Saturday, December 31, 2011
Amateur's Night? and Entertainer's Dream Evening! or Something in Between.
I have many found memories of New Year's Eve long gone.
There was my childhood. I remember one year at my cousin Brad's house with a bevy of cousins. I have no idea who was babysitting us. My mom and dad traditionally went out with friends to the Legion or Sheep Shed, or something or another. My mom got all dolled up....always with lip stick.
Fast forward to college, and stumbling back to our apartments from the Rox... kissing my friends, male and female alike.
Then there were the years then Amy Detviler (and the man now long gone) house sat for the 3M executive in their lavish home outside of Stillwater. There was formal attire, Rediel stemware and plenty of wine, a sit down dinner, games and a Karaoke contest... and kissing my friends, male and female. One of those years I threw up the next morning in the Jack and Jill bathroom we shared with Joan and Wade. Wade threw up too.
One of those years, I wore a long, red Ann Taylor silk dress. That was the year each guest went around the dinner tables and everyone gave a resolution. Mark's resolution to ALL in attendance was that he would, "propose to Andrea in the year ahead." This caused quite stir since we were so often on again, and off again. True to word, we got engaged that March.
After that came the infamous party at our now sold house in Hector. That party will go down in history as one of the best New Year's Eve parties EVER of all who attended. Me and some key party planner attendees arrived in the country that afternoon. We set up heaters in the garage. We cleared the family room of furniture. We set up tables to accommodate seating for everyone at dinner. We set up aerobeds and mattresses in the furnace room and office to provide comfortable accommodations for ALL, since no one was leaving. We made lasagna, salad, and got the bread ready. We set all the tables with blue table clothes and decorated the rooms in silver, with candles everywhere. The now toasty garage was set up as a full bar. I put red bows on the County Road sign off 212 to alert all the city guests where to turn, in the middle of the very dark country.
...and the party began. Mark, Gretchen, Dan, Sam, Jenny, Brett, Rachel, Mara, Dawn, Angie, Heidi, Jess, Molly and Peter were set up for the night. I invited my cousins in the country, but the flu kept them away, they had small children, or other plans. They missed one hell of a party. Once on site, everyone dressed up for the festivities ahead. We started with the kitchen island filled with appetizers, and moved on to a sit down candle light dinner. We ate. We drank. We danced. We sang. At the stroke of midnight, we had a champagne toast. The flutes were filled with back-step chilled bubbly on a white clothed banquet table in the garage. I kissed my friends, male and female alike. The rest of the night shall remain a blur. Morning dawned with egg bake for all those who could stomach it... and a bit of a mess.
All these years later, I think my Dad is STILL mad about the state he found the house in when he arrived several days later. (My dad spent most of his time at his apartment in the cities.) In my defense, everything was back in place, but I thought the cleaning lady would arrive BEFORE my dad. So...why scrub and vacuum the floor???
One year we hosted friends in our tiny town home. That year we cleaned out the garage, strung Christmas lights, got a giant piece of carpet remnant and heaters from Menards to create a party headquarters. We returned the heaters and carpet a week later. (I swear the carpet remnant didn't get dirty!)
Fast forward to the year my belly was LARGE with the expectance of Marly and Dean. Mark and I dined at POPS! in NE Mpls. I wore a beautiful steel grey blouse with a square neck line and grand sleeved. We came home, watched a movie, and toasted midnight snuggled in bed with sparkling grape juice in Waterford Crystal flutes.
After that there was the year at Jenny and Jeremy's condo in Minneapolis. We brought two ten month old babies with jammies, a breast pump, and pack-n-plays. We were home by 12:30.
The next year was spent at the H-we House, were kids crawled or ran, and I had a dance party with the toddlers. Gretch created a delicious meal (tortellini soup with sausage) which we ate after the kids went to bed.
And then, and then...
...there have been three generally quiet years here in Brooklyn Park. The first year on Riverview Heidi and little Cale came. It was tame...and I dare say a wee bit boring. I decorated and got out the china and crystal, but the evening just didn't shine like it does with a house full. Cale didn't like my stroganagne either. Last year the four of us went to Mavericks. Both years we had a basement dance party and an 8 pm countdown.
And here we are tonight, at the close of 2012.
I am sitting at my kitchen table right now. We have yet to download any photos. This year the four of us decided to try fondue. The kids liked the beanie weanies best. No... that is NOT fondue. We have had sundaes for dessert. We have already cashed out two cans of silly string, and the kids and Mark just finished a movie... and it's 8:00 pm. Dean helped me decorate this afternoon with silver garland and Marly helped make the sundaes in wine glasses with whip cream. Soon we will toast with Kristian Regale, and put the kids to bed. After that, we may sneak across the street to the neighbor's for midnight fireworks on the river (weather permitting).
