Wednesday, January 29, 2014

NYR 1-29-14

I am thankful for this adorable little boy, my precious nephew, who turned 5 today.  He is full of mischief, he has a light in his eyes that shows he's one step ahead of you all the time, and he gives the best hugs ever.  And unless some weird freak-of-nature thing happens, he's my last niece or nephew so I wish he'd stay little and full of hugs for me forever.  Happy Birthday big boy.  We love you and are so thankful for you.

NYR 1-28-14

I am so thankful to live inside an apartment building, which after this winter now means to me no snow shoveling, no de-icing sidewalks and steps, no scraping car windows, no busted pipes, no car doors frozen shut, no warming cars ahead of driving in them, etc.

Monday, January 27, 2014

NYR 1-27-14

I'm sooooo excited for my friends in the South who are so excited to be getting snow in the next couple days.  God love you.

I am very thankful that it's coming to you (and not me) and that you get to experience this blissful state of white silence and snowmen and hot chocolate and frozen fingertips (and not me).  HAVE FUN!!

NYR 1-26-14

For a nice weekend with Jimmy back in town and Mac in a great mood all weekend long, I'm truly thankful!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

NYR 1-25-14

Mac's attending a paintball birthday party today. It's his first time doing paintball (do you "do" paintball?  Or "play" paintball.  Or "go" paintballing?) However you call it, he's doing it and I hope he doesn't get hurt.

The best part of the party is that Jimmy and I have allllll day by ourselves without paying for babysitting!  We dropped him off at our friends' apartment at 10:30 before they started the pick-up of the other children.  The paintball place is an hour or so away so by the time they get there, play, drive back, and have pizza and cake, they're going to drop him off at our apartment no earlier than 6:45. 

Thus far, Jimmy and I have clothes and Container Store shopped and eaten sushi, activities that normally incite incessant whining when Mac's with us.  Jimmy's catching up on Klondike since he missed the final episode because of his work trip, and I'm going to walk down to Macy's to return some jeans. It's glorious.

For free babysitting in the form of birthday parties, I am truly thankful today.

Friday, January 24, 2014

NYR 1-24-14

Today I left the apartment at 11:30 to catch the Metro into DC to buy Stomp tickets at the National Theatre (because I'm too cheap to pay a convenience fee that equals nearly 20% of the ticket price just to buy over the internet). Because I only had a 1-minute wait for the Metro, I got to the right stop by 11:50 and took a few minutes to wander Macy's since the box office didn't open until noon.  I walked the short distance to the box office, got the tickets, headed back to the Metro, got sidetracked at the Banana Republic sale on the way (where I shamelessly spent the money I'd saved on those pesky convenience fees), waited 7 minutes for the Metro and was back inside my apartment by 12:55.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE living in a city with easy, fairly reliable and affordable public transportation.  No fighting for a parking spot, no getting lost, no worrying if the car will start in the cold...  I'm very thankful  for the Metro system today (and for living right on top of a Metro station). 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

NYR 1-23-14

Today I actually left the house on several occasions. Mac had a 2-hour delay so I took him to school at 10:30, ran to the grocery store, came home to unload groceries, hopped on the Metro to meet a friend for lunch, walked home from lunch in the snow flurries, and went back to school to pick up Mac. We've just gotten home and it's a balmy 24 degrees out there right now.  But it's sunny so it feels like at least 24.7 degrees.  

Today's wardrobe for leaving the apartment (as opposed to yesterday's stay-inside-all-day wardrobe of pajamas):

Cold-weather running tights (bought 4 years ago when I had a poorly-conceived NYR to run again)
Jeans (as they're the only "going out of the house" pants I have which actually fit over the running tights)
Skiing socks 
Wool socks
Fake Ugg boots

Cold-weather running turtleneck (bought under same pretense as running tights above.  Thankfully neither has dry-rotted from lack of use) 
Long-sleeved t-shirt
Wool sweater
Wool scarf
Really tight hat that may be Jimmy's but it covers my whole large head and is super-warm and it doesn't give my hair static electricity when I take it off.
New Columbia jacket that on the inside looks like it'll microwave your torso
Lined winter jacket that I've had for 10 years that I broke the zipper on this morning (but I was scared the microwave jacket wouldn't be sufficent so I wore both jackets and velcroed the winter jacket on top.  The Columbia jacket is purple and the old winter jacket is red - I wanted that visual to be stuck in your head.

