Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy 2009!

Happy New Year! I can't believe another year is over. 2008 really flew by. So much happened this past year for us. It was a very good year! Hopefully tomorrow I'll have time to post a year-ender photo album. I had a lot of fun with that last year. (Thanks RB and LK for the idea!) 

I'm not sure if I have any resolutions this year... I'll have to think about it. Eat healthier? Be nicer to people? Save more money? Exercise? Blog more? Hmmmm.... Anyone else making any resolutions?? 

Happy 2009!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Family Portrait Day

The Hayden Brothers were all in town at the same time, and all the kids were here too. So Paula & Gary thought it would be fun (or was it just Paula's idea?) to go to Sears for a big family portrait. Here is one of the pictures of the whole crew. Little Kelly in the bottom row middle was very squirmy, so the rest of us had to stay perfectly still, smile and stare at the camera while they waited for her to look and smile. This was quite the feat for the 2 young, um, well-endowed female photographers.... at least the boys had no problem keeping their focus...

After the photo shoot, we came back to our house for a pizza party. Greg, Diane and their kids hadn't seen our new house yet, so it was nice they were able to visit. And we all know how I love to entertain... Here are some photos from the day. There are no behind-the-scenes pictures of the photo shoot because I was scolded for trying to take pictures... but the rest of the day is very well documented. Enjoy!

Friday, December 26, 2008

The 2008 Meme

Here's a fun "meme" I received. I'll spare all my friends and not email it to them and expect them to email it back... but if you do want to send it to me all filled out, I'd love to read them! Just copy and paste into an email and change the answers to your own. Or post it to your blog...


1. What did you do in 2008 that you'd never done before?
I got married... in a courthouse!

2. Did you keep your New Years' resolutions and will you make more for next year?
I don't remember my resolutions from last year... perhaps that will be part of my resolutions for next year. To remember what they are!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Eight (8) co-workers had children this year. Isn't that insane! And don't worry, I'm not drinking the water...

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No, thank goodness.

5. What countries did you visit?
Just this one. Our travels were limited this year.

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
A nice long vacation that doesn't involve moving trucks.

7. What date from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
July 31st. My wedding date.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Co-ordinating the sale of our townhouses and the purchase/move to our new house. Phew!!

9. What was your biggest failure?
Nothing major stands out.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Thankfully, no.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
A new house!

12. Where did most of your money go?
See question #11.

13. What did you get really, really excited about?
Marrying Eric, of course!

14. What song will always remind you of 2008?
That Flow-Rida "Low" song... "Apple Bottom Jeans... and the boots with the fur." When Alex and I drove to Cleveland in April to see the Red Sox play, it was on the radio constantly. Whenever I hear it now, I think of that trip.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you: Happier or sadder? Thinner or fatter? Richer or poorer?
Happier. The exact same. Richer. (Only because it's combined now!)

16. What do you wish you'd done more of?

17. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Stressed out about silly things.

18. How will you be spending New Years Eve?
Not sure yet... perhaps just enjoying our new home, watching Dick Clark... or is it Ryan Seacrest now?... Or maybe we'll get to go to Meghan MacMurphy's!

19. Did you fall in love in 2008?
I was already in love...

20. What was your favorite TV program?
I re-discovered HGTV. And my favorite show this year was definitely "House Hunters".

21. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Hate? No... I don't hate anyone.

22. What was the best book you read?
I just read 2 fun Carol Higgins Clark books... I love the "Regan Riley" mysteries.

23. What was your favorite film of this year?

24. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
We went out to eat at Ichiban Japanese Steakhouse... and I turned *gasp* 40.

25. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I think I had a very good year!

26. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?

27. What kept you sane?
Kept me sane? That would mean I was sane to begin with!! Ah ha ha ha ha ha....

28. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I don't think I really fancied any public figures or celebrities. Although what Michael Phelps did at the Olympics was very cool.

29.. What political issue stirred you the most?
Nothing really stirred me, they just annoyed me. There was way too much politic-ing this year!!

30. Who was the best new person you met?
Hmm. Did I meet anyone new this year? I didn't get out much.

31. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.
Chill out!

32. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
"We got the beat..."

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Merry Christmas... I'm coming to you from my new laptop! Santa was verrrrry good to me this year!! I must have been a very good girl...

So far Christmas has been lots of fun. And we're only half way through the day. We're getting ready to go to Sheila's house for a nice Christmas dinner. And speaking of dinners, last night we went to Yvette's house for a nice Christmas Eve dinner. (Yvette is Eric's ex-wife - Kelsey's mom.) Click here to the see photos.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas! I'll post today's photos sometime tomorrow...

* * * Update! * * *
Click here to see photos from Christmas Day....

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas Eve!

I really meant to update this in the last few days. Time is sure passes by quickly! Lots going on getting ready for Christmas. I mentioned last time that I was going to post some photos from around the house. I fully intended on getting to that the last few days, but obviously failed miserably. Well, for what it is, here goes the rest of the house tour.

This is a cute ornament we got for Jenny this year. Since we got one for the 4 of us, we didn't want her to feel left out. She had some assistance hanging it on the tree.

This is the outside of the house. I only put up a couple of wreaths this year for decorations outside. Next year, maybe I'll get daring and throw up some lights. The snow was a natural occurrence, not a decoration from me... (Hey, I used "occurrence" in a sentence and I even spelled it right!)

This is my favorite Nutcracker guy. Standing tall overseeing the festivities. Well, at this point he's just waiting for them to begin. He's been waiting for awhile now!

This funny looking Santa was a gift several years ago from a Secret Santa gift exchange. I think he's neat. He sits at the bottom of the stairs next to a Poinsettia. He reminds us of the Davey Jones character from Pirates of the Caribbean. The one with the crazy snake type creatures coming out of his face.

Since we don't have a chimney, fireplace or mantle... this seemed like a fun place to put all the stockings. Kelsey's stocking is the gigantic one with the green top. Alex has the next biggest one on the far left. Eric and I have the "small" ones in the middle. And no, the giant stockings do not get filled all the way. Just because there's more room, doesn't necessarily mean they get more stuff!

I have no idea where this little snowman came from. But he's sweet and I like his big red heart. He's in the dining room with the red candles and centerpiece.

And that's about it! I sincerely hope that everyone has a wonderful Christmas and is able to spend time with family and loved ones. And I hope Santa is good everyone!

Friday, December 19, 2008

I. Hate. Snow.

It's true. I don't like snow. I don't like winter either. Or cold weather for that matter. But here I am, in one of the snowiest parts of the country. And I'm never moving again. So it's a necessary evil that I must endure each year. It's beautiful and warm here for about 5 months a year. Then it goes downhill fast. It's not even officially winter yet and we've had almost 50" of snow already.

I do love the holidays though, and I don't mind looking out the window and seeing the snow. I just don't like being out in it or driving in it. So while I'm inside, watching it snow outside, I like to enjoy the holiday decorations around the house. I've shown some photos of the gigantic tree, but over the next few days, I'm going to post a few various photos of some other decorations around the house. Kind of a fun Holiday House tour. The kind where you don't have to leave your house!

This is an ornament that our friend Beebs gave us. I just love it! On the other side it says "First Christmas In Our New Home". Very sweet!

And this is my new favorite Santa. I got him at a 90% off sale last year at Jo-Ann Fabrics after Christmas. I think it was under $2. I had forgotten I got him until I opened the boxes of decorations this year.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Disappointing Occurrence

That's o-c-c-u-r-r-e-n-c-e. Occurrence. Could you have spelled that correctly without looking? Would knowing the origin of the word helped? Or the definition? Well, it wouldn't have helped me. And I guess it didn't help Alex either. He had made it to the finals of his Middle School's Spelling Bee. He was in the Top 12 for the whole school. And the Top 3 get to go to the Post Standard Spelling Bee (which is incidentally aired on Eric's station....) Well, Alex came in 4th place. Needless to say, he was VERY disappointed. But... there's always next year. He's only in 7th grade. 2 of the top 3 finishers were in 8th grade. So odds are good for next year. We'll start studying tomorrow. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Office Party

Eric's company Christmas Party was last evening. It was at Coleman's Irish Pub. The food was wonderful and everyone got a free drink coupon. If you dared to do Karaoke, you would have received another. Not many folks lined up for that, but there was a very humorous performance of Meatloaf's "Paradise by the Dashboard Light." 