And so, there is my history of New Years.
Although the last few have been quiet and uneventful, I still do NOT consider it Amateur's Night.
I know there will be shining 'Eves sometime in the years ahead, with a bit more pomp and circumstance then the last few.
Alternatively, I consider it the night for each of us to do what is "shining" for you! Be it a night in your jammies playing games with family, or an evening with a house full of friends, or hitting the town - Happy New Year's to All!
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
(This is also a CD by Miss Minnesota 2010!)
I am grateful for all that I have. This season the richness of my life flows all around me. Saturday was a day spilling over with blessings.
Mark needed to work. He was behind on everything, and stress was crowding him. Just the same, we are blessed with jobs that provide for us and our kids. We have a warm home. We eat plenty, and we have so much more.
While Mark worked, I took the kids home to the farm for Sutton and Saxton's birthday party. I picked up my dad, as I commonly do for events like this. We had an easy, pleasant drive to the farm, filled with good conversation (interrupted often my eager Twinners wondering how much farther we had to go). The miles passed as quality time with my parent - my Dad, my mentor, the man I look up to above all others.
At the party the kids played. I am blessed. My children love spending time with their second cousins. They love playing with the three "S"s. We only need to get our shoes off at the door and they are off.....
At the party I got to spent time with my aunt's and cousin's. I even got the pleasure of being showered with affection by Shylah's family too.
When it was time to go home, we drove through Hutch. Instead of taking the quickest route, both Dad and I wanted to drive down Main Street. We were curious to see if the holiday decor and lights still arch over the street block after block. They do NOT, but the deer park on the river I remember from my childhood still exists. My kids found delight in the animals the same way I did at their age, when my mom and dad took us (in our white Caprice Classic with the baby blue top).
We carried forth eastward on Highway 7. By now it was dark. It was VERY important to Dean that both mommy and Papa keep their eyes "PEELED" for lights. Dean piped up from the back the ENTIRE way home every time he saw ANY lights. There was nary a moment of silence. He also asked about every three miles, "What road are we on?" Dad and I took turns exclaiming, "It is STILL Highway Seven!"
My dad offered to fill my tank with gas. He always does. I am blessed in so many ways. This time I had filled up in advance, because this one time, I wanted to be able to decline his always generous and appreciated offer.
At St. Boni, we could have continued on our path, but why cut short this most pleasant adventure? We decided to go through Mound, and around Lake Minnetonka to enjoy more holiday lights. Grandpa directed us by beautiful, enchanting, breathe-taking homes near Wayzata. Indeed, I saw the two most magnificent, huge pine trees adorned with the most elaborate lights I have ever encountered. They were amazing.
The kids loved all the lights. The houses were grand. Just the same, Dean eventually commented, "Can we go home? ...Home to our house in Brooklyn Park?" God bless my child. To him, the size or grandeur of a home are not of note, but only the love inside the four walls.
Of course by this time, at least one small child needed to go potty. The golden arches came into view. If you are going to stop to go potty, you might as well have a Happy Meal with Grandpa too, right?
And, so...after french fries we finally dropped Dad off at his door. We completed the blessed trip home with plenty to tell Daddy about our day.
Once at home, I sat at the kitchen table in solitude, with the glow of the Christmas tree lights on me.
I hand addressed our Christmas cards in red pen, like I do every year... with my heart filled with 'blessings beyond measure'.
Monday, December 19, 2011
Dean then helped me lick and seal. When the labels were ready, both kids helped me place the return address. My heart swelled with love and joy watching the Twinners participate in my yearly ritual. We dropped the lot in the mail at the post office in the evening on our way home from the Lights in the Park in east St. Paul.
Take a look at this years creation. Heading to mailboxes Monday...
Monday, December 12, 2011
Not pictured - The Twinners with BABY CHARLIE and Santa at breakfast! (and Nana and Papa too). Dean in Land's End holiday attire sitting in the pew at the Step by Step Montessori School Holiday Program on Friday night.
'Tis the season!
(at our house and yours too!)
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
- Decorate the tree - Done upstairs and down.
- Decorate our home - Mostly done, but the boxes need to be put away. I am SURE I am still missing one box of decor items and I think there are items inside I would enjoy using.
- Lights - Mark and the kids put the outside lights up weeks ago. Rachel gave me some white outdoor lights I planned to put on three small lilac shrubs in the back yard, but I don't think we will get to that. The lights were live on Thanksgiving evening, like many neighbors in the 'hood.
- Wreath - Gifted to me at the Mickman Brother's open house last Friday, jazzed up, and in place on the front of the house. Additional fake wreath jazzed up by the patio door outside.
