Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Times 2

My back has slowly, but surely been improving. An item of note is that it's responding to ibuprofen. That's huge deal. It means that whatever is going on in there is swollen & the ibuprofen is knocking it down. It helps a lot to know how to make something better. Whole light at the end of the tunnel and all, you know.

So I've been taking it easy. Hasn't been that hard, it's been raining, so we've been hanging out in the house. Girls are playing with their new toys & I'm only getting on them once or twice a day to clean a path, so no one gets hurt. Both girls are game players now, so we've been doing lots of that. It's been fun. Last night we're sitting around in the family room playing games & the TV made this HUGE pop noise. Loud like a firecracker, but quicker. Oh, and the TV went black. After some investigation we determined that the TV had died. I started to Google our TV brand (Vizio) and the drop down suggestion menu had "pop of death" as an option. Well, that sounded promising. Turns out it's a common problem, and that we were pretty much out of luck. Vizio has a warranty of 90 days on their TVs, we purchased our in April 2007. We were a bit out of warranty range. We could have it fixed, and there was lots of information about the parts we'd need & how Vizio deals with getting it fixed, etc...on the internet. However, the fix will cost between $800-$1000 and will only be warrantied for 30 days. We can buy a new TV for that cost & have a longer warranty.

So today we trudged over to Costco, if we'd bought our Vizio thru them the first go round they would've replaced it. (Information that would have been good to have prior to purchasing our last TV). We got a 46" Samsung (Sony & Samsung are the most reliable out there). Samsung offers a 1 year warranty & Costco extends the warranty two years past manufacturers. (My little PSA for you, your welcome.)

Turns out Santa came twice for my husband, he got an Apple TV on Christmas & a new TV for Boxing Day. Happy Festivus.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Post of Christmas Past (bc I could've written this exact post a year aog.)

Wow! It's been almost two weeks. I'm not sure if that's the longest I've gone w/out posting, but if not, it's close. Those cookies I baked were practically the death of me. While my back has been much, much better since October, 7 1/2 hours on my feet baking (and a few more cleaning up after) proved to be too much for my poor vertebrae. My assumption is that the tissue in that area is inflamed, and so I'm back in pain. (Back in nerve pain. Not good.)

The last two weeks have been a blur of keeping the girls on track with school & holiday functions, shopping, wrapping, cooking, scrap booking.... I'm sure very similar to whatever hubbub your own family had going on. In the midst of it all my back has not been happy. (Much like last year, huh.) So, my blogging is what has suffered. It's unfortunate, as I've had many things I'd like to write about, but just don't have the energy. If I wasn't cramming on finishing the scrapbooks for the grandparents I probably could've pulled off a post or two, but it just wasn't in me.

Suffice to say, we have been having a very "normal" holiday time. And that is good. I was an extremely good girl, as I got a new bike from DaddySpeak. (That or he wants me to get off my fat arce! I'm going w/good girl.) My parents gave us our tickets to Hawaii for this summer (they are taking us all on a trip). Crazy of them, but I'm beyond grateful. I also got a balance board for the Wii & Raving Ravids to go with it. This is leading somewhere, can you guess? We opened gifts w/my parents Christmas Eve. Got home, put the girls to bed, blah, blah, blah...Little got up just as Santa was about to come. Ack! So to kill some time, and make sure she was really asleep, I tried out my new Wii game. It was fun as all get out. I played for about an hour I guess. Then Santa came to visit & I went to bed. Next day we did our family gifts, and hung out in pjs. I realized I wasn't going to get to play w/my bike if I didn't get moving, so I took a quick spin around the block. I haven't ridden a bike a 3 years (since I hurt my back) if not longer. I'm sure I woke up some muscles that have been sleeping for quite some time. Obviously, I'm feeling a bit better if I did these things, right? About an hour after we got to my mom's, my back went into a spasm. It did this in such a huge way, and involved so much of my back that my entire body twitched as it went into spasm. The day went down hill from there. I had my muscle relaxers w/me, so I took one. I suppose it helped some, but mostly I felt like it made me groggy. By the time we finished dinner I couldn't stand to be upright any longer. W/in an hour of that, I couldn't stand to stand, or sit, or just generally be, any more. I declared myself done & we went home. I took a vicodin & got flat. Much, much better. I went to bed & tried to get to sleep, but I could tell the vicodin was wearing off, so I took another muscle relaxer. I'm still really, really sore tonight, but I am better. Slept till noon (groggy from muscle relaxers) and did pretty much nothing all day. Got coffee w/a friend & then went to dinner w/family friends. I was actually pretty good at that. (Hello Zinfandel!) I'm still "uncomfortable", but I can at least find positions to get into now. I'm hopeful that I'm past the worst of this now, and I can get back to my usual routine. Hopefully.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Can we push Christmas out till say January 15?

I'm still alive, really!

It's been crazy & I'm not sure when it's gonna get better. Right now I'm procrastinating about cleaning the kitchen after baking for over 7 hours today. I wish I were exaggerating. My feet are killing me. Tomorrow, we have a Christmas Prayer Service at church, which Big will participate in, so no missing it. Right after the girls and I are meeting my mom, Sister-In-Law & Niece for brunch before we go to the Nutcracker. It's going to be Little's first time. I'm hoping we didn't wear her out from this weekend already. From the ballet, the girls & I will be meeting DaddySpeak at a friend's holiday/cookie party.