Eric tried to enter Coleman's through the Leprechaun door.

Eric and I. With Eric being silly, as usual.

Our table-mates, Dave and Rae. Dave works with Eric. And I used to work with Rae over at Channel 5. (She's now at Ch. 3.) Small world.

There were many items raffled off by Bob, the President. Prizes varying from show tickets, restaurant gift certificates, mystery packages... 

... and this baking set, complete with hot pads, kitchen towels, oatmeal cookie mix and a Moose cookie cutter. Of which I was the lucky winner. I think I'll be baking some oatmeal cookies soon. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My 2 Cents

The Obesity Tax? What will they come up with next?? This is truly one of the dumbest things I've ever heard. And you know what? It will probably pass. Our wonderful governor (well, I guess he is a little better than the other one...) is proposing that they put a 15% tax on non-diet soda. How ridiculous is that? What about candy bars or Big Macs or triple cheeseburgers and ice cream cones or cheese cake or french fries... the list is endless. I'm disgusted by this and will never buy another soda, diet or non-diet, ever again once this tax goes into effect. Of course, then the soda companies will go bankrupt and need a bailout... but that's a post for another day... 

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Party on a Saturday Night

Eric and I went to MariRae's house last night for her almost-annual Creative Media Soiree. Eric worked for MariRae years ago and they still remain friends. MariRae is a real estate agent now and helped us this summer when we sold our townhouses and bought our new home.

She has a spectacular home and it's decorated so nicely for Christmas. We had a cocktail hour (well, hours) and she made the most wonderful Lemon Chicken for dinner. It was such a nice time. And after dinner, we did a fun gift exchange. Here are the photos from the evening.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Heavy Weight err... Light Weight Champ

Alex and Eric had a Wii Boxing match last night. Eric had never played before, but he got into it pretty quickly.

And he was very excited that he won that round!

Although, in the end it was best 2 out of 3... and Alex won two rounds, Eric won one. So Alex was the champion in the end. (And that does say K-O on the TV screen, not backwards K-O... it was in the process of flipping around when I snapped the photo.) For the record, I played a match earlier and won 2 out of 3 against "The Champ". But sadly, there is no photographic proof.

Friday, December 12, 2008


I had the day off today and the new kitchen countertops and sink were installed. And wow. I'm in love!! They look gorgeous. What a difference...

Here is the "before" image. This was taken about a week or two after we moved in, before we painted. I think the difference is very dramatic, and the only differences are the wall color, the countertops and the sink. It's like a whole new kitchen!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Over-due Blog Update

Sorry, everyone! Boy have I been bad about updating this thing. I think I'll just do an over-view of what's been going on around the Hayden House and beyond...

1. On Sunday we had a pizza dinner (during a blizzard of course) with Gary, Paula, Sheila and the kids. For some reason I didn't take a single picture. That's not like me! We had a very nice time though... and Alex is certainly looking forward to having you all come back soon so Laura can play with his Wii again. (Sorry, Paula... that was too funny!)

2. I have Friday off this week and that's the day we're getting our new kitchen counters! I can't wait. They were supposed to be done the day after Thanksgiving, but they arrived with damage, so we had to reschedule.

3. I won $100! I never win anything. But for once luck was on my side. You can read all about it here. I always liked the Amazing Race. If there was one reality show that I could do, that would be the one.

4. Syracuse China is shutting down. So very sad. I will have to visit them and buy some things before they are "Made in China".

5. Speaking of sad, there were several layoffs at my old TV station in NH this past week. My thoughts are with those who were let go. When is all this economic trouble going to turn around??

