Monday, December 24, 2012

2012 Holiday letter

     Justin is still working at Lockheed and will be starting a new position at the beginning of the year. He got an award in April for a program that he wrote, so Justin and I took a weekend away in Colorado. It worked out nicely since cousin Drake and his wife Ashley and cousin Kyle and his fiancĂ© Krista live in Denver and so does our good friend Jeff. We also got to see my brother Colby who was working in Keystone (he is there again this winter). I took Justin for archery lessons for his birthday. The highlight of his year continues to be playing strategy games and collecting and watching movies. He also took a trip to Mexico for his best friend, Mick’s, wedding to Marisol.

    I was able to take a few trips this year as well. I took a trip to Colorado to hang out with Colby and spend some quality time with him seeing what his everyday life looks like. He is figuring out what makes him happy and I am proud of him. I also got to stay in San Diego with Freddy and Annie in their new house that I lovingly call “the palace.” It is a 5 bedroom, 4 bathroom house in Carlsbad and it is gorgeous. It has been nice spending time with them and trying to be around Grandma Gretchen and Grandpa David as much as possible. Grandma’s Alzheimer’s is getting worse and I just want to be there for her as much as possible. I was also able to take a ski trip with my cookbook club ladies. We get together monthly and eat yummy food. One Life to Live, my soap opera, was cancelled this year. It doesn’t seem like that would matter, but I watched that soap opera with my mom since I was a very little kid. It was a very bonding show for us.

   Vander has tried out lots of different sports this year. He played soccer, tee ball, and tae kwan do. Both boys have been doing swimming lessons, tried gymnastics, kindermusik, and Oliven did Gymboree.  Van also enjoyed Vacation Bible School. He went to the Padre game with Justin over the summer. Van has now been to two professional stadiums. We spent a good part of our year at Great America, Gilroy Gardens, Pump it Up, and Children’s Discovery Museum. We also took the kids to Tahoe and went sledding (they constantly ask when we are going back). We took them to Family camp outside of Yosemite in the summer. It was the first time any of the boys (including Justin) had been camping and it was a huge success. They all want to go back. Yay! Nature won them over! We went to Guernville and stayed in the Haran cabin and it was truly magical. My mom grew up there and it is everything she said it was and more. We went to Disneyland and stayed in LA with Jon and Ruth. They took us to a train museum. We spent a week in San Diego over the summer and that was really fun quality family time. We also spent a weekend in Cazedero with my best friend Andrea and her family.

   Vander is loving preschool. He is challenging us and learning limits. He hasn’t been sleeping through the night this year, so that has been difficult. It’s a work in progress. He is very smart and loves to read and is working on writing. Oliven is truly becoming a little man. He is such a sweet little boy full of love and hugs. He looks up to his brother and tries to do everything he does.

    It has been a very tough end of the year for us. Justin was hit by an uninsured motorist and I drove through a construction site so both cars had to be fixed at our expense even though neither was our fault. Now, our house is leaking due to a mistake of the solar panel installers, but they aren’t taking any blame. We might have to get a wall torn down and our wood flooring replaced.This is all happening as I am trying to process my Grandpa Ken passing away and Justin’s grandma, Bubbie Eloise, passing away recently as well. Here’s to hoping 2013 brings better luck.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Hanukkah and hair cut

I decided it was time for a new haircut...something fun and different...I think I like it. It's not "my haircut" for life, but it's good for now.  

We had a very happy Hanukkah this year and now it's time to look forward to Christmas.

Our house wreck

 We had a neighbor, who is a commercial roofer, help patch the roof. Then, they had to take the dry wall off the wall to dry out the inside and the flooring had to be torn up too. Turns out there is linoleum under the kitchen floor...dehumidifiers have been running for a week straight. I miss my house and I'm not looking forward to the bill for all this. Please oh please let insurance pay for it!
The inside of half the kitchen is covered in plasic sheeting, as it part of the living room. The inside of the plastic sheeting looks a mess too.
...Two weeks later... We now have the wall taped off and covered in plastic. And... the roof is leaking again, so it's pooling inside the plastic. This problem keeps getting bigger and to top it off it started leaking December 23rd in the evening. It's really hard to get anything accomplished Christmas Eve or Christmas day and now we are left to we have to cancel our trip to San Diego? Should I still fly down myself and just leave the boys here? I really don't want to go to Grandpa Ken's funeral alone, but I don't want to miss it either. I miss him.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Our weekend- cookie decorating brunch, Steven and Rachel visit, and two parties

  What a fun and crazy busy weekend. We had Grammy over to decorate cookies with us in the morning. The Rogerson family was supposed to come, but several of them got the flu. We had a good time with lots of colors to decorate with and 82 cookies. Vander really got into it this year and while his cookies were very similar, he had a really good time...gobs of frosting with sprinkles and hope of maybe being allowed to eat one or two or three. I guess that was the winning combination for him. Ollie also decorated about 6 and ate 2, then he was off to build and rebuild some puzzles. (By far his favorite pass time right now).
  In the afternoon Steven and Rachel came over for dinner. We opened our gifts for the last night of Hanukkah and then had the boys most requested meal- chicken pot pie. Justin made up a recipe and it really is delicious. Steven moved to San Francisco 1 1/2 years ago and this is the first time I have gotten him to come visit. We have been friends since I was 15. It was nice hanging out and chatting with them. Steven doesn't like board games much to Justin's chagrin.
  Sunday morning I went to the gym and the boys went to the grocery store. Then, I took the guys to a birthday party of Vander's preschool friend, Rylie. Van and Ollie enjoyed the crafts- making stockings and cookie decorating.
   In the afternoon we went to the South Valley 2010 party. It was at the Los Paseos club house. I was in charge of set up and picking up the Chinese food that I had ordered. Lets just say we could have fed at least 25-50 more people easy.  We ended up with TONS of leftovers. We brought home enough for our family to have another dinner and lunch from it and we took less than many people. The kids liked the dancing and games. They also made a Christmas ornament craft. Hannah was in a jam so I headed straight over to her house to babysit while Justy put our kids to bed. It was a long much fun. I think we all need a nap now. ;)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Second night of Hannukah, cookie exchange and block party