- Additional outdoor front door decor - The galvanized tubs and pot holder were decorated last Saturdaywith evergreen free from tree farm, red and green bulbs, red accent twigs and bows to match the wreath.
- Decorate Ikea kitchen/living shelves and floating wall shelf - All set for the holiday's
- Christmas Card holder - In place with three cards received so far
- Christmas cards - Ordered from Shutterfly on Sunday night with family photos taken in October!
- Visit with Santa - We saw him at the tree farm AND at a Breakfast with Santa in Chanhassen last Sunday with the Charlie, Nana and Papa, Brett and Rachel.
- Christmas Outfits for the kids - They will actually wear last year's attire to there Step by Step Christmas program. I am unsure about the Sunday School Program on Sunday and Christmas Eve.
- Gift Shopping - Seven items purchased or in the works on Etsy. More online shopping to ensue. Gift cards needed for teachers.
- Parties - We had our neighborhood progressive happy hour last Friday, Dad and Chris's open house on Saturday, and the Pizza Party last week.
- Christmas Programs - Coming up on Friday and Sunday for school and church. Grandparents, etc invited, with supper to be served on Sunday.
- Holidazzle Parade on Nicollet Mall - Not yet.. but hopefully.
- Macy's 8th floor holiday display - Why bother, they haven't changed it for three years! So not worth the lines or build up.
- Christmas Carol at the Guthrie - My dream for the year's ahead, to go with Gretchen or a romantic evening with Mark some day... some day....And a few year's down the road to create magical memories with the kids.
- Time with dear family and friends - Happening regularly and scheduled in the weeks ahead. The most important part of the season!
- New Year's Eve - Unknown, usually until the last minute. Dean has already requested to go back to the zoo during the day, like we did last year.
Saturday, December 3, 2011
The kids checked out the goats and llamas, we took a wagon ride around the farm, then snagged our photo op with the jolly man in red.
Friday, December 2, 2011
If my calculations are correct, this is the 23 annual event.
Of course the party has evolved in a bitter-sweet way.
You see, my mom started the party at our new home the day after Thanksgiving in 1988. She wanted to see the Melberg Cousins who were home from NDSU and Moorehead State, and we always had Thanksgiving Day with the Toren side.
As the years went on, it was expanded to any and all relatives and friends too.
When my mom died, my dad wanted to continue the annual event. I think he said, "I don't have to cook anything, so I think this is the one holiday event I can contribute."
When my dad married Chris and moved to S.L.P, the pizza party moved too.
Here we are more then twenty years later with a hodge podge of guests.
To those who attend, their presence is treasured.
Baby Charlie was the big hit at the party this year.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
We did not brave the crowds.
We did not stand in line.
We did not cut coupons.
We did not getup before dawn, in the dark of night.
We did not stay up until midnight waiting for the doors to open.
We did not get FIRED UP for the HOT sales.
We did burn the Black Friday sales circulars to start the fire.
We did stay up until nearly midnight, after our soon-to-be moving afar favorite neighbors' Mindy and Derek stopped by with our favorite neighbor dogs, Emma and Paxton.
No credit cards either!
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Two for whom I give THANKS!
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Today I took the day off to play in the kitchen.
So... here is a running look at my day!
- It started out like any other. I dropped the kids off for school (except I was in jeans and boots). I was armed with a list for the day.
- Next stop, the Caribou by the Cub for a LARGE 1/2 caf, skim latte (free with a coupon).
- On to Cub for a 19 pound turkey and everything else you need to host this all American Holiday. 19 pounds is more then we need, but we like leftovers. Boy.. big turkeys are kinda spendy... even with that $10 off coupon.
- Headed to AT&T to get my Blackberry fixed. I was disconnected for a few hours. God Bless my brother-in-law Pat (who works at AT&T) for ALWAYS coming to my phone rescue.
- Stopped at Banana Republic to try and exchange a holiday skirt. Left empty handed.
- Made a trip to Walmart to pick up a can of metallic spray paint. I had spray painted my fall gourds for my Thanksgiving table-scape tomorrow and wanted a third tone.
- Stopped at the liquer store. The beujioli noevu (spelling) is here, and I thought I needed more beer....
- Once home I unloaded the groceries and started cooking.
- Mixed cream cheese, dill relish, and chopped dried beef for cracker spread/dip.
- Ate too much dip.
- Toasted the french bread for the stuffing, and browned the Italian sausage, celery and onions. Put it all in a throw away baking tray, and made room in the fridge.
- Cooked the cranberries with apricot jam and a touch of Grand Mairinier, and put them in the serving dish when cool.
- Sliced and diced and prepared the broccoli salad.
