Sunday, December 28, 2008

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Every Who down in Who-ville loved Christmas a lot.
But more than Ann Lacouture? Oh, no. I think not.
For she just LOVED Christmas! The whole Christmas season!
You want to know why? Well, I’ll tell you the reason.
It could be the lights, music, Christmas d├ęcor,
It could be the trees and the wreaths on each door,
But I think the most likely reason of all,
May have been all the presents brought home from the mall.

But whatever the reason, the gifts or the trees,
She stood there at Christmastime loving the Me’s.
She made her wish list at the start of November,
And made it a point to help others remember—
The clothes, shoes and doodads; the make-up, the gum—
Then she pranced around waiting for “Santa” to come.
Which was all good and fine, but the problem, you see—
Was that Ann’s selfish heart was the size of a pea.

And for many a year things continued this way—
(Until recent years—I’m embarrassed to say)
But change slowly did come; one thing, then another—
Getting married, moving far, and then being called Mother.
Yes, little by little her heart started to grow—
And continues to do so—I think you should know.
Christmas, she’s learning, doesn’t come from a store—
Christmas, perhaps, does mean a bit more.

It means being grateful for the blessings I’m given:
Three super cool kids, and a warm house to live in;
For a hard-working husband (with a really strong bod);
For food, friends, and family; and the goodness of God.
It means loving others—yes this is a must—
The way Christ would have us—the way he loves us.

Now I know what you’re wondering: “Does she still make a list?”
Alright! Fine! I do! But the point here is this:
I’M GROWING UP, PEOPLE! And what’s even more—
I even made treats for the neighbors next door!

Love,
Ann




























P.S. Here's a little of our Christmas fun. "Wii" are going to get fit.

video

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Fa la la la la

I'M DONE WITH ALL MY CHRISTMAS STUFF!! Glo o o o o o o o o o o o o o ria ! Eat egg shells each day-0! Glo o o o o o o o o o o o ria! Eat egg shells each day-ay-o!
Well, except for one thing.
I love sending out Christmas cards (as I mentioned last year.) I think I love sending them mostly because of how much I love getting them, but also because I love writitng my Christmas letter. I think about it for weeks before I write it, and I try to make it a little unique every year, and it's really fun for me. So a couple weeks ago while I was at Costco, I picked up some of my Christmas cards. I like to get one of those variety boxes where all the cards are different and they all kinda have a hand-made look to them. Anyway, the wiser, cooler angel on my left shoulder was saying to me, "Ann, at a time when you should really be saving money, do you really need to get those Christmas cards?" And the stupid impulsive devil on my right shoulder was saying, "Cork it, cheapskate. Ann, don't think about what's wise for the future--live in the now!" And they had it out for a few minutes and the devil won, so I bought the cards. But anyway, I was finally able to sit down and scratch out a Christmas letter, and April came and took our picture, and I had them developed, and everything was ready to go. And as I began to put a letter and a picture in the cards, I thought again about what a waste of money those dang cards were--considering I don't even write hardly anything in them. The only purpose they really serve is to hold the letter and picture. So anyway, since I had bought them, I went ahead and sealed them all up and addressed them and they were ready to go. Well at some point in my preparation, I had noticed that up in the little box on the envelopes where the stamp goes, there was a litte message that said, "May require extra postage." Hmm. So I stopped by a shipping place on Tuesday night to have one weighed. Well, to my disgust, the girl told me that they would each be around 79 cents because they weighed over an ounce, and they were bumpy and would not run properly through the machine. Whatever. So I went to the post office yesterday morning for a second opinion only to be told that the cards would actually be counted as small parcels and would therefore cost more than a dollar each to mail. Can you believe that! These people are out of their minds! If I had only listened to the other shoulder! So anyway, what am I supposed to do now? Well, I remember that I did buy and send out the same cards last year, and I didn't seem to have a problem then, so I decided to try a little experiment. I mailed one of my cards to each of my friends that live in Eugene (since they'd get them the soonest) and I put one stamp on one of them and two stamps on the other, and I'm waiting to see if either of them gets delivered. If the one with one stamp gets delivered, I'll go ahead and mail them all out. If only the one with two stamps gets delivered, I may just mail the ones going to my grandmas, and if neither of them gets delivered, I'll just have to send out a Christmas email. Lame.
I cannot stand to feel like I am wasting money. I know everyone spends money differently and different things are worth more or less to different people, but buying 27 cards that cost well over a dollar each to mail definitely falls in the "wasting money" category to me. (I do have to admit, that luckily for me, not all of the cards I bought were the Costco ones. The other ones I got were fine, so atleast 12 people will be getting a card.)
This whole horrible ordeal reminds me of how much I hate it when I realize I have not gotten a good deal. Almost everything I buy is one sale, and I'm not kidding---when I buy something and then find out that I could have gotten it cheaper somewhere else, I seriously have to breath through it and keep myself from screaming. It bothers me that much. It's like last year when I went to Reed & Cross's going-out-of-business sale and I bought this stupid Christmas fern thing for 15% off(ooohh, try not to go crazy with your discounts, Reed & Cross)--so it cost $60-- and then I went to Home Depot and saw the same exact ferns for $19.99! I tried to remain calm as I furiously shuffled through purse to find my receipt. "All sales are final?" AHHHHHHHH! I wanted to die.