Today I am thankful that even though I looked like I shop at the place where the Goodwill rejects are sent, I was warm. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

NYR 1-22-14

Today Jimmy left for the Dominican Republic. 

Where it's hot and sunny.

Exhibit A:

He left at 6:15 this morning when I was snuggled down into my aforementioned warm bed because Mac had yet another snow day (there go two more early release Wednesdays) and there was no need to get up early.

Besides, all I had to look forward to was windchill temps in the negatives.  As in below zero. As in unfit for human life,

Exhibit B:
(Did you notice there's more snow coming?  The local weatherman said we may have flurries tomorrow and Friday, followed by that forecasted snow on Saturday, followed by more snow every couple days into next week.  Hurray for me.)

Sometimes life is so unfair.  

For 1/3 of my family remembering the joy of sweating this week, I am truly thankful. 

NYR 1–21-14

Snow, blah, blah, blah, snow.  More snow. Another day.  More snow.  
(Our apartment building is the tall building in the background.) 

(Us and our snow bunny selves playing in the snow.)

I hate the snow and the cold weather, but I never ever take it for granted that I have a warm apartment, a comfortable bed and a fridge full of food to enjoy on these miserably cold days while so many do not.  For these blessings, I am truly thankful. 

NYR 1-20-14

Snowshoe Mountain Resort is in a communication vacuum because of its proximity to this enormous radio astronomy observatory. This satellite thing looks like it could beam you right up, Scotty.  
(Two drive-by shots from different angles of this monstrosity that's out in the middle of nowhere.)

This thing is run by the National Science Foundation and I guess because cell phones interfere with intergalactic radio transmissions from outer space (this satellite thing is that big), the entire region is in a dead zone.

This is normally not a bad thing unless you're a) addicted to Facebook or b) a huge winter storm is barreling down on the region and you have no idea about it.  

Hello, my name is Susan and I'm addicted to Facebook.

Hello, my name is Susan and I'm addicted to storm warning messages being delivered to my phone as  the internet gods deem necessary. 

We woke up this morning and flipped on the news (there is cable) to see that a monster storm was approaching.  We didn't get overly freaked out and instead went out to ski.  We came in for lunch and I decided I was done for the day, so I showered and took my iPhone to the lobby of our lodge where they had wifi access.  That's when I realized the magnitude of the storm and when it finally hit me that the storm was going to arrive in Snowshoe around midnight and in Arlington around 7am the next morning.

And that's when I freaked out.  We had one more night in Snowshoe and would have to drive out of the storm and through it to get home.   

Our drive to Snowshoe had been fairly harrowing because more than half of the drive is on back roads in West Virginia.  Back roads = untreated roads when the snow and ice comes.  When we drove to WV, the temps ranged from 14 degrees to 22, and the roads were scary.  (Don't forget we drive a little Toyota that doesn't have big tires or chains.)

Jimmy and I discussed the storm and then he and Mac went out to ski for the afternoon. When they got back, they'd discussed it and decided we should drive back that night.  Which I completely agreed with.

We left Snowshoe about 4:50pm, saw about 120 deer grazing along the roadsides, nearly hit two deer and one overturned 5-gallon bucket (thank goodness for my mad driving skills!), stopped for dinner at the Dairy Queen and Arby's, and arrived home at 9:15.

I was never more thankful to be safe and sound in my apartment than when we got inside!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

NYR 1-19-14

No broken bones and for that, I am truly thankful. I may not be able to move tomorrow, but right now, all systems are a go!!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

NYR 1-18-14

I don't want you to feel too sorry for Jimmy, but he has to go to the Dominican Republic next week for work. 

I know.  

I, too, have the song from "Annie" playing in my head right now.  It's a hard-knock life for sure for our Jimmy.

