Archive for December 2011

Out With A Bang

December 31, 2011

2011… you gave us:

  • lots of birthdays
  • a 2nd anniversary
  • pets and poop
  • reptile parties and Sammy, the snake we’re “babysitting” indefinitely
  • new jobs mixed with old jobs
  • plays and concerts
  • lots of gotta go’s
  • sunburns
  • volleyball with J.F.+1
  • girls trips and late nights
  • foundation and organization meetings and work
  • physical ailments and lots of dr. appointments
  • camping
  • swimming
  • trips to St. George
  • 2 new cars

and so much more.

I can’t say that 2011 was perfect, but overall, it was a pretty good year… full of family, friends, and love. I’m looking forward to ringing in 2012 tonight with my awesome family!

Happy New Year!

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It’s Gotta Go Wednesday

December 28, 2011

Being sick… it’s gotta go.

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

December 25, 2011

It was an “off” Christmas year with the kids, meaning that they were with the “others” last night and this morning. We will get the lot of them at 2 p.m. today.

While Christmas Eve sans children feels a little odd, there are some benefits to having it be just Greg and I. We went to dinner and a movie last night, and have had a nice, calm morning. It’s a different feeling than when they are with us, and in all honesty, we missed them last night. HOWEVER, it’s nice not to have a rushed morning and once they get here, they will be able to open gifts and then actually play with them all afternoon, night, and tomorrow.

That’s what’s happening in our world. I hope that you all have had a wonderful Christmas morning and are enjoying your day, whether you’re by yourself or with family or friends.

Merry Christmas (or Happy Holidays, if we’re going to get all politically correct)!

Givin’ Feels Good

December 22, 2011

When we decided to join Greg’s work team in helping a family out with their Christmas this year, we wanted to involve the kids as much as possible with the entire process. We received the wish list for the girl we were buying for, took the kids to multiple stores to purchase what she wanted together as a family. Not only did we want to help make a child and family’s Christmas better, but wanted to teach our children about what I feel is the “true” meaning of Christmas… love and charity. They were really excited to buy for this girl that they didn’t know and took it very seriously.

Tonight as I loaded the car with the kids so that we could deliver the gifts, I wondered what type of reaction would we get. Would they be happy to see us? Would they be embarrassed? Would they seem grateful, or would an act of charity make them feel uncomfortable? I know from personal experience that asking for help, and then accepting that help, can be difficult.

When we drove into the KOA campground, I envisioned what life might be like living in a trailer. Let’s just say that it’s never been a dream of mine.

Everyone was a little nervous as we unloaded the car and loaded everyone’s arms with the presents. We had talked to the kids beforehand about not saying anything about the family’s living conditions, and just told them to wish them a Merry Christmas.

When we knocked, they opened the door and welcomed us into their home. While the son and daughter made themselves scarce when we came in, we were able to visit for a few minutes with the mom, her dad, and her brother/boyfriend/husband? We checked out the cool artwork and wood/walking stick carving that the unknown status man had made, and he explained that creating these intricate and very cool sticks was his livelihood.

The mother was so appreciative, and let all of us know that without us, her children would not have had a Christmas this year. She handed us a thank you card, and apologized for not having an envelope for it. They walked us outside, shook Greg’s hand, and then the mom grabbed me and gave me a hug. At that moment, I felt nothing but love for this woman and her family. As a mother myself, I can only imagine how difficult it would be to not be able to provide for my kids the way that I want.

As we drove away, we talked to the kids about the experience. I think that it was really good for them to see how little some people have and to feel the “warm fuzzies” that accompany giving. I can only hope that when our kids have to clean up what feels like an endless supply of toys that seem to continually clutter their rooms, they will know that they are truly blessed.

I have no idea about how that family ended up where they are. Maybe that had a home, and lost it because of this crap economy. Maybe they have always had to struggle. But I hope that we were able to alleviate at least a little of their burdens, and that these kids will have the type of holiday that every kid deserves.

This family touched my life, and as service almost always does, I feel so incredibly lucky to have been able to do it. I’m happy that my kids were able to experience what is likely their first real act of charity, and that they will remember to help those less fortunate than we are.

 

It’s Gotta Go Wednesday

December 21, 2011

When I first started writing this weekly post, it was really meant to be fun and funny… a way to make fun of myself, and at time, others.

