Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ten Things

I'd be better served to pick ten things that didn't make me smile, because it was THE MOST wonderful month, but Emmy doesn't call it Ten Million Things :) Here goes

Ten Things about December that made me smile

Knowing in my heart that the greatest gifts are given, not received.

Watching my children make memories with their friends

Christmas cards!!!

Being married to THAT guy who cracks me up!

AND late night foosball tournaments in the family room

Candy cane tea and pumpkin bread for breakfast

Hosting our family at home and filling our days and nights with laughter and love

Not setting an alarm for days and days

The Blind Side
I heart Michael Oher and the Tuohy Family

Ending a year with no regrets and a heart full of hope for what's to come

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Honeymoon's Over - or something like that . . .

My kids have been out of school for twelve days already and they have four more to go.  We've had a house guest since last Monday and we seem to be running out of space.  The lights on the Christmas tree aren't sparkling quite as brightly as they were earlier in the month.  I'm afraid the Merry has gone out of our Christmas.

The holiday hangover is starting to subside.  Starting.  And I hardly drank during the holidays.  But I've consumed more than my weight in sugar cookies, hot chocolate and pumpkin bread.  Salads have been safe from me for days!!  It's a thing of the past.  All of the cookies, the cake, the candy - gone.  In the trash tonight.  And I'm gonna clean my house and get back to my blog.  Aaaah, I feel better already.

To my Summer ~ I've missed you too.  Let's catch up soon.  In real life.  Love you
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Monday, December 21, 2009

Something to Hold Onto

We’ve been thoroughly focused on the real Reason for the Season at our house for weeks now. We talk about Santa, but not a ton.

To the Athlete: “Have you thought about what you want Santa to bring you this year?”

To the Princess: “Is there ever going to be a time that we don’t have to bribe you with sugar to sit on Santa’s lap so we can take a photo?”

BTW – not even the promise of ice cream, hot chocolate or candy would get her near the big guy this past weekend. The girl is having none of it and says he knows what she wants anyway and she doesn’t have to sit on his lap. Well alrighty then.

In the back of my mind I’ve had a sneaking suspicion that The Athlete doesn’t really believe in Santa and is just patronizing us. He’s clever like that and always looking out for someone else’s feelings. But this time I am DELIGHTED to be wrong.

This was the week that the official Letters from Santa came in the mail. My prior doubts about my oldest child believing in Santa are all gone now.

He was over the moon. Over.The.Moon. The letter was addressed right to him and was on Santa CLaus letterhead.  Santa knew about his Italian customs project and his book reports. He told him he was proud of him. He mentioned the gift item that my son wants the most and said he would do his best to make sure he gets it.  The Pope himself couldn’t have touched my son more.

It was refreshing to see that my super sophisticated, thoroughly thoughtful, reads at a fourth grade level in 2nd grade guy, is still my little boy. He slept with the letter one night and I’ve caught him more than once reading it at breakfast. Be still my heart.

If you haven’t seen Christmas through the eyes of a child lately, I highly recommend it. The magic is absolutely breathtaking.

My Christmas wish for you is that you believe in something that you hold onto .  . . even in your sleep

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Letters to Someone - Secret Santa Edition

Every Thursday is Letters to Someone. Today I'll just have to say that I am better late than never. We'll go with that. I'm writing today in honor of the super fantastic Secret Santa Soiree hosted by Georgie and Amy.  These ladies worked hard to organize more than 100 participants for an exchange.  Thank you so much!

Dear Secret Santa ~

Will you marry me?  You really outdid yourself and I am so, so grateful for your generosity and thoughtfulness.  I realized AFTER I ripped open your package like a six year old on my birthday carefully examined my parcels that you really took the time to find out what makes me smile.  Everything in the box was perfect.  Perfect.  And I was delighted.  You even sent something for my deranged dogs.  That's too sweet!  Even my dogs love you now. 

I opened this first and I would have been OK with this all by itself.  Such salty sweet perfection.

Then I opened this.  They smell terrific.  I heart candles.  But you knew that.

And for the dogs.  You are amazing.  Kate and Kramer say thank you!

