Thursday, December 18, 2008

I am putting on my Betty Crocker apron right now.

I was going to be a realy sweet older sister this morning and go help my little brother move out of the dorms for winter break but when I called him this morning he said something like "What need your help? As if."

Ok, he didn't really say that, but he did tell me that I needn't drag my kids over to the college to help him pack up. So now what would have been possibly a busy morning and afternoon has turned into hanging around the house. The kids are down for a nap and I'm thinking...time to make more cookies.

I did make over five dozen sugar cookies with my mother-in-law on Tuesday but we are having a Christmas Party on Saturday and can you ever really have too many cookies and treats? Ok, maybe you can at Flag Day, but not Christmas.

So I'm looking for some great holiday cookie recipes. If you have any ideas or recipes I would love to hear them. I am really hoping the baking will further highten my holiday cheer. Or make me extremely frustrated. That happens sometimes when I try and make new things.

So here's to holiday baking version 2.0

And seriously, I would love your holiday cookie or snack recipes.

I'm Getting To Them, I Promise

So I was in what seemed to be the biggest hurry ever to get our christmas cards here but I appear to be in no hurry whatsoever to send them out, I am going to do them today, I promise.

I can't believe that Christmas is less than a week away, and yet somehow I still don't have that festive feeling. I think we need to watch Christmas Vacation. I'm hoping this weekend's Christmas party will spice up the season, make it feel like a holiday.

Or maybe a few Christmas videos will do it. You think? Let't see.

This is my favorite Christmas song.



poor video, good song



Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Because I Can't Find Anacostia on You Tube



If you have access to an online music library you should check out 'ANACOSTIA' by Son Volt. My Rhapsody radio station keeps playing it and I can't get it out of my head and it's a really good song.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I hope you like the Snowman Cardigan and matching socks

I am very funny when it comes to Christmas. First, I like to wrap everything and I appear to be in no hurry, I have been wrapping since mid-November and still have more than half of our gifts left to wrap. Actually, that is what I am supposed to be doing right now but I had this thought and I needed to share.

I think the best gift given is the truly thought out gift. I am in the middle of putting together several thoughtful gifts. Even if they aren't truly appreciated I will know that I put a lot of time and thought into them. I think the worst gift given is a gift card-in a gift bag. Nothing says I thought of you very little and spent very little time on you this holiday season like a gift card in a gift bag, except maybe nothing at all, not even a holiday card (yes, I'm eventually sending out cards).

Now with that being said, I don't expect you all to agree with me. Don't get me wrong I LIKE to receive gift cards, I just don't like to give them, just a personal preference. If you knocked out your whole Christmas list in 5 minutes at Sam's Gift Card Center, good for you, you saved about 143 hours compared to me this holiday season. I on the other hand, am sorry to say this year I had to resort to buying a gift card.

I had these wonderful (or so I thought) Christmas gift ideas for all of our family that live elsewhere and it was not a neon pink shirt with all of their names written on the back in lime green, I promise. I had made a list of everything I was going to get for each family and was feeling pretty good about it. But then my sister-in-law responded to some silly forward I sent her via e-mail in which there were like 50 Christmas questions to answer, one of them being 'what is the worst gift you ever received'. Her answer was something about a not too pretty sweater she once received and that she hates to get DVDs for gifts and that they have a pile of them unopened and unwatched. A DVD was at the center of her families gift. In fact, that part of the gift had already been purchased. But how could I, at this point, finish compiling my gift and send it to her when I knew that she hated the core of it? Well, I just couldn't. I immediately was able to scrape up gifts for her two children (at a much higher cost than my original plan) but I have been unable to come up with ANY ideas for her. I don't know her that well, I've only spoken to her a few dozen times maybe. I am almost afraid to get her something for fear of it being the wrong color, size, shape, or just plain wrong. So after much thought and consideration, yesterday afternoon in a desperate attempt to finally be done shopping, I bought her a gift card.

And I learned a valuable life lesson. Gift cards can often be the result of TOO MUCH thought and consideration. Gift cards can sometimes be the answer for the picky people you WANT to get something for, but really have absolutely no idea what to get.

So I still don't prefer gift cards to give-even if that's what people prefer to receive. And I will NOT be sending the gift card in a gift bag. I'm stubborn like that.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

There's Hope For Us Yet...We Could Be Like The Duggars...OK, maybe not

What was once primary infertility has become secondary infertility in our lives as we try and add to our family. I try and soak up every minute I can with Bailey and Cooper and try to accept that we may never have any more children, some people are completely content with two, I tell myself, why can't I be? After almost six years, we did finally have a child, two in fact. I told Ward just last night that we will have more, because we are stubborn and we don't give up easily.



