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November 27, 2006

Black Friday's Black Eye

Poor Jordyn.  For Black Friday, a sacred day in this family, she got a black eye.  While all of us women were out shopping, her brother threw a tantrum, tossed a bat and it landed in Jordyn's eye of all places!  She's got quite a shiner, the poor thing (a reminder: this link takes you to my password protected web site...if you need the login and password, please email me at angela@cocajo.com).

However, other than that stroke of bad luck, the weekend was simply fabulous!  Thanksgiving was awesome with all of our company, dinner tasted great (if I do say so myself, tee hee) and we all had a great time.  We promptly started our shopping Thanksgiving evening at Meijer, since they were open and had some v e r y impressive sales going on.  Then Friday morning, *THE* FRIDAY I look forward to all year long, I was ready to leave the house at 5 am.  Yes, I was already up, showered, dressed, woke up some others, ate a bit, and ready to go at 5 am.  My sister-in-law unfortunately had a bit of a problem getting her almost-2-year-old daughter back to sleep, so we were detained a bit.  Regardless, at almost 6 am exactly, we hit our first store - and somehow landed almost the best parking spot in the very crowded parking lot.  Walking in, I saw a friend of mine who is expecting her third child.  It was great fun.  It got better from there, as we hit, in order, Toys R Us, Wal-Mart, Kohl's, Bath & Body Works and Target.

Oh, the bags, the treasures, the great deals!  Even my silly cold (which caused laryngitis - what bad timing for THAT!) couldn't dampen my mood.  And despite the news reports that are shown, once again everyone we encountered were all in great moods.  What a great time.  I love looking in the carts while in line and seeing what other people are buying.  Why?  I'm not weird or anything.  I just picture all the Christmas fun of wrapping the presents and the happy faces of the recipients when they open their gifts.  I swear, if I ever strike it rich somehow, my friends and family will love it.  There is nothing that brings me greater joy than buying presents for others.  That's something I'm trying to instill in my kids...three at 5 and one at 14 months....yeah, that is interesting, but worth it.

And the Christmas decorations.  Wow.  By far my very bestest favorite time of year.  Got that?  I love the lights.  I miss living so close to Sauganash (an affluent northern neighborhood) and being able to drive around admiring all the displays.  However, I am happy that our neighborhood is so in to the holidays and they are decorating nicely once again.  The weather has been so warm and Aaron was even out there putting up stuff that hasn't seen their way out of the box originally.  The kids think it's magical and I agree.  I have to say that so far, every year gets better for me.  I have lost loved ones that I miss more and more with each year, but aside from that, I get to relive childhood through my kids' eyes (even the black & blue ones).  I hope that I am making happy memories for them and they will come to remember these days.  I know I will.  After all, isn't that what life is all about?

 

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November 22, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I hope your holiday weekend is great, spent with loved ones and eating lots of yummy food.  I hope for the fellow Black Friday crowd, your day is filled with deals galore.  If you travel, I hope you have a safe trip there and back again.

We are expecting a house full of company, and that is just how I like it.  Aaron's mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, brother, sister-in-law and neice are coming to visit us for Thanksgiving and leaving Saturday.  It should be a great time.  My friend Jeni and her husband are coming over for dinner, so we'll have 10 adults and 5 kids.  I love it!  Me and entertaining get along well.  I'm quite excited about our menu as well; all homemade stuff down to the cranberry sauce...yummy.  Thanks, Rachael Ray, for kicking my ability to cook up a notch.

In honor of Thanksgiving, take a moment to reflect on the things for which you are thankful.  It probably goes without saying that I am most thankful for my family.  All of my family, not just the ones who share my house.  I'm also thankful for my friends.  Many of my friends are like family to me, and I treasure them just as much.

I think back on past Thanksgivings.  Last year we had a great time in Tennessee visiting my family (and likewise, my mom, my sister Ashley and I had an absolute blast shopping!).  I felt so incredibly lucky to have a perfect family of 2 boys and 2 girls...and to have a baby again!!  6 years ago, I just did the IVF transfer of three not-so-great quality embryos, and was told to take it easy until the pregnancy test on December 2.  We went to my uncle's house for dinner and an old family friend told me to 'rest and take care of those babies.'  Hmm, she must have known something, as she was right.  7 years ago was very hard, as I wanted nothing more than to have a child, and couldn't forget that I should have been 3 months pregnant at that point.

But back to today.  It's time to finish cleaning and getting ready for our company.  I'm very thankful that I have this awesome kitchen with plenty of room to cook, and will have a full house tomorrow!  I'm thankful that this is my life!

Happy Turkey Day!

 

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November 20, 2006

Home Sweet Home

On Saturday, the kids' school (well, actually it was the PTO - Parent Teacher Organization) sponsored a "Santa Holiday Craft Workshop."  It was where the kids could go and make Christmas gifts for people, rather than buy premade trinkets.  It started nice and early (8:30 am!) and we got everyone up and out the door....all 6 of us.