6. There are a few fun Christmas parties coming up this next week. Saturday is MariRae's dinner party and Beeb's is having a party too. Then on Tuesday it is Eric's company Holiday party. Those are always a fun time! And it's at Coleman's Irish Pub this year. That alone means it will be fun! And I probably should have taken the next day off...

7. 2 weeks from tomorrow is Christmas! The house is decorated, the gifts have been purchased, the cards were mailed out today. I still need to wrap gifts, and maybe make some more cookies... but other than that, we're ready!

8. I haven't talked much about Jenny lately. She's into chewing things again. I have no idea why. Lately, it's the curtain in the front window. Thankfully, it came with the house, I hate it and just haven't gotten around to replacing it yet. However, when she's been chewing it apart, she's also managed to either chew, eat, swallow, hide (?) the metal washers that are in the lower corners of the curtain that weigh it down. I was going to take the metal detector to her stomach, but I couldn't find it. She seems to be digesting well, and things are still um, flowing normally, so we're hoping that no permanent damage has been done. Well, to her anyway. The poor curtain is toast.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Decking the Halls

We had a fun-filled family decorating night last night when we decorated our giant tree. We listened to Christmas music and took turns climbing the ladder to reach the higher branches

Surprisingly, between the two of us, we had more than enough decorations for the 9' tree.

Even Eric had to use the ladder.

Green-eyed Jenny and the beautiful tree. She's not sure what to make of the new tree, but seems to be ignoring it for the most part. We're hoping we don't come home some day and find the tree on top of her.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Ha ha ha ha ha!!

Normally I don't really comment on news and current events much, but this needs a mention. So, where you were for the first verdict 13 years ago? I was in Lexington, KY. Standing in the tape room of the TV station where I was working. There were a few of us in the room watching a small tv on the wall. We all just stood there, stunned when he was found not-guilty. Well, what goes around, comes around. Catch you later, OJ! 

Thursday, December 4, 2008

White vs. Multi-Colored

I admit it, I consider myself a Christmas Tree light snob. I only like white lights on my tree. I don't know why or where it started. I just think they look nice, maybe even a little classy. Not that there's anything wrong with the multi-colored lights, they just aren't my thing. Well, after much debating, well a little bit of debating and a lot of giving in on my part, I am allowing multi-colored lights on our tree this year. I still think that 9' tree would look amazing with white lights, red beaded garland and my cute red bows scattered about the many branches. But this year we're going to have the multi-colored lights and lots of silver beaded garland adorn our tree. We put the lights up last night and are planning to decorate the tree tomorrow night. I'll be sure to take lots of photos. And who knows, maybe I will change my mind about the multi-colored lights once it's complete.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Fun, Old Fashioned Griswold Family Christmas

We've been tree shopping for a few days. Nothing really struck our fancy. They were either too expensive or too cheap. That is, until today. We went to Lowe's. They were having a 50% off sale on all their Christmas decorations, including trees. We spotted this big ol' 9 foot tree and our eyes lit up. And at 50% off, it was a good deal too. We knew those high ceilings in the living room were good for something! So we brought it home and set it up. It looked much smaller in the store. Boy... 9 feet is really high! But we love it!! I'm not sure who's going to put the star on top though...

This is where we decided to put the tree. It's not decorated yet, we'll do that this weekend. We still need to add lights too.

We also got a personalized ornament to go on our first tree in the new house. It'll be the first ornament to go on the giant tree. I think we're gearing up for a fun, old fashioned Griswold... errr... Hayden Family Christmas!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Eric Makes a Pie

It's a cheese cake type instant pudding pie in a graham cracker crust. He put 3 cups of milk in a bowl with the mix and used the electric mixer to whip it together. It sat for an hour in the fridge. I put a dollop of whipped cream on top and then we ate it. And that was our excitement for the evening.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving '08

The big dinner went off without a hitch. It was a little hectic getting the dinner and all the fixings to be ready at the same time, but it all worked out in the end. The conversation flowed, as did the wine. Everyone seemed to get along well and the dinner was delicious! I'm glad that we could all share the holiday this year. It might be a unusual to some that ex-husbands, ex-wives, new wives and extended families are sharing a holiday together, but in the end, it was actually kind of fun. And we are all looking forward to doing it again next year. Maybe we have started a new tradition. Click here to see the photos from the big day.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Preparing for the Feast

The tables are set and the turkey is in waiting. We're having a big ol' Thanksgiving Feast tomorrow. Me, my mom and Eric's ex-wife will be the main "chefs" preparing the meal. There will be 10 total for dinner and lots of stories to share after the big day I'm sure!