The way I see it, I have another 45 years to keep trying to have another baby. I mean if 70 year old women in India can have babies that has to be promising news for me, right?



In all my research and reading over the past half decade, I have read alot about getting pregnant while you're young, while time is on your side. Being 35 on you due date is considered 'advanced maternal age'. What about 70?

Earlier this week a woman in India gave birth to a daughter, the result of IVF, at the 'advanced maternal age' of 70. Earlier this year a 70 year old woman gave birth to twins, the result of IVF and a year earlier, another woman gave birth to boy/girl twins, also the result of ...IVF, at age 67. Most IVF clinics here in America, they don't even allow women into their programs if they are in their early 40's, but I guess that is mainly if the women want to use their own eggs.

In case you were wondering, there is no way that these women were using their own eggs. Women are born with all the eggs they will ever have, actually the number of eggs a woman carried peaks in utero and begins to decline almost immediately. By the time a girl reaches puberty more than half the eggs she started with are gone, and around 28 a woman's fertility and chances of becoming pregnant further lessen, even though some women have been able to get pregnant, using their own eggs, at 45, the chances become slimmer and slimmer. But 70, nope, not her eggs.

And in St. Louis, doctors have announced that they successfully transplated a full ovary from one sister to another that resulted in the birth of a baby girl early last month. So if anybody has an ovary they're not going to be using...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I Ran Out of Sugar Coating Sunday.

I don't think I will ever watch the Twilight movie. I was not the fan of the book that half of America seemed to be and my sister, who watched it the night it came out, emailed me early the next morning to say that it was the 'best worst movie' she had ever seen. It seemed to have done well, and they will probably make all four books into movies, but I doubt I will venture to the theatre to see them and if we bought them they would probably just end up on a shelf next to 'Sex and the City', so I will probably pass indefinitely.


I aim to gain at least eight pounds this holiday season. I thought I was doing ok until we had our Cookie Exchange party on Sunday and were introduced to eleven new treats, one of which was an Easy Oreo Truffle that I keep sneaking into the fridge to get a sample of, those alone are going to do me for five pounds before the New Year, I almost guarantee it.


I am possibly in the process of destroying my children's high chair pads. They are spot washable only, with the exception of dry cleaning and they had become, in my opinion, beyond disgusting and I am not in the habit of taking anything other than bedding and coats to the dry cleaner. Today, after the kids fed themselves lunch, I decided I couldn't take it any more, I put them in my now perfectly functioning washer and set it to delicate/handwash. After one wash they were still not clean enough for me, so I am currently running them through the washer again. Being proactive however, I have already found economical and washable replacements on amazon, in case I do actually destroy them in the washing process.


My husband and I have made a meal calendar in which we are going to make five days out of the week a theme night. Last night, Mexican. Easy. Everything I love is of that persuasion. Tonight however, is Experimental Tuesday. I spent almost all of the twins morning nap looking for something new and interesting to make, I still, at 2 p.m., have no idea what we are having for dinner tonight.



Monday, December 8, 2008

'Tis the season to by crazy.

You're going to think I'm crazy, but that's ok, I probably am. Ward and I have been sending Christmas cards for nine years now and we had a 'system', a fun system in which we would buy one to two boxes of holiday cards every year and we would sit down and pick cards for each member of our family and all of our friends, making sure that no one in the same family or town would recieve the same card. One night every year we would get out the lists from each card box and get to work, wishing our loved ones a happy holiday from Ward and June. I liked our system, it seemed thoughtful and unique.

But deep inside, I was jealous of all those photo Christmas cards I would receive in the mail every November through December. When I got pregnant and Christmas rolled around I was excited that we would soon have children and could join the ranks of photo christmas card senders. So as the months progressed I built up our phantom photo card in my mind, picturing the most festive, beautiful card imaginable. Ward was on board as much as can be expected and we shopped for everal Saturdays looking for matching colors and outfits, we were beyond dorky and I was loving it. I wanted to take the picture in late November but Bailey mauled her own face and the even had to be postponed. Then we had company, and then, well life just happened. Finally, this past weekend we marked the calendar and added it to a list, ensuring it would get done.

On Saturday morning, after the twins first nap, I shot over 300 photos of my family, being a perfectionist, not one of them made me happy. But I uploaded them to the computer and in some sort of hurry ordered them from Walgreens, one hour. That afternoon I went to pick them up and found that I hated them. My brother, who lives with us when he's not in college, had been cropped almost completely from the photo and it was the glossiest card I had ever seen. I hate glossy photos.

