Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas 2011

We survived another Christmas at the Hayden House! Eric and I were the first ones up.

We showered and had a nice quiet cup of coffee before the festivities began.

Jenny got to open her stocking first. She got some nice treats from Santa!

Then we tried to keep warm with the WCNY Yule Log (in HD!).

Alex finally woke up to join us and his giant stocking full of presents.

Kelsey even stopped by to see what Santa brought her. (Jenny was quite interested!)

This is part of the aftermath of Christmas morning.

Alex went over to his dad's house for his Christmas #2. Grandma and Grandpa were there too. Along with a nice, warm (real) yule log.

Then later, we went up to Sheila's house in Fulton for a wonderful Christmas dinner.

There were tasty hors d'oeuvres.

Kelly got a Baby Alive from Santa. And a neat tie-dye shirt!

Laura looked very pretty all dressed up with her pink flower and curly hair. She played Santa and passed out the gifts.

The 3 brothers posed together (via Skype) with their mom. (And Diane too!) You've gotta love technology! I can't wait for the flying cars to finally arrive...

Sheila out-did herself with all the Christmas goodies.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Friday, December 23, 2011

WCNY Christmas Party and Other Things

We've had a very busy week! Tuesday evening was the annual WCNY Christmas Party. It was at Coleman's Irish Pub. They had it there a few years ago, it was nice to be back, it's a neat place.

Eric enjoyed a nice (complimentary) Blue Moon.

This was the line for the amazing food. There was a buffet. Everything was so very good. They had raffles (but we didn't win this time), but I did win a gift card for "Funniest Door" in the "Door Decorating" contest that we had at work!

This is what my office door looked like. It was a "12 Days of WCNY" theme, click on it so you can see it better. Read it like the "12 Days of Christmas", start at 12 and work your way down... You may not think it's as funny as those of us who have to endure the horrible conditions of our current building, but those we work with completely understood!

Wednesday Alex had another track meet. He ran the 4x400 relay this week. He hasn't run a 400 meter since 8th grade. He's improved quite a bit since then! He's one of the blurs in the photo above. I think I need to figure out a way to take better photos at this track. I might have to break the rules and head down to the first level during his race so I can get some better pictures! For those keeping score, Liverpool won the meet Wednesday, and Alex's relay team came in 3rd overall. (There were 22 teams competing.)

I'd like to wish all my blog readers a very Merry Christmas! May Santa be good to each and every one of you.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Inappropriate and Offensive

Remember the shirts that the Liverpool Boys XC team made for their 2011 season? "Trample the Weak, Hurdle the Dead" was their motivational phrase for the season. That's all it was. It wasn't meant to be mean to others or offensive to anyone. It is was it is, a silly phrase on a shirt. Well, apparently someone at the last Indoor Track meet complained to someone at Liverpool High School. Who in turn complained to the track coach. Who then informed the XC coach. Who then sent an email to all of the 43 kids and their parents (many of whom also wore the shirts), that we were no longer allowed to wear the shirts or sweatshirts. It had been "deemed inappropriate and offensive" and we were all asked not to wear them to school or to any school function.

Almost immediately after the email was sent, one of the parents spoke up. He wanted to know who, and why. I ran into that parent today while out shopping (incidentally, his son was with him, wearing the "offensive" sweatshirt...). We talked about the ridiculous ban of shirts. He told me he was going to go to the superintendent about the request. I sure hope he gets through to him.

I mean seriously, because ONE person was offended, nobody gets to wear the shirts anymore? We have to bow down to one person who obviously doesn't have a sense of humor? And I bet they don't understand cross-country runners either. They are a rare breed of hard working, intense, incredible athletes. So what if they have a silly phrase on their shirts. It's fun. It's freedom of speech. And it certainly wasn't meant to be offend anyone.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

SRC Arena

This is it! The new Indoor Track facility at OCC. Last night was the Inaugural Section III High School Indoor Track Meet. There were about 25 schools that took part in the evening events.

This is what the inside of the arena looks like. The track is on the bottom floor, the spectators watch from above. Which is a new and very interesting perspective. You can actually see all the way around the track. I think that's pretty smart. All of the field houses I've ever been to, you could only see from the ground level, and you could never actually see all the way around the entire track. (Can you spot Alex in the photo above?? Hint: He's not at the bottom of the photo. He's kind of in the middle, walking on the track towards the camera.)

I met up with Rich (Sheila's friend) at the meet, he had saved a spot at the start/finish line. Which turns out was a great place to be. (Except for when some mean guy yelled at me...) We had a great view! Alex ran in the DMR, the Distance Medley Relay. He was the 3rd leg of the relay and ran an 800m.