I was impressed with how many different items there were to choose from, and how well organized it was.  The kids had a blast making their crafts.  But what impressed me the most was how it all made me feel.  It was just so cute to me how my kids would spot a friend from school and start talking to them.  Or likewise they would be spotted by a classmate and approached.  Or even how I chatted with several moms I knew.  There was a photographer and we had a picture taken for the yearbook.  The principal was there joking around with the kids.  Santa was there too and the kids told him their wishlist.  They even got free juice, as well as an impressive Home Depot wood project complete with work apron (yes, free).  Haley was taking it all in and I told her that in a few years, this would be her school, too.

It doesn't really sound like much to you probably, but to me, it really was something.  We've lived in this neighborhood just over two years, and it's amazing how easily it's come to feel like home.  I already know so many great neighbors and so many of us have kids the same or very similar ages.  And just seeing the kids in their school with their friends and teachers, it just feels like we are a part of something so much bigger.  Connected to our community and to our neighborhood.  Like we are officially connected with the bigger force of society and the future of our world.  Or maybe it's the lingering wonder that we are *really* parents to such great kids.

That might sound somewhat cheesy, but let's face it...it's been a long journey to arrive at this point.  We are not living in the town we grew up in with family and neighbors we've known for decades.  We've started anew in this part of the 'burbs 11 years ago fresh out of college with barely a penny to our names.  We survived 5+ years of raising triplets and then another baby on our own.  But I feel like we've finally found HOME: we've found our house, our neighborhood, the friends with which our kids will make lifetime memories.  Make no mistake: we still have our existing friends (most of which have kids themselves) and our families that still have their very special place, but it's comforting to feel so at home here.  And while we are unfortunately not living near our families (with the exception of my uncle who isn't too far away), I hope we can at least make them feel at home when they come to visit.

It was a scary thing to move from our last house.  We had lived there for 7 years and it held a lot of cherished memories.  Aaron and his dad put in a lot of hard work remodeling it.  We became long-awaited parents in that house, after enduring the years of pain leading up to that miraculous moment.  Granny (Aaron's wonderful paternal grandma) and my grandma (Haley's namesake, the one I grew up with) had both been there...and had both since passed away.  And then we were taking a step up to a bigger house which is scary in itself.  I never would have thought that in such a short amount of time, this would all feel like 'home' as much as it does.  I never felt that connected in the old neighborhood, even after having the kids.  It's probably because with the exception of our next door neighbors, all the kids were much older.

And maybe the bottom line is that I've long dreamt of such things.  I had the stereotypical fantasy of wanting a husband, a house in a nice neighborhood, a whole bunch of kids, friendly neighbors, lots of friends for my kids, lots of homemade meals (the smells of cooking, yum)...you know how it goes.

I guess as the years go by, it's somewhat humbling to be living the dream.  Even on those 'tough days,' it is just as good as I imagined it.  Like the sign in my kitchen says: Life Is Good.

 

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November 15, 2006

As Good as Apple Pie

Today I am full of holiday spirit.  I went in to the office today, something I do every now and then so they can't forget about me, and we had our annual Thanksgiving luncheon.  For it, I baked a homemade apple pie.  I usually drive Aaron's van on such occasions because I don't like taking the Suburban which has all the car seats...leaving him home with all four kids and a vehicle with only one car seat...nah.  Well, I baked the pie this morning so it would be nice and fresh, and managed to get it done exactly when I needed to leave the house.  As I was driving, I realized the amusing sight I was...a woman, driving a minivan with a still-steaming, freshly baked apple pie on the seat next to me.  Yes, I've crossed over, people.

The work lunch was very nice.  It's always a treat to catch up with all my old coworkers, many of whom I would consider friends and not just people who showed up at the same place as I did everyday.  It's nice to have that comraderie, and that's why I like to go in on occasion.

To make the afternoon even better, we started discussing the upcoming shopping season.  As I've mentioned previously, I am proudly one of the lunatics hitting the stores before the sun comes up on Black Friday.  Speaking of which, another site you can check out for the actual scanned ads (yes, pretty little pictures and all) is http://bfads.net/adscans - however at the time of typing this, the site is down.  It was up and working fine when I visited it yesterday, so hopefully it will be back.  Someone mentioned that Kohl's is having a big One-Day sale today, which I did know as Kohl's keeps me properly informed on their sales.  Well, two of my friends from work suggested we take a quick trip after lunch and see if we could find anything good.  I'm always up for such fun, so I agreed and off we went.  I did find a few very good deals...ones too good to wait for next week...and we all left with our treasures, laughing at how much fun it was to sneak out and go shopping for all of 30 minutes!

While we were browsing at the store, Sheila had picked up a very cozy pair of slippers, and they caught my eye.  So comfy, so soft...oooh I was practically drooling over them!  But it's the holiday season and such splurges on myself are not allowed.  Well, wouldn't you know it, as we were heading back to the office, Sheila and Linda started acting strange and giggly.  I had no idea what was going on until they surprised me with a pair that they had bought for me!

Is that not just the nicest thing EVER?!?!?!