I was so sad. I had done what always happens to me, I had built an event up so high that life could never match my fantasy. I found the pictures so bad that I was in no hurry to send them after hurrying to order them.

I was in a complete funk over it, I have to admit. This morning, after looking at them again I sat down at my computer to rework the cards and found that I had just skimmed over some decent photos. I began working on a new card and became increasingly dissatisfied with the card I had in my possession.

I started to wonder if I could return the old photo cards and order new ones, ones that were more up to my standards. After talking to my sister, husband, and sister-in-law I decided, what the heck, I will try and return them.

Fortunately, they were one of the easiest returns I've ever been involved in (or at least it seemed that way) and instantly my holiday mood was brightened. I have learned a lesson here, that rushing into something can yield terrible results. So I am beginning work on a second card, and maybe it won't be everything from my wildest dreams, but I can't imagine that my second attempt will be so disappointing.

-june

Friday, December 5, 2008

Missing.

Shortly after Ward and I were married I joined a gym with my sister, Erin. One evening when we were heading to the gym we decided to run into Wal-mart and grab who remembers what. As we were exiting the double doors in ran a small black and white short haired cat. We grabbed him and took him to the car. He was still a kitten but probably six months or older. I called Ward and told him of our find, we had wanted a cat for sometime and had a short affair with another short haired black and white cat before we were married that ended in a couch that smelled bad for years and a slightly used litter box. Instantly, Ward's heart was won and the cat allowed to join our family. The cat we got at Wal-mart was named Sammy. Ward has always had more affection for feline's than myself. In the course of our marriage we have had four cats.

Sam was an indoor cat, a secret from our landlord, and he enjoyed box tops and looking through the blinds. When we bought our first house it was because of him that we went with the faux wood blinds, the plastic ones would not do for him. Being feisty, he did not take well to our move or the fact that the mother-in-laws dog was allowed inside at our new stomping grounds. After a few intentional accidents with the new living room furniture he was uprooted and taken to my mother's house. I felt terrible about the decision almost immediately but it wasn't until my brother told me they were letting him outside that I decided to go and rescue him once again.

In a rescue mission my sister and I went up and got Sam and three kittens, all who were dying from flea infestations and something else we coined 'the sickness'. I took Sam and a new cat, Chester, while my sister took the other three kittens. Sam and Chester did well together and Sam had less outbursts (with the exception of that year we went to Disney and left him at home). When we got Max and then Jake within a year or so later, Sam was not pleased but handled it well enough.

When we had family come and stay with us in late 2004, Sam decided he preferred the outdoors and I didn't argue, I've never been a fan of the litter box cleaning. It was during this time that I realized how much Sam loved little girls, he took to our neighbor's little girl so much that he stayed at their house almost as much as our own. When we moved in 2006 I was pleased to find that a little girl just a little younger lived next door, Sam and Mackenzie were instant friends.

When we moved here Sam never strayed or left us to find our old home. Maybe he loved us, maybe he liked the new neighbors better. He enjoyed the garage and we set up an area for the cats (by this point we had three) on top of the dog crates. Surprisingly, our cats have always gotten along well with the dogs, Max used to carry around one of the cats in his mouth until we put a stop to it because he was rubbing her neck bald.

When Chester disappeared early last year I was sad but knew that Chester had always been a roamer and I figured he had possibly found a home where he liked the people better. Sam and Crookshanks however, remained and stayed close to the house. Every morning they would greet one of us reaching out their necks for a rub.

I thought Sam was happy and that is why it came as a surprise last week when Ward asked me when the last time I had seen Sam. When I thought about it I realized it had been at least two days since I had seen him last. When I mentioned it on Thanksgiving to my neighbor she said that Sam hadn't greeted her and Mackenzie at the bus stop all week. I began to get worried.

About two months ago I accidentally locked Crookshanks in our little car that we never drive and it was just as accidentally that I saw what I thought was movement in the back of the car three days later. The car smelled horrible but the cat was ok. Then a week or so ago my brother found the same cat, Crookshanks, in the storage room in the basement. Luckily, she had only been shut in there hours earlier. But I can't help worrying that someday I am going to open a closet or door and find him, too late. I have looked throughout the house and have found no trace of him.

This afternoon Ward called me and asked if I thought that the Humane Society may have him. I called both the Humane Society and Animal Control and left missing reports. They haven't seen any animals matching Sam's description in our time frame. Is this a good thing or a bad sign?