He held on to the big lead very nicely. Unfortunately, the 4th and final leg of the relay (the 1600m leg) couldn't quite hang on, so they didn't win. But it was a great first race and a great first meet of the season! I'm looking forward to many more great events at the SRC Arena.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Corny Obsession

I've become obsessed with making caramel corn this week. I mentioned in a post a couple of days ago that I got Sheila's famous caramel corn recipe. Well, I've been having so much fun making it (and eating it and sharing it), that I can't stop!

I'm on my 3rd batch in 4 days. I'm now starting to experiment. This round I added cashews. The last batch, I added roasted peanuts. (Yum!!)

And in addition to the cashews, I drizzled some chocolate on top! This is going to be a gift for a woman I work with who is going on maternity leave Friday. She's been the biggest fan of the caramel corn. So I thought it would be fun to send her on her way with her own extra-special batch of the better-than-Fiddle-Faddle treat!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Young Architects

I had the privilege of helping Laura and Kelly make their Gingerbread Houses this year. These are the finished products... can you guess who made each house?? Their personalities really came out in the house building process.

Of course, with many projects, it got off to a rough start...

But soon enough, we were under way. Everybody pitched in to help. Paula and Kelly placed the decorations in just the right spots.

Grandma Sheila helped Laura put frosting on the gumdrops.

Gary created perfect window frames.

Aunt Amanda became a pro at icicle creation.

Laura decorated an adorable snowman for the front lawn.

And in the end, both girls made perfect and beautiful Gingerbread Houses. Each in their own unique way. While Kelly likes blizzards, Laura prefers a light dusting of snow.

And then Kelly began to eat hers...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Decking the Halls

We decorated the house last weekend. It's our 4th Christmas with the 9' tree. We still like it. A lot. So does Jenny.

We got a new ornament while we were on vacation this year. It's always fun putting up the ornaments, most of them bring back great memories.

Today I finally attempted to make Sheila's Famous Caramel Corn. We were very pleased with not only how easy it was to make, but how tasty it was! I think we might be making this more often! Incidentally, do you pronounce it "Car-mel" or "Car-a-mel"? This has been quite the debate going on in our house for awhile...

One more thing before I finish up this post. This is SRC Arena. Well, it's an artist's rendering. This was built at the Syracuse Campus of Onondaga Community College (aka "OCC"). It just officially opened yesterday. Guess what's inside that arena?? There's a 6-lane Indoor Track in there! All of Section III track meets will be run here this year. I cannot express how happy this makes me. Not to have to drive all over the state in the middle of the winter to attend track meets. I think the kids are pretty excited about it too. I can't wait to see it. The first meet is Wednesday, I'll be sure to take lots of pictures! (Well, don't I always??)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Cookies, Treadmills and Managers

It has been a crazy busy week since Thanksgiving. Well, since before Thanksgiving really, but even more so since I've been back to work. But before I get into that, I wanted to share a photo of the first batch of holiday cookies that I made over the weekend. Eric's favorite. Apparently I had never made them for my parents, so it was good they were here to enjoy the warm chocolate-peanut-buttery goodness.

This is another thing I did over the weekend. I bought a treadmill. The Black Friday Sports Authority Door Buster was quite a good deal! (And I didn't even have to wake up at 4am to get it!) Given the above photo of the chocolate-peanut-buttery goodness, it is probably a VERY good thing that I bought it. I've been wanting one for a long time. So with my extra freelance money, I splurged. It's been wonderful so far. And Eric even joins me on the elliptical for a little workout too. I think our "gym" is rather basement-y, but that's ok. It works for me.

So back to the busy week I've had at work. On Monday, it was a back-to-the-grind kind of day. But there seemed to be a strange air about the day. And at 4:50pm, we figured out why. The HR woman and the GM came down to our department and announced they had just fired our boss. It took every ounce of self-control for each of us to keep a straight, serious face while they spoke to us. But we did it. There were high-5's flying and we were jumping for joy the moment they left. It was a LONG time coming, and it finally, actually, really happened. We had to pinch ourselves that we weren't dreaming.

Since that moment, I was kind of promoted to the "manager" of the department. Which so far has been a little crazy. We've been uncovering all the items of business that the former boss had been neglecting for quite some time. It's been a long couple of days trying to re-organize the calendar and schedule projects that we didn't even know existed. We'll get there, it'll take time to start running smoothly, but we're happy and relieved that he's finally gone!

And I guess that's about all that's been going on around here. It's now December, time to start thinking about Christmas!! Decorating to commence this weekend...