Saturday, December 18, 2010

25 Random Facts About Me...I'm Not Very Interesting

My childhood friend, Keri, tagged me in a "facebook getting to know you" kind of way.  Essentially, when tagged you spout off twenty-five random facts.  Here are mine:

1.  I absolutely hate the Rolling Stones.

2.  I still haven't decided what I want to be when I grow up.

3.  I love the idea of understanding our government but I hate politics.

4.  The celebrity of Sarah Palin intrigues me.

5.  My grandmother is still my best friend.

6.  I hate grape jelly, grape juice, grape gum but I love grapes.

7.  I like the concept of yoga in theory...not in reality.

8.  I am often amazed that I am married with kids in my late 30s.  I look at myself as a teenager in so many ways still.

9.  I am learning how to forgive.  It is a slow process but someday I will get there.

10.  I believe that my sisters have an inflated image of me.

11.  Brown is my favorite color.  I especially love it coupled with baby blue or pink.

12.  When we build our next house, I want a fireplace in our kitchen.

13.  For as assertive as I seem, there are a few people who I will not confront.

14.  I could spend hours in Costco.

15.  We don't have cable TV.

16.  It makes me very angry when people renounce a religion because of the acts of a few.  Believing in a doctrine is not the same as believing in the people who claim to adhere to the same spiritual rules as me.

17.  I love, love, love flowers and plants and gardens.

18.  I am a little addicted to garden and house flags.

19.  My children remind me that all things in life happen for a reason.

20.  My husband is actually funny even thought I tell him that he isn't.

21.  I write down dialogue that I have with people to preserve those moments.

22.  I am definitely overrated when it comes to teaching.

23.  I would move to Maine in a heartbeat.

24.  I have very few regrets in my life.

25.  John Keating is my hero!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Santa Trolley

trolleys + Christmas carols + trains + Santa Claus = FUN!

One of the rituals of our Christmas season remains visiting the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum and Santa Claus.  One of my colleague's sister coordinates the special events for the museum and does a fantastic job.  Whether it be the Bunny or Pumpkin or Santa Trolley, we always enjoy ourselves even if the boys aren't too keen about visiting with the characters during the ride.

Surprisingly, Peanut spoke to Santa and Walnut even sat on the jolly ol' elf's lap and spoke to him, too.  Bob's brother, brother's wife and our nephew joined us, too.   Merry Christmas--trolley style!

I Remember Gibsonia

Bob and I lived in Gibsonia for three years before moving closer to the school where I teach.  To be honest, I loved living in the North Hills.  For the most part, I never got stuck in traffic because alternative routes abound.  We did move.  I love where we live now.  But, I miss some facets of Gibsonia.  We certainly miss the Western Pennsylvania Model Railroad Museum.  All of the boys love spending an afternoon with the trains.

Peanut couldn't get enough of Thomas and Walnut just took in all of the different layouts, houses and other intricacies.  Here are a few photos of our afternoon with the trains.

By the way, I was going to buy Bob a membership for Christmas; was being the operative word.

I promised him that this would be the last picture.  

cool scenery

We've Created Monsters on Ice Skates

Our godchildren are rink rats.  E competes as a figure skater and C plays hockey.  E invited us to watch her Christmas skating extravaganza which also provided an opportunity for the four of us to take to the ice via a public skate.  I am a marginal ice skater-at best.  Bob shouldn't get on skates unless he's being attacked and ice skating will save his life.  Once, when we were dating he attempted to put on my roller blades.  The prediction for the outcome of the event was an ER trip but somehow he did NOT break any bones or have any severe lacerations.

We got to E's show at the tail end of the program, right before the open skate time, and Peanut was fast asleep in Bob's arms.  I figured, 'I will take Walnut out to skate for a lap or two.  He'll get tired or fall down quite a bit and we'll be done.'  Although it took us approximately fifteen minutes to complete one lap, Walnut absolutely LOVED ice skating.  He probably fell at least twenty times but did so with a huge smile on his face.

As we were on the opposite side of  the rink, I heard Peanut scream, "I WAAANT  MUMMMMM!  I WAAANT TO SKAAAAAATE!"

Walnut and I skated over to find Peanut waiting patiently with Bob, Pap, Jim and Amy.  Bob explained that Peanut woke up from a nap, looked around and then began screaming at the top of his lungs.

