Today I am thankful for….

Ok, Ok.  I know this idea got TOTALLY played out in November with everyone suddenly deciding to be grateful for everything under the sun, but, indulge me for just a minute.

I know many people have a sweet tooth, myself included, but for some reason, the things that seem to really catch my fancy are the items that some manufacturer has deemed ‘speciality’ or ‘holiday’ items, meaning I can only get them once a year.

Bastards.  (Crap, I’m probably not supposed to swear when I’m writing about being thankful.  Shit.  Dammit, I did it again.)


Today I am thankful for this…The Dark Chocolate Orange

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What?  You’ve never had one?  Well, let me tell you, you are missing out!  Dark Chocolate sweetness mixed with an orange citrus kick.  And as an added bonus, the treat also serves as a stress reliever since, in order to enjoy your treat, you literally have to whack the candy on a table to break it open.

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‘She said what?’ WHACK….EAT…..ENJOY

‘You want me to do what?’  WHACK….EAT….ENJOY

Honestly, if they passed these out at the doors of family gatherings, there might be less fighting and arguing, more smiling and hugging.

But now, the holidays are officially over.  Tinsel is being taken down.  Santas are being put on clearance.

Which brings me to the second thing I am thankful for in this post.  These delicious balls of sweet goodness are now 50%!  Luckily for me, I have a half empty freezer in the garage just dying to be filled up.

How many dark chocolate oranges do you think I will need to get me through work stress, family stress, and holiday stress until next November?




I guess you’re forgiven

I said no.  I repeatedly said no.  I even screamed it.  It sounded something like this.


To what am I referring you ask?  Well to the repeated begging and pleading from the smaller humans in my house to let a xbox 360 darken my door.  And all was going pretty well in my house until my sneaky little male offspring decided to call an audible at the line of scrimmage, messing up my whole game plan.

You see my little man decided to ignore the calls from this sideline coach and take his request to the big man.  No, not God.  I don’t think he really has a dog in the dreaded xbox fight.  No I mean the big, fat man.  The one with the red nose and jelly belly.  The man who grants all the ridiculous wishes of children when their mean, fun-killing parents say, ‘No.  I mean No.  NNNOOOOO!’

And do you know what that jolly ol’ elf had the nerve to do?  He brought those blasted games made from videos into my house.  Wrapping it in pretty, shiny paper and leaving it under my tree.

And do you know what happens when your kids open said banned item and scream with elation?  Well you are forced to open the darn thing and hook it up.  (I guess I could have refused to let them have it and sent it back up north, but my Grinch suit was out at the cleaners, so I, well, I caved.)

I was enjoying my sixth day off of work today (Did I mention how much I LOVE working for a school?), when I heard screams coming from the basement.  I ran downstairs and found this.

The blackmail evidence I am going to collect far outweighs my anger.  I guess you are forgiven fat man.



Gobble, gobble

People are constantly complaining about how Christmas is crowding other holidays out.

“Turkey before tinsel!”

“It’s too soon!”

“One holiday at a time.”

I believe I have stumbled upon the reason for this increasing encroachment of sleigh bells into your cranberry time……

Lack of ascetically pleasing Thanksgiving decoration in the marketplace.


I rest my case.

It’s like a heat wave

So far, we have been having a pretty manageable winter in this neck of the woods.  We had one decent snow storm right before Christmas, leaving everything glistening like a Hollywood movie, letting us enjoy a true White Christmas.

Since then, the weather has been average really, hanging in the 20s and 30s, allowing the snow to linger and the kids to get great usage out of their sleds, snowpants, and boots.

A miraculous thing happened a few weeks ago.  We had an unseasonable January warm up, melting the snow piles and bringing neighbors out of hiding.  A true Nebraskan knows that this is just a mirage and the harsh reality of a midwest winter can resurface at any moment, so we have to get, while the gettings good.  The temperature gauge hits 40 and people leave their coats at home, shorts replace pants, the bikes come out and runners clog the sidewalks.  We know these days are rare gems and to squeeze out all the enjoyment we can.

Then Mother Nature reminded us where we lived.  Winter snapped back into existence with a stretch of days where the high, yes the HIGH, was 9*.  When you wake up and the newstation graphic says 3*, it just puts you in a different mood.