  Talk about a busy day...I had a cookie exchange with my Cookbook Club ladies to start off the morning
 (I made sure I went to the gym first- the boys went grocery shopping). In the afternoon Grammy and Pops came up to light the menorah and open presents. It was puzzle time in the Katz house. Vander got to light the candles for the first time with minimal help.

Then we headed over to the Holiday block party. It was complete with 9 families, cookie decorating at Jenn's house, lots of snacks, caroling, looking at lights and awarding the golden pinecone (the Paulson family won this year), and ended the evening at Rick and Cindy's around their fire pit. It was a huge success and lots of fun. I got lots of complements on my apple cider. :)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

First night of Hanukkah

  This morning we woke up early and headed to down town San Jose to have breakfast with Santa. We had a good time. We ate breakfast, the kids made some ornaments, sat on Santa's lap and we won a puzzle. Oliven is obsessed with puzzles right now. He can't get enough. We came home and baked up the Mandel bread and had some quiet time. Katie's dad, Gordon, came over and assessed the damage to our house. He was a really great guy. It was fun to meet him. Justin loved that he said he would be done with our house in 7.6 minutes. Our kind of guy...
Then, we headed down to the Katz parents house to meet up with Heather, Mitch, Katie, Grammy and Pops for a fun afternoon. There was some t-ball, lots of puzzles, a few cartoons, lots of chatting, and a lovely dinner with some moist and delicious pork roast, crispy and yummy latka's with carrots and green beans and fudge and chocolate pretzels for dessert. It was a lovely afternoon and evening. Zoe also came to join in the fun (Katie and Mitch's dog). It was really nice spending quality time with family. Happy Hannukah everyone!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Leaky roof

  First I'd like to say that I am so tired of having things upgraded and things breaking while they are upgrading and the people who are doing the work calling it a "coincidence". It is NOT a coincidence that we had solar panels put on our roof in July and then when it started raining a few months later the roof is leaking. Were there a whole bunch of big men on my roof walking around? Yes....did they possibly kick something? Yes. Ticks me off!!! Will they take any blame? Of course not. I feel like I have gotten screwed over and over. Why can't people just accept responsibility when it's their fault??? So, now our house is leaking...and our garage. The preliminary report is that the dry wall from the kitchen wall will have to be taken off and all the hardwood floors will have to be ripped out and then fix everything, and of course the roof hole needs to be fixed. I can't believe this is happening. I didn't want solar panels in the first place. See the drips running down the walls. Lots of water damage.

Wreath making and dinner with friends

In the early afternoon we headed over to make wreaths and decorate the Christmas tree at the preschool with the church people as well. The boys really made a pretty nice looking wreath- it was a family effort. We had some appetizers and headed over to Arielle's for dinner.

Arielle asked Casey and I over for dinner to hang out and have a fun evening. It was great. She is really good with all the chaos around and it's always nice to spend time with good friends. The kids really enjoyed themselves too and they got to watch most of Peter Pan, which they thought was pretty awesome.

Saturday, December 1, 2012


Advent 2013:
1.       Making a 24 ring chain- red and green paper.
2.       Wreath making at preschool- 3:30pm.
3.       Roll coins
4.       Make paper snowflakes.
5.       Make a snowman out of marshmallows and toothpics.
6.       Play Wii with Daddy
7.       Preschool fun night.
8.       Breakfast with Santa and Hannukah with Grammy and Pops.
9.       Neighborhood Christmas party 4-7pm.
10.   Make a fort
11.   Lights bike ride.
12.   Hannukah craft.
13.   Play Wii with daddy.
14.   Gingerbread party at Sarah’s.
15.   Decorate Holiday cookies (invite Grammy, Pops, Mitch, Katie and Heather).
16.   Christmas party 2010 at 4pm.
17.   Call GGMA and GGPA and sing a holiday song.
18.   Watch Charlie Brown Christmas?
19.   Write a Christmas story.
20.   Holiday craft
21.   Snowman pizza
22.   Hot chocolate
23.   Light walk around.
24.   Make a plate of cookies for Santa.

We opened the first door for advent today and it was a huge success (followed by a quiche dinner with rave reviews...who knew you could get a 2 and 4 year old to thank you profusely for dinner filled with broccoli and spinach if you just added cheese, crab and crust).

Date night with friends

  Early this summer 5 couples bought a groupon to go to Rooster T. Feathers for a fun evening of comedy. Planning a date to go that worked for everyone was a nightmare and we finally gave up. I chose the date of November 30th and we let them know we were going that night well in advance. What do you know...4 of the 5 couples ended up being able to go. We picked up Nicole and Michael and headed to Rangoli for a yummy Indian food dinner. Then we met up with Sarah and Andy and Casey and Jason for a hilarious evening of good conversation and funny comedians.