In my mind I thought, 'There is no way that they have skates small enough to fit him.'  Again, I was completely wrong.  And so, while holding up Walnut, carrying Peanut and an enormous blue plastic contraption so that Walnut could skate on his own while I would remain hunched over so that Peanut could SKAAAAAATE! we made our way to the ice.

Needless to say, Peanut LOVED the ice, too.  Bob dared to walk around in loafers with Peanut so that my aching back could take a short break.  Walnut asked if Santa Claus could bring him ice skating lessons.  Bob and I have discussed, priced and inquired about the different programs in the area.  Fortunately, the Iceoplex remains the front runner and the drive time equals less than ten minutes.  Since last year, my hockey playing students have encouraged me to teach the boys how to ice skate.  They'll be happy.  :)
Walnut and his blue helper

Bob and Peanut...look at those little skates!

Monday, December 13, 2010

sixty and the surprise

My father-in-law turned 60 three years ago.  His birthday is in September and Bob's birthday is in October.  So, I decided to throw a double surprise party for my father-in-law's 60th birthday and Bob's 35th birthday.  We had so much to celebrate as both of the Kocanuts men reached a milestone birthday and I found out that I was pregnant with our Peanut several days before Pap's birthday.  The plan was flawless because Pap and Bob both thought that the surprise party was for the other.  Ingenious, I know.

Fast Forward to 2010:  My mother-in-law turned sixty in late November.  After speaking with my father-in-law, I envisioned precise execution of plan as the only means to pull off this covert operation.  You see, Nana, or also known as Mom K., is extraordinarily curious.  With that, Pap cannot be described as the best secret keeper.  I was mildly nervous.  However, I mailed invitations, began to plan and then prayed for the best.

Here was the plan:
I told my mother-in-law that I was going Christmas shopping with my mother that Saturday afternoon.  We also told her that Walnut had a birthday party to attend in the afternoon.  Bob and I both knew that we would get absolutely no prep work done if we had Peanut under our feet.  We deduced that the best way to keep the grandparents out of their house was to keep them stationed at ours.  We "needed" someone to watch Peanut.  I drove to Pap and Nana's, my brother-in-law and future sister-in-law met me,  Bob and Walnut joined us and it all just fell together.  We set the stage and waited for the guests to arrive and for the shouting of "Surprise!" by all involved.

In a nutshell, she couldn't believe it.  We actually pulled it off!  There are so many other intricacies that played a crucial part in this story, especially that all of  her sons, daughters-in-law and grandsons enjoyed the evening with her. The night was as successful as it possibly could have been.  My mother-in-law will not soon forget the celebration of her 60th birthday.  Like the hokey pokey, isn't that what surprise parties are all about?



If there's a will...there's a train involved!

Happy 60th!

HMP: sleep strike

It's 8:25 p.m. and this is what Bob and I are currently listening to from the room down the hall, "WAHHHH.  waaaahhhh.  aaahhhhhhaalllluuuuu.  WWWWWWWWAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!"

Tonight is Day 6 of Peanut's Sleep Strike.  For some reason, Peanut has decided that he doesn't want to sleep without cozying himself up next to one of his parents.  Mind you, this child didn't sleep through the night until twenty-two months.



It is super difficult for me to stay in here and type BUT Bob and I are both currently laughing about the range of sounds and the manifestations of crocodile tears that are emanating through the second floor of our home.  Peanut is a Drama King, with a capital D and with a capital K.  He likes to have things his way all of the time.

I am not one who allows my children to "cry it out" because I don't really believe that it ever truly benefits anyone in our house.  Peanut can outlast all of us.  I can only surmise that Walnut is desperately trying to fall asleep and his brother will not allow that to happen.

And, so the saga of Peanut's Sleep Strike continues.  Perhaps we'll call Super Nanny!

Wish us luck.  I may have a cosmo after this is all said and done.

Walnut's Letter to Santa

I just wrote a letter to Santa!

For every letter received, Macy's will donate $1 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, up to $1,000,000. Help make wishes come true by writing your own letter to Santa!

Peanut's Letter to Santa

I just wrote a letter to Santa!

For every letter received, Macy's will donate $1 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, up to $1,000,000. Help make wishes come true by writing your own letter to Santa!


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