And if I weren't madly in love already, I opened this . . .
Did I tell you I love you?
Personalized stationery is the way to my heart.  You permanently live there now

Merry Christmas, Santa!  I'll see you at the altar.
There won't be any letters next week.  I will be in a bliss coma and loving Christmas day with my family.  God Bless you and your families for a blessed holiday and a happy, healthy New Year.

Mrs. Montoya

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I Love Secret Santa!

I am overdue on a post, I'm sorry.  You can read here, here and here about how I am buried at work right now.  Seriously. Buried.  I do, however, need to say THANK YOU to my Secret Santa.  I got an amazing, thoughtful, generous, beautiful, totally unexpected gift this week.  I just love it.

Wanted you to know I got it.  I love it.  I took photos.  I'll post ASAP.  Now back to work for me.

xoxo, Mrs. Montoya

Decisionally Challenged

Monday, December 14, 2009

Could Santa Lend an Elf or Two?

'Tis the season to be completely overwhelmed and freaking out, right?  Please say yes so I am not alone.  Right this minute I am face to face with the biggest to do list you have ever seen, a miniscule reserve of free time and just a smidge of money.  Not such a favorable equation for the perfectionist in me.

When I am not blogging, I work.  Full time.  And travel.  And I'm really good at it.  Well, maybe I made that part up.  But I am a career girl by choice and the vast majority of the time I think it's a terrific idea.  After more than a few days at home with my kids I remember that I work because it's easier than staying at home.  Social services would have visited by now if I didn't have a job.  I am certain of that. 

BUT, being the call your own shots girl that I am, there are times when it's inconvenient to be painfully busy at work.  Like summer vacation.  And now for example.  I have some shopping to do.  Some cards to address.  Some beautiful ribbons to tie.  And I am in the office well after the time that I'd like to be in the office.  My prospects for tying, shopping and addressing are quite slim this week.  It's threatening to drag me under and I am trying to find Santa's number to see if I can get some help.  His number doesn't seem to be listed . . .

Rather than letting that get to me, I am going to take a deep breath and remember the joy that I have in my life and why I love the holidays so much - professional crisis or not.

I am the mother of a darling donkey and a cheeky little angel.

My home is warm and full of little people who are making memories together and celebrating traditions

I am deeply loved even if I don't tie the ribbons or finish the list

I could not ask for more

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Letters to Someone

Dear Loony Bin ~

My name is Kim.  I work about 60 hours a week, write a halfass blog and am a basketball widow to two elementary school children who have a Christmas pageant this week.  My shopping's not done, my house is not clean and I could work an extra 60 hours this week and still not be done.  Do you think that I could get a free trial pass to your fine establishment?  You know, test the padded walls and the special attire - no strings attached?  I can be there tomorrow and would like to cut a deal with you before I am shipped there without recourse.  Give me a call.  You can reach me at 555-LOST

Most Sincerely,
Miss May Need Meds Soon

Dear Darling Boy ~

Your candor is one of my favorite things about you. Mostly.  But we'll need to start working on your censor button and timing during the holiday break.  Like when I was filming you during your customs presentation and your teacher was extolling the virtues of your Grandpa making your ceppo by hand and how nice it was that you could spend time with him and work on your project.  You didn't HAVE TO SAY "no, he made it by himself while we were out shopping."  Timing and censorship, sweetie.  And we don't really need to send back our Christmas cards.  The printer didn't "mess up our faces".  That's an outdoor glow on our cheeks.  And sweat.  Remember the ten mile hike? And how it looks like we're sitting in the tops of trees because we WALKED THERE!!!!!  You are precious, but you gotta learn how to zip it.  We'll work on it together.

I Do Love You,
Your Mama

Sweet Angel Girl,

Have I gotten through to you at all that the Christmas pageant in the sanctuary is a religious event?  And you being an angel shouldn't be a total facade . . .  I appreciate that Mrs. Nelson thinks a simple costume is best and that we can add garland to an old tee shirt.  However, just because my smallest tee shirt has some give in it for you, there's no reason to go poking your shoulder out of the neck and trying to turn your performance into Flashdance.  I think it's charming that your halo is slightly crooked, but you're really starting to get to me.  You're five and you're going to stay five for as long as I can keep you there.  There must be a one in front of the five for you to act like this.  And there's not.  You're mine.  Straighten up.