I got all teary eyed and didn't know what to say!  What a completely awesome, sweet thing and I had no idea whatsoever.  Linda had been looking at them back at the store and mentioning what colors they had.  I looked at the ones Sheila was holding and said I thought Sheila picked out the best ones; blue and black, so they got me the blue ones.  And then when Linda was trying on a pair of shoes, we both noted that we went from an 8 to an 8 1/2 after having our kid(s).  Now, as I'm sitting here typing this, I have on my soft, comfy new slippers.  They are probably all the more fabulous because of how they arrived through such a thoughtful gesture.  Sheila and Linda, you guys are the best!

Minivan driving with a steaming apple pie, eating lunch with friends/coworkers, spontaneous shopping and getting a new pair of slippers...sometimes it's just the simple things in life that are the best!!!!!!

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November 13, 2006

More new stuff

Well, I'm glad that I at least got the word out about the blog...but then I've been hearing some rumors (no email or comments telling me so, but through the grapevine) that I need to 1) update my pictures on the web site and 2) write something bloggable.  Ha ha, well, you want updates?  I've got updates.  First of all, check out the web site and you will find a gazillion new pictures.  Go, right now, I'll wait.....

Ok, did you get them all?  Haley galore, Halloween fun, Sports in our house, yada yada.

Now, something bloggable?  Well, that will be interesting.  For me, most days it will center around my rather large family (by today's standards, anyway) but I will discuss other topics.  Believe me, if you know me well enough, I have a lot that I can and will talk about.  Music, cooking, movies, some TV (really picky there), family (yeah, you guys watch out, tee hee), education, politics, you name it.  But you guys have to help me out by humoring me with something in the comments.  In the last 1 1/2 weeks, I have sent out a link to the Halloween Party pictures and also a link to my blog.  From speaking with people, I guess those emails did go out.  But you know, my in box was this:

............................................crickets....................................................

Then my blog comments (aside from Sonia and my sister Ashley at the time of this writing, and I thank you both greatly), were the same.

Right now, I'm just here talking to myself.  That's no fun, guys!  You gotta talk back at me!

Eventually I am sure this will grow into something bigger with people I do not know visiting and commenting (or so I hope) and that's great.  But for now, my friends and my family, don't be shy about posting a comment or sending me an email.  It's a lot of work to keep this all up and as much as it may be therapy in a way for me, I'd love to hear from you guys!  Please enjoy the pictures and I so wish I could upload the DVD Aaron made...it's priceless!

:-)

 

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November 10, 2006

I've Arrived!

Wow, it's been a month since I first tried to set up this blog.  Yahoo had some sort of technical problem and after calling again last night, viola, it is finally working!  Yipee!  I've been wanting this blog set up for quite some time now and am so excited that I now have it.  It will be so much easier and better to update everyone this way.  So, welcome, and I look forward to having this outlet.

So to bring us up to speed, we just had a fun October in these here parts.  We went to two pumpkin patches, had our 11th annual Halloween party, carved 6 pumpkins (yes, one for each of us), enjoyed the plethora of pumpkin seeds said pumpkins yielded, had a nice visit with our friend Ben, celebrated some birthdays (Dennis, Jr turned 15 and my little brother Kayn turned 6 - we had to celebrate Kayn's from afar) and ended the month with of course, trick or treating.  Just yesterday, Aaron finished our Fall Fun DVD.  It turned out fantabulous!!!!  He did one last year and we figured we'd make it a tradition.  It has a ton of pictures and video, and is about an hour long.  If you are interested in having your very own copy, email me (angela@cocajo.com) and let me know.  Great job on it, sweetie!

You can tell our kids are ours...they now love Halloween just as much as we do!  They were so sad after we had to put away all the decorations.  At least we have Christmas to look forward to.  They have also come to love the movie "The Nightmare Before Christmas."  Now we can all walk around the house and sing "What's this?" together.  I think of Teri and Bryan when I watch that movie.  They dressed up as the two main characters one year and they were phenomenal costumes!  They always do a great job on Halloween!

Only 45 days left before Christmas!  Better get that shopping started if you haven't done so already.  Me, I'm a total Black Friday girl.  I should be 99% done with my shopping by noon on the Friday after Thanksgiving.  In case you aren't in on the secret, check out this web site for the sales ahead of time: http://blackfriday.gottadeal.com/.  They just posted Toys R Us sales today...oh yeah!

Haley has turned 14 months old already, and I can't even believe it.  Wow time goes by so quickly once you have kids.  But I have to say, I've enjoyed every moment of those 14 months.  It's been heaven to be able to work part time from home and not have that challenge of dropping kids off, picking them up, rushing around, trying to get dinner done at a reasonable time, etc.  I always knew I wanted to be home with them more, and it's good to know that I was right. 

The trio are in kindergarten, but you probably already know that.  It's only half day, but wow are they learning a ton.  They are growing up so fast too.  I have to say, I'm incredibly lucky to have been blessed with such a wonderful family.  So yeah, I'll gush over them a lot in this blog, I am sure.

Well, I guess that's good for my very first blog post.  Hope you check back soon...I intend to update this quite frequently.

Later!

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