We toyed with the idea of the three of us going to the DR for this long weekend ahead of Jimmy's work trip (in addition to the holiday on Monday, Mac has a teacher workday on Tuesday), but tickets were pretty expensive and there were no great connections so we were going to lose two full days in travel to have 2 full days on the ground.  

Then we thought we'd just go as far as Miami, and Mac and I would return to DC on Tuesday and Jimmy would head on to the DR from there.  But we sat on that thought while airfares crept up and it didn't seem like such a great deal anymore.

Then we had the brilliant idea to go snow skiing with the argument that we generally live overseas in places with fairly easy access to warm sunny climes but with a dearth of snow.  We put it to a family vote, and Snowshoe, WV beat out Miami, FL.

This was a significantly better idea to me a few weeks ago when the trip was still weeks away.  But as we're packing the car this morning to head out and it's (literally) freezing cold in Snowshoe, I'm less sure.

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

For thermal underwear to keep me physically warm and for daydreams of beautiful, sunny Miami to keep me emotionally warm, I am thankful.

NYR 1-17-14

Tonight while I was watching a DVR-ed episode of Parenthood and Jimmy was surfing the Internet, Mac was playing a game on his iPad at the kitchen counter (after just getting it back after Monday's major meltdown). He disappeared into his bedroom and stayed in there for awhile. (Remember our apartment is tiny, so I could see all this activity from the couch.  The kitchen counter is one foot behind the couch and Mac's bedroom door is less than 10 feet in front of the couch.

He emerged a good bit later to announce that he cleaned his bedroom.

Um, what?

Mac Story has never - and I mean NEVER - cleaned his bedroom on his volition before.  Never.

He then told us he was playing a video game online with 6 of his school friends and one of them, Anna, had to leave the game to go clean her room.  It must have come up in their group chatting online that she is the only one who shares a room with a sibling and it was clean-up-the-bedroom time.  In a show of solidarity with her, Mac decided to clean his room too.

There are several Anna's in 5th grade, and I don't know which Anna this was, but I am very thankful for her today and hope that Mac plays video games with her every Friday night during clean-up-the-bedroom time.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

NYR 1-16-14

The weather's been nice enough three afternoons this week for me to walk to school to pick up Mac, and I am very thankful for that. 

(I never thought mid-40s would be "nice enough" but here we are...) 

NYR 1-15-14

Thankful for a child who knows how to apologize when he needs to.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

NYR 1-14-14

I just read that although we're not halfway through the astronomical winter, which started December 21, we are halfway through the meteorological winter which started December 1. I am very thankful for that news!

NYR 1-13-14

For bedtime and an end to fighting with an 11 year-old today, I am truly thankful. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

NYR 1-12-13

For Christmas Jimmy and I gave each other FitBits. These little wrist bracelets are intended to track your physical activity (how many steps you walk a day, how many stairs you climb, etc) as well as to track your sleep.  I bought Jimmy one because he loves to track the former and he bought me one because I complain about how poorly I sleep and he thought (correctly) that I'd want to track the latter.

We've been wearing our FitBits for about 2 weeks now.  The FitBit set an initial arbitrary goal of 10,000 steps a day, which I never reach because you'd probably have to exercise to walk that many steps.  Jimmy's training for a half-marathon so naturally he crosses the threshold all the time and usually before I've gotten out of bed.  His FitBit buzzes and lights up and gives him all sorts of applause for reaching the goal, which I guess is a motivating factor if you're into that sort of thing.

Well today, I burned up my FitBit with activity.  We walked all over DC to see the monuments with Gisele and her family.  When I finally synced last night, guess how many steps I'd walked?

21,660 steps.

Yep, you read that right.


According to my FitBit, that's 9.49 miles.

For taking care of my fitness goals for at least the next two weeks, I am truly thankful.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

NYR 1-11-14

So, so, so most thankful for a visit from my BBFF and her family.  It's only 2 days but I'll take what I can get!