I can't seem to fight the feeling that Sam isn't just missing. I just don't feel optimistic about seeing him again.

Ouch. That Hurt.

So this morning I was going to log on and post over at thethomastwins in honor of the wee folk turning 11 months old when what to my surprise do I find but this. That's right folks, Ward has left me.

And he didn't even tell me he was going to leave. Just left that blog for me to stumble across next time I went to blog. Keep in mind he did start the blog last night when I had gone to a fantastic!! Tastefully Simple party at a friends, so maybe he was going to tell me and I just found it before he had the chance.

So why do I feel sad? Well, maybe because this whole blog thing was supposed to be a joint endeavor that Ward seemed to have gave up on some time ago, writing less and less. Maybe this blog wasn't all he dreamed it would be, maybe it was the playlist?

So it appears it's just me now folks, I don't even feel like carrying on as June you know, after this split it feels a little pointless.

You want to know the thing that really drives me bonkers, it's really stupid but I am going to divulge anyways, I hate our blog url and have for sometime and now that my husband is no longer a part of my blog I want to change it (actually I've wanted to change it for a long time), gosh I'm sad, huh?

-?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Me, The Oligomaniac

Have I mentioned that I have 27 photo albums and have not yet reached my 27th birthday? Have I mentioned that my memory is sketchy at best and I rely on photos and journals to help me remember the things that have past, however inaccurate of skewed? Have I mentioned that I love the way it looks and feels behind a camera, that the world looks different through a lens, more beautiful, poetic, softer?

Well I do, it is and it does.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

My Husband, The Hero

In addition to being the most creative spouse in this house, Ward also saved us a bunch of money this evening. Here is the tale:

It feels as though everything is falling apart. His truck has been in the shop 3 times this month, our printer has stopped printing (thus further complicating the Christmas Invitation task) and recently our washer has been testy. It is a Kenmore Elite HE4T with a bad attitude. We've owned it for just over 2.5 years and only recently has it been giving us error messages like F02 and SUD. Being a HE washer I only use HE Tide and never put very much soap in it but still the messages when I finally looked it up on the internet and found that baby socks, pencils or nails could have blocked the drain pipe. I had Ward look into this a week ago because since the babies were born I have lost quite a few of their socks never to be seen again. Well last week he found 13 socks, two baby washclothes and one of my socks in the liner around the wash tub. We were almost thrilled (I had thrown out some of those other socks, and some of them were very cute) and thought the washer was going to be happy with us. Unfortunately, the problem continued. I would just clear the machine when I got the error message and have to rewash entire loads (which was a huge waste of water, electricity and time) and was beginning to wonder if I should call Kenmore when today the washer would NOT rinse a load of clothes. No matter what we did only more and more water filled the tub.

After the kids went to bed I got the trusty shop vac out and sucked the water out and rinsed the clothes in the sink and put them in the dryer for the time being until we could fix the washer. I found a website called FIX YA and found a possible solution to our washers problem, the drain inside the machine, not just the liner, could have blockages.

Ward was able to locate the drain and what did he find?

Four more baby socks, a Color Guard sheet, a pencil in pieces and an assortment of nails and screws. You wouldn't believe how many small things had gotten in their and blocked the drain. We cleaned her up and put her back together and ran the load again, this time our old washer ran like a charm. No problems.

Apparently, my washer doesn't read my blog either, because I did thank her earlier in the week. She must have been feeling over worked and under appreciated. I'm going to have to clean her drains and liners more often (and gosh these HE washers are a lot of work)!

-june

*I was completely aware that these socks had gone missing. My mother-in-law told me that they just go out in the drain and disappear into the septic tank. I was saddened but never thought they would block up the washer because I am dense, just ask Ward. I am going to have to start using those laundry bags I think.

A Regular Charles Dickens

Because my husband, Ward, is the most helpful and creative husband EVER I asked him to help me in coming up with a poem for our Christmas Open House invitation. We're fun like that, we like to have poems accompany our holiday invitations and announcements. Being the sweet writer that he is he came up with this poem in just under five minutes:


Come bask in our Holiday spirit
We’re so merry we can hardly stand it
We’re overflowing with holiday cheer
And we also have wine and beer

We’ve Christmas trees in several rooms
To help fight bah humbug gloom
We hope our home will bring you pleasure
And the flashing lights won’t cause a seizure

We invite you all young and old
to come on over and out of the cold
and have a drink and have a bite
and enjoy a rather un-silent night

Being the appreciative wife that I am, I of course said 'thank you'. However, I think I may go the simpler route on the invitation.