Friday, December 31, 2010

Resolutions for the New Year

I thought we could share what are goals or resolutions are this year for those who make them. I know sharing these types of goals can make oneself more likely to stick with them, it keeps one accountable.

I have a few.

I want to take better care of myself this year. I'm 38 now and I need to take a little extra time for myself so I don't wear out. LOL. Going to bed at 10:00ish, vitamins, water, and keeping stress levels in check are a few examples.

I have two mom friends that are battling cancer. They are a constant reminder to me that our lives are precious and quick and we shouldn't take our lives for granted. Taking better care of myself is an investment in my future.

I also want to "finish what I'm doing" before I jump to the next task. It may seem natural to many of you, but it is definitely a habit I need to work on. I always feel like I'm being pulled in every direction. I need to make choices to keep me on the right track.

Lastly, I'm going to spend 15 minutes a day dedicated to reviewing, purging, and organizing the items in my home. I want all our items to have been chosen by us, not just stashed and forgotten cluttering up space. I want the space around my items to have almost as much value as the items sitting in it. Over the year, it will result in 57 hours of my complete attention. That is over 7 8-hour days spent on the task. Also, it will keep me mindful throughout the year because I will be addressing it everyday.

I'd love to hear your resolutions.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Rain or Shine

December 2010

January 2008

The new and improved Van Stone family meets Disneyland.
When carefully compared, the differences found on the two pictures: a brother and lots and lots of rain!

It all started on Thanksgiving day. We let the kids open a present once they finished their big dinner. They opened a long paper chain that had a scroll attached to it. The paper chain had dates on it, starting with Thanksgiving and ending on December 19th. The scroll, once unrolled, revealed the picture of Mickey Mouse and a message from us. Thus, our countdown began.

The kids were very excited to leave for our trip, to say the least, so it was impossible for us to change our plans even with the knowledge of the winter storm warnings that were bringing so much rain to Southern California.
So out the door, in the car, and on the road we went early on December 19th, just as planned. Brandon and the girls were amazing little travelers. The last hour or two of our drive was rainy, just an indicator of what was to come for the next four days. The kids opened Disney related gifts in the car on the way. Disney lanyards and 8 official trading pins each for the girls and some warm Mickey inspired clothes for Brandon.

We were able to spend about 4 hours at Disneyland the first day. It was a long enough day with the drive and the rides. The first couple hours were great, just a little misty or just a gentle rain, but then it turned on us and really got us wet, especially on the walk back to the hotel with some of the deeper puddles. I was uncertain about what kind of experience we were going to have with the gloomy forecast that was ahead of us.
Our suite was armed with an iron and a blow dryer, so they were well used to help dry out our clothes and shoes that we were going to have to wear again. After a pep-talk about the kind of family we are, and little orange diaper baggies on out feet inside our shoes, we were off to experience all that Disneyland had to offer. Brad had dry socks for the kids in his pockets, to provide some relief later in the day. We were able to spend 10 hours at Disneyland that day, and 10 hours the next. Although the weather may have dampened our fun in some ways, such as all the parades and fireworks were canceled, I’m sure we benefited in many others. We only had to wait in a few lines. We were able to get to see and do so much in the time we spent there. If it would have been pleasant weather, it would have been jammed and we would have been in line a lot.

I’ll post the highlights of our trip soon. A trip to Disneyland is more info than can be addressed in one blog entry. Our journey home was a little scarier. We saw some mudslides, flooding, and a lot of closed roads and exits/entrances. We had to alter our route, but we got home safely and that is what is important.
In case you were wondering, Disneyland is still one of the happiest places on earth, rain or shine.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

What my computer virus taught me

I’m sitting here all giddy, seriously I can’t stop myself from smiling. You see, I’ve just emerged from the land of the infected computer. It is so beautiful here I hope you all are enjoying an uneventful day. Take a moment to appreciate your computer’s health. Heck, back up some files just for the fun of it. Don’t wait for the dark cloud to descend upon your home and family because it is not a matter of if it will visit you, more a matter of when.

I seriously can’t believe I’m able to access the internet and type here again. Merry Christmas.

This is the second time I’ve encountered a debilitating computer virus/spyware/malware... whatever it is, it’s not fun. Coincidentally, both occurred in 2010. The first time this happened I was freaking out. I panicked and it rocked my world for a day or so, then I gave up and surrendered my computer to our local Data Doctors. They fixed it, but it came with a price. I licked my wounds, became proactive with backing up my files and creating a copy of my system’s image. I wanted to make sure that I never was in as weak of a position as I was on that day.

So on Sunday, when this happened to our computer again. I was in a better “boat.” Looking back 5 days ago, I can see how badly I wanted this problem to go away. I knew that Data Doctor was not going to be an option this time. I was going to fix it this time. I sent Brad out to get Spyware Doctor 2011 that same day. Wouldn't you know it wasn't the latest version. It was a feat to just get the updated version via computer to computer transfer. From the beginning to the end, it was one road block after another. After a day or so of it, my stress level returned to a “normal” state for me, I’m always running a bit high in that dept. (I’m working on that too, but that is another blog topic.) I had actually considered pulling an all-nighter on Sunday night. I had a representative that assured me that I could do it! He would be waiting to work on the fruits of my labor. He informed me that he would be there for the next 8 hours to work on my issue. It was 11:30pm my time. Thank God, I chose to toss and turn for the next 6 hours, instead of trying to fix it that night. It never would of been successful and I would have been one crab-apple-of-a-person to boot. I woke up relieved that my dream where my laptop lid broke off the computer was not a reality. Phew! I don't think I could of handled that.

I will spare you all the fascinating “geeky” details of the road to recovery. I’m glad it is over. It was 5 days of following email and phone advice, usually to no avail. Sometimes, I would be successful and I felt like I was making some progress. It turns out that today was they day that it got resolved. I was truly surprised. I think it was such a new issue, that the tech people were busy learning about it as new information came in about the “beast.” Hopefully, this “beast” will all be old info and be easy to deal with if it ever does pay you a visit.

I’m so excited to be able to publish this blog today. I learned all about patience this week. It was a brutal lesson, but quite effective nonetheless. I hope I’m not put to the test anytime soon.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Nothing says it is Christmastime like our community's annual Christmas party. We surprise the kids every year and it is the best. I'm so thankful that Brandon will keep the Christmas spirit alive in our family for many years to come. I am so not ready to give up this tradition.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night. I am especially talking to me. I have insomnia...again.