Friday, January 10, 2014

NYR 1-10-14

1.  We are currently under a freezing rain advisory until 11am. Naturally there is also much concern about ice on the roads.  I am so thankful that I was able to drive Mac to school just now without incident, thanks to the current 34 degree temps in Arlington.  

2.  Jimmy's throwing a little happy hour for his office after an off-site today.  I am so thankful for my friends at Costco for offering good choices for such a party as opposed to overseas where everything must be made from scratch. It might taste better from scratch but there's a whole lot to be said for my only task today being to slice the veggies to put on a tray.  I'm very thankful for convenience today!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

NYR 1-9-14

I never thought I'd live to see the day when I would say that 38 F felt balmy, but after the recent horrid polar vortex frigid blast of windy arctic air, I had to remove my puffy jacket while running errands this afternoon. I may have even broken a little sweat.  It was 38 degrees.  

I am truly thankful today for a lesson in how everything is relative. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

NYR 1-8-14

Well we're only in the beginning of January, but the school district has already used up all the snow days it had built into the calendar. I knew this day was coming sooner or later after 2 days in December and another last Friday, but I hadn't thought we'd face make-up days so soon.  

I was afraid that the make-up days would be tacked on to the end of the school year, which would push the start of summer break into late June, which just sounds depressing.

But the good news came yesterday that elementary schools with early-release Wednesdays (like Mac's) will just have full days on several Wednesdays in order to make up the lost hours.  So, for instance, to make up for last Friday, Mac will go one full Wednesday in February and two full Wednesdays in April for an extra 2 hours each of those days. 

I really loathe early-release Wednesdays so I am thrilled with and most thankful for this make-up system.  In fact, I may be praying for more snow days in order to get rid of those ridiculous early-release Wednesdays. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

NYR 1-7-14

A year ago I was paddleboarding on a river on the North Shore of the Hawaiian island of Kauai.

Today I am bundled up inside my apartment looking out the window at cold, cold, cold.  It's currently 17 degrees with a wind chill of 5.

For warm memories, I am truly thankful.

NYR 1-6-14

In October, Jimmy bought his dream tv.  It's humongous and he's happily watched a million football games on it since then.  We decided we'd give each other a sound bar for Christmas to enhance the sound quality in our viewing experience (as well as to hook up to our music via Bluetooth from the iPad).  We bought the sound bar on Sunday and were assured it was "plug and play".

Except if you're a technological moron.

We tried to get it hooked up together on Sunday night.  Finally I had to go watch the season premiere of Downton Abbey while Jimmy continued working on it, all to no avail.  Well except the Downton Abbey part.  That was watched very successfully by me.

This morning I came to the conclusion via my internet research that the tv wasn't recognizing the sound bar device.  I could not figure out how to make it do that so I called the Vizio hotline and spoke to a nice man who told me exactly what buttons to push and VOILA!  The sound bar worked.  Since the initial connection, I have even figured out how to stream music from the internet off the smart tv through the sound bar.  I might be the most brilliant person in the world.

For my {tongue-in-cheek} rocket scientist brilliance (and a little assistance from Royce at Vizio), I am truly thankful!

Monday, January 6, 2014

NYR 1-5-14

We've been enjoying a visit from Bogota friends who arrived on Friday.  Suzanne teaches at the school Mac attended and we met and became friends with her and her husband Rory early in our time in Bogota.  

Tonight we ate dinner out with them and dear friends from Guadalajara days 15+ years ago who now live in Panama.

The Panama friends' children attend a school whose current principal and primary school director held the same positions for the first year Mac attended his school in Bogota, all of which we have known.   It was interesting to add the third level of interconnectedness since Suzanne worked for both of these folks in Bogota.

I am thankful today for another reminder of how small our world really is.  

Saturday, January 4, 2014

NYR 1-4-14

Today we went with our visiting-from-Bogota friends Suzanne and Rory to Liberty Mountain in Pennsylvania to snow tube.  The website said anybody from 5 to 92 could safely snow tube, but it didn't mention the steep drop at the start of the track nor did it mention the speed at which one flies down this track. It looked like a roller coaster ride without the safety features. Have I ever mentioned to you that I'm scared to death of roller coasters?