But ANYWAY---not counting the card fiasco, my Christmas stuff (including gifts, stocking stuffers, Christmas Eve dinner stuff, shipping, etc.) is all done and now I can just sit back, watch Christmas movies, listen to Christmas music, and frost Christmas cookies. Ahhhhh....

P.S. You know what makes me so sad? Brian doesn't care about Christmas nearly as much as I do(which is probably similar to all of your husbands). In fact, he's seemed a little upset lately. I am so grateful, though, that he goes along with most of my craziness. And atleast I have Camp to be excited with me.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Smashing Success

Throwing a party is a risky thing, and I am all too aware of some of those risks. When I was in sixth grade, I had my first boy/girl party and I had invited Jess Warren, on whom I had a major crush. My excitement for him to come was only matched by the fear I felt that at my party he would meet and fall in love with my friend, Kim, who did not attend our school. Kim and I had been best friends through elementary school and she had always been the cuter and funner of the two of us. She had been the one the boys had always liked. So anyway, party time came and sure enough, Jess couldn't get enough of Kim. I was heartbroken. This had been (and for several more years continued to be) the story of my life, you see, and I could almost not bear it. I remember leaving the party and going into my mom's room to cry, and I remember my mom telling me that I needed to pull it together. It was horrible. Funny thing--I also remember that the next morning, I was cleaning with my mom and that song, "It's my party and I'll cry if I want to" came on, so I took the opportunity to turn to my mom and say, "See, Mom. It's my party and I'll cry if I want to." (Just a side note--despite how this story might depict my mom, she has definitely always been my biggest supporter.)
And then there was the party that my brother threw after we had moved across town. He had been so excited to get his old group of friends together for a reunion, of sorts, but it ended up being the worst night of our lives up until that point. It was the weirdest thing. Nobody ate; nobody talked; nobody did anything except stare at the walls. I remember all of us kids and my mom hiding up in her room to escape the awkwardness that was rapidly permeating the entire downstairs. My mom kept saying that somebody had to go downstairs, and each of us would beg for it not to be us--including my brother. We swore we would never throw another party for as long as we lived, and it took a good many years for us to build the courage to try it again. Don't worry too much, though, because there have been a few good parties throughout the years, too. Remember those New Year's Eve breakfast parties, guys? Those were super fun. (Thanks, Mom) And Camp's four friends were happy enough with the toilet paper game at his birthday party this year. So it all evened out.
And My Favorite Things party? Well, let's just say it tipped the scale in my favor. It was fabulous. We had a ton of fun and I haven't laughed so hard in a very long time. We ate a bunch of my favorite things and then I went through a list of my 30 favorite things (or atleast the things that had come to my mind over the previous week.) They are: chapstick, It's a Wonderful Life, Krinkles ornaments, decorating (especially with red), El Pato tomato sauce, Brooke's pumpkin dessert, the pan my mom gave me, tupperware, socks, my Dyson, bleach, Christmas music, my magazines, my round brush, truffles from Costco, bedding, down pillows, wood, checks in the mail, Simple Pleasures fabric softener, rubber spatulas, my tool box, blankets, my minivan, my ferns, baskets, Crocs, Airwick plug-in oil burners (harvest spice) and last but not least--DRUM ROLL--Chelsie and Mark's dance to Bleeding Love. Oh man, I seriously cannot get enough of it.
So after naming my favorite things, I gave the girls a few minutes to write down as many of them as they could remember, and the girls who were able to remember the most, got to pick a gift from under my Krinkles tree. (Each of the gifts was one of my favorite things.) Then we watched the video on You Tube and I said that whomever would be willing to dance to the video when I played it again would get a gift, too. Nobody would do it alone, so several of us decided that we could all do it together. This is when the laughing started. I was seriously crying. I have been wanting to unleash those moves for so long! Oh I felt so liberated! I thought I was going to die of complete bliss and fulfillment.
Oh, also--each girl had brought with her a gift that was one of her favorite things and had put it under the tree---and later we all grabbed different gifts and took turns opening them and guessing who's favorite thing each was. Fun, fun, fun.
And the party was fun enough, but Becky was in town for the weekend, too! She is such a fun guest! I love to have her because she enjoys everything just like a kid does and she gets excited for everything that gets me excited. Can't wait for you to come again, Becky.
So that's it. Another good week.
P.S. Any good ideas for my Christmas letter?







Wednesday, December 3, 2008

You are invited

So here's the new bedding that I made. I have always loved Paisley--even before it made its comeback. It is traditional, but not too feminine. Thanks again, Mom.


Also, Jane turned three, and she is seriously the most adorable three year old that I have ever seen. I often have to keep myself from eating her.

And we've had some fun family time--we recently went up the lighthouse with the kids. And we had a pretty good Thanksgiving, except that I should have made a fruit dish. Don't ever attempt to pull off a Thanksgiving dinner without a fruit dish. It just isn't the same. And Brian got to play in the annual Turkey bowl, and we put up our Christmas trees (I LOVE CHRISTMAS!)and I had my birthday. Brian built me a beautiful book case and I LOVE it. Man, I scored with Brian.

And Brian let me get myself a new side table as my Christmas present, and I love that, too. And my mother-in-law is coming to visit tomorrow, and on Friday I'm throwing "My Favorite Things" party. That's right. No selling. Just giving (although on a teensy bit smaller scale than Oprah). And guess what? You're invited! So what is your favorite thing? Stay tuned, because after my party, I'll share with you some of my favorite things!