- Spray painted my gourds in the garage.
- Whipped up a batch of Chex Mix.
- Poured a glass of wine for Mark and I, and threw a frozen pizza in the oven for supper.
- Cleaned the upstairs bathroom.
- Washed the entry rugs and swept the kitchen floor for the first time.
- Added the leaf to the table.
- Chopped up the vegetables to go inside and under the turkey tomorrow morning, and cut more for veggies and dip.
- Decided to make green bean casserole with my variation of a Real Simple recipe with lots of butter, cream, and mushrooms (but NO CAMBELL'S SOUP). We will see if it gets any points tomorrow.
- Baked up caramel puff corn... which Mark urged me to finish before everyone went to bed.
- Gave the kids a bath and put them to bed.
- Ate more Chex mix and watched Revenge on ABC.
- Typed up this blog, while noting the piles of laundry that need to be put away from the corner of my eye, and figuring the rest can wait until tomorrow....
There is so much to be Thankful for.
Wishing you a day full of Thankful-ness too!
Tomorrow will be a lovely day.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
No matter that Oscar had become flat from 4 years of unconditional love.No matter that his bow unraveled in the first year.
No matter that Oscar had lost an eye somewhere along the way. (Rumor has it Ramona the Cat ate it.)
Oscar and Dean had never been apart for more than a night, that is until after our recent trip to hang with the H-we's. Somehow, Oscar was left behind.
But Dean is 4 now.
He is a big boy. He can sleep with out Oscar.
Of course Gretchen would send him packing back to B.P. when she found him.
But she didn't find him!
She searched high. She searched low.
P and M looked inside and out.
Oscar was NO WHERE to be found.
And so, Dean did his best to tough it out. He was brave.
Marly and I surprised him with a new stuffed polar bear. We named him Ole.
Dean did well, until the sniffles hit. He was a tired, sick boy who whined for his bear.
The truth is, I knew Dean would get over Oscar, but I wanted to be a mom who is a hero.
And so I prayed to the Google Gods on my lunch break at work.
E-Bay JACKPOT!!! Buy it Now!
$10.94 by PayPals and 5 days shipping through the U.S. Postal Service....
...and it was like Santa came before Thanksgiving!
This is Dean with Oscar the Second.
A mere 7 days after his arrival and his bow is already missing, and he has nearly lost site in one eye.
Monday, November 14, 2011
Everything and Nothing!!!
I am like that.
We Thomberg's are like that.
We go to work. We go to school. We play. We work at home. We spend time with each other. We spend time with friends. We spend time with family.
I do the laundry. I sweep the floor. We have friends to dinner from a filled crock pot. We go to church. We take a nap. We spent time in the yard. We chat with our neighbors. The kitchen floor is always dirty, except when we have friends to dinner.
We eat supper at our table after work every night. We eat healthy food. We eat crappy food that is fast and easy. We like McDonald's. We have fresh fruit on hand. We eat whole grain bread. We play games on the floor. We watch TV. I watch Revenge on Wednesday. We don't get the kids to bed on time. I should read more to the kids. We sometimes neglect to brush the kids' teeth. We take them to the dentist every 6 months. I will take the kids to get their flu mist today. I get behind on the laundry. The clean laundry piles up on the counter in the family room in the basement. We have never run out of clean underwear. I need to vacuum more. I should clean out every closet.
We get the mail. I like the Crate and Barrel catalog. I like the Pottery Barn catalog. I never send birthday cards anymore. I neglect to send a formal thank you for so many things I should. I forget to buy gifts in a timely manner. We got our family pictures taken for Christmas cards. I will buy stamps for the cards. I blog.....
I got pampered by Chris this past Saturday.
I forget things. We miss things. I NEED my SmartPhone. I do not know Mark's cell phone number by heart. I put Cindy's 31 Party on the WRONG day in my calendar. I am sad about this. I remember Cindy's home phone number from our childhood (I think?!?).
I do special things for others off-handedly. I do not plan well. I brought a latte to the day care director when it was Buy one Get one at Caribou. I hope to stop at Daycare Cindy's (our former provider) and bring her some coffee beans later today. I call friends I miss at the spur of the moment and meet them less then 20 minutes later for the best unexpected time together.
I leave Voice Mails for people I love. I still don't send a card with a stamp.
I am not perfect. I don't try to be. I am a good person.
I am loved.
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Kathy and Randy pause at the curb when walking Belle, "What could you possibly have left to do?"
I was lazy. I only repainted the drawers, and simply glazed the body, which I believe was coated in oil based paint that was still going strong. I also added new hardware.
Dean's headboard AFTER - Another free hand me down from Aunt Carol. I painted and glazed it to coordinate with everything else.