Break A Leg and Sing Like An Angel.  A Tiny, Innocent Angel.

Dear Christmas Tree ~

I love you.  You make me unconditionally happy amidst all the other chaos.  Thank you for being with us again this year.  We are very, very lucky.

Just Shy of a Scrooge

Letters to Someone happen around here every Thursday.  You can visit Shortmama to be part of the fun.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Merry SITSmas

Our friends over at SITS are hosting a Christmas card exchange today and I am oh so honored to be a SITSTA.

Especially from me, to you and yours, is my wish that you will always want what you have.

This year has been particularly hard for a lot of people near and dear to my heart and some of you, too.  I've come to understand that getting what you want isn't nearly as special as just wanting what you have.  Cherish good health, a meal on the table and the kiss from a loved one.

God Bless you during the holidays and all through the New Year

Mrs. Montoya
E & K
The Princess (5) & The Athlete (7)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

To Celebrate or Wait - Part II

First, I want to be sure to say Thank You to my bloggy friends for your brilliant holiday suggestions and your unconditional support of my desire to wear reindeer ears.  There are days when your comments alone make my world go round.  Wednesday might have been one of them.  Anywhoo . . .

I'm concerned that I wasn't quite clear on the reason for my struggle with festive vs. faithful.  I am 143% into festive and don't have an issue with it.  Eggnog for breakfast anyone?  HOWEVER, my children attend private Catholic school and the formal teachings of the church don't mesh with eating sugar cookies for dinner and changing the outgoing message on the answering machine to Christmas carols.  Thus my dilemma and maybe a little background.

I was raised as a Southern Baptist.  When I moved to California there weren't an abundance of baptist churches and I attended Catholic mass with E.  There was a certain comfort to me in the tradition and formality of the Catholic church that I hadn't been exposed to before.  E never pushed me to convert to the religion and it was never an issue for us.  I just kept taking my Baptist self to the Catholic church and folding my arms at communion.

When I was pregnant with The Athlete it became SUPER important to me to unify our faith.  I was terrified to bring a child into in a world full of missing morals and misplaced values and religion was something tangible for me to give our family.  I went through catechism while I was pregnant and was confirmed several weeks after The Athlete was born.  Attending religious education as an adult was life changing for me and something I cherish deeply.  For all the things I do wrong as a parent that one thing feels so right.

Back to the issue of festive.  When we went to mass on Sunday night (last week, first Sunday of Advent) there was a newly fashioned sign in the Sanctuary that reads "Vigilant Anticipation". The church strongly encourages us not to get wrapped up in the commercialism of the holiday but to stay focused on our preparations for the celebration of Christ. Heavy stuff.  For some reason this season it is particularly important to me to be sure that our holiday traditions are firmly rooted in the right place. Not just in our letters to Santa and decorating the tree, but identifying how the true meaning of the season impacts us.  Both as a family and as faithful parishioners.

I've spent a few days reviewing material that's come home from school and doing some independent research on religious traditions of Advent.  I will have to compromise.  I simply cannot go along with decorating our tree on December 19.  Can't. Won't.  Not gonna do it.  I am also not waiting to complete our Nativity Scene on December 23.  But we have begun saying our bedtime prayers in front of it and are saying a special Christmas prayer for those in need when we light our Advent wreath each night.

Will we do it again next year?  I honestly don't know.  But I do believe that trying to do the right thing is better than none at all.  And I learned from you that even the important lessons can be taught when wearing reindeer ears.  Thank you, my friends.  I do look better in the glow of the Christmas tree . . .

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Happy Birthday, Nanny

Today would have been my Nanny's 90th Birthday.  I'm more than a little sad that she's not here, but so happy she is well and content in heaven.

The last big birthday we celebrated together was her 80th.  E and I flew home to surprise her at a party in her office.  Yeah, her office.  She still worked full time when she was 80 and her colleagues and friends were thrilled to honor her.  It was such a nice occasion and she so deserved the hoopla.