Today the tone is a little difference.

As I sat on my bedroom floor this weekend, wrapping presents and getting everything organized for the “big day”, I felt almost sick with the sheer amount of gifts (what I often refer to as “crap”) we have purchased. And this year we cut back a little! While buried in a pile of presents, a commercial came on the t.v. You know the UNICEF one where there is a boy in Africa whose parents died and now he is raising his younger siblings. The one in which the commentator states that he often goes hungry so that his brothers and sisters can eat? At that moment, I felt so completely glutenous and relatively opulent. Here I am with packages galore, and there are literally people in the world who will die from lack of nutrition today.

Over Thanksgiving Greg and I decided that we would join his work team in their “adoption” of a family for Christmas. We would be responsible for providing the daughter of the family with her gifts that year. The family is made of up a single mother and her children, living in a trailer at a KOA park. When we received this girls Christmas list, it looked so much different than my children’s. There were no requests for x-box games, iTouches, or laptops. She needed clothing, a book set, and wanted some art supplies.

There seems to be a cycle that continues to happen in my life. I lose, I get, and then gain a little perspective. That commercial. The little girl who we are honored to provide Christmas for this year. It all reminds me of how incredibly lucky I am to live in this country. To have the family I do. To have had the opportunity to get an education. And just to live the way that I do.

During this time of year in which most of us (at least the ones reading this post) have so much, and our biggest concern is how are we going to have time for all of our gift wrapping, parties, and feasts, I think it’s important to step back, take stock, and be grateful. Forgetting those around you who are truly in need… it’s gotta go.

Lost In The Mail?

December 18, 2011

I’ve really enjoyed the cute Christmas cards we’ve received from family and friends this year.¬† Did you enjoy our cards to you? No? You didn’t receive yours in the mail?

That’s probably because we didn’t send them out this year. Or last. Or come to think of it, the year before that. I think I’ve only sent out Christmas cards once. Greg and I talked about having some family pictures done for a card this year. While our intentions were good, December rolled around before we knew it, and it just didn’t happen. Maybe next year.

Even though we didn’t send our love through the mail, we appreciate and feel so lucky to be surrounded by such amazing people. Here’s wishing you all a very Merry Christmas, or whatever holiday you happen to celebrate this time of year.

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It’s Gotta Go Wednesday

December 14, 2011

There are aspects about my job (the newer one) that I absolutely love. I’ve never really considered myself¬† a customer rep/sales type of person, but that’s exactly what managing a condo, making a reservation, and seeing it through for people is about. You’d think that renting a condo is pretty straight forward… You figure out the unit you want, the dates, pay for it, read the agreement, and we’re good to go.

I was not prepared for all of the extra “care” people need, want, and expect. Every day is filled with trying to make guests happy. Sometimes they are easy going and make reasonable requests. Extra towels, a portable crib for a baby, etc. MOST of the people I come in contact are understanding and very appreciative.

And then there are the others.

Some people want an early check-in and a late check-out, which we will do for them if we can. But if someone is checking in or out of that same condo that day, we can’t do it. Sometimes people understand. Others are indignant and act as if their needs supersede everything and everyone else. Then there was the guy who wanted to come in at midnight, stay in “his” condo (which someone else has booked for that night), and not pay for an extra night because it’s not a full day. Some people just don’t get it.

I’d love to be a fly on the wall and see how these people live. There are those who ask if there is someone who will come and wash their dishes. Um, no. This is not a hotel. This is a privately owned condo. And who the hell can’t wash their own dishes after a meal?! Bring your maid and get a separate condo for her/him if you can’t hack cleaning up after yourself for a few days. Oh yes, and can I deliver groceries for them? No? Why not? I’m surprised no one has asked if there is someone available for butt wiping.

As I said, I really like most aspects of my job. But it’s crazy to see how some people have a sense of entitlement that rivals that of a $20 million per movie actor.

Luckily (an sometimes not so luckily), I haven’t been in a situation where I wasn’t able to at least someone accommodate a guests needs. I will go above and beyond to make people happy, and as of now, no complaints.

Renting a condo at a ski resort and expecting that you’re going to get the service of the Ritz… it’s gotta go!