We all had the day off today, which was a nice treat. I did some fun birthday shopping for myself using some of the generous gifts I received. I got a few new sweaters, some jeans, new jammies and a brand-new winter coat that I was very much in need of. I was very excited about all my purchases! I haven't been on a shopping spree like that in years.

I hope that everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving and that you are able to enjoy the company of your friends and family!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Oh no, the big 4-0!

Today was a fun day, even though it was the day I turned 40. It was all about the food. And tomorrow I will need to start my diet.

I got to work this morning and a friend had decorated my office and left a big plate of brownies for me. And another friend made cookies... and then there were the many cups of Dunkin Donuts coffee... then some of the people in my department took me to lunch at Chilis. Then I topped of the evening when Eric, Kelsey and Alex took me to Ichiban Japanese Steakhouse for dinner! I don't think I'll need to eat anything tomorrow. And if it weren't for Thanksgiving on Thursday, I would probably be set for the rest of the week on all the food I ate today!

This was our chef at the Steakhouse. I ordered Chicken Teriyaki, Alex had Beef Teriyaki, Kelsey had Grilled Chicken... and Eric had some sort of chicken thing off the menu... we started the meal with soup, then a salad... then fried rice... sauteed zucchini with onions... fried shrimp.... and then the main course of our chosen meat sauteed with mushrooms... then it was all topped off with bean sprouts. Phew!

This was a shot of our meal in flames.

And after the meal, Alex told them it was my birthday, so they sang Happy Birthday to me in Japanese and brought me this very yummy cupcake that I split with the kids.

Then we got home and Eric surprised me with this fun cake! (The close-up photo is above.) We are are saving it for later though because we are all too full!! So far 40 has been a blast. But I'm thinking I might need to get some sort of exercise equipment if I'm going to keep eating like this!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Birthday Celebrations

Tonight we went to Gary & Paula's for a fun birthday celebration for me and Laura. We both have November birthdays, so we celebrated together. Paula served a fantastic spaghetti and meatball dinner, Sheila brought an adorable, yummy snowman cake and fun was had by all. There was a minor mishap upon our arrival (Eric's car got stuck in the driveway) but we didn't let a little problem dampen our spirits. Click here for photos from the dinner party.

Thanksgiving Snow

More photos from the Lake Effect snow. This is the tree in front of our house yesterday morning. I'm thinking we're going to have a very white Thanksgiving this year.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Five on Friday

I managed to make it home safely from a very rough evening commute. An hour and a half to go 15 miles. Good times. I had a beer and some leftover pizza for dinner and now I'm finally sitting down to relax. This weeks Five on Friday are my favorite TV Theme songs. These were my favorites growing up, since they really don't seem to make catchy, fun theme songs anymore. I would like to apologize in advance for planting these songs in your brain, and if any of these get stuck in your head, I am soo sorry!

1. The Brady Bunch
2. Gilligan's Island
3. The Facts of Life
4. Cheers
5. The Mary Tyler Moore Show

Does anyone have any other favorites? If you can't remember the lyrics to your favorite theme songs, here is a great website for reminiscing. Have fun!

Lake Effect Snow

This was my view on the drive to work today. (Yes, I took this as I was driving... probably not the smartest thing to be doing!) But it was neat. It was dark and snowing to the right of the lake and sunny to the left. That's what Lake Effect is like. A few miles away could be having a blizzard while you're in total sunshine. 

I took this photo from the parking lot at work, minutes after I took the above photo. The skies were clear and blue. What a difference a couple of miles makes!

A peaceful, pretty shot of winter. (Click on the images to see them bigger.)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Winter is here.

This was our view from the kitchen this morning. I think winter is here.