And apparently the switch from unseasonably warm to polar plunge, sent my daughter into a tail spin.  She does not enjoy the cold weather, not at all.  When the mercury dropped, it effected her brain….

Yesterday’s my husband stepped in the front door of the house and exclaimed, “It feels gross in here.”  And he was right.  Despite the cold winter temps outside, the house was unusually warm.  Quickly, I went and checked the thermostat.


76*!!!!  Holy Crap!  My first thought was, ‘Great, the heater is broken!  How much is this going to cost us?’

I looked at the settings.




Paige looked up at me, “I did.”

“Um, why?”

“I was cold.  I don’t like being cold.”

“It’s January.  Put a sweatshirt on.  Changing the thermostat is above your pay grade.”

Tis the season….still

By now, I’m sure most of you have undecked those halls.  I get it.  I understand.  It feels so good to clean up and put everything away, fresh start for a fresh year.  We have too, well…mostly.

Christmas spirit.  Spreading goodwill towards man.  Kindness, peace, and love to all.  Why should that be crammed into just one month a year?  Shouldn’t we be on our happiest and jolliest of behaviors all year round?

We get so focused on the list, the shopping, the baking, the wrapping, the traveling, that we all forget to sit back and enjoy the sparkle of the holiday.  Christmas is here and gone in the blink of an eye, making us wish it wasn’t over already.

Why does it have to end?  Does it have to?

Actually no, no it doesn’t.  The sparkle lives on in the Soby household.

This is what our house looks like tonight, as I type.

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No really is does, well except the lights blink and race each other, like they are on a serious caffeine high.

I’m sure the fact that our house still glows with joy on January 22, might be annoying to some, in particular, my neighbors, but I love it.  It makes me smile and chuckle each night when they kick on.  I’m not the only one…..  The snowmen are smiling too.

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She didn’t stand a chance

Three days and six hours.  That’s how long we made it before we had a Christmas gift casualty.

We all knew it was bound to happen.  Every parent out there knows that, despite all the saving and planning that goes into Christmas, one of your little darlings is going to break one of their brand new presents before the week is over.  The Soby family clock stopped at 3 days and 6 hours.

Now, why am I handling this so well you ask?  Well, because the culprit here is my furry four-legged child, and I’m only out about eight dollars.

This is Lampchop.  She is a cute little dog toy I found for our Yorkie-Poo, Maddie, as a Christmas present.

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Maddie was so excited to open Lampchop.  She ripped her out of the box and drug her directly to the living room.  We laughed and smiled at her enthusiasm.  It’s always nice to see that your gift was a hit!

Well today, as I was in the middle of a Downton Abbey marathon (I started watching the other day and I’m HOOKED.  I’m knee-deep in Season 2 as I type.), I looked up and found this.

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Just look at the guilty look on her adorable little face!

Bad News:  The stuffing did not survive her destructive ways.  I used to wonder why they sold stuffing-less dogs toys.  I now have my answer.

Good News:  Lampchop will not need to join a gym this year, she is starting 2013 as a new, slimmed down version of herself!

A Gift for You

On this eve before Christmas, I wanted to share one of my guilty pleasures with you.

I have a small, yet still annoying, collection of tacking, singing Christmas decorations.  Every year, I unpack them from their boxes and set them out.  I yell at the kids when they turn them on, trying to express with my voice how much I dislike those decorations and their jingles.  Truth be told, them make me smile and are the holders of special memories.  I truly love them and I love watching them get their Christmas groove on.

As a special Christmas gift to you, I will share their joy with all of you.

This is Hip Shaking Santa, ala Ricky Martin‘s Livin’ La Vida Loca.  My grandparents bought them for all of the grandkids one Christmas.  He used to twist his hips as he went up and down, but when the kids where little, they broke him.  I still love him.

The is Hip-Hop Reindeer.  My husband gave him to me.  I appreciate his rapping talent and his coordinated light display.  The snowflake bling is a nice touch.

I saved the best for last.  This is Low Rider Santa and his Reindeer Posse.  My mom found him on clearance one year after Christmas and bought the lot.  I’ve given out a few in White Elephant Gift Exchanges, but made sure I kept one for myself.  He’s my favorite!

I hope that you all have a wonderful, relaxing, crazy, chaotic, stressful, blissful, peaceful, and joyous Christmas.  If it wasn’t all of those things, it wouldn’t be nearly as meaningful or memorable!