?  That's 17 days from now.  If anybody is going to get any presents or Christmas cards from the Cotell family, they will all have to be ordered and shipped prior to the 19th.  Somebody better get busy!

And speaking of getting busy - someone has been busy eating.

Right before we left for our trip to Washington, D.C., I had lost 12  of the 23 pounds that I wanted to lose.

I knew I was going to go off the diet on our trip because there was birthday cake, milkshake from Ted's and lots of opportunities to eat out.  And I knew I wasn't going to miss any of that.

When we got back from our long weekend, I stepped on the scales and had gained about 4 pounds back.  This was expected, because when I say I went off the diet, I went waaaaaaaaay off!  But I will say, I enjoyed every morsel! 

I had two weeks between the trip and Thanksgiving and I lost 2 of those 4 pounds but I wasn't too concerned because I knew that on Thanksgiving, I was going to eat whatever I wanted.  And I did.  And it was good!  And I don't regret that decision one bit.

And now Christmas is looming.  I am going to follow the Atkins plan until we leave on the 19th and be off the diet  until  January 5th.  I am hoping to eat in moderation (ha!) during our vacation and not gain too much back and then start in earnest again in January.  We'll see how the eating in moderation goes. 

I have a PTO meeting in the morning where we will be making our initial plans for Catholic Schools Week in January and I don't want to show up empty-handed and idea-less so I better quit all this babbling and get to work.  And to shopping.  And to Christmas carding.






 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Forget the bass - this is all about the tree, bout the tree....

Friday morning we set out for the mountains of North Carolina in search of the perfect tree.

The ride to Laurel Springs was beautiful and there was still some snow on the mountains left from a snow earlier in the week.

Amid arguing over which tree was best (the kids  have equally strong yet totally opposing opinions), throwing snow balls (sometimes it's best to let off a little steam), and trying to channel our inner mountain goat so as not to trip on the side of the mountain (okay, hill, but it was still hard walking at an angle), I think we found a great tree! 

Road trip selfie with  a photobomb!

So pretty!

This is the one we choose!

And of course, we had to have the guy that chopped the tree down take our picture in front of it!

We headed to North Wilkesboro for lunch at Brushy Mountain BBQ and Creamery.  The kids were very excited about the creamery part of the name.  Unfortunately, after we found it, we realized it was closed.  Boo!

So we headed to the cute little downtown a couple of minutes away and found several  restaurants.  I was leaning towards the wing and pizza joint but the kids saw an Italian restaurant and decided that was more to their liking.  Of course, what did they get??  Um, pizza. 

When we got home, Dan put the lights on the tree and we called it a day.  On Saturday morning we decorated the tree.  And when I say "we", I mean the kids.  I did a little directing but other than that the kids did 90% of the work themselves.  Dan popped in a couple of times to hang a few of his special ornaments but he was busy getting the lights and the wreaths up on the outside of the house.

Working together like good little elves!
 We took lots of posed cheesy shots while decorating the tree!



Dan is hanging a camel ornament that he painted when he was a kid.  Later, when he was stationed in Saudi Arabia during Desert Storm at Christmastime, his mom sent him this ornament as a reminder of home.  The kids always make sure Daddy gets to hang this one!


Hanging his Red Sox ornament!


Posing with her princess ornament.

So determined!

More determination!
Our tree is full of ornaments that are handmade or chosen with a specific event or person in mind and as we decorate, we are also reminiscing.  Our tree definitely wouldn't win any decorating awards but it's full of love and really, isn't that what Christmas is ultimately all about?