Making that first run was so super scary to me. I screamed like a little girl the whole way down, and my stomach flipped and flopped a couple times.  But I had so much fun and did it over and over and over again until our two-hour window expired.

Today I'm thankful for conquering fears.

Friday, January 3, 2014

NYR 1-3-14

1.  We pay what I think is an exorbitant monthly fee to park our car in the garage of the building where we pay what I think is an exorbitant monthly rent to live here.  

However, on mornings like today, when Mac and I decided to run errands on his snow day, and the temperature at 11:45am was 22 with a windchill temperature of 1 degree, I decided what we pay is just about perfect. 

I got in a car today that was relatively warm and best of all?  I didn't have to thaw out my car, wipe off snow, or scrape ice, like these poor car owners had to do at some point:

Today I am especially thankful for covered garage parking, no matter the cost. 

2. I have never owned snow boots in my life.  Even when we lived in Baltimore, where it most assuredly snowed and where I most assuredly shoveled snow, I didn't own snow boots.  I have no idea why that is.  Mac was little then and I guess we didn't go out much when it snowed.  The one time we took Mac sledding, he wore yellow rain boots.  Classy. I know people thought we were negligent to not have a toddler in warm snow boots, but I'm sure we put two pairs of socks on his little feet to keep him warm.  We are, after all, the people who used to Scotchguard our jeans before going on the annual church youth group ski trip.  We are cold weather morons. Scotchguarding jeans works nearly as well as wearing two pairs of socks inside rain boots.  Morons.

Fast forward 8 years and we're in a snow-producing area again. I went out and bought myself some cheap snow boots as soon as the snow started falling.  They are not very pretty but they're decently warm and that's good enough for me.

Mac has been wearing his hiking boots in the snow up until now.  Last night after playing in the snow, he pointed out what looked like a seam issue to me.  This morning, upon closer inspection, I realized there was actually a hole in the boot.  
He was desperate to play in the snow right then, so I did what any cold weather moron would do:  I wrapped his socked foot in kitchen plastic wrap and we slid his protected foot inside the holey boot.  Morons.

We bought him very fancy snow boots this afternoon and he's worn them outside now two times to play in the snow and he's declared them perfect.  And they're so big that I can wear them when he outgrows them. 

For warm feet in very cold and snowy weather, I am so thankful.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

NYR 1-2-14

This afternoon it started snowing around 4:30.  I have seen more snow in the last month than I've seen in the last decade.  And I'm really pretty done with it all.

Except that my boy loves it.

I mean LOVES it.

It's like he doesn't have cold receptors in his nerve endings. He can spend hours with it falling down his shirt collar and melting down his back.  

Really, he's a freak of nature.

And even though I hate the snowy, wet cold, I love anything that makes my boy this giddy.
           (Mac behind the snow fort he made tonight in the 34-degree temperature)

Today, I'm thankful for yet another snowfall that brought my boy so much happiness. (But really Arlington County, he needs to go to school tomorrow.)

NYR 1-1-14

We hosted our traditional New Year's dinner yesterday for friends from all different points of our lives.  One of Jimmy's Carolina friends from 20+ years ago, a girlfriend from Brasilia days in 2005, and new friends we've made here in Arlington all crammed into our little apartment for an afternoon of great conversation, a lot of laughter and some good food.  

I am so grateful for each and every one of my friends, whether we've been friends for 20 years or 2 months. In this crazy life we lead, friends become family and I've got some stellar friends-as-family.

Attitude of Gratitude

My New Year's resolution is a repeat of one I did a few years ago. 

No, not the running a marathon one.  

The "attitude of gratitude" one.  

Every day I intend to blog about something that happened that day for which I'm grateful.  We also intend to share this resolution as a family where we'll share our gratitude over dinner.  (Jimmy doesn't exactly know this plan yet but Mac and I agreed on it today.)

I think willfully acknowledging gratitude is a surefire way to see more positive in the world because you're constantly looking for it.  So here's to my attitude of gratitude in 2014. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.  - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Here's to a great year of me being me and you being you!