I'm exhausted thinking about it.

No, I haven't finished my Christmas shopping.
No, all the Christmas decorations are NOT out yet. (About half of them.)
Tree is up (yes, we got the fake one, it's gorgeous) and decorated.
Front lights are up & outside is decorated.

Please, can we push Christmas out till Jan 15? I'm pretty sure I can pull it together by then. Probably.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Things To Do This Holiday Season In Silicon Valley

IMG_4498 So I wrote that post about some of traditions my family shares during the holidays. In the process of this, I started pulling links for, what I think is, some pretty cool stuff to do in the South Bay of Silicon Valley during the holiday season. While we live super close the the Big City, San Francisco, my family tends to stick closer to home for most of our trekking around. Luckily, there's lots to do! I'm sure there's tons more I haven't mentioned, so if you have a favorite by all means please add it in the comments. I'd love to check it out too.

Here's some of the Speak Family favorites:

  • Did you know San Jose has it's own Holiday Parade? This year it's December 6, at 8:30 AM. While the best seats get taken early, you don't have to show up at dark o'clock to get a front row view of this parade. Even here in California it's cold that early, so bring something to sit on (a blanket) and dress warm. This year the Grand Marshall is Disney's Goofy!
  • My mom, Sister-In-Law & I have an annual girls day, when we take our girls to see the Nutcracker. This will be LittleSpeak's first time, she's 3. That should be interesting. If it goes poorly, at least I have a blog post, right? We go to see the local production by Ballet San Jose. I love that we're able to support a ballet company locally. .
  • We attend Christmas in the Park in Down Town San Jose every year. This is the 30th year! Usually we know several groups who decorate trees (including groups we participate in.) It's always fun to go find the trees done by our friends. The kids love the displays. And I love that it's still free, after all these years.
  • We usually try to go ice skating on Down Town Ice while at Christmas in the Park. Where else can you ice skate outside, under the palm trees?
  • There's always a night we drive through Fantasy of Lights in Los Gatos. This is a great way to see lots of Christmas light with minimal effort. Great if you have young kids who won't last long! (My advice, try to go on a week night. Lines on weekends are KRAZZEE long!) We put the kids in warm jammies, pack some hot coco & treats and sing Christmas Carols with the radio station that's sync'd to the displays.)
  • Gilroy Gardens sponsors a month long event called Holiday Lights. Kids love it and they have ice skating & Santa too.
  • Last year we spent one evening checking out the houses with best Christmas light displays nearby us. I found a great website, Lights of the Valley, where people who go all out can post their addresses and pictures. (Users of the site, rate their displays too!) It's not just for the South Bay, but all over Northern California. I had no idea how much some people do (and close to us too!) We will definitely be doing this again this year.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Traditionally the Holidays

We have lots of Christmas traditions in my family. It's comforting to have traditions. I enjoy passing them on to my girls and telling them stories of doing the same when I was a child. And, they seem to really enjoy hearing stories of mommy as a girl. Some of the traditions we share:
  • If we have nice weather we will head to the Santa Cruz Mountains & cut down our tree. Growing up my family would do that regardless of weather. Yeah, that one can go out the door in the cold & rain as far as I'm concerned.
  • We decorate the tree together with Christmas music. Many of the ornaments are from my husband and I's childhoods, so there will be discussion about them as they come out of the boxes; who they came from, when, why, etc... Much fuss is made over the final item; the star. Daddy lifts each girl for a turn to place it on top. At my mom's house, it's a running joke about her redoing the ornament placement on her tree after we all leave.
  • The girls get annual advent calendars. We still get the kind that have a piece of chocolate to mark one day closer to Santa's arrival.
  • There's an annual visit to Santa at the mall for a picture.
  • Cookie making with my mom, sister-in-law (SIL) and now my girls & niece.
  • We have an annual trek to take the girls to see the Nutcracker. This will be LittleSpeak's first time, so that should be interesting.
  • Christmas Eve used to be at my Grandma's house when growing up. There was always traditional food (ham or prime rib or something) and trays of enchiladas as well as homemade tortillas, (my favorite part). After dinner there was always a cut throat game of poker. (Grandma was a card shark.) When my Grandma passed (21 years ago on this Dec 20) we started spending Christmas Eve with close family friends. They're Italian, so it was Seafood Chioppino for dinner. Yum!
  • The girls & their cousins always get matching Christmas pjs from my folks on Thanksgiving. These are to be worn on Christmas Eve & Morning.
  • We attend Christmas in the Park in Down Town San Jose. We usually try to go ice skating on Down Town Ice while there.
  • We drive through Fantasy of Lights in Los Gatos.
  • Last year we took a night to go check out the best Christmas Lights nearby us. THAT was fun!
This post was going to be about how I started a new tradition last year; Elf on a Shelf. But instead it's just about some of the little things we try to do that make the season special to US. I'll introduce you to our Elf in the next post. What kind of traditions does your family do?

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - Kansas Style

Girls got to go horseback riding at Papa's farm in Kansas. They were pretty pleased about the whole deal. In case the ear-to-ear grins didn't clue you in. ;-)