Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Goodbye 2013!

I can't believe that 2013 will be gone in a matter of minutes.  Sixty-four of them, to be precise.  I know that people say that the older you get the faster time goes by, but enough already!  

So, probably last year I made an unofficial resolution to be a better blogger.  Unofficial, because I didn't write them down in my journal like I usually do.  Normally I make 10 resolutions (which, if I am bound by the statistics I read in the Parade yesterday means I keep approximately one a year.)  This post is my last ditch effort to keep that resolution.  If you look back at my blog, you'll see posts each January that "catch up" the last year's activities.  I figure that if I get them in the next 64, oops, down to 60 minutes, it counts as being current for the year, right?  So, let's catch up. . . 

In November the girls went camping with their Girl Scout troop at a nearby state park.  I subbed when I could, managing to hit Journalism, English, Algebra, Spanish, and (yea!) Media Specialist.  I also managed to get some coveted "Professional Development" hours - (27 down, 152 still to go!)  As I still don't have a regular job, I decided that the most economical way to get these hours would be to take some education courses at the local college in our town, so I am once again heading back to college.  I will start a "Technology for Teachers" class in January that is two credit hours - or 30 PD hours.  Hopefully this will help me compensate for my lack of teaching experience on my resume. 

November also brought our first bout of freezing rain, but it fell on a weekend.  Gracie was so disappointed that school did not get cancelled.  Not as disappointed as Jerry, I think, who was counting on a bad-weather day so much that he stayed up until 3:00 AM.  When we woke up and there was no nasty ice on the road, guess who had to get up and go to work anyway!  I was glad I had made the girls go to bed as usual!  We made a whirlwind trip to the Metroplex for Thanksgiving, but it was very rushed.  The girls got to take part my small hometown's parade of lights and ride on a float for Grandma's church. 

It was cold, but they had a great time.  We also used this opportunity to take family  pictures for our Christmas card.  It's amazing how many we have to take just to get one that everyone is happy with, even though the girls aren't little anymore.  Here's our final pic: 

After the pictures were taken, we had a little fun helping rake the leaves at Nana and Granddad's: 

The three littlest cousins were ready helpers, but grown-up Maggie stayed inside, far away from itchy leaves.  

They seemed to be having so much fun, I couldn't resist getting in on the action:

Yeah, those leaves are not as soft as they looked when the kids were jumping in them.  Luckily, my knight in shining armor was there to help me de-leaf.  

Isn't he so handsome!  

Then it was December!  (Good thing too, I'm down to 32 minutes, and I've gotta have time to spell-check!)  

The first week of December we got about five inches of snow - which I didn't take a single picture of.  I did have the urge to take a picture of our neighbor's yard guys mowing in the snow.  Oh well - no mowing, no payment, I guess!  

We had lots of festive going-ons, but the snowy weather meant that we had five days of doing nothing, followed by two weeks of frantic activity trying to get everything in before Christmas.  The girls and I did make our gingerbread houses while we were snowed in (another thing that had gotten pushed to January last year!)  We managed to get in our yearly outing to the Nutcracker:   

After the performance we had dinner at the Cheesecake Factory.  Maggie was very excited to go back there, and then when we ordered she got. . . a cheese pizza!  Really?  a 30-odd page menu, and she gets cheese pizza?   We asked her if the pizza was great, and she said, "Meh."  Why then, we quizzed her, was she so excited to come to the Cheesecake Factory?  She looked at us with an exasperated look and said, "The CHEESECAKE!"  Well, duh!  

The girls had their winter concert in December - Gracie's first concert playing her cello, and Maggie's last winter concert of middle school.  

Gracie is in the center of the photograph - she's got a smile on her face!

Maggie is in the front row, third seat.  She is first chair, second violin, and section leader.  

The kids had worked really hard, and sounded fantastic.  (I'd post a video, but I'm down to 17 minutes, and I don't think it will load that fast!)

And then boom!  Christmas was upon us!  We headed down to the Metroplex a day early, because they were predicting another ice storm, so we left the day after the concert.  I hadn't had a chance to do my holiday baking, but I had already bought the ingredients, so I took them with me and made 10 batches of cookies at my mom's house.  We spent 10 days with family in Texas, and had a great time with everyone.  Ten days is a long time to be away from home for a homebody like me though, and I was glad to be back home and in my own bed last night.  

Maggie wanted Fruits Basket Manga - She got a fruit basket of Mangos!

The Simciks!  Love Will's face!

The girls listen to a custom storybook about Princess Weekend, featuring them!

Favorite gifts from Santa Claus

Me and my family tree frame.

Foster Family, original.

Foster Family, expanded!

And thus wraps up our December, and our 2013.  And there's nine minutes to spare - guess I'll go find a noisemaker and my fella to kiss.  Happy New Year!!!  May you and yours have a blessed 2014!