I am smarter, happier and better in every single way because she loved me.  I know she's watching and I know she knows how much I love her.  I'll say Happy Birthday here anyway.

Happy Birthday, Nanny.  I miss your face.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Letters to Someone

It's Thursday.  That means Friday is tomorrow.  Can I get a hallelujah??  It has already been quite a week aned Letters to Someone are such a nice way to blow off a little steam.  Enjoy and then head to ShortMama's to see her letters and her friends letters', too.  You can even join in the fun.  You'll be hooked.

Dear Auto Manufacturer ~

I drive a mid-sized SUV, with third row seating and a big engine.  It gets us where we need to go and sometimes we bring friends. I like it.  But there's this one thing.  Why on earth does a car that size have a horn that sounds like it's coming from a child's toy?  I don't use it enough to think of it much, but when there's a much bigger SUV coming my way fast I am hoping for a fog horn.  You let me down.  I will say on the bright side that I am grateful that the other drivers are looking for the moped on the Freeway instead of flipping me off, but still can't quite bring myself to say Thanks.  It just doesn't fit.

With a Tiny Toot Toot,
The Lady and her Kids who will Never Save Themselves by Horn Alone

Dear Beaujolais Noveau ~

Only released on the third Thursday of November, really?  I never knew until now and I am positively hooked.  Thank goodness you are only available in limited quantities.  That may be just the thing saving me from a one way ticket to a habit kicking program.  Well, that combined with the fact that the weekend makes me more apt to seek out your cousin, the Grey Goose.  I am certain that mixing it up disqualifies me from addiction.  For now I will love you deeply and when you're gone I will remember you fondly.  Thank you for the warmth you're bringing to my midweek evenings.


Dear Business ~

You are a babe when you're booming, but I'd like to negotiate a little on your timing.  It's Christmas time you see and I am busy.  I've got some shopping to finish online and at lunch every day this weekend and here you come trying to take charge and commanding all my time. It HAS been a tough year and I should be happy to see you return.  And I am.  I would just like to see you later.  Four weeks later to be exact.  Please.  You can't even imagine the reception I'll give you.  In January.  After Christmas.  You see where I'm going, right?  Have your people call my people.

Happy Holidays,
The Chief Executive of Jingle Dingle

Dear Bloggy Friends,

Go fast, fast, fast over to Menopausal New Mom to see her un-freaking-believable giveaway.  I still can't quite figure out why she is giving away something so gorgeous, but sometimes I am a little dense.  I am SURE there's a good reason.  I hope when I win she tells me.  I mean, I hope when you win you tell me.  Naw, that's a lie.  I hope I win.  They're stunning.  But you should go enter.  Every lady deserves a little holiday sparkle.  Maybe it's you.  I hope it's me.

Best of Luck,
Mrs. Montoya

p.s.  I need to give credit where credit is due.  I swiped the term "Jingle Dingle" from Kelly at Speaking from the Crib.  I couldn't resist.  I hope she doesn't sue.  I'm NOT selling the earrings :)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

To Celebrate or Wait?

The holidays are upon us and I am beyond delighted.  I am absolutely as shameless as any 5 year old. I want to sit on Santa's lap and tell him the 87 things I'd LOVE to have and eat sugar cookies for dinner for the next 23 nights. 'Tis the season, baby!!!

Unfortunately, I know better. And the joining of festive and reverent are not coming easily for me.

Today is the fourth day of Advent.  The first purple candle was lit on Sunday and Monday nights with the appropriate prayers being said.  I begged off on cooking dinner last night and the tradition is suffering already.  I am not proud.

I know that you can't spell Christmas without Christ, but have no idea how to translate that message meaningfully to my children. The expectations are high, but our traditions aren't solid.  I am looking for answers and not finding them.

If I am struggling with how to balance the waiting and vigilant preparations then what are my kids thinking?  They are looking to me to set the example and, like always in my parenting career, I just don't know how.  How can I possibly be a role model when I want to wear reindeer ears everyday?  If you know